Weak Economic Data Sends Indexes Lower on the Week!

Friday – Notes & Research

Can the jobs report get any worse? Despite the media spin on the numbers, adding 88,000 jobs versus the 195,000 expected, it was just bad plain and simple. I expected it to not be great, but this puts into perspective the data we have seen the first part of the week with all the missed economic reports. March was not a good month and that is showing up in the data now. The higher payroll taxes and pressure from the global economic markets are getting the blame/credit for this, but the fact remains the economy is not growing or recovering at the rate that many have stated. Thus, my comments in this mornings notes, validates that bonds were right at this point. Money flow towards safety has been showing stocks are over valued and we are getting some movement not to adjust the discrepancies.

My concern has been with earnings. The fourth quarter growth in earnings was less than forecast in December. And with the current data being displayed, I would believe that first quarter earnings are not likely to as good as fourth¬†quarter. I have seen numbers stating they will decline by 3.5%. Doesn’t sound awful, but in case you are wondering that is the wrong direction for growth!

I don’t want to sound like an¬†alarmist, but we do have to be concerned that the price or value of stocks is too high and the adjustments are on the horizon. The pullback never really materialized on Friday and whatever justification that was used for buying into the drop against the jobs report are out of my league of understanding. Patience is the key and that is how we will approach it heading into next weeks trading.

Five sector moves to know today:

  1. Pulling from the chart below on the scatter graph the downturn has to be documented today and we have to make the necessary adjustments heading into next week trading. Financials, Basic Materials, Industrials, Technology and Energy are setting up negative trends off the March 14th high we have been tracking. Telecom and Utilities held up well in the face of selling and offer some upside short term.
  2. Basic Materials – XLB broke support at $38.15 and has established a micro downtrend. The acceleration lower in the sector is purely due to the struggles in the mining stocks. They are all attempting to put in a low, but for now the pressure remains. I am not ready to short the sector, but it is on my watch list for possible move lower.
  3. Industrials – The rolling top has established a micro downtrend and the break of the 50 DMA on Friday adds to the negative sentiment. Support for XLI is $40 currently and this is another sector I am not willing to short at this point. Watch see how it plays out, but the risk of the downside trade currently is too high.
  4. Financials – XLF broke support at $18.05 this week and Friday flirted with breaking the 50 DMA. The weakness in the banks has been documented and discussed below. We have posted a short play opportunity on the ONLY ETF Model and gapped above the entry price. This is one to watch as move forward. The downside risk is in play and we will monitor the entry point on the short play.
  5. Technology – The sector has remained in a trading range for the last five weeks and Friday it broke lower. This is a negative for the sector along with moving below the 200 DMA. $29.20 is now support on XLK and the short opportunity is too much risk for too little reward if the support level holds. Shorting a rally back to the $30 level would be of interest and we will continue to watch short term.
  6. Energy – Crude is falling back towards the $90 support level and the stocks are selling in response. The four week move from $89.50 to $97.50 on crude has been essentially erased in three days. Opportunity or more downside? Look for a bottom is crude to build and then determine if the upside is still in the cards. XLE tested the $76 level of support and held, but it left plenty of question marks along the way. Too much risk to get short at this level, but watch to see how it will play our going forward.
  7. Fixed income rally is in play as money rotates to safety. I discussed this issue in the morning notes and we see that bonds have been a better indicator for the markets overbought conditions. The challenge with the 30 year bond now is they are in an overbought environment? TLT closed at $122.72 as the yield on the bond fell to 2.86% after starting the week at 3.1%. We recommend raising the spot on TLT to $122 to protect the gain on the bond. The gain off the entry point has returned more than the annualized yield.

The activity on the trading week leaves plenty of short term questions, but we will have to be patient and let them all play out. The news still isn’t bad enough to drive the buyers from the market dips. The Thursday buying on Wednesday’s selling and the buying Friday into the early selling was another testament to the fact the buyers are still there. Weak volume aside it was enough to move the tape and that is what matters in the end. Rest up another week of battle you are going to need it.

Economic Data:

Big week for data in store. Started on negative note with the ISM Manufacturing sector falling below expectations. Today the factory orders data was positive overall, but ex-aircraft the gains were only 0.3% for February. The overall number was positive for the economic picture. Vehicle sales were up 6% and that was a positive sign for the sector.

The negative train was back as we stated above, a miss on the ISM Services number and the ADP Private Sector Jobs Report. That set up a negative day of trading and money headed for the exits Wednesday as the selling melted higher throughout the day. The jobless claims on Thursday didn’t help with the claims climbing to 385,000. That set investors back on their heels for most of the trading day.

We finish the week where we start, a missed data point for the economy. The weaker jobs report sent stocks lower, but they came back from their lows on hope? We will see as the saga continues with more data next week.

