Thursday, March 14, 2013

S&P 500, Oil, & the Dollar (Excerpt)

Since the start of the year, institutional investors seem to have stopped reacting to headline risk as quickly and intensely as they did since the start of the bull market. “Risk Off” periods now tend to last a couple of days rather than several weeks. Instead, investors seem to be focusing more on the performance of the US economy and taking comfort from its surprisingly good performance. At the same time, they have been remarkably relaxed about the bad economic performance of Europe, where stock prices are also moving higher nonetheless.

Another remarkable development is that the S&P 500, which has been very highly correlated with the price of oil and the inverse of the foreign-exchange value of the dollar, is significantly diverging from both of them. The S&P 500 has been on the rise, while the price of oil has been falling and the dollar has been strengthening. This gives me more confidence in the staying power of the bull, though I can see why others might be worried that something has to give, and it might be the S&P 500.

Today's Morning Briefing: Spring Break? (1) Will the bull take a holiday? (2) Going away is easier than coming back. (3) How to ride a bull. (4) Dearth of bears and volatility. (5) Lots of geopolitical event risks. (6) Militarism is on the rise in Asia. (7) Booming from Miami to San Francisco. (8) Market seems less headline driven these days. (9) Unusual divergence between stocks vs. oil and dollar. (10) No surprise in surprisingly strong retail sales. (11) More upside for Retailers and other Consumer Discretionary stocks. (More for subscribers.)

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