Sunday, June 16, 2013

Stocks Waiting on Bernanke


- After the Thursday surge, stocks fail to follow through upside, instead waiting on Bernanke.
- PPI 'tame,' Michigan Sentiment drops a bit.
- US bonds falling, rates rising, housing market struggling just a bit.
- China cannot sell enough bonds to fund banks.
- Tax credit boosted Q1 earnings.
- Indices still holding support, sporting better internals.
- VIX suggests stocks just might pull off a new bounce.
- Market on hold for Bernanke on Wednesday, but leadership is still solid, ready to move if they get the nod.

There are some crazy things going on in the world that suggest the attempt to push economic recovery via massive monetary policy liquidity is starting to unravel.

That is a dramatic way to start the market wrap, and I am not saying the Friday selling was a result of these issues. Friday had its own problems to deal with, and while the news was nothing devastating, the market did react, e.g. when the Michigan preliminary June sentiment hit (82.7 versus 83 expected and 84.5 for May), the bounce to positive from a generally weak pre-market abruptly ended. Stocks sold hard negative into midmorning.

They tried to bounce into lunch, then a story hit that the IMF was lowering its 2013 US growth forecast. IMF pronouncements are usually only good for some laughs, but the market made a beeline lower into early afternoon, and while stocks bounced to the last hour, once the closing bell was in sight they gave back the bounce and finished right at session lows. Not a major move, just your usual 3-digit swing on the Dow (135 points high to close) as the indices gave up on average roughly half of the Thursday surge.

SP500 -9.63, -0.59%
NASDAQ -21.81, -0.63%
DJ30 -105.90, -0.70%
SP400 -0.36%
RUTX -0.84%
SOX -0.40%

That seems crazy, does it not, given the late Thursday Hilsen-rally sparked by the story that Bernanke was going to calm the markets next week at his FOMC presser. But the article talked of Bernanke calming the markets about interest rates, not QE withdrawal. Maybe the market thought about it overnight and decided the fix might not be in, that Bernanke might surprise the markets next week talking about rates versus massive bond purchases ($85B/month, remember?).


PPI wasn't bad though a 0.5% spike in PPI from -0.7% is not good for anyone. The core, less food and energy, was a much tamer 0.1%, right in line with expectations and just 1.7% year/year, well below the Fed's 2% limit.

PPI, May (8:30): 0.5% actual versus 0.1% expected, -0.7% prior

Core PPI, May (8:30): 0.1% actual versus 0.1% expected, 0.1% prior

If you don't eat and don't drive, mow the yard, cool the home, or want hot water the core reading was passable news (though it was up from -0.4% in April). For those poor unfortunates who actually require food and drink and are part of the 63.4% of the working age population who have a job you need to get to and smell decently when you do get there (i.e., hot water to shower), then it bites. Only 63.4% of the work capable population working. That is problem enough to cause the market pause, but that is another story.

Industrial Production was flat, up from -0.4%, but it was a miss.
Capacity Utilization fell, 77.6 from 77.7, missing the 77.8 expected.
Not great news, but again, not really market moving. Just more of the same stumble 'recovery' the US citizen has 'enjoyed' the past four years.

Serious Issues

The US data was more of what we have seen again and again: improved to end a year and start a new one, fanning the hope that this year it will be different. Then a weakening of the data as summer moves in. Other stories, however, are worrisome.

US bond rates rising and the ripple effects are already showing up.

The US placed three bond offerings this week and each one required higher than anticipated yields (had to pay more interest to sell them) and the demand as judged by the bid to cover was as weak as we have seen it in this recession.

The rise in rates required to place bond offerings is evident in mortgage rates with the 30 year hitting 4.15% the past week, up from 3.59% in early May. Big run. That pushed US home refinancing down 36% from early May. A 'taper' was expected, but not so quickly. That also makes home purchases less affordable as rates rise. Yes historically rates remain low. BUT so does the economic activity, recovery or no recovery. Low historical rates can appear high if the economic activity does not generate well-paying jobs that can afford to buy even with 'low' rates.

So the US is going to have trouble with rising rates given the weak jobs market, and I don't know how Bernanke will keep rates down without buying even more bonds, something the Fed simply cannot do.

