Toni Turner of TrendStar Trading Group to get her take of what to make of this week's series of events.
EQ: The markets were shaken by tragic news Thursday as reports of a Malaysian Airlines jet crashing in the contested borders of Ukraine and Russia. What should can we make of what happened?
Turner: Thursday’s Malaysian Airline crash in the Ukraine was heartbreaking, and the market headed lower as reports suggested that flight was shot down by a missile. Then, toward the end of the trading day, we saw that Israel launched a ground assault on Gaza.
As you know, what started as a slow summer day in the market turned into one filled with highly negative news. It was the first time I’ve seen our “Teflon market” react to bad news in a long time, and the Volatility Index flew up to an intraday high of 15.38, a level we haven’t seen since April.
As one can expect in an environment of rising fear, many stocks fell and investors headed for safe-haven assets, including bonds, the Japanese yen, oil and gold. I also took profits on stocks that were overbought, and raised my protective stops on remaining positions.
EQ: Markets turned lower earlier this week after the Fed indicated that certain areas of the equity markets may be overvalued. Do you agree with that assessment, particularly with the specific areas that were mentioned?
Turner: Yes and no. The Fed targeted small-cap biotech and social media in their comments, saying that P/E multiples these groups appear “high relative to historical norms.” So I did a little research, and looked at the social media Global X Social Media Index ETF (SOCL) , whichcurrently has a P/E ratio of 22 times earnings, which is not unusually high for a growth sector. If you drill down into specific companies in that ETF, you’ll find that Facebook (FB) —which is not a small-cap--has a P/E ratio of 86, but their forward P/E ratio is 37. That’s a little high, but it’s not terrible.
So I can see the Fed’s point. However, that comment came out of nowhere and it certainly was unexpected.
EQ: We did also get pretty serious pullbacks in these sectors earlier this year as well.
Turner: Absolutely. Most of us are aware when a certain industry group or sector becomes overbought, and the law of cycles says that what goes up must come down, even if it’s only a portion of its prior move up.
EQ: The Fed commenting on stocks is unusual. Should investors and traders put more weight on this because it’s rarely happened in the past?
Turner: Since the market is not accustomed to the Fed Chair commenting on sectors of the market, to me, it makes one wonder if Fed Chair Yellen wanted to deflate small-caps, biotechs, and social media stocks. As I watch her, I observed that she appears to choose her words very carefully at all times.
So one can imagine that she must have known what effects her comments would have on these targets. It was sort of like attending a business luncheon and someone you barely know comments about one of your family members. It just comes as a complete surprise and just totally off-script.
EQ: Earnings season for the second quarter has started. What are some storylines that you’re most interested in for this period?
Turner: My overall trend to watch for this earnings season is going to be the consumer and consumer-related stocks in both Staples and Discretionary. While earnings and guidance from the major players in Financials, Energy and Technology will be important, I’m going to keep an eye on companies related to the retail consumer to see if the purported strength in jobs numbers and other economic measures are really there.
I’m going to keep an eye on consumer stocks throughout this earnings period, and I think it’ll be revealing—hopefully to the positive.
EQ: What other sectors are you watching right now?
Turner: I do like iShares US Telecommunications (IYZ) and Telecom. It’s up a bit on the short term, so I’d wait for a pullback before entering. I’m watching PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (PBS) because it’s one of the groups that are not overbought. I’m watching this ETF to see if it can stay above $24.80and its 200-day moving average.
Also, if interest rates don’t fly up too quickly, I still like the iShares US Real Estate (IYR) .
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