Thursday
Oct022014

Bullish Sentiment Takes a Hit

With stock prices starting succumb to the pressures of the weak European economy, geo-political issues, and fears over Ebola, individual investors have also been reigning in their bullishness.  According to the weekly survey from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), bullish sentiment declined from 41.84% down to 35.42% this week.  This represents the fifth weekly decline in the last six weeks, and it is also the first time since early August that bullish sentiment has dropped below its bull market average.  It's hard to say that investors are getting fearful, but there doesn't seem to be an excessive amount of complacency either.

Thursday
Oct022014

Jobless Claims Better Than Expected

After some weak economic data to start the month, investors got some better than expected data on Thursday with a better than expected jobless claims report.  While economists were forecasting a slight increase to 297K from last week's level of 295K, claims actually fell by 8K down to 287K.

With this week's decline in initial claims, the four-week moving average fell to 294.75K, which is just 1K above the post-recession low of 293.75K that we saw nine weeks ago at the start of August.  In next week's count, we will be dropping a weekly reading of 316K from the count, so barring a big increase, it is likely that we will see a new low in this reading.

On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis claims were even more impressive this week.  At a level of 227.1K, this week's reading was the lowest weekly reading (for any week) in more than 14 years, and nearly 90K below the historical average of 316.2K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000.  Obviously, there is a reason claims are seasonally adjusted due to the fact that they typically fall in September and rise in December.  That being said, we find it odd that the same people who start trotting out the NSA numbers in December (when they are high) are silent now.

Wednesday
Oct012014

10th Worst Start to October in History

The S&P 500's 1.32% decline today was the 10th worst start to October in the index's history going back to 1928.  Somewhat surprisingly, two of the five worst starts to October have come during this bull market as well.  On October 1st, 2009, the S&P fell 2.58%, and then on October 3rd, 2011 (the first trading day of that month), the index fell 2.85%.  The first trading day of October has been rough on investors over the last five years.

So what's in store for the market over the next few days and for the remainder of the month?  Earlier today over at BespokePremium.com, we published a B.I.G. Tips report for members highlighting the answer to this question.  The results were very noteworthy and consistent, but you'll have to sign up for a 5-day free trial to Bespoke Premium to check them out.  Head on over to our Subscribe page now to sign up and view the report.  Enter "october" in the coupon code section of the Subscribe page to receive a 10% discount on your new membership!

Wednesday
Oct012014

The Elusive Rise in Rates

Interest rates may not be going up, but consumers certainly continue to expect them to.  One of the questions we ask consumers in our monthly Bespoke Consumer Pulse Survey is where they expect interest rates to be one year from now.  As shown below, 57.6% of participants expect interest rates to be higher one year from now.  This is a statistically significant sampling of US consumers, so there's a clear expectation out there that interest rates are going up.  On the flipside, only 5% expect interest rates to be "lower" or "much lower" one year from now, a ridiculously low number.  

Mr. Market loves to prove the consensus wrong, and it has definitely done a good job of that in regards to interest rates for quite a while now.  

To view our entire Consumer Pulse Survey analysis, sign up for a 5-day free trial to our new Pulse service today!  Act now and get 30% off your subscription price for the life of your membership.  Simply enter "pulsecharter" in the coupon code section of the Pulse subscribe page when you sign up to receive the discount.  You can learn more about the Pulse service from this post we published here yesterday

Wednesday
Oct012014

Ford Truck Sales Disappoint

Along with a disappointing ISM Manufacturing report to start off the month, sales of pickup trucks in the month of September were mixed.  Sales of pickup trucks are often a sign of strength or weakness in the small business and construction sectors as these types of businesses are the most common users of these vehicles.  

Normally, we use sales of Ford F-Series trucks as a proxy for the overall market, and this month sales of F-Series trucks dropped below 60K (59,863) for the first time in seven months.  It was also the first year/year decline in September sales since 2008.  September's decline also brought the year to date total sales for Ford F-Series trucks down to 557K, which also represents the first y/y decline in sales during the first three quarters of the year since 2009.

While these figures portray a weak environment for pick-up truck sales, there is one important caveat.  As we have noted in prior months, due to the fact that Ford is in the process of a major re-design of the F-150 truck, a lot of sales have presumably been pushed out in to the future as consumers wait for the new model to come online.  Additionally, while Ford sales declined this month, truck sales from its competitors like General Motors and Chrysler saw y/y gains of 19% in September.  The fact that the whole industry didn't see similar declines to Ford in September is certainly an encouraging sign.


Wednesday
Oct012014

Disappointing ISM Manufacturing Report

Just as it hasn't been a good start to the month for the market, it also hasn't been a good start for economic data. A case in point is the ISM Manufacturing report for the month of September.  While economists were expecting a slight decline to 58.5 from last month's level of 59.0, the actual reading came in considerably weaker at 56.6.  While September's level represented a decline from July and August, it is still above levels we were at just three months ago.

