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Trying To Be Succinct image

I was recently tasked with providing a succinct summary (I know, not my strong point!) of the market outlook on a bi-weekly basis from a short-, intermediate-, and long-term perspective for clients and advisors. Since I traditionally yammer on for a thousand words or so on a single subject, the idea of trying to keep my summary of Ms. Market's game short and on point initially gave me pause. However, after a fair amount of editing and a couple re-writes, I ultimately wound up pleased with my report as it forced me to take a "just the facts Ma'am" approach - and I thought I'd share.

SHORT-TERM (< 30 days)

Volatility continues to dominate the market landscape and shows no signs of abating in the near-term. For example, the DJIA managed to finish with triple-digit gains or losses in 16 of the 22 trading days in March. Also worth noting is the fact that on March 30, the S&P 500 put together its first back-to-back green closes since February 17. As a result of the manic depressive behavior, the market finds itself in a sideways trading range bordered by 2120 on the upper end of the range and 2040 on the lower bound. In short, the near-term environment can be rated no better than neutral in this mean-reverting, highly volatile market.

S&P 500 Index - Daily

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INTERMEDIATE-TERM (1-6 months)

Perhaps the best way to gauge the state of the stock market from an intermediate-term perspective is through the lens of a weekly chart. The good news is that on a weekly basis, the S&P 500 continues to move "from the lower left to the upper right" of the chart which, of course, is a good thing from a technical perspective. In addition, the 10-week moving average itself continues to trend higher (also a good thing). However, with the state of the economy, the outlook for the upcoming earnings season, and what the Fed may or may not do next all in question at the present time, the action has been rather choppy since the beginning of December. The fact that the S&P has changed direction a total of 12 times in the last 4 months puts an exclamation point on what we will call a "sloppy period." However, the trend itself over the intermediate-term must still be rated moderately positive.

S&P 500 Index - Daily

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LONG-TERM (>6 months)

From a long-term perspective, the stock market has traditionally been a discounting mechanism for the future outlook for the economy, corporate earnings, and inflation. So, with the economy now growing at or above trend, earnings at record highs, and no inflation to be found anywhere on the horizon, the fundamental outlook for the stock market remains upbeat. However, it is worth noting that absolute valuation metrics such as P/E (price to earnings), P/D (price to dividend), P/B (price to book value), and P/C (price to cash flow) have all reached overvalued extremes at the present time. And given that there have only been 3 bull markets in history that lasted longer than the current run for the roses, we must recognize that risk factors for a meaningful pullback are elevated. But with QE programs from the ECB and BOJ pumping fresh cash into the global financial system each month, the downside of any corrective action is likely to be limited and we would view any correction approaching 10% to be a buying opportunity. Thus, the long-term outlook for the U.S. stock market remains positive at this time.

S&P 500 Index - Daily

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So there you have it; a mixed bag if there ever was one. The likely cause for the cross currents in the market is the uncertainty over earnings, the economy, and the Fed. However, the good news is that our cycle composite suggests that, according to history, the market will be straight up over the next two months. So stay tuned, this is likely to be interesting.

Turning to This Morning...

Things are fairly quiet prior to the open on this last trading day of the week. There continues to be a fair amount of concern about the upcoming jobs report, which will be released on tomorrow despite the U.S. markets being closed for Good Friday. Analysts are expecting new job growth to come in around 245K, following the 295K seen in February. However, employment indicators have been mixed of late and the ADP numbers came in below expectations. It is also important to keep in mind that the Nonfarm Payrolls report has been one of the few bright spots on the economic calendar over the past two months. In other news, the negotiations in Iran continue today but there is still no deal, there is no sign of an agreement between Greece and Europe, and Mickey D's (MCD) announced plans to boost wages by more than 10%. European bourses are hovering around the flat-line at this time and U.S. stock futures are pointing to a slightly lower open on Wall Street.

Pre-Game Indicators

Here are the Pre-Market indicators we review each morning before the opening bell...

