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Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning September 14th, 2020
Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning September 14th, 2020.
Investors will look to the Fed to soothe the market next week, but that may be a tall order - (Source)
Markets are looking to the Federal Reserve to be a soothing force when it meets in the week ahead, but stocks could remain choppy if the central bank disappoints and as investors focus on the election and the economic recovery. The Fed’s two-day meeting is expected to end Wednesday with minor tweaks to its statement and some clarity on how it plans to use forward guidance. The Fed also updates its economic and interest rate outlook, including forecasts for 2023 for the first time. But Quincy Krosby, chief investment strategist at Prudential Financial, said the stock market could easily be disappointed because the Fed is unlikely to offer more clarity on monetary policy, such as plans for bond buying. “The market is concerned the Fed is not going to give us explicit readings on their plans for monetary policy,″ she said. The Fed’s extraordinary policies have been an important factor behind the stock market’s 50% surge from the March 23 low, and it’s also seen as a major factor limiting the depth of the market’s sell-off. Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said the Fed is not likely to tweak much and it continues to buy $80 billion a month in Treasurys. “I don’t think they’ll do anything to the markets either way,” he said. Stocks were volatile in the past week, falling hard, rallying, falling and rallying again. That left the S&P 500 with a weekly decline of about 2.5%, its worst week since June. The harder hit Nasdaq was down about 4.1% for the week, its worst weekly decline since March. The quadruple expiration of options and futures at the end of the coming week could add to the volatility. Bank of America strategists said the bond market is watching the Fed for any balance sheet adjustments and the changes to its forward guidance, which includes the Fed’s recent tweak in its inflation policy. The Fed changed its policy of focusing on a target inflation rate to an average rate, meaning it may not tighten policy if inflation overshoots its 2% target. “We see risk the rates market is underwhelmed by the guidance provided by the Fed, which would support higher back-end rates and a steeper curve,” the Bank of America strategists noted. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield slid in the past week, touching 0.67% Friday, and it could move higher, meaning bonds may sell-off, if the Fed does not clarify policy around its bond buying program. Krosby said the stock market is hoping for a dovish Fed. “The market needs that now because fiscal policy is going nowhere,” she said. BTIG strategist Julian Emanuel said the market could focus on the fact that Congress failed to make headway on fiscal stimulus, if the economic data begins to disappoint. Retail sales for August are expected Wednesday morning, as the Fed meets. They are expected to rise by 1%, and that should be an important look at whether the lack of enhanced unemployment benefits, which expired July 31, impacted consumer spending. Among other things, Republicans and Democrats could not agree how to replace the $600 weekly payment to the unemployed. “Depending on the polls and the economic data, the probability of stimulus rises and falls,” said Emanuel, head of equity and derivatives strategy. “Our view is that next week is just going to be lots of back and forth with the potential for a further extension of the range for the downside, if the political narrative gets more inflamed,” said Emanuel. Emanuel expects the market to remain choppy and fall further into the month of October, as investors worry about the uncertainty around the presidential election. The Fed’s meeting this week is its last before the election, and analysts expect Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to sound reassuring that the Fed will do whatever it takes to support the economy. Powell holds a briefing after the meeting Wednesday, and he is expected to also be asked about the potential for higher inflation. The Fed has said it is more concerned about disinflation, but recent inflation data has been hotter than expected, though still well below 2%. “There is a tug of war between those who say buy chips now because inflation is moving higher, versus those why are saying deflationary forces are still weaving their way into the economy,” said Krosby. Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, said he expects the Fed to sound reassuring but it’s not likely to discuss a target for bond purchases or the yield curve controls some investors were hoping for. Yield curve control would mean the Fed would try to manage interest rates by targeting its purchases of specific Treasurys. For instance, it may focus on trying to keep longer duration yields lower, and buy the 10-year. Chandler also noted the Fed’s $7 trillion balance sheet has recently declined by about $100 billion from its peak, and its bond purchases are falling behind the European Central Bank. “My sense is the Fed is going to keep saying it’s not worried about inflation. Its bigger worry is downside risks. They’ll repeat their call for fiscal stimulus which after this week seems less likely,” he said. Chandler said the stock market could remain choppy in the coming week, but he does not expect a sharp selloff. The dollar could decline, if the Fed sounds dovish, and that is a positive for stocks. “I don’t think a 10% pullback [in Nasdaq] has caused enough pain to have people capitulate. This is just an ordinary correction, and we’re going to make new highs,” he said.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
First off, our thoughts go out to everyone who was impacted by the tragic events of September 11, 2001—19 years ago today. It is a day to reflect and remember those who were lost. One of the top requests we’ve had here at LPL Research is for more charts on the election. Over the next week, we will share some of our favorite charts on this very important subject. Here’s how the S&P 500 Index performs under various presidents and congressional makeups. The best scenario has historically been a Democratic president and Republican Congress, while a Republican president and Democratic Congress has been the weakest.
