New Week, New Record Highs?

New week, new record highs? The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) are fast approaching all-time highs. Both of these major indexes have been on a tear of late and could see new record highs this upcoming week. However, breaking news came out yesterday that Saudi Arabia has shut down half of its oil production after drones attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility. This attack will impact 5 million barrels of daily oil production. One sector that will certainly be affected is the energy space. The price of oil is now expected to skyrocket at least here in the short term. I am not sure if the markets will shrug this dynamic off, but I do expect energy stocks to outperform.

As I take a look at the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) both of these indexes appear to be ready to breakout and join the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 most recent performances. If the news out of the middle east has a negative impact on stocks, there are plenty of technical support levels that would come into play. All of the aforementioned key indexes are trading comfortably above their 20-day, 100-day and 200 day moving averages. During the month of August the 200-day moving average provided major support multiple times. As I look at the relative strength index to see how close we are to overbought conditions, there is still plenty of real estate before we see the 70 level of the RSI. So technically speaking the indexes appear to be in relatively good shape.

Without question the oil markets and the energy sector will be the focus this week. I am also curious to see how the overall markets react to this latest development out of the middle east. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

 

Is More Volatility Ahead?

The month of August proved to be one of the more volatile months so far this year. The question now is will this volatility continue here in September? As long as the turbulent tweets continue out of Washington, I bet the vol we witnessed in August will indeed continue this month. Markets hate uncertainty and as long as our President continues to flip flop seemingly daily and then tweet about it, we could very well be in for more vol. It’s not rocket science, when the tweets are positive and have consistency, stocks go green. Then when the flip flopping occurs they go red. It is amazing to me how stocks react to every single tweet or flip out of Washington. Sure there are algorithms that are programmed to react to headlines, but because of the constant noise out of Washington it’s no wonder we have been whipsawing around.

I always try to tune out the noise and focus on the fundamentals and technical shape of the markets. Let’s take a look at the current price to earnings ratio (click here) of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 (see chart here) price to earnings ratio continues to trade above historic norms. Despite all of the current uncertainties especially with the trade war, stocks on average are still trading above the 20 PE ratio level. The historic price to earnings average for the S&P 500 is somewhere in the mid-teens. So from a fundamental valuation standpoint the markets remain at the upper end of the channel. There are many other valuation metrics and government policies that play into the valuation analysis mix, but purely from a price to earnings ratio, one can ascertain that we remain a bit overpriced.

That said, companies can certainly grow into their current valuations but we definitely need to get the trade war with China resolved so that companies know where they stand. Both Paula and I wish everyone a very happy and safe Labor Day weekend 🙂

~George

 

The 200-Day Moving Average Holds!

The 200-day moving average held its ground despite the constant tape bombs and tweets that continues to come out of Washington. It is no secret that stocks have been on a wild ride over the past few weeks from making all-time highs to rip roaring selloffs. The continuation of tariff threats out of Washington has been a huge catalyst for the increase in volatility in stocks. That said, with all of the madness that is swirling around the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) have all managed to stay above their respective 200-day moving averages. This key technical support line has held true to form during these market selloffs. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) has not been as fortunate and could not hold its 200-day.

So in addition to the Washington D.C. threats of additional tariffs, the markets also had to deal with the dreaded 10-year and 2-year yield curve inverting. Whenever longer term interest rates fall below shorter term interest rates in the bond market that historically is a signal that a recession might be looming. Now there is a meaningful lag here whenever we see the yield curve inverting, so as long as the curve flattens out and returns to a normalized dynamic, we should escape the threat. However, if the yield curve remains inverted for an extended period of time then we could be in for something else.

Let’s get back to the technical shape of the markets. As mentioned, three of the four major averages held above their respective 200-day moving average support line which is a good thing technically. What also helped is during these meaningful selloffs is that the markets did go into oversold territory and technically bounced. Let’s see how the next couple of weeks shape up as we wind down the dog days of summer.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

First Rate Cut In Over A Decade!

