BREXIT Vote is “Yes”

 

Good Morning

As many know, the BREXIT vote is now official, and it is “Yes”, UK will be leaving the EU.   Overnight futures CRASHED in response to this, and today’s (and into next week) markets will react very badly to this news.   This event is a reminder of the delicate nature of the I-Fund, which will suffer from this.   I have discussed this regarding the I-Fund numerous times on this site….big returns, however big risks (at times).

This will serve as fodder to keep US interest rates low, as we cannot have a BREXIT and a fragile US climate financially, which raising interest rates would contribute to.

I personally am not leaving stock funds, most reactions to this are panic selling and I anticipate things will stabilize in one to two weeks.   The fact that it is Friday, with major money managers not wishing to “see what happens” over the weekend, and instead prefer to unload positions, is not helping.

I remain 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund.

Thank You

-Bill Pritchard

BREXIT Watch – Probable “No” vote

 

Hello Folks

The most important thing facing TSP Participants this week is the BREXIT vote which will begin in approximately 2.5 hours from time of this post.   If British Pound Futures are any indication of what the vote will be, it (for now) is reflective of a “No” vote or “Do not Exit”, as indicated by their recent uptrending behavior.  Polls are great, but market behavior is better.  Please see evening charts below:

BRITISH-POUND-06-22-16BRITISH-POUND-06-22-16-comments

By Friday June 24 “sunrise” in USA, all voting results across the ocean in UK should be official and we will know the final and official BREXIT vote status.  Lets continue to monitor things between now and then, however as of now, we are on track for a “No vote” on BREXIT, which is positive for TSP Participants.

Thank you for reading…

-Bill Pritchard

 

(As predicted) No rate hike by FOMC

 

Hello Everyone

Well, “as predicted” on this site, on May 18, 2016 and June 8, 2016, in which I spoke about the “expected” (by major financial press reporting) June interest rate hikes, and explained why I felt it would not happen, as I pat myself on the back, my contrary stance has yet again been correct:  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) did not raise interest rates on June 15.   Their reasons echoed many of the same opinions expressed by me in my prior posts.   With that speed bump behind us, lets move forward and try to explain away the recent market doldrums

Note that the indexes were doing fine until June 8, at which point they started to go down, however this was on low volume, and hence I am not worrying (too much) about the recent hiccups in the market’s step.   The “2100 level” on the SP-500 Index continues to act as an important area.   Lets look at some charts:

SP500-06-16-2016-far

SP500-06-16-2016-comments

This downtrending action stopped, albeit possibly temporarily, on June 16, with the markets closing in positive territory.

The next challenge for the markets is the BREXIT Situation in Europe.    The date of this vote is June 23.  What the heck is BREXIT ?   This is the term for the BRitain EXIT vote from the European Union (EU).   Actually the United Kingdom (UK) but nobody can pronounce UKEXIT so it is BREXIT.  Similar to GREXIT which was GReece EXIT.

Without going into a 25 page dissertation on UK politics and EU relations, the supporters of staying IN the EU is the UK Prime Minister himself, also our US President is supportive, also Germany, and China, are supportive of UK’s continued relationship with the EU.   Others are not supportive, their argument being that (among other things) the EU is “dragging down” (due to various weaker member countries and spill-over contamination) the UK and thus exiting will solve immigration issues, promote UK financial health, and free the UK from general EU headaches.

In sum, most BREXIT watchers believe an exit would be negative for the US markets and negative for UK overall.   This bears watching by TSP participants since, as we know, US markets do not like uncertainty and in today’s era, our markets are very sensitive to activity overseas.

Changing gears, I would like to say “Thank You” to everyone who has participated in the various polls.   If you have not participated, please do so.  Some have brought to my attention some browser/computer issues when they open the polls, what I recommend, is go to the below links, right-click on the link, choose “Open Link in New Tab” then vote in the poll in that new tab.  

