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Quarter Ends but Pain Begins – Ep. 342

Holiday Rally

Major U.S. stock markets managed to finish a holiday-shortened week with strong rallies.  The Dow Jones was up 254 points on the day; earlier in the day it was up better than 400, so the last hour did see the U.S. markets giving up part of their gains.  The NASDAQ up 114 points, S&P up 35.87 points, so these rallies today were enough to put the market in the black for the week. But not for the month – all the markets are down significantly in the month of March, and also for the first quarter.  All the major stock market indexes are down.

First Down Quarter in 10

This was the first time in 10 quarters – we had 9 consecutive positive quarters.  I think that’s a record; I’m not sure, but 9 consecutive up quarters.  The U.S. stock market finally broke that winning streak.  We’ll see how investors who thought U.S. stocks can only go up, we’ll see how they may react to their first down quarter in 10, but it’s not going to be the last down quarter. It’s not going to be the last down quarter. I think its going to be the beginning of several down quarters to come.  Remember the market action that I’ve been observing really looks to me like a bear market.

Window Dressing

Today, of course, window dressing; oftentimes you see rallies on the last day of the quarter.  Managers maybe are trying to buy up some of the stocks they own to dress up their statements so they look better so they can bill on higher portfolio value. If you have enough people doing the same thing: paint the tape, whatever you want to call it, you can get some of these rallies.  But my guess would be that we can quickly undo this rally next week when the second quarter begins, and maybe some people who are looking at the quarterly performance decide that this is it.  We rode the upstream and let me allocate some of the money out of U.S. stocks, whether it’s to bonds, whether it’s to foreign stocks or because they want to go to cash, whatever, we can certainly see some reallocations beginning early next quarter.

Don’t Screw up the Final Day of the Quarter

Especially if some of these downtrends that really broke in some of these major stocks.  I talked about some of the big losers on my last podcast, and a lot of those stocks got clobbered yesterday; they did manage to rally  back today.  Maybe Donald Trump was being careful about his tweets today because he didn’t want to screw up the final day of the quarter.