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The Trend is Your Friend

It’s tempting to over-analyze the markets. Every day another headline calls for attention. But the truth is, the media generates a lot of distractions at times. In the constant quest to attract eyeballs, that’s what the news/editorial cycle does. But behind the scenes, the markets are often times working on their own story.

The story of the current market isn’t a new one. It’s just colored by the news cycle. Presidents coming and going; covid; taxes; trade deficits. The list goes on. And certainly, the list is relevant. But the day-to-day, moment-to-moment stuff can lead to looking for more than perhaps there is.

The current story for the market has been going on so long it’s almost hard to accept. There’s just no other place to put money where you would expect to outpace inflation, so money moves into stocks. This demand has buoyed prices for years now, aided by the fact the Fed and other market forces have kept interest rates so low.

The question is, will rates continue to stay low and for how long?

The temptation is to believe rates will revert to a mean and begin to shift higher. This is certainly possible, but don’t get too far out over your skis on this one. True enough, the yield on the 10-year treasure has increased dramatically over the past few months when measured as a percentage. What remains to be seen is if this is the beginning of a long-term trend of rate increases, or a short-term spike in rates in response to the anticipation of a shift back toward a more global-focused Washington?

The reality is, it’s too early to call a trend shift. The bigger theme of this market has been going on, arguably, since 2009 following the financial crisis. It’s resulted in a much more central bank influenced market than perhaps many would care to admit.

Those central banks – the Fed chief among them – haven’t taken away the punch bowl yet. So while rates have drifted higher, it’s pretty early in this game. Rather than try to handicap the odds that rates will start to radically climb (something even the smart money in bonds struggles to do), let’s simply look at what we have: a trend that is still intact until proven otherwise.

So what is the trend? Simple, rates are beginning to climb, but stocks are still more attractive as a hedge against inflation (for now). However, stocks, at least by PE valuation, look expensive. So which is it? Are stocks too expensive, or are stocks attractive?

The answer may simple be yes.

Many stocks are expensive, but not all stocks are as expensive. So, if the economy continues to normalize out of covid-disruption, it would make sense the assets would rotate out of the more expensive ‘safe’ stocks into the slightly riskier but more affordable ‘risk’ stocks that have more attractive valuations.

In short, the market seems to be tipping its hat toward a re-open trade.

Granted, it’s early to call this. But the trend is your friend. And so far, the trend in equities has not failed. So this appears the most reasonable explanation to connect the technical and fundamental picture… for now.

For the week, futures are looking like a positive open. And, we have a holiday-shortened week. This typically means a little more volatility. But, superstition suggests the week will move in the direction of the open. If so, look for a positive bias this week, with a trend that will potentially re-test the all-time highs on the S&P 500. Support is at the 3750/3725 levels. Resistance should be as high as 3855/3871.

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 Holidays Are Here (???)

Don’t look now but the 2020 market season is in the final innings. It’s Thanksgiving week and the unofficial start to the Holiday Season.

Will a Santa Claus Rally be in the cards to end 2020?

Well, the crystal ball is pretty dinged up this year, but the signals look positive.

Behind the scenes the BigFoot database has subtly regained a bunch of long positions. It now stands at over 79% long. All the major indexes are long, with only the DJIA showing a wait signal (which will probably flip to buy if the week ends on a positive note).

Signs point to a bet the economy is going to continue to reopen. It’s a risky bet. But the vaccine hopes seem to be outweighing the lock-down fears… for now.

Fear is probably the right acronym for 2020: Future Events Appear Real.

At the start of the pandemic, the concern was that death rates would skyrocket into the millions. Projections suggested as much as 4-to-5% of the population could die (these were the extreme projections of course). The numbers have been sensationalized ever since.

While Covid cases continue to rise, the improvement in medical capacity, therapeutics, and testing have shifted expectations mightily. The markets seem to be doing a good job of looking past some of the hype and digesting the numbers more pragmatically. (Markets themselves are dispassionate; market participants, on the other hand, can be quite opposite.)

