The consolidation to which we have arrived is welcome. It may even be surprising that the CAC 40 Index finished the week on a modest decline of 0.32 percent while the American indexes fell close to 1 percent. On Wall Street, anyway, it was time for a fall after eight consecutive days of increases.
What is sure is that, clearly, investors are not eager to be distracted by Greece’s problems. We remember that the market reacted very violently at the end of January to the announcement of the worsening Greek financial situation. As a result, interest rates surged to close to 7 percent on debt issued by Athens. Since then, the markets have moved on to other things. The problem is known and all but solved: Greece will either be saved by Europe or the IMF; which of them saves Greece is of no concern to the stock exchange.
In this regard, certain economists are happy to see that the Greek authorities’ proven irresponsibility will not be erased with a stroke of the pen by the member states of the euro, at the head of which France is seated. If you do anything, the Germans tell us, do not count on the taxpayers of Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin to pick up the pieces.
Many do not understand why the Bourse goes up when it feels like things are completely stagnant. What does the worst damage to the stock exchange is not the bad news that everyone knew, but that which no one expected, especially when it arises with such exhilaration. Then the shock is terrible and the fall is violent.
At the current stage, Greece’s problem has no risk of surprising us, unless it leads to a complete break-up of the Euro Zone. Or if other countries find themselves overtly confronted by the same situation. For the time being, this is not the case, and the market watches the Greek accident through its process.
The impact on the euro/dollar discrepancy is, on the other hand, greater, evidenced by the euro falling to 1.354 against the dollar. Here too, there is nothing dramatic for Europeans, since the theoretical exchange rate of the two corresponding currencies to their respective purchasing power situates itself at 1.2 dollars per euro. Alas, this is still large enough to make our products not competitive…
In fact, what will determine the tone of the markets in the days to come is the performance of the S&P 500 Index, which acts as a world index from which no market action can truly free itself. The broad index of the American stock market has climbed a lot recently. It climbed another 1,150 points, which matched its year-end high. That’s excellent news. Its transition to a decline will create fear of the index’s incapacity to reach its previous peak, but the 1,120-1,110 point zone will be what is followed closely in the days to come.
That zone corresponds to the Fibonacci retracement at a 50 percent increase of the total decline reached on the S&P 500 since the middle of 2007. The psychological impact of such a clearing would be a bad sign and could cause the market to fall another tenth of a percent.
For the time, it is useless to waver because we are a hair’s breadth from crossing the moving averages of 50-150 days, as a reader suggested. The phases of consolidation are sound and welcome. The market was “underbought” according to the classic indicators (RSI, Slow Stochastic or DMI), so it needed to blow out. Paradoxically, the sharp fall of the Volatility Index on the S&P 500 below 17 percent was an obstacle to the pursuit of the increase, since without Volatility there can be no significant movement of the stock market. The feeling of the market, measured by the put/call ratio on the Options market in the U.S. was equally too optimistic.
Sorry for that slightly technical aside, but the stock market works differently than the observation of moving averages, which give a good idea of the movements but are nothing but a late indicator. The transition of moving averages from the last 50-150 is the arithmetical result of the events of these last seven months (counting on average 20 stock market sessions per month). It appears to be an important moment for understanding the big movements of the middle term, but this is not an operational indicator for an investor who preoccupies himself with the daily and weekly evolution of his portfolio.
To take the risk of short selling when you witness the MM 50 and 150’s transition into decline, is to sell precisely at the moment when the impact of a decline is visible, based on what has already happened. You have, after such a movement, a good chance of seeing two or three weeks of increase, which no unprotected seller can resist.
For the days to come, I suggest that you therefore follow the S&P 500 Index closely. An acceleration of that index’s incline would be a very good sign, but a relapse would not signal the end of the world for he who manages his EAP in a middle term perspective. From a strategic point of view, always favor growth values over the defensives that risk deceiving you no matter what the stock market scenario for the coming weeks.