Risks Abound!

As we enter into Q1 earnings reporting season there are risks abound! Whether it’s the brewing trade war with China, rising interest rates here at home or geopolitical tensions in the middle east, the risk profile of this market has certainly increased in recent weeks. Money center banks such as JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) kicked off earnings reporting season and all reported solid earnings numbers only to see their stocks falter on Friday. So we could be setting up for a better than expected earnings reporting season and the markets won’t care due to the aformentioned risks that are present. We will certainly find out this upcoming week as hundreds of companies are set to report their quarterly results. We kick off the week with earnings from Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Charles Schwab Corp (NYSE: SCHW), Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX) followed by Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Intuitive Surgical (NasdaqGS: ISRG), United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL), United Healthgroup (NYSE: UNH), Abbot Labs (NYSE: ABT), American Express (NYSE: AXP), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), United Rentals (NYSE: URI), Etrade Financial Corp. (NasdaqGS: ETFC), General Electric (NYSE: GE) Honeywell International (NYSE: HON), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Transunion (NYSE: TRU) just to name a few.

Let’s take a gander at the technical shape of the markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) has bounced off of its 200-day moving average multiple times over the past couple of weeks and is now hovering at its 20-day, the same can be said for the S&P 500 (chart), the Nasdaq Composite (chart) is right on its 20-day and 100-day moving averages as is the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart). So all of the key indices are at or slightly above key support levels and just maybe between earnings reporting season and key support levels in play, stocks can withstand the risks that are currently present. Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Dow Jones - George Mahfouz Jr

 

A Spooky Time For Stocks?

As Halloween fast approaches is this also a spooky time for stocks? Without question volatility has picked back up which to me is no surprise at all. Factor in all of the headlines out of Europe, earnings reporting season here at home and last but not least, the daily Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump show. It’s no¬†wonder stocks are bouncing around all over the place. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed lower by one half of one percent, the Nasdaq (chart) closed off by 1.5%, the S&P 500 (chart) -1.0% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) lead the pack and finished the week lower by 2%. With all of the headlines and headwinds for that matter, I still remain quite impressed by the resiliency of stocks despite facing a multitude of uncertainties.

This upcoming week should also be a doozy as earnings reporting season kicks into high gear. Starting off the week, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) will release their quarterly results¬†followed by International Business Machine (NYSE: IBM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Intel Corp (NasdaqGS: INTC), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), American Express (NYSE: AXP), Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), American Airlines (NasdaqGS:¬†AAL), Microsoft Corp (NasdaqGS: MSFT), Paypal Holdings (NasdaqGS: PYPL), Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), General Electric (NYSE: GE), Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and McDonald’s Corp just to name a few. Expectations for this earnings reporting season is subdued and any upside surprise could bode well for sentiment during these volatile times.

Let’s take¬†a quick look at the technical shape of the aforementioned indices and all but the small-cap Russell 2000 appear to be finding support either at their 50-day or 20-day moving averages. ¬†The small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) does appear to be breaking down at an accelerated rate however,¬†it does appear that the 1200 level of the Russell 2000 should be met with a bit of support.

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and Happy Halloween and good luck to all. ūüôā

~George

 

 

Strong Week For Stocks!

The major averages continue to show strength upon the launch of first quarter earnings reporting season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed the week up 1.8%, the Nasdaq (chart) also closed up 1.8%, the S&P 500 (chart) added 1.6% and the small-cap Russell (chart) 2000 led the charge by closing the week up a whopping 3.1%. The money center banks such as JPMorgan Chase NYSE: JPM (chart), Bank of America NYSE: BAC (chart) and Citigroup NYSE: C (chart) which reported their earnings late in the week did help continue the momentum we have recently seen in the markets.

