At an Intersection Waiting For The Light to Change

INVESTOR’S first – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 27,674
S&P 500: 3,085
Nasdaq: 8454
Russell: 1,593
Friday   November 8, 2019
 9:15 a.m. 

Let me open with a pitch for the annual Stock Trader’s Almanac, just out. Purchase is accompanied by frequent market analysis to keep it current.
I purchased the first Almanac in 1968, Its founder/publisher, Yale Hirsch, is a legend in the investment analysis/publishing business with many groundbreaking stock market discoveries  in recurring technical patterns and seasonality.
The good news is, it is power-packed with daily, weekly, monthly savvy. The bad news is, once you start reading, all else takes a back seat. Son Jeffrey has taken it over and adds a whole lot more each year plus frequent follow-ups  to this treasure trove of timely information. Contact: 978-750-8400.
The Street is in a quandary, the market is seriously overvalued on a historical basis, unless corporate earnings find a way to rebound.   That is generally expected to happen next year but that is  where a problem exists.  If earnings DON’T rebound, the Street will have to revise them downward, which with an overvalued market spells bear market.
        I believe they will be revised downward, as a recession looms  in spite of the Fed’s efforts to prop the economy until the 2020 elections are over.
        Is the Fed politically biased ? It looks like it, but for whom ? Yes, delaying would help Trump – if he runs.( I don’t think so, I sense Nikki Haley will be their candidate).  If the Fed feels the  need for a change, they may want to make sure the recession/bear market is in full swing by mid 2020. They have the power. It would be nice if they understood the need for stock prices to find a level that discounts reality rather than trying to micro-manage levels, which the tend to screw up on a regular basis.   Bankers !
Don’t take impeachment proceedings lights whatever your political preferences.  This process could expose a whole lot more than expected. Loss of the Presidency, Senate, House  and more changes stock market dynamics, bad initially, good long-term.
Off and on, I have referred to this as a bubble that will burst when least expected. When that happens, the market will plunge so sharply, investors will have no time to protect their portfolio from nasty losses.
The key here is, how much of  the positives ( rate cut, better than expected Q3 earnings, trade talk progress) have been discounted at these lofty levels.

Minor Support:DJIA:27,651; S&P 500:3,104:3,076 ; Nasdaq Comp.:8,427
Minor Resistance: DJIA:27,741; S&P 500:3,087; Nasdaq Comp.:8,497

Thursday  November 7  “Trade Breakthrough  ?    Careful !

The market will get a boost today from news that China says a deal would result in the United States rolling back tariffs. At this time, it looks like progress would be pursued  step by step  as points are negotiated.
     But one reason stocks are hitting new highs is just that – perceived progress.
We already know everything appears to be pushed into December as the two countries haggle over a location to have talks.
Even so, stocks need some tangible news on trade before doubts set in “again.”
This is so classic with dominating issues between countries – On again, off, again, on again……
The announcement takes the heat off both leaders and gives them a better chance  at negotiating small concession rather than one big all encompassing  solution.

Obviously, a disappointment in U.S./China trade talks would whack stocks at this pricey level
But the real sleeper would be any significant downgrade in 2020 earnings.  That is not expected  at this time based on what I see on FactSet and  searches on Google.
As noted often, the Street is unconcerned (clueless) about impeachment proceedings  launched against President Trump. It is serious as it stands.  What is more serious is, where this can go.  It may be just the beginning.
 That is another thing the Street hasn’t taken time to consider…. That is what a Fed micro-managed bull market can do to sensitivity. The stock market is no place for delusion….for long.
Conclusion: Favorable trade news out of China, how about the United States ?  Does it go along or have a different solution. Failure to go along kills a rally from lofty levels.  Agreement with China’s concept  is worth more upside.
Wednesday  Nov. 6  “Street in Denial – Economy, Trade, Impeachment”

