The “V” shape bounce continues in unrelenting fashion as bulls are stampeding bears in 2019! All due to a little “patience” from the Federal Reserve. It is really quite breathtaking but we have seen it repeatedly the past decade as the Federal Reserve pours gas on the market. Hopes for a deal with China also spurred the action upward. Rallies (both with gap ups) on Tuesday and Friday provided the juice this week. The S&P 500 is back over its 200 day moving average after being below for 46 days – it’s longest period of time below that level since March 2016.
Mat Klody, chief investment officer at Keebeck Wealth Management, told MarketWatch that the major benchmarks’ steady march higher since the beginning of the year is being driven “by the perception that the Fed has done a complete 180” in its apparent dovish turn, after raising rates four times last year.
U.S.-China trade talks wrapped up Friday in Beijing, with reports that negotiators remained deadlocked over key issues, but were set to resume discussions next week in Washington — viewed as a sign that both sides were eager to reach a deal ahead of the March 1 deadline.
In economic news, retail sales plunged 1.2% the largest single-month decline since 2009 and well below the flat growth expected by economists. That said the market isn’t concerned with such things as it’s all about the Federal Reserve giving out goodies. It will be interesting to see if there is a big jump next month as a “reversion to mean”.
Sales fell in every retail category except auto dealers and home centers. What’s was surprising was a 3.9% reported decline in sales at internet sellers. That would mark the sharpest drop since November 2008 — the middle of the last recession. Sales also fell at bars, restaurants, apparel stores, grocers, home furnishers, pharmacies and outlets that sell hobby items such as books and sporting goods.
“The consumer is no longer enjoying tax cuts or falling gas prices, but that’s no reason to expect a rollover,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “It’s a puzzle. Strong job gains, wage growth, and the drop in gasoline sales should be very supportive of consumer spending growth,” added Scott Brown of Raymond James.