1. U.S. Futures


The Bear Thread

Discussion in 'Stock Market Today' started by bigbear0083, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    Breadth Bombs
    Tue, Oct 24, 2023

    A frequent point of discussion this year has been breadth, or more specifically, the massive impact of mega caps on the market-cap-weighted S&P 500's year-to-date performance (something we discussed in yesterday's update of our Sector Weightings report). We often use the 10-day advance-decline (A/D) line to measure how breadth is evolving in the near term; highlighting these readings for the S&P 500 and its eleven sectors daily in the Sector Snapshot. This indicator essentially shows the average net percentage of daily advancers versus decliners in an index over a two-week period.

    In the chart below, we show the S&P 500's 10-day A/D line (expressed as standard deviations to clarify overbought/oversold levels) over the past year. The past week has seen a monumental shift in breadth. Just one week ago, the 10-day A/D line was deeply overbought sitting 1.72 standard deviations above the historical average, but as of yesterday's close, it has fallen all the way into oversold territory; a 2.9 standard deviation drop in only four days.

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    Looking back to the start of our data in 1990, that is one of the largest four-day declines on record. In fact, the last time the line fell by such a degree or more was in September 2022 when there was a record decline.

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    While two-standard deviation declines have been uncommon, even fewer have resulted in the 10-day A/D line going from overbought to oversold. In the table below, we highlight those nine prior instances that have occurred with at least 3 months having passed since the last occurrence. The current period holds one of the higher starting readings in the 10-day A/D line. In fact, only November 2011 saw a higher reading.

    As for S&P 500 performance going forward, returns have generally been mixed. One week after big 'breadth bombs' the index has actually risen better than three-quarters of the time, however, one month out has averaged a decline with positive returns less than half the time. Three months out to one year on have all averaged positive returns, but those are all weaker than the norm.

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  2. bigbear0083

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    Continuing Claims Rising Rapidly
    Thu, Oct 26, 2023

    Although much of the morning's data topped expectations, one of the areas of weakness was jobless claims. Initial jobless claims were slightly higher than expected coming in at 210K versus expectations of 208K. Additionally, last week's sub-200K print was revised up to 200K. While that doesn't steal from the fact that jobless claims have pulled back to some of the stronger levels of the year, the past few weeks are now looking a bit more choppy than they were only a week ago.

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    On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims have begun to tick higher as could be expected for this time of year. At 191.89K, claims are 7.34% higher than they were the comparable week last year. However, that is roughly in line with readings from a couple of years prior to the pandemic.

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    Albeit higher, initial jobless claims remain at historically healthy levels and are not deteriorating too rapidly. The same cannot be said for continuing claims. Rising to 1.79 million through the week of October 14th (continuing claims are lagged an additional week versus the initial claims number), continuing claims have risen for five straight weeks. That is the longest streak of increases since a 12-week run ending in early December last year, and claims are now at the highest level since May 20th.

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    It has only been five weeks since the recent low of 1.658 million. In that span, continuing claims have risen almost 8%. As shown below, there are plenty of examples of even larger five-week increases in continuing claims counts, the most recent being in Q4 2022, however, it is still a historically rapid rise. The recent increase ranks in the top 5% of all five-week moves on record. Historically, prior increases of that size have mostly (though not always) occurred in the context of a recession. While not exactly covering like-for-like periods, that makes this recent rise in claims even more unusual when compared with GDP data released at the same time showing an impressive 4.9% QoQ annualized growth rate.

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  3. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    New Lows for S&P and Sentiment
    Thu, Oct 26, 2023

    The S&P 500 having made fresh lows in the past week has justified a continued decline in bullish sentiment per the latest AAII survey. As shown below, only 29.3% of respondents reported as bullish this week compared to 34.1% last week. Although sentiment has quickly reversed, the last week of September actually saw an even lower bullish reading of 27.8%.

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    Bearish sentiment, on the other hand, rose up to 43.2% which was the highest reading since the first week of May. Bearish sentiment rose 8.6 percentage points week over week which was the largest single-week increase since February.

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    Given the new high in bearish sentiment and drop in bulls, the bull-bear spread tipped deeper into negative territory. Bears now outnumber bulls by 13.9 percentage points. That is the widest margin since May.

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    While the AAII survey has shown an expressly negative turn, other sentiment surveys are more mixed. For starters, the NAAIM Exposure Index echoed the AAII results. The index tracking equity exposure of fund managers echoed the pessimistic tones of the AAII survey as it dropped to the lowest level since the week of October 12th last year. Meanwhile, the Investors Intelligence survey of newsletter writers has managed to hold onto a more bullish tone. That survey's bull-bear spread has been more steadily above its historical average over the course of the past couple of months.

