Sunday, April 11, 2010

Earnings are the Focus

- Market starts higher for a change, melts upward into the close.
- Still overlooking Greece and other Europe issues, anticipating bailouts.
- China has to act on the yuan as Chinese inflation explodes.
- With all the economic data out of the way, well most of the important ones, earnings are the focus. A rally into earnings begs a selloff on the news?
- Longer term the momentum is for a continued economic recovery through Q3 sans a Greece or other blowup.

Higher start, higher close equals new rally highs but not overly convincing.

Higher start, higher close equals new rally highs heading toward earnings.

The stock market took a different track on Friday, but it was a difference without any real distinction. Instead of starting lower like it has most sessions this week, futures were gapping up and stocks started higher. They tried to give some of the gain back early on, but there was a slow melt higher through the day with a more rapid climb in the last hour. Instead of the bullish low-to-high action intraday, there was a still-bullish high-to-higher action on the session. Often leaders seem to have excessive valuations and people will shy away from them thinking the stock is overpriced and will crash. However, when money is coming into the market in a bull run, expensive stocks can become more expensive. The market will eventually spit them out, but that is not the case right now. Once more, the market melted higher from the open and the indices posted new rally highs.

There was mixed news on Friday, but the market is definitely in the mode of whistling past the graveyard. It is looking at the positives even in the negative stories, and it is seeking out good stories. They do not have to seek to hard to find the good. The February wholesale inventories rose more than expected at 0.6%, and that was much better than the 0.1% in January. Sales rose 0.8% topping expectations as well, and inventories were up at the same time. They grew even though sales were higher, and that was a positive that helped motivate the market to the upside. It did not hurt that the dollar was down on the session; that added upside juice to the move as well. It is also the time of year to start looking at earnings. CVX said its sales were great and its margins were better than expected. That gave a shot in the arm to the energy sector. Even though oil has been surging, energy stocks have not been as strong, but they were out strutting their stuff on Friday as one of the leadership groups for the market.

It was not all great news, however. Greece is still a problem. Fitch, the rating agency, lowered Greece's credit rating to Triple B-. That is not the worst you can get, but it is not good. There were stories circulating again that there might have to be an international bailout of Greece. We are not just talking the IMF or the EU. That tells you how bad things might be over the Greece. There is a real worry that, as Greece goes, it will butcher the PIIG and roast it on the spit. That is a problem, but the market is not worrying about it. There is plenty of liquidity and good economic news in the US, and that is plenty of reason to overlook Greece for now. It could come back to haunt us, however. The market has taken the view that if there is a problem big enough to warrant concern, steps will be taken to bail out Greece. It seems like everyone is too big to fail right now, and that is a real problem for all of us. You cannot hold yourself up in the air; you have to have someone else to do it. When the last country turns to the country behind them and says "bail me out," and there is no one there, that means global troubles. I am not saying we are there, and we will not be there any time near term unless this accelerates to the point where it stalls out China, the US recovery, and India.

On Friday, it did not matter. The market was up and managed to post decent gains on the session. NASDAQ was up over 1%, and the SP500 closed up over 1% as well. There is definitely nothing stopping the assent.


Dollar. The dollar was down on the session. It was struggling, and it has been since making the new break higher in late March. It came out of the second consolidation since the downtrend break and has been bouncing laterally. It has not broken down, which is a positive, but it is testing the support line once more. The dollar did lose a bit of ground (1.3496 Euro versus 1.3349 Thursday). Earlier in the week, the dollar was near breaking below 1.32 Euro very strong move, but it has given some of that back. It remains in its uptrend, but it is getting choppier. That is something it did not show as much when it peaked on its second move. It is a very important week coming up for the dollar. There is nothing to impact the dollar other than what other countries do with respect to their currencies and interest rates.

