Couch Shoppers Expected to Make Cyber Monday Best Digital Shopping Day Ever

U.S. retailers opened their doors to Black Friday shoppers by offering steep discounts, but that didn’t help their sales numbers with social distancing practices and other measures put in place to mitigate infection risks likely driving down traffic. The good news is e-commerce sales reached a new record.

Black Friday Shopping in Stores Craters 52%

CNBC reported over the weekend that traffic at stores on Black Friday fell by 52.1% compared with last year, as Americans by and large eschewed heading to malls and queuing up in lines for shopping online, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

For the six key weeks of the holiday season this year, traffic in retail stores is expected to be down 22% to 25% year over year, an earlier forecast by Sensormatic Solutions said.

“We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down,” said Brian Field, a senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions. “Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic.”

Many malls looked bleak, and parking lots were more empty than full, across much of the country during the early hours of the morning Friday. Some reported traffic picking up later in the day, especially at outlet and open-air shopping centers, as some consumers felt more comfortable heading out. The warmer weather that blanketed much of the country also helped.

“Black Friday this year, from a traffic impact perspective, looked a lot like a typical Saturday after a Black Friday,” Field said.

Black Friday 2020 Online Shopping Surges 22% to Record $9 Billion – Adobe Analytics

Spending online on Black Friday this year surged nearly 22% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as the Covid pandemic pushed more people to shop from the sofa and avoid crowded stores and malls.

Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year, according to Adobe, which analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.

On Black Friday, Adobe found consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online, or $27.50 per person, on average. Spending on smartphones surged 25.3% year over year to reach $3.6 billion, representing 40% of total e-commerce spending.

This makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in history in the United States, behind Cyber Monday last year.

Retail Stock Investors Looking Forward to Cyber Monday

Despite the slow traffic at the malls on Friday, traditional brick and mortar stores may have been saved by robust online buying and curbside pickups. However, the most popular online sellers like Amazon and Etsy should continue to outperform on Cyber Monday.

According to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday (November 30) this year is slated to become the largest digital sales day ever, with spending reaching between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would represent growth of 15% to 35% from a year earlier.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Gold’s Momentous Rally From 2000 Compared To SPY & QQQ – Part II

In Part I of this research article I highlighted the incredible rally in Gold related to a 2020 Anchor point and how that rally in Gold compared to the QQQ and SPY.  In this second Part I am going to highlight the price appreciation in the QQQ and SPY in comparison to Gold since 2009.  It is important to understand how the equities/stocks have rallied in comparison to Gold because the ratio of valuation levels in equities/stocks compared to Gold appears to show when price disparities become outrageous and begin to revert.

Part I of our research showed the 2000 anchor point ratios, where we saw that Gold appreciated faster than the QQQ and the SPY over the span of the past 20 years.  You’ll also see that the QQQ and SPY have appreciated very quickly over the past 5+ years in an attempt to close the gap.  This represents a shift in how traders view opportunities in different asset classes.

9 TO 9.5 YEAR GOLD DEPRECIATION CYCLE ENDED IN 2018 – WHAT NEXT?

We will now shift the anchor point to January 1, 2009, to see how the markets have reacted to valuations since the downturn created by the Global Financial Crisis.  The starting point is to determine how Gold, the QQQ, and the SPY have rallied since this major event in the global markets, and at what ratio.  Ideally, we would have seen moderately uniform appreciation ratios over the past 10 years. This would mean that traders placed nearly equal enthusiasm for higher valuations in the QQQ, SPY, and Gold. As we will see below, this is not the case.

Taking a look at this first Monthly 2009 Anchor ratio chart below, we see the QQQ is the big winner with a current ratio level above 9.0.  This suggests that the QQQ has rallied over 900% since the January 1, 2009 anchor price.  The SPY has rallied to current levels near 3.9.  This suggests that the SPY has rallied over 390% since the January 1, 2009 anchor point price levels.  Gold has only rallied to levels near 2.1 on this chart.  This suggests that Gold has been ignored as an asset class and has failed to keep up with the rally in the QQQ and the SPY over the past 10+ years.

This chart also suggests that traders focused more on the appreciation and expectations related to the NASDAQ/Technology sector over the past 4+ years as a source of asset growth.  Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, and others became the “hot symbols”  while the SPY and Gold fell away from investors’ focus.  This has happened before in the late 1990s with the DOT COM rally.  Traders and speculators jumped in on what appears to be a never-ending rally in the technology sector only to be shocked by the eventual collapse of that sector in early 2000.  Could the same thing happen again?

THE DOT COM DAYS ALL OVER AGAIN?

If we were to take a look at a different perspective of this same data in the chart below, using the January 1, 2009 date as an anchor point, the rally in the QQQ compared to the recent rally in Gold takes on a completely different perspective.  This chart shows the appreciation of the QQQ compared to Gold since 2009 has rallied more than 4.60 (460%).  The price of Gold on January 1, 2009, was 883.00 and the current price of Gold is $1875.80.  The price of the QQQ on January 1, 2009, was 29.77 and the current price of the QQQ is 288.40.  This suggests that the QQQ rallied 460% higher than the rally in Gold over this span of time.

This raises an interesting point that the current rally in the QQQ is similar to the extreme highs we saw in early 2000 near the DOT COM peak.  Even though, on the 2000 anchor ratio chart,  the QQQ ratio seems small compared to the 2000 anchor levels, the 2009 anchor ratio chart shows a different rate of appreciation based on the January 1, 2009 anchor point.  The biggest difference is the relationship between the origination points (being near the Global Financial Crisis lows) and the bigger rally in the QQQ compared to the rally in Gold.  What this suggests is that the QQQ has rallied much more extensively than Gold over the past 11 years – which is very similar to the DOT COM rally peak.

A PRECIOUS METALS APPRECIATION PHASE HAS BEGUN

When we take into consideration the 9 to 9.5 year cycles that my research team and I believe represent appreciation/depreciation cycles, we begin to understand that Gold has under-appreciated over the span of time from 2009 to 2018 and that the new cycle of Precious Metals appreciation has just started in 2019.  If our cycle research is correct, this new phase of precious metals appreciation will last until 2028 or so – very likely driving metals prices much higher to close the ratio gap shown on this chart.

We expect the ratio level to fall to levels near 1.60 to 2.50 over the next few years (possibly lower) as the price of Gold rallies faster than the price of the QQQ.  Over time, the QQQ may continue to still appreciate in some form, but that would suggest that Gold would still continue to appreciate at a faster rate to close the gap in the ratio level.

We believe the key ratio high level, shown on the chart above with a dark blue vertical line, may be the valuations peak (at least for now).  It aligns with our cycle interpretation and suggests that the late stage rally in the QQQ from mid-2018 may be a speculative exhaustion rally.  As the QQQ and SPY stay near all-time highs and Gold fails to advance substantially higher, this ratio will not change very much from the current levels.

Take a look at the 2000 Anchor QQQ to Gold Ratio chart from Part I of this research article.  The ratio levels did not start to change until the QQQ and SPY has clearly started to decline in late 2000 to early 2001 and when Gold started to move moderately higher.  Remember, Gold did not really start to break higher and start a real uptrend until after 2003/04 – this is when we start to see the ratio decline at a faster rate.

Currently, with Gold trading near 1892 and the QQQ and SPY trading near all-time highs, our researchers believe we are very close to a peak in the equities/stock market based on these ratios.  We also believe the 2009 Anchor chart ratio would have to fall below 3.5 to initiate a new “change of trend” trigger based on our research.  The current volatility in the markets suggests we will likely see a very wide range of price rotation before any new trends are established (up or down).  But we do see similarities in the current setup compared to the 2000 setup in terms of how the QQQ and SPY have reached lofty ratio levels while Gold has stalled near a base/momentum level.

