As the mix of good earnings and weak economic reports continues, Nasdaq gave a bear market trading signal on Wednesday. It joined the Dow and S&P 500, which gave their own sell signals earlier this month.
While the technical picture for the market has improved somewhat after seven days of rally, the rally didn't prevent Nasdaq's simple 50-day moving average from falling below its 200-day. The Nasdaq closed at 2249.84, its 50-day fell to 2251.39, and its 200-day was at 2254.88. This means Nasdaq is also at a strong resistance point that it needs to break and stay above. Trading in the next ten days will determine if the Nasdaq continues to fall apart (and the rest of the market with it) or manages to turn around with a rising 50-day average. The recent rally has taken place with below average volume on Nasdaq every single day. The volume on the Dow Industrials was even weaker. From a technical perspective, this is another negative for the market.
Mixed news for the economy and earnings continues. JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) reported a 77% Q2 rise in profits. Mainstream media accounts explained that "a slowdown in losses from failed loans helped offset a difficult spring in trading and investment banking." Huh? Makes you wonder who does their numbers. Anyone who happens to believe that the big banks earnings reports have anything to do with reality should recall that Bear Stearns in March 2008 was rushing to get its positive first quarter earnings numbers out early, but the company went under before it could release the good news.
Meanwhile, the weekly unemployment claims rose last week, but the Labor Department reported they fell by 29,000. Huh? Makes you wonder who does their numbers. Apparently the magic of seasonal adjustments led to this 'sow's ear as silk purse' news. Automakers aren't closing down for their usual summer retooling this year. Based on recent reports, there is no evidence that business in the sector is so good, or even good at all, that they can't afford the down time.
Industrial production figures in the U.S. were up by 0.1% in June. The number was only positive because of a big increase in utility output caused by increased use of air conditioning during the unusually hot month. Consumer goods seem to have been down across the board. As a reminder, consuming spending was 72% of the U.S. economy before the Credit Crisis hit. Business and industrial equipment were up, but it is likely we have exports to China to thank for that. The Chinese economy expanded by 10.3% in the second quarter, but this was below expectations. Even at the bottom of the Credit Crisis Chinese GDP was up over 6%. It was down by almost that amount in the U.S. The economy in China seems to be slowing and if this continues, watch out below.
Disclosure: No positions.