Does It Feel A Bit Bubbly?

Do the markets feel a bit bubbly to you? This question is beginning to surface more frequently lately and I think it’s a great question to be asking. The majority of asset classes seemingly have gone straight up without pause over the past several months. Whether it’s the stock market as a whole, the crypto space or one of the hottest trends lately are SPAC’s. What is a SPAC? A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition vehicle that is publicly traded but has no assets other than cash. These vehicles are specifically designed to form as a public company, raise capital and then seek out companies to acquire. For example the electric vehicle space has been one of the favorite sectors for SPAC’s to target over the past year. This is a much easier pathway for private companies to go public without having to go through the time and expense of a traditional IPO.

One of the problems that is happening with the SPAC trade is once they identify a target and move to acquire it, the valuations of these SPAC’s begin to rise steadily into the nosebleed section of the markets. So much speculation is occurring with these SPAC’s institutional and retail investors are willing to pay essentially any price to get on board. Let’s not forget about the day traders that add fuel to the rise in these SPAC’s. So between all of the above and now with interest rates starting to tick up, it’s now wonder we have witnessed over a 1000 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) to close out last week. Now let’s look at the technical shape of the major averages.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below), the S&P 500 (see chart here), the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) over the past few trading sessions have all dropped below their respective 20-day moving averages and are finding support at their 50-day. Let’s see if these key indices can hold their 50-day moving average support zone this week. If they can the uptrend could very well remain intact, if not, we could see late last weeks selling pressure continue.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

Does It Feel Bubbly? - Paula Mahfouz

2021 Is Here…

2021 is here and it could not of come fast enough. Happy New Year and I think we can all use a fresh start! The year 2020 was one of the most challenging years our country and the world has faced. One of the only exceptions that did not face many challenges is the stock market. Despite the global pandemic we remain in and the non-stop chaos out of Washington DC, the major averages set record highs throughout the year. Who would of thought that stocks and market speculation would be at such a fever pitch considering the backdrop of 2020. During this latest bull market surge one thing that stands out to me is how margin debt has hit all time highs. Investors have borrowed over $700 billion dollars against their portfolios which is also a new record. This is somewhat alarming because when the market experiences a correction, margin debt can accelerate any meaningful selloff. Some investors could be forced to sell if their margin debt becomes disproportionate to their overall account value. That said, when record highs continue to be set the risk of margin debt tends to be overlooked.

Speaking of record highs, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) set new records on the last trading day of the year. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the Russell 2000 (see chart below) also set records earlier in the week. Although stocks and indexes feel overbought, we are not seeing extreme overbought conditions according the the relative strength index also know as the RSI. There is also support in place at the 20-day, 50-day, 100 and 200-day moving averages. So technically speaking the key indices appear to be in good shape. This set-up bodes well for the continuation of the market rally that we are in.

Of course there are risks out there that could temper the record setting enthusiasm. One risk in particular is the upcoming runoff election in Georgia next week. If the democrats take control of the Senate, this could be viewed as a negative for stocks. The markets historically have liked when there is a split majority between the House and Senate. Pundits argue that a Democratic President and a Democrat controlled Congress could affect income and capital gains taxes that would negatively impact stocks. I am not sure if this will play out but nonetheless as we continue down this bull market path we should not be lullabied to sleep with the risks out there. Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

2021 Is Here - Paula Mahfouz

Stocks Have Gone Wild!

Stocks have gone wild since the election with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) breaking the 30000 level for the first time ever last week! This morning the S&P 500 (see chart here) hit its all time high trading above 3660. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) is also trading at its all time high and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) has also recently hit an all time high.

So why all of this love for stocks while we are in such a tumultuous time? I think it is safe to say that the Federal Reserve continues to play a major role in this never ending rally. Essentially zero percent interest rates, massive stimulus packages along with asset purchases remains the top catalysts for these record setting ways. The ironic part of disasters and catastrophes is the willingness and capabilities of central banks to step in to offset the negative economic impact of such catastrophes. COVID-19 has shocked the world and has lead to widespread unemployment, while devastating businesses and industries alike. Never before have we seen such widespread effects on life as we know it. The good news now is there is light at the end of the tunnel. The recent news on the advancements with vaccines and their effectiveness is very encouraging. Some pundits are now saying we could be at herd immunity by the summer of 2021. Let’s hope this is the case.

