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Does The Stock Market Have Serious Issues?

September 25, 2013 12:47 pm
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Does The Stock Market Have Serious Issues?

Given that (a) stocks have fallen for four consecutive days and (b) there haven’t been any clear-cut, obvious catalysts to the pullback, it is probably safe to say that there are “issues” at work behind the scenes.

Granted, the decline over the past four days hasn’t been severe (the S&P is down just 1.63 percent from its September 18 high). And as such, the bulls will contend that there isn’t anything to worry about at this stage.

However, given that in the stock market “things don’t matter until they do – and then they matter a lot,” it is probably a good idea to have at least a cursory understanding of the “issues” at hand – if for no other reason than to protect oneself against something big sneaking up and causing a really serious problem at the corner of Broad and Wall.

Based on the news-flow of late, there are three “issues” that traders and their computers appear to care about at the present time including: Iran, the debt debate and the taper.

So, let’s spend a few minutes this morning breaking down these “issues” and getting to the heart of each matter. Frankly, this may sound like a boring exercise. However, it is important to remember that the markets don’t like surprises – so neither should you.

Is Iran Really an Issue?

If your first thought was to skip this section because nobody expects any serious trouble out of the blustering leaders of Iran, you may want to think again. While this issue has been largely off of traders’ radar for some time now, there were reports that the algo-induced blast up off of the morning lows Tuesday was sponsored by comments President Obama made on Iran in front of the United Nations.

According to reports, Obama said that he had directed Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue talks with the Iranian government regarding all things nuclear. The President’s comments, which sparked a ten point move up in the S&P in less than thirty minutes and moved the index from red to green, seemed to be interpreted as being rather dovish.

Connecting the geopolitical dots, it should be noted that Obama’s words followed remarks from new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is seen as having a mandate to negotiate a deal that would allow the country to produce nuclear energy for peaceful use – and not for military purposes.

The bottom line here appears to be that if the algorithms care about comments on this topic, perhaps traders should as well.

The Fed’s “Issues”

Traders can’t be blamed for doing a little head scratching on the subjects of Fed policy, the taper, and/or the new Fed Chairman. All three issues have moved the markets of late – in both directions – so doing a deeper dive into these “issues” would seem to be appropriate.

On the topics of Fed policy and “the taper,” StreetAccount said it best Tuesday. Here’s an excerpt: “As the post-FOMC rally lost momentum late last week, there was some focus on worries that policy dynamics have entered into a vicious circle where the Fed cannot even get comfortable about dialing back some of its policy accommodation without wreaking havoc on the market and choking off the recovery, let alone begin the normalization process. There were also concerns about the credibility of the Fed’s thresholds following the downward revisions to both the unemployment rate and fed funds forecasts.”

One of the real problems right now is the idea that there may be a leadership vacuum developing due to the uncertainty surrounding who will head up the FOMC come January. The fact that Fed officials have not been able to provide more color on how the decision to taper will be made has been cited as an “issue” in some trading circles.

The bottom line on the issues relating to the Fed is that until the uncertainty is removed, traders may be more interested in taking profits and avoiding headline risk.

Fun and Games in D.C.

Speaking of headline risk, politicians in Washington are known to consistently be a source of algo-inducing comments, rumors and innuendo. In fact, being able to spin a catch phrase intended to incite their opponents may be in the job description. Therefore, whenever Washington is in the spotlight, traders had best be on their toes.

In case you’ve been living in a cave, the key issue in and around the beltway these days is the idea that the government is slated run out of money in six or seven days. Point number one on this issue is that like the “sequester” deadline, the October 1 date may not exactly be set in stone.

If you haven’t been paying much attention to this issue, first of all, no one can blame you as just about everyone in America has had it with the games played by our elected officials. But the latest is that after the House passed a bill this week that has not a chance in heck of becoming law, the Senate is now messing around with their own bill.

Without boring everyone to tears as to what could happen when and where, the bottom line on this “issue” is that just about everyone on the planet expects something to get done – at the last possible second, of course. In short, the political stakes of being seen as the bad guy are too large. Oh, and this is just the way that Washington plays the game.

So, while there isn’t a lot of selling being done based on the fears of what might or might not happen in Washington, one could also conclude that there isn’t a lot of buying going on right now either. And this is something that could easily continue until these “issues” are resolved.

Click Here For More “Daily State of the Markets” Commentary

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      T-1. The State of Fed Policy

      T-1. Fun and Games in Washington (I.E. the Debt Ceiling)

      3. The Outlook for the U.S./Global Economy

The State of the Trend

We believe it is important to analyze the market using multiple time-frames. We define short-term as 3 days to 3 weeks, intermediate-term as 3 weeks to 3 months, and long-term as 3 months or more. Below are our current ratings of the three primary trends:

Short-Term Trend: Moderately Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 1 month)

Intermediate-Term Trend: Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 6 months)

Long-Term Trend: Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 12 months)

Key Technical Areas:

Traders as well as computerized algorithms are generally keenly aware of the important technical levels on the charts from a short-term basis. Below are the levels we deem important to watch today:

  • Near-Term Support Zone(s) for S&P 500: 1680

  • Near-Term Resistance Zone(s): 1700

The State of the Tape

Momentum indicators are designed to tell us about the technical health of a trend – I.E. if there is any “oomph” behind the move. Below are a handful of our favorite indicators relating to the market’s “mo”…

  • Trend and Breadth Confirmation Indicator: Neutral

  • Price Thrust Indicator: Moderately Positive

  • Volume Thrust Indicator: Positive

  • Breadth Thrust Indicator: Positive

  • Bull/Bear Volume Relationship: Moderately Positive

  • Technical Health of 100 Industry Groups: Moderately Positive

The Early Warning Indicators

Markets travel in cycles. Thus we must constantly be on the lookout for changes in the direction of the trend. Looking at market sentiment and the overbought/sold conditions can provide “early warning signs” that a trend change may be near.

