Is This Equity Market Getting Frothy?

The US equity markets have an underlying bullishness that has been absent for several years. Even in the face of rising interest rates this year, the averages keep inching higher. Despite the self-induced political challenges from the new US administration, any market setback is temporary. Whatever happened to the era of healthy corrections? Will the equity markets obliterate the old adage of ‘sell in May and go away’?

Our takeaway on this equity market advance is that it would be normal for some corrective pressures or at least a sideways movement for a while. Small and micro cap indices have underperformed this year and this is a typical warning sign for the broader market. As anticipated, the manufacturing sector has shown recent strength after weakness in Q1, but surprisingly consumers are, overall, spending less than anticipated. The remnants of the Great Recession are still in the aggregate consumer psyche. The positive employment metrics lead us to anticipate a healthy consumer appetite, even if not as robust as in previous expansions. This economic cycle and bull market has much further to go before it peaks out, but some corrective pressures are normal and the higher interest rate environment may be the catalyst for some temporary weakness in the equity markets.

For the top performing companies in May on the Singular Research coverage list, most reported a good Q1, while others are rebounding after recent weakness. (STMP) was the strongest performer in May. The company provides online postage services and reported a Q1 that was far better than expected and increased guidance. State National (SNC) provides property and casualty coverage and has other ancillary businesses. Revenues and EPS both beat our analysts’ expectations and the price target was raised. Control4 Corp (CTRL​) provides smart home and business solutions that integrates audio, video, lighting, temperature, security, and communications. The company was a recent new initiation and has consistently been beating estimates. Multi-Color Corp. (LABL) makes labels for consumer products, and our analyst has increased estimates after the strong Q1 that was above expectations. Lakeland Industries (LAKE) makes safety garments for industrial and public protective clothing markets. The company reported a mixed Q1 with good unit volume growth and healthy gross margins, but exchange rates were detrimental. Our analyst remains positive on the stock.

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