Oil. Oil closed down on the session after surging earlier ($84.95, -0.44). Oil made the move higher and could not hold, but the overall picture is a trading range through early February, a breakout, and a rally. It is in test mode right now. On the lows on Thursday and Friday, notice how it tested around the 10 day EMA but snapped back each day. That shows there are buyers at this key level that was a breakout of the trading range. Oil, even though it was down, does not look like it is in trouble. The only thing that could hurt oil would be a collapse in Greece that cascades through the other PIIGS, or some trouble in China if its inflation gets out of control. That is one of the main reasons China is interested in loosening the peg on its currency somewhat; what is good for us is not necessarily good for China. With the yuan tied to the dollar, China has to seriously consider what it wants to accomplish with its currency.

Gold. Gold was up again slightly on the session ($1,161,+9.00). It was flat on Thursday and did give a nice test before taking off once more after breaking over the early-March peak. Gold is looking strong, and why not? There is inflation running away in China, inflation in Europe, and there could be inflation turning up here (but not yet).

Bonds. Bonds made a stellar recovery over the week as interest rates fell. Bond yields on Friday were slightly better with the 10 year US treasury going down a tick (3.88% versus 3.89% Thursday). Bonds recovered over this critical area, tested it on Friday, and then rebounded. Bonds have been selling because the Fed will have to raise interest rates at some point. Indeed, Hoening, the Kansas City Fed President, said that there needs to be an immediate rate hike to 1% in order to avoid the bubble that was created the last time ratings were held down artificially for such a long period of time. 1% does not seem high, but that is a start.



Breadth. The last move late in the day really helped the advance/decline line. NASDAQ moved up to 2.5:1 while the NYSE moved up to 3.3:1. At the end of the day, it really improved with the last melt higher. You cannot make too much of it since it was just buying ahead of the weekend and some positions getting squared away, but it was no slouch nonetheless. It was something of a positive.

Volume. Volume was up 8% on NASDAQ, putting it up to 2.1B. That gets NASDAQ a bit below average trade. NYSE rose 14% up to 1.2B, and that poppeds it into the average range or a bit better. Internals were quite nice on Friday even though it looked like volume would be lower. It pulled it out of the hat at the end and posted nice-looking action.


SP500. The volume shown on my SP500 chart is light; it does not show the 1.2 it turned in for the session. That is more in line with what we saw on Wednesday with the stronger trade. It was a pullback through Wednesday and Thursday, then a break higher on Friday that took SP500 to a new rally high. It had support from energy and from the financial sector. When those click, SP500 will perform very well, and it is moving nicely. It is still in the uptrend above the 10 day EMA.

NASDAQ. NASDAQ had another new rally high, and it even gapped higher on the session. Volume did back off to below average, but it did have decent trade during the week. NASDAQ is moving again to that rally high, and keeping its trend of the 10 day EMA very much alive. It was choppy a week back and was a bit choppy this week, but the trend is holding out. It continues to remain overbought, yet when these rallies run, stocks can continue to remain overbought for quite some time.

SP600. The small cap index posted a 0.5% gain. It was a laggard all week, but it posted a new closing rally high on Friday. It is still moving laterally after surging higher earlier in the week, but it is hard to complain about the SP600 chart as it continues to stair-step up the 10 and 18 day EMAs. There is plenty of momentum, and MACD is still to the upside. The small caps should thrive when the economic news the better, and the economic news has been solid, all things considered.

SOX. The SOX were up over 1%, right in line with NASDAQ and the SP600, but they were unable to hit new rally highs. They stumbled during the week and fell back more than the others, but they held over the January peak and are trying to bounce from there. MACD is still rising. I think there is still more to the upside with respect to the semiconductors. We have to factor in that earning are coming. Most everyone considers the indices overbought right now, and they definitely seem to be moving on the rumor of earnings. We have to be concerned that once earnings start to come out and the rumor becomes fact, this long run may need to take a break even with decent earnings. I want us to be careful. We have to mind our positions, and if there is another spurt higher next week and into the following week, we need to think about taking quite a bit of money off the table. Good earnings may spur additional upside at first, but then as is typical when you run into earnings after awhile it reaches a saturation point for good news and investors will take money off the table. That is particularly true when there has been a run like we have had through February, March, and now into April.


