The market mood remains brittle at best as Wall Street struggles to get out from between a more hawkish Fed and what could become a gruesome inflation number tomorrow.
Another cycle of earnings reports is also on the horizon, starting with the big banks on Thursday. Good news from the fundamental front is really the only potential ray of hope the bulls have right now.
Otherwise, technology stocks in particular will remain dead money for at least another three months or until the Fed pauses . . . whichever comes first.
I’m looking at the NASDAQ right now and it’s still priced at a lofty 38X trailing earnings with anticipated growth bringing that multiple down below 25X forward earnings. If the bottom line doesn’t grow that fast in the coming year, the math looks even worse.
And while sentiment could brighten if the numbers come in better than expected, Wall Street just isn’t open to that kind of happy ending right now. The mood is wary. People aren’t willing to take on much in the way of risk.
You can see it written on the major charts. While the S&P 500 and Dow industrials still have near-term support, they’re now stuck in a less expansive trading range.
The gloom ceiling simply looks harder to crack as long as the Fed keeps scaring people and recession fears run unchecked. The NASDAQ in particular has become a weight dragging the broad market down.
There’s no support at all for the NASDAQ. I can’t blame AAPL or MSFT, which look practically defensive as far as technology stocks go . . . but AMZN, GOOG and names farther down the Silicon Valley food chain will need to do serious work to regain their footing in coming weeks.
Again, earnings might give them a lift. But until they report their quarterly numbers, they’re more likely to drop another 8-10% than rally back to records any time soon.
Elsewhere in the market, the charts tell different stories. The banks remain depressed, with the same lack of support that afflicts Big Tech.
That’s the impact of a flat yield curve flashing recession signals. While I think the recession narrative is a little overstated, a narrow interest rate spread is not friendly to the banks in any scenario.
The only way out of the curve trap for the banks is for long-term yields to surge . . . not good for the market’s mood and potentially lethal to tech stocks in particular.
Otherwise, the cure for a flat curve is for short-term yields to drop, which is vanishingly unlikely while the Fed is talking tough.
Between tech and the banks, Wall Street as a whole is stuck. Again, I reach for the mature names that still dominate the conventional economy: JNJ, BRK, PG, even manufacturers like CAT.
Those charts have support. They look great. That’s where you’ll see strength in the next week or so.