A Post-Covid Hangover – Should You Worry About Your Portfolio?

Amazon executives noted shifting consumer habits as the pandemic eases and people become more mobile. Amazon forecasted the next quarter’s sales at between $106 billion and $112 billion, compared to Wall Street expectations for right around $119 billion.

Amazon’s projections would still represent growth of +10% to +16%. Keep in mind, bears are also pointing to ongoing fears of supply chain hiccups, higher-trending inflation, and new coronavirus outbreaks. Earnings come at a busy pace again today with results from Caterpillar, Cerner, Chevron, CNH Industrial, Colgate Palmolive, Enbridge, Exxon Mobil, Johnson Control, and Procter & Gamble.

The worry on Wall Street is that this new normal rate of growth will be slower than many analysts and trading firms are forecasting coupled with higher inflation and or supply chain dislocations corporate profits could fall under some pressure or in this case be less than Wall Street is forecasting for the next few quarters. Bulls expect more consumer spending will shift from goods and pandemic-related services (delivery, video games, cloud/collaboration software) but are still betting on pent-up demand for things people missed out on during lockdowns, as well as goods and services that are currently in short supply.

Data to watch

Updated inflation data is also on tap with the ISM Manufacturing Index on Monday and the Services Index on Wednesday.

There will be plenty more earnings next week too, including Simon Properties and Zoom on Monday; Activision Blizzard, Alibaba, Amgen, Clorox, ConocoPhillips, Eli Lilly, Fidelity, Match Group, Monster Beverage, Occidental Petroleum, and Phillips 66 on Tuesday; Allstate, CVS, Etsy, General Motors, Kraft Heinz, Marathon Petroleum, MetLife, MGM Resorts, Rocket Companies, Roku, Trane, and Uber on Wednesday; Adidas, AMC, Carvana, Cigna, Cloudflare, Corteva, Duke Energy, Kellogg, Moderna, Nintendo, Novo Nordisk, Siemens, Square, Wayfair, Zillow, and Zoetis on Thursday; and Dish Network, Dominion Energy, and DraftKings on Friday.

Insider Accumulation

ES ##-## (Daily) 2021_08_01 (19_25_02)

I have mixed feelings about SP500. There are a few signs of weakness. However, it might be the result of low summer activity. Advance-Decline Line is clearly bearish. Insider Accumulation is also not that strong. Moreover, the Volatility Index is very low and potentially it could bring a pullback. In any case, SP500 futures failed to close the week above Gann resistance. And that is also a negative sign.

The Federal Reserve policy is still supportive. But keep in mind, that SP500 has rallied around 100% since the pandemic bottom without any pullback. And the retest of key support zones near 4200 and 4000 is realistic.

On the other hand, the continuation of the rally is also possible but only if price sustains above 4400. If that happens, bulls will target 4500 and 4600 in extension.

Today’s Market Wrap Up and a Glimpse Into Friday

Stocks finished the day in the green after investors were able to brush off signs that the economic recovery may have hit a snag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on more than 150 points, while the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also inched higher. The market indices showed resilience even as the delta variant threatens to throw a wrench into economic expansion for the rest of the year.

Second-quarter GDP expanded at an annual rate of 6.5%, which catapults the economy beyond pre-COVID levels but falls short of estimates. Meanwhile, the forecast for the rest of the year could be threatened by the uncertainty from the delta variant. Companies have responded by delaying the return to the office or in some cases reinstating mask policies for consumers. It’s déjà vu all over again.

Investors were able to focus on the glass half full. For example, consumer spending and corporate earnings have been bright spots of late. Meanwhile, supply chain issues seem to be a stumbling block.

Stocks to Watch

Amazon reported its Q2 results, and the stock sank 5% in after-hours trading. While the e-commerce giant reported revenue of slightly more than USD 113 billion, Wall Street analysts were looking for USD 115 billion. Amazon’s revenue outlook for Q3 also falls below consensus estimates, and the stock is being punished. The latest quarterly performance unfolded just before Jeff Bezos was replaced as CEO by Andy Jassy earlier this month.

Pinterest is also under pressure in extended-hours trading, falling 14%. The company fell short on its number of monthly active users, which came in at 454 million compared to estimates of 482 million. This indicator could also come back to bite Pinterest in Q3, for which management failed to provide any forecast and blamed the pandemic.

Robinhood’s IPO was a flop after the stock fell more than 8% on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. The trading app’s shares opened at USD 38 and finished the day at just under USD 35. Robinhood sought to appeal to retail investors but was in for a rude awakening. The broker finished the day with a market cap of USD 29 billion.

Look Ahead

On the economic front, Personal Income & Spending for the month of June comes out on Friday. Wells Fargo economists predict that income fell 0.2% while spending increased 2% vs. May levels. The weaning away of the stimulus is pressuring incomes.

Today’s Market Wrap Up and a Glimpse Into Friday

Stocks rallied yet again, sending the S&P 500 to its sixth consecutive all-time high. Investors celebrated jobless claims showing that the economy is back on track. Weekly jobless claims came in at their lowest level since the pandemic reared its head.

The Nasdaq also finished higher while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 100 points amid a strengthening economy and a second-quarter earnings parade that is just getting underway.

Energy stocks were a bright spot in the session after WTI crude oil surpassed USD 75 per barrel. Dow member Chevron benefited from the bullish sentiment and tacked on about 1.5%

New in the Hood

The market was abuzz about Robinhood’s IPO filing. The commission-free trading app has been generating revenue hand-over-fist as the retail-investor-fueled meme stock craze has taken shape. Now Robinhood seeks to capitalize on that demand and list on the Nasdaq under a sign-of-the-times trading symbol, HOOD. To demonstrate how popular the app has become, Robinhood generated USD 522 million in Q1 2021 revenue vs. USD 127.6 million in the corresponding year-ago period.

Stocks to Watch

Nike gained 2% on the day after touching on a new all-time high. The sports apparel company turned in impressive sales results and investors expect the momentum to continue.

Walgreens did not receive the same reception on Wall Street even though it also produced a solid quarter. The stock was down 7% in the session despite having lifted its outlook for the year. Investors are still ahead as the stock is up more than 20% year-to-date.

Meme stock AMC Entertainment shed 4% in the session. The stock’s market cap is currently just over USD 27 billion but the company has billions of dollars of debt on its balance sheet. Investors might be starting to think twice about the sustainability of the valuation.

Look Ahead

Investors should keep an eye on Virgin Galactic on Friday.  Billionaire Richard Branson will reportedly head into space on July 11, nine days before rival Jeff Bezos’ space flight. The stock is up more than 4% in extended-hours trading.

On Friday, the much-anticipated Employment Report for June will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Wells Fargo predicts that hiring accelerated in June vs. May and that the economy added 750K non-farm payrolls.

Today’s Market Wrap Up and a Glimpse Into Thursday

Another day, another new all-time high for the S&P 500. The broader market index just set its fifth-straight record after finishing the day fractionally higher to just under 4,300. The Nasdaq failed to keep up and ended the day slightly lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 210 points, with Boeing, Goldman Sachs and Walmart leading the gains.

Now that the month of June is in the rear-view mirror, it’s clear investors have managed to push stocks to impressive gains despite signs of inflation and lofty valuations. The S&P 500 and Dow are up roughly 14% and close to 13%, respectively, year-to-date.

The economy is humming along, with consumers exhibiting signs of resilience. For the back half of the year, however, investors will be weighing whether the economy can stand on its own two feet without the help of a dovish Fed. This will begin with Friday’s all-important employment report.

Stocks on the Move

When you hear that an electric vehicle stock is rallying, you would not be alone to guess Tesla. Today, however, that title went to NIO, a Shanghai-based EV maker. The stock gained nearly 6% on the day amid optimistic investors ahead of the company’s Q2 results coupled with China’s recovering economy. Wall Street analysts are also reportedly turning more bullish on the stock.

Sticking with the auto stock theme, shares of Ford fell 1% today. The company revealed it would suspend operations at some of its North American facilities due to a shortage of chips. The shutdown will cost the automaker upwards of USD 2 billion and slash its production significantly in the interim.

