A tough time in the market

This has been a tough few weeks for investors and may continue for several more. My advice, however, is: Don’t change your strategy. If your plan was to stay in the market and ride out secondary movements, stick to your plan. Investors are notorious for selling at the wrong time and buying at the wrong time.

Weak economic data out of Europe is likely to hold back the market until the reporting cycle, that started with positive earnings surprises from Costco and Alcoa this week, is well under way. None of our macroeconomic and volatility filters indicate market stress and we believe the best strategy is to maintain existing exposure to equities.

Liquefied Natural Gas [LNG]

LNG had a less than auspicious introduction to the ASX 200, with a sharp sell-off in the last few weeks. There are signs that buyers are returning to the stock, with a strong blue candle on Friday when most other stocks were falling. We recommend that investors continue to hold the stock, at least for the next few weeks.

S&P 500 VIX

Market lifts despite weak global economy

Minutes of the September FOMC meeting highlight growing unease with the strong US Dollar and a weak global economy. The market read this as “low interest rates” and commenced a buying spree. Last year the quarter-end sell-off ended on October 9th after a 4.2% fall. This year’s correction fell 4.7%, lasting 13 days (so far) compared to 15 days in 2013.

Roberto Dominguez at NY Daily News reports:

“The start of earnings season, with companies including Costco and Alcoa reporting quarterly profits that beat forecasts, also helped push the S&P 500 to its biggest rally in a year.”

While Cullen Roche writes that the US fiscal deficit is shrinking:

“…tax receipts have surged by 7.7% year over year and are up 48% over the last 5 years. And while some of this is due to tax increases the vast majority is due to a healing private sector.”

Bellwether transport stock Fedex continues its primary up-trend, signaling improved economic activity.

Fedex

No doubt boosted by a falling outlook for crude oil.

Nymex and Brent Crude

With positive news about, we should be careful not to forget the Fed’s concern with a weak global economy. While this may drive oil prices even lower, the impact on international sales of major exporters will be closely watched.

S&P 500 recovery above 2000 would indicate the correction is over, while follow-through above 2020 would signal another advance. A 21-day Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would signal a healthy up-trend. Reversal below 1925 is unlikely, but would test primary support at 1900/1910.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 2000 + ( 2000 – 1900 ) = 2100

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) retreated to 15%, indicating low volatility typical of a bull market.

VIX Index