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

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

 

 

 

Nowhere Near Raising Rates…

In the words of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell “the Fed is nowhere near considering raising rates”! Last Wednesday the Federal Reserve held its FOMC meeting where it kept interest rates essentially at zero. This despite inflation seemingly everywhere along with a strengthening economy. So, what gives? Without question the most recent spike in Covid cases across our country continues to keep the Fed at bay pertaining to rates. I do get the thinking and strategy; however, I am a bit concerned of inflation overheating and the continuation of record setting asset prices.

Last week three of the four major averages hit all-time record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) hit an all-time high of 35171. On Thursday the S&P 500 (see chart here) notched a record high of 4429 and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) booked a record high of 14863. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) is the one index that is lagging a bit but the uptrend there remains intact.

As mentioned above, I am a bit concerned as to the non-stop record setting ways with asset prices. There seems to be a growing concern on the street about the potential ramifications of easy monetary policies that have been in place for over a decade and counting. There is no question interest rates need to go up and the money printing needs to abate. Yes, we are in a once in a century pandemic and there has been no choice other than to flood the markets with stimulus and support. However, this cannot go on forever.

That said, as I look at the technical shape of the aforementioned key indexes, there are currently no problems there. Three of the four indices that just set records last week all remain above their respective 20-day, 100 and 200-day moving averages. Also, these indexes are not yet overbought according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. So, folks it appears the record setting ways of our markets should continue in the near term. Make sure to always consult with a certified financial advisor(s) before making any decisions and/or adjustments to your investment strategies.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Nowhere Near Raising Rates - Paula Mahfouz

Big Tech Blowout!

Big tech steals the show with blowout earnings results. Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN) and Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) all took the street by surprise with their upside earnings reports. For Apple, in addition to their blowout earnings, the company announced a 4-1stock split. This was more than enough for Apple to close up over 10% yesterday at an all time high of $425.04. Apple’s earnings came in over $2.00 per share on revenues just shy of $60 billion. Stunning numbers considering the backdrop that our country is currently in. When I look at what Amazon did, I am equally if not more impressed especially with how they grew their revenues. It’s hard to believe a company of this size grew their revenues 40% to almost $90 billion on the quarter. Without question Amazon has benefited more than any other company due to the pandemic. Consumers have flocked to online shopping more now than ever. Last but not least, let’s look at what Facebook did. Despite experiencing ad boycotts by some of the biggest brands in the world, Facebook managed to grow ad revenues by over 10% and grew earnings by almost 100%. I don’t think anyone expected these type of quarterly results from this group with all things considered.

Let’s take a gander at the major averages and how they are looking from a technical standpoint. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the week at 26428.32. When I look at the chart of the Dow, this index is not overbought according to the (RSI) and the Dow closed right around its 20-day and 200-day moving averages. The S&P 500 (see chart here) closed at 3271.12 and this index bounced off of its 20-day moving average with perfection. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has been the big winner so far this year and technically speaking this index could potentially keep running. Heck, i’d be ok if it paused and consolidated a bit because of the run its been on. The other index that I keep an eye on is the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below). Speaking of consolidation, that is what appears to be happening with the Russell 2000. This index has been trading sideways for the past week or so and is trading consistently above its 20 and 200-day moving averages during this consolidation period. So all in all the aforementioned indexes appear to be on solid ground from a technical analysis standpoint.

In closing, despite the current shape of the market, the month of August historically tends to be a volatile month. Couple this with the upcoming Presidential election and we could be in for a wild ride between now and election day.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Big Tech Blowout - Paula Mahfouz

Fear Of A Global Pandemic Grips Markets!

Stocks went into a tailspin as fear of a global pandemic grips the markets! New outbreak clusters of the highly contagious coronavirus are beginning to surface which is pressuring leaders from around the world to act and act more aggressively. Stocks have also entered correction territory as companies and analysts begin to ratchet down their revenue and earning forecasts. Over the past week or so the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has lost over 10% in the past week alone, the S&P 500 (see chart here) has also entered into correction mode, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has been hit hard and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is also witnessing a sharp sell-off.

