The 200-Day Moving Average Holds!

The 200-day moving average held its ground despite the constant tape bombs and tweets that continues to come out of Washington. It is no secret that stocks have been on a wild ride over the past few weeks from making all-time highs to rip roaring selloffs. The continuation of tariff threats out of Washington has been a huge catalyst for the increase in volatility in stocks. That said, with all of the madness that is swirling around the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) have all managed to stay above their respective 200-day moving averages. This key technical support line has held true to form during these market selloffs. The small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) has not been as fortunate and could not hold its 200-day.

So in addition to the Washington D.C. threats of additional tariffs, the markets also had to deal with the dreaded 10-year and 2-year yield curve inverting. Whenever longer term interest rates fall below shorter term interest rates in the bond market that historically is a signal that a recession might be looming. Now there is a meaningful lag here whenever we see the yield curve inverting, so as long as the curve flattens out and returns to a normalized dynamic, we should escape the threat. However, if the yield curve remains inverted for an extended period of time then we could be in for something else.

Let’s get back to the technical shape of the markets. As mentioned, three of the four major averages held above their respective 200-day moving average support line which is a good thing technically. What also helped is during these meaningful selloffs is that the markets did go into oversold territory and technically bounced. Let’s see how the next couple of weeks shape up as we wind down the dog days of summer.

Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Fed Rate Cuts Back In Play?

The question over the past week or so is whether or not Fed rate cuts are back in play? The May jobs numbers were way below expectations with the economy only adding 75,000 jobs. This is a far cry from the 180,000 that economists were expecting in the month of May. As intuitive as it seems a weak jobs report should equal a continuing sell-off in the markets. Not the case in the first half of the month for stocks. In fact the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) all have rallied sharply so far this month. So how is it that stocks are rallying with a slowing job market? Two out of the past four months the jobs number has come in below 100,000. This is giving hope to the markets that the Federal Reserve may actually start cutting interest rates as opposed to raising them and this is why the markets are rallying. Lower interest rates has been a boon for stocks for the past decade and if the Fed starts lowering rates again, we could see all-time highs again.

What’s more is the technical shape of the aforementioned key indexes. As stocks have rallied this month, 3 out of the 4 major averages have blown through their moving averages which can provide resistance point if a stock or index is trading below their respective averages. Since the June rally began, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (click here for chart) recaptured it’s 200-day, 100-day and 20-day moving averages as did the S&P 500 ( click here for chart) and the Nasdaq Composite (click here for chart). However the small-cap Russell 2000 (click here for chart) has run into its 100 and 200 day moving averages and has found resistance at these key pivot points.

Let’s see how the rest of June goes and see if this past weeks consolidation will offer yet another leg up in the markets. Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Russell 2000 - George Mahfouz Jr

What Bear Market?

The major averages in December entered into bear market territory and seemingly was heading even lower. But lo and behold and fast forward to today and we see that the key indices have all come roaring back.ย  The definition of a “bear market” is when a stock or an index goes down 20% or more from its highs and that was definitely the case in the second half of 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial (see chart here) is now back over 24,000 after dropping below 22,000 in December, the S&P 500 (see chart here) is back over 2,600 after dropping below 2,400, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is now over 7,100 after hitting a low of 6,190 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) it trading above 1,400 after hitting a low in December of 1,267.

The sharp V shaped bounce back in such a short period of time is very impressive. I do not think anyone expected such a sharp rebound in just a month. This surprise move is also happening despite the ever increasing chaos and turmoil out of Washington DC. Is it me or has it gotten to the point of utter disgust with what is happening to our country. I am not much of a political advocate in either direction but the narcissism and antics coming out of DC is unbelievable. What’s more is that they are using the government shutdown as the pawn to get their way, again unbelievable.

Ok enough of that and back to the markets. We are now heading straight into earnings reporting season and to me this without a doubt will be a significant catalyst as to whether or not stocks will continue to rise or pause. Of course any type of meaningful progress with the trade war and China could also play a major role. The Federal Reserve has been more vocal with interest rates and indicating that they are more apt to more of a wait and see approach as to any additional rate hikes in near term. There is a lot at hand here which should determine whether or not this bounce back rally will continue. Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Well if you have been long the markets and with the way stocks closed out 2018, it wasn’t so happy for the bull camp. However, a new year means new beginnings :-). Let’s do take a gander to see how the major averages fared in 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( click here or see chart below) finished the year down 5.6%, the S&P 500 (chart) closed the year down 6.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) closed down 4% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed 2018 down 12%. This is the worst performing year for stocks in a decade.