China’s ride-share company Didi made its debut on the U.S. stock market today. The ADR shares came out of the gate strong, rallying by a double-digit percentage, but the enthusiasm didn’t last. Didi finished the day with a gain of 1%.

Look Ahead

The ISM Manufacturing index for June comes out after surpassing estimates and climbing to 61.2 in May. Wells Fargo predicts the reading will stay “elevated” for June amid a strong orders pipeline.

On the earnings front, retailer Walgreens and spice maker McCormick are on deck. McCormick has benefited from rising demand as consumers spent more time cooking during the shift to staying at home during the health crisis.

US Stock Futures Retreat after Monday’s Tech Stock Rally Sends S&P and NASDAQ to Record Highs

U.S. stock index futures are edging lower early Tuesday after the benchmark S&P 500 Index and tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite finished at record highs the previous session.

Shares of Morgan Stanley advanced 3% during extended trading after the company said it will double its quarterly dividend. The bank also announced a $12 billion stock buy back program. The announcement follows last week’s stress tests by the Federal Reserve, which all 23 banks tested passed. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan also announced dividend increases, CNBC reported.

At 04:32 GMT, September E-mini S&P 500 Index futures are trading 4274.00, down 6.50 or -0.15%. September E-mini Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are at 34139, down 25 or -0.07% and September E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index futures are trading 14484, down 27.75 or -0.19%.

With two days left in June and the second quarter, the S&P 500 Index is on track to register its fifth straight month of gains. The NASDAQ Composite is on pace for its seventh positive month in the last eight. The Dow, however, is in the red for the month, and on track to snap a four-month winning streak.

Monday’s Recap

The NASDAQ and S&P 500 hit all-time highs on Monday, fueled by tech stocks as investors expect a robust earnings season while interest rates remain low. In contrast, cyclical sectors dropped sharply amid fears over a spike in COVID-19 cases across Asia. Financial and energy posted the biggest sectoral loss on S&P 500, down by 0.81% and 3.33%, respectively.

Both the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ hit a series of record highs last week, the tech-heavy NASDAQ’s 5% gain in June is outpacing its peers as investors pile back in to tech-oriented growth stocks on diminishing worries about runaway inflation.

Stocks on the Move

Big tech companies including Facebook Inc, Netflix Inc, Twitter Inc and Nvidia Corp were among the biggest boosts to the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ.

Facebook jumped over 4% as a U.S. judge granted the company’s motion to dismiss a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit. The social media giant finished Monday with over $1 trillion in market capitalization.

On the NASDAQ-100, the largest gainer was Nvidia Corp, which rose 5.0% after major chip makers Broadcom Inc, Marvell and Taiwan-based MediaTek endorsed its $40 billion deal to buy UK chip designer Arm.

Traders Bracing for Slew of Economic Data, Quarterly Results

On the economic front, investor attention will be focused on consumer confidence data, a private jobs report and a crucial monthly employment report due later this week. Quarterly results from Micron Technology Inc and Walgreens Boots Alliance are also slated for this week.

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

Gold Finds Footing; FedSpeak Stewing


…when (cue FedSpeak) up popped St. Louis FedPrez James “Bullish” Bullard stating inflation is more than they’d just expected, such that a rate hike may come next year. Then chiming in with same came Atlanta FedPrez Raphael “Ready to Raise” Bostic. At the same time, Minneapolis FedPrez Neel “Keep Cash a-Comin'” Kashkari says they can slide without a rate rise beyond 2023. (Is that deflationary-depression-speak?) Too, New York FedPrez John “It’s All Good” Williams still leans to keeping the spigots open. Stewing away are the FedPrez!

Still, diplomatically maintaining equilibrium is Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome “Please ‘Em All” Powell pointing out to Congress that whilst the economy has shown “sustained improvement”, it nonetheless has “a long way to go”. (See further down our Econ Baro).

‘Course going down Mexico-way, they’re not waiting another day, Banxico boosting their lending rate by 0.25% (to 4.25%), their first increase in two years.

But the week’s real kicker was TreaSec Janet “Old Yeller” Yellen stating with hat-in-hand to Congress that the USA defaulting on its DEBT would be “unthinkable”; (that really would wreck stock markets right ’round the world). Nothing like issuing DEBT in perpetuity, eh? “Got Bonds?” We hope not. “Got Gold?” We hope so.

And indeed with all the FedSpeak and weaker economic data throughout the week, Gold — the recent decline for which was well overdone — finally found some footing, albeit narrowly so. Gold’s “expected weekly trading range” for that just past was 57 points: but only a range of 32 points actually was traded, second narrowest year-to-date. Moreover as we go to Gold’s weekly bars from a year ago-to-date, the present parabolic Long trend is still barely in place, price needing to stay above 1764 in the new week to avoid such trend flipping to Short. But the broad trend as measured by the diagonal dashed line has rotated a tad more negatively:


And comparatively across the five primary BEGOS Markets (Bond / Euro / Gold / Oil / S&P) from one month ago-to-date, Gold (-6.5%) is the weakest of the bunch, whereas Oil (+10.4%) is firmest:


As a further reminder, Gold would like to see the Fed get on with raising its Funds rate, for as history shows, the yellow metal can do very well when Fed Funds rise from nothing as again we reprise this chart from the three-year 2004-2006 stint:


So with the Fed now stewing in a bit of a pie-fight as to when to raise rates and engage in paper taper, let alone agree on the state of the Stateside economy, we understand it quite clearly via the Economic Barometer, which looks to be commencing a fresh decline:


Indeed from this past week’s rash of incoming metrics, only May’s Durable Orders showed any improvement, and just mildly at that. Otherwise, the month’s Home Sales (both Existing and New) missed their April levels, Personal Income remained negative with Spending flat, and the Fed’s favoured gauge of inflation growth — the Core Personal Consumption Expenditures Index — came in slower than April and milder than anticipated. Again as we’ve said: the expected economic boom “has already happened.” Let’s see what next week’s 13 data items do to the Baro.

As for the S&P 500 — which no longer goes down — the 4300 level is within Monday’s “expected daily trading range”. And perhaps 5000 before year-end? Why not. Our “live” price/earnings ratio is a mere 56.6x. Do you pay $56 for something that earns $1? Of course you do: all day long! Making money has never been easier. (One wonders if those airhead FinMediaTV networks could be litigated for “financial libel”). Again: “Got Gold?”

We do here on the left in the following two-panel graphic of the precious metals’ daily pricing from three months ago-to-date, Gold’s “Baby Blues” of linear regression trend consistency careening down to their -80% axis. But upon them curling up from that level, ’twill be an early indication of the trend turning positive. For Silver on the right the assessment is the same:


Now for their respective 10-day Market Profiles, you can readily see the “footing” to which we allude in this week’s title. For Gold (below left) the key hold area is right here in the current 1783-1778 zone, whilst for Sister Silver (below right) ’tis between 26.25 and 26.00:


To wrap, in that we can’t get through an edition of The Gold Update without bemoaning the S&P’s horrendous overvaluation which we above cited, here’s a plus (ha!) and a minus toward it all ultimately unraveling.

The Plus: According to Fed stress tests, shareholders can jump for joy as the banks in which they invest can tolerate some $500bn of loan losses. So bring on the share buybacks! “We don’t need no margin for error!”

The Minus: The in-thing to do these days if you’re a publicly-traded company with no earnings, lots of debt and no competitive edge is to sell more stock. ‘Tis basically accepted now that folks will blindly buy your shares. “We’re stuck on stooopid and don’t even know it!”

‘Course, you shan’t ever be stuck — royal right or otherwise — given you’ve got Gold!



Best ETFs For July 2021

That’s why I spend my time crafting portfolios chock full of outlier stocks. If you choose right, you’ll have enormous gains on your hands in the years to come.

Now, I pick my ETFs perhaps a bit differently than other people. I can find outlier ETFs by tracking the Big Money. But that alone isn’t enough: when I catalog the components and find outlier stocks underneath… that’s the winning recipe.

