Does It Feel A Bit Bubbly?

Do the markets feel a bit bubbly to you? This question is beginning to surface more frequently lately and I think it’s a great question to be asking. The majority of asset classes seemingly have gone straight up without pause over the past several months. Whether it’s the stock market as a whole, the crypto space or one of the hottest trends lately are SPAC’s. What is a SPAC? A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition vehicle that is publicly traded but has no assets other than cash. These vehicles are specifically designed to form as a public company, raise capital and then seek out companies to acquire. For example the electric vehicle space has been one of the favorite sectors for SPAC’s to target over the past year. This is a much easier pathway for private companies to go public without having to go through the time and expense of a traditional IPO.

One of the problems that is happening with the SPAC trade is once they identify a target and move to acquire it, the valuations of these SPAC’s begin to rise steadily into the nosebleed section of the markets. So much speculation is occurring with these SPAC’s institutional and retail investors are willing to pay essentially any price to get on board. Let’s not forget about the day traders that add fuel to the rise in these SPAC’s. So between all of the above and now with interest rates starting to tick up, it’s now wonder we have witnessed over a 1000 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) to close out last week. Now let’s look at the technical shape of the major averages.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below), the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) over the past few trading sessions have all dropped below their respective 20-day moving averages and are finding support at their 50-day. Let’s see if these key indices can hold their 50-day moving average support zone this week. If they can the uptrend could very well remain intact, if not, we could see late last weeks selling pressure continue.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Does It Feel Bubbly? - Paula Mahfouz

What In The World?

What in the world is going on in the stock market? Millions of retail investors have formed an alliance and have taken on short hedge funds. Who would of thought that we would see the day that hedge funds that are specifically designed to short stocks would run into a short squeeze from an online trading group? This is what’s happening right now with GameStop (NYSE: GME) (click here for the definition of short selling). For decades these short hedge funds have targeted companies that appear to have weak fundamentals and no real prospects for growth which is why they targeted GameStop. The brick-and- mortar electronics retailer inherent business model has been challenged over the years due to the rise of digital gaming.

So, an obvious short, right? Fundamentally yes, but what has happened to the stock of GameStop is unprecedented. Never before has a unified online retail investor/day trading group targeted a company in the way that GameStop has been targeted while also targeting hedge funds that short sell companies. GameStop soared to a high of $483 per share last week while not that long ago GameStop was trading in the teens. In the month of January have witnessed unheard of returns with not only GameStop, but also with AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC) and department store Macy’s (NYSE:M) just to name a few. Pundits now are speaking to how this new “retail investor/day trading” strategy and cult like initiative is here to stay. Talk about disrupting the markets and impacting the short sellers’ model forever! I too believe this here to stay. That said, I also believe regulation will come forward to address the unimaginable volatility that these targeted stocks are experiencing. $200 dollar +/- price swings is happening with GameStop (see chart below) on an intraday basis that have even made the most experienced day and swing traders scratch their heads on how to trade the stock.

In closing, this is pure speculation and has no fundamental basis. Everyone knows GameStop is not worth $300-$483 per share not even close. To that end, this is a reminder of how stocks and stock prices can totally be disconnected to the fundamental value of a company. Please be careful trading these kinds of situations and it’s probably best to stay away!

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

What In The World? - Paula Mahfouz

 

2021 Is Here…

2021 is here and it could not of come fast enough. Happy New Year and I think we can all use a fresh start! The year 2020 was one of the most challenging years our country and the world has faced. One of the only exceptions that did not face many challenges is the stock market. Despite the global pandemic we remain in and the non-stop chaos out of Washington DC, the major averages set record highs throughout the year. Who would of thought that stocks and market speculation would be at such a fever pitch considering the backdrop of 2020. During this latest bull market surge one thing that stands out to me is how margin debt has hit all time highs. Investors have borrowed over $700 billion dollars against their portfolios which is also a new record. This is somewhat alarming because when the market experiences a correction, margin debt can accelerate any meaningful selloff. Some investors could be forced to sell if their margin debt becomes disproportionate to their overall account value. That said, when record highs continue to be set the risk of margin debt tends to be overlooked.

