Daily Market Update

Moving the Market – December 21st

The markets started higher and finished higher bouncing back from Wednesday’s selling. What changed? FOMO was back… with a positive open to start the day buyers didn’t want to miss out on the move and money flow climbed throughout the day. As we wrap up the final trading day before the Christmas holiday all is well on Wall Street. Wednesday now looks like portfolio jockeying and positioning for year-end gains and position alignment. The volume is going to be light as it is traditionally and we will manage our money and take what is offered.

The economic data remains disappointing at best as Q3 GDP was revised to 4.9% versus the 5.2% from the last estimate. PCE was 3.3% versus 3.6% prior and the Core PCE was 2% versus 2.4% prior. The Philly Fed was -10.5 versus -5.9 prior… not pretty and negative 17 of the last 19 months. New orders -25.6 versus +1.3 prior. Prices paid +25.3 (no inflation there). LEI -0.5% versus -1% prior… 20 straight months in the negative. Conference Board predicts a shallow recession in the first half of 2024. Interestingly enough none of this is in the headlines… those say everything is Merry & Bright… Total BS.

Stocks traded higher on Thursday. Optimism is back after 2.5 hours of selling on Wednesday. Thus, keep your stops in place and manage the risk accordingly. The NASDAQ closed up 1.2%, DIA was up 0.8%, and the SP500 was up 1%. The major indexes closed higher attempting to recapture Wednesday’s losses. The volume was below average. The SOXX was up 2.7%. Small Caps (Russell 2000) were up 1.7%. The ten-year treasury yield was 3.89% up 2 bps for the day. Crude (USO) was up 0.3%. (UGA) was down 0.7%. Natural gas (UNG) was up 6.1%. The dollar was down 0.6%. We are focused on managing the risk in the current environment.

Charts to Watch: See Notes on “Reality of the Markets” & “Jim’s Beliefs About the Market” pages…

Quote of the Day: “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” — Alfred Adler.

Additional Charts To Watch

1) IWM moved up to the 200-day MA and tested closing on a tombstone doji candle. watching for a test to the $174.40 level and a move higher. 11/16 Entry on the test $176. Stop $194. Got the test and entry point moving through resistance. 12/1 Offered new entry point at $180.50 and moved above $182.45. 12/13 Rallied higher on FOMC news and playing catch up with other indexes. Raised stop. 12/19 Moved higher from the pennant pattern and eclipsed the July highs. Playing catch up. Holding near the 198.65 level.

2) IYT moved above the 200-day MA… 11/14 entry $236. A test and go was the belief… Entry on the test. Working, moved above the $244.50 mark and adjusted the stop. Offered a new entry point at $244 and $247. Manage the risk and let it run. 12/20 FDX earnings pull down the sector.

3) AAPL is resuming the uptrend and in a position to move above the July highs near term. 12/5 Entry $191.50. Stop $191.50. Solid follow-through. Outlook is improving as they shift their manufacturing and engineering outside of China. Still an issue but steps have been taken to improve the situation. 12/10 test of the break higher… bounced back and watching how it unfolds. 12/13 solid move higher adjusted stop. 12/18 Stopping watch sales on a ruling from the international court of patent infringement. Impacting the stock near term.

Sector Rotation And The S&P 500 Index

The S&P 500 index closed up 48 points to 4746 moving the index up 1.7% with below-average volume. The index moved above the July high and towards the 2021 high. Eleven of the eleven sectors closed higher on the day with consumer discretionary as the leader up 1.5%. The worst performer of the day was utilities up 0.1%. The VIX index closed at 13.6 lower on the day. Plenty to ponder between the headlines and facts. Bounced back from Wednesday’s selling.

XLB – Basic Materials Cleared $77 and $79.50 resistance, moved above the August highs and testing. The sector was up 3.9% for the week. No Positions. Extended the uptrend.

