The SPX bounced nicely last week to close very slightly below its all time high. Moreover, it
remained clear of the 40 wk. m/a on the plus side. SPX Weekly
The cyclical bull market has grown more tenuous, however. The SPX is no longer following a
clear uptrend line and has steadily lost momentum. It has been making new highs, but they
have been so minor that the market has basically been adrift. Moreover, the breadth of the market,
measured by the percentage of stocks in clear positive momentum price patterns, is sharply
lower than at the start of the year.
The SPX is not not materially overbought against its 40 wk. m/a and has not been so for months.
the 40 wk is also still progressing higher, although it is starting to flatten out compared to the
In all, the chart is unimpressive but is not yet near negative, and on the old saw that one should
never sell a dull market, players have just been going along with it even though the SPX has
On balance, the fundamentals are positive, but the situation on this score is tenuous as well.
Broadly, resources are in place to support continuation of real progress in the economy through
2016 in my view, but the progress we are witnessing is quite modest. Measured yr/ yr my
coincident economic indicator has declined from a healthy 3% at the outset of 2015 to an
anemic 1.6% through June. My monthly and weekly leading economic indicators signal a pick up
in growth for Half 2 '15, but the readings are, shall we say, unprepossessing. SPX net per share
continues to trail the prior year, with weakness in the energy sector more than offsetting gains
elsewhere. Even excluding oil and gas, pricing power is modest, and many companies are
experiencing lower productivity growth since business is now geared for faster volume gains
which have yet to materialize.
There is an investor patience factor at work here as well. The market p/e ratio is elevated.
But with cash yielding near zero and bond market yields drifting higher, many players appear
reconciled for now to hold equities portfolios to pick up the 2.1% yield and to play the
share buyback and merger lotteries as well as chase positive earnings surprise (viz. Netflix
and Google shares).
- Peter Richardson
- Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!