Return to this page and repeat the process until you are done with all Polls.

http://www.poll-maker.com/poll715808x03964090-29

http://www.poll-maker.com/poll715812x388f14f4-29

http://www.poll-maker.com/poll715816x1Ceb4E8d-29

http://www.poll-maker.com/poll715821xd304c19E-29

http://www.poll-maker.com/poll715825xDEa84F39-29

I appreciate your participation as it allows me to stay in tune with the audience.

Nothing else to report, No Further Information (NFI) for the many of us that have used that terminology in reports….talk to you soon and thank you for reading.   Have a great weekend.

-Bill Pritchard

Indexes make new All Time Highs

 

Hello Everyone

I am happy to report that my decision back on March 30, 2016, to return to the S/C Funds appears to have been the correct one.  I am a little surprised that the I-Fund has performed as well as it has lately, but as I have said before, the I-Fund, with all of its potential for positive returns, comes with it an increased risk factor due to the international nature of the fund.   With that said, lets take a look at the recent market action.

In my May 5, 2016 post, I discussed the “Sell in May” strategy and the historical returns (monthly) of the markets.  As a short mini-review, the Sell in May crowd believes (admittedly they have the historic data to prove it) that since the markets typically go down in May, and typically don’t return positive until September, they “Sell in May” and take the summer off.  I, however, being a trend follower, using my own self-developed proprietary methods, tend to just listen to what the market is telling me.  This at times can be boring, and even seem lazy, with large periods of inactivity as we “wait for the market” to tell us what to do.  In short, the market gave me no indication to sell in May, and I am glad I didn’t because the SP-500 and Dow Jones Index both had positive May performances, somewhat contrary to past history.  This, in and of itself, is a positive sign.

Wall Street employs a lot of financial whiz kids who are busy analyzing earnings, fundamental value, balance sheets, and other stuff that I have no desire to research.   At the end of the day, price and volume, are the only things that matter, period, the end.    With that said, our “price” on the SP-500 has recently reached a 11-month (almost a year) All-Time-High, having hit 2120.55.   See chart:

SP-500-07-08-16-comments

The last time the index was at these levels was July 2015.  This behavior is bullish (good) and reflective of a continued uptrend.  This action is in the face of recent concerns about interest rate hikes, however I have discussed on this site Ad nauseam that I don’t believe rates will be raised anytime soon (please take a look at prior posts).   To add fuel to my argument is the recent news out of the Department of Labor that the US job market notched its weakest monthly gain in more than five years.  It appears that Wall Street is starting to reach the same conclusion and feel that our economy is not quite ready for a rate hike.  If companies are not hiring now, what will they be doing if rates go higher and the cost of capital and loans becomes more expensive ?   Etc ?

The TSP Funds have done quite well since March 30, 2016, as demonstrated by this graphic:

TSP-RETURNS

My preliminary analysis reflects that the S-Fund remains the top performer (data as of June 8, 2016) on both a one-week, one-month, and 90-day look-back period.   The I-Fund, interestingly, is starting to gain ground and is in second place behind the S-Fund.   NOTE:  At some point, I may decide to move a portion of my TSP into the I-Fund.   However remember that the I-Fund carries additional risks.  One overseas terrorist event, a Crude Oil panic, or a currency/debt crisis, could all erase those gains in the I-Fund.

For now, my TSP Allocation is 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund.

With that, lets talk about subscriber polls.  I ask that you participate (participate once, using the honor system…) so that I can stay in tune with my readers and get a glimpse into their tastes/preferences regarding this site.

http://goo.gl/PZzD3x

06-08-16 POLL: Choose the answer which best reflects your opinion of the strategies discussed on this website.

The moves to G-Fund are too conservative, I feel like we miss gains.
The moves to (and out of…) G-Fund are too risky.
The system in use is fine, it is hard to please everyone all the time.
Above choices do not reflect my feelings on this topic at all.

create quizzes

http://goo.gl/35fqxL

06-08-16 POLL: Regarding TSP information/strategy sites or newsletters on the Internet:

I am not aware of any other sites.
I am aware of other sites, but The Fed Trader is the ONLY site I follow/read.
I do read a variety of sites, but The Fed Trader is my PRIMARY site.
I do read a variety of sites, with The Fed Trader NOT being the Primary site
Above choices do not reflect my feelings on this topic at all.

