About Me

Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 40 years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

SPX -- Weekly

The stock market has been in a strong up leg since Feb. '16,  a move that brought it to a new all-time
high as Mar. of this year began. The weekly cyclical economic indicators turned positive around the
Feb. last year and powerful momentum for this indicator set appears to have provided the requisite
underpinning for the market's advance. The indicators are forward looking and it may be important
to note that this set has now been flat since Jan. of this year, suggesting economic momentum may
slow out ahead. In turn, the SPX, which hit an interim peak at the outset of Mar., has been in
moderate corrective mode since. The market hardly moves in lockstep with the indicators, but the
suggestion here is that, barring an upturn of the indicators, the SPX should continue on the flat
side. As a secondary factor at this point, inflation pressures have recently eased, and this may keep
the Fed from more aggressive tightening action over the near term. A less aggressive Fed is a
positive for stocks, but since the progress of the SPX over the past year has been fueled by expec-
tations of strengthening progress of business sales and earnings, there could be an adjustment
process for stocks to complete, especially since the development of new fiscal measures to
stimulate economic growth may be getting pushed further out in time as the Trump team figures
out how to work better with the Congress.

The SPX has been working off a substantial intermediate term overbought. There is nothing in
the weekly chart to suggest this process is about to end. Adjustment is already well underway
with the RSI and oscillator measures, but the important MACD measure has just turned negative.
Moreover, the SPX is still at a 4.6% premium to its 40 wk. m/a. The premium is contracting,
but it is still significant. There is no inevitable negative conclusion, but do not ignore the
evidence.  SPX Weekly

Friday, April 14, 2017

SPX Daily -- Crossroads Ahead

The SPX has been working off an intermediate term overbought. In the meantime, the daily chart
shows that corrective action is tilting toward a flashpoint.  SPX Daily

Based on closing prices, the SPX has been in a downtrend since the end of Feb. Notably, the 25
day m/a has rolled over and the SPX has failed to rally above it. The market is in a mild
oversold condition, and both RSI and MACD have declined near important testing points with the
30 day ROC now in mildly negative territory. Corrective action has been moderate so far,
but the shorter term indicators show the worst readings since the recent market upturn began in

I have been wondering for weeks whether the Nov. rally would follow the other two which took
place since the market turned up back in 2/16, and ultimately finish up with a test of the 200 day
m/a. That would be compelling symmetry, but there is hardly enough logic in the market to make
it happen. Even so, it's heads up time from a technical point of view.

We roll into Easter weekend with tensions again running high on and around the Korean peninsula.
There is The Donald to contend with and new leadership in Seoul. The odds are that the US
command is telling the President to cool his jets and wait to see if his new best friend, President Xi
of China, has any magic to work that gets us all off the hook. Market players do not seem very
concerned, but always keep in mind that this particular area of the world is strewn with mis-
calculation through history.

I plan to post again on the weekly SPX chart by Sunday evening.

Friday, April 07, 2017

SPX Weekly -- Quickie

The SPX was knocked off the rally trend from Nov. and now has turned weak on the MACD
indicator.  SPX Weekly

The market has been working off a substantial intermediate term overbought and although there
has been some downward pressure in recent weeks, there has been no decisive break yet to shift
market player attitudes away from a bullish posture. As outlined in the 3/26 SPX Weekly (scroll
down), fundamentals suggest continuation of a flat market.

Gold Quickie

Tensions between the US and Russia helped the gold price this past week. Moreover, with Rex
Tillerson, US Sec'y of State and a Putin pal, scheduled to meet with Russian Bigs next Tues. in
Moscow, there could be additional  US / Russia diplomatic fallout ahead. Because the USD also
rallied this past week, the gold price might require more tensions to stay afloat in the short run.
The indecision in the market is captured by the fact that gold closed out the week just around its
40 wk m/a.  Gold Weekly

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Gold (GLD) -- Weekly

The pace of global economic recovery since the Great Recession ended in 2009 has been slow, with
cyclical inflation low. There was a speedy interval from mid - 2009 and running into 2011, which
was when gold, freakishly, entered a price bubble. The subsequent blowout came to rest at the end
2015, when the gold price had fallen down a little below the all in cost of producing an ounce of
the stuff.  GLD Weekly

The economy started to regain some growth momentum in 2016  as did inflation and the gold
price, although highly volatile, has trended higher off its post bubble low. Bottom line, gold has
advanced at a muted pace since the low as it should given dollar stability and a still modest set
of economic expansion and inflation data. From a technical perspective, gold is in rather neutral
territory in terms of oversold / overbought and its premium or discount to its 40 wk m/a. In fact,
the metal is about to tackle its flat 40 wk average presently. Failure to break above the "40" would
be a negative.