That’s how I found the best big-money ETFs for July.

First, I looked at all ETFs making Big Money signals by going to MAPsignals.com and scanning the Big Money ETF Buys and Sells chart. I looked for recent days with heavy buying (the bright blue spikes):

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Once I knew which ETFs Big Money was buying, then I wanted the best opportunities. Remember: ETFs are just baskets of stocks. MAPsignals specializes in scoring more than 6,000 stocks daily. Therefore, if I know which stocks make up the ETFs, I can apply the stock scores to the ETFs. Then I can rank them all strongest to weakest.

Once the ETFs were sorted, I noticed Real Estate funds at the top. That’s why this month the top ETF is IYR.

#1 IYR – iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF

As we can see- there was a lot of Big Money buying plowing into this ETF over the last year. It accelerated noticeably since February:

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IYR holds some great stocks. One fine example is PLD (Prologis, Inc.). Below are Big Money signals for PLD:

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#2 BOTZ – Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF

A.I. and Robotics are undoubtedly a huge part of our future. Big Money thinks so too. Look at the buying of BOTZ over the last year below.

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One great example stock that BOTZ holds is Intuitive Surgical. They make the surgical robot called DaVinci. It allows remote surgery- a phenomenal technology.

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#3 VDE – Vanguard Energy Sector ETF

Energy was an unloved sector last year. But it’s having a sudden resurgence. Big Money has been buying VDE:

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VDE holds a bunch of great energy stocks. One such stock that has been a Big Money darling in the past is FANG which is seeing a rebirth:

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#4 LIT – Global X Lithium ETF

Like it or not, lithium is the power of the foreseeable future for EVs. Look at all that green last year:

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And LIT holds some great stocks. One of them is the best-known EV manufacturer which is very reliant on lithium: Tesla Inc.

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#5 ARKQ – ARK Industrial Innovation ETF

The media has recently heaped scorn upon Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest after she was Wall Street’s darling last year. The proof is ultimately not in the headlines, but in the Big Money buying. Here we can see clearly that Big Money loved ARKQ last year. The question is: when we see selling (red) should we worry?

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The answer lies in which stocks the ETF holds. And ARKQ holds some great ones. One such outlier is Teradyne:

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Let’s summarize here: the top 3 ETFs (IYR, BOTZ, and VDE) for July score well in terms of MAPsignals’ scores. That means Big Money has been pouring into them:

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LIT and ARKQ however, rank lower on our list of ETFs. This is because of weak technicals. These weaker ETFs represent great potential bargains.

So, there we have the 5 best ETFs for July.

The Bottom Line

IYR, BOTZ, VDE, LIT, & ARKQ represent top ETFs for July 2021. Real Estate, Energy, and Robotics stocks have performed well lately, which should continue. Lithium has an interesting story too. Paying attention to the fundamental quality of ETF constituents is paramount.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit: www.mapsignals.com

Disclosure: the author holds long positions in TER in managed accounts, but no positions in IYR, BOTZ, VDE, LIT, ARKQ, PLD, ISRG, FANG, or TSLA at the time of publication.

Charts Source: www.mapsignals.com, FactSet, End of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

Investment Research Disclaimer

Gold Price Forecast: Gold Must Hold $1750 or Risk a Larger Breakdown

Our Gold Cycle Indicator finished at eight (8). If it sinks below zero, I will put the available funds to work in the Premium Metals Portfolio.

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Gold formed a bullish engulfing candle on Monday. Prices need a strong close above $1800 to support a possible bottom. A continued breakdown below $1750 would promote a retest of the March lows and potentially lower.


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Silver prices are constructing a multi-month ascending triangle. Prices need to hold support near $25.00 to maintain the structure. The pattern continues to favor an upside breakout above $30.00. On the bearish side, prices would have to break below $22.00 to recommend a more profound correction back towards support surrounding $19.00.


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Platinum formed a swing low after testing support surrounding $1040. I’d like to see progressive closes back above $1100 to recommend a bottom. Otherwise, a continued breakdown below $1000 would support a drop back towards $800.


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Gold miners are trying to hold support surrounding $34.00. It would take a daily close above $35.10 to form a swing low. However, to recommend a bottom, I would need to see a decisive close above $37.00.

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Stocks reversed once again near the 50-day EMA and are rapidly approaching fresh highs. The trend looks exhausted, and we are overdue for a multi-week correction. At this point, it is more of a question of when and not if, in my opinion.


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Bitcoin dipped briefly below $30,000 to test critical support surrounding $28,000. This area must hold to maintain the potential for an advance to fresh highs (above $65,000) by year-end. A continued breakdown below $28,000 would confirm a new bear market in Bitcoin and subsequent crypto-winter.

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My Bitcoin analysis still supports one final rally towards $90,000 by year-end, but the crackdown in China and brewing regulatory pressures in the U.S. may prove overwhelming. Prices must hold $28,000.

AG Thorson is a registered CMT and expert in technical analysis. He believes we are in the final stages of a global debt super-cycle. For regular updates, please visit here.

Volumes Spike As Technology Stocks Lead

And now we’re approaching the summer months, which happen to be rather volatile as volumes shrink, pushing stocks around. Investors got a taste of summer volatility on Friday, June 18th as a swath of selling hit stocks.

In fact, it was the largest single-day of selling since the pandemic, second only to 10/28/20. Below is a chart from my research firm MAPsignals, which measures big buying and selling in stocks. The red bars are the daily total of sells.

Look how Friday was the largest sell day in 2021:

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Source: FactSet

Here’s a zoom in:

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Big selling in stocks makes people uncomfortable. But, I’m not too worried. After looking into the data a bit further, the selloff is normal. Let me explain.

Last Friday was Quadruple witching. That’s the 3rd Friday of March, June, September, and December. They call it Quad witching because 4 expirations happen: options futures, stock options, market index futures, and stock futures. Basically, 4 times a year there’s huge volumes in stocks.

And when volumes are high, you can expect stocks to whip around. So, this raises a question: Do stocks tend to pull back on quad witching days? To find out, I looked at prior returns for the S&P 500 (SPY ETF) on the last 6 Quad witching Fridays.

Notice anything?

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That’s right, recently it’s a red day for the S&P 500. So, Friday’s action was ordinary…at least to me. But, let’s keep going. How has the SPY ETF performed on these days going back to 2015?

You tell me:


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Only 3 out of 26 periods had a positive daily performance. So, nearly 90% of the Quad Witching days going back to 2015 were red for stocks. So, Friday’s selloff doesn’t worry me.

Rather than worry about single selloff days, my data points to a strong undercurrent for stocks. The Big Money Index (BMI) has been trending higher lately.

If you’re new to the BMI, it tracks Big Money buying and selling stocks on a 25-day moving average. If the index (blue line) is gaining, the market usually follows higher. If it falls, it usually precedes a pullback in stocks.

Right now, it’s at a 6-week high:

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Source: MAPsignals.com

And this leads me to the main message of today: Technology stocks are getting bought as reopening and value stocks are getting sold. For growth investors, this is a good thing!

Under the surface of the Big Money Index are daily buys and sells. It’s important to pay attention to where the money’s flowing. Looking at last week, we can see that buyers were seen in Technology and Energy stocks.

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Source: MAPsignals.com

Off to the right you can see yellow areas. Those tell us that 25% or more of a sector saw outsized buying and selling. Notice how there was chunky selling in popular value/reopen groups: Financials, Industrials, Materials, Discretionary, Staples, & Utilities.

So, let’s tie this all up. Quad Witching Fridays tend to be red for stocks. It’s normal. And looking under the surface, the bigger picture points to a rotation out of value and into Technology/Growth and Energy.

Sometimes pullbacks happen. Doing a little dive into history helps calm nerves and put everything into perspective.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in SPY or the S&P 500 at the time of publication.

Learn more about the MAPsignals process here: www.mapsignals.com



Post-Fed Markets. What To Expect Next?

