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Market Commentary

December 12, 2017

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 Today's Commentary         (Not seeing a current commentary?)               

Stocks were up slightly for most of the day on Monday, but a late push higher gave the major indices a boost into some solid gains.  The Dow added 57-points while small caps were flat and the Transports were down slightly.  Historically, seasonality gets a little more negative this week, but yesterday showed why it seasonality is not a primary indicator.
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Yesterday the market was all abuzz about bitcoin.  It wasn't too long ago that you would get shrugs from people when you asked if they had heard of bitcoin.  Now if you put on CNBC it's about all they are talking about.  This past Sunday night the futures markets started to trade bitcoin futures and some say that may have given it more legitimacy, while others see it as a sign of a potential top. (The top has been called for about 10 months now.)

We've been talking about bitcoin in our forum since April 2013 when our member James48843 posted that bitcoin hit $250 for the first time.  Since then it has been a wild up and down ride and with it being over $17,000 per coin right now, it's no wonder it is getting much more attention.

The one question for stock market investors is whether people will start selling stocks to buy bitcoin, like we see with bonds or gold from time to time, but so far there is no evidence of that.  As a matter of fact it seems to be a wait and see approach as there were only 4000 bitcoin futures contracts traded on the first day of trading, or about $70m, which is nothing in comparison to other futures markets.  Perhaps there will be a day when that happens, when bitcoin is an alternative to stocks, but right now I wouldn't be using it as any kind of indicator.  If anything, bitcoin seems to be an alternative to gold judging by the weakness in the gold market over the last 3 months.

Today starts the 2-day FOMC meeting and this will be Janet Yellen's last meeting.  Seeing stocks rally in front of a Fed meeting is nothing new, but we know they are going to raise rates tomorrow and if they give any indication or more rate hikes than we've been anticipating, the market could get a little nervous and we could see some volatility.  Notice I said volatility and not selling, because lately the downside action has been bought so quickly that you could miss it if you blinked.  But a series of rate hikes could be a drag on stocks, particularly if we start seeing 10 year Treasury yields flirting with 3%.

The SPY (S&P 500 / C-fund) closed at another new high yesterday and it remains above that old rising resistance line.  That's a sign of being overbought, but 2017 seems to be the year of the overbought market.


The small caps / S-fund were flat yesterday as most of the attention was given to the large caps again, just like on Friday. 


As you may know, our S-fund is actually a small and mid-cap fund and it usually closes somewhere in between the return of the S&P 500 and the small cap Russell 2000 index.  The small caps have been lagging lately as the Russell is well off the recent highs, so it's the mid-caps that have been keeping our S-fund in positive territory lately.  This chart actually looks a little troubling for the short-term.


The EAFE Index (I-fund) was up on the day but it closed near the lows of the day.


Just for giggles, here's a 2+ year weekly chart of bitcoin...

The AGG (Bonds / F-fund) pulled back and remains in the pennant formation and below the blue rising wedge, but trying to hold at the 20-day EMA.


Read more in today's TSP Talk Plus Report.  We post more charts, indicators and analysis, plus discuss the allocations of the TSP and ETF Systems.  For more information on how to gain access and a list of the benefits of being a subscriber, please go to: www.tsptalk.com/plus.php

Thanks for reading.  We'll see you back here tomorrow.

Tom Crowley

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Chart provided courtesy of www.sentimentrader.com
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