Should our interpretations turn out to be accurate, we would start to see Gold appreciate higher at a faster rate over the next 2 to 3+ years while the QQQ and SPY potentially enter a moderately sideways or downward price trend (possibly somewhat similar to the 2000 to 2006 QQQ price rotation).

The QQQ Monthly chart below highlights the incredible parabolic upside price trend that has initiated  in early 2020 and how price has extended upward at almost extreme rates on expectations and speculation.  We believe any breakdown of this trend may prompt another 2000~2004 type of sideways market correction resulting in a reversion of the ratios we’ve highlighted in the charts above.  Any downside rotation in the QQQ to levels below 252 will likely breach the middle channel level of this recent parabolic upside price trend and result in the start of the reversion event.

The US elections, new policies and pending US economic shutdown (possibly for 30 to 60+ days as suggested by Joe Biden’s team) will shock the markets if it happens.  We are not fortune-tellers and are not able to clearly see what will happen in the future, but we can tell from the ratio charts and the QQQ chart, above, that very heavy price speculation has driven the markets into an upside rally mode and we are concerned above “how and when” it ends.  It may be that the rally continues for a number of years – or it may already be nearing an end.  Our researchers believe the peak level in 2018 on our ratio chart, after the last 9 to 9.5 year cycle completed, is showing us that the upward price cycle has already likely ended and we are transitioning into a renewed Precious Metals/Gold appreciation phase.

Imagine how powerful it would be for you to be able to trade only the strongest and best-performing assets across the spectrum while being able to take advantage of technical patterns and multiple re-entry triggers.  If you want to learn how we can help you find and identify great trading opportunities, then please visit www.TheTechnicalTraders.com to learn about my proprietary trading systems using my exciting ”Best Asset Now” strategy and indicators. You can also sign up for my daily pre-market video reports that walks you through the charts of all the major asset classes every morning.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Chris Vermeulen
Chief Market Strategist
www.TheTechnicalTraders.com

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: Our free research does not constitute a trade recommendation or solicitation for readers to take any action regarding this research.  We are not registered financial advisors and provide our research for educational and informational purposes only.

 

Stocks Retreat As Amazon Faces EU Antitrust Charges

Stocks Are Set For A Pullback After Touching All-Time Highs On Monday

S&P 500 futures are losing ground in premarket trading in continuation of the market action seen in the last hours of yesterday’s trading session.

Market is worries about the fate of the new coronavirus aid package, the speed of vaccination and the continued uncertainty around the U.S. presidential election as Donald Trump prepares for legal battles.

Notably, Nasdaq futures are down by about 1.5% in premarket trading as leading tech stocks like Apple and Facebook remain under pressure. Yesterday’s laggards like Zoom and Netflix are also set to open lower, while Peloton investors can hope for some bounce at the start of the trading session.

The tech sector was leading the rebound of S&P 500 after the pandemic-related sell-off in March, and its recent weakness is worrisome for the bulls as it may take the broader market to lower levels.

Amazon Is Under Fire From The European Commission

Shares of Amazon are down by almost 2% in premarket trading as EU regulators accused the company of distorting competition in the online retail space.

While the EU decision on the case is expected in 2021, investors fear that the growing regulator attention to tech giants will ultimately hurt their profits or lead to break-ups of the leading tech companies.

The Big Tech is already facing increased scrutiny in the U.S., and EU has just indicated that it also plans to increase pressure on the companies whose might exceeds the power of many sovereign countries.

A potential sell-off in Big Tech stocks is one of the biggest threats for the market so investors will continue to monitor this story closely.

Oil Continues To Move Higher On Vaccine Hopes

Oil has managed to stay above the psychologically important $40 level and made an attempt to settle above the $41 levels as traders hope that an effective coronavirus vaccine will be a game-changer for the oil market.

The energy sector was a big winner yesterday, and energy-related stocks are also set to open higher today.

Shares of BP are set for an especially active trading session as they are already up by more than 7% in premarket trading.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Pfizer Vaccine Breakthrough Boosts Markets

Pfizer And BioNTech Report Great Results From Their Large-Scale Study Of COVID-19 Vaccine

S&P 500 futures have recently received a major boost after Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective in the first analysis of the large study.

Vaccine news provided significant support to stocks, and S&P 500 futures are gaining more than 4% in premarket trading. Not surprisingly, shares of vaccine developers are gaining a lot of ground ahead of the market open – Pfizer shares are up by 12% while BioNTech stock is up by more than 23%.

Meanwhile, WTI oil managed to return back above the $40 level as vaccine news increased hopes for a successful rebound of oil demand. At the same time, precious metals like gold and silver are under pressure as traders dump safe haven assets amid optimism about the vaccine.

Stay-At-Home Stocks Suffer On Vaccine News

While the vaccine news are positive for most stocks, shares of some companies are under major pressure in premarket trading.

Zoom and Peloton, which were one of the major winners during the pandemic, are down by almost 13%, and even Amazon is under pressure in premarket trading. As a result of the pressure on stay-at-home stocks, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is set to open higher by a modest 0.5%.

It remains to be seen whether vaccine news will trigger a real rotation from tech stocks into more cyclical stocks, but stay-at-home stocks will certainly have a very challenging trading session today.

Airline And Cruise Line Stocks Jump In Premarket Trading

Today, investors look ready to bet on beaten stocks like airlines and cruise lines. For example, American Airlines Group is up by 25% while Delta Air Lines  is gaining 18% in premarket trading.

Investors are even more optimistic about cruise lines like Carnival Corp. or Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings as an effective vaccine against COVID-19 may make the difference between bankruptcy and profitable business for these companies.

Traders should expect plenty of volatility in these stocks in the upcoming trading sessions as the market will try to find new price levels which take vaccine news into account.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

U.S. Stocks Set To Open Lower As Tech Stocks Slide After Earnings Reports

Big Tech Stocks Are Losing Ground In Premarket Trading

S&P 500 futures are losing ground in premarket trading as leading tech stocks are under pressure after the release of third-quarter earnings reports.

Shares of Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are losing ground in premarket trading, while shares of Alphabet are gaining more than 6% due to healthy growth of Google’s ad sales.

Elevated expectations are the biggest problem for tech stocks right now. For example, Apple shares are up by 57% year-to-date while Amazon stock gained almost 74% since the beginning of the year.

In this situation, it is not enough to simply beat analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue – the market wants to see a path for robust growth in the future. That said, it remains to be see whether the current premarket sell-off will  turn into a serious multi-day pressure on tech stocks as many traders are waiting for a pullback to initiate their positions in market leaders.

Oil Fails To Rebound As Coronavirus Continues To Surge

Oil remains under pressure after yesterday’s sell-off as traders evaluate risks of additional lockdowns. Yesterday, U.S. recorded more than 91,000 new cases of the disease, so coronavirus will likely get back to the headlines right after the U.S. presidential election.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil reported its third-quarter results, missing analyst estimates on revenue and beating them on earnings. Chevron also beat earnings estimates but failed to live up to revenue expectations.

This trading session is set to be chalelnging for oil majors as their revenues were hit hard by the pandemic while oil is trading near the $36 level amid virus fears.

Personal Spending Increased By 1.4% In September

U.S. has just provided Personal Income and Personal Spending reports. Personal Income increased by 0.9% month-over-month in September compared to analyst estimates which called for growth of 0.4%. Personal Spending grew by 1.4% compared to analyst consensus of 1%.

