Market Outlook
The Week Beginning Monday,
June 28, 2010

I believe that it is important to point out to all my readers, especially those who are not already members of S.O.M.E. (as members are already well-aware of my trading strategy!), that the more volatile the market becomes, whether it trades up or down, is more beneficial to us, as the returns on our options increase dramatically, as observed throughout May and again last week.

I must say I am a great supporter of the bulls, but will play-along with the bears to extract as much value from our options plays, as possible. I am a great believer in things moving forward and improving as time progresses but I also know that we have to play-the-game to extend our profits. The only catch in this type of market is “knowing” or realizing in which direction it will take, and it seems that we have been able to fulfill this decision in most cases, to gain our profitability.


Key Events This Week

Note:-All earnings dates listed below are tentative and subject to change.

This Week’s Economic Reports

There are still quite a few major economic indicators available this week, which are:-

Monday –

• May personal income and

• Personal spending.

Tuesday –

• The Case-Shiller home price index for April and

• The Conference Board's consumer confidence index.

Wednesday –

• Weekly crude inventories,

• ADP private sector employment numbers for June and

• The Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index for June.

Thursday –

• The initial jobless claims,

• Construction spending in May and

• Auto sales in June.

Friday –

• Nonfarm payrolls and

• The unemployment rate for June.

This Week’s Major Earnings Reports

Monday –

• Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) and

• Micron Technology Inc. (MU)

Tuesday –

• General Mills Inc. (GIS)

Wednesday –

• Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ),

• Monsanto Company (MON) and

• Apollo Group Inc. (APOL)

Thursday –

• Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ)

Friday –

• There are no earning reports scheduled for release on Friday.

Stock market

Outlook for This Week

The previous week's upward momentum collapsed in a heap last week, with the three major market indexes suffering substantial losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 2.8%, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) dropped 3.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) shed 3.8%. The 80-day and 200-day moving averages on the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) are sloping higher, indicating volatility is in an uptrend.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), an exchange-traded fund that follows the S&P 500 Index, was down five straight trading days until it finally managed a small gain on Friday. This might indicate that the market is oversold.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) initially gapped significantly higher on Monday morning, trading as high as 1,130 right after the opening bell. But by mid-afternoon it found itself trading back below the important 1,125 area, which is the site of its 160-day moving average, a trendline that acted as support at the February 2010 bottom. After the gap higher on Monday, sellers dominated the price action, with the SPX falling roughly 5% from Monday's high to Friday morning's lows.


A few weeks ago, we stated that the environment remains dangerous for both bulls and bears. This is still the case, as the pessimism that has built up during the past few weeks sets the stage for quick, short-covering rallies that leave the bears wounded. At the same time, the technical backdrop is still on shaky ground, as resistance levels such as 1,100 and 1,125 on the SPX have come into play, leaving little for the bulls to get excited about. The end result has been quick bursts higher followed by sharp declines, resulting in no net movement, irritating bulls and bears alike. As we enter this week's trading, support for the SPX is in the 1,050 area, while resistance sits at 1,100.


In the meantime, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) spiked from 23.95 to a reading above 30 Friday morning, before settling at 28.53 to close the week. In other words, the cost to purchase portfolio insurance increased roughly 19% during last week's trading. On one hand, it may be viewed as expensive relative to this time last week. On the other hand, portfolio protection may be viewed as cheap relative to the peak levels of May and within the context of a broader market with a wobbly technical backdrop.

The bulls might be somewhat encouraged by the VIX's close below 30, as this level has marked peaks in volatility on occasion, with October 2009 and February 2010 being recent examples. However, per the chart below, note that in these months, the VIX's 80-day and 200-day moving averages were sloping lower, indicative of volatility being in an intermediate and longer-term decline. Now, these moving average are sloped higher, indicating volatility is currently in an uptrend, increasing the risk for another pop above 30.


