US Stock Market Overview – Stock Rally Led by Energy and Technology

U.S. stocks moved higher on Tuesday, led by gains in the Nasdaq. Growth and value were both strong. Most S&P 500 index sectors were higher, led by gains in energy and technology, real-estate bucked the trend. Janet Yellen was on the hill testifying for her confirmation hearing in front of the senate. She said she would focus on the American worker if confirmed. U.S. Yields moved lower along with the dollar as crude oil prices moved higher. Netflix reported after the closing bell, beating expectations on the top and bottom line. The stock immediately popped more than 5%. The company said in a statement that they no longer will need to raise capital by external financing. Money will now go to stock buybacks. Goldman Sachs reported financial results before the opening bell. Gains in trading and investment banking drove the better than expected top and bottom line.

Yellen Hearing to Be Treasury Secretary was Held on Tuesday

Janet Yellen told lawmakers she would make the needs of America’s workers her core focus if confirmed as the next U.S. Treasury secretary. The former Chair of the Federal Reserve said that she would ensure the U.S. has a competitive economy that offers good jobs and wages workers in cities and rural areas.

Goldman Reported Better than Expected Results

Goldman Sach reported a profit of $4.51 billion in the Q4 or $12.08 per share, which was more than double Goldman’s profit from the same quarter a year ago. Both quarterly net income and quarterly revenue of $11.74 billion were much better than the expectations of of $7.39 a share on revenue of $9.99 billion.

US Stocks Recap (15th Jan): Stocks Decline, More May be Coming

We’ve reached a very critical juncture in the markets. Last week, I mentioned how this reminded me of the Q4 2018 pullback ( read my story here ), and still maintain that there is way too much complacency in this market. Stock markets are risky for a reason, something many Robinhood traders are sure to find out this year.

My goal for these updates is to educate you, give you ideas, and help you manage money like I did when I was pressing the buy and sell buttons for $600+ million in assets. I left that career to pursue one where I could help people who needed help, instead of the ultra-high net worth. Hopefully, you’ll find the below enlightening from my perspective, and I welcome your thoughts and questions.

Stocks closed the week with their first weekly declines in nearly a month.

The pullbacks weren’t anything astronomical, but it could potentially be the start of the Q1 declines that I have been predicting.

For one, valuations are insane, and the tech IPO market is looking like clown school. The S&P 500 is trading near its highest forward P/E ratio since 2000, while the Russell 2000 has never traded this high above its 200-day moving average.

Signs are starting to point towards the return of inflation by mid-year as well. As the 10-year yield ticked up to its highest level since March, economist Mohammed El-Erian said “if we were to see another 20 basis point move in yields, that would be bad news.”

Expectations haven’t been this high for inflation in years either. According to Edward Jones , the 10-year breakeven rate hit its highest level since 2018 last week due to rising commodity prices, a weaker dollar, and broad stimulus policy. The 10-year breakeven rate is a market-based measure of inflation expectations.

What’s also concerning is that investors didn’t seem to bat an eye at Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package !

What does this tell me?

That maybe this was anticipated and priced in already. According to Jim Cramer on his Mad Money show on CNBC, “When an event occurs and the market gets exactly what it wants, but nothing more, it’s treated as a reason to sell, not to buy.”

Although this week’s decline was moderate, I still feel that a correction between now and the end of Q1 2020 is likely amidst a tug of war between good news and bad news.

Generally, corrections are healthy for markets and more common than most realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). The last time we saw one was in March 2020, so we could be well overdue.

Corrections are healthy market behavior and could be an excellent buying opportunity for what should be a great second half of the year.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is possible. I don’t think that a decline above ~20%, leading to a bear market will happen.

I hope everyone has a great day. Best of luck, and happy trading!

Time to Wager – Is the Dow Over/Under 31,000 Before the End of January?

Figure 1- Dow Jones Industrial Average $INDU

Is it possible to choose “push” on this gamble?

I have too many short-term questions and concerns about the Dow Jones to unequivocally say it’s overheated like the Russell or tech IPOs, or if it’s at the right buying level.

Although the Dow’s RSI is comparable to the Nasdaq’s on the surface, it has also not exceeded overbought levels as much.

I do like the Dow’s decline this week. But I’d like to see a more profound dip before buying back in.

If someone wanted to make an over/under bet with me on the Dow’s 31,000 level by the end of January, the truth is I’d probably choose “push.” You’d have better luck betting on the AFC Championship game this year (but only if Mahomes plays).

I don’t like how COVID-19 is trending (who does?), I am disappointed in the vaccine roll-out (although it’s improving), and I am concerned about short-term economic and political headwinds. But I think it’s more likely than not that the Dow hovers around 31,000 by month’s end rather than make any significant move upwards or downwards. It is very hard right now to make a conviction call on this index.

If and when there is a drop in the index, it probably won’t be anything like we saw back in March 2020.

While a 35,000 call to close out 2021 is a bit aggressive, the second half of 2021 could show robust gains for the index once vaccines are available to the general public.

With so much uncertainty, the call on the Dow stays a HOLD. I am closely monitoring the RSI if it exceeds 70.

For an ETF that looks to directly correlate with the Dow’s performance, the SPDR Dow Jones ETF (DIA) is a strong option.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Close Lower; Led Down by Energy; Retail Sales Disappoints

U.S. stocks moved lower on Friday, as weak retail sales weighed on sentiment. Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were lower, driven down by Energy shares, Utilities bucked the trend. For the second consecutive month, retail sales were negative and more fragile than expected. The spending seen in mid-2020 was driven by a stimulus that is now on deck for the Biden administration. Producer prices rose in December and were buoyed by energy and food. The bid banks kicked off the earnings season on Friday. J.P. Morgan was the standout, but the financial sector fell as traders appear to be taking profits.

Retail Sales Fall

U.S. retail sales dropped in  December as lockdowns to battle the spread of COVID-19 undercut spending. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Retail sales dropped 0.7% last month. November was revised down to show sales declining 1.4% instead of 1.1% as previously reported. Expectations had been for retail sales to be unchanged in December.

Core retail sales were also lower. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales tumbled 1.9% last month after a downwardly revised 1.1% decline in November. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. They were previously estimated to have decreased by 0.5% in November.

U.S. producer prices increased in December. According to the Labor Department, U.S. Producer price index increased 0.3% in December after nudging up 0.1% in November. In the 12 months through December, the PPI rose 0.8%, matching November’s gain. Excluding food, and energy, producer prices increased 0.4%. The core PPI inched up 0.1% in November. In the 12 months through November, the core PPI gained 1.1% after rising 0.9% in November.

JP Morgan Chase Beats

J.P. Morgan Chase reported profits of $12.14 billion or $3.79 per share, better than expected. The bank reported $29.22 billion for the quarter in revenue, up 3% from a year earlier, also topping analysts’ expectations for $28.67 billion. JPMorgan posted a record revenue of $119.54 billion, up 4% from 2019. The growth was powered by trading as clients were eager to raise capital and trade securities amid a troubled economy and record-high markets.

US Stock Indices Daily Recap (14th Jan) – Decline, Don’t get Caught

This market reminds me of the days leading up to Christmas Eve 2018. For those who don’t remember, it was a pretty dark day for those trading in financial markets.

I was in the office, alone, and felt particularly responsible for my clients that day. You see, since October of that year, markets had been in a tailspin lower.

“Fundamentals look good, add some exposure to equities here” I found myself saying, more than once. And just when I thought I would get a break, have a half day in the markets, and take a couple days off – boom. Markets fell 2 to 3 percent on the day .

I still remember the feeling, it was like a gut punch. We were unprepared and had added more equity exposure for most of our clients in the prior few weeks. My boss was furious, as I was responsible for allocating hundreds of millions of dollars and we were having our worst quarter ever. I vowed to never be caught unprepared and foolhardy about markets ever again after that quarter.

It was a great lesson, and one that allowed me to flourish in 2020. While I did not foresee a global pandemic, back in January of 2020, things were looking eerily similar to 2018. Markets were frothy, and it appeared that no downside was possible. And I cut exposure for my family assets significantly.

That allowed me to avoid the worst of the pullback, and in March, with an eye on the long run, I took my family assets and picked up several companies at mouth watering valuations, some we hadn’t seen in years.

So far, so good. My old boss would have been pleased – not that it matters…

And now? Well. We’re falling into the same song and dance lately, aren’t we. I have some tips below for those interested, and if you want to know how my personal portfolios have performed, slip into my DMs.

My goal for these updates is to educate you, give you ideas, and help you manage money like I did when I was pressing the buy and sell buttons for $600+ million in assets. I left that career to pursue one where I could help people who needed help, instead of the ultra high net worth. Hopefully, you’ll find the below enlightening from my perspective, and I welcome your thoughts and questions.

Although stocks closed mildly lower on Thursday (Jan. 14), stocks have overall had a strong start to 2021.

Be that as it may, I am still concerned about overheated valuations for stocks and the return of inflation. The S&P 500 is trading at its highest forward P/E ratio since 2000, and the 10-year treasury is at its highest level since March. The Russell 2000 is also up over 37% from its 200-day moving average for the first time in its history.

Overvalued stocks combined with inflation returning by mid-year is quite concerning for me. I feel that a correction between now and the end of Q1 2020 is likely.

I like how economist Mohammed El-Erian described the market as a “ rational bubble .” But he did caution against four major risks that could cause a downturn.

The first two risks, and the least likely are the Fed pulling back on monetary stimulus and the potential for corporate bankruptcies. As Fed Chair Jay Powell said himself Thursday though, (Jan. 14) “be careful not to exit too early,”

The last two risks could be riskier.

The first is “some sort of market accident” akin to the dot-com bubble popping in 1999. THIS is what concerns me most right now. The IPO market is simply absurd right now. The DoorDash (DASH) and AirBnB (ABNB) IPOs were ridiculous, and other IPOs are looking more and more like a circus. Lender Affirm went public on Wednesday (Jan. 13) and nearly doubled. Shares of Poshmark also surged more than 130% in its debut Thursday (Jan. 14).

The other risk is the bond market and its effect on inflation. According to El-Erian, “If we were to see another 20 basis point move in yields, that would be bad news.”

Despite my concerns, it is clear to me that investors are loving the potential for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package under President-elect Biden.

Although a short-term tug of war between good news and bad news could continue, it seems to me that investors (for now) would just prefer to ride this out for what could be a strong second half of the year. According to CNBC’s Jim Cramer , there appears to be a lack of “people willing to sell”.

Be that as it may, jobless claims surged to their highest levels since August, and the pandemic is still out of control. According to Goldman Sachs’ Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, U.S. stocks and bond markets could possibly “ take more of a breather ” in the near term.

Generally, corrections are healthy, good for markets, and more common than most realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). Because we haven’t seen a correction since March 2020, we could be well overdue.

