Major averages rose Friday on mixed volume ahead of the 3-day weekend.
Fed Chair Yellen spoke at Harvard saying a hike in rates would probably come in "months" on an improving economy and jobs market though cited productivity growth as "miserable" which should not be taken lightly. Of course, by taking both a hawkish and dovish stance, Yellen is reframing "damned if I do, damned if I dont" which enables her to hike or not hike, depending on which way the economic winds blow.
Additionally, the markets may consider recent hawkish stances taken by various Fed members as a sign the economy in the U.S. is on the mend which can increase the levels of institutional investment in stocks. Of course, perception is an important element so investors as an aggregate may now be seeing the glass as half full as QE continues abroad while Fed members point to a recovering economy at home.
The book Antifragile by Naseem Taleb, author of Black Swan, discusses how hardships make us stronger as long as the hardships are acute and not chronic nor catastrophic, i.e., of the black swan variety. Indeed, the markets the last few years have caused many investors and traders to sharpen up their entries and exits. We have advised taking profits when you have them in context with the stock's chart and keeping stops extra tight to minimize risk. Our weekly updates on any actionable stocks we have suggested has underscored this profit taking strategy.
So as QE continues to distort markets, shorter term trading has been the way to profits as Gil Morales has illustrated handsomely in his own trading account over the last 3 years. The VIX Volatility Model also exemplifies this profitable shorter term form of trading as it has in the testing phase going back many years. During this test phase, its results have shown great promise, even in trendless years such as 2015. So while signal switching in 2015 was frequent for the VVM, VVM also has the ability to sit with an uptrend as shown by its recent signals, one issued on March 15, and the most recent one issued on June 23, 2016. As one can observe, to achieve these returns, one must sometimes sit through a series of small losses which pave the way for the large gains.
The second estimate of first quarter GDP came in at 0.8% vs 0.9% consensus. This was up from the 0.5% increase observed in the preliminary reading.