The decline in volatility from the May peak amid a range-bound environment has been favorable for option premium sellers. Last week's increase in volatility creates a more favorable set-up for such trades in the event that the market stays range-bound and VIX 30 proves to cap volatility readings in the weeks ahead.

That being said, traders should also be positioned for the possibility of an increase in volatility. In other words, buy short-term puts to protect long equity positions or longer-term call positions. Another strategy we would implement is pairs options trades, where you buy a call on a stock that you see having the potential for a significant upside move, and simultaneously buy a put on a stock within the same sector that is vulnerable to significant downside.

Finally, if you are long equities, concentrate your holdings in the small-cap space. The consensus is still preaching rotating into high-quality, blue-chip names and out of stocks deemed riskier. However, the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) currently has a more favorable technical backdrop, as it closed the week sitting on its 200-day moving average. Meanwhile, the SPX and Dow Jones Industrials are trading below their respective 200-day trend lines.

Economic News

Wall Street's menu of economic data will be full in the week ahead.

May Personal Income and Spending

The week will kick off on Monday with May personal income and consumption, or spending, data. Both are seen to have improved slightly.

Index of Consumer Confidence

The Conference Board's June index of consumer confidence, due on Tuesday, is expected to slip to 63.0 from May's 63.3 after three consecutive months of gains.

ADP Survey

The precursors to Friday's jobs report are the ADP survey on Wednesday, expected to show private-sector employers added 60,000 jobs in June.


Purchasing managers' indexes, or PMIs, will be watched for signs of strength in the manufacturing sector. Readings on New York State and the U.S. Midwest, represented by the Chicago PMI, are due on Wednesday.

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims

Weekly initial jobless claims will be revealed on Thursday. New claims are expected to fall slightly to 450,000. The forecasts are from economists polled by Reuters.


The Institute for Supply Management, or ISM, index on U.S. manufacturing activity, due on Thursday, is expected to show that manufacturing continued to expand in June, but at a slightly slower pace than in May. The employment components of the regional PMIs and the ISM's manufacturing index will be eyed carefully ahead of the non-farm payrolls data.

Pending Home Sales

An index of pending home sales, set for release on Thursday, is expected to provide more evidence of a slowdown in housing. The forecast calls for the index to drop 12.5 percent in May -- a sharp reversal from April's gain of 6 percent to hit a six-month high.

Last week, a Commerce Department report showed new home sales tumbled a record 32.7 percent in May to the lowest level in at least four decades. While a drop was expected, due to the expiration of a federal tax credit for home buyers at the end of April, the number was worse than thought and helped sap momentum from an already risk-averse market.

"This second half is going to be without stimulus, with housing down, with employment continuing to go down and the consumer continuing to get whipped," said Birkelbach.

"The reality of it is the recession is not over and whether it's a double dip or a straight line with no growth, that appears to be more the reality than the hype of recovery," said Carl Birkelbach, chairman and chief executive of Birkelbach Investment Securities in Chicago.

Car and Truck Sales

Domestic car and truck sales for June, forecast to decline slightly, also will be released on Thursday.

New-vehicle sales in the U.S. are expected to jump 17% in June from a year earlier but decline 10% from May, according to, as the industry continues to be hurt by sales pulled ahead by higher incentives earlier this year. J.D. Power and Associates, meanwhile, said an increase in fleet sales during the month wouldn't be strong enough to fully offset weaker retail sales. Auto makers will report June sales Thursday.

Non-farm Payrolls

Stock investors will anxiously await the crucial June jobs data next week for clues on how the U.S. economy may weather recent storms that drove Wall Street's major indexes down for the year.

Friday's jobs report will wrap up a week packed with economic data, including consumer confidence and pending home sales. The week's steady stream of numbers will include some early earnings reports.

Non-farm payrolls are forecast to shed 110,000 jobs in June when the U.S. Labor Department's report is released on Friday.

Although much of that drop is due to the government laying off half of its temporary Census workers, another weak reading for private-sector hiring will disappoint investors.

