Trade unnerves investors

Market outlook for September 4th

The hurricane continues to move up the east coast causing almost as much anguish as China/US trade issues. The new tariffs went into effect and the results were selling in US stocks. After making move back to the top of the current range we are now heading back to the lows of the range… thus, the ups and downs continue for stocks. To me, the news of the day was the ISM falling to 49.1 that is the first move below 50 (contraction) in more than three years. New order at seven-year low… employment fell to 47.4… exports fell to 43.3 from 48.1… the only component of the data remained above 50… the economy is not doing well. Blame trade if you like, but it is only one piece of the data. Meanwhile, the Fed believes all is well. Keeping our eye on the downside opportunities.

The S&P 500 index closed down 20.1 points to 2906 as the index reverses at resistance. The emphasis remains on trade and interest rates. The index moves to the top end of the current trading range last week only to start lower this week with the same headlines focused on trade tariffs. Three of the eleven sectors closed higher on the day led by utilities and REITs. The downside was led by industrials and technology. Plenty of questions remain relative to how this unfolds with the up and down movement. Patiently waiting on the outcome of the current range. The long-term trend remains in question with the move lower breaking the trendline from the December lows.

The NASDAQ index closed 88.7 points at 7874. This puts the index back to the middle of the current trading range. Technology (XLK) stocks continue to lead the index up and down… QQQ slid lower with the large-cap stocks giving up one percent. Key support remains at the $180.73 level. The index remains in the current range of $180.73 and $189.47. Watching how this unfolds moving forward.

Small-Cap Index (IWM) The sector is leading the downside effort but remains above the $144.65 support. The sector is reinforcing the lack of conviction from the buy-side. Watching for short side set up again.

Transports (IYT) The sector sold back to the lows and bounced off support. The $182.43 resistance is back in play and watching how this unfolds.

The dollar (UUP) The dollar is rallying on the tariffs hitting new highs of two and a half years. Closed at $26.93 (new high). Watching how it unfold this week.

The Volatility Index (VIX) closed at 20.55 as the tariff banter with China and the US remains in the headlines. Upside pressure as anxiety remains. Watching how this unfolds.


MidCap (IJH) The sector tested the $182.55 support again. Bounced and remains in the trading range. Downside pressure on the sector.

Biotech (IBB) The sector tested support near the $102 level again. The sector has been content to trade int he $102-107 range for several weeks. Watching how it unfolds. Fell to $101 support and leading the downside move on Tuesday.

Semiconductors (SOXX) The sector shed 4.4% in reaction to the tariffs. Bounced again and remains in the trading range. Tested the $200 level of support.

Software (IGV) The sector remains in the range established with the upside bias still in play. Patience. Tested the $213.40 support.

REITs (IYR) The upside trend remains on the long-term chart. Patience with our long term positions and short term watching how interest rate market unfolds. Holding near the highs. Money rotates hits new highs.

Treasury Yield 10 Year Bond (TNX) fell to the 1.51% level on all the worries. Money rotated to safety and our TLT trade remains in play on the fear. Stop $142.70. Still watching the Fed talk and once again the trade war. Touches lows at 1.46% as treasury bonds rally higher.

Crude oil (USO) Tried to bounce on rumors of supply drawdowns and remains in the current range. Watching support at $52.50 and resistance at $58.25. Trade news sends the price of crude lower.

Gold (GLD) The upside in gold has been driven on speculation of the rate cut and global weakness overall. Jumped higher on worries about trade and breaking from the consolidation. The stop is now at $141.10. Trade news sends gold prices higher.

Emerging Markets (EEM) Broke lower in the trading range as tariff threats add to the worries about an economic slowdown. China helped by announcing they would not retaliate on tariffs for now… stay tuned. Trade impacts the sector by sending prices lower.

China (FXI/YANG) the country ETF is a good benchmark for what is taking place with the current news and tariffs. Watching the bounce play out as Mr. Trump makes his intentions clear… as does China. Lower on tariff news.

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


TUESDAY’s Scans for September 3rd: Plenty of downside moves as investors react to the news on tariffs. The economic data is bigger concern, but not many headlines about how bad the news was. Contraction in the ISM data for the first time in over three years doesn’t matter? As I have learned, it doesn’t matter until it matters. Maybe since the Fed is buying bonds for the first time since QE it is holding up the markets? That is speculation on my part, but the reality is the data stinks… not a good sign for stocks. Watching how the downside unfolds and if any opportunities arise.

  • Small Caps (IWM) weakest link and short side opportunity.
  • Technology (XLK) showing some strength on the downside turn Wednesday… watching how that unfolds along with semiconductors (SOXX).
  • NASDAQ 100 index (QQQ/SQQQ) fell nearly one percent to lead the NASDAQ lower… short side setup in place.
  • Financials (XLF) short side looks attractive if rates continue lower.
  • Volatility Index (UVXY) closed above the 20 level showing some anxiety in the markets.

MONDAY – Labor Day Holiday.

FRIDAY’s Scans for August 30th: The biggest mover on the day was the volatility index. Watching how that unfolds following a long weekend. The broad markets gave up their gains from the open as money looks for where it will be treated the best. No big changes heading into the weekend and we will watch to see what happens as we begin a new month with plenty of economic data.

