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Trade Winds Improving

Last week markets got a pop on ‘less bad’ trade news as China indicated a partial trade agreement may be on the table. This could mean additional planned tariffs would be suspended.

Markets viewed this as a positive and finished last week with a strong push higher.

While the news is good, the technical set-up for this week may have a quick down-draft to fill in a price gap for the SPX. There is technical support around 2930 or so — right at the 100-day moving average (the 50-dma is only 5 points higher).

Interestingly enough, the market is neither over-bought nor over-sold. It’s pretty much right in the middle of its 21-day trading range. So positive news from here could lead to a push higher (especially if the small price gap created last Friday gets filled quickly this week).

This is the first technical sign that the markets could be setting up for a break-out to the up side in a while. There is still a chance the sideways pattern could simply persist, but the price reversal last week was a good sign the 2900 is significant support for the SPX.

For this week, look for a quick dip down, followed by a potential surge to the up-side. Breaching 3000 on the SPX is possible this week, although it is unlikely the all-time highs will be reached. It would take a more definitive deal with China to spark that kind of move.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

All Time Highs

Futures are indicating the markets will push to all-time highs today. This is based on the news that there appears to be some kind of “Tariff Truce” with China.

This being the 4th of July week, it’s a little like Christmas – the trading week is short because the 4th falls on a Thursday. This means Friday is likely to be a lower-volume trading day as most will extend their vacation into a 4-day event.

Expect the shortened trading week to have lower volume and exaggerated movements. Looks like a strong pop higher for Monday. The question is whether or not there will be much follow-through. Markets could drift even higher this week. It’s next week we should see the reality check.

For the time being, enjoy the ride. Setting all-time highs is useful on the technical front. It demonstrates the market has more room to grow before a correction. The question is, can we hold this level, or is the the last bright blink before the star burns out?

We’ll need a bit more info before we can make that call. But based on the still solid underlying economic data, it looks like things can keep pushing higher yet.

For now, keep an eye on the 3000 number for the SPX. That’s the next big fat round number market participants (and yes, probably most of the algo’s too) are keeping an eye on.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

The Trade Wars Begin

While it sounds like an episode from Star Wars, this may not be fantasy. The trade talks between the US and China appear to be breaking down. At this point, both sides are talking new tariffs. And the speculation about just how quickly the world will come to an end has begun.

Putting political commentary aside, what does this mean for investors?

In a word: it’s bad.

Futures are getting hammered as markets appear poised to drop about 2% across the board. The 10-year treasury yield has also dropped as people seek safe-haven assets. Even the BigFoot database has dropped from over 82% long to around 75% long. So this is becoming more than just a squawking media cycle.

Support may be tough to find in this market. There’s been such a steady climb the last month that there are very few ‘stops’ on the way back down. The first noteworthy area the markets reversed is the intra-day low set back on March 27th at 2787.

Here are key support levels from there: 200-day moving average is at 2776. 100-day moving average is at 2749. And then there’s the March 8th low of 2722.

All of these levels imply a drop of over 3% for the week.

The only silver lining to this situation is that it could end. Should a deal be reached, markets would now view this as a VERY positive event that could push things to all-time highs in short order. Otherwise, the upward momentum is shot. We’re now looking at a sideways pattern where the markets have to find their footing, re-test a few times, and see if they can grind higher.

So yes, this news is damaging. Unless something happens today that gives the market a hard reversal — something that has this market finishing in the green today (which, frankly, is hard to rationalize given the current data) — there’s likely more damage to come.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

The Tariff Tantrum

Markets are bracing for a drop after the weekend announcement that tariffs on Chinese goods are not only back on the table but bigger than before.

What this translates to for the markets is uncertainty. For the past couple of months the China trade negotiations were largely an after-thought. This brings things back to the forefront.

Trying to understand (or predict) how China will respond is a study in both culture, gamesmanship, and so much more. And frankly, it’s beyond the scope of this blogger. Instead, let’s focus on what the market may look at.

Futures are set to open significantly lower. The SPX appears ready to test the 2900 support level. This is a fairly significant emotional line in the sand for traders. It’s also a big round number. But it’s well above the 50-day moving average of 2852.

A drop below the 50-day moving average this week would be psychologically damaging – especially when many folks begin to get suspicious about the “sell in May and go away” adage.

The 50-day moving average is about 3.7% lower than Friday’s close. A one-week drop of this magnitude would likely throw the markets into a sideways pattern while more news gets sorted out. It doesn’t mean it’s time to brace for a bear market. But we could be in for several weeks of increased volatility and sideways moves as trade negotiations move front-and-center for a while.

