Archives for July 2018

Turnaround Tuesday, Apple and Gold

When stocks are in decline, there is an historical trend after a down Monday for stocks to reverse on Tuesday. As the theory goes, sellers hit the market on Thursday, try to rally on Friday which ultimately fails and then spend the weekend reading negative press about the market. On Monday, there is more selling to get the last seller completed. From there, some kind of bounce or real rally begins on Tuesday. While the rationale is a bit shaky, the price behavior is not.

Adding to the idea of a bounce on Tuesday, the bulls could argue that the Dow Industrials have declined back in to the area from which they broke out from, namely the highs from June as you can see from the dark blue line below.

I would be hard pressed to call a three day decline a significant or real decline for a Turnaround Tuesday to get even be realistic. Additionally, the Dow is the only index which has declined to a previously important price area. The other four major stock market indices have not so far, and therefore there isn’t much support for the Dow.

Stocks have been under mild pressure, especially in the tech sector, but this is nothing more than a light bout of weakness so far. While we could see a bounce on Tuesday, I do not believe the selling is over. In the strongest rallies, a few days down is all the bears get to celebrate. Closing below Monday’s low will be an important sign that more weakness is forthcoming. Of course, if stocks run straight back to new highs and go, then I will be very wrong and adjust accordingly.

FYI, Apple reports earnings after the close and that is almost certainly going to move the NASDAQ 100 significantly overnight and tomorrow morning.

Keep an eye on gold. Keep an eye on gold.

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Selling the News

On Friday, I wrote about the strong GDP report and given the market’s rally into the number, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sellers come into stocks but buyers into the bond market. While bonds jumped up at the open, they very slowly eroded some of those gains during the day in a quiet session. Stocks, on the other hand, opened up with some small gains before being swamped by sellers the rest of the morning, perfectly epitomizing “sell the news”. On an individual stock basis, look no further than everyone’s darling, Amazon, for a textbook case of selling some really good news. Couple that with Netflix’s and Facebook’s punishment on  bad news and you have the makings of a very tired tech sector.

With the exception of the Dow Industrials which I opined was slowly becoming the leading index, the S&P 500, S&P 400, Russell 2000 and NASDAQ 100 saw some real carnage, confirming the pullback has arrived. Repeating what I have said and what I will continue to say, the downside magnitude should be confined to mid single digits, worst case, and the opportunity to buy the dip, yet again, should be forthcoming.

So far, all four key sectors seem to be behaving fairly well into the weakness and high yield bonds are still moving higher.

On an individual stock basis, look no further than everyone’s darling, Amazon, for a textbook case of selling some really good news. Couple that with Netflix’s and Facebook’s punishment on  bad news and you have the makings of a very tired tech sector.

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Q2 GDP Surges, But, But, But

Preliminary Q2 GDP came in at +4.1% this morning, right in the middle of my range. While the majority “expected” this accelerating growth, that was only in recent history, meaning everyone ramped up their forecasts lately. As I saw the number print, I thought that there would be no way for the naysayers and negative media folks to spin this against the strength that it is. But yes, they surprised me again with a chorus of “yeah, but”.

I heard that corporations pulled forward their  buying because of tariffs. I heard that it was mostly because of soybeans. I heard that it was because the government spent much more money than expected. The bottom line is that 4% GDP growth is the highest in four years and fits in very nicely with my own bullish economic forecast for 2018 and into early 2019. It isn’t until mid-2019 to mid-2020 where I begin to have some concerns.

With the expected good news, I wouldn’t be surprised if bonds actually rallied where intuitively you would expect lower prices on economic strength. Bonds had been selling off over the past two weeks. Conversely, with stocks rallying nicely into the report, I would be surprised if we saw a big rally on Friday. In fact, the model of the day would be to use any early surge as a short-term selling opportunity.

Looking at the major indices, there are no changes. I continue to favor the Dow Industrials and NASDAQ 100 over the S&P 400 and Russell 2000. Semiconductors have really woken up while  banks and transports remain neutral. Discretionary is still the leader of the leaders. Junk bonds are continuing their quiet rally and the NYSE A/D Line forges ahead day after day to more all-time highs.

