A Week To Forget…

Certainly, a week to forget! Not since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis have we seen volatility so high (see chart here) as stocks and indexes react to the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) saw multi-thousand point swings. The S&P 500 (see chart here) was not spared from the highest volatility in a decade. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) both experienced eye-popping swings as well. However, on Friday the President declared a national emergency and he announced a $50B relief package to combat the coronavirus. Stocks took that cue and had one of their best day’s ever with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) soaring almost 2000 points, the S&P 500 (chart), the Nasdaq Composite (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) all gaining almost 10% on the day.

Now we find ourselves in a highly volatile environment that in my opinion won’t abate until more metrics come forward pertaining to the spread here in the U.S. and the plans to contain it. The administration took a huge step yesterday by declaring a national emergency and to promise the full resources of the government to combat and control this virus. Furthermore, the government is waiving interest rates on student loans and committed to buying oil from U.S. companies to “fill up our strategic reserves”. It’s no wonder stocks had one of their best days in history.

I always like to conclude my blogs with a take on the technical shape of the key indexes. Needless to say there was a lot of technical damage done last week pertaining to technical makeup over the markets and in particular the moving averages. All of the major indices broke their respective 20-day, 100 and 200-day moving averages. These are all significant support zones that have been broken through. The one bright spot in this dynamic is the selling was so severe that after the dust settles strong rallies can and do typically occur as we witnessed on Friday. We are also now way below the key moving averages that often times the markets go back to retest those averages. If this does occur the set-up is very promising for bargain hunters. That said, I am not suggesting that the markets will rip roar back anytime soon, but historically strong rallies do occur after panic selloffs.

Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Geopolitical Risks Abound…

Stocks closed the shortened holiday week down on Thursday as the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on a target in Afghanistan. This just after the U.S. launched tomahawk missiles targeting a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria. Now North Korea is increasing its verbal threats of an all out war on the United States. What’s going on here? It’s hard to talk about stocks when all of this hatred is occurring around the world. Nonetheless, the markets will move forward but will be certainly affected by the troubling¬†geopolitical environment and the uncertainties that exist in multiple regions around the globe.

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed down 1%, the S&P 500 (chart) closed off 1.19%, the Nasdaq (chart) -1.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the week lower by 1.39%. Gold (see chart below) was up on the week and for the first time since November of last year, closed above its 200-day moving average. This is no surprise due to what is currently going on in the world. The question now is how to trade this market environment or what to do with your current positions? If history repeats itself, market volatility should increase which is good for traders but can be unnerving to longer term investors. In fact volatility (chart) spiked this week to its highest level in 5 months.

Now that earnings reporting season is underway some market pundits are saying that this will dictate whether or not markets will continue higher or if earnings reporting season will be the catalyst to send stocks into correction mode. I disagree with this point of view. How can the markets concentrate on earnings reporting season when you have this widespread turmoil around the globe? Of course, earnings are what typically drive stocks and valuations but until the geopolitical back drop abates and a sense of resolve comes forward I will be ultra conservative in going long any equities unless it is gold or gold related assets. Of course it is always best to consult a certified financial planner(s) before making any investment decisions. Good luck to all and both Paula and I wish all a safe and Happy Easter weekend.

~George

gold chart george mahfouz jr