China still trying to outrun the year of the recession dragon.

China is having similar, though much worse, problems. For the first time in 2 years (23 months exactly), the Chinese failed to place all of the bonds offered. 30% was left over. That left its banks in a liquidity crunch and the People's Bank of China (PBOC) having to consider more stimulus to keep the banks afloat to fund the continued building ghost cities and office buildings with no hope of occupancy in an attempt to keep the economy going and hopefully outrun a cascading collapse.

Then there were images of 10,000 Chinese citizens waiting in 'line' (more like a mass blob) to buy gold. What do they realize that other don't (or do, depending upon if you talk to a gold bug)? Hey, I still say take some of your stock market gains and buy some hard assets, including gold and including the good as gold, perhaps better, ammunition. .223, 5.56mm, 9mm, 0.40, 0.45 are all high demand calibers.

Q1 US earnings beats said to be attributable to R&D tax credit (WSJ).

A tax credit that expired at the end of 2011 but was resurrected in early 2013 is credited for raising corporate earnings 10% in Q1 to a fairly solid 6.7%. It helped companies that could not make the sales on the top line bolster earnings through a tax credit. The impact is predicted to wane in the remaining quarters of 2013 and it expires at year end. So was the stronger bottom line, weaker top line pattern in Q1 prevented from being a weaker bottom line, weaker top line pattern thanks to large corporations getting a tax break? The WSJ seems to think so. It will be easy to see in Q2 and on.



Dollar mixed: 1.3330 versus 1.3368 euro. Up versus the euro but down against other currencies. The dollar index is at some support and likely tries to rebound here and test the break of the May low.

Bonds steady after a wild ride: 2.13% versus 2.14% versus 2.23% Wednesday. Bouncing back, tapping toward the 20 day EMA on the intraday high but then reversing to close below the 10 day EMA. The 10 day, 20 day, 50 day, and now the 200 day MA are all pointing lower. The failure to break through the 10 day EMA shows a strong trend downside. The bond index bounced to test the March low and looks as if it is failing. PIMCO is unwinding its long bond positions, pressuring bonds further. Hilsenrath said Bernanke will talk about rates at his presser next Wednesday. Thus it is up to Bernanke next week to firm up bonds, if he wants to.

Oil rallied. Again: 97.85, +1.16. Breaking through the March, and May highs, closing in on the January closing high at 97.94. After that it is 100 with the peak from September 2012.

Gold bounced modestly: 1387.70, +9.90. Trying to hang in above 1375, but is not making any headway and is still in a negative pattern.



Stats: -21.81 points (-0.63%) to close at 3423.56
Volume: 1.443B (-7.74%)

Up Volume: 428.75M (-821.25M)
Down Volume: 1.01B (+690.21M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 2.53 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 3.06 to 1

New Highs: 80 (-1)
New Lows: 24 (-18)

Stats: -9.63 points (-0.59%) to close at 1626.73
NYSE Volume: 577M (-16.01%)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 1.22 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 4.62 to 1

New Highs: 107 (+10)
New Lows: 90 (-282)

Stats: -105.9 points (-0.7%) to close at 15070.18

Volume: Lower and below average on both NYSE, NASDAQ. No heavy selling Friday, just a lack of interested buyers. Higher volume downside sessions still hold the lead in this choppy 4-week pullback. That indicates the sellers dominate but they are not so strong the indices are breaking support. Indeed, the past week on NASDAQ showed a drop to below average volume each session. No heavy selling as it walks laterally at the 50 day EMA. The buyers and the sellers are still fighting, but the sellers are losing their grip on the overall market, and that is a positive for the bounce attempt off of support.

Breadth: Through Wednesday, downside breadth dominated the upside. The previous Friday stocks surged but breadth was barely 2:1 on NYSE; NASDAQ didn't even make it to that level. Thursday a shift started with 3:1 and 4.6:1 breadth on NASDAQ and NYSE, respectively. Friday was noncommittal at -2.5:1 NASDAQ and -1.2:1 NYSE. That in itself, given 0.6% to 0.8% losses on the indices, is better internal action.


