The big news over the weekend involved China. First, in a surprise move, the People's Bank of China cut interest rates by 25 basis points. The PBOC said the move was intended to keep rates at levels suitable to the current fundamental trends in economic growth, which as just about everyone on the planet knows, has been flagging. Yet, analysts suggest that the cut in rates underscores the concern that leadership has about the economy. In addition, we learned that the China's official manufacturing PMI remained in contraction mode for a second straight month in February. However, the HSBC version of the day showed some improvement last month and was reported at a 7-month high. Yet the surprise rate cut seems to tell the real story here.
Across the pond, the Manufacturing PMI's were reported largely in line with expectations as the report highlighted that Europe's economic woes are ongoing. However, it is worth noting that the Eurozone PMI held steady at a 6-month high and new orders in Germany hit a 7-month high. Next, investors are anxiously awaiting the commencement of the ECB's QE program, which could begin as early as next week. In addition, Greece was unable to stay out of the headlines as near-term funding issues remain a big problem - and Greece's leadership refuses to play nice. For example, Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis recently suggested that Athens may not pay IMF the $1.7 billion it owes it this month and that the €6.7 billion in payments owed to the ECB this summer needs to be renegotiated. Good luck with that one.
Here at home, there are a handful of M&A deals that were announced over the weekend. But the focus continues to be on the Fed and its plans for the rate "liftoff" and "policy normalization." The big debate currently revolves around when the Fed will start to hike rates and then what the "glide path" will look like. Recent data suggests that the first rate hike is now more likely to occur in September. Although Ms. Yellen and most Fed governors continue to remind us that a June hike remains on the table and that the FOMC is data dependent at this stage.
Current Market Outlook
Any time the market puts in a romp up of more than 5%, traders naturally look for a pullback to begin. So, given that the S&P 500 rallied +6.1% from January 30 through February 24, it isn't exactly surprising to see stocks taking a break here. And given that the market has only finished green once in the last five days, one couldn't be blamed for feeling a little queasy about the near-term outlook. However, we need to keep in mind that pullbacks within an uptrend are definitely part of the game. So, unless our market models begin to weaken in earnest, we will consider the current action to be a "sloppy period" within the context of an uptrend, or what is commonly referred to as a pause that refreshes. What would change our minds? In short, a hard break below the 2085 area on the S&P 500 would likely be an indication that something more meaningful might be in the works. But for now, our indicators tell us to give the bulls the benefit of any doubt.
Sometimes in this game, it is important to know where you've been in order to have a shot at determining where you might go next. So, let's review. From mid-December through very early-February, the S&P 500 traced out a frustrating consolidating pattern, changing direction no fewer than 6 times before breaking out of the pattern on February 2. After waffling for a few days, the index then did what technicians expected it to do and embarked on a new leg higher. And before long, the range was forgotten as new all-time highs were recorded. However, the momentum of the leg higher appears to have stalled over the last couple weeks. Therefore, a test of the last resistance zone which, as the textbooks tell us, should now act as important support, would be logical. And given that the bears have managed to record a red number for the SPX for three consecutive days, a test of the 2085 could be programmed into a trading algo or two. The key, of course, will be how the market acts if/when it tests this critical technical juncture.
S&P 500 - Daily
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Here are the Pre-Market indicators we review each morning before the opening bell...
Major Foreign Markets:
Hong Kong: +0.26%
Crude Oil Futures: -$0.71 to $49.05
Gold: +$3.90 at $1217.00
Dollar: lower against the euro and yen, higher vs. pound
10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 2.011%
Stock Indices in U.S. (relative to fair value):
S&P 500: -0.75
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +23
NASDAQ Composite: +8.08
Thought For The Day:
Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. - Zig Ziglar
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 Oil Crash
4. The State of the Latest Greek Drama
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: Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 1 month)
Intermediate-Term Trend: 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: 2085
- 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: Positive
- Volume Thrust Indicator: Neutral
- Breadth Thrust Indicator: Positive
- 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: Overbought
- Intermediate-Term: Neutral
- Market Sentiment: Our primary sentiment model is Negative .
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: Positive
Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,
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.
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.
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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.
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