After Reuters reported progress in U.S./China trade talks and a likely delay in U.S. tariffs on European autos, the stock market cannot afford any disappointments.
       In fact, at these levels, the stock market is vulnerable, and unless news gets much better from here, the stock market is fully priced.
In November 2016, the Street  celebrated the election of Donald Trump with a strong rally in the stock market.
But the Street has not given consideration to his removal from office via resignation, impeachment/conviction, or defeat in 2020.
With impeachment proceedings well underway, it is likely it will begin to think about alternatives.
A 10-year old bull market wipes out memories of the  most recent bear market (2007 – 2009) where the S&P 500 dropped 57%. At the time the world looked like it was ending, and without gallant efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations and the Fed, we would still be recovering from a global meltdown.
I think tops are tougher to call than bottoms. No one wants bull markets to end, everyone wants bear markets to.  Unless a bear market is triggered by dramatic news, tops take longer to develop as the market begins to sense worsening economic news. However, investors are usually in a state of denial trying to eke out one more big score, and with prodding by the pros in the Street, they keep buying.
Bottoms tend to develop faster, as mounting fear convinces investors prices will continue to fall, and they better sell out completely, resulting in one or more selling climaxes until there are no sellers left.
So, where am I going with all this ?

The end will come when it is least expected, and the outcome will be ugly. Be sure to have a cash reserve and sit close to the exits with the restyou’re your holdings.

Tuesday Nov. 5, 2019 “Bubble  Expands Further”
The next  12 months will be wild as impeachment proceedings move forward, trade talks stir anxiety, and the U.S. economic numbers flow in indicating recession or a pause before a recession.
So far, the Street has a single focus – BUY regardless of any outcome. Most of these decisions are computer based, with human tweaks now and then. That is the primary reason that the Street ignores looming negatives.
Expect “DOW 30,000” to be hyped, as well an economy that is finally recession-free.
What I am reading suggests otherwise, but investors don’t want to hear that in bull markets, and that is why they get hurt in bear markets.
Some investors will think they can sell near the top but not until they make some more money before then.  Some are sure they can ride out a recession/bear market over 6 to 15 months then start making money all over again for the next two to four years.
The problem with that logic is after a 30% plunge in prices the news environment becomes so negative that investors begin to fear that  lower prices are inevitable and the safe thing to do is “sell” with losses big enough it takes years to recoup the damage done by the bear market.
The Fed has decided it will micro-manage the economy and stock market. I don’t think Fed Chief Jerome Powell is smart enough to do that. To his credit though, I don’t think anyone is smart enough to micro manage anything so huge and unpredictable.
You see, there are always several balls up in the air in that business any one of which can come down when least expected and change to situation.
One of those balls already came down – impeachment. The other is the Feds attempt to goose the economy and stock market when the latter is already significantly over valued based on prior valuations.
Another ball that can come down is global depression. I don’t expect that, no one does, and that is why it can happen. This would feature economic stagnation at zero growth levels and a stock market that after a 50% decline has no more bounce than a soggy playground soft ball.
Yet another ball that can come down is one that no one on earth suspects !!
Be very careful here.  With a new market high hyped whether it is a fraction of a point or many points, the urge to go all-in surges.  It’s called a “BUBBLE.”
Monday Nov 4  “I Am Wrong….so far   Bubble Still Bubbling – Careful
OMG !   The bubble of all bubbles.  Why is the Fed doing this ? Three rate cuts in less than a year.

It’s like the alternative is unthinkable……NO ! what the Fed is doing is unthinkable !

With their rhetoric, the Fed is sucking investors into the market as the major averages are hitting all-time  highs.  This is what the Fed normally does in recessions when stocks are plummeting.

The Shiller price/earnings ratio is higher than the 1987 Black Tuesday crunch (down 36%), than 2007 Great Bear market ( down 50%), but still below the 2000 dot-com bubble burst ( down 57%).

The DJIA is set to  follow the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite with a breakout of the trading range that has constrained it for two years. The NYSE Composite still has a way to go.

Axios points out that the S&P 500 is up 4% since optimism was announced October 11 about phase one of the U.S./China trade talks.  Odds favor more announcements of progress on trade coming out of the White House as impeachment proceedings move forward.

Bottom line:
I have been wrong  here with my warnings about the direction of stock prices. I expected a bull market top which historically occurs months ahead of a recession.  According the A. Gary Shilling’s November “INSIGHT,” we are in a recession, and he backs his conclusion with facts and reason, referring to the consumer as the “last straw.”
There is no sanity in the expansion of bubbles, they have to run their course.
The danger is they are irresistible for investors who are drawn in deeper and deeper until the inevitable burst and plunge.  Adding to investors’ demise is they are drawn in even more so by the initial plunge, thinking this is a “gift.”
It is a ride that is moving too fast for anyone to get off. Besides, humans being human make it impossible even if they saw the break coming.

