Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Morning Call--The Fed's Catch 22

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 17230, S&P 2033) inched higher yesterday, remaining above their September highs for a second day.  The Dow ended [a] below its 100 and 200 day moving averages, both of which represent resistance; it is nearing the 100 day MA, [b] in a short term downtrend {17068-17792}, [c] in an intermediate term trading range {15842-18295}and [d] in a long term uptrend {5369-19175}.

The S&P finished [a] below its 100 and 200 day moving averages, both of which represent resistance;  it too is closing in on its 100 day MA, [b] below the upper boundary of a very short term downtrend, [c] in a short term downtrend, but nearing its upper boundary {1983-2044}, [d] in an intermediate term uptrend {1936-2729} [e] a long term uptrend {797-2145}. 

Market performance in the eighth year of a presidential term (short):

Volume fell; breadth was mixed.  The VIX (15.0) continued dropping,  finishing [a] back below its 100 day moving average, now resistance, [b] within a short term downtrend and [c] in intermediate term and long term trading ranges. 
                Update on margin debt (short):

The long Treasury was off slightly, ending above its 100 day moving average, still support, within very short term, short term and intermediate term trading ranges and continues to develop a pennant formation. 

GLD declined, but still closed [a] above its 100 day moving average, now support [b] in a short term uptrend [c] in intermediate and long term downtrends.  Despite its move above its 100 day moving average and re-setting its short term trend to up, its struggle with the upper boundary of its intermediate term downtrend keeps me from calling a bottom.

Bottom line: stocks remain modestly overbought, though they have been that way for two weeks without much reaction.  In my opinion, the longer the Averages remain above their September highs, the better the odds of challenging their all-time highs.  However, I don’t see that challenge being successful.  That leaves both indices roughly in the middle of a range marked by their all-time highs on the upside and the lower boundaries of their intermediate term trends on the downside.  However, when the lower boundary is represented by Fair Value the risk/reward changes dramatically to the negative.



            One US datapoint yesterday: the October housing market index came in better than projected.  It also likely anticipates better housing starts and new and existing home sales.  On the other hand, we got poor earnings reports/guidance from major companies---Morgan Stanley and IBM. 

Overseas, the numbers were mixed as third quarter Chinese GDP growth came in slightly above estimates while factory output and fixed asset investments were below expectations.

            But are those numbers real? (medium):

Bottom line: this week will be a slow one for US economic data, but a heavy one for earnings reports; plus OPEC is meeting, as is the ECB and the dialogue regarding the debt ceiling (due to be hit in early November) is heating up. 

In addition, the better the global securities markets perform, the more likely that talk resumes of a December rate hike.  Remember, the Fed’s policy decision focus is on the Markets not the economy which creates a Catch 22 dilemma.  If the indices move towards their all-time highs, the Fed will feel more comfortable raising rates---which than causes equities to sell off---which then causes the Fed to sound dovish---which…….you get the picture.   This is the corner the Fed has painted itself into.  

The point being that there are lots of potential market moving events this week not related to the US or global economies.

            A bigger brick in the wall of worry (medium):


   This Week’s Data

            The October housing market index came in at 64.0 versus expectations of 62.0.

            September housing starts jumped 6.5% versus estimates of up 1.8%; however, building permits fell 5.0% versus forecasts of being unchanged.




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