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

As Expected, The Fed Raises Rates…

To no surprise, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 1/4 point today citing stronger economic growth and a pick-up in inflation. A stronger job market also played a role in the decision of the Fed. What wasn’t quite expected was the language of an additional anticipated rate hike from the projected two hikes in 2017 to now three. This might of caused the slight sell-off yesterday in the markets with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) falling 118.68 points, the S&P 500 (chart) was lower 18.44 points, the Nasdaq (chart) fell 27.15 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) retraced by 17.51 points.

With all things considered, this pullback was long overdue. In fact, I am surprised that the markets held up like they did yesterday. Especially considering the rip roaring rally most equities have enjoyed since the presidential election. Markets have been on fire with the Dow Jones Industrials (chart) gaining almost 1,600 points, the S&P 500 (chart) ripping 125 points, the Nasdaq (chart) catapulting about 300 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) up a staggering 170 points. What a breathtaking rally in such a short period of time.

So what can we expect between now and year end? Let’s think about this for a minute. If you are an institutional investor, fund manager, hedge fund or the like would you be taking profits into year end? Or would you wait until we get into the new year knowing that capital gains taxes and corporate taxes are coming down? I think it is fair to say the latter would make the most sense. Add into the mix the rotation that continues out of the bond market and into equities in which certain pundits believe we are in the fourth or fifth inning of that rotation, one has to ascertain that this bull market has more room to run.

Whatever the case I think pullbacks will be bought as momentum continues into year-end. Paula and I wish everyone the happiest and healthiest holiday season 🙂

~George

The Trump Rally Continues…

Caught off guard! I think this phrase wraps it up. After Donald Trump won the presidential election both voters and markets were caught off guard. The polls all but had Hillary as a shoe in for the oval office. Instead the exact opposite occurred not only with the election but how wrong the markets had it if Donald Trump pulled it off. Not only did the markets not crater, (although last Tuesday evening when the voting results were coming in the futures were tanking) stocks are back to setting records. Since the election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) hit an all-time high of 18,934, the S&P 500 (chart) is within striking distance of its all-time high, the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) also hit an all-time high, however, the tech focused Nasdaq (chart) is lagging a bit due to the uncertainty of the new Trump administration policies on trade and how this could affect the technology space.

It has been quite a while since the markets have responded in such a bullish manner. Today marks the 7 straight day of gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) led by industrials and banks. The banking index has exploded due to the hope that the Trump administration will relax or reverse the Dodd-Frank act which places overbearing regulations on the financial industry as a whole. Check out one of the most widely held bank exchange traded funds Symbol: XLF (chart). This ETF has moved up over 10% in the past week alone, simply unheard of. Other benefactors to the Trump presidency is anything and everything in infrastructure and materials. Trump pledges to spend over $1 trillion dollars rebuilding America’s infrastructure to include highways, roads, bridges, airports etc. It’s no wonder the markets are setting records once again.

Now what? Without question Trump winning the election is seemingly good the for the economy and so far for the stock market. However, as with any rally or sell-off for that matter, “reversion to the mean” typically occurs. I would be very careful chasing this rally or deploying any new capital. My preference is to wait until the inevitable pullbacks occur and look at the aforementioned sectors to consider any new positions. Of course it is always prudent to consult with a certified financial planner(s) before making any investment decisions. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Uncertain Times And Near Record Highs!

Despite the uncertain times we find ourselves in vis-à-vis the upcoming presidential election, the Deutsche Bank balance sheet and liquidity concerns and the upcoming third quarter reporting season, stocks continue to defy the odds and remain within striking distance of all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed the third quarter at 18308, the tech-focused Nasdaq (see chart below) closed at 5312, the broad based S&P 500 (chart) finished the quarter at 2168 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed at 1251.

I am truly amazed how strong the markets have been all things considered. We did see volatility spike in September which was no surprise. However, what was surprising is how short lived it was especially with how much concern and risk there is out of Europe and in particular Deutsche Bank. A couple of weeks ago the U.S. Department of Justice announced they were seeking a $14 billion dollar fine to settle Deutsche Bank’s mortgage lending activities during the 2008 housing crisis. Shares of Deutsche Bank stock plummeted on the news and raised concerns about the solvency of the bank. Stocks did react to the news but have seemingly shrugged off this potential risk to the markets. Furthermore, stocks so far have also shrugged off the uncertainty due to the upcoming presidential election. Monday’s presidential debate sparked controversy as to who won it, but it is clear that the markets saw that Hillary Clinton won the first round.

As we now enter the month of October, without question the headlines and chatter will only increase as we get closer to election day which is November 8th. I am expecting volatility to not only increase but to last longer than usual due to the amount of news flow that is forthcoming which includes the launch third quarter earnings reporting season. What I do in this type of market environment is tune out the noise and stay focused on the fundamentals and technicals of select stocks and indexes. I seek out and identify market dislocations including overbought and oversold conditions. My assumption is that as we get in the thick of third quarter earnings reporting season, overbought and for that matter oversold opportunities will present themselves. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

 

nasdaq chart george mahfouz jr

All Eyes On Jobs Report…

The chatter has increased lately as to when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates from their historic lows. We may not need to wait much longer to get that answer. Although it is a holiday weekend, the August jobs report will be released tomorrow and the pundits are suggesting that if the economy added more than 200,000 jobs in August, the Federal Reserve will raise rates this month. From my view a quarter point rate hike here in September is no big deal. I think the markets will have a muted reaction. However, if this is the beginning of a consistent pattern then this becomes an entirely different discussion. I do not expect that the Fed will be too aggressive with future rate hikes and of course the economic data will play a role in those decisions.

So what about the markets? We are coming into a seasonality that is typically a weaker time for stocks. What’s more, the markets will also begin to focus on the presidential election and the polls associated with it. That said, I expect an increase in volatility as we head into the fall. There are other catalysts that could weigh in on stocks such as potential changes in global monetary policies and Q3 earnings reporting season in October. The key indices continue to demonstrate strength with the S&P 500 (see chart below) being supported by its 50-day moving average click here, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) is within a couple percentage points of its all-time highs, and both the Nasdaq (chart, click here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart, click here) are trading right around their 20-day moving averages. So as of yet, stocks do not appear to be too concerned with the upcoming market seasonality and other potential catalysts that could play a role in interrupting the uptrend we have been in.

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy Labor Day weekend 🙂

~George

S&P chart george mahfouz jr

dow jones chart george mahfouz jr