Financial Markets Comment – 5-26-2023

U.S. Federal Debt Ceiling Implications for the Financial Markets Nvidia Helps Keep Financial Markets from Losses

Our attention to the debt ceiling began at the beginning of this year and has increased dramatically in the past few weeks. We would like to briefly summarize our analysis of the situation and the possible effect on the stock and bond markets.

The U.S. is the only country that has a limit on the amount of debt that can be issued, and our limit is quickly approaching. Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, has indicated that June 1, 2023, is the date when the U.S. will run out of funds. Another analysis predicts a few more days of cash beyond June 1st, but the answer is the same, that we are soon to run out of funds.

Congress is responsible for increasing the debt ceiling, which is usually a routine responsibility, but not in the current political landscape. Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy and the White House representatives, including President Biden, continue to have discussions, but no agreement has emerged, nor do we expect one until next week. We suspect that the framework of a compromise includes spending limits, work requirements for certain public benefits, and regulatory reform on energy projects. A short term/one month debt increase may be possible to avoid a default. Also, any agreement would require Congressional voting, then Senate approval. Given the power of the extremists, it is possible that a good deal could be voted down. We are closely monitoring the cost of credit default swaps on U.S. Treasury debt on the Bloomberg terminal. Today, the cost of credit default swaps has fallen nicely, which suggests the risk of default is declining in the below chart.

Bloomberg Credit Default Swaps on U.S. Treasuries Illustrate a Decline in the Risk of Default

Should no agreement be reached, the U.S. Treasury would need to prioritize its payments. Social Security benefits and debt payments could be paid, but payments to contractors and other businesses may be curtailed. Obviously, should the situation prolong, the impact on the economy and the financial markets would be very bad.

In the financial markets, the failure to increase the debt ceiling has been seen in the short-term Treasury bonds where yields have increased from about 5% to 5.5% over the last month. In the Stock market, the SP500 has held up well until this week, but the strength is attributable to just 7 technology stocks.

This week, Nvidia’s ballistic increase in earnings expectations from Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) has thankfully led to a rally of tech stocks. Gains in the SP500 are being driven by about 7 large tech stocks while the average stock is flat for the year so far. However, the SP500 weakness is apparent among the healthcare and defense sectors that receive Federal funding. This trend began in January 2023.

Nvidia’s earnings guidance positive revisions was one of the strongest ever seen by a veteran technology analyst. Analysts were projecting sales of $6.5 billion for the next fiscal quarter but the company guided for sales of $11 billion due to AI!

Assuming that the debt ceiling will be raised soon without further damage to the economy and mental anguish to portfolio managers, we can shift back to navigating the myopic Federal Reserve as the rate of decline of inflation is not fast enough for some of the governors who would prefer a few more bank failures. More on that issue in our 3rd Quarter Client Letter.

Finally, we would like to wish all our clients and friends a restful Memorial Day weekend. May we never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.



Business Continuity and Succession Plan Disclosure Statement

Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, Inc. (“AHIA”) maintains a Business Continuity and Succession Plan (“BCP”) that has been developed with the goal of protecting the health and safety of our employees and maintaining continuity of service for our clients. Our Plan is designed to ensure that we are prepared to operate through significant business disruptions, so that our clients can access their accounts without significant interruption under most circumstances.
Key elements of our BCP include the following:

  • Critical data from our computer systems is backed up daily to geographically remote, secure facilities.
  • All AHIA employees can access its computer data remotely via secure connection. If AHIA’s primary network is not accessible, AHIA maintains replicas of all files and database servers in a geographically remote disaster recovery network available to all employees over a secure connection.
  • We maintain an office evacuation plan and emergency procedures in the event of a disaster affecting our primary office facilities or surrounding area.
  • We maintain an emergency contact list and procedures updated and distributed on a regular basis.

