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Weekly Market Recap Nov 11, 2018

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This past week was saw another positive move up by bulls – especially in the Dow and S&P 500; the NASDAQ was not quite as enthusiastic.   Wednesday’s rally was on the legs of an election that was seen as market friendly or at least not as bad as it could have been.   Essentially – paying people a lot of money to get nothing done the next 2 years – woo hoo!

The market is interpreting Wedneday’s result as insuring that “no big things will get done,” in Washington between now and 2020, Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital told MarketWatch. “The market appreciates the relative certainty of the slow legislative agenda.” he said.

“As President Trump plans his 2020 reelection campaign, a gridlocked Congress is unlikely to deliver any notable wins to help expand his agenda. Therefore, Trump will likely focus on his broad executive powers to affect trade and national security,” wrote Dec Mullarkey, managing director, investment strategy, Sun Life Investment Management, in a research note.

We are still seeing quite a bout of volatility – usually rallies that will last will settle into some sort of “calm” so we are not there yet.   In fact the move to the upside got so extreme mid week that the NYSE McClellan Oscillator actually went to overbought levels for the first time since spring (more on that below).

Nothing of note from the Federal Reserve Thursday – exactly as expected:

In a statement that was largely intact from its September meeting, the Fed said, “The Committee expects further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate.” It also said the risks to the economic outlook “appear roughly balanced” and noted that inflation remains near its 2% target.

The absence of any major changes to its commentary suggests that the central bank plans to raise interest rates in December and plans three hikes next year, in line with market expectations.

Massive drop in oil the past few weeks!  Some contrasting thoughts on the implication of this selling can be found here.

U.S. crude oil prices settled in bear-market territory on Thursday, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak, and that decline may invite questions about the health of demand and the vitality of economies around the globe. Along with other key commodities, oil has often been used as a gauge of world wide vitality.

Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at R.W. Baird, said in an interview with MarketWatch that the oil’s bear market could be spooking investors. “Oil being down could be a sign that the global economy is in a tough spot,” he said.

For the week the S&P 500 gained 2.1% while the NASDAQ added 0.7%.

In economic news, the ISM services index slipped to 60.3 in October, down from 61.6 in September, but beating the 58.6 average estimate.  Still a very strong reading – anything over 50 marks expansion.

We don’t normally mention this one but Friday the producer-price index for October rose 0.6%, versus the consensus estimate of 0.2%. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, producer prices increased by 0.5%.  That’s a very “hot” number and one the Fed would be interested in.

Here is the 5 day weekly “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 …not via Jill Mislinski.

This is a great infographic from Statista about those representatives we just elected.  The number of committee hearings about you know…actual policy… has fallen off a cliff vs 25 years ago.

Over time the legislative process has been breaking down, with less legislation getting into committees. According to Pro Publica, the count of committee hearings dealing directly with legislation has dropped significantly between the 101st Congress, governing between 1989-1990, and the 114th Congress, governing between 2015-2016. The number of Senate committee hearings dealing with legislation has fallen by about 85 percent over this period… the 114th Congress conducted about 72 percent fewer committee hearings dealing with legislation than the 101st Congress did.

The week ahead…

Earnings season is coming to an end and we are in a bit of an impactful economic news drought here aside from retail sales hitting Thursday.  Technical traders should be watching how these recent rally acts – can markets go sideways for a while before a new leg up.  Or was that rally the oversold bounce and can bears – for the first time in eons – impart their will over a sustained period of time.

Index charts:

Short term: The S&P 500 obviously had the better week – both indexes crossed over their 200 day moving averages but only the S&P 500 held it by end of week.  So the question of the week of course is “is this the beginning of the rally or was THAT the oversold bounce?”  These next few weeks will be very interesting as a bullish take can be we have an “inverse head and shoulders” forming (if the market can go sideways for a bit) while a bearish take would require another bout of selling – and then creating a new low below the one seen at end of October.  No one knows today but those are some of the things to watch!

This Russell 2000 continues to act poorly – this long trend line connecting lows of August 2017 and February 2018 served as resistance this week – the index rallied to it and was rejected.  The 200 day moving average is about to get crossed by the 50 day moving average which is seen as a negative in technical terms as well.  This chart reflects the smaller and mid sized public companies in the country – which are far less multi national – so it’s interesting to observe how much weaker it has been this past year.  Especially if you believe markets forecast the future ….

