Sunday, July 12, 2009

Biding Time Ahead of Earnings Onslaught

- Biding some time ahead of earnings onslaught.
- Earnings will tell more on the economy.
- SP500 to make a decision this week.

A little stage fright before weekend, earnings.

Friday the market did what it has done pretty much since Wednesday. It is moving flat and laterally ahead of the earnings onslaught. Investors are basically biding their time until companies come out with their earnings and tell us what to expect for the future. There was no definite trend on the day. Friday was a lot like one of the time trials this year in the Tour de France: it was up, it was down, and it covered a lot of ground, but in the end did not go anywhere. It was a volatile session that basically closed flat with the indices bracketing the zero line.

There was quite a bit of news on Friday. Chevron posted a profit warning, and Chevron is in the energy sector so that weighed heavily on the energy stocks. Of course they have already been hit rather hard over the past three weeks, so there was not a lot of additional damage done. It was just like throwing another wet blanket on top of the sector.

Corporate bond sales data came out, and they are tumbling. They improved over the spring, assisted by all of the Fed facilities that it had put in place. As seen over the past month, corporate bond spreads have widened and sales have tumbled. That makes some sense when you consider that CEOs the insiders are selling at the fastest rate in two years.

The Chinese came out with their June trade balance and it was a mere $8.3B versus the $15.5B expected; they expected more of a surplus. In other words, China keeps its surplus up by shipping more goods overseas; it is a net seller because it does not consume much of what it makes. When its surplus declines, that means it is selling less across the world, and that has people concerned.
That had the theme going again on Friday about whether or not the world economies are going to go into a double dip recession. After the market opened up, Michigan Sentiment came out and pretty much tanked. It fell to 64.6, down from 70.8 the prior month and expectations of 70. Nonetheless, sentiment is flagging. The market is down the dollar is weaker. Looking at the polls, investors and voters are worried about the spending that is ongoing in Washington and the additional spending planned. Cap and trade is a huge tax on people and they are worried about that as the economy is down and they do not have jobs. Then you have healthcare. There is worry that people will not have the same quality of healthcare they have had and it is going to cost a lot more than anticipated. After all, the initial costs of Medicare Part B were triple what the Bush administration estimated. That is always the case. The government will give a lowball figure and then fail to meet it, unlike the private world where you manage expectations. You say you can do something in three weeks, and then you do it in two and look like a hero. The government does not care and it has no reason to it is the government.

On the upside, GM announced that it was coming out of bankruptcy after just 40 days. That had all of the commentators across the news channels and the financial stations going on about what a great job they had done to get out of bankruptcy in just 40 days. I say if you get tens of billions of dollars from the federal government, if the federal government allows you to renege on your secure debt contracts that you made (that were made specifically in the event that you went into bankruptcy, and they would be paid first), well then you SHOULD come out of bankruptcy in 40 days. With all that help, if you do not there is something seriously wrong. Sadly, there is still something seriously wrong with GM because it is going to be a government run auto company.

We could have gone through a period of creative destruction where the old is thrown out and the new that works and creates new technologies comes in. Sure, everyone is worried about GM and Chrysler failing and then not being able to manufacture tanks and the weapons that we need in case we have war. We need to have that taken care of, no doubt, but the problem we have now is that two of the three major car companies in the US are run by the government. Ford is going to have a hard time competing with that, and then all of the new companies in the car business that want to come in with new technology are going to be crowded out. There is a company up in Marble Falls or Round Rock, Texas that has come out with a hydrogen vehicle. It costs a lot of money but that is because it has not been sold much and has not been able to get access to the market. It is going to be crowded out of the market because GM is getting all of those government dollars to make green cars, and they are going to be cheap, crappy green cars, just as we had cheap, crappy American cars made back in the 1970's when we passed the CAFE standards that used a stick to beat auto manufacturers into producing cars that had improved gas mileage. We had a bunch of cruddy cars made as a result because they had to meet very strict timetables. That sowed the seeds of the destruction of our auto industry that we are paying for now.

