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USA Today: Beware a Summer Stock Market Swoon

By John Morgan   |   Thursday, 04 Jul 2013 10:25 AM

The stock market had a stellar first-half for 2013, but there is a daunting lineup of potential pitfalls that could make it a long, hot summer for investors, according to USA Today.

The backup in bonds is one factor to watch, the newspaper said, especially after a multi-decade bull market in fixed-income investments. More than $1.2 trillion piled up in bond funds between 2009 and 2012 alone, TrimTabs Investment Research reported.

But the cash inflow lately has been reversing amid slumping bond prices and soaring yields.

Editor’s Note: Put the World’s Top Financial Minds to Work for You

Wall Street firms worry that when individual investors soon see their new quarterly bond fund statements, more of them may flee for the exits.

"Investors might say, 'Oh my gosh, our account is down thousands of dollars. I thought I was safe in bonds,' " said Marilyn Cohen, founder and CEO of Envision Capital Management. "That could cause a second wave of selling."

Another potential market pitfall is the lack of clarity on when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its monetary stimulus.

A third potential problem is more fallout if the yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumps again, as it did from early May to June 24, when it rose nearly a full percentage point to 2.66 percent.

Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management, told USA Today stocks will fall if there is another spike in Treasury rates.

Meanwhile, stocks have posted great gains in 2013 despite punkish sales and profits – the Standard & Poor’s 500 ended the first half up 12.6 percent -- but the newspaper predicted that kind of divergence cannot continue.

The final item on the list of summer worries was potential foreign shocks, including political upheaval in Egypt, a hard economic landing in China and a worsening economic situation in Europe.

However, in a piece entitled “Don’t Fear a Summer Swoon,” Barron’s predicted the allure of stocks is only likely to increase.

Barron’s ticked off a list of economic positives that could help stocks: U.S. banks are building their reserves, the housing market is recovering, many states are starting to see unexpected budget surpluses, and household debt is dropping even as household net worth is increasing.

As for the bond market turmoil, Barron’s said it could actually precipitate a long-awaited
phenomenon – a wide scale investment rotation from bonds into stocks.

Editor’s Note: Put the World’s Top Financial Minds to Work for You

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