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Bears Have the Ball

For the past week or so, I have shared some minor stock market concerns, but also opined that it looked like the major stock market indices were going to make new highs for July before any downside was forthcoming. On Tuesday, all five major indices scored new highs for July right at the open ad then steadily eroded those gains throughout the day. All except for the Dow Industrials which continues to establish leadership. The S&P 400 and Russell 2000 exhibited the weakest performance during the day and have gone from leader to laggard in ugly, “key reversal” fashion.

Sector action wasn’t much better as all four key sectors open at their highs and closed near their lows. Only the much maligned high yield bond sector bucked the trend by opening higher and trending higher all day. The question now is if the bears can take advantage of what appears to be a slightly wounded bull. As I mentioned in the update last night, I think it’s time to play some short-term defense until the storm clouds pass.For those curious, it does not seem like Treasury bonds are going to provide much safe haven if stocks pullback. However,as I wrote about on Monday, gold and the mining stocks have really caught my eye and for more than just a trade.

I am on a train to New York right now so I won’t post the charts until the next update but I think you get the picture. Short-term concerns. All-time highs still in the cards.

 

 

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Bulls Should Push For One More High. Gold Becoming Interesting

About the only thing of significance from Friday’s action was the increase in volume in stocks going down. That’s a new short-term development. And while my short-term model is negative, stocks still do not have the appearance of anything major on the downside. Moreover, I would not be surprised if the bulls gather themselves and assault the highs one more time before a deeper pullback.

Banks and transports have been acting more constructively to take some of the burden off discretionary while semis remain frustrating. The NYSE A/D Line is healthy but it did not confirm the last high with the major stock market indices, certainly not a big deal at all, but something worth pointing out and keeping an eye on.

Gold has been beaten down in very ugly fashion of late and is approaching an area where I could say it’s so bad that it’s good. Some refer to that as the puke phase. This is one group I am paying very close attention to and it’s not just because we run two strategies in the precious metals area which has largely escaped gold’s collapse unscathed. We will see what this week brings, but I am very slowly becoming encouraged.

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Bulls Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

As I wrote the other day regarding the dramatic reversal in the NASDAQ 100, this bull market is not going to die easily nor without a fight. Even pullbacks and corrections have been and will be tough to come by. As I have seen a few small short-term concerns pop up, I still believe the bulls are going to fight hard to prevent any significant price damage.

As I am keenly watching for signs of even a short-term peak, the major indices still have the look of wanting at least one more high above this week’s high. The indices just don’t appear to be complete in their upside right here. Banks, semis and transports have stepped up a little this week as discretionary is finally showing signs of tiring. That’s okay. High yield bonds have rallied, but they are far from leading and I continue to believe the final peak has been made for this cycle.

With stocks lulling people into a sense (false or not) of security, the geopolitical backdrop is as toxic and loud as ever with the President constantly tweeting, counter punches by the democrats and even some from his own party and stream of comments from global leaders. In the end, as I have said since inauguration day, successful investors will be the ones who separate rhetoric from reality. Reality is that the economy has accelerated higher, consumer confidence and sentiment are at or near all-time highs and unemployment is near historic lows. The reasons and credit do not matter.

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Technology Reversal. WOW!

After Monday’s close, highflying FAANG stock, Netflix, reported very disappointing subscriber growth. It was a shocker. The company’s stock plummeted after hours, over night, pre-market and as stocks opened Tuesday morning to the tune of 15%. 15%! That’s almost a crash. The tech-laden NASDAQ 100 followed suit and the selling spilled over into the broad market as you would expect.

Analyst after analyst and pundit after pundit uniformly poured ice cold water on the technology sector with the most positive person calling for a much needed pullback while the negative Nellies called for a bear market, crash and 50%+ decline. I don’t recall hearing a single person advise buying the dip. That was so interesting because buying the dip was the strategy that was immediately rewarded, almost to the minute.

