Markets struggle on strong jobs report

OUTLOOK: Week of September 10th

The markets closed the week with more selling and challenges surrounding the jobs report. The report itself was fine… it is the speculation surrounding the Fed and interest rates that has investors rattled. Will the Fed use the strong economic data as a reason to hike rates? When? How much? And on and on the questions go until you get worked up in a frenzy worried about something you can’t control. At the end of the day, the indexes closed lower, but remain in an orderly test of the recent highs. There is plenty to worry about other than the Fed and there are plenty of reasons the markets could or should head higher. At the end of the day we are not in the prognostication business we are in the business of managing our money based on what we know to be true and the trends of the market both short and long-term.

The S&P 500 index closed down 6.3 points at 2871 as the index moves to the 20 DMA and is testing a key level of support near the 2865 mark. The volume was higher but still remains on the weak side.  Healthcare was the sole sector to close on the upside as one of the eleven sectors closed in positive territory. Basic materials, REITs, and utilities led the downside on Friday. The chart is holding the long-term trendlines off the January/February 2016 low. Patience is key. Important to note the building of negative sentiment in the VIX index.

The NASDAQ index closed down 20.1 points to close at 7902. The index closed lower and continues to test the trend. The break higher to start the week has been erased as money looks for safety. Large caps were leading the index, but the move the last four days has shifted the sentiment near term. Practice patience along with a strategic approach to managing money. Stops in place and watching how this unfolds. QQQ stop hit at $182.40 for short-term trades.

Small Cap index broke from the consolidation pattern at the current highs. The leadership of this sector has been key to the bounce from the April lows. The uptrend remains in place and the sector has held during the selling test the last four days. The index remains in a positive uptrend.

Transports (IYT) moved back above the $200.53 mark, tested the move, and is building a consolidation pattern at the current highs. The sector regained the uptrend and watching how this unfolds. The positive moves in the shipping, trucking and logistics stocks are keeping the upside in play. Entry $192.50. Stop $202.50 (adjusted).

Gold (GLD) continues to build a base following the bounce at support near the $110 level. The dollar and geopolitics have been the catalyst for the downside. They have equally been the catalyst on the upside as the dollar moved lower and gold posted a solid gain in the reversal. Entry $114. Stop $111. The tariffs, dollar, and geopolitics are playing havoc… letting it settle and find some direction. The gold miners (GDX) bounced off the lows as well, but have since retreated and attempting to find support. Metals and Mining (XME) building a base or bottom. Base metals (DBB) gapped lower to renew the downside move. Watching all as they deal with the speculative influences. These sectors are news driven and high-risk trades.

The dollar (UUP) closed above the key support $25.17 mark after some weakness the last two weeks. The bounce comes on the heels of talks about interest rates again following the ISM data and jobs report. The overall the move higher is positive from my perspective, but there are many who think a weak dollar helps US companies. Simply not true… history validates a strong dollar favors the US despite the short-term setbacks.

Crude oil (USO) Crude bounced off the support at $64.22 tested resistance at the $70 level and faded. The speculation about demand rising or production decreasing has been driving the commodity higher. The commodity closed at $67.75 down the last three days with some selling in the commodity. The follow through on the bottom reversal offered an opportunity for entry at $66.50. Stop $67.25 (adjusted).

Emerging Markets (EEM) the renewed talks with China, the dollar easing, and some optimism, had the sector moving off the lows. The strong dollar, stalled tariff talks, and strong economic data reversed the bounce to retest the recent lows. All the juggling is keeping me out for now. Too many worries and uncertainty as this unfolds near term.

The Volatility Index (VIX) closed at 14.8 on Friday as the anxiety levels move higher. Selling in large-cap and tech pushed anxiety higher again. The background noise and worries can come back into play… now we watch to see what happens. Short term the market is driven by emotions… trade accordingly by managing your risk. There is plenty on the stove that could boil over at any time… watching how this unfolds.

