For years, the correlation between copper prices and the stock market has been a reliable leading indicator of where stock prices are headed.
The chart below plots daily copper prices (brown line), the S&P 500 (green line), and the correlation between the two (black line at the bottom of the chart) going all the way back to 2002. Please pay attention to the red arrows.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
The stock market was flat during the first half of 2015 due to economic and political uncertainties in Europe and a tumbling energy sector. Yet despite those discouraging facts, some companies were able to deliver an enormous return to their shareholders. Let’s take a closer look at the top five performing stocks in the S&P 500 during the first half of 2015.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ/NFLX), up 92.61%Netflix, .
When it comes to technical analysis, I follow a century-old—and very effective—market direction tool called Dow theory. And right now, that indicator is flashing a red warning sign.
The idea behind Dow theory is very simple. It says that for stock market prices to continue rising, both the Dow Jones Transportation Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average need to be advancing at the same time.
As it stands, this .
Silver is down 70% from its high of $48.70 an ounce back in April of 2011. And the calls from the mainstream are for silver prices to fall farther, as the Federal Reserve has stopped printing paper money and inflation is nowhere in sight. I beg to differ.
As the price of one ounce of silver reaches a four-year low, investors are running to buy the gray precious metal. To .
It’s finally over…
The quantitative easing programs initially started by the Federal Reserve six years ago are (for now) history.
In its statement on October 29, the Federal Reserve said, “Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month.” (Source: “FOMC Statement,” Federal Reserve, October 29, 2014.)
The reason for ending the quantitative easing: “The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook .
Now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 1,035 points (six percent) from its mid-September peak, the question investors are asking is “how far will she go?” For small-cap investors, the drama is greater, as the Russell 2000 Index has fallen 12.5% from its July peak.
Since 2009, every market pullback presented investors with an opportunity to get back into stocks at discounted prices. Even some editors here at .
In these pages, I have been very critical about stock buybacks by companies on the key stock indices. I see them as nothing more than a form of financial engineering used to manipulate per-share corporate earnings…and a bad investment for the companies buying their stocks back.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg and the S&P Dow Jones Indices, companies on the key stock indices are expected to spend $914 billion .
Traditionally, the first big American public company to kick off each new corporate earnings season is Alcoa Inc. (NYSE/AA). For the current quarter, Alcoa reported a net loss of $178 million, or $0.16 per diluted share. The company stated it had some special restructuring costs in the quarter; if you were to exclude them, its corporate earnings were $0.09 per share. (Source: Alcoa Inc., April 8, 2014.)
As usual, investors .
Last year, the “big thing” with companies was buying back their shares to boost per-share corporate earnings. In 2013, share buybacks hit their pre-financial crisis high. If big public companies didn’t buy back so much of their own stock in 2013, per-share corporate earnings just wouldn’t be that great.
This year, I expect share buybacks to continue at the pace we saw in 2013. Another “big thing” companies will do .
I was looking at the chart of priceline.com Incorporated (NASDAQ/PCLN) the other day, as the stock surpassed the $1,000 level. But why would I consider paying so much for a stock when there are cheaper comparables in the same online travel space?
It’s true; there are less expensive online travel stocks than priceline.com. But when you are stock picking, you should look at the comparative valuation and growth metrics, and .
Immediate term outlook:
The bear market rally in stocks that started in March 2009, extended because of unprecedented central bank money printing, is coming to an end. Gold bullion is up $1,000 an ounce since we first recommended it in 2002 and we are still bullish on the physical metal.
Short-to-medium term outlook:
World economies are entering their slowest growth period since 2009. The Chinese economy grew last year at its slowest pace in 24 years. Japan is in recession. The eurozone is in depression. With almost half the S&P 500 companies deriving revenue outside the U.S., slower world economic growth will negatively impact revenue and earnings growth of American companies. Domestically, America’s gross domestic product grew by only a meager 2.3% in the second quarter, which will negatively impact an already overpriced equity market.
Estimates Aug. 28, 2015
Trailing 12-month EPS for Dow Jones companies (Most Recent Quarter)