Daily Market Commentary

Week In Review: Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Holiday Weekend

Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Long Weekend

Stocks edged higher last week as investors digested the latest round of mixed economic and earnings data. In the short term, the market looks a little extended and due for a little pullback to digest its recent gain. The big take-away is that the stock market remains strong as we have yet to see any conclusive “data” that suggests the Fed should raise rates anytime soon. In fact, most of the data continues to be lackluster at best which means the “data-dependent” Fed will likely not raise rates anytime soon (which, for now, is bullish for stocks). Looking at earnings, so far,approximately 481 companies in the S&P 500 (96%) have reported Q1 results and 63% have had a positive EPS surprise and 33% had a negative EPS surprise with the reminder meeting estimates. The fact that the market has edged higher since earnings season began bodes well for this aging bull market and suggests higher prices will likely follow, for now. History shows us that some of the market’s strongest performers occur from big gaps up on earnings and some of the weakest stocks gap down after reporting numbers.The big winners (so far) from earnings season include: Amazon.com ($AMZN), Netflix ($NFLX), Hasbro ($HAS), Domino’s Pizza ($DPZ), Skechers ($SKX), Dunkin (Donuts) Brands Group ($DNKN), Microsoft Corp ($MSFT), O’Reilly Automotive ($ORLY), and YUM Brands ($YUM), Skywest ($SKYW), Web.com ($WWWW), Equinix ($EQIX), Styngenta ($SYT), Nutri System ($NTRI), Brink’s Co ($BCO), Teradyne Inc ($TER), Skyworks Solutions ($SWKS), GoPro ($GPRO), Estee Lauder ($EL), Abiomed Inc ($ABMD), Golar LNG ($GLNR), Energizer Holdings ($ENR), RetailMeNot, Inc ($SALE), Herbalife ($HLF), BlueBird Bio ($BLUE), HubSpot Inc ($HUBS), Alibaba Group ($BABA), Qorvo Inc ($QRVO), Visteon Copr ($VC), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ($NCLH)
On the downside: Whole Foods Market ($WFM), Keurig Green Mountain ($GMCR), Kate Spade ($KATE), Lannett Co ($LCI), Nu Skin ($NUS), Terra Nitrogen ($TNH), Tumi Holdings ($TUMI), Noodles & Company ($NDLS), Qualys ($QLYS), Groupon Inc ($GRPN), News Corporation ($NWSA), Vitamin Shoppe Inc, ($VSI), Fossil Inc ($FOSL), Frontier Communication ($FTR), TriNet Group ($TNET), Zulily Inc ($ZU), Weight Watchers ($WTW), Walter Energy Inc. ($WLT), Skullcandy ($SKUL) Twitter ($TWTR), Yelp ($YELP), LinkedIn ($LNKD), Constant Contact (CTCT), Accuray ($ARAY), Cooper Tire & Rubber ($CTB), Abaxis ($ABAX), Texas Instruments ($TXN), Buffalo Wild Wings ($BWLD), Baidu Inc. ($BIDU), Stratasys ($SSYS), Harman ($HAR), Nokia ($NOK), Travelers ($TRV), 3M ($MMM), Chipotle ($CMG), Pulte Group ($PHM), Biogen Inc ($BIIB), Generac Holdings ($GNRC), First Solar ($FSLR), and American Express ($AXP), just to name a few. 

Monday-Wednesday’s Action: Economy Data Is Not Impressive

Stocks rallied on Monday helping the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the benchmark S&P 500 hit new record highs. Stocks rallied after the National Association of Home Builders’ survey missed estimates and showed builder confidence fell two points in May. Separately, European stock markets and the Euro were under slight pressure after rumor spread that Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy. Greek bond yields soared, with the 10-year jumping a whopping 7%, after a leaked internal memo from the International Monetary Fund showed the country had little chance of making the June 5 payment. Spanish and Italian bond yields also jumped more than 7% on related fears. 

Stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as the U.S. dollar soared and a slew of commodities fell. Overseas, the euro tanked (greenback surged) after Benoit Coeure, an executive member of the European Central Bank, said the central bank plans to “front load” its QE (bond buying) program in the early part of the summer. This basically means they are pumping even more money into the system to help boost asset prices and, in turn, send their equity markets higher and the euro lower.  In the U.S., housing starts jumped +20.2% in April to 1.135 million, beating estimates for 1.019M. 
Stocks were quiet on Wednesday as the greenback edged higher as a slew of currencies and commodities fell. The Dow transports fell 1.5% and remained under serious pressure. A slew of airline stocks were hammered and Southwest (SAVE) plunged over 8.5% at one point in the day. At 2pm EST, the Federal Reserve released the minutes of their latest Fed meeting which reiterated their recent data-dependent stance. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in Munich that a rate hike is not likely to be appropriate until early 2016.

Thursday-Friday’s Action: Stocks Flirt With New Highs

On Thursday, stocks were quiet as investors digested the latest round of mixed economic data. Existing home sales fell 3.3% in April, missing estimates for a gain of 1% to 5.24 million units. A separate report showed that manufacturing PMI came in at 53.8 in May, missing estimates for a gain of 54.5. The May U.S. Philadelphia Fed Index rose to 6.7, missing estimates for 8.0. The Conference Board said its leading indicator index, which forecasts future economic activity, rose by 0.7%, beating estimates for a 0.3% gain.  Weekly jobless claims fell to  274k, slightly above the 271k forecast. The 4-week moving average remains the lowest since April 2000. Stocks drifted lower on Friday as the transports continue to drag stocks lower. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.1%, matching estimates. Core prices (which strip out food and energy) rose by 0.3%, the fastest gain since January 2013.

Market Outlook: The Central Bank Put Is Alive And Well

Remember, in bull markets surprises happen to the upside. This has been our primary thesis since the end of 2012. We would be remiss not to note that this very strong bull market is aging (celebrated its 6th anniversary in March 2015) and the last two major bull markets ended shortly after their 5th anniversary; 1994-2000 & 2002-Oct 2007). To be clear, the central bank put is very strong and until material damage occurs, the stock market deserves the longer-term bullish benefit of the doubt. As always, keep your losses small and never argue with the tape.

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