One of the oldest form of analysis of the Dow is sending a pretty grave signal at the moment. The Dow Theory, which has been around for more than a century, contend that if the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Dow Jones Transportation Average reaches a new high, the other must follow quickly in order to confirm a bullish outlook. Well, despite the core index’s gain, the Transportation Average has been lagging badly, sliding 3.59% in a single day last week.
FINSUM: Okay a couple thoughts here. The first is that the structure of the economy is different now, such that the relationship between growth and Transportation is not the same as it has been over the last century. Outside that though, logistics tends to expand at multiples of underlying growth, so this still feels worrisome.
Investors need to take note, as one of the biggest equity research divisions on Wall Street has just turned overwhelmingly negative on equities. And this is not the “stocks will struggle in coming years” kind of call, it is an argument for right now and published yesterday. The bank has lowered its allocation to stocks, saying that the outlook for markets over the next three months is very poor. Morgan Stanley says equities prices are way too high and expectations for major rate cuts are already priced in, leaving little room for appreciation. They also think valuations are too high given deteriorating manufacturing and economic data.
FINSUM: Morgan Stanley is basically saying that the market is primed for disappointment because all the positive outcomes have already been priced in. Not unrealistic.
Just three months after flashing a dreaded “death cross”, the Dow is now showing some very bullish indicators. The Dow is signaling a “golden cross”, or a strongly bullish sign. The last time the market showed this kind of technical sign was three years ago, a moment which was followed by a 30% rally. The “golden cross” is when the 50-day moving average passes the 200-day moving average, and is taken as a sign of when a rally becomes a longer-term uptrend.
FINSUM: We don’t give a lot of weight to technical analysis unless it is accompanied by some fundamental news. In this case the bullish signs seem to exist in isolation.
If history is any indication, the big surge in stocks that has started this year seems likely to continue. Markets have had a great week and the S&P 500 is up 11% on the year. Prices are only 5.3% off their all-time high. That bodes well because stocks tend to track their first two-month performance for the rest of the year. 64% of the time stocks continue to perform throughout the year just like they did in January and February. The last time the S&P 500 climbed more than 10% in January and February (1991), it rose an additional 14% for the year.
FINSUM: Stocks are in a sweet spot right now, with the Fed having backed off and trade fears easing. That seems likely to stay in place for a while, but we wonder if any stresses related to the 2020 election might start to weight on the market later this year.
Value stocks have been in a slump for a decade, with growth consistently outperforming. That acknowledged, there is still something to be said for buying beaten up stocks, which seem to have less downside than highly valued growth names. But how to do it? Try an old stock picker’s favorite: buy the ten stocks with the highest dividend yields in the Dow, a strategy which has historically performed well and is called the “Dogs of the Dow”. These stocks tend to have great dividend yields, and generally outperform the index as a whole. The bottom ten right now are: Verizon, IBM, Pfizer, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Merck, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, and JP Morgan.
FINSUM: This sounds like a solid bet, though because of the group, you are buying them with no real catalyst.