myiq

http://goo.gl/A38Dz0

The Fed Trader website has:

Expanded my knowledge of my own TSP and increased my awareness/understanding of the stock markets.
Not expanded my knowledge or understanding at all.
Above choices do not reflect my feelings on this topic at all.

make a quiz

http://goo.gl/J5mjG3

Regarding The Fed Trader website posts/emails:

They need to be written/made simpler, at times it seems too complicated.
They are too simple and too basic.
They are fine, while some posts occasionally may be too simple or too complicated, overall the posts are written fine and I have no issue with them.
Above choices do not reflect my feelings on this topic at all.

Survey Maker

http://goo.gl/MkQsi8

The audience represents a unique demographic, and I plan to vote for:

Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton
Will not vote at all

myiq

That’s all for now folks……Thank You for reading and talk to you soon….!

-Bill Pritchard

Sideways Action and FOMC Minutes

 

Hello Everyone

May 18, 2016 market action was disappointing, and directly tied to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes release which appeared to signal a possible rate hike in June.  I say “appeared” because that is the consensus of the financial press, however I am not so convinced that a rate hike will occur.  I encourage readers take a look at a prior post, on March 12, 2015, as almost a year later, I am posting a very similar analysis again.

First, most of the (often a paid subscription is required…) business and financial news sites on the evening of May 18, 2016 are publishing some iteration of “If the economy improves further, rates will go up.”  I don’t know about you, but that reporting does not appear to be very earth-shattering. Unfortunately (why does that word seem to occupy most of my posts this year….?) the market, in recent typical fashion, over-reacted and at one point during the day the Dow was down triple digits.  Fortunately, the indexes calmed down towards the end of the day, with the SP-500 actually closing slightly above its open price.  Lets take a look at the one-day “intraday” chart of the SP-500, again, my default index:

SP-500-05-18-2016-ONEDAY

The violent downward action at the 2PM mark coincides with the FOMC minutes release.  Traders were hitting “sell” and I don’t even think they were reading the release.   However, I did read it (you can too…); allow me to share some views.   Again, these are not unlike my views from 2015.

Let’s observe that since maybe 2014 (and definitely since 2015), the FOMC has set two benchmarks, which both must be met, in order for them to consider raising rates.  The FOMC, and Ms. Yellen (the chairperson), has said these in numerous events, pubic press briefings, and to Congress.  These benchmarks are:

  •  “Maximum Employment” – Unemployment Rate below 6.5% =    desired, the lower the rate, the better, the closer to 6.5%, not so good
  •  Core 12-Month PCE Inflation (minus Food and Energy) Rate:  2%

We indeed have much improved unemployment rates, with the most recent data reflecting a 5% unemployment rate, however this rate is slightly worsened from prior months.   The data for May unemployment will be released on June 3, 2016.   See Image:

UNEMPLOYMENT-RATE-APRIL-2016

As can be seen, our unemployment rates have been mostly steady, since August, however “steady” also means that no huge improvements are happening either.

On to Core PCE Inflation, we are not at 2% yet, and as a matter of fact, it has drifted (slightly) the wrong direction, from 1.7% to 1.6%.   See Image:

CORE-PCE-MARCH2016

If you read the FOMC Minutes, a comment is made that “Over the 12 months ending in March, total consumer prices as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) rose 1 percent, while core CPI inflation was 2-1/4 percent. In light of the CPI data, both total and core PCE price inflation on a 12-month basis appeared to slow a bit in March.

A reference to the desired 2 percent level is also mentioned:

The 12-month change in core PCE prices also continued to run below 2 percent, but it moved up to 1.7 percent in January and February from 1.4 percent at the end of 2015. Despite the recent rise in core inflation, some participants continued to see progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent inflation objective as likely to be gradual….

“…Still, with 12-month PCE inflation continuing to run below the Committee’s 2 percent objective, a number of participants judged that it would be appropriate to proceed cautiously in removing policy accommodation….”