Both reports were better than expected and can provide some support to stocks during today’s trading session. The strength of Personal Spending is especially welcome as it shows that consumers remained confident in September.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Mixed Bag of Quarterly Reports from Tech-Heavyweights Could Pressure US Stock Indexes on Friday

U.S. stock indexes posted a volatile reaction to a mixed bag of quarterly reports from top-tier technology companies after the closing bell on Thursday. Yesterday’s late reports came amid turbulence on Wall Street, with soaring coronavirus cases and uncertainty about a fiscal relief bill in Washington dimming the outlook for an economic recovery and knocking over 3% off the S&P 500 so far this week.

After the cash market close on Thursday, Alphabet (Google) rallied, Apple sank, Twitter tumbled and Facebook dropped. Share swings in these companies following their earnings reports after the bell sent exchange-traded funds tracking the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite down about 1% each, suggesting downside pressure on Wall Street on Friday.

Alphabet Sales Growth Revived as Advertisers Flock Back to Google

Google parent Alphabet Inc on Thursday powered back to sales growth, beating analysts’ estimates for the third quarter as businesses initially hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic resumed advertising with the internet’s biggest supplier of ads.

Alphabet shares, up 13% on the year, rose 8.5% after hours to $1,689.89.

Apple’s Late iPhone Launch Temporarily Wiped $100 Billion Off Its Stock Value

The late launch of new 5G phones caused Apple Inc’s customers to put off buying new devices, leading the company on Thursday to report the steepest quarterly drop in iPhone sales in two years.

Apple fell over 5% at one point in after-hours trade, wiping $100 billion from its stock market value.

Since 2013, Apple has delivered new iPhones each September like clockwork. But pandemic-induced delays pushed the announcement back a month, with some devices still yet to ship.

Even as booming sales of Macs and AirPods boosted overall revenue and profit above what analysts had expected, iPhone sales dropped 20.7% to $26.4 billion.

Twitter Warns US Election Could Affect Ad Sales, Shares Drop 16%

Twitter Inc on Thursday added fewer users than Wall Street had expected and said a rise in expenses would accelerate in the fourth quarter, sending its shares tumbling 16%.

The San Francisco-based social media company said it expected expenses to increase by close to 20% in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago due to an increase in investments.

The company also cautioned that it was hard to predict how advertisers would react as the U.S. presidential election nears on November 3.

Shares of Twitter fell to $44.00 in after-market trading.

Facebook Anticipates Tougher 2021 Even as Pandemic Boosts Ad Revenue

Facebook Inc on Thursday warned of a tougher 2021 despite beating analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue as businesses adjusting to the global coronavirus pandemic continued to rely on the company’s digital ad tools.

The world’s biggest social media company said in its outlook that it faced “a significant amount of uncertainty,” citing pending privacy changes by Apple and a possible reversal in the pandemic-prompted shift to online commerce.

“Considering that online commerce in our largest ad vertical, a change in this trend could serve as a headwind to our 2021 ad revenue growth,” it said.

Shares of the company were lower in extended trading.

Amazon Sees Pandemic Boosting Holiday Sales and Investment in Delivery

Amazon.com Inc on Thursday forecast a jump in holiday sales – and costs related to COVID-19 – as consumers continued to shop more online during the pandemic.

A company executive added that heightened spending on delivery infrastructure would likely continue over years, and shares fell 2% in after-hours trading.

For the fourth quarter, Amazon said it expects net sales of $112 billion to $121 billion. That would mark the company’s first over $100 billion and follows a third-quarter revenue beat that analysts such as eMarketer’s Andrew Lipsman did not expect.

“While it was clear that the pandemic-driven shift to e-commerce would keep Amazon’s topline elevated, it surprised by easily surpassing an already high bar,” Lipsman said.

Revealing Summary

Without Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet – the so-called FAANG stocks – the S&P 500 would be down about 4% in 2020, compared with the index’s 2% year-to-date rise, according to a research note from Bespoke Investment Group on Thursday.

“Due to both the huge weight of these stocks and their outperformance, the market has become more reliant on them than ever before for its gains,” according to Bespoke.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Amazon Stuck In Neutral Ahead Of Earnings

Amazon.Com Inc. (AMZN) reports Q3 2020 earnings after Thursday’s U.S. closing bell, with Wall Street analysts expecting a profit of $7.17 per-share on $92.5 billion in revenue. If met, that would mark a 65% earnings-per-share (EPS) increase compared to the same quarter in 2019, highlighting huge market share gains as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stock rallied 3.7% after a blowout Q2 report at the end of July but hasn’t added a penny since that time.

Growing Political Headwinds

The next presidential administration could signal growing risk for the $1.6 trillion mega-cap, regardless of who wins the election. CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which President Trump has repeatedly accused of disseminating ‘fake news’. A Democratic presidency could be even tougher on Amazon, following through on accusations of anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior that’s forced tens of thousands of small businesses to shut down.

The Benchmark Company analyst Daniel Kurnos raised their target to $3,800 earlier this month, stating “we expect Amazon to be a material share gainer this holiday period, while also spreading out and front running some early holiday demand to avoid shipping shortages and incrementally costly last mile delivery methods. We get that timing is challenging but see the recent pullback as an excellent entry point.”

Wall Street And Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus has been one-sided throughout 2020 despite historic share gains, with a ‘Strong Buy’ rating based upon 37 ‘Buy’ recommendations. No analysts covering the retailer are posting a ‘Hold’ or ‘Sell’ recommendations. Price targets currently range from a low of $3,400 to a Street-high $4,500 while the stock is now trading about $150 below the low target. This unanimity of opinion looks like a warning sign, given depressed price action and lack of Q3 upside.

Amazon broke out above the first quarter high at 2,190 in April, posted an all-time high at 3,552 in September, and failed the breakout above 3,350 a few days later. Accumulation topped out in July while price action since June has carved the outline of a potential head and shoulders topping pattern. The July and September lows define the possible neckline, with a breakdown exposing a multi-week correction that could reach breakout support near 2,200.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Big Week for Big Tech

On October 28, the CEOs of Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Google (Sundar Pichai), and Twitter (Jack Dorsey) are set to testify before a Senate hearing about how these tech giants manage hate speech, misinformation, and privacy on their respective platforms. This will be a closely-followed hearing, considering that it comes mere days before the hotly contested US presidential elections on November 3.

Then, a day after the Senate hearing, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Facebook, and Twitter are all scheduled to release their respective Q3 results after US markets close on October 29.

Given that these tech titans are set to feature prominently in market headlines this week, such prospects may make for volatile trading, and the price swings may be captured within the FXTM Social Media index.

FXTM Social Media Index beats major US benchmarks

This index, which comprises four, evenly-weighted constituents, namely Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, has far outperformed the gains seen in the major US benchmark indices so far in October. Since US markets closed on September 30th, the FXTM Social Media index has risen by 8.3 percent, even after Monday’s selloff. Compare that to the Nasdaq Composite index, which managed 1.71 percent during the same period, while the S&P 500 index has a month-to-date climb of 1.13 percent.

The FXTM Social Media index’s gains of late have been amplified by Snapchat’s inclusion. Shares of the loss-making social media platform have soared by an astonishing 58 percent on a month-to-date basis, setting multiple record highs after reporting a blowout Q3 quarterly earnings last week.

At home and bored: Social media’s dream

Advertisers ramped up their spending on Snapchat, knowing that users are using the platform a lot more amid the pandemic, given the disruptions to their daily routines and physical interactions. Snapchat has already added 31 million new daily active users in the first nine months of 2020, all while managing to steer clear of the negative headlines that have engulfed other platforms such as TikTok and Facebook.

Should Alphabet, Facebook, and Twitter also announce a Snapchat-esque Q3 earnings bonanza, one that’s fueled by ad spending, that could spell even more upside for the FXTM Social Media index before the week is up, provided that the Senate’s grilling of Zuckerberg, Pichai, and Dorsey on Wednesday do not heighten concerns surrounding these companies.