The general theme of the market on Friday was the theme for the week: a worry that the world economic situation is going to double dip. In other words, there has been improvement after the initial plunge last fall, but now that there is no real stimulus hitting the world outside of China, there is fear that the free economies are going to drop into some sort of second recession or deeper recession than we are in now. Let us face it, we are not out of recession by any means we are deep in it. Mr. Roubini says that we could go another six months in recession. They call him Dr. Doom, but that sounds like a pretty rosy scenario coming from him. Maybe things are better or maybe he has now gone over from the dark side to the cheerleading side. If that is the case, there could even be 12 months of recession. I am not saying that will be the case, but we have to realize that the country does not have any real stimulus to lead us out of this, and there is nothing at this point that suggests any kind of serious turn going on in the economy.

Bond yields were lower and have been diving lower. The 2 year closed at 0.9%, and that is down from 1 1/2% just three weeks back. That is incredible. The 10 year closed at 3.3% and it was up over 4% just three weeks ago. The dollar itself is trending higher again, although it is having trouble getting over the 80 level in the dollar index. It closed higher at 1.3949 versus 1.4031 on Thursday. It was up all the way to 1.38+ Euros on the week, but came back by week end. What we are seeing is that the dollar and bonds are acting as a safe haven for the world investors. They are worried about the global economies double dipping, and when that happens they put money into the US dollar and US Treasuries. It does not matter that we have a $2T deficit, it does not matter that it is going to be 100% of our GDP next year --- times are that bad around the rest of the world where they are still willing to put their money into our greenback even as we try to debase it as fast as we can. That shows you the sorry state of world economies and makes Nouriel Roubini's comments about the recession lasting another six months look rather rosy.



Despite this news in the pre market, the indices were down but they bounced right up at the open. They rallied higher, and with all of the indices moving positive it looked like a strong session, but by mid morning they tanked and were back to negative. Then they started a slow recovery into the average. That is often the case you see a change mid morning, and that is what happened on Friday. Stocks rallied into the afternoon session and then they faltered, came back some, and by the close it was mixed. The techs and growth were a lit bit stronger, the NYSE large caps were a little bit weaker, but all were basically flat. There was a lot of running, but it did not end up anywhere on the session.


The internals are basically flat. 1.1:1 on NASDAQ and 1.2:1 on the NYSE. That pretty much matched the session with very flat action internally. Volume tanked and fell off even further below Thursday levels. We had that big, nice, above-average volume spike on Wednesday that took both NASDAQ and NYSE volume above average when the indices reversed off of their lows, but was not able to make anything of that toward the end of the week. Volume faded off and the indices faded laterally and moved nowhere to close the week.


No real change in the charts on Friday; from Wednesday to Friday there was just lateral movement and tight range. That is not necessarily bad, however. NASDAQ gained 3.48 points, up 0.2%. It sold below the May peak 1764 was the closing May peak and the 50 day EMA at 1760 on Tuesday, and it spent the rest of the week bumping back up against that and has now become resistance. It was support, broke through it, and it has been unable to break back above it. If it falls from here, that will become barely solid resistance. It is now back in the May trading range from 1664 on the low to 1764 (that May peak) on the high. It is pancaked right below that level. It is bumping it, but it cannot push through. If it falls back from there, that is not a good indication as it solidifies that level as resistance.

SP500 closed down as almost the mirror of NASDAQ. It was down 3.55 points, falling 0.4%. It finished the week with the same kind of action as NASDAQ with that tight range, but contrary to NASDAQ it is above its support level (where NASDAQ is right below a support level). NASDAQ has been the leader, but it has worked itself into an uncomfortable situation in terms of the upside. SP500 has already sold off ahead of it, and it has now found that support and been able to hold it and has been bouncing down intraday before kicking back up for the close. It is showing that there are buyers here, and it is an important level. 875 is an important level, 900 was an important level, 850 is an important level, and 800 below that. SP500 tends to move in chunks of 50, and it is right now trying to hold the line at 875 and bounce things back up. It can easily do that it has a shelf of support and it is trying to make the bounce so it can go back up to 900. When it is there, it becomes more problematic if it can make the breakout. If it bounces off of 875, it goes up to 900 resistance, but in my view it may come back down and test 850, maybe even 800. 850 is more likely. It may show strength that we do not think it has right now, it may break up and continue higher through 900. It will show what it is going to do. All we can do is be ready for whatever circumstance comes up. We have upside and downside plays to take advantage of that, and fortunately we are making money off of them.

