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Bull/Bear Battle Continues – Toss Up. but…….

Some of 2014’s weakness was profit-taking in the new year and some is portfolio shuffling (selling 2013 winners money managers wanted to show in annual reports).    There is still

Some of 2014’s weakness was profit-taking in the new year and some is portfolio shuffling (selling 2013 winners money managers wanted to show in annual reports).

   There is still enough hunger for stocks to prevent a sharp correction (5% – 7%) – NOW.  That can change any day, but so can a surge to new highs. It wouldn’t take much.

   I expect a correction in Q1, but think odds favor it starting in January. So far the indications are mixed.

  There is bounce in this market which should not be there if the BIG money was bailing.

   Likewise, there is a lot of money invested that is earmarked for sale if the scales tip to the bearish. But there is enough cash on the sidelines tom pounce on stocks if the market tips bullish.


Resistance starts at DJIA 16,514 (S&P 500: 1,844).  Support is 16,427 (S&P 500:1,833).

   Two things could help the bears. One disappointing earnings for Q4. Two, if the 10-yeat Treasury rises well past 3.00%.

Investor’s first reada daily edge before the open

DJIA: 16,462

S&P 500:  1,837

Nasdaq  Comp.  4,165

Russell 2000: 1,157

Friday, Jan. 9, 2014   8:24 a.m.    

       DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND  MY POSITION HERE. I am still bullish, I just have an eerie feeling about the fact that concerns for  the economy, Europe, China, Congress, the Mid-East, and  a Fed taper are no longer front and center, so how much of those negatives have already been discounted by 2013’s big gain ?

   The market is going to get whacked, it is a question of when.  I think it’s in Q1,  and  January is a good bet. Beyond that,  it will be volatile with a number of great buying opportunities.

      We had 11  corrections of 5% or more last year with two exceeding 15%.* While 5% corrections are  unnerving, they are generally over in the matter of a week or two. It’s the ones that exceed 5% that are like a sharp poke in the gut.

   The greater than 5% ones are  news-driven or technical.  News driven start with a catalyst, an incident that is going to hang around unresolved for a while.

   The technical ones  reflect a momentary lapse in buying. Like a morning fog, they arrive, then suddenly lift.

    A modest technical correction can become a greater one, if the market is hit with bad news as it is about to turn upward. That’s when a 5 percenter becomes an 8-pecenter or worse.



   One strategy for investors to employ under these conditions would be to buy  a partial position in a stock they want to own, but feel  it could be bought at a lower price after a market correction. If it goes higher, they are still making money. If it goes lower, they can average their cost.

   Likewise, if  an investor feels a position is vulnerable but believes it could still go higher, he can sell off  part of the  position. If it goes higher, sell the rest. If it goes lower, the higher sale averages out the shares sold at a lower price.

   As simplistic as this strategy is, it is easy to overlook under pressure.



Best Six Months to own stocks:

Over the years the Stock Trader’s Almanac* has expounded on its significant finding that the stock market performs better  between November 1 and May 1 than between May 1 and November 1.

   The Almanac’s  “Best Six” goes back to 1950.  The six months is a snapshot between November and May.  Many major market advances often start before November, but the point made  here is the period between fall and May is where the action is.

 Is this going to be another “BEST six months to own stocks ?

The six months between November 1 and May 1, have consistently outperformed the six months between May 1 and November 1.*

   With a 7.3% rise in the DJIA since October 31, the Street is now wondering if the market is off to yet another “Best Six Months.” Out of the last 25 years, Nov.1 to May 1, have produced 19 up-years, 3 flats and 3 downers. The best years averaged gains of 11.8% with the best up 25.6% (1998 – 1999).

   THE DANGER:  over the last 25 years, there have been 14 corrections ranging between 6% and  16% during this November1  to May1 period. Seven of those started in January, two in December and four in February.


New addition planned: alert to stocks with emerging technical patterns with potential. In a prolonged downturn, I would alert readers to stocks with vulnerable patterns.  All on the drawing board.