This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what should be a great second half of the year.

The consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks. According to a CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000, while five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. I don’t think that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Hope everyone has a great day. Best of luck, and happy trading!

S&P 500’s Valuation is its Highest in Years

Figure 1- S&P 500 Large Cap Index $SPX

Conventional wisdom would tell you that the S&P had overheated and valuations are crazy. The index’s forward P/E ratio is the highest it’s been in two decades.

But did you just see JP Morgan ’s (JPM) earnings report?

Wow.

The big bank crushed both top and bottom line estimates, and saw a net income growth of 42% from a year ago.

But look deeper into the earnings call, and there are some things to worry about. JP Morgan reported a net benefit of $1.89 billion in credit reserves and is maintaining a reserve topping $30 billion.

Why is this worrying? According to CEO Jamie Dimon, this is because of “significant near term uncertainty” due to the pandemic.

Dimon further added that despite vaccine and stimulus-related optimism, JP Morgan is holding onto these reserves in order to “withstand an economic environment far worse than the current base forecast by most economists.”

That’s a bit troubling.

The S&P 500 has been trading in a streaky matter as of late and reflects the broader tug-of-war between good news and bad. The index seemingly goes on multiple day winning streaks and losing streaks on a weekly basis. After seeing its worst sell-off since October last Monday (Jan. 4), for example, it went on a four-day win streak and broke past 3800.

We are now back below 3800. Although I always cheer stocks going up and hitting records, I want buying opportunities. I would like to see a drop to around 3600 or below before making a BUY call for the long-term.

For now, my near-term outlook is murky. A short-term correction could inevitably occur by the end of Q1 2021, but for now, I am calling the S&P a HOLD. I would like to see a sharp correction before initiating S&P exposure at a discount. There is clear upside for the second half of 2021, but I would just prefer to maximize the upside from a lower level.

For an ETF that attempts to directly correlate with the performance of the S&P, the SPDR S&P ETF (SPY) is a good option.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

US Stock Futures Edge Lower as Biden Unveils Stimulus Plan; Major Banks Set to Kickoff Earnings Season

The major U.S. stock index futures are edging lower in the pre-market session on Friday as investors digested the details of President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan revealed Thursday evening local time.

In the early trade, futures tied to the benchmark S&P 500 Index were down 21.75 points. Futures associated with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average were off by nearly 200 points and futures connected with the tech-driven NASDAQ Composite Index traded lower by about 45 points.

Biden’s American Rescue Plan

A quick recap of President-elect Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, includes increasing the additional federal unemployment payments to $400 per week and extending them through September, direct payments to many Americans of $1,400, and extending federal moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures through September.

The plan also calls for $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $70 billion for COVID testing and vaccination programs and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Earnings Season Begins

On Friday, investors will get fresh looks at major banks as Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase report their fourth quarter earnings.

JPMorgan kicks off fourth-quarter earnings season for big banks on Friday at about 12:00 GMT, followed by releases from Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

Earnings expectations for the fourth quarter have been on the rise, thanks to climbing interest rates and expectations for solid trading and investment banking results.

The biggest U.S. banks (with the exception of Wells Fargo) all saw per-share earnings estimates jump by at least 8% in the past month, according to Barclays analysts Jason Goldberg.

Thursday US Stock Market Recap

Wall Street closed lower on Thursday after turning down late in the session as reports emerged about U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pandemic aid proposal following earlier data that showed a weakening labor market.

Of the 11 major S&P sectors, only four closed higher with economically-sensitive energy, up 3%, showing the biggest percentage gains as oil prices rose. The biggest percentage decliner on the day was the information technology sector.

The domestically-focused small-cap Russell 2000 Index closed up 2%, while the Dow Jones Transports Index ended up 1% after both sectors, which are seen as big beneficiaries of stimulus, scaled all-time highs during the day.

Helping the transport index was a 2.5% rise in shares of Delta Air Lines after Chief Executive Ed Bastian forecast 2021 to be “the year of recovery” after the coronavirus pandemic prompted its first annual loss in 11 years.

The S&P 1500 Airlines Index closed up 3.4%.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index also hit a record high with a big boost from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd. The chip manufacturer’s U.S. shares closed up 5% after it announced its best-even quarterly profit and raised revenue and capital spending estimates.

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

U.S. Stock Market Overview – Stocks Consolidate Ahead of Biden Speach

U.S. stocks moved lower on Thursday. Sectors in the S&P 500 index were mixed, led by gains in Energy, the interest-rate sensitive utility sector underperformed. Rates moved higher and the dollar was flat along with gold. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil details on his proposed spending package to support the U.S. economy. Many investors are counting on additional stimulus to help make ends meet, given the pandemic’s damaging impact. Unemployment claims an unexpected rose. Blackrock delivered better than expected financial results, ahead of Friday’s bank earning release deluge. Jerome Powell was on the tape today, saying he won’t raise rates to combat higher grain and energy prices.

Unemployment Claims Unexpected Rose

According to the Labor Department, U.S. jobless claims rose by 181,000 to 965,000 last week. That was the most significant weekly increase since March 2020 and put initial jobless claims at their highest level since mid-August. It also put weekly claims well above the roughly 800,000 a week they have averaged in recent months. Additionally, continuing claims rose to nearly 5.3 million for the week ended January 2, from 5.1 million a week earlier. That marked the first weekly increase since November.

Blackrock Delivers on Top and Bottom Line

BlackRock’s financial results showed profits rose 19% as investors turned to the money-management giant’s funds through election uncertainty. The investment company posted Q4 profit of $1.5 billion, or $10.02 a share, up from $1.3 billion, or $8.29 a share, a year earlier. BlackRock’s revenue rose 13% to about $4.5 billion in Q4.

Powell Takes Dovish Tone

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell affirmed his commitment to keeping interest rates low. Powell said the Fed is nowhere near a point where they could consider raising interest rates. During the discussion, Powell spoke about how the Fed handled the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

US Stock Market Overview – Stock Close Mixed as House Moves Toward Impeachment

U.S. stocks were mixed on Wednesday, as the House of Representatives Prepared to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time. This impeachment will make Donald Trump the only President in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Despite this effort, there will not be a trial while Donald Trump is in office. Senate leader McConnell said he wouldn’t convene Senate early for a trial. This means the Senate will not come back into session until the day before President-Elect Biden’s inauguration. Sectors in the S&P 500 index were mixed, led higher by interest-rate sensitive Utility and real estate, and energy shares were the worst-performing sector. CPI rose in line with expectations. Oil prices moved lower following the Energy Departments’ report on inventories. U.S. interest rates declined for the first time this week.

U.S. CPI Rises In Line with Expectations

U.S. consumer prices rose in December, driven by gains in gasoline, though underlying inflation remained tame. According to the Labor Department, its consumer price index increased 0.4% last month after gaining 0.2% in November. On a year over year basis, the CPI advanced 1.4% after rising 1.2% in November. Both the month over month and year over year reports were in line with expectations. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI edged up 0.1% after climbing 0.2% in November. The core CPI was restrained by decreases in the prices of used cars and trucks, recreation, airfares and health care. The core CPI gained 1.6% year-on-year, matching November’s rise. It increased by 1.6% in 2020 after rising 2.3% in 2019.

The House Prepares for Impeachment Vote

The House of Representatives started debating whether the United States President should be impeached for a second time. House Speak Nancy Pelosi said that the President must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation. Pelosi went on to say that she believes the Senate must convict the President, a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the bedrock of the United States.

US Stock Indices Daily Recap: Mild Rally Continues

My goal for these updates is to educate you, give you ideas, and help you manage money like I did when I was pressing the buy and sell buttons for $600+ million in assets. I left that career to pursue one where I could help people who needed help, instead of the ultra-high net worth. Hopefully, you’ll find the below enlightening from my perspective, and I welcome your thoughts and questions.

We are now firmly in the second week of 2021. After markets declined to start the week, we saw a muted recovery on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

With Democrats gaining full control of both the legislative and executive branches of the government, the prospect of further stimulus has sent stocks soaring to their highest valuations in years. However, the short-term tug of war between good news and bad news will continue.

I am especially concerned about overstretched valuations for stocks combined with the return of inflation.

The S&P 500 is trading at its highest forward P/E ratio since 2000, and the 10-year treasury is at its highest level since March. Overvalued stocks combined with inflation returning by mid-year is quite concerning for me. I feel that a correction between now and the end of Q1 2020 is likely.

According to Goldman Sachs’ Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, U.S. stocks and bond markets could possibly “ take more of a breather ” in the near term. National Securities’ chief market strategist Art Hogan also believes that we could see a 5%-8% pullback by the end of this month.

Generally, corrections are healthy, good for markets, and more common than most realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). Because we haven’t seen a correction since March 2020, we could be well overdue.

This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what should be a great second half of the year.

While there will certainly be short-term bumps in the road, I love the outlook in the mid-term and long-term once the growing pains of rolling out vaccines stabilize.

The consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks. According to a CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000, while five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. I don’t think that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

House money is fun to play with, but trust me – you won’t feel as well if you let it ride through a full correction without taking profits.

Best of luck, and happy trading!

The Nasdaq’s RSI is Back Below 70…Where Does it Go from Here?

Figure 1- Nasdaq Composite Index $COMP

I am staying with the theme of using the RSI to judge how to call the Nasdaq. While an overbought RSI does not automatically mean a trend reversal, with the Nasdaq, I always keep a close eye on this .

I initially changed my short-term call on the Nasdaq from a SELL to a HOLD on January 5. I liked the Nasdaq’s declines to start 2021, especially after overheating. The RSI was no longer overbought as well.

After changing the call back to a SELL on January 11th, the Nasdaq declined 1.45%.

Over the last several weeks, this has been a consistent pattern for the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq pulled back on December 9th after it exceeded an RSI of 70, and briefly pulled back again after passing 70 again three weeks ago. We exceeded a 70 RSI again before the new year, and what happened on the first trading day of 2021? A decline of 1.47%.

Tech can rally at any time and witness a plunge at any time. Truly, this sector could move sideways before seeing a correction sooner rather than later.

Although there are also tailwinds for tech, they are specific to subsectors. Do what you can to find tech sub-sectors that are innovating, disrupting, and changing our world.

I am especially bullish on cloud computing, e-commerce, and fintech.

The Nasdaq is no longer overbought, and its RSI is now hovering around 64. I like this level more as a HOLD, but I still feel that it has overheated in the short-term.

I am generally optimistic and bullish for 2021, but I would like a pullback closer to the 50-day moving average before considering buying back in.

I also have some concerns with the Democrats winning Senate control, and its potential consequences for tech. It may not happen in 2021, but a Democrat-controlled Congress could raise taxes and further regulate high growth companies.

