Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Upside breakouts everywhere

As the major US averages grind to more new highs, I am seeing signs of confirmed upside breakouts everywhere. Consider, for example, this relative performance chart of SPY against IEF, which is the ETF for 10-year Treasuries. The ratio staged an upside breakout on the weekly chart, with relative resistance a some distance away indicating considerable upside potential for stocks.

Across the Atlantic, the FTSE 100 staged an upside breakout:

The same could be said of large cap eurozone stocks, as represented by the Euro STOXX 50:

And then there's Greece. Yes, remember that Greece? The Greece whose rating that Fitch recently upgraded.

The European markets are healing, as the WSJ reports even Greek companies are now tapping the bond markets for financing:
Greek commercial refrigeration and glass bottle producer Frigoglass’s debut bond sale is the latest sign investors are growing more optimistic about Greece, the company’s chief executive said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

Frigoglass Monday sold a €250 million ($324.3 million) five-year bond–the second debt sale from a Greek company in as many weeks as the country’s corporate bond market emerges from a deep freeze.
The risk-on mood was also reflected in this account of Slovenia's successful bond financing, after Moody's downgraded the country to junk after its roadshow:
Then the big day came – books reopened, bids were even stronger than during the first attempt and Slovenia sold 3.5bn worth of 5 and 10y bonds. On Friday, the new Sloven23s traded up by more than 4 points, which means yield fell by more than 50bp from the 6% the government paid. A fairy tale ending.

Key risks
Though momentum is positive for stocks in most developed markets, it isn't necessarily all clear sailing ahead. My biggest concern is that China and China related plays look punk. Here is the Shanghai Composite in a well defined downtrend:

Industrial commodities are also exhibiting a similar downtrend pattern:

The AUDCAD currency cross, where Australia is more China sensitive and Canada more US sensitive, looks downright ugly.

In the US, Ed Yardeni pointed out that forward Street consensus earnings growth is showing signs of stalling. While this isn't a bearish signal yet, it does bear watching. Should forward estimates growth turn negative, it would create considerable headwinds for equities.

My takeaway from the current environment of powerful stock momentum is, "It's ok to get long, but don't forget to look over your shoulder and maintain a tight risk control discipline."

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. ("Qwest"). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.



Cute and inspiring

WimpyInvestor said...

What's the best strategy in this environment?

1. Long SPY, short FXI
2. Long EWJ, short EWA
3. Long ACWI, short GLD

Bob said...

Other key risks you didn't mention:

1) the real economy / main street is not getting free money from the Fed, and is not recovering. The divergence between banker fantasy and reality is at scary levels

2) Even using Wall street's yardstick, a Shiller P/E of 24 is hardly a buying opportunity. Speculators might make money (day traders always claim to be making millions / caught the biggest fish but let it go / etc).

Investors eat only what they catch and bring home -- we have to make paper gains and also realize them. P/E 24 = locking in a long term loss

If your plan is to sell to a bigger sucker just before the music stops, ask Citi's Chuck Prince how that works out...