Speculation about a Trump pro - business policy in favor of faster growth (and more inflation)
has eased greatly in recent weeks as markets players reassess the programs' outlines in terms of
whether they are doable from a political perspective. There is more intensive questioning about this
issue, but the towel has yet to flutter over the ropes by any means. The USD rallied nicely after
the election, but has drifted lower recently, and is in the process of testing its 40 wk m/a, but
to the downside. If sentiment in the markets again begins to favor the Trump stimulus plans,
the dollar could rally and this might put some short term downward pressure on gold as players
buy stocks instead. If sentiment about Trump's ability to get his way weakens further, the dollar
could come down more and gold would likely be favored. $USD Weekly

The economy could well slow down some time later this year as could inflation pressure.
Everything equal, that could lead to a trading range for gold. If the Trump plan passes muster,
that will help gold down the road as would a nasty turn in US - China trade policy which may
also hit the Trump docket.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SPX -- Weekly

My weekly cyclical fundamental indicators have been on the flat side since the end of Jan. Since
they are forward looking, there is a suggestion that the Apr. - Aug. period of this year could see a
slowdown in the progress of business sales and profits momentum. The SPX has tracked the
indicator well since Jan. 2016, so a flat market could continue for a while. On the plus side, there
are some preliminary indications the recent thrust upward of  the y/y CPI may dampen before
long and perhaps take some of the pressure off the Fed to hike rates quickly.

Trump / GOP Opera Buffa
The American Health Care Plan blunder revealed advanced buffoonery in both the White House
and in the Congress. This first disastrous try at serious policy making should, in my view, knock
200 points off the SPX forthwith. But, for all I know, The Street may well try to put a more
positive spin on this serio - comedy to keep up interest in the pro - business tax and infrastructure
programs still on the docket. The alleged dalliance of Team Trump with Russians to undermine
the recent election and, perhaps, to reset  US foreign policy to a more kindly stance toward
Mother Russia is now a brisk double dumpster fire that still requires attention.

The SPX is in the midst of working off an intermediate term overbought condition. The post -
election rally has been very resilient, but with some slowing of profits growth out ahead and
the recent AHCA fiasco set to prompt at least a little shiver, you might keep in mind that
longer view trend support is at SPX 2200 - 2250.  SPX Weekly

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Oil Price

Back on Feb. 5, I posted that the oil price was subject to a hit to the downside. The 52 wk
price momentum had assumed parabolic proportions in relatively short order and speculative
long positions in the futures market had reached record levels. Too much was riding on a
continuation of a sharp rise in the price.  Oil Price

Price momentum has come way down and the grandly elevated speculative long position has
been partly unwound. the uptrend in the oil price since early 2016 has been broken. The price
is now veering toward an intermediate term oversold but has room to head lower before it
reaches that level. Oil has remained in the $40 - 60 bbl. consensus range and there is near term
support down at roughly $44.

Oil demand has firmed as expected, but production has been larger than earlier consensus had
it as others ex the OPEC core production cutters boosted output, including the US. So, the
market is not yet in balance on supply / demand and oversized inventories of crude have moved
higher. The financial damage to the industry from the 2014 - early 2016 price bust was not
sufficient to wipe out much marginal production, and the Saudis will have to keep that in mind
in deciding whether to hold back OPEC output beyond the Jun. 30 termination of the current
production cutting deal. It might be wise to wait and extend the deal to see if rising demand
picks up what is now a small surplus in daily output before going 'nuclear' again.

With a strong bullish case now more elusive in the near term, I would not mind seeing the
still large speculative long position in the futures market unwound further before showing
further interest.

Friday, March 17, 2017

SPX -- Weekly

This cyclical bull is currently still trading at a major 3 - 6 month (intermediate term) overbought.
The SPX is near its recent all time high, but positive momentum has stalled in recent weeks and
the uptrend line off the post-election rally has been violated. But, there is not enough evidence to
argue that the rally has ended yet. On the fundamental side, my forward looking cyclical weekly
indicators have also flattened out. With the Fed in tightening mode, market players are watching
weekly and monthly indicators carefully. Monthly business sales have lifted nicely and profits
data is improving but other core measures of economic health such as industrial production, the
real wage and 12 month civilian employment growth are far less imposing. By the same token,
the slow pace of broad economic growth still leaves expansion potential ahead. My business
strength index stands at a mild 133 with economic overheat set well above at 140. Overall, there
is 'room' for another pronounced slowdown in the weekly cyclical data set which could trouble
the market, but there is enough slack to warrant the suggestion that any sharp slowing in the flow
of short term data may be followed out in time by yet another cyclical upswing. SPX  Weekly

With the growth fluctuations in a lengthy but slow economic expansion still leaving slack to
be taken up eventually, and, with the Trump stimulus programs still to be fought over, it is not
hard to understand the now popular idea to stick with a high equities allocation and not bother
with market timing. I am too much of a trader to be comfortable with such reasoning.