In The Week Ahead: This Stock's Breakout Signals More Gains Ahead in 2014

By: John Kosar of Street Authority

All major U.S. stock indices finished in positive territory for the fourth consecutive week, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100, which gained 1.6% and is now up 17.6% for the year. This index has been a major focus of mine since the Aug. 25 Market Outlook. Its move above major overhead resistance at 4,147 this month was an important catalyst for the recent strength in the broader market.

On a sector basis, technology, consumer discretionary and materials led. Utilities, energy and financials trailed the pack and finished the week in negative territory.

Cisco Systems Resuming 2011 Uptrend?

The recent strength and leadership shown by the technology sector resulted in a potential buying opportunity in Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO). I discussed the topic Wednesday on CNBC, just before the tech bellwether announced its fiscal first-quarter earnings.

CSCO, which is the 10th largest constituent stock comprising 3.3% of the technology sector index, broke out to the upside on Friday from 15 months of sideways action that indicated investor indecision.

CSCO Stock Market Outlook Chart

This breakout indicates that CSCO's larger August 2011 advance has resumed and targets a move to $32, 22% above Friday's close. This will remain valid as long as the upper boundary of the indecision area at $25.90 loosely contains prices on the downside as underlying support. Continue reading "In The Week Ahead: This Stock's Breakout Signals More Gains Ahead in 2014"

In the Week Ahead: Is A Market Bottom Finally In Place?

By: John Kosar of Street Authority

All major U.S. stock indices finished in positive territory last week, for only the second time since Aug. 29, led by the Russell 2000, which gained 4.9%. This is good news for the market as small-cap stocks have lagged in a big way all year. The Russell 2000 is up just 0.9% year to date compared with 15.8% for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 and 9.2% for the broad market SP 500.

Another good sign is that, despite the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcing the end of its bond-buying program on Wednesday, the SP 500 rose by an additional 1.7% into Friday's close. This suggests that, despite a lot of investor apprehension beforehand, the market ultimately interpreted the Federal Reserve's action as evidence that it believes the U.S. economy is finally strong enough to stand on its own two feet.

From a sector standpoint, last week's rally was led by technology, up 3.3%, and financials, up 3.2%. This is another good sign for the overall market between now and year end as these sectors typically outperform amid expectations for a strengthening U.S. economy.

Technology Stocks at a Key Inflection Point

In the Aug. 25 Market Outlook, I discussed an important overhead resistance level at 4,147 in the Nasdaq 100. I said, "Major benchmark highs like this one are seldom meaningfully and sustainably broken without at least a multi-week corrective decline first."

The index peaked three and a half weeks later, at 4,119 on Sept. 19, and then subsequently declined by 10.2% into the Oct. 15 low. The SP 500 declined by 9.8% during the same period.

The Nasdaq 100 managed to edge slightly above 4,147 last week, which represents the September 2000 benchmark high, closing at 4,158 on Friday.

The more time this market-leading index spends above 4,147, the more likely that a major breakout is emerging that would clear the way for a continued rise into year end.

Investors Breathing a Sigh of Relief Continue reading "In the Week Ahead: Is A Market Bottom Finally In Place?"

The Most Important Stock To Watch This Month Is...

By: John Kosar of Street Authority

All major U.S. indices closed higher for the fourth consecutive week, this time led by the small-cap Russell 2000, which was up 1.2%. Year to date, however, the Russell has by far been the weakest, up just 0.9%. This puts the burden for continued broad market leadership squarely on the other traditional market leader -- technology.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has been up to the challenge so far, posting a 13.7% gain year to date, and is a major reason why the SP 500 is up 8.4% in 2014. But with small caps already weak, if and when technology stocks stop leading, the overall market is likely to run into some serious problems.

My own metric, which is based on ETF asset flows, shows that the largest inflow of sector-related investor assets last week was into defensive utilities and out of industrials. Accordingly, last week's strongest sector was utilities, up 2%, with industrials the only sector to finish the week in negative territory.

Be Aware Of September Seasonal Weakness

As we move into September, a good place to begin this week's report is with monthly seasonality. The chart shows that September is the seasonally weakest month of the year in the SP 500 since 1957. On average, it closed 0.68% lower for the month and posted a negative monthly close 54% of the time.

This is one of several good reasons to pay particularly close attention to your stock market investments this month, and to have a defensive plan already in place in case this 56-year seasonal pattern emerges again this year.

We should also note the historical tendency for a strong fourth-quarter rebound, so even if the market does correct this month, we should be looking for near-term weakness to potentially provide better intermediate-term buying opportunities. Continue reading "The Most Important Stock To Watch This Month Is..."

Major Bearish Trend Change Overseas May Spell Trouble for U.S. Market

By: John Kosar of Street Authority

All major U.S. indices closed higher for the third consecutive week, led by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was up 2%. Year to date, by far the strongest major index has been the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (NDX), which is up 12.8%. This leadership by technology has been a key catalyst in the 2014 broad market advance, helping the SP 500 post a 7.6% gain despite a weak small cap sector. This strength in tech must continue to keep the broader market headed higher.

From a sector standpoint, last week's advance was led by financials, industrials and consumer discretionary, but all sectors of the SP 500 ended in positive territory.

Key Indices Held Major Support Levels in August

Many key indices, including the SP 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and PHLX Semiconductor Index, have rebounded nicely from major support levels that were tested during the first week of August, and finished last week at or near their 2014 highs.

The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA), which I first mentioned as a potential buying opportunity in the May 12 Market Outlook, closed out last week 3.7% above its Aug. 7 test of its 200-day moving average, a widely watched major trend proxy, and less than 1% below its July 17 all-time high of $171.32.

Although I remain cautiously positive on DIA heading into this week, I am still apprehensive about its more intermediate-term sustainability due to frothy investor sentiment, weak August-to-September seasonality, and major overhead resistance in the market-leading Nasdaq 100. Continue reading "Major Bearish Trend Change Overseas May Spell Trouble for U.S. Market"

Next Gold Buying Opportunity May Be Just Around the Corner

By: John Kosar of Street Authority

Major U.S. indices closed mixed last week, with the broad-market SP 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 closing higher and the blue-chip Dow industrials and small-cap Russell 2000 closing lower. The bigger takeaway to last week's lack of direction is that the bellwether SP 500 has been moving sideways for the past month and is essentially unchanged since July 1.

This recent loss of upward momentum suggests some distribution/profit-taking has been occurring and defines a near-term decision point in the index, bordered by 1,986 on the upside and 1,953 on the downside, from which its 2014 advance must resume if still healthy and intact.

Small Caps, Volatility Will Be Key Again This Week
In the July 14 and July 21 Market Outlooks, I pointed out that the Russell 2000 and the Vanguard Small Cap Growth ETF (NYSE: VBK) were situated right on top of major support levels and amid favorable conditions to resume their 2014 advances -- if they were still valid. Following initial rebounds, Friday's sharp decline positioned both back on top of these levels -- 1,143 on the Russell 2000 and $121.53 on VBK. Continue reading "Next Gold Buying Opportunity May Be Just Around the Corner"