Pragmatically, Covid case numbers were expected to rise as testing increased. Also, Covid figures were expected to play a roll in the election cycle. So some of the data was viewed as more sensational than other.

What the markets seem to care most about is whether or not the economy will stay open, whether or not the Fed is going to change course, and
whether or not there will be more stimulus… probably in that order.

So far, the only parts of the economy that are shutting down are the parts that never really re-opened that much… the west coast (where governments are instituting restrictions on gathering for the Holidays). The next few weeks will be telling to see how many people defy these orders.

The key metric seems to be less about Covid cases than hospitalizations. This was, of course, the original concern. It wasn’t going to be “if” you got covid, it was going to be ‘when.’ And policy was designed to “flatten the curve” to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by covid caseloads.

As holidays undoubtedly lead to increased gatherings, keep an eye on hospital caseloads. That is the gauge most likely to indicate additional shut-downs.

For now, markets seem relatively convinced the caseloads will remain manageable and additional stimulus is on the way. And the markets seem to be looking higher as a result.

For this week, look for a positive trading trend. It’s a shortened week, with markets closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving, and then a half day on Friday. So volume will be lower. And typically market direction gets exaggerated somewhat on lower volume days.

It seems unlikely we’ll post new all-time highs after last week’s marks. But it does appear likely the markets will find a foothold this week and climb back into the upper end of last-week’s trading range. The SPX target for the week appears to be 3640.

It’s the following four weeks that could get exciting. If markets believe in the re-open trade, there could be more rebalancing from big tech into other areas of the markets. This could life indexes like the Russel 2000 in the remaining month. And the S&P 500 could yet surprise… the 3800 target is not off the table by year end.

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.

S&P 500 New Highs

Despite the soft finish last week, the overall trend for the S&P 500 remains positive. In fact, it was really close to breaching its all-time high last week. And, as of now, futures indicate it should hit new all-time highs Monday.

The trend appears to be all that matters right now. How is the trade evolving?

In an election year, with a controversial pandemic, with the Fed printing money, and Congress debating more stimulus, there’s a lot of guesswork to this market. Stocks are pricing in what they can and waiting to see what new information shows up (what else is new? Stocks always do this). So, follow what the market is showing us.

As of today, there’s been a two-month ‘melt up’ with very low volatility for the SPX as it has recovered to near-all-time-highs again. And this has been in the face of all the economic uncertainty out there.

So the trend is pretty straight-forward: the markets march higher.

This has been a difficult market to have confidence in given the massive government intervention in the way the economy operates. Between major shut-downs in public facilities, schools, restaurants and recreation, we’ve seen some permanent changes in our economy. Some jobs are gone… like… gone gone.

And now the clock is ticking on unemployment benefits and the political gamesmanship is at hand.

Yet the trend is pretty straight-forward: the market marches higher.

If we’ve learned nothing over the past few years, it’s that the Fed has forced the market’s hand in many regards. By keeping rates low (ostensibly in the fight against deflation), money was left with little option but to seek risk in the stock markets. The risk/reward profile was — and is — simply unattractive for the rate of return what gets parked in cash or cash-like assets.

So, money flows into the stock market. Stocks go higher.

The kicker is, it keeps working until it doesn’t.

The Warren Buffets of the world — deep value investors — will say stocks are expensive and unattractive. This may even be true. But that doesn’t mean prices aren’t going higher from here.

When looking at the underlying quantitative data for the stock market, there is still a case to be made that prices go higher. Much of the performance in the indexes has been attributed to their over-weight to Large technology companies (do primarily to the way the indexes are constructed in the first place.) Smaller cap stocks and value stocks have had much less recovery that the large cap growth stocks. So there may yet be room for asset rotation and more growth in indexes.

So the first question is, does the market go higher? And if it does, do you ride get in here or wait for a more attractive entry point?

Only history will vindicate the answer to this question.

