OPEC surprise brings back volatility

The markets were up and down on the day as the surprise OPEC cut in production over the weekend upended some confidence. Crude oil jumped almost 7% to close above $80 bbl. The energy sector tagged on 5% to lead both the S&P 500 and Dow indexes. The economic data showed the ISM Manufacturing index in March dropped to 46.3 versus 47.7 in February. That is the lowest reading since March 2020. The fifth month in a row showing contractions. Continued weakness is expected based on the current economic activity. The move by OPEC is just another in a string of things happening in the world as it relates to the dollar and the distancing from the US as the dominant leader. The division between Saudi Arabia and the US continues with the latest move. All of this will cost the US in many ways longer term… in the short term, the US hasn’t helped matters by not restoring the strategic reserves that Biden depleted in the name of inflation. So many negative ramifications relative to crude oil prices and the dollar. OPEC just made the Fed’s job a lot harder overall. The day started with a move higher despite the news but reversed to the downside most of the day with the final 90 minutes pushing the indexes higher. The NASDAQ closed lower as the technology stocks struggled outside of a few. The SOXX was down more than 2% at one point and closed down 0.8% for the day. The VIX moved back near 20 early in the day but closed lower at 18.5. None of the news painted a good outlook… thus, we have to proceed with caution and take what is offered by the markets up or down. There are still plenty of questions to be addressed and thanks to OPEC we have a whole new list to add to the already long one.

The markets have had every reason to sell lower but manages to fight and move higher. Plenty of questions remain about the current market environment, the Fed liquidity play, the Treasury regulation check, economic weakness, and now oil production. Inflation will be a challenge again if oil increases to $100 bbl. Maybe Biden and friends should look to the US oil companies and refineries to increase production and open the pipelines again. The S&P 500 index closed up 0.3% with intraday volatility. The NASDAQ was down 0.3% with intraday volatility. Small Caps (Russell 2000) were up 0.1%. The ten-year treasury yield closed at 3.43% down 6 bps on the day. Bonds have had a volatile ride of late as well, but they are likely to remain in the 3.4-3.7% range for the near term. Crude (USO) was up 6.2%… moving above $80 bbl. Gasoline (UGA) was up 2.8%. Natural gas (UNG) was down 3.1%. The dollar was down 0.5% and in a downtrend of late. Overall crazy markets. We are focused on managing the risk and watching how this all unfolds. The OPEC news will play out over the next few months.

NEWS: Biden is obviously a rock band fan… Another embarrassing mistake!

Charts to Watch: SRS, SPXS, SQQQ watching sentiment and money flow.

Previous Charts of Interest Still in Play: LSCC (testing uptrend). Added uptrend in play. SOXX (upside follow-through) AddedAdjusted stop. AAPL (reversal confirmed) Added to the position. GBTC (trading range breakout). Added. AMZN (bottom reversal) Added. GDX (bottom reversal) Added. PG – trading range break as part of the consumer staples money rotation. Added. MCD breakout. Added. WMT ‘V’ bottom breakout. Added. WES reversal. Added. SCCO resuming an upside move. Added. UJB Added. FCX Added.

Stops Hit:

Quote of the Day: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill

The S&P 500 index closed up 15 points to 4124 the index was up 0.37% with the below-average volume on the day. The index closed above the 4086 resistance and showed some intraday volatility. Four of the eleven sectors closed higher on the day with energy as the leader up 4.5%. The worst performer of the day was consumer discretionary down 0.9%. The VIX index closed at 18.5 as anxiety increased with intraday volatility. Plenty to watch moving forward.

Sector Rotation and the S&P 500 Index:

XLB – Basic Materials found support at the $75 mark and bounced. As one of the defensive sectors, it moved higher. The sector was up 5% for the week. FCX bottom reversal. SCCO. Higher on the day.

