We headed into Friday's open with the futures pointing significantly lower but as soon as that opening bell rang, the dip buyers got busy and did their thing, and the lows were made just after the opening bell. By the close the results were mixed with the Dow and S&P 500 posting minor gains while the Nasdaq, small caps, and the I-fund ended the week on a down note. For the week, only the I-fund couldn't recover from the losses from earlier in the week, and the C and S funds posted weekly gains of about a half of a percent.
|| Daily TSP Funds Return
There has been some question about the growth of the economy and the stubbornly low yields was one sign, but in recent days we've seen yields perk up again, hitting three a month high on Friday. This could be good news unless, as I talked about last week, the pace of the rise in yields gets too hot.
As much as I have been concerned that stock valuations being too high, with yields so low there really wasn't another game in town for return so money kept going into the stock market. Of course the Fed's balance sheet has gone insane since COVID, and it hasn't stopped since, so again, investors go where the money is. But what happens when they the tapering of the bond buying begins? That is likely to start happening in the next month or two.
The dollar has been gaining strength in recent weeks, which is a good sign for the economy, but could put pressure on pricing if it keeps going. The longer term chart of the dollar in the lower chart below shows how COVID changed the course of the dollar and only recently are we seeing a possible shift in trend back to the upside.
2018 was a strong year for the dollar and it was also the last year that the stock market indices finished in negative territory. The C, S, and I funds finished 2018 with losses of -4.4%, -9.3%, and -13.4% respectively, so it could an impact.
Other than that the action has been good for stocks, that is unless we don't get new highs coming out of this most recent pullback.
The S&P 500 (C-fund) finished on Friday with a slight gain, adding onto the prior two-day rally. It's back above the key 50-day EMA, and while I generally like to see at least three closes above resistance before confirming a breakout, the pattern all year has been to break and run in the S&P. So at this point it's new highs, or there could be trouble because a lower high would be a change in character.
The DWCPF (S-fund) was down on Friday after the explosive rally off the lows in the prior days. The last break above the 50-day EMA was in August and new highs came fairly quickly. Before that, the move above the 50-day EMA led to some consolidating, but it remained above the average basically the entire time. Here it is again, so should we expect anything different? There is the chance of a head and shoulders pattern forming if the high from Thursday holds.
The year to date chart of the small caps shows just how long this has been consolidating. Right now it is sitting below the February and April highs, but of course the year started with an explosion to the upside in small caps. Now, 7 months later, is it finally due for a breakout to new highs that holds? We had false breakouts in both June and August.
The EFA (EAFE Index / I-fund) was down sharply with the dollar rallying on Friday. It closed back below the 50-day EMA, which could be a concern if it doesn't retake it soon. There are open gaps above and below Friday's close.
The BND (bonds / F-fund) did breakdown from what was looking more and more like bear flag. With yields rallying, there will be a lot of pressure on the F-fund. The 200-day EMA is down near 85.60 and that could be the next target now that the 50-day average has been broken.
The Dow Transportation Index posted back to back decent gains to finish the week last week. The 50-day EMA fell below the 100-day EMA, which is a bearish sign, but so it had gotten fairly oversold in the short-term and was due for some relief. Now it faces more resistance at the blue descending resistance line and the two moving averages overhead.
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