  • All the August economic news out with jobs report ending the week. Volatility Index (VIX/UVXY) $32.50 level to watch for upside trade.
  • Coal (KOL) bottom reversal trade opportunity clear $10.90 and followed through on Friday.
  • Brazil (EWZ/BRZU) interesting bottom reversal in play. $25.75 level to clear for the opportunity.
  • Emerging Markets (EEM/EDC) in position to break higher from the bottoming range. Trade only for now.
  • Mexico (EWW) bottom reversal follow through. Nice trade opportunity short term.

THURSDAY’s Scans for August 29th: follow-through day for the broad indexes as they added to the upside. The catalyst was the Chinese stating they would take a calm approach to the new tariffs from the US and resume talks. In addition, the Chinese sent more troops to Hong Kong some see the tariff comments as a cover for the later… big issues facing them in the outcome of Hong Kong protests. Plenty of issues facing the markets, but they were all put on the back burner on Thursday. We remain in the trading range and volume remains on the low side. Taking it one opportunity at a time and protecting our capital.

  • S&P 500 index (SPY) upside move to the top of the range. $204.04 is resistance level to clear.
  • NASDAQ 100 (QQQ) upside move to the of the current range. $188.51 level to clear if the upside is to gain momentum.
  • Consumer Discretionary (XLY) cleared resistance at the $119.40 level and shows leadership from retail.
  • Natural Gas (UNG/UGAZ) churning to the upside slowly and building the bottom reversal pattern. Raised stop to $13.74.
  • Cloud (SKYY) positive move as the bottom reversal attempting to follow through.

WEDNESDAY’s Scans for August 28th: a positive day following the negative open. Buyer step in albeit on lower volume. The selling volume is higher than the buying volume showing distribution overall from stocks. The good news is the markets have not broken down… thus, we watch patiently how this will unfold.

  • China (FXI) offers an olive branch putting any new tariffs on hold. Watching how the ETF responds along with the emerging markets (EEM).
  • Retail (XRT/XLY) earnings set the upside tone for the sector and looking for the leaders for opportunities. COST, DLTR, BOOT, WMT, etc.
  • Crude Oil (USO/UGA/UCO) upside bounce on supply data. Cleared $17.50 resistance with upside move. Next resistance is the $18 mark.
  • Earnings helping stocks as HPQ posts better than expected numbers. NTNX, OKTA also beat… adding to the positive data from retail.
  • Homebuilders (ITB/NAIL) upside remains steady as lower rates prevail.

(The Scans are done daily and left on the page for one week to allow you to see the progression of the opportunities or warnings.)

Sector Rotation of S&P 500 Index:

  • XLB – Basic Materials broke support at the $55.95 level and reversed to end the week.
  • XLU – Utilities broke from the trading range and continued higher. Collecting the dividend and letting it play out. Hit new highs Wednesday.
  • IYZ – Telecom held support at $27.62. Watching for a bounce.
  • XLP – Consumer Staples held support and the uptrend line. Watching how this unfolds near term. Holding near the current highs. Bounced back to highs Wednesday.
  • XLI – Industrials moved back to support in the current trading range and then bounced back to the top of the range.
  • XLE – Energy broke support at $58.19. The short side is still in play. ERY. Oil caught in the crossfire with China and US.
  • XLV – Healthcare held support… small bounce followed by modest gain… plenty of work to do.
  • XLK – Technology moves lower on comments about tariffs. Small bounce followed through at the top fo the current range.
  • XLF – Financials under pressure moved below the 200 DMA and $26.33 support. Small bounce followed with additional gains… plenty of work left.
  • XLY – Consumer Discretionary moving higher on earnings from the retail sector earnings… need to move above resistance if this is going anywhere.
  • IYR – REITs held $88 support and cleared the $90.80 resistance. Watching and letting it unfold. Remains near the high. Hit new highs on Wednesday.

There are currently four sectors in confirmed short term uptrend. Four sectors in consolidation or sideways trends. Two in a confirmed downtrend. The result is SPY in a confirmed sideways trend. This is a big adjustment based on the current market environment. Remember the parts make up the whole.

(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.)


Tuesday: It’s the economy STUPID! That famous line will never be forgotten… or will it. The focus on many remains on the tariff wars with China and the US. What about the contraction now official in the US economic data as ISM slips below 50. Where is the discussion about quantitative easing? Where is the Fed talking about the stimulus? All I can say is the data does matter and the challenge for investors will be how quickly everyone adjusts to the issues at hand. Manage your risk and stay focused on the objective.

Markets found enough buyers to keep them in a five-week trading range. This is currently a market controlled by headlines as each day holds movement related to the speculation of what might happen. Trade with China and the US remains at the top of the list. Interest rates and Fed banter remains high as well. Throw in Brexit and other global issues and you get the picture. This week we get economic data as we look to see the temperature of the US growth or contraction. Jobs report on Friday as well. The question remains, will the downside continue? Trade is a major issue… but, economic growth is the real issue at the end of the day. Markets fell on the worry of a recession not tariffs directly. Focus on facts like economic data, earnings, and global data reports all out this week. Watch how the hurricane impacts the southeast. Homebuilders remain a benefactor of the lower rates. We remain focused on what is working and what is failing. Therein lies the opportunities. The return to the top end of the current range is on my watch list as well moving into the new trading week. Manage your risk accordingly and let this unfold… one day at a time.

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.