Additionally, love him or hate him, the censorship of President Trump across social media platforms raises questions about what constitutes free speech, and if Big Tech has too much power.

Because the RSI is back in HOLD territory, I’m switching my call again from SELL back to HOLD.

If the RSI ticks back up above 70, I’m switching back to SELL. The Nasdaq is trading in a clear pattern.

Do not let anyone tell you “this time is different” if fears of the dot-com bubble are discussed. History repeats itself, especially in markets. I have many concerns about tech valuations and their astoundingly inflated levels. The recent IPOs of DoorDash (DASH) and AirBnB (ABNB) reflect this.

For an ETF that attempts to directly correlate with the performance of the NASDAQ, the Invesco QQQ ETF (QQQ) is a good option.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

3 Price Drivers in a Globalized World

Do you want to know how gold will be doing soon? Or the USDX? You have to look at the German and French economies. You may ask “What? How can they be tied together?” Well, the globalization of markets is one of the core foundations of the modern world. With everything interrelated, nothing in economics can be examined in a vacuum state. That includes the three precious metals price drivers: stocks, yields and currencies.

The EUR/USD currency pair is a perfect example of this interconnectivity. Being the most popular and most traded currency pair in the world, the EUR/USD is influenced by many factors, including the price action in the USD Index as well as the strength of the European and American economies at any given time. The same level of interconnectedness can be applied to the other price drivers.

Let’s take a fundamental look at stocks, yields and currencies.

As you can see in our Correlation Matrix , the 30-trading-day correlation values are strongly negative in the case of all key parts of the precious metals market (gold, silver, senior miners, junior miners) and the USD Index, while they remain generally positive in case of the link with the stock market. Both links are most visible when we take the 250 trading days into account (effectively about 1 year).

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Figure 1

The closer to -1 the number gets, the more negatively correlated given assets are, and the closer to 1 it gets, the stronger the positive correlation. Numbers close to zero imply no correlation.

So, what do these markets tell us about future movements in the price of gold?

Future History

Yesterday , I highlighted the record excess that’s building up across U.S. equities. And as we approach the middle of January, investors are giving new meaning to Paul Engemann’s Push It to the Limit .

Last week, the S&P 500’s option Gamma (21-day moving average) reached the top 0.37% of all-time readings. And on Monday (Jan. 11), the 10-day MA set a new record.

Please see the chart below:

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Figure 2

Keep in mind, Monday’s record was set on an absolute basis (by analyzing the number of outstanding options contracts). However, relative to the S&P 500’s market cap (which biases the reading lower as stocks move higher), it’s the fourth-highest since 2011. More importantly though, the last three times Gamma exposure reached the current level, the S&P 500 fell by 7.9%, 7.3% and 31.0% over the following two months (the vertical red lines above).

From a valuation perspective, the derivatives frenzy has also helped push the NASDAQ (4.17x), S&P 500 (2.85x) and Russell 2000’s (1.49x) price-to-sales (P/S) ratios to their highest levels ever.

Please see below:

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Figure 3 – (Source: Bloomberg/ Liz Ann Sonders)

And a day after the milestones were set, U.S. small business confidence (the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index) fell to a seven-month low (Jan. 12).

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Figure 4 – (Source: Bloomberg/Daniel Lacalle)

In addition, while economists expected a print of 100.2 (the red box on the left), the reading came in at 95.9 (the red box on the right), more than two points below the index’s historical average. Furthermore, nine out of 10 survey categories indicated that economic conditions are worse than they were in November.

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Figure 5

As another wonder to marvel at, U.S. Treasury yields are also surging (which I’ve mentioned during previous editions). And because corporate profits are still on life support (due to the lack of real economic activity), the spread between the S&P 500’s earnings yield and the U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield just hit its lowest level in over two years.

Please see below:

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Figure 6 – (Source: Bloomberg/ Lisa Abramowicz

To explain, the earnings yield is the inverse of the S&P 500’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio (calculated as earnings divided by price). The percentage is often compared to the yield on the U.S. 10-Year Treasury to gauge the relative value of stocks versus bonds. If you look at the middle of the chart, you can see that the spread between the two peaked at more than 6% in 2019 (as companies’ EPS rose and bond yields fell). However, with the opposite occurring today, the spread between the two has fallen below 2.23%.

Thus, with bond yields beginning to breathe new life, Jerome Powell’s (Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve) argument that P/E multiples are “not as relevant” in a world of low interest rates is starting to lose its luster.

EUR/USD Struggles with Reality

Despite bouncing yesterday (as declines rarely happen linearly), the EUR/USD is still treading fundamental water.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been highlighting the increased economic divergence – as a weak U.S. economy is overshadowed only by an even-weaker Eurozone economy (Remember, currencies trade on a relative basis.)

And as another data point of validation, yesterday, Bloomberg Economics reduced its first-quarter GDP forecast (for Europe) from a rise of 1.3% to a decline of 4.0%. Furthermore, the team also reduced their full-year GDP growth forecast from 4.8% to 2.9%.

Please see below:

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Figure 7

If you analyze the red box, you can see the massive drop in economic activity that’s expected during the first three months of 2021. And even more pessimistic, Peter Vanden Houte, ING’s Chief Economist wrote (on Jan. 7) that he believes “it will take until the summer of 2023 for the Eurozone to regain its pre-crisis activity level.”

Also plaguing Europe, please have a look at the sharp decline in the Eurozone household savings rate:

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Figure 8 – (Source: Refinitiv/ING)

To explain, the huge spike in 2020 was a function of government programs to replace lost wages at the onset of the pandemic . However, as the crisis unfolded and the level of government spending became unsustainable, the household savings rate in Germany and France (Europe’s two largest economies) sunk like a stone.

Moreover, with Eurozone retail sales plunging by 6.1% in November, and assuming the household savings rate followed suit, you can infer that households are allocating resources to necessities and not discretionary items that boost GDP.

The bottom line?

The European economy is underperforming the U.S. economy and the deluge of bad data is slowly chipping away at the euro. And as the fundamental damage continues, the EUR/USD should come under pressure and help propel the USD Index higher.

As part of the fallout, gold will likely drop below its rising support line and then decline further. Once it bottoms, we’ll have a very attractive entry point to go long in the precious metals and mining stocks.

Thank you for reading our free analysis today. Please note that the above is just a small fraction of today’s all-encompassing Gold & Silver Trading Alert. The latter includes multiple premium details such as the target for gold that could be reached in the next few weeks. If you’d like to read those premium details, we have good news for you. As soon as you sign up for our free gold newsletter, you’ll get a free 7-day no-obligation trial access to our premium Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. It’s really free – sign up today.

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

Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
Founder, Editor-in-chief
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses are based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are deemed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski’s, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Rally Led by Energy; Communications Buck the Trend

 

U.S. stocks moved higher on Tuesday rebounded from Monday’s losses. Energy shares were the best performing sector in the S&p 500 index, as oil prices continued to rise. Communications bucked the trend. President Trump denied any wrongdoing as House Republicans wrestled with how to respond to accusations he incited last week’s violence at the Capitol, with some proposing censure and others open to Democrats’ move to impeach him. Americans spent a record amount only on gifts during the holiday season. General Motels unveiled an all-electric van that is being built under its new Brightdrop Brand. The Trump administration is releasing second doses of coronavirus vaccines held back for booster shots and is urging states to administer the vaccine to anyone over age 65. U.S. Treasury yields continue to back up, hitting 1.18, the highest level since April. Corn prices busted out, following a report from the WASDE that showed a smaller than expected carryover of corn from the prior year. Soybean prices also shot up on bullish news.

American’s Spend a Record on Online Sales

U.S. online purchases during the holiday season surged 32.2% from 2019, totaling a record $188.2 billion according to Adobe Analytics. During November, E-commerce sales included Black Friday and Cyber Monday, reached $100 billion for the first time. Groceries, appliances and books surged in popularity around the holidays, while online sales of toys were up 50% from 2019, and the jewelry category was up 66%.

Low-Interest Rates Fuel Muni Bond Issuance

Municipal bond issuance in 2020 was the highest in a decade, reflecting the collapse of interest rates and the increased costs cities and state governments are facing from Covid-19 shutdowns. The muni issuance boom is unlikely to abate as cash-strapped local governments struggle to make up for ongoing Covid-19-related shortfalls.

Stocks Posted Records to Start 2021, Weekly Recap

The indices hit record highs yet again to close off the first week of 2021 and weighed unrest, poor jobs data, and further prospects of economic stimulus.

News Recap

  • Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed the week off with four-day win streaks. The Dow climbed 56.84 points, or 0.2%, at 31,097.97. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 3,824.68, and the Nasdaq popped 1% to 13,201.98. The small-cap Russell 2000 declined 0.25%.
  • The Dow and S&P 500 each gained more than 1% on the week, while the Nasdaq gained 2.4%, and the Russell 2000 surged by nearly 6%. These gains to start the year came despite the unprecedented unrest and invasion of the Capitol by Trump supporters on Wednesday (Jan. 6).
  • Despite Democrats winning full control of the Senate, the Dow briefly declined 200 points midday after moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia told The Washington Post that he would “ absolutely not ” support a round of $2,000 stimulus checks. Manchin mildly walked back those comments later in the day and said he was “undecided,” and not outright opposed to it.
  • The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December , according to the Labor Department. This is significantly worse than the estimated gain of 50,000 according to economists polled by Dow Jones.
  • The 10-year yield rose to its highest level since March 20, and broke above 1.1%.
  • Coca-Cola (KO) rose 2.2% to lead the Dow higher. The consumer discretionary and real estate sectors each rose more than 1%, lifting the S&P 500. The Nasdaq got a boost from Tesla, which popped 7.8%.

The first week of 2021 largely continued where 2020 left off- with turmoil, tension, and a barrage of news. Another 2020 pattern continued to kick off the new year- a resilient market.

A week that started off with a sharp sell-off concluded with sharp weekly gains, all-time highs, and a four-day winning streak for the Dow and S&P 500. This is despite the first assault on the U.S. Capitol since 1814, despite COVID-19 cases continuing to wreak havoc, and despite a disastrous jobs report.

How could this be?

The results of the Georgia election can first and foremost be credited for the market surge.

Although tech initially plummeted due to fears of higher taxes and stricter regulations, with full Democrat control of the Presidency, Senate, and House, there is finally clarity and expectations of further spending and government stimulus.

Although President-elect Joe Biden had promised to pass a measure for bigger stimulus checks if Democrats secured control of the Senate, comments from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, spooked investors for a time on Friday (Jan. 8). Although Manchin briefly walked these comments back, according to Bill Miller, founder of Miller Value Partners , “Nothing is going to get passed if they can’t get the moderates in the Democratic Party, or the Republican Party for that matter, to go along with (further stimulus).”

