Stocks: Price Correction or Fundamental Change?


August 21, 2017, 6:00 pm EST                                                               Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr

After a week away, I return to markets that look very similar to where we left off 10 days ago.  Stocks lower.  Yields lower.  The dollar lower. But commodities higher!

Now, this takes into account, another week of political volatility in Washington.  It takes into account another week of uncertainty surrounding North Korea.

What’s important here, is distinguishing between a price correction and a real thematic change.  If we’re not making new record highs in stocks every day, and stocks actually retrace 5% or so, does that represent the derailing of the slow but steady economic recovery and, as important, the dismissal of potential policy fuel that could finally lift us out of the post-crisis stall speed growth regime?

The narrative in the media would have you believe the answer is yes.

But the reality is, the economic recovery is stable and continuing.  The policy stimulus has been a tough road, but continues to offer positive influence on the economy.  And there are strong technical reasons to believe we’re seeing the early stages of a price driven correction in stocks.

Remember, we looked at the big technical reversal signal (the “outside day”) back on August 8th.  That was the technical signal, and it was about as good a signal as it gets.  The Dow had been plowing to new highs for eleven consecutive days — culminating in another new record high before.  And the last good ‘outside day’ in the S&P 500 was into the rally that stalled December 2, 2015 and it resulted in a 14% correction.

Here’s another look at that chart, plus the first significant trend line that we discussed in my last note, August 11th.

aug21 spx

I thought this line would give way, which it has today, and that we would see a real retracement, which should be a gift to buy stocks.  If you’re not a highly leveraged hedge fund, a 5%-10% retracement in broader stocks is a gift to buy.  Remember, the slope of the S&P 500 index over time is UP.

Prior to the reversal signal in stocks, we had already addressed the influence of the FAANG stocks.  And I suggested the miss in Amazon earnings was a good enough excuse to cue the profit taking in what had been a very lucrative trade in the institutional investment community.  Amazon is now down 12% from the highs of just 18 days ago.

What should give you confidence that the economic outlook isn’t souring? Commodities!

The base metals, as we’ve discussed in recent weeks, continue to move higher and continue to look like early stages of a bull market cycle — which would support the idea that the global economic recovery is not only on track, but maybe better than the consensus market view (which seems to be still unconvinced that better times are ahead).

The leader of the commodities run is copper.  We looked at this chart in my last note (Aug 11).  I said, “this big six-year trend line in copper (below) will be one to watch closely.  If it breaks, it should lead the commodities trend higher.”

aug 11 copper

Here’s an updated chart of Copper.  This trend line was broken today.

aug21 copper

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