Economic Events & Calendar 

1) US Equities:

The back and forth of the indexes continue as investor worries about the data. Last week all eyes were on the 1565 level for the S&P 500 index to hit a new high. This week we have been on both sides of that number, with the pressure building on the downside. Yes, it is crazy, but remember the buyers have been willing to step in and buy the selling patches. That continued this week, albeit with less conviction, but it continued. Thus, remain patient and take it one day at a time as this story plays out.

Downside Pressure РIndustrials (XLI), Telecom, (XLB), Financials (XLF) and Technology (XLK) are struggling to keep on their rally caps. They all have struggled to maintain the uptrend and that leaves plenty of concern short term. If we are looking longer term the test or pullback will be an opportunity to add to positions as it bounces off support. Look for some follow through on the stabilizing move Thursday.

Volatility index Р(4/5 post) РWith a jump back above the 15 level the anxiety picked up from the jobs report. However, in the end the issue was set aside and the index fell back to the 14 level at the close as if nothing happened on Friday. Still looking for the anxiety level to rise if the correction that is being promoted is to materialize.

Sector Rotation Strategy: 

The February 25th low pivot point remains in play. We added the March 14th high as the next potential pivot point on the downside, but the market has continued sideways more than down. The move last week pulled the index back above the close on the 14th keeping the upside in play. However, it has struggled to hold on to that move short term. Healthcare (XLV) remains the leaders off this low. Consumer Discretionary (XLY),  Utilties (XLU) and Consumer Staples (XLP) were on a positive trek to the upside, but we have to watch for the shift currently. Stay focused and protect the downside risk.

XLB and XLE race to the bottom of the Sector Scatter Chart. Watching to see if the they hold support and bounce of continue lower.

December 28th Pivot Point for uptrend following the Fiscal Cliff pullback chart below. The trend has continued to push higher after the February 25th test. See above.

November 15th Pivot Point is the start of the current uptrend. Target 1550-1575 was attained and now there is pressure to test the move. The uptrend off the November low remains in play. The trend has now overcome two attempted moves lower to maintain the uptrend. Watch the trendline as the support on the current pullback.

Sector Rotation of Interest:

Financials¬†– (4/3 post) –¬†Banks are rolling over. The chart of KBE shows the current pullback breaking support at $26.50 and moving below the 50 DMA. This has impacted the financials overall as XLF moves

 

lower. The weakness however, is owned by the banks. The regional banks (KRE) have joined in on the downside now which adds to the downside pressure. Thursday XLF bounced back to $18 and we have to watch to see if it can recover the previous uptrend. Need to push back above $18 .05 resistance now.

Transports¬†– (4/3 post) – Broke support on Tuesday and moved lower Wednesday. IYT has enjoyed a solid run higher, but it broke the up trendline. Now the downside is in play for a confirmation. Airlines are leading the move lower for the broad sector. $106.15 is support short term. The downside play isn’t attractive, but a bounce off support would be.

Energy Р(4/3 post) РXLE is breaking lower, crossing below the $78.20 level was a negative short term. Broke the 50 DMA as well and $76.25 is the level to watch for some support. IEZ moved to support at $55.45 and XOP got ugly down more than 2%. The refiners are under pressure as the commencements relating to the new EPA standards on sulfur would cut margins. For now the downside is in play. If crude continues lower that would add to the downside pressure on the sector. DUG is worth watching as it breaks higher if the downside stays in play. ADDED short play DUG 4/4 (ONLY ETF Model)

Healthcare –¬†(4/2 post) –¬†Hit a new high on XLV and held on Wednesday for the most part. We raised the stop in the models, but want to still give it some room for volatility. The outlook remains positive and the news on Tuesday relative to reimbursement helps the bottom line fundamentals as the technical data deals with the volatility. IHF, XPH and IHI all remain in a positive uptrend for the sector near term. Holding near the highs currently.

Small Cap –¬†(4/2 post) –¬†IJR made a move back to the previous high, but on Tuesday the index tested the 30 DMA on the downside. With the upside in the broad market and the small cap index not participating,¬†this is a warning sign from my view short term. Without small cap participation on the upside it will be limited. As stated above on Tuesday the warning signs was right with the index losing another 0.8% on the day. This is setting up the downside play in small caps short term or at least adding a hedge against positions if you are looking longer term. Since we have no allocation currently to the sector we would look at the downside play.

4/4 post Рadding TZA as short opportunity to the ONLY ETF Watch List. 3X leverage means we will only take a 3.5% position to account for the higher volatitility of the fund. Example: $10 share with stop of 30 cents = 3% risk on 100 shares is $30. $10 Share with stop of 90 cents = 9% risk, but only 35 shares is $31 risk.  Same risk/reward by reducing the allocation relative to the leverage.

