Better Than Expected…

Q3 earnings reporting season has just begun and early on earnings are coming in better than expected. Almost 15% of the S&P 500 have reported their latest quarterly earnings and over 80% of that group have beat expectations. Included in this group that have already reported are Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) just to name a few. A look ahead to next week and hundreds of companies are set to report including but not limited to Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), TD Ameritrade (Nasdaq: AMTD), Biogen (Nasdaq:BIIB), Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG), McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD), Proctor and Gamble (NYSE: PG), United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS), Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT). eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Las Vegas Sands Corp (NYSE: LVS), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), O’Reilly Automotive (Nasdaq:ORLY), Paypal Holdings (Nasdaq:PYPL), Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE), Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA), Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX), 3M Co (NYSE: MMM), Aflac Inc (NYSE: AFL), American Airlines Group (Nasdaq: AAL), Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE: COF), Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), Deckers Outdoor Corp (NYSE: DECK), First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD), Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), T-Mobile (Nasdaq: TMUS), Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), Visa Inc (NYSE: V), Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NYSE: GT), Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX), and Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL). Hundreds more companies are set to report but you get the picture.

So with earning reporting season kicking into high gear, let’s see how investors continue to respond. On the week the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed at 26770, the S&P 500 (chart) closed just under the 3000 mark, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) closed at 8089 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the week at 1535. With the exception of today’s pullback the aforementioned indexes have all been in a recent uptrend. I think it is safe to say that next week’s earnings results will play a role in the markets direction.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Bank Stocks Finally Catch A Bid!

As earnings reporting season kicks into high gear one of the sectors that are surprising investors to the upside are the banks. Citigroup (NYSE: C) started things off yesterday reporting an adjusted earnings per share of $1.24 compared to the $1.05 most analyst’s were anticipating. This earnings beat has lifted Citigroup’s stock over 3% the past two days. This morning Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) also announced an unexpected profit of $2.04 billion dollars or $4.10 per share while analysts were expecting earnings of $3.05 a share. This beat sent Goldman’s shares up 2% this morning although there could be a short term technical hurdle in the $171.oo range (chart) that GS may face. Back in mid-June, Goldman had a high of $171.08 before losing 5.5%. Goldman’s shares have since rebounded back to the $170 zone. Should GS be able to break through the $170 zone, it could very well test its 52 week high of $181.13. If it cannot break through this short term resistance zone in a meaningful way, then a possible re-test of the mid-June lows could occur (chart). Also reporting this morning before the market opened was JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM). JP Morgan reported an earnings beat of $1.46 compared to $1.29 per share most analysts were expecting. This unexpected earnings beat sent shares of JP Morgan Chase (chart) up more than 2% in early morning trading. Whether or not this is a short term bounce or the beginning of a new trend for the banking sector has yet to be seen. I would suspect that the banking pundits will want to see a widening of yield spreads before they get too bullish.

After the bell, the focus will turn to the tech sector. Both Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC) and Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO) will report their quarterly results. Intel has been on a tear gaining over 20% since mid-May (chart). In my humble opinion, Intel is really going to have to crush their numbers and up forward guidance in order for their stock to keep rising here in the short term. Yahoo on the other hand seems to be trading on what Alibaba’s valuation will come out as when they go public in the near future. Two other bellwether tech stocks Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY) and Google (NasdaqGS: GOOGL) will report their quarterly results tomorrow and Thursday respectively. So as you can see there are trading opportunities abound, however, my preference is to wait to see how companies report before making any trading or investment decisions. I do think this earnings reporting season will dictate how the overall markets will fare in the second half of this year. So far so good in this reporting season, but there are hundreds of companies yet to report so let’s not draw any significant conclusions. Also, please remember it is good practice to consult with a certified and trusted financial advisor(s) before making any adjustments to your current portfolio or making any investment decisions for that matter.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Finally Congress Gets a Deal Done!

After 16 days of a partial government shutdown, Congress finally came to terms to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Talk about waiting until the last minute! Needless to say, stocks over the past couple of weeks have experienced an increase in volatility with triple digit gains and losses during the shutdown. Despite the turmoil in Washington, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) on Wednesday closed up over 200 points, the Nasdaq (chart) managed to close at a 13 year high, the S&P 500 (chart) is nearing its all time high and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the trading day at an all time record. Now the street can focus on Q3 earnings reporting season and so far, not so good.

