Will Earnings Take The S&P To All Time Highs?

Now that earnings reporting season is upon us, will Q1 corporate earnings take the S&P 500 (see chart here) to all time highs? We are about to find out. For the first time in months the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed above the 2900 mark and is now within striking distance of its record close of 2940 set back in September. Once again the markets feel like they are in melt up mode. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) closed on Friday at 26412 just 500 points away from its record high, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is approaching the 8000 level a level it hasn’t seen in months, and last but not least the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is approaching the 1600 level and trading above its 200-day moving average.

The technical shape of the markets also appear to be healthy heading into Q1 earnings reporting season. All of the aforementioned indexes are trading above their 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages. A good sign. Furthermore, none of these averages are in overbought territory this according the the relative strength index. Yet, another good sign.

Back to Q1 earnings reporting season. Although analysts and market pundits expect corporate earnings to have declined this quarter, I will be paying attention to the guidance that companies give. It’s no secret there has bee a global slowdown lately due to a variety of factors. However, if companies give better than expected guidance, then most likely we should indeed see new record highs.

Companies to look out for this week that are reporting are, Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX), United Continental Holdings (NasdaqGS: UAL), Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT), Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Las Vegas Sands, Corp. (NYSE: LVS), PepsiCo, Inc. (NasdaqGS: PEP), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Honeywell International (NYSE: HON) just to name a few. Let’s see if Q1 earnings reporting season becomes the catalyst for new record highs. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Dow Jones Industrial Average - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

 

 

Triple Top Or Breakout?

After chopping between the 2700 and 2800 zone for the past couple of months, is the S&P 500 (chart) at a triple top, or is it ready to breakout? I think we are going to find out this week in which second quarter earnings reporting season kicks into high gear. Although volatility has reared its head in first half of 2018, vol now has come back to what the markets have been accustomed to over the past few years (see chart below). Whether we breakout and test all time highs is a head scratcher. Of course earnings will play a key role in which way the markets will go, but there are other market moving factors in the mix. Any minute President Trump could put out a tweet on trade which could kill the most recent rally in stocks or propel it to new highs. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak in front of the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. Without a doubt investors will be paying close attention to the tone and context of Chairman Powell’s testimony in front of both committees. Oh yes, we must not forget the Trump/Putin summit and I can’t even guess what comes out of that meeting and how the markets will react. So as you can see, chance are we will breakout of the triple top we are in or pullback within the trading range as mentioned above.

This week kicks off with high flying Netflix (NasdaqGS:NFLX) which reports their quarterly results tomorrow after the close, followed by Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) on Tuesday along with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) and rounding the week out we will hear from the likes of Alcoa Corp (NYSE: AA), American Express (NYSE: AXP), eBay Inc. (NasdaqGS: EBAY), International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), Etrade Financial Corp. (NasdaqGS: ETFC), Intuitive Surgical (NasdaqGS: ISRG), Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqGS: MSFT), General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) just to name a few. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

VIX - George Mahfouz Jr.

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 🙂

~George

Dow Jones - George Mahfouz Jr

 

Record After Record!

Another week in the books and records continue to fall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the S&P 500 (chart) both closed the week at record highs, while the Nasdaq (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) are within a stones throw from their all-time highs. These key indices have been setting records all year long. With the exception of a few minor pullbacks throughout the year, stocks have pretty much gone up in a straight line. This despite a very tepid economic recovery here in the United States with the GDP coming in at a modest increase of 1.4%.

I think it is safe to say that this latest record setting week was due in part to Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen’s dovish comments regarding interest rates and that the Fed would be very gradual in its future hikes and that such action will be determined by how well the economy fares. If the latest retail sales numbers and consumer price index number are indicative of what the Fed will do, we may not see another hike until year end or even 2018? This is just what the markets needed in order to keep a floor not only under the stocks, but the confidence to proceed as business as usual hence record setting highs.

Well the old adage of you can’t fight the tape or the Fed for that matter is certainly playing out so far in 2017. Are there any catalysts out there that could change the markets mind or its direction? Well we are about to enter the busiest week of Q2 earnings reporting season so far with over 440 companies reporting their results next week including the likes of Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), International Business Machine (NYSE: IBM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), United Airlines (NYSE: UAL), American Express (NYSE: AXP), eBAY INC. (NasdaqGS: EBAY) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) just to name a few. The following week over 1400 companies will report their quarterly results. So if there is anything that could slow this bull market down right now this is it. However, if corporate America continues to report solid earnings results, new record highs could very well continue into the foreseeable future. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

Where Is The Vol?

As the second quarter came to a close yesterday volatility is no where to be found. The CBOE Market Volatility Index also referred to as the VIX has been pretty much dormant this entire year (chart). Typically vol ticks up as we approach summer for a variety of reasons such as earnings reporting season, seasonality and of course the Federal Reserve policy actions. As expected the Fed did raise rates in June but the markets appear to be pricing in a higher interest rate environment. So far this year the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) is up 8.03%, the S&P 500 (chart) is up 8.24%, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) is up a whopping 14% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) is up a modest 4.29%.

Seemingly everyday stocks are in melt-up mode. There are days where volatility tries to rear its head up, but that does not last very long. (See chart below). Even when Goldman Sachs came out with a bearish report on June 9th comparing the red-hot tech sector to the internet bubble era, the negative effect of that report lasted only a couple of days before tech found support and then proceeded to make new highs. The traders and investors that are waiting for the proverbial 10% or more correction are just not getting it. Buying the pullbacks is what has been working ever since the election but the problem is that if you are not stepping in on the 1-3% percent retracements, you are missing the next leg up. How much longer can this type of market environment last? Now that Q2 is in the books, earnings reporting season will soon begin. Let’s see if corporate earnings continue to come in stronger than analyst expectations and if so, stocks may just continue to remain bulletproof.

A quick gander at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes and there are no signs of overbought or oversold conditions according the relative strength index. Therefore I am expecting vol to remain relatively low until at least second quarter earnings season begins. Good luck to all!

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy Fourth of July holiday weekend 🙂

~George

VIX Chart - Paula Mahfouz

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

Back on track…

Despite some market jitters and a pullback in June, stocks are right back in bull mode with the Dow and S&P closing at new highs. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 2.17%, the S&P 500 (chart) +2.96%, the Nasdaq (chart) +3.47% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the week out up 3.10% also closing at an all time high. These impressive weekly gains were spurred on by Ben Bernanke’s reassurance that the fed’s easy monetary policies will continue for the foreseeable future.

Once again the mettle of the market will be tested this week with Q2 earnings reporting season kicking into high gear. Here are some of the companies that will report their second quarter results: Citigroup (NYSE: C), Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW), Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Ebay (NasdaqGS: EBAY), International Business Machines, (NYSE: IBM), Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC), United Health (NYSE: UNH), Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG) Blackrock (NYSE: BLK), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

So as you can see, next week’s earnings reports will take center stage and should guide our markets as we continue to go through the summer months. I look for volatility to increase which is typical with earnings reporting season. Good luck to all.

Have a great week 🙂

~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