The FOMC discussed many items in the minutes, from housing, to energy prices, to GDP, but if we are to follow the benchmarks above, which the FOMC is already on record as being the requirements prior to a rate hike, then we do indeed have the unemployment benchmark met, but we do not have the Core PCE benchmark met.  

Add in the fact that we are in “election season”, I am not so sure that the President Obama-appointed Fed Chairperson Yellen and also-appointed Vice-Chairperson Fisher want to support a rate hike this summer, June or after.  A rate hike will likely cause some turmoil in the markets (temporary or not, we don’t know) , turmoil which may be remembered at the voting machines.   Not getting into politics, but it is what it is.

Let’s take a quick look at the recent SP-500 chart as we close out this update:

SP-500-05-18-2016

Apparent in the chart is that the sideways action continues, with the 2050 level remaining an important area for the index.   The close on May 18, 2016 was 2047.63, slightly below 2050 but much recovered from its intraday low of 2034.49.  Fortunately things improved in the afternoon.   Nobody said investing (or trading) was easy, and the last few years, say mid-2014 until present, have been especially challenging.

Before I close this recent iteration of my unofficial ongoing two-week cycle of updates, some important calendar dates are as follows:

June 3:  Unemployment Rate Data.  Will it improve or worsen ?

June 6:  FOMC Chairperson Yellen speaks in Philadelphia, and possibly offers a glimpse into the next event:

June 14-15:  FOMC Meeting, possible action to increase interest rates.

As some say, these are “Exciting Times.”   For now, I continue to be 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund in my TSP account.   The market itself remains the ultimate thermometer, not outside news, noise, or events.  If one or two triggers are driving the market, it indeed is important to understand those triggers.   But I am not going to overload you (or myself) with inane economic data or try to use lumber sales at Home Depot to predict the housing cycle.  I just don’t think it is useful or effective.  Lets stick to our bread and butter, and monitor the volume and price action, and keep an eye on the 2050 level.

Thanks for reading and talk to you soon….

-Bill Pritchard

 

May 5 Update – Markets start to Weaken

 

Hello everyone

As we enter the month of May, one of the historically negative months for the Dow Jones Index (only 30 stocks, FYI…), history appears to be repeating itself, as all indexes have performed poorly.  The questions then becomes “Is this time different [and a real bear market underway] ?”  and “Or should I hang in there and not be concerned?”   Before we proceed further, let’s insert a chart of the Dow Jones Index historical monthly performance, as published by the good team over at Stock Traders Almanac:

DOW-JONES-ANNUAL

The May behavior gives some credence to the “Sell in May” strategy, discussed in FAQ #19, which was sent to me by a colleague in a sister agency.   Note that (and this is what I said in my FAQ answer) I follow behavior of the market, and not automatic strategies, however I do find value in historical information and past behavior.   With that said, in answer to the above questions, I am not overly concerned, but I am not over-joyed either by the market’s recent behavior.   I am cognizant that (history is my guide) any chance for a positive gain in May is slim.  So going into May, I already know that this month will not be great.   Using the SP 500 (500 stocks, versus 30…) as my default index, we can see increased distribution on the index, which reflects selling by institutional investors.   This selling began on April 28.   Lets take a look at some charts:

SP500-05-05-16SP500-05-05-16-comments

The above are charts of the SP 500 Index.   Below are charts of the SPY Exchange Traded Fund, which is a proxy to the index.   The SPY ETF is useful for volume analysis.  Let’s take a look below:

SPY-05-05-16SPY-05-05-16-comments

The breakdown is evident on the charts,  which began on April 28.   Major “follow on” selling is obvious on April 29.

While no single event can be associated to this, it arguably could be tied to campaign activity which is firming up, with numerous candidates dropping out. (and this means either party…Hillary becoming a front runner = bad/good, Donald Trump becoming a front runner = bad/good…if you have a crystal ball to accurately predict the upcoming election, please use it and buy both of us Power Ball tickets…).   It could be numerous things, or…..could just be typical, historical, May behavior.    The high volume above does have me a little worried though.

