Earnings push stocks higher

MARKET OUTLOOK FOR April 15th, 2019

Earnings drive stocks higher and end the week on a positive note. JP Morgan posted solid number on Friday to renew the upside for the financial sector. Some M&A news as Chevron proposed a $33 billion deal for Anadarko. Both pushed the S&P 500 index near new highs. Crude renewed the upside as worries about supply cuts in Venezuela and Iran, add conflict in Lybia and you get the rationale that supply will fall. Throw in China’s economic campaign to convince the world they are growing again and get upside pressure on crude. All of this adds up to the VIX index dropping to 12 and a six month low… All is well on Wall Street… at least for now.

The S&P 500 index closed up 19.1 points to 2907 pushing closer to the October highs of 2930. Earnings help propel the index higher on Friday to end a solid week on the upside. Ten of the eleven sectors closed in positive territory on the day. The financials and basic materials were the leading sectors resuming their respective trends. Healthcare led the downside on the day and broke lower from the consolidation pattern… a negative sign for the sector. The long-term trendlines are approaching the key levels to resume the previous uptrend. We will watch how the current activity unfolds and the coming week of data. SPXL entry $33.50, stop $46.95 (adjusted).

The NASDAQ index closed up 36.8 points to close at 7984. The large-cap stocks (QQQ) have been the leader for the move higher continue to add to the move above the March 21st high (7838). The 7849 support is the level to watch should the sellers’ appear near term. Technology held up and remains in a leadership role. QQQ is our indicator near term and needs to hold $183.60. The bounce produced some opportunities to buy an upside position on clearing the $152.51 mark and holding. TQQQ entry $34.17. Stop $58.20 (adjusted). Solid leadership in this sector and watching how it unfolds with the move above $180.28.

Small Cap index (IWM) the sector has been in a consolidation pattern. The need to close above the $154.90 level was key to breaking higher to continue the previous uptrend. Need to hold above $156 and clear the Feb 25th highs to show positive progress in the current move. There is still hesitency in the index as it remains at the $158 mark. Start of the current trend was the break lower testing the $149.05 support and back to the resistance at $154.90. The trend from the February highs was heading lower… it did reverse back to positive last week and has tested the move this week. The chart is still not very convincing with the buyers not quite as robust and the volume on the low side. We are looking at what opportunities result near term.

Transports (IYT) hit some resistance at the $192.42 level and showing a reversal topping pattern. Thursday the index cleared the resistance with a solid move higher… Friday the sector followed through with a solid move and confirmation. The test of the $182.43 mark failed then bounced back above that level and $186.70 cleared. The big gains last week brought the $192.42 level back in play and it followed through with a move higher this week adding confidence to the sector. Added a position at $188.30. Stop $190.50 (adjusted). Taking what the sector offers.

The dollar (UUP) The reaction to the FOMC pushed the buck to support at the $25.50 level. A dovish Fed willing to offer stimulus is not favored by the dollar… But, a weaker economic picture globally is helping the dollar currently. The IMF revised GDP numbers lower for around the globe. It is a matter of which news story holds the greatest belief for the buck. The big question mark for the buck remains a possible resolution to the trade tariffs with China. The ETF closed at $25.96 and remains in a positive pattern holding support… Watching as this continues to unfold.

The Volatility Index (VIX) closed at 12.01 on Friday moving to a six month low on positive stock activity. Tuesday the IMF warned of global growth slowing for the third time in six months adding some volatility. For now the tug-o-war between buyers and sellers is being won by the buyers. Watching how this all unfolds patiently.

Economic Data: April starts a new round of data for the month of March… looking for some improvement over February.

MONDAY: quite with no news to speak of.

TUESDAY: Factory orders fell 0.5% and in line with expectations… not a great sign for growth. Job openings fell to 7.1 million from 7.6 million. Not a positive showing either… the numbers continue to favor a slowing economic picture.

WEDNESDAY: Consumer Price Index (CPI) was tame. The overall prices rose 0.4% vs 0.2%. in February. Year-over-year was up 1.9%. Core rose 0.1% in March and 2% year-over-year. Average wages rose 1.3% vs 1.9%. The FOMC minutes released and no real changes or alarms to speak of. It was a calm day for data.

THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims were below expectations at 196k. Producer Price Index (PPI) showed a sharp rise of 0.6% versus the 0.3% expected. This is a not a good sign for profits as these prices have to be based on to the consumer or the impact earnings. Another item added to the watch list of concerns.