Yesterday the Federal Reserve conducted its first rate cut in over a decade! Although widely expected, the markets were disappointed as to how Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that this is does not necessarily mean more rate cuts are forthcoming. Chairman Powell’s statement sent stocks down sharply. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed down over 330 points, the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed lower by 32.80, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) finished down almost 100 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) finished the day down 11 points. The markets were hoping that Mr. Powell would remain dovish and it was clear he was the opposite. That said, a rate cut is a rate cut and the intention is to keep the economy moving. Despite the rate cut move, The White House came out and complained about how Chairman Powell handled his statement and it is no secret that administration wants further rate cuts. I do think additional rate cuts may not be needed due to how Q2 earnings reporting season is going so far. The street was expecting an “earnings recession” at least in the last quarter. But as we are now half way through earnings reporting season, so far so good. There are not many earnings surprises to the downside and future guidance is not too shabby so far.

Let’s take a look at the current technical shape of the markets. The indexes have been going sideways as of late with the exception of yesterday’s selloff. That said, yesterday’s selloff did break the 20-day moving averages of the Dow Jones Industrials, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite, however, the small-cap Russell 2000 closed above its 20 day and actually demonstrated more relative strength than the other averages. A one day selloff does not necessarily mean the beginning of a new downward trend so let’s wait and see how the rest of earning reporting season goes and then we can assess how the back half of the year shapes up.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

Dow, Nasdaq And S&P All At Record Highs!

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) are all at record highs. Stocks continue to be on a tear with 3 of the 4 major indexes closing at all time highs on Friday. What’s more the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed above the 3000 mark for the first time ever. The one index that still has work to do before making a new high is the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below). I am not exactly sure why the Russell is lagging behind the big boys but if the Russell 2000 gets going then who knows how many more records will fall.

That said, for the first time in a while the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have both entered into overbought territory which is above the 70 value level of relative strength index also know as the RSI. The Nasdaq Composite is fast approaching overbought conditions as well. The Russell 2000 is no where near overbought. I do expect a bit of a pullback in the coming weeks which would be rather healthy for stocks after such a strong performance. I have never been a fan of buying into record highs although momentum traders would disagree. Another factor to consider is we are heading right into second quarter earnings reporting season. Earnings reporting season could be a catalyst to pause the summer rally especially with the percentage of companies issuing warnings so far (click here)

The tariffs that our administration have imposed is expected to have a negative effect on the top and bottom lines of many U.S. companies. What I will be looking for is how much of an affect these tariffs are having on corporate America. The other side of the coin is if tariffs weigh heavier than what is anticipated, this could be yet another reason for the Federal Reserve to move to cutting interest rates which is the real reason I think we are hitting all time highs. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Fed Rate Cuts Back In Play?

The question over the past week or so is whether or not Fed rate cuts are back in play? The May jobs numbers were way below expectations with the economy only adding 75,000 jobs. This is a far cry from the 180,000 that economists were expecting in the month of May. As intuitive as it seems a weak jobs report should equal a continuing sell-off in the markets. Not the case in the first half of the month for stocks. In fact 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 below) all have rallied sharply so far this month. So how is it that stocks are rallying with a slowing job market? Two out of the past four months the jobs number has come in below 100,000. This is giving hope to the markets that the Federal Reserve may actually start cutting interest rates as opposed to raising them and this is why the markets are rallying. Lower interest rates has been a boon for stocks for the past decade and if the Fed starts lowering rates again, we could see all-time highs again.

What’s more is the technical shape of the aforementioned key indexes. As stocks have rallied this month, 3 out of the 4 major averages have blown through their moving averages which can provide resistance point if a stock or index is trading below their respective averages. Since the June rally began, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (click here for chart) recaptured it’s 200-day, 100-day and 20-day moving averages as did the S&P 500 ( click here for chart) and the Nasdaq Composite (click here for chart). However the small-cap Russell 2000 (click here for chart) has run into its 100 and 200 day moving averages and has found resistance at these key pivot points.

Let’s see how the rest of June goes and see if this past weeks consolidation will offer yet another leg up in the markets. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Russell 2000 - George Mahfouz Jr

Now Mexico Too?