Now this is where things can get tricky for the markets. As the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, what happens when the Federal Reserve begins to change its stance on accommodative policies? The Fed backstop will not last forever. The risk here is that when the Federal Reserve signals a change in direction, it is then that the markets will become more tethered to actual corporate earnings power. So if you stay long this market or if you are adding on new positions, it would be a good idea to make sure you are invested in companies and sectors that have earnings power and continuing growth prospects.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

Stimulus Package Chatter Buoys Markets…

Yesterday, the lastest round of stimulus package chatter came out of Washington which helped buoy our markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) closed the month of September out at 27781, the S&P 500 (see chart here) finished the month at 3363, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below) closed at 11167 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) finished at 1507. Although stocks had a strong close to end September, the month of September was a net negative for the markets. No question the uptick in COVID both here and abroad has put some pause to this bull market rally. Quite honestly, I think stocks have held up pretty well despite the ongoing pandemic and the constant tape bombs coming out of Washington.

Fast forward to today and we are now a month away from our Presidential election. I have got to believe that we are heading into more volatility than what we experienced in September. I think whoever watched the first Presidential debate would agree. In addition to the upcoming election, we are also heading right into Q3 earnings reporting season. Corporate America will be releasing their third quarter financial results over the next 45 days or so and that alone can create higher volatility. I am not sure what to expect when companies report their numbers and even more so how companies provide their forward looking guidance on their conference calls. Whatever the case is, I think it’s fair to say we will not be trading sideways here in the month of October.

Let’s take a gander at the technical shape of the aforementioned indexes. What has impressed me lately is how the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) found support near its 200-day moving average and more recently its 50-day moving average. The same can be said for the other major averages in how they too have found support at their respective moving averages. What’s more is these key indices are no where near overbought territory according to the relative strength index aka the RSI. So from a technical analysis standpoint, the markets look to be on solid footing.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

Stimulus Package Chatter Buoy Markets - Paula Mahfouz

A Week To Forget…

Certainly, a week to forget! Not since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis have we seen volatility so high (see chart here) as stocks and indexes react to the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) saw multi-thousand point swings. The S&P 500 (see chart here) was not spared from the highest volatility in a decade. The Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) both experienced eye-popping swings as well. However, on Friday the President declared a national emergency and he announced a $50B relief package to combat the coronavirus. Stocks took that cue and had one of their best day’s ever with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) soaring almost 2000 points, the S&P 500 (chart), the Nasdaq Composite (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) all gaining almost 10% on the day.

Now we find ourselves in a highly volatile environment that in my opinion won’t abate until more metrics come forward pertaining to the spread here in the U.S. and the plans to contain it. The administration took a huge step yesterday by declaring a national emergency and to promise the full resources of the government to combat and control this virus. Furthermore, the government is waiving interest rates on student loans and committed to buying oil from U.S. companies to “fill up our strategic reserves”. It’s no wonder stocks had one of their best days in history.

I always like to conclude my blogs with a take on the technical shape of the key indexes. Needless to say there was a lot of technical damage done last week pertaining to technical makeup over the markets and in particular the moving averages. All of the major indices broke their respective 20-day, 100 and 200-day moving averages. These are all significant support zones that have been broken through. The one bright spot in this dynamic is the selling was so severe that after the dust settles strong rallies can and do typically occur as we witnessed on Friday. We are also now way below the key moving averages that often times the markets go back to retest those averages. If this does occur the set-up is very promising for bargain hunters. That said, I am not suggesting that the markets will rip roar back anytime soon, but historically strong rallies do occur after panic selloffs.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

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 πŸ™‚

~ George

Coronavirus Hits Stocks!

The coronavirus hit stocks and major indexes this week as fear grips investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) fell over 600 points yesterday, the S&P 500 (see chart here) closed lower by 58 points, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) fell 148 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed yesterday down 34 points. Now if you have been following me for a while you know I am a big fan of pullbacks in the market. However, I don’t like seeing the cause of this latest sell-off. I would much rather prefer to see the market retrace in a healthy manner versus a health crisis.