Technology. AAPL was up again on Friday. Not a huge gain, but look at the impress move after this lateral consolidation and then the rally higher. We bought in again on this move here when it broke higher, and continue to add to our positions. It is hard to stay away from the momentum. BRCM rallied sharply on Monday and spent the rest of the week pulling back, but it held the 18 day EMA and bounced higher on Friday. Very nice action, and I think there is still room to move upside for the chip stocks as well. AKAM had a nice move on Friday after a neat flag pattern on Wednesday and Thursday.

Retail. Retail was a standout again. WSM gapped higher, strong move, breakaway gap on strong volume. We saw this kind of action all week. NFLX had a strong week; it pulled back mid-week but was moving back up on Friday. There is a lot of strength in retail through all of the sectors. The restaurants were performing well. PFCB had a nice break higher, and BWLD took flight.

Energy. Energy enjoyed a very nice day thanks to CVX and it is talk of margins improving as well as sales. It was a strong move by CVX, breaking higher out of a flag pattern that pulled back over the last few sessions. UPL gapped higher and is trying to move out of this trading range that has trapped it ever since late January. I would love to see a rally near the 54-55 level out of this. With the higher volume gap to the upside, we may get it.

Industrials. Industrials had a good week. CMI gapped higher on Friday after a nice pullback during the week. JOYG is moving back up as well after a nice pullback. CAT gapped higher on Friday after a nice pullback. FWLT had a nice pullback, reverse head and shoulders, and break over the 200 day EMA. It tested, tapped the level on Thursday, and then back up on Friday.

Drugs. SCLN enjoyed a nice day with a huge break higher on big volume. The market keeps finding new leadership as money works its way around the market, looking for new areas to buy into, and sending the market further to the upside. That is a sign of a healthy market.


Whistling past the graveyard: Greece bailout is not a sure thing.

Bailouts have been assumed by the market, and it is understandable because bailouts were a necessity in 2008 across the world. Now they are continuing. Even though there has been a recovery, a lot of European countries are in trouble and will need help, but will the rest of the countries step up? We have seen the problems Greece has had in the last couple of weeks. The EU was going to bail them out, but Germany balked. The IMF was going to come in, and then the EU did not want that to happen. Then they hammered out a deal where it would be the EU, but the IMF would be standing buy in case of an emergency. Today I heard that we might need an international solution to the problem because Europe does not want to handle it and the IMF does not want to move in unless Europe will step up as well. Greece, of course, does not want to implement the austerity programs that the IMF and EU require. Also, the Greek swaps level topped Iceland's, and Iceland and possibly the worst financial situation on the planet right now. Bond yields in Greece hit the January panic levels. Greece is trying to place bond auctions, and it cannot find the buyers. It was lucky to get 30% placement out of its last auction. Very tough getting any money, and Greece has to have money for its debts. We cannot assume there will be a bailout because everyone in Europe is punting the ball down the road and all are looking back to us in the US. No one in the US is going to go for bailing out Greece, or any of the other PIIGS for that matter (MAYBE the UK). While everyone is assuming it will happen, we have to keep our eyes open and realize it may not. If that does not occur, there will be a sharp and swift correction in all world markets including the US market.

China has to adjust the yuan as 0% US rates may be good with our 10% unemployment, but not so great for a 10% GDP growth rate.

