Like a magician in Las Vegas, global equities markets continue to dazzle their audiences with near historic feats of daring do that to some observers claim to be nothing short of grand illusion.
The news continues to be largely positive with Disney (NYSE:DIS) posting a 54% profit improvement after hours and completely eclipsing expectations, while a major measure of retail index activity hit its highest level in nearly three years.
Consumer deleveraging may have come to an abrupt end last month as consumer credit expanded to $6.1 Billion compared to 2.0 Billion prior, again completely eclipsing analysts’ estimates.
Three quarters of S&P companies (NYSE:SPY) have so far beaten earnings estimates and so all of these “beats” beg the questions, “are the analysts totally clueless,” “are they part of a large propaganda machine,” or are companies and consumers just performing and feeling vastly better than anyone thought?”
On the downside, as I write this, I’m watching ongoing demonstrations in Egypt, job openings in December were reported to have hit their lowest level in three months and China hiked rates yet again. As per normal over the last weeks, bad news gets lost in all the cheer.
So what are we to make of all of this?
On a technical level, all systems are go for further gains as nearly any indicator you look at shows a bullish configuration.
Economic and employment fundamentals remain treacherous but companies continue to report healthy profits.
Bullish sentiment and historic indications would point to us being in the later stages of this rally but with the Fed continuing their pump priming activities, all comparisons to past action could be irrelevant.
I am still a believer in “reversion to the mean” and the indisputable fact that bubbles pop sometime, somewhere. The bigger this bubble gets, the bigger the pop will likely be. In the meantime, many market players are enjoying the ride. The smart ones have their fingers on the ejection switch.
Disclosure: No positions in ETFs or stocks discussed in this article.
John Nyaradi is the author of Super Sectors: How To Outsmart the Markets Using Sector Rotation and ETFs.
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