Personally I believe a correction was needed because of how robotic the markets have acted. Stocks no matter what risks were out there behaved in a way never before seen. We have been in the strongest bull market ever and nothing over the past 12 years could slow this bull market down. Now I am not happy that it is a global health risk that’s the catalyst to put stocks in correction mode, but nonetheless this is where we find ourselves. Of course when fear is rampant in any market this is where opportunity can be found. I am not suggesting to jump in here because as we all know fear and/or greed can be excessive and markets tend to over do it when emotions take the lead over rational thinking. So when we get overextended to the upside or downside the first thing I look at is how the technicals look during extreme market moves.

When I now look at the technical shape of the markets at least at it pertains to the moving averages things do not look so good. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) have all breached their 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages which are all seen as major support zones especially the 200-day. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is the only major index that has yet to close below its 200-day. That said, all of the aforementioned indexes are oversold according to the relative strength index (RSI) which when we see the 20 value level hit on any stock or index, snap back rallies can and do occur. This type of market is great for traders if you are experienced enough to trade off of technicals, however for investors that have a long term view these type of market environments requires a lot of patience and keeping the emotions at bay. Let’s all hope that the spread of the coronavirus abates and that a vaccine becomes available as quickly as possible.

Good luck to all 🙂

~ George

One Hot June!

One hot June indeed and I do not mean the weather folks! Stocks and commodities went on a tear in the month of June logging the best June in decades for some of the indexes and other asset classes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) soared over seven percent last month. The S&P 500 (see chart below) hit an all time high in the month of June while both the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) notched impressive gains as well. What’s more is both oil and gold surged right along side of the key indexes.

So why the rally? I think the answer is simply an easier monetary posture by the Federal Reserve. It is no secret that inflation is well in check and it is also becoming apparent that the U.S. job market is cooling off. Another factor for the Fed to consider is what impact would a full blown trade war with China do to the U.S. economy? This is why in my opinion we are seeing a continuing upward trend in our markets and that is a dovish Fed is usually very good for stocks. One other factor that will certainly weigh in is the upcoming earnings reporting season. Now that the second quarter of the year is in the books we will see how well corporate America did in Q2 as earnings reporting season gets underway this month. I will continue to look to monitor how “top-line” growth is faring.

Let’s take a quick look at the technical shape of the key indexes. After surging over 7% in June, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) remains clearly above its 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages as does the S&P 500 (see chart here). The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is in a healthy technical condition and last but not least, the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) has broken above its key moving averages. This is a very good sign for stocks and furthermore none of indices are in overbought territory according to the principles of the RSI also known as the relative strength index.

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and Happy 4th of July holiday 🙂

~George

S&P 500 - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

If 2014 comes anywhere near the performance the overall markets experienced last year, once again the bulls will be popping champagne. For the year 2013, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up a breathtaking 26.5%, the Nasdaq (chart) finished the year up a staggering 38%, the S&P 500 (chart) booked a spectacular gain of almost 30% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) soared 37%. I think it’s safe to say that an exact repeat of 2013’s performance is highly unlikely, but there is seemingly no reason to believe that this momentum won’t continue into the new year. Even the key indices in Europe had very impressive double digit gains in 2013 with the German DAX index leading the way surging 26% on the year.