So what happened? In my view and simply put how can stocks go up in a straight line for over a decade without a correction? That’s right, stocks essentially have gone up for over 10 years’ without a healthy 20% correction. So when the markets finally had a real correction which is what occurred in the 4th quarter, it felt like the sky was falling. No question the Federal Reserve and rising interest rates have played a role in the market correction, however, let’s keep this in mind a 2-2.5% Fed funds rate is still historically low. What wasn’t normal over the past decade was a 0 percent interest rate policy and no market volatility. Everyone got spoiled with such an accommodative policy and market environment.

Another factor playing into the mix of the Q4 market correction is without question the trade war and tariffs that our President has ignited. This to me is even more of an issue to our economy than rising interest rates lifting to a normalized level. Not only is the trade war and its ramifications playing a role, but the inconsistency and chaos out of Washington are wreaking havoc on the markets.ย  No doubt in my mind that investors and Wall street are falling out of love with how our country is being governed, especially over Twitter. This is all fixable, we will just have to wait and see if the ego’s and the political agendas on both sides of the aisle can get the confidence back in our marketplace. Paula and I wish everyone the happiest and most prosperous 2019.ย  Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Dow Jones Industrial Average - George Mahfouz Jr

Historically A Strong Month For Stocks…

December is historically a strong month for the stock market. Many factors play into the last month of the year being a positive one including holiday bonuses, the general overall feeling of optimism and typically lighter volumes due to the holiday season. How we finish out this year will largely hinge on the results of this weekend’s G20 summit. Early indications are that the trade talks and other collaborative measures are going well. As the major averages enter into the last month of the year, The Dow Jones Industrial Average (click here for chart) finds itself at 25,538, the S&P 500 (chart) closed out the month of November at the 2,760 level, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) finished at 7,330 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished November at 1,533. On the year, the major averages are barely in the green with the small-cap Russell 2000 actually a tad in the red.

Stocks this past week did get a boost from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell when Chairman Powell spoke at the Economic Club of New York. Chairman Powell stated that the Fed’s benchmark interest rate was now “just below” the neutral level. This sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) soaring over 600 points on Wednesday. Chairman Powell’s comments are being viewed by the street that the Federal Reserve just might be done raising interest rates for the foreseeable future. Now if we can get some concrete positive news and developments out of the G20 summit which is being held in Buenos Aires, then indeed we could be setting up for a year-end rally.

Let’s take a look at the moving averages technical set-up of the aforementioned key indexes starting with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart). At Friday’s close, the Dow is trading above its 200-day moving average by about 400 points while the S&P 500 (chart) closed right at its 200-day. Both the Nasdaq Composite (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) are trading below their respective 200-day moving averages but they have recently cleared and are trading above their 20-day moving averages.ย So technically speaking things do not look too shabby. Let’s see if we can have a rally into year-end.

Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Dow Jones Industrial Average - George Mahfouz Jr

Tariffs and Interest Rates…

Tariffs and interest rates are at front and center. Now that Q3 earnings reporting season is winding down, without question the two remaining catalysts for these markets between now and year-end areย  tariffs and interest rates. It’s been a long time since we have seen the swings that are going on right now in the stock market. Investor’s and trader’s alike are attached to every headline or tweet pertaining to the current trade war between China and the U.S. and whether or not the Federal Reserve will take its foot off of the pedal. The growing tensions between China and the U.S. regarding tariffs did abate late Friday when President Trump tweeted that China does want to make a deal. This was enough to rally the markets on Friday afternoon, but not enough to get the the key indexes out of the red on the week. On the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed at 25,413, the S&P 500 (chart) closed at 2,736, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) closed at 7,248 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) finished the week out at 1,527.

With the aforementioned looming catalysts on the horizon the big question is will we get a year end rally? My feelings are we may only need one of these catalysts to come through for a potential year-end rally. If China and the U.S. can agree upon more favorable terms to the imposed existing tariffs and/or actually withdraw some of the existing tariffs, we may have a shot. Not to say interest rates aren’t important, but relatively speaking interest rates still remain historically low. Even if the Federal Reserve raises rates in December, I still think that a China U.S. deal would be enough for a rally as we close out 2018. The G20 summit is just two weeks away and let’s hope some sort of deal can come forward out of the summit. Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

A Market Selloff That Just Did Not Happen…

As summer ended where was the market selloff? Instead of conforming to what historically are the weaker months of the year whereas stocks at the very least should of paused with lighter volumes, the major averages hit all time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart), the S&P 500 (chart), the Nasdaq Composite (chart), the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) and even the Dow Jones Transportation Averageย (see chart below) all hit record highs in the third quarter. In fact the broad based S&P 500 (chart) turned in its best quarterly performance in five years. In my previous blog, I spoke to how traders and investors alike are awaiting a September selloff but seemingly nothing can stop this perma-bull market! Not trade wars, not interest rates, not the threat of inflation, not the daily chaos out of Washington, not historic seasonality, I mean nothing has stopped this bull market. Without a doubt this has been a close your eyes and a “go long” market. If you just did that over the past decade, you would of been part of 100% plus gains and whoever did do that, congratulations!