President-elect Biden said Friday (Jan. 8) that a new aid package would be “ in the trillions of dollars .” This comes after Goldman Sachs stated that it expects another big stimulus package of around $600 billion . Value stocks and small-cap stocks have surged as a result of these prospects.

Despite the prospect of further stimulus that could heat up the economy, the short-term tug of war between good news and bad news will continue. Many of these moves upwards or downwards are based on emotion and sentiment, and there could be some serious volatility in the near-term. Although markets have kicked off the new year with excitement from the “Blue Wave”, consider this.

Stocks have overstretched valuations, the Capitol was invaded, the pandemic is out of control, and the vaccine roll-outs have been clunky at best.

Even though the markets saw a nice weekly gain to kick off 2021 and the 10-year treasury is at its highest level in months, a correction between now and the end of Q1 2020 is likely.

National Securities’ chief market strategist Art Hogan also believes that we could see a 5%-8% pullback as early as this month.

Generally, corrections are healthy, good for markets, and more common than most realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). I believe we are long overdue for one. We haven’t seen a correction since March 2020. This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what I believe will be a great second half of the year.

While there will certainly be short-term bumps in the road, I love the outlook in the mid-term and long-term once the growing pains of rolling out vaccines stabilize. The pandemic is awful and the numbers are horrifying. But despite this, and despite the horrendous jobs report, there is one report released this past week that could be a step in the right direction – the ISM manufacturing data.

The consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks. According to a CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000, while five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. I don’t think that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Can Small-caps Own 2021?

Figure 1- iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)

Small-caps were the comeback kids this week. Although I believed that the Russell 2000’s record-setting run since the start of November was coming to an end, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) had itself quite a week and rallied 7.35% since January 4th. Small-cap stocks were the most excited from the Democrat sweep in Georgia due to hopes of further economic stimulus on the horizon.

I love small-cap stocks in the long-term, especially as the world reopens. A Democrat-dominated Congress could help these stocks too, but in the short-term, the index, by any measurement, has simply overheated. Before January 4th, the RSI for the IWM Russell 2000 ETF was at an astronomical 74.54. I called a pullback happening in the short-term due to this RSI, and it happened. Well now the RSI is back above 74 again, and I believe that a more significant correction in the near-term could be imminent.

Stocks simply just don’t always go up in a straight line, and that’s what the Russell 2000 has essentially been between November and December. It’s looked eerily similar this week.

What this also comes down to, is that small-caps are more sensitive to the news – good or bad. I think that vaccine gains have possibly been baked in by now. There could be another near-term pop due to further stimulus hopes, but it’s likely that small-caps in the near-term could trade sideways before an eventual larger pullback.

I hope small-caps decline a minimum of 10% before jumping back in for long-term buying opportunities.

SELL and take this week’s profits if you can – but do not fully exit positions .

If there is a pullback, this is a STRONG BUY for the long-term recovery.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

Markets Surge Despite Unprecedented Violence at U.S. Capitol

In a news-filled day, the Dow Jones hit an all-time high on Wednesday (Jan. 6), despite unprecedented unrest taking place in Washington D.C.

News Recap

  • The Dow climbed 438 points or 1.4% and briefly rose more than 600 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 also gained 0.6% and hit an intraday record, while the Nasdaq fell 0.6%. The small-cap Russell 2000 surged by nearly 4%.
  • The day began with investors focused on the Georgia U.S. Senate special election runoff . Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler, with other Democrat Jon Ossoff announced as the winner over incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue later in the day.
  • With a Democrat sweep in Georgia, the party now has control of the Senate. Although it is a 50-50 split (with two independents) in the Senate, both Democrats win, they have full control because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as the tiebreaker vote.
  • Many believe that because President-elect Biden, a Democrat, has a House and Senate under Democrat control, he could more easily pass higher taxes and progressive policies that may hurt the market. On the other hand, others believe that this Democrat sweep could bring into effect a larger and quicker stimulus relief bill.
  • The real news of the day was what happened at the U.S. Capitol building. After President Trump (and his family) led a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C. to protest Congress’ certification of Joe Biden as the next president, angry MAGA supporters did the unthinkable and stormed the Capitol.
  • Wednesday (Jan. 6) was the first time since 1814 that the Capitol building was physically breached by hostile actors.
  • The invasion of the Capitol occurred after Vice President Mike Pence rejected President Trump’s calls to block Joe Biden’s election confirmation. Shortly after, the Capitol went into full lockdown.
  • Later that night, the Capitol was secured and Congress reconvened to officially certify Biden as the president. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) moved higher due to the unrest at the Capitol.
  • Caterpillar (CAT) surged 5.5%, while big banks such as JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) gained 4.7% and 6.3%, respectively. Other names and sectors that could be aided by Biden’s agenda rose as well such as the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) which boomed 8.4%.
  • Tech lagged on the day due to fears of higher taxes and higher stimulus potential. Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) each fell more than 2%, while Netflix (NFLX) dipped 3.9%.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield topped 1% for the first time since March.

What a newsworthy day Wednesday (Jan. 6) was. What started as a day focused on Senate runoff elections with the balance of Senate power at stake, ended with President-elect Biden being officially confirmed as the next president. But in between? A mob took over the capitol building! Did you ever think you would read that sentence in your lifetime?

Love him or hate him, President Trump is an eccentric character to put it lightly. Scorned, and still convinced that he won the election, Trump and his bruised ego whipped his supporters into a frenzy during a “Stop the Steal” rally and encouraged them to march towards the Capitol and make their voices heard. Somehow the protest turned into a storming of the Capitol after Vice President Mike Pence refused to overturn the election. Pence was later ushered out of the Senate and the Capitol went into lockdown.

What’s truly shocking here is that the markets still went up! In fact, the Dow hit yet ANOTHER all-time high! Whether you like it or not, this has to give you some sort of faith in the resiliency of capitalism,

The results of the Georgia election can be credited for the market surge.

Although some sectors plummeted due to fears of higher taxes and stricter regulations, with full Democrat control of the Presidency, Senate, and House, there is clarity for one, and expectations of further spending and government stimulus.

Goldman Sachs expects another big stimulus package of around $600 billion . While this could be bad for the national debt and have long-term consequences, in the short-term, it could send the economy heating. Small-cap stocks surged as a result.

I still believe that there will be a short-term tug of war between good news and bad news. Many of these moves upwards or downwards are based on emotion and sentiment, and I believe there could be some serious volatility in the near-term. Although markets on Wednesday (Jan. 6) may have been overly excited from the “Blue Wave” thanks to Georgia, consider this: the Capitol was invaded and the pandemic is still wreaking havoc! Even though the markets gained and the 10-year treasury ticked above 1% for the first time since March, the VIX still rose which means that fear is on the rise.

There was no pullback to end 2020 as I anticipated, but I still believe that markets have overheated in the short-term, and that between now and the end of Q1 2020 a correction could happen.

Carl Icahn seemingly agrees with me, and told CNBC on Monday (Jan. 4) that “in my day I’ve seen a lot of wild rallies with a lot of mispriced stocks, but there is one thing they all have in common. Eventually they hit a wall and go into a major painful correction.”

National Securities’ chief market strategist Art Hogan also believes that we could see a 5%-8% pullback as early as this month.

I believe though that corrections are healthy and could be a good thing. Corrections happen way more often than people realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). I believe we are overdue for one since there has not been one since the lows of March 2020. This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what I believe will be a great second half of the year.

While there will certainly be short-term bumps in the road, I love the outlook in the mid-term and long-term once vaccines become more widely available. The pandemic is awful right now, and these new infectious strains out of the U.K. and South Africa are quite concerning. But despite this, I believe the positive manufacturing data released on Tuesday (Jan. 5) is a step in the right direction, especially considering all the restrictions that most countries are living through.

The consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks. According to a CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000, while five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. But I do not believe, with conviction, that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Can Small-caps Own 2021?

Small-caps are the comeback darlings of the week. Although I believed that the Russell 2000’s record-setting run since the start of November was coming to an end, it has rallied over 5% in the last two trading days. Thanks to a Democrat sweep in Georgia and hopes of further economic stimulus, small-cap stocks have climbed back towards record highs.

I love small-cap stocks in the long-term, especially as the world reopens. A Democrat-dominated Congress could help these stocks too. But I believe that in the short-term, the index, by any measurement, has simply overheated. Before Jan. 4, the RSI for the I WM Russell 2000 ETF was at an astronomical 74.54. I called a pullback happening in the short-term due to this RSI, and it happened. Well now the RSI is back above 72, and I believe that a bigger correction in the near-term could be imminent.

Stocks simply just don’t always go up in a straight line, and that’s what the Russell 2000 has essentially been between November and December.

What this also comes down to is that small-caps are more sensitive to the news – good or bad. I believe that vaccine gains have possibly been baked in by now. There could be another near-term pop due to hopes of further stimulus, but I believe that it’s likely possible that small-caps in the near-term could trade sideways before an eventual larger pullback.

I truthfully hope small-caps decline a minimum of 10% before jumping back in for long-term buying opportunities.

SELL and take Wednesday’s (Jan. 6) profits if you can- but do not fully exit positions .

If there is a pullback, this is a STRONG BUY for the long-term recovery.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

Markets Recover Some Losses, While Eyeing Georgia

Stocks gained on Tuesday (Jan. 5) after the major indices all sold off to start the year on Monday (Jan. 4).

News Recap

  • The Dow Jones closed 167.71 points higher, or 0.6%, at 30,391.60. The S&P 500 advanced 0.7% and the Nasdaq climbed nearly 1%
  • The Georgia Senate run-off elections on Tuesday (Jan. 5) were the main focus of investors. At the time of publication, Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock was declared the winner over the incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler for the first Senate seat up for grabs. The other contested seat between Democrat Jon Ossoff and incumbent Republican David Perdue had yet to be called.
  • The balance of power in the Senate depends on these results and markets could be volatile. Many believe that if the Democrats sweep the Georgia seats and win control, then higher taxes and progressive policies could hurt the market. On the other hand, others believe that a Democrat sweep could bring on larger and quicker stimulus relief.
  • Better-than-expected ISM U.S. manufacturing data came in and helped stocks higher. According to the ISM, manufacturing rose to 60.7 in December from 57.5 in November. The consensus was that the index would slightly decline to 57.
  • Energy stocks led the S&P higher and soared by 4.5% after Saudi Arabia agreed to voluntary production cuts in February and March. Oil giants such as Chevron (CVX) rose 2.7% as a result.
  • Oil futures surged by 4.9% and briefly broke past $50 a barrel for the first time since February.
  • Copper is a precious metal traditionally seen as a leading indicator for the global economy. On Tuesday (Jan. 5), it hit its highest level in nearly eight years and gained more than 2%.
  • Gold also reached an 8-week high due to more declines from the dollar.
  • Boeing (BA) was the best-performing Dow stock and gained 4.4%.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday (Jan. 4) announced a national lockdown to slow the spread of a new, more contagious, coronavirus strain. Under these restrictions, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essentials, work (if they can’t from home) and exercise. Most schools, including universities, will also move to remote learning.
  • According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University , more than 85 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed globally, including 20.8 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million in the U.K.
  • Meanwhile, over 5 million people in the U.S. have now received a COVID-19 vaccination.

