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Can the Rally Survive the Minefields Ahead?

Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist discusses market expectations on Bloomberg TV

by 8/3/2012 10:37:39 AM
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I was on Bloomberg TV recently with hosts Alix Steel and Adam Johnson. What made this segment really worthwhile was that Sam Stovall, Chief Equity Strategist at S&P Capital IQ, and Michael Gayed, Investment Strategist at Pension Partners, were also part of the conversation. This was a longer segment than usual, but we really hit on the whole spectrum of what's going on out there. From technicals to fundamentals, to risks and rewards -- this was a fun interview to be a part of.

I'll touch quickly on the two other guests. I first saw Sam Stovall give an incredibly interesting presentation at an MTA conference several years ago. He is a walking encyclopedia of market history and trends. Nearly every time I see him on TV he has some neat statistic that I'd never heard before, but is totally relevant and significant. Michael Gayed was a guest host for Bloomberg this day, and I listened in on him talking before I went live on the air. I must say I really thought he had some powerful arguments as to why this market should rally. Since then I've followed him on Twitter, and he has some very thought-provoking ideas that make him a must follow.

You can watch our entire six minute conversation below, but here are some highlights of what was discussed:

  • Alix asked about what is the big market-moving event this week, and I said the ECB meeting on Thursday. I was looking for a bounce into this event, followed by a potential "sell the news" drop afterwards. Looking back, this is close to what happened, as the ECB didn't really say anything new, and we simply sold off some of the big gains from the prior week. However, with overall market sentiment as low as it is, we'd expect any and all dips to be buying opportunism here.

  • Sam then brought up a very interesting point of view. There are two sides to the market here. History and technicals say the market will go higher, maybe much higher. But if you look at the global economy, the more convincing argument is lower prices.

  • Adam then asked me for my thoughts on the recent AAII polls. We've had 12 straight weeks of more bears than bulls, which is some pretty unreal persistent skepticism. This has only happened five times since 1987. Also, the results are extremely bullish, as Schaeffer's Chris Prybal noted last month.

  • I also noted how my favorite reason to be bullish right now is probably the action in short interest. It soared higher from late April until just recently, when it rolled over. In fact, short interest is at the same level it was at back in September, right before a 30% rally over the coming months. Historically, we view increases in short interest as a headwind for the market, but now that it has begun to roll over from the high levels, this is a nice sign we could be due for a massive short-covering rally.

  • Sam then touched on how disappointing revenue growth has been this earnings season, which has made nearly everyone lower their third-quarter earnings outlooks. He mentioned again how price action is encouraging, along with the fact that August is the strongest month during the election year, but the fundamentals simply don't support a rally. Speaking of strong Augusts, after Sam made that comment I did some research on it and wrote about August returns. He was right -- August is very strong during election years.

  • Sam went on to discuss valuations, and how we are still trading at huge discounts across the board. In other words, with valuations looking like this, longer-term investors could be well rewarded.

  • Michael asked me to talk some more about the AAII, and questioned whether we've ever seen this before -- a market this strong with no one buying into it. The bottom line is that we haven't. But I took it in another direction and mentioned inflows/outflows. Over the past 12 months, we've seen about $150 billion taken out of stock mutual funds and $200 billion put into bond funds. Looking more closely at the data, we've never seen another 12 month period where the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is actually higher, yet there is a wide disparity between where people are putting their money. Again, this is very bullish, from a contrarian point of view.

  • Sam ended the conversation with his road map over the next six months. He thinks we will work our way higher during the summer, then sell-off before the election, followed by another move higher once the uncertainty of the election is over.

To hear more of Ryan's latest interview on Bloomberg TV, click on the play button below:


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