The SOX gained 0.42%. It is trying to extend its bounce off of the short little double bottom that it has formed over the past three weeks. It looks decent but keeps running into resistance up at 260. There are some stocks in the SOX that are looking quite nice and setting up well, while at the same time there are others not doing so well. There is a dichotomy, and the SOX is somewhat dragging as a result as are all of the other indices. We could get some nice upside breaks from some semiconductor stocks next week as I will discuss later.


Again there were the chips - - stocks such as NPWR, MRVL, and VSEA and some others that are setting up. We own some of these and will be looking at some of them in the report over the weekend as possible plays to the upside.

Financials continued their nine-week slog. They are moving in a tight range, laterally and lower, but they are going nowhere and have gone nowhere for over two months now. That makes it very hard for the SP500 to break out of this range. It has been up and down a lot more than the financials have, but it has been unable to make the breakout of that range.

There are other large cap techs that people are talking about, such as AAPL. It looks like it could make a bounce up to its prior high, maybe even a little higher, but then there are others are not looking so hot at all. They are in their basing process or pullback and trying to find support and set up to move higher again. They are trying to find the extra buyers to push them back up. Energy, commodities, agriculture, industrials - - all of those that are tied to the world economy improving are deep down in bases or in deep tests. They rallied well off of the March low, but now they are testing deeply because of this worry, this theme that the world economy may double dip into a deeper recession than it is in now. That is keeping those stocks down as they are having a hard time finding buyers.

Leadership is still a work in progress. The indices are a work in progress as well, trying to set up and hold support and maybe break higher. I do not think it will be successful ultimately, and they will come back down and try again.


Earnings to provide the next chapter on the economy.

There is not a lot to say about the economy this weekend. There was more data out this week and there is a general theme of worry over the possibility of a double dip. Some data is improving, some is not. There is backsliding on some after initial improvement. Yes, there is always volatility when the economy turns, but the question right now is whether it is turning up or turning back down into that double dip.

Earnings will give the next read on what the economy is doing. Companies are going to give their insight as to what the future holds. They cannot be too glowing, and they cannot be too negative because they would get sued if the results turn out too far out of whack with the initial report. The results will be a relatively conservative but somewhat trustworthy view of what will happy in the future.

Overall, the data remains weak. The country is no longer going into that Great Depression II, so it has stabilized, but we are not rebounding significantly. That is why I feel lukewarm on commodities, energy, and industrials, and all of those that are tied to the world economy improving. Again, that is why the dollar is stronger, treasuries are gaining strength, and thus yields are falling. They are safe havens when times are tough. Thus the earnings coming out over the next two weeks will tell us where we are at this stage.

Thus far, earnings are beating expectations, but the reason is not an increase in top line sales, i.e. revenues, but improvement in the bottom line - - in other words, they are cutting costs. Those costs are jobs, hours worked, equipment, and processes so they can be more cost-effective. None of that is a problem (unless it is your job being cut, of course) because it makes the company more efficient and thus able to beat expectations. Expectations have been lowered, however, as analysts see the recession and overreact with their projections Thus companies are able to cut costs more than expected and beat the expectations.

