Friday, December 5, 2014

The Morning Call--Promises, promises

The Market

The indices (DJIA 17900, S&P 2071) rested yesterday; they were down only fractionally, so there was little to be concerned about.  The Dow remained in uptrends across all timeframes: short term (16161-18907), intermediate term (16135-21100) and long term (5159-18521).  The S&P did the same for its short (1861-2225) and intermediate (1704-2420) term uptrends.  It closed right on the upper boundary of its long term uptrend (783-2070).  Under our time and distance this counts as a second day of a potential violation; so if the S&P remains above the ascending upper boundary of its long term uptrend through the close next Wednesday, the boundary will be subject to change if the Dow also breaks above its comparable boundary.  Both finished above their 50 day moving averages. 

Volume fell; breadth deteriorated.  The VIX declined, remaining below the lower boundary of its short term uptrend for the third day thereby confirming the break of this range.  It will re-set to a trading range (a plus for stocks).  VIX remains within an intermediate downtrend and below its 50 day moving average.

                Update on sentiment (short):

The long Treasury had another good day, again finishing very close to the upper boundary of its very short term trading range.  It is within a short term uptrend, an intermediate term trading range and above its 50 day moving average. 

GLD fell, bouncing off of the upper boundary of its short term downtrend, although it remained above the lower boundary of its former long term trading range.

‘So the battle continues over the validity of the lower boundary of its former long term trading range.  As I have noted, how this tension gets resolved may determine where the bottom is in the current downtrend and will likely indicate near term price direction.  Meanwhile, it finished within short, intermediate and long term downtrends.’

A meaningful follow through in either direction will resolve this issue; but until it happens, GLD is in no man’s land.

Bottom line: the S&P is struggling with the upper boundary of its long term uptrend as I assumed that it would.  As you know, I have my doubts about whether it can decisively break through this barrier.  Though the general tone of the Market narrative right now suggests that a successful challenge can be made, the post today from TraderFeed (see below) reinforces my skepticism. 

As I noted above the VIX has broken through the lower boundary of its short term uptrend---a positive for equities; the long bond is trying to break out of its very short term trading range---a plus for bonds but less so for equities (think slowing economic growth); and GLD looks like it is trying to establish a bottom---and frankly, I am not sure what that is telling us fundamentally.

            The latest from TraderFeed (one of the best) (short and a must read):

            A closer look at the Santa Claus rally (medium):

            The sixth year (of the presidential cycle) pin action pattern suggests further gains (short):


            November retail sales were generally upbeat though there was some disappointments and notable downgrades of forecasts; weekly jobless claims fell more than anticipated.  That continues the mixed picture on the US economy, which under our scenario is good news.

            Overseas, the big news was that the ECB left interest rates unchanged, which was followed by a promise from Draghi that QE was coming soon, which was followed by an article in a German newspaper that Draghi had lost a majority of votes on his board.   Not good for the QEInfinity crowd.

            ***overnight, the Japan Times reported that corporate bankruptcies in November have risen to a record high; the Bundesbank lowered its forecast for Germany’s 2015 GDP growth.  On a brighter note, German factory ordered advanced 2.5%.

            Oil prices continue to hog the press space and media time with consensus remaining firmly in the optimists’ camp.   The two links below provide something of a counterpoint:

            Do lower oil prices really lead to higher consumer spending in other sectors? (must read):

            Or do they lead to higher stock prices (medium):

Bottom line: the US economy continues its erratic progress, but that is good news. The ECB didn’t lower rates (which is bad news for the QE enthusiasts) but promised that it would (that is good news); then the fun was spoiled by a German newspaper article that said Draghi had lost his majority vote on the ECB board (that is bad news).  The biggest problem remains little to no growth in the rest of the world.  The biggest uncertainty is how the decline in oil prices ultimately impacts the US as well as the global economies.

I still can’t come up with a realistic economic scenario that would warrant stock prices at current levels.  I can, however, see how QEInfinity keeps the music playing.  I just don’t have the stomach to be fully invested when that happens.

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.

                The latest from Bill Gross (medium and a must read):

       Investing for Survival

            Be smart about charitable giving (medium):

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