Buzz on the Street: What Traders Are Saying About Gold, the S&P 500, and the Federal Reserve
A look back at the happenings on Wall Street this week, as seen by Minyanville's contributors.
Here's a small sampling of the 120+ posts seen on the Buzz & Banter this week:
Monday, June 16, 2014
Decision Point Shaping Up For Gold
Many miners rallied strongly last week despite gold remaining well below its 50-day moving average.
A major turning point is due in June. It is one year from a major low and six months from a higher low. Did June mark a low, or are gold and the miners going to find a high in June?
Gold shows a possible A-B-C corrective move from this year's Spring peak.
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Trade above the large-range decliner (A) ties to a recapture of the 50 DMA and a declining trendline, which underscores the idea of a low in place.
A failure below $1,300 suggests another lower high has been carved out.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Market Chatter Suggests Investors Are Increasing Allocations to Mid- and Small-Cap Stocks
I'm hearing chatter that says a very large re-allocation trade is occurring, out of bonds and into small-and-mid-cap ETFs, and I'm seeing some evidence to support the talk.
Trading volumes in the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF (NYSEARCA:MDY), the ProShares Ultra MidCap400 ETF (NYSEARCA:MVV) (the 1x leveraged long version of the S&P MidCap 400), the iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IWM), the ProShares Ultra Russell2000 ETF (NYSEARCA:UWM) (the 1x leveraged long version of IWM), and the iShares Core S&P Mid Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:IJH) are all running at exponentially higher levels than normal and are leading the market. Trading volumes are at average levels for the iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IVV) (S&P value stocks) and the iShares S&P 500 Growth Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IVW) (S&P growth stocks).
The suspected outflows are from bonds, but I'm not seeing anything abnormal in the representative ETF proxies, and I'm told that cash volume is not abnormal either. My custom index of municipal bond closed end funds is having a -1.7 standard deviation day, but this is not entirely abnormal given the sell-off in rates. The similar index of credit funds is down, but less than I would have expected.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
S&P 500 Earnings Stats
FactSet just updated its earnings statistics for S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) companies. Here are some of the highlights:
- Estimated second-quarter earnings growth is 5.4%, down from 6.8% on March 31.
- Most sectors have had downward revisions, with materials being the weakest. (Materials earnings growth estimates have gone to 10.5% from 17.7%)
- Expectations for consumer discretionary stocks have gone done the second most, with growth estimates down to 9.5% from 13.3%.
- Telecom services is expected to have highest growth (23%) , financials the lowest (-1.4%, driven by weakness in thrifts & mortgage finance and banks).
- Estimated second-quarter revenue growth is 3.0%, down from 3.7% on March 31.
-For the second quarter, 82 companies have issued negative guidance versus 27 positive.
- Current 12-month forward P/E is 15.5, above 5-year average (13.2) and 10-year average (13.8)
- Historically, analysts have cut estimates for the first two-and-a-half months of the second quarter, but this year saw the smallest drop since 2011.
- Companies are still concerned about the strong US dollar, Europe, and emerging markets.
- Earnings growth is expected to spike to 9.5% in the third quarter and 10.2% in the fourth quarter.
You can read the full report here.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
You may recall my purchase of Kroger (NYSE:KR), which I posted on the Buzz & Banter on back in November 2013 [subscription required]. I have not changed the position, and I still believe in the story and the improvements. Today confirms my suspicions that they could increase margins via the Harris Teeter acquisition by offering their branded products through the new stores. They beat expectations and raised guidance while reducing some long-term liabilities through pension cuts. These are all very good things going forward, so seeing a 5%+ pop is great.
Now, on the speculation front, I have heard chatter about Kroger considering a purchase of Safeway (NYSE:SWY) by out bidding Cerberus. I do not think this would be a wise move as I don't think there will be great improvements in margins like there has been with more regional buyouts. Personally, if these rumors came to fruition, I would exit the position as it would be a net negative in my view. The economies of scale just are not as apparent in that situation as they were with Harris Teeter.
From a technical analysis perspective, it has reached overbought again, so its very hard to initiate a position here. However, that certainly doesn't mean to short it., The stock has been in an extreme momentum run since the February oversold bounce and hasn't looked back. So, from here what I would expect is a day or two of follow-through, then a pull back to around $48.50ish before establishing the next up-leg.
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Friday, June 9, 2014
"The message yesterday was very clear: the Fed is not buying the uptick in prices yet, and will need a much more sustained move from both CPI and PCE before it gives credence to the threat of inflation."
- Bespoke, Morning Lineup (June 19, 2014)
The Bespoke organization went on to note, "For both equities and bonds, this is helpful. Again, given the history of the Fed's skepticism around price pressure during the current expansion, this only reinforces their previously stated position that interest rates are to remain low for a long time." On Wednesday, stocks got the Federal Reserve's message with a nearly 100-point Dow Wow. Yesterday, gold got the message as the yellow metal danced higher by $41.40 per ounce to $1314.10 to its highest level since April 14. The rally began as a "short covering" rally given the massive short position in gold, but then built on the morning strength into the close. Gold closed near the high and in the process broke out to the upside in the charts, begging the question, "Is this the start of a decent rally after gold's fall from grace since October 2012 when it was trading near $1800/ounce?"
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While I am certainly no "gold bug," it does feel like gold could trade into the zone between its recent high of $1390 and its August 2013 high of ~$1430. Unsurprisingly, the idea of buying depressed gold and gold stocks as opposed to buying some of the "up-on-stilts" darlings of the past few years has a certain appeal to a contrarian like me. Gold also might just have tailwinds given current events in the Middle East. As Robert Hardy, captain of the invaluable Geostrat service, emailed me last night, "SitRep [in Iraq] is serious and it could get far worse. I wouldn't be short oil here or long any of the Gulf markets, until something happens that is conclusive."
As for the stock market, yesterday (June 19, 2014), I was on CNBC with Tony Dwyer, Canaccord Genuity's strategist and a long-time friend, who is actually more bullish than I am. His target for the S&P 500 by year end is 2180, although he said there could be a 7% pullback along the way. While I think the market is in a secular bull market that has years left to run, I doubt ~2,200 is in the cards by year end, yet I would certainly like to see it! In the near term, the S&P 500 has again traveled into my 1,950 to 1,975 target zone that was activated by the upside reversal day of April 15, 2014 with the S&P 500 at 1,820. And while I said last Wednesday's Fed Fling could carry into today's option expiration, I still think 1,950 to 1,975 offers stiff resistance in the short term. Moreover, while the market's daily internal energy has been rebuilt, the weekly has not. If there is no pullback, it should be contained at the 1,940 to 1,950 level.
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