Stocks test last week’s move

The markets struggled premarket and sold throughout the day to close lower. The move wasn’t enough to end the upside trend but it did get investors’ attention. With the FOMC meeting on Wednesday, there is plenty of nervous folks in the room. The S&P 500 moved right to resistance and faded. The NASDAQ gave up the break above resistance on Friday. The challenge will be how traders and investors view the Fed and what action they will take relative to inflation and the economic outlook. The leaders still look good in the move as technology, semiconductors, Nasdaq 100, and others show a solid test and we look to see how they respond on Tuesday.

There have been nine of the presidents out talking about their position on inflation over the last two weeks. They don’t want markets to be surprised by their continued hikes in rates. The challenge looking forward is the underlying belief the Fed will stop hiking rates soon based on improving data relative to inflation… remember inflation is only part of the equation. Fighting inflation is slowing the economy and in turn that will slow earnings… which translates into lower stock prices. All said patience is what we have to have for now as we take it one day at a time. The FOMC meeting concludes on Wednesday and will be watched by everyone with hopes of a softer and gentler Fed.

The volume was above average, the VIX closed at 19.9 jumping higher on Monday. The S&P 500 index closed down 1.3% for the day. The NASDAQ was down 1.96%. Small Caps (Russell 2000) were down 1.39%. The ten-year treasury yield closed at 3.55% up 4 bps as TLT remains in an uptrend consolidation pattern. Important to note the dip near the 3.4% support level for the bond… if the yield breaks and holds this gets interesting for stocks. Crude (USO) was down 2% breaking the first level of support after hitting resistance just above the $82 level on crude. Gasoline (UGA) was down 3% and broke the 200 DMA. Natural gas (UNG) was down 7% and back near the April 2021 lows. The dollar was higher and trying to find near-term support. The goal is to see how this plays out as we move forward. We are taking what the market gives and managing the risk.

Things to Watch This Week: 1) IGV – Software broke above the 50 DMA and resistance offering an entry signal for the sector… worth watching near term. Tested Monday. 2) QQQ broke above key resistance leading the markets higher… adjust stops and let it run. Tested Monday. 3) SOXX broke higher and is the leader for now… adjusted stops and watching. Tested Monday. 4) Watch resistance 4086 SPX… if we get through resistance the August highs are the target. Moved to 4086 Monday and reversed.

Key Data: 1) FOMC meeting with Fed 2) Earnings from AAPL, GOOG, AMZN, META… will key for the large caps sector. 3) ARKK was up nearly 11% on the week… technology is key to the upside move. 4) Consumer Confidence Index Jan. (108.4 previous. 109 expected). 5) ADP Employment Jan. (235k previous. 175k expected). 6) ISM Manufacturing Jan. (48.4% previous. 48% expected). 7) Motor Vehicle Sales Jan. (13.3 million previous). 8) Nonfarm Payroll Jan. (223k previous. 190k expected). Unemployment Rate Jan (3.5% previous. 3.6% expected). Average Hourly Earnings Jan. (0.3% previous. 0.3% expected). Labor Participation Jan. (82.4 previous). 8) ISM Services Index Jan. (49.6% previous. 50.8% expected).

Charts to Watch: 1) META – earnings due on Tuesday… focus is on advertising spending. 2) JNJ – baby powder lawsuit allowed to proceed. Stock tanked. 3) TLT – yields heading into the FOMC.

Previous List Updated: SPY $399.50 resistance (broke higher adjusted stops), QQQ $282.80 resistances (broke higher adjusted stops), SOXX $390.40 resistance (broke higher adjusted stops), IWM $186.60 resistance (broke higher adjusted stops). All tested lower… All bounced… thus, be aware of the upside bias still in play. Watching how investors respond to news and earnings going forward.

SOXX/XLK offering leadership is another positive for the indices. Watching the SOXX as it was lower the last two days but showing a normal test of the move higher. NXPI missed earnings after hours…

FXB the British pound is in an interesting pattern. The cup and handle pattern over the last six months is in a position to break higher. The dollar has been weakening of late and thus the move above the August highs.

Metals & Mining: XME (hit entry), SLX (hit entry), GDX, SCCO, PAAS testing but holding up well. JJM shows the trend.

Energy: XLE, IEO holding up well along with individual stocks FANG, COP. (all tested on Monday).

Previous Charts of Interest Still in Play: FCX (test support, raised stop as hit resistance), KWEB (breaking higher “V” bottom, hitting resistance). RIG (cup and handle breakout, big move adjusted stop). SPY (reversal, reentered). QQQ (reversal, adjusted stop). SOXX (back above $380=added to position).

