Analysis, Perspective, Trading Strategy
At the Edge of Chaos: For Stocks: Summer of Love or Cruel, Cruel, Summer?
Duarte in the Money Options
the traditionally sleepy summer trading season rolls into high gear,
the combination of low volume and anemic liquidity from the Federal
Reserve may make for a bumpy market, although in the current Post New
Normal period there are no guarantees that seasonal patterns will remain
in effect. Case in point was Friday’s sudden market reversal on news
that Apple would close some of its stores in response to news that
COVID-19 cases were rising in Arizona.
It’s Still All about the Fed
Last week, in this space, I wrote: “If the Federal Reserve doesn’t
change its current policy implementation methods, the 1800 point decline
in the Dow Jones Industrial average we saw on June 11 will happen over
and over again.” Fast forwarding, nothing has changed. Moreover, we
now know the central bank is caught in a bind as the markets, the economy,
and people’s lives, otherwise known as the complex adaptive system
called MEL decide what to do next. And most important, because of the
insurmountable debt in the system, MEL will rise and fall based on
what the central bank does.
What I’m saying is that MEL is looking to the Fed for the fuel to
feed the fire as the only way the system can function is via the continuous
infusion of large enough amounts of money to keep a semblance of economic
System Liquidity Remains Problematic
The problem is the Fed has decreased the amount of money it is pumping
into the Treasury bond market, from a high in mid March of $300 billion
in one day to a paltry $4 billion per day until the end of July. And
although the central bank announcement last week that it would start
buying corporate bonds kept the market from falling apart, there was
only a muted follow through to the initial rally move.
This lack of bullish conviction in stocks is present:
- Because of the insurmountable indebtedness in the system, where
money just goes into a black hole of debt servicing, so $4 billion
per day is not likely enough to keep the wheels greased
- The Fed either has no clue as to how insurmountable the debt is
and has yet to understand that there is little chance of commerce
without constant large infusions of money into the system or
- The Fed, wrongly, is hoping that they’ve done enough already
- The market disagrees with the Fed, meaning that it wants more
money infused into the banking system or it will return to its bear
- MEL will stop functioning without constant large infusions of
money from the Fed, regardless of what it means for the future
- If the Fed doesn’t increase the amount of money it’s putting into
the system the system will collapse
- This can’t go on forever without permanent structural reforms
in the system
Here’s the issue. When the Fed buys Treasury bonds, it does so from
banks or financial institutions which hold the bonds. In turn, the
financial institutions who sold the bonds to the Fed theoretically
use the money to improve their balance sheets and to make loans to
consumers and businesses. Unfortunately, much of the money goes to
servicing or restructuring debt, buying back company stock, and just
about everything except taking care of the business. This results in
so called zombie companies and zombie personal finances where debt
servicing is the only use for money.
So the big question is whether the money the Fed injects into the
corporate bond market will do any good for the real economy, such as
it is, given that it’s not clear who the sellers will be and which
bonds the Fed will buy. Specifically which corporate bonds will the
Fed buy? How much money will the Fed put into this venture? And if
they end up buying the bonds of zombie companies, who gets the money
and who benefits?
In fact, recent Fed
balance sheet data suggests that the central bank has only bought
$6 billion worth of corporate bonds up to now. That’s not even enough
to fuel two days worth of treasury purchases. Therefore, it is plausible
to consider that the Fed may be running out of Bazookas and everything
now hangs on whether enough people can return work and consume, in
order to keep the businesses best poised to survive in the next chapter
of the Post New Normal afloat.
For now, we can say that some sort of bottom may have formed in the
economy, but that is certainly tentative at this point. We can see
that in the slowing pace of jobless claims and in the recent rebound
in the national payroll numbers. Mortgage activity and retail sales
have also bounced back. And my own “kick the tires” analysis of daily
life tells me the roads are full of people and the number of semis
and pickup trucks is on the rise. That means that there is economic
activity, at least in my neck of the woods. Moreover, I’m seeing a
rising number of license plates from Nebraska, California, New Jersey,
and Iowa, which tells me the migration to Texas has resumed.
All things considered, the data remains spotty, and it’s difficult
to discern whether Dallas is an anomaly. Certainly, even here a fair
number of businesses have closed, some are surviving, and others seem
relatively unaffected. For example, traffic at the nearby Home Depot
(HD) I frequent has not changed one bit after the first couple of weeks
of COVID-19 situation. In fact on a visit on June 18, the place was
packed, which tells me that people are still doing home repairs.