With that said, the first thing that pops out to me is that the aforementioned key indices are all now near or completely in overbought territory according to the Relative Strength Index (RSI) technical indicator. We have been monitoring these indexes since October of 2013 to see when they may go into extreme overbought conditions and with the powerful year end close, we now have 3 of the 4 key indexes officially in overbought territory with the Russell 2000 (chart) only a few value points to go. So what does this all mean for the investor or even more so, to the trader? By now all of you know that I personally view the RSI as a reliable technical indicator distinguishing whether an index or stock for that matter is overbought or oversold. In fact, certain computer algorithmic trading models are designed to act whenever extreme conditions occur in a given market or stock. Let’s recap the definition of the Relative Strength Index or the RSI. In the most simplest terms, 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. And as mentioned the majority of the key indices along with dozens of stocks are now in overbought territory. This doesn’t mean that we will all of a sudden see a dramatic turn in the opposite direction, however, typically when stocks or indexes are in overbought or oversold conditions such as they are now, at some point in time, a change of direction ensues.

The wild card that will most certainly continue to play out is of course the Federal Reserve and what course of action they will take and uphold in 2014. Especially now that the Fed has started to reduce its asset purchases. We all know that the accommodative policies of the Fed over the past few years has placed a floor under these markets and whenever any attempt of a pullback or mini-correction has occurred, that condition has been met with unprecedented support, hence new market highs followed. I would expect as long as the Fed continues to support the bond and mortgage backed securities markets, even at a reduced rate, whatever pullbacks or retracements that do occur, buyers will be anxiously awaiting to add to their positions or open new ones.

I do expect a healthy 5%, 10% or even 15% correction in 2014 and if you have the gumption to go short, this could serve you well. Of course no one knows if or when this correction may take place, however, as highlighted, we are now in overbought territory which could be one of the catalysts to prompt a pullback or even a subtle correction. Should we get this healthy correction, we will be looking into the financial and technology sectors to identify opportunities to capitalize on. Please note this is not a recommendation to go short or long any asset or index, and it is prudent to consult with a certified financial planner(s) before making any investment decisions.

Good luck to all and both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe, prosperous and Happy New Year 🙂

~George

Dow 16000+, Nasdaq 4000+, S&P 500 1800+, Russell 2000 1100+! Records Continue to Shatter!!

As we are now in the final month of the trading year, some of the top key indices  continue to set records. For the month on November, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 3.48% closing at 16086.41, the tech-heavy Nasdaq (chart)  was up 3.57% closing the month at a 13 year high of 4059.88, the S&P 500 (chart) advanced 2.8% in November closing at a record high of 1805.18 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the month of November up 3.88% at 1142.89, yet another record. I think one of the reasons why the markets continue to lift into year-end is that most pundits do not believe that they can. There is not a day that goes by where “bubble” is not one of the top headlines in print, online or on the tube. That said, in my last blog highlighted the current technicals of the top key indexes and in particular the Relative Strength Index (RSI) technical indicator. Well in the last two weeks or so both the Dow (chart) and the Nasdaq (chart) have now breached the 70 value level with the S&P 500 (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) not too far behind. The 70 value level according to one of the RSI principles is an overbought condition. If you go back historically and analyze what typically happens when an index or equity for that matter enters into an overbought condition, the majority of the time a “reversion to the mean occurs. Now this is not to say that overbought conditions in an index or stock instantly changes course, however, typically at some point in time a reversion does indeed occur. Now with that said, I have seen indexes and stocks remain overbought for weeks and months at a time before a natural reversion occurs, but it’s something to keep an eye on especially if you have long term gains in your portfolio or if you are a trader and have the gumption to consider a short strategy in this parabolic market.

As this broad rally continues and as we are now in overbought conditions in certain key indexes, one has to wonder what will it take for a “reversion to the mean?” to occur? At this point in time in the calendar year, I am not sure? With only one month left to go in 2013 and with third quarter earnings reporting season behind us, a Federal Reserve that continues to be extremely dovish and fund managers year-end window dressing upon us, whatever pullback (if any) that may occur between now and year-end should be met with anxious support. I just do not see any type of a imminent catalyst that would jar these markets significantly, unless some unforeseen macro/geopolitical event happens, which of course is always a possibility. Should an unexpected negative geopolitical event occur, this in my opinion would be one of the only conditions between now and year end that could create a “reversion to the mean” type scenario that most bears have been waiting on.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George