  • Overbought/Oversold Condition: The S&P 500 is neutral from a short-term perspective and is neutral from an intermediate-term point of view.

  • Market Sentiment: Our primary sentiment model is negative .

The State of the Market Environment

One of the keys to long-term success in the stock market is stay in tune with the market’s “big picture” environment in terms of risk versus reward because different market environments require different investing strategies. To help us identify the current environment, we look to our longer-term State of the Markets Model. This model is designed to tell us when risk factors are high, low, or uncertain. In short, this longer-term oriented, weekly model tells us whether the odds favor the bulls, bears, or neither team.

Weekly State of the Market Model Reading: neutral

If you are looking for a disciplined, rules-based system to help guide your market exposure, check out The Daily Decision System.

Turning To This Morning…

Worry seems to be the watchword in the markets this morning. After four straight losing sessions, apparently traders around the world are now focusing on the “issues” facing our markets (the debt debate and the Fed). Global markets were soft overnight and U.S. futures are now pointing slightly lower ahead of the report on Orders for Durable Goods.

Pre-Game Indicators

Here are the Pre-Market indicators we review each morning before the opening bell…

Major Foreign Markets:

– Japan: -0.76%

– Hong Kong: +0.13%

– Shanghai: -0.39%

– London: -0.48%

– Germany: -0.36%

– France: -0.44%

– Italy: +0.01%

– Spain: +0.04%

Crude Oil Futures:
+$0.84 to $103.69

Gold: +$6.20 to $1322.50

Dollar: higher against the yen, lower vs. euro, and pound.

10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 2.643%

Stock Futures Ahead of Open in U.S. (relative to fair value):

– S&P 500: -1.03

– Dow Jones Industrial Average: +11

– NASDAQ Composite: -0.29

Thought For The Day…

“There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls” -Shakespeare

Looking for Guidance in the Markets?

The Daily Decision: If you want a disciplined approach to managing stock market risk on a daily basis – Check the “Daily Decision” System. Forget the fast money and the latest, greatest option trade. Investors first need is a strategy to keep them “in” the stock market during bull markets and on the sidelines (or short) during bear markets. The Daily Decision system was up 30.3% in 2012, is up more than 25% in 2013, and the system sports an average compound rate of return of more than 30% per year.

The Insiders Portfolio: If you are looking for a truly unique approach to stock picking – Check out The Insiders Portfolio. We buy what those who know their company’s best are buying – but ONLY when they are buying heavily! P.S. The Insiders is up over 30% in 2013 and has nearly doubled the S&P 500 since 2009.

The IRA/401K Advisor: Stop ignoring your 401K! Our long-term oriented service designed for IRAs and 401Ks strives to keep accounts positioned on the right side of the markets. This is a service you really can’t afford not to use.

The Top 5 Portfolio: We keep things simple here by focusing on our five favorite positions. This concentrated stock portfolio employs a rigorous custom stock selection approach to identify market leaders. Risk management strategies are built in to every position.

All StateoftheMarkets.com Premium Services include a 30-day money-back guarantee!

Got Research?

Remember, you can receive email alerts for more than 20 free research report alerts from StateoftheMarkets.com including:

  • State’s Chart of the Day – Each day we highlight a top rated stock with a positive technical setup

  • The Risk Manager Report – Stay in tune with the market’s risk/reward environment

  • The “10.0” Report – These are the REAL best-of-breed companies

  • The Insiders Report – See what the people who know their company’s best are buying

  • ETF Leaders Report – Looking for the top performing ETF’s? You’ve come to the right place.

  • The SOTM 100 Portfolio – The top rated stocks in each market sector

  • State’s Market Models – Each week we quantify the “state of the market” with a series of models

  • The Focus List – Think of the focus list as your own private research department. We do all the work and highlight our top picks each trading day

    Mission Statement

    At StateoftheMarkets.com, our goal is to provide everything you need to be a more successful investor: The must-read headlines, market commentary, market research, stock analysis, proprietary risk management models, and most importantly – actionable portfolios with live trade alerts.

    Finally, we are here to help – so don’t hesitate to call with questions, comments, or ideas at 1-877-440-9464.

    Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

    David D. Moenning

    Founder and Chief Investment Strategist


    For up to the minute updates on the market’s driving forces, Follow Me on Twitter: @StateDave (Twitter is the new Ticker Tape)

    Positions in stocks mentioned: none

    The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of David Moenning, founder of StateoftheMarkets.com and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report and on our website is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report or on our websites is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed nor any Portfolio constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the editors of TopStockPortfolios and may not actually come to pass. The opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations of any specific security nor specific investment advice. One should always consult an investment professional before making any investment.

    Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

    The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

    The information contained in our websites and publications is provided by Ridge Publishing Co. Inc. (Ridge). One of the principals of Ridge, Mr. David Moenning, is also President and majority shareholder of Heritage Capital Management, Inc. (HCM) a Chicago-based money management firm. HCM is registered as an investment adviser. HCM also serves as a sub-advisor to other investment advisory firms. Ridge is a publisher and has not registered as an investment adviser. Neither HCM nor Ridge is registered as a broker-dealer.

    Employees and affiliates of HCM and Ridge may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Editors will indicate whether they or HCM has a position in stocks or other securities mentioned in any publication. The disclosures will be accurate as of the time of publication and may change thereafter without notice.

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