Stocks are NOT Out of the Woods

I get the distinct feeling that a lot of investors are feeling like the action last week in the equity markets may be a harbinger of good things to come. In other words, we might be out of the woods.

As much as I’d like to believe that I can’t jump on board. I still feel there’s more downside pain to come for stocks, tech, and other risky assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto. But before I tell you why, let’s take a win, no matter how ugly it is.

Fact is, across the board last week equity markets were up. See for yourself…

Weekly Charts


As you can see from this collection of multiple weekly charts, stocks booked a win last week. The Dow was up 5.4% and the S&P 500 - a good proxy for the broader stock market - was up 6.4%. Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 - a good gauge of all stocks - was up 6%. And probably most surprising of all, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 7.5%.

In addition, last week’s action in all four the indexes reversed multi-week slides. It was the first positive week in four weeks for the Dow, the S&P, and the Nasdaq. For the Russell 2000 it was the first up week in the last three weeks.

But as you can see from the above charts, last week’s action was an anomaly compared to the action we’ve been seeing over the recent past. In fact, if you take the above charts and drill out to what’s been happening over the past year, it’s clear the overall trend in all these markets is bearish. No ifs, ands, or buts.

As I warned about in my article at the beginning of June, the scant positive weekly action in these markets is now confirmed as little more than a series of “dead cat bounces.”

If you remember, a dead cat bounce can masquerade as a reversal to the upside. But it’s only a temporary reprieve and quickly resumes its prior downtrend. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ve been seeing in all these stocks markets. And while I’d love to be wrong on this point, the numbers don’t lie.

Stubborn Inflation Means More Downside

But it’s not just these technical patterns that tell me the markets have more downside pain to come. The other huge factor pressuring stock prices: Inflation and what it will take to bring it under control. Here’s what I mean.

In general inflation can drive investors to sell stocks. And that because inflation wears away at the value of invested dollars. If your money is worth 8.6% less this year that it was last year, nobody is happy.

But the biggest reason inflation drives investors to sell stocks is that that the “medicine” that’s needed to bring inflation down - higher interest rates - can have unpleasant side effects.

Fact is if higher rates do their jobs and bring prices down, companies have less money to do the things that investors want, like sell more goods, expand operations, and develop new products. And if companies aren’t doing what investors want, those investors sell their shares.

Result: A bear market like we’re seeing right now.

But as unpleasant as that is, not bringing inflation down is much, much worse. In fact, inflation can decimate entire economies. The last thing we want is to look in the rear-view mirror and see the current inflation rate of 8.6% as “the good old days.”

That’s why as unpleasant as the side effects of higher interest rates can be, the Fed must do everything in its power to get inflation under control. But don’t take my word for it: Here’s what Fed chairman Jerome Powell told Congress last week in his testimony and semiannual monetary policy report:

I will begin with one overarching message. At the Fed, we understand the hardship high inflation is causing. We are strongly committed to bringing inflation back down, and we are moving expeditiously to do so. We have both the tools we need and the resolve it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses. It is essential that we bring inflation down if we are to have a sustained period of strong labor market conditions that benefit all. Source

So far, so good. What exactly are they going to do about it?

Over coming months, we will be looking for compelling evidence that inflation is moving down, consistent with inflation returning to 2 percent. We anticipate that ongoing rate increases will be appropriate; the pace of those changes will continue to depend on the incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy. We will make our decisions meeting by meeting, and we will continue to communicate our thinking as clearly as possible. Our overarching focus is using our tools to bring inflation back down to our 2 percent goal and to keep longer-term inflation expectations well anchored. Source

So, what does this tell me? With benchmark target fed funds rate now at a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, it’s clear that that’s just the beginning. More interest rate increases are coming. In fact, I think the Fed won’t slow down until it hits 3.5% and higher.

In addition, I now think the Fed is willing to take on a higher risk of recession in exchange for lower inflation. In fact, during his testimony Powell said that a recession could be in the cards: “It’s not our intended outcome at all, but it’s certainly a possibility … we are not trying to provoke and do not think we will need to provoke a recession, but we do think it’s absolutely essential” that prices come down. Source

Here's What to Do

There’s no doubt about it: Until inflation gets under control, rates will continue to go up. The Fed is making it clear that they’re going to do everything in their power to control rising prices.

And that means that there’s likely more downside to stocks as well as other risky assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. So, I wouldn’t be adding to any positions right now. And as always, don’t devote any more than 1% to 2% of your portfolio to crypto of any kind, including BTC.

