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spx (63)

Admin

The Big Picture

First and foremost let me point out that Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, has joined Twitter so I encourage you to follow him here.  Secondly I suggest you grab a cup of coffee or maybe the entire pot as he gradually lays out what he sees ahead for the market.  Enjoy!

Big picture, the near term looks good and the longer term looks scary. That is because:

  1. The economy is now at or near its best, and we see no major economic risks on the horizon for the next year or two,
  2. There are significant long-term problems (e.g., high debt and non-debt obligations, limited abilities by central banks to stimulate, etc.) that are likely to create a squeeze,
  3. Social and political conflicts are near their worst for the last number of decades,…

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Admin

Iff you're hesitant to make stock purchases at these levels, you're not alone.

Last week I updated the Warren Buffett yardstick, market cap-to-GNP. The only time it was ever higher than it is today was for a few months at the top of the dotcom mania.

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Admin

S&P500 Highest Forward P/E Since 2004 But Oh, That Rule 20

I found this interesting (the rise) however I have my own reservations because of the possible change in rates and inflation in 2017.  When inflation rises, interest rates also normally rise to maintain real rates within an appropriate range. PE ratios need to decline to reflect the increase in the earnings discount rate. Another way to look at it is that equities then face more competition for money from fixed income instruments. The cost of equities must therefore decline to keep or attract investors.  Then there is the Rule of 20 to consider.  Rule of 20 equals P/E + long term interest rates (average of 10 and 30 yr bond rates).  If at or below 20 minus…

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Admin

The Market Deteriorates Further. 'Bout Time

The stock market continues to weaken, as evidenced by these ETF charts.    If you zero in on a sector you wish to short, I would bear in mind that ETFs are comprised of market leaders.  I would look for names "outside" of the ETF components; consider them leaders and you want the weaklings to short.

The reasons for weakness are numerous. 

Consider the election weight (a Trump win would weigh on equities but Clinton weighs on pharma pricing).  Then there are flat-to-dropping sales.  Of course the USD movement (up will weigh on commodities and large caps with overseas exposure).  Then there's those who feel we are already at or above maximum value and they're not buying here.  They're hedged, short some and long financials ahead of the Fed rate hike.  Then there's that Fed hike itself.  High dividend is flushing down the toilet (SDY) in September.  Overseas weakness with…

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Admin

Tactically Cautious On Global Equities

A December Fed rate hike, uncertainty regarding the U.S. presidential elections, weak earnings growth, diminished buyback activity and concerns about European banks pose near-term risks to global equities.  Comments in italics are mine.

DIN-20161011-091957

The summer rally has left equity valuations looking stretched. The median U.S. stock now trades at a higher P/E ratio than even at the 2000 peak. The Shiller P/E ratio stands at 27, but would be 37 if profit margins over the preceding ten years had been what they were in the 1990s. The fact that interest rates are low gives stocks some support, but with the Fed likely to hike rates in December, that tailwind will begin to fade.

Lackluster earnings growth remains another concern. S&P 500 and economy-wide profit margins have rolled over. Granted, the collapse in profits in the energy sector has been the major…

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Admin

Buyers Stay Home; See You Next Fall

(Click image to enlarge)

There's nothing here that even remotely makes me want to make a purchase. These are weekly shots of the main indexes so what do you see?

We rallied up over weeks like crazy madmen, squeezing out weak shorts and even had the heaviest shorted sectors help out with a short covering rally; getting the weekly into 'overbought' levels. We came up right against the long term column trend line resistance, hit overbought levels...........the weekly is rolling over. Another failure. Sorry boys. So much for that.

Certainly day traders and short-term swing traders will make their long plays but who has time for that............and why go against the trend of 'this' market......which is down. That's rhetorical.

  • We know the market is stretched on a valuation…

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Admin

The Global Economy: April 2016

The global economy has regained some composure, according to asset management firm Schroders. In their view, markets have regained a risk appetite following action by central banks, the normalization of commodity prices, and a lack of materialization for tail risks such as a U.S. recession or a Chinese hard-landing:

While volatility is indeed near its YTD low with the benchmark VIX down 32% since the start of the year, we would point out that this is potentially some calm before the storm.

Here are some upcoming waves, and we’ll see how they break:

Earnings and Buybacks: The blended earnings decline for the S&P 500 so far in 2016 Q1 is -8.9%, according to Factset.…

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Admin

Understanding Market Structure

While there's been so much 'worrying' over the slowdown in China, the Fed possibly raising rates and energy defaults with the weight on banks, it's still a good idea to remember a stock markets structure; or the steps it takes before a bear market takes place.  The basic strategy is to pay close attention during the accumulation and distribution phases as the market shifts from buyers to sellers, or vice versa. Then, by recognizing the markup and decline phases, an investor can be appropriately long or short to make solid returns.  Click image to enlarge.

Courtesy of the good folks at…

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Admin

The Bloomberg US Financial Conditions Index and the S&P 500 tend to move in pretty close unison. In March, however, they started to move apart in a manner similar to late last year, before the market took a nosedive. Once again, either financial conditions improve or the stock market corrects.

bloomberg financial conditions spx
Source: Bloomberg

Shown below we see a similar wide divergence when looking at credit spreads (inverted in red) compared to the S&P 500 (in black). When financial conditions are healthy, credit spreads narrow since investors require less compensation for the risk of holding non-government securities. As financial conditions deteriorate and default risks increase, credit spreads widen. The credit markets were confirming the message of the stock market up…

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Admin

Another one that says what could cause a collapse; of course they never say "when" it will happen.  Another reason to remain cautious and take winners where you can.