A bumpy upwards climb?

From a technical perspective, the FXTM Social Media index is now trading at relatively healthier levels after yesterday’s pullback, given that its 14-day relative strength index has pulled away from the 70 mark, which typically denotes overbought conditions. Still, this index is not immune to broader sentiment, which could see more market angst as investors’ concerns over looming US political risks are laid bare.

And the fundamentals of these social media giants could be clouded by the bipartisan campaign against Big Tech. Note that Zuckerberg and Dorsey are set to attend a separate Senate hearing on November 17th, which is two weeks after the US elections polling day, while Google is contending with a massive antitrust lawsuit by the US Justice Department.

While the legislative scrutiny could weigh on the performance of social media stocks, these downside risks may not be fully manifested for years more. As long as the tailwinds in this pandemic era remain intact, there could potentially be more gains to be had once we get to the other side of the US elections.

Written on 27/10/20 02:00 GMT by Han Tan, Market Analyst at FXTM

For more information, please visit: FXTM


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FANG Index Nearing Critical Support – Could Breakout At Any Moment

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The washout-low price move in FANG stocks may present a needed rotation in price before another upside move sets up.
  • Tweezer Bottoms pattern and RSI pennant formation suggest very clear support levels.
  • Watch how Volume and the VIX pick up over the next few days, and how price reacts to this bounce at 945.

Our Custom FANG Index (consisting of Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, Google, and Nvidia) shows the FANG Index, and technology sector, are trading just above critical support near 945.  The congestion area on this chart between July and August just below this 945 level highlights the key resistance/support level that we are currently watching as price support.

TWEEZER BOTTOMS MAY SUGGEST MORE UPSIDE POTENTIAL

This Custom FANG Index Weekly chart clearly slows the Tweezer Bottoms pattern that formed in the markets after the close on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.  This pattern suggests a very clear support level is found near the recent lows – near 945.  If this support level holds, then the FANG Index price should begin to bounce and move higher.  If this support level is broken, prices may continue to push lower while attempting to find historical support levels.

The Fibonacci Price Amplitude Arcs suggest a broader price frequency inflection point is also setting up near the recent peak.  This Fibonacci Price Amplitude Arc suggests a major inflection point is taking place in the Custom FANG index right now.  We believe the 945 level resulting from the Tweezer Bottoms pattern is a critical price level to support a future price rally in this sector.

Lastly, we want to point out the Pennant/Flag formation in the RSI indicator over the past 8+ months (highlighted in RED).  The combination of these technical patterns, as well as the new Tweezer Bottoms pattern, suggests the current breakdown to the 945 level may present a “washout-low” type rotation after the RSI Pennant Apex.  Overall, this downside move in the FANG index represents a moderately strong APEX rotation.  If this is a “washout” rotation, then we may be setting up for another big upside price move soon.

Right now, we are cautiously watching the 945 level and expecting the Custom FANG Index to recover from these Tweezer Bottoms lows.  We believe there is a very solid chance that the washout-low price move may present a needed rotation in price before another upside move sets up.

Watch for the markets and technology sector to attempt a recovery as long as the 945 level on this Custom FANG Index chart holds. Isn’t it time you learned how I can help you better understand technical analysis as well as find and execute better trades?  If you look back at past research, you will see that my incredible team and our proprietary technical analysis tools have accurately shown you what to expect from the markets in the future.  Do you want to now learn how to profit from these expected moves?  If so, sign up for my Active ETF Swing Trade Signals today!

If you have a buy-and-hold or retirement account and are looking for long-term technical bull/bear signals for when to buy and sell equities, bonds, precious metals, or sit in cash then be sure to subscribe to my Passive Long-Term ETF Investing Signals to stay ahead of the market and protect your wealth!

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Chris Vermeulen
Chief Market Strategist
Technical Traders Ltd.

 

US Stocks Slide After Fed Minutes; Apple Hits $2 Trillion Market Cap

The major U.S. stock indexes finished lower on Wednesday after minutes from July’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting failed to indicate a more dovish shift in monetary policy, possibly in September. Particularly disappointing for investors was the Fed ruling out for now more dovish monetary policy measures such as yield curve control and the adoption of an average inflation target.

In the cash market on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3374.85, down 14.93 or -0.50%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 27692.88, down 85.19 or -0.34% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 11146.46, down 64.38 or -0.68%.

Fed Yield Cap Would’ve Sent Dovish Signal

Under yield-curve control, the Fed would cap yields at a specific point on the curve by buying 2- or 3-year maturities, for example, to reinforce guidance that rates are not going up anytime soon.

In minutes of the Fed’s July meeting, a majority of its monetary policy committee commented on yield caps and targets as a monetary policy tool. Of those who discussed this option, most judged that yield caps and targets would likely provide only modest benefits in the current environment.

Fed Sees Uncertain Path to Recovery

The Fed also raised concerns that the U.S. economy’s recovery from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic faced a highly uncertain path.

Policymakers noted that the swift rebound in employment seen in May and June had likely slowed and that additional “substantial improvement” in the labor market would hinge on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.

Apple Valued at $2 Trillion

Just two years after Apple became the first publicly listed U.S. company with a $1 trillion stock market value, the iPhone maker has now topped $2 trillion.

Apple now accounts for close to 7% of the S&P 500’s total market value. Its market capitalization is about equal to the combined values of the S&P 500’s 200 smallest companies.

Microsoft and Amazon follow Apple as the most valuable publicly traded U.S. companies, each at about $1.6 trillion. They are followed by Google-owner Alphabet, at just over $1 trillion.

Target Reports Monster Quarter

Target on Wednesday blew past every forecast on Wall Street for its fiscal second quarter as it attracted millions of new customers online, setting a record for same-store sales that drove profits up by an eye-popping 80.3% to $1.7 billion.

Shares were up nearly 13% Wednesday afternoon. It reached a 52-week high of $154.69, bringing up the company’s market cap to about $77 billion.

Lowe’s Reports Blowout Quarter

Lowe’s said customers bought supplies for DIY projects, kicked off renovations and stepped up their landscaping as they skipped dining out and scaled back summer trips during the coronavirus pandemic.

That translated to huge gains for the home improvement retailer, allowing it to blow past Wall Street forecasts with a 30% surge in revenue and 68.7% jump in profit during the fiscal second quarter.

Shares of the company were up less than 1% Wednesday afternoon. They reached a 52-week high of $162.89 earlier in the day.

The Internals

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 70 new highs and 20 new lows.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Weak Technology Sector Helps S&P 500 Snap Seven-Day Winning Streak

The major U.S. stock indexes finished lower on Tuesday, reversing a mostly higher intraday trade late in the session after comments about a stalemate in talks over a fiscal stimulus deal.

The benchmark S&P 500 Index had been higher for much of the session, coming within striking distance of its closing record high from late February, before the onset of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic that triggered one of the most dramatic sell-offs in Wall Street history.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average also ended lower, and the technology-driven NASDAQ Composite retreated more than 1% and underperformed the other major indexes, as investors continued to rotate out of technology-related heavyweights and into value shares.

In the cash market, the S&P 500 Index settled at 3333.69, down 26.78 or -0.89%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 27686.91, down 104.53 or -0.42% and the tech-driven NASDAQ Composite finished at 10782.82, down 185.54 or -1.95%.

Stalemate in Coronavirus Aid Legislation Raising Concerns

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News that White House negotiators had not spoken on Tuesday with Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress on coronavirus aid legislation after talks broke down last week.

