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Market Commentary

February 28, 2024
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It was a quiet day of trading yesterday with stocks mixed although mostly higher.  The Dow was down but that was due to the heaviest weighted stock being down 3% on the day, but otherwise the relentless rally in the S&P and Nasdaq continued as investors squeamishly watch the indices test the recent highs.  Small caps led on the upside again with both the S and I-funds closing at new highs for the year.  Bonds were down and continue to struggle.

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Thanks for all of the feedback regarding my issue with a TSP transfer that has cost me some money already, although that could potentially change in the next few days.  It sounds like many people have experienced similar issues, and while sometimes these glitches hurt us, I'm certain that sometimes they work in our favor as far as returns go.  But as I stated yesterday, what bugged me the most was the TSP call center's lack of understanding of transactions, their indifference toward my problem, and the inability to admit the problem was on their end - in this case on January 31 where they did not process many transactions that were entered well before the IFT deadline that day - costing me, in this case, one of my precious two IFTs in the month of February and potentially quite a bit of money.

Investors seem to be embracing the fact that the Fed won't be cutting interest rates at the pace originally expected this year, which was 5 or 6 rate cuts.  We saw small caps consolidate sideways for two months on this information as they digested this new "higher for longer" outlook, but they have perked up recently even though most investors now expect just one or two rate cuts by year's end.

The 10-year Treasury Yield may not be depicting that in the chart as this chart actually looks like it wants to go higher.  With the stock market seemingly OK with rates where they are, it will be interesting to see if the stock market indices can continue to flirt with their recent highs if this chart's bull flag (blue) does break out to the upside and push the 10-year over 4.4%.


The dollar has been pulling back recently and it is now down testing its 20-day EMA again - support that has been holding all year.  A move down to 27.80 where the support line meets the 50-day EMA, could help stocks to continue to rally during that period, but that 20-day EMA would have to break down first.

One development this month is the rebound in the price of oil which is now on the brink of a breakout, or another failure at resistance.  This looks like a bullish development for oil, so if it does break out and we start seeing oil over $80 a barrel again, the stock market might still be OK with it as long it doesn't accelerate too rapidly and cause a rapid rise in gasoline prices.


As we come toward the end of February, here is the seasonality chart for March.  There is a modest bearish bias in the second half of the month with most days below the 50% positive line, but overall not too bad.

                   Chart provided courtesy of www.sentimentrader.com

Other than some mid to smaller companies still reporting earnings, it's a quiet time for stocks with Thursday's PCE Pricing report being the highlight this week.

The S&P 500 (C-fund) was up modestly yesterday after basically a one day pullback.  The black candlestick at the recent peak from last Friday was a bearish development, but the S&P was actually up 0.04% that day.   The large open gap below 5000 is an attention grabber and certainly a potential pullback target, and the most recent trend has the S&P testing its 20-day EMA about every week or two week.  It's been a week since the previous test.  It's still very extended but support continues to hold.


DWCPF (S-fund) is finally trying to take the lead as it made a new closing high for the year yesterday.  We haven't seen any serious pullback in the S&P 500 yet, and the question has been whether small caps can remain bullish with this great looking chart if the large caps do pull back.  We do know now that small caps can have good days when the S&P 500 is flat, like yesterday.  Two small open gap loom below as possible pullback targets, but that support near 2000 may firm up the longer the chart remains above it.


The EFA (I-fund) was up modestly and it also closed at a new high.  The concern I have here is how far it is above its 20-day EMA.  That moving average is moving up quickly so even moving sideways the EFA can allow it to catch up.  But you can see that this doesn't tend to get much higher above that green line than it is now, before taking a step back.


BND (bonds / F-fund) was down again and continues to struggle below the 50-day EMA.  It looks like it may be rolling over here.  That's not a great sign for bonds, but the silver lining is that it could be weakening because the economy is getting stronger?  Let's hope that is the case rather than the bond market being concerned about a rebound in inflation.


Thanks so much 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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S&P500 (C Fund) (delayed)

(Stockcharts.com Real-time)
DWCPF (S Fund) (delayed)

(Stockcharts.com Real-time)
EFA (I Fund) (delayed)

(Stockcharts.com Real-time)
BND (F Fund) (delayed)

(Stockcharts.com Real-time)

Yahoo Finance Realtime TSP Fund Tracking Index Quotes

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