Thank you Veterans.

And for the rest of us market jocks, what’s the scoop for the week?  Look for retrenchment above SPX 2750.  In fact, look for 2800 this week as markets seek to find footing.

While the 200-day moving average should form some support, futures trading has been eradic over the weekend.   At first, futures showed a higher open.  But things swung to the downside as Europe opened and oil prices pushed higher.

This kind of pricing behavior is not necessarily predictive of anything other than folks repositioning over the weekend.  And since the range for the repositioning was relatively narrow, it may simply be noise.  Given last week’s strong move higher — after a 10% correction for most indexes — and a ‘nearly’ completed election — it looks like the markets are poised to start reclaiming some of their last ground from October.

One of the growing concerns is in the housing market.  Keep an eye on that in the coming months.  While stocks remain attractive relative to everything else, the housing market slow-down may be a sign that this almost-10-year economic expansion is feeling the affects of higher interest rates more than folks may care to admit.

It may sound funny, because mortgage rates in the 5’s are still historically low.  But, compared to mortgage rates in the 3’s, they’re some 30% higher than they used to be.  For folks that have never known higher borrowing costs in their lives (save credit cards), this could be a legitimate point of contention.

As a housing market aside, it’s going to be very interesting to follow what comes out of the massive forest first in California.  Not only has there been loss of life.  There’s been massive loss of property (which may actually be stimulative for the housing market).  There’s been massive strain on infrastructure.  And it’s called to the forefront some of the questionable Federal forest management policy that’s lead to these massive fires.  (Admittedly, this is something personal for me as the Pacific Northwest experiences fires every summer.  However, with only 4 million or so people in Oregon, there are not enough votes to seem to move the needle much in Washington.  But have this happen in California, and now we have your attention.)  Federal changes in forest management could potentially unlock a lot of value in timber.  If this were to happen, the housing markets would need to be reexamined.

Look for some early volatility this week as markets find their footing.  As long as the SPX stays above 1750 or so a recovery trend is still probable.  A close below this level and we’ll have to reconsider whether the Santa Clause rally is really coming to town.


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