Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

Debt Ceiling

The debt ceiling was constructed to prevent the government from spending more than its set limits. If the debt ceiling was strictly enforced, once a limit is hit, spending would need to be cut to prevent the budget from going over the limit. The problem with the debt ceiling is that whenever the government appears to hit its limit, the politicians from both parties agree to increase the debt ceiling. So in effect, the current government essentially runs with no “hard” debt ceiling.

Why Stocks Likely to Head Higher into the New Year

By for Profit Confidential

retail sectorToday is Cyber Monday, when consumers will flock online and spend over a billion dollars. In 2012, $1.47 billion in sales occurred on this day and the expectations are that the number could swell to $1.68 billion today. (Dengler, P., “Cyber Monday Predictions For 2013,” Business2Community.com, October 28, 2013.) We will also find out today how Black Friday and the key weekend shopping period were for the retail sector. A big surprise and the stock market will reach higher.

The stock market has shown little signs of wanting to slow and is continuing to show bullish investor sentiment and the ability to move higher this month and into 2014.

The S&P 500 is at 1,800 and the DOW Industrial at 16,000. The positive momentum is in place for additional gains. The S&P 500 moving to 2,000 next year, up 11.11%, is realistic depending on what the Federal Reserve does and how the economy behaves. The Dow 20,000 may have to wait a few years. Of course, this is contingent on the five-year bull market holding.

On the charts, technology and small-caps continue to lead the broader stock market higher. The NASDAQ closed above 4,000 for the first time since September 2000, when the index was on the decline after trading at a record 5,132 in March. The buying in technology and growth is not a surprise, as buyers have chased risk and potential this year. The top sectors offering the most sizzle at this time are Internet services, mobile, and social media.

COMPQ Nasdaq Composite Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Small-cap stocks continue to lead the pack this year as the economy recovers, albeit … Read More

Nomura Calls for 50% Correction in Global Stock Markets

By for Profit Confidential

Nomura Calls for 50% Correction in Global Stock MarketsI’m getting increasingly nervous about the current stock market and its vulnerability to the downside. We have a fragile economic renewal, weak corporate revenue growth, muted jobs growth, a housing market that’s stalling, an upcoming leadership transition at the Federal Reserve, and the government still needs to hammer out a budget and debt ceiling deal by February. So yes, I’m nervous.

Nomura strategist Bob Janjuah believes global stock markets could fall by 25%–50% in the final three quarters of 2014. (Source: Clinch, M., “Stand by…a hefty drop’s on the way: Nomura’s Janjuah,” CNBC, November 6, 2013.)

While I’m not that bearish, I do believe the chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average is vulnerable to a six-percent near-term adjustment. (Read “Vulnerable Key Stock Index May Be Signaling Upcoming Buying Opportunity.”) The S&P 500 even looks worse and could see a decline to 800 if the past 15-year pattern pans out. That would be a decline of over 50%, which is what Janjuah is saying.

The chart below shows the current multiyear top and potential decline to the lower support at 800 as reflected by the bottom horizontal line. Also note the declining volume during this most recent multiyear rally, which is considered a negative divergence, based on my technical analysis. I’m not saying the worst is yet to come, but you never know.

S&P 500 Large Cap Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

As an investor, you want to make sure you are well aware of the stock market vulnerability.

Given the gains over the past four years, you should look at taking some money off the table. Also look at some of your losers, which … Read More

U.S. Credit Rating Downgraded to Same Level as Brazil?

By for Profit Confidential

171013_PC_lombardiThe U.S. government, after winning World War II for the Allies, was very convincing. It told central banks around the world that they should hold the U.S. dollar as their reserve currency instead of gold, based on the idea the U.S. dollar would be backed by gold. Only limited amounts of U.S. dollars could be printed, because the currency was tied to gold bullion. Central banks bought into the idea.

Unfortunately, a few decades down the road, the concept of a U.S. dollar backed by gold was thrown out the window (thank you, President Nixon). Eventually we were introduced to the modern day printing press—printing money out of thin air at the will of the Federal Reserve without the U.S. dollar being tied to any “hard” currency like gold.

Why would anyone agree to this horrible idea?

Back in those days, the U.S. economy was prospering. Our government was in good shape and didn’t have much debt. And the logistics made sense, too, as time passed. Why wouldn’t a central bank have in its reserves the currency of the world’s strongest economy and military? Why wouldn’t a central banker keep U.S. dollars in his vault as opposed to hard-to-carry and hard-to-store gold?

Years have passed since the U.S. dollar “unglued” itself from gold. Things have changed, too. America is not so glorious anymore. Ever-rising debt and the never-ending printing of U.S. dollars have resulted in some countries changing their policy on U.S. dollar-backed reserves. And the fundamental factors that keep the U.S. dollar strong are deteriorating quickly.

The balance sheet of the U.S. economy does not look as good as … Read More

Has the Stock Market Gone Mad?

By for Profit Confidential

Has the Stock Market Gone MadThe stock market…a place where rationality has been thrown out the door in favor of trading for immediate profits…profits based on what the government and Federal Reserve are planning to do next. It’s no longer a place for average investors to make money, as the fundamentals that drive key stock indices higher don’t really matter anymore. The notion has become “If it’s good news, buy! And if it’s bad news, then buy even more!”

We have been witnessing this phenomenon on key stock indices for a while now, and from my experience, such erratic behavior by the stock market usually comes at the end of a long up or down cycle.

Congress had decided to “kick the can” of U.S. debt down the road a little longer. When news broke last Thursday that they were planning to increase the U.S. debt limit for a few weeks and then come back to debate it, key stock indices had the best day of the year. Look at the circled area in the chart below:

S&P 500 Large Cap Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Hold on a minute!

Why did the S&P 500 jump so much on the Republicans saying they would put in a temporary new U.S. debt ceiling instead of debating it? Isn’t increasing the U.S. debt load bad? After all, we are the biggest debtor in the global economy.

Dear reader, this is the new norm on key stock indices. The bad news, meaning we will have higher U.S. debt, is taken as good news by key stock indices. And assets that should be increasing in value are actually being punished. Case in point: gold … Read More

My Bet: New Fed Chief Loves Printing Presses More Than the Last Guy

By for Profit Confidential

corporate earningsCompanies in key stock indices have started to report their corporate earnings for the third quarter of this year. Not surprising, they are weak and show signs of stress.

According to FactSet, up until October 4, 90 companies in key stock indices like the S&P 500 issued negative guidance about their third-quarter corporate earnings per share. This is the highest number of companies posting negative guidance since the research company started to track earnings guidance back in 2006. (Source: “Earnings Insight,” FactSet, October 4, 2013.)

The corporate earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 is expected to be about three percent in the third quarter, and just like the last quarter, once again, a significant portion of the boost in earnings will come from the financial sector. If you take the financial sector’s corporate earnings out of the equation, earnings growth rates drop down to about 1.7%. Take away all the stock buyback programs public companies have conducted this year, and the earnings growth picture gets really ugly.

I think the smart money is sensing companies are struggling to grow, so they are starting to pull money out of the market.

According to the Investment Company Institute, for the week ended September 25, the long-term U.S. stock mutual funds had a net outflow of $3.8 billion in capital. Similarly, for the week ended October 2, the net outflow continued and increased to $4.12 billion. (Source: Investment Company Institute, October 9, 2013.)

Key stock indices like the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the NASDAQ have shed some gains recently; they are much lower than their all-time highs posted just … Read More

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