If it wasn’t enough to hit China harder, now Mexico too? Look by no means am I an expert on trade, tariffs or politics, but one thing I do know the stock market doesn’t like what has been going on with all three! The stock market also dislikes uncertainty and curve balls and this administration is certainly throwing a lot of both out there lately. Stocks have taken it on the chin with yet another wave of selling this week. For the first time since January the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has fallen below the 25,000 mark. The S&P 500 (see chart here) closed in the 2,750 zone, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed near the 7,450 level and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) closed at 1,465.

What’s more eye catching to me is that all of the major averages have now fallen below their respective 200-day moving averages. Let’s do take a look at the technical shape of the market to see how much damage has been done. Now that the 200-day moving averages have been breached lets look at the RSI of each index. The relative strength index is a technical indicator that expresses whether or not a stock or index is overbought or oversold (click here for RSI). The Dow Jones Industrials (chart), the S&P 500 (chart), the Nasdaq Composite (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) all are racing toward the oversold level of 30. In fact, the Dow Jones breached the 30 level of the RSI yesterday.

Historically when stocks or indexes break their key support levels and head down towards the 30 level of the RSI, there is usually a continuation through that metric as well. That said, history does not always repeat itself but I would also not be surprised to see more selling pressure in the near future. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

The T-Word Has Done It Again!

No question the T-word has done it again aka tariffs. The week started off with China’s retaliation to the Trump tariffs with a market sell-off on Monday sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) down 600 points. The trade war also sent volatility soaring earlier in the week as well $VIX (see chart below). This after the market set all-time highs. No matter what the case is, stocks will continue to sell-off on any negative tariff news. Why not? Tariffs can essentially act as a tax on American businesses and the consumer at least in the short term.  Without question the tariff tape bombs have hit the market and had nearly doubled the price of vol over the past week or so. (see chart here) 

Now that the wild market swings are back, what’s next? Whenever I see a pick up in vol I take a closer look at the technical shape of the key indexes. Let’s start with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here). Since volatility kicked back in the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost around 1000 points, but found support at its 100 and 200-day moving averages and bounced off of those key support levels. The S&P 500 (chart) also sold off sharply over the past week or so but it too bounced off of key support zones. The Nasdaq Composite (chart) sold off almost identical to the S&P and bounced back nicely.  Last but not least, the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) actually fell through its 200-day moving average and found support at its 100-day. So technically speaking and if you are in the bull camp this is a very good sign for the continuation of the latest upward trend in the market. I am always a fan of pullbacks that meet support, holds that support and resumes its uptrend and that’s what we seemingly have now.

Let’s see if we get any positive developments on the trade war to calm the markets down a bit. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

$VIX - george mahfouz

Strong Economy Equals A Strong Stock Market!

The economy posted a 3.2% gain in the first quarter and as the saying goes, a strong economy equals a strong stock market! Is it any wonder as to why the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) hit an all-time high on Monday! The same rings true with the S&P 500 (see chart below). The S&P 500 hit an all-time high on Monday as well. Now the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has a bit more work to do in order to tap its own record as does the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). However, I am sure the bulls will take 2 out of the 4 major averages setting all time highs. What is also helping the stock market is how the Federal Reserve has taken a cautious approach to raising rates any further. In fact, there are calls out of Washington DC asking the Fed to start lowering rates to stimulate the economy even further. Now I am not so sure that the Fed will accommodate Washington’s request, but I do think it is safe to say that we should not see a rate hike in the near future or maybe not at all for the rest of this year.

One note of caution to me is that with nearly half of corporate America reporting their Q1 earnings so far, we are seeing on average a year over year decline in earnings. There are still 100’s of companies set to report over the coming weeks but if this trend continues, this will be the first year over year decline in corporate earnings in years. I will be keeping an eye on this development.

The technical shape of the aforementioned indexes remain intact. The Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 all are trading above their respective key moving averages. However, both the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) have entered into overbought territory according to the relative strength index also know as the RSI. That said, I would not be surprised to see at the very least some consolidation or an outright healthy pullback. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

S&P 500 - Paula Mahfouz