Fundamental analysis

At the same time, the central bank lifted its growth expectations for 2021 to +7%, an outlook far above the anemic GDP growth rates experienced pre-pandemic. Bulls largely want to stay focused on the economic “boom” ahead, believing it will more than offset any near-term inflation headwinds that companies may face in the second half of the year. And there is evidence money may be shifting back into some of the mega-cap growth stocks.

I just worry that the move might be temporary in nature or perhaps just a knee-jerk and a place to park some money until they figure out their next move. The Fed’s more hawkish shift also seems to be providing a further boost to the U.S. dollar, which shot up nearly a full percentage point against a basket of six other major currencies in the ICE U.S. Dollar Index.

Keep in mind, many big-money players have been forecasting a somewhat softer dollar based on the Fed’s extended supports. Obviously, a stronger dollar is a headwind for commodities and that was on display last week with a sea of red across everything from grains to metals and oil.

Oil markets are also feeling some additional downward pressure from the coronavirus surge happening in the UK, which some worry could ripple across the EU and further delay other re-openings.

Data to watch

Housing is in the spotlight in the first half of the week with Existing Home Sales Tuesday and New Home Sales on Wednesday. The housing market has been sending some mixed signals lately as home prices continue to soar, inventories remain at historic lows, and builders struggle with skyrocketing input prices and labor shortages.

Other data includes Durable Goods Orders and the final estimate of third-quarter GDP on Thursday; and Personal Income & Outlays, and Consumer Sentiment on Friday.

SP500 technical analysis

sp500 analysis fed 20 june 2021

While last week SP500 posted a fresh record top at 4258.5 (4267.5 on Jun), bears have returned to the market, aggressively selling futures on Friday and for sentiment to end a sequence of higher weekly lows with losses of 118 Pts from the top. This is negative and with cycles pointing lower, we can see further decline. 4179.0 is an important level to watch if tested and rejected. The supports 4100.5, the May 20th open, 4046.0, the 5-week base, and 4020.0, May’s low trade.

Keep in mind that this could be just a jerk-reaction after the Fed. Also, cycles forecast a potential rally in 2 weeks.

Why The Dollar Matters (A Lot!)

With the recent rally this past week in the dollar, it is important for investors to understand why such a move matters. For those who love charts, this article is for you.

The most obvious and well-known correlation between the dollar and equities is the association of a weak dollar with the outperformance of most commodities and real assets. It is no coincidence the significant gains in commodities over the past 12 months have come during a period of a declining dollar. We can clearly see this inverse relationship in play by comparing the performance of copper and oil against the dollar.

Dollar & copper
Dollar & copper

Dollar & oil

Dollar & oilAn extension of this relationship is how periods of dollar weakness coincide with the relative outperformance of equity markets sectors reliant on economic growth. As we have witnessed over the past year, the falling dollar has resulted in the outperformance of consumer cyclical versus consumer defensive stocks, as well as materials, industrials, small caps and energy stocks outperformance relative to the broad market. Likewise, this period of dollar weakness has seen the underperformance of defensive sectors such as utilities and bonds.

Consumer cyclicals vs defensive
Consumer cyclicals vs defensive

Basic materials vs S&P 500

Basic materials vs S&P 500Industrials vs S&P 500

Industrials vs S&P 500Utilities vs S&P500

Utilities vs S&P500Small Caps vs Large Caps

Small Caps vs Large CapsDollar & bonds

Dollar & bondsFrom a fundamental perspective, these relationships make sense. A stronger dollar is generally a function of a contractionary or disinflationary outlook. During deflationary shocks à la March 2020, dollars are in high demand and act as a safe haven or risk-off asset. Conversely, a weaker dollar is generally a function of economic growth and rising inflation expectations.

What this means is the dollar tends to appreciate when bond yields fall. This comes about due to the safe have characteristics of the dollar. If the economic outlook looks sluggish and appears to be slowing down, we tend to see money flow into dollars, and by extension, we see money flow out of the growth and inflationary dependent sectors and asset classes of commodities, small caps, cyclicals, industrials and materials and into those of a defensive nature.

Perhaps the most well-known implication of dollar strength or weakness is the performance of foreign and emerging markets relative to the US. Emerging markets in particular are inherently cyclical and dependent on the dollar. This is particularly the case for those countries with high levels of US dollar denominated debt or the commodity producing countries.

Emerging markets vs S&P 500
Emerging markets vs S&P 500

I detailed the dollar and emerging markets dynamic in depth in my article arguing the bull case for emerging markets, most of which is detailed as follows:

A rising US dollar causes the domestic currency of emerging economies to fall and inflation to rise amid weaker economic growth. Contrary to a developed economy whose economic growth is generally associated with inflation, being beholden to foreign-denominated debt reverses this dynamic. Higher inflation results in the central bank needing to raise interest rates and sell their foreign exchange reserves to defend their currency from hyperinflating, which acts as a further headwind to economic growth and exacerbates this dynamic in a self-reflexive manner.

These countries are unable to simply print money to monetize the debt, as is commonplace in developed countries whose debt is denominated in their own currency. The governments will then look to use fiscal policy as a means to stimulate, resulting in increasing budget deficits at the same time foreign and domestic capital flees the country for a safer alternative to preserve wealth, resulting in a negative current account balance along with a budget deficit.

Of course, these dynamics work in reverse too when the dollar is falling and create an economic tailwind that results in strong economic growth and asset price appreciation generally superior to developed markets. As the domestic currency strengthens, inflationary pressures fall, allowing the central banks to lower interest rates whilst the economy is booming, spurring lending and reinforcing growth.

At the same time, the governments are not required to run budget deficits, nor are the central banks required sacrifice their foreign currency reserves and run current account deficits to defend their currencies. You could almost think of a rising dollar as a form of quantitative tightening for most emerging markets, whilst a falling dollar could be considered a form of quantitative easing.

Therefore, for one to be willing to bet on the outperformance of EM relative to US equities, one must have a bearish outlook for the dollar.

Is this dollar rally sustainable?

In my view, the dollar has appeared to be in need of a rebound for a few months now. To be clear, we are far from seeing the start of a new trend higher in the dollar, but, as the consensus towards the dollar has been and remains almost exclusively bearish, it is not often we see price action conform to consensus.

Speculators are still betting heavily against a rally in the dollar.

Conversely, speculators are betting heavily on the relative outperformance of the euro. Meanwhile, commercial hedgers (i.e. the smart money) remain long dollars and short euros.

Technically, the coming weeks will be telling for both the dollar and the euro. With a potential head and shoulders bottom forming on the dollar index, and conversely a head and shoulders top for the euro, should these patterns follow through and the dollar move further to the upside, many of the “consensus” inflationary and growth orientated trades in which investors are all in on, may experience a period of underperformance.

A continued rally in the dollar over the coming months may well be a signal the inflation trade has gotten too ahead of itself. I have written previously how this may be the case. What’s more, the bond market also appears to be signaling a pause in this narrative for the time being, as I too mused upon recently. If the dollar does move higher, expect to see reflation trades dip and thus the outperformance of defensives, utilities, bonds and tech.

Regardless of whether we do see a meaningful move higher over the coming months, it is important for investors to understand the implications of such a move, as is the purpose of this article. Whilst a move higher would not bode well for risk assets, it would likely be unsustainable and thus brief.

With US debt to GDP at an all-time high of 130%, US net international investment position (NIIP) of -65% of GDP, lack of foreign investment in treasuries and an economy heavily reliant on the appreciation of equity prices, for mine, policy makers will understand the damage a dollar rally could cause. In the long-term, I do remain in the dollar bear camp. However, we need to see a rally and wash-out of the negative sentiment before the downtrend is able to continue.

Finally, I will leave you with this excellent chart by Julien Bittel, summarizing the relative return of the major equity sectors and asset classes to moves in the dollar.

Source: Julien Bittel, CFA
Source: Julien Bittel, CFA

Gold Drops Exceedingly; Fed Ducks Reality



Having settled the week exceedingly down 6.2% at 1764, Gold is now priced by the market at but 46% of its currency debasement value (as measured by the StateSide “M2” money supply) of 3870, even as adjusted for the increase in the supply of Gold (which today is 201,480 tonnes). Neither is Gold a discarded relic, nor shall it ever be supplanted by cryptocrap. Gold remains humankind’s sole de facto true currency as so shall it be even after we’re not around anymore.