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  4. OldFart

    OldFart Well-Known Member

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  5. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    A Slow Correction
    Mon, Oct 30, 2023

    On Friday, the S&P 500 joined the Nasdaq in officially entering a correction having fallen over 10% from its July 31st high without a 10% rally in the interim. That is the 55th correction since 1952 when the five day trading week began, and as shown below, it was one of the longer streaks for the index to officially hit that 10% threshold. The median number of trading days across all corrections since 1952 to reach that 10% decline has been 32 days. That puts current correction at nearly twice as long at 63 trading days. That is the slowest (for lack of a better term) correction since May 2015 and April 2011 when it took 65 and 67 trading days, respectively. However, looking further back, there were much longer periods like 1980 when it took half a year.

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    As we have noted in the past, the S&P 500 entering correction is not exactly as scary as it may sound with regard to performance going forward. While there is always the chance that a correction will extend further (potentially becoming a bear market), historically, returns have been solid once the index first enters correction. In the chart below, we show the average one and five-year annualized performance of the S&P 500 from the day the S&P 500 first enters correction territory (the day the S&P closes 10% from a high without having a 10% rally in between). As shown, whereas any normal one-year period has seen the S&P average a gain of close to 9%, after the first close down 10% from a high, it has averaged an even stronger 10.6% gain over the following year. As for five-year annualized performance, periods after a correction tend to outperform the norm albeit by a much smaller margin.

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  6. bigbear0083

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    Continuing Claims Keep On Rising
    Thu, Nov 2, 2023

    Following up on yesterday's slowing ADP and JOLTS numbers, today's release of weekly jobless claims likewise showed a cooling labor market. Initial claims were revised up by 2K last week to 212K, and this week's number came in higher at 217K. That was 7K above expectations which would have assumed no change to claims. With the rise over the past two weeks, claims have now rounded out a bottom but still have significant headroom until reaching the highs from earlier this year.

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    Before seasonal adjustment, claims were slightly higher at 196.8K. That increase is consistent with seasonal patterns as claims tend to rise throughout Q4. For example, the current week of the year has historically seen claims rise week over week 83.9% of the time; one of the most consistent weeks of increases of the year. Granted, claims are experiencing the usual seasonal increase and have bottomed after seasonal adjustment, but current levels remain historically strong. For instance, this week's NSA number is right inline with those readings of the comparable week of the couple of years before the pandemic and 2022.

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    Continuing claims are a less rosy picture with a much greater and more consistent increase over the past several weeks. Since the recent low of 1.658 million put in place in early September, continuing claims have risen 9.65%. As shown below, that is certainly on the large side of historical increases in such a time span. In fact, most other times (though not always) claims have risen that rapidly, the economy has been in recession. Given that rise, seasonally adjusted continuing claims topped 1.8 million this week, which is the most elevated reading since April 15th and is only 43K below the recent high from the spring. Zooming further out, though, claims remain at historically strong levels.

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  7. bigbear0083

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    Bears Shrug Off a Rally
    Thu, Nov 2, 2023

    Even though the S&P 500 has moved decisively higher over the past week, sentiment has entirely shrugged off price action. The percentage of respondents reporting as bullish to the AAII's weekly sentiment survey dropped back below 25% versus a reading of 29.3% last week. Bullish sentiment has now dropped for three straight weeks, having fallen 15.7 percentage points in that span for the largest three-week decline since August 24th. That has also resulted in the lowest bullish sentiment reading since May 18th.

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    That was matched with a rise in bearish sentiment back above 50%. That was the first time a majority of respondents reported as bearish since last December. As shown in the second chart below, the 44 consecutive weeks weeks without such a reading is sizeable, but far from any sort of record.

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    With new near-term lows in bulls and highs in bears, the spread between the two widened to 26 points in favor of bears. That is the most negative bull-bear spread reading since March

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    Other sentiment surveys echoed that negative tone among investors. The NAAIM Exposure Index was actually slightly higher week over week, although it continues to show low levels of long equity exposure. Meanwhile, like the AAII Bull-Bear spread, the Investors Intelligence survey also indicated the most bearish reading since March. Put together, our sentiment composite is now back below -1. That means the average sentiment reading is a full standard deviation more bearish than its historical average for the weakest reading since the first week of the year. Although current readings are rather pessimistic, due to the timing of data collection, the results would not have captured any response in sentiment following the FOMC on Wednesday. In other words, next week we will get a read if the latest updates on monetary policy had any effect on investor pessimism.