After the close yesterday, bellwether International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) shocked the street by missing revenues by almost $1 billion dollars and is down nearly seven percent in pre-market trading. Also after the close yesterday, Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY) reported in-line revenues, however guided lower for the upcoming holiday season. With Q3 earnings reporting season kicking into to high gear, I am questioning whether or not this will become the trend for the quarter? Most analysts do not expect this to be a robust quarter for corporate America, so now the question becomes does the imminent pullback in stocks become a buying opportunity before year end? Quite frankly with the headline risk out of Washington seemingly over for now, I beleive that the trend of pullbacks being bought will continue between now and year-end. I will look at key technical support levels for possible entries, and on the S&P 500 (chart) the 1680 zone appears to be the first level of support, which also happens to be its 50-day moving average, followed by the 1620 area. What gives me this vote of confidence of a continuing bull market into year-end is not necessarily how corporate earnings will fair, but the fact that the Federal Reserve continues to promise that it will do whatever it takes to support the economy, hence the bull market should continue. That said, when the Federal Reserve begins to taper, this will be the time that corporate America will truly need demonstrate top-line growth. In closing, no matter how your portfolio is positioned, it is usually the best practice to implement some type of protective stop initiative and of course always consult with a certified financial professional(s) while considering any investment strategy. Good luck to all. 🙂

~George

 

Gold gets pummeled!

The price of gold fell below $1,400 an ounce for the first time in over two years. In fact, gold and silver both have lost over 10% of its value in the past two trading sessions. Panic selling has set in with not only key technical support levels being shattered, but fears that Cypress and other European countries may have to sell their gold reserves in order to generate liquidity. In addition, slower than expected Q1 growth out of China also added to the panic selling. This capitulation type selling has spilled over to the majority of the gold miners with the gold miners ETF (Symbol: GDX) chart losing over 20% of its value over the past couple of trading sessions. Folks this type of panic selling is what can happen once technicals and fundamentals breakdown and fear takes over. In looking at the most popular ETF that tracks the price of gold (Symbol: GLD) chart, it appears that a multi-year support zone could be found in the $128.00 area which is now only a few dollars away. However, when you have panic selling, margin call selling, institutional and hedge fund selling, all bets are off pertaining to technicals until the smoke clears and cooler heads prevail.

As far as the equities markets are concerned, this is a big week for Q1 earnings reports. We will hear from the likes of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC) Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY) just to name a few.

Good luck to all and have a great week 🙂

~George

5 year high!

Stocks continue to advance in the new year as the S&P 500 (chart) closed the week at a five year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished the week up 0.40%, the Nasdaq (chart) +0.77% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) added 0.19%. Furthermore, with the S&P 500 (chart) closing at 1472.05, all eyes will be watching next week to see if this key index can break and remain above the 1475 level which has been a key resistance level. However, next week a slew of companies are schedule to report their Q4 earnings results which most likely will be the catalyst to either break these markets out, or once again serve as a key resistance level.

Here are some of the companies that are scheduled to report next week: Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM), Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C) American Express (NYSE: AXP) UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC) General Electric: NYSE: GE) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). So as you can see the markets will have plenty to digest after these bellwether companies report their results. Most pundits believe that this indeed will provide what is needed for the markets to breakout and march towards new highs. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂

~George  

Chalk one up for the bears…

Stocks notched their worst performing week since the beginning of the summer. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed down 2.07%, the Nasdaq (chart) -2.94%, the S&P 500 (chart) -2.21% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed out the week down 2.35%.

This upcoming week promises to be a doozy with Q3 earnings reporting season kicking into high gear. The following is a list of some of the high profile companies that are scheduled to report; Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Coca-Cola ( NYSE: KO), International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) , Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC), CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), US Bancorp (NYSE: USB), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and tech titans Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY) and Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG).

With last week’s market performance and lack thereof, the question I am now pondering is whether or not this earnings reporting season will be the catalyst to take the markets down further? Even with last week’s 2% pullback, the bellwether indexes are still up double digits on the year. There indeed could still be more room to the downside, however, I would expect that key technical levels would support any meaningful pullback. Let’s take a look at the S&P 500 (chart). The first level of support appears to be in the 1400 zone and then the 1370 area which happens to be the 200-day moving day average for the S&P. By no means am I suggesting that these levels will be reached, all I am saying is if Q3 earnings reporting season comes in weaker than expected, we could see a continuation of last week’s pullback.

Good luck to all.

Have a great week 🙂

~George