Monday, July 25, 2016

July 18-22: Stocks Level Out After Massive Gains

The huge run-up in stock prices appears to be running out of steam, or buyers, or both.

Since bottoming out post-Brexit, major US indices have ramped higher by nearly ten percent over just the past four weeks. The Dow, for instance, has gained over 1500 points while powering to new high after new high.

The most recent week, however, was the weakest in the last four, with the possible exception of the NASDAQ, which was up more than double its rivals in percentage terms.

This is not to say that the recent rally is over. Far from it, there is no sign of exhaustion in the ranks of central banks, especially the Fed, which will be pulling out all the stops to keep the narrative of an "improving economy" rolling through the week, highlighted by the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Following the Philly love-fest for Hillary Clinton (never mind the various email and other scandals surrounding the candidate and the rest of the Dems... they will be swept under the rug), the Fed will continue to pour money into stocks through their appointed agents right up until the election.

Setting up what could be one of the easiest buying opportunities in recent memory (though as memory serves, the past eight years haven't been too difficult for stock traders), stocks or index funds could be a very safe place over the coming three months.

A Trump victory in November would probably derail both the giddy narrative and the actual stock market rally, as the status quo would then find themselves on the defensive, with the White House in the hands of a non-politician, non-elitist, populist campaigner. Should Clinton capture the presidency, a slow decline might be the more likely scenario, as the wheels of industry continue their slow grind into mediocrity.

With so much uncertainty, investors have been seen hoarding hard assets. Paid-up real estate, precious metals, machinery and tools of trades can still be had at reasonable levels, and they should not lose much value over the longer term. In fact, they should appreciate quite nicely no matter what happens after November.

For The Week:
Dow: +54.30 (+0.2(%)
S&P 500: +13.29 (+0.61)
NASDAQ: +70.57 (+1.40)

NASDAQ Composite
5,100.16, +26.26 (0.52%)

Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,570.85, +53.62 (0.29%)

S&P 500
2,175.03, +9.86 (0.46%)

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