Investors have been hoping Republicans and Democrats will resolve their differences and agree on another relief program to support about 30 million unemployed Americans, as the battle with the virus outbreak was far from over with U.S. cases surpassing 5 million last week.

Wedbush trader Joel Kulina said concerns about the stalemate in stimulus negotiations added to pressure to sell recently strong performing tech stocks.

“It just feels like an acceleration of the growth unwind that started last Friday. Today marks day three of the unwind out of growth,” Kulina said. “But I’m not seeing panicking.”

Mixed News Fuels Two-Sided Volatility

A return of risk appetite fueled by encouraging economic numbers and hopes of a new coronavirus relief package and even a vaccine boosted the 500-stock index for much of the trading day on Tuesday. However, a plunge in technology shares helped snap a seven-day winning streak.

On the bullish side, the S&P 500 Index has rallied more than 52% since its March low and is 1.8% from its record high. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped more than 100 points but at one point traded above 28,000 for the first time since February.

The loss in the Dow could have been worse if not for strength in stocks that benefit from the reopening of the economy and a COVID-19 vaccine capped the average’s losses.

The NASDAQ Composite was the underperformer, losing 1.7% as investors rotated out of technology stocks. Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet and Apple all closed lower.’

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

U.S. Stocks Set To Open Higher As Big Tech Reports Strong Earnings

Big Tech Beats Earnings Estimates

Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook have recently provided their second quarter reports.

Amazon revenues were up 40% year-over-year while its earnings of $10.30 per share beat analyst estimates by $8.80.

Apple’s revenue and earnings were also higher than estimates. The company stated that the release of iPhone 12 will be postponed by several weeks and also announced a four-for-one stock split.

Alphabet’s earnings were less spectacular but the company comfortably beat estimates with revenue of $38.29 billion and earnings of $10.13 per share.

Facebook’s revenue was up almost 11% year-over-year despite the challenges brought by coronavirus pandemic while the company’s earnings of $1.80 per share easily beat analyst expectations.

Not surprisingly, all these stocks are gaining ground during the premarket trading session. The Big Tech was the main driver of the market’s upside move from the bottom reached in mid-March, so S&P 500 futures are also up in premarket trading.

Coronavirus Aid Package Negotiations Have Yielded No Deal Yet

While traders cheer the great results of big tech companies, their attention may later shift to coronavirus aid package negotiations.

At this point, there are no signs of progress. The $600 weekly unemployment benefits are about to expire, and failure to maintain the program in some form may put heavy pressure on consumer activity.

While there is always a chance of a last-minute deal, worries about the stimulus package may put some pressure on stocks later in the trading session.

Personal Income Fell By 1.1% In June

The U.S. has just provided Personal Income and Personal Spending reports for June.

Personal Income declined by 1.1% month-over-month, while analysts expected a decline of 0.5%. The pace of the decline has decreased compared to May when Personal Income fell by 0.5%.

Meanwhile, Personal Spending increased by 5.6% month-over-month, mostly in line with the analyst consensus which called for an increase of 5.5%.

While Personal Income is under pressure due to the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Personal Spending is supported by various government aid programs.

That’s why failure to reach a deal on the new coronavirus aid package may have a significant negative impact on the market.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Amazon.com Posts Record Q2 Profit Amid COVID-19 Pandemic; Buy with Target Price of $3500

Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, reported that its profit hit an all-time high in the second quarter as online sales surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sending its shares up 5% to $3,204.60 in after-hours trade on Thursday.

The multinational technology company based in Seattle said its net sales rose 40% to $88.9 billion in the second quarter, compared with $63.4 billion a year earlier. The company’s online store sales surged nearly 48% to $45.89 billion its second quarter ended June 30, 2020.

Net income surged to $5.2 billion in the second quarter, or $10.30 per diluted share, from $2.6 billion, or $5.22 per diluted share, in second-quarter 2019. Operating income increased to $5.8 billion in the quarter-end on June 30, from $3.1 billion in the same period last year.

“We are reiterating our BUY rating for Amazon.com, while increasing our price target to$3,800 from $2,625. Our new price target is based on our updated discounted cash flow model, including our long-term adj. EBITDA margin forecast 22.0% (unchanged) versus 15.4% in 2019,” said Tom Forte, senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson.

“COVID-19 has been like injecting Amazon with a growth hormone and is driving sales expansion in ways that even the rollout of one-day Prime shipping was not able to. The company indicated it expects $2 billion of incremental spending to combat COVID-19 in 3Q 2020, down from more than $4 billion in 2Q 2020. As we expected and consistent with the CIO survey led by our colleague, Andrew Nowinski, its cloud computing sales growth decelerated in the quarter to 29.0% from 32.8%,” he added.

Amazon’s shares rose over 70% so far in 2020, registering its biggest quarterly rise of more than 40% in the June quarter.

On the third quarter 2020 guidance, Amazon.com forecast its net sales between $87.0 billion and $93.0 billion, or to grow between 24% and 33% compared with third-quarter 2019 and operating income is anticipated between $2.0 billion and $5.0 billion.

“First, U.S. retail inflecting as Amazon.com drives surging e-commerce, Second, this is global too as bottom-up work leads us to raise int’l retail, Third, expect ad revs upside, Fourth, Amazon.com adding record high-margin dollar growth, creating a path to $95 billion of ’22 EBITDA even with investment. Top pick; Bull case to $4,200,” said Brian Nowak, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Executive comment

“As expected, we spent over $4 billion on incremental COVID-19-related costs in the quarter to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers in this time of high demand—purchasing personal protective equipment, increasing cleaning of our facilities, following new safety process paths, adding new backup family care benefits, and paying a special thank you bonus of over $500 million to front-line employees and delivery partners,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO said in a press release.

“We’ve created over 175,000 new jobs since March and are in the process of bringing 125,000 of these employees into regular, full-time positions. And third-party sales again grew faster this quarter than Amazon’s first-party sales. Lastly, even in this unpredictable time, we injected significant money into the economy this quarter, investing over $9 billion in capital projects, including fulfilment, transportation, and AWS,” he added.

Amazon.com stock forecast

Thirty-eight analysts forecast the average price in 12 months at $3,242.66 with a high forecast of $3,800.00 and a low forecast of $2,162.00. The average price target represents a 6.25% increase from the last price of $3,051.88. From those 38, 36 analysts rated ‘Buy’, two analysts rated ‘Hold’ and none rated ‘Sell’, according to Tipranks.

Just after the earnings result, Keybanc upped its target price to $3,500 from $3,285; Canaccord Genuity raised its target price to $3800 from $3300 and BMO raised target price to $3500 from $2850. Morgan Stanley target price is $3,450 with a high of $4,200 under a bull scenario and $2,200 under the worst-case scenario.

Earlier this month, Suntrust Robinson raised the target price to $3,400 from $2,700, Deutsche Bank raised the target price to $3333 from $2750 and Wedbush raised the target price to $3,050 from $2,750.

We think it is good to buy at the current level and target at least $3,500 in the short-term and $4,000 in a best-case scenario as 100-day Moving Average signals a strong buying opportunity.

Analyst comment

“We went to a Buy from Neutral Rating in June at about 2600 and about 30% upside at the time. The stock has quickly hit our target with strong results. The max PE we use is 65X for conviction. Even though Amazon and other stocks have traded much higher than that, that’s our max. So keeping PE constant and factoring in the EPS upside (even though there’s a ton of upside coming) we’re moving to Neutral now that valuation wise our risk/reward is more even rather than upside,” said Chaim Siegel from Elazar Advisors.

“Retail trends accelerated. AWS revenues slowed but two-quarters of margin acceleration helps our EPS model. We have a big EPS upside if you scroll through our model. Still, at fair value, we’re moving to Neutral Rating.”