Speaking of record highs, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) set new records on the last trading day of the year. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart below) also set records earlier in the week. Although stocks and indexes feel overbought, we are not seeing extreme overbought conditions according the the relative strength index also know as the RSI. There is also support in place at the 20-day, 50-day, 100 and 200-day moving averages. So technically speaking the key indices appear to be in good shape. This set-up bodes well for the continuation of the market rally that we are in.

Of course there are risks out there that could temper the record setting enthusiasm. One risk in particular is the upcoming runoff election in Georgia next week. If the democrats take control of the Senate, this could be viewed as a negative for stocks. The markets historically have liked when there is a split majority between the House and Senate. Pundits argue that a Democratic President and a Democrat controlled Congress could affect income and capital gains taxes that would negatively impact stocks. I am not sure if this will play out but nonetheless as we continue down this bull market path we should not be lullabied to sleep with the risks out there. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

2021 Is Here - Paula Mahfouz

Two Days To Go…

It’s two days to go before our country’s Presidential election takes place. I think most everyone now is exhausted by the process. How many more commercials can be displayed? How many more rallies can we take? What’s more is I think we have all had enough of the bashing and trashing that is going on and quite honestly this type of behavior is unbecoming of our great nation. Thank goodness this is almost over.

What has impressed me the most is how the markets have held up especially with all that is going on in our country. Yes, over the past couple of weeks the major averages have had a noticeable pullback. However, with the election at the forefront of everyone’s minds and the pandemic reaching all time highs, I have to ask myself why haven’t we seen a 20% or more correction? Instead we find ourselves in the midst of a 7-8% pullback. One of the answers very well may be how the averages are responding to their key technical support levels. Let’s first look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here). On Friday, the Dow Jones on a intraday basis temporarily breached its 200-day moving average which is at the 26263 level. Then this bellwether average bounced sharply off of its support to close at 26501. Time and time again we have seen how important key support levels are to the markets and this was text book action pertaining to support levels at work. Friday was the perfect intraday response in how the Dow Jones Industrial Average responded to its 200-day moving average.

Now let’s take a look at the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below). On Friday, the Nasdaq essentially closed right at its 100-day moving average. So we will see this week whether or not this particular support line holds true to form. There are instances to where I have seen support levels breached for a few days or so and then respond. Whatever the case is, I am impressed with how the overall markets have weathered the backdrop of the current environment we find ourselves in.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Two Days To Go - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

Stimulus Package Chatter Buoys Markets…

Yesterday, the lastest round of stimulus package chatter came out of Washington which helped buoy our markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the month of September out at 27781, the S&P 500 (see chart here) finished the month at 3363, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below) closed at 11167 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) finished at 1507. Although stocks had a strong close to end September, the month of September was a net negative for the markets. No question the uptick in COVID both here and abroad has put some pause to this bull market rally. Quite honestly, I think stocks have held up pretty well despite the ongoing pandemic and the constant tape bombs coming out of Washington.

Fast forward to today and we are now a month away from our Presidential election. I have got to believe that we are heading into more volatility than what we experienced in September. I think whoever watched the first Presidential debate would agree. In addition to the upcoming election, we are also heading right into Q3 earnings reporting season. Corporate America will be releasing their third quarter financial results over the next 45 days or so and that alone can create higher volatility. I am not sure what to expect when companies report their numbers and even more so how companies provide their forward looking guidance on their conference calls. Whatever the case is, I think it’s fair to say we will not be trading sideways here in the month of October.

Let’s take a gander at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes. What has impressed me lately is how the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) found support near its 200-day moving average and more recently its 50-day moving average. The same can be said for the other major averages in how they too have found support at their respective moving averages. What’s more is these key indices are no where near overbought territory according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. So from a technical analysis standpoint, the markets look to be on solid footing.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Stimulus Package Chatter Buoy Markets - Paula Mahfouz

Are The Indexes Out Of Balance?

