Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quiet Trade Leads to Russell Rebalance

- Friday basically a throwaway session as quiet trade leads up to Russell rebalance
- Sentiment climbs, but Consumers continue to save much more than they spend.
- Quiet positives: business profits, business investment rising more than thought.
- The lateral consolidation continues at a higher level for NASDAQ but the same old range for SP500. Not that bad for the summer.

Most just waited for Friday to end.

The Russell rebalance dominated the Friday action though the flat as a board trade up to the last half hour makes the choice of the word 'dominated' somewhat curious. But that is what the rebalance did: the market just sat around all day in anticipation of the volatility and volume to come in late and thus no one did much of anything leading up to the last hour. When it hit, volume spiked, some prices surged, and some prices purged. It was over and done in about an hour.

So there was the Russell rebalance that kept the indices basically flat on Friday, and the end of quarter window dressing on Thursday that influenced the last half of the week after that Monday dive lower to get things started. Again, Thursday was end of quarter window dressing; the program trading that took over and the areas sold and sectors subsequently purchased show the fund managers were sprucing up the portfolios for the quarterly statements. Why Thursday? Because Friday was the Russell action and next week is a short week (Friday off) for Independence Day when many on Wall Street are gone. Thus the dressing up was taken care of Thursday.

The end result for SP500 on the week was similar to Friday's action, i.e. pancake flat. The Monday dive and the Thursday rebound evened things out. Even Steven as Kramer called Jerry on 'Seinfeld.' That kind of action doesn't tell you a whole lot. Monday SP500 looked just a session away from 875, but it turned as fast as it sold. That leaves SP500 in the middle of its 900 to 950 trading range and us waiting for next week once more to fill in more of the picture.

Maybe, however, what the market did not do, sell off, is the real story. Yes SP500 went nowhere on the week, but it did test just below the 900 level and recovered. NASDAQ sold on Monday as well, but it bounced and rallied on through Friday. The underlying bias remains positive, there remains an overall bid under the market, thanks to all of that liquidity still getting pumped into markets around the world. The G8 may have talked about removing some stimulus at some point, but they have done nothing along those lines. That means the presses are still running and money is still hitting the world economies.

Even with leadership from energy and commodities dropping like stones the past two weeks, the overall market has not dropped significantly, i.e. it has not broken down. Yes the dipped but they are also holding support levels and working laterally. After 30% runs off the lows, lateral consolidations are very decent action. It can frustrate investors but we continue to see good stocks set up and give us good runs. This past week saw some key Chinese stocks break higher again along with, of all things, steel stocks. Early leaders lead early, and while SP500 was not surging higher, it was not breaking down and indeed NASDAQ managed to hold its breakout and rebound with a quite decent move.

This is very telling action in the bigger picture as stocks move into the heat of the summer quarter. It may not be that stocks get away without SP500 testing the 875 level before any significant upside move transpires. It takes awhile to consolidate those kind of gains, and a test of 875 is, as DeNiro said in 'The Untouchables', NOTHING. The fact SP500 is so obstinate in giving up any ground toward that level only underscores the continuing, underlying liquidity bias.


INTRADAY. Lower to flat on the open, lower to flat midmorning, lower to flat in the afternoon, and then, finally, moving positive in the last hour. It could not hold, of course, at least for the large cap NYSE and the chips. Still flat overall though SP600 managed a 1.25% gain; lots of Russell type stocks in the small cap area.

INTERNALS. Breadth was pretty decent considering the flat session (1.8:1 NASDAQ, 1.6:1 NYSE). Volume surged; rebalance trade. Thus the internals tell you squat, at least for Friday. Indeed they told us basically squat for the entire week, particularly with Thursday getting the window dressing treatment followed by the Russell rebalance on Friday.

CHARTS. NASDAQ added to its rebound after testing the May peaks and holding its range of support. Its breakout is intact, and the techs are looking very much like the leaders they are. SP500 was down then recovered, coming within 13 points of 875. Maybe you can call that the test. We are still looking for it to make at least that drop as things even out next week and the one-off events of this past week are put behind it. Nonetheless, as noted above, there is that continuing bid under the market, and the indices continue to hold support and work slightly higher as they consolidate. That is underscored by the rising 50 day EMA crossing over the 200 day SMA on NASDAQ in early June and on SP500 on Wednesday. That crossover has historically been positive for the stock market. Stocks tend to gain, in the aggregate, 20% in the year following such a crossover. Again, another indication of a continuing and serious bid under the market.

