Record Highs Continue…

Record highs continue for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and for the S&P 500 (see chart here). In February, the Dow Jones Industrials hit an all-time high of 39282 while for the first time ever, the S&P 500 (see chart here) crossed the 5000 mark trading as high as 5111. These two indexes continue to demonstrate impressive strength along with the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here). It appears that the Nasdaq Composite just might join the Dow Jones Industrials and S&P 500 in hitting a fresh all-time high anytime. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here & below) still has a way to go to reach its all-time high but at least this index is trending up.

Stocks aren’t the only asset class at or near all-time highs, Bitcoin has broken out as of late and has surpassed $60,000 per coin mark. The momentum continues here since Bitcoin ETFs were approved. Now this asset class in not for the faint of heart. As much as Bitcoin continues to rip, sell-offs in this asset class can be dramatic and fast.

So, what is going on with these all-time highs and the “risk on” spirit from institutional investors and retail investors alike? For one, I think the strength of the economy has something do to with this, however, I believe that rampant speculation is also play a role. Especially out of the artificial intelligence sectors as stocks there also continue to make all-time highs. My concern is how long this most recent rally has lasted. For example, the S&P 500 (see chart here) has seen gains in 15 of the last 17 weeks which is rarely seen.

With that being said, as I look at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes, they are not in overbought territory according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. Many market technicians use this key technical indicator to gage whether a stock or index is overbought. 70 is the key value level of the RSI that would indicate an overbought condition and the major averages are trading below this mark. Now this is only one technical indicator and there are clearly many other factors that determine the state of the markets, but as of now nothing appears to be getting in the way of this impressive months long rally.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

All Time Highs Continue - Paula Mahfouz

The Bounce Was Indeed Real…

In my November 1st blog, I asked the question was the bounce real? Fast forward to today and indeed the bounce the markets experienced in the early fall not only held but took off to and are nearing all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrials (see chart here) closed yesterday at 36,245, the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed at 4,594 the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed at 14,305 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) finished the month out at 1,862.

It’s truly incredible to see how resilient the markets are considering the current interest rate environment and how inflation continues to impact the consumer. Rising interest rates tend to impact the stock market negatively and inflation impacts the consumer negatively too. So why are the markets approaching all-time highs? Could it be that the economy grew at a faster rate in the 3rd quarter than previously reported? Or could it be that the Federal Reserve may be ready to slow down or pause its current interest rate policy? I am not sure on either front, but what is apparent is that the markets are brushing off the current backdrop of Fed’s economic policy and the ongoing inflationary pressures. One thing I have learned over the years is the trend is your friend and these markets continue to trend up.

That being said, let’s look at a key technical indicator that many traders and investors rely on to see if we are approaching or at overbought conditions. According to the Relative Strength Index aka the RSI both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) have crossed and are trading above the 70 value level. The 70-value level according to the relative strength index is the beginning of overbought conditions. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) are fast approaching the 70-value level. I do want to point out that stocks and indexes can remain overbought for extended periods of time, but I would not be surprised if we see somewhat of a pause or possibly a reversal here in the month of December to this very impressive rally we are currently in.

It’s always a good idea to consult a certified financial advisor before making any adjustments to your portfolio. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Soft Month For Stocks…

August was a soft month for stocks across the board. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the month of August down 2.4%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) fell a modest 1.8%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) gave up 2.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) fell by over 5%. All things considered, not too shabby considering August historically is one of the weakest months of the year for stocks.

The market performance in August did snap a 5-month winning streak for the S&P 500 and the overall volatility in the stocks also picked up some steam. However, I do think the bulls will take such a modest pullback considering how strong the markets had been since early June. It appears some profit taking occurred in August while overall trading volumes were relatively lower. Now that summer is almost behind us, I expect trading volumes to increase along with the possibility of bigger market swings as we head into fall.

Now that we are in September the question becomes can the market weakness in August turn around in September? I typically look for catalysts to see if market direction will turn and as we head into September overall bullish sentiment has decreased. As contrary as this may sound, bullish sentiment decreasing is usually a bullish sign for the markets. I don’t like participating in markets where the sentiment is overly bullish and this has been the case all summer long, especially with how AI stocks went on a tear over the summer. The Artificial Intelligence sector lifted most indexes and if it wasn’t for the AI craze we have witnessed, I am not so sure if the markets would have enjoyed a multi-month bull run.

I always like to look at the technical shape of the markets as another potential catalyst for market moves. There is nothing really standing out either bullish or bearish. From the relative strength index aka the RSI, to where the moving averages are currently positioned, there is nothing too glaring one way or the other. Not a surprise considering how low the trading volumes were in August and the modest pullback that did occur.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

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

Rally Caps Are On!

After breaching all moving average support lines including the 200-day, the major averages have their rally caps on! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) finished the month of April on a high note. 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 and below).

After a slow start to the year including a brief dance with a bear market, stocks have rallied recently to turn green. Even the small-cap Russell 2000 is now green for 2023. So, what is causing the renewed bullish action? In part I think a stronger than expected first quarter earnings results have played a role in this latest bull run along with the Federal Reserve potentially slowing down their interest rate hike program. Positive earnings surprises have come from the health care sector, consumer discretionary and Industrials sector. It’s not just better than expected earnings results, it’s the top line revenue numbers that are also coming in stronger than expected. These data sets are great to see but we still do have some headwinds with inflation remaining high which means the Federal Reserve may not be quite done yet with higher rates.