So they may have a little pop, but overall is that changing the economic picture much? Of course it is not. Companies have a little more profit because they have cut costs but they are not going out and buying new equipment, they are making do with what they have. That is not the way to turn an economy around. You and I know that, but it can give false signals to those who are not paying attention, i.e., Washington DC - - our leaders in Congress and the administration. They hear earnings are looking better and they do not delve deeper. They listen to what they want to hear and see what they want to see, and then apply that to the programs that they want to push. That is the age old DC game. When the information comes out, they will say earnings are better so they can go ahead with what they are doing. Again, the reason earnings are better is not because the economy is growing, but because companies are doing what they always do in a recession, i.e. cut back. Technology companies are the best at this; after they got torn to pieces in the 2000 decline where they had to write off hundreds of millions of dollars of inventory per company, they are very good at this and they cut back early. They are much more productive and they avoid these kinds of hiccups. They can keep their earnings a little steadier --- they cannot avoid all of the problems, but can keep things steadier through the quarter. Look at what was announced Friday. It was announced that CSCO was going to cut up to two thousand jobs. It is cutting costs and things are not improving where it can hire more people or even keep the people it has. It has to cut jobs in order to reduce its overhead, keep its earnings up and its shareholders happy. That is what we are seeing in actual results, not just theory that I am spouting off about.

The economy has the same problem since this recession started. You have to get companies, small businesses and consumers to spend when there is no reason to spend. Business is bad, there is no reason to invest in equipment and personnel when you would just have to leave them idle or pay workers that do nothing. We have to get them to spend when there is absolutely no reason to spend. That is where you have to come up with the right fiscal policies to do that. We know what they are, we have seen them in the 20's, the 60's, the 80's, and we have seen them again in the 90's and 2000's. That covers a lot of administrations both Democratic and Republican. Unfortunately, now we have morphed into a situation where we think that only government spending and growing the government larger is the answer. That is not going to be the answer, and that is why I feel that Mr. Roubini's prognostication with respect to how long the recession will last might be a little bit rosier than it should be.



VIX: 29.02; -0.76
VXN: 29.33; -0.67
VXO: 28.91; -0.5

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 1.08; +0.01. Seven sessions over 1.0 in the past three weeks. That is now at that point it can indicate a bounce and with SP500 moving laterally at 875 there are some bounce factors coming together.

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: 42.7%. Stemming the recent decline a bit, rising from 41.47% though down from 43.6% and 44.8% the prior week. Hit a high of 47.7% on the run from the March lows. Steady rise from 36.0% in late April. 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: 30.3%. Modest gain from 29.9% as the bears grow along with the bulls; not the usual scenario. Bears continue their recovery after falling as the market rallied. Up from 23.3% just over a month back. 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: +3.48 points (+0.2%) to close at 1756.03
Volume: 1.635B (-10.63%)

Up Volume: 993.09M (-334.618M)
Down Volume: 666.283M (+134.473M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 1.14 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 1.03 to 1

New Highs: 6 (-10)
New Lows: 35 (+4)





Stats: -3.55 points (-0.4%) to close at 879.13
NYSE Volume: 922.161M (-8.34%)

Up Volume: 294.808M (-384.779M)
Down Volume: 613.143M (+295.949M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 1.19 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 1.67 to 1

New Highs: 17 (+6)
New Lows: 61 (+15)




Stats: -36.65 points (-0.45%) to close at 8146.52
Volume: 172M shares Friday versus 192M shares Thursday.



SP500 has a decision it needs to make. It is at key support at 875 and it is acting as if it wants to bounce. If it does, that is a very strong indication there is good support for the market overall as it shows the buyers are there ready to push it higher. Remember the liquidity is still out there, but it has to decide whether it wants to go into the market right now or go into treasuries or currencies. It is going to be put somewhere, and that is the place where it can make the most money. Right now, if the economy is going into a double dip, then it will find bonds and currencies as we have seen to be the case this past week. Again the market has to make a decision as to what it is going to do near term and it will likely make the decision this week.

SP500 could break back up to 900. It is holding 875, and though I still think it will ultimate fade to 850, it has not done that and of course the market is going to do what it is going to do. I think I have said that every night this week. That is the process it is working through --- the buyers and the sellers are fighting things out right at 875. Again, SP500 could easily bounce up to 900 off of this lateral, tight range formed to end the week. If it does, that is a strong indication and it could continue on higher. It behooves us to position ourselves to take advantage of whether the market moves higher or lower, or it bounces higher and then back down in this range. Tonight we have a four-step plan (not just the three step this time) on how to approach the week.

