Technical Breakout…

This week we witnessed the power of a technical breakout. For months the four major averages were stuck in a prolonged trading range. In last weekend’s blog, I eluded the need of the S&P 500 to not only break through the 1225-1230 zone, but remain above it for multiple days in order for me to get more bullish. Boy did it deliver! Not only has the S&P 500 remained above the breakout zone, it has now closed above its 200-day moving average. This is a very promising premonition for the bulls. For the week, the S&P 500 (chart) closed up 3.8%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) +3.6%, the Nasdaq (chart) +3.8%, and once again the Russell 2000 (chart) led the way as far as percentage gains by closing up an eye-popping 6.8% on the week.

So why did we breakout? Very simple, strong corporate earnings continue to come in, a surprisingly strong GDP report was released on Thursday, and the single most important catalyst was the Euro Zone coming to terms with at least an outline on how to resolve their debt crisis. However, coming up with an outline and actually executing the plan are two totally different agendas, so we must stay tuned as to how things progress. That said, the markets were happy to see at the very least that some type of plan was agreed upon in principle to resolve the debt crisis across the pond.

So what’s the set up now and going forward into year end? Well, with the type of run stocks have had in the month of October, it is natural to expect some type of pull back to occur. For me this could create attractive entry points via indexes or equities, but as a reminder, whenever you choose to go long an index or equity, define your risk and always have protective stops in place.

Happy Halloween 🙂


Strong earnings lift stocks…

With the height of earnings reporting season at hand, corporate America for the most part has not disappointed. Companies such as McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC), Harman International Industries (NYSE: HAR) and Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG) all exceeded earnings expectations, just to name a few. The key indexes are indeed benefiting from Q3 reporting season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the S&P 500 (chart) finished the week up over 1 % while the Nasdaq (chart) and Russell 2000 (chart) lagged a bit.

Now all eyes are on Europe and what comes out of this weekend’s summit meeting of the European Union leaders. With how emotional the markets have been recently, especially as it pertains the EU debt crisis, I would expect next week will be yet another week of extreme volatility in the markets. However, one item to note, for the first time since early August the S&P 500 (chart) has broken and closed above the 1230 level. This level has acted as strong resistance over the past couple of months.

This event for certain market technicians is a key breakout, but for me I want to see multiple days of remaining above the 1230 mark and of course I would like to see significant progress made from across the pond before I get more bullish.

Have a great weekend 🙂


What a run!

Since the S&P 500 (chart) made an intra-day low of 1075 on October 4th, this bellwether index has gained a staggering 13.95% to close at 1224.58 in just 10 days. That’s no typo. The three other key indices also had significant runs especially the small-cap index Russell 2000 (chart) gaining a breathtaking 18.4% since October 4th. In the past 10 days the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) has also tacked on almost 12% and the Nasdaq (chart) concurred with a 16%+ gain as well.

Interestingly enough this range bound market over the past 2 1/2 months (blog) now finds itself on the cusp of breaking out of the upper bands of its range. Market technicians are looking at the 1225 zone of the S&P 500 as the breakout level and that’s where it closed yesterday. We are full steam ahead into earnings reporting season with the likes of Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) all reporting their earnings next week,  just to name a few.

Q3 earnings results just may be the catalyst to push these markets through their upper level resistance zones. However, if overall the earnings reporting season doesn’t impress, we could easily find ourselves back in the middle or the lower end of this persistent trading range. Good luck to everyone.

Have a great weekend 🙂


A positive week for stocks…

After the key 1100 support level of the S&P 500 was seriously tested on Tuesday, stocks managed to finish the week up. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 1.7%, the Nasdaq (chart) +2.6%, the S&P 500 (chart) +2.1% and the Russell 2000 (chart) gained 1.9%. The markets held on to their weekly gains despite yet another anemic jobs report that was issued on Friday indicating that the unemployment rate here in the U.S. is still at 9.1%.

Next week kicks off Q3 earnings reporting season with earnings coming out of aluminum producer Alcoa (NYSE: AA), tech titan Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG) and JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM),  just to name a few. I think this upcoming earnings reporting season will be more significant to the markets than usual. We all know by now the key indices have been trading in a range for quite a while. Over the past couple of months the markets have been highly emotional. This is especially true when economic or European headlines hit the tape. Whether it’s positive news or more often than not negative news, the markets swing wildly before catching its breath. This apparently has kept us stuck in this incessant pattern.

Whatever corporate America reports with their Q3 results, this could be the catalyst that either breaks us out or breaks us down through the key support or resistance levels of this range. For the S&P 500 (chart) that would be the 1225 zone at the top end, and the 1100 zone of the bottom end of the range. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂


The first real test…

For the past several weeks we have spoke about the markets and in particular the S&P 500 (chart) trading in a range (blog). Well on yesterday the S&P 500 (chart) broke down through the 1100 mark and traded as low as 1075 before closing up above 1120. Fast forward to today and the S&P tacked on yet another 20 points. Although the S&P intraday broke sharply below the 1100 level on Tuesday, it did not close below it. Had it closed below 1100, we would be having a different conversation. That said, I would say that the first real test of the 1100 support zone of the S&P 500 passed with flying colors.

Personally, I still do not think we are out of the woods yet. There are still too many global headwinds especially out of Europe, and as long as this uncertainty exists, I  expect abnormal volatility to continue. Also, the much anticipated jobs report which comes out before the open on Friday will certainly test the mettle of these markets. In today’s market environment there is never a dull moment. Good luck to all.

Have a good evening.


Finally Q3 is over!

I think almost everyone is happy to close the book on the third quarter, what a quarter is was! Historically, August and in particular, September tends to be one of the weakest periods of the year for stocks. Indeed, history repeated itself. For the quarter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) lost a staggering 12.09%, the Nasdaq (chart)– 12.91%, the S&P 500 (chart) -14.33% and the Russell 2000 (chart) which is the benchmark for smallcap stocks, lost a breathtaking 22.15%.

This market action is understandable considering all of the uncertainty that exists here and abroad. So now we must ask ourselves, have the markets discounted the lack of direction and ambiguous economic policies that are being tossed around in Congress? Also, have the markets discounted the European financial crisis that seemingly changes every other day? Is China now slowing down in their growth and expansion mode that they have been in for years? What about this upcoming earnings season, are earnings expectations too high considering where the economy is and going? These are just a few examples of the risks out there and the headlines that we see daily.

One thing that I think is important to remember about our current cycle is the Federal Reserve’s current monetary policy. I still believe as long as interest rates remain near zero, the market should continue to benefit from this accommodative policy. Over the past couple of years, whenever we have had market corrections such as the one we are currently in, the market has found bottoms and has turned to resume its uptrend. However, with all of the aforementioned challenges we face, don’t expect that this will be an easy market to navigate and feel confident in. I also expect that volatility will remain high and that the sensational market swings that we have experienced over the past two months will continue for the foreseeable future. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