En route to 20%? Wait a minute…

As stocks and key indices continue to break records, the four major averages are now approaching 20% gains year to date. So far this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) is up a whopping 15.37%, the Nasdaq (chart) +13.81%, the S&P 500 (chart) +14.55% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) is up year-to-date 14.81%. But hold the phone! A report issued after the close on Friday just might be what the bears have been looking for and what could be a catalyst to a pause or pullback to these red hot markets.

On Friday after the close, an article came out in the Wall Street Journal citing that the Federal Reserve has begun to map out a strategy for winding down its $85 billion-a-month bond buying program. This super aggressive part of the ongoing stimulus program has played an enormous role in the lift in equities and the economy over the past year or so. Although the article cited a variety of options that the Fed is outlining, there are some Fed officials calling for the wind-down to begin as early as this summer. I will be very interested to see how the markets react to the report this upcoming trading week. I do not think anyone expects that the Fed will be overly aggressive with any adjustment it makes, but nonetheless, stocks have been a huge beneficiary of this extraordinary component of the stimulus program. I wouldn’t be surprised if the markets will take this latest cue and begin to exhibit an increase in volatiltiy. Besides, and as everybody knows, equities have been long overdue for a pause at the very least, and even more so a healthy pullback.

As I look to the internals of the market, this unprecedented run stocks have had so far this year has been on lighter volume, but this also has been the case since the bull market began back in 2009. Whatever the case is, without question these markets have been and are over extended to say the least. Let’s see if the Fed’s latest statement shakes the trees out a bit. I am considering initiating a short bias theme in certain indexes but will have the utmost discipline in protecting any positions by have very tight stops. Seemingly, almost everyone who has attempted a short strategy this year most likely endured a great amount of grief, however, at some point and time the bears should have their day in the sun. I am not suggesting that anyone should short this market or any market for that matter, short selling markets of any kind involves a significant degree of risk and is not for the feint of heart. That said, and as always, make sure to consult with a certified financial advisor of your choice when considering any investment strategy. Have a great week 🙂


Unconditional support continues…

The Federal Reserve’s incessant support of asset prices continues to propel stocks to all time highs. The S&P 500 (chart) closed out the month of April at a record high of 1597.57. For the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 1.79%, the Nasdaq (chart) +1.88% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the month gaining about 1%. Records are being broken despite the lackluster job growth in our country, a weaker than expected GDP report issued last Friday, and a mixed bag of Q1 corporate earnings reports.

Not to sound like a broken record, but as long as the economy stays stuck in neutral, QE3 should remain in full effect, which is what I expect to hear when the Federal Reserve concludes their two day meeting this afternoon. This mantra should also continue to be bullish for stocks and act as a catalyst for support should we get the pullback or market correction that the bears have been chatting up all year long. To add even more fuel to the fire, you now have central banks from around the world opening up their balance sheets in further support of their own economies. I am not so sure that the old adage of “sell in May and go away” will apply this year just from the mere power and seemingly collaborative efforts of the world wide central bankers. Logically, this cannot continue to be the case, but for now it is super charging the markets.

Technically speaking and from a relative strength perspective, the four key indices are below the 70 value level of the RSI which is considered overbought territory, and therefore could very well be consolidating for the next leg up. Of course, the market is way overdue for some type of pullback. I have been expecting this for months now and whenever there is any type of selling pressure, it has been met with undeniable support. Best of luck in the month of May and remember it is typically a good idea to use protective stops in any position you enter into especially with the amazing double digit run stocks have had so far this year.

Have a great May 🙂