   The following are based on technical analysis only and  are not to be taken as buy or sell recommendations, but as one of many factors that must be considered in the decision process. Comments do not take into consideration earnings reports, or changes in institutional ratings, company guidance. Technical analysis is based on one’s interpretation of  the impact buying and selling have on the price of a stock and is therefore not an exact science. News and events can change an interpretation instantly. 

Apple (AAPL: $543.46) Positive.

 Needs a big buyer to reverse  its 9-day  slump. Some support at $540.

 Facebook (FB:$) Positive

Got stopped at  its resistance level, but a good performance after  its sharp rebound Monday. Support is $57.10 Watch closely for break above $54.47

IBM (IBM:$187.97)   Positive

Broke through resistance at $188 after four tries. Next hurdle is$192 – $194, though there appears to have  been a seller at the close Tuesday. And Wednesday was weak..

Pulte Homes (PHM: $1978)  Positive

Resistance has been formidable in the 20’s, but yesterday’s one-day reversal indicates Pulte is going to try to break through once again.

First Solar (FSLR:$51.68)  Negative

No change:  Thursday was a huge day for FSLR with a $2.80 up-move in a crap market.  Could be in response to a Jan. 2, Seeking Alpha  article by EquityFlux,, “Solar Outlook 2014,” with a lot of good things to say about FSLR.   FSLR failed to hold a nice gain Friday and yesterday the Street got the reason why.  Goldman Sachs downgraded it to a sell from  a buy.  A rally attempt yesterday failed most likely due to continued selling following the downgrade. Stock  can drop to the $46 – $48 area, though there is some support at $51.50.

 Nike (NKE:$77.09)   Positive 

Selling pressure continues, but volume spike  late Wednesday indicates NKE is attracting some interest.. Nevertheless, Wednesday’s action was  ugly. Stock needs  a one or two day reversal on increased volume to turn it upward.Resistance at $79 was too formidable so NKE must probe for support strong enough to support another  shot at breaking $79 en route to the low 80s.

 Hewlett-Packard (HPQ:$27.45)  Positive

Buyers Friday, Monday and yesterday improved a weakening pattern,

but Wednesday was downright ugly..

Support is $28. Needs a break above $ improve its pattern.

Polaris Inds. (PII:$145.50)  Positive  

Attempt to break out and run ran into sellers. Needs a break above $147 to have a shot at $150+. Support is $144.60.

Amazon (AMZN: $401.92) Positive

Three good days in a row gives AMZN a chance at a run at  a 52-week high ($405.63)

 Pandora Media (P:$32.70) Positive. Up 15% this week.

A one-day reversal after a surge from $26 to new 52-week high ($34.46)  Stock is responding to positive “listener” data news for 2013 year. Support is now $30.70.


NEW !   NEW !  NEW !  – Technical analysis ALERT list

The following is a “Technical” alert list, stocks that have indicated an improved technical pattern.  I will not follow up in detail like the stocks above. These are not buys or sells, but simply alerts that their  technical pattern is improving. Normal intraday fluctuations can  offer a lower price than that listed here. Positive patterns can be interrupted by corrections.

   Warning: An improving technical pattern can be reversed instantly by negative commentary from the Street, broker downgrades, etc. These are “snapshots” at a given time. Good timing can target pinpoint lower prices in some cases. Most stocks are technically attractive because they sketched out a positive upbeat pattern. Some will be because they are showing signs of rebounding from a depressed condition. If after additional due diligence you decide to buy any of these stocks, always protect yourself with a stop cell in line with your tolerance for risk

Align Technologies (ALGN:$60.73)  Listed here (12/23) at $57.03

Gentex (GNTX: $32.84)   Listed here (12/23) at $32.64. Now correcting  up-move ($29 – $34) three weeks ago Can drop to $31.35

Netease (NTES: $82.40)  Listed here (12/23) at $74.51

Spirit Airlines (SAVE: $46.70)  Listed here (12/23) at $46.06.  SAVE has a history of volatility  with 5 one-day reversals in the last three months, yet the stock moved higher. Support is $45.25

Valeant Pharm (VRX: $128.30)Listed here (12/23)  Hit a high of $135.73

Dycom (DY:$28.04)  Listed here (12/23) at $28.05

Cognex (CGNX: $37.55)Listed here (12/23) at $36.09. Correcting after  6-point run up, Support $35.60.