The week a test for the recent new highs and investor resolve. The strong economic data from ISM and jobs put the speculation talk about interest rates and the Fed back on the table. The end result was some selling the last four days. Tariff talks have stalled again and the rumor mills are stirring the anxiety of investors. Where do we go from here? Time will tell along with the charts. Our job is not to prognosticate, but to manage the risk of our money based on our strategy and discipline both short and long-term. The NASDAQ moved lower with selling in the large caps and technology. The S&P 500 ended the week lower with three of the eleven sectors closing higher for the week. Utilities, consumer staples, and industrials were the leaders for the week as money rotated towards safety. Economic data remains positive and the funny part is some now think it is too good. Energy and crude oil moved lower on worries about a stall in the supply data. Utilities and REITs are watching interest rates as both test their current uptrends. The Fed remains determined to hike rates and the current data is giving the rationale to do so. That is a concern looking forward. There is plenty of dynamics working in the markets overall and we will take it one day at a time as the trend remains positive. All we can do is manage our risk according to the charts and not speculate on what if… the greatest challenge for us all is not letting our emotions get involved in a process that requires a disciplined strategy and action.  Manage your risk and look on the horizon for answers to the trends.

(The notes above are posted daily based on the activity of the previous days trading)


Biotech (IBB) The sector broke from the consolidation pattern moved to a new 52 week high. Then the downside resumed as worries about interest rates impact the broad indexes. Entry $116.75. Stop $118 (Stop hit). 

Semiconductors (SOXX) Moved back below the $187 level on worries… watching how this unfolds. 

Software (IGV) The sector tested support, bounced, remains in an uptrend, and is leading. The long-term uptrend remains in play along with the near-term volatility. Watching how this unfolds to start the week. Entry $193.78. Stop $194.  

REITs (IYR) The sector has been in a trading range and is testing the break higher. Entry $75. Stop $79.30 (adjusted). 3.8% dividend. Fed talk on interest rates is keeping the sector in check for now. 

Treasury Yield 10 Year Bond (TNX) moved to 2.94% on the interest rate and Fed rumors. This is an anxiety move… watching how this unfolds and the short side of bonds… TBT. 

Energy stocks (XLE) The stocks bounced off support at $72 and reversed back to test the same level… the move up and down is all predicated on the belief behind the supply data… speculation is not a good basis for trading or investing money. 

Housing (ITB) The housing market continues to slow as evidenced by the housing start data moving lower. Starts were up 0.9% versus the 8.3% expected. Permits up 1.5% after two months of declines. Why the sluggishness? Interest rates are pushing 5% and tariffs on products are impacting the cost of construction. Simply put it is a matter of affordability for consumers. The sector is attempting to hold support near the $37 level and is down more than 19% for the year. 

(The notes above are posted on the weekend and updates are added in red daily as they change or develop.)

Daily Scan Results:

FRIDAY’s Scans 9/7: Not a great day for stocks as the indexes again test the trend. Leaders continue to test in an orderly fashion and interest rates moved higher on the Fed talks. Welcome to the market merry-go-round. We continue to watch, manage the risk of positions, and look for the opportunity in the uncertainty. Patience is the name of the game for now.

  • Technology (XLK) and Energy (XLE) are the two weakest links on the week. Both are testing key support levels and both have speculation at the root of the moves lower this week. 
  • Short side trades in natural gas (UNG) and gold miners (GDX) have worked well as both continue in downtrends. 
  • Emerging Markets (EEM) remain in a downtrend as money continues to leave the sector. Strong dollar, weak commodities, weak currency issues, and too much speculation is keeping the downtrend in play. 
  • Large caps (SPX, QQQ) some selling as money looks elsewhere… FB, NFLX, GOOG, are a few examples of the trend shifts. SOXX were lower again… all things to watch as the new week unfolds. 
  • Interest rates 2.94%… big jump on the speculation Friday. Bonds (TLT) fell in response and the ripple effect of higher rates is a double-edged sword. Think… US debt payments. Think… mortgages. Think saving account interest… you get the point it rewards savers and impacts the largest part of our economy debt spending. 

Plenty to watch and weigh out as the days unfold. The greatest challenge is not speculating ourselves into doing things that are irrational and illogical. Stay focused and keep your head clear and focused. 

THURSDAY’s Scans 9/6: The sellers are in play… or is this just a desire to take some profits under the current rationale? I am going to take the high road and state simply… when money wants to sell or rotate it will always find a reason to do so. Watching how the technology sector unfolds near term. The job report is out this morning and will be of interest. As far as the scans on Thursday… more of the same… defensive stocks are moving up, growth stocks are under pressure from selling. Watching how the money flow unfolds and the anxiety levels (VIX) rise.