Major Foreign Markets:
    Japan: +1.46%
    Hong Kong: +0.77%
    Shanghai: +0.41%
    London: -0.01%
    Germany: -0.04%
    France: +0.07%
    Italy: -0.18%
    Spain: +0.17%

Crude Oil Futures: -$1.43 to $48.67

Gold: -$3.20 at $1205.00

Dollar: higher against the yen, lower vs. euro and pound

10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 1.845%

Stock Indices in U.S. (relative to fair value):
    S&P 500: -2.00
    Dow Jones Industrial Average: -13
    NASDAQ Composite: +3

Thought For The Day:

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. - Mark Twain

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Fed/ECB Policy
      2. The State of the U.S. Economy
      3. The State of the Earnings Season
      4. The State of the U.S. Dollar

The State of the Trend

We believe it is important to analyze the market using multiple time-frames. We define short-term as 3 days to 3 weeks, intermediate-term as 3 weeks to 3 months, and long-term as 3 months or more. Below are our current ratings of the three primary trends:

Short-Term Trend: Moderately Negative
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 1 month)

Intermediate-Term Trend: Moderately Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 6 months)

Long-Term Trend: Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 2 years)

Key Technical Areas:

Traders as well as computerized algorithms are generally keenly aware of the important technical levels on the charts from a short-term basis. Below are the levels we deem important to watch today:

  • Key Near-Term Support Zone(s) for S&P 500: 2040
  • Key Near-Term Resistance Zone(s): 2120

The State of the Tape

Momentum indicators are designed to tell us about the technical health of a trend - I.E. if there is any "oomph" behind the move. Below are a handful of our favorite indicators relating to the market's "mo"...

  • Trend and Breadth Confirmation Indicator (Short-Term): Neutral
  • Price Thrust Indicator: Neutral
  • Volume Thrust Indicator: Negative
  • Breadth Thrust Indicator: Neutral
  • Bull/Bear Volume Relationship: Positive
  • Technical Health of 100+ Industry Groups: Moderately Positive

The Early Warning Indicators

Markets travel in cycles. Thus we must constantly be on the lookout for changes in the direction of the trend. Looking at market sentiment and the overbought/sold conditions can provide "early warning signs" that a trend change may be near.

  • S&P 500 Overbought/Oversold Conditions:
          - Short-Term: Oversold
          - Intermediate-Term: Neutral
  • Market Sentiment: Our primary sentiment model is Neutral .

The State of the Market Environment

One of the keys to long-term success in the stock market is stay in tune with the market's "big picture" environment in terms of risk versus reward.

  • Weekly Market Environment Model Reading: Moderately Positive

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Founder and Chief Investment Strategist
Heritage Capital Research


Indicator Explanations

Trend and Breadth Confirmation Indicator (Short-Term) Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates an All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Price Thrust Indicator Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line's 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a "thrust" occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Indicator Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Indicator Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Bull/Bear Volume Relationship Explained: This indicator plots both "supply" and "demand" volume lines. When the Demand Volume line is above the Supply Volume line, the indicator is bullish. From 1981, the stock market has gained at an average annual rate of +11.7% per year when in a bullish mode. When the Demand Volume line is below the Supply Volume line, the indicator is bearish. When the indicator has been bearish, the market has lost ground at a rate of -6.1% per year.

Technical Health of 100 Industry Groups Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, this indicator takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as "positive," the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a "neutral" reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated "negative," stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Weekly State of the Market Model Reading Explained:Different market environments require different investing strategies. To help us identify the current environment, we look to our longer-term State of the Market Model. This model is designed to tell us when risk factors are high, low, or uncertain. In short, this longer-term oriented, weekly model tells us whether the odds favor the bulls, bears, or neither team.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning's opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed nor any Portfolio constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning, an advisor representative of CONCERT Wealth Management Inc. (CONCERT), is founder of Heritage Capital Advisors LLC, a legal business entity doing business as Heritage Capital Research (Heritage). Advisory services are offered through CONCERT Wealth Management, Inc., a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services review the CONCERT firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available from your Investment Representative or by contacting Heritage or CONCERT.

Mr. Moenning is also the owner of Heritage Capital Management (HCM) a state-registered investment adviser. HCM also serves as a sub-advisor to other investment advisory firms. Neither HCM, Heritage, or CONCERT is registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Heritage and HCM may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Editors will indicate whether they or Heritage/HCM has a position in stocks or other securities mentioned in any publication. The disclosures will be accurate as of the time of publication and may change thereafter without notice.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.