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.
Yesterday was a full-on panic in markets. Shares plunged across the board from a broad mix of worries about rates, earnings, the economy, and trade war. The Nasdaq was hit hardest, falling 4.4% into correction territory. Losses in the Dow and S&P 500 were enough to eliminate all gains for the year. Earnings have continued to be strong, but it has not helped support stocks much, if at all. The S&P 500 is now 9.4% off its 52-week high.
FINSUM: Our own view on stocks is that this will be a temporary hiccup and equities will steady themselves soon. Given that earnings growth is strong and the economy is still very healthy, it is hard to imagine a bear market starting.
The market is so turned on its head right now that yesterday’s 126 point drop in the Dow seems like good news. The market has been so bad lately, that the fact that yesterday’s potential 550 point loss shrunk to only 126 points seemed like a positive development. Investors are worried about the idea of peak earnings, but analysts insist they are overreacting, with many reiterating that earnings will continue to be strong and the economy will stay in expansionary mode. Kate Warne, a strategist at Edward Jones, says that investors will realize this is not the end of the economic cycle just yet. “It’s not peak earnings, it’s peak earnings growth”, says Warne, continuing “The pace is still positive, just the growth rate isn’t as high as it was”.
FINSUM: We tend to agree with the strategists. If earnings still continue to grow in the next couple of quarters and the economy stays strong, it is hard to imagine that stocks will keep falling.