I am keeping an eye on the 2050 level on the SP 500, which appears to be a strong magnet for the index.   Every time that it climbs above 2050, it gets sucked back to that level, causing headaches and frustrations for all.    Friday May 6 is the date of the April “jobs report”, so the markets may improve (or not) pending the results of that report.

In other news, retailer Aeropostale has filed for bankruptcy, which is testimony to my numerous prior posts that old-school shopping malls and big box stores are a thing of the past, replaced by Amazon Prime, online stores, and other forms of shopping.  In addition, many of today’s clothing stores, which you and I likely shopped at circa 1988-1994 (with an Orange Julius in hand, as we walked to the indoor mall movie theater to watch Top Gun), are just not hot anymore, and are having a difficult time attracting today’s Gen-Y customer.   Aeropostale, The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, I just don’t see much future in those stores anymore.   Since this should be focused on the TSP, and not Retail Fashion analysis, I will stop, but some fundamental changes need to happen in the retail shopping mall industry overall.

In the “Value-Add” column, I want to point out a benefit you have if you are a Blue Cross/Blue Shield member.  I discussed this in 2015 but will refresh it here.  My not-scientific poll reflects that 90% of BCBS members do not know about this, at least not the ones I know.    It is called “Healthways” and provides for $25 gym membership, for each adult member ($25 for you, $25 for your wife, or $50 total) who is entitled to your BCBS benefits (children do not have access to this Healthways program).   The link for additional information is here:

https://www.blue365deals.com/healthways-national-standing-25-monthly-fee-access-network-9000-gyms-nationwide

The site is somewhat difficult to navigate, sometimes it is better to call a real human and talk to them.   The phone number for additional information is 1-888-242-2060.

I remain 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund.   2050 remains an important support level on the SP 500.    Please note that in the next week or two, I will send out a Poll to all subscribers, as I seek to continue to capture reader preferences and opinion.   The last poll was in April 2015, and almost 2,000 folks replied.   The past poll is here:  http://www.poll-maker.com/results258354x7A08455c-10#tab-2

Thanks everyone, hope everyone has a great weekend and remember to call Mom on Sunday….

-Bill Pritchard

 

Weekly Market Review – C and S Fund Continue

 

Hello Folks

Hope everyone is doing well…you have every reason to be pleased if your TSP Allocation currently reflects any combination of C/S/I-Funds, as all have done very well during the last two weeks.   As a matter of fact, the Dow Jones Index (only 30 large cap stocks, FYI…) just posted its largest weekly gain in over a month.

My decision on March 29 to change my TSP fund allocations and contributions to 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund appears (so far…) to have been the correct decision.  The market declined very slightly immediately after March 29, which invited some “fan mail” regarding my decision to return to the markets.

However this slight decline simply meant that my fund change resulted in a re-entry to the markets at a “cheaper price”.   Observe that my decision on March 29 was based on months of analysis and monitoring the market’s behavior, since August 2015.

On April 13, the SP-500 Index “gapped up” (explained here before, also explained at this link here ), on higher volume than the previous day.  A gap-up, on high volume, is extremely positive and is akin to a huge splash in a small pond when an elephant jumps in.  Lets take a look at that action:

SP500-04-15-2016-BSP500-04-15-2016-B-comments
The index then traded higher the next day on April 14, and hit 2087.84, which is the highest level since December 7, 2015; this is definitely a positive sign.   See longer range chart below:

SP-500-04-15-2016-ATH

To back up my chart analysis, I have consulted other resources and I am pleased to see that the good folks over at Investors Business Daily report that the Accumulation/Distribution grade in the markets are “B” (A is best), which is an improvement over the prior 30-60 days, reflecting that institutions are coming back into the markets.  Volume action is still lower overall, however the price action is trending upward, so for now, I am pleased with the market’s behavior.

A factor behind this uptrend, is rising Crude Oil prices, currently priced in the $40 range, much higher than prior levels, and getting closer to the $50-55 level which most feel is the “sweet spot” for oil companies to be profitable again, yet not so high as to trigger high-priced gasoline for the retail customer (mom and dad) at the pump.  Even $45 would be a good level to seek and stabilize at.  Lets take a look at a chart of Crude Oil:

CRUDE-OIL-04-15-2016

As can be seen, since February, the price has recovered, albeit not without a slight downtrend in late March.