Some of the fear the market is experiencing is warranted. Companies are suspending business to and with China which clearly will have an impact on their businesses.Β  For example airline stocks have taken it on the chin recently. Most major airlines have suspended service to China and in some instances for months. Entertainment companies such as Disney (DIS:NYSE), Carnival Cruises (CCL:NYSE) and Royal Caribbean (RCL:NYSE) are also feeling the pressure due to closures and suspension of services. These companies and companies alike are doing the responsible thing here until the World Health Organization establishes the proper plan to contain the spread of this fast moving virus.

To that end, yes the coronavirus is a global threat for now. Past viruses such as the coronavirus are serious health risks and this one is no different. However, for market participants past events like this have ended up being opportunities in the marketplace. Of course the highest priority here is to not only stop the spread of the virus, but to find a swift treatment for it. Until then I do expect continuing volatility in the markets.

In the short term my plan is to be patient and not to act in haste. Historically when situations like this occur and then move to a respite, markets begin to settle in. Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

It Just Keeps Rolling!

The stock market that is! Stocks just keep rolling along as we are now in the new trading year. The beginning of 2020 mirrors the record setting ways of 2019. The S&P 500 (see chart here) broke the 3,300 mark for the first time ever today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) is trading above 29,000, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below) appears to be on its way to 10,000 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) is approaching its all time record high.

As I have eluded to in my blog over the past years, this market tear is something no one has really witnessed. Actually all of this started since the crash of 2008. Who could of ever imagined back then that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would flirt with the 30,000 level? In fact, markets around the world were on the verge of collapse and banks were bracing for a bank run. My goodness how times have changed. This breath taking run started with the Federal Reserve dropping rates to record lows and buying up debt. To this day the Federal Reserve is still playing a critical role in this record setting stock market which is a big reason why the markets just keep rolling.

Now it is up to corporate America to show their chops. Earnings reporting season is kicking off and if the report cards are anything like what Morgan Stanley reported today, the bulls will continue to eat caviar. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) had revenues of over $10B exceeding all expectations. In fact, earnings reporting season is off to a strong start with the majority of companies who have reported so far have exceeded street estimates. Now in fairness earnings expectations have been ratcheted down by analysts but still it is undeniable that corporate earnings are still showing strength. This is just the beginning of reporting season so let’s see how the coming weeks look as we continue to set record highs. Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

It Just Keeps Rolling George Mahfouz

Happy New Year And New Decade!

Happy New Year and New Decade! However, I am not so sure investors want to say goodbye to 2019. What a year for stocks and the major averages. In 2019 the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) gained 22%, the S&P 500 (see chart here) soared almost 30% on the year, the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) was the best performing major average up 35% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) closed 2019 up almost 24%. This is the best annual performance for these key indexes in years. As far as the decade goes, the major averages also soared gaining almost 300%. Not a typo folks the markets almost tripled in value over the past decade.

So as we enter the new year the question now becomes what now? Well it is hard to imagine that we will see a similar result in 2020. Not that I am bearish at all but I do expect some higher than normal volatility throughout 2020. Geopolitic tensions have started to ramp up a bit and in Washington the focus and attention will be on the Senate impeachment trial. As much as the Republicans control the Senate, there is no guarantee that bombshells won’t come out of the trial. This especially rings true if the House Democrats gets witnesses to the stand. We cannot predict what may come out of this trial and I got to believe at times it won’t be pretty. Also, the month of January can be volatile just from the standpoint of how much the markets gained in 2019. I am pretty confident that we will see some institutional and other managed funds book gains here in January.

One other consideration is how the markets as a whole became overbought as 2019 came to an end. All of the aforementioned indexes went into overbought conditions in December according to the relative strength index (RSI). Although there was a brief retreat from the overbought 80 value levels of the RSI, we still remain near the upper end of the charts and I would not be surprised to see some selling pressure here in the month of January.

Good luck to all πŸ™‚

~George

$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