Scott Martindale  by Scott Martindale
  President & CEO, Sabrient Systems LLC

As the economy has emerged from the pandemic and some sense of normalcy has returned around the world, investors had returned to wrestling with the potential impacts of unwinding 13 years of unprecedented monetary stimulus (QE and ZIRP). But then new uncertainties piled on with the onset of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s impressive resistance, and the resulting refugee crisis, not to mention new COVID mutations and some renewed lockdowns – all of which has led to historic inflationary pressures on energy, commodities, and food prices, as well as elevated market volatility.

After a solid post-FOMC rally, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell from a panicky high near 37 – which is more than two sigma above its long-term average of 20 – to close last week at 20.81. At their lows, the S&P 500 had corrected by -13.1% and the Nasdaq Comp by -21.7% (from their all-time high closing prices last November to their lowest close on Monday 3/14/22). But the price action in the SPDR S&P 500 and Tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 over the past few weeks looks very much like a bottoming process going into the FOMC meeting, culminating in a bullish “W” technical formation that broke out strongly to the upside, with recoveries of +9.2% for the S&P 500 and +12.9% for Nasdaq through last Friday. The rally has seen a resurgence in the more speculative growth stocks that had become severely oversold, as illustrated by the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), which has risen nearly 25%.

Except for some gyrations in the immediate aftermath of the FOMC announcement, price essentially went straight up. I believe the rocket fuel came from a combination of the Fed providing greater clarity (and not hiking by 50 bps), China’s soothing words (including assurances to global investors and distancing itself from Russia’s aggression), as well as a general fear of missing out (FOMO) among investors on an oversold rally.

Notably, commodities and crude oil have been strong from the start of the year, with oil at one point (March 7) touching $130/bbl after starting the year at $75 (that’s a 73% spike!). For now, oil seems to have stabilized in a trading range, although the future is uncertain and summer driving season is on the horizon. It seems that President Putin finally acting out his goal of restoring historical Russian lands (similar to the jihadist dream of redrawing an Islamic caliphate) may be shaking up our leftists’ utopian vision of a Great Reset and “stakeholder capitalism” and into realizing (at least for the moment) the pitfalls of rapid decarbonization, denuclearization, the embracing of green/renewable energy before the technologies are ready for the role of primary energy source, and the outsourcing of critical energy supplies (the very lifeblood of a modern economy) to mercurial/adversarial dictators. I talk at length about oil production and supply dynamics in today’s post.

So, have we seen the lows for the year in stocks? Is this merely an oversold bounce and end-of-quarter “window dressing” for mutual funds that will soon reverse, or is it a sustainable recovery? Well, my view is that we may have indeed seen the lows, depending upon how the war develops from here, how aggressive the Fed’s actions (not just its language) actually turn out, and how economic growth and corporate earnings are impacted. But I also think there is too much uncertainty – including a possible recessionary dip for one quarter – for there to be new highs in the broad indexes anytime soon. Instead, I think we are in a trader’s market. Although I think stocks will end the year in positive territory, they are unlikely to reach new highs given the vast new disruptions to supply chains and the less-speculative nature of current investor sentiment – meaning that valuations will depend more on earnings growth rather than multiple expansion. In any case, I believe there are many high-quality stocks to be found outside of the mega-cap Tech darlings offering better opportunities.

In this periodic update, I provide a comprehensive market commentary, offer my technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review Sabrient’s latest fundamentals based SectorCast quant rankings of the ten US business sectors, and serve up some actionable ETF trading ideas. To summarize, our SectorCast rankings reflect a bullish bias, with 4 of the top 5 scorers being cyclical sectors, Energy, Basic Materials, Financials, and Technology. In addition, the near-term technical picture looks weak, but the mid-to-long-term looks like a bottom is in, and our sector rotation model is back in a bullish posture.

Regardless, Sabrient’s Baker’s Dozen, Dividend, and Small Cap Growth portfolios leverage our enhanced Growth at a Reasonable Price (GARP) selection approach (which combines quality, value, and growth factors) to provide exposure to both the longer-term secular growth trends and the shorter-term cyclical growth and value-based opportunities – without sacrificing strong performance potential. Sabrient’s latest Q1 2022 Baker’s Dozen launched on 1/20/2022 and is off to a good start versus the benchmark, led by an oil & gas firm. In addition, the live Dividend and Small Cap Growth portfolios are performing quite well relative to their benchmarks.  Read on....


Wall Street seems to be in a bit of a holding pattern, not quite sure which way to go as it ponders how to respond to the possibility of another war, a domestic economy that seems to sputter out with regularity, and the inevitability of a tapering off of the massive bond-buying program that has goosed the equity market to record highs.

daniel / Tag: USO, DJIA, COMP, SPX, VIX, FDN, SOXX, FXL, SMH, QTEC, IGV, VGK, NYMEX, Syria, volatility, Middle East, Crude Oil / 0 Comments

“Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.” -- Pablo Picasso

Well, Ben Bernanke finally pulled the trigger on QE3, after what must have seemed to be, at least to an impatient Wall Street, an indeterminable period of Hamlet-like waffling and indecision.

But he did it, and he did it with a double-barreled shotgun.

daniel / Tag: DJIA, SPX, NASDAQ, COMP, USO / 0 Comments

“I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.” -- Mark Twain

After a rather traumatic month of May that saw investors refocus on the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis with a vengeance, there now seems to be emerging a shift in the winds in terms of sentiment concerning the monetary union’s chances of survival.

daniel / Tag: ECB, EU, Eurozone, USO / 0 Comments

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ilene / Tag: DIA, dollar, oil, qqq, SPY, stocks, USO, UUP / 0 Comments

Bears Snap Out of Snooze, Commodities Get Goosed

by Daniel Sckolnik of ETF Periscope

“I made my money by selling too soon.” -- Bernard Baruch

The sound you may have heard last week was the stirring of the Bears.

daniel / Tag: CBOT, Crude, DJIA, Dow Jones Industrial Average, ETF, GLD, gold, S&P 500 Index, Silver, SLV, SPX, USO, VIX, VXX / 0 Comments

Slick Trade for a Sideways Market

by Daniel Sckolnik of ETF Periscope

“After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.” -- Aristotle Onassis

Blame it on Libya.

daniel / Tag: Crude Oil, DJIA, Dow Jones Industrial Average, ETF, S&P 500 Index, SPX, USO, VIX, VXX / 0 Comments

Markets Slip and Slide on an Oily Sheen

by Daniel Sckolnik of ETF Periscope

“If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion.” -- George Bernard Shaw

The equity markets are poised for the next leg up of their recent bull run.

Oh, wait.

The markets are about to be slammed down back to the Stone Age.

Rude Crude and the Fear Index

by Daniel Sckolnik of ETF Periscope

“If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~  Dale Carnegie

daniel / Tag: CBOE, COMP, DJIA, Dow Jones Industrial Average, ETF, IYZ, Nasdaq Composite Index, S&P, SPX, USO, VIX, VXX, XHB, XLK, xlv / 0 Comments

Oil Barrels Back Towards the Century Mark

by Daniel Sckolnik of ETF Periscope

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.-- Albert Einstein

daniel / Tag: DJIA, Dow Jones Industrial Average, IYZ, USO, XHB, XLK, xlv / 0 Comments

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