4/5 post – Gapped open and we passed to start the trading day. Still interested, but pushing lower following the open. Watch for the entry level to be hit on the upside again for a clear entry point.

Midcap Р(4/2 post) РIJH moved to a new high on a solid break higher last week. The move on Tuesday was not as poor as the small caps, but Wednesday it joined the party down 1.1%. Watch the downside risk short term, but I am more interested in a bounce play versus the short side. (4/5 post) РTested the $110.30 support level on Friday and bounce back near the 50 DMA. Still looking for a bounce play short term.

Telecom – (4/4 post) –¬†What is up with Telecom? The sector has been awful over the last four months. Every attempt to break higher has been met with selling. The last two weeks it is acting as if it really wants to move higher? IYZ moved back above the $24.40 breakout level we have been watching from the current trading range. We added it to the S&P 500 Model and it has been moving sideways essentially, but now we are looking for a boost to the upside.

2) Currency:

Sector Watch:

  • UUP¬†– The Dollar remains in a consolidating phase relative to the move higher. ¬†UUP closed at $22.45. Still watching support at the $22.35 mark on the downside. Manage your stops.
  • FXB¬†– the British Pound jumped two weeks ago, held¬†the¬†move, but is testing in another trading range. Held the $149 level and moved back near the current resistance only to test again. For now we just have to be patient and let the pound work through the directional challenge it is facing. Took the entry on the move and the target is $152.50. $149 stop in place on the trade.
  • 4/5 post – closed up nicely on Friday and we will now manage our stop as we approach the target short term.
  • FXC¬†– the Canadian Dollar held support at $95.35. Bounced nicely to breakout, retraced to the consolidation zone and heading higher again. $98.50 is the level to watch as target.
  • 4/5 post – Big test on lower but rallied back. manage your exit point near the $97 level as stop.
  • FXY¬†– (4/4 post) –¬†Bank of Japan offers big easing to fight deflation and get their economy running. This was expected to some degree, but the reaction by investors in Japan was positive. The two fold impact on stocks and the yen were immediate following the announcement. EWJ open higher by more than 3%, and FXY fell nearly $3 to $102.60 at the open. Since both gapped to these levels we will have to see how the opportunity unfolds going forward. YCS is the short yen play and we will watch to see if that continues higher.
  • 4/5 post – hit entry at the $61.85 mark and moved higher on Friday. Manage the risk of the trade now.
  • FXA¬†– Australian dollar bouncing as stocks continue higher leading the way. Big test Monday and held for now. ¬†Watch to see if it recovers or take your profit on the position at $104.25. Exited the play and watching to see if can find it’s momentum again.
  • FXE¬†– ¬†(4/4 post) –¬†The ECB pledged to be¬†accommodative for as long as needed relative to interest rates and support to the euro countries. Those comments pushed the euro lower to $1.278 against the dollar. That pushed the dollar to a new high intraday. However, by the end of the day the euro was at $1.294 and the dollar was lower on the day. IEV dropped in response, showing no upside response in stocks, but managed to close flat on the day. Still no positive buy signals from Europe.
  • 4/5 post – gaps higher and holds the move despite the issues still facing Europe.

3) Fixed Income:

Sector Summary:

  • The drop in yield is pushing the price of the bond higher. ¬†The question is if the market corrects how much will it impact? The rally in bonds is getting overbought at this point and if is prudent to protect the solid gains short term.
  • 30 Year Yield = 2.86% – ¬†down 12 basis points — ¬†TLT = $122.82 up $2.43
  • 10 Year Yield =1.1.69% – down 6 basis points — IEF = $108.49 up 34 cents

Tracking Bond Sectors of Interest:

Treasury Bonds¬†–¬†Yields on the 30 year Treasury fall to 2.86% the lowest level of the year. If stocks are going higher the bond market is trading differently. Money flow has pick up in the sector and you have to wander if this money from Europe? Institutions? Where? TLT moved to $122.82 the highest level since January. This exceeds are short term target on the bonds and we have to manage the risk going forward.

High Yield Bonds РHYG = 6.55% yield. Support held at $92.75. Hit the previous highs near $95 and now testing the move. Manage the position for the dividend as the growth side is under pressure from an uncertain equity market short term. I expect the trading range to remain near term. Use $92.75 as the stop.

Corporate Bonds¬†– LQD = 3.8% yield. The price has found short term support ($118.90)… again. The jump higher was in response to the¬†rotation¬†of assets towards safety or defensive to the stock market. This is not likely a new trend for the bond, but we will take what the market gives.