Its Index (by descending weight = the €uro, ¥en, Sterling, CanDollar, SweKrona and SwissFranc) gained 2.0% for the week, which of the 1,068 weeks millennium-to-date ranks 44th best (in the 96th percentile). Contextually, ’twas the Dollar’s firmest up stint since a series of weeks during the March 2020 depths of COVID, prior to which was the +2.3% week ending 14 November 2016. But as a valued member of our Investors Roundtable would say: “For the moment, the Dollar is leading the Ugly Dog Contest.” Shan’t last; it never does.

Gold and Dollar

Long-time readers of The Gold Update know that Gold provenly plays no currency favourites. As herein referred to a week ago, in 2014 on 04 September, Gold year-to-date was +4.7% and the Dollar +4.4% … “How can that be?” … Just because Gold tends to be priced in Dollars doesn’t mean squat as to how the Doggie Dollar itself is priced. Cue Fleetwood Mac from back in ’77: “You can go your own way…”And clearly for Gold, ’tis a long way up to go, the Dollar be damned.

The S&P

The mighty S&P 500 just lost 2.1% of its value in four days. Millennium-to-date that at best ranks as “noise”; ’tis not even in the bottom 10th percentile of four-day price changes. The “live” price/earnings ratio is at this writing an outrageously ghastly 53.5x, the yield a puny 1.359%, and the risk of ownership 100%. As we penned to our Investors Roundtable on Thursday: “My stock market fear has morphed into sheer terror. I used to take The Rud’s “50% correction” with a grain of salt. That now actually may be modest. ‘Tis merely about “The When”.” The stock market remains a losing game, (which is why most people on Wall $treet never make any real money).

The Fed

Here’s a simple equation: Late Fed + Dopey Media = Comprehensive Misconception. A time-honoured truth specific to the Federal Reverse is that ’tis “always behind the curve”. However, we wonder if this time the Fed in negotiating the curve has instead gone beyond the edge of adhesion and off the cliff. This past Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to neither taper asset purchases, let alone raise its Bank’s rate, toward maintaining the ongoing 0.00%-0.25% FedFunds target range.

But more incredulously (this from the “Defying Common Sense Dept.”) the FOMC “penciled in” to raise interest rates by late 2023, (ahead of that initially considered). Accordingly, the fawning FinMedia — specifically the FinTimes — printed: “The Fed nailed it.” Nailed what? That they see two FedFunds rate increases the by end of 2023? How about by the end of this year? The Fed hasn’t nailed anything: rather, in ducking reality, ’tis The Fed that stands to get nailed. Are their two portended rate increases going to thus be 10% apiece? Just to catch up to inflation (er, uh, stagflation), you understand; (see 1976-1980). Honest to Pete and back again: if one still is in stocks and not in Gold, there’s not much more we can do. Facts indeed.

As for you valued readers who understand and take the Gold Story seriously, the following view of the weekly bars from a year ago-to-date at present doesn’t look that great. Or does it actually a buying opportunity make? Recall the late great Richard Russell: “There’s never a bad time to buy Gold”:


That noted, the parabolic Long trend certainly appears poised to flip Short in the ensuing week, price having completely hoovered our 1846-1808 structural support zone. And yes, our forecast high for this year of 2401 may be in jeopardy. Or (the French word for Gold): may the forecast in hindsight by year-end appear to have been modest? Recall 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 2006 and 2008. On verra, mes amis…

As for the near-term, Gold today at 1764 is within a structural support area of 1799-1755; should that bust, the next such area (with some wee overlap) is 1760-1677 (let’s not even go there…)

Rather, let’s go have a look at the Economic Barometer. It does have the beginning of that good-for-Gold “Game Over” look:


We read this past week that non-financial aggregate StateSide debt is now nearly one-half the size of the U.S. economy. (Again, let’s not even go there…) And as to our ongoing notion that the post-COVID economic boom “has already happened” as folks abandon COVID-time activities and replace them with those more apropos of “normal” times, spending data now indicates that large item purchases are “out” … and that eating out is now “in”.

To be sure, whilst May’s Housing Starts, Industrial Production and Capital Utilization all improved, Building Permits slowed as did Retail Sales. And for June, the New York Empire State Index, Philly Fed Index, and National Association of Homebuilders Index all fell short of their May readings. Up with inflation, down with the Economic Barometer/S&P 500, and hello stagflation. (“Tick…tick…tick…”)

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, ’tis said so much COVID-debt was taken on by companies, that “life-support lending” is in vogue toward combating insolvencies. This has of course (and notably post-Fed) knocked the €uro from the podium in the ongoing Ugly Dog Contest, the Zone’s currency taking its biggest three-week tumble since COVID really kicked in during April a year ago. (And for those of you scoring at home with that European vacation in mind, the €uro’s present 1.189 level looks to erode by our purview to 1.173, even to 1.161). “C’mon Mabel, we’re goin’ to Rome!”

Now two weeks back when we could “see” some Gold setback — even just seasonally let alone technically — we perhaps ought have entitled that piece (instead of “Gold’s June Swoon”) rather as “Gold’s June Doom”. Indeed since Gold’s recent 1913 high on 26 May, price today is -7.8%, about its net change year-to-date (-7.2%). And per the following graphic on the left, upon Gold’s “Baby Blues” cracking the +80% ice back on 07 June, ’twas surely the real commencement of this swoon.

Note that on the right in Gold’s Profile for the last fortnight there’s been scant trading volume through much of the mid-to-lower 1800s, which for the “All gaps get filled” fans is encouraging for Gold to rebound, (and which common sense of course says ’twill):


Silver’s like +80% ice broke even sooner, back on 25 May as we seen below left. Should she not hold price here, her next structural support area is a full Dollar’s range from 25.68 down to 24.68. Sister Silver’s Profile below right matches sufficiently well with that for Gold, the Gold/Silver ratio now 68.2x running just a tad above the millennium-to-date average of 66.3x:


Whew! After a week like that (our outlook/review thereto), we can only finish up with something even more cuckoo. In her testimony this past week before the Senate Finance Committee, former Fed Chair Janet “Old Yeller” Yellen in sellin’ the Biden Administration’s $6 trillion budget presented it as a step to resolving “climate change” and “inequality”. We can’t wait: all of us equally poor under clear skies. “Got Gold???”



Today’s Market Wrap Up and Look Ahead to Tomorrow

The S&P 500 remains so close yet so far away from another record high as stocks fail to find enough momentum to push the index over the top. The index hovers at 4,219 compared to an all-time high of 4,232. All three major indices — the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq — finished the day fractionally in the red.

Declines in names like General Electric, Bank of America and Target offset any gains in the likes of Johnson & Johnson and Apple. Investors have been treading lightly ahead of tomorrow’s CPI data so they can get a read on inflation in the economy.

Wall Street firm Deutsche Bank is predicting that there is danger ahead on the inflationary front due to the massive economic stimulus that has made its way to the economy. The firm doesn’t expect inflation to rear its head until 2023, however.

Meme Stocks Most Active

Not surprisingly, meme stocks topped the list of the most actively traded names. Companies like Clover Health, AMC Entertainment and BlackBerry rounded out the five most actively traded stocks during the regular session. It wasn’t until after the markets closed, however, that things got really interesting.

GameStop reported its much-anticipated fiscal Q1 earnings and the stock tanked 9% in after-hours trading. Sales were up 25% thanks to the company’s shift in strategy toward e-commerce. They are going for it and have named Amazon alum Matt Furlong as the new chief executive. Investors didn’t like the fact that GameStop failed to give an outlook. The company is also looking to sell up to 5 million shares of its common stock.

On the regulatory front, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into changing the rules in the market. Chairman Gary Gensler said he doesn’t want to see orders directed to high-frequency traders, suggesting that retail investors would get a better shot at the best price if there was more efficiency in the stock market.