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  8. bigbear0083

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    S&P 500 Gains Despite Bad Breadth
    Wed, Nov 8, 2023

    The S&P 500 is fighting (unsuccessfully at this point) for its eighth positive session in a row today (the longest winning streak for the index in exactly two years). But looking under the hood at the past two sessions, there has been some underlying weakness. Although Monday and Tuesday saw the S&P 500 rise 17.5 bps and 28.4 bps, respectively, net daily breadth (advancers less decliners) was negative on both days. Whenever we hear talk of weak breadth on market up days, comparisons are usually made to the 1999/2000 period right before the Dot Com bubble's peak. While it has been very uncommon for the S&P 500 to be up on back-to-back days when breadth was negative, not all (or even most) of the prior occurrences were isolated to just the period leading up to the Dot Com peak.

    In the table below, we show 19 prior times that the S&P 500 rose in back-to-back sessions with negative daily breadth readings on both days and no other occurrences in the prior three months. The most recent occurrence was back in June 2021, and one thing that stands out is just how bad breadth has been in this period. On Monday and Tuesday, cumulative breadth was at -267, and the only prior instance with worse breadth over the course of the two up days was in July 2015. While returns were outright negative for the following six months after that July 2015 occurrence, as a whole, these past occurrences with gains on negative breadth have not been an especially bearish or bullish signal. On both an average and median basis, performance was generally in line with the S&P 500's performance for all periods since 1990.

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    In looking at the table above, on most of the days when the market was up and breadth was negative, the magnitude of the gains was very small, and in many cases, the S&P 500 didn't even move a tenth of one percent (10 bps) on either day. With that in mind, we filtered the table above to show only days when the S&P 500 was up at least 10 bps on each of the days when breadth was negative. Adding in that criteria, the 19 prior occurrences get whittled down to just six, and in this case, four of the six occurrences were in the months leading up to and after the Dot Com peak. While forward returns over the next week were positive all six times, average and median returns over the next one and three months were actually negative. Longer-term, six and twelve-month returns were split with a wide variance between average and median performance. These past examples suggest that while weak breadth on back-to-back positive days for the S&P 500 is not an outright negative, it's hardly a positive indicator either.

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  9. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    Three Decades and Nothing to Show For It
    Mon, Nov 13, 2023

    In the currency markets this morning, the big story is the Japanese yen falling to a new low. At the current level of 151.90, a dollar now buys more yen than it has at any point since June 29, 1990. That's not a typo. 1990! From 1990 to October 2011, the yen rallied to as low as 75 yen per dollar, but over the course of the last 12 years, it has lost half of its value, and a dollar now buys twice as many yen as it did then. 34 years and nothing to show for it.

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    Like the yen, Japan's Nikkei 225 has also had a roller coaster move in the last 34 years. After losing more than 80% from its December 1989 high to its October 2008 low, Japan's benchmark equity index has rallied more than 350%, taking it to levels that before this summer, it hadn't traded at since July 1990. Again, Japan's equity market has had its ups and downs over the last 34 years, but after all the time and effort, besides dividends, the Nikkei has nothing to show for it. Rip Van Winkle only fell asleep for 20 years, but if a Japanese investor fell asleep 34 years ago and woke up today, they may look at the paper and not even notice.

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  10. bigbear0083

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    Small Business Sales Get Slammed
    Tue, Nov 14, 2023

    This morning's release of small business sentiment from the NFIB showed optimism fell by less than expected, coming in at 90.7. That compares to 90.8 in September and leaves the index in the middle of the past several months' range. Although that is not at a new low, current levels are near the lowe end of the post-pandemic recession range.

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    Business outlook was unchanged at a historically low -43, albeit that is off the lows from June of last year. As small businesses remain pessimistic in their evaluation of the economy, there has been a significant deterioration in sales. Although sales expectations have risen, observed sales changes are down to -17 which outside of April through July 2020 is the weakest reading since September 2010. That has resulted in actual earnings changes also deteriorating with current levels very close to post-pandemic lows. In terms of prices, the index of higher realized prices ticked up to 30.

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    When surveyed on the most important reason for lower expected earnings, the highest share of respondents reported increased costs as the culprit. Granted, that combines input costs with increases in other aspects like taxes and finances (i.e. interest rates). While moving higher, the share reporting increased costs as their biggest reason for lower earnings is still below levels from last fall. On the other hand, the share reporting sales volumes as the reason has been rising steadily to levels not seen since May 2021.