FRIDAY: Slow day as the only things on the docket were Import Price Index which was 0.6% versus 1% as imports continue to slow with tariffs. The consumer sentiment index was slightly lower but remains in positive trend.

It is all about the progress since rates were hiked by the Fed… we continue for the fourth straight month to see slowing in the data. Eventually, this will show up in stock prices through earnings. Those start in earnest next week and there will be plenty of data to ponder.

(The notes above are posted daily based on the activity of the previous days trading. The BOLD/ITALIC comments are current day changes worth noting.)

KEY INDICATORS/SECTORS & LEADERS TO WATCH: 

Biotech (IBB) The selling resumed and moved back below the $112 level of support. The break down is coming from the small-cap stocks. XBI is the large cap stocks and it is not fairing much better on the chart. Watching how this unfolds. We don’t hold any positions in the sector currently.

Semiconductors (SOXX) Tested below the $187.41 support and managed to hold and added to the upside this week as the sector moves higher. Watching how this unfolds going forward and managing the risk. Entry $187.50. Stop $194.50 (adjusted).

Software (IGV) Broke $167.88 and bounced back above the same level to create the December lows and start the new trend. $167 level added a trading position. Entry $167.90. Stop $207.60 (adjusted). Resumed the uptrend with a move back above the $210 level and followed through with a move back to the $215 highs.

REITs (IYR) Tanked on uncertainty from the Fed and the economic outlook. Broke $75.21 and bounced… trading opportunity on reversal above $75.21. Entry $75.25. Stop $85 (adjusted). Managed to break above the trading range and adjusted the stop and letting it unfold.

Treasury Yield 10 Year Bond (TNX) closed the week at 2.56% as yields bounce higher to clear resistance. The bounce from the low in March is in play and watching the bond near term as it declines. TLT hit exit point at $123.40 on Friday.

Crude oil (USO) showing resolve to work higher. Plenty of issues remain around the supply data. The US data showed a build this week and crude tested briefly before heading higher. The sanctions in Venezuela and Iran are being factored in… then OPEC stated they would start increasing production to fill the gap… then conflict in Lybia adds to worries about supply shortages… and the saga goes on. In the end, the data will prevail relative to pricing. For now, the speculation is driving prices. The move above the $48.03 level offered some hope and opportunity to add a trading position. UCO entry $15.10. Stop $21.80 (adjusted). Managing our risk and letting this play out with resistance at $64.20 (crude price).

Emerging Markets (EEM) Watching as the bounce from the bottoming pattern moves above the $43.80 resistance and holds. Rumors of trade resolutions and talks with China helped the index but needs some reality to follow through. Watching for the clarity to unfold. Cleared $40.88 and broke higher from a double bottom pattern. Entry $41. Stop $42 (adjusted). News from China helping on the week, but the details are what will matter moving forward.

Gold (GLD) spiked lower again retesting support. Watching how the metal responds to the ups and downs of the dollar and global economic picture. Downtrend developed on the chart. $121 support level to hold.

MidCap (IJH) The uptrend from the December lows are tested with a move below the $190.44 support. They have now managed to move higher and Friday cleared the February highs completing the reversal. Entry $190.45. Stop $188.

China (FXI/YINN) the country ETF is a good benchmark for what is taking place with the current news and tariffs. Bounced off support at $43.50 level. Talk of tariff agreement back on the table… but, we have heard this too long. The break from the eight-month bottoming pattern finally getting some follow through. Entry $39.80. Stop $42. News of improving PMI from a private rating service in China… perhaps, but doubtful… we will see how it unfolds… tested, but held above $45.20 to end the week.

(The notes above are posted every weekend and updated daily Bold Italics)

DAILY SCANS FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND RISK MANAGEMENT

FRIDAY’s Scans, April 12th: There is plenty in the headlines and it is impacting stocks in both directions, but overall, the upside is winning. Financials and Transports make positive breakouts. Technology, consumer discretionary, industrials, and basic materials remain in a leadership role. The VIX dropped to a six month low. Everything is positive to end the week. That said, we remain cautious and have adjusted our stops accordingly.

  • Financials (XLF) JP Morgan posted solid numbers for earnings and boosted the sector breaking above resistance and resuming the uptrend.
  • Transports (IYT) broke above resistance and posted a positive week to resume the uptrend.
  • Technology (XLK) moved to new highs. SOXX, SOCL, IGN, IGV all move to new highs a well.
  • Consumer Discretionary (XLY) moved to new highs. Consumer is alive and well based on the charts.
  • Crude Oil (USO/UCO) moved to resistance at the $64.20 level and watching as the data is conflicting with the belief.