After stocks sharply dropped on Monday (Jan. 4) to kick off 2021, widespread gains on Tuesday (Jan. 5) offset some of these losses. While Monday (Jan. 4) was the first time since 2016 that the Dow Jones started a year off with declines, two major catalysts sent the major averages higher: the oil production agreement reached between OPEC and Russia, and better than expected manufacturing results from December.

This tug of war between good news and bad news can be expected in the early part of this new year. Although Monday (Jan. 4) witnessed a sharp pullback (and in my opinion, a predictable one), Tuesday (Jan. 5) witnessed a reversal. In general, though, I still believe that markets have overheated and that between now and the end of Q1 2020, a correction could likely happen.

Markets have overheated, and I believe that much of the good news ranging from economic stimulus to vaccines has been baked in. Eventually, the reality on the ground will outweigh the positive news in the short-term.

National Securities’ chief market strategist Art Hogan put it best in my opinion, saying that he believes we could see a 5%-8% pullback as early as this month. Hogan said that

“we have a tug of war between virus news and vaccine news the better part of six months, and that’s been balanced off by stimulus…That seems to be behind us, and right now I think the virus news takes over a little bit.”

Additionally, if the Georgia elections on Tuesday (Jan. 5) go as I think they’ll go (Democrat sweep), it could be a short-term catalyst leading to a potential correction. The balance of power in the U.S. Senate is at stake with these elections. Investors are likely to prefer a divided Senate. If the Democrats sweep and wrestle away Senate control from the Republicans, it could leave President Biden’s powers largely unchecked, and enable him to pass more ambitious, progressive, and less market-friendly policies.

At the time of this publication, Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock was declared the winner over the incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler for the first Senate seat up for grabs. The other contested seat between Democrat Jon Ossoff and incumbent Republican David Perdue had yet to be called.

According to John Stoltzfus , chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management , the S&P 500 could fall by 10% if the Democratic candidates sweep the Georgia runoffs.

“It is thought by not just a few folks on Main Street as well as on Wall Street that if tomorrow’s run-off results in a sweep for the Democrats — providing them with control of the Senate as well as the House — that it would bode ill for business with the likelihood that corporate tax rates could rise substantially,” Stoltzfus said.

On the other hand, a Democrat sweep could mean potentially larger stimulus packages – and soon.

There is optimistic potential, but the road towards normality will hit inevitable speed bumps and uncertainty. This Senate election and the potential market reactions reflect that.

If and when a correction does happen, I believe it will be healthy and a good thing. Corrections are normal market behaviors and happen more frequently than most realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). Since we have not had one since March 2020, I believe we are long overdue, and the catalysts are there. Most importantly though, a correction could be a great buying opportunity for what I believe will be a strong second half of the year.

While there will certainly be short-term bumps in the road, I love the outlook in the mid-term and long-term once vaccines become more widely available. The pandemic is awful right now, and these new infectious strains are quite concerning. But despite this, I believe the positive manufacturing data released on Tuesday (Jan. 5) is a step in the right direction, especially considering all the restrictions that most countries are living through.

The consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks. According to a CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000, while five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. But I do not believe, with conviction, that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Driving

Small-Caps (IWM)

Figure 1 – iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)

After seeing a sharp pullback since Christmas week, the Russell 2000 briefly returned to its winning ways on Tuesday (Jan. 5). The IWM Russell 2000 ETF which tracks the small-cap index witnessed a 1.55% gain – its best day in a while.

Although I genuinely love small-cap stocks in the long-term as the world will eventually reopen, I believe that in the short-term the index has overheated. Until the start of this week, the RSI for the IWM Russell 2000 ETF was at an astronomical 74.54. Although the RSI is at a more manageable 62.84, I still believe that the party of seeing vertical gains is over for now.

Small-caps in the short-term will be more sensitive to bad news, and right now there is a lot. Vaccine gains have possibly been baked in by now and stocks just don’t go up vertically the way that the Russell 2000 did between November and late December. It is very possible that small-caps in the near-term could trade sideways before an eventual larger pullback. I truthfully hope small-caps decline a minimum of 10% before jumping back in for long-term buying opportunities.

For now, SELL and take short-term profits if you can – but do not fully exit positions .

If there is a pullback, this is a STRONG BUY for the long-term recovery.

Diving

US Dollar ($USD)

Figure 2 – U.S. Dollar ($USD)

I have zero faith in the U.S. Dollar as a safe asset, even if we may see some short-term volatility and “risk-off” trades. I still am calling out the dollar’s weakness after several weeks despite its low levels. I expect the decline to continue as well thanks to a dovish Fed.

Any time the U.S. Dollar rallies, it is simply “fool’s gold.” Since I started doing these newsletters about a month ago, I have consistently said that any minor rally the dollar would experience would be a mirage. Since the dollar briefly pierced the 91-level on December 9th, it has fallen over 1.8%. Despite the dollar experiencing another mini-rally and nearly piercing the 91-level again on December 22, I remained steadfast in my bearish outlook of the dollar. Since the open on December 23rd, the U.S. Dollar has declined another 1.25%. I believed the dollar would drop back below 90 before the new year, and here we are to start off 2021 with the dollar at 89.41. Since hitting a nearly 3-year high on March 20th, the dollar has plunged nearly 13.8% while emerging markets, foreign currencies, precious metals, and cryptocurrencies continue to strengthen. Gold for example reached an 8-week high on Tuesday (Jan. 5)

On days when COVID-19 fears outweigh any other positive sentiments, dollar exposure might be good to have since it is a safe haven. But in my view, you can do a whole lot better than the U.S. dollar for safety.

I have too many doubts on the effect of interest rates this low for this long, government stimulus, strengthening of emerging markets, and inflation to be remotely bullish on the dollar’s prospects over the next 1-3 years. Meanwhile, the US has $27 trillion of debt, and it’s not going down anytime soon.

Another headwind to consider for the dollar is the Georgia Senate election. If Democrats sweep, there could be more aggressive stimulus in the near term. With Democrats controlling both the House and the Senate, more stimulus could be bearish for the dollar.

Additionally, according to The Sevens Report , if the dollar falls below 89.13, this could potentially raise the prospect of a further 10.5% decline to the next support level of 79.78 reached in April 2014. With the dollar now at 89.41, we are coming dangerously close.

The dollar’s RSI is also nearly oversold once again and is trading significantly below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

For now, where possible, HEDGE OR SELL USD exposure.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

Major Averages Plummet to Start 2021

Quick Update

In a quick update to kick off 2021, I wanted to summarize my correct calls, and what I profited on since beginning to publish these updates. While nobody can predict the future, the major calls I am most proud of since writing these letters are calling the short-term downturn in small-cap stocks, adding emerging market exposure, and hedging or selling the U.S. dollar.

I switched my call on small-caps, specifically the Russell 2000 from a HOLD to a short-term SELL on December 16th. The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) surged to unprecedented record gains since November 2020, however, I believed then and still believe that the index has overheated by many measurements. Since December 16th, the IWM ETF is largely flat.

However, since peaking on December 23rd, the IWM has underperformed ETFs tracking the larger indices and has declined by nearly 3%. While I am still bullish on small-caps in the long run and maintain my STRONG BUY call on the Russell for the long-term, it is contingent on a pullback . I believe that pullback may have begun. I am hoping for a minimum 10% decline before jumping back in for the long-term.

Emerging markets have been some of the best performers in 2020, and I have made some bullish calls on specific regional markets for 2021 as well. I have been touting emerging markets since my first report, but when I switched my focus to specific regions, my calls became even more correct. I called Taiwan ( EWT ETF) the best bet for emerging market exposure while avoiding the risks and baked in profits of China on December 3rd. Since then, the EWT ETF which tracks Taiwan has gained over 7% while the MCHI ETF which tracks China has barely gained over 1.4%. The Taiwan ETF has also outperformed the SPY S&P 500 ETF and the IEUR ETF which tracks Europe.

In conjunction with my bullish calls on emerging markets, my bearish calls on the U.S. dollar were also correct. Since I started doing these newsletters about a month ago, I consistently said that the dollar should be hedged or avoided because of the Fed’s policies, effect of interest rates this low for this long, government stimulus, strengthening of emerging markets, and inflation. I also said that any minor rally the dollar would experience would be fool’s good.

Since the dollar briefly pierced the 91-level on December 9th, it has fallen nearly 1.4%. Despite it experiencing another mini-rally and nearly piercing the 91-level again on December 22, I remained steadfast in my bearish outlook of the dollar. Since the open on December 23rd, the U.S. Dollar has declined another 0.77%. I believed it would drop back below 90 before the new year, and here we are to start off 2021, with the dollar at 89.85.

Markets kicked off the first trading day of 2021 with a dud, due to further concerns of COVID-19 cases and the Georgia Senate run-off elections.

News Recap

  • Monday (Jan.4) marked the first negative start to a year for the Dow Jones since 2016. The Dow Jones closed 382.59 points lower, or 1.3%, at 30,223.89. The Dow at one point fell more than 700 points.
  • The S&P 500 also fell 1.5% to 3,700.65, the Nasdaq fell 1.5%, and the small-cap Russell 2000 fell 1.47%.
  • This was the biggest one-day sell-off since Oct. 28 for the Dow and S&P 500, and the Nasdaq’s worst sell-off since Dec. 9.
  • While the sell-off to start the year could be due to natural consolidation, the growing number of COVID-19 cases around the world and its potential impact on the global economic recovery weighed on investors. To start the year off, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown to slow the spread of a new, more contagious, coronavirus strain. With this lockdown, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essentials, work if they can’t from home, and exercise. Most schools, including universities, will also move to remote learning.
  • According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University , more than 85 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed globally, including 20.7 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million in the U.K.
  • Pay very close attention to the Georgia Senate run-offs on Tuesday (Jan. 5). The balance of power in the Senate is hanging on the vote and markets could be volatile due to the results. If the Democrats gain a majority, it could impact market performance and leave Biden’s powers largely unchecked. If the Republicans keep just one seat, it could likely check Biden’s more progressive ambitions.
  • Coca-Cola (KO) and Boeing (BA) were the laggards on the Dow, falling 3.8% and 5.3%, respectively. Real estate stocks were the worst performing on the S&P and fell 3.2%. Utilities also declined 2.6%.
  • About 4.6 million people in the U.S. have now gotten a COVID-19 vaccine.