The question now is can earnings reporting season which begin in earnest next week breakout this market to new highs? Companies that are scheduled to report next week are International Business Machines Corp. NYSE: IBM (chart), Morgan Stanley NYSE: MS (chart), Netflix NasdaqGS: NFLX (chart), Goldman Sachs NYSE: GS (chart), Discover Financial Services NYSE: DFS (chart), Intel Corp. NasdaqGS: INTC (chart), Intuitive Surgical NasdaqGS: ISRG (chart), Johnson & Johnson NYSE: JNJ (chart), TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. NasdaqGS: AMTD (chart), Yahoo! Inc. NasdaqGS: YHOO (chart), American Express NYSE: AXP (chart), Coca-Cola NYSE: KO (chart), Qualcomm NasdaqGS: QCOM (chart), Biogen NasdaqGS: BIIB (chart), E*Trade Financial Corp. NasdaqGS: ETFC (chart), General Motors NYSE: GM (chart), Microsoft Corp. NasdaqGS: MSFT (chart), Southwest Airlines NYSE: LUV (chart), Starbucks NasdaqGS: SBUX (chart), Visa Inc. NYSE: V (chart), American Airlines Group NasdaqGS: AAL (chart), Caterpillar NYSE: CAT (chart) and General Electric NYSE: GE (chart) just to name a few.

Without question the aforementioned earnings reports will play a significant role in whether the key indices will breakout to new highs or struggle at their current resistance levels. One other historic factor that can play into the mix is April tends to be¬†one of the top performing months of the year. Whatever the case is, I think it’s safe to assume a breakout or possibly a breakdown is on the horizon. Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Staying True To Form…

In late September stocks appeared to be heading to new 52 week and multi-year lows. But as this market has demonstrated its resilience during this six year bull run, the four major averages found support near its previous lows in late August and have bounced nearly 10%. This most recent market action have yet again muzzled the bear pundits and revived the bulls hopes for a possible year-end rally. For the week the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed modestly higher up 131.48 points, the Nasdaq (chart) had a weekly gain of 56.22 points, the S&P 500 (chart) finished up 18.22 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) bucked the uptrend falling slightly by 3.05 points.

So could there be a year-end rally in the cards? I think the answer to that question will come forward as we are now kicking into high gear with Q3 earnings reporting season. Already this past week we heard from the likes of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and international conglomerate General Electric (NYSE: GE) who all provided results investors could cheer about. Each one of these companies notched impressive gains on the week not only helping the key indices, but also instilling confidence with investors. However, and as we all know, earnings reporting season can be volatile and we are at just at the starting gate.

Next week we will get quarterly results from technology giant Broadcom (NasdaqGS:BRCM), oil and gas equipment services behemoth Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO), biotech giant Biogen (NasdaqGS: BIIB), Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), General Motors (NYSE: GM), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), Amazon.com Inc. (NasdaqGS: AMZN), E*Trade Financial Corp. (NasdaqGS: ETFC), basic materials giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) and American Airlines Group Inc. (NasdaqGS: AAL) just to name a few.

These are only a handful of companies scheduled to report next week with hundreds more to follow in the coming weeks. That said, both Paula and I will continue to remain patient and wait until after earnings reporting season before we consider any new market strategies.

Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Stocks Go On A Wild Ride!

As the new year begins to unfold, volatility has taken command! Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) had a 424 point intraday swing, an intraday move not seen in quite sometime. Volatility continued to surge this morning as stocks opened down sharply by weaker than expected retail sales for the month of December, and JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) announcing weaker than expected quarterly results. So is this the new norm? Investors and especially traders have been waiting a long time to see volatility come back into the market and they may have just gotten what they have been expecting. For years, stocks have been in a low vol environment thanks in part to the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policies. Now that those policies have and are winding down, it’s no surprise to me that volatility has picked up. Furthermore, now that we are have entered into¬†Q4 earnings reporting season, I expect that volatility will remain elevated and possibly increase.

Companies that are scheduled to report their earnings results are over the next week are; Citigroup (NYSE: C), Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL), International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX), American Express (NYSE: AXP), eBay Inc. (NasdaqGS: EBAY), Starbucks (NasdaqGS: SBUX), Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), General Electric (NYSE: GE), Honeywell International ( NYSE: HON) and McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD) just to name a few.

More now than ever I will be focusing on “top-line” growth of corporate America to see if this most recent sell-off poses a buying opportunity. If the top-line of companies do not begin to grow in a meaningful way, I would expect the selling pressure to continue. Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

First Half Of The Year In The Books, And The Bull Keeps Running…

After gaining 30% or so in 2013, the markets continue to be on one of the most impressive bull runs in modern history. Here is how the four key indices closed out the first half of 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 1.5%, the Nasdaq (chart) gained 5.5%, the S&P 500 (chart) advanced 6.1% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed out the first half of 2014 up 2.6%. Looking back to the market lows of early 2009, these aforementioned indices have tripled or better in price, which is simply stunning.

