Flat week…

The four key indices finished the week basically unchanged, however, after the run stocks have had so far this year, the bulls will take it. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished lower by 0.08%, the Nasdaq (chart) by -0.06%, the S&P 500 (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) actually ticked up on the week by 0.12% and 1.04% respectively.

The bears must be scratching their heads and asking; “Where is the pullback or 5-10% correction?” Without question the market has been churning and consolidating for the past several trading sessions and if  you have been short, or have been putting on new short positions, there may be a need for concern. My expectations have been calling for some type of pullback which in fact would be healthy for stocks. However, one thing I have learned over the years is you cannot fight the tape or for that matter, the fed. As long as you have the Federal Reserve commiting and deploying an exorbitant amount of resources and liquidity to the markets, you will most likely have a bid underneath most equities.

Technically speaking, the major indexes remain in overbought territory and when there is a pullback or correction in the averages, I would expect it will be met with willing and able buyers. Good luck to all.

The markets are closed on Monday for President’s Day so enjoy the extended holiday weekend 🙂

~George Mahfouz

A bull stampede!

Stocks are on a rampage with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) surpassing and closing above the 14,000 mark for the first time in over five years. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 0.89% the Nasdaq (chart) +0.93%, the S&P 500 (chart) +0.68% and the small-cap the Russell 2000 (chart) closed the week up 0.66%. For the month of January both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 had its best showing in decades.

So why so much bullishness? Well for starters, before the market opened today the non-farm payroll number came out and 157,000 new jobs were added to the economy. Good, right? Not so fast. The unemployment rate actually ticked up to 7.9% in January and furthermore, the economy needs to add at least 250,000 new jobs per month in order to make a meaningful dent in the unemployment rate . So you ask, “how can this be good for stocks?” Here is the oxymoron. As long as the economic numbers remain tepid, the federal reserve will continue its stimulus program(s) which in turn bodes very well for stocks. A zero to a quarter percent interest rate environment forces money off of the sidelines that is seeking a respectable yield. This especially rings true for fund managers and institutional money managers who really must produce higher than average returns to appease their investors.

For me personally this type of market environment is very difficult to navigate. On one hand you have the fed ready to expand their balance sheet which in turn fuels stocks, and on the other hand you have a weak economy which should translate to lower equity prices. Instead, this market is making multi-year highs across the board. Without question stocks are way overbought and are due for a healthy pullback. If you dare to short this market in attempt to call a short term top, make sure you have explicit protective stops in place. The same discipline should also be honored if you open any new long positions. Going forward, I am expecting some type of pullback which would probably be met with noticeable support at least in the short term. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