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

S&P 500

Established in 1957, the S&P 500, also known as the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 large-cap common stocks. Capitalization-weighted means that the companies with largest stock market capitalization have the greatest impact on the value of the index. The S&P 500 is the second most widely followed stock market index in America after the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

This Is Odd…

By for Profit Confidential

Demand for Stocks Outweighs Supply at This PointOne of the oddest things to happen with the stock market since it has recovered is that the number of shares trading hands each day has slowly disappeared.

In the table that I have created for you below, I list the trading volume for the S&P 500 for each June since 2009 and the percentage change in volume from the previous June.

Trading volume on the S&P 500 has dropped 60% since 2009!

Trading Volume, S&P 500, June of Each Year, 2009 – 2014

Year Volume (Shares Traded Per Month) Year-Over-Year % Change
June 2009 93,147,496,448
June 2010 91,971,043,328 -1.3%
June 2011 63,674,499,072 -30.8%
June 2012 59,703,365,632 -6.2%
June 2013 51,560,980,480 -13.6%
June 2014 38,765,629,440 -24.8%

Data source: www.StockCharts.com, last accessed July 1, 2014

What’s happening here? How can the stock market rise year after year if trading volume is down?

It’s very simple, but I’ll explain this new phenomenon in a moment. First, look at the chart of the S&P 500 below. Pay close attention to the volume at the bottom of the chart. As volume on the S&P 500 collapsed, the price of the index rose.

S&P 500 Large Cap Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Volume is collapsing because the number of shares companies have outstanding is being reduced at an accelerated rate. For example, in the first quarter of 2014, S&P 500 companies purchased $154.5 billion worth of their shares back (stock buyback programs). Over the trailing 12 months, S&P 500 companies purchased more than half-a-trillion-dollars worth of their own shares—$535.2 billion to be exact. (Source: FactSet, June 18, 2014.)

Add to the shrinking number of shares outstanding the fact that central … Read More

Small-Cap Industrial Play with Excellent Prospects into 2015

By for Profit Confidential

This Small-Cap Industrial Play Has Excellent ProspectsThe first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth suggests some stalling in the economy, but this is expected to pass as we move forward into 2015 as the economic renewal picks up, which will generate a buying opportunity.

A small-cap stock I like as a buying opportunity and play on the economic renewal going forward is Horsehead Holding Corp. (NASDAQ/ZINC).

While the stock is up 70% from its 52-week low and has been easily outperforming the S&P 500 over the past year, I believe the stock still has decent upside potential and could be a buying opportunity, especially as the economy strengthens.

The company’s stock chart shows the steady upward trend in place since November 2012. Note the bullish golden cross with the 50-day moving average (MA) above the 200-day MA, as reflected by the blue oval. We are also seeing a bullish ascending triangle that could signal more gains ahead. A break at $18.00 could see a move to above $20.00, based on my technical analysis.

Horsehead Holding Corp Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Via its subsidiary Horsehead Corp., the company is a fast-growing producer of specialty zinc and zinc-based products made via the use of recycled materials.

In a move to improve output and efficiency, the company closed its old facility Monaca and opened a new facility named Mooresboro in North Carolina. The capacity at the new plant once it gets up to speed will be roughly 155,000 tons of zinc annually.

The opening of the new plant will aid the company in producing better fabricated steel products along with raw materials found in the manufacturing of rubber tires, alkaline batteries, paint, … Read More

Guess Who Is Pushing the Stock Market Higher Now

By for Profit Confidential

So That's Why Stocks Have Been Moving Higher…When I look at the stock market, I ask who in their right mind would buy stocks?

While key stock market indices creep higher, the fundamentals suggest the complete opposite. But despite valuations being stretched, insiders selling, corporate revenue growth being non-existent, and the U.S. economy contracting in the first quarter of this year, the S&P 500 is up seven percent since the beginning of 2014, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is getting closer to the 17,000 level, and the NASDAQ is back above 4,000.

As I have written before, a company can buy back its stock to prop up per-share earnings or cut expenses to improve the bottom line, but if revenue isn’t growing, there is a problem. In the first quarter of 2014, only 54% of S&P 500 companies were able to grow their revenue. (Source: FactSet, June 13, 2014.)

Going forward, things aren’t looking bright either. For the second quarter of 2014, 82 S&P 500 companies have already provided negative guidance for their corporate earnings. I expect this number to climb higher.

And consumer spending, the driver of the U.S. economy, is very weak, as evidenced by negative gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. economy in the first quarter of this year.

So if the overall environment is negative for the equities, who is buying stocks and pushing the stock market higher?

The answer (something I suspected some time ago): central banks are buying stocks.

A study done by the Official Monetary and Financial Institution Forum (OMFIF) called Global Public Investors 2014, states that central banks and public institutions around the world have gotten involved … Read More

How to Put Your Assets to Good Use in a Stalling Market

By for Profit Confidential

How to Profit in a Stalling MarketThe stock market appears to want to go higher, but it’s going to take a push by investors. While we could see the S&P 500 edge higher, I’m not convinced the gains will be that great unless the underlying stock market fundamentals improve.

I am talking about the economic renewal that appears to be stalling. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed the country’s estimated gross domestic product (GDP) growth to an even two percent this year from the previous 2.8% in April. Growth in 2015 is expected to rise to three percent. These are OK numbers, but they’re not great and they indicate that the economy will likely struggle to find ground in the short-term. As far as the global economy goes, the World Bank cut its estimates, too.

Moreover, you also have the recent weaker-than-expected housing starts and building permits numbers. Both readings for May came in below both the estimates and the readings in April. The decline in building permits by 6.4% to below one million annualized units suggests there could be some stalling in the months ahead.

Geopolitically, you have the escalating conflict in Iraq and the continued standoff in Ukraine. Oil is above $107.00 a barrel and could head higher should the internal conflict escalate in Iraq and impact the flow of oil, which could affect global economic growth.

So here we have the stock market, namely the S&P 500 and the DOW, coming off record-highs.

If the stock market fails to find its footing (namely a fresh catalyst), we could see mixed and volatile trading in the months ahead as the stock market looks for … Read More

What the Collapse in Lumber Prices Means for Stocks

By for Profit Confidential

Why Are Lumber Prices CollapsingHistorically, the direction of lumber prices has led the direction of the stock market.

If lumber prices are rising, it suggests demand for lumber is increasing, more homes are being built, more construction is happening, and the economy is improving. The opposite is also true. Weak demand for lumber is a sign of poor economic growth.

At the very core, the direction of lumber prices can be considered as a leading indicator of the S&P 500.

With that said, please take a look at the chart below. On the chart, you will see the S&P 500 in black and the lumber prices in green. You will note that whenever lumber prices went down, the S&P 500 followed and also moved lower with one exception: the present time.

S&P 500 large Cap Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Since March of this year, lumber prices have fallen sharply, suggesting business activity in the U.S. economy is slowing down. But the S&P 500 is moving in the opposite direction! Lumber prices are going down and the S&P 500 is moving up? That never happens. This disparity is a sign of great concern.

You can add the disparity in the direction of lumber prices compared to the direction of the S&P 500 index to the long and increasing list of historical indicators now pointing to a market that is overbought and overpriced. If you continue to own equities, be wary of the increasing risks of the stock market…. Read More

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The Great Crash of 2014

A stock market crash bigger than what happened in 2008 and early 2009 is headed our way.

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