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Fed Pressed for Clarification – Rallies Suspect

   Interest rates are rising and the Fed doesn’t like that.  Do not be surprised if we get  commentary out of the Fed intended to ease concerns about its tapering out of

   Interest rates are rising and the Fed doesn’t like that.  Do not be surprised if we get  commentary out of the Fed intended to ease concerns about its tapering out of QE.

   The emphasis would be more of what it has already said, that taper is not the same as the tightening of credit via higher interest rates.

   This kind of  commentary would prompt a temporary rally in the stock and bond markets. 

   The Fed  has been much too vague about something so important as unwinding a four-year policy.

   As a result, they have created suspicion, doubt, fear  and paranoia.

   It was the jump in these rates following Bernanke’s June 19 statement about taper that triggered a host of Fed officials to rush out  with comments that were intended to dispel fears that taper and tightening were one in the same.

   While their efforts did not help the bond market much, the stock market soared 8%.

That was an artificial rally, manipulated by commentary, and we are paying for it now.

    What is needed here is for the Fed to lay out Plan A, Plan B, etc. and let the market adjust with full knowledge of the possibilities, rather than assumptions based on  guesswork.


The market is a discounting mechanism, a level that tends to adjust for known and  potentially bad and good news.  Right now, it doesn’t have a handle on what to expect from the Fed and what the repercussions may be once  its policy change is put into effect.

   As a result, expect  extreme volatility with a downside bias. This has the potential to get very ugly. 

   I have been targeting DJIA 14,250, or worse by early October. That’s not a big deal, we were there in March.

TODAY: Assuming no Fed Commentary

Resistance DJIA is 15,140 (S&P 500: 1,663)

Support:  DJIA 15.050 (S&P 500: 1,654)

Investor’s first readan edge before the open

DJIA:  15,112.19

S&P 500: 1,661.32

Nasdaq  Comp.:3,606.11

Russell 2000:  1,027.61

 Friday, August 16, 2013     (9:15 a.m.)



The following are observations based on solely on technical analysis and don’t give consideration to fundamentals or changes in brokerage ratings which can  have an immediate impact on stocks, justified or not.  The idea here is to give readers insight into the likely trends and turns in the stock’s price, short-and long-term.

   I picked up on AAPL and FB last year when they were in a tailspin, and  picked up on IBM recently for the same reason, and am including Pulte, since it has been in a  pronounced slide.  These are not to be construed as  buy or sell recommendations.

These are not stocks I have recommended.

   Apple(AAPL: $497.91)

   Looks like there are buyers at $495, but sellers at  $499. That should be resolved on the upside.  

Carl Icahn tweeted he has a large position in AAPL with  a suggestion  of more to come. News sent the stock beyond my projected resistance of $480. Icahn met with AAPL CEO Tim Cook yesterday.  Icahn will undoubtedly pressure Cook to put  the company’s idle cash to work most likely through stock buybacks. Hmmm, Wouldn’t that even enhance the value of Icahn’s position further ?


   Facebook (FB – $36.56)

   No change  here.

   Support looks good in the $35 – $36 area. FB needs to digest its  48% run July and early August.  Resistance is now $36.70.


IBM ($185.79)

   Yesterday’s weakness puts $181 in IBM’s crosshairs and possibly $174, but not in a straight line. Be aware that IBM has ranged four times up and down between $185 and $215 over the last two years.  Unless the fundamentals are horrendous  it is due for institutional buying, most likely in this area and possibly at or a smidge below $180.

Each point up or down impacts the DJIA by about 13 points.

PulteGroup (PHM- $15.91)  WATCH closely, turn possible.


.  My Thursday post urged readers to “watch closely. Turn possible.,” and  noted: Housing Starts will be reported at 8:30 a.m.,  Friday. A bad report would likely trigger a selling climax, I said.  and an opportunity for investors on Friday or Monday at the open possibly below $13.60..

   At 10 o’clock, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) confidence report  for August  surprised with an index  reading of 59 (vs. forecast of  56) along with a statement that homebuilder confidence has risen to the highest level in 8 years.

   Pulte rose from a Thursday low of  $14.23 to close at $15.91..

  July  Housing Starts were reported at 8:30 today and were up 5.9% following a 7.9% drop in June.

  That’s what unexpectedly good news can do to a strong  industry group has undergone a big correction.

   I was looking ahead to an unimpressive  Friday Housing Starts expecting it to trigger a selling climax in PHM et al,  and got blindsided by the NAHB report.

   The homebuilding stocks are down sharply since May.      Home builders have taken a pasting and Pulte is no exception down 35% from its  May high. More slippage is possible, especially if the  overall market  drops. I can’t get too bearish on this industry since its stocks have been hammered, PHM down 35% since May. Yes, mortgage rates have jumped, but are still historically low. House prices are rebounding and inventories are low.  That spells pressure – pressure to BUY a house before rates and house prices rise further.


Thursday reports dominate the week.

   For a detailed account of past and current economic reports, including charts go to:


Jobless Claims(8:30)  Declined 15,000 to 320,000 (8/10) vs. 333,000 prior week

Consumer Price Ix. (8:30)   Increased  +0.2 pct July vs. gain of 0.5 pct in June

Empire State Mfg. Svy.(8:30)   Proj.:  slipped to 8.25 in Aug. vs, 9.46 July

Industrial Production 9:15)   Unchanged in July vs. 0.2 pct gain in JUne

NAHB Housing Market Ix.(10:00)  Rose to 50 well above projected 56 and highest in 8 years.

Philadelphia Fed Svy (10:00)  Dropped to 9.3 in Aug.  from 19,8 in July well below projected 15.0.


Housing Starts (8:30)   July starts were up 5.9 pct after a 7.9 pct drop in June.

Productivity and Costs (8:30)  Productivity jumped 0.9 pct  vs, projections for a rise of 0.6 pct.

Consumer Sentiment(9:55)   Proj.: 85.5 for Aug vs. 85.1 July


Aug 5   DJIA  15,658  “August/September Correction Looms”

Aug 6   DJIA  15612   “Market Doesn’t Need Reason to Correct”

Aug 7   DJIA  15,518   “Uncertainties to Plague Market Until September”

Aug 8   DJIA  15,470   “DJIA 14,250 by Early October, or Worse

Aug 9   DJIA  15,498   “Has a Correction Already Started ?”

Aug 12 DJIA 15,425   “Taper, A Withdrawal Process From Addiction”

Aug 13 DJIA 15,419   “Homebuilders Ready for a Bounce ?”

Aug 14 DJIA 15,451   “Hindenburg Omed – Worth the Worry ?”

Aug 15 DJIA 15,337   “October Buying Opportunity at Much Lower Levela”

  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.








AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon should be turning the volume up. Their current quiet murmur is just not enough.