With how hot tech stocks have been lately, one has to ask are the key indexes out of balance? Let’s take a look. It is no secret tech stocks have been on fire, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has been setting records weekly. Stocks like Tesla, Apple and Amazon continue to set all time highs. Price to earnings ratios aka the P/E ratio are also expanding to levels not seen since the tech bubble of the early 2000’s. I am not suggesting that tech as a whole is in a bubble, but there can be an argument that certain tech stocks are. I am not singling out Tesla at all, but what I am highlighting is the company’s eye-popping 1000 + P/E ratio. The price to earnings ratio is a metric for valuing a company that measures its current share price to its earnings per share. For example the S&P 500 typically trades in the 15-20 P/E range. Yes, a 15 to 20 P/E multiple is the historic price to earnings multiple that the S&P 500 trades at. So when you look at Tesla and see that this company’s P/E ratio is currently over 1000, it does bring pause and perspective into the mix.

Back to the indexes that appear to be out of balance. As the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below) continue to set records, the majority of stocks have not returned to their pre COVID highs and still remain down on the year. This to me is something to pay attention to. Sure, some tech stocks deserve their current valuations due to how they are growing and benefiting from the widespread lockdowns. Tech stocks and the technologies they provide are serving businesses and consumers alike in a way no one would of thought of before the pandemic took hold of our country. However, even stocks like Apple have high seen quite the expansion of its P/E multiple which is currently trading at 39. Bottom line for me, as we are setting records each week, I would prefer to see a broader base rally to ensure that we are not out of balance with each and every record that is being set.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Are The Indexes Out Of Balance? - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

Big Tech Blowout!

Big tech steals the show with blowout earnings results. Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN) and Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) all took the street by surprise with their upside earnings reports. For Apple, in addition to their blowout earnings, the company announced a 4-1stock split. This was more than enough for Apple to close up over 10% yesterday at an all time high of $425.04. Apple’s earnings came in over $2.00 per share on revenues just shy of $60 billion. Stunning numbers considering the backdrop that our country is currently in. When I look at what Amazon did, I am equally if not more impressed especially with how they grew their revenues. It’s hard to believe a company of this size grew their revenues 40% to almost $90 billion on the quarter. Without question Amazon has benefited more than any other company due to the pandemic. Consumers have flocked to online shopping more now than ever. Last but not least, let’s look at what Facebook did. Despite experiencing ad boycotts by some of the biggest brands in the world, Facebook managed to grow ad revenues by over 10% and grew earnings by almost 100%. I don’t think anyone expected these type of quarterly results from this group with all things considered.

Let’s take a gander at the major averages and how they are looking from a technical standpoint. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the week at 26428.32. When I look at the chart of the Dow, this index is not overbought according to the (RSI) and the Dow closed right around its 20-day and 200-day moving averages. The S&P 500 (see chart here) closed at 3271.12 and this index bounced off of its 20-day moving average with perfection. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has been the big winner so far this year and technically speaking this index could potentially keep running. Heck, i’d be ok if it paused and consolidated a bit because of the run its been on. The other index that I keep an eye on is the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below). Speaking of consolidation, that is what appears to be happening with the Russell 2000. This index has been trading sideways for the past week or so and is trading consistently above its 20 and 200-day moving averages during this consolidation period. So all in all the aforementioned indexes appear to be on solid ground from a technical analysis standpoint.

In closing, despite the current shape of the market, the month of August historically tends to be a volatile month. Couple this with the upcoming Presidential election and we could be in for a wild ride between now and election day.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Big Tech Blowout - Paula Mahfouz

The Best Quarter For The Major Averages In Decades!

We just witnessed the best quarter in the major averages in decades. Yes folks it is hard to believe that stocks are performing the in way that they are with all things considered. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is trading near the 26,000 level, the S&P 500 (see chart here) is trading this morning at the 3,120 level, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is back over the 10,000 mark and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is trading in the 1,450 zone.

The strength of stocks in general is one for the ages. I don’t think anyone would of thought that the markets would continue to show this type of resilience especially with the backdrop of our current unemployment picture and with Covid continuing to run rampant. The only logical reason as to why the Dow Jones Industrial average is not sub 20,000, has to be the continuing liquidity that is coming into the markets provided by Federal Reserve and the government stimulus packages that have launched since the crisis began. Of course there are select tech and pharmaceutical companies that are directly benefiting from the new world we find ourselves but I didn’t expect to see such a wide swath of stocks doing well in this current environment.

