Chris Ciovacco: Fed-Induced Mania or Massive Underperformance? The Federal Reserve has injected billions of dollars of freshly printed money into the global financial system via quantitative easing (QE). If you understand how QE works in the real world, Read more…
Michael Snyder: The election results made it abundantly clear that taxes are going to be going up, and right now a lot of wealthy people all over America are trying to figure out how to best position themselves for the hit that is coming. There are a whole host of tax cuts that are set to expire Read more…
Dominique de Kevelioc de Bailleul: Octogenarian and 53-year financial markets veteran from Loyola, California, Richard Russell, announced it’s time to get out of stocks—pronto! The market expects a Greek exit of the EMU and further trouble from the other PIIGS, according to him. Read more…
First, April was not nearly as good as the bulls made it to be. Yes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) surged 5.5% during the first half of the month. But, in the second half, momentum slowed with the average rising just 1.7%.
Even then, the statistics don’t tell the whole story. From the Apr 16 close to the Apr 30 close, the Dow gained a mere 43 points, or 0.5%.
That’s a big difference in return for someone who bought the Dow Diamonds ETF (DIA) on Apr 16 instead of just a couple of weeks earlier. (DIA is an ETF that tracks the performance of the Dow.)
Secondly, volume is not signaling a lot of conviction on the part of buyers. Throughout March, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) experienced average volume of 400 million shares per day. In April, daily volume declined to 287 million shares.
Yet, during this entire time, stocks have risen. And the higher they go, the more the rally is losing steam. That’s not good.
Thirdly, I’m worried about the banks.
Yes, everyone passed the stress test, but it was a questionable test to begin with. Plus, Bank of America (BAC) and 9 others have lots of time to raise funds. But, foreclosures are still rising, credit card defaults will get worse and, despite all of the analysis, nobody still knows how to value the toxic assets.
The government might keep the large banks afloat, but their stock prices and earnings could still suffer. And that alone would cause problems for the stock market. Not to mention that financial stocks (and related ETFs such as Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF)) are overdue for a pullback based on technical analysis alone.
Fourthly, as earnings season comes to an end, we should see fewer positive revisions to profit forecasts. The ratio of positive to negative revisions typically falls after earnings season, even during good times. I don’t see any reason for this to change.
A drop in positive revisions would be one less catalyst for stocks to go higher.
Finally, the General Motors (GM) situation remains unresolved. If bankruptcy proceedings turn messy, it will cause a big disruption across the entire automotive industry. This, in turn, could create problems for the market.
Fortunately today has been a healthy reprieve from the fallout. There has been little to no signs of a worsening flu pandemic. People are not dropping like teenage girls at a Beetle’s concert (or an Obama sighting). And share prices have found enough of a reason to continue their climb even after a solid week of gains from the equities market.
Wall Street appears to be undecided about next week’s action, however. About half of the crowd is calling for a fizzle, while the other half is calling for more gains based on signs the economy is improving at a faster-than-expected rate (the stimulus worked!).
The answer will come from Mexico. Watch the iShares MSCI Mexico ETF (NYSE:EWW), which has the perfect ticker considering the current flu scare, over the next few trading days. It will be a strong indication of what Wall Street thinks of Mexico’s economic chances.
If the fund lags the market, I expect the equities markets to eventually turn around and follow Mexico into the red. If the ETF is a strong leader, however, it means the fears were way overblown and the equities market as a whole is undervalued.