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 πŸ™‚

~George

The 200-Day Is In Play…

The 200-day moving average is in play! Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) breached its 200-day moving average. What does this mean? Well from a technical standpoint the 200-day moving average is one of the more respected support lines when it comes to indexes or stocks. A breach of the 200-day is not what the bulls want to see. The same rings true when stocks or indexes breakthroughs and breaks out above this key technical indicator. When this occurs, it is typically viewed as bullish. Unfortunately, this is not the case today. As mentioned above, the Dow Jones Industrial Average breached its 200-day and closed the week below this support line.

Now before this draws too much attention or significance, these types of technical breaches can be short lived to only recapture this key technical support line and resume its upward trend. We will have to see if this is the case here. Why this technical breach isn’t too alarming yet, is because when I look at the broader markets such as the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) both remain above their respective 200-day moving averages. The same cannot be said for the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). Like the Dow Jones Industrials, the small-cap Russell 2000 also is trading below its 200-day.

So now what? As we head into the month of October, I can say with confidence that the markets will not hang around wondering which direction to take. A breach is a breach, either it follows through and continues its downward trend, or the breach is short lived only to resume its upward trend. One of the upcoming catalysts that will impact the markets is the 3rd quarter earnings reporting season and this my friends will be a determining factor as we head into year-end.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

Best Monthly Performance In Decades!

We just witnessed the best monthly performance for stocks in the Dow in decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the month of October up almost 14%. The S&P 500 (see chart here) finished the month up 8% while the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) rose 4% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here and below) closed the month of October out up over 10%. Quite the performance considering how much pressure the markets have been under over the past several months. The one index that is standing out to me right now is the tech centric Nasdaq. Technology stocks remain under pressure as earnings reporting season for the tech sector has disappointed analysts and investors alike. Earnings out of Facebook, Amazon and Google underscores the pressures that the tech sector is currently facing. My feelings are that we are simply in the midst of coming out of an unsustainable bull market that got out of control and into a more balanced and fair valued market. By no means am I suggesting that the market is now at fair value, but it is certainly adjusting to more reasonable levels.

That being said, the Federal Reserve is not done with raising interest rates and inflation also remains at highs not seen in 40 years. Both factors may continue to put pressure on stocks. In fact, there are analysts coming out and projecting another meaningful leg down for the markets. Whatever the case may be, opportunities do present themselves in bear markets however, patience is also required and scaling in is always a good fundamental approach when entering stocks in this type of market environment.

From a technical analysis standpoint, I do see the aforementioned indexes approaching or at their respective 200 and 100-day moving averages could be a sign of pause in this powerful rally we just experienced or a continuation of the current rally.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~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 πŸ™‚

~George

A First Half To Forget…

Needless to say, the first half of the year needs to be forgotten. Stocks took it on the chin as the major averages have lost meaningful ground so far in 2022. Year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is down over 14%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) is off by almost 20%, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is down almost 30% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) year to date is down 23%. As mentioned above, a first half to forget.

As I spoke to in my last blog, I believe we are in a “new norm” pertaining to the stock market. For years stocks have traded at a premium due to the accommodative policies implemented by the Federal Reserve banks from around the globe. Fast forward to today and we are now in a much different environment. Fed banks across the globe are now raising rates to stem off inflationary pressures. I think this policy shift is long overdue and actually very healthy for the stock market. Sure the pain is real from this correction and current bear market, but now that rates are starting to normalize, keyword “starting”, investors can have more confidence in how to gauge and measure value in stocks. Before, it was virtually impossible to properly analyze stocksΒ  due to the the accommodative fed policies which included years of zero percent interest rates and government stimulus programs. This backdrop added higher multiples to most asset classes which simply was not sustainable. Now that we are heading back to an even playing field, we can all have more confidence that stocks will begin to trade at their true value and if they are not trading at their real value, we can now identify more accurately undervalued or overvalued stocks and act accordingly.

Wishing everyone a very safe and Happy 4th of July weekend!

~George

A Tough Quarter For Stocks…

It was a tough quarter for stocks as the markets dealt with and continues to deal with the war in Ukraine, runaway inflation, rising interest rates and the seemingly never ending Covid dynamic. For Q1, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) lost nearly 5%. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) lost more ground closing out the quarter down 9%. Last but not least, the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here )Β  also closed Q1 down 9 %.

As mentioned above, it was a tough quarter for stocks and indexes but with the current state of global backdrop my feelings are we are quite lucky to not of experienced more of a drawdown. In fact, I am very surprised if not shocked that we did not see a 20 percent sell-off or more due to these major headwinds. So, this begs the question as to why there was not more of a correction? Could it be corporate earnings will surprise the street once Q1 earnings reporting season kicks off here in April? Or could it be that while interest rates are going up and will continue to do so, that rates are still relatively low, and money continues to get put to work in the overall markets? I do think that this upcoming earnings reporting season will be one of the most important metrics in years pertaining to whether stocks find their footing or continue to be under pressure. The one other metric I will be paying close attention to is yield curve inversion. For the first time in years the 2-year Treasury yield surpassed the 10-year and historically when that happens the chances for a recession increase. So, as you see there is much to learn over the coming weeks and throughout the summer.