The National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) has an index which tracks the exposure of its members to US equity markets. Each week, members are asked to provide a number that represents their exposure to markets. A reading of -200 means they are leveraged short, -100 indicates fully short, 0 is neutral, 100% is fully invested, and 200% indicates leveraged long. Two weeks ago, in our Bespoke Report, we highlighted the fact that the exposure index had moved to one of the highest levels in its 15-year history. Now, just two weeks later, these same active managers have reigned in their exposure considerably as this week's reading dropped from just under 100 to 53.1. This week's drop was the second-largest one week decline in the index's history and just the 10th time that the index lost more than a third (33 points) in a single week. The most recent occurrence was back in early March in the middle of the Covid crash, and every other prior period where the index saw a similar drop, the S&P 500 was also down every time by an average of 2.3%. Therefore, it's not much of a surprise to see the big drop this week given the big declines in the market. But what about going forward? Do big drops in the NAAIM Index mean a bounce back for markets or further declines?
The Most and Least Heavily Shorted Stocks in the Russell 1,000
Below is an updated look at the most heavily shorted stocks in the Russell 1,000. Each of these 30 stocks has at least 15% of its equity float sold short. At the top of the list is Nordstrom (JWN) with 38.66% of its float sold short. With a YTD decline of 61.86%, the shorts have crushed it with JWN this year. With its huge portfolio of office and retail real estate, Brookfield Property REIT(BPYU) has the second highest short interest in the Russell 1,000 at 33.7%. BPYU is down 35.7% YTD. There are plenty of other well-known companies on the list of the most heavily shorted stocks. Examples include American Airlines (AAL), Virgin Galactic (SPCE), LendingTree (TREE), Wayfair (W), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), ADT, TripAdvisor (TRIP), Beyond Meat (BYND), and Kohl's (KSS). One name that is no longer on the list of most shorted stocks is Tesla (TSLA). When we provided an update on short interest back in February (a pre-COVID world), Tesla (TSLA) had more than 17% of its float sold short, but that number is all the way down to 8.3% as of the most recent filing. These 30 stocks with the highest short interest are down an average of 3.01% since last Wednesday (9/2) when the S&P 500 made its last closing high. That's actually a little bit better than the 3.55% average decline for the rest of the stocks in the Russell 1,000. And year-to-date, these 30 stocks are up an average of 0.60% versus an average gain of 0.81% for the rest of the index. That's not much of a difference!
Below is a list of the 30 least shorted stocks in the Russell 1,000 as a percentage of equity float. None of these stocks have more than 0.71% of their float sold short, and they're mostly made up of more conservative names in the Health Care and Consumer Staples sectors. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has the lowest short interest as a percentage of float in the Russell 1,000 at just 0.36%. Microsoft (MSFT) -- one of the key mega-cap Tech names -- has the second lowest short interest, followed by Merck (MRK), Eli Lilly (LLY), and Medtronic (MDT). Somewhat surprisingly, Amazon (AMZN) is the sixth least shorted stock in the entire Russell 1,000. While AMZN is still thought of as a high-flying momentum name by many investors, its short interest levels tell a much different story, painting it as more of a non-