Is The Bounce Real?

After the major averages breached their 200-day moving averages, the question now becomes, “is the bounce that is currently underway real? Last month I wrote about how the 200-day moving averages were in play. Meaning we could see either a bounce off of the 200-day or a breach of it with markets heading lower. Despite trying to bounce off of their 200-day, ultimately in the second half of October 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 and below) began their decent and breached this key technical support line.

Now the question becomes “can the rally we are seeing this week continue?” Well if you look at the latest GDP report and how our economy grew in the 3rd quarter, it would be easy to assume the markets will continue rallying. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product aka the GDP is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services is a specific time period. In this case it was the 3rd quarter of this year. The U.S. economy grew faster than expected in Q3 coming in at 4.9%. This increase was due in part to consumer spending, increased inventories as manufacturers gear up for the upcoming holiday season and government investments. As mentioned above, it is easy to assume that the markets will continue rallying, however, there is a catch.

With our economy showing this type of strength, this will most likely grab the attention of the Federal Reserve as it pertains to their current interest rate policy. It’s no secret that the Fed has been raising interest rates to stem inflation. Well, when you have such a strong GDP report such as the one that was just issued, this could impact the Fed’s decision with continuing to raise rates, or at the very least maintain the current interest rate dynamic. Markets tend to want to see interest rate stability before any sustainable rally ensues. That being said, the recent interest rate hikes may be enough to weather the stronger than expected economy we saw in Q3.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Is The Bounce Real? - Paula Mahfouz

 

Is A Soft Landing Ahead?

For months now stock market pundits have been calling for a recession. Now it appears that a soft landing is ahead. You name it from Wall Street analysts to the media, not a day goes by without hearing the word recession. Well folks the economic data that has been coming out lately is showing just how strong our  economy remains. The latest gross domestic product (GDP) report  that was issued last week showed that in the second quarter of this year our economy grew by 2.4% which surprised the street. What’s more is that this the fourth straight quarter of economic expansion. This sure doesn’t sound like a recession to me. Our economy is growing despite the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates. As of now it sure does look like the Federal Reserve is managing these rate hikes to perfection.

The stock market sure likes what it is seeing from the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) continues to remain above its recent breakout. The same can be said for the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). As I alluded to in my July blog, it appeared that stocks were on the verge of breaking out. Sure enough, the month of July was a very bullish month not only on the economic front but also for the stock market. One thing I now want to look for now is if stocks are becoming overbought?

As I look at some of the key technical indicators such as the RSI and the Moving Averages technical indicators nothing too alarming there from a technical standpoint. The exception here is both the Dow Jones Industrials (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) are flirting with becoming overbought based on the relative strength index aka the RSI. That said, this is no surprise due to how strong the markets performed in month of July. Let’s see if there is a pullback of some sorts here in August or the continuation of this bullish action.

Wishing everyone the best of luck 🙂

~George

Have We Bottomed Yet?

The million-dollar question that is populating the airwaves right now is “have we bottomed yet”? I think the answer lies in two things, first and foremost, the Federal Reserve and whether they will pull back some on their interest rate hikes. And the second question that comes to mind is how corporate earnings perform as this year continues to unfold. Well, the bull case is inflation will continue to ease which should slow down the Fed’s interest rate hikes. The bear case is inflation is still high and that it is going to take time for 2% inflation which is the Federal Reserve’s target. Needless to say, volatility should be in play for the foreseeable future.

The markets did close out the month of January on a high note. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed up 368 points closing over the 34000 level. The S&P 500 (see chart here) finished the month of January up 59 points, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed up 190 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed up 46 points on the last day of January.

Technically speaking these key indexes also appear ready to run some more. Each of these key indexes are finding support at their respective 20-day, 50-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages. As I look at the relative strength index aka the RSI, there is yet another technical indicator that  appears to favor stocks for a continuation to the upside. After a slight retracement of the RSI there are no overbought conditions yet as defined by the RSI.

All in all, I think the stock market is performing quite well considering the headwinds that are currently present. From high inflation to corporate earnings compression, to the ongoing geopolitical backdrop, I think the bulls will take the markets performance so far this year. And as mentioned above, I would not be surprised to see volatility in stocks for the foreseeable future.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Who’s Ready For The New Year?

After one of the weakest market performances since 2008, who is ready for the new year? I know I am!

Let’s take a look at how the major averages closed the year out. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) finished lower by 8.78%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) shed almost 20%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) fell a whopping 33% and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed the year down over 21%. Despite the bear market we now find ourselves in let’s not forget of how we got here. For the past 10 plus years and especially the past 3 years, central banks from around the world flooded the system with enormous liquidity. This liquidity came in many forms and with essentially charging little to no interest. The Federal Reserve Banks from around the globe started these programs when the 2008 financial crisis hit and for the better part of 15 years had not let up. What changed their position is how inflation took off this year to rates not seen in over 40 years.

