It’s been a wild start to the year, particularly in the currency markets, which have seen some large swings. The week has also seen stocks and interest rate futures make counter trend rallies from their recent lows and has seen the stock markets make new all-time highs.
The S&P 500 managed a slight gain for the period of the Santa Claus rally, which spans the last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the new year. In that period, the market made a small increase from the close on the 21st December at 2260.5 to 2264.25 at the 4th January close (basis the S&P 500 March 2017 e-mini contract). The rally did continue on Friday and took the S&P 500 to a new all-time high of 2277 before closing at 2271.5, a new all-time closing high.
The Nasdaq 100 also posted a new all-time high and crossed the 5000 level for the first time, closing above the breakout level at 5004 (also basis the March 2017 e-min contract.
For those that watch financial TV and follow the media (two practices that are detrimental!), it has been impossible to avoid talk of the Dow and the 20,000 level. The Dow hit an all-time high of 19,999.63 on Friday, falling just short of the psychological round number. The number in and of itself is meaningless, but a close above that level may trigger some buy orders and see the market push higher.
Interestingly, the US debt clock is also about to hit another similar level, $20 trillion of debt and could so so around the time of Trump’s inauguration on the 20th of this month.
We will continue to watch for the January effect in stocks, which says as goes January, so goes the rest of the year. In other words, a bullish January equals a bullish stock market for the year ahead, based on past data.
There is also the first five trading days of the year early warning system, which works on the same basis. We will have to wait for the close on Monday so see whether that indicates an up or down year.
The metals markets showed some strength this week, bringing an end to the downtrends in Gold and Silver, at least for now. Palladium had a hugely bullish week, rallying some 11.36% for the week. An upside breakout in Palladium could be due.
We wrote last week about the January effect in EUR/USD, where there is a strong tendency for this market to post either its highest or lowest price of the year in January. We will continue to watch this one closely, as it is such a major FX market. The month began with a new multi-year low followed by a sharp reversal higher. Weakness was seen again on Friday, which turned the market lower from below the 50-day moving average. The long-term trend remains down.
Interest rate futures
Interest rate futures continued their recent counter-trend recovery and broke through resistance this week, bringing some very profitable downtrends to an end. The markets rallied up to the 50-day moving average, and almost exactly to the 38.2% retracement of the decline from the November spike high, found resistance and then turned lower again. The long-term trend for this sector remains down.