I think now is as good a time than any to¬†begin to take a look at how the major averages can continue to rise in spite of almost tripling over the past 5 1/2 years. What could¬†be the catalyst(s) going forward? It’s no secret that the Federal Reserve is scaling back¬†its asset purchases and are scheduled to be finished by year-end, so no surprise there. This in fact is where the bear camp is growling that the end of the Fed stimulus¬†program could¬†be the catalyst to end this historic bull run. What about corporate earnings?¬†In my humble opinion, herein lies the single most important catalyst that will either add fuel to this incessant bull run or put the brakes on it. If it’s the latter, this could also create¬†the first real correction in stocks, something that hasn’t occurred in years.

Investors will not have to wait too much longer for Q2 earnings reporting season is upon us. The first key earnings release that has economic implications will be Alcoa (NYSE: AA) which is due to report next Tuesday after the close. I will be very interested to see the top-line growth of Alcoa which will certainly shed some light as to the health of the global economy. Investors have been bidding up Alcoa most of the year in anticipation of an expanding global backdrop. Another economically sensitive stock at least as it pertains to the consumer is Family Dollar Stores (NSYE: FDO). Family Dollar is scheduled to report their quarterly results next Thursday before the market opens. Then by mid-July we will be in high gear to hear how corporate america fared in Q2. The week of July 14th, earnings are scheduled to come out of American Airlines (NYSE: AAL), American Express (NYSE: AXP), Blackrock ( NYSE: BLK), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Whirlpool Corp (NYSE: WHR), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC), Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO), Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC), Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM), Baker Hughes Inc (NYSE: BHI), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH),  Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX), International Business Machine (NYSE: IBM), Google (NasdaqGS: GOOGL), Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE: BK) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) just to name a few. As you can see, I think it is safe to say that by the middle of July or so we will have a pretty good idea of how corporate America is faring.

Please note that in recognition of¬†the 4th of July holiday, the markets will be closing at 1pm E.S.T.¬†on Thursday and is closed on¬†Friday the 4th. Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy 4th of July ūüôā

~George

 

Q4 Earnings Reporting Season Is Here…

And so far, it’s a mixed bag. As this earnings reporting season kicks into high gear, most of the banks that have reported so far have come in above consensus estimates with Citigroup (NYSE: C) being one notable exception. Citigroup did report a $2.69 billion dollar profit, however, this was below consensus estimates and the bank did cite weakness in their mortgage and fixed income divisions. The stock closed lower by over 4% on the day. Another sector that is being challenged so far this year is the retail sector, at least certain companies within the sector such as Best Buy (NYSE: BBY). Although Best Buy did not report their earnings, they did come out with their holiday same store sales today which were significantly below analysts’ expectations and the company lowered their guidance due to disappointing holiday sales. On that news, the street hammered Best Buy’s stock today sending its shares lower by $10.74 per share or almost 30% on over 85 million shares in volume. This type of massive volume compared to a typical volume day of around 6 million, could be considered a washout or¬†capitulation type trading day, hence a potentially sharp bounce back and potential recovery in its share price? Let’s see how the next couple of trading sessions play out on Best Buy before we draw any conclusions on a potential snap back rally.

Now let’s take a look on how the key indices are faring so far this year starting with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart)¬†which is down 1%, the Nasdaq (chart) is up 1%, the S&P 500 (chart) is essentially flat, and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart)¬†has gained about 1% since the beginning of the year. So as you can see, a mixed bag here as well with the benchmark indexes.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s key earnings reports, we will hear from the likes of General Electric (NYSE: GE), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE: BK), and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) just to name of few. Next week we will hear from powerhouses International Business Machine (NYSE: IBM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Abbot Labs (NYSE: ABT), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), and Honeywell (NYSE: HON). Of course there are hundreds of other companies reporting next week as well, but I will be paying closer attention to the aforementioned companies due to their reach in the economy here and abroad.

I think this earnings reporting season will be scrutinized more than any other in recent years. Everyone wants to see top-line growth out of corporate America to confirm what the most recent economic data has revealed. With that said, and with what we have seen come out of certain slices of the retail sector, I am expecting a bumpy ride between now and the end of Q4 earnings reporting season. Good luck to all and make sure to consider having protective stops in your portfolios. The markets will be closed on Monday due to the MLK holiday.

Have a great holiday weekend ūüôā

~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 ūüôā

~George