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Sy Harding

 
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  • Is It Time To Ignore The Fed?
    Sun, Aug. 24 18 Comments

    Summary

    • Investors, who despised the Fed and railed against it and the rest of the government during the 2008 financial meltdown, have come to trust the Fed over last 6 years.
    • However, those six years were one-directional for the Fed. Its decisions were limited to when it needed to apply more pressure on the stimulus accelerator and how aggressively.
    • It's always been quite proficient at that once the economy is in recovery mode. Now it has begun a reversal of monetary policy at which it has a dismal history.
  • Bonds Persist In Their Warning About The U.S. Economy
    Fri, Aug. 15 TLT, DOG, RWM 12 Comments

    Summary

    • Bonds usually rally when expecting an economic slowdown.
    • They began rallying in early January, and in April we learned the economy plunged to negative growth in the first quarter.
    • The economy has supposedly recovered, according to Wall Street and the Fed. But bonds continue to rally.
  • European Markets Look Downright Scary
    Sun, Aug. 10 16 Comments

    Summary

    • European and U.S. markets have been moving in tandem with each other for years. They still are, both being in short-term pullbacks.
    • However, the plunge in European markets has been more severe, and has them ominously broken beneath their long-term 200-day moving averages.
    • If the U.S. market and European markets are going to continue to move in tandem, let’s hope European markets recover quickly before the U.S. market follows them down.
  • Buy The Dip, Bail Out, Or Just Worry?
    Sun, Aug. 3 18 Comments

    Summary

    • A scary market plunge this week as economic reports disappoint.
    • It only has the Dow and S&P 500 down 3% from their peaks.
    • Buying 3% dips has worked all year. Or is it a last opportunity to sell near a market top.
  • China's Market Finally Looks Like A Buy
    Fri, Jul. 25 FXI, PGJ, GXC 8 Comments

    Summary

    • China’s stock market has been in a long 5-year bear market, while the U.S. market has been in a long 5-year bull market.
    • We finally have a buy signal on China’s market.
    • And given the high risk in the U.S. market, we like that China’s market has clearly demonstrated its ability to move independent of the U.S. market.
  • Enough With The Bubble Talk Already
    Wed, Jul. 23 11 Comments

    Summary

    • There is way too much talk of whether the market is in a bubble or not as a means of determining the current market risk.
    • There have only been two stock market bubbles in the last 70 years, but 25 serious bear markets, or one on average of every 4.5 years.
    • Obviously, whether we are in a bubble or not has almost nothing to do with risk of a serious correction or bear market.
  • Will Investors Get Out In Time This Time?
    Fri, Jul. 18 SPY, DIA, QQQ 20 Comments

    Summary

    • Public investors have a terrible record of being several years late in entering bull markets, and then several years too late in exiting serious bear markets.
    • In fact public investors do not typically exit until after bear markets have hammered them with losses.
    • The strategy of so-called "smart money" institutional investors is to exit when risk rises too high.
    • Market technicians have a strategy of waiting until key support levels are broken, and most public investors don't seem to have any strategy at all for getting out or back in.
    • With their current bullishness are they setting up to repeat their long-term pattern?
  • The Bond Rally Is Not A Good Omen For The Stock Market
    Fri, Jul. 11 TBT, TLT, TMV 26 Comments

    Summary

    • Bonds continue to defy the experts.
    • Bonds rallying since December even as the Fed tapers back its QE bond-buying, and even as pressures build for the Fed to begin raising interest rates sooner than expected.
    • They tend to move opposite to stocks, yet have rallied even though the stock market has rallied to new highs.
  • Jobs Report Not As Positive For The Economy As Some Think
    Thu, Jul. 3 SPY, DIA, QQQ 16 Comments

    Summary

    • The jobs report for June was great news.
    • But employment is a lagging indicator and says next to nothing about the direction of the economy.
    • Meanwhile, other recent economic reports paint an entirely different picture.
  • A Second Quarter GDP Bounce-Back May Not Be Bullish
    Fri, Jun. 27 13 Comments

    Summary

    • The economy (GDP) was unexpectedly negative in the first quarter, but is expected to bounce back in the second quarter.
    • The popular opinion is that it will mean the bull market will be fine.
    • As the chart in this article shows that is not at all a sure thing.
  • Is Stage Set For Markets To Again Be Smarter Than The Fed?
    Sat, Jun. 21 SPY, QQQ, SH 44 Comments

    Summary

    • In every economic cycle the Federal Reserve eventually winds up ‘behind the curve’, still trying to keep consumers, businesses, and investors optimistic when the reality no longer supports that outlook.
    • Markets are not fooled, and have bear markets underway well before the Fed admits the changed conditions.
    • Has this cycle reached that stage?
  • Worry About The Second Quarter, Q1 Is History
    Fri, Jun. 13 SPY, DIA, QQQ 11 Comments

    Summary

    • Only two weeks left in second quarter.
    • Has the expected big economic snap-back from the winter slowdown shown up yet?
    • The world’s wealthiest investors, presumably also the most successful, seem worried, having raised unusual levels of cash, while unworried individual investors have become even more bullish.
  • The Truth About The Jobs Report And The Economy
    Fri, Jun. 6 30 Comments

    Summary

    • The economy may be recovering from the winter slowdown, but the jobs report is certainly not evidence of that.
    • Here is the reality beneath the headline that 217,000 jobs were created in May.
    • The truth about the jobs report and the economy.
  • Bull Market Continues, But Will Cash Be Summertime King?
    Fri, May. 30 DIA, SPY, QQQ 53 Comments

