Stocks ended mixed to mostly higher on Trump’s 5th week in office. The relentless rally, coupled with the inability for stocks to fall in a meaningful fashion, illustrates how strong the bulls are right now.
The more we scan the market and look at leading stocks, sectors and industry groups, the more this feels like the very early stages of a 1999/1929 style climax/blow-off top. Of course, we are open for any possible scenario that may unfold but, for now, we are in a very strong bull market and weakness should be bought, not sold.
The major indices are very extended from nearly all moving averages and a nice light volume pullback would be healthy for this aging bull market. The strength is broad based as big money continues to flow into the major indices and several important sectors: Financials ($XLF), Materials ($XLB), Industrials ($XLI), Steel ($SLX), and Technology, just to name a few. As long as pullbacks remain very shallow in both size (small % decline) and scope (short in duration), the bulls remain in clear control of this market. The first level of support to watch is 10 day moving average, then the 21 DMA, then the 50 DMA for the major indices.
A Closer Look at What Happened Last Week…
Stocks were closed on Monday for Presidents’ Day. On Tuesday, stocks rallied nicely as investors continued to buy stocks. The White House announced Monday that Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster will become the new national security advisor. McMaster replaces Michael Flynn, who resigned last week. Economic news was light. The flash read on the IHS Markit U.S. purchasing managers’ index came in at 54.3 in February, falling slightly from January’s 14-month peak. The “latest survey data indicated that business optimism moderated among U.S. private sector firms in February, driven by weaker confidence across the service economy,” IHS said.
Stocks were relatively quiet on Wednesday as investors digested the recent and very strong rally. The Fed Minutes hinted that more rate hikes may be on the horizon, especially if Trump’s policies do indeed spur economic growth. In economic news, weekly mortgage applications slid by 2% amid tepid refinancing levels. A separate report showed that existing home sales grew by 3.3% in January.
Thur & Fri Action:
Stocks were relatively quiet on Thursday after the new Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, said a “very significant” tax reform will be passed by August. Mnuchin said, “We’ve been working closely with the leadership in the House and the Senate and we’re looking at a combined plan.” Stocks have soared since the election, thanks, in part, to Trump’s pro-business policies, deregulation, and a big tax cut in the near future. Stocks slid on Friday as they pullback from very extended levels. Stocks opened lower and closed slightly higher on Friday as the bulls continue to buy nearly every dip in the market. President Trump signed another executive order which is designed to further cut regulations. Trump signed a regulatory reform task force which will evaluate major federal regulations and recommend whether to keep, repeal or change them.
Market Outlook: Strong Action Continues
The market remains strong as the major indices continue to hit fresh record highs. The bulls have a very strong fundamental backdrop of monetary and now fiscal policy. The ECB extended QE in December and will print another 2.4T to stimulate markets and the global economy. The U.S. Fed only raised rates once in 2016, by a quarter point to 0.50%, which, historically, is still very low. On the fiscal side, Trump’s pro-growth policies are received well. As always, keep your losses small and never argue with the tape.