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Market Commentary

December 19, 2018

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

Stocks opened higher in what was looking like a Turn-around Tuesday, but the bears did not let the bulls off unscathed as they sunk their teeth into the rally in the early afternoon, and took most of the gains out from under them. The Dow, up 334 at the highs, finished up just 83-points, while the S&P 500 and small caps were flat, and the Nasdaq held onto decent gains.
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After the bell we got some disappointing guidance from FedEx and so the already beleaguered market leading Dow Transportation index may get hit again today.  That's not a good sign but with the Fed's policy statement coming up, that may all be rear-view mirror trading by mid-afternoon.

The price of oil broke down again, as did the price of copper suggesting an economic slowdown, while the financials made another new low for the year, and the Volatility Index (VIX) made its highest close since mid-February.  This isn't a great combination, but has it all come too fast?

If capitulation does come, it will get ugly.  Worse than you may have imagined, calculated, or anticipated.  The question is whether we get that kind of action a couple of days before the historically strongest period of the year stocks or, if we roll into the New Year on a rebound, the bear market could continue into 2019 where we'll start the capitulation hunt all over again.

Look for the fireworks to start after 2 PM ET today when the Fed announces its decision on rate hikes, plus any changes to their monetary policy.  Some are looking for the Fed to hold off on a rate hike today, but that would be a surprise.  What Wall Street wants is a rate hike and some dovish comments about being close to neutral on rates now.

The S&P 500 / C-fund was flat after giving back big early gains, but it also fought back against an attempt to push it to newer lows.  There's not a lot of positives on this chart but with seasonality getting positive, yesterday's hold at the prior lows, and the Fed on deck to perhaps give investors what they want to hear, there could some short-term relief.  That 2575 area was stubborn resistance yesterday so that's a level to watch.


The DWCPF (S-fund) had an almost identical day to its large cap sibling.  It was flat and held at Monday's lows.


The Transportation Index was up nicely but after the bell FedEx gave disappointing forward guidance and it will likely open sharply lower today.  The arrows represent how quickly a couple of years of gains can be taken away. 


The price of oil continues to plummet as it broke down from another bear flag yesterday, giving investors another reason to be concerned about an economic slowdown. 


The I-fund (EAFE Index) gapped lower and broke below another layer of support.  Just to show you how long downtrends can last, the 50-day / 200-day EMA crossover isn't even on this 4-month chart anymore, and the S&P 500 just had its crossover this month. 


The High Yield Corporate Bonds were down again and this chart isn't getting any better looking.  At this point the bulls are hoping for support at the  double bottom.


The AGG (bonds /F-fund) keeps surprising us as it gapped up and broke meaningfully above the double top.  This is a safety play for the stock market bulls who have given up, but it is also a sign that the economy is slipping as yields fall back down.


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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