There is another interesting point that we have to consider, and that is with China. China has tied its currency to the US dollar. Interest rates at 0-0.25% may be fine for the US with our 10%+ unemployment. It is not exactly acceptable, but there is an argument for why it should be that low. On the other hand, China has 10% GDP growth, yet its currency is pegged directly to the dollar. What is good for the US when we have no real growth and no inflation right now is not a good thing for China with 10% growth and inflation that is starting to surge. China has to raise rates and get its currency higher. There is talk that it will. Giethner talked to China this week, and it was "leaked out" that China might do something to loosen the peg on its currency. That is no surprise because China has to come to grips with this or it will have massive inflation. It has to let its currency float higher. Unfortunately, that brings inflation to the USA because we have such a large trade imbalance. Everything we would import from China will suddenly cost more the day after it floats to the upside.

In short, China has to actually do something with respect to its currency. It was very comfortable having it tied to the US dollar, but it is not practical when its economy is surging and our economy is nowhere near as strong. If China gets inflation going and one of its bubbles pop, that could be trouble for everybody. There is no doubt China is in a bubble. A lot of real estate in Beijing is empty, but the speculation continues to run. That tells you that it is speculation driving it because the real demand is not there to keep the offices full. Here in the US, bonds have recovered, but bonds will continue to sell unless there is a major worldwide crisis. The Fed will have to raise rates, and the economy continues to improve in the US.

I would like to look at some of the positives of the US economy. Our recovery has not been as strong as others and has produced no jobs; indeed, there are over 1M jobs still lost versus over 1M jobs created by this time during the 1983 recovery. There is improvement in the charts in the trucking industry. ODFL is one of our plays, and it is looking solid. Some of the rails are looking solid as well KSU is a play. Freight-per-car in rails has gone up. Starting mid-2000, it reversed from the sharp selloff and has turned roughly in a V back to the upside. Same store sales came out on Thursday. We have seen, as of late 2009, roughly a V turn around there as well. Indeed, it posted a record high of 9.1% growth. The household survey has created roughly 1M jobs in Q1 alone. That is pretty much a V-shaped recovery. Then there are the profits for corporations. They hit a V bottom in 2009 as well and now have been surging higher. Even though the US economy is slow compared to prior recoveries, it is still recovering. It is just a question of the quality. The data is showing that there will be a continued recovery for the next two to three quarters. There may be trouble at the end of the summer, but it looks like it might be extended out to the end of Q3 with these numbers. Maybe it will continue from there. The big concerns have to be whether there is some blowup overseas. Without that, the US economy is looking at a good recovery. Inflation is a problem for us, and with the higher taxes that are coming down the pipe the higher cost with healthcare, etc. there will be issues. It will make the economy stumble later but, for now, there is so much liquidity in the market and around the world getting put to work. There is recovery ongoing. Unfortunately, most of the jobs are public jobs and not private sector jobs. That will be a problem when they disappear if there is no more creation of jobs. We will have to see how it works, but things are better near term. Longer term, we still have to worry, but we can still do well in the stock market until it starts pricing in times that are not so solid.



The VIX is moving down to the prior March lows even as the market overall rallies. That is exactly what you want to see: The VIX moving lower as the market moves higher. The real worry is when there are higher lows as the market moves higher; that shows much more important correction coming. If anything, the market is obviously a bit overbought. VIX is down to prior lows that undercut the early 2010 lows, so there could be a pullback, a consolidation, a modest correction. It is not indicating anything serious at this juncture.

VIX: 26; -0.51
VXN: 25.58; -1.34
VXO: 24.49; -0.94

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 0.98; -0.02

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: 48.9%. Inching higher from 48.3%, back to levels hit two weeks back. Still on the rise overall. Stronger but still below the mid to upper fifties from late 2009 on into January 2010 ahead of the selloff into February. This move started at a low of 35.6% in February, the lowest it has been since July 2009. Over the 35% threshold level below suggesting bullishness. After peaking at 53 on this move the bulls lost some nerve, falling to a new low post- July 2009. Once again bulls peaked out near the 50% level. Bulls have bumped at 50ish since late August 2009, falling to 45ish and then rebounding. Hit a high of 47.7% mid-June on the run from the March lows. Again, to be seriously bearish it needs to get up to the 60% to 65% level.