LEADERSHIP. China is here, Mr. Burton. Again with the quote from 'Big Trouble in Little China;' didn't make sense to Kurt Russell in the movie, but it makes sense here. MR and CTRP are running higher and we wish we were in more of the China stocks; just missed some that gapped away on us this past week. And if you look up in the sky you see not the man of steel, but steel stocks moving back up. Some big techs are moving, some chips, and some industrials are recovering. It is not, however, a broad advance with patterns in great shape to move higher. Energy remains in serious trouble; the rebound late in the week only makes for good points to roll back over. There are many good stocks, but as far as good sectors loaded with leaders, that is not the case right now. The recent leadership fell apart and only a few are stepping back up. That is consistent with a consolidation, but more stocks will have to form up better in order to eventually lead things out of the consolidation.


Better sentiment once more but more savings as well.

Michigan sentiment reported a brighter outlook at 70.8, up from 68.7 (revised from 69.0) and the 60.0 expected. Stock market gains accounted for most of the rise as higher gasoline and a bleak jobs outlook continue to weigh on citizens.

Indeed present conditions jumped to 73.2 from 67.7 while the outlook down the road fell to 69.2 from 69.4. That is typically the case when stocks rise and the consumer has a bit more money in the bank.

And in the bank is where it is. Incomes rose 1.4% thanks to the government tax rebates to certain segments of society. That beat the 0.3% expected and the 0.7% in April (revised from 0.5%). Real disposable income rose to 1.6%, but if you take out those tax rebates real disposable income rose a measly 0.2%. Private wage and salary payments fell 0.2%, the ninth straight month the private sector sees shrinking payrolls. Companies are still cutting back as the jobless claims and these figures show.

Spending, however, rose only 0.3%. That was up from the 0.0% prior (revised from -0.1%; see there IS progress), but it is not much. That pushed the savings rate up to 6.9% from 5.6% in April. As noted previously, citizens are scared. They are not spending extra money they receive because they are concerned about their jobs and the future. It thus goes under the mattress, and that sure doesn't help the economy much.

Even more, it again underscores what we should know from history, i.e. that if you want sudden impact (staying with my movie theme for the night) on the economy you have to require performance. In other words you only get the benefit if you spend. That insures the money hits the economy. Moreover, you don't tie it to obtuse purchases such as solar panels where you get $1,000 off a system that will cost you $40K to install. It simply is not going to happen unless you are a Hollywood type who feels it is 'cool' to spend some of your millions to be green (sticking with that movie theme), but of course if you make over $200K per year the credit is phased out. So, you have a credit for a $40K system that even if the credit was used those that can use it simply cannot afford even in GOOD times.

The moral of the story (or the simply lesson from history): you have to be smart about incentives. Tax cuts are good in general but they are not all created equal. More accurately, they are typically manipulated in a manner that makes them hardly useful. Thus an administration can crow about the tax cuts or incentives it provided but the real test is whether they work or are used. A credit unused is a recovery deferred, or something like that.

Could there be some economic recovery taking place?

The news remains bad on the economic front. You can try to sugar coat it or adjust the lights just right and make it look better, but the data is still bad. Sure it blipped higher for a couple of months but the recent more leading data is backsliding once more.

Our fear voiced a couple of months back was a double dip recession. That is where the economy rebounds some when it is recognized that Great Depression II is avoided. Businesses and consumers that had totally shut down then start to engage in some business again, not with the idea that everything is fine, but that they can emerge from the bomb shelters and walk around again. There is also a ton of monetary stimulus unleashed as the Fed slashes rates, buys treasuries, makes credit facilities available, etc.

Thus you have an improvement from the total shutdown. That is not the same, thing, however, as a recovery. It is a step back from the threshold of hell but the people are still feeling damned so to speak. You get that improvement and that ignites all of the excitement heard on the news channels about recovery underway. After that relief bounce from disaster, however, something has to take over and ignite real honest to goodness economic activity. With consumers not spending, credit and lending problematical, and the stimulus not really stimulus at all, the recovery is either very slow or mired in the mud.