The NYSE McClellan Oscillator is in the black – not only that it hit its first overBOUGHT level since Spring Wednesday.  It’s difficult to quite trust this with the technical damage done on the charts but usually it does signal a positive sign when it’s positive.

Long term: The S&P 500 looks to be in decent shape here but the NASDAQ continues to trail at the bottom end of this long term channel so it’s the one to keep an eye on the next month.  Any reversal back down that sustains would mark a big change in character.

Charts of interest / Big Movers:

CVS (CVS) rose 5.7% Tuesday after the drugstore and health care company announced 6.7% same-store-sales growth for the third-quarter.

E.l.f. Beauty (ELF) rallied 19.2% Tuesday, after its Monday-evening earnings report showed the cosmetics company producing third-quarter projections for revenue and profits that were better than expected. The firm also raised its full-year guidance for 2018.  Now we eagerly await results from Hobbit Beauty….

Generic drug maker Mylan (MYL) rose 16.1%, after the pharmaceutical company announced Monday evening that its profits more than doubled in the third quarter from the year previous.

Michael Kors (KORS) tumbled 14.6%, after the fashion luxury group missed revenue expectations in a Wednesday morning earnings release.

Office Depot (ODP) popped 24% after the company announced revenue and sales figures Wednesday morning that beat analysts’ third-quarter estimates. The office-goods retailer also raised its full year guidance for 2018.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) sank 13% Thursday after an earnings call late Wednesday during which CEO Matthew Maddox said he anticipates a “soft” market in the fourth quarter for its Macau business line.  Been a rough 6 months for this stock!

TripAdvisor (TRIP) surged 15% Thursday after it released better-than-expected earnings.

Yelp (YELP) tumbled 26.6% Friday, after the companymissed Wall Street sales targets and lowered fourth-quarter guidance, in a Thursday evening release.

Have a great week and we’ll see you back here Sunday!



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Jonathan Tepper Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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Jonathan Tepper
Jonathan Tepper

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Jonathan Tepper is co-author of “The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition.” He is chairman of Variant Perception, a macroeconomic research group catering to asset managers and co-founded Demotix, a citizen-journalism photo newswire.

Tepper notes — Google and Facebook control over 70% of all search and linkage within the internet. Their algorithms are biased and guide users to go where they want them to go. Most need Google or Facebook to login to certain websites. So on a platform as vast as the internet, where is the competition?

There’s a lot of smart, wealthy, entrepreneurial focused people around the world – why are they not fighting back? There is virtually no interest by people in Silicon Valley to get into the search engine game. Any small competitor that tries to insert themselves into the industry gets bought out by their larger sized competitors. Jonathan encourages capitalism and companies becoming monopolies because of organic growth. Unfortunately, this is rarely how companies grow. Monopolies are usually formed due to political advantages and strong economic footholds. Jonathan describes the economy right now as “fake capitalism.”

What will it take to overturn a Google or Facebook or Amazon? Will they be dominating for the next 30 years? The central point of evolution is competition – the struggle for survival. In a perfect world, companies with the best and strongest traits would survive while the old and fat companies would die off rather than continue to thrive because of crony capitalism. Only time will tell if these mammoth sized companies will continue to push boundaries and prosper or if a younger more creative company will overthrow them.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Technology monopolies
  • Capitalism
  • Airline monopolies
  • Anti trust laws
  • Federal Reserve
  • The banking system
  • Fake capitalism
  • The Antitrust Paradox
  • Patents

“Economic freedom is essentially a per-requisite to political freedom.” – Jonathan Tepper

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Weekly Market Recap Dec 09, 2018

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Bears are certainly showing the type of strength we haven’t seen in a long time.   A week ago at this time futures were surging on news of a “truce” for 90 days between China and the U.S. in their trade spat.  But the charts were still not saying lovely things despite a major rally the week prior.   And by Tuesday, darkness had descended back on the indexes, with another gut punch Friday.    A lot of emphasis was put on a long term Treasury yield dropping below a shorter term Treasury.

On Monday, the yield on five year government debt slid below the yield on three year debt, a phenomenon which has preceded previous recessions, and a sign that investors are more confident about current than future economic growth as the Federal Reserve raises rates.