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    In the table below, we show all categories of the report as well as their month-over-month change and how those readings rank as percentiles of all months in the survey's history. The headline number's further decline, albeit marginal, still leaves it in the bottom decile of historical readings. The bulk of the drop was thanks to the deterioration in actual earnings changes, but otherwise, breadth wasn't too bad for the index's inputs. That being said, the month-over-month drop in earnings changes does rank in the bottom 2% of all months on record, and other non-inputs to the headline number were more mixed. Again, actual sales changes were notably weak and, like actual earnings changes, recorded a historic month-over-month decile. That also applied to credit conditions for regular borrowers as interest rates remain elevated.

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  11. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    Small Businesses Start to Worry About Rates
    Tue, Nov 14, 2023

    In an earlier post, we discussed the latest small business survey from the NFIB. Another aspect of the survey is to question businesses on what is currently their most important problem. As shown in the table below, by far the most common response is either cost or quality of labor accounting for a combined 32% of responses. That is despite the apparent slowdown in labor markets as we discussed in today's Morning Lineup. Another 22% of responses point to government-related concerns like taxes (13%) and government red tape (9%). Combined, that is tied with inflation for the second most pressing issue among small businesses.

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    While it makes up a vastly smaller share of responses at only 5%, financial & interest rates have seen their share rise significantly. At 5%, it is the highest reading since 2010.

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    Furthermore, of firms reporting a negative outlook for expansion, rates rank as the second most common reason for said outlook behind political climate. While political climate holds a higher share of responses, it is worth noting that the reading has historically held a strong correlation with which party is in office (tending to favor Republicans). As shown below, after the 2016 election when Trump was elected to office, the readings tanked whereas leading up to and in the wake of the 2020 election of President Biden the reading rose sharply. Since then it has moderated, but it still remains the main reason cited by small businesses for their negative outlook.

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    Finally, we would note that although the October report saw a massive drop off in actual sales, few businesses appear to be overwhelmingly concerned with the issue. Only 5% of responses credited poor sales as their biggest problem. That is unchanged for five months in a row as it was higher as recently as the summer of 2021.

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  12. bigbear0083

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    Bad Expectations Out of New York
    Wed, Nov 15, 2023

    The New York Fed gave us the first regional reading on manufacturing conditions this morning with the release of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline number rose back into expansion at 9.1, well above expectations of an improvement to only -3. Although the current conditions index improved, expectations dropped a massive 24 points month over month. That ranks as the fourth largest one month decline in this reading on record behind September 2001 and January 2009.

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    Below we show a breakdown of each category of the report for both current conditions and 6-month expectations indices. Although General Business Conditions improved dramatically, breadth was otherwise negative. Of the other categories, only three rose month over month. Expectations likewise had more categories falling than rising leaving multiple categories at or near the bottom of their respective historical ranges dating back to the start of the survey in 2001.

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    The report indicated weak demand as new orders currently remain in contraction. Meanwhile, Unfilled Orders are far more depressed at -23.2 making the November reading the lowest since December 2014. Shipments have been increasingly choppy during the post-pandemic period, but the November reading did improve up to 10, slightly below the historical median. Meanwhile, Inventories were much more elevated. Rising 11.2 points month over month, inventories are now in the top decile of their historical range with the first expansionary reading in six months.

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    Employment metrics were also weak with both the number of employees and average workweek indices sitting in contraction. However, these were also two of the strongest categories relative to historical ranges of anywhere in the report. In fact, Average Workweek expectations hit the highest level since March of last year. While those labor expectations remain healthy, the same cannot be said for capital spending. Expected tech spending hit a new post-pandemic low while capital expenditure plans likewise returned to the low end of its range.

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  13. bigbear0083

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    Continuing Claims Relentlessly Rise
    Thu, Nov 16, 2023

    Among a large slate of economic data released this morning, jobless claims disappointed with both initial and continuing claims coming in higher than expected. For initial claims, the seasonally adjusted number rose meaningfully from an upwardly revised 218K last week to 231K. That compares with expectations of a more modest increase to 222K. That brings claims back to the highest level since the week of August 19th, and the 13K week over week rise was the largest since the first week of August.

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    On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims have continued their steady rise as is normal for this time of year. At 215.9K, this week's print was slightly higher than the comparable week last year, but also below those from the several years prior to the pandemic. In other words, claims are deteriorating, but from what are still strong levels.

