Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Morning Call--The S&P chart is everything


The Morning Call



5/8/18



The Market

         

    Technical



The indices (DJIA 24357, S&P 2672) were able to add to last Friday’s gains. Volume was down; breadth improved.   The S&P finished right on the upper boundary of its very short term downtrend (the Dow is back above it comparable trend line).   Both closed below their 100 day moving averages (now resistance) and above their 200 day moving averages (now support).  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 was down fractionally, and remains stuck between its 100 day moving average on the upside and its 200 day moving average as well as the lower boundary of its short term trading range on the downside.  Its recent weakness suggests higher stock prices.

               

The long Treasury sold off slightly, leaving it hovering above the lower boundary to its long term uptrend and facing serious overhead resistance from its 100 and 200 day moving averages and the upper boundary of a short term downtrend.





The dollar was up another ¼ %, pushing it closer to the upper boundary of its newly reset intermediate term trading range and above its 100 and 200 day moving averages (now support).




GLD ended higher, finishing above its 200 day moving average (now support) and in a newly reset short term trading range.  However, it remained below its 100 day moving average (now resistance).




Bottom line: the S&P remains within the ever narrowing pennant formation. The current gap between upper and lower boundaries is roughly 50 points and, as I noted, shrinking every day.  This back and forth could potentially go on for another two weeks before the upper and lower boundaries converge---which would clearly suggest declining volatility, if that were to occur.  Whatever happens, every technician in the universe is watching this show, waiting for a break one way or the other; and that will likely add some force to any post-break directional move.  As an aside, the Dow’s chart is not nearly as symmetrically precise as the S&P; but at the moment, no one seems to care.



TLT is nearing another challenge of the lower boundary of its long term uptrend, having lost most of its recent upside momentum.  A break would point to higher long term interest rates.  That explains the pin action in both the dollar (which is soaring) and gold (which is challenging several support levels).  However, as I have noted several times, the recent price action in all the indicators suggests a good deal of investor turmoil/confusion as multiple support/resistance levels are being challenged.



Price instability/uncertainty remains for the moment.  The question is duration.    Patience.  I love my cash.

                       

    Fundamental



       Headlines



            Only one economic data release yesterday: consumer credit grew much slower than expected.  To be fair, that was partially offset by a strong upward revision to the February.  However, combining both numbers would still result in slower growth.



            Overseas, the stats out of Europe keep disappointing: May EU investor confidence and March German industrial orders were below estimates.



            ***overnight, the Chinese/US trade deficit grew primarily on stronger Chinese exports.

           

            The main headline of the day was the Donald’s announcement that he will make his decision known on whether or not to stay in the Iran nuclear deal today a 2PM.  While many of the implications are geopolitical, Markets worry about war, sanctions, etc.




                Bottom line: on the other hand, barring a nuclear holocaust, what is going to impact Market valuation in the long term are earnings, interest rates and long term economic growth. 



Of course, earnings just had one of the best quarters in recent history and investors weren’t all that impressed.




Interest rates show every sign of heading higher (see the chart of TLT); and week after week, I record the economic stats that have been pointing at a slowdown in growth, the Fed and other dreamweavers’ narrative notwithstanding.  



And this is all occurring in the midst of Fed tightening.



At the moment, it is not certain that economic growth has peaked or that inflation will push well passed 2%.  But the evidence is increasingly pointing in that direction.  And, in my opinion, that along with the unwinding of QE will be a lot more important in the long term to investors than whether or not the Iran deal holds.    



            If I was fully invested, I would definitely lighten my equity exposure.  I continue to appreciate my Price Discipline which forces me to Sell Half when a stock meets its price objective. 



            ***overnight, Trump said that he would speak to Chinese Premier Xi this morning on trade matters.


                       

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios

 

           

FactSet Research Systems (NYSE:FDS) declares $0.64/share quarterly dividend, 14.3% increase from prior dividend of $0.56.



Economics



   This Week’s Data



      US



            March consumer credit grew $11.6 billion versus expectations of up $15.6 billion; however, the February number was revised from up $10.6 billion to up $13.6 billion.




     International



            March German industrial production was up 1.0% versus forecasts of up 0.8%.



    Other



            Is the US trapped in a debt spiral? (medium):


           

            The optimist’s view of quantitative tightening (medium):


           

            Another negative sign that global growth may be slowing (medium):




                Is the economy overheating? (short):




                Fed chair tells emerging markets that they are on their own (in other words, expect a continuing tightening by the Fed)  (medium):




What I am reading today



            Buying and holding has its drawbacks (medium):


           

            What is North Korea’s strategy? (medium):


           



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