What To Expect After Amazon.Com Earnings

Amazon.Com Inc. (AMZN) reports Q2 2020 earnings after Thursday’s closing bell in the United States, with Wall Street analysts looking for the e-commerce behemoth to report $1.62 earnings-per-share (EPS) on a staggering $81.3 billion in revenue. The stock fell 7.6% after missing Q1 profit estimates and lowering Q2 operating income guidance in April, but bottomed out quickly and rallied 30% into Wednesday’s close at 3,033.

Amazon.Com CEO Grilled By Congress

CEO Jeff Bezos and other big tech executives appeared before Congress on Wednesday and got grilled about allegedly monopolistic practices. Bezos denied the charges, insisting the company was competing against a host of large players. He also noted that Amazon accounts for less than 1% of the $25 trillion global retail market and less than 4% of retail in the United States. Finally, he claimed the company has done a good deed by inviting 3rd party retailers to participate, advising “we could have kept this valuable real estate to ourselves”.

BMO Markets analyst Daniel Salmon raised his Amazon.Com price target from $2850 to $3500 ahead of the release, noting “we believe AMZN’s long-term opportunity is stronger than ever and we continue to see outperformance over the next 12 months. But per CEO Bezos, you may want to take a seat, because [they] are not thinking small and we are cautious into the print, owing to recent stock outperformance and the potential for significant new investment spending.”

Wall Street And Technical Outlook

Wall Street rates the stock as a ‘Strong Buy’, based upon an astounding 36 ‘Buy’ and just 2 ‘Hold’ recommendations. No analysts are recommending that shareholders sell their positions and move to the sidelines at this time. Price targets currently range from a low of $2,162 to a street-high $3,800 while the stock is trading close to $200 below the median $3,200 target. This positioning favors higher prices after a strong report and bullish guidance.

Technically speaking, Amazon.Com is showing signs of fatigue after an historic uptrend underpinned by COVID-19 tailwinds. The stock has gained more than 50% since breaking out above 2018 resistance at 2,000 in March, setting off extremely overbought relative strength readings that now favor a consolidation of gains, rather than quick assault on 3,500. This pullback may have already begun, with steady profit-taking since the July 13 high at 3,344.

 

 

Middle-Week Screening: Gold Glitters and Shines!

Overview and trends

US stocks rose on Monday as investors looked to major earnings on deck this week and awaited the release of the GOP’s coronavirus stimulus plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally said that Republicans were ready to present their long-awaited $1 trillion COVID-19 package details, as Democrats remained wary. S&P 500 ended up 0.74%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher 0.44%, and Nasdaq Composite shot up 1.86%.

US stock indices ended down from 0.65% to 1.27% yesterday as investors mulled Senate Republicans’ coronavirus stimulus package and a slew of very surprising earnings reports.

The U.S. republicans continued debating on its fiscal relief plan most of the day. The projected $1 trillion packages will include another round of $1,200 payment checks and additional funds for small-business loans.

A large portion of reporting yesterday companies sadly missed their earnings figures, with most disappointments coming from 3M, McDonald’s and even biotech Pfizer. Oil tumbled through the session, with West Texas Intermediate crude dropping as much as 1.5%, to $41.10 per barrel.

Gold was the leading instrument in the 1st half of trading week. Gold prices took a stratospheric leap last week, jumping from the previous week’s support test at $1800 an ounce to the $1900 level that hasn’t been traded since 2011.

Next day Gold jumped to a record high of $1944 per ounce, driven by an uptick in new U.S. coronavirus cases that have added to economic uncertainty. Shares of Moderna surged after the company said it received an additional $472 million in funding for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Trading ideas

According to a new court filing, multiple California state offices are actively investigating Amazon (AMZN) over worker safety concerns as the coronavirus continues to rage throughout the U.S. An eighth Amazon employee has died of COVID-19, and the virus has spread quickly through clusters of employees at factory floors and warehouses nationwide where social distancing isn’t enforced. Amazon’s own shipping centers have reported outbreaks, including one in the Pocono Mountains and another in Oregon.

The earnings date for Amazon is July 31, an overwhelming majority of high-profile analysts think the numbers will be as stellar as never before. Amazon’s average EPS estimate is $3.6 versus $5.01 it actually earned last quarter. It’s easy to guess that Amazon will beat that number indeed. However, even the bigger question will be how the tech giant is going to address these mounting allegations about poor safety of its employees. It looks like this time around it’s no longer just curiosity.

Global payments processor Visa reports earnings today, on July 29, and it will be more than just one more set of quarterly financial numbers. Investors will get a direct insight into how consumer spending is being affected by the pandemic and an uncertain economy. This quarter revenue for the payments processing giant are expected to drop by roughly 17% to $4.81 billion versus $5.84 billion a year ago. This anticipated drop has a lot to do with lower transaction volume as many stores were closed throughout the quarter. With that said, there is optimism for a potential beat driven by increased digital payment volume as more and more people shopped online.

Indeed, dealing with paper money has now become not only unsafe but also unsanitary. So VISA’s performance will be more or less accurately reflecting the real global consumer spending, and households’ entire propensity to consume, and how efficient the world’s largest central banks’ and governments’ efforts to offset the COVID-19 impact. So fasten your seatbelts!

The Australian dollar has rallied rather significantly on Monday, showing signs of life yet again as the U.S. dollar continues to get hammered against most currencies. Aussie pierced below 1.40 mark, and now this level became its support, rather than resistance level. A couple of times over the past several trading sessions it tried to approach it, but the big return looked invariably spectacular.

So, this level now can be seen as a cemented support for the Australian currency. Its further growth towards 1.35 is highly dependent on the continuation of the gold rally. Australia is the second-largest gold producer in the world with 325 tons per year, right after China. By the way, 2019 was a record year for Australian gold production.

So, the momentum the Australian currency has been gaining lately is not just a coincidence, and if greenback keeps getting softer, and metals keep getting stronger, it would be hard to find a better choice than to take a chance on the Aussie.

One of the less-talked-about but more potent beneficiaries of this year’s gold rally Kinross Gold (KGC) is scheduled to announce Q2 earnings results today, on July 29th, after market close.

The consensus EPS estimate is 13 cents and the consensus revenue estimate is around $1 billion (assuming a 20% growth Year-over-Year). Over the last 2 years, Kinross Gold has beaten EPS estimates 63% of the time and has beaten revenue estimates 50% of the time.

Kinross is gaining from higher production at its two main deposit fields, which already had shown strong momentum in this year’s first quarter. Strong production is likely to have continued in the second quarter. Further, gold prices have been soaring this year making it the most attractive safe-haven asset. Gold prices have gained around 13% in the second quarter — the highest quarterly percentage increase in more than four years.

by Vladimir Rojankovski, Grand Capital Chief Analyst

US Stock Market: Investors Dumping Overpriced Tech Stocks, Rotating into Undervalued Cyclical Stocks

The major U.S. stock indexes plunged on Thursday as investors continued to shed high-flying tech shares due to mixed earnings reports and growing signs of a worsening coronavirus pandemic, which could drive the economy into a deep recession. The price action also suggests that investors continued to dump overpriced tech stocks, while rotating into undervalued cyclical stocks.

In the cash market on Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3235.66, down 40.36 or -1.34%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 26652.33, down 353.51 or -1.41% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 10461.42, down 244.71 or -2.58%.

Stock Index Recap

The bellwether S&P 500 snapped a four-day winning streak with its biggest daily percentage drop in nearly four weeks. All three major U.S. stock averages lost ground. The S&P 500 Index, the Dow and the NASDAQ Composite were mostly dragged down by shared components Apple and Microsoft Corp. Heavyweight Amazon.com was also a major drag on the tech-driven NASDAQ.