So now begs the question of what now? What now is fourth quarter earnings reporting season and oh yes the mid-term elections! October will not only be loaded with corporate earnings reports but there is also this little event call mid-term elections. I think it is safe to say that at the very least volatility shouldย  rear its head up. As the summer trading months were unfolding vol went back to its “low vol” standard as we have witnessed for past decade. There is just no fear in the markets. The volatility index aka the VIX (chart) is a measure of investor fear and in this case, lack thereof. I have got to believe that volatility will increase as we head into earnings reporting season and especially as we approach mid-term elections. Good luck to all! ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Dow Jones Transports - George Mahfouz Jr

Traders And Investors Are Awaiting A September Selloff…

Traders and investors are awaiting a September selloff that actually may not come. Stocks continue to demonstrate strength and resiliency despite the political turmoil in Washington DC, rising interest rates and a seasonality headwind that just isn’t happening. August and September are typically weaker months for the stock market, instead the S&P 500 (see chart below), the Nasdaq Composite (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) hit all-time record highs and the end of August and despite a mini pullback shortly thereafter, the markets appear to have stabilized near all time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) did not make an all-time high in August, however, this index remains within striking distance of its all time high. The pundits are speaking to the strength of corporate America where earnings and profits are at their highest levels in decades as to the reason why the markets are not selling off. What is undeniable is that any time stocks have experienced a pull back it has been met with support from institutional investors and retail investors alike.

Speaking of support, let’s take a closer look at the technical shape of the aforementioned key indexes. Let’s start with the S&P 500 (chart). After pulling back to its 20-day moving average the S&P is right back at a breakout point. Next week we should see if the S&P can indeed breakout or fail and head back to its 20-day. The Nasdaq Composite index (chart) has similar chart pattern although it traded a bit below its 20-day support line for a few days before recapturing its 20-day and is now trading above it. A look at the Russell 2000 (chart), it too closed above its 20-day moving average and last but not least the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) also closed above its 20-day and this index is also right at a breakout or breakdown point. These bellwether indexes are also not in an extreme overbought condition according to the Relative Strength Index. The RSI tracks overbought or oversold conditions and is a momentum indicator that measures the degree and velocity of recent price changes to determine what is overbought and what may be oversold. We are simply not in any extreme condition according to the RSI principle.

Let’s see how the back half of September plays out and we will revisit the technical set-up of the markets in October. Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

S&P 500 - 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Dow Jones - George Mahfouz Jr

 

Tech Stocks Under Fire!

Despite a modest rebound on Friday tech stocks remain under fire. From Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) to Tesla (NasdaqGS: TSLA) and now even Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN) are all under pressure for a variety of reasons. This is spilling over into the overall tech sector (see chart below) and even into the overall marketplace. Facebook is facing significant scrutiny regarding user privacy while Tesla continues to trip up with deliveries and debt issues and now even Amazon is under pressure due to President Trump’s direct attack on the online retailer’s sales tax structure. This was enough to send the major averages down to close out the quarter at or in negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart)ย finished Q1at 24103, the S&P 500 (chart) closed the quarter at 2640, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) closed at 7063 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the first quarter of the year at 1529.

What was also obvious in Q1 was how volatility came back to life. For years the market was in a lullaby state melting up and setting record after record. Well the first quarter has swiftly reminded us on how markets can and should behave. Investors that placed money into mutual funds or passive funds over the past several years made out like a bandit with not a worry in the world. Abnormal stock market gains were in vogue especially after the election. Now with rising interest rates, the Federal Reserve reducing its debt load and the daily drama out of Washington DC, I think it is safe to say the melt up mode and daily records being set are in the rear view mirror. That said, market corrections are very normal and healthy and so is volatility at least for traders that is ๐Ÿ™‚

Looking ahead and with earnings reporting season right around the corner, let’s see how corporate America fared in the first quarter of the year. This could be the catalyst that calms things down a bit but in the same breath should there be any slippage in earnings growth, we could be in for more even more volatility. Good luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

~George

Nasdaq - george mahfouz jr