Stocks closed the shortened holiday week down on Thursday as the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on a target in Afghanistan. This just after the U.S. launched tomahawk missiles targeting a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria. Now North Korea is increasing its verbal threats of an all out war on the United States. What’s going on here? It’s hard to talk about stocks when all of this hatred is occurring around the world. Nonetheless, the markets will move forward but will be certainly affected by the troubling geopolitical environment and the uncertainties that exist in multiple regions around the globe.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed down 1%, the S&P 500 (chart) closed off 1.19%, the Nasdaq (chart) -1.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the week lower by 1.39%. Gold (see chart below) was up on the week and for the first time since November of last year, closed above its 200-day moving average. This is no surprise due to what is currently going on in the world. The question now is how to trade this market environment or what to do with your current positions? If history repeats itself, market volatility should increase which is good for traders but can be unnerving to longer term investors. In fact volatility (chart) spiked this week to its highest level in 5 months.
Now that earnings reporting season is underway some market pundits are saying that this will dictate whether or not markets will continue higher or if earnings reporting season will be the catalyst to send stocks into correction mode. I disagree with this point of view. How can the markets concentrate on earnings reporting season when you have this widespread turmoil around the globe? Of course, earnings are what typically drive stocks and valuations but until the geopolitical back drop abates and a sense of resolve comes forward I will be ultra conservative in going long any equities unless it is gold or gold related assets. Of course it is always best to consult a certified financial planner(s) before making any investment decisions. Good luck to all and both Paula and I wish all a safe and Happy Easter weekend.