Below you can see charts of Netflix and the NASDAQ 100 with each bar representing 5 minutes.

It was the single most dramatic turn of events in the NASDAQ 100’s history with the index closing at a new high according to my friend and data miner extraordinaire, Jason Goepfert of sentimentrader.com.

While I certainly don’t want to put too much weight on a single reaction to one earnings report, it does speak to the underlying strength in the tech sector and how difficult it will be to ultimately kill this bull market. Impressive behavior is an understatement.

With all that said and gushed, none of the recent short-term concerns in the rest of the stock market which I have discussed of late have been eliminated. Banks and semis are a little better. Discretionary continues to chug along. Junk bonds are hanging in.

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Market May Need Some Help from Banks

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I wasn’t enthralled with Friday’s session. While price action in the major stock market indices was strong, more stocks were down on the day than up. Additionally, banks reacted poorly to earnings and high yield bonds closed at their low of the day. Again, it was only one single day, but there was some mild weakness beneath the surface.

On the sector front, there isn’t much new. Discretionary is the lone leader among the four key sectors. Semis and transports continue to be the most frustrating for bulls and bears as strength is sold and weakness is bought without much progress being made by either side. Banks are a little weaker as they head to the lower end of their range. With earnings being released on a daily basis, we should see some large moves. As I mentioned on Fox Business with Charles Payne the other night, the most bullish thing the banks can do is to go up in the face of bad news. That kind of behavior could signal the start of a major rally in financials which would certainly juice the broad market.

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Trapped Again. What Do the Bears Do Now???

Following up from the piece earlier this week, Bull Markets Don’t End Like This, the path of least resistance continues to be higher even though the Trump administration added tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods. As you would expect in the most powerful bull markets, the news was just a one or two day pullback/pause after stocks had appreciated 3% over the previous four days. In other words, it was yet another in a long line of bear traps.

I still cannot get over how many people absolutely refuse to analyze the data and believe the facts. They either became negative way too early or never even got off that mark after 2008. If you get sucked into the rhetoric instead of reality, I guess the consequences are severe. Now, don’t get me wrong; this whole tariff war is going to end badly for everyone involved. Unfortunately, I feel confident about that. However, that day isn’t today or tomorrow and stocks still look attractive, appealing and like they want to move much higher first.

The Dow Industrials have finally started to show signs of leadership. We will have to see if that’s real or fleeting. After that the NASDAQ 100 is the leader. Unusual combination? Yes, but as long as we have some of the relatively riskier assets leading, that’s okay. Ultimately, the S&P 400 and Russell 2000 will die before the rest and the Dow should one of the ones left standing at the end.

Finally, it would be nice to get the high yield bond sector moving, even though I strongly believe it has peaked for this cycle. That’s okay, though. There is still money to be made here using shorter-term time horizons.

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Bull Markets Don’t End Like This

Over the past week we have seen two decent signs of the low along with two disappointing signs for the bulls. On Thursday, it became clear that the bulls were just teasing the bears and that the path of least resistance was higher. I was also heartened that one of my primary short-term models turned positive before the July 4th holiday.

From here, I fully expect the S&P 400, Russell 2000 and NASDAQ 100 to score all-time highs this month. I think the S&P 500 will follow suit this quarter. The Dow Industrials have been lagging all year as the Trump tariff tantrum weighs heaviest on that index. I still believe the index will see all-time highs, probably this quarter, and should finally lead if there is any break in the tariff dispute.

While high yield bonds have struggled mightily over the past month, they have perked up a bit over the past week. However, they are back to stinking and remain my biggest concern for the long-term health of the bull market. I do think this canary has died for this cycle.

Finally, the best news of the day is that the New York Stock Exchange Advance/Decline Line has surged back to all-time highs, a condition that typically insulates stocks from a bear market, at least 90% of the time. While it’s not foolproof, a 90% accuracy rate is good enough for me. The perma-bears and bear market proponents are barking up the wrong tree, for now.

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