Volatility: Yet another day of triple digit DJ30 swings (135 points), showing the volatility is still present. Present, but the decline has for now stalled at key support for several indices.

Position in the pattern: This rally started off the November 2012 low with a bounce that started the trendline. The indices have put together 4 legs to this rally, and typically a run get 4 to 5 legs before it peaks and fades to base out. Thus there can be another bounce in this move. The run started with Fed assurances the QE was continuing, and it struggled in February and April when that assurance was cast in doubt. Same issue now. With Hilsenrath's late Thursday market commentary, whether a fifth leg commences looks as if it is all coming down to what Bernanke tells the markets Wednesday.

DJ30 and SP500. Fell hard to the 50 day EMA Wednesday in a second test of this key support in a week. A bounce Thursday on volume. Friday a test on light trade. Both indices have put themselves in position to make the next run. Note how this episode of selling is longer than prior tests, another change in character but one that has yet to result in a breakdown. Note the last move up was stronger. As volatility increases, the moves increase. The last move upside, if there is another one, is likely a screamer.

NASDAQ. Similar to DJ30, SP500 in the test of the 50 day EMA. Similar in the duration of the pullback. It is taking more this time to firm up support, but thus far it continues to hold the line as well. Lower volume the past week as it works laterally, and that has quelled some of the distribution that often leads to further downside. More of a lateral basing action this past week, and that is better for another upside try.

SP400. Broke the 50 day EMA again on the week, but matched the last low as it puts in a double bottom at the 61% Fibonacci Retracement. A double bottom is good technical action at that level and opens the door for a bounce to the prior high. That is how a trader would trade the move.

RUTX. Basically the same action with a double bottom over the 50 day EMA, but the small caps are showing the double at the 38% Fibonacci retracement, and that indicates more upside momentum as the test is shallower. That makes this test and the bounce really darn interesting.

SOX. Still holding over next support, the 50 day EMA is still rising up to meet it. It looks like a rounded top, but it is not breaking. You cannot count on SOX breaking down, particularly given the action of the other indices, but it is very important to watch because if it does break lower, it tends to lead the rest of the market lower as well.


Big Names: AMZN is holding its breakout, testing and then bouncing. GOOG moved laterally at the 20 day EMA on the week. PCLN is setting up a nice pennant. AAPL sagged but held its pattern. IBM slumped to the 200 day SMA but it managed to hold. Not a pretty pattern.

Financial. JPM is holding the 20 day EMA, forming a pennant the past three weeks. C is testing the 50 day EMA, holding its gains, but a rather toppy look. V continues its 6 week lateral move, holding the 20 day EMA.

Retail: DECK bounced over the 50 day EMA to end the week. LULU could not bounce. Many leaders are taking a pause with the market, but are holding good patterns: COST, ROST, PNRA, YUM, JWN.

Semiconductors: A volatile week, some holding, others not. Not: TXN, XLNX. Holding: KLAC, SMTC, ANAD, LEDS.

Drugs/Healthcare: Some look great, e.g. THRX, VRX, TSRO. Others are struggling and could crack, e.g. CELG, GILD. Not breaking but have weakened.

Internet: Hanging in rather nicely. YNDX, WWWW, BIDU, SOHU, LNKD.

Still plenty of leadership that can kick in after this test and set the pace for the rest to follow.


VIX: 17.15; +0.74. Friday some of the television faces we all know reported volatility (read the VIX) hit a high on the week not seen since late February. True. But to imply that means something major would be wrong. Now I am not saying they were warning a major issue was afoot, but they leave that impression. No, VIX is at the same levels hit in late February and Mid April when the market what? Last suffered pullbacks. It hit these levels and bounced. So, VIX suggests a bounce off of this last test.

What about VIX overall? It is not suggesting any kind of major breakdown. Yes it is higher, but it is still at very low levels and rose as the market sold versus as the market rallied. That is a HUGE difference when using VIX to determine major tops. At a major top VIX will rise as the stock market rises. A strong run coupled with a strong upside VIX trend is a time to, as the late Crocodile Hunter said, not walk, but run! Not there.

