Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Morning Call--Buy the dip is alive and well

The Morning Call


The Market

            The indices (DJIA 17801, S&P 2059) were on a roller coaster yesterday, staging a late in the day rebound from a steep early decline---pretty positive pin action I thought.  But they ended within uptrends across all timeframes: short term (16180-18930, 1866-2230), intermediate term (16157-21122, 1709-2425) and long term (5360-18860, 782-2071).

            Volume inched higher; breadth was mixed.  The VIX rose, closing within a short term trading range, an intermediate term downtrend but back above its 50 day moving average.

            Overbought versus oversold (medium):

            The Hindenburg Omen (medium):

            The long Treasury was up.  That confirmed the break above the upper boundary of its very short term trading range and re-sets the very short term trend to up.  It remained within a short term uptrend.  Although it broke above the upper boundary of its intermediate term trading range intraday, it finished within that range---though very close to its upper boundary.  It remained above its 50 day moving average.

            And (short):

            And the direction of interest rates from Lance Roberts (medium):

            GLD advanced nicely, ending above the upper boundary of its short term downtrend.  If it remains there through the close on Thursday, that break will be confirmed and the trend will re-set to a trading range.  It continued to trade above the lower boundary of its former long term trading range and its 50 day moving average, but remains within its intermediate term downtrend.  Clearly, if the short term downtrend is broken, the weight of evidence will start to shift towards the odds that GLD has made a bottom.

Bottom line: stocks’ bounce off a +200 point decline in the Dow yesterday morning demonstrates clearly (at least to me) that the ‘buy the dip’ crowd is alive and well.  There was enough lousy fundamental data (see below) to warrant a Market shellacking; but investors seemingly continued to gloss over bad news.  It is also a sign that another challenge of the S&P’s upper boundary of its long term uptrend is likely to occur sooner rather than later.

TLT re-set its very short term trading range to up and is very close to challenging its intermediate term trading range, leaving open the question, is the US about to slip into recession or is it still attracting money as a safe haven?  GLD’s stronger performance also raises questions about the Markets may be anticipating; although (1) it is yet to be confirmed that a bottom has been made and (2) there is much that is incongruous with the pin action in TLT.  Safe haven seems to be best scenario to explain both.


            Yesterday’s US economic news provided little value added: the November small business optimism index was better than estimate, weekly retail sales were mixed and October wholesale inventories were ahead of forecast but sales were below consensus.

            The big economic news came from overseas: October German trade data was disappointing and October UK manufacturing output and industrial production were down.  What got everyone’s attention were (1) the decision by the Bank of China to tighten the margin requirements on stocks and high yield bonds and (2) a move by the large Chinese banks to raise rates on time deposits.   That led to a huge decline in the Shanghai Composite.  That spilled over into the European markets which were further impacted by a 10% fall in the Greek bourse.  And that put early pressure on our Markets.

            Forgetting the Market reaction, what is notable is that the steps taken in the Chinese financial system, would seemingly turn on its head last week’s story that the Chinese were joining the QE parade.  But right on schedule (at least for the hope and change crowd), overnight, China reported lower than expected CPI which prompted investors to again anticipate (pray for) monetary easing (see below).  Not that either of yesterday’s steps preclude the Chinese central bank from adding reserves to the banking system.  But it at least suggests that a Chinese version of QE will likely look nothing like our own or the Japanese variety and could mean that last week’s announcement was just propaganda.

            Of course, the global central bankers couldn’t let the thought of money tightening linger for too long, so a member of the ECB Board let the world know that this time, really and truly, cross my heart and hope to die QE was absolutely for sure a done deal in
Europe (right).  That along with a rally in oil prices got investors tip toeing through the tulips again.

            ***overnight, Japanese consumer confidence declined (who woulda thunk), the IMF identified a $15 billion shortfall  in Ukraine’s current budget which would be on top of the latest projections for a $17 billion loan, Iran forecasted oil at $40 a barrel, the US congress agreed on a $1.1 trillion FY2015 budget (roughly flat with 2014) plus this from the dream weavers:

(1)   Ukraine invites in Russian ‘specialists’ to help ‘de-escalate’ the conflict.

(2)   China CPI up less than expected, prompting investor euphoria in anticipation of monetary easing,

Bottom line: there is no shortage of potential scenarios that could end this drunken money induced binge that the Markets have been on---and a surprising monetary tightening buy a major central bank would qualify nicely.  However, judging by yesterday’s pin action, the investors just are not yet ready to accept the divergence between price and value and/or to consider the likelihood of any one of a number of exogenous events that could rip their lungs out. 

David Stockman points to another potential negative scenario (medium and today’s must read):

And the impact of declining oil prices on corporate profits (medium):

Someday it will happen; and the wider the aforementioned divergence, the more painful will be the mean reversion process.  In the meantime, the buyers are in control and all I can do is Sell them our Portfolios’ stocks were they bid them to absurd levels.

I can’t emphasize strongly enough that I believe that the key investment strategy today is to take advantage of the current high prices to sell any stock that has been a disappointment or no longer fits your investment criteria and to trim the holding of any stock that has doubled or more in price.

Bear in mind, this is not a recommendation to run for the hills.  Our Portfolios are still 55-60% invested and their cash position is a function of individual stocks either hitting their Sell Half Prices or their underlying company failing to meet the requisite minimum financial criteria needed for inclusion in our Universe.

            Analyzing current earnings and earnings forecast (medium and a must read):

            The latest from John Hussman (medium/long):

       Subscriber Alert

            The price of Oneok Partners LP (OKS) has fallen below the lower boundary of its Buy Value Range.  Hence, it is being Removed from the High Yield Buy List.  The price remains above its Stop Loss price, so the High Yield Portfolio will continue to Hold OKS.

       Investing for Survival (bonus)

            Beware of ETF’ with leveraged loan risk (medium):

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