Record Highs For Stocks!

Record highs for stocks are hitting the tape with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) hit all time highs yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a high of 38,588 while the S&P 500 traded at 4931 before closing slightly lower. However, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) did not hit their all-time highs but the uptrend in those indexes continue.

So why are two of the major averages at all-time highs? For one I think the markets have been anticipating the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates this year. However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell yesterday said rate cuts in the near term is not likely. Suffice to say the markets did sell off yesterday after Chair Powell’s remarks. The other factor driving stocks higher is the undeniable strength our economy and the job market. The latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report surprised analysts yet again. Economists were expecting the GDP to come in at an annualized growth rate of 1.5%. Instead, the economy grew on an annualized basis of 3.3%. I’d say that’s a beat! The GDP is a measure used to evaluate the strength of the economy. The GDP is the total market value of the final goods and services produced in a given country.

Going forward without question the strength of the economy and job market, along with inflation, will be guiding the Federal Reserve as to the timing of when they will begin to cut rates. Until then, the strength of companies’ earnings results, geo political factors and our own political backdrop should be the catalysts that determine where the markets trade.

Last but not least, the technical backdrop of the key indexes is in decent shape. Yes, the Dow Jones Industrial and the S&P 500 did breach the 70 RSI level briefly but has retreated some since going into overbought territory. All in all, from a technical standpoint, I do not see any alarming trends.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

 

Cheers To The Markets!

Cheers to the markets and what a year for stocks! 2023 turned out to be a spectacular year for the stock market as not many expected the markets to rip-roar as it did last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) finished the year up almost 14 percent. The S&P 500 (see chart here) closed the year up 24%. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed the year up a whopping 44 percent. A big part of the Nasdaq’s eye-popping performance was how the “Magnificent 7” performed. For those of you who do not know who the Magnificent 7 are, it is the big tech group made up of Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT), Google owner Alphabet (NasdaqGS: GOOGL), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN), Nvidia (NasdaqGS: NVDA) and Meta Platforms (NasdaqGS: META) and Tesla (NasdaqGS: TSLA). Finally, the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed the year up 15%.

Many stock market experts did not expect such a stellar year for stocks. Let’s dig in and see what happened. For starters, inflation itself retreated faster than anyone expected which now has the Federal Reserve speaking to cutting rates in 2024. This metric alone is very bullish for stocks. Then factor in how strong the economy has been it’s no wonder we are at or near all-time highs. What’s equally impressive is how the markets have shrugged off the geopolitical backdrop. From two wars that seemingly have no end is sight, to the U.S. political divide, to China’s stagnant economy, nothing seems to be bothering the markets, at least not yet.

As we now look forward to 2024, I think we are in for a doozy of a year, at least from a volatility standpoint. We are also in an election year, and this alone should create higher volatility. I would also expect that after such a strong performance in 2023 that a pause and/or even a correction of some sort could potentially be in the cards for the markets in general.

Wishing everyone the healthiest, happiest, and most prosperous new year 🙂

~George

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

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

 

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 🙂

~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

Are The Major Averages Breaking Out?

After breaching their respective 200-day support lines in March, the major averages appear to be breaking out of their months long trading range. 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) are all hitting monthly highs. Also, each of these indices appear to have strong momentum heading into July.

So why are the rally caps on? I think one of the drivers to this latest rally is how economy is faring. From the most recent GDP (gross domestic product report ) coming out stronger than expected to how inflation appears to be abating. Most every pundit expects our country to head into a recession, however, economic reports such as cited above are currently demonstrating a different backdrop. Market expectations have kept stocks in a trading range for the past several months until now.

The question now becomes is this a true “breakout” or is it a fake out? One catalyst that could answer this question is the upcoming Q2 earnings reporting season. Now that the second quarter of the year are in the books, corporate America will begin to report their Q2 earnings results here in July. This to me could prove whether or not this rally has more room to run.

When I look at the technical shape of the key indexes we are not yet in overbought territory according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. The only index that is near the 70-value level of the RSI is the S&P 500. According to the principles of the RSI, any index, stock, commodity etc. that trades above the 70 value of the RSI is considered overbought and we are not there yet. However, if this current rally continues then we could see the aforementioned indexes go into overbought territory. If this is the case, remember stocks and indexes can remain overbought for an extended period before reversion to the mean occurs.

Wishing everyone a safe and great 4th of July holiday weekend.

~George

 

A Mixed Month For Stocks…

The month of May was a mixed month for stocks and the major averages. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out the month down 3.5% (see chart here) while the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite closed the month out in the green. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) like the Dow closed the month out lower. Not bad considering how the debt ceiling issue and debate has been in the news seemingly hourly as everyone waits with bated breath as to what Congress will do. To me I wonder why this drama about raising the debt ceiling so the government can pay its debt and obligations is always a thing? Why even have a debt ceiling when there is no way United States of America could ever default on its debts and obligations. If this was to occur a global meltdown like never before seen could occur. How about this concept? No debt ceiling at all and instead vote in a fiscally responsible administration and politicians to manage our country’s finances properly. Sounds simple enough, but who am I kidding. Ok, enough of this and back to the markets.

Despite being an historically softer month for the stock market, May did not perform too bad as evidenced above. Yes, a mixed bag, but I think investors are happy to see that we didn’t fall off a cliff. That being said, as a look at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes what is standing out to me is how key support lines are in play. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) is hovering right around its 200-day moving average, while the S&P 500 (chart) is currently being supported by its 20-day moving average. The Nasdaq Composite (chart) is trading nicely above it’s 20, 50 and 200-day moving averages while the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) is bouncing around its 20-day MA.

Lastly, I think the markets are in a position to continue its recent trading patterns and as soon as the final vote comes in on the debt ceiling matter, everyone will breathe a sigh of relief.

Good luck to all 🙂

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