Just like the headline reading, the internals of September's report were also weak.  Of the ten components to the monthly report, just two registered a month/month increase in September, and one of those was Prices Paid, which is usually the one component where you don't want to see increases.  Of the components where we saw the largest m/m declines, New Orders and Backlog Orders showed the largest declines.  On a year/year (y/y) basis, breadth in this month's report was slightly better with the components evenly split between increases and decreases.

Tuesday
Sep302014

A Poor End to a Bad Month

With the month of September and the third quarter now in the books, below is a look at the performance of various asset classes using key ETFs traded on US exchanges.  It was a rough month for stocks, especially for smallcaps.  The Russell 2,000 (IWM) finished the month down 6.19% and the quarter down 7.96%.  

Six sectors finished the quarter lower, while four traded higher.  Health Care and Technology were the winners of Q3, while Energy was the big loser.

Foreign markets didn't fare well in September either.  The Brazil ETF (EWZ) was by far the worst with a decline of 19.09% for the month.  Australia (EWA) fell the second most at -11.86%.

Commodities and fixed income fell as well in September.  For the quarter, commodities took it on the chin, with declines of more than 10%.  

About the only thing that did well in September was the US dollar index.

Tuesday
Sep302014

Checking on the "Pulse" of the Consumer

Late last week we published our September Consumer Pulse Report over at our sister website --bespokeintel.com.  Our monthly Pulse report makes up the backbone of our new Pulse subscription offering.  The report is an analysis of a 75-question survey we conduct on a statistically significant sampling of more than 1,500 US consumers.  From this unique, detailed survey, we're able to get an early read on trends in the economy ahead of the big economic data dump that comes out at the start of each month, including the widely-followed Nonfarm Payrolls report set for release this Friday.  Our Pulse report comes out a week before the monthly Nonfarm Payrolls report, giving subscribers ample time to position themselves properly based on the results from our survey.

Since the new Pulse subscription is in its early stages, we're currently offering a 30% discount on membership rates to attract a group of "charter" members.  If you have yet to sign up, there's still time to do so with the 30% discount.  All you have to do is enter "pulsecharter" in the coupon code section of the Pulse subscribe page to get 30% off the price of the service for the life of your membership.  This means you can get in for less than $1 per day!  With the 30% discount, the annual Pulse membership cost is just $350 per year.

So what did we learn from our September Pulse survey?  While we obviously can't provide you with the bulk of our key findings (you'll have to subscribe for that!), we are willing to highlight a few statistics so you can see just what this new service is all about.  

Jobs data will be dominating the financial headlines over the next three days, so below are a few labor-market related results from our September survey.  

Our first chart shows the results from our question that asks how current income levels compare to levels from one year ago.  As shown, consumers have clearly made big gains in income levels over the last year, with 42% responding "more" or "much more" compared to just 16.2% responding "less" or "much less".  

Another employment-related question in our survey asks participants if they have filed for unemployment assistance over the past month.  As shown below, the September reading came in at 4.7%, which is the lowest level we have seen in the last three months.

In terms of forward expecations for employment, survey participants are moderately positive, with 32% expecting the unemployment rate to be "better" or "much better" compared to 27.7% expecting the unemployment rate to be "worse" or "much worse".

One of the unique questions we ask Pulse survey participants is whether they consider themselves "living paycheck-to-paycheck".  Over time this question will provide Pulse members with a great sentiment gauge on the consumer.  While we're witholding the month-to-month trend of this "paycheck-to-paycheck" indicator, below is a look at the results from this question in our September report.  Unfortunately, a higher percentage of consumers currently consider themselves living paycheck-to-paycheck than not.  43.5% either "agree" or "strongly agree" while 34.4% either "disagree" or "strongly disagree".  A fifth of survey participants (20.1%) "strongly agree" compared to just 12.9% who "strongly disagree".

The labor-market results featured above are mostly positive, but one of the negative trends we found in this month's survey was expected spending on discretionary items over the next few months.  As shown below, while a majority (53.7%) expect to spend the same on discretionary items, the percentage that expect to spend "less" or "much less" was double (30.9% vs. 15.4%) the percentage that expect to spend "more" or "much more".  This is not a great sign for consumer spending heading into the holiday season.

It has been widely documented over the last few years that even though the economy has been growing at a decent pace, consumers just aren't that happy with it.  As shown below, the percentage of respondents that have a negative view on the economy is more than double the percentage that are positive.  While we saw a slight tick-up in the percentage of "positive" views in September, these numbers clearly skew negative.  

While we'd like to see a more confident consumer, contrarians treat this kind of reading as a positive.  Just as you don't want to see bullish sentiment towards the stock market get too high, you don't want to see consumers get overly excited or complacent about the economy either.  That's when the cycle is likely topping out.  Given current economic sentiment levels, there's a ton of room for improvement!