Despite the fact that the tariffs will hurt China significantly, there’s no guarantee they will respond as hoped. So this could drag on for a while. And it could have a real impact on GDP and growth for the S&P500 companies. A roll-back to the beginning of 2Q19 is easily possible. That would put the SPX back between 2786 and 2852. If China responds with tariffs of their own, it could push things down even further (although the economic impact of these tariffs would likely be less damaging to the US as we import more than we export from China).

It is way to early to suggest the US bull market is dead because of this. Quite the contrary, economic data remains robust. So while this is a bump in the road — and certainly it increased uncertainty — and likely volatility with it — it’s entirely possible the markets will pull back a bit, find their footing, and continue forward. Consider the fact there are still few more attractive options for yield than the US stock market (even with these new tariffs on Chinese goods).

If you think about all the options available to you — be they super-low-interest-rate fixed-income products, foreign equities, real estate. or commodities — there are still few options that look more attractive than US equities when comparing the overall risk-to-reward opportunities. This should keep a bid under the US market (or at least reduce the likelihood of a massive wave of selling).

Whatever the case, we should have more clarity as the week rolls on. For now, there’s a bunch of speculation and guessing as the markets try to sort this stuff out. As the data becomes clear, we’ll get a better understanding of where things are headed.

For the week, look at the 2900/2912 level for the first area of SPX support. After that, we may fall all the way to the 50-day moving average at 2852.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

New Year’s Shift

Happy New Year!

This is the first full week of trading for the year – so back to work!

Markets are trying to shake off the December 2018 hangover. Last week’s first trading week sure made it interesting. The big news was the blowout jobs report last Friday coupled with the more Dovish tones from the Fed. This cocktail was the recipe for a huge rally on Friday.

Has this changed anything? Only the short-term outlook. It seems everyone had written off the economy for dead in December. With the Fed tightening, it was only a matter of time before the recession word came into play. But then the jobs numbers came out.

Realistically, the problems are unchanged from last year. The difference is outlook on the Fed. If the money supply isn’t going to be choked off even more aggressively (because, remember, they’re still reducing their balance sheet and no longer buying bonds), perhaps the economy can continue to grow.

Plus the American public is about to get a very real look at whether or not they will experience personal tax savings under this new plan. It’s been a popular target because of growing deficits at the Federal level, but folks are about to get a direct taste of ‘what’s in it for me.’

Some good news on China talks, the Federal government starts operating again (this is less of a concern to the market than the media would have you believe), and some decent earnings numbers and guidance in Q1 and this market could be back on track in short order.

The Fed shifts to more hawkish, trade talks with China drag on with no change, or we start to see numbers indicating an actual economic slowdown, and this market could head south all over again.

So for now, we wait a couple weeks and see how the data shapes up.

If you want to be a stickler, the SPX actually hit a 20% drop from peak-to-trough during December. So one could argue we’ve had the shortest bear market we’ve ever seen. Strangely, no one seems to be saying that. The talking heads keep talking about when the bull will die… so apparently an intra-day swing, or a one-day blip, isn’t how they want to measure things.

For the week, it look for 2408 support, and really no upside resistance to speak of, so 2575/2600. If this seems like a comically large range for a technical call… it is. But that’s what happens when you’ve had the kind of volatility that wrapped up last year. Things get blown-out, over-sold, and the algo’s get a little wild. Until volatility subsides (if), this may be typical for a while.

Cheers and fingers crossed for a great 2019!

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different
types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance
that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product
(including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by
BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly
in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance
level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due
to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the
content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you
should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the
receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the
extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue
discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the
professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified
public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal
or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement
discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Market Macro Fails

For the first time since 2016 the BigFoot Market Macro Signal has gone negative. And we’re already set up for a potential whipsaw, as futures are pointing to a higher open that would put the SPX above the threshhold to flip the Macro back into buy territory.

Over the weekend the big announcement was a temporary truce between the US and China. The details are a little fuzzy, but basically, no new tariffs, and some rollbacks on a few – at least for the next 90 days.

This doesn’t mean the trade war is over. But it is positive progress. So we should be good to go, right?

Woah, woah… slow your roll. Just because we have a deferral of action doesn’t mean everything is okay. And technically, things are still unclear. In fact, if the futures pop higher today as expected, there’s good chance a pricing gap will materialize.

We’ve spoken many times on conference calls about how the markets abhor pricing gaps. And in this case, unless the market managed to push above 2825 or so, it’s likely we’ll dip back down to 2760 some time this week first to fill that price gap.