VXN: 17.28; +0.15
VXO: 17.26; +0.93

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 1.19; +0.21

Bulls versus Bears

Bulls still falling rapidly as the market tests. Bulls are back to the March and late April lows, levels that led to bounces. Bears bounced sharply as well, a much larger percentage move. As bulls peaked at prior peaks the bears bottomed at prior bottoms. They have merged, even more so than the prior convergences the past three months and are closer to the convergence from November 2012. Meaning? They are getting close to the bounce point.

Bulls: 43.8% versus 45.8% versus 52.1% versus 54.2% versus 52.1% versus 47.9% versus 44.3% versus 47.4% versus 50.5% versus 52.0% versus 49.5% versus 47.4% versus 50.00% versus 44.2% versus 46.3% versus 48.4% versus 52.6% versus 54.7% versus 54.3% versus 53.2% versus 51.1% versus 47.8% versus 46.8% versus 45.7% versus 43.6% versus 39.3% versus 37.2% versus 38.3% versus 43.6.

Background: Undercut 35%, the threshold for bullishness, in early June. As noted, hit 34% in early June. It did its job and the market is on the rally. Hard drop to 34 from 39.3% as economic reality and a choppy stock market hit. Off the 55+ level hit in late February. That was the highest level since April and May of 2011, the peak of the post-bear market high. 35% is the threshold level suggesting bullishness. To be seriously bearish it needs to get up to the 60% to 65% level.

Bears: 22.9% versus 20.8% versus 19.8% versus 19.8% versus 19.8% versus 18.8% versus 19.6% versus 20.6% versus 20.6% versus 19.4% versus 19.6% versus 18.6% versus 18.8% versus 21.1% versus 21.1% versus 22.1% versus 21.1% versus 21.1% versus 22.3% versus 22.3% versus 23.4% versus 24.5% versus 24.5% versus 23.4% versus 25.5% versus 27.7% versus 27.7% versus 28.7% versus 27.7%.

Summary: Over 35% is the threshold to be really be a good upside indicator. 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.


A very busy week ahead with a pair of regional manufacturing reports, housing starts, existing home sales, CPI, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, the next FOMC rate decision meeting. A two-day affair (as they all have been since the crisis started so they could fully develop all ideas) with the result issued midmorning Wednesday then the Bernanke presser at noon.

Even with the mouthpiece spewing forth Thursday afternoon that the great one would calm the market's worries, the way he styled it, e.g. calm the masses re interest rates, left open HUGE issues as to just what Bernanke will say. He can calm re interest rates perhaps, but what does that mean toward the biggie, the $85B per month of mortgage buys. Seems one relates to the other, but who knows, other than his hairdresser, what the chairman will say. The Fed had Hilsenrath put this out there ahead of the FOMC meeting trying to head off a market selloff on worries what might come out of that meeting.

The market was already rallying Thursday when Hilsenrath posted the Fed's article. Perhaps the market was going to make a move upside even without the Fed, but now the Fed stepped in, has everyone now excited, and we will never know. It really bites to have markets so damn dependent upon what an agency or one person says. Sure the Fed always has sway, but with these massive mortgage buys and liquidity injections, the market now lives or dies via the Fed. With such a weak economy EVEN WITH MASSIVE LIQUIDITY, it is damn frightening to think what will happen when the Fed pulls back. Maybe those saying the Fed is holding the market back (e.g. Greenspan) will be right, but frankly with so much liquidity in the system the economy should be screaming higher, not screaming at the thought of the Fed pulling the liquidity.

Thus I still, personally, don't like the market at this point. But I have not liked the market at other points in this four year run and in bull runs before this one. That doesn't keep me out of the action. Your worries should heighten your awareness of the market and leadership moves and thus sharpen your actions. Do NOT fall into the trap of second guessing what you are seeing in the individual leadership stocks, in rising stocks, in declining stocks, and yes in the market itself. Channel your concerns into making sure you make good trades versus letting it keep you out of trades because your gut doesn't feel right. Let's face it, when you put fifty large up on a position you are going to have stomach issues no matter what the situation. It is whether you believe in what you are doing and thus are focused on the play versus the result. If you focus on good stocks, good indices, good patterns, good entries and exits, then the result takes care of itself.

