Will the US debt ceiling crisis hurt the stock market? | Responsible Investor Weekly Newsletter, May 20th, 2023

Responsible Investor is a weekly newsletter and an Apple/Spotify podcast for those who are interested in investing responsibly. Go to responsibleinvestor.dk for more information and to read our disclaimer. This week’s newsletter is titled “Will the US debt ceiling crisis hurt the stock market?”, and was written on May 20th, 2023.

Weekly summary in a paragraph

The US stock market indices finished higher this week, despite Friday’s sell-off triggered by US debt debate stalling, with the Nasdaq showing its strength thanks to AI bullishness. The European stock market also finished higher. The Japanese stock market index rose to levels not seen since August 1990 this week. The 2-10y spread continues to be range-bound and has an inverted value of -58 basis points. It was a slow week for economic data. In corporate news, Home Depot’s earnings disappointed with the biggest miss in 20 years, while Walmart beat expectations. In Europe, Siemens Energy rose on a 22% year-on-year turnover increase. While most S&P500 companies have now reported Q1 2023 earnings, there are still a few to watch next week including Nvidia, Low’s, Kohl’s and Dollar Tree.

Asset classes weekly performance

This week the Dow finished +0.4% higher (+0.8% year to date) while the S&P500 gained +1.65% (+9.2% year to date), the Nasdaq advanced +3.0% (+20.9% year to date) and the Russell 2000 appreciated by +1.9% (+0.7% year to date). Gold finished -2.1% lower (+5.4% year to date, we are long) while Silver lost -1.1% (-2-4% year to date). Oil gained +0.8% (-7.2% year to date). The 10-y US treasury yield rose +5.3% (-2.7% year to date). The European stock market finished +1.5% higher (+19.4% year to date). The Euro lost -0.4% against the US Dollar (+0.9% year to date).

Weekly pitch

Despite the alleged advances in the negotiations on the US debt ceiling this week, the crisis is yet to be resolved. Analysts maintain that a solution will be found but few discuss the drawbacks of this scenario. While the resolution of this crisis is key to ensure that the US administration continues to run smoothly, the risk the stock market faces is the drying up of liquidity as more bonds are issued to replenish the coffers. This risk is particularly significant for riskier assets, for example in the tech sector which has run a lot in 2023. Responsible investors should exercise caution and maintain a healthy proportion of their portfolio in cash and hedges as well as a diversified portfolio with some exposure to the European stock market.

Weekly Portfolio Update

Here are this week’s movements: we took profits on our Chipotle Mexican Grill (+23%) long position and the Five Below (+1%) short position; sell stops were triggered on our Newmont Mining long position as well as on the Adobe and Affirm short positions. We initiated a long positions on Foot Locker and a short position on Weight Watchers. Cash, precious metals and hedges amount to 41% in our portfolio (reduced compared to last week).

Top 5 Weekly Portfolio Performers

Range Resources +11.2% (Oil)

Halliburton +5.5% (Oilfield services & equipment)

Callon Petroleum +5.1% (Oil)

Meta +5.1% (Tech)

Google +4.5% (Tech)

Portfolio Asset Allocation

US Long stock positions 49.5% (increased)

EU Long stock positions 9.5% (unchanged)

US Short stock position 3.5% (reduced)

Hedges 7.5% (unchanged)

Silver & Gold 3% (unchanged)

Cash 27% (increased)

1-year Portfolio Performance

Our portfolio performance over the last 12 months is +9.7% (excl. dividends) vs the S&P500 gain of +7.5%, which corresponds to a +2.2% market beat.

Invest responsibly!!!


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