Dow 40000, Now What?

Last month we witnessed the Dow trade above 40000 for the first time ever and now the question is, now what? Yes, that’s right, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) eclipsed the 40000 marks for the first time in its history. I remember back in 1999 there was a book that I bought titled “Dow 40000” by David Elias. Mr. Elias predicted that the Dow would hit 40000 by the year 2016. Well, that might have been a bit too optimistic regarding the timeframe, but as we just witnessed, his prediction of Dow 40000 came true. For me as I read that book, the Dow was trading in the 10000 zone, and this was nearing the height of the dot-com boom. My view at that point in time was how in the world can the Dow Jones Industrial Average triple from here after it more than tripled during the dot-com boom. It took 25 years to do so and now the question on many investors’ minds is “has become was a short-or near-term top?” Based on how the Dow has responded after reaching that record high of 40000, it sure appears that way.

After topping 40000, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here and below) the Dow gave back 2000 points over the course of the next week or so and then on Friday bounced back to close at 38600 which is right at its 100-day moving average. The Dow wasn’t the only index to reach record heights. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) also hit an all-time high last month topping the 17000 mark, the S&P 500 (see chart here) hit an all-time high of 5346 while the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is seemingly locked in a trading zone between 1900 and 2100.

I remain in awe of the strength of the stock market despite all the headwinds our economy faces and with the geopolitical backdrop. We also cannot forget this is an election year like no other. To that end, I am expecting volatility to rear its head this summer and as we head into the fall.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

 

The Technicals Are In Play…

As the markets try to find their footing, the technicals are surely in play. After a record-breaking performance over the past few months, the major averages are flirting with breaking down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) recently broke down below its 20 and 100 day moving average, as did the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). Both the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) have broken down through their 20 day moving averages, however, these indices are finding support at their 100-day M/A.

The recent market action to me is no surprise. As I alluded to in my previous blogs, month over month stocks and the major averages have been setting all-time highs. At some point in time a pause and reversal in stocks is to be expected. That time appears to be here and now. Of course, there are other factors weighing in on the markets recent pullback with the spotlight coming back on to the inflationary backdrop our economy has faced. Inflation has dropped dramatically over the past year, however, recently there has been an uptick in key sectors, click here for a recent report on the consumer price index. Now pundits are tying the most recent consumer price index into a narrative that the Federal Reserve may not be cutting interest rates after all. Some economists are even suggesting the Fed may even hike rates should inflation continue to uptick.

I come from the camp that a bump in the road with a slight uptick on inflation is nothing to panic over. Now if over the next couple of months the CPI continues to rise, then this would be a different discussion. In the near term if the major averages are able to hold here at the key support zones, then the recent pullback should find some footing. If the selling pressure continues then the 200-day moving average could be the next stop.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Strongest Performance In 5 Years…

Stocks took off in the first quarter with the S&P 500 (see chart here) delivering its strongest Q1 performance in 5 years gaining over 10%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) also closed Q1 with a gain of 5.6%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) finished the quarter up over 9% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) finished up around 5%. So, as I posted last month, stocks continue their record setting ways.

So why are the markets continuing to demonstrate strength despite interest rates remaining high relative to when this bull market started? I think part of the answer is right there. The Federal Reserve is continuing to indicate that three interest rate cuts remain in place for 2024 which is bullish for the markets.

Another first quarter driver of the markets can be attributed to the “Magnificent 7”. Nvidia (Symbol: NVDA), Meta Platforms (Symbol: Meta), Amazon (Symbol: AMZN), Microsoft (Symbol: MSFT), Alphabet (Symbol: GOOGL), Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA) are the Magnificent 7 and are responsible for 40% of the S&P 500’s (see chart here) gain in Q1. This dynamic too attributed to the momentum stocks witnessed in the first quarter although there are a couple of chinks appearing in the armor of the Magnificent 7 and that is the recent under performance of Apple and Tesla. Personally, I would like to see a broader rally here not just 7 stocks that are making up a big percentage of the overall gains.

That being said, and now that the first quarter of the year is in the books, earnings reporting season begins here in April. Earnings season should be the next catalyst as to where stocks and indexes go. As I just spoke to, I would like to see a broader based rally and Q1’s earnings results just might deliver results that could extend this year’s impressive rally. However, if corporate America issues flat to softer results, we could see a pause in this rally and even a potential pullback.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Record Highs Continue…

Record highs continue for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and for the S&P 500 (see chart here). In February, the Dow Jones Industrials hit an all-time high of 39282 while for the first time ever, the S&P 500 (see chart here) crossed the 5000 mark trading as high as 5111. These two indexes continue to demonstrate impressive strength along with the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here). It appears that the Nasdaq Composite just might join the Dow Jones Industrials and S&P 500 in hitting a fresh all-time high anytime. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here & below) still has a way to go to reach its all-time high but at least this index is trending up.