If your account requires servicing during a significant business disruption and we are unable to assist you, please call Fidelity Investments at 1-800-523-1203 and a dedicated team member will be able to assist you. It is impossible for us to anticipate every potential problem that may occur, but we believe our BCP will enable us to conduct business in the event of a variety of possible business disruptions. We review and test our BCP at least annually and it is subject to modification based on changing circumstances and assessment of need.

As a fiduciary, AHIA has certain legal obligations, including the obligation to act in client’s best interest. AHIA seeks to avoid a disruption of service to clients in the event of an unforeseen loss of key personnel, due to disability or death. To that end, AHIA has entered into a succession agreement with The Colony Group, LLC, effective May 24, 2019. AHIA can provide additional information to any current or prospective client upon request to Andrew D.W. Hill, President at 239-777-3188 or [email protected].

Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, Inc.
Privacy Notice

Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, Inc. (“AHIA”) believes it is essential that we maintain the privacy of the nonpublic personal information provided to us and that we obtain in connection with providing our products and services to clients.  AHIA views protecting its customers’ private information as a top priority subject to the requirements of the Federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.  AHIA has instituted policies and procedures to ensure that client information is kept private and secure. 

AHIA limits the use, collection, and retention of such information to what we believe is necessary or useful to conduct our business and to provide and offer clients quality products and services, as well as other opportunities that may be of interest. Information collected may include, but is not limited to name, address, telephone number, tax identification number, date of birth, employment status, annual income, and net worth. 

In providing products and services, we collect nonpublic personal information about our clients from the following sources: 

  • Information we receive from clients on applications or other forms (e.g. investment/insurance applications, new account forms, and other forms and agreements);
  • Information about client transactions with us or others (e.g. broker/dealers, clearing firms, or other chosen investment sponsors); and
  • Information we receive from consumer reporting agencies (e.g. credit bureaus), as well as other various materials we may use to put forth an appropriate recommendation, or to fill a service request.

AHIA does not disclose any nonpublic personal information about its clients or former clients to any non-affiliated third parties, except as permitted by law.  While servicing a clients’ account, AHIA may share some information with its service providers, such as transfer agents, custodians, broker-dealers, accountants and lawyers.  Additionally, we will share such information where required by legal or judicial process, such as a court order, or otherwise to the extent permitted under the federal privacy laws.  

AHIA restricts internal access to nonpublic personal information about clients to those associated persons of AHIA who need to access that information to provide services.  As emphasized above, it has always been and will always be AHIA’s policy never to sell information about current or former clients or their accounts to anyone.  It is also AHIA’s policy not to share information unless required to process a transaction, at the request of a customer, or required by law.

AHIA places strict limits on who receives specific information about client account(s) and other personally identifiable data. As a rule, we do not disclose nonpublic personal information we collect to others. However, because we rely on certain third parties for services that enable us to provide our advisory services to clients, such as our attorneys, auditors, other consultants, brokers, and custodians who, in the ordinary course of providing their services to us, may require access to information, we may share nonpublic personal information with such third parties. 

AHIA may also disclose such information to others upon a client’s written instructions.  Such written instructions may be amended, and/or rescinded at any time in writing.  If a client prefers that we not disclose confidential personal information about them to non-affiliated third parties who provide a product or service that we feel would benefit them, the client may direct us not to make disclosures to such non-affiliated third parties via an opt-out provision.  We restrict access to nonpublic personal information about clients to those persons associated with AHIA, who need access to such information in order to provide our products or services to clients.  We maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with federal standards to guard clients’ nonpublic personal information. If a client decides to close his/her account(s) or become an inactive customer, we will adhere to the privacy policies and practices as described in this notice. 

AHIA reserves the right to change these Privacy Principles, and any of the policies or procedures described above, at any time without prior notice. However, clients will be promptly provided with a current copy of our privacy notice upon material changes or upon request.  Active clients will receive a current copy of our privacy notice at least annually. These Privacy Principles are for general guidance and do not constitute a contract or create legal rights, and do not modify or amend any agreements.   If you have questions about this privacy policy, or if you wish to amend or rescind your written instructions with us at any time, please call us at (239) 777-3188.