Not ALL are backsliding.

That is why there is the backsliding in some of the key numbers. There are also key numbers, however, that are showing improvement.

Wednesday saw a solid increase in durable goods orders, up 1.8% for the second straight month. Most importantly, business spending rose 4.7%, its second gain in the last four months. That is hardly a string of winners, but the improvement is strong. There is some replacement buying ongoing and some inventory replenishment; you can only hold off for so long without getting restocked, though you need to talk to Home Depot about that. Went in there the other day to pick up some electrical connectors and of course the most popular sizes were out of stock. Went to get some PVC fittings and again, out of stock. With gas prices at $2.50/gallon it gets kind of expensive to go to HD and only get half of your items, then drive to Lowe's to try and get the other half. You would think with a recession there would be plenty of stock on hand, but then again you are dealing with HD. Will I never learn.

Of course, I digress yet again. That is what happens on a slow market day. So business expenditures on equipment and the like rose 4.7% in May. The Thursday GDP revision showed a loss of 'just' 5.5% versus -5.7% previously reported. There was another revision, however, and it dealt with corporate profits. They were revised higher $120B. Seems corporations are cutting back along with the consumer and saving money where they can. But as the durables figures show (and they are post-Q1 at that so things could be even better this quarter), business spending is up as well. So maybe they are spending some of the money they are able to save.

The irony of all of this is that consumers are saving at a 6.9% rate and businesses are cutting costs to improve their bottom lines as well (just look at the jobless claims continuing their strong weekly levels), yet the government is spending as if happy days are here once more. Stimulus that is not stimulus. A bloated budget loaded with pork when no pork was to be included in the Obama budgets; though we learned you CAN eliminate all of the earmarks by just not calling them earmarks. Brilliant! You can eliminate tax hikes as well by just saying you are letting rates go back to where they were. Push an energy bill that will spike gasoline prices and utility rates in a recession with the idea of reducing greenhouse gases, but then give every major polluter impacted free credits. Moreover the plan, by the most generous standards, would only impact temperature one-half of one-tenth of a percent. Oh, and at the bargain price of $1.7T over 10 years.

Of course what plan is complete without taking over healthcare. It is estimated by the administration to cost $1T over 10 years. Of course it is supposed to save us money. Yet it will cost $1T. I missed that day in math class. Of course I did make it to history class and if you apply the typical government cost multiplier to these kinds of projects and you get a minimum of $10T over 10 years. Just look at Medicare as your guide. So happy to see the federal government tightening its belt some. All of course, in the name of saving money. My wife 'saved' me several hundred dollars recently when she bought a bunch of stuff on sale. I am still trying to recover from that savings.

It strains the imagination at how our government can spend so much with so little economic activity to back it up. Of course it is using cheaper dollars. It has gutted the dollar (closed at 1.4069 Friday after making it into the 1.37ish range during the week) so at least we are spending cheaper dollars. Wow, that makes you feel better, right? Man, maybe someday even I could make it in politics if I am able to disassociate myself with reality. I tried that once, but alas, I did not inhale.

Now who do you really work for?

Now I think I began this section talking about how some areas might be improving. When you juxtapose the improvements against the anticipated outlays and you feel a bit, just a bit, the despair many of us are experiencing as we realize in just 5 short months the federal government has strapped another $500K in debt on every man, woman, and child in the US. That is just if the projected costs are accurate. They are not, so the debt is even more massive. Many people do not make that much money in their lives. They are going to WORK THEIR ENTIRE LIVES to pay off the government's debt. They are now in effect working full-time for the government.

The next tragic irony is that the government is going to raise taxes on those now working for it through the private sector in order to further pay for the bills. It won't just be on the 'rich'. The burden is too huge. Some quick calculations show rates need to rise 18% to 20% on everyone to even approach paying for this. Of course if you raise taxes, particularly in a recession, you will ultimately get much less tax revenue. Clinton got more revenue because the boom was underway; he could have kept tax rates flat and would have still had surpluses. The higher taxes combined with poor monetary policy decisions, however, doomed the very boom that brought the surpluses.

