Q1 Earnings Reporting Season Saves The Day, So Far…

Last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart), the Nasdaq (chart), the S&P 500 (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) all went into a tailspin closing lower by 2.4%, 3.1%, 2.6% and 3.6% respectively. Fast forward to this week as earnings reporting season shifted in to high gear and we have a different story. For this holiday shortened week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 2.38%, the Nasdaq (chart) closed up 2.395%, the S&P 500 (chart) gained 2.7% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the week up 2.38%.

So why the reversal? Simply put and for the most part, corporate earnings are coming in better than expected. At the beginning of the week Citigroup (NYSE: C) posted better than expected results on net income of $3.94 billion up from $3.81 billion in Q1 2013. This was after Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) posted a sharp rise in its net income in comparison to last year’s quarterly results. Also this week, Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported a net income of $4.4 billion an almost 8% increase over the same period last year. The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) reported their Q1 earnings booking 44 cents share which is what the street expected as global sales volume rose 2%. Furthermore, Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC) reported 38 cents a share in earnings which came in 1 cent above what analysts expected, this was enough to send Intel to fresh 52-week highs.  Yet another impressive earnings report came out of flash based data storage firm SanDisk (NasdaqGS: SNDK) which surprised the street and reported record Q1 results of $1.44 per share leapfrogging street estimates of $1.25 per share. This was enough to send the shares of the company up over 7% in today’s trading session.

As previously mentioned, earnings reporting season kicked into high gear this week and next week we go into overdrive. At the beginning of this upcoming week, we will here from Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Wynn Resorts (NasdaqGS: WYNN), AK Steel (NYSE: AKS), Amgen (NasdaqGS: AMGN), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Cree Inc. (NasdaqGS: CREE), Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), Gilead Sciences (NYSE: GILD), Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR), Intuitive Surgical (NasdaqGS: ISRG) and United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX). Mid-week earnings will come out of tech behemoth Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Biogen Idec (NasdaqGS: BIIB), Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL), Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW), F5 Networks (NasdaqGS: FFIV), Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) and Qualcomm (NasdaqGS: QCOM). Closing out the week we will hear from 3M Company (NYSE: MMM), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN), American Airlines (NYSE: AAL), Chinese search engine Baudi (NasdaqGS: BIDU), Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG), Celgene Corp (NasdaqGS: CELG), Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), General Motors (NYSE: GM), KLA-Tencor (NasdaqGS: KLAC), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT), United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F). Of course there are hundreds of others reporting their earnings next week so we will see if the market continues to rebound from its mini sell-off earlier in the month. Good luck to all.

The markets will be closed tomorrow in recognition of Good Friday and both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and healthy holiday weekend 🙂



A Ho Hum Q1…

It doesn’t seem like it, but for the first quarter of the year the four major averages were essentially flat. For the quarter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed basically unchanged, the tech heavy Nasdaq (chart) finished up just over 1% percent, the S&P 500 (chart) +2.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed out Q1 slightly up. Quite an uneventful quarter at least from a P&L standpoint especially considering China’s economic slow down and the Ukraine crisis that unfolded in the quarter. There was a period in late January in which we saw a sharp 5% decline only to be met with unconditional support, followed by a rally which led the markets back to almost unchanged on the year.

As I always do at the end of each quarter, I look at the technical conditions of the aforementioned indexes and how they are shaping up going into a new quarter. There are plenty of market technicians out there that use a variety of techniques and indicators to identify trends and where the markets may be headed. My preference is to keep things as simple as possible when conducting technical analysis. As you may know by now, two of my favorite technical indicators are the  Relative Strength Index also know as the RSI and the moving averages. Part of the reason why I prefer these two reliable indicators over most is it is now seemingly more than ever computerized trading models are emphasizing the RSI and the 20-day, 50-day, 100 and 200-day moving averages in their models. These indicators also have been a long time favorite of institutional investors. So it’s no wonder that when the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is indicating an overbought or oversold condition in an index or equity, more times than not, the asset finds support and changes direction. The same can be said for the moving averages, whenever a stock or index bumps up against or comes down to its moving average, typically the stock or index finds support or resistance.

Let’s break this down in more detail starting with the (RSI), The RSI is designed to demonstrate whether or not an index or equity is overbought or oversold, depending on certain value levels. According to the RSI principle, the 70 value level or greater, is an overbought condition and the 30 value and below is an oversold condition. Looking at the aforementioned indices now, there is no indication of an overbought or over sold condition. However, both the Nasdaq (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) are trading and have closed below their 50-day moving averages. These two indices have been leading the markets higher and now comparatively speaking, they have begun to lag, a potential short term ominous sign. Now it has only been a couple of days that both of these indexes have been trading below this support line so we will have to wait and see if this turns into a longer term trend.

That said, we will not have to wait much longer. This Friday’s jobs report will shed light as to the health of the labor market and don’t look now but Q1 earnings reporting season is on deck. Without a doubt, Q1 earnings reporting season will be placed under a microscope to see if corporate America and the markets deserve their current valuations. Personally, I think a rather healthy pullback may be in the cards for equities and if so, most likely, the trend of unconditional support will come back into the markets as well.

Good luck to all. 🙂