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    Continuing claims, on the other hand, keep looking worse every week. Continuing claims have now risen for eight straight weeks, bringing it up to 1.865 million. That surpassed a high from this past April to make for the most elevated reading since November 27, 2021.

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    As we have noted in recent weeks, the size of the move in continuing claims over the past couple of months has been comparable to the size of increases around prior recessions. The same can be said for the consistency of upward moves in continuing claims. As shown below, the eight straight weeks of higher readings is the largest since the spring of 2020. Prior to that, most streaks of that size or longer occurred in the midst of a recession with the exception of the other two most recent instances in November 2018 and December 2019.

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  14. bigbear0083

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    No Bad Sentiment in the Northeast
    Thu, Nov 16, 2023

    The past couple of weeks have seen some relief in mortgage rates and a rebound in weekly mortgage applications as a result, but that positive housing market development didn't show per the latest reading on homebuilder sentiment. The NAHB's Housing Market Index dropped to 34 in November and is only three points above the low from last December.

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    In the table below, we show the readings of each sub-index of the report as well as the month-over-month change and how those readings stack up versus history. As shown, the month-over-month declines across the report were historically large with the six-point drop in the headline index ranking in the bottom 2nd percentile of all monthly moves with each sub-index also experiencing bottom 5% moves.

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    Regional homebuilder sentiment was more peculiar. Again, there were historic declines in the Midwest, West, and South. The Northeast went in the complete opposite direction as sentiment rose by 7 points. Although that does not leave sentiment at a new high, the month-over-month gain ranks in the 87th percentile of all months on record.

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  15. bigbear0083

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    Trading the Thanksgiving Market – Historical Bullishness Fading
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    Thanksgiving week has a notorious “holiday fueled” bullish bias as do the last seven trading days of the month. However, as you can see from the tables here of the history of the Thanksgiving trade the bullish bias has weakened over the last several years, most notably on Wednesdays and Fridays.

    First published in the 1987 Stock Trader’s Almanac, the Wednesday before and the Friday after Thanksgiving combined were up 34 times in 35 years. The only S&P 500 decline was in 1964. Subsequently, this trend changed. In the 35 years since 1987, there have been 10 declines and 26 advances. See 2024 Stock Trader’s Almanac page 106 for more.
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  16. bigbear0083

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    Dallas Fed Still In Contraction
    Mon, Nov 27, 2023

    Economic data was light this morning, but both US releases were disappointing with new home sales and the Dallas Fed's reading on manufacturing activity coming in worse than expected. For the latter, the General Business Activity Index dropped to -19.9 from -19.2 the previous month. That was also 3.9 points below expectations.

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    With another negative reading, this headline index has now been in contraction for 19 straight months. That makes it the second-longest such streak on record (since 2004), surpassing the 18-month streak ending in June 2016. However, it would still need to last another six months to match the previous record streak of contractionary readings that occurred during the Global Financial Crisis.

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    Breadth in this month's report was terrible with only two indices - inventories and capital expenditures - moving higher on a sequential basis. To make matters worse, with further declines across a number of categories, just under half of them now find themselves in the bottom deciles of their respective historical ranges. Expectations are similarly depressed with only three categories rising on a month over month basis.

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    Formerly, production and capacity utilization were two of the few indices that remained in positive territory as of last month. But steep declines meant both indices tipped into contraction in November. While production is nearing its recent low from August, capacity utilization's enormous 15.5-point drop month over month was the largest one-month decline since June 2022 to leave the index at the lowest level since the spring of 2020. While the manufacturing sector has been weak for months, the now resolved auto strike didn't help matters, so it will be interesting to see if December's readings show any bounceback as workers come off the picket lines.

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    Readings on demand hit similar recent or post-pandemic lows. New orders have been in contraction since last June with this month's reading of 20.5 marginally above the low from one year ago. But the order growth rate is down to -25.4 which is the lowest since April and May of 2020. Even though new orders and the order growth rate are at post-pandemic lows, current readings are much higher than they were in the spring of 2020. However, that margin is not as wide for unfilled orders. The new low of -18.1 is only 8.4 points below the April 2020 low.

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    Prices have also seen an interesting dynamic recently. Prices Paid are well off the highs and have been falling in the past couple of months, but readings are still positive meaning prices for raw materials are rising at a slower pace than other points of the past couple of years. Prices Received, on the other hand, are not exactly showing manufacturers passing on those higher prices. With demand showing weakness, prices received are falling sharply as the index re-entered contraction in November. In fact, outside of the onset of the pandemic, it was the most negative reading since April 2016.