Look Ahead

For tomorrow, all eyes will be on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI report. Estimates are for the index to come in at a whopping 0.5% for May, nudging the 12-month rate for prices to just below that level. If the forecasts are right, the cost of living is likely to exceed any pay raises that the workforce will see.

On the earnings front, the calendar is light with Azure Power, Roots Corp and Chewy all on deck.


Berkshire, Metals, Financials, and Gold.

  • Berkshire has not been acting as in the past during the last several years.
  • Its performance depends on its portfolio.
  • The business cycle helps to understand the change.
Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the price of Berkshire in the upper panel. The lower panel shows the business cycle indicator as updated in real time in each issue of The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management.

The business cycle indicator reflects the decision of business managers to replenish depleted inventories. A rising business cycle indicator measures the strength of the activities needed to replenish inventories – the purchase of raw materials, hiring of new workers, and the increase of borrowing to finance new capacity and ongoing operations.

During such times commodities, wages, interest rates, and overall inflation rise. The equity markets respond by favoring industrial, material, financial, and energy stocks. Defensive sectors such as utilities, staples, health care, and bonds underperform the market during this period.

The business cycle peaks because rising interest rates, energy prices, and overall inflation reduce consumers’ purchasing power. The outcome is slower growth in demand. Business does not recognize what is happening and lets inventories build up.

Eventually, rising inventories have a negative impact on profitability. Business is forced to cut production to reduce inventories. It decreases purchases of raw materials, cuts the labor force. It also borrows less to reduce interest costs. The outcome is lower commodity prices, lower wages, and lower interest rates. The result is steadily declining inflation.

During such times sectors such as staples, healthcare, utilities, and bonds outperform the markets. Cyclicals, industrial, metals and mining, and financials underperform the markets.

Despite its phenomenal performance, Berkshire stock responds to the trend of the business cycle. A decline in the business cycle indicator, indicating slower economic growth, is reflected by a slowdown in the price appreciation of Berkshire (see above chart). The sharpest gains in its stock price take place when the business cycle rises and the economy strengthens.

Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the business cycle indicator in the lower panel. The upper panel shows the performance of Berkshire compared to metal and mining stocks (ETF: XME). The graph is obtained by dividing the price of Berkshire by the price of XME.

The graphs show XME outperforms Berkshire (the ratio decline) when the business cycle rises due to a strengthening economy. When the economy weakens and the business cycle declines, Berkshire outperforms XME.

The above chart is similar to the relationship between XME and gold discussed in detail here.

Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the business cycle indicator in the lower panel. The relative performance of BRK/B and gold is shown in the upper panel. BRK/B outperforms gold when the business cycle rises, and the economy strengthens. On the other hand, BRK/B underperforms gold when the economy is weakening, and the business cycle declines.

I discussed here the cyclical pattern of bank stocks and how they relate to interest rates (not that obvious). One of the points of the article was bank stocks have a pronounced cyclical behavior. They outperform the market (SPY) when the business cycle rises. They underperform the market when the business cycle declines. These tendencies are similar to those of BRK/b (see first chart).

Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows in the upper panel the performance of Berkshire compared to SPY (the graph shows the ratio of the price of Berkshire divided by SPY). The chart shows Berkshire outperforms SPY when the business cycle strengthens. It underperforms SPY when the business cycle declines. In other words, Berkshire performs like a bank stock during the business cycle.

Key takeaways

  1. Berkshire outperforms the market when the business cycle rises. It underperforms the market when the business cycle declines.
  2. Berkshire responds like a bank stock to the trend of the business cycle.
  3. Berkshires outperforms gold when the business cycle rises and underperforms gold when the business cycle declines.
  4. XME outperforms Berkshire and gold when the business cycle rises.
  5. XME underperforms Berkshire and gold when the business cycle declines.

Stocks are Getting Bought Again


We can’t see most of the light spectrum.


Be sure to take the lens cap off before photographing. – Elliot Erwitt

Let’s start with an overall view of the market. We can easily see the trend of the S&P 500 for 18 months:

Chart, histogram

Description automatically generated

It went up, down, then up with some bumps along the way. We all know experiencing it was not that simple. But, let’s look at the internals.

Here, we’ll plot the MAPsignals version: the Big Money Index. It tracks all unusual Big Money buying and selling on a 25-day moving average. Notice how the picture changes. Have a look:

Chart, histogram

Description automatically generated

As we can see in this small sample (only 18 months out of 31.5 years of data) when markets get overbought (above the red line), it can lead to a fall. And when markets get oversold (below the green line), it can precede a monster rally. Oversold is rare. Only 1% of the last 10 years it triggered. Recently the BMI has been range bound, frustrating market timers.

Like most things market-related, the BMI is a great tool when it’s trending. When it’s not, it can cause traders to get anxious. So how do we get a better sense of when the Big Money Index will start ramping again?

To answer that question, look at the SPY (S&P 500 ETF) chart with a study I did. I calculated a 20-day moving average of daily buy signals. Then, to separate higher than average periods of buying, I made a simple formula: if that day’s buying was bigger that the 20-day average give it a “1.” If it was less, give it a “0.” So below in green reveals days when buying was more than the 20-day moving average:

Source: MAPsignals, End of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

The picture of the market is coming into focus. Unsurprisingly, when buy signals were larger than average, markets usually rallied.

Now let’s keep going. Let’s do the same type of study for selling. When one day’s selling was higher than the 20-day average, it got a “1.” Otherwise, it got a “0.” Check it out:

Chart, histogramDescription automatically generated
Source: MAPsignals, End of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

When selling picks up, markets tend to fall.

So where are we now and where are we going? Let’s zoom in. What we notice is that buying and selling happened in May. That makes sense with the big rotation out of Technology stocks and into real-economy sectors.

But the storm suddenly passed. And recently things have been calm (no big buying or selling). That is until Thursday May 27th. The buyers showed up:

Chart, histogramDescription automatically generated
Source: MAPsignals

Real Estate, Communications, and Discretionary stocks saw the love. Utilities were largely for sale. Let’s breakdown the buying by sector:

TableDescription automatically generated with low confidence
Source: MAPsignals

Finally, look at the quality of those buy signals. Discretionary stocks had a 3-year earnings growth average of just +1.3%. And 3-year sales growth rate of -347%. Contrast that with Technology stocks seeing an average 3-year earnings growth rate of +44% and 3-year sales growth rate of +22% (source FactSet).

What’s my take on all of this? Quality growth stocks are starting to get bought after a long quiet period. Stocks hurt by COVID-19 are the new growth areas.

It’s simple. Earnings, surging profits, and a reopened economy is very bullish for stocks.

We could be setting up for the next leg higher.

Here’s the bottom line: The data is turning bullish for stocks. Buyers are showing up and based on history, markets could be ready to blast off.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in SPY or the S&P 500 at the time of publication.

Learn more about the MAPsignals process here: www.mapsignals.com


Early or Late Cycle? Fast-running Bull Market Unnerves Investors

By Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Sujata Rao

It’s been just over a year since a new business cycle kicked off, yet the speed at which it’s progressing is unnerving some investors who fear the swift-running bull market is headed for an abrupt end over the coming year.

Some, pointing to higher-than-usual equity returns and valuations for this stage of the cycle, are even asking whether this could just be the same, decade-old bull market which survived last year’s COVID-19 blow.

Either scenario isn’t great for markets. The accepted wisdom is that bull markets don’t die of old age. They meet their end at the hands of central banks, typically when valuations and leverage get too exuberant.

So if COVID-19 didn’t kill the bull, the Federal Reserve’s upcoming stimulus unwind may do it. Such fears have already slowed equity gains in recent weeks, accelerated flows to safe-haven cash and defensive assets.

Grace Peters, investment strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, noted that less than 18 months in, markets were displaying “mid-cycle” characteristics that had appeared only around the five-year mark last time.

The S&P 500 index is 24% above the prior bull market peak hit in Feb 2020. After 2008, stocks took roughly five years to achieve that milestone.

