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Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police actions) against a blood-thirsty orthodoxy that, as the world now seems to universally understand, cannot be simply contained. It is suddenly better to risk being wrong but strong than to be right but weak.
In any case, the major market indexes have remained undeterred — by either the Fed’s apparent foregone decision to raise the fed funds rate next month or the sudden wave of violence sweeping the globe — as seasonality and a strong technical picture continue to stoke bullish conviction in U.S. stocks. Moreover, our fundamentals-based sector rankings are mostly unchanged.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.
First a planeload of Russian tourists is bombed out of the sky. Then Paris is attacked by suicidal murderers. Then Mali gets the same. Now Brussels is in lockdown. This is not just a containment problem any longer (not that it ever really was). The civilized world seems to be coming together in the conviction that we are at war with a blood-thirsty ideology bent on religious and ethnic cleansing that would sooner see the entire world annihilated than allow infidels to inhabit it. There can be no peaceful…