Bears: 18.9%. Creeping lower as bulls creep higher. Down modestly from 19.1% the prior week. Down from 20.5% and well off the 27.8% level on the high of this leg in February. Over 35% is considered bullish for the market, so still a ways off even though bulls are falling to a bullish level. Continuing the rise from 16%ish on the lows this leg where it held for several weeks. Peaked near 28% in November, falling short of the 35.6% hit in July 2009. For reference, cracking above the 35% threshold considered bullish. Hit a 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: +24.82 points (+1.17%) to close at 2150.87
Volume: 2.151B (+8.05%)

Up Volume: 1.75B (+1.192B)
Down Volume: 468.772M (-991.66M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 2.53 to 1
Previous Session: Decliners led 1.82 to 1

New Highs: 37 (+10)
New Lows: 28 (-2)





Stats: +13.78 points (+1.3%) to close at 1070.52
NYSE Volume: 1.239B (+14.14%)

Up Volume: 1.021B (+783.035M)
Down Volume: 181.355M (-656.274M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 3.32 to 1
Previous Session: Decliners led 1.72 to 1

New Highs: 68 (+10)
New Lows: 46 (+5)




Stats: +150.25 points (+1.52%) to close at 10058.64
Volume DJ30: 151M shares Friday versus 159M shares Thursday.



There is plenty of economic data out next week, but the real focus is on earnings. We have seen the jobs report and the ISM report, and they look solid. We will continue to look at the CPI on Wednesday, which will give indication as to inflation. The retail sales for March will come out, and they are important. Initial claims are also important, as well as the regional manufacturing reports such as the Philly Fed and the Michigan Sentiment. We have seen a bunch of good news and will now be looking at earnings. We have had a rally thus far, and I think there will be a further rally into earnings. Investors are pricing in all the good news. The profits increased, and maybe there will be better sales and, of course, better bottom line at the same time. After the news becomes reality, will it continue? I think there is a good chance it will continue through the end of next week and maybe the week after that. Next week, there is just AA and some others. The guts of it comes the following week, and that could make the difference. Investors will price in that good news as they have been, and then they get the initial word and stocks pop higher. After that, it reaches the saturation point where no news is good enough to cause investors to buy further. The market is already somewhat overbought. It has had a little pullback and is starting back up.

We will definitely look for other positions to buy. Even though it is overbought, if the market continues higher, (I think that is what going to happen), it can continue to move well beyond our expectations. If there are good stocks in position, we will take advantage of them and will buy into them. We will take them for what we can, but we also have to take earnings into account. When earnings come out, there can be gaps down or gaps upside. You have to decide what you want to hold into earnings. We have a lot of positions in great shape that have gone way up on us. If you have option plays, you might want to think about banking more of the money as we were doing this past week. When you look at your plays, think about what you want to do moving into earnings. Whether you want to hold them, hold part of them, sell options, hold just stocks whatever you want to do, have a plan and stick to it. I like to hold some of my positions into earnings, and I will continue to look for upside plays because that is what the market is showing right now. We just will not take as large of positions. We will scale back going into earnings. We have already scaled back a lot of our positions by taking gain off the table, but there are new ones that have not had a chance to build that gain. As they move forward, we will have to decide whether we want to hold them. It is up to you, so think about that over the weekend. We are going to continue to look upside, but with anticipation that we will have to take money off the table (or a big chunk of it off the table) within the next two weeks. Have a great weekend.