Stocks dropped sharply on Monday (Jan. 4), to kick off 2021. It was the first time since 2016 that the Dow Jones started a year off with declines and was the biggest one-day sell-off since Oct. 28 for the Dow and S&P 500. It was also the Nasdaq’s worst one-day decline since Dec. 9.

Several catalysts can be blamed for the gloomy start to the year: natural consolidation, COVID-19, and the Georgia Senate runoff elections.

First and foremost, a decline like this was bound to happen, and I called this happening in the early part of the year. I still believe that there will be a short-term tug of war between good news and bad news, and that these moves are manic and based on sentiment. There was no pullback to end 2020 as I anticipated, but I still believe that markets have overheated in the short-term. Was Monday (Jan. 4) the start of a correction? Possibly. But either way, I think that between now and the end of Q1 2020, a correction could happen.

Carl Icahn seemingly agrees with me, and told CNBC on Monday (Jan. 4), “in my day I’ve seen a lot of wild rallies with a lot of mispriced stocks, but there is one thing they all have in common. Eventually they hit a wall and go into a major painful correction.”

I believe, though, that corrections are healthy and could be a good thing. Corrections happen way more often than people realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). I believe we are overdue for one since there has not been one since the lows of March 2020. This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what I believe will be a great second half of the year.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues surging and there are very real fears of new strains discovered in the U.K. and South Africa that could be more contagious. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown that could potentially last until mid-February. With this lockdown, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essentials, work if they can’t from home and exercise. Most schools, including universities, will also move to remote learning. This could be an ominous sign for stricter lockdowns to be implemented in other regions across the world.

Outside of COVID-19, political uncertainty has returned to the markets. The balance of power in the U.S. Senate is at stake, with Georgia run-off Senate elections set to occur on Tuesday (Jan. 5). Investors are likely to prefer a divided Senate. If the Democrats win both elections and wrestle away Senate control from the Republicans, it could leave President Biden’s powers largely unchecked, and enable him to pass more of his ambitious and progressive policies. Many investors do not anticipate these to be very market friendly. As results start to come in Tuesday evening, markets could react in a volatile manner.

According to John Stoltzfus , chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management, the S&P 500 could fall by 10% if the Democratic candidates win the Georgia runoffs.

“It is thought by not just a few folks on Main Street as well as on Wall Street that if tomorrow’s run-off results in a sweep for the Democrats — providing them with control of the Senate as well as the House — that it would bode ill for business with the likelihood that corporate tax rates could rise substantially,” Stoltzfus said.

This will also be a busy week for economic data with the manufacturing PMI report said to be released Tuesday (Jan. 5) and the non-farm payrolls report set to be announced Friday (Jan. 8).

Monday’s sell-off (Jan. 4) serves as a very painful reminder that markets will still have to weigh the near-term risks against some of the more positive mid-term and long-term hopes on vaccines and re-opening.

The general consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks, despite short-term headwinds. According to a CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000, while five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. But I do not believe, with conviction, that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Does the Dow Approach 31,000 or 29,000 Before Mid-2021?

I have too many short-term questions for the Dow Jones. I believe it’s just as likely for the Dow to touch 29,000 again as it is to touch 31,000 before March.

After trading as low as around 29,650 at one point before the new year (Dec. 21), the Dow has remained firmly above 30,000. However, it has traded largely sideways over the last few weeks, despite opening Jan. 4 with a record high.

Despite some long-term optimism, for now, my short-term questions take precedence. I don’t like how COVID-19 is trending (who does?), I am disappointed in the vaccine roll-out, and I am concerned about the Georgia election. In the short-term, I am not convinced that the Dow will stay above 30,000 for more than a week at a time and I am also not convinced that it will hit more all-time highs before March.

In the short-term, I believe it is just as likely for the Dow to approach 29,000 as it is to approach 31,000 in the early months of 2021.

While I think a 35,000 call to close out 2021 is a bit aggressive, I do believe that the second half of 2021 could show robust gains for the index.

With so much uncertainty and the RSI still firmly in hold territory, the call on the Dow stays a HOLD.

This is a very challenging time to make a call on the Dow with conviction. But one thing I do believe is that if and when there is a drop in the index, it will not be strong and sharply relative to the gains since March 2020. I believe that it is more likely than not that we will be in a sideways holding pattern until vaccines are available to the general public by mid-2021.

For an ETF that attempts to directly correlate with the performance of the Dow, the SPDR Dow Jones ETF (DIA) is a strong option.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

Three Under-the-Radar Momentum Plays

Momentum in big tech stocks peaked in September, with mixed price action across most household names into year’s end. However, momentum traders are still doing their best to buy high and sell even higher as we enter 2021, lifting lesser-known equities into the stratosphere. These issues could offer more consistent profits in the first quarter than last year’s winners, who are now vulnerable to capital gains tax selling pressure.

Broad-based ‘momentum markets’ are quite rare, unfolding when lots of fresh capital enters the markets, as it did after the U.S. government issued stimulus checks in the second quarter of 2020. More often, these vertical buying impulses recede into a selection of lower-capitalized issues that attract far less attention, at least until a blow-off phase often triggered by sudden media or Wall Street interest.

Let’s look at three of these under-the-radar momentum plays.

GreenPower Motor Company

Vancouver-based GreenPower Motor Company Inc. (GP) manufactures, distributes, and sells all-electric commercial vehicles that include transit, school, and charter buses. The stock is riding high on Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) coattails, with investor EV sentiment hitting all-time highs. The stock closed 2020 at 29.01 after opening the year at 1.55 and is trading within three points of November’s all-time high at 32.50 in January’s first session.

Bit Digital

As the name suggests, Bit Digital Inc. (BTBT) is engaged in the bitcoin mining business, changing its name from Golden Bull Ltd. in September. The cryptocurrency is on fire these days, lifting more than 400% in 2020. It’s replaced gold as a hedge against central bank scheming and political fears that include the rise of extremism in U.S. politics. Neither of those issues is likely to dissipate in 2021.

Silvergate Capital

Silvergate Capital Corp. (SI) offers banking products and services in the United States and overseas. Momentum traders have taken note because the company also provides cash management services for ‘digital currency-related businesses’ through the Silvergate Exchange Network. The stock caught fire in October after spending most of 2020 trading in the mid-teens, lifting to 74.31 at the end of December.

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

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

US Stocks Dip on Stimulus Uncertainty; Investors Hedging Uncertainty by Shorting Small Caps

The major U.S. stock indexes slipped from their record highs on Tuesday in choppy, two-sided price action, as investors expressed concerns over the path of reopening the economy and whether the Senate would approve additional pandemic aid checks.

Wall Street’s three main indexes opened at new highs for a second straight session after President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion fiscal stimulus bill that restored jobless benefits and averted a federal government shutdown.

In the cash market on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3727.04, down 8.32 or -0.25%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 30335.67, down 68.30 or -0.25% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite Index closed at 12850.22.

Unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus measures, along with positive vaccine developments have helped the S&P 500 bounce back from a virus-fueled crash in March.

The benchmark index is up more than 10% for the quarter as investors have flocked to economically-sensitive stocks from the so-called ‘stay-at-home’ plays on hopes of a recovery.

Washington Politics

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber would address this week President Donald Trump’s call for an increase in stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000, after blocking an immediate consideration of the measure on Tuesday. Final passage of the proposal would require 60 votes and the backing of a dozen Republicans.

McConnell’s comment comes a day after Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the move to bump up direct payments.

If the Republicans decide to stop playing follow-the-leader then we could see a surge to the upside especially given the thin volume.

Are the Bulls Hedging Their Bets With Short Russell 2000 Positions?

Some analysts are suggesting a sharp drop in small cap stocks could be a reflection of the concern surrounding the surge in infections leading to a slower than hoped for reopening. The Russell 200 Small Cap Index was off 2.23%, on pace for its biggest daily percentage drop in two months.

Stocks in the News

Intel Corp jumped 4.28% after Reuters reported activist hedge fund Third Point LLC is pushing the chipmaker to explore strategic options, including whether it should remain an integrated device manufacturer.

Boeing shares gave up earlier gains and slipped 0.21% as its 737 MAX plane resumed passenger flights in the United States for the first time after a 20-month safety ban was lifted last month.

Snapchat owner Snap Inc climbed 5.02% after Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the stock on upbeat revenue growth prospects.

The Internals

Volumes are expected to be light in the holiday-shortened week, which could lead to volatility.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.09-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 3.17-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 76 new highs and 25 new lows.

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

Major Averages Hit More Record Highs

Quick Update

As a quick update to kick off today’s newsletter, I would like to summarize my correct calls and what I profited on since beginning to publish these updates. While nobody can predict the future, the major calls I am most proud of since producing these letters are 1) adding emerging market exposure and 2) hedging or selling the U.S. Dollar.

Emerging markets have been some of the best performers in 2020, and I have made some bullish calls on specific regional markets for 2021 as well. I have been touting emerging markets since my first report, but when I switched my focus to specific regions, my calls became even more correct. On December 3rd, I called Taiwan ( EWT ETF) the best bet for emerging market exposure while avoiding the risks and baked in profits of China. Since then, the EWT ETF which tracks Taiwan has gained over 4.3% while the MCHI ETF which tracks China has fallen over 3.3%. The Taiwan ETF has also outperformed the SPY S&P 500 ETF and the IEUR ETF which tracks Europe.

My calls on the U.S. dollar were also correct. Since I started doing these newsletters about a month and a half ago, I consistently reiterated that the dollar should be hedged or avoided because of the Fed’s policies, effect of interest rates this low for this long, government stimulus, strengthening of emerging markets, and inflation. I also said that any minor rally the dollar would experience would be fool’s good. In the last month and a half, the dollar has fallen around 2.3%, and since it briefly pierced the 91-level on December 9th , it has fallen another 1%.

Markets kicked off the final week of 2020 with a surge towards record highs after President Trump finally signed off on the stimulus bill.

News Recap

  • All major indices closed at record highs. The Dow Jones rose 204.10 points higher, or 0.7%, to close at 30,403.97. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to 3,735.36, and the Nasdaq rose 0.7% to 12,899.42. Meanwhile, the small-cap Russell 2000 underperformed and declined 0.38%.
  • After President Trump called the $900 billion stimulus package an unsuitable “disgrace,” and alluded to possibly vetoing the bill, over the weekend the president signed the bill into law . By signing off, a government shutdown was averted while unemployment benefits were extended to millions of Americans.
  • After President Trump demanded stimulus checks for Americans to be raised from $600 to $2,000 each , the Democrat-led House voted for this measure on Monday (Dec. 28). The ball is now in the GOP-led Senate’s court on the measure. They are not expected to approve the measure.
  • Apple led the Dow higher, and gained 3.6%. Disney also climbed nearly 3%.
  • Communication services, consumer discretionary and tech were the best performing sectors in the S&P 500, with each rising over 1%.
  • Amidst fears of a COVID-19 “surge on top of a surge” after the Christmas holiday, over one million people in the U.S. have now been vaccinated. Meanwhile, the U.S. has averaged at least 184,000 new infections per day.

