EPS: Less "bad" is good = inflection for fundamental equity investors = "buy the dip" returns. Week ahead light on macro data and still game of inches.

NEW: Notice new section (below): added so you can see our tactical ideas

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In our view, last week added to the constructive case for stocks in 2023. The S&P 500 itself churned and remains in a range, fighting a "game of inches" but underneath this, we believe the arguments for stocks to gain in the remainder of 2023 strengthened.

The gap between our relatively constructive view on stocks and the outright caution of our institutional investor clients is one of the largest we can recall. We have attempted to plot this on the chart below and overall point is obvious. There is no middle ground in markets today as opposing views are either "hard landing" (bears) or "soft or no landing" (ours). And at some point, there will be "tie breaker" data that will cause an abrupt shift in which view prevails. The assymetry we see is that positioning data shows the plurality, and arguably the vast majority of investors are already positioned for a "hard landing":- FINRA margin debt saw a waterfall -35% decline in past year- since 1997, 3M% movements in margin highly correlated to stock moves- FINRA margin debt as % equity at 1.59% is the lowest since dot-com trough- data from Sentiment Trader shows small-investor shorts highest in 35 years- these are extreme negative pos...

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