The Russell 2000 and the S&P Smallcap 600, both small cap indexes, outperformed the broader market.

Earnings Update

Second-quarter reporting season is in full-stride, with 113 S&P 500 constituents having reported. Refinitiv data shows that 77% of those have beaten expectations that were extraordinarily low. Analysts now see aggregate second-quarter S&P earnings plummeting by 40.8%, year-on-year, per Refinitiv, Reuters reported.

Microsoft Corp shares fell after reporting its cloud computing business Azure reported its first-ever quarterly growth under 50%.

Tesla Inc reported a profit for the fourth straight quarter, setting the company up for inclusion in the S&P 500. But the stock slid as analysts questioned whether the electric automaker’s stock price matched its performance.

Twitter Inc advanced after reporting its highest-ever annual growth of daily users.

American Airlines Group Inc jumped after announcing it would rethink the number of flights to add in August and September. Also, it reported an adjusted loss per share of $7.82.

Southwest Airlines said Thursday it lost $915 million in the second quarter compared with $741 million in net income a year earlier and warned that travel demand will likely remain depressed until there’s a vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus.

Economic Data and Fiscal Stimulus Bill Update

The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week as the coronavirus pandemic inflicted more damage to the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday initial jobless claims came in at 1.416 million for the week-ending July 18. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 1.3 million.

It was the 18th straight week in which initial claims totaled more than 1 million, and it snapped a 15-week streak of declining initial claims.

The number excludes recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, set to expire on July 31.

Meanwhile, Congress kept working to pass new stimulus before that deadline continued, with Senate Republicans announcing they could present their version of the bill to Democrats as early as this week.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Middle-Week Screening. Seesaw on the Market. Silver and Alibaba are for long; Boeing is for short

Overview and trends

Across the pond, according to Reuters, European Union leaders did not reach solidarity on a coronavirus stimulus plan on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as marathon negotiations ran into a third day and acrimony mounted over the demands of rich but thrifty countries.

On Monday U.S. officials including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met in the White House to discuss another coronavirus stimulus package. Mnuchin reiterated he wanted to put a cap on spending to about 1 trillion dollars, well below House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3.5 trillion relief plan. He also said the bill will focus on “kids and jobs and vaccines.” Meantime U.S. stocks were higher Monday as Wall Street came off its third straight week of gains and investors turned were busy analyzing more earnings reports including those from Halliburton and IBM (the latter beat estimates by a wide margin and added over 3% in post-market).

Yesterday stocks closed mostly higher on Wall Street Tuesday despite a final hour hiccup that nearly wiped out the market’s gains for the day. The S&P 500 added less than prominent 0.2%, after culminating as much as plus 0.8%. Banks, telecoms and energy stocks led the gains, offsetting mounting losses in technology stocks – something every smart investor must take seriously in the wake of more big techs’ like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft earnings underway – which pulled the Nasdaq index lower.

Oil prices joined precious metals’ extravaganza and rose, reaching the highest levels since March. West Texas Intermediate crude gained more than 3%, to 41 dollar 88 cents per barrel. Brent crude, in its turn, rose almost 3%, to 44 dollars 30 cents per barrel, at the U.S. market close.

Most investors wait as a savior for more financial stimuli from big governments and central banks to prop up stocks and bonds that are slowly losing steam.

Seemingly in response to that urge, many governments have already announced large amounts of additional fiscal support to keep tackling the pandemic. But S&P Global Ratings suggests that some countries, including the U.S., have shown “a degree of fiscal fatigue”. The problem is that additional spending will worsen the governments’ balance sheets, but they are still necessary to “prevent things from getting even worse.”

S&P Global Ratings earlier this month downgraded its forecast for the global economy. The agency now expects global GDP to shrink by 3.8% this year — worse than the 2.4% contraction it previously projected. So the central banks and governments really have little choice but to move on.

The end of the coronavirus pandemic could bring a large number of new asset managers. Recently published data from a research firm called eVestment showed that the number of new investment firm launches substituting some less lucky rivals tends to spike following economic crises.

Here’s why, according to data firm: As markets contract, asset management employees may be laid off. Instead of seeking out a new job, they start their own firms. Additionally, some of these employees leave their jobs voluntarily, with the goal of taking a new investment approach presented by market turmoil.

Conclusion: in order to survive hard times, one needs to be open to new trends and must possess the skill of distinguishing between winning and losing assets.

Trading ideas

Silver futures logged the highest finish in nearly 4 years at the beginning of the week, buoyed by expectations for further central bank stimulation that destroy the value of world major currencies and as the rise in global COVID-19 cases continues to threaten the economic recovery. September silver added almost a dollar, or 4.9% since July 17, to settle at $20.21 an ounce, the highest front-month contract finish since August 2016. Silver is known to be more choppy and volatile precious metal as compared to gold. But this year its uncharacteristic trade smoothness since mid-March leaves its older sister gold’s parameters derailed.

Alibaba’s affiliate company Ant Group, operating the mobile payment service Alipay, reportedly started the process of its initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR market simultaneously. In China Alipay is much more prominent than the namesake portal (alibaba.com) of Alibaba Group. Ant was previously valued at $150 billion after its last funding round in 2018, making it the world’s most valuable start-up.

Reportedly, Ant generated about 120 billion yuan or $17.1 billion dollars in revenue and nearly 17 billion yuan or $2.4 billion dollars in net profit last year. This is very good news for Alibaba stock which rose over 50% since April. Its earnings reporting day is scheduled for August 13, so there is plenty of time to judge this event keeping the stock in the portfolio.

Boeing’s reputation remains under siege even after the much-advertised test flight of Boeing 737 MAX couple of weeks ago. The company was forced to release a catastrophically damning set of documents to congressional investigators last week that included “conversations among Boeing pilots and other employees about software issues and other problems with flight simulators” for the 737 Max, the plane involved in two fatal crashes. The messages further complicate Boeing’s tense relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration, which can’t be satisfied to read the disdain with which Boeing treated the civil aviation regulators.

After the undisclosed outcome test flight, the Boeing share edged up almost 6.5% to $176, but its quarterly earnings date of July 29 will be Boeing’s judgement day, because there is nothing to cheer up its shareholders with. The company reported net loss of $5.72 a share in the previous quarter, which is expected to further deepen this time around, so Boeing is a definite short, which will be easy to cover at a profit thereafter.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

By Vladimir Rojankovski, Grand Capital Chief Analyst

Broad-Based S&P 500 Moves Higher for Year, but Rally Hasn’t Been ‘Broad-Based’

The major U.S. stock indexes finished mixed on Tuesday, with the technology-based NASDAQ Composite succumbing to a late-session sell-off. If you’re keeping score, the benchmark S&P 500 Index is now positive for the year, however, the internals suggest some problems with its individual sectors.

After spending months digging out of the whole created by the shortest bear market in history in March, the index is up 0.8% on the year and at its highest level since February 21, which puts it just slightly below its all-time high.

In the cash market on Tuesday, the S&P 500 Index settled at 3257.30, up 5.46 or +0.18%.

Where Has Investor Money Been Going?

For every stock that has advanced on the S&P 500 this year, 1.7 have declined, according to Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut. That is partially because investors have gravitated to a small group of tech-related stocks they believe have the best chance of delivering steady profits in a climate fraught with uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

The five most valuable S&P 500 companies – Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc – account for some 23% of the index’s market capitalization, the highest level on record, according to Goldman Sachs, Reuters reported.

“It’s hard to imagine the index going up if you lose that leadership,” said Robert Phipps, director at Per Stirling in Austin, Texas. “Most of the market is really not participating here.”