THURSDAY’s Scans, April 11th: earnings, economic data, international trade questions, China tariffs, etc. etc. etc. The news is keeping the market in limbo this week as investors attempt to make a decision based on the future impact and outcome. Looking forward is always a tricking thing as we can see illusions that don’t exist. We saw some struggles in healthcare/biotech stocks, emerging markets, and oil. We saw some positives in banks, industrials, and transports. Taking what the market offers and managing our risk.

  • Financials (XLF) bounced in front of banks earnings on Friday… watching how the sector performs in light of earnings.
  • Biotech (IBB) tumbled back to support again and in a tight range for now. The move impacted the small cap (IWM) sector as well. XLV fell 1.2% and tested the 200 DMA.
  • Crude Oil (USO/UCO) tested lower as OPEC ponders increasing production. This a day after the increase in US supply data. Watching how this unfolds relative to crude and energy prices.
  • China (FXI) moved lower on speculation.
  • Gold (GLD) gave up all the gain of late… retest support.
  • Homebuilders (NAIL) nice bounce back and move higher the last two weeks.

WEDNESDAY’s Scans, April 10th: News settles and stocks rise slightly on the day. Nothing stirring on the day as some money continues to rotate. The good news thus far is money looks to be staying in the markets versus heading to cash. Bank earnings start on Friday and Thursday and will offer some insight into the economic picture. Taking what the markets offer one day at a time.

  • Telecom (IYZ) breaks higher from consolidation and following through. Positive leadership from ZAYO, IRDM, ACIA, and VSAT.
  • Small Cap (IWM), Midcap (IJH), and biotech (IBB) all moved upside on Wednesday rebounding from the selling on Tuesday… watching how the growth stocks are responding.
  • Gasoline (UGA) big jump on supply data. Adjusting the stop and letting it run.
  • Networking (IGN) solid break from flag pattern. Looking for follow through and scanning the leadership. PLT, VSAT, and COMM.
  • Emerging Markets (EDC) moving higher after breaking from the trading range.

TUESDAY’s Scans, April 9th: Mr. Trump helps fuel the fire on tariffs with Europe, the IMF lowers global growth estimates, and investors take some money off the table. Overall not a terrible day, but the talking heads were given a platform based on the news. Throw in earnings beginning and this may get interesting going forward. No need for reaction only management of money. Our stops are in place and we will watch how this unfolds.

  • Energy (XLE) gave back the gains and testing the break from the consolidation range. Watching crude oil (USO) as well.
  • Gold (GLD) gains some traction on the IMF data. This is worth watching as well… will money rotate to gold in response… only if it views the weakness as longer term.
  • Financials (XLF) tested on Tuesday… $26.33 level to hold… remember earnings start in this sector on Friday.
  • Small Caps (IWM) tested the move higher and watching how this plays out with growth stocks under pressure. IBB also tested on the day.
  • Retail (XRT) another key sector in consolidation phase. The last two days are testing the bounce from support at the $43.66 mark.

MONDAY’s Scans, April 8th: Interesting day for stocks as they started lower and then buyers stepped in to take them back to positive territory. The news is back as a key driver on the day. Boeing downgraded, OPEC driving oil prices, earnings upgrade and downgrades moving stocks, and news of a trade deal getting closer. Keep your focus and manage the risk as we let this all unfold.

  • Crude Oil (USO/UCO) moving higher and adjusting our stop. Gasoline (UGA) same issue.
  • Apple (AAPL) trade entry at the $176 level continues to rise nicely. Adjust your stops and manage the risk of the short term opportunity.
  • Energy (ERX) $19.80 entry playing out. The move above $23.60 gave second entry point with confirmation on Monday.
  • Commodities (GSG) moving higher with oil driving the upside. DBC clearing resistance $16.16.
  • Banks (KRE) solid bounce off support and watching as we approach earnings in the sector.

