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Market Lab Report - Premarket Pulse 9/25/17

Major averages finished roughly flat on lower volume except for the small cap Russell 2000 which was up about half a percent which closed at new all-time highs on higher volume. Even though the S&P 500 broke to new highs over the last two weeks, the NASDAQ Composite and S&P 500 have both been stuck in a sideways move since late July when tech stocks sold off without much reason. The correction was contained to 3% on the S&P 500 and 4.4% on the NASDAQ Composite.

This past week, a number of leading technology stocks got hit. This coincided with a VIX trading under 10 once again. A VIX under 10 seems to put the general market into a more vulnerable position as, since this summer, quick market corrections often occur with shallow floors within a few to several days of the VIX trading under 10 at which point, the VIX typically spikes higher.

Snipers seem to target tech stocks over other industry groups which adds to the group's volatility as we saw on July 27 then again this past week with a number of leading tech stocks getting hit. 

Of the FAANG stocks, AAPL, AMZN, and GOOGL are struggling. In other leading names, ATHM was off 5% today. Another Chinese name WB was off as much as several % yesterday, then another few % today. Both illustrate our view of taking profits when you have them in context with a stock's chart. 

The Fed's announcement that its balance sheet normalization process will begin in October at $10 billion per quarter is the first time in 9 years the Fed is taking such action. The Fed also signaled one more rate hike this year, though Yellen kept the door open to the possibility that they would reverse this move and increase the balance sheet if economic conditions deteriorated.

Federal funds futures now show traders see the odds of a December rate hike at 67.8%, up from 48.7% last week.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar is having its worst year in 31 years though with the world mired in massive debt, all major currencies are susceptible to weakness and further bond downgrades. Veteran investor Jim Rogers in a recent interview warned another bear market is coming, and that it will be “horrendous, the worst.” It’s the level of debt across global economies that will be to blame.

That said, one should not try to guess when such a bear market will come. The price/volume action in our stocks have always guided us to safety or to the short side where steep profits can come quickly. The market takes the stairs up but the elevator down. Fear is a more visceral emotion than greed.

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