Stops Hit: UGA

Quote of the Day: “I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.” — Benjamin Franklin.

The S&P 500 index closed down 52.7 points to 4017 the index was down 1.3% with above-average volume. The index hit 4086 resistance and moved lower the balance of the day. One of the eleven sectors closed higher on the day with consumer staples as the leader up 0.12%. The worst performer of the day was energy down 2.3%. The VIX index closed at 19.9 as sentiment was negative along with the selling. Managing the risk.

Sector Rotation and the S&P 500 Index:

XLB – Basic Materials bounced off support and back to the previous highs and testing the move. The sector was up 0.1% for the week. Entry $79. Reverse head and shoulder pattern on the chart.

XLU – Utilities broke support and tested lower. Watching for support and direction near term. The sector was down 0.5% for the week.

IYZ – Telecom cup and handle with a break higher. 200 DMA just overhead as well. The sector was up 2% for the week. Watching how it unfolds. Entry $22.50.

XLP – Consumer Staples broke lower adding to the weakness of the sector. The sector was down 2.8% for the week. Looking for a decision on direction. Positive day as it tries to reverse from selling.

XLI – Industrials sold back to support giving up all the gains from last week. The sector was up 0.3% for the week. Need to hold $72.35 support.

XLV – Healthcare Struggling to find direction $131.40 support is level to hold. The sector was down 0.8% for the week. Weakest sector currently. JNJ news pushed sector to support.

XLE – Energy established a trading range and broke higher and hit resistance at $93. The sector was up 0.8% for the week. Entry hit $89. USO and UGA are in play currently. Testing the uptrend line.

XLK – Technology The sector reversed off the lows finally breaking through the $127 level. This is the key component in the current bounce off the previous lows. The sector was up 4.1% for the week. Entry at $127.50. $137 resistance in play – remains the leader.

XLF – Financials established a bottom reversal and tested the move. Positive moves to end the week breaking above the $35.85 resistance. The sector was up 2.2% for the week. Entry $34.50. C (break above resistance adjusted stop).

XLY – Consumer Discretionary bottom reversal in play and break above key resistance at $146.50. The sector was up 6.4% for the week. After leading the downside solid upside bounce. Entry $132. AMZN ($98 resistance clear hit entry). Upside breakout from cup and handle pattern.

IYR – REITs bottom reversal in play. The sector was down 0.6% for the week. Lower interest rates could offer some upside to the sector near term. 12/30/22 10-year treasury yield peaked… IYR +6.2% since then.

Summary: The index was lower on the day testing the move higher. It has established a bottom reversal that tested and added to the upside move. 4086 level to watch for upside resistance as it tested on Monday and reversed. Trading what the market gives as positive bias remains resilient in the face of data, earnings, and the Fed. Remember two things; first, the trend is your friend, and second, don’t fight the Fed (FOMC meeting on Wednesday).

(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 227.9 points to 11,393 as the index was down 1.96% for the day. The bounce off the October lows tested giving back the breakout move on Friday. Watching how money flow reacts to the move lower. Technology and semiconductors are the keys…. watching how they play out.

NASDAQ 100 (QQQ) was down 2.02% with the large caps setting the pace and giving up Friday’s break higher. Buyers were on the sidelines Monday and watching how this unfolds. The sector had a negative bias with 12 of the 100 stocks closing in positive territory for the day. The chart shows a test of the of the move higher. AAPL ($137.20 level to clear/hit entry/adjusted stop). AMZN (hitting resistance/breakout). GOOG (bottoming pattern/hit entry). MSFT (bottom reversal/hit entry).

Semiconductors (SOXX) made a move higher to break from the bottoming range and added nicely to the upside then tested the move and bounced back to end the week higher. The sector was up 5.6% for the week. $390.40 resistance cleared and added to position… $422.45 next. Entry $355/adjusted stop. NVDA entry $171.95. Stop $193.35. AVGO (cup & handle/adjusted stop). RMBS (broke above previous highs/adjusted stop). SWKS solid break higher/adjusted stop). Tested the move higher on Monday.

Software (IGV) Finally found some upside momentum. The sector was up 4.5% for the week. $288.40 next resistance. CRM (sup and handle/hit entry/adjusted stop). August highs next target.

Biotech (IBB) The sector remains in a trading range with a positive bias of late. The sector was up 1.3% for the week. Entry $134.10. Back to the top of the trading range… looking for a break higher. Tested Monday.

Small-Cap Index (IWM) bottom reversal showed leadership but stalled at resistance $188.25. Tested the move higher and bounced. The sector was up 2.4% for the week. Entry $177. Cup and Handle pattern in play.