Tech-Related Sectors Outperforming Other Sectors by Significant Margins

According to Reuters, tech-related sectors to which those aforementioned stocks belong, have outperformed other sectors by significant margins this year. The technology index, which includes Apple and Microsoft, has climbed about 18%, while consumer discretionary index, which includes Amazon, has jumped 15%. The communications services index, which includes Alphabet and Facebook, has risen nearly 6%.

Only one other sector, healthcare, has had year-to-day gains.

Flight to Large-Cap, Tech-Related Companies Reflects Caution Rather than Euphoria

While U.S. equity valuations stand at their highest level since the dot-com boom nearly 20 years ago, “the flight to large-cap, tech-related companies reflects caution rather than euphoria,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

“Moreover, the top five S&P 500 companies today have the greater share of the index’s earnings and trade at a lower multiple than the top five companies in 2000 did,” Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse, wrote in a research note on Tuesday.

According to Reuters, given their relatively strong balance sheets and steadier revenue streams, many investors believe large-cap, tech-related companies are better positioned to withstand the economic pressures resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Conclusion

The huge rally since March 23 has created the illusion that all the stocks in the S&P 500 Index are moving higher. This is the illusion of “all ships rise with the tide” that is often present during the latter stages of a bull market.

However, this current rally is completely different. This is because the economy is in the middle of the worst pandemic in a hundred years and there is uncertainty over how and when it will fully recover from the damage inflicted by the coronavirus.

Don’t be fooled that the strength of the rally is being driven by broad-based buying. Professionals are buying strong companies. They are not guessing and betting on high-flying experimental technology stocks. They are putting their money in proven profitable companies.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

‘No Company is Entirely Immune From a COVID-19 Led Economic Slowdown’ Says Fidelity’s Simnegar

No business is completely immune from a COVID-19 led economic slowdown and the ongoing global pandemic isn’t affecting all industries and its stocks in the same way, said Sammy Simnegar, portfolio manager in the equity division at Fidelity Investments.

So far, the deadly coronavirus has infected over 14 million people in 188 countries and killed more than 600 thousand, impacting day-to-day businesses worldwide.

“We shouldn’t think of how COVID-19 is affecting the stock market in monolithic terms because the opportunities and risks are very different at the company level… we try to identify the potential ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in a post-pandemic world,” noted Fidelity’s Simnegar.

Microsoft

Fidelity’s Simnegar thinks Microsoft is resilient. Microsoft has two main businesses – its Office software suite and its Azure cloud-services operation. Because Office and Azure help customers to be more productive and competitive, Simnegar believes spending on these products is not likely to be hurt much by an economic slowdown, Fidelity noted.

Twenty-four analysts forecast the average price of Microsoft in 12 months at $219.11 with a high forecast of $260.00 and a low forecast of $190.00. The average price target represents an 8.00% increase from the last price of $202.88. From those 24, 23 analysts rated ‘Buy’, one rated ‘Hold’ and none rated ‘Sell’, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley target price is $230 with a high of $290 under a bull scenario and $150 under the worst-case scenario. We think it is good to buy at the current level and target at least $230 as 50-day Moving Average and 100-200-day MACD Oscillator signals a strong buying opportunity.

Amazon

Amazon is another name Simnegar thinks could continue to take market share during this uncertain time. The company’s logistical advantages allow it to ship essential items to Amazon Prime customers with same-day shipping, Fidelity noted.

Thirty-nine analysts forecast the average price of Amazon in 12 months at $2,991.34 with a high forecast of $3,700.00 and a low forecast of $1,987.00. The average price target represents a 0.99% increase from the last price of $2,961.97. From those 39, 36 analysts rated ‘Buy’, two rated ‘Hold’ and one rated ‘Sell’.

Morgan Stanley target price is $3,450 with a high of $4,200 under a bull scenario and $2,200 under the worst-case scenario. We think it is good to buy at the current level and target at least $3,400 as 50-day Moving Average and 100-200-day MACD Oscillator signals a strong buying opportunity.

Facebook and Google

Large media and entertainment holdings in the fund as of the end of May included Facebook and Google-parent company Alphabet. Simnegar thinks usage of these services has increased among many customers since they started sheltering at home due to COVID-19.

Thirty-four analysts forecast the average price of Facebook in 12 months at $257.04 with a high forecast of $300.00 and a low forecast of $185.00. The average price target represents a 6.20% increase from the last price of $242.03. From those 34, 29 analysts rated ‘Buy’, five rated ‘Hold’ and none rated ‘Sell’.

Morgan Stanley target price is $270 with a high of $325 under a bull scenario and $185 under the worst-case scenario. We also think it is good to buy at the current level and target at least $270 as 50-day Moving Average and 100-200-day MACD Oscillator signals a strong buying opportunity. Check this for Google stock forecast.

Others

Other top holdings included credit card companies Visa and MasterCard, as well as Home Depot. The first two continued to ride the strong secular trend toward electronic payments, while Home Depot has benefited from customers who have spent more time in their homes and, therefore, have dedicated more money toward home improvement, Fidelity noted.

E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index (NQ) Futures Technical Analysis – Strengthens Over 10791.25, Weakens Under 10708.50

September E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index futures closed higher on Friday, but the inside move suggests investor indecision and impending volatility. Gains were capped as fears over business disruptions due to another record-breaking rise in COVID-19 cases at home overtook optimism over a further stimulus package for a post-pandemic economic revival.

The NASDAQ also underperformed the S&P 500 for the sixth session in a row as investors rotated out of high-flying companies including Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc, which have powered the tech-heavy index to a record high last week.

On Friday, September E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index futures settled at 10622.50, up 110.75 or +1.04%.

In stock-related news, Netflix’s shares fell 7.2% after it forecast slower-than-expected subscriber growth during the third quarter and weighed the most on the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite.

Daily September E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index

Daily Swing Chart Technical Analysis

Main Trend Technical Analysis

The main trend is up according to the daily swing chart. However, momentum has been trending lower since the formation of the closing price reversal top on July 13 and its subsequent confirmation the next session.

A trade through 11058.50 will negate the closing price reversal top and signal a resumption of the uptrend. The main trend will change to down on a trade through the nearest main bottom at 9728.75.

Minor Trend Technical Analysis

The minor trend is down. This move confirmed the shift in momentum to down. A trade through the last minor bottom at 10358.75 will signal a resumption of the downtrend.

The minor trend will change to up on a move through the last minor top at 10766.50. This will shift momentum to the upside, but an even bigger shift will occur if buyers can overtake 11058.50.

Retracement Level Analysis

The minor range is 11058.50 to 10358.75. Its retracement zone at 10708.75 to 10791.25 is resistance. This zone stopped the buying at 10766.50 last week.

This chart pattern is very important because it could be indicating that a secondary lower top is forming. This is usually the first sign of fresh short-selling.

The first short-term range is 9728.75 to 11058.50. Its 50% level at 10393.50 essentially stopped the selling last Tuesday when buyers came in at 10358.75.

The second short-term range is 9368.25 to 11058.50. If the selling pressure is strong enough to take out last week’s low at 10358.75 then look for an extension of the break into its retracement zone at 10213.25 to 10014.00.

Short-Term Outlook

The closing price reversal top is a major chart pattern. So far, all it is indicating is that the selling is greater than the buying at current price levels.

Usually this chart pattern leads to a 2 to 3 day correction or at least 50% of the last rally. We’ve already seen that with the pullback into the 50% level at 10393.50.

Look for the selling to resume if 10393.50 fails as support with 10213.25 to 10014.00 the next major downside target.

Our work suggests that trader reaction to 10708.75 to 10791.25 will set the tone of the market on Monday.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.