$7.4 Billion In One Day!

The consumer is alive and well which is evidenced by a record $7.4 billion in online sales in one day. Black Friday set a United States record for online sales and between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday over $11 billion in online sales rang the register. Well it’s not that hard to believe when all that the stock market has done this year is set record after record. As we enter the last month of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is trading above 28000, the S&P 500 (see chart here) starts December near an all-time high, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below) is also near an all-time high and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) also has hit its stride breaking out above a triple top that has formed over the past few months.

I have been writing my blog for almost 10 years and I thought years one through five of the recovery from the depths of the 2008 financial crises was impressive. What’s even more impressive to me is that over the past year or so we keep setting record after record despite having one of the most unstable governments in our history. Who would have thought that with a pending impeachment, a trade war with China and tape bomb after tape bomb hitting the tape we would still be at or near record highs? Simply incredible! With that said, the Federal Reserve has done its part this year by reducing interest rates which is probably one of the main reasons the markets still remain at or near record highs.

The technical shape of the stock market appears to still be intact. Despite reaching overbought conditions last week, Friday’s pullback brought the RSI level of the aforementioned indexes back below the 70-value level. The relative strength index is a technical indicator that expresses overbought and/or oversold conditions. The 70-value level of the RSI is considered overbought while the 30-value level is considered oversold. The major indexes all traded above the 70-value level until the most recent pullback. Even if we see a meaningful pullback here in December, there are plenty of support levels that will come into play with the 20-day, 50-day, 100 and 200 day moving averages which are all below where we are trading at today and historically acts as support in sell-offs.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

$7.4 Billion In One Day! - Paula Mahfouz

An Absolutely Incredible Stock Market!

It is absolutely incredible that this stock market is weathering the threat of impeachment! We have witnessed the strongest bull market in history! Not even the threat of impeachment can rattle this market. I do not want to get too political here but if half of this is true the markets just don’t care. Then throw into the mix the constant flip flopping that is going on with the China trade war and we are still near all-time highs? This makes me believe more now than ever that passive investing has almost got a total grip on stocks. Seemingly NOTHING can shake these markets. It’s almost like close your eyes and hang on for the ride. This worries me a bit. Why? Well for starters stocks used to be valued by their proprietary nature, growth potential, earnings power and ultimate dividend yields. We have witnessed a melt up in the stock market for more than a decade despite the shocks that have come and gone. What’s more is the geopolitical risks that are here and present and now our own President is going through an impeachment process and we still are near all time highs? Simply an absolutely incredible stock market we find ourselves in!

Well there is an old saying on Wall Street and that is the “trend is your friend!” My friends there is no denying this over the past decade. Let’s also keep in mind that the market is a lot smarter than we think. Meaning, there is no panic with this latest tape bomb of impeachment. Well one can say there is no way this President will get impeached because the Senate will not roll over. This very well may be the case. One thing we can do is pay attention to how corporate America continues to perform or not perform. At some point in time one would think that valuations will matter and that the markets will begin to pay attention to the normal risks that are inherent with any market.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

 

 

Is More Volatility Ahead?

The month of August proved to be one of the more volatile months so far this year. The question now is will this volatility continue here in September? As long as the turbulent tweets continue out of Washington, I bet the vol we witnessed in August will indeed continue this month. Markets hate uncertainty and as long as our President continues to flip flop seemingly daily and then tweet about it, we could very well be in for more vol. It’s not rocket science, when the tweets are positive and have consistency, stocks go green. Then when the flip flopping occurs they go red. It is amazing to me how stocks react to every single tweet or flip out of Washington. Sure there are algorithms that are programmed to react to headlines, but because of the constant noise out of Washington it’s no wonder we have been whipsawing around.

I always try to tune out the noise and focus on the fundamentals and technical shape of the markets. Let’s take a look at the current price to earnings ratio (click here) of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 (see chart here) price to earnings ratio continues to trade above historic norms. Despite all of the current uncertainties especially with the trade war, stocks on average are still trading above the 20 PE ratio level. The historic price to earnings average for the S&P 500 is somewhere in the mid-teens. So from a fundamental valuation standpoint the markets remain at the upper end of the channel. There are many other valuation metrics and government policies that play into the valuation analysis mix, but purely from a price to earnings ratio, one can ascertain that we remain a bit overpriced.

That said, companies can certainly grow into their current valuations but we definitely need to get the trade war with China resolved so that companies know where they stand. Both Paula and I wish everyone a very happy and safe Labor Day weekend πŸ™‚

~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 πŸ™‚

~George

Russell 2000 - George Mahfouz Jr

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 πŸ™‚

~George

Dow Jones Industrial Average - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

 

 

Finally A Market Selloff!

