Stocks struggled again last week. While equity markets were impacted by mixed economic data, the real catalysts were at the industry level.
Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal weighed down auto makers, industrial companies came under pressure after bellwether Caterpillar lowered its revenue forecast and announced job cuts, and biotech stocks traded near bear market territory after a tweet from Hillary Clinton raised the specter of price controls in that sector.
In other words, in a change from the big-picture catalysts of the past few months, markets suffered thanks to stock-specific issues.
But regardless of the cause behind last week’s selloff, the losses reinforced how the investment climate has changed in recent months. Investors are still coming to grips with how to manage something we have not seen in a while: a regime of above-average market volatility. Looking forward, investors should expect the current high volatility regime to persist, as I write in my new weekly commentary, “A Call for Quality as Volatility Turns Up the Volume.”
Other Signs Pointing to Market Volatility
The combination of slower global growth, uncertainty as to the Federal Reserve (Fed)’s future path and less benign credit market conditions suggests continued heightened volatility.