Don't get me wrong. The market has to be in the direction, most of the time, with your moves. Thus if there are technical issues with the market overall, that must be factored in, but do it in terms of how much you risk versus changing the parameters of your system. When you start changing parameters that are working for you that is when you start the train rolling that crushes you. If what works for you is not working, then THAT is telling you the market is not right. Abandon that strategy and play another type of pattern, but don't change a working strategy if you don't know exactly why you are changing it and how it will help you. In short, you need to have traded the change before, paper or otherwise, versus just winging it.

So next week is rigged to a certain extent with Bernanke on Wednesday. But rigged which way? The trend suggests it continues; they always do don't they? Leadership still looks good though some good stocks look heavy after this week. I say it often and say it again: if there are a lot of solid stocks still in solid patterns or in solid trends, showing no issues, then the market has what it needs to continue. I have seen so many recovery attempts in bear markets blast off, look solid, but after the initial salvo there are no leaders in position to take the point and thus the rally attempt fails. Leadership is THE key. It is still in this market as of Friday.

Have a great Father's Day! I am a father and there is nothing greater and nothing more challenging. You make a mistake with a trade, you hit your stop point and you are out with a defined loss that you can handle because that is your rule. Make a mistake with a child, and it can be hard to recover. Kudos to all of those dads who find the time, no matter what the economic conditions, the problems, the worries, to stop and take a try at his daughter's hula hoop, make as many of their children's performances as possible, beam with pride with each accomplishment; show their children how to tie on a fishing lure, play a chord on the guitar, operate some power tools, build a birdhouse, find their way in the woods, lay down a bunt, respect other's persons and property, love their mothers, and understand our freedoms and why we have them.

Support and resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 3423.56

3429 is the November 2012 up trendline
3521 is the upper channel line for the November 2012 to present uptrend
3521 is the August 2000 low.
3532 is the early May high and 2013 high

3401 is the May 2000 closing low
The 50 day EMA at 3384
3378 is the June 2013 intraday reversal low.
3371 is the early May 2013 upper gap point
3321 from April 2000
The 2011 up trendline at 3244
3227 is the April 2000 intraday low
3197 is the September 2012 post-bear market high
3171 is the October intraday high
The 200 day SMA at 3166
3134 is the March 2012 post-bear market peak
3130 from some January 2013 lows
3104-3112 from August and mid-October peaks.
3101 is the August 2012 high
3090 is the mid-March interim high
3076 is the late April 2012 high and the 1/2013 low after gapping higher
3062 is the December 2012 prior peak
3042 from 5/2000 low and several other price points
3024 is the gap point from early May
3000 is the February 2012 post-bear market high
2999 is the bottom of the August 2012 consolidation
2988 is the July 2012 high
2977 to 2980 is the bottom of the late October 2012 consolidation, July 2012 peak
2962 is the April 2012 low
2950 is the mid-April closing low

S&P 500: Closed at 1626.73

The November up trendline at 1644
1687 is the May high and post-bear market high
1714 is the upper trendline in the channel

The 50 day EMA at 1613
1598 is the June 2013 intraday reversal low and the April 2013 high and former all-time high
1576 from October 2007, the prior all-time high
1556 from July 2007
1541 is the April 2013 closing low in that pullback inside the uptrend
1539 from June 2007
1531 is the recent high
The 200 day SMA at 1501
1499 from January 2008
1475 is the September 2012 high
1471 is the October 2012 intraday high
1466 is the September 2012 closing peak and rally closing high
1440 from November 2007 closing lows
1434 from early November 2012
1433 from August 2007 closing lows
1427 is the August 2012 peak
1425 from May 2008 closing highs and the October 2012 low
1408 is the late October 2012 range closing low
1406 is the early May 2012 peak
1402.22 - 1400 is the closing low of the August 2012 lateral consolidation

Dow: Closed at 15,069.11

The November up trendline at 15,262
15,542 is the May 2013 high
15,838 is the upper channel line for the trend off the November low.

