Fear Of A Global Pandemic Grips Markets!

Stocks went into a tailspin as fear of a global pandemic grips the markets! New outbreak clusters of the highly contagious coronavirus are beginning to surface which is pressuring leaders from around the world to act and act more aggressively. Stocks have also entered correction territory as companies and analysts begin to ratchet down their revenue and earning forecasts. Over the past week or so the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) has lost over 10% in the past week alone, the S&P 500 (see chart here) has also entered into correction mode, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) has been hit hard and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is also witnessing a sharp sell-off.

Personally I believe a correction was needed because of how robotic the markets have acted. Stocks no matter what risks were out there behaved in a way never before seen. We have been in the strongest bull market ever and nothing over the past 12 years could slow this bull market down. Now I am not happy that it is a global health risk that’s the catalyst to put stocks in correction mode, but nonetheless this is where we find ourselves. Of course when fear is rampant in any market this is where opportunity can be found. I am not suggesting to jump in here because as we all know fear and/or greed can be excessive and markets tend to over do it when emotions take the lead over rational thinking. So when we get overextended to the upside or downside the first thing I look at is how the technicals look during extreme market moves.

When I now look at the technical shape of the markets at least at it pertains to the moving averages things do not look so good. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here), the S&P 500 (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart here) have all breached their 20-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages which are all seen as major support zones especially the 200-day. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is the only major index that has yet to close below its 200-day. That said, all of the aforementioned indexes are oversold according to the relative strength index (RSI) which when we see the 20 value level hit on any stock or index, snap back rallies can and do occur. This type of market is great for traders if you are experienced enough to trade off of technicals, however for investors that have a long term view these type of market environments requires a lot of patience and keeping the emotions at bay. Let’s all hope that the spread of the coronavirus abates and that a vaccine becomes available as quickly as possible.

Good luck to all ūüôā

~ George

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 ūüôā

~George

S&P 500 - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

If 2014 comes anywhere near the performance the overall markets experienced last year, once again the bulls will be popping champagne. For the year 2013, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up a breathtaking 26.5%, the Nasdaq¬†(chart)¬†finished the year up a staggering 38%, the S&P 500 (chart) booked a spectacular gain of almost 30% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) soared 37%. I think it’s safe to say that an exact repeat of 2013’s performance is highly unlikely, but there is seemingly no reason to believe that this momentum won’t continue into the new year. Even the key indices in Europe had very impressive double digit gains in 2013 with the German DAX index leading the way surging 26% on the year.

With that said, the first thing that pops out to me is that the aforementioned key indices are all now near or completely in overbought territory according to the Relative Strength Index (RSI) technical indicator. We have been monitoring these indexes since October of 2013 to see when they may go into extreme overbought conditions and with the powerful year end close, we now have 3 of the 4 key indexes officially in overbought territory with the Russell 2000 (chart) only a few value points to go. So what does this all mean for the investor or even more so, to the trader? By now all of you know that I personally view the RSI as a reliable technical indicator distinguishing whether an index or stock for that matter is overbought or oversold. In fact, certain computer algorithmic trading models are designed to act whenever extreme conditions occur in a given market or stock. Let’s recap the definition of the Relative Strength Index or the RSI. In the most simplest terms, the¬†RSI¬†is designed to demonstrate whether or not an index or equity is overbought or oversold, depending on certain value levels. According to the¬†RSI¬†principle, the 70 value level or greater, is an overbought condition and the 30 value and below is an oversold condition. And as mentioned the majority of the key indices along with dozens of stocks are now in overbought territory. This doesn’t mean that we will all of a sudden see a dramatic turn in the opposite direction, however, typically when stocks or indexes are in overbought or oversold conditions such as they are now, at some point in time, a change of direction ensues.

The wild card that will most certainly continue to play out is of course the Federal Reserve and what course of action they will take and uphold in 2014. Especially now that the Fed has started to reduce its asset purchases. We all know that the accommodative policies of the Fed over the past few years has placed a floor under these markets and whenever any attempt of a pullback or mini-correction has occurred, that condition has been met with unprecedented support, hence new market highs followed. I would expect as long as the Fed continues to support the bond and mortgage backed securities markets, even at a reduced rate, whatever pullbacks or retracements that do occur, buyers will be anxiously awaiting to add to their positions or open new ones.

