Energy Collapse. An Opportunity?

Stocks continue to bounce after the tensions with North Korea have quieted for now. As I have written about before, I think the stock market used North Korea as its catalyst or excuse to pullback. The underpinnings were a little weak and a little decline was coming regardless. My thoughts remain the same that the pullback is not over and the major indices will need to step it up sooner than later to revisit the old highs.

Every now and then I have mentioned the energy sector this year as it has been under what seems to be constant pressure all year. A few times, I saw short-term opportunities that never transformed into anything more. With this latest bout of selling the sector is once again approaching a window of opportunity. I say “approaching” as the opportunity is not here. I think we need to see the baby thrown out with the bathwater so to speak. It would be great for that to coincide with a piece of particularly bad news for the sector. You know. The things that bottoms are made of.

For now, let’s just watch the XLE ETF day to day and see if the opportunity sets up in a way where risk can be defined. It’s unlikely that it will quietly find a low with this kind of carnage.

Tomorrow, we will look at how crude oil is trading vis a vis the the energy stocks.

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Bulls Don’t Want to Quit, But…

The bulls had another strong day on Friday with now the S&P 400 and Russell 2000 on the verge of fresh all-time highs. Semis continue to bounce back. Transports remain strong and discretionary and banks are behaving constructively. Materials and industrials are quietly in high gear and long depressed energy is ticking higher. High yield is also picking up again and you know my feelings on that along with the broad participation seen on the NYSE. Just keep in mind that this is not a young bull market so it’s behavior won’t be as rock solid as one in its early stages.

This week we have option expiration, but I do not believe it is going to play a big role in market direction. Earnings season picks up and that should make for some fun. Although volume has lagged for a long while, given that it’s summer, I would expect it to get even lighter barring an external market event.

Although I continue to paint what seems to be a rosy picture, my intermediate-term forecast remains the same. I believe stocks are in a trading range until proven otherwise with perhaps a slight upward tilt.

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Another Good Day for the Bulls

After a number of short-term victories for the bulls over the past week, the Dow Industrials and Dow Transports scored new all-time highs together, triggering a Dow Theory confirmation or buy signal on Wednesday. While the Dow Industrials were the lone major stock market index to see fresh highs so far, I expect the S&P 500 to follow suit shortly. The S&P 400 and Russell 2000 should not be far behind which would add even more credence to my forecast of limited downside. However, I still do not believe that stocks are ready just yet to blast off on another leg higher. As the NASDAQ 100 repairs itself, I think the stock market remains in a trading range which will eventually be fully resolved to the upside.

Participation in the rally remains very, very broad and strong no matter what you hear differently from the pundits. These are the same pundits who were negative after BREXIT and the election last year and continue to scream about a major decline or bear market starting. The chart below says it all. The NYSE A/D Line is once again at all-time highs. While it’s not 100% perfect, this indicator rarely looks so strong as a bull market is ending. When I say “rarely”, I believe it has only failed once in the modern era. In any case, with high yield bonds stepping up again and the other evidence I continue to point out, buying weakness is the correct strategy until proven otherwise.

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Dow Theory Says to BUY

After staving off early morning selling on Tuesday, the bulls followed through with a nice little day on Wednesday. As I have discussed, the NASDAQ 100 continues to bounce back and resume leadership. That’s an intermediate-term positive, especially if the index does not lead on the downside during the next pullback.

While the Dow was the only major index to score an all-time high on Wednesday, the Dow Theory crowd will point to the transports also hitting an all-time high. That’s considered a Dow Theory confirmation and portends higher prices ahead. In that regard, the bull market is alive and well.

Besides the good sector leadership, high yield bonds also seem to have ended their pullback. While they are not yet at new highs, their behavior is constructive.

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NASDAQ 100 Right on Schedule. Gold and Energy Opportunity

For the past month or so, I have focused much of my commentary on the NASDAQ 100 as it had been the far and away market leader before getting hit with the ugly stick from late May to early July. Late last week, things began to change and I saw the NASDAQ 100 looking a little better in the short-term. On Friday, the bulls, especially in tech and the NASDAQ 100 did step up with the anticipated bounce beginning. That’s continuing today and a good sign overall, even though there could be some more weakness ahead.

While I still do not see a full scale correction of 10% or anything close just yet, I do think stocks have settled or are settling into a trading range until at least later this quarter. For the nimble, rallies to the upper end of the range can be sold while declines to the lower end can be bought. As this is taking place, it will be important to watch which sectors lead and lag each tradeable move.

I have long mentioned energy finding a bottom at some point, but I wasn’t going to be brazen enough to pick it just yet. There is some evidence that the sector is hammering out at least a short-term low right here and now. That’s lining up with the gold stocks as well. And all that is without any large currency moves. Hmmmm…

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