Having been one of the most bearish voices on Wall Street for a good part of 2018, with downgrades of small caps and tech stocks earlier this summer and one month ago going so far as to call the peak of both Treasurys (in September) and Stocks (this December)…
… in his latest Sunday Start note, Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist Michael Wilson, takes what may end up being yet another premature victory lap following the latest equity selloff inspired initially by surging rates and the continued chaos over the Italian budget process and – overnight – the Chinese market crash, and writes that “the break higher in interest rates last week appears to be the tipping point, enabling the rolling bear market to complete its unfinished business in these last bastions of safety.”
Wilson also reminds us that based on the bank’s Equity Risk Premium framework, the S&P 500, as a whole, had become overvalued for the first time since January, and that “this overvaluation was apparent as yields on the 10-year broke through the 3% barrier. Small caps had already been underperforming for several months, but as rates moved above 3%, their underperformance accelerated. With last week’s surge toward 3.20%, weakness finally came to the high-flying growth stocks where valuation is the most stretched.”
In short: for Wilson, it’s all downhill from here, even though the stock peak appears to have come some 2 months earlier than he had predicted earlier.
We present his full note is below:
The Tipping Point
September bucked the normal seasonal pattern, proving to be a fairly calm month for financial markets. Global equities even started to broaden out a bit with international stocks doing better, led by Japan. Credit markets also displayed resilience with one of their better months this year, despite the fact that the rates market was suffering one of its worst.
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