Record Highs Again!

Record highs were hit again this week as both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart here) and the S&P 500 (see chart here) continue to plow ahead. However, not the same can be said for the Nasdaq Composite (see chart here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here). Both of these indexes have lagged behind the Dow and S&P torrid pace.

As with technology and small-cap stocks, when interest rates begin to move up these sectors begin to take notice. The 10-year treasury yield is one of the go to benchmarks that professional money managers key in on. This week the 10-year yield touched a one year high of 1.77% (see chart here). It’s easy to look at that yield and think that this yield is not that high at all. However, when you realize that just last summer the yield on these bills were at 1/2 of 1 percent, the move up to 1.77% does stand out. This sharp move from off the lows of 2020 is what has caught the eye of professional money managers that value high growth companies. It is clear that a full rotation out of high multiple stocks has not occurred yet, but higher interest rates and the threat of the continuation of higher interest rates seem to be the reason why the Nasdaq Composite (see chart below) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart here) have lagged.

Now that the first quarter of 2021 has ended, Q1 earnings reporting season is on the horizon. I am not sure what to expect out of corporate America pertaining to top or bottom line growth. We find ourselves at what appears to be the start of coming out of the pandemic with some degree of normalcy. I would not be surprised if corporate America is bullish on their quarterly conference calls and speak directly to the early results of the vaccine deployment and the change that they are seeing in their customers behavior and spirits.

Good luck to all -)

~George

Record Highs Again! - Paula Mahfouz

 

 

 

 

 

Tech Stocks Hit The Brakes!

After going up in a straight line for months, the technology sector (see chart below) has reversed its upward course. After hitting an all-time high of 6341.70 on June 9th, the Nasdaq (chart) has given back 190 points or three percent while approaching its 50-day moving average. Nowadays it’s pretty rare to see a one percent pullback in tech stocks let alone a three percent retracement in a week. The media is now all over how tech stocks today are beginning to resemble the internet bubble. The difference between today and yesteryear is that the top five tech stocks – Amazon (NasdaqGC: AMZN), Apple (NasdaqGC: AAPL), Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) Google’s parent company Alphabet (NasdaqGC: GOOGL) and Microsoft (NasdaqGC: MSFT) have been responsible for a big chunk of the Nasdaq and S&P 500 (chart) recent gains. The problem with comparing today’s market with the internet bubble is that the aforementioned tech leaders all have incredible balance sheets while continuing to grow at a pace that supports their relative stock prices. One may argue that Amazon remains overpriced especially with its lofty P/E ratio.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be concerned about a three percent pullback in any stock or index, but because of how strong stocks have been since the election, anything other than a flat to up day will get noticed. That said, without question all eyes will be on whether or not the Nasdaq’s 50-day moving average will get tested. The last time the Nasdaq (chart) did not hold its 50-day support line was last October. Since then tech stocks have tested and moved off of its 50-day average multiple times. 6085 is the current the 50-day moving average of the Nasdaq which is about 65 points away. I am not suggesting it will go there, but if it does and according to the way tech stocks have reacted to that particular support line, a bounce could be in the cards. Good luck to all 🙂

~George

Nasdaq chart - George Mahfouz Jr

Post election drubbing!

Stocks were slammed this week after the results of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. In fact, it was the worst performing week for equities in months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) lost 2.1%. The Nasdaq (chart) -2.6%, the S&P 500 (chart) -2.4% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) finished the week lower by 2.4%. With the election producing essentially no change in Washington, fears of the fiscal cliff playing out and much higher taxes took center stage and sent the markets spiriling. Furthermore, all of these bellwether indexes are now trading below their respective 200-day moving averages. For most market technicians and certain institutional investors, the 200-day moving average is a key technical metric that is relied upon as to the future direction of stocks or indexes. Personally, I would need to see several days of trading and closing below the line in order for me to completely change my view of where stocks may be headed.

Now that the election is behind us, we can all now begin to focus on not only what Washington will or will not do, but what really is happening behind the scenes of the economy and corporate America. Q3 earnings reporting season is winding down and as expected corporate profits have been affected by the slowing global economy. Between now and year end, I will be paying much closer attention to the economic numbers here and abroad, and even closer attention to the underlying technicals of the markets, which are beginning to show some cracks. As previously stated, in my view a couple of days of the indexes trading below the 200-day does not concern me too much, however, if we see a repeat performance next week with stocks continuing to decline, we very well may be in for a meaningful reversal that the bears have been waiting on. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂

~George

Just like August, September produces unlikely gains…

Although stocks were mostly lower on the week, the month of September produced rare gains for the benchmark indexes. For the month of September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) gained 2.65%, the Nasdaq (chart) +1.61%, the S&P 500 (chart) +2.42% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the month up 2.12%. This capped a very impressive third quarter for equities with all of these key indices advancing sharply higher.

So now the encore! What promises to be an event driven final stretch of the year, investors can look forward to Q3 earnings reporting season in October and of course the Presidential and congressional elections in November. Not to mention the ongoing saga in Europe, the seemingly everlasting middle east crisis, and whether or not our country will face the “fiscal cliff” outcome which could spin our economy into a recession?

So as you can see stocks and bonds are certainly exposed to an enormous amount of uncertainty in the final quarter of the year. Typically when markets are in such a quandary, much higher volatility usually ensues. In any market environment and  especially the one we are heading into, it is always best to use protective stops and or protection in the form of puts if you have a long portfolio. Furthermore, it is always a good idea to consult with a professional investment advisor before implementing any type of strategy. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂

~George