Daily State of the Markets
Good Morning. The popular press was all over the fact that yesterday's bounce higher in the stock market put an end to the first six-day losing since the dark days of the Credit Crisis bear market. And while I may be interpreting the message wrong, it felt like several sources were implying that the rally also meant an end to the corrective phase was at hand. However, the key question after a day like Thursday is this: Did anything happen to change the environment?
Any market analyst worth their keyboard knew that stocks were oversold and that the market sentiment had become dour. And most everybody who watches the game closely knew that this type of condition generally (but not always) produces a rebound at some point. So, now that we got the requisite oversold bounce, the questions that need to be asked include: Was there any news that impacts or changes the current environment? Are the reasons for the decline still intact? Were there signs of short-covering or any "real" buying? And finally, how was the action around important technical levels on the charts?
So let's see... On the news front, there were no obvious catalysts to make traders sit up and say, "Hey, we've got it wrong - Buy 'em!" The jobless claims were below expectations and still comfortably over the 400K level. Thus, that's a minus. The Trade Deficit did come in better than expected and was touted as a positive. However, my first reaction was, "Really? When was the last time anybody cared about that number?" In addition, if you actually read the report, it became clear that the reason for the improvement in the trade deficit was the supply chain interruptions in Japan - which isn't likely to last very long. Next, was Wholesale Inventories, which was also below the estimates. So, this too was a minus.
However, there were some items that seemed to perk up the spirits of traders yesterday. First there were the comments from the ECB. And while you had to read between the lines and draw your own conclusions, the message from the ECB was viewed as being constructive. The central bank said it would provide unlimited liquidity to the banks in the region and although there was talk of a rate hike in July, the ECB did not increase its inflation target for the rest of 2011. Thus, one could argue that Trichet & Co. might be backing off their hawkish stance - at least temporarily.
There was also a fair amount of chatter about the outlook for Greece yesterday. And since the current decline is being sponsored by a "soft patch" in the U.S. and the uncertainty over Greece, this remains a hot topic. While there was no clarification on the subject, one does get the impression that the powers-that-be in Europe aren't going to let this situation get out of hand. Thus, any resolution here would be worth a nice pop to the upside for stocks around the globe.
Getting back to the question at hand, it is safe to say that the Dow did manage to break an ugly losing streak. However, we're going to suggest that nothing really occurred to alter the reasoning behind the decline. And the "action" around the S&P's 150-day moving average wasn't terribly inspiring either (although that could quickly change). As such, it is my humble opinion that we're back to the title of yesterday's missive: How Much is Enough?
The one thing that did appear to change yesterday is that the calls for QE3 grew louder and more frequent. Whereas the idea of Bernanke's gang buying more bonds was all but dead a few weeks back, it now appears that there is a growing chorus for the FOMC to once again ride in on their white horses and push stock prices higher. Personally, I don't think the data warrants such a move. However, should the economic reports start to take a turn for the worse; well, we just might see Mr. Bernanke choose to take out another insurance policy on the economic recovery.
So, despite the fact that stocks remain oversold and the bulls might deserve some further upside, it is probably best to remain cautious at the present time. Remember, this bull market is now in its third year and as of April 29th; the S&P had doubled in value (+101.5%) from the March 9, 209 low. I'm just saying...
Turning to this morning... Concerns about Greece continue to be the focus as there did not appear to be any momentum created by yesterday's bounce on Wall Street. Given that it is a summear Friday, things could definitely pick up as the day progresses. But so far at least, it looks like a soft open.
On the Economic front... The government reported that Import Prices for the month of May rose by +0.2%, which was above the consensus for an decline of -0.7%.Export prices also rose by +0.2%, which was below last month’s revised level of +0.9%.
Thought for the day... Best of luck on this Friday and be sure to enjoy the weekend!
For more of Mr. Moenning's commentary, market analysis, and portfolio ideas, visis TopStockPortfolios.com
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