Tags: stocks | rally | fed | invest

Can Earnings Keep Year-end Rally Going?

(Dollar Photo Club)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 October 2015 10:12 AM

The Dow and S&P treaded water for another day Tuesday, with a smattering of really crummy reports, such as Chipotle (CMG), one of the hottest restaurant stocks ever, Yahoo (YHOO), and Harley-Davidson (HOG).

The biggest part of earnings season is still to come, and with Jackie DeAngelis on vacation Bertha Coombs hosted a CNBC "Futures Now" segment devoted to assessing how the earnings season will affect the ability of the market to sustain a year-end rally.

Coombs pointed out that whereas normally 70% of earnings reports of S&P stocks exceed expectations on the bottom line, this quarter, revenues “seem to be signaling a whole different story,” with more like 40% beating on the top line, 60% missing, where it has been the opposite for the last 15 years or so.

She asked if the market can keep moving higher if what is taking place is “a profit recession.” Companies have bought back 14% of the S&P “and now we’re starting to see that is not working.”

Jim Iuorio responded immediately that yes, the market can go on rallying, and he noted that earnings are “engineered, because companies have been engaging in buybacks.”

This writer would add that companies use an array of other devices to guide expectations downward so that they can be exceeded.

Iuorio advised, “What we should be looking at is revenues, which have been, at the very least, a disappointment.” As others have done, Iuorio came back to the Federal Reserve: “With these kind of crummy numbers – lower for longer.”

Coombs asked whether this implies that if the Fed were to raise rates, the market would fall apart.

This writer has predicted all along that for this very reason, the Fed will not raise rates, and even the actions Fed officials say they are prepared to take, but don’t actually take, would not upset the tone of accommodation the Fed has set.

Iourio responded, “It could. These buybacks are fueling part of the stock market rally, and those are fueled by low rates. If they raise rates – which they won’t do, by the way, so we’re speaking hypotheticals – I think it could be very detrimental to the stock market.”

At this point, Scott Nations chimed in that a rate rise would help the big banks, “because their net interest margin would increase substantially. So the big banks, which are now a big part of our economy, will do really well once the Fed starts increasing.”

Finally, Coombs asked the experts how to trade this circumstance. Iuorio recommends a “stop-in” trade, which means that instead of being stopped out of a position, the trader would enter, in this case, if the S&P exceeds 2030, with a target of 2050 and a downside stop at 2017. With each tick in S&P minis worth $50, a trader could make $1000 while risking $650.

Nations was skeptical about taking the long side of the S&P, and he called the long side “no-man’s land.” He warned buyers to have “a really itchy trigger finger” to get out.

Thus, with all the talk about raising rates, in fact, if one heeds New York Fed President William Dudley’s admonition to watch what the Fed is doing, what it is doing is continuing to fuel the rally in stocks.

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I have predicted all along that the Fed will not raise rates, and even the actions Fed officials say they are prepared to take, but don’t actually take, would not upset the tone of accommodation the Fed has set.
stocks, rally, fed, invest
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 10:12 AM
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