  • Volatility Index (VIX/VXX) moved above the 14 level and showing a steady rise in anxiety for the index. $30.27 is resistance for the VXX move to become a possible trade. Watching how that plays out today. 
  • Utilities (XLU) added to the upside move. REITs (RWR) added to the upside. Consumer Staple (XLP) added to the upside. Defensive stocks in play. 
  • Large Caps in trouble… XLF, XLK, XLE, all moved lower. 
  • Energy (XLE, DRIP, IEV, SCO, SQQQ, TECS, SOXS, etc.) Downside moves are building momentum and looking at what it offers if they follow through… definitely on the watch list of interest. 
  • SPLV – showing how the rotation favors the defensive stocks in the low volatility portfolio. 

Plenty of issues, plenty of speculation, plenty of everything… the goal is to ignore the rumors and trade the charts as we see them… our strategy is to follow the trends short and long term. Two days of selling hasn’t changed the trends it has just put us on guard. Some sectors are weaker than others and may well offer a short side trade… we will take what the market offers and manage the risk accordingly. 

WEDNESDAY’s Scans 9/5: Some distribution in the NASDAQ offers a warning for the index on higher volume. The move in the defensive sectors helps Dow and S&P 500 hold steady. Transports, industrials, materials, large-cap drugs, all made positive moves higher. Looking for follow through on the moves and or back to the previous leadership… one day is not a trend or a reversal… looking how it unfolds moving forward. 

  • Utilities (XLU) nice push higher gaining 1.4% to keep the uptrend alive. 
  • Consumer Staples (XLP) bounced off the 200 DMA as support and maintains the current uptrend. 
  • Technology (XLK) declines to support and the 20 DMA. Uptrend remains in place but watching how it unfolds. TWTR, NTAP, MU, PYPL lead the downside day. 
  • Emerging Markets (EEM/EDZ) downside accelerates for the sector again. China (FXI/YANG) falls to lead the sector lower. The tariff news isn’t helping the cause. 
  • Crude Oil (USO/SCO) showing some weakness over the last two days… supply data out today and could have some influence short term. 

Selling in specific stocks and sectors… moves higher in specific stocks and sectors… investors looking at specific versus the whole. One day is not a trend and we will let this unfold and the leadership becomes defined.

TUESDAY’s Scans 9/4: Consolidation day for the broad markets as some sectors move higher and others digest the moves. Some profit taking and repositioning in the charts as well. Not enough to shift anything currently, but enough to get my attention and watch how it unfolds. 

  • Treasury Bonds (TLT/TBT) Bonds moved lower on higher yields as the ten-year bond hit 2.9%. The move came by way of the ISM data jumping higher. This opens the door for the Fed to hike rates on stronger economic outlook. Watching the short side trade in the bond if this continues. 
  • Natural Gas (UNG/DGAZ) the downside of natural gas continues to be a concern near term. Resistance at the $24.50 level is in place and the move lower on Tuesday only adds to the downside speculation. 
  • Gold Miners (GDX/DUST) they moved lower on the talks about higher interest rates and a stronger dollar impacting the price of the metal. Downside trade is back. 
  • Emerging Markets (EEM/EDZ) equally, the challenge of the dollar in play against the emerging markets. Downside gap lower and watching how it unfolds. 
  • Semiconductors (SOXX/SOXL) nice bounce higher to clear the next level of resistance… barely. I am watching how this unfolds with the leadership of the sector key to the move higher in the NASDAQ. 

Plenty of activity on Tuesday with the strong economic data coming from the ISM manufacturing sector. Today is the services data… watching the number and the response in the dollar and interest rates… they will tell us what traders believe as it relates to future Fed action on rates. The bond is in the middle of it as well falling on the rise in rates. All information we will watch and digest according to the charts. 

(The notes above are posted on the weekend and updates are added in red daily as they change or develop.)

Sector Rotation of S&P 500 Index:

One big change of note concerning sectors… The Global Industry Classification Standard is making a change to the Telecommunications Services Sector. It will become the Communications Services Sector which sounds minimal but could have a significant impact going forward. They are adding NFLX, DIS, CSMSA, FB, and GOOGL. The new structure will be enforced by the end of September. This will make it more of a growth sector overall but could dampen some of the volatility the sector has experienced over the last two years.