The quantitative story is somewhat in conflict with the economic narrative. The quant data says things go higher from here. Stocks are expensive, but the prices are justified by ultra-low interest rates and the fact that there is nowhere else to get much of a return on capital.

On the other hand, the economic narrative, at least in some circles, is one of structural economic damage on a global scale that will lead to a reduction in global GDP, an extended period of joblessness, soaring government deficits and debts, and large-scale credit defaults by both individuals, corporate entities, and unhealthy state and local balance sheets (and we won’t even touch the public pension debate on this one).

The question may be more one of time frame. All of the structural economic problems are real. And money printing doesn’t make them go away. Nor does infinity stimulus or universal basic income or any other free-money scheme. It just changes the pricing variables for the economy and temporarily masks a problem.

Nevertheless, the structural problems move slower than the markets. And markets can — and often do — get out well ahead of the economic data.

This appears to be the case right now as markets trend higher in spite of the uncertainties that lie ahead.

And, of course, in a week, this could all look different…

But for today, the S&P 500 is suggesting all-time highs this week, with a target number of 3422, and a challenge number of 3460. Support is at about 3333, although it appears unlikely we’ll test that low. Instead, look for generally lower volatility, new all-time-highs, and perhaps a string of a few all-time high closes for the index over the week.

And next week? We’ll do the analysis all over again. Until then, have a great week!

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.

Listen to the Market

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the day is separating fact from opinion. Indeed, most stock market analysis is just opinion. Sure, the fundamental data is real. Earnings are earnings. Projections are projections. So, numbers be numbers. But what does the data tell us? And how does it inform as to where the markets are headed?

In the midst of a highly divisive social climate, much of our news has been colored with editorial. The major media resources require eyeballs to sell to advertisers. That means ratings. And that means appealing to an audience. You get the idea.

So discerning what is going on in the investment markets can be tough.

Dollar weakening? Commodities rising? Yields dropping? Do we have inflation on the horizon? Will we see a wave of evictions as renters default on payments? Will the real estate markets collapse as mortgages go unpaid as a knock-on consequence? Heck, are there even any jobs for the middle class to earn enough to pay rent?

And how about stimulus? Unemployment? Government programs and government shut-downs? What is essential in our economy? What is essential to Washington DC?

True enough, these are compelling questions. And they do matter. Ultimately, the answers will sway economic outputs and valuations for investors.

But today? It’s still a lot of noise and conjecture.

So what do we know?

We know what the market is signaling. Behind all the editorial chaos, major indexes have been climbing higher.

On any given day, there are pull-backs. But overall, the trend across most types of assets (except energy recently) have been recovering over the past three months.

The concept is fairly straight-forward. If the markets are a voting mechanism, investors are still voting in its favor. Sure, there are some bigger winners or losers out there. But overall, the trend has been recovery.

This trend is difficult to find confidence in given the general media narrative and backdrop of a pandemic. But make no mistake, since the March lows, this market has experienced an exceptional recovery.

The year-to-date figures for the major indexes are uninspiring. But the recovery from the lows is a different story. How one frames the story is important.

So, knowing there has been significant recovery from the lows, what now?

(In my opinion) There has been an underlying theme to this market for the past several years. Lots of variables underlie this theme, but in its simplicity, it’s only two things: don’t fight the Fed, and TINA (there is no alternative).

The Fed, really since the Bernake administration, has been highly transparent in its communication efforts. In effect, it has demonstrated it will take extraordinary measures to maintain a stable currency and economy. And, since Washington has been largely ineffective for the better part of a decade, the Fed has stepped in with significant monetary policy to bridge the gaps.

The transparency has been useful for the stock markets. It has also contributed to the TINA situation, since the Fed has taken such remarkable steps to keep treasury yields low. Investors have been left with limited options to place risk capital and expect any kind of return.

What this has done is kept a bid under the markets for a long time.

Today, we’re seeing interesting shifts in market behavior. For one thing, there are now winners and losers. The pandemic has seen to that, as ‘non-essential’ industries have been hammered (or perhaps eliminated) by government shut-down.