In my opinion, there are no major challenges for the markets at the present time.  We are indeed in earnings season, but I don’t get too wrapped around the axle about “earnings season” because the way I see it, all year is earnings season.  The next FOMC meeting with a public announcement by Chair Janet Yellen will be June 15, a rate hike may or may not be announced or discussed.

In sum, the markets have done very well since my decision to return to stock funds- my TSP reflects 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund.

Thank You and have a great weekend everybody

-Bill Pritchard

 

Return to S-Fund and C-Fund

Hello Folks

I am happy to report that I am exiting the G-Fund and returning to the stock funds, more specifically 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund, via interfund transfer and a contribution allocation reflecting this percentage (FAQ #10).   Small Cap stocks (S-Fund) have performed very well in recent weeks, however it is probable that Large Caps (C-Fund) will also be responding well, thus I am getting some exposure to both funds.

Recent market action reflects a growing uptrend, on lackluster volume, however the market volume picked up the afternoon of 03-29-16, after FOMC Chairwoman Yellen spoke regarding her assessments of the economy.  In addition, the SP-500 futures trading during the evening hours of 03-29-16, broke to a new recent All-Time-High, reflecting positive sentiment in the evening hours.  See chart:

SP-500-FUTURES-03-29-16

This return to stock funds is a welcome event, nobody enjoys sitting on the beach while everyone else is out in the ocean playing in the waves and enjoying their surfboards.  However I believe the continued position in G-Fund will cause me to miss future gains, and that the market environment is indeed much less risky than 60-90 days ago.   At some point, we can’t “risk assess” ourselves out of existence, at some point we have to get out of bed, and go out into the world and face whatever obstacles come across our path.  There are only so many factors one can control, or influence.  Based on my review of the chart action, the improving volume action, and the Accumulation/Distribution activity in the indexes, I feel that the threat level is much reduced, and a return to stock funds is justified.   Just FYI that things may go south, depending on how the elections go.  Let’s stay alert and aware.

Again, I will be 50% S-Fund and 50% C-Fund.   Any TSP changes submitted by COB on Wednesday should take effect by Friday evening.  If the market dips slightly over the next few days, that is fine, you are entering while it is slightly down.   Remember, we are looking at long-term behavior (note that I have been in G-Fund since August) in the markets, not one-day or even one-week cycles.   This serves as partial explanation as to why I only post every week to two weeks.

Thank you for reading, hope everyone is doing well.   Have a great week

-Bill Pritchard

G-Fund Continues / Confirmation Bias

 

Hello Everybody

Thank you for the various messages and emails, let me say that if anyone wants to be out of G-Fund, it is me.  However for a variety of reasons, I remain 100% G-Fund.   Allow me to explain.

Since the apparent finding-of-support on Feb-11 at 1810 area by the SP-500 Index (see chart), the index has climbed upward, almost on a daily basis.  “Let’s get back in, we are missing gains” is often mentioned (typically via strongly phrased email!)   Well, while technically correct, yes the indexes have gone up, getting back in carries additional risk of being creamed if the markets go south, as the volume levels since Feb-11 have not been anything (in my opinion) to help protect against downside moves.   Let’s look at a chart, as pictures are worth a thousand words, and sometimes my words are clear as mud.

SP500-03-15-2016-comments

As can be seen, volumes are below average, with the exception of Friday March 4, which was slightly above average, and which was discussed in my post dated Monday March 7, in which I shared my observations regarding the prior week.    If you take a look at the red box, above, this reflects volume action since my March 7 post, you can see that it is below average.

