Scott Martindale  by Scott Martindale
  President, Sabrient Systems LLC

The major cap-weighted market indexes continue to achieve new highs on a combination of expectations of interest rate cuts and optimism about an imminent trade deal with China. Bulls have been reluctant to take profits off the table in an apparent fear of missing out (aka FOMO) on a sudden market melt-up (perhaps due to coordinated global central bank intervention, including the US Federal Reserve). But investors can be forgiven for feeling some déjà vu given that leadership during most of the past 13 months did not come from the risk-on sectors that typically lead bull markets, but rather from defensive sectors like Utilities, Staples, and REITs, which was very much like last summer’s rally – and we all know how that ended (hint: with a harsh Q4 selloff). In fact, while the formerly high-flying “FAANG” group of Tech stocks has underperformed the S&P 500 since June 2018, Barron’s recently observed that a conservative group of Consumer sector stalwarts has been on fire (“WPPCK”) – Walmart (WMT), Procter & Gamble (PG), PepsiCo (PEP), Costco (COST), and Coca-Cola (KO).

This is not what I would call long-term sustainable leadership for a continuation of the bull market. Rather, it is what you might expect in a recessionary environment. When I observed similar behavior last summer, with a risk-off rotation even as the market hit new highs, I cautioned that defensive stocks would not be able to continue to carry the market to new highs (with their low earnings growth and sky-high P/E ratios), but rather a risk-on rotation into cyclical sectors and small-mid caps would be necessary to sustain the uptrend. Instead, the mega-cap Tech names faltered and the market went into a downward spiral. Many analysts and pundits have been forecasting the same for this year.

But when I hear such widespread pessimism, the contrarian voice in my head speaks up. And indeed, the FAANG names – along with powerhouse Microsoft (MSFT) and cyclicals like Semiconductors, Homebuilders, and Industrials – have been showing leadership again so far this year, especially after that historic market upswing in June. Rather than an impending recession, it seems to me that the US economy is on solid footing and “de-coupling” from other developed markets, as First Trust’s Brian Wesbury has opined.

The US economic expansion just became the longest in history, the latest jobs report was outstanding, unemployment remains historically low, business and consumer confidence are strong, institutional accumulation is solid, and the Federal Reserve is a lock to lower interest rates at least once, and more if necessary (the proverbial “Fed Put”). Indeed, the old adages “Don’t fight the Fed!” (as lower rates support both economic growth and higher equity valuations) and “The trend is your friend!” (as the market hits new highs) are stoking optimism and a critical risk-on rotation, leading the S&P 500 this week to touch the magic 3,000 mark and the Dow to eclipse 27,000. If this risk-on rotation continues, it bodes well for Sabrient’s cyclicals-oriented portfolios.

In this periodic update, I provide a detailed market commentary, offer my technical analysis of the S&P 500, review Sabrient’s latest fundamentals based SectorCast rankings of the ten US business sectors, and serve up some actionable ETF trading ideas. In summary, our sector rankings look neutral to me (i.e., neither bullish nor defensive), while the sector rotation model retains a bullish posture. Read on…

Scott MartindaleAnxious bulls no doubt are looking for ways to rustle awake this sleepy late-summer stock market, before the bears stealthily bring it down. Investors’ focus has been on the Fed and what it might do next month, and Wednesday’s release of the July FOMC meeting minutes showed almost all the voting members supported no change in stimulus, with only a few hawks insisting that tapering should begin sooner.

smartindale / Tag: sectors, iShares, ETF, SPY, VIX, CSCO, WMT, AAPL, VMW, MA, PB, iyw, IYF, IYK, IYE, IYJ, IYZ, IYM, IDU, IYH, IYC / 0 Comments

"If you simply try to tell the truth you will, nine times out of ten, be original without ever having noticed it." -- C.S. Lewis

Another week, another victory lap for the Bulls.

Anyone notice a pattern here? Technically speaking, at least, that pattern is a solid uptrend, with nary an imminent level of resistance close to the horizon.

daniel / Tag: DJIA, COMP, SPX, KIE, FXO, IYF, XLF, VFH, PSP, M, WMT, financial sector, consumer sentiment, Retail Sector, Eurozone, China, Syria / 0 Comments

Scott MartindaleFive years ago this month, the S&P 500 hit all-time high of 1576. It closed Wednesday at 1461. Can the market make a run at that all-time high? Well, the biggest threat at the moment to bullish sentiment is the Fiscal Cliff, but both presidential candidates have a plan for dealing with it, and Congress is unlikely to want to take the fall for defying the new President and sending the country back into recession.

smartindale / Tag: ETF, sectors, iShares, VIX, SPY, qqq, iyw, IYF, IYH, IYK, IYE, IYC, IYJ, IYM, IYZ, IDU, AAPL, GOOG, TRV, MA, QCOM, CVX, AA, YUM, WMT, BAC, C, JPM, INTC, IBM / 0 Comments

Scott MartindaleAs earnings season gets underway, it has become clear that there is a disconnect between the bull market in stocks and the ability of the companies behind those stocks to generate any revenue growth in a weak global economy. Although U.S. companies have shown eleven consecutive quarters of year-over-year earnings growth, Wall Street analysts have continued to slash forward earnings estimates, and indeed it is reflected in Sabrient’s SectorCast model.

smartindale / Tag: ETF, iShares, sectors, VIX, SPY, IYF, iyw, IYK, IYH, IYE, IYC, IYJ, IYZ, IDU, IYM, AAPL, GOOG, CVX, YUM, COST, WMT, AA, Y, MA / 0 Comments

Walmart-Gate, Dutch-Gate, Netflix-Gate, Exit-Gate!

This could be the “exit gate” but probably not.  Over the weekend, the New York Times released a blockbuster story about Walmart’s (WMT) alleged massive cover-up of serious violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act involving more than $24 million dollars in bribes to accelerate store openings and bypass permit and zoning practices.  The stock was down 4.55% today, at $59.54.

david / Tag: ATU, EWP, HUM, IEV, NFLX, POL, RLJ, S&P 500, SPY, VGK, WMT / 0 Comments

It's a Conundrum

david / Tag: AAP, CIG, DE, GM, MAR, MET, PMT, PRU, WMT / 0 Comments

david trainerFor U.S. equities, ETFs offer a higher percentage (10%) of attractive investment options than mutual funds (1%) at a lower cost. The radically higher number of US equity mutual funds (4,700+) versus ETFs (380+) is not indicative of better stock selection from active management. On the contrary, the vast majority of actively-managed funds do not justify the higher fees they charge.

dtrainer / Tag: AIG, ALV, AVB, BAC, C, CME, COF, COP, CPB, CVX, DELL, DISH, Do, DVN, EP, EQR, FCX, FRX, GE, GILD, GIS, GPS, INTC, JPM, LLY, LRCX, MSFT, NEM, NLY, PXD, T, TXN, UNH, VNO, WFC, WMT, XOM / 0 Comments

Nothing seems to be strong enough to lift the market out of its doldrums.  Not the shiny corporate earnings announcements from Wal-Mart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD).  Not the exciting merger talks between BHP Billiton (BHP) & Potash (POT) or between Intel (INTC) & McAfee (MFE). Not the slightly improved global economic picture.

david / Tag: ARLP, AV, GHP, HD, INTC, JKS, MFE, OC, POT, sectors, WMT / 0 Comments

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