The 50 day EMA at 14,969
14,888 is the April peak and prior all-time high
14,198 from the October 2007 high
14,149 is the February 2013 high
14,022 from 7-07 peak
14,010 from the early February 2013 consolidation
The 200 day SMA at 13,913
13,784 is the late February 2013 closing low
13,692 from 6-2007 peak
13,668 from 12-2007 peak
13662 is the October 2012 intraday high
13,653 is the September 2012 high
13,557 to 13,662
13,413 from the late September 2012 low
13,300 to 13,331 is the August 2012 post-bear market high
13,297 is the April 2012, prior post bear market high
13,058 from the May 2008 peak on that bounce in the selling
13,056 is the February 2012 high
12,716 is the April 2012 closing low
12,524 is a range of support from early 2012 and summertime 2012

Economic Calendar

June 11 - Tuesday
Wholesale Inventories, April (10:00): 0.2% actual versus 0.2% expected, 0.3% prior (revised from 0.4%)

June 12 - Wednesday
MBA Mortgage Index, 06/08 (7:00): 5.0% actual versus -11.5% prior
Crude Inventories, 06/08 (10:30): 2.523M actual versus -6.267M prior
Treasury Budget, May (14:00): -$138.7B actual versus -$139.0B expected, -$124.6B prior

June 13 - Thursday
Initial Claims, 06/08 (8:30): 334K actual versus 345K expected, 346K prior
Continuing Claims, 06/01 (8:30): 2973K actual versus 2973K expected, 2971K prior (revised from 2952K)
Retail Sales, May (8:30): 0.6% actual versus 0.3% expected, 0.1% prior
Retail Sales ex-auto, May (8:30): 0.3% actual versus 0.3% expected, 0.0% prior (revised from -0.2%)
Export Prices ex-ag., May (8:30): -0.7% actual versus -0.5% prior
Import Prices ex-oil, May (8:30): -0.3% actual versus -0.2% prior
Business Inventories, April (10:00): 0.3% actual versus 0.2% expected, -0.1% prior (revised from 0.0%)
Natural Gas Inventories, 06/08 (10:30): 95 bcf actual versus 111 bcf prior

June 14 - Friday
PPI, May (8:30): 0.5% actual versus 0.1% expected, -0.7% prior
Core PPI, May (8:30): 0.1% actual versus 0.1% expected, 0.1% prior
Current Account Balance, Q1 (8:30): -$106.1B actual versus -$111.5B expected, -$110.4B prior
Net Long-Term TIC Fl, April (9:00): -$37.3B actual versus -$13.4B prior (revised from -$13.5B)
Industrial Production, May (9:15): 0.0% actual versus 0.1% expected, -0.4% prior (revised from -0.5%)
Capacity Utilization, May (9:15): 77.6% actual versus 77.8% expected, 77.7% prior (revised from 77.8%)
Michigan Sentiment, June Preliminary (9:55): 82.7 actual versus 83.0 expected, 84.5 May final.

June 17 - Monday
Empire Manufacturing, June (8:30): 0.8 expected, -1.4 prior
Net Long-Term TIC Fl, April (9:00): -$13.5B prior
NAHB Housing Market Index, June (10:00): 45 expected, 44 prior

June 18 - Tuesday
CPI, May (8:30): 0.2% expected, -0.4% prior
Core CPI, May (8:30): 0.1% expected, 0.1% prior
Housing Starts, May (8:30): 950K expected, 853K prior
Building Permits, May (8:30): 983K expected, 1017K prior

June 19 - Wednesday
MBA Mortgage Index, 06/15 (7:00): 5.0% prior
Crude Inventories, 06/15 (10:30): 2.523M prior
FOMC Rate Decision, June (14:00): 0.25% expected, 0.25% prior

June 20 - Thursday
Initial Claims, 06/15 (8:30): 340K expected, 334K prior
Continuing Claims, 06/08 (8:30): 2967K expected, 2973K prior
Existing Home Sales, May (10:00): 5.00M expected, 4.97M prior
Philadelphia Fed, June (10:00): -0.2 expected, -5.2 prior
Leading Indicators, May (10:00): 0.2% expected, 0.6% prior
Natural Gas Inventories, 06/15 (10:30): 95 bcf prior

By: Jon Johnson, Editor
Copyright 2013 | All Rights Reserved

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

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