The “two year” vs the “ten year” Treasury yield a lot of people like to watch and that hit its narrowest spread in 11 years.

There is no rush to be involved heavily in this market until this volatility sorts itself.    The obvious near term “upside drivers” now would be (a) a real trade peace between U.S. and China and (b) the market’s favorite thing – an easier Fed; in this case that would entail signals to the market that the rate hikes forecast for 2019 are no longer in the cards.   The latter is ALREADY being floated out to the investing community as the Fed has become a lackey for the market the past 20 years.

It’s always helpful to watch what major sectors are “strong” – in this case the type of sectors that institutional money flees into – utilities and consumer staples are holding up.

Meanwhile “growthy” areas like tech and industrials are sagging.

This whole move down was started by a spike in yields such as the 10 year – even with a big retreat this past week, the market did not respond positively.

This week was almost the exact opposite of the week prior with ~5% moves in the indexes either way week to week!  Now that’s some good ole volatility.  This week it was downward with the S&P 500 sinking 4.6% and the NASDAQ 4.9%.

On the economic front, ISM Services still came in a very healthy 60.7.  Readings over 60 aren’t too common; anything over 50 signals expansion.  Of course the market is a forward looking indicator.

As to the November employment data, the Labor Department estimated a gain of 155,000 vs expectations closer to 190,000.  The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, as expected. Average hourly earnings grew 6 cents per hour from October, or 0.2%, just shy of expectations, and grew by 3.1% year-over-year, their highest rate since 2009.

Here is the 5 day weekly “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 … via Jill Mislinski.

The week ahead…

Fun fact – there have been 57 1% moves in the S&P 500 in 2018 vs the very strange year of 2017 where the snoozer market only offered up 8 such days!  In terms of 2% moves, there were 0 in 2017, while there have been 16 in 2018.

The last Fed meeting comes the week after this (Dec 18-19) and one would expect more “leaks” about how 2019 is going to be more dovish than people expect.

Other than waiting for the leaks, watching the “flattening” yield curve will preoccupy the minds of many.

Index charts:

Short term: The S&P 500 spent exactly 1 session over our trend line (and the 200 day moving average) before getting crushed.  NASDAQ didn’t even try to go above the 200 day.  Looking at recent lows now becomes important – if those break, it would not be a positive.

The Russell 2000 still looks putrid.  It is now facing lows of February!

The NYSE McClellan Oscillator spent much of last week in the black actually – but for now this is not an indicator we are going to focus on a ton as the charts are saying negative things for now.

Long term: The NASDAQ is the chart that interests me as it has such a well defined channel.  Last week we said “So it appears 7500 is a good number to watch as a rally up and through that level would signal the index getting back in a channel it has been in for years!”

That didn’t happen – in fact the index got within a few points of 7500 – then was soundly rejected.  This is why charts are fun to evaluate.

Charts of interest / Big Movers:

Another rough week in brick & mortar retail:

Thursday, Children’s Place (PLCE) plunged 13%, hitting 13-month lows, after the retailer cut its earnings and margin outlook for the full year.

Friday Big Lots (BIG) traded down 23.1%, after a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss.

Also Friday, Ulta Beauty (ULTA) slumped more than 13%, after a Thursday evening earnings release that predicted weaker holiday sales that analysts hoped.

Altria announced it would take a 45% ownership stake in the cannabis firm Cronos Group (CRON).

Have a great week and we’ll see you back here Sunday!



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Follow the Opportunity with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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Michael Covel
Michael Covel

Subscribe to Trend Following Radio on iTunes

Trust but verify. Do you listen to media, teachers, etc. and blindly trust the information given? When listening to information or insight it is ok to trust, but you must verify. The vast majority of people choose to never second guess the source.

Michael’s first aha moment with looking outside the box was discovering the turtle story. There were a few things that caught his interest about the story–the trading experiment was seemingly repeatable, that systematic kind of trading was teachable and doable for anyone, and many of those involved in the experiment had moved on and made fortunes. Discovering trend following through the turtles led to many other avenues for Michael, including this podcast. Michael shares some of those insights learned over the years, including what he has learned during the evolution of this podcast.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Turtle story
  • Bayesian mindset
  • Going with the flow
  • Open to new opportunities
  • Trend following philosophy
  • Holy grails

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