Strong Economy Equals A Strong Stock Market!

The economy posted a 3.2% gain in the first quarter and as the saying goes, a strong economy equals a strong stock market! Is it any wonder as to why the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) hit an all-time high on Monday! The same rings true with the S&P 500 (see chart below). The S&P 500 hit an all-time high on Monday as well. Now the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has a bit more work to do in order to tap its own record as does the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). However, I am sure the bulls will take 2 out of the 4 major averages setting all time highs. What is also helping the stock market is how the Federal Reserve has taken a cautious approach to raising rates any further. In fact, there are calls out of Washington DC asking the Fed to start lowering rates to stimulate the economy even further. Now I am not so sure that the Fed will accommodate Washington’s request, but I do think it is safe to say that we should not see a rate hike in the near future or maybe not at all for the rest of this year.

One note of caution to me is that with nearly half of corporate America reporting their Q1 earnings so far, we are seeing on average a year over year decline in earnings. There are still 100’s of companies set to report over the coming weeks but if this trend continues, this will be the first year over year decline in corporate earnings in years. I will be keeping an eye on this development.

The technical shape of the aforementioned indexes remain intact. The Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 all are trading above their respective key moving averages. However, both the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) have entered into overbought territory according to the relative strength index also know as the RSI. That said, I would not be surprised to see at the very least some consolidation or an outright healthy pullback. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

S&P 500 - Paula Mahfouz

Stocks End Q1 On Fire!

Stocks ended the first quarter of the year on fire! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed Q1 up over 11%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed the first quarter up over 12% which is the best performing quarter in years for this bellwether, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed up more than 17% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) closed out the first quarter of the year up over 14%. Yes folks these gains are incredibly impressive especially considering how global growth is slowing. That said, these eye-popping market gains are not too surprising considering the sharp sell-off that stocks experienced in that latter part of 2018. Without a doubt the aforementioned indexes were way oversold in late December and an oversold bounce of some sort was definitely in the cards. As we know, market swings can and do overshoot to downside such as what we saw in late 2018 and now the question is, will we overshoot to the upside?

It sure does not appear that way at least from a technical perspective and according to the Relative Strength Index (RSI). The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) are no where near overbought conditions yet. This despite all of these key indices rallying double digits in Q1. What’s more, all but one of these indices are also trading above their key moving averages including their 20-day, 100-day and 200-day with the lone exception being the small-cap Russell 2000. Now there could be some consolidation going on here over the next few weeks and up until first quarter earnings reporting season begins which would actually be healthy for the markets.

Speaking of the upcoming earnings reporting season, this could be the one catalyst that sheds the most light for the rest of the year on how stocks will fare. It is no secret global growth has slowed and I think corporate America will speak to whether this current global slowdown is just a blip on the radar or something much more meaningful.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

Q1 Ends With A Bang!

Stocks closed out the first quarter of the year down impressively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed down 200.19 points, the Nasdaq (chart) -46.55, the S&P 500 (chart) -18.35 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the day down 5.03 points. The Dow Jones Industrials (chart) also finished the quarter slightly in the red, while the other aforementioned indices eked out modest gains.

Looking ahead to Q2, I suspect that we will be in for a very volatile and choppy market. As the first quarter was winding down we were experiencing triple digit swings on the Dow, as well as spikes in volatility across the board. Now I am beginning to think we will even see more volatility come into the market. April historically is a strong month for stocks, but we find ourselves entering into Q1 earnings reporting season in which I think corporate America may see widespread earnings declines. This is due in large part to how strong the U.S. dollar (chart) has been and how this will affect a wide array of multi-national companies who generate meaningful revenues overseas. A strong dollar does not bode well for U.S. companies with this type of earnings profile. Of course not all U.S. companies rely on overseas revenue and I would also think that certain technology and healthcare companies will do just fine.

The one sector I will be paying the closest attention to this upcoming earnings reporting season is the energy sector. Oil (chart) has been taken out to the woodshed since last fall as well as the majority of oil related stocks. So with the price of oil plunging as it has, earnings out of this sector should be horrific. However, these are the times when rare opportunities can and do present themselves. I will look for “washout” moments with certain oil related stocks after they report their earnings to step in and start building positions. I would expect most of the bad news in this sector is about to be released, hence, a set-up for the right buying opportunity. Of course, I will be looking for companies with pristine balances sheets, with minimal to no debt and have those companies at the top of my list. That said, before you make any investments in any sectors, make sure that you consult with a trusted and certified financial advisor(s) to understand the risks associated with stocks, commodities and the like. Also note, this is a holiday shortened trading week due to Good Friday and both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday weekend 🙂

~George