In my last blog, I eluded to a market selloff that just did not happen and I was referring to how stocks typically behave in the August and September. Instead of markets selling off at the end of summer, stocks were setting records. Well the bears got what they had been anticipating over the summer and that is an eye-popping market drop last week. Over the course of two days the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) fell over 1300 points. Of course the S&P 500 (chart), the Nasdaq Composite (chart) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) all fell in harmony as well. What’s more these bellwether indexes all breached their 200-day moving averages for the first time in months with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) recapturing and closing above its 200-day on Friday, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) just closed shy of its 200-day, the S&P 500 (chart) literally closed right at its 200-day however, the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed out last week meaningfully below its 200-day moving average looking to find some sort of support. The 200-day moving average is widely regarding by market technicians and institutional investors as a key metric of support and or resistance.

What does all this mean? First, a market that constantly goes up with no retracement to speak of can never be healthy long term. There must be backing and filling along the way so that the risk of a sudden and potentially drastic drop doesn’t occur as what we witnessed last week. I mean c’mon going up in the way that we have over the past decade is not only unheard of but the risk that can come forward from this can spark a nasty correction. I am not suggesting that this will be the case but for the first time since earlier in the year, investors and traders felt the selloff last week.

Earnings reporting season kicks in this week with hundreds of companies set to report. Let’s see if corporate earnings can buoy the market here during this long anticipated selloff. Good luck to all πŸ™‚

George

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 πŸ™‚

~George

S&P 500 - George Mahfouz Jr

 

 

 

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 πŸ™‚

~George

VIX - George Mahfouz Jr.

Trade War Back On!

Here we go again, the trade war is back on! Donald Trump yesterday once again fired up the trade war this time including the EU, Mexico and Canada. How is an investor supposed to confidently invest when the message and policies of our government change almost daily. Stocks all week have been whipsawed around which is great for the trader, but no so much for the investor. Now we have countries from around the world retaliating with their own tariffs on our goods. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished the week at 24635, the S&P 500 (chart) closed the week out at 2734, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) closed at 7554 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) showing its incredible resilience finishing the week out near an all-time high.

The chop action that we are seeing in the markets along with the unpredictably of our government gives me more reason now to focus in on the technical trading patterns of stocks and indices. Whether it is support or resistance levels vis Γ  vis moving averages (click here) i.e. the 20-day, 50-day, 100-day, 200-day or outright overbought or oversold conditions using the Relative Strength Index (click here) or the Bollinger Bands (click here) which can also provide a technical look into extreme conditions. With Q1 earnings reporting season essentially wrapped up, there is no real apparent catalyst to move the markets in a meaningful way. Which is why I will be paying much closer attention to the technical make up of the markets to identify opportunities.

One of my favorites are the moving averages (click here) especially the 200-day moving average. For example, just take a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the S&P 500 (chart). You’ll see over the past few months each time these indexes gravitated to their respective 200-day MA, they found support and proceeded higher. There is no guarantee that moving averages will always hold and provide support, but in many instances it indeed acts as a short term floor to selling pressure. There are many resources on how technical analysis can work and I would recommend studying the dynamics of TA before including it in your investment or trading strategies. Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

Tis The Season…

As the holiday season fast approaches stocks have a lot to be jolly for. Despite the recent pop in volatility, the major averages continue to enjoy their record setting ways. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed the week at 23,258, the S&P 500 (chart) finished the week at 2,579, the tech focused Nasdaq composite (chart) closed at 6,783 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) ended the week at 1,493 while recapturing its 50-day moving average.

Next week is a shortened trading week due to Thanksgiving. Historically the Thanksgiving holiday week tends to be a bullish week for equities with 75 percent of the time the markets finish higher. Add the seasonality factor into the mix and things look pretty good between now and year end. This doesn’t mean that things won’t be choppy along the way especially as the yield curve has many investors paying closer attention to it. Interest rate chatter is seemingly picking up lately despite the Federal Reserve being candid about their position and intentions. This will become further apparent when Fed chair Yellen speaks next week along with the release of the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting. All in all it appears that the status quo should be in place between now and year and if this is the case, new market highs should be set.

Earlier I spoke to how the small-cap Russell 2000 ( see chart below) has recaptured its 50-day moving average. This is important from the standpoint that investors and traders alike look to the Russell as a key indicator to the overall health of the broader markets. Recently the Russell has been showing some cracks in its trading patterns including noticeably breaking its 50-day only to recapture it and hold above it a few days later. If you are long this market, this is a bullish sign. That said, I do expect volatility to be present between now and year with the potential of making new highs along the way.

Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving πŸ™‚

~George

Russell 2000 Paula Mahfouz