Peters noted, too, that equity returns are running already in the “mid-teens”, faster than the mid-to-high single digits which is typical of the mid-cycle phase.

“I’m surprised by the speed of travel compared to the 2008 crisis… we’ve been growing cautious about a short-term pullback.”

The 2009-2020 bull market was the longest ever, racking up global equity gains of 237%. The pandemic then brought on the fastest bear market ever — classed as a 20% top-to-bottom drop.

That bear was quickly chased away by central banks which slashed interest rates and turned on the money-printing presses. Since then global stocks have risen 73% – $42 trillion in value.

Those moves indicate a new cycle, technically at least. But the shallow bear market and the much faster and stronger bounceback are causing some to have doubts.

“We never had an extended down cycle,” said Eaton Vance’s chief equity investment officer Edward Perkin said. “This equity market is either mid- to late-cycle or it is in the second act of the previous cycle that never ended.”

The cycle would likely be ended by monetary policy moves, possibly if Fed tightening sends the economy back into recession, Perkin said, though he saw it as an issue for 2022.


Valuations are, arguably, another danger signal. The cycle restarted with higher valuations and the S&P 500 trades already at an exuberant 21 times forward earnings.

Research by Kleinwort Hambros on market cycles going back to 1870 shows that cyclically adjusted price/earnings — the CAPE ratio — are 11.5 times on average when a bull market starts and around 20 times when it ends.

But the cycle that kicked off last March started with a 24.8 CAPE ratio which is now at 37, the study shows.

Valuations are of course inflated by stimulus — $30 trillion since last March by some estimates, much higher than the preceding decade. Interest rates far lower than during past cycles make share prices look less outrageous.

Fahad Kamal, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros noted that as markets have galloped on, a disconnect has arisen with the economy which still displays early-cycle features such as high joblessness.

That unusual situation makes his positioning more cautious than it would normally be this stage of the cycle, he said.

The question is how quickly economies will catch up.

“Fed tapering is a risk but if it’s replaced by genuinely stronger macro activity then you don’t need that much liquidity. In a perfect world, stronger fundamentals will offset the taper,” Kamal said.

If not, markets will look to central banks again. Norman Villamin, chief investment officer of Swiss asset manager UBP said the post-2008 years show policymakers will act against any slowdowns, effectively creating mini-cycles.

“I think we’re reasonably early in the cycle,” he said, but “it is important to distinguish between the bigger picture trends and these mini-cycles.”

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Sujata Rao; additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Stocks Continue To Chop Around Just Below All-time Highs

Big money players still seem a bit uncertain in regard to betting more money on the reopening and stronger demand or taking some bets off the table fearing higher inflation, companies struggling to find good help, and supply chain shortages that could make meeting stronger demand next to impossible.

Fundamental analysis

Earnings season is nearly wrapped up with over 95% of S&P 500 companies having reported. Key releases today include American Eagle, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nvidia, Snowflake, and Williams Sonoma. Average S&P 500 earnings growth for Q1 is now over +51%. Average earnings growth estimates for Q2 are around +50%. This means there’s not much room for error at current valuations.

As I mentioned above, some believe those lofty expectations could face headwinds from labor shortages, higher inflation, supply chain dislocations and/or reduced support from the Fed.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida was among several other Fed officials yesterday that pushed back against worries of runaway inflation. Clarida did admit that the latest CPI read was “a very unpleasant surprise” but he mostly echoed the Fed’s official stance that current inflationary trends will be “transitory.” He also acknowledges the “risk case” that inflationary pressures could end up being more persistent than expected but said the Fed has the tools necessary to “offset” that if necessary.

Most Fed officials have publicly echoed similar sentiments, although Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan have both indicated they think it is appropriate to begin talking about “scaling back” the Fed’s asset purchases. With so much uncertainty surrounding the central bank’s next move, bulls may be unwilling to add more risk ahead of the Fed’s upcoming meeting on June 15-16. In the meantime, investors will continue mining Fed comments and economic data for clues.

There was quite a bit of data to unpack yesterday but the overall theme was “higher prices” with housing data dominating. Home prices continued to accelerate in April with the median price for a new home sold climbing more than +11% to $372,400, while the average sale price hit a new record high of $435,400, up +8.7% from March.

At the same time, New Home Sales fell nearly -6% in April with the familiar culprits being blamed – surging material costs and low inventories. Builders unfortunately are struggling to increase new home supplies because of the exact same reasons, with shortages and higher costs extending to everything from lumber to new appliances.

It’s also worth noting that Consumer Confidence pulled back a bit in May, the first decline in six months with worries growing around inflation and future job prospects.

There is no significant economic data today but investors will hear from Federal Reserve Vice Chair of Supervision Randal Quarles. During a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday, Quarles said the Fed along with the FDIC is in “a sprint” to research and develop a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and digital assets pertaining to banks, noting they are still in the early stages.

Technical analysis

ES 26 may 2021 forecast

In the absence of a swing signal in SP500 futures, it makes sense to stick to day trading. Advanced Decline Line is bullish, while Insider accumulation is weak. At the same time, the Interest rate Forecast and Fed Funds Forecast are neutral. In other words, SP500 is a mixed bag in terms of swing trading.

For today, the neutral zone is 4155.75 – 4220.50. Middle-strength level within this range – 4188; weak levels – 4172 and 4204.25. If the price holds above 4220.50, look for 4236.75 (weak level) and 4253 in extension (middle-strength level). If 4155.75 breaks, the magnets are 4139.75 and 4124 accordingly. Note, mentioned levels should turn into support/resistance before taking a trade.

Are Growth Stocks Ready To Blastoff


You’ll spend 2 years of your life waiting in line.


Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been. – Wayne Gretzky

Many investors, myself included, are waiting to know when this tech/growth selloff will be over. And we’re also waiting, holding multiple stocks that may be down. This spells peak impatience and anxiety for some investors.

Since the reset that happened around the presidential election, things were humming along just fine. The QQQs (the NASDAQ 100 ETF) rallied +25%. There was stock market cheer.

Then came February 12th and with it some stock market schizophrenia:

  • The QQQs proceeded to drop -10.8% from February 12th until it troughed March 8th.
  • Then the tech-heavy index staged a huge +12.3% rally to new highs.
  • Then it promptly fell another -7.3% to its recent 5/12 trough.
  • Then it surged +3%.
  • The QQQs now sit +9% higher than the March 8th low.
Source: www.mapsignals.com, End of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

The problem is this: Many of the outlier stocks with high growth haven’t participated. Let me correct that statement: many of my stocks haven’t… if you’re like me, you’ve been looking at your portfolio saying: “where’s the beef?”

Stocks, however, suddenly seem to be breathing new life in the past few sessions. So, it’s a fair question: Is the growth pummeling over?

I only know one way to get answers and that’s looking at data.

I tell you all the time how the story is really told in the data that lies under the surface. Well sometimes the story is told in the data under that data- like two layers down.

Last week showed signs for possible optimism. But was it real? I had to dig two layers down to find my answer.

Here’s a prime example of what I mean when I say data 2 layers down:

Last week we saw 261 stock buys and 102 stock sells. 71% buys is a strong reading and nice to see. But I wanted to see what else was happening beneath that. Remember, to get a buy signal in our model, not only do you need higher prices on big volume, but stocks also need to pierce a prior high of roughly 3 months. Many of the outlier stocks are far below that high. So, they are not reflected in this table here:

source: www.mapsignals.com

While this table tells us there was heavy buying in Materials and Energy stocks it only tells part of the story. This table shows us 363 stock signals. Let me remind you, Big Money activity breaks down in two ways: Big Money Signals and (refined from that pool) Big Money Buy or Sell Signals. This table is the latter. Big Money Signals are stocks trading in a big way but not breaking out or breaking down.

Looking at last week’s stocks and ignoring buys and sells, I saw 2,800 stocks that traded in a big way. 560 per day is right around average. With the QQQs finishing the week flat form the week before, what can we understand from these 2800 stocks?