Expect airlines, travel, hospitality, and many small businesses to take years (or perhaps never) to recover from the Covid shutdown.

Meanwhile, other companies have thrived. The ‘stay and home’ economy has gone bananas (a technical term). And the largest of tech companies have grown into trillion-dollar behemoths.

So why discuss this at all?

Because the mega-companies have become such massive influences on the indexes… and also on politics and culture. They have massive and incredible sway over how everything now operates.

Understanding this can help us understand the future of the markets. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and the like do not require the consumer to walk into a store at all. So whether the economy shuts down or not, they survive. And they are all massive components in all the major indexes.

So, can markets keep going higher? Arguably, yes… despite the concept that we have major structural changes in our economy and many jobs are not only lost but gone.

Understand, bear markets are still possible. In fact, they’re probable. But it is also possible this market recovers and goes on to all-time highs (like the NASDAQ already has) before investors abandon some of the lofty names that have lifted the indexes in this recovery.

This is more of a mechanical issue than an economic issue. The money that is getting invested is likely going into these areas of the market.

At some point, valuations will be so stratospheric the bubble will burst… even for an Amazon or Tesla… but when is that day? You need go no further than the nearest financial media outlet to get opinions.

But what the markets are telling us today — from a technical perspective — is pretty straight-forward. Last week showed a possibility for correction. Instead, the markets has a weak break-out to the up-side. While we are over-bought by some measures, the trading pattern is indicating a move higher this week, with the possibility the S&P 500 will break above its all-time highs this week.

A close at new all-time highs will likely lead to further up-side from here.

For the upside, look for SPX 3400+ this week. For support, look at 3268.

Don’t get too invested in media headlines at this time. Until there is a material shift in information, the underlying thesis remains: the Fed is standing on the short end of the rate curve, and investors have nowhere else to go. That points to a higher stock market… (until it doesn’t, of course.)

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.

 

Rubber Meets the Road

Earnings season officially kicks off today, and markets remain poised to go higher. Now to find out if the markets guessed right on the data.

Most of the technical signals are shifting higher. All three major indexes have BigFoot algo buys. The database is back over 78% long. The Market Macro is positive, and both credit and economic macros continue to improve.

These positive signals will be an interesting dichotomy to the barrage of data surrounding coronavirus. Concerns over shutdown 2.0 remain, but the theme seems to be determined: companies that get to stay open, and companies that are location-agnostic (and to a certain extend, the companies that support them) have been the big winners.

The political environment is still toxic – nothing new there.

So we’ll see how earnings shape up. It’s early, and expectations have been set really low (like 44% declines expected low). So we’ll see how it shakes out.

If the stock market has it right, it priced in the damage early and quickly, and it’s now just re-pricing as the economy evolves. If the they got it wrong, things could get dicey.

For now, all indicators are the the 3275-ish level (the high-water-mark for the 50-day moving average for 2020) is the next resistance level to get challenged. A few solid earnings surprises and this could easily happen as it’s less than 3% from last Friday’s close.

For the week, look for an SPX resistance first at 3231, and next at 3275. Should markets reverse, support is 3111. If this is breached, a more significant down-trend could be signaled. Currently the probability of this occurring looks pretty low.

The BigFoot algo’s are reflecting a lot of positive momentum building in this market. The Macro’s are still showing caution, but they are also improving. The real issue continues to be Fed intervention in these markets. The “Fed Put” still seems to be a thing these days. And as much as things are a structural mess behind the scenes for real people, the markets seem more focused on the fact there are few better places for money to go.

So don’t find the Fed… still… for now… And we’ll keep watching the data to see if or when that changes.

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.

Still Rallying… for Now

In spite of the various structural elements still unresolved in the economy this market continues to climb.

At this point, even the BigFoot Market Macro would flip positive if June ended today.

Both the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ have algo buy signals. The BigFoot database is 70% long right now. Only the DJIA is yet to flip to a buy signals… and momentum is close to triggering that positive as well.