Stocks aren’t the only asset class at or near all-time highs, Bitcoin has broken out as of late and has surpassed $60,000 per coin mark. The momentum continues here since Bitcoin ETFs were approved. Now this asset class in not for the faint of heart. As much as Bitcoin continues to rip, sell-offs in this asset class can be dramatic and fast.

So, what is going on with these all-time highs and the “risk on” spirit from institutional investors and retail investors alike? For one, I think the strength of the economy has something do to with this, however, I believe that rampant speculation is also play a role. Especially out of the artificial intelligence sectors as stocks there also continue to make all-time highs. My concern is how long this most recent rally has lasted. For example, the S&P 500 (see chart here) has seen gains in 15 of the last 17 weeks which is rarely seen.

With that being said, as I look at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes, they are not in overbought territory according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. Many market technicians use this key technical indicator to gage whether a stock or index is overbought. 70 is the key value level of the RSI that would indicate an overbought condition and the major averages are trading below this mark. Now this is only one technical indicator and there are clearly many other factors that determine the state of the markets, but as of now nothing appears to be getting in the way of this impressive months long rally.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

All Time Highs Continue - Paula Mahfouz

Record Highs For Stocks!

Record highs for stocks are hitting the tape with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) hit all time highs yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a high of 38,588 while the S&P 500 traded at 4931 before closing slightly lower. However, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) did not hit their all-time highs but the uptrend in those indexes continue.

So why are two of the major averages at all-time highs? For one I think the markets have been anticipating the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates this year. However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell yesterday said rate cuts in the near term is not likely. Suffice to say the markets did sell off yesterday after Chair Powell’s remarks. The other factor driving stocks higher is the undeniable strength our economy and the job market. The latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report surprised analysts yet again. Economists were expecting the GDP to come in at an annualized growth rate of 1.5%. Instead, the economy grew on an annualized basis of 3.3%. I’d say that’s a beat! The GDP is a measure used to evaluate the strength of the economy. The GDP is the total market value of the final goods and services produced in a given country.

Going forward without question the strength of the economy and job market, along with inflation, will be guiding the Federal Reserve as to the timing of when they will begin to cut rates. Until then, the strength of companies’ earnings results, geo political factors and our own political backdrop should be the catalysts that determine where the markets trade.

Last but not least, the technical backdrop of the key indexes is in decent shape. Yes, the Dow Jones Industrial and the S&P 500 did breach the 70 RSI level briefly but has retreated some since going into overbought territory. All in all, from a technical standpoint, I do not see any alarming trends.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

 

Cheers To The Markets!

Cheers to the markets and what a year for stocks! 2023 turned out to be a spectacular year for the stock market as not many expected the markets to rip-roar as it did last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) finished the year up almost 14 percent. The S&P 500 (see chart here) closed the year up 24%. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed the year up a whopping 44 percent. A big part of the Nasdaq’s eye-popping performance was how the “Magnificent 7” performed. For those of you who do not know who the Magnificent 7 are, it is the big tech group made up of Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT), Google owner Alphabet (NasdaqGS: GOOGL), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN), Nvidia (NasdaqGS: NVDA) and Meta Platforms (NasdaqGS: META) and Tesla (NasdaqGS: TSLA). Finally, the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed the year up 15%.

Many stock market experts did not expect such a stellar year for stocks. Let’s dig in and see what happened. For starters, inflation itself retreated faster than anyone expected which now has the Federal Reserve speaking to cutting rates in 2024. This metric alone is very bullish for stocks. Then factor in how strong the economy has been it’s no wonder we are at or near all-time highs. What’s equally impressive is how the markets have shrugged off the geopolitical backdrop. From two wars that seemingly have no end is sight, to the U.S. political divide, to China’s stagnant economy, nothing seems to be bothering the markets, at least not yet.

As we now look forward to 2024, I think we are in for a doozy of a year, at least from a volatility standpoint. We are also in an election year, and this alone should create higher volatility. I would also expect that after such a strong performance in 2023 that a pause and/or even a correction of some sort could potentially be in the cards for the markets in general.

Wishing everyone the healthiest, happiest, and most prosperous new year 🙂

~George

The Bounce Was Indeed Real…

In my November 1st blog, I asked the question was the bounce real? Fast forward to today and indeed the bounce the markets experienced in the early fall not only held but took off to and are nearing all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrials (see chart here) closed yesterday at 36,245, the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed at 4,594 the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed at 14,305 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) finished the month out at 1,862.

It’s truly incredible to see how resilient the markets are considering the current interest rate environment and how inflation continues to impact the consumer. Rising interest rates tend to impact the stock market negatively and inflation impacts the consumer negatively too. So why are the markets approaching all-time highs? Could it be that the economy grew at a faster rate in the 3rd quarter than previously reported? Or could it be that the Federal Reserve may be ready to slow down or pause its current interest rate policy? I am not sure on either front, but what is apparent is that the markets are brushing off the current backdrop of Fed’s economic policy and the ongoing inflationary pressures. One thing I have learned over the years is the trend is your friend and these markets continue to trend up.