Municipal Bonds РMUB = 2.8% tax-free yield. The price of the bonds broke support and the chart is attempting to bottom or build a base. The bounce is is from money rotating towards safety? We will see how it moves from here.

Convertible Bonds РCWB = 3.6% yield. Price had been moving higher on the rally in stocks. Starting to see some selling off the highs and testing the 50 day moving average as support. Watch stops and protect your gains.

4) Commodities –¬†Sector Summary:

  • The¬†commodity index¬†continued lower with the move on March 28th. It has not looked back and with the acceleration of the decline in oil prices it has only accelerated the downside. DBC broke support at $26.80 on Wednesday and continued to track lower. ¬†Without some good news… the downside remain in play. Corn supplies added to the downside last week and for now I don’t see any reason to invested in the sector.
  • Natural Gas – (4/3 post) – UNG made the big move higher, but has moved sideways since. $21.20 is support for now, let it play out relative to short term direction. The end of winter is spring, and the consumption or inventory data will shift towards building versus consuming as usage lessens. That could keep the upside in check until summer consumption begins. Set your stops and manage the downside. (ONLYETF Model)
  • (4/5 post) – up 4.5% on Friday and back near at the recent highs. inventory data showing consumption still running higher. Manage your stops relative to the position risk.
  • Crude Oil¬†– (4/3 post) – Rallied back to close at the $97 level Monday & Tuesday, that didn’t happen WEdnesday as crude closed at $95 down more than 2% on the day. As we stated in our Tuesday notes the downside was building momentum on the selling tests. How low does it go down? It closed at support and could hold there for now. Watching to see if it continues lower or settles into a narrow trading range.
  • (4/4 post) – The simple answer is lower. The gap down was in response to the current weakness. Momentum selling is aggressive. now we have to look for the support bounce $21.30 target on OIL. 4/5 – found some support at the $21.55 level worth watching.
  • Gold –¬†(4/3 post) – The metal¬†dumped $50 in two trading days showing the weakness towards the metal currently.¬†This is what I have been warning about relative to gold and the downside pressure remaining in play short term. Watch to see how it plays from here and manage the stops on GLL. (ONLYETF Model)
  • (4/5 post) – the bounce of 1.6% helps the metal maintain the base and reverse the break lower. Not a buyer here, but still we have to manage the downside play. Set your stop and let this unfold.

Commodities Rotation Chart:      

Natural gas still leading despite the test of the upside. Gold and Silver came to life, but still lagging overal. 

5) Global Markets:  

Global markets tested lower on the news in Europe and continue to trade slightly lower since the high on August 15th. We have moved the graph below to that as the start date to gain some insight into what is leading or rotating currently. As you can see Mexico (EWW) has taken the leadership role currently.  Japan (EWJ) had moved lower, but that bounced back today. The balance is status quo for now and not much to like or dislike at this point in time.    

Country Watch:

  • FXP¬†– China continues to move in a confirmed downtrend from early February. The move today confirms the next leg lower for FXI. Watch for a move to $23.25 on FXP.
  • EFA¬†– The shift is to a down trending channel off the March 15th high. Looking for a move down near the $58 level currently.
  • EWW¬†– Mexico confirmed the move higher, but is now testing the move above the $72.25 mark. Watch for the upside opportunity to follow through of the test.

6) Real Estate (REITS):

Real Estate Index (REITS) РIYR broke through the trading range near the high of $68.50-69.50. Sector Rotation Model Followed through on the upside, tested one day, and now on the upside again. The Sector is getting positive press on the creation of REITs to absorb the excess housing defaults from banks and Fannie Mae. The risk still has to be managed despite what anyone thinks day to day.

(4/4 post) –¬†Real Estate REITs have been working higher, but the international REITs are looking even better in some ways short term. RWX broke to a new high on Thursday and remains positive.

Sector Summary:

  • REM – Mortgage REIT has been testing lower as pressure on the sector has risen of late. Stop $15.30.
  • NLY- Annaly Capital Management – continues the upside trek with some daily volatility. Watch the test lower with stop at $15.50
  • RWO – SPDR Global Real Estate ETF is in a positive uptrend and hit a new high. Watch for test of the move if markets struggle.

7) Global Fixed Income:

Sector Summary:

  • The sovereign debt issues had faded, but with Spain in the news again, Italy facing disruptive elections this weekend, and France taxing itself out of existence, too many concerns and the safest play is to avoid the asset class for now.
  • Some basing is starting to take place and we continue to scan and look for opportunities in the sector.

Watch and play according to your risk tolerance on any position taken. Everyone has different trading styles and you have to find what works for you and your personality. Don’t put yourself in positions you don’t understand or take risk you can’t tolerate. Not every trade results in a profit, but controlling your risk will limit the downside losses.