The Correction Within the Current Bear Market Rally: Will It End Soon?

And so the S&P 500 Index is trading right around a key resistance level of 1,220 and, if it can prove to hold above this level, this could be the breakout the market’s been needing. It’s been a tough go for the stock market over the last several weeks and we’re due for a little upside.

Bear Market

Along with more certainty on the sovereign debt issue in Europe, corporations now have to step up to the plate and deliver on earnings. Other than the financials, we’re seeing good numbers so far from big, brand-name companies—especially in technology, which is refreshing. In the last several quarters, the technology sector was a big disappointment, especially at the retail level.

Although the spot price of gold is somewhat being held hostage by the strength in the U.S. dollar, large-cap gold stocks are very attractively priced at this time and I think the marketplace has created a good entry point for new positions in this sector. I would also consider new positions in oil at this time. The spot price is ripe for an upward move as investor sentiment improves.

All this market needs is a little more certainty on Europe and the economy. It doesn’t need a lot of reassurance—just a little. With this improvement, stocks can rally throughout the fourth quarter and we could finish off the year with a nice little gain.

Helping the cause is the fact that the stock market is fairly valued currently and that a lot of reduced expectations for economic growth have already been priced into the market. Institutional investors have been chomping at the bit to buy stocks in this market, but they’ve been waiting for a catalyst. It’s possible that the catalyst won’t be anything definitive, but rather just a reduction of investment risk (caused mostly by the debt crisis). Everyone knows that the world is awash in debt and so does Wall Street. For the most part, Wall Street is okay with this, because they are used to operating in a world of debt and leverage. All capital markets require is a clear and actionable plan, with a time table, from European policymakers, and a lot of certainty will be restored in global capital markets. This doesn’t mean that Greece won’t default on its sovereign debt, but financial markets need to know that the rest of Europe and the world will stand behind a real restructuring plan for that nation’s finances.

Like I say, the broader stock market is going to face some resistance around 1,220 on the S&P. If corporations come through on earnings and visibility, and the debt crisis gets under control, I see no reason why the main stock market averages can’t pop higher by a solid 10% before the end of the year. The correction within the primary trend (a bear market rally since the March 2009 low) may soon be at an end.

Gold & Silver Setting up for an Attractive New Entry Point

By Mitchell Clark, B.Comm.

An opportunity is now being created in precious metals if the current correction continues. Most precious metals have been falling in price, as financial markets continue to reassess the expectations for economic growth. With lower expectations for global economic growth, the demand outlook for raw materials and spot prices are also going down.

The price of gold has, in my mind, been worthy of a correction for quite some time now. In fact, I think it would be a very healthy development for the long-term trend. It wouldn’t surprise me if the spot price of gold were to retreat and consolidate around the $1,600 level. It’s trading around $1,700 now and $1,600 should provide a good base.

Perhaps an even better commodity to concentrate on would be silver. This precious metal is more useful in terms of its industrial uses and many argue that it hasn’t kept up with the spot price of gold and could therefore be a better trade. The spot price of silver just broke the $37.00-per-ounce level and there’s no reason why it won’t retreat further to the $30.00-per-ounce level if the current trend in capital markets continues.

This is a very difficult stock market and individual investors are loath to participate. While expectations for the future continue to be reduced, the fundamentals for gold and silver remain mostly intact and are therefore worthy of new positions when spot prices find a new base.

It’s a wait-and-see stock market and a wait-and-see spot price market for precious metals. I think the focus for speculative investors should be on gold and silver and that risk-capital investors will have an attractive new entry point very soon.

As for the rest of the stock market, share prices remain very vulnerable before third-quarter earnings season begins. Over the last little while, equity investors have had to endure tremendous shocks to the system: sovereign debt problems in Europe; the downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt; natural disasters in Japan; no improvement in housing prices; and no improvement in employment…the list goes on. I think it’s fair to say that the equity market has held up quite well all things considered.

What we know is that mature economies are now in a period of very little to zero growth over the next 12 months. We also know that developing economies are slowing down and the probability of another recession is going up. The trading action in financial and commodity markets reflects falling expectations for economic growth and an expansion in the time horizon for recovery. Predicting outcomes in this environment is a crapshoot—nobody knows how or when the economy will get better.

With belt-tightening going on at the individual consumer level and at the government level in virtually all mature economies, we should be in a slow growth environment for quite a long time.

Inflation at Almost 5%…Is It Any Wonder Dollars Buy Less and Less?

Gold prices rising for 10 years straight…the money supply greatly expanded…the printing press for dollars running overtime…am I the only one concerned about rapid inflation?

I rarely read or hear a report talking about today’s rising prices or the hyperinflation we may sustain in the years ahead. We all know prices are rising—only housing prices have remained low. Inflation is real and it is here now.

The U.S. consumer-price index (CPI) increased 0.4% in August. That’s an annual inflation rate of 4.8%! Why are we not hearing and reading more about this? The only vocal entity on inflation has been gold bullion. The rise in the price of gold is shouting, “Inflation ahead!”

By keeping interest rates so low, by increasing the money supply, the Fed is spurring inflation. And that’s what we all want: inflation, not deflation. So the Fed has us pointed in the right direction. The trick for the Fed will be eventually bringing interest rates up ever so gently when inflation starts to get out of control.

Unfortunately, consumers are suffering from inflation today. Retirees who will not accept risk with their investments are stuck with 10-year Treasuries paying a measly two percent. With inflation at 4.8%, consumers’ money is losing 2.8% of its value over 12 months.

Inflation is a problem today, my dear readers, and it will be a bigger problem tomorrow. Keep the gold investments. They’ll be even more valuable as time passes and inflation really takes hold in this country.

Michael’s Personal Notes:

Jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 428,000 last week—the highest level since June, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Wow! Jobs continue to be a big economic problem in this country. Bank of America (NYSE/BAC) is the latest large company to announce major layoffs plans.

Until employment in this country gets back on track, the housing market will not recover. And until the housing market recovers, the economy will continue to be anemic. That’s simple economic analysis.

I’ve been thinking more and more about Obama’s American Jobs Bill and I don’t believe it’s the answer. It will just add billions to our debt burden.

The answer, my dear reader, the answer to creating old-fashioned jobs in this country, is capitalism and entrepreneurship. That’s what created this great country in the first place.

Drastically lowering taxes will create jobs. A flat tax across the board—say 20% or 25%—with a valued-added sales tax on the purchase of items, like they have in countries such as Canada, is the only way to really get the economy going and to create jobs. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has never put forth any such proposal.

Where the Market Stands: Where it’s Headed:

We are in a bear market rally that started in March of 2009. While 30 months’ old and tired, this bear market rally has more life left in it. I believe that the rally will push stock prices even higher, as the bear lures more investors back into the stock market.

What He Said:

“As investors, we need to take a serious look at our investment portfolios and ask, ‘How will my investments be affected by an American-grown recession?’ You should take what precautionary steps you can right now to protect yourself from a recession in 2007. Maybe you need to cut your own spending or maybe you need to sell some stocks that will take a beating during a recession. You know what tidying up you need to do. Don’t procrastinate…get to it now. And please remember: Recessions can happen quickly, stock markets don’t go up during recessions, and the longer the boom before the recession, the longer the recession. Just based on my last point, we have plenty to worry about in 2007.” Michael Lombardi in PROFIT CONFIDENTIAL, November 13, 2006. Michael was one of the first to predict a U.S. recession, long before Wall Street analysts and economists even thought it a possibility.