"The truth is that without job creation, we're in for a tougher time, and I mean real job creation, not temporary job creation, not part-time job creation -- real job creation," said Kenneth Polcari, a floor trader at the New York Stock Exchange with Icap Corporates.

The U.S. unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 9.8 percent in June from May's rate of 9.7 percent, according to economists polled by Reuters. That's not far below the peak U.S. jobless rate of 10.2 percent, reached last October -- a year after Wall Street's meltdown resulted in one of the worst recessions in decades.

Without solid growth in hiring, the U.S. economy is likely to limp along as most consumers refrain from spending on anything but the bare necessities. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

The Energy Crisis

BP (BP) -- BP's stock price, which hit a new low, could continue falling over the next few weeks as uncertainty around future costs to the company grow, analysts said Friday.

The beleaguered oil giant's stock fell 6.1% to $26.96 a share Friday, piercing the $28.56 low set in the previous trading day. The stock is now down nearly 53% since April 20, when its Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers.

BP's stock held steady above $29 a share for a time -- propped up by the company's decision to suspend its dividend for the remainder of the year and the removal of CEO Tony Hayward from day-to-day leadership of the cleanup operations -- before falling late in the week amid a sell-off in the broader equity markets.

But some analysts say that an end to the downward spiral could be far from reach, as investors offload the stock on fears that cleanup, legal and regulatory costs could soar.

"BP's now in the crosshairs of every regulator and politician known to man," said Tom Orr, head of research for Weeden & Company. "The stock could go into the teens for all we know."

BP said that it has so far spent over $2 billion on cleanup. And last week, under pressure from the government, the company agreed to set aside $20 billion in an escrow account for spill-related costs, an amount that does not cover fees and penalties that could be imposed by the federal government.

Analysts say the sheer magnitude of the oil spill, seen as the worst environmental catastrophe in American history, and the impact on Gulf workers, will likely result in a costly legal overhang for years to come, making it difficult to value the stock today.

"The issue here is that it's a stock that has an unquantifiable liability. It's hard to forecast," said Jason Gammel, an analyst at MacQuarie Research.


Offshore Drilling Ban

The offshore drilling ban imposed after the BP disaster is only supposed to hit operations in deep water -- 500 feet or more. But drillers in shallow water say they haven't been issued permits since the April 20 explosion. The delay has already forced hundreds of layoffs, and many more could be on the way.

Photo: A Spartan Offshore rig, in better times. The rig is now idle, its contractors unable to get drilling permits.

The offshore drilling ban imposed after the BP disaster is only supposed to hit operations in deep water -- 500 feet or more. But drillers in shallow water say they haven't been issued permits since the April 20 explosion. The delay has already forced hundreds of layoffs, and many more could be on the way.

"I'm almost out of business over here," said Paul Butler, president of Spartan Offshore, a small drilling company in Metairie, La.

Butler said that only one of his four drill rigs are operating; all four were drilling before the spill. Spartan has six contracts that would put his entire fleet back to work, but he can't get going until the permits come through, he added.

The week before last, Butler said he had to lay off 72 employees. Come Tuesday he'll have to let another 140 go. "That's 140 families, is how I look at it," Butler said.

Same is true at Hercules Offshore, the largest shallow water driller in the Gulf.

"The Department of Interior isn't issuing permits," said Jim Noe, a Hercules executive. "By mid July all of our rigs will be on the beach, and the workers without a job."

That could be a lot of jobs.

Deep water drilling, which is currently banned while an investigation into the Deepwater Horizon accident is underway, is estimated to employ at least 35,000 people on both the rigs and in jobs that support them.

Nearly that many jobs could also be at stake over shallow water drilling. While shallow water rigs are smaller and employ only about half as many people, there are almost twice as many of them in the Gulf, according to the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association.



Financial Reform and Basel III

As financial reform nears completion, the big Wall Street firms are turning their attention to new global banking rules that, if approved in their current form, would squeeze profits and lead to lower share prices.

