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“Make a game plan and stick to it. Unless it’s not working.” – Yogi Berra
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Today is looking like a back-to-normal 2022 day for US stocks as futures are trading lower. The gains were fun while they lasted. Looking on the bright side, there are only five trading days left in the year. Elsewhere in markets, the 10-year yield is down slightly to 3.65% while oil has been quietly rallying and is now just under $80 per barrel.
The economic calendar is busy today as many reporting agencies try to squeeze in this month’s reports before Christmas. Data released so far hasn’t been particularly market-friendly as revised GDP came in higher than expected (3.2% vs 2.9%) and Core PCE was revised higher (4.7% vs 4.6%). Jobless claims were also strong with initial claims coming in lower than expected (216K vs 222K) and continuing claims also coming in slightly better than expected (1,672K vs 1,675K). If they were to have any impact on Fed policy, none of these reports would suggest less of a hawkish stance.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even after two days of gains, sector performance over the last five trading days has been pretty poor and almost exactly in line with performance rankings on a YTD basis. As shown in the scatter chart below which compares YTD performance versus the last week, there has been a clear correlation between the two with an r-squared of 0.78. Heading into year-end, investors are following the game plan of selling their losers and buying the few winners.
Looking at a snapshot from our Trend Analyzer, four of the S&P 500’s eleven sectors are down over 4% in the last week, another four are down more than 2%, two are down over 1%, and only Energy is higher. In terms of where sectors are now trading with respect to their trading ranges, there’s still pretty much of an even split between sectors trading above and below their 50-day moving average with six above and five below. Consumer Discretionary is the only sector in oversold territory. While that may seem like an ominous sign heading into the Christmas season, it’s worth remembering that retailers usually underperform at this time of year. Also, Tesla (TSLA) makes up about 13% of the sector, so the stock’s weakness has been a drag on the overall sector.
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