Stay safe,
Wayne Burritt Contributor

Disclosure: This contributor may own cryptocurrencies, stocks, or other assets mentioned in this article. This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from for their opinion.

Here's What's Next for BTC and Stocks

There’s no doubt about it: Bitcoin (BTC) has broken down. In fact, it recently sliced through significant support at the $28K level like a hot knife through butter. Take a look...

BTC Daily Chart


As you can see from this daily chart of BTC, the dominant crypto dropped below resistance that had been firmly established back in 2021. I recently wrote about this level being a crucial line in the sand for BTC. And unfortunately, it failed to hold up.

So, where do go from here? If you look at the left side of the above chart, it’s clear that the best case for BTC support now sits somewhere in the range of $6K to $12K. And from its current level, it’s pretty much a straight shot to that range.

In addition, BTC spent quite a bit of time meandering in that range during 2020. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if we get that low, you’ll see similar sideways action.

And it’s not just BTC that’s gotten hammered. In fact, the entire cryptocurrency space now stands at somewhere around $1 trillion in market cap. That’s a far cry from the $3 trillion it enjoyed late last year.


But before you sound the death knell of crypto, remember that it’s not the only asset that’s been taken out back recently. In fact, I could just as easily put a chart up there of the Dow, the S&P, the Nasdaq, and the Russel 2000 and you would be reading much the same story, albeit not as dramatically.

Fear is Driving Selling

As I’ve been saying for months, investors are looking at crypto just like they do every other risky asset... they are selling. And they’re selling pretty much regardless of what’s happening to the asset’s underlying fundamentals.

Why all the selling? Pretty simple: The markets are oozing with fear right now. And when fear takes over, lots of assets get thrown out, no matter how good their underlying fundamentals may actually be.

That’s sad, but it’s true.

So, what’s driving all the fear? Take your pick. Inflation, global supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, geopolitical uncertainty, higher interest rates.

And the rub of it is that all of these are playing a significant role in amping up the fear in the marketplace. If it was just one, it wouldn’t be so bad. But it’s not - it’s all of them.

The war in Ukraine is contributing to inflation of energy and food prices. Supply chain issues are contributing to higher prices and operational uncertainty. Meanwhile, inflation is making everything more expensive.

But it’s the last fear driver that I mentioned - higher interest rates - that really has everyone on edge. And while we all agree that those higher interest rates are the medicine to fight inflation, no one knows for sure how high they must go to get results. So far, inflation continues to roar higher despite higher interest rates.

Maybe we can take some solace in the fact that the Fed will likely continue to raise rates until the inflation numbers are headed in the right direction. Chairman Powell’s said as much to Congress just last week. And I don’t have much doubt about his - or the Fed’s - resolve to bring inflation down.

But until we begin to see inflation numbers drop, it’s a done deal that you’ll see more of the fear-based volatility and chop that you’ve seen for stock, tech, and crypto since the beginning of the year.

Sure, you’ll likely see some up weeks in the meantime. And there’s little doubt that an outlier or two in these asset classes are likely to thrive. But overall, until inflation gets under control, the outlook for crypto, stocks, and tech is lousy.

We Shouldn’t Be Surprised

The fact is we shouldn’t be surprised by what’s happening in all these risky asset classes. There’s had been gobs of money sloshing around the economy for years. And that low-priced capital has made just about everyone go out and buy a ton of stuff.

In my book, that’s been a good thing. It’s helped people and business weather a massive pandemic, driven innovation, and provided much-needed jobs for millions.

But one of the side effects of that cheap money has been inflation levels, unlike anything we’ve seen in decades. Certainly, because of all that cheap money, I figured we might see an uptick in inflation. But I had no idea it would come at us in such magnitude. Nobody did.

And when it comes to crypto, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s been beaten up even more than its peers. While risk has had a hand in that, the fact that crypto is still a nascent and largely unproved asset class and marketplace make it worse. It’s simply going to get beat up worse when investors lose their appetite for risk.

So, what to do? As I mentioned, I think we’re going to see a moderation in inflation down the road. And when that happens the markets - including crypto - will start to recover. When that happens - and let’s say we get a handful of decent inflation reports - I would begin heeding my golden rule: Buy companies that know what they’re doing in markets with strong upside. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a long-term view. And don’t devote any more than 1% to 2% of your portfolio to all your crypto holdings, including BTC.

Stay safe,
Wayne Burritt Contributor

Disclosure: This contributor may own cryptocurrencies, stocks, or other assets mentioned in this article. This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from for their opinion.