Thursday China banned the export of technology to extract and separate rare earths and protect its dominance in several strategic metals. China accounted for 70% of the world’s mine production of rare earths in 2022. Stocks to watch: MP, FCX, BHP – ETFs to Watch: REMX

XLU – Utilities moved above the $62.90 resistance. The sector was up 0.8% for the week. Entry $60.15. Stop 62.80 (stop hit). Broke above the downtrend line from the July highs reversing to an uptrend short term. Tested the upside. broke the $62.90 level again… stop hit.

IYZ – Telecom Resumed the uptrend and gap higher. The sector was up 1.9% for the week. September highs a next. No Positions.

XLP – Consumer Staples Added to the move higher with a modest test to end the week. The sector was up 1.6% for the week. No Positions.

XLI – Industrials Cleared resistance and moved above the August highs. The sector was up 3.7% for the week. No Positions. Solid uptrend in play.

XLV – Healthcare Made the move above $132 and to the October highs. The sector was up 1.5% for the week. Entry $129. Stop $132. XBI is moving higher as well. IHI and IHF breaking out as well. Tested to end the week.

XLE – Energy Moved back to the $84.33 level after a bounce in crude oil helped reverse the selling in the sector… watching how this plays out near term with a downside bias in play for crude. The sector was up 2.5% for the week. Moved back above the $84.33 level and tested.

XLK – Technology Reestablished the longer-term uptrend line with some consolidation near the highs on the chart. Solid bounce the last week… The sector was up 2.7% for the week. Entry XLK $166. Stop $186.

XLF – Financials Continued the move higher as interest rates dipped lower. New highs and resumed the uptrend. The sector was up 3.3% for the week. KBE entry $38.45. Stop $43.50.

XLY – Consumer Discretionary resumed the move higher in the trend. Eclipsed the September highs. Retail Sales for November were better than expected helping the upside. The sector was up 3.4% for the week. No Positions.

IYR – REITs Moved above resistance at the $90.50 and resumed the uptrend. The sector was up 5.5% for the week. Entry $83. Stop $87.10. Jumped higher on FOMC.

Summary: The index bounced back on lower volume as investors head home for the holidays. Santa got Rudolph to get the sleigh back off the ground and all is good. The bounce off the October lows remains in play as we remain patient and let it all unfold. Plenty of rhetoric in the headlines as we watch the charts short term for direction. Trendlines are still in place but some were challenged on the day. Remember two things; first, the trend is your friend, and second, don’t fight the Fed… and the Fed showed its weight with the FOMC news.

(The notes above are posted at the end of each week based on activity from the previous week’s trading. The BOLD/ITALIC comments are the current-day changes worthy of note.)

Key Indicators/Sectors & Leaders To Watch

The NASDAQ index closed up 185 points to 14,963 as the index was up 1.26% for the day. The index tested the extension of the uptrend and bounced back in a positive fashion. The leaders we back with IGV, SOXX, and QQQ. The chart remains in a positive trend. Managing the risk that is and looking for opportunities.

NASDAQ 100 (QQQ) was 1.16% for the day as the mega-caps bounced back from selling. The sector tested the move back above the 2022 highs. The sector remains a leaders for the broad index and remains in an uptrend from the October low. Manage stops and let it play out. Entry $354.20. Stop $397.

Semiconductors (SOXX) The sector moved above the August highs and resumed the uptrend. The sector was up 9.1% for the week. SOXL entry $448. Stop $549. Topping on chart? Negative selling on Wednesday… positive bounce on Thursday.

MU was up 8.6% predicting a strong recovery in supply-demand for memory and flash storage in 2024.

Software (IGV) Remains one of the leading sectors with a solid uptrend in place. Broke higher from the pennant pattern on the chart. The sector was up 1.9% for the week. IGV $336. Stop $391.70 (adjusted).

Biotech (IBB) cleared resistance at the $127.06 mark. The sector was up 3.8% for the week. Entry $121.30. Stop $127 Confirmed the break higher and gaining momentum… XBI moving higher as well. Pennant on the chart.