Now the feds may not raise income taxes on everyone, but they are going to raise taxes on things that everyone uses. Gasoline, health insurance benefits, corporate 'loopholes' (items designed in the law to make our businesses better able to compete abroad given our high tax rates), certain foods, activities. Heck they are even talking about imposing huge taxes on people like you and me that make money buying and selling in the stock market. They basically want to tax short term swing traders (anything less than a year) and particularly day traders out of business as they think we are leeches on the system. Surely they jest when they see the taxes we pay on our profits.

Mark my words: there will be a tax increase mania coming to pay for these bills. Income taxes on the 'rich' will be raised (and the definition of 'rich' will continue to drop in dollars) while the lower incomes Obama said would not have their taxes raised will see taxes on goods go up. The President might be saying he won't raise taxes, but all the President's men (another movie reference) are saying they will rise. That has been the pattern: President says 'no,' but then the actions say 'yes.' Actions, as always speak louder than words. The hikes will be framed as doing the patriotic thing, but people, there is NOTHING patriotic about funding a runaway government that is exceeding the bounds of our law of the land, the Constitution. It is our duty as laid out by our founding fathers and those that died for this country to hem in the government when it goes astray. With both the democrats and republicans runaway spenders that will sacrifice their principals for money in times of need it likely will come upon us, the taxpayers that fund the madness, to simply say 'no.' And unlike the Administration, we will mean it.



VIX: 25.93; -0.43
VXN: 26.53; -0.72
VXO: 25.35; -0.52

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 0.81; -0.09

Bulls versus Bears:

This is a reading of the number of bullish investment advisors versus bearish advisors. The reason you look at this is that it gives you an idea of how bullish investors are. If they are too bullish then everyone is in the market and it is heading for a top: if everyone wants to be in the market then all the money is in and there is no more new cash to drive it higher. On the other side of the spectrum if there are a lot of bears then there is a lot of cash on the sideline, and as the market rallies it drags that cash in as the bears give in. That cash provides the market the fuel to move higher. If bears are low it is the same as a lot of bulls: everyone is in and the market doesn't have the cash to drive it higher.

Bulls: 43.6%. Down from 44.8% as the choppy market is still culling the herd some. Fading from 47.7% it spiked to up from a low of 42.5%. Broke free from the 40.9% where it hung around for three weeks. Steady rise from 36.0% just 8 weeks back. Has passed 43.2% hit mid-April before anticipation of stress tests. Over the 35% threshold, below which is considered bullish, but this is not a bearish indication yet. Has to get up to the 60% to 65% level to be bearish. Dramatic rise from 21.3% in November 2008, the bottom on this leg. This last leg down showed us the largest single week drop we have ever seen, falling from 33.7% to 25.3%. Hit 40.7% on the high during the rally off the July 2008 lows. 30.9% was the March low. In March the indicator did its job with the dive below 35% and the crossover with the bears. A move into the lower 40's is a decline of significance. A move to 35% is a bullish indicator. This is smashing that. For reference it bottomed in the summer 2006, the last major round of selling ahead of this 2007 top, near 36%, and 35% is considered bullish.

Bears: 28.7%. Up from 26.4% and 23.3% the week before. Still well off the 37.2% and the 37.1% in mid-April as the rally continued higher. As with bulls, below the 35% threshold considered bullish and starting to approach bearish levels (for the overall market). Now far from off the high on this run at 47.2%. For reference, bearishness hit a 5 year high at 54.4% the last week of October 2008. The move over 50 took bearish sentiment to its highest level since 1995. Extreme negative sentiment. Prior levels for comparison: Bearishness peaked at 37.4% in September 2007. It topped the June 2006 peak (36%) on that run. That June peak eclipsed the March 2006 high (33%) and well above the 2005 highs that spawned new rallies (30% in May 2005, 29.2% in October 2005). That was a huge turn, unlike any seen in recent history.


Stats: +8.68 points (+0.47%) to close at 1838.22
Volume: 3.433B (+57.95%). That is some volume. Means nothing but that is a lot of volume.