I do expect a healthy 5%, 10% or even 15% correction in 2014 and if you have the gumption to go short, this could serve you well. Of course no one knows if or when this correction may take place, however, as highlighted, we are now in overbought territory which could be one of the catalysts to prompt a pullback or even a subtle correction. Should we get this healthy correction, we will be looking into the financial and technology sectors to identify opportunities to capitalize on. Please note this is not a recommendation to go short or long any asset or index, and it is prudent to consult with a certified financial planner(s) before making any investment decisions.

Good luck to all and both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe, prosperous and Happy New Year ūüôā

~George

Dow 16000+, Nasdaq 4000+, S&P 500 1800+, Russell 2000 1100+! Records Continue to Shatter!!

As we are now in the final month of the trading year, some of the top key indices ¬†continue to set records. For the month on November, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 3.48% closing at 16086.41, the tech-heavy Nasdaq (chart)¬† was up 3.57% closing the month at a 13 year high of 4059.88, the S&P 500 (chart) advanced¬†2.8% in November closing at a record high of 1805.18 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the month of November up 3.88% at 1142.89, yet another record. I think one of the reasons why the markets continue to lift into year-end is that most pundits do not believe that they can. There is not a day that goes by where “bubble” is not one of the top headlines in print, online or on the tube. That said, in my last blog I¬†highlighted the current technicals of the top key indexes and in particular the Relative Strength Index (RSI) technical indicator. Well in the last two weeks or so both the Dow (chart) and the Nasdaq (chart) have now breached the 70 value level with the S&P 500 (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) not too far behind. The 70 value level according to one of the RSI principles is an overbought condition. If you go back historically and analyze what typically happens when an index or equity for that matter enters into an overbought condition, the majority of the time a “reversion to the mean occurs. Now this is not to say that overbought conditions in an index or stock instantly changes course, however, typically¬†at some point in time a¬†reversion does indeed occur. Now with that said, I have seen indexes and stocks remain overbought for weeks and months at a time before a natural reversion occurs, but it’s something to keep an eye on especially if you have long term gains in your portfolio or if you are a trader and have the gumption to consider a short strategy¬†in this parabolic market.

As this broad rally continues and as we are now in overbought conditions in certain key indexes, one has to wonder what will it take for a “reversion to the mean?” to occur? At this point in time in the calendar year, I am not sure? With only one month left to go in 2013 and with third quarter earnings reporting season behind us, a Federal Reserve that continues to be extremely dovish and fund managers year-end window dressing upon us, whatever pullback (if any) that may occur between now and year-end should be met with anxious support. I just do not see any type of a imminent catalyst that would jar these markets significantly, unless some unforeseen macro/geopolitical event happens, which of course is always a possibility. Should an unexpected negative geopolitical event occur, this in my opinion would be one of the only conditions between now and year end that could create a “reversion to the mean” type scenario that most bears have been waiting on.

Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Let’s talk technicals…

As certain stocks and markets continue to unexpectedly plow to new 52 week highs, I think it’s time to look at the technical aspect of the indexes. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 0.51%, the Nasdaq (chart) +1.84%, the S&P 500 (chart) +0.87% and the Russell 2000 (chart) +2.29%. I do not remember a time when equities have behaved this well in the month of August, albeit on very low volume.

Now to the technicals. I typically refer to two of the more popular technical indicators that certain market technicians, program trading models and even institutional investors utilize, and they are, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and the Moving Averages technical indicators. The RSI is designed to demonstrate whether or not an index or equity is overbought or oversold, depending on certain value levels. According to the RSI principle, the 70 value level or greater, is an overbought condition and the 30 value and below is an oversold condition. Pertaining to the moving averages, the 50-day and the more closely monitored 200-day moving average, are the key markers that market technicians and program trading models look for and potentially act on.

In looking at the four major averages, they are all currently trading considerably above their respective 50-day and 200-day moving averages. However, both the Nasdaq (chart) and the S&P 500 (chart) is on the cusp of breaking through the 70 value level on the RSI. Furthermore, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) are not too far behind trading around the 65 value level. This is an indication that the markets are potentially becoming overbought and are due for some type of pullback. Please keep in mind that stocks can remain overbought or oversold for extended periods of time. That said, when the RSI on a given equity or index begins to trade at or above this key level, a reversal of some sort typically occurs. Now there are many other factors and technical indicators to refer to when analyzing market conditions, but my preference is to keep it simple when looking at the technicals, and the RSI and moving averages indicators do it for me. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend ūüôā

~George