Sector Rotation of S&P 500 Index:

  • XLB – New lows and found support… got the move above the $50.35 mark. Entry $50.50. Stop $54.10. Upside tested at the $55.95 mark again. Held support at the $54.15 mark and has moved into a leadership role with the climb above $55.95.
  • XLU – The utility sector found support at $51.11… moved above $52.72 for entry. Cleared $57.10 resistance and showing some near term topping. Watching and managing the risk. Entry $53. Stop $56.75. Topping pattern showing on the chart and letting this unfold with stops in place.
  • IYZ – Telecom found new lows and bounced…  $26.25 level cleared for upside trade. Entry $26.35. Stop $28.25 (adjusted). Cleared the February highs and continued the uptrend. Hitting new highs and solid move on the upside.
  • XLP – Consumer Staples found new lows and bounced. Cleared $50.50 and continued upside trend. Managing our risk. Entry $51.90. Stop $54.25 (adjusted). Cleared resistance at the $54.92 level. Testing the break higher. Remains in an uptrend.
  • XLI – Industrials moved to near-term low and bounced. $65 level cleared for trade opportunity. Entry $65. Stop $74.05 (adjusted). Back to resistance at the $76.80 mark and watching. Facing resistance at February highs.
  • XLE – Energy stocks bounced back with crude prices moving higher. Breaking from the trading range and plenty of uncertainty in the sector overall. Watching for follow through on the move above $67. Attempting to confirm the break higher.
  • XLV –  Healthcare fell below the 200 DMA and testing at support. Still not showing a lot of strength overall. Watch the parts for clues as
    XPH stalls, IHF dumped lower, XBI struggling, and XPH not looking good. Consolidation pattern in place… 
  • XLK – Technology moved to near-term lows and bounced. $61.70 cleared for trade opportunity. Entry $61.70. Stop $73.50 (adjusted). Trading at new highs. SOXX, IGN, HACK, SOCL, and IGV all part of the puzzle for the upside to continue.
  • XLF – Financials moved to recent lows and bounced. $23.76 level cleared for trade. Entry $25.76. Stop $25.50. Cleared $26.33 level of resistance and watching. Positive earnings push the sector above resistance and renewing the uptrend.
  • XLY – Consumer fell to near-term lows and bounced. $98.96 level cleared for trade. Entry $99. Stop $113.50 (adjusted). Cleared resistance at $113.50 level. Taking on a solid leadership role and hitting new highs.
  • RWR – REITs broke lower… bounced from lows clearing $93.21 resistance… positive upside move. Entry $88. Stop $96.50. Watching and managing the risk. Made move to new high last week.

(The notes above are posted Weekly based on the activity of the previous weeks trading. The BOLD/ITALIC comments are current day changes worth noting.)

FINAL NOTES:

Markets tested and held key support levels and have bounced back near the October highs as resistance. The S&P 500 closed with solid upside for the week. The leadership remains in place and the transports joined the upside effort to end the week. Looking at the charts you can see the key levels of support holding, the key resistance levels remain in play as well. April is unfolding with earnings season kicking off and investors deciding if they like the economic data thus far from March. There are plenty of earnings on the horizon along with not so rosy of a picture. Plenty of question marks and only time will tell the outcome. There are some issues facing investors as the trade agreement has not materialized with China. Fundamental data remains on the weaker side both domestically and internationally. We will take the positive week for what it was as we continue to emphasize sound money management. We will look at positions to take profits, adjust stops, and manage the risk of the current environment. The goal is to avoid speculation and follow our disciplined strategy for each position. Taking it one day at a time.

Nine of the eleven sectors managed to close the week in positive territory as money continues to move with some rotation. Financials and telecom led the upside for the week. Transports posted a positive break higher along with financials. Healthcare was the laggard as money looks for a new home. Money is rotating out of the sector as we watch the break below the 200 DMA. Seven sectors remain in a positive uptrend with four moving sideways in consolidation patterns. Interest rates ended at 2.56% as they got a small bounce higher breaking through resistance. The ten-year bond moves lower as money finds stocks of ineterest near term. The dollar bounced back as the global picture remains uncertain. We continue to take this one day at a time. There is plenty of influencers in the markets currently and headlines are the drivers.

Disciplined entry and exit points allow you to manage your risk in up or downtrends. Investing and trading is a matter of a defined strategy implemented with discipline. It is not magic. It is not being a prophet. It is about following your strategy one day at a time. 

“Vision without action is a daydream… Action without vision is a nightmare.” Japanese proverb

The goal of these notes is to allow you, the investor, to learn how to see the market development as the progression through the sector develop based on news, speculation, and data. Data drives long-term results and develops trends… speculation and news are short-term drivers and offer higher risk trading opportunities. Through the use of both technical and fundamental data, we can have greater confidence in our trading strategies with a disciplined approach to investing and managing the risk of our money.