XLU – Utilities retested the lows at $64 and bounced nicely to end the week at resistance. Need to clear $67.95. The sector was up 3% for the week. Trading range in a double bottom pattern.

IYZ – Telecom double bottom pattern breaks higher offering entry. Cleared $22.35 entry. The sector was up 4.3% for the week.

XLP – Consumer Staples downtrend reversal offer entry at the 200 DMA. The sector was up 2.4% for the week. Another defensive sector leading. Defensive sectors moving higher.

XLI – Industrials moved to the 200 DMA as support and reversed to the upside. The sector was up 4.4% for the week. Another defensive sector leading.

XLV – Healthcare Made a move back above the $127.50 mark. Biotech (IBB) equally moved higher on Friday. The sector was up 1.7% for the week. Up day for the sector.

XLE – Energy broke support at $82.74 and moved back as resistance… watch to see if it breaks or moves lower. The sector was up 6.3% for the week. Leader on the OPEC cuts.

XLK – Technology The sector bounced off support at $135. Maintaining leadership with IGV and SOXX leading. The sector was up 3.4% for the week. Back to the August highs.

XLF – Financials pressure in banks continues pushing the sector lower. Bear flag pattern on the chart. The sector was up 3.7% for the week. KBE puts remain in play. FAZ hit stop and solid gain. Watching how this unfolds. S&P lowers ratings on JPM, BAC, PNC, and TFC… happened after the close on Friday… watching how it impacts them on Monday. Trying to reverse…

XLY – Consumer Discretionary bottom reversal in play clearing $147.11 resistance. The sector was up 5.6% for the week. TGT bottom reversal. Economic picture not favoring the sector.

IYR – REITs ‘V’ bottom reversal in play… cleared $82.96 level and $87.63 target. The sector was up 5.2% for the week. The negative influence of interest rates and reports of vacancies in commercial rents are rising. Letting this unfold. Mixed with rising concerns about commercial space.

Summary: The index posted a positive day with the help of the energy and defensive sectors. Definite rotation in play and watching how it unfolds near term. Volume was below average again… something we continue to watch. Money flow is of interest as remains below 50… crude was higher on OPEC news… treasury bonds were lower on some rotation… SOXX tested but holding… still plenty of issues and more data on the way. The charts show reversals in most sectors that were in downtrends… the index cleared the 4086 resistance and held. We will remain patient for now as investors sort out their collective thoughts about what is fear and what is real. We continue to manage our positions accordingly. Remember two things; first, the trend is your friend, and second, don’t fight the Fed.

(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.)


The NASDAQ index closed down 32 points to 12,189 as the index was down 0.27% for the day. The 10,941 support held and the index moved back above the 11,474 previous support and now faces the February highs. Technology and semiconductors are the keys… SOXX was lower on intraday volatility. Narrow moves on Monday

NASDAQ 100 (QQQ) was down 0.24% with the mega caps holding the move above $312.13 resistance and looking at the August highs. The sector had a negative bias with 38 of the 100 stocks closing in positive territory for the day. Watching how sentiment plays out near term. Volume is lagging despite the move higher of late.

Semiconductors (SOXX) broke higher from the sideways trading range clearing $432.27 resistance. Showing leadership overall. The sector was up 3.5% for the week. Lagged on Friday but was higher nonetheless. late-day rally cut losses.

Software (IGV) broke through $293.50 resistance adding to the leadership in the technology sector. The sector was up 4.7% for the week. Mega caps leading the sector. AI & IONQ were up 21% Friday. Inside day watching Tuesday.

Biotech (IBB) The sector moved above the 200 DMA and attempting a trend reversal clearing $128.35. The sector was up 2.6% for the week. IBB entry $127.35. Broke higher from consolidation pattern. Held break over the $128.35 mark.

MRNA – Moderna cancer vaccine results could drive the company higher longer term. Despite the tough week for the stock, it is worth keeping on our watch list. Entry $142. Added to the position and looking to move to $165. Solid move on Monday.