All of the data points featured above are included in this month's Bespoke Consumer Pulse Report.  But this is just a very small portion of the treasure-trove of findings in the entire publication.  To view the full report, you can sign up now for a 5-day free Pulse trial and access it immediately.  Yes, you can view this report for free by taking advantage of our 5-day free trial offering.  If you're not satisfied, simply cancel within the 5-day period and you won't be charged.

Head on over to the Pulse subscribe page to view the full September Pulse report now.  And remember -- use "pulsecharter" in the coupon code section to receive a 30% discount for the life of your membership!

Tuesday
Sep302014

Best Performing Stocks in the Month of October

One of our popular reports in the Bespoke Premium service is our weekly Stock Seasonality report.  This report, which is sent out each Monday, looks at the historical performance of the S&P 500, the ten sectors, as well as and each of the index's 500 components over the upcoming two week period over the last ten years.  For a sample of the report, please click here.

Along the same lines of our weekly Stock Seasonality report, with the new month kicking off tomorrow, the table below lists 20 stocks in the S&P 500 that have consistently traded up during the month of October.  In order to make the list, each stock has to have averaged a gain of more than 3% during the month of October and also must have seen positive returns at least 80% of the time.  October has historically been an up and down month for equities, but despite all the volatility, these stocks have a demonstrated track record of finishing the month in positive territory.

Topping this month's list are shares of Google (GOOGL), which have averaged a gain of 14.5% during the month with positive returns 80% of the time.  In addition to GOOGL, there are four other stocks from the Technology sector listed (AAPL, MA, ADBE, and ORCL).  

While a quarter of the stocks listed are from the Technology sector, the sector with the most representation is Financials with nearly half of the stocks (9) on the list.  The two top performing stocks listed are NASDAQ OMX (NDAQ) and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which have averaged gains of 8.4% and 7.8%, respectively.  Typically, increases in volatility are accompanied by a pick up in volumes, so the fact that two exchanges are near the top of the list makes perfect sense.

Monday
Sep292014

Fourth Quarter Market Performance During Mid-Term Election Years

The fourth quarter begins on Wednesday, and bulls will be looking forward to October after a rough September for stocks.  Although October has historically been a volatile month for stocks (see our last B.I.G. Tips report), the month has also typically been a positive one. 

Another thing to remember is that 2014 is a mid-term election year, and throughout the market's history, the S&P 500 has been very consistent in terms of performance during mid-term years.  Below is a table breaking down the S&P 500’s performance in the fourth quarter going back to 1928 when the index began.  Mid-term election years are highlighted in yellow.  As shown, during mid-term years since 1928, the S&P has averaged a move of...

Continue reading...  (Must be a Bespoke Premium member to view.)

Monday
Sep292014

More Bears than Bulls; Unchanged Week-Over-Week

Bearish sentiment remained above the 50% mark in our weekend Bespoke Market Poll.  As shown below, bearish sentiment came in it 53% versus 47% bullish sentiment.  The results were unchanged week-over-week, so we didn't see more bulls leave the party after last week's pullback.

Friday
Sep262014

Bespoke CNBC Appearance (9/26/14)

Bespoke's Paul Hickey was on CNBC's Fast Money on Wednesday to discuss stocks to buy following a strong quarter for the US Dollar.  To view the segment, click on the image below.

Friday
Sep262014

S&P 500 Higher or Lower from Here?

The market had an active week, with the Dow experiencing 100+ point moves on all five trading days (3 100-point down days, 2 100-point up days).  So which way will things head from here?  Please take part in our Bespoke Market Poll below by letting us know whether you think the S&P 500 will be higher or lower one month from now.  We'll report back with the results on Monday before the open.  Thanks for participating and have a great weekend!  If you're looking for more in-depth market analysis from Bespoke, sign up for a 5-day free trial to Bespoke Premium and access our just-published Bespoke Report newsletter.

Will the S&P 500 be higher or lower than its current level one month from now?
Higher
Lower
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Yesterday we rolled out the second edition of our Bespoke Consumer Pulse Report to Pulse subscribers over at our sister site -- Bespoke Market Intelligence.  Last month we introduced our new Pulse subscription offering and had a great response.  

With Pulse, we have created a low-cost way for investors to get early reads on consumer trends across the economic spectrum.  How do we do it?  Each month, we survey thousands of US consumers on a wide range of topics using questions designed by our financial research team.  We then compile and analyze the data and package it into our monthly Consumer Pulse Report, which we release one week before the monthly Nonfarm Payrolls report.  This gives members ample time to position their portfolios leading up to the deluge of economic data released at the start of each month.  The Consumer Pulse Report is packed with in-depth market commentary and thought-provoking analytics that give you as good of a read on the broad economy as you’ll find.  Pulse also gives subscribers unique insights into the health of dozens of individual companies that fundamental or technical research can’t provide.  The Pulse report is easy to read and easy to understand — something that many research products are severely lacking these days.