  • XLB – Materials moved back above the $58.44 level and continues to consolidate on worries about tariffs, etc. Watching how it unfolds with the $60 resistance. Holding support.
  • XLU – Utilities got relief as rates moved lower and cleared the resistance at $52.72 and accelerated on money rotation. Uptrend remains in play… entry $49.55. stop $52.50 (adjusted). Tested the move higher and watching as this unfolds. Nice bounce off support back at the highs. 
  • IYZ – Telecom moved above the $28.62 resistance with some momentum in the sector to the next resistance at $29.51. Entry $27.80. Stop $29.15 (adjusted). Nice bounce higher to keep upside trend in place. 
  • XLP – Consumer Staples has been in a gradual uptrend from the May lows, but they have faced resistance at the $54.92 mark. The test lower raised some questions about the uptrend. Entry $50.50. Stop $53.25. Stops in place and let this unfold. Bounced at the 200 DMA.
  • XLI – Industrials made a move above the 75.72 level again and cleared the highs of the range at $76.80. Entry $72.50. Stop $75.70 (adjusted). Need some momentum as it tests the break higher. 
  • XLE – The stocks bounced off support at $72 and back to the previous trading range. The bounce in crude was helped by the supply data and the stocks have followed the bounce. Then selling returned this week and retested the $72 support level. 
  • XLV –  In June the sector bounced off $83.24 support. Then moved above the $86.74 resistance in July. Stalled at the $90.50 level and accelerated higher. Solid uptrend for the sector as we let trend run and manage our risk. Entry $83.25. Stop $90.50 (adjusted).  
  • XLK – Technology remains a sector of volatility despite the renewed uptrend the last week. Entry $72. Stop $73.80. Letting this unfold and managing the risk and volatility. Moved lower on some distribution. 50 DMA key support for the trend.
  • XLF – Sector bounced off the lows in July. Worked back above the $28.24 resistance. Tested the move back to the 200 DMA, bounced, and watching how this unfolds near term. Insurance is leading the sector higher. Entry $27.50. Stop $26.50. 
  • XLY – Consumer remains a leader despite all the rumblings and worries. The sector broke from the rising triangle pattern adding to the upside trend. 50 DMA is the level to hold for the upside to continue. New highs on the solid move. Small retreat from the highs. 
  • RWR – REITs have been in a clear uptrend since the February lows. Granted it has come with some volatility and speculation, but the upside is in place nonetheless. The lower rates and money rotation towards safety and defensive positions helped move the sector to a new high for the year. Entry $93.40. Stop $95. 3.8% dividend. Some testing as rates moved higher on Friday. 

(The notes above are posted on the weekend and updates are added in red daily as they change or develop.)


News, tariffs, Fed, geopolitics, White House banter, and economic data all remain in the headlines and in the minds of investors. They influence the day-to-day activity, but the real driver at the end of the day is fundamentals. The economic growth, earnings growth, and positive sales growth are the keys. The challenge is the speculation around the Federal Reserve hiking rates because things are too good and inflation will be the result. We have to focus on our own strategy and ignore the news/speculation game. We have booked positive gains on positions. We hold short positions on sectors that are in downtrends. We continue to find investable strategies and opportunities. All of the economic data remains on track for growth. There is always something to worry about, but at the end of the day it is about the trend and we continue to see a positive uptrend for stocks despite the low volume. The S&P 500 index produced a test this week with only three of the eleven sectors moving higher for the week. The volume remains on the low side. The NASDAQ managed to find some sellers as well with large caps and technology stocks moving lower as the index tests key levels of support. Bonds reacted to rates move up to 2.94%. Utilities moved sideways but keep the upside trend moving. Crude moved lower on supply speculation. The dollar is resting near support. We need to find some conviction in stocks and money flow needs to rise if the trek higher is to continue. We will keep our focus on our strategy in the current market environment. We continue to manage all positions as trades until we gain some clarity on the longer term views. The long-term uptrends remain in place and we will manage our longer-term holdings in light of that trendline. The goal remains money management, not market speculation…

ONE DAY at a time is the key for now. Take a longer-term view of your overall portfolio and manage the risk of your short-term trades accordingly.

“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.