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

 

 

One Hot June!

One hot June indeed and I do not mean the weather folks! Stocks and commodities went on a tear in the month of June logging the best June in decades for some of the indexes and other asset classes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) soared over seven percent last month. The S&P 500 (see chart below) hit an all time high in the month of June while both the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) notched impressive gains as well. What’s more is both oil and gold surged right along side of the key indexes.

So why the rally? I think the answer is simply an easier monetary posture by the Federal Reserve. It is no secret that inflation is well in check and it is also becoming apparent that the U.S. job market is cooling off. Another factor for the Fed to consider is what impact would a full blown trade war with China do to the U.S. economy? This is why in my opinion we are seeing a continuing upward trend in our markets and that is a dovish Fed is usually very good for stocks. One other factor that will certainly weigh in is the upcoming earnings reporting season. Now that the second quarter of the year is in the books we will see how well corporate America did in Q2 as earnings reporting season gets underway this month. I will continue to look to monitor how “top-line” growth is faring.

Let’s take a quick look at the technical shape of the key indexes. After surging over 7% in June, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) remains clearly above its 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages as does the S&P 500 (see chart here). The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is in a healthy technical condition and last but not least, the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) has broken above its key moving averages. This is a very good sign for stocks and furthermore none of indices are in overbought territory according to the principles of the RSI also known as the relative strength index.

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and Happy 4th of July holiday 🙂

~George

S&P 500 - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

 

 

Record Setting Week!

A three-week stock market winning streak has propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the S&P 500 (chart) to close at record highs. In one of the most dramatic turn of events from the shocking Brexit vote to today, these key indices were breaking records all week long. The Nasdaq (see chart below) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) also posted a strong week of gains.

I stand corrected! In my previous blog I referred to the fact that the S&P 500 (chart) had been stuck in a trading range and that upcoming earnings reporting season should act as the catalyst to break stocks out of this range. Furthermore, my view was that corporate earnings most likely would underperform hence a breakdown out of this trading would be more probable. Well here we are today at record highs and we haven’t even gotten into the bulk of earnings reporting season. The largest U.S. bank J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) did however report their results this past week posting a profit of $6.2B. J.P. Morgan’s results came in stronger than expected which also helped fuel this week’s rally, especially in the banking sector.

As much as we were oversold leading up to and just after the Brexit vote, the markets now find themselves approaching overbought territory. Now the question becomes what to do next? As mentioned above, we are full steam ahead into the bulk of earnings reporting season which can come with plenty of surprises. From a technical standpoint I find it hard to commit any new capital into a market at record highs and do so with most of corporate America yet to report their results. I will be paying attention to the top-line growth of companies to get more of an accurate read how their business is fairing compared to their bottom line which can be adjusted in many ways that may not tell the whole story. My concern now is how can record highs continue if top-line growth is not there in a meaningful way? Let’s look to next week to see if the record setting trend continues, or a pause and reversal comes forward.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

George Mahfouz Jr. Russell 2000 chart

george mahfouz jr Nasdaq chart

Staying True To Form…

In late September stocks appeared to be heading to new 52 week and multi-year lows. But as this market has demonstrated its resilience during this six year bull run, the four major averages found support near its previous lows in late August and have bounced nearly 10%. This most recent market action have yet again muzzled the bear pundits and revived the bulls hopes for a possible year-end rally. For the week the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed modestly higher up 131.48 points, the Nasdaq (chart) had a weekly gain of 56.22 points, the S&P 500 (chart) finished up 18.22 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) bucked the uptrend falling slightly by 3.05 points.

So could there be a year-end rally in the cards? I think the answer to that question will come forward as we are now kicking into high gear with Q3 earnings reporting season. Already this past week we heard from the likes of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and international conglomerate General Electric (NYSE: GE) who all provided results investors could cheer about. Each one of these companies notched impressive gains on the week not only helping the key indices, but also instilling confidence with investors. However, and as we all know, earnings reporting season can be volatile and we are at just at the starting gate.

Next week we will get quarterly results from technology giant Broadcom (NasdaqGS:BRCM), oil and gas equipment services behemoth Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO), biotech giant Biogen (NasdaqGS: BIIB), Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), General Motors (NYSE: GM), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), Amazon.com Inc. (NasdaqGS: AMZN), E*Trade Financial Corp. (NasdaqGS: ETFC), basic materials giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) and American Airlines Group Inc. (NasdaqGS: AAL) just to name a few.

These are only a handful of companies scheduled to report next week with hundreds more to follow in the coming weeks. That said, both Paula and I will continue to remain patient and wait until after earnings reporting season before we consider any new market strategies.

Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Back To Setting Records!

After a tumultuous and volatile month, stocks are back to their old habits. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the S&P (chart) 500 both closed at record highs. The month of October also saw the Nasdaq (chart) finish up over 3% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the month out up an eye-popping 6.5%. So as far as the long awaited correction goes, lets take a look. The Dow (chart) from it’s previous all-time high corrected 8.61%, while the S&P 500 (chart) retraced 9.83% by mid-October. Not quite the text book healthy 10% correction most investors were looking for, but close enough. The question I have is, will this snap-back rally to new all-time highs hold? Earnings for the most part have been coming in pretty good, however I have not seen the robust top-line growth you would expect in order to keep setting new records. Nonetheless, easy global monetary policies continue to keep not only a floor under these markets, but provide enough juice to lift the markets to new highs. Just yesterday the Bank of Japan unexpectedly raised its bond buying program from JPY 70 trillion to 80 trillion and it also tripled its ETF buying to JPY 3 trillion. So as long as the federal reserves from around the world continue to increase their balance sheets, the bulls should have the upper hand.

The concern I have with the most recent market correction is that it didn’t last very long. It’s true that over the past five years most modest pullbacks immediately snapped back, just like this latest quasi-correction did. Personally, I would of liked the correction to last a little longer and go a little deeper for it feel like a meaningful correction. Because of the markets most recent snap back rally, all of the major averages are now fast approaching overbought conditions according the the Relative Strength Index (RSI). I truly think early next week will be the tell. If we continue to lift, then we will certainly breach the 70 value level of the RSI and enter into overbought territory and possibly remain overbought for the rest of the year. However, if the rally stalls, we could easily reverse and then who knows? Add the wildcard of mid-term elections this upcoming week into the mix, and most likely volatility comes back into the forefront. For me I am going to the sidelines until after the mid-term elections are over, and also to see if we stall here at record levels. Good luck to all and have a great weekend 🙂

~George

 

No deal, no problem?

Despite Washington’s inability to come to terms yet on the fiscal cliff, stocks continue to march higher this week. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 59.75 points and is up around 1.5% so far this week, the S&P 500 (chart) finished the day up 7.88 points, the Nasdaq (chart) +6.03 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed up 4.60 points.

With only six trading days left in the year, maybe all we need is the proverbial “Santa Clause” rally to close the year out on a high note. Hopefully, Washington can help Santa out and get some sort of deal done before year end, if not, the markets could be in for some rough sledding.

Have a safe and happy holiday season 🙂

~George