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Market Commentary

April 19, 2024
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The Dow was up slightly on Thursday but the bleeding continued in the broader indices and the losing streak was extended.  The losses were modest and fairly equal among the TSP stock funds.  Yields and the dollar moved up, not helping the situation, and at this point, after a modest pullback, it's probably a matter of when investors are comfortable buying again with yields elevated and the Fed less dovish.

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The perma-bears are usually calling for market tops, corrections, and market crashes, and the perma-bulls think every dip is a buying opportunity.  Reality is somewhere in between with each side being correct at some point along the way, declaring victory - until they're wrong. 

Those who love to be in the volatile S-fund saw the decent 2024 gains completely evaporate this month and turn into losses, but at some point they will be back on track and the bears will have missed an opportunity.  I like to stay somewhere in between - open minded to shifts and shying away from extremes. 

That's easier said than done because, in the case of this current market, oversold can turn to extreme, and then very extreme - or things could bounce back a lot sooner than we think.  Every market pullback is different and there is much to consider.  Simple is good but digging deeper can offer clues that others may not see.  Being early when buying a weak market can be costly, but the gains off the lows can be explosive and it's exhilarating if you can catch them.  What's your strategy for this pullback?

The 10-year Treasury Yield gained back a lot of Wednesday's decline yesterday and it is back near the recent highs.  There's an open gap below and the question everyone wants to know is if this yield is near the top of a new range, or if there's more upside to go.  The open gap near 4.54% may suggest some kind of a dip in the next few trading days.

After the bell on Thursday Netflix reported earnings and while they blew away estimates and the stock shot up initially, they reported that they will no longer be announcing subscriber numbers next year and the stock flipped over.  So while a decline in one of the original FANG stocks could hurt the Nasdaq some today, it's not for any reason other than analysts throwing a little fit - unless they are hiding something?

Yesterday The Nasdaq filled the open gap triggered when Nvidia released their 4th quarter earnings in February.  That could satisfy some folks who may have missed out on the gap and run rally, and we could see some buying here.  Could.  Momentum is still negative and the index would have to stop on a dime after free falling for the last several days. 


The new weekly AAII Investor Sentiment Survey results came out yesterday it showed 38% of respondents were bullish, 34% were bearish.  That's a bulls to bears ratio of 1.13 to 1 and that the lowest ratio since the end of last October, and justifiably so since this is the first meaningful pullback since then.


The good news is, back in August when the ratio fell sharply to a similar level from much higher ratios, stocks did get a short-term bounce.  The bad news is, that was a temporary bounce and things got much worse in the weeks that followed.

Today is an expiration Friday so things can get wild and move more than a typical day of trading. Israel retaliated last night and that will certainly pick up the volatility as the price oil and gold spiked and the stock futures fell sharply after the news.

The S&P 500 (C-fund) has been down for five straight days so we see that the rally that lasted more than five months, is doing a good job of trying to shake off the overbought conditions.  The question is, when does the pullback become extreme and buyable?  I think the area between 4940 and 4975 could be a decent guess, but everyone sees it and it may not be that easy.


DWCPF (S-fund) has been in a steep decline off the late March high and we're not seeing much in the way of relief rallies yet.  And, if we do get one, the new trading channel may suggest that it could be sold quickly.  A move above 2000 would change everything, but it would be nice to buy lower if you can figure out where that low is - whether that's for a short relief rally, or something longer lasting.


The EFA (I-fund) has been testing and holding at the 100-day EMA for three straight days.  The fact that it didn't hit it and bounce is concerning, but the bears have also not been able to push it below yet.  Something is going to have to give in the next few trading days.


BND (Bonds / F-fund) was down again and the small open gap from Wednesday's rally is in play as a possible pullback target.  The open gaps above should get some attention in the not too distant future, but can it go lower first?  Next Friday's PCE Prices report could be the next big catalyst if something doesn't happen in the interim.  


Thanks so much for reading!  Have a great weekend!

Tom Crowley

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S&P500 (C Fund) (delayed)

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DWCPF (S Fund) (delayed)

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EFA (I Fund) (delayed)

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BND (F Fund) (delayed)

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