Transports (IYT) Bottom reversal and positive upside with cup and handle pattern. The sector was flat 0.0% for the week. Need to clear $234 resistance. Entry $218/adjusted stop. Consolidation pattern.

The Dollar (UUP) The dollar moved lower on economic data and trying to establish a near-term low. The dollar was up 0.1% for the week. The outlook remains negative. Building a bottoming range.

Treasury Yield 10-Year Bond (TNX) The yield closed the week at 3.51% even from 3.51% last week. The yields reversed the last month adding to the upside trade in bonds. TLT was up 0.4% for the week. Entry TLT $102.35. Stop $105.50. Consolidating. 3.55% on Monday.

Crude oil (USO) Reversal in trend for crude the last few weeks pushing back to the previous highs and stalling. Supply-demand speculation as China opens its economy and borders. USO was down 2.8% for the week. Entry $67. Stop $69. OIS (uptrend/hit entry/adjusted stop). XOM (at resistance/hit entry/adjusted stop). CVX (breaking higher from consolidation pattern/hit entry). Down 2%… watching the move.

Gold (GLD) The commodity has been trading higher as the dollar declines. The metal was 0.04% for the week. GLD entry $154.90. Stop $176. Cleared resistance at $174.30 and got the break higher. Letting it run and adjusting stops. GDX entry$31.50. Topping pattern.

Put/Call ratio was 0.89 on Monday… Bias remains positive.

Questions to Ponder: Navigating Uncertainty

Why are stocks rallying in the face of weaker economic data? Growth stocks have led the recent bounce off the lows of December as investors gain confidence the ‘worst’ is over. The Fed is nowhere near its target for an economic slowdown to control inflation… yet, stocks are in rally mode. Q4 GDP gave insight that the economy isn’t slowing fast enough for the Fed. They will, and are, engineering a recession and layoffs. The yield curve is flashing recession, ISM data shows contraction, and the Fed is promising more rate hikes… either it is different this time, or the market is ahead of itself. Manage your risk.

FOMC meeting and Fed decision on rates this week. 25 basis points are priced into the market since the Fed has basically told us what they will do. Looking forward is where the challenge will be for the markets and investors. The Fed is expected to hike another 25 basis points at the next FOMC meeting and then pause. They will survey the results/damage created and then make further decisions. The big question is, does the Fed engineer a soft landing or crash the economy? I lean towards the later based on history, but we will have to be diligent in managing our risk and letting this all play out in the coming months.

With all the sanctions on Russian oil, they are still the largest provider of crude to Europe… interesting! Also interesting to note that natural gas has fallen 73% since the August highs.

Remember the infrastructure spending bill that Congress passed last year? $1 trillion is to be spent on refurbishing and establishing new infrastructure… it has started impacting stocks like Caterpillar (CAT) and Freeport McMoRan (FCX)… This is a sector that will be a benefactor in years to come. We own FCX and watching others as opportunities relative to the spending unfold. URI, TEX, RIO, BHP, DE… some to track.


Monday: The market remains challenged by data versus hope. The data is weakening relative to earnings, growth, and outlook. The hope is the Fed will slow the rate of hiking interest rates… the hope is not likely to happen near term. With the FOMC meeting Feb 1st we will see how the Fed acts. In the meantime, we will take what is offered and avoid the speculation that is. Stops raised. Eyes open. Emotions removed. Mixed economic data has been mostly ignored. Sentiment has shifted to positive despite the data. We are a far way from seeing growth… my opinion, but we trade what the market gives not what we think. Yes, we have thoughts and beliefs, but we will always follow the trend on the charts and never fight the Fed. Managing our risk as we add and subtract trading positions based on the charts. The dollar remains flat. Interest rates hold near the 3.5% level on the ten-year bond. Optimism remains in play for now as we approach key resistance points on the charts. We could see a test of the move near term (see Monday)… and the FOMC meeting is Wednesday and based on what the Fed does and more importantly what they say, will impact the direction near term. Take what is offered and manage the risk accordingly. Volatility closed at 19.9 as anxiety picks up on Monday. The money supply shifted towards positive as the money remains cautious despite the headlines. Volume remains above average. Stay focused and follow the money. Follow the Fed. 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.

As stated above we continue to watch and take what is offered. 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. Recession talks are turning towards stagflation of late which could be worse for consumers as it tends to last longer with a slow negative effect. We remain focused on short-term trades until there is directional clarity. The charts are showing a short-term trend reversal… technology and consumer discretionary have led the move. Semiconductors have performed well but earnings are showing weakness currently. 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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