Support and Resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 2454.05
2453 is the August 2008 peak
2546 from July 2007

The 10 day EMA at 2423
2412-2415 represents a series of peaks and lows in 2007, 2008
2382-2395 from 2008
2324-2370 is a range of resistance from early 2008
The 50 day EMA at 2335
2320 to 2326.28 is the January high
2319 from the September 2008 peak
2292 is a low from January 2008
2273 to 2282 marks bottom of January 2010 lateral peak
2275 - 2278 from the February 2008 and April 2008 lows
2245 from July 2008 through 2260 from late 2005.
2210 (from September 2008) to 2212 (the July 2009 closing low)
2205 is the November 2009 peak
2191 is the October 2009 peak
2177 is a low from March 2008
2169 is the March 2008 closing low (double bottom)
2168 is the September 2009, intraday peak
2167 from the July 2008 intraday low
2155 is the March 2008 intraday low
2143 is the October 2009 range low
The 200 day SMA at 2141

S&P 500: Closed at 1194.37
1200 from the July 2008 low

1185 from late September 2008
The 10 day EMA at 1181
1170 is the prior March 2010 high
1156 is the Sept 2008 low
1151 is the January 2010 peak
The 50 day EMA at 1145
1133 from a September 2008 intraday low
Bottom of the January 2010 consolidation 1131 to 1136
1119 is the early December intraday high
1114 is the November 2009 peak is breaking
1106 is the September 2008 low
1101 is the October 2009 high
1084 to 1080 (September 2009 peak)
1078 is the October range low
1070 is the late September 2009 peak
The 200 day SMA at 1068
1044 is the October 2008 intraday high
The August peak at 1040
The early October 2009 closing low at 1025
The early August intraday peak at 1018
The November 2008 peak at 1006 closing 1007.53 intraday
992 is the August 2009 consolidation low

Dow: Closed at 10,997.35
11,100 from the 7-08 low
11,734 from 11-98 peak

10,963 is the July 2008 low
10,730 is the January 2010 peak
The 50 day EMA at 10,633
10,609 from the Mid-September 2008 interim low
10,496 is the November 2009 high
10,365 is the late September 2008 low
10,285 is the late December consolidation peak
10,120 is the October 2009 peak
9829 is the September 2008 closing high
The 200 day SMA at 9938
9918 is the September 2008 peak
9855 is the early September peak in its lateral range
9835 is the late September 2009 peak

Economic Calendar

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

April 08 - Thursday
Initial Claims, 04/03 (08:30): 460K actual versus 435K expected, 442K prior (revised from 439K)
Continuing Claims, 03/27 (08:30): 4550K actual versus 4630K expected, 4681K prior (revised from 4662K)

April 09 - Friday
Wholesale Inventories, February (10:00): 0.6% actual versus 0.4% expected, 0.1% prior (revised from -0.1%)

April 12 - Monday
Treasury Budget, March (14:00): $67.5B expected, -$191.6B prior

April 13 - Tuesday
Export Prices ex-ag., March (08:30): -0.2% prior
Import Prices ex-oil, March (08:30): 0.2% prior
Trade Balance, February (08:30): -$39.0B expected, -$37.3B prior

April 14 - Wednesday
CPI, March (08:30): 0.1% expected, 0.0% prior
Core CPI, March (08:30): 0.1% expected, 0.1% prior
Retail Sales, March (08:30): 1.1% expected, 0.3% prior
Retail Sales ex-auto, March (08:30): 0.5% expected, 0.8% prior
Business Inventories, February (10:00): 0.3% expected, 0.0% prior
Crude Inventories, 04/10 (10:30): 1.98M prior

April 15 - Thursday
Continuing Claims, 04/03 (08:30): 4600K expected, 4550K prior
Initial Claims, 04/10 (08:30): 440K expected, 460K prior
Net Long-Term TIC Fl, January (09:00): $19.1B prior
Capacity Utilization, March (09:15): 73.3% expected, 72.7% prior
Industrial Production, March (09:15): 0.7% expected, 0.1% prior
Philadelphia Fed, April (10:00): 20.0 expected, 18.9 prior

April 16 - Friday
Building Permits, March (08:30): 626K expected, 637K prior
Housing Starts, March (08:30): 610K expected, 575K prior
Michigan Sentiment, April (09:55): 75.0 expected, 73.6 prior

By: Jon Johnson, Editor
Copyright 2010 | All Rights Reserved

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

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