That being said, let’s look at a key technical indicator that many traders and investors rely on to see if we are approaching or at overbought conditions. According to the Relative Strength Index aka the RSI both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) have crossed and are trading above the 70 value level. The 70-value level according to the relative strength index is the beginning of overbought conditions. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) are fast approaching the 70-value level. I do want to point out that stocks and indexes can remain overbought for extended periods of time, but I would not be surprised if we see somewhat of a pause or possibly a reversal here in the month of December to this very impressive rally we are currently in.

It’s always a good idea to consult a certified financial advisor before making any adjustments to your portfolio. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Is The Bounce Real?

After the major averages breached their 200-day moving averages, the question now becomes, “is the bounce that is currently underway real? Last month I wrote about how the 200-day moving averages were in play. Meaning we could see either a bounce off of the 200-day or a breach of it with markets heading lower. Despite trying to bounce off of their 200-day, ultimately in the second half of October the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here and below) began their decent and breached this key technical support line.

Now the question becomes “can the rally we are seeing this week continue?” Well if you look at the latest GDP report and how our economy grew in the 3rd quarter, it would be easy to assume the markets will continue rallying. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product aka the GDP is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services is a specific time period. In this case it was the 3rd quarter of this year. The U.S. economy grew faster than expected in Q3 coming in at 4.9%. This increase was due in part to consumer spending, increased inventories as manufacturers gear up for the upcoming holiday season and government investments. As mentioned above, it is easy to assume that the markets will continue rallying, however, there is a catch.

With our economy showing this type of strength, this will most likely grab the attention of the Federal Reserve as it pertains to their current interest rate policy. It’s no secret that the Fed has been raising interest rates to stem inflation. Well, when you have such a strong GDP report such as the one that was just issued, this could impact the Fed’s decision with continuing to raise rates, or at the very least maintain the current interest rate dynamic. Markets tend to want to see interest rate stability before any sustainable rally ensues. That being said, the recent interest rate hikes may be enough to weather the stronger than expected economy we saw in Q3.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Is The Bounce Real? - Paula Mahfouz

 

The 200-Day Is In Play…

The 200-day moving average is in play! Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) breached its 200-day moving average. What does this mean? Well from a technical standpoint the 200-day moving average is one of the more respected support lines when it comes to indexes or stocks. A breach of the 200-day is not what the bulls want to see. The same rings true when stocks or indexes breakthroughs and breaks out above this key technical indicator. When this occurs, it is typically viewed as bullish. Unfortunately, this is not the case today. As mentioned above, the Dow Jones Industrial Average breached its 200-day and closed the week below this support line.

Now before this draws too much attention or significance, these types of technical breaches can be short lived to only recapture this key technical support line and resume its upward trend. We will have to see if this is the case here. Why this technical breach isn’t too alarming yet, is because when I look at the broader markets such as the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) both remain above their respective 200-day moving averages. The same cannot be said for the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). Like the Dow Jones Industrials, the small-cap Russell 2000 also is trading below its 200-day.

So now what? As we head into the month of October, I can say with confidence that the markets will not hang around wondering which direction to take. A breach is a breach, either it follows through and continues its downward trend, or the breach is short lived only to resume its upward trend. One of the upcoming catalysts that will impact the markets is the 3rd quarter earnings reporting season and this my friends will be a determining factor as we head into year-end.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Soft Month For Stocks…

August was a soft month for stocks across the board. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the month of August down 2.4%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) fell a modest 1.8%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) gave up 2.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) fell by over 5%. All things considered, not too shabby considering August historically is one of the weakest months of the year for stocks.

The market performance in August did snap a 5-month winning streak for the S&P 500 and the overall volatility in the stocks also picked up some steam. However, I do think the bulls will take such a modest pullback considering how strong the markets had been since early June. It appears some profit taking occurred in August while overall trading volumes were relatively lower. Now that summer is almost behind us, I expect trading volumes to increase along with the possibility of bigger market swings as we head into fall.

Now that we are in September the question becomes can the market weakness in August turn around in September? I typically look for catalysts to see if market direction will turn and as we head into September overall bullish sentiment has decreased. As contrary as this may sound, bullish sentiment decreasing is usually a bullish sign for the markets. I don’t like participating in markets where the sentiment is overly bullish and this has been the case all summer long, especially with how AI stocks went on a tear over the summer. The Artificial Intelligence sector lifted most indexes and if it wasn’t for the AI craze we have witnessed, I am not so sure if the markets would have enjoyed a multi-month bull run.

I always like to look at the technical shape of the markets as another potential catalyst for market moves. There is nothing really standing out either bullish or bearish. From the relative strength index aka the RSI, to where the moving averages are currently positioned, there is nothing too glaring one way or the other. Not a surprise considering how low the trading volumes were in August and the modest pullback that did occur.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George