It’s always tempting to prognosticate how a headline event – geopolitical conflict, Fed action, etc. – may change the complexion of the market, but it’s been our experience that exogenous inputs do more to reinforce trends already in place rather than change the game. We’re not sure anyone has a real edge on Russia / Ukraine, and if they did, it doesn’t mean they’ll get the market’s reaction function correct as well. Prior to the acceleration of this conflict over recent weeks, the market was sending a pretty clear message on a number of fronts...

  • Gold has been quietly improving, and last week’s breakout confirms the trend change. Consolidations from short-term overbought conditions should be used to add to positions.
  • Globally, Metals & Mining remains one of the stronger groups in our work and is exhibiting leadership in a very split tape. The Materials sector (equal weight) traded to multi-month relative highs on Friday.
  • Growth vs. Value was weakening well before the market priced in an aggressive 2022 FOMC or a major Russia/Ukraine event… that weakness has only continued.
  • The equally-weighted S&P has been turning up vs. the cap-weighted S&P since early December… this has also only continued over recent weeks. We’re overweight “the average stock” vs. the top of the market.
  • Yields are overbought and consolidating, but the trend is higher globally… there’s meaningful support for U.S. 10’s in the 1.70% to 1.75% zone. It’s also curious that Banks have continued to outperform Utilities in this environment (likely a rate message).
  • ARK and the speculative corners of the tape went into 2022 in bear markets and remain in bear markets today. The same goes for Bitcoin, which has behaved more like a risk on / risk off instrument than any useful hedge.

Our sense is sentiment is getting pretty negative out there right now, but we’re watching put/call ratios to get a sense if negative thinking translates into negative doing.


With the fourth-quarter reporting season more than 80% completed, earnings growth is estimated to be close to 32%. This was a sizeable increase from January 1st, when it was expected to be just 22%. The sector with the most notable improvement has been discretionary. On the other hand, while seeing an improvement to 14.5%, revenue growth is only up 2.5% from January 1st.


The 2022 S&P 500 EPS growth rate currently stands at 8.1%, which is approximately the same level it has been since the beginning of November 2021. With 2021 reported earnings growth much stronger than originally anticipated, it’s apparent there was a pull-forward of earnings. What is less obvious is what will drive the next leg of earnings growth. Inflation will help in some areas but likely hinder others.


Analysts are lowering price targets at the fastest rate since March/April of 2020, when governments worldwide implemented business restrictions. A big difference between 2020 and today is analysts are citing different reasons. We had seen increasing the discount rate, higher wage expense, & higher input costs as the most prominent reason when in 2020 it was simply declining sales.


The fourth-quarter reporting season is approaching an end, and on conference calls, management teams are focused on rising expenses for 2022. This is problematic for operating margins and is showing up in the latest data with a clear hook lower. We have noted the market doesn’t get into too much trouble while margins are rising, but the hook lower is a change and warrants attention.


This cycle has been odd. Typically, business cycles are driven by durable goods & financial crises. Durables are where you can build up unwanted inventories. With inventories high, firms cut production. When you cut production, you cut jobs. When you cut jobs, you cut income. Income declining leads to leveraged players suffering, and if it cascades, then a financial crisis. That’s a typical recession (ie, a financial contagion event).

That’s not what happened in the past 2 years. The contagion was health-related vs. financial. Income was preserved by aggressive fiscal & monetary policy responses as the pandemic hit. Services (which are usually stable) suffered, but that meant income flowed to goods. Really, it overflowed. We overwhelmed the global supply chain, as bottlenecks developed & core goods inflation skyrocketed in 2021 (used cars being an illustrative example).

There have also been surges in food & energy prices during the past year, and while these may not drive policy decisions much (since “core” inflation measures are favored), they have boosted headline inflation rates considerably. Consumers have taken notice.

Additionally, in the U.S. there have been considerable disruptions in the labor market. There is labor market slack after a typical recession. Not this time. There appear to have been excess retirements, and U.S. job openings & quits have surged in the past year.

A recent NBER paper (Domash & Summers, 2022)1 has noted that vacancy & quit rates have predictive power for wages. Wages are downward sticky.

As such, the inflation shock that started out with bottlenecked goods is now seeping into stickier components in 2022 (wages, rents, future expectations), as firms and consumers have experienced inflation against the backdrop of the U.S. labor market that is basically overheating. The Fed will tighten to stop inflation from becoming entrenched in future expectations, but they probably cannot bring inflation down by themselves without tightening aggressively & risking a hard landing.

So where do we go from here? A more normal goods/services balance (as health concerns fade) can help clear supply chains. There’s a pathway to a soft landing in the economy if the private sector helps the Fed get inflation under control in 2022 (limited China factory interruptions, bottlenecks clear, U.S. labor supply shows up). But it’s going to have to be a joint effort. The message of the U.S. yield curve still seems to be that the second most likely outcome is that continued inflation surprises drive the Fed to overdo tightening (as they try to be nimble), and growth falters. The curve is not inverted yet, but we continue to pay close attention to this key indicator.

Source: Strategas

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments. Data provided by Refinitiv.


Fortem Financial
(760) 206-8500



Latest News


Metals Stocks: Gold rallies to highs not seen in more tha...