Up Volume: 1.953B (-2.504M)
Down Volume: 1.665B (+1.399B)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 1.81 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 4.16 to 1

New Highs: 93 (+55)
New Lows: 12 (+4)


Gapped lower and then continued its bounce off the Tuesday test of the May highs. Held that 'range' of support from the November peak to the May highs and bounced nicely. Has set some good support at that level: it should act as support, but until it is tested and holds a bounce it is just soft support. Still not likely to break through the October gap down point, but NASDAQ is in the lead and showing great strength.

SOX (-0.08%) continued its bounce off the Tuesday low as well (where it held support at 250 to the dime), but it could not hold the gains scored Friday. Indeed on the upside it hit the March/May trendline and faded back. Chips remain important, but they also remain very volatile the past 2 months. Gave up a pair of breakouts and sold aggressively back to support. Holding for now but the action suggest more work to do.




Stats: -1.36 points (-0.15%) to close at 918.9
NYSE Volume: 2.128B (+80.73%)

Up Volume: 1.167B (+168.831M)
Down Volume: 1.08B (+957.415M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 1.58 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 3.99 to 1

New Highs: 36 (+11)
New Lows: 40 (-7)


Tight range, showing a doji at resistance at 918. Big Thursday bounce, nothing doing Friday given it was a day for the small and mid-caps. SP500 is holding the 900 level, falling to 888 on the week low, just over 875. SP500 is working in a higher range and a narrow range at that. For next week? SP500 showed good support just over 875, but we feel the trend lower to test 875 will continue with the end of quarter window dressing ending and the Russell out of the way. Overall, however, that still means a consolidating SP500 versus one rolling over and selling off.

SP600 (+1.25%) is making higher lows off the May test, two major ones thus far, the most recent last week on Tuesday. As with SP500 the small caps looked ready to dive lower then recovered, making that higher low. The pattern, as with the other indices, is still in transition.



Bounced off support at 8250, but stalled at 8500 on Friday. This keeps DJ30 right in the middle of its range from 8250 to 8800 with some inside resistance at 8588 from the May highs. Still working on it.

Stats: -34.01 points (-0.4%) to close at 8438.39
Volume: 307M shares Friday versus 222M shares Thursday. Gee, didn't even make it to average. Not much of a Russell influence on these stocks, however.



The FOMC is out of the way, window dressing likely won't be too much of a factor given it is a shortened holiday week, and the annual Russell rebalance is in the books. Of course there is the Chicago PMI, ISM index, ADP, and jobs report. Plenty packed into a shortened week. Earnings kick off again less than two weeks away, and that means warnings as well.

What does this mean? To us, the overall trends will reassert themselves and that means we are still watching for the indices to consolidate in this lateral move but also watching for SP500 to test 875. The indices are in a transition phase, consolidating the 30% rallies off the March low. Outside of NASDAQ with its clean breakout and hold of support the indices are in that in between phase where overall the patterns remain positive but they could form a head and shoulders bearish pattern. With all of the liquidity out there that is less likely. What it does mean is that the indices still have work to do.

Overall that means most stocks are in the same position, i.e. working through a transition, trying to base, trying to fight off some selling the past two weeks such as seen with energy stocks and commodities. Many energy stocks are still in trouble; they have bounced but not authoritatively. As with the indices, a lot of stocks still have work to do.

Picked up some good upside this past week or so even with the indices bouncing around. Looking for some more upside as the early leaders set up and attempt to make breaks higher. At the same time there are downside setups with the energy, industrials, and some commodities stocks bouncing back to resistance, forming some bearish flags that are good entries into the downside. With quite a few stocks in the bearish position near term that is another indication there is some more consolidation work ahead and that means SP500 could indeed show us that downside test.

Thus even though the indices are in a transition phase and not trending strongly (outside of NASDAQ though it is not a strong surge at this point), the market is yielding some good plays. We need to have some 'transition phase' targets, i.e. willing to shorten our profit horizons a bit near term, then if they continue to move we can let the remaining positions continue to run. Then if the market breaks out or breaks down we are well-positioned to reap strong returns. Right now we want to concentrate on entry points, i.e. picking good risk/reward points where the move is just starting. Then if it works we capture more of it and if it doesn't we have a good stop point to limit the downside.