In my self-assessment, I determined that in our hunger for an uptrend, in our desperation to exit the G-Fund, that confirmation bias is happening, and the financial media is suffering from this also.  Confirmation Bias describes our tendency to seek out and trust information that confirms what we already think or believe or want to believe, and to avoid or discount information that goes against what we believe or want to believe.  Imagine driving down a strange road at night, and your co-pilot (possibly a spouse) has reminded you numerous times that you indeed seem lost and unable to find the correct street.  Your IQ, vision, and decision to even get married have been mentioned by your co-pilot, as you haplessly navigate the dark neighborhood.  Soon, your headlights illuminate a green street reflective street sign, and, surprise, you activate the turn signal and announce that “this is the street.”   Sadly, it was not the correct street, and your spouse is even more vocal.   Another example is the airplane pilot, attempting to land at night on a foggy runway, he sees streetlights and starts to descend to land, only to crash the airplane due to mistaking the street for the runway.

Folks, I don’t want to fall victim to this, and continue to remain in G-Fund.  I sheepishly admit that I partially indeed had some confimation bias, but a little cold water on my face and “stepping back” and disconnecting from all the stimuli has put a stop to it.  You and I both want to be out of G-Fund, but me personally, not yet.    I believe that the FOMC Meeting, due to conclude on March-16, and Crude Oil prices, are the market’s challenges right now.   Crude Oil, previously close to $39, has backed away from that, returning to the $36 area.  See chart:

CRUDE-03-15-2016

In addition, the good folks over at Investors Business Daily are reporting five (5) Distribution Days on the NASDAQ index.   Research has shown that four to seven Distribution Days within multiple weeks is a negative sign and typically will put a stop to any new uptrends.

As anyone who is not living in a cave knows, the evening of March 15 witnessed the results of the most recent voting.  I won’t get into politics here, but the below chart reflect the SP-500 futures (which trade overnight) and their reaction once the results were in, regarding the voting (they reversed).

SP500-futures-03-15-16 SP500-futures-03-15-16-comments

The reader will be pleased to know that my oft-unintelligible rantings are about to conclude.   In summary, the volume just is not there, and we are in a dangerous situation because volume is the legs that keep the table off the floor.   Weak legs and the table can topple over.  I hesitate to jump back onto the table yet.   100% G-Fund for me until further advised.   Watch that confirmation bias.   And always bring a GPS.

Talk to you soon…

-Bill Pritchard

 

Impressive Market Performance – “Out of the Holster”

 

Hello Folks

I am happy to report that the markets did pretty darn well last week, with the SP 500 breaking the important 1950 level.   However, volume could have been stronger, but was not weak, per-se.   I however would prefer some additional volume above its average volume, just as a confirmation sign that “the move” (the price movement of the index) is indeed real.   Lets look at some charts:

SP-500-03-04-2016SP-500-03-04-2016-comments

March 4 volume indeed was above average, but very slightly.

Unfortunately, the markets remain married to the price of Crude Oil, which is now trading at $36 per barrel, depicted on the chart below:

CRUDE-OIL-03-06-2016

I say “unfortunately” because right now, whatever Crude does, the stock market will do, which means our TSP stock funds and the US stock market is unfortunately at the mercy of oil ministers in the middle east, and will respond to whatever public comments those oil ministers decide to make for radio and TV broadcast.  In US-based news, on Friday March-4, the “Jobs Report” was released by the Department of Labor, reflecting a 4.9% unemployment rate in February.   This rate is very good, which could prompt a return to “Good News is Bad News” thinking, as a strengthening economy, reflected by numerous indicators (the Jobs Report is one), may signal to the FOMC that interest rate hikes should continue on schedule.  Rate hikes tend to dampen stock markets.   However, by all appearances, the markets “liked” the Jobs Report and rallied higher.

Some important events will happen this month, on March 10 the European Central Bank (ECB) will have a meeting to discuss their fiscal stimulus efforts in the region.  Any plans for additional stimulus will likely be positive for the markets, at least in the short term.  Additionally, there is an FOMC Meeting on March 15-16, no doubt that rate hikes will be at least discussed, whether rates are actioned-on is another story.

In summary, we have 1950 penetrated, but I would like the volume to improve.  No, I am not going to wait ten more years for the volume.   I remain 100% G-Fund, however to put this into language we all understand, last week’s action has caused me to come out of the holster, and into a ready position, with my finger resting near the S/C Fund trigger guard.

Thank you for reading and talk to you soon…

-Bill Pritchard