Gold jumps toward highs not seen in more than a year on Monday evening, as Russian President Vladimir Putin orders troop deployments to pro-Moscow, breakaway regions of Ukraine.


Read Story


JPMorgan now sees Fed hiking interest rates 9 times to co...

JPMorgan Chase economists now see the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates nine consecutive times as central bank policymakers look to tackle hotter-than-expected inflation.

Fox Business

Read Story


You're already paying more for groceries and gas. Here'...

S&P Global Ratings says shoppers continue to purchase despite inflation now, but later in the year there will be belt-tightening


Read Story


Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client’s experience or of the Firm’s future performance. Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Five Star Professional Disclosure:
The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided. Additional information about this award is available at:
Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved.

Data Sources: News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/ Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness.

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful. Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions. As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict. Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes. Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing. Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC. Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Fortem Financial

Recent Posts


Fortem Financial Group, LLC, has adopted this policy with recognition that protecting the privacy and security of the non-public personal information we obtain about our customers is an important responsibility.

All financial companies choose how they share your non-public personal information. Federal law gives consumers the right to limit some but not all sharing. Federal law also requires us to tell you how we collect, share, and protect your non-public personal information. Even when you are no longer our customer, we will only share your non-public personal information as described in this notice. So, please read this notice carefully to understand what we do.

The types of non-public personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include items such as your Social Security number and income, your account balances and transaction history, and your investment experience and account transactions.

We collect your non-public personal information in a variety of ways. For example, we obtain your non-public personal information when you open an account or give us your income information, tell us about your portfolio or deposit money, or enter into an investment advisory contract. We also collect your non-public personal information from other companies. For example, from the custodians who hold your account assets.

All financial companies need to share customer’s non-public personal information to run their everyday business. Below, we describe the reasons we can share your non-public personal information and whether you can limit this sharing.

We share your non-public personal information for our everyday business purposes such as to process your transactions, maintain your account(s), respond to court orders and legal investigations, report to credit bureaus, to protect the confidentiality or security of your records, or as permitted by law. We may also share your non-public personal information for our own firm’s marketing purposes; so that we can offer our products and services to you.

Federal law gives you the right to limit only sharing non-public personal information about your credit worthiness for our affiliates’ everyday business purposes; sharing non-public personal information about you with our affiliates to market to you; and sharing non-public personal information with non-affiliates to market to you.

We don’t share non-public personal information about your creditworthiness with our affiliates for their everyday business purposes. We don’t share your non-public personal information with our affiliates to market to you. We don’t share your non-public personal information with non-affiliates to market to you. We also don’t share your non-public personal information for joint marketing with other financial companies. State laws and individual companies may give you additional rights to limit sharing.

We share non-public personal information with our parent company affiliate, Focus Financial Partners, Inc, for its internal and external auditing purposes. We also share your non-public personal information with a non-affiliate for the purpose of aggregating it and providing summary information based on this data to our parent company, Focus Financial Partners, Inc.

To protect your non-public personal information from unauthorized access and use, we use security measures that comply with federal law. These measures include computer safeguards and secured files and buildings.

Our policy about obtaining and disclosing non-public personal information may change from time to time. We will provide you notice of any material change to this policy before we implement the change.

If you have questions please call us at 760-206-8500 or go to our website at


Fortem Financial Group, LLC ("Fortem Financial" or the "Firm") is a federally registered investment adviser with offices in California and Arizona. Fortem Financial and its representatives are in compliance with the current registration and notice filing requirements imposed upon federally registered investment advisers by those states in which Fortem Financial maintains clients. Fortem Financial may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements.

This website is limited to the dissemination of general information regarding the Firm's investment advisory services offered to U.S. residents residing in states where providing such information is not prohibited by applicable law. Accordingly, the publication of Fortem Financial' website on the Internet should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as a solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment, tax or legal advice. Furthermore, the information resulting from the use of any tools or other information on this website should not be construed, in any manner whatsoever, as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized individual advice from Fortem Financial. Any subsequent direct communication from Fortem Financial with a prospective client will be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. Fortem Financial does not make any representations as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to this website or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility therefore. All such information is provided for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

All statements and opinions included on this website are subject to change as economic and market conditions dictate, and do not necessarily represent the views of Fortem Financial or any of their respective affiliates. Past performance may not be indicative of future results and there can be no assurance that any views, outlooks, projections or forward-looking statements will come to pass. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and the profitability of any particular investment strategy or product cannot be guaranteed.

Any rating referenced herein may not be representative of any one client's experience. Further, the Firm's receipt of any rating is not indicative of the Firm's future performance. The Charles E. Merrill Circle of Excellence award is granted by Merrill Lynch for outstanding client service and satisfaction. The award is granted based on annual criteria established by Merrill Lynch for its top decile advisors. The Barron's Top 1,200 Financial Advisors rating of the top financial advisors in the United States is based on data provided by participating firms. The following factors are included in the rankings: assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work. Investment performance is not an explicit component. The Palm Springs Life's "40 Under 40" Rising Young Professionals to Watch in the Coachella Valley is based upon nominations from the local business community and selected by the staff of Palm Springs Life.

For information pertaining to the registration status of Fortem Financial, please refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website, operated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, at, which contains the most recent versions of the Firm's Form ADV disclosure documents.