The indices (DJIA 24322, S&P 2666) had a good day. Volume was down; breadth improved but not by much. The S&P ended within a very short term downtrend; though the Dow again closed above the upper boundary of its former very short term downtrend. That leaves the Averages out of sync with respect to this one indicator, meaning that there is little informational value on direction/momentum. Both finished below their 100 day moving averages (now resistance). They continued their bounce off of their 200 day moving averages. The DJIA closed in a short term trading range but in intermediate and long term uptrends. The S&P is in uptrends across all timeframes. The short term technical picture remains cloudy. Longer term, the assumption is that equity prices will continue to rise.
The VIX fell 9%, closing right on its 100 day moving average but above its 200 day moving average and the lower boundary of its short term trading range.
The long Treasury rallied ¾ %, pushing back above the lower boundary of its long term uptrend, negating Wednesday’s break. However, it ended below its 100 and 200 day moving averages and in a short term downtrend.
The dollar continued its climb, ending above the lower boundary of its newly reset intermediate term trading range and above its 100 day moving average (now support) and above its 200 day moving average (now resistance; if it remains there through the close next Tuesday, it will revert to support).
GLD was down again, finishing above its 200 day moving average (now support), in a newly reset short term trading range and right on its 100 day moving average (now support).
Bottom line: I have noted over the last couple of weeks that the Averages were caught in a narrowing range, bounded on the upside by their 100 day moving averages (plus the S&P’s upper boundary of its very short term downtrend) and on the downside by their 200 day moving averages. Last Thursday, the Averages challenged that upper boundary and failed. Wednesday, they challenged the lower boundary and failed. Now they appear on their way for another challenge of the upper boundary. Sooner or later that range will be broken; history suggests a strong follow up move in the direction of the break.
TLT failed its second challenge of its long term uptrend (both only lasted a day). That is not particularly surprising---long term trends usually take a lot of energy to overcome. So multiple challenges are the norm. I don’t mean to suggest that the long term uptrend will be broken; I am just saying that there is usually at battle at trend lines involving multiple attempts to break.
Yesterday’s pin action notwithstanding, the dollar is now catching up with move in bonds (lower bond prices/higher yields generally means a stronger dollar) breaking multiple resistance levels. Similarly, GLD has successfully challenged its short term uptrend and may take out its 100 day moving average shortly. (As I have noted, gold tends to trade inversely with interest rates, especially when rates are rising because of a stronger economy; so the implication here is that investors are betting that the economy is improving more than moi).
Price instability/uncertainty remains for the moment. The question is duration. Patience. I love my cash.
Hedge funds are near peak leverage.
Yesterday’s economic data was again generally upbeat: the March trade deficit, the April Kansas City Fed manufacturing index and weekly jobless claims were better than anticipated; March durable goods had a good headline number but ex transportation, it was disappointing.
Late in the afternoon, the trade representatives from Mexico and Canada cancelled plans to return to their countries and stated that they would remain in Washington in order to continue to work on a NAFTA fix. That suggests that the parties are getting close enough to an agreement. That doesn’t mean that they will; but if they do and depending on the terms, it could be a big plus for the US long term secular growth rate.
Overseas, the ECB was the big news, leaving rates and its QE policy unchanged. In press conference following the ECB meeting and release of its official statement, Draghi continued to sound very upbeat about the EU economy despite the deterioration in the dataflow---taking a page from the Fed’s book.
***overnight, the Bank of Japan met, leaving its monetary policies unchanged. In addition, it removed any reference as to when it might reach its 2% inflation goal (i.e. tightening might occur).
The above notwithstanding, the primary Market focus during the day was the continuing earnings reports from the high tech sector in particular. Like the reports we have already gotten from the financials and industrials, earnings were outstanding. However, investor reaction was much more upbeat. Several companies reported after the Market close, so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues
Bottom line: the important thing in yesterday’s pin action was the change in investor attitude toward reported earnings. The enthusiastic response to tech earnings has brought the Market back to roughly its level when earnings season started. So at this point, first quarter earnings in aggregate have been a wash in terms of Market impact.
However, to me the implications of the aforementioned announcement from the NAFTA participants as well as what is occurring in the underlying rate of inflation have much more import. The difference is the earnings numbers are known and the NAFTA negotiations and inflation aren’t.
News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) declares $0.90/share quarterly dividend, 7.1% increase from prior dividend of $0.84.
T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW) declares $0.70/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) declares $0.39/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM): Q1 EPS of $1.09 misses by $0.01.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): Q3 EPS of $0.95 beats by $0.10.
This Week’s Data
The April Kansas City Fed manufacturing index came in at 26 versus the March reading of 17.
The first estimate of first quarter GDP was up 2.3% versus consensus of 2.0%; the GDP price deflator was up 2.0% versus estimates of up 2.4%.
The first quarter employment cost index rose 0.8% versus expectations of up 0.7%.
The UK reported first quarter GDP up 0.1%, the weakest reading since 2012.
April EU economic sentiment came in at 112.7, in line.
March Chinese industrial profits rose 11.6% year over year versus February’s reading of +16.1%.
Here is some good research suggesting that the economy/Market is a long way from rolling over (medium):
Another look at the pension crisis (medium):
What I am reading today
Act like a billionaire (medium):
Precision in investing (short):
Finland’s universal basic income program (medium):
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