Washington trumps Wall Street

This week's market action was not on the fundamentals of the stocks but on the fear of Wshington and what it may or may not do next.

By Jim Van Meerten Jan 30, 2010 1:08PM
I like to analyze the market by using a combination of fundamental and technical analysis. Normally using that combination keeps me on the right side of the market. Lately the market seems to act irrationally every time a President or other politician opens their mouths. Somewhere back in a high school civics class I thought I remembered a teacher saying the purpose of government was to make and enforce laws and provide the common services that public and private companies couldn't provide.

These days the main purpose of the government seems to be to control the capital and equity markets, lower your taxes by limiting your bonuses, spend money they don't have on stimulus packages that don't create new jobs ( which increases the deficit) and scare the heck out of the stock market whenever it seems things are going great.

So far the scoreboard for the middle class is you are either unemployed or taking home less money because you've lost your bonus, the balance on your 401K or IRA is half of what it was 2 years ago, your house is underwater because the value is down but the mortgage balance isn't and if you need a loan to tide your small business over till the recession ends no bank will loan you money.

Yes Obama has made good on his promise to lower the tax bill of the middle class but he forgot to tell us he would do it by lowering the numbers on your W-2.

Well it's the weekend again and time to take a look on what the market did. As usual I go to Barchart for my data and I look at the Value Line Index because it is contains 1700 stocks and is broader than the narrower S&P 500 or Dow 30.

Value Line Index -- 1700 stocks -- down 2.3 % for the week. That makes us down 3 weeks in a row and down for the month by 2.89%. Remember we were up in November by 3.74% and December up by 7.01%. Is that a correction or change of direction?
  • The Index closed below it's 20 & 50 day moving average but still managed to trade above its 100 DMA
  • Barchart's technical indicators gives the Index a 24% sell signal with 4 buys, 2 holds and 7 sells

Barchart market momentum -- approximately 6000 stocks -- the percentage of stocks trading above their daily moving averages for various time periods --short term reversal but still up for the long term

  • 20 DMA -- only 23.87% above
  • 50DMA -- only 43.56% above
  • 100 DMA -- 51.43% above

Ratio of stocks hitting new highs to stocks hitting new lows for various time frames -- 1.0+ bullish, 1.0 neutral, under .99 bearish -- looks bad for all 3 time frames

  • 20 day new high/new low ratio -- 382/2092 = .18
  • 65 day new high/new low ratio -- 211/516 = .41
  • 100 day new high/new low ratio -- 148/374 = .48

Strategy for the next week -- The economy according to the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators seems to be mending, fundamentals of the companies that made it through the recession seem to be improving but the market is showing signs of nervousness from the political instability that Washington is creating. I'm going to sit on the side lines and trim a few non-performing stocks this week but not replace them till I see more support in the market.


I'm taking the week off and going down to the Money Show in Orlando to hear what the big boys are saying. The list of speakers is impressive: Steve Forbes, Howard Gold, Jim Jubak and two of my all time favorites Paul Kangas and Robert Stovall. There will be educational seminars by Jamie Dlugosch, Kelly Wright, Tobin Smith and Louis Navellier I'm really looking forward to talking to Jim Rohrback, Ken Kam, Michael Shulman, Nicholas Vardy and the always entertaining Jon Markman. If this sounds like a commercial, it's totally unsolicited. I've attended and spoke at 3 of these and really enjoyed each time. See you there.


Well, I've put off the bad news till last. My Wall Street Survivor portfolio is in the toilet. The S&P 500 was down 3.72% for the month but I'm down 7.09% mainly because I'm margined out. Hats off to Anthony Mirhaydari for calling the market sentiment properly and being up 3.72% while I came in 8th place out of 8.


See you at the Money Show.


Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com

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