Last but not least, when I look at the current technical shape of the aforementioned key indexes, all of them are trading right around their respective 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages. Based on this action it is possible that we see a breakout above and/or a breakdown below these historic support and resistance lines.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

 

 

53 Record Highs And Counting…

The S&P 500 (see chart here) has hit 53 record highs so far in 2021 and counting. That’s right folks 53 all-time highs this year alone. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has logged 32 record highs in 2021 as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has also been on fire trading above the 35000 level and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) continues to perform alongside the aforementioned bellwether indexes. How much longer can this bull run? I think it began with the Federal Reserve and its longstanding monetary policies and now there seems to be a subtle change in the Fed’s position.

Last Friday at the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, Fed Reserve chairman Jerome Powell signaled again that the Fed would soon begin to pullback on its $120B per month bond asset purchases. This support to the markets and the economy along with a zero percent interest rate backdrop has been THE catalyst to support record high after record high in our stock market. Of course the massive economic stimulus packages that have been disseminated since the start of the pandemic has also played a role in consumer spending which has also propelled stocks to new heights.

Now we all know this cannot go on forever. Free money, zero percent interest rates, asset purchases and the like will end at some point in time. The question then becomes what happens to the stock market when all of this support winds down? Friends the answer is simple. Corporate America is going to have to produce on its own. Meaning this, for the continuation of this decade long bull market, companies will have to not only have to catch up with their current valuations they will have to exceed expectations going forward. This will certainly separate real growth companies from the rest of the pack and that’s when we just may see a more normal ebb and flow in our markets. Good luck to all πŸ™‚ and have a safe and Happy Labor Day weekend.

~George

53 In a Row And Counting - 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 πŸ™‚

~George

Big Tech Blowout - Paula Mahfouz

The Best Quarter For The Major Averages In Decades!

We just witnessed the best quarter in the major averages in decades. Yes folks it is hard to believe that stocks are performing the in way that they are with all things considered. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is trading near the 26,000 level, the S&P 500 (see chart here) is trading this morning at the 3,120 level, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is back over the 10,000 mark and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is trading in the 1,450 zone.

The strength of stocks in general is one for the ages. I don’t think anyone would of thought that the markets would continue to show this type of resilience especially with the backdrop of our current unemployment picture and with Covid continuing to run rampant. The only logical reason as to why the Dow Jones Industrial average is not sub 20,000, has to be the continuing liquidity that is coming into the markets provided by Federal Reserve and the government stimulus packages that have launched since the crisis began. Of course there are select tech and pharmaceutical companies that are directly benefiting from the new world we find ourselves but I didn’t expect to see such a wide swath of stocks doing well in this current environment.

Now that the 3rd quarter of the year has begun I think all eyes will begin to focus on second quarter earnings results which kicks off next week. What’s even more important in my eyes is the energy, spirit and guidance that comes out of companies during their earnings conference calls. I am expecting companies to either pull their future guidance or lower earnings expectations, we shall see. Another catalyst that I expect to play a role in how the markets will fare here in Q3 is how the Presidential polls continue to unfold. Currently Joe Biden has a double digit lead over Donald Trump. Some pundits are saying that the markets are beginning to price in a Biden win. Candidate Biden has already stated that he will raise the capital gains and corporate taxes should he become President. If this is the case, higher taxes would negatively affect net earnings but this scenario could be offset by other positive geo-political factors should Biden win.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

A Stunning Comeback!

Stocks pulled off one of the most stunning comebacks in recent memory. Despite Covid-19’s rapid acceleration which is afflicting millions, the stock market made one of the sharpest and quickest recoveries off of the bottom we hit in late March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) gained over 11% in April, the S&P 500 (see chart below) posted a 12.7% gain, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed up over 15% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) posted a whopping 22% gain in the month of April. Let’s not forget we are still off of the all time highs set earlier in the year but I don’t think anyone expected the magnitude of the rally that we just witnessed. There is no question that hopes of re-opening the economy and the latest advancements on therapeutic treatments and vaccines also played a role in the April rally.

Let’s look at it deeper than the just scientific advancements. The Federal Reserve actions and the recent stimulus packages issued by our government has also played a significant role in the eye-popping rally. With all of constant news flow and developments that comes out on Covid, I do think it is hard to realize how impactful the government stimulus packages and the new Federal Reserve stance is and what it does mean to the economy and markets now and going forward. I think it is fair to assume that once there is a definitive and stabilizing solution for the Covid crisis, that our economy and markets should have no problem taking off again. Until then, let’s all pray for a rapid solution to this ugly virus that has wreaked havoc on society. I do believe and have always believed in humanity and for science to lead the way.

Let’s take a quick look at the current technical shape of the the key indexes. We can all expect the markets to pull back after such a sharp bounce back rally. This is the case as I write my blog today. The markets are pulling back to their 20-day moving averages. Typically the 20-day, 50-day and especially the 200-day moving average acts as near term support levels. Let’s see if the current 20-day moving average holds as a near term support level as we head into the weekend.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

A Stunning Comeback - Paula Mahfouz