Fast forward to today and we now have watched the Federal Reserve raise interest rates multiple times over the past several months and along with that taking the stock market with it. That said, I don’t blame the Fed for raising rates, in fact some pundits might argue as to why it took so long. Oh yea, a once in a century global pandemic shocked the world and the economy. So, what should have been a policy shift years ago became extended stimulus parade of liquidity into the system. Which by the way was very needed. Ok, so let’s not panic as to what occurred in the markets last year, from my vantage point this appears to be simply a function of interest rates and markets beginning to normalize.

Wishing everyone the healthiest, happiest, and most prosperous New Year 🙂

Cheers,

~George

 

The Fed Versus Inflation…

The market environment we find ourselves in is a clear dynamic of the Federal Reserve taking on inflation. The question now is will the Federal Reserve overreach with its interest rate war on inflation? One thing I have learned as it pertains to the markets is not to go against the power of the Fed and to trust they will ultimately steer the ship right.

That being said, what a month to forget for stocks! In the month of September alone the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) lost almost 9%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) fell over 9% while the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) both gave up over 10% in September. I think we are all ready to turn the page on the markets summer performance. In fact, the year to date performance of the major averages are well into bear market territory.

In hindsight it was plain as day how unsustainable asset prices were across the board. From the stock market to the real estate market to the crazy land of cryptos. The excesses that the markets enjoyed while they were hot was a direct reflection of the Fed’s easy monetary policies. From essentially zero percent interest rates, to buying up treasuries and other asset classes to keep the economy strong during Covid, now the markets are paying that price. The head scratcher for me is how long it took the Fed to reverse its course but at least now we can begin to get to normalized rates which is a net positive for all markets.

As I look at the current technical shape of the aforementioned indexes, it’s not a pretty sight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) are at or below their 52-week lows with no technical support yet in sight. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is near its 52-week low but does have a bit of support right here. I think we could continue to see some more selling pressure before it’s all said and done but if you are a long-term holder of equities these type of market conditions can create some great opportunities too.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

No Surprise Here…

It’s no surprise here that the month of August was weak for the overall stock market. Despite the current economic backdrop historically August tends to underperform compared to the rest of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) last month closed down over 1000 points and the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed below the 4000 mark. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) gave up over 500 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) pulled back slightly. That being said and considering the current headwinds we are facing I believe stocks held up pretty well.

Now that we are in September and from a seasonal perspective especially with mid-terms approaching, I anticipate volatility to continue. There is also a possibility that vol will accelerate. Looking at the current backdrop, we have a Federal Reserve that continues to raise interest rates, corporate earnings are stagnating and the political situation in our country is nothing to be proud of now. Taking all of these factors into consideration, plus the constant flow of negative news, August could off sold off a lot more. Out of all these dynamics I prefer to tune out most all of the noise and really study how the Federal Reserve is navigating itself through this cycle. To me it is this entity that swings the biggest bat on how the markets move. As you know by now, I also pay attention to the technical shape of the key indexes.

Speaking of the technical shape of the market, let’s take a look. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is trading below its 20 day, 100 and 200 day moving averages. The S&P 500 (see chart here) is also experiencing a technically weak pattern as is the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here). Again, no surprise here but I did notice the markets today appeared to find some support. For the markets the dog days of summer are almost over, but I think we all need to buckle up between now and the mid-terms because I do expect volatility to continue.

Good luck to all and have a great and safe Labor Day Holiday!

~George

What A Month For Stocks!

What a month for stocks as the major averages rebounded sharply in July. After witnessing an incessant selloff over the past few months, July turned out to be the best month for stocks in years. After falling into bear market territory, the S&P 500 (see chart here) gained almost 10% last month cutting its year to date losses in dramatic fashion. As I look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) a thousand-point gain in the last week or so is not too shabby either. Last but not least, both the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) also has enjoyed a strong recovery from their recent lows.

So why was there such a strong performance in the month of July? Q2 earnings reporting season is in full swing and at best this Q2 earnings so far have been a mixed bag. The Fed last week also raised interest rates another 0.75%. Inflation remains at or near 40-year highs. So, if you solely look at these metrics one would think the recent selloff would be accelerating. Clearly this is not the case, yet! The bears would argue that this is an “oversold” bounce and part of me agrees with that. However, I think it is too early to say that we are back to a full-fledged bull market. I do think if the markets remain stable over the next couple of months this could be a sign of a bottoming process. Let’s see how the rest of the summer plays out.