At issue for Wall Street and the big banks are the so-called Basel III global banking reforms. The reforms, which are being hammered out by the Basel Committee of global banking regulators, could make anything found in the US banking reforms look mild, according to senior banking executives.

That's because under the Basel accord, banks will likely be required to hold more capital on hand to protect against a financial panic than under the proposed US reform, which is nearing completion. (The US House and Senate reached a broad accord late this week on many of its most controversial proposals, including the so-called Volcker Rule. Named after President Obama's senior economic adviser and former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, the rule prevents banks from using their own funds to make risky market bets.)

But some of the proposals being hashed out by the Basel Committee are even more onerous, and according to some estimates they would squeeze earnings as much as 20% at the big banks.

Both chambers of Congress are expected to vote next week on new financial rules after Congressional Democrats and White House officials reached an agreement on the final shape of the legislation. The bill is expected to have enough support to become law, although the margin in the House and Senate is expected to be close because there is near-universal opposition from Congressional Republicans. If the bill passes, President Barack Obama is expected to sign the package into law by July 4.

G-8 and G-20 Meetings


***LEADERS of the G8 group of rich countries gather in Muskoka, a Canadian holiday resort, for a two-day summit starting on Friday June 25th. The meeting overlaps with the two-day G20 summit that begins the next day in Toronto. Both get-togethers will give the opportunity to world leaders to discuss global financial regulation, reforming international financial institutions and responses to the crisis in the euro zone. The Canadian hosts have been criticised at home for the vast cost of the summit, in particular on the creation of a huge artificial lake for the media centre in a country with more real lakes than anywhere else in the world.

The leaders of the Group of Eight world economic powers have taken the first steps toward a "broad consensus" on the need to balance growth with shrinking deficits, a senior White House official said Friday.

President Obama attended a luncheon at the G-8 summit in Toronto to discuss economic policies with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom, according to the official.

The official acknowledged that there were different "points of emphasis" among the leaders at the meeting, which is in its early stages. But he said there is a "convergence of views" and that the president is "confident" about the upcoming meetings of the Group of 20 nations, which includes China, India and other developing economic powers.

"There is broad consensus among G-8 leaders on how to maintain durable growth while reaffirming our shared commitment to fiscal consolidation going forward," the official said.

Overseas Concerns


ANXIETY in Britain is likely to be high as George Osborne, the country’s new chancellor (finance minister), unveils details of a tough emergency budget on Tuesday June 22nd. The new budget will set out the overall trajectory of spending, which is likely to be sharply downward. Mr. Osborne’s colleagues have been making scary speeches about the parlous state of public finances. And gloomy independent forecasts for growth and the public finances from the new Office for Budgetary Responsibility suggest that hefty spending cuts and tax rises are inevitable.


VOTERS in Guinea, a West African country rich in minerals, are set to vote on Sunday June 27th to elect a civilian president. Recent years have seen general strikes, popular uprisings, military crackdowns and a coup in the country. But General Sékouba Konaté, Guinea’s interim president, is so keen to make the election runs smoothly that he has appointed a 16,000-strong military and paramilitary task-force to keep order during the polls and has kept a promise that no members of the interim government may stand for office. Guinea’s parties draw support mainly from ethnic and regional bases, so a contentious result could open divisions across the country.


***Barnes & Noble (BKS), Micron Technology Inc. (MU) and General Mills Inc. (GIS) are among the companies scheduled to report quarterly results next week.

Bookstore-chain operator Barnes & Noble (BKS) is expected to post a wider loss for the latest quarter, as the retailer continues to struggle with weak store traffic.

Micron Technology Inc. (MU) is seen swinging to a profit as it benefits from higher memory-chip prices and increasing demand. Both are slated to report results on Monday.

A day later, General Mills Inc. (GIS) is projected to post a slightly lower profit on a single-digit decline in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of analysts. Still, the maker of Cheerios, Pillsbury and other brands did lift its fiscal-year earnings forecast in March as the company benefits from strong sales of household staples.

