Stocks had a very volatile week as tensions elevated in Ukraine and now China has seemingly hit a soft patch in its economy. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) fell 2..35%, the Nasdaq (chart) gave back 2.09%, the S&P 500 (chart) -1.96% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) ended the week lower by 1.82%. I do not think the most recent retreat in stocks is anything beyond the current global headline risks as our own economy appears to be intact and growing, albeit modestly. Some economists believe China will maintain a 7.5% growth rate this year while other pundits believe a cooling off of China’s economy would affect our markets here. Should the latter be the case, I would assume the Chinese government would take measures to help prop up their economy by injecting enough stimulus to ensure the targeted 7.5% growth rate for 2014 would not be breached. Recently, the economic numbers across the board coming out of China has been weaker than expected, especially in the manufacturing and export sectors.
This past week also saw an escalation in the crisis in Ukraine with both sides increasing the chatter about a potential military conflict as protests have become extremely violent. Governments from around the world are now are attempting to assist in the negotiations with Russia and Ukraine to formalize some type of accord. So it’s no surprise that a “risk off” mentality has come into the markets for the time being. I do believe that once things settle down in the Ukraine and the China headlines become less frequent, we could consolidate here for a bit as the first quarter of the year winds down. Then of course as we enter into April, all eyes will be watching how corporate America fared during the first quarter as Q1 earnings reporting season will begin. Between now and the end of March, I will be paying closer attention to our own economic data which will most likely translate into companies Q1 earnings reports.
Technically speaking, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart), the Nasdaq (chart), the S&P 500 (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) all appear to be heading towards their respective 50-day moving averages, in fact the Dow (chart) actually breached its 50-day on Friday. The 50-day moving average is a technical indicator I favor as do other certain market technicians. Historically, when stocks or indexes reach their 50-day or 200-day moving average for that matter, support is typically found and a reversal of the stock or index ensues. The moving averages are also followed by certain institutional investors and select computerized algorithmic trading models, which could also be a reason why the moving averages can act as a support mechanism. Now I am not suggesting that the moving averages are infallible, I personally utilize this indicator mainly from a technical standpoint to help me navigate current market opportunities. Good luck to all.
Have a great weekend 🙂