I collected all of them. I then filtered for stocks that score well on my ranking system for strong fundamentals. I looked for stocks with strong 3-year sales and earnings growth. I was left with 686 stocks having high growth. Of those, 349 were positive for the week, gaining an average of +4.6%.

That means 12.5% of all Big Money Signals last week were growth stocks getting bought. They broke down like this:

source: www.mapsignals.com

Let’s look at this in another light by comparing last week’s second level data to the past few months. I mentioned that tech stocks peaked February 12th. So, I went and looked at all buy and sell signals since then and there were 5,109 of them. Of those, 1,302 were sells… or 25%.

Of those 1302 sells, there were 349 high-growth stocks getting bought last week but not yet high enough to make a signal. Put simply, 27% of all the stocks making sell signals since 2/12/21 were trading higher on big volume last week… and they were growth companies.

It’s one thing to look at indexes staging what looks like a relief rally and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s another thing altogether to dig two layers deep and find out that the stock market’s abuse victims since February are visibly getting some much-needed love.

It may be too early to tell if the growth bloodletting is over, but there are data-driven positive signs to get excited about.

Last thing: remember I said in order to make a buy signal stocks need to pierce above a roughly 3-month high. 11 weeks ago today was March 8th. That was the low for the QQQs.

That means it will be easier for resurging growth stocks to make buy signals in upcoming days and weeks.

By studying the market’s history and its patterns, we can start to formulate views on where things are going. Data since February has been ugly for growth stocks. But recent data is showing signs of promise and a potential reprieve. I intend to use this data to try and see where things are going.

Wayne Gretzky is perhaps the greatest athlete of all-time. He said it best: “skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.”

Here’s the bottom line

Growth stocks are doing better recently. We think there could be higher levels in store in the near-term.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in QQQ at the time of publication.

Learn more about the MAPsignals process here: www.mapsignals.com


Investing In Foreign Markets Sounds Exciting – But Isn’t Always – Part 2


  • Global business cycles are closely interconnected and synchronized.
  • Global equity markets reflect the policies of their leaders.
  • Global equity markets respond accordingly.

The conclusion was the global business cycles are perfectly synchronized and so are their major tops and bottoms of their equity markets. This article is updating the above article and looks at the most recent relative economic performance of their business cycles and markets.

Source: The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The main force driving the US business cycle is the need to keep inventories growing at the same pace as sales as discussed in detail here.

During Phase 1 & 2 of the business cycle (see above graph), business increases production, hires more workers, buys more raw materials, and increases borrowing to meet its operational needs. The virtuous cycle (positive feedback) lasts until the end of Phase 2.

At the end of Phase 2, soaring commodity prices such as crude oil, lumber, copper, and rising wages, and interest rates create an inflationary environment causing consumers to become more cautious about their spending.

The slowdown of demand causes a negative cycle (negative feedback). Business is forced to reduce the growth of inventories by cutting raw material purchases, laying off workers, and reducing borrowing. The business cycle is now in Phase 3.

The business cycle goes through Phases 3 & 4 until the causes that induced the slowdown are brought under control. At that time consumers will recognize their purchasing power has increased again due to the decline in commodities, inflation, interest rates, and inflation. Demand increases and the virtuous cycle starts all over again with Phase 1.

Source: OECD

The above chart shows the global business cycle as published by the OECD.

The OECD defines the graph as a leading indicator of the economy. A practical way to look at the graph is as standing for the fluctuations of the economy around an average growth rate (the horizontal line going through 100.)

Since 2009 the global economy has experienced three business cycles: 2009-2013, 2013-2016, and 2016-2020. Since March 2020, the global business activity has begun a new business cycle.

The current position of the indicator is slightly above 100, suggesting the global economy is growing slightly above its long-term average pace.

Source: OECD

The EU area indicator has the same cycles of the global economy. Growth, however, is more muted and still below its historical average. It reflects the economic and political idiosyncrasies affecting the continent.

Source: OECD

The Chinese business cycle has the same turning points as the global cycle. Growth is estimated to be strong for China, according to the OECD data. This conclusion is not confirmed by the latest Markit purchasing managers index for China and by the muted action of the Shanghai index.

C:\Users\gdagn\Documents\SEEKINGALPHA\BUS CYCLE INDICATOR 5-22-2021.jpg
Source: The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the US business cycle indicator as updated in each issue of The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management. The US business cycle, as computed from market data in real time, shows the same turning points of the above business cycles released by the OECD. An exclusive complimentary subscription is available to the readers of this article on https://www.peterdag.com/.

C:\Users\gdagn\Documents\SEEKINGALPHA\VEU 5-22-2021.jpg
Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the performance of the global stocks market ex-US (VEU). The lower panel shows the relative performance of VEU compared to the S&P 500 (SPY). The downtrend of the line shows the persistent underperformance of the global market compared to the US market since 2007.

The chart also shows the cyclical nature of the global equity market with the major bottoms taking place at the bottom of the business cycles (2009, 2012, 2016, and 2020).

C:\Users\gdagn\Documents\SEEKINGALPHA\IEV 5-22-2021.jpg
Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the performance of the European stock market (IEV). The lower panel shows the performance of IEV compared to the US market. The European market has the major bottoms coinciding with the bottoms of the global business cycle. The European market has persistently underperformed the US market since 2007, as reflected by the declining line in the lower panel.

C:\Users\gdagn\Documents\SEEKINGALPHA\SHANGHAI INDEX 5-22-2021.jpg
Source: StockCharts.com, The Peter Dag Portfolio Strategy and Management

The above chart shows the performance of the Shanghai index. As in the earlier graphs, the Chinese market has the same cyclical bottoms as those of the other global economic areas. The equity market has underperformed the US market since 2007 as shown by the declining line in the lower panel of the chart.

Key takeaways

Since last November, trends are still unchanged with global business cycles still trending up.

Global business cycles are perfectly synchronized and have the same turning points despite differences in language, social habits, business cultures, and political systems.

Global equity markets have the same turning points at major tops and bottoms. The investment decision is therefore about which market will display more volatility. The risk-adjusted return of the portfolio may be affected by this decision.

Major foreign equity markets continue to underperform the US market.

Relative performance among equity market reflects relative economic performance based on which country has the soundest and more growth oriented economic policies.

Investing in a foreign market is not necessarily a hedge to a portfolio performance because foreign equity markets tend to move in the same direction as the US market.

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

Wall Street Ends to Snap 3-Day Losing Streak as Technology Stocks Rise Higher

By Echo Wang

“There’s a big risk, regulatory risk, to crypto that’s not fully appreciated,” said Jay Hatfield, founder and chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York. “The central banks have a monopoly on currency. And so we just think that it’s a little bit surprising they haven’t enforced that monopoly.”

The number of Americans filing for new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 444,000 in the week ended May 15, down for the third straight time, suggesting job growth picked up this month, though companies still are desperate for workers.

Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Wednesday, extending losses since, after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting last month indicated some policymakers thought it would be appropriate to discuss easing of crisis-era support, such as tapering bond purchases, in upcoming meetings if the strong economic momentum is sustained.

“Right now really there is just one driver of the market, and that is the Fed and potential timing of tapering and quantitative easing,” Hatfield added.

Signs of rising inflation have increased bets that the Federal Reserve may tighten its policy soon, hitting rate-sensitive growth stocks that set the tech-heavy Nasdaq on track for its fifth consecutive weekly drop.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 188.11 points, or 0.55%, to 34,084.15, the S&P 500 gained 43.44 points, or 1.06%, to 4,159.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 236.00 points, or 1.77%, to 13,535.74.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.30 billion shares, compared with the 10.05 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. Retailers were a weak spot. Ralph Lauren Corp dropped 7.01% after it forecast full-year sales below analysts’ estimates, making it the largest percentage decliner on the S&P 500

Kohl’s Corp slumped 10.17% after warning of a hit to its full-year profit margin from higher labor and shipping costs, as well as selling fewer products at full price.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.25-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.42-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 66 new highs and 28 new lows.

(Reporting by Echo Wang in New York; Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Aurora Ellis)