Now that the second edition of Pulse is out, we are happy to give you a look at the first edition so you can see exactly what you're getting with a membership.  Please click here to view our August Pulse report.

In this month's consumer survey, there were a number of noteworthy trends that showed up in housing, consumer spending, economic sentiment, consumer electronics, restaurants, retail and health care.  We were also able to get an early read on the response to Apple's new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, and we provide an estimate of sales for Apple over the next three months.  

The new Pulse subscription includes our monthly Consumer Pulse Report that was just published, as well as "Pulse Points" reports that go out throughout the month.  These "Pulse Points" reports are similar to our widely followed "B.I.G. Tips" reports that are included with our Bespoke Premium package.

The membership cost for Pulse is $50/month or $500/year for the regular package, and $150/month or $1,500/year for the Institutional package.  In order to build up a base of new subscribers, we're currently offering a steep discount on the subscription cost for "charter" members who sign up now.  Sign up now as a charter member and get 30% off the subscription cost for the life of your membership!  This means you can sign up now for just $35/month or $350/year for the regular package, or $105/month or $1,050/year for the Institutional package.  All you need to do is enter "pulsecharter" in the coupon code section of the Pulse subscribe page to receive the 30% off discount.  

Once again, take a look at last month's edition of our Consumer Pulse Report to see a sample of our monthly publication.  To see this month's Pulse Report that was just released last night, head on over to the Pulse subscribe page and sign up today for 30% off!  As always, the first five days are free.  If it's not for you, you can cancel at no charge.

Friday
Sep262014

Big Week of Data Ahead

We got some marginally better (if very, very stale) data this morning with second quarter GDP figures getting revised up by 0.4% to 4.6% (quarter-over-quarter, seasonally-adjusted annual rate).  While this is good news, it's still very old data.  Luckily for economic data junkies like us, there will be plenty of indicators that are more current released next week.

Starting on Monday, we get Personal Income and Spending for August.  This is a key input for estimates of the consumption component of GDP, which is the lions' share of the US economy.  There's also price data released with these figures.  Later in the week, Auto Sales will provide further information on GDP tracking for Q3, as will Factory Orders next Thursday.  In employment data, there are the usual weekly releases of jobless claims as well as the monthly Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes the change in Nonfarm Payrolls, the most-watched monthly indicator out there.  In terms of business activity, there's a big array of data: seven different indicators are set for release including both "soft" survey data (ISM, PMI) and "hard" quantified estimates like Factory Orders and Construction Spending.  Consumer Confidence is released on Tuesday, and if all of that wasn't enough for you there's housing data too: Pending Home Sales and Case-Shiller are both out early in the week.

Next week will be an important gauge given some of the mixed indicators we've seen lately, including modest pullbacks in manufacturing activity and some concerns over the health of the consumer.  Employment data has still been strong of late other than last month's Nonfarm Payrolls, so the market will be watching even closer than usual to see if last month's disappointing print was a one-off or the start of a trend.  Next week might be the most important one in Q3 for gauging economic growth in the back half of 2014.  It will also be important to gauge how the big move in the US dollar this quarter filters across to specific economic stats.

Looking to get an early look at economic trends for September?  We have just published our monthly Bespoke Consumer Pulse Report, which details the results of our economic survey of more than 1,500 US consumers.  The Pulse report gets published each month a week before the Nonfarm Payrolls release, giving you ample time to position your porftolios heading into the number.  Click here to view this month's Pulse report at a 30% discount!

Friday
Sep262014

Bulls Holding Out Hope For the 10-Day A/D Line

With three 100-point down days this week, a lot of the short-term breadth indicators we track have been trading down to oversold levels.  One of those indicators is the S&P 500's 10-Day Advance/Decline line. The 10-Day A/D line measures the sum of the net daily number of advancing issues in the S&P 500 over a 10-day rolling basis.  Whenever this indicator turns really negative (oversold), it is a sign that the equity market may be due for a short-term bounce, while a really positive reading (overbought) suggests that the market's rally is due for a pause.

The charts below show the S&P 500 (top chart) and the index's 10-Day A/D line over the last year.   In the top chart, the green dots indicate each time that the S&P 500's 10-Day A/D line hit oversold levels (green zone in bottom chart).  As you can clearly see in the chart, each time the 10-Day A/D line reached oversold levels, the S&P 500 quickly turned around.  Additionally, in each of the rallies that followed each oversold reading,  the S&P 500 traded up to new bull market highs.  History doesn't always repeat itself, but bulls certainly have their fingers crossed that the trend over the last year continues this time around too.

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 602 Next 15 Entries »