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“I have civilized my own subjects; I have conquered other nations; yet I have not been able to civilize or to conquer myself” – Peter the Great
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They say that you should never short a dull market, but that’s what seems to be the case this morning as futures are trading modestly lower despite a very quiet macro backdrop both here and abroad. Earnings season remains in full swing and a number of stocks are seeing big moves, but none of them are impacting much more than their respective shares let alone the broader market.
It’s hard to call the day-to-day performance of the equity market this year anything but impressive. Despite last Friday’s strong employment report and a continued hawkish (although no longer hawkish with a capital H) rhetoric from FOMC officials, the S&P 500 has managed to keep its rally intact. Just yesterday, it closed right near its YTD high from last Thursday. At the index level, every major US index ETF is currently at ‘overbought’ levels (greater than one standard deviation above its 50-day moving average) and all of them are in the green YTD with all but one (Dow Jones-DIA) up at least 8%.
Where things stand this year is a far cry from a year ago. At this point last year, all but one index ETF (DIA) was trading at oversold levels, they were all down YTD, and all but one (DIA) was down over 5% YTD.
Comparing the performance of these index ETFs this year versus last year provides an even clearer picture of the complete reversal. Indices that were down the most last year at this point like the Nasdaq 100 and the Russell 2000 are among this year’s biggest winners. Meanwhile, indices that experienced the least ‘damage’ at this point in 2022, like the Dow, have lagged so far this year. Another example? Of the 14 index ETFs we track in our Trend Analyzer, the seven ETFs that were down less than 7% YTD in 2022 are the only ones up less than 10% YTD in 2023.
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