When I take a look at the technical shape of the markets, there are some encouraging signs that may play a role in the continuation of this latest bull run. It appears that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is breakout out of a month’s long trading channel, as is the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) also appears to be breaking out. I also see that the aforementioned indexes have not yet breached the 70 value level of the Relative Strength Index aka the RSI. The 70-value level of the RSI is considered the beginning of overbought conditions and we are not there yet.

Let’s see how the month of May goes and we will check back on the technical shape of the markets in June. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Rally Caps Are On! - Paula Mahfouz

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

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

 

 

 

Record After Record!

The U.S. stock market notched record after record in 2021! What a year for all asset classes from stocks, to real estate, to the crypto markets!

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) finished 2021 up 18.7%. The S&P 500 (see chart here) closed the year out up a whopping 27%. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed up 21.5% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed 2021 up 13.7%. How counterintuitive are these results as our country and the world for that matter continues to face and deal with Covid-19. Covid is now entering its 3rd year with the latest variant taking the world by storm. The omicron variant are causing infection rates to soar. However, scientists are hopeful that this variant could be the catalyst to ending this pandemic due to how less virulent this variant is at least to the fully vaccinated. It’s still early but the way omicron has now seemingly and abruptly reversed its course in South Africa, there is hope that this will be the case everywhere else.

Back to the markets. As we enter 2022 the big question and maybe the only question the markets have is how aggressive will the Federal Reserve be in hiking interest rates. No question in the new year interest rates will begin to head north. Inflation is soaring and impacting almost everything, which is part of the reason why we are seeing all-time highs across the board. This is not sustainable and with interest rates on the verge of increasing, stocks will face their first true test as the tightening rolls out. That said and because the pandemic is still wreaking havoc, I do not expect the Fed will be too aggressive out of the gate.

Let’s look at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is comfortably trading above its 100 and 200-day moving averages as is the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here). The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) is trading at it 100 and 200 day MA so let’s see if these support lines hold for the Russell. The other technical indicator that I prefer is the relative strength index aka the RSI and none of the aforementioned indexes are in overbought territory according to the RSI. The 70 value level of the RSI is considered overbought and the 30 value level is considered oversold and each index is trading right around the middle of that range.

Happy New Year!

~George

Record After Record! - Paula Mahfouz

 

Strong Earnings – Record Highs!

Last month I asked “Is this a healthy correction or something more?” and based on how strong earnings have been along with record highs, I think it is fair to say last months action was more of a healthy pullback than anything else. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is at an all-time high trading above the 36000 mark, the S&P 500 (see chart here) has also hit an all time high today, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has also joined the all-time high club and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is within striking distance of its all-time high.

The most recent catalyst for stocks and indexes hitting their all-time highs are earnings. 80 percent of the companies on the S&P 500 that have reported their Q3 earnings so far have beat Wall Street expectations. There are still 1000’s of companies set to report over the coming weeks but if trend continues we could very well be seeing more records set. Along with a strong earnings reporting season no question the Fed continues to encourage all investors to participate due to how low interest rates remain. For most investors there are not many options right now to generate meaningful returns other than the stock market or the high flying crypto space which remains incredibly volatile and extremely risky.

Now let’s take a look at the technical backdrop of the aforementioned indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is trading comfortably above its key moving averages and not quite overbought according to the relative strength index (RSI) and the same can be said for the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart below). However, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has just breached the 70 value level of the RSI which is the pure definition of a stock or index becoming overbought. Note, stocks and/or indexes can remain overbought for extended periods of time before a turn.

One of the oldest adages on Wall Street is the trend is your friend and it is clear where the trend has been and where it will most likely go. That said, it is always best to consult with your certified financial planner/advisor if you are considering any portfolio additions, deletions or adjustments.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Strong Earnings - Record Highs - Paula Mahfouz

No June Swoon This Year…

No June swoon this year, these markets are simply not having it. June historically can be either a slow month or a month of selling pressure. Neither really happened this year. Despite a brief dip in the major averages a couple of weeks back due to inflation concerns, stocks and indexes held their own last month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed out the month at 34502, the S&P 500 (see chart here) finished the month just shy of 4400, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed out the month in record territory at 14503 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) finished the month and first half of the year at 2310.

I remain in awe of the resiliency of stocks and most every other asset class out there. I read the other day that Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) has become the fifth company in the United States to surpass the $1 trillion value mark. We now have in our country five companies that are valued at over $1 trillion dollars. Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) and Alphabet aka Google (NasdaqGS: GOOGL) round out the top five trillion-dollar companies. When I see this type of action it makes me wonder how much earnings power do these companies need to continue to exhibit in order to keep their eye-popping valuations going? One other obvious similarity is the companies are all tech stocks and that is where the real growth has been. If you go back 20 years, I don’t think anyone would of expected five companies in our markets all reaching and boasting trillion dollar plus valuations. Heck, Microsoft’s market cap just surpassed $2 trillion dollars to join Apple as the only companies with more than a $2 trillion dollar valuation. Folks I am not a forensic analyst, but my goodness how is the law of large numbers playing a role here?

As I look at the technical shape of the major averages nothing really stands out to me with the exception of the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here). The Nasdaq has just entered overbought territory according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. The Nasdaq also just hit an all-time high so I think some sort of pullback could potentially be in the offing.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend 🙂

~George

No June Swoon This Year - Paula Mahfouz