Now let’s move over to the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes. What has caught my eye is how the major averages are either at or have recaptured their 100-day moving average. This important support and/or resistance line is key as to whether stocks will pause into the resistance that moving averages experience, or if the momentum continues, then this could mean that this latest bull run will continue.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

The New Norm…

I think it is becoming safe to say that we are now in the new norm! The stock market for over a decade has feasted on the Federal Reserve’s accommodative policies and most recently the stimulus provided by governments from around the world during the pandemic. Under normal market conditions, stocks trade on their own merits and prospects. This has simply not been the case in years. Fast forward to today and we now have a Federal Reserve raising interest rates, reducing their own stimulus programs to stave off inflation and get back to more normalized Fed policies and procedures. Now the markets are taking notice. Volatility in the markets continue as has been the case for months now. Year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is down 10 percent, the S&P 500 (see chart here) is lower by 15%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) on the year is down almost 25% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is down about 18%.

Yes, I believe we have entered a new norm. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing from the standpoint of properly evaluating companies. What’s been very difficult during the past decade or so is how to evaluate public companies. The Federal Reserve and its unprecedented accommodative monetary policies was a huge driver of how companies were valued. Meaning this, when there are hardly any choices of attaining yield whether it is from stocks or bonds, this forces capital into the stock market or other higher risk assets. This has been one of the primary drivers of the incessant bull market investors have enjoyed over the years. Now, companies are going to have to perform to maintain their position in the marketplace. The ones that do, will be rewarded, the ones that don’t will experience adjustments in their valuations.

With all the above being said, I am confident that once the stock market bottoms out, there will be great opportunities to consider and act on. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Technically Speaking…

The sell-off in the markets accelerated in the month of April and technically speaking it appears there could be more selling pressure ahead. On the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is down nearly 10 percent, the S&P 500 (see chart here) is off over 13%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is down over 21% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here ) year to date is down 17%.

I am not surprised of the market weakness due to all the factors at play right now. From the war in Ukraine, to the highest inflation rates we have seen in over 40 years, the ongoing Covid backdrop albeit this dynamic appears to be improving and finally, interest rates. The Federal Reserve now has woken up to the fact that this low interest rate environment that we have lived in for over a decade is over. Runaway inflation has now become a major concern for the Fed, and they are now being beyond vocal of their intentions. A 50-basis point increase appears to be the hike here in May and hikes throughout the year are in play. In my view, this is the top catalyst as to the sell-off but let’s keep things in perspective. Last year and previous years for that matter have been a boon for stocks and pretty much every other asset class out there. Record after record have been set for years on asset classes and this is simply not sustainable. A healthy correction is beyond needed and it seems like we are in that mode now!

Now let’s look at the technical shape of the aforementioned key indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) all closed the month of April out below their key moving averages. The 20-day, 50-day, 100 and 200-day have all been breached while the Relative Strength Index aka the RSI have not yet breached an “oversold” condition. The RSI is a technical “momentum indicator” that has two values of importance. The 70-value level for potential “overbought” conditions and the 30-value level and below is a level that is considered “oversold. All the above indexes are currently hovering around the 35 level. Please remember “technical indicators” are there as a guide and a tool when assessing the technical backdrop of any given stock or index and is not 100 percent perfect.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

 

 

The 200-Day Recaptured!

On the last trading day of January, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) recaptured and closed above their 200-day moving averages. Why is this important to note? The 200-day moving average of any index or stock for historically acts as significant support in an uptrend and in a downtrend can act resistance. Since the first half of the new year both of these indexes have sold off to the extent of breaching their 200-day moving averages. This can also be said for the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). What’s different right now amongst these key indexes is that the Nasdaq and Russell (see chart below) remain below their respective 200-day with some work to do. Let’s see if these two bellwethers can catch up to the Dow and S&P 500.

Headwinds do remain in the economy including inflation and now the backdrop of an upcoming rising interest rate environment. I think if the Federal Reserve manages their interest rate hikes in a methodical manner and communicates effectively to the street of their intentions, I don’t think the markets will be disrupted too much. Of course, geopolitical events such as the potential of Russia invading Ukraine and North Korea engaging once again in missile tests, these dynamics depending how they play out could impact the markets in the near term and the downtrend we witnessed last month could resume. Hopefully both geopolitical events turn out to be no more than a threat vs a reality.

Notwithstanding the above, I do see some hope with the pandemic numbers as of late. It does appear the spike in infections due to the omicron variant seem to have peaked which is great news for our country and the world for that matter. Hopefully soon there could be some semblance of normality which could be the catalyst for the recent downtrend in the markets to reverse its course as well.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

The 200-Day Recaptured! - Paula Mahfouz