***The Chicago City Council's Zoning Committee unanimously paved the way for a crucial vote next week on whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) can open its second store in the city, a move that could boost the big box retailer's chances of growing in other urban markets.

***Studies on a number of drugs will be presented at the American Diabetes Association's 70th Scientific Sessions, through Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. Among them are Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (AMLN) data for its drugs, Byetta and Symlin, both approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and its investigational diabetes drug candidate Bydureon.


The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that follows the S&P 500 Index, was down five straight trading days until it finally managed a small gain on Friday. The last time the ETF went five straight trading days without a gain was March 2009, near the market bottom.

Implication of an Oversold Market:

Below is a table showing every streak of five down days for the SPY since 2000. There have been 21 other instances of such streaks. The table shows that the longest that any streak lasted was eight trading days in January 2008. It also shows the return of the SPY during the first five days of the losing streak. This most recent streak saw the SPY lose about 4.2%.

Below this huge table is a summary of the results. Compare those results to what the SPY has typically done since 2000, and you will notice that the losing streak is indeed a signal that the market may be oversold. The results in the table significantly beat the typical return data.


The loss during the last five-day losing streak. The most recent streak of about 4% actually makes it one of the better returns. Unfortunately, historically, the returns after a modest pullback have not been nearly as bullish as the returns after a larger pullback. Below are two tables summarizing these results.

The top table looks at the returns after the 10 most modest pullbacks. Note the two-week return averages a significant loss, and the one-month return averages a 0.65% gain. On the other hand, the bottom table shows data for the 10 returns with the most severe pullbacks. After one of those pullbacks the market averages a return of 2.25% two weeks later and almost 5% one month later!


***Further evidence of market conditions can be seen in representations of charts below.

The chart for the S&P 500, as represented by the S&P 500 SPDRS (NYSE:SPY) ETF, shows a sharp decline after the gap higher last Monday morning. It’s interesting that the gap occurred very close to SPY’s declining 50-day moving average. This average acted as resistance back in May as SPY attempted to recover from the "flash crash". This average should be on traders' radars moving forward as a possible resistance area. Looking at the chart below, the markets are approaching their recent lows again, and this week will be very important in determining the next possible direction. A clean move toward the lows will likely find buyers, but if the markets weakly consolidate just above this area it could set the stage for a break of those lows.


The Diamonds Trust Series 1 (NYSE:DIA) ETF, which tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average, also failed at its declining 50-day moving average. Even worse for the bulls was its failure to attract buyers at last week's breakout area and 200-day moving average near $102.50. This area may become resistance on a bounce moving forward, so traders should keep an eye out. While DIA closed flat on Friday, it was well off the lows that could be showing some buyers in the low $100s. This was where the majority of trading volume occurred the past few weeks and could represent an area of support.


The Nasdaq, as represented by the Powershares QQQ ETF (Nasdaq:QQQQ), was unable to manage a green day at all last week and also ended up below the week's before breakout area. QQQQ's Monday gap up to its 50-day moving average encountered a plethora of sellers. One positive for QQQQ however, is that it held above its 200-day moving average, after briefly dipping below the average on Friday. The level to watch over the next two weeks is the June low. While there is support below this level, a drop below $43.59 would negate the recent pattern of higher highs and higher lows. This may imply a move to new lows overall.


After underperforming the week before, the Russell 2000, as represented by the iShares Russell 2000 Index (NYSE:IWM), held support near its 200-day moving average. It actually closed up over 1.5% on Friday, although much of this might be attributed to an index rebalancing. However, on longer term charts, IWM remains in the strongest position of the major index ETFs. It’s possible that the lows set last week will hold, and may end up forming a new support level.