In short, despite the job figures and supply chain stresses of the past several months, the stock markets are caught in a wave of momentum.

Call if FOMO. Call it TINA. Call it irrational. But it is what it is. The trade has been risk on. Money has been moving into beat up names like the airlines (wow) and beat us sectors like consumer discretionaries and risk-on factors like small-caps.

Whether or not it makes economic sense is not the question. This is what momentum and sentiment can do.

Will it last forever? Probably not.

Will it collapse at some point soon? Maybe.

But for now, here’s what is technically unfolding:

The SPX is set to challenge the 3275.87 this week. This was the ‘crest’ of the 50-day moving average in this pattern — the high-water mark of that indicator before the markets collapsed in March.

If we breach that, it’s highly likely we’ll re-test the all-time highs for the SPX.

There is very little down-side momentum right now. Futures are indicating another positive open for the markets. This should set the tone for this week. If there is a pull back (unlikely until later in the week) look for the first level of support around 3130.

The Fed appears to have purchased this market… or at least rented it for a bit. And you know what they say: don’t fight the Fed.

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.

Ready Q4

End of quarter rebalancing may generate some volatility today. Otherwise, markets look like they are staged to continue their sideways oscillation.

There is little technically to suggest there is a breakout in either direction. Instead, it seems the all-time highs of the SPX remain resistance, and the 100-day moving average remains as support.

The big-picture story appears little changed. The Fed is supporting the markets by maintaining low interest. Trade war headwinds are preventing the stock markets from climbing much higher. So we remain stuck in this sideways pattern.

Until something material changes, it appears there is little the market should expect in terms of a major move in either direction.

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.

Does Downside Risk Outweigh Upside Potential?

After the S&P 500 managed a weekly close above 3000 the wind seems to be coming out of the sails. Last week finished down, with the lows of the week coming Friday at the close. With more and more companies issuing cautious forward guidance, it seems there may be more downside risk than up-side opportunity for near-term investors.

Last week’s pricing move, while not unexpected, makes sense technically. Markets hit an all-time high, so traders, in the face of cautious corporate outlooks, start taking money off the table and locking in some mid-year profits.

3000 was noted as a significant line in the sand. Going into earnings season, investors have questioned whether or not forward guidance would be optimistic.

The issues seem fairly straight-forward at this point – low fixed income rates force people into the stock market, but declining economic conditions and cautious guidance make valuations look more questionable. Fed action continues to wag the dog at this point, and trade policy just adds to the uncertainty. The cocktail really hasn’t changed much for the past several months.

This issue is, at some point, the idea of a market correction can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The question is, at what point will bears outnumber bulls? Or perhaps a better question: at what point will sellers outnumber buyers? Because that can move prices.

Unless we get some kind of specific black-swan event, it is unlikely there will be a specific point that markets pivot on. Instead, there will be a point at which a negative movement captures momentum and just keeps running beyond what people expect.

Looking at the technical pricing levels, this week may be another negative. After testing 3000, a pull-back would not be un-typical. The question is where might support be found? For the week, 2950 looks pretty strong. But this trend could easily pull-back to 2900 without being considered anything more than a run-of-the-mill pull-back.

That kind of move would put the S&P 500 at its 50-day moving average. A move lower than that would be a more significant shift and could be a sign of further deterioration to come. How aggressive the pull-back occurs could also be important. A few days of sell-off is pretty typical. But a more extended down-draft — especially if based on a specific event — would be concerning.

Perhaps the most important player in all of this will be the Fed. Markets have become near-dependent on the FOMC providing low rates to force a bid under this market. If, for some reason, other factors outweigh these low rates, the stock markets look less attractive to investors. At that point, we will have more to discuss in this blog. Until such time, the story stays the same: TINA until we hear otherwise.

S&P 500 projected range for the week of July 22, 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 ndirectly
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.

Here Comes Earnings Season

The stage is set for an exciting earnings season. Guidance is one thing, but this is where the rubber to meet the road. Can earnings actually grow from here? Or have we seen peak earnings growth for this economic cycle?