According to CNBC, the S&P 500 is close to its record high as earnings season heats up, but one of the major drivers of the market's advance - stock buybacks - looks to be sagging.

U.S. companies announced about $182 billion in buybacks in the first quarter, according to Birinyi Associates research, putting buybacks on pace for their weakest year since 2012. Strategists link this, in part, to falling cash flow, a trend that is expected…

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Admin

Buybacks As Spreads Narrow. The Greatest Fools Of All

Of course, no where does it say how long this can continue but it's important to be aware. No, it can't go on forever.

We are now entering earnings season once again. Pre-announcements have been the second-worst seen over the past decade.

This has analysts lowering estimates. In fact, they’ve been lowered so far quarterly earnings now look to fall all the way back to 2009 levels.

For the trailing…

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Admin

Debt Doesn't Go On Forever

NYSE margin debt fell again during the month of February. After the selloff in stocks that kicked off 2016, this should come as no surprise. Investors are usually forced to reduce leveraged bets during these sorts of episodes in the stock market. In fact, this forced selling can actually exacerbate the volatility. And because margin debt is only now beginning to come down from record highs, surpassing those seen at the 2000 and 2007 peak, this should be of concern to most equity investors.

To fully appreciate this risk, I prefer to look at margin debt relative to overall economic activity. When leveraged financial speculation becomes large relative to the economy, it’s usually a sign investors have become far too greedy. As Warren Buffett would say, this is usually a good time to become more…

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Admin

Why Most People Fail At Trading

One item I completely agree with is the pundits and "know it alls" on entertainment news television.  They're there to entertain you; not make you rich.  I get my economic releases on them and *off* they go the rest of the day.  I trust my charts; charts don't lie.  People do.

Courtesy of Martinkronicle

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Admin

When Stocks Are On Sale

This caught my eye as I tend to look at stocks when they near a significant, long-term support such as a 100 month or 200 month EMA or SMA.  Of course I'm buying with a long term perspective in this approach but it got me wondering: Is is better to hold your breath and simply buy stocks when they've sold off 20%? The downside still terrifies me but looking at historical returns is intriguing.   From Awelathofcommonsense:

Large cap U.S. equities continue to hold up well with the S&P 500 down roughly 12% from its all-time highs reached last spring. To some degree, this performance has masked the global bear market going on in the rest of the world. Take a look at this list of country ETFs from Bespoke Investment…

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Admin

DeMark Ponders A Bear Market Rally

Has anything changed fundamentally or is this just a bear market rally?  I haven't heard anything from the Fed but crude oil's short covering is definitely a driver.  Ditto for retail seeing short covering ahead of tomorrows retail sales numbers.  For 'how long' is open to speculation.  Let's see what DeMark has to say.

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Admin

Where Money's Been Flowing

When first-generation ETFs launched in the 1990s—such as the SPDR S&P 500 Trust (SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust Series 1 (QQQ)—lead this year's outflows, that is a sign that institutional investors are scared. These first-to-market ETFs have the ample liquidity that big institutions tend to love, with many trading more than $500 million in volume a day. While newer ETFs that may do the same thing or more for cheaper have been launched in the intervening years, early ETFs still tend to curry favor with large investors that value liquidity. These investors tend to be more tactical, and thus outflows from these ETF stalwarts are a bearish sign. 

Photographer: Balchunas, Eric

U.S. Treasuries of all maturities are raking in cash

According to…

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Admin

Bear Market? Yes It Is

The latest market selloff can be blamed on any number of things.  China slowdown or a possible hard landing in China, basic profit taking after a six-year run, declining earnings, no further QE in the US, a uptick in rates in the US, weak US economy, commodity (including crude oil) collapse, weakening of 'risk' currencies due to the commodity selloff, disappearance of buybacks, dividends being lowered, strong US dollar pressuring balance sheets, bear markets in pc sales, rail fees,.........the list goes on and on.  Bottom line: we need something solid to rally on and I fear any earnings pops will be given back.  Netflix will be a good example tomorrow after the close.  We simply cannot justify going higher without a catalyst.

The Wall Street Journal reminds us that this is not 2008 redux but just 'where' we bottom is open to…

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Admin

Recession Proponents Watching Yield Curve

Is our economic recovery truly as strong as charts would imply?  Are we strong enough to stand on our own at these levels, or have we overshot the boundaries thanks to quantitative easing?  Are economics in the U.S. strong enough or does recession lie ahead?

Curve watchers Anonymous has an eye on the yield curve. Here is a snapshot of year-end-closing values from 1998-12-31 through 2015-12-31.

Yield Curve Year End Closing Values 1998-2015



Unlike 1999-2000 and again 2007-2007, no portions of the yield curve are inverted today (shorter-term rates higher than longer-term rates).

Inversion is the traditional harbinger of recessions, but with the low end of the curve still very close to zero despite the first Fed hike, inversions are…

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Admin

Negative Growth. Thank You Deflation And QE

Investors may wade into unknown territory next month as the Federal Reserve readies the first rate hike in nearly a decade amid a corporate earnings recession.

S&P 500 earnings are on track to close their first reporting season of negative growth since the Great Recession and estimates call for sub-zero growth in the current quarter as well.

Even if the trend reverses next year, as expected, a Fed rate hike in December could mark an unprecedented conflict between a tightening cycle starting at the same time as earnings fall into recession.

"We can't think of any instances when the Fed was hiking during an (earnings) recession," said Joseph Zidle, portfolio strategist at Richard Bernstein Advisors in New…

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