posted on 04 September 2016
by Jeff Miller, A Dash of Insight
The abbreviated week's calendar has little important data. The economic news last week leaves open the timing of the next interest rate increase. As vacationing market participants yawn their way back to their desks and trading floors, what will be the focus? A look at the calendar and the end of summer will have them asking: Should we expect September mourning?
I borrowed the mourning question from Alan Steel's excellent post on this subject. More from him in the conclusion.
There was a lot of important economic news. The picture was mixed, but mostly promising. The Fed can move in September or delay until December.
In my last WTWA, I predicted another weeklong focus on the Fed. I expected every economic data point to get special attention, parsed through the perceived eyes of the Fed. This was the story all week - even on the quiet Friday afternoon. I asked whether the Fed would get a signal to hike rates. At the end of the week, most were answering "no." I have had a good streak going on guessing the theme, but the week ahead is really a challenge.
The Story in One Chart
I always start my personal review of the week by looking at this great chart from Doug Short. The overall range, once again, is very narrow. Doug's take is that the market liked the slightly weaker than expected report, observing as follows:
Doug has a special knack for pulling together all of the relevant information. His charts save more than a thousand words! Read his entire post where he adds analysis and several other charts providing long-term perspective.
...for some upcoming events that might be interesting to WTWA readers.
Each week I break down events into good and bad. Often there is an "ugly" and on rare occasion something really good. My working definition of "good" has two components. The news must be market friendly and better than expectations. I avoid using my personal preferences in evaluating news - and you should, too!
EpiPens. Rex Nutting gets to the heart of it: Saving lives isn't Mylan's business; maximizing profits is. The story has widespread implications. We all want to save lives. To do this there must be an incentive for drug development. When does this cross into exploitation? Should U.S. prices subsidize foreign drugs? It is an important issue on many fronts.
The Silver Bullet
I occasionally give the Silver Bullet award to someone who takes up an unpopular or thankless cause, doing the real work to demonstrate the facts. This week's award goes to Ben Carlson, who takes on the apparently compelling statistical link between the Fed and stock performance. Since 2008 more than half of the increase in the market comes on days of FOMC meetings. He notes that this argument was featured in the WSJ, but it shows up in various places.
What happens if you change the starting date of the analysis?
Ben points out that the relationship is mostly a result of 2008.
The Week Ahead
We would all like to know the direction of the market in advance. Good luck with that! Second best is planning what to look for and how to react. That is the purpose of considering possible themes for the week ahead. You can make your own predictions in the comments.
We have a light week for economic data. While personally I watch everything on the calendar, you do not need to! I highlight only the most important items in WTWA. Focus is essential.
The "A" List
The "B" List
There will be some FedSpeak. There may also be news from the G20 conference. See Treasury Secretary Lew's presentation at Brookings for a preview.
Next Week's Theme
Last week brought us more quiet trading with no clear message from the data. As people slowly return from vacation, it is a natural time to review events. We will see plenty of stories about how September is the worst month for stocks. Everyone will be asking: Will September bring a market correction?
Michael Brush, writing at MarketWatch, has a typical example, Get ready for a 5%-10% stock-market drop. Expect more such predictions and advice to do something or other to avoid this kind of decline. This week's Barron's cover was similar.
Most expect the record streak of low volatility to end. Here are the top worries:
Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments, including anything I have missed.
As always, I'll have a few ideas of my own in the conclusion.
We follow some regular great sources and also the best insights from each week.
Whether you are a trader or an investor, you need to understand risk. Think risk first, reward second. I monitor many quantitative reports and highlight the best methods in this weekly update.
The Indicator Snapshot
The Featured Sources:
Bob Dieli: The "C Score" which is a weekly estimate of his Enhanced Aggregate Spread (the most accurate real-time recession forecasting method over the last few decades). His subscribers get Monthly reports including both an economic overview of the economy and employment.
The recession odds (in nine months) have nudged closer to 10%.
Holmes: Our cautious and clever watchdog, who sniffs out opportunity like a great detective, but emphasizes guarding assets.
RecessionAlert: Many strong quantitative indicators for both economic and market analysis. While we feature his recession analysis, Dwaine also has a number of interesting approaches to asset allocation.
Doug Short: The Big Four Update, the World Markets Weekend Update (and much more).
The ECRI has been dropped from our weekly update. It was not so much because of the bad call in 2011, but the stubborn adherence to this position despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Those interested can still follow them via Doug Short and Jill Mislinski. The ECRI commentary remains relentlessly bearish despite the upturn in their own index.