Small-Cap Index (IWM) cleared resistance at $182.40 and gapped higher on the FOMC news. The sector was up 5.4% for the week. Entry $182.40. Stop $187. Cleared $198.65 resistance and the July highs. Looking for upside follow through.

Transports (IYT) bottom reversal bounce… cleared resistance $247 and renewed the uptrend. The sector was up 4.2% for the week. No positions. Watching the shipping stocks with the issues in the Red Sea. FDX earnings guidance rocked the sector lower.

Container rates hit $10,000 as ocean freight prices jump from Red Sea issues. 158 ships carrying approximately $105 billion in ocean freight have been diverted away from the Red Sea… inflation anyone? BDRY continues to climb on the news.

The Dollar (UUP) The dollar gapped lower on the FOMC news. Modest bounce to end the week but not looking good relative to the trend. The dollar was down 1.2% for the week. ‘V’ bottom on chart. Continues to struggle on the comments from the Fed of late.

12/7 Bank of Japan (BOJ) again threatened to get tough on monetary policy… that threat has been around for more than three years… it has not materialized, but the dollar responded negatively to the threat. Watching how this unfolds into the new year. UUP fell 0.5%… FXY jumped 2.6%. 12/19 Interesting move by BOJ to not raise rates after their earlier comments above. FXY fell on the news.

Treasury Yield 10-Year Bond (TNX) The yield closed the week at 3.92% up from 4.25% last week. TLT was up 4.8% for the week. FOMC news rallied bonds as they resumed the uptrend. TLT trying to move through resistance at the $99.60 level.

Crude oil (USO) Crude bounced on the FOMC news and holding near the $66 level currently. USO was up 0.9% for the week. The downtrend remains in play as we watch to see how all the speculation around production and consumption pan out. Bounced on Red Sea attacks and rerouting of shipping by companies… watching.

In the energy sector, Angola pulled out of OPEC… wants to sell more oil to the West. Interesting development. In the natural gas sector, Russia seized the joint venture shares of Wintershell Dea… geopolitics at its best.

Gold (GLD) The commodity has turned volatile with the dollar reacting to the Fed and trying to decide the course of action they are really taking relative to interest rates. Watching the dollar, yen, interest rates, and economic picture… all are creating volatility within the trend. Watching how it unfolds. Moved back to resistance on a weaker dollar.


Thursday: Stocks bounced back from selling on Wednesday as money flow picked up to balance portfolios for year-end reports. The volume will be seasonally lower through the first of the year. We will manage our risk and take what is offered. We we continue to put money to work short term based on the technical moves, and we continue to manage risk with stops and profit-taking where appropriate, as we take what the markets give. Watching for new opportunities.

Our longer-term view shifts as the indexes remain in an uptrend from the October lows. They have moved back to the July and August highs currently… if those levels are cleared we may resume the long-term uptrend from October 2022. The trends resumed higher as the FOMC meeting added a spark from buyers. The short-term uptrend in the last two months is positive, but there is still work to be done from a longer-term perspective and a resumption of the long-term trendline. A look at the weekly chart below shows the uptrend from the October lows, but the trend from the 2020 lows has not resumed. There are always positive and negative swings in a longer-term trend. A look at the daily chart from the October 2022 lows validates that premise with plenty of volatility along the way. Short term the market is in a positive phase… the long-term trend, however, remains neutral. The current bounce is challenged by uncertainty in the economy and geopolitics. Time will tell how this plays out. Current activity raises questions relative to direction and growth as it relates to earnings growth. We look to charts and fundamentals for some answers. The key remains, know where you are now, know what is happening now, and know what is on the horizon… act accordingly. The goal is to manage the risk of positions, take what is offered… short or long, and then manage your money. Listen to the market not the talking heads.

Decide what you’re doing before the market opens based on your beliefs. Entry. Exit. Target. Define the risk of the position. Nothing more… Nothing less.

“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 develops 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.

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