Support and Resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 1838.22
1880 is the June peak
1897 is the October post gap intraday high.
1947 is the October gap down point
1984 from late September
2099 is the mid-September low
2169 is the March 2008 double bottom low

1786 is the November intraday high
1780 is the November 2008 closing peak
1773 is the May intraday peak
1770 is the mid-October interim peak
The 50 day EMA at 1748
1716 is the May closing high
1673 is the prior April peak
1666 is the intraday January 2009 peak
1664 is the May 2008 low
1661 is the April 2009 prior peak
The January closing peak at 1653 (intraday)
The 200 day SMA at 1645
1623 is the early April peak
1620 from the early 2001 low
1603 is the December peak
1598 is the February 2009 peak, the last peak NASDAQ made
1587 is the March 2009 high is getting put to bed again
1569 is the late January 2009 peak
1542 is the early October 2008 low
1536 is the late November 2008 peak
1521 is the late 2002 peak following the bounce off the bear market low
1505 is the late October 2008 closing low.
1493 is the October 2008 low & late December 2008 consolidation low

S&P 500: Closed at 918.90
919 is the early December peak is bending
930 is the May peak
935 is the January closing high
944 is the January 2009 high
956 is the June intraday peak

899 is the early October closing low
The 200 day SMA at 894
The 50 day EMA at 899
896 is the late November 2008 peak
888.70 is the April intraday high.
882 is the early May low
878 is the late January 2009 peak
The prior April peak at 876
866 is the second October 2008 low
857 is the December consolidation low; cracking but not broken
853 is the July 2002 low
848 is the October 2008 closing low
846 is the April peak
842 is the early April peak
839 is the early October 2008 low
833 is the March 2009 peak
818 is the early November 2008 low
815 is the early December 2008 low
805 is the low on the January 2009 selloff. KEY Level
800 is the March 2003 post bottom low

Dow: Closed at 8438.39
8451 is the early October closing low
The 10 day EMA at 8467
8521 is an interim high in March 2003 after the March 2003 low
8588 is the May high
8626 from December 2002
8829 is the late November 2008 peak
8934 is the December closing high
8985 is the closing low in the mid-2003 consolidation
9088 is the January 2009 peak
9387 is the mid-October peak
9625 is the October closing high

8419 is the late December closing low in that consolidation
The 50 day EMA at 8382
8375 is the late January 2009 interim peak
8315 is the February 2009 peak
8307 is the April 2009 intraday high
8221 is the May 2008 low
8197 was the second October 2008 low
8191 is the prior April peak
8175 is the October 2008 closing low. Key level to watch.
8141 is the early December low
The early April intraday peak at 8113
The early April peak at 8076
7965 is the mid-November 2008 interim intraday low.
7932 is the March 2009 peak
7909 is the early January low
7882 is the early October 2008 intraday low. Key level to watch.
7867 is the early February low
7702 is the July 2002 low
7694 is the February intraday low
7552 is the November closing low. KEY Level.

Economic Calendar

These are consensus expectations. Our expectations will vary and are discussed in the 'Economy' section.

June 30 - Tuesday
Consumer Confidence, June (09:00): 55.1 expected, 54.9 prior
S&P/Case-Shiller, Apr (09:00): -18.75% expected, -18.70% prior
Chicago PMI, June (09:45): 38.5 expected, 34.9 prior

July 01 - Thursday
ADP Employment Chang, June (08:15): -363K expected, -532K prior
Construction Spendin, May (10:00): -0.5% expected, 0.8% prior
ISM Index, June (10:00): 44.0 expected, 42.8 prior
Pending Home Sales, May (10:00): 1.1% expected, 6.7% prior
Crude Inventories, 06/26 (10:30): -3.87M prior
Auto Sales, June (14:00): 3.3M prior
Truck Sales, June (14:00): 4.1M prior

July 02 - Friday
Nonfarm Payrolls, June (08:30): -370K expected, -345K prior
Unemployment Rate, June (08:30): 9.6% expected, 9.4% prior
Hourly Earnings, June (08:30): 0.2% expected, 0.1% prior
Average Workweek, June (08:30): 33.1 expected, 33.1 prior
Initial Claims, 06/27 (08:30): 627K prior
Factory Orders, May (10:00): 0.2% expected, 0.7% prior

By: Jon Johnson, Editor
Copyright 2009 | All Rights Reserved

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

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