It may not matter… yet. The Fed has all but assured markets a rate cut is coming. So there’s little incentive to run for the fixed income markets. There really aren’t a lot of options for investors to find yield — or any returns for that matter — outside of select real estate markets or equities markets. So a multiple-expansion rally is not out of the question at this point.

The funny thing is, while the fundamental story driving this market higher has not changed, the technical picture has become a mixed bag for the S&P 500. The rather orderly expansion continues to behave calmly as the day-over-day pricing break new highs. In fact, five of the last six trading weeks have finished positive.

But there’s more to the story than just printing higher highs. The SPX is above it’s 50, 100, and 200-day moving averages. And it’s now more than 1.5 standard deviations above its 21-day trading average. By those figures, this market is over-bought.

So which is it? Orderly or over-bought? Perhaps both. The thing is, despite being over-bought, there does not seem to be significant pressure for a price correction. Now that 3000 has been breached, the index will need to test this level to see if it will maintain support. Otherwise, a pull-back toward the 2940/50 level would be fairly typical based on the pricing pattern unfolding.

The upside, while possibly breaking out, appears to be around the 3035 level for the week. If this level is breached, a run for 3050 is certainly possible. But given the over-bought nature of the market, it would take some pretty good earnings news to push things that quickly while we’re already at all-time highs.

Should a downdraft materialize, look for the 3000 level to be the first test. A breach of this level is not exactly a problem. It could just mean a test of the 50-day moving average, or somewhere down near 2900 is even possible. This does not negate the current up-trend. It would be a fairly orderly and typical round of profit taking to see this kind of price move. Should the 100-day moving average be pierced then it may be worth taking a closer look at pricing.

For the week, look for the bias to be positive, with some volatility increasing as earnings season gets under way. As long as expectations are met and guidance is reasonable, the 3100 level is still within sight in the next few weeks. If sentiment turns, we will re-evaluate at that time.

Meanwhile, the BigFoot database continues to be around 78% long. This should remain stable as long as volatility remains low.

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.

Just Right… for Indexes

Don’t look now but markets are near all-time highs (at least for the major indexes).

Last week’s close was the highest (weekly) in history for the S&P500. Discount the fact it was a holiday-shortened week, but this is still a strong signal.

Perhaps most noteworthy was the jobs report. With a big up-side surprise, this makes for an interesting conundrum: is the economic strength such that the Fed will change course, or are rate cuts still in the near future? This week should provide meaningful insight into this question.

In the mean time, it looks like things are in a sweet spot right now: bad news signals Fed intervention, and good news signals… good news. It’s the rare cocktail of almost everything aligning (in the short term) for a push higher.

Futures are indicating a lower open for the SPX, but this may simply be because traders are returning from a holiday-extended weekend and need to square up their portfolios. Once that dust settles, things appear ripe for a short-term push higher.

It appears the SPX has 3000 in its cross-hairs. If the current technical trend comes to pass, once breached, there may be a quick move towards 3100 before the index pulls back to re-test this level.

Keep an eye on the overall picture though. While the indexes look great, not every area of the market is enjoying prosperity. The interesting thing about this push higher is where the money is flowing. While the indexes move higher, a lot of small and mid-cap stocks appear to be left behind in this rally. (Sure, they’re moving higher – but they’re lower than their March highs, unlike the larger-cap indexes which are breaking out to all-time highs).

What this means is unclear at this time. Do we have another significant leg higher for all equities (especially when looking at the yields in the fixed income markets today)? Or are we looking at the last flash of brilliance as investors pile into large-caps before the bears have their day? Time will tell. But for now, the technical picture looks short-term bullish.

For a deeper dive into the technical picture, join us on this week’s forum call. Until then, keep an eye on the 3000 level for the SPX. If this gets breached Monday, things could go as high as… 3082ish this week (yes, you read that right). For now, this number seems ambitious. But, as goofy as it may seem, 3025 looks probable at this point.

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.