Welcome to Cracked.Market’s weekly scorecard:
This post includes a summary of the week’s market developments, links to the free posts I published, and analysis on how accurate each post was since I wrote it.
It was another strong week for the S&P500. This was the sixth consecutive weekly gain and the eighth out of the last nine. For historical perspective, only one other stretch since Trump’s election strung together six up-weeks. Unfortunately the next week started a 70-point pullback. The question on everyone’s mind is, “How many more weeks can this keep going?”
The attached chart shows the market’s waves over the last 12-months. Five periods of up followed by sideways and/or down. When prices dipped to the 50dma, the consolidation tended to be brief. The times we didn’t dip, the market traded sideways until the moving average caught up before staging the next leg higher.
Currently we are approximately 80-points above the 50dma. Early in the rally we found ourselves as high as 100-points above the 50dma before peaking. Other times we stalled 40-points above the 50dma. 80-points is definitely on the higher end of the range, but not the most extreme and it is possible we could go a little higher. But it would break precedent if we went a lot higher.
Bulls are definitely getting cocky and my last few posts generated a fair bit of criticism when I suggested this was a better place to be taking profits than adding new positions. But this is actually a good thing and I find their criticism reassuring because I get nervous when too many people agree with me. Without a doubt momentum can keep this rally going for a few more days or weeks, but history tells us we are definitely close to the end of this ride. Famous last words often start with, “This time is different.”
And to be clear, I’m not bearish nor am I predicting a crash. The 50dma is a little too far away and we either need to pause and let it catch up, or we dip back down to it. Nothing more, nothing less.
October 19th: Why smart money will sell the Senate’s budget
If anyone believes our leaders will have constructive dialogues, quickly arrive at consensus, and pass a great Tax Reform Bill clearly isn’t paying attention. Politics is messy and I have no doubt Tax Reform will stumble countless times before it has a chance of passing.
There are two key rules every politician learns when they get to Washington:
A) Throw a fit until you get what you want.
B) If you don’t get what you want, blow everything up.
That is how Healthcare Reform went down and if anyone thinks Tax Reform will be any different, there is a medical term for that, it’s called insanity.
There are several opposing forces in the Republican party that will make any compromise difficult. First are the pro-business Republicans who want aggressive business tax cuts to stimulate growth. Second are the fiscal conservatives who bristle at the thought of adding to the deficit. And third are the moderates who want to see most of the tax cuts benefit the middle class. Three very different factions whose ideas are in direct conflict with each other. Without a doubt we will see someone throw a fit and refuse to support the first draft of the bill. Get three of those someones and the whole thing goes down in flames.
There is a good chance a compromise will eventually be reached, but politics is ugly and most likely this process will teeter on the verge of collapse moments before it is salvaged at the last possible second. Expect a lot of bad news between now and then.
Score To Be Determined: We won’t know how accurate this analysis is for several weeks, but I haven’t seen Congress pass meaningful legislation without relentless bickering and infighting. And that is a normal Congress. This group of Republicans is even more fractured and divided than normal. I would be shocked if Tax Reform progresses smoothly and we should be prepared for the volatility this heated debate will trigger.
October 17th: Why bulls need to be careful
For those of us that are paying attention, this looks a lot like a lethargic wedge higher and suggests this market is running out of gas, not on the verge of exploding higher. Explosive moves are by definition explosive. A tiny trigger blossoms into in a much larger move. Sometimes it is an unexpected headline, other times a technical breakout. But something triggers a surge of buying and away we go.
Unfortunately this wedge higher is the opposite of explosive. We keep getting good news. Today the Trump administration said they wouldn’t put conditions on repatriated profits and companies could use their newly liberated cash for dividends and buybacks. More cash in shareholders’ pockets is always a good thing. Then there was the technical the breakout as we moved into record territory. The cumulative result of both of these bullish developments, a measly 0.07% gain. Something so small it doesn’t even qualify as a rounding error.
Every day bulls are trying to push us higher, but the gains are getting smaller and smaller. That reeks of exhaustion, not unbridled potential. Without a doubt it is encouraging we managed to hold recent gains. Typically markets tumble from unsustainable levels quickly. This strength comes from owners who are confidently holding for higher prices and few are taking profits. Their conviction keeps supply tight and props up prices. Unfortunately propping appears to be the best bulls can manage. We need new buyers to keep this rally going and right now those with cash are reluctant to chase prices any higher.
Score 7/10: The market popped 0.5% Friday following the Senate passing a budget. By itself this event doesn’t mean a lot, but it brings us one step closer to Tax Reform. I still believe this will be a bumpy road, but any progress is good. The market is up 15-points from when I wrote this post so I docked myself a few points, but I still think the analysis is valid. The true test will come next week when we either extend Friday’s gains, or that breakout fizzles and we slip back to 2,550. Most likely prices fizzle, but there is a chance a frenzy of buying sends us dramatically higher. But the higher we go without consolidating gains, the harder we fall when it finally happens.
Excerpts from my educational series. Click the title to read the full post. Signup for Free Email Alerts to be notified when news posts are published.
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Have a great weekend and I hope to see you again next week.
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Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and financial analyst that has successfully traded stocks and options for nearly three decades. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA and M.S. Marketing from the University of Colorado Denver. His prior professional experience includes engineering at Fortune 500 companies, small business consulting, and managing investment real estate. He is now fortunate enough to trade full-time from home, affording him the luxury of spending extra time with his wife and two children.