The markets are at an area where traders need to show patience. Overall, most of the market indexes are right in the middle of their most recent highs and lows. The weakness shown last week was not promising at all, but there is the possibility that the markets will form a higher low in this area. This would be a positive sign, and could cement the recent area as a more important intermediate low. However, it is still too early to interpret the possibility that this will happen, and there is still the real possibility that the markets will flounder in this area for a while before breaking much lower. This is why traders need to show patience, and allow the markets to fluctuate until more clear patterns emerge. While it is tempting to try to pick the bottom of this pullback, traders are probably better served waiting for the markets to stabilize and present a better opportunity.


Volatility could rise next week, with fund managers selling their losers and buying winning stocks to adjust their portfolios at the end of the quarter.

Volume usually drops before the long weekend to mark the Independence Day holiday and that could increase volatility. With July 4th falling on a Sunday this year, the financial markets will be closed for the holiday on Monday, July 5th.

"If you don't have a lot of volume at the end of the week, you could always have big moves off of low volume," said Tim Holland, co-portfolio manager of Aston/TAMRO Diversified Equity Fund in Alexandria, Virginia. "You could have a smaller number of participants move things."

That could make for some tense moments with traders focused on market technicals after the S&P 500 failed to hold above its 200-day moving average during the week. Some investors see a move below that level as a bearish signal.

Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group in Westport, Connecticut, said the market would likely be range bound in the weeks ahead.

"It looks like we're stuck in this trading range, with the downside around 1,040 to 1,050 and upside capped by the 50-day moving average, which right now is around 1,127," he said.


"The economy lost a lot of momentum at the end of first-quarter, and it looks like second-quarter is going to be at best 3 percent, so the economy is turning soft. I think that we will make our way through without stepping back into recession. The odds are still well below one in four that we double dip," said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's

However, if Congress does not extend state aid and unemployment benefits, the odds of re-entering recession rise to one in three, he said. Those programs were included in the jobs bill that failed to pass the Senate Thursday.

"That will get resubmitted. I think they're going to get more weak economic data which is going to be fairly scary. So the odds are they will pass it. The housing market is double dipping. that's not surprising," said Zandi. "...When house prices are weakening, nothing really works that well in the economy, and the European debt crisis doesn't seem to go away. Whatever European policy makers do, it seems to continue on and that hurts the stock market and that hits consumer spending."

State and local governments are going to start cutting more aggressively. We're going to see more tax increases and more spending cuts. On top of that, the inventory swing is pretty much played out. The second half of the year is lining up to be on the soft side," he said.

Economists were surprised Friday when the government revised down first quarter GDP to 2.7 percent from 3 percent. Housing data was also surprisingly week and new home sales were at a record low.

"I had 2.5 pct second half growth for a lot of these reasons but I'm much more nervous," he said.

Stressed Markets

Stuart Freeman of Wells Fargo Advisers, said news like the GDP revision is one reason the market will stay "stressed."

"A lot of times, coming out of a regular cycle that number would have been 5 or 6 percent. It would typically be above the average rate of 3 percent. This has been the slowest, worst recession of the average of the last 10, and the worst recovery of the average of the last 10 in terms of strength because it's such weak growth," he said. "Every little thing that slips along the way is going to cause a disturbance. We'll have some good news. We'll have set back news."

He expects the S&P 500 to end the year close to where it is now—1100 to 1140—and it could trade above that level and below current levels between now and then. The lack of jobs is one of the biggest problems that has to be solved.

"Part of the problem we have now is ... so much policy change going on. Everyone knows taxes are going up, but they don't know how, and they all know health care is changing and they don't know how it's changing their businesses. You have a lot of companies standing there like deer in headlights. It's affecting decisions," he said.

Political Risk

Political risk will also be on investors' minds next week. After U.S. lawmakers hammered out an historic overhaul of financial regulations in Friday's early morning hours, President Barack Obama urged world leaders to follow his lead on regulatory reform at the G20 summit in Canada over the weekend.

The bottom line is that the technical backdrop and momentum are showing signs to favor the bears but hopefully the markets will break free of the current range on the positive side, therefore traders should continue to show patience and trade cautiously or take up the challenge with options trading.

Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.

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