Salex Pharm. (SLXP: $90.05)  Listed here (12/23) at $87.61

Natus Medical (BABY:$24.88) Listed here (12/24) at $22.80

Sierra Wireless (SWIR:$24.91) Listed (12/24) at $22.33



While the number of economic reports is light, there are  several key ones.  Also, the FOMC releases its minutes which may shed light on the timing of future tapers. 

For detailed analysis of both the U.S. and Foreign economies along with charts, go Also included is an explanation of each indicator. If you want to know when the next Employment report or any other key report will be released that info is also there under “event release date.”


Factory Orders (10:00) Dec index down 0.9 to 53.0. 

ISM Non-Mfg. Ix. (10:00) Dec index down 0.9 to 53.0. New orders dropped to 49.4 from 56.4


FOMC meets

International Trade (8:30) Projected: Nov. $39.9 billion

Fed’s Rosengren speaks (8:30)

Fed’s Williams speaks (2:10 p.m.)


ADP Employment (8:15) Projected: Dec.205,000 vs. 196,000 Nov.

FOMC minutes (2:00p.m.)

Consumer Credit (3:00p.m.) Projected: Nov. +$14.3 billion vs. +$18.2 billion Oct.


Jobless Claims (8:30) Projected:331,000 for week 1/2/14 vs. 339 for prior week

Fed’s George speaks (1:30p.m.)

Fed’s Kocherlakota speaks (8:00p.m.)


Employment Situation (8:30) Projected: Nonfarm payrolls Dec. 200,000 vs. 203,000 Nov. / Private payrolls189,000  vs. 196,000 Nov.  and 214,999 Oct.

Wholesale Trade (10:00) Projected:

Fed’s Bullard speaks (1:05p.m.)


Dec 13 DJIA15,739  “Best Six Months Ahead ? Not Without an Ugly Correction in

                                    the Interim”

Dec 16 DJIA               January 30 Taper ?  If So, Fed Needs to Schedule a Press

                                    Conference – a Tip off”

Dec 17 DJIA 15,755   Fed to Taper January 30 ? It Should, Here’s Why

Dec 19 DJIA  15,875 Taper Today=Sell Off Followed by a rally – No

                                    No Taper=Rally Followed by a sell off”

Dec 23, DJIA 16,221  New Feature : “Technical “Alert” List.”

Dec 24  DJIA 16,294  Buyer Panic ?  Or Seller Ambush ?

Dec 26  DJIA 16,357  Year End Opportunities

Dec 27  DJIA 16,479  January 2014 Profit-Taking Will Hit Certain Stocks

Dec 30  DJIA  16,478 Be Prepared to Take Advantage of  5% January Correction

Dec 31  DJIA16,504   Forecast: Get Ready for a Wild Ride !


Jan 2     DJIA 16,504  A Raging Bull, but Corrections Offer Opportunities

Jan 3     DJIA 16,441  More Downside in the Market ?

Jan 6     DJIA 16,469  Correction or New Up-Leg ?

Jan 7     DJIA 16,425  Market at Key Crossroad

Jan 8     DJIA 16,530 

* InvesTech Research, James Stack, Editor(  – 406/862-7777). This is clearly one of the nation’s best. Get a sample issue and see for yourself.

  George  Brooks

“Investor’s first read – an edge before the open”

[email protected]

The writer of  Investor’s first read, George Brooks,  is not registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment decisions in keeping with their tolerance for risk. Brooks may buy or sell stocks referred to herein.

















As we say goodbye to 2023, there's a compelling argument to keep your portfolio anchored in growth stocks next year.