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  17. bigbear0083

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    December Opens Bearish in Midst of Most Bullish Season
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    In the now available, Stock Trader’s Almanac 2024, on page 90, it is shown that the first trading days of every month since September 1997 for DJIA have produced nearly 40% of the total gain. Greatest gains were produced by the first day of February followed by March and July. However December’s first trading day has not been as productive for DJIA or S&P 500. In the following table, the performance of the first trading day of December over the most recent 22 years is presented.

    Aside from disastrous 2008, first trading day of December losses have been relatively mild for DJIA. The second worst loss, 1.34%, was 2021. Although the table has numerous years with 1% or greater gains, consistency is lacking. Since 2006, December’s first trading day has been weaker, down ten of the last seventeen for NASDAQ, down eleven of the last seventeen for DJIA, and twelve of sixteen for S&P 500.

    With stocks taking a breather after the big rip off the October lows, early December weakness is likely in December 2023.
     
  18. bigbear0083

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    Continuing Claims Brutal Rise Continues
    Thu, Nov 30, 2023

    Initial jobless claims experienced a 22K drop last week (after a 2K upward revision this week), the largest one week decline since June 24th. Claims experienced a modest rebound in the most recent print rising back to 218K. At that level, claims are in the middle of the past couple of year's range which is also historically healthy relative to pre-pandemic readings.

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    Before seasonal adjustment, claims experienced an unusually large drop back below 200K. That is the first sub-200K print since the end of October. Additionally, it is a record low relative to the comparable week of the year throughout history. While that may sound like a positive, we'd be hesitant to begin shooting off confetti. That drop and low reading are more likely a function of the Thanksgiving holiday, and as shown below, this week's drop is only a dent to the seasonal rise in claims that is typical for this time of year. In other words, one week does not make a trend.

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    While the initial claims number is likely not trending in a more positive direction, the concerning climb in continuing claims has pressed on. Seasonally adjusted continuing claims have continued their rapid rise with a week-over-week increase in nine of the last ten weeks. That has resulted in a fresh two-year high of 1.927 million.

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  19. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    First Half December Weak Ahead of Mid-Month Pop
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    Trading in December is holiday-inspired and fueled by a buying bias throughout the month. However, the first part of the month tends to be weaker as tax-loss selling and yearend portfolio restructuring begins. December’s first trading day has been bearish for S&P 500 and Russell 1000 over the last 21 years. A modest rally through the fifth or sixth trading day also has fizzled going into mid-month. It is around this point that holiday cheer tends to kick in and propel the indexes higher with a pause near month-end. Pre-election year Decembers follow a similar path, but with noticeably larger historical gains in the last third of the month.

    Small caps tend to start to outperform larger caps near the middle of the month (early January Effect) and our “Free Lunch” strategy is served from the offerings of stocks making new 52-week lows on Triple-Witching Friday. An email Issue will be sent prior to the market’s open on December 18 containing “Free Lunch” stock selections. The “Santa Claus Rally” begins on the open on December 22 and lasts until the second trading day of 2024. Average S&P 500 gains over this seven trading-day range since 1969 are a respectable 1.3%.

    This is our first indicator for the market in the New Year. Years when the Santa Claus Rally (SCR) has failed to materialize are often flat or down. The last six times SCR (the last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the New Year) has not occurred were followed by three flat years (1994, 2004 and 2015) and two nasty bear markets (2000 and 2008) and a mild bear that ended in February 2016. As Yale Hirsch’s now famous line states, “If Santa Claus should fail to call, bears may come to Broad and Wall.”
     
  20. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Administrator
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    Seasonal Surge in Claims
    Thu, Dec 7, 2023

    This morning's release of Jobless claims came right in line with estimates of 220K and is only marginally higher than last week's upwardly revised number of 219K. On a four-week moving average basis, claims have totaled 220.75K, matching the level from three weeks ago.

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    As we noted last week, before seasonal adjustment, claims usually increase throughout the final months of the year, but the Thanksgiving holiday likely caused an unusual drop off in claims last week. Claims were back up this week with an increase to 293.5K which is the highest level since the start of the year. Versus comparable weeks of the year, that is the highest reading since 2018.

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    Over the past few months, continuing claims have more consistently been grinding higher with last week marking the highest level in two years. The latest reading showed a modest pivot lower in continuing claims down to 1.861 million and matches the April high of 1.861 million.

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