As a result, I’d appreciate some reader input on this. So send me
a quick email describing what you’re seeing in your area of the country
or the world. Please include examples such as I description of what
you see at retail stores, as well as vacancy rates in shopping centers,
freeway traffic, anecdotes from friends, etc. by emailing here.
For more details on the summer trading season catch my most recent
Your Daily Five installment here.
To subscribe for a FREE trial to Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com,
Hormel: Hot Chili or Cold Turkey?
The stock market may be missing something here.
Shares of meat processor Hormel (NYSE: HRL) have been disappointing
over the past couple of years. O.K., let’s get it out in the open right
now. Hormel is the proverbial disappointment wall flower stock. In
fact, every time the stock approaches a chart breakout point something
comes out of blue and takes the share price down. So, as the stock
approaches yet another breakout opportunity, it makes sense to see
if this will be the time that it actually delivers.
Hormel is best known for SPAM, a canned meat standard. But it’s actually
got a broad variety of other pork and beef related products, especially
its Hormel canned Chili and its organic, gluten free, non-GMO Mary’s
Chili Verde, which make for an interesting product mix. I must admit,
I am partial to Mary’s Chili Verde, and recommend it, especially for
those nights when you don’t want to cook, even if you don’t buy the
The big question is why isn’t Hormel trading well above $50 when
the China trade pact, political warts and all, should have increased
its exports, especially of pork? Moreover, in the wake of reports of
beef shortages expected for the summer in response to COVID-19 infected
meat processing farms, the stock should have popped. The latter point
is even more poignant given Hormel’s increasing market share in the
turkey market, given that turkey would be an adequate replacement for
beef, especially during the summer months.
Specifically, in its May earnings report, Hormel reported increases
a 16% increase in its retail sales growth, along with decent organic
growth and overall product volume. Its only segment decreases were
in frozen foods, and international which were flat. Moreover, its turkey
sales grew by 12%, which suggests that consumers were making a change
in their dietary habits due to prices for beef.
I’m thinking the market may be underestimating Hormel’s positive
potential here, and that the company may actually deliver even better
results in its next quarter if it can keep the momentum going, especially
if beef prices remain high as the summer grilling season heats up.
The bottom line is that if HRL can take out $49, it could well work
its way to the mid 50s in a hurry. And with China suddenly announcing
it may start to play catch up on its U.S. Trade commitments, this stock
could deliver more of a Hot Chili, Hot Turkey set of results than many
NYAD Stuck in Neutral
The New York Stock Exchange Advance-Decline line was in a good mood
all week but ended on a sour note due to the market’s selloff after
the Apple store closing news. What that does is leave things in neutral.
Certainly the uptrend can be described as intact. But momentum seems
to be once again waning, which sets a cautious tone for the short term.
The Nasdaq 100 index (NDX) continues to flirt with new highs, even
after Friday’s pullback as money continues to move into technology
The S & P 500 (SPX) continues to lag the technology sector but
managed to hold above the support of its 20, 50, and 200 day moving
averages. Accumulation Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV)
for both indices rolled over at the end of last week, two indications
that we could be in for a bumpy ride in the short term.
Summer of Love or Cruel, Cruel Summer
The market seems to have a hard choice for the summer trading season,
which may surprise us with a bullish move -summer of love, or a bearish
move, such as pop girl group Bananarama once sang in their 80s hit
“cruel, cruel, summer.” Much depends on the Fed and the news cycle,
especially election and COVID-19 related news.
Still, as long as the trend remains up, we must trade the market
from the long side, albeit with sound money management techniques such
as small lots, taking profits on big gainers, using prudent sell stops
and managing position size.
The bottom line is that this could be a long, hot, and exhausting
Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader and a widely
recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author
of eight investment books, including the best sellingTrading
Options for Dummies, rated a TOP
Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com - now in its third edition, The
Everything Investing in your 20s and 30s and six other trading
Meanwhile, the U.S. Ten Year note yield (TNX) is trading in a The
Everything Investing in your 20s & 30s at Amazon and The
Everything Investing in your 20s & 30s at Barnes and Noble.
Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month is now available.
To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option, and ETF recommendations,
in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.
JoeDuarteInTheMoneyOptions.com is independently
operated and solely funded by subscriber fees. This web site and
the content provided is meant for educational purposes only and
is not a solicitation to buy or sell any securities or investments.
All sources of information are believed to be accurate, or as otherwise
stated. Dr. Duarte and the publishers, partners, and staff of joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com
have no financial interest in any of the sources used. For independent
investment advice consult your financial advisor. The analysis
and conclusions reached on JoeDuarteInTheMoneyOptions.com are the
sole property of Dr. Joe Duarte.