Small-Cap Index (IWM) working on a bottom reversal from a bear flag pattern. The sector was up 3.8% for the week. Money flow turned higher on Friday.

Transports (IYT) bottom reversal in play. The sector was up 5.4% for the week. BDRY showing a topping pattern.

The Dollar (UUP) The dollar was down all week with the Fed and interest rates. The bounce on Friday was a plus… watching how it unfolds. The dollar was down 0.6% for the week. Plenty happening globally to undermine the dollar and replace it as the currency of trade. Very negative overall if and when this happens. In trouble near term.

Treasury Yield 10-Year Bond (TNX) The yield closed the week at 3.49 up from 3.38% last week. Big shift in the last two weeks as the fear of the bank fallout impacts investors’ risk tolerance. TLT was down 0.4% for the week. Entry TLT $102.90. Stop $105.50. Dipped to 3.43 on news.

Crude oil (USO) Tested lower bounced and moved higher. Economic speculation is impacting supply-demand globally. USO was up 8.9% for the week. The longer-term trend is still down. The $65 level is key for crude relative to the downside support. Up 6% with targets moved to $100 bbl.

Gold (GLD) The commodity bounced and is in a bull flag pattern currently. The metal was down 0.2% for the week. Entry $169.50. UGL in play. SLV ‘V’ pattern back to the January highs. Setup to break higher.

Put/Call ratio was 0.94 Monday… Neutral.

Questions to Ponder: Navigating Uncertainty

Blackstone REIT limits investor redemptions… Commercial real estate is being challenged more than most want to believe. The movement of money by investors is wider spread than banks. In February there were requests for $4.5 billion and granted only $667 million. Challenges are growing in more places… SRS tested back to the 200 DMA looking for entry again.

SEC Chair Gensler requests more funding to fight bitcoin non-compliance. The government is making its move in the name of “protecting its citizens from a highly speculative asset class”. Of course, they are working on having one controlled by the government.

Saudi Aramco is investing $12 billion in new refining and petrochemical in China’s Liaoning province. In addition, they bought a 10% stake in one of China’s oil refining firms for $3.6 billion. Another shot at the current administration’s strained relationship with Saudi Arabia. Now cuts oil production… very interesting developments.


Monday: Stocks struggled most of the day with intraday volatility and jocking over the OPEC cuts in production. The ramifications of Saudi Arabia’s moves to cut oil are big if the price is pushed back to $100+ per barrel. The Fed’s job just got harder, the White House will have to rethink strategic reserves as well as pipeline production being turned back on. We need to look inward for oil supplies and refining. Energy was the obvious leader on the day. Defensive stocks have looked good as well breaking higher from consolidation patterns. Economic data remains on the downside as manufacturing shows contraction for the 5th straight month. Money flow remains below the 50 level. The breadth of the move isn’t great. But, we have to take what is offered and manage the risk that is. Watching patiently.

Downtrending sectors are sporting bottom reversal patterns with some breaking higher on Friday. Treasury yields move to 3.43%… the dollar is heading lower… crude jumped 6%… precious metals rebounded and are in a flag pattern. Eyes open. Emotions removed. It is a time for patience as the storylines unfold and the direction is determined. Don’t assume anything and manage the risk that is. Watch for the volume, direction, sentiment, and volatility levels to lead you to what takes place. There are plenty of moving parts, we have to understand that truth/reality eventually plays out in the markets. Until then we will continue to take what is offered and manage the risk that is.

Our longer-term view is still negative, but nothing goes straight down or up… there are always positive and negative swings in a longer-term trend. We have to remain focused on short-term trades until there is longer-term directional clarity. News is in the driver’s seat as we take positions that are technically moving and offering opportunities. The key remains, know where you are now, know what is happening now, and know what is on the horizon… act accordingly. The goal now is to manage the risk of positions, take what is offered… short or long, and then manage the risk.

“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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