Friday  Nov. 1  “Fed’s Bold Gamble…Just That ….. a Gamble”

The market will just  have to digest what is going on, including corporate earnings, conflicting economic reports, stock market seasonal tendencies (Best Six Months), Fed policy panic, and impeachment procedures.
The latter is the wild card, the only known is that it will be divisive in a political environment that is already divisive.
So far, the Street couldn’t care less  – NOT smart !   Confidence, or a dearth of it, rules in the end as far as stock prices are concerned.
But decisions on Wall Street are so “algoized” it’s hard to tell when a change in analyst/money manager marching orders will occur, but any change from the automatic buy at any price mentality to defer purchase or “sell” will have an immediate, profound impact on the market.
Obviously, the Fed has ramped up its quest to micro-manage the economy and stock market – BIG mistake !
Hands off,  at least as far as the stock market is concerned. Let it find a level that discounts known and prospective conditions and events.
Fed policy is now what it would normally be, after a recession and bear market are already well on their way, so what will the Fed do if this effort to head off a recession/bear market fails ?   Uncharted waters.

Thursday  Oct. 31  “Fed PANIC !   Begs the Question – Why ?”
      Fed Chief Jerome Powell had this to say at his post-FOMC press conference yesterday. “There’s plenty of risk left, but I have to say the risks seem to have subsided.”
Really ?   Why then, did the Fed decide to cut interest rates for the third time in less than a year ?
Powell has  to stop sugar-coating the situation. If the economy is bad enough to cut rates three times in less than a year, the Fed is doing investors a huge disservice by sucking them in at all-time market highs where the S&P 500 is more overpriced than any time in history except the 1999-2000 dot-com bull market highs which preceded a 50.5% drop in the S&P 500 and 78% drop in the Nasdaq Comp.
      As I see it, the Fed is panicking in the face of a global recession and a presidential election next year.
Some progress is expected on the U.S./China trade front – both countries are feeling the pain of tariffs and the damage it is doing to corporate decision making.
Trump needs a win during impeachment proceedings, so he will do his best to ensure some progress.  Xi Jinping, China’s president, will likewise make concessions unless he decides to play hardball with Trump under pressure from within his own country.
Bottom line: The Fed is doing now what it normally does after a recession is well underway when the stock market is down sharply, not historically overvalued.
If it fails to head off a recession, it will have little firepower to prevent the recession from getting worse and lasting longer.

Wednesday Oct. 30 “Street Worried About Fed Rate Cut Today ?”
     The first of three estimates of Q3 GDP came in today at annual rate of  1.9%, better than the Street’s 1.6%, a positive  unless the Fed decides not to announce a  cut in its fed funds rate today.  While the Q3 GDP is better than expected, it is lower than Q2’s  growth rate of 2.1% and  Q1’s 3.1%.  The next key report will be the Employment Situation report  at 8:30 Friday.
While this market is overvalued historically, one more push up is possible in response to better than expected Q3 GDP and Q3 earnings that so far are above expectations though  projected from intentionally low-balled levels.
The stock market bubble continues to deflate then inflate, chasing investors out only to suck them back in – a highly risky situation.
No one want to miss out on an opportunity to make more money. That has to be weighed against one’s tolerance for risk if  the next move is down 35%-45%.

What No One on Wall Street Wants to Hear
>We are in the late innings of an economic expansion, so a recession is a good bet. The current expansion started in June 2009, has lasted 122 months, the longest  in history, twice as long as the average length of 11 cycles since 1945.
> Of the 10 recessions since 1950, the average time between the low point in the unemployment rate and the start of a recession was just 3.8 months.  The unemployment rate is 3.5% which was hit in September.  Technically, we won’t know when the start of the current recession is official for months after the fact, since that conclusion is  reached by the Nat’l Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and they consider  host of economic indicators.
>Bear markets lead the beginning of recessions by 3 to 12 months.  The current bull market at 126 months is 4.2 times the average of the last 15 bulls going back to 1957
 >Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
George Brooks
Investor’s first
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.










Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.