First, the action at the end of the week set up some downside plays. There were some bounces higher where stocks that sold off were bouncing back up, forming what you call a "bear flag." That is where a stock that sells off bounces up in kind of a check mark up toward resistance for 1-4 days and then it falls back down, continuing the downtrend. Some of those are setting up, and we see that some energy stocks (XTO, for example) look to be doing that right now. We can take advantage of those.

Second, there are some stocks that have sold off and are ready for an upside roll. If SP500 breaks higher off of 875, then these stocks could do the same thing off of their support and make a lift higher for a week or two as SP500 moves up toward 900. We can play those as they bounce off of a price support level, or it can be a Fibonacci level, or it can be a combination of both which would be best: price supports and the Fibonacci forms up and makes a double layer of support. As we know, that is often the case. Several factors line up at one level to provide excellent support or, the other way, excellent resistance for stocks.

Third, there are some good upside patterns already. I talked about semiconductors earlier. There are good stocks and good patterns in that sector, and we can try to take advantage of those if the market bounces higher and they break out.

Fourth, we can use the bounce up to 900, and if it stalls, then we would be looking to close some upside plays and maybe take some gain on some. If they have been laggards and not performing the way we would like, we can use that to close them out and prepare for more downside. Or, if the market continues higher, just put the money in other stocks that are moving better or have set up better. That is our four step plan looking out on this week.

That is a quick synopsis of the week. It ended without really changing the situation after selling off early in the week. SP500 held support, there are some rebounds, some possibilities for upside and downside plays because we are right in the middle of that trading range. I have some more Boy Scout duties to attend to this weekend, so I am going to jump on that as soon as I can. I will get to what I have as quickly as I can, but if it comes a little bit later or if we have to get something out to you on Sunday night, please bear with me because I want to make sure I keep the boys earning those merit badges. Have a great weekend.

Support and Resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 1756.03
The 50 day EMA at 1760
1770 is the mid-October interim peak
1773 is the May intraday peak
1780 is the November 2008 closing peak
1786 is the November intraday high
The 18 day EMA at 1790
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

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 1627
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 879.13
882 is the early May low
The 200 day SMA at 880
888.70 is the April intraday high.
The 10 day EMA at 895
896 is the late November 2008 peak
The 50 day EMA at 898
899 is the early October closing low
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

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 8146.52
8191 is the prior April peak
8197 was the second October 2008 low
8221 is the May 2008 low
8307 is the April 2009 intraday high
8315 is the February 2009 peak
The 18 day EMA at 8354
The 50 day EMA at 8355
8375 is the late January 2009 interim peak
8419 is the late December closing low in that consolidation
8451 is the early October closing low
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

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.

July 14 - Wednesday
Core PPI, June (08:30): 0.1% expected, -0.1% prior
PPI, June (08:30): 0.8% expected, 0.2% prior
Retail Sales, June (08:30): 0.5% expected, 0.5% prior
Retail Sales ex-auto, June (08:30): 0.5% expected, 0.5% prior
Business Inventories, May (10:00): -1.0% expected, -1.1% prior

July 15 - Thursday
Core CPI, June (08:30): 0.1% expected, 0.1% prior
CPI, June (08:30): 0.6% expected, 0.1% prior
Empire Manufacturing, Jul7 (08:30): -5.00 expected, -9.41 prior
Capacity Utilization, June (09:15): 67.9% expected, 68.3% prior
Industrial Production, June (09:15): -0.6% expected, -1.1% prior
Crude Inventories, 07/10 (10:30): -2.90M prior
Minutes of FOMC Meeting, June 24 (2:00)

July 16 - Friday
Initial Claims, 07/11 (08:30): 565K prior
Net Long-Term TIC Fl, May (09:00): $11.2B prior
Philadelphia Fed, July (10:00): -5.0 expected, -2.2 prior

July 17 - Saturday
Building Permits, June (08:30): 523K expected, 518K prior
Housing Starts, June (08:30): 530K expected, 532K prior

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

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

Technorati tags:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we the people should get the money like 50,000.00 so we can spend it paying off debt , purchasing goods etc the banks would get eventually through us