Now that the 3rd quarter of the year has begun I think all eyes will begin to focus on second quarter earnings results which kicks off next week. What’s even more important in my eyes is the energy, spirit and guidance that comes out of companies during their earnings conference calls. I am expecting companies to either pull their future guidance or lower earnings expectations, we shall see. Another catalyst that I expect to play a role in how the markets will fare here in Q3 is how the Presidential polls continue to unfold. Currently Joe Biden has a double digit lead over Donald Trump. Some pundits are saying that the markets are beginning to price in a Biden win. Candidate Biden has already stated that he will raise the capital gains and corporate taxes should he become President. If this is the case, higher taxes would negatively affect net earnings but this scenario could be offset by other positive geo-political factors should Biden win.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

A Breakout Or A Fake-out?

The major averages seemingly are on the verge of a breakout, or could it be a fake-out? The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has recaptured the 25000 level. The S&P 500 (see chart here) has recaptured the 3000 level. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) believe it or not is in striking distance of its all-time high and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) is also setting up for a breakout on its own. It is beyond impressive how the markets have come roaring back since late February. There are certain pundits out there that believe that this is a classic bear market rally however to me it feels like more than that. I have to believe that one of the main reasons why stocks have come roaring back in such a short period of time is the $ trillions of dollars in liquidity that the Federal Reserve and our government has injected into the markets and the economy. In fact, the Federal Reserve has quietly indicated that it is possible that they themselves would buy stocks if needed. Talk about establishing a floor in the stock market!

Another key development in the markets is how strong the technicals look right now. Without a doubt the leadership group of this recent rally is the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here). Tech stocks have benefited the most due to the lockdown. There are more people online than ever before, hence more sales accordingly. Since mid-April, not only has the Nasdaq cleared its 200-day moving average, it also has cleared its 50, 100 and 20-day moving averages. So now the Nasdaq is trading above all of its key moving averages which is bullish. Furthermore, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 have also broken above some key technical resistance levels. Another technical indicator I look at the relative strength index also known as the RSI. At this point in time the aforementioned indexes are not in overbought territory. The RSI is a momentum indicator and when the value level of the RSI goes above 70 stocks or indexes begin to become overbought. This is currently not the case.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

A Breakout Or A Fake-out - Paula Mahfouz

 

A Stunning Comeback!

Stocks pulled off one of the most stunning comebacks in recent memory. Despite Covid-19’s rapid acceleration which is afflicting millions, the stock market made one of the sharpest and quickest recoveries off of the bottom we hit in late March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) gained over 11% in April, the S&P 500 (see chart below) posted a 12.7% gain, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) closed up over 15% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) posted a whopping 22% gain in the month of April. Let’s not forget we are still off of the all time highs set earlier in the year but I don’t think anyone expected the magnitude of the rally that we just witnessed. There is no question that hopes of re-opening the economy and the latest advancements on therapeutic treatments and vaccines also played a role in the April rally.

Let’s look at it deeper than the just scientific advancements. The Federal Reserve actions and the recent stimulus packages issued by our government has also played a significant role in the eye-popping rally. With all of constant news flow and developments that comes out on Covid, I do think it is hard to realize how impactful the government stimulus packages and the new Federal Reserve stance is and what it does mean to the economy and markets now and going forward. I think it is fair to assume that once there is a definitive and stabilizing solution for the Covid crisis, that our economy and markets should have no problem taking off again. Until then, let’s all pray for a rapid solution to this ugly virus that has wreaked havoc on society. I do believe and have always believed in humanity and for science to lead the way.

Let’s take a quick look at the current technical shape of the the key indexes. We can all expect the markets to pull back after such a sharp bounce back rally. This is the case as I write my blog today. The markets are pulling back to their 20-day moving averages. Typically the 20-day, 50-day and especially the 200-day moving average acts as near term support levels. Let’s see if the current 20-day moving average holds as a near term support level as we head into the weekend.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

A Stunning Comeback - Paula Mahfouz