    Summary

    • Increasing similarities to 2011, in the current economy, investor sentiment, valuation levels, and the Fed’s situation, are not encouraging.
    • The S&P 500 plunged 19% in 2011 before the Fed realized what was happening.
    • The Fed rushed in with additional QE stimulus that prevented the significant correction from worsening into a bear market.
  • Are Some Proven Investment Strategies Too Simple To Accept?
    Fri, May. 23 SPY, DIA, QQQ 16 Comments

    Summary

    • An interesting look at Jeremy Grantham’s letter to clients of his $117 billion international money management firm for institutions and wealthy investors.
    • Decades of his firm’s studies confirm the remarkable performance of several investment strategies, and how investors blow them off because they seem too simple to be effective.
    • Are some proven investment strategies too simple to accept?
  • Wall Street Says It's Different This Time
    Fri, May. 16 SPY, DIA, QQQ 33 Comments

    Summary

    • It’s a good thing it’s different this time. We know it is because Wall Street says so.
    • So I must be a dinosaur in my thinking that conditions at previous tops, valuation levels, warnings from "smart money," seasonality, etc. going back at least 100 years have always had relevance when similar conditions appeared in later periods.
    • Not with enough accuracy to provide buy or sell signals, but certainly with enough to warn of unusual risk.
  • 'Defensive Stocks' Are Not Much Help In Market Downturns
    Fri, May. 9 PPH, VHT, XLP 22 Comments

    Summary

    • Wall Street’s advice on how to prepare for possible market corrections has always been the same.
    • No matter what happens people will still have to eat, drink and take their medicine.
    • So consumer staples, food, beverage, healthcare and drug companies will do well even in market downturns.
    • Nervous investors now piling into those "defensive" areas would be shocked to know how terribly they have performed in previous market declines.
  • Is Housing Ringing The Stock Market's Bell Again?
    Fri, Apr. 25 REZ, RTL, PKB 13 Comments

    Summary

    • It is said they don’t ring a bell at stock market tops.
    • However, the housing industry has sometimes been quite adept at doing so.
    • Is it currently ringing its warning bell again?
  • More To Economic Slowdown Than Weather
    Thu, Apr. 17 SPY, DIA, QQQ 15 Comments

    Summary

    • Hopes are currently that the weather was so harsh that it had an unusual impact that accounted for the economy’s problems.
    • It’s widely expected, or at least hoped, that economic reports for March and April will show a significant bounce-back that will confirm that assessment.
    • So far, the picture is not all that reassuring.
  • The Market Is Too Dependent On Hopes That Await Evidence
    Sun, Apr. 13 SPY, DIA, QQQ 8 Comments

    Summary

    • The market remained positive, near its December peak for three months, primarily based on these four hopes.
    • At this point it needs more than hopes. Meanwhile, the volatility has spawned loose talk of bubbles and crashes.
    • However, both bubbles and crashes are extremely rare events, neither likely to take place.
  • The Market's Annual Seasonality Is A Real Concern This Year
    Sat, Apr. 5 SPY, QQQ, SH 11 Comments

    Summary

    • The thought of Sell in May type seasonality is out of favor this year.
    • After all, it failed to outperform the market for two straight years.
    • Here's why it could come roaring back big-time this year to bite the unwary investor.
  • U.S. Market Swimming Against An Ominous Global Tide
    Fri, Mar. 21 SPY, SH, SSO 23 Comments

    Summary

    • The U.S. market has only been stalled so far this year, Dow down 1%, S&P 500 up 1%.
    • However, global markets outside of the U.S. have been in retreat, some in substantial bear markets.
    • The rising tide of global market declines raises the risk that the U.S. market will not be able to endure against that tide much longer.
  • Can U.S. Markets Avoid A Serious Correction Again?
    Fri, Mar. 14 SPY, DIA, QQQ 15 Comments

    Summary

    • Market decline this week is causing some concern.
    • At this point it is minor and hardly a blip on the charts.
    • But that does not mean it should be ignored.
  • Safe Havens Are Trouncing Stocks So Far This Year
    Mon, Mar. 10 GLD, GDX, TLT 2 Comments

    Summary

    • Investors are going crazy for stocks.
    • Perhaps looking in the rear view mirror at last year’s big gains, they have unusually high portfolio allocations skewed to stocks from bonds.
    • Yet so far this year stocks have gone almost nowhere, while safe haven bonds, and particularly gold, are significantly out-performing the stock market.
  • Markets Still Loving The Economy's Increasing Problems
    Fri, Feb. 21 SPY, SH, SSO 12 Comments
  • Watch For A Taper Time Out
    Fri, Feb. 14 SPY, SH, SSO 26 Comments
  • The Economic Outlook Is About More Than Just Jobs
    Sun, Feb. 9 DIA, SPY, QQQ 3 Comments
  • Bonds Are Defying Dire Forecasts
    Fri, Jan. 31 PLW, GOVT, TRSY 8 Comments
  • Was The Fed Too Hasty With Its Taper Decision?
    Fri, Jan. 24 SPY, SH, SSO 29 Comments
  • Don't Blame The Weather For Dismal December Economic Reports
    Thu, Jan. 23 SPY, IVV 2 Comments
  • The Jobs Report Rained On New Fed Chair Yellen's Honeymoon Period
    Sun, Jan. 12 DIA, VWO, EWW 4 Comments
  • Will The Market's 2013 Winners Also Be Winners In 2014?
    Sun, Jan. 5 GLD, SPY, GDX 1 Comment