Here's the REAL Inflation Story

I have to admit: About halfway through last month, I was sitting in my car waiting for gas at the local grocery store and I had a gut-wrenching feeling.

My prediction about inflation peaking in April at an 8.3% annual rate might be wrong.

Dead wrong.

So as I sat their waiting for my turn, staring at gas close to $5 a gallon, I had to face the facts that energy costs are simply not moderating as quickly as I had hoped. And without having to do a deep dive right there into the data, I knew that that these stubborn gas prices were enough to blow my hopes of inflation moderating in May.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to just a few days ago when the latest inflation numbers hit the street. Fact is I don’t have to tell you that my mid-May revelation about inflation turned out to be true.

Inflation is on a Tear

During May inflation rose at a mind-boggling 8.6% annual rate. That marks the fastest pace of rising prices since December 1981, over four decades ago. See for yourself:

Consumer Price Index - All Categories


As you can see from this chart of annual changes in consumer prices, the story of high inflation continued unabated in May. And across the board, every category of prices showed increases: Food was up a 10% annual rate in May, energy was up 35%, and all types of gasoline rose a staggering 49%.

49% rise in gas prices! Whew!

Now, if you strip out the more volatile food and energy prices and drill down into the so-called “core” inflation rate, the story isn’t much better: Core inflation rose at a 6% annual rate in May.

Consumer Price Index - Core


When core inflation rises, it’s a clear indicator that the rise in prices in broad and robust. The above chart clearly shows that that holds true in May.

But as I drilled even deeper into this data, I didn’t think that was the whole story. So, I decided to get into the nitty gritty behind these numbers and crunch some of my own analytics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) raw data. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the two major sources of inflation data. The other is the Personal Consumption Expenditures index from the Bureau of Economic Analysis). This is what I came up with…

Consumer Price Index - 12 Month Percentage Change


This chart shows the major price categories tracked by the BLS and what’s happened with their pricing activity since the beginning of the year. Think of it as the bigger brother to the prior off-the-shelf chart from BLS.

As you can see, the annual changes in every price category are at worrisome levels. And those annual increases have been in the works for months.

So, while the latest inflation numbers are troubling, fact is they are only the latest installment in a trend that’s been sticking around way too long. And that makes these inflation numbers a trend, another reason for concern.

What bar stands out for you from the above chart? Without a doubt, the dubious winner in higher prices since the beginning of the year is the green bar. And as you might guess that bar represents the annual increase in gasoline prices.

So, while the fact that gas shot up 49% in May compared to a year ago is bad enough, the above chart shows that gas has been clocking annual increases in the 40% area throughout 2022.

More Fed Handwringing Coming

No doubt about it, inflation is on a tear. And since the most recent numbers are showing that top line inflation shows little signs of slowing the Fed is likely to do a lot of handwringing.

In addition, with little doubt that analysts at the Fed, the Whitehouse, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics are doing the same analytics on the raw data that I did, they’re going to see that inflation is chronic across all pricing categories.

What does that mean? It means that the Fed is likely to be even more aggressive with raising interest rates in the future. They’re going to do pretty much anything in their power to try to extract liquidity from the market so people and businesses cool their spending and bring prices down. And if the stock market takes a hit in the process, well then so be it.

But don’t forget: While higher interest rates do work, they don’t function in isolation. The massive increase in gas prices is tied to the increase in the price of oil which is tied to the war in Ukraine, among other factors. So, until that conflict abates and oil prices begin to moderate, we’re not likely to see a ton of improvement in gas prices.

The super-tight labor market – which is a good thing for wages and workers – also tends to put pressure underneath prices. So, with not enough workers right now to fill job vacancies – and unemployment in the multi-decade low range – labor prices themselves are pushing prices higher.

What to do? For investors with holdings in just above every inflation sensitive asset – including crypto, stocks, bonds, and real estate - the best course of action is to continue to monitor what the Fed does and only add to positions that you feel are the most inflation resilient. Then just sit back and play the waiting game. And don’t forget: There’s no shame in being on the sidelines while these inflation forces continue to work themselves out of the economy.

Stay safe,
Wayne Burritt Contributor

Disclosure: This contributor may own cryptocurrencies, stocks, or other assets mentioned in this article. This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from for their opinion.

Stocks And Bitcoin Holding Up

In last week’s installment, I told you about how we finally got a solid weekly up bar across every major stock index. In fact, I went into detail about the 6% plus bullish action for the Dow, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and even the broