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I titled this month’s report the same as last month’s – Trend Change?
I’m doing that because while we saw a break of the downtrend from 2022 in January 2023, we are now testing whether that change is sustainable.
February was not able to continue the positive momentum we had in January, with stocks dropping 2.6% and bonds declining 2.7% as interest rates rose 0.39% during the month.
That was not surprising for a couple of reasons:
After a nice move up and through the a major downtrend line, it is quite common for some give back.February is generally a weaker month, especially after a strong January (see chart below)
The DJIA chart shows that February is weaker but March and April are fairly strong, which is a positive for the outlook. The trends on the economy also remain solid. Inflation, while still too high, is starting to fall. The job market remains stable and while the economy (GDP) is slowing it is not falling significantly.
Having said that, we are at a very critical point in the stock market. Below is the chart I had in my February Outlook but I added an uptrend line (red line) from the lows in October 2022. As you can see, the uptrend since October is converging with the downtrend (blue line) for all of 2022 and stocks are testing that convergence (yellow circle). It is really important that stock remain above that point, which I put at 3,940 on the S&P 500.
If stocks can hold that level and turn either sideways or higher, then the change in trend from January (green circle) will remain valid and stocks likely move higher going forward. If stocks fail to hold that level, then the breakout in January will have been a false breakout and stocks are likely headed back to the lows from December (S&P 3,800) or even October (S&P 3,600).
My outlook is that the positive seasonal trends and stable economy mean stocks hold the key level and start to move higher. However, we remain on high alert and will adjust accordingly as the market unfolds.
I hope this report answers any questions you may have. If not, feel free to call us to discuss.
March Calendar of Events (comments and additions for future months are always welcome)
March is Women’s History Month. Please says thanks to all the important women in your life.
March 8th International Women’s Day
March 12th Daylight Savings begins – Spring forward
March 17th St Patrick’s Day
March 20th Spring begins in US
Sources: Stockcharts.com, Bespoke Investment Group
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