From a Macro perspective, we just want to see the markets finish the year above 2754. This should be enough to flip the signal back to a buy. Which is interesting, because last Friday’s close would have done it. But, alas, that’s not how the signal works.

We’re in a bit of technical no man’s land. There markets have had a double-dip this year, but the fundamental news is pretty optimistic. Jay Powell and the Fed gave the market the gift it was looking for (a more dovish stance), and Trump has softened on the trade war. Pricing multiples have fallen to essentially their low-point for the year. So there’s room for the markets to go up, but the mixed pricing signals also mean there’s room for the markets to dip a bit yet.

Given we’re already into December, and most of the earnings for the year area already over, it’s difficult to see a rationale for why the markets should push to all-time highs before the end of the year. In fact, given the mixed Macro signal from the software – and the anemic 40% long positions ratio – it’s difficult to see much more than a sideways market from here – even with the ‘big news’ about the deferral of the trade war with China.

Make no mistake, Monday is shaping up to a be a positive day for the markets, with the SPX likely to push above 2800 intra-day. But Monday may not be enough to shake off the bear-market chatter just yet… Tis the season for miracles, sure. And perhaps Santa is bringing more than coal for the year. But it doesn’t look like yuge breakout to finish the year at this point.

Interestingly enough, the ‘bear market’ may have already silently happened in the form of asset rotation. Many of the high-flying tech names have already had over 20% corrections in pricing. We just haven’t seen the entire market dip simultaneously. A move like that may be reserved for our next recessionary environment. When that actually occurs is still a subject of much debate.

For the week – enjoy the reprieve. Just don’t let a few days in the market head-fake you into thinking everything is all clear. Plenty of up days happen in bear markets. Better to keep your cool and play this one by the numbers IMO.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different
types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance
that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product
(including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by
BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly
in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance
level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due
to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the
content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you
should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the
receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the
extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue
discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the
professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified
public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal
or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement
discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Markets Poised to Grind Higher in Spite of Mixed Trade Talks

It’s too early to take stock of the damage caused by Florence (though some of the smaller towns in the Carolina’s are likely to have extreme flood damage).  So far the markets, as dispassionate as they are, are taking the whole thing in stride.

Consumer confidence remains high, and the economy seems to continue chugging.  The question on most minds is whether or not trade deals are going to go sour.  Thus far we’ve gone past simple rhetoric, with the Trump looking to place additional tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.  The question is whether or not China will come to the table or take their ball and go home.  (Judging from their stock market performance, they’ll probably come to the table).

So far, from a technical behavior perspective, markets have taken this news in stride.  In fact, the S&P500 appears to be consolidating around the 2900 level.

The basic setup for the week is a fairly narrow range, with the SPX likely hovering around the 2890 mark for the low, with a high of 2925 or so.  This appears to be a sideways pattern, with a slight bias to the up-side.  If the market holds consistent with recent behavior, a little bad news is going to be taken in stride.  Good news will push things higher.  And only if it’s really really bad stuff would the SPX move below the 2870 level.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different
types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance
that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product
(including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by
BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly
in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance
level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due
to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the
content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you
should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the
receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the
extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue
discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the
professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified
public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal
or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement
discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Breakout (Almost) Confirmed

Last week the SPX closed out the week at the highs for the year.  Good sign.  It’s tempting to call this a break-out situation.  And, in the simplest sense of the term, that’s true.  But we want to see some follow-through this week to see if upward momentum will continue and strengthen.  That’s the real test.

While the future is never be certain, this kind of break-out likely means the markets have higher to climb.

In the face of relatively manageable guidance from the FOMC, economic numbers remain solid, and the Fed is apparently going to remain measured and transparent enough to meet the market’s fickle expectations.  So the primary unknown now is trade.

China is the elephant in the room on this one.  It seems Europe, Mexico, and the like are all improving situations.  But China — that’s the interesting one.

As discussed on our forum calls, our belief is that the China trade concerns will resolve themselves in the near future.  But, of course, those are educated guesses.  We’ll see where things ultimately end up.

In the mean time, the all-time high close puts the 2900 mark on the radar for this week, with 3000 as the next line in the sand to pay attention to.  While unlikley, it’s possible the markets could test the 2900 level this week.

The other thing to note is where the markets close this week.  A close below the 2873 level isn’t necessarily a big problem.  But a weekly close below this level would mean the breakout is not yet confirmed.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different
types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance
that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product
(including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by
BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly
in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance
level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due
to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the
content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you
should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the
receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the
extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue
discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the
professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified
public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal
or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement
discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.