Georg Vrba: The Business Cycle Indicator, and much more. Check out his site for an array of interesting methods. Georg regularly analyzes Bob Dieli's enhanced aggregate spread, considering when it might first give a recession signal. Georg thinks it is still a year away. It is interesting to watch this approach along with our weekly monitoring of the C-Score. This week, as he always does after an employment report, Georg updated his unemployment-based recession indicator. No recession is indicated.
How to Use WTWA
In this series I share my preparation for the coming week. I write each post as if I were speaking directly to one of my clients. For most readers, they can just "listen in." If you are unhappy with your current investment approach, we will be happy to talk with you. I start with a specific assessment of your personal situation. There is no rush. Each client is different, so I have six different programs ranging from very conservative bond ladders to very aggressive trading programs. A key question:
Are you preserving wealth, or like most of us, do you need to create more wealth?
My objective is to help all readers, so I provide a number of free resources. Just write to info at newarc dot com. We will send whatever you request. We never share your email address with others, and send only what you seek. (Like you, we hate spam!) Free reports include the following:
Best Advice for the Week Ahead
The right move often depends on your time horizon. Are you a trader or an investor?
Insight for Traders
We consider both our models and also the best advice from sources we follow.
Felix and Holmes
We continue with a strongly bullish market forecast. Felix is fully invested, including several aggressive sectors. The more cautious Holmes also remains fully invested.
Top Trading Advice
Brett Steenbarger describes the three main causes of big drawdowns. See if you remember any of them from your own experience. Here is how to think about the diagnosis.
Dr. Brett has another lesson, showing how to milk information from data to find the best trades. Take a look at this chart and then read his analysis.
We have all had losing trades. The Trading Goddess discusses the best way to exit, including the thorny question of stops.
Insight for Investors
Investors have a longer time horizon. The best moves frequently involve taking advantage of trading volatility!
Best of the Week
If I had to pick a single most important source for investors to read this week it would be Morgan Housel's final column at The Motley Fool. He has been the best advice choice many times. His work is consistently helpful to investors. He promises that he will keep writing in his new gig, and I hope that is true. This week's article reviews some of his key lessons. They are all worth careful study, buy I especially like this one:
And also this one....
Chuck Carnevale continues his strong recent series with a look at the "Big Five" Canadian banks. He emphasizes the importance of finding a good entry price! This is a thorough analysis, and you should read it carefully before investing.
Morningstar updates the top buys and sells from their "ultimate stock pickers." This group was a "net seller" but still holds some favorites. Check out the full article for other ideas.
Holmes will begin contributing an idea each week, a stock we bought for clients a few days ago. I will mention it here and Holmes will also post it each Friday at Scutify.com. While we cannot verify the suitability of specific stocks for everyone who is a reader, the ideas may be a starting point for your own research. Holmes may exit a position at any time, and I am not going to do a special post on each occasion. If you want more information about Holmes and exits, just sign up via holmes at newarc dot com and you will get email updates. This week's Holmes made no portfolio changes. Danaher (DHR), which we bought last week, is still interesting and about the same price as our entry.
With a new trading range for oil prices there is renewed interest in energy stocks. Dan Dicker (Oil&Energy Insider - subscription required) recommends waiting until oil is closer to $40/bbl. He includes an interesting chart showing how some of the Bakken shale drilling sites developed. He writes as follows:
Professional investors and traders have been making Abnormal Returns a daily stop for over ten years. The average investor should make time (even if not able to read AR every day as I do) for a weekly trip on Wednesday. Tadas always has first-rate links for investors in his weekly special edition. There are several great choices worth reading, but my favorite is this advice from Jonathan Clements. He explains that people are living longer and must take that into account in setting an investment horizon. He notes as follows:
[Jeff] I agree with this analysis, but I always start by securing enough of a portfolio to assure against life-changing market results. One good place to start is with another source from Tadas, Tim Maurer. He warns against taking too much risk.
Eddy Elfenbein, continuing to impress on his CNBC segments, explains 5 Signs that Stocks have Room to Run. We turn off the mute and TIVO back when Eddy is on, our highest indication of respect!
Michael Batnick (MarketWatch) has a helpful article about what investors could learn from horse bettors. There is a list of ten great ideas, especially for value investors. I especially liked this one:
I wrote on a similar theme last week. You might enjoy Why Smart Investors Struggle to Beat the Market.
Ben Carlson explains the importance of rebalancing. If you do not regularly review and execute this strategy, you are missing out on a natural way of selling high and buying low. You are also taking too much risk!
Volatility will eventually increase, but there is no reason to expect it right away. Most of the reasons have been recycled all year. Let me comment on the new ones.
Fundamental factors are more important than the small seasonal effects. The latter often include a couple of large moves that skew the result. The chance of a correction is no higher than it was last month, or the month before.
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