Markets cheered President Trump’s signing of the stimulus package and are further encouraged by the possibility of larger stimulus checks. After the market traded flat last week, it kicked off the final week of 2020 with a bang. Although it is still very possible that consolidation, profit taking, and rebalancing could happen in this shortened week, the general focus of both investors and analysts has appeared to be the long-term potential of 2021.

As Tom Essaye, founder of The Sevens Report said :

“The five pillars of the rally (Federal stimulus, FOMC stimulus, vaccine rollout, divided government and no double dip recession) remain largely in place, and until that changes, the medium and longer-term outlook for stocks will be positive.”

While I still do believe that there will be a short-term tug of war between good news and bad news, I am now convinced that these moves are manic and based on sentiment. There has not been a pullback to end the year as I anticipated. But I still do believe that markets have overheated, and that between now and the end of Q1 2020 a correction could happen.

There is optimistic potential, but the road towards normalcy will hit inevitable speed bumps.

I do believe though that a correction is healthy and could be a good thing. Corrections happen way more often than people realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). I believe we are overdue for one since there has not been one since the lows of March. This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what I believe will be a great second half of the year.

The mid-term and long-term optimism are very real, despite the near-term risks. The passage of the stimulus package only solidifies the robust vaccine-induced tailwinds entering 2021.

The general consensus is that 2021 could be a strong year for stocks, despite short-term headwinds. According to a new CNBC survey which polled more than 100 chief investment officers and portfolio managers, two-thirds of respondents said the Dow Jones will most likely finish 2021 at 35,000 – a roughly 16% gain from Thursday’s close of 30,199.87. Five percent also said that the index could climb to 40,000 by the end of 2021.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. But I do not believe, with conviction, that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Will the Dow Approach 31,000 or 29,000 Before Mid-2021?

Figure 1 – Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU)

After trading as low as around 29,650 at one point last Monday (Dec. 21), the Dow has been firmly back above 30,000 for the last week. The blue-chip index also closed at yet another record high on Monday (Dec. 28).

I do think that the Dow has some more room to run in the next few days to close off the year. Trump’s signing of the stimulus bill was a belated Christmas gift for investors everywhere. If the Senate approves $2,000 stimulus checks, then another short-term pop can certainly happen.

My short-term questions though still remain as to whether or not the Dow can not only stay above 30,000 for more than a week at a time but also hit more all-time highs before March. The volume has also been very unstable as of late, but that is likely due to shortened trading weeks to close off the year.

In the short-term, I believe it is just as likely for the Dow to approach 29,000 as it is to approach 31,000 in the early months of 2021.

While I think a 35,000 call to close out 2021 is a bit aggressive, I do believe that the second half of 2021 could show robust gains for the index.

With so much uncertainty and the RSI still firmly in hold territory, the call on the Dow stays a HOLD.

This is a very challenging time to make calls with conviction. But one thing I do believe is that if and when there is a drop in the index, it will not be strong and sharp relative to the gains since March, let alone November. I believe that more likely than not we will be in a sideways holding pattern until vaccines are available to the general public by mid-2021.

For an ETF that attempts to directly correlate with the performance of the Dow, the SPDR Dow Jones ETF (DIA) is a strong option.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

 

US Stock Market Overview – Santa Claus Rally Starts with Record Highs

US stocks closed at all-time highs on Monday, following the long holiday weekend. This followed news that President Trump signed the $900 billion stimulus bill that now paves the way for the government to make direct payments to American households. Laster in the day the House of Representatives voted to increase the second round of direct payments to $2,000 as opposed to $600. All three major average closed at record highs. The Russell 2000 declined. Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were higher led by gain in the Communications sector. The Energy sector bucked the trend. Stocks generally rise during the period between Christmas and New Year’s. This is known as the Santa Claus rally. Historically, January is a positive month for stocks. Over the past 10-years the S&P 500 index has increased 60% of the time for an average gain of 1.2%. The dollar edged higher on Monday and gold prices were nearly unchanged.

The House voted to increase the second round of federal direct payments to $2,000 as Democrats embrace President Donald Trump’s calls to put more money in Americans’ pockets.The measure would boost the stimulus checks in the year-end coronavirus relief and government funding package to $2,000 from $600.

The House Overrides Defense Veto

The House voted to override President Donald Trump’s veto of an annual defense spending bill, placing the final steps of defying the Republican president in the hands of the GOP-led Senate. The Senate will vote on Tuesday. The bill, known as the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House on December 8, with the support of more than three-fourths of the chamber.

Stimulus Hopes Fail to Rally Markets

The S&P 500 closed down for the third consecutive day (Dec. 22), despite Congress’s long-overdue approval of an economic stimulus package.

News Recap

  • The Dow Jones declined 200.94 points, or 0.7%, to 30,015.51. The S&P 500 closed down for a third consecutive day and fell 0.2%. Reflecting a return to the “stay-at-home” tech trade, the Nasdaq gained 0.5% on the day (Dec. 22). The small-cap Russell 2000 index managed to outperform yet again, rising 1.01%.
  • Congress finally voted on and approved a $900 billion stimulus package to aid struggling Americans. Attached to this bill was also a $1.4 trillion measure to fund the government through Sept. 30. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law within the next few days.
  • A mutant strain of COVID-19 discovered in the UK weighed on markets for a second consecutive day. While the vaccine(s) could still be effective on this strain, the strain appears to be more contagious than others. The discovery of this virus strain has caused stricter lockdown measures and travel restrictions worldwide.
  • Travel stocks were the laggards of the day due to fears of the new strain of COVID-19. American Airlines (AAL) fell 3.9% and United (UAL) dropped 2.5%. Cruise lines all fell as well. Carnival (CCL) fell nearly 6%, Royal Caribbean (RCL) dropped nearly 3%, and Norwegian (NCL) plummeted 6.9%
  • Apple (AAPL) led the Nasdaq higher as it jumped 2.9% due to investor excitement about their EV plans to challenge Tesla (TSLA) by 2024
  • Mixed economic data came in on Tuesday (Dec. 22). The final reading on Q3’s GDP growth found that the US GDP grew 33.4% on an annualized basis, compared to the estimated 33.1%. On the other hand, US consumer confidence fell for the second month in a row and missed expectations – despite vaccine optimism.
  • COVID-19 has now killed over 318,000 Americans (and counting). The CDC announced that this is now the deadliest year in American history as total deaths are expected to top 3 million for the first time. Deaths are also expected to jump 15% from the previous year. This would mark the largest single-year percentage leap since 1918, when WWI and fatalities from the Spanish Flu Pandemic caused deaths to rise an estimated 46%.

Markets have officially stumbled before Christmas and experienced a predictable tug-of-war between good news and bad news. While the general focus of both investors and analysts has appeared to be the long-term potential of 2021, there are some very concerning short-term headwinds.

Although there was some anticipation that a stimulus deal could send stocks higher in the near-term, investors may be simply taking profits before the year’s end and rebalancing for 2021. On the other hand, it is very possible that the stimulus package was “too little too late,” and is being overshadowed by a more contagious strain of COVID-19 discovered over the past weekend in the U.K.

While nobody predicted a renegade mutant virus weighing on market sentiment, short-term battles between optimism and pessimism were quite predictable.

According to a note released on Monday (Dec. 21) from Vital Knowledge’s Adam Crisafulli

“The market has been in a tug-of-war between the very grim near-term COVID backdrop and the increasingly hopeful medium/long-term outlook (driven by vaccines) – the latter set of forces are more powerful in aggregate, but on occasion, the market decides to focus on the former, and stocks suffer as a result.”

Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of market strategists, including myself, are bullish on equities for 2021. It might just be a bit of a bumpy road getting there. I believe that a correction and some consolidation could be very likely in the short-term, on the way towards another strong rally in the second half of 2021. While it is hard to say with conviction WHEN we could see a correction, I believe that the market’s behavior as of late could be a potential preview of what’s to come between now and the end of Q1 2020. There is optimistic potential, but I believe a potential 5% pullback before the year’s end is possible, as well as a minimum 10% correction before the end of Q1 2020.

According to Jonathan Golub , Credit Suisse’s chief U.S. equity strategist, choppiness in the economy and markets in the coming months could be expected before a surge in consumer spending by mid-2021. Golub said, “I don’t think that there’s a smooth, easy straight-line story on this…I think for the next three or four months, the reopening process is going to be sloppy.”

I believe that the S&P’s three-day losing streak could be an ominous sign of what’s to come in the near-term. I do believe though that this is healthy and could be a good thing.

Before Monday’s (Dec. 21) session, I had warned that the market was flashing signs of over-optimism and euphoria. In its most recent survey, for example, the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) found that 48.1% of investors identified as being bullish – well above the historical average of 38%.

A correction could be just what this market needs. Corrections also happen way more often than people realize. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). I believe we are overdue for one because there has not been a correction since the lows of March. This is healthy market behavior and could be a very good buying opportunity for what I believe will be a great second half of the year.

The mid-term and long-term optimism are very real, despite the near-term risks. The passage of the stimulus package only solidifies the robust vaccine-induced tailwinds entering 2021, specifically for small-cap value stocks.

In the short-term, there will be some optimistic and pessimistic days. On some days, such as Tuesday (Dec. 22), the “pandemic” market trend will happen – cyclical and COVID-19 recovery stocks lagging, and tech and “stay-at-home” stocks leading. On other days, a broad sell-off based on virus fears may occur as well. Additionally, there will also be days where there will be a broad market rally due to optimism and 2021 related euphoria. And finally, there will be days (and in my opinion, this will be most trading days), that will see markets trading largely mixed, sideways, and reflecting uncertainty.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and Q1 2021 is very possible. But I do not believe, with conviction, that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

The premium analysis this morning will showcase a “Drivers and Divers” section that will break down some sectors that are in and out of favor. As a token of my appreciation for your patronage, I decided to give you a free sample of a “driver” and “diver” sector. Please do me a favor and let me know what you think of this segment! I’m always happy to hear from you.

Driving

Small-Caps (IWM)

The Russell 2000 small-cap index once again beat the larger-cap indices and gained 1.01% on Tuesday (Dec. 22). Despite the profit-taking and negative sentiment during Tuesday’s (Dec. 22) session, small-caps didn’t get the memo.

I do love small-cap stocks in the long-term and this small-cap rally is more encouraging than the “stay-at-home” stock rallies from April/May. This is a bullish sign for long-term economic recovery and shows that investors are optimistic that a vaccine will return life to relative normalcy by mid-2021.

I do have some concerns about overheating in the short-term though. As I mentioned before, I believe that the S&P’s losing streak is only a preview of what could come in the next 1-3 months.

According to the chart above for the Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) , it becomes pretty evident that small-cap stocks have overheated in the short-term. Stocks won’t always go up, but the IWM’s trajectory since November has been essentially vertical. The ETF keeps hitting record highs while the RSI keeps overinflating way past overbought levels as the volume shows instability.

Since November, the Russell index has been on a run nothing short of astounding. Just look how the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) compares to the ETFs tracking the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq in that time frame. Since November, the IWM has risen nearly 28% and has at least doubled the returns of the ETFs tracking the other major indices.

Although the Russell index is composed mostly of small-cap cyclical stocks dependent on the recovery of the broader economy and may be more adversely affected on “sell-the-news” kind of days, its hot streak since November has seemingly not cooled off as much as other indices and sectors.

But I believe this will eventually happen in the short-term, and I hope it does for a long-term buying opportunity.

In the short-term, small-cap stocks may have overheated and could experience the greatest volatility. SELL and take short-term profits if you can, but do not fully exit positions .

If there is a pullback, BUY for the long-term recovery.

Diving

US Dollar ($USD)

If the dollar rallies at all again soon, do not be fooled.

Ever since I called the dollar’s rally past the 91 level two Wednesdays ago (Dec. 9) a mirage, the dollar has declined by 1.25%.

I believed it to be “fool’s gold” then and I believe any subsequent rally that could come will be “fool’s gold” too.

I still am calling out the dollar’s weakness after several weeks, despite its low levels. I expect the decline to continue as well thanks to a dovish Fed.

The world’s reserve currency is still trading below 90 and has not traded this low since April 2018.

Joe Manimbo , a senior analyst at Western Union Business Solutions, seemingly agrees with me as well and said that “the latest blow to the dollar came from the Fed, which vowed not to touch policy even if the outlook for the U.S. economy brightens as it now expects.”

Since hitting a nearly 3-year high on March 20th, the dollar has plunged nearly 13% while emerging markets and other currencies continue to strengthen.

On days when COVID-19 fears outweigh any other positive sentiments, dollar exposure might be good to have since it is a safe haven. But in my view, you can do a whole lot better than the US dollar for safety.

I have too many doubts on the effect of interest rates this low for this long, government stimulus, strengthening of emerging markets, and inflation to be remotely bullish on the dollar’s prospects over the next 1-3 years. Meanwhile, the US has $27 trillion of debt, and it’s not going down anytime soon.

Additionally, according to The Sevens Report , if the dollar falls below 89.13, this could potentially raise the prospect of a further 10.5% decline to the next support level of 79.78 reached in April 2014

After briefly rising above an oversold RSI of 30 last week, the dollar’s RSI is now at an alarmingly low 27.87. The dollar is also significantly trading below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

While the dollar may have more room to fall, this MAY be a good opportunity to buy the world’s reserve currency at a discount as the RSI is oversold. But I just feel you can do a whole lot better than the USD right now.

I’m not a crypto guy either myself, but Bitcoin’s run compared to the dollar’s disastrous 2020 has to really make you think sometimes….

For now, where possible, HEDGE OR SELL USD exposure.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

Stocks Fall but Close Week Positive

Quick Update

Dear readers, before we get into today’s news and stock analysis and because I’ve been receiving many questions from you, I’d like to first clarify what I mean by BUY, SELL, or HOLD. Here, I am largely referring to outperforming the S&P 500. When the conditions favor adding risk and buying the U.S. market overall, I will be issuing an “alert.” I am not sure yet whether I will be moving to entry prices or target prices & stop losses.

In the current market environment, when fundamentals have essentially fallen to the wayside, I prefer to invest directionally rather than being married to certain levels in the market. In my view, trading with specific figures in mind can hurt long term returns if you do not let your winners run and cut your losers fast. I do update my calls daily, though, and any changes will be highlighted! Thank you again for being such great readers – I truly value your trust. Stay tuned for updates and let me know if you have any other questions!

Let’s begin Monday by reviewing what happened at the close of last week.

Volatile trading occurred on Friday (Dec. 18), with Congress struggling to close out a stimulus package, causing stocks to slip from record highs.

News Recap

  • The Dow Jones fell 124.32 points, or 0.4%, to 30,179.05. At its session low, the index fell more than 270 points. The S&P 500 also dipped 0.4% and snapped a three-day winning streak. The Nasdaq fell only 0.1%, while the small-cap Russell 2000 fell 0.41%.
  • While Congress claims to be on the brink of a $900 billion stimulus deal , it is working against time. In public, leaders are speaking optimistically that a deal will pass, however, there are last-minute partisan disputes on direct payments, small business loans, and a boost to unemployment insurance
  • There was an unusually large amount of trading volume on Friday (Dec. 18) as Tesla (TSLA) was set to officially join the S&P 500 after the closing bell. Tesla is being added to the index in one fell swoop, marking the largest rebalancing of the S&P 500 in history. After surging 700% in 2020, from day 1, Tesla will be the seventh-largest company in the S&P in terms of market cap.
  • The FDA officially approved Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use. Government officials plan to ship nearly 6 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine in addition to the 2.9 million Pfizer (PFE) doses already in distribution.
  • Despite Friday’s (Dec. 18) losses, the indices closed out the week with mild gains. The Dow closed up 0.4%, the S&P 500 advanced 1.3%, and the NASDAQ closed up 3.1%. The small-cap Russell 2000 continued its strong run as well and gained 2.5% for the week.
  • Meanwhile, the pandemic has reached its darkest days and is hitting unforeseen and unprecedented numbers . The U.S. shattered the previous record of daily deals on Wednesday (Dec. 16), recording over 3,600 deaths. As of Friday (Dec. 18), the country has also now surpassed 17 million confirmed cases, with death totals soaring past 300,000. California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas alone reported more than 1,000 deaths in the past week.

While the general focus between both investors and analysts appears to be on the long-term potential in 2021, there are certainly short-term concerns. Inevitably, there will be a short-term tug of war between good news and bad news. For now, though, the main catalyst is the stimulus package. If a stimulus package is passed before Christmas, the markets could benefit. If it doesn’t, markets will drop. Time is running short and we may be at a fork in the road.

According to Luke Tilley , chief economist at Wilmington Trust, another stimulus package was needed to keep the economic recovery from stalling before the mass distribution of a vaccine.

“With the continued rising cases and mass vaccinations still a ways out, we could see some further weakness in jobs and even a flattening where we’re not even adding jobs at all … that’s absolutely a possibility for this next jobs report,” Tilley said. “And if we were to not get another stimulus package, you’re going to have 10 to 11 million people fall off the unemployment rolls right away, and that would hit spending as well.”

However, despite near-term risks, the overwhelming majority of market strategists are bullish on equities for 2021, especially for the second half of the year. While there may be some short-term worries, the consensus between market strategists is to look past the short-term pain and focus on the longer-term gains. Although the economic recovery could stutter in the early half of the year, the general focus is on the second half of the year when we could potentially return to normal. Many analysts expect double-digit gains to continue in 2021, with strategists in a CNBC survey expecting an average 9.5% rise in 2021 for the S&P 500.

Additionally, according to Robert Dye, Comerica Bank Chief Economist :

“I am pretty bullish on the second half of next year, but the trouble is we have to get there…As we all know, we’re facing a lot of near-term risks. But I think when we get into the second half of next year, we get the vaccine behind us, we’ve got a lot of consumer optimism, business optimism coming up and a huge amount of pent-up demand to spend out with very low interest rates.”

In the short-term, there will be some optimistic and pessimistic days. On some days, the broader “pandemic” market trend will happen, with cyclical and recovery stocks lagging, and tech and “stay-at-home” stocks leading. Sometimes a broad sell-off based on fear or overheating may occur as well. On other days, there will be a broad market rally due to optimism and 2021-related euphoria. Additionally, there will be days (and in my opinion this will be most trading days), when markets will trade largely mixed, sideways, and reflect uncertainty. But if we get an early Christmas present and a stimulus package passes, all bets are off. It could mean very good things for short-term market gains.

Despite the optimistic potential, the road towards normalcy will hit inevitable speed bumps. While it is truly hard to say with conviction that a short-term rally or bear market will come, I do believe that some consolidation and a correction could be possible in the short-term on the way towards another strong rally in the second half of 2021.

Outside of economic damages and an out-of-control virus, the market itself is flashing potential signs of over-optimism and euphoria. In its most recent survey, for example, the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) found that 48.1% of investors identified as being bullish – well above the historical average of 38%. With an overabundance of cocky, euphoric, and optimistic investors, the market becomes more vulnerable to selling pressure. Corrections are very common though. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017). Because there has not been one since the lows of March, we could be due for one in the early part of 2021.

Therefore, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction in early 2021 is very possible, but I do not believe, with certainty, that a correction above ~20% leading to a bear market will happen.

Has the Nasdaq Officially Overheated?

Don’t ever let anyone tell you “this time is different” if fears of the dot-com bubble are discussed. History repeats itself, especially in markets. I have many concerns about tech valuations and their astoundingly inflated levels. The recent IPOs of DoorDash (DASH) and AirBnB (ABNB) reflect this. I believe that more pullbacks along the lines of Wednesday, December 9th’s session could inevitably come in the short-term.

Pay close attention to the RSI. While an overbought RSI does not automatically mean a trend reversal, I called keeping a very close eye on this for the Nasdaq. The December 9th Nasdaq pullback, after it exceeded a 70 RSI, reflects that.

The RSI is now above 70. Monitor this . With unstable volume to start the week on the horizon, as Tesla officially joins the S&P 500, I am calling for some short-term volatility. I did not make a conviction call last week but I am not making that mistake again. Because the RSI is officially above 70, and because I foresee unstable volume thanks to Tesla, take profits and SELL some shares, but do not fully exit .

While tech has overheated, there is still some very real long-term optimism based on stimulus hopes and 2021’s potential.

Furthermore, on pessimistic days, having Nasdaq exposure is crucial because of the “stay-at-home” trade.

For an ETF that attempts to directly correlate with the performance of the NASDAQ, the Invesco QQQ ETF (QQQ) is a good option.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. I encourage you to sign up for our daily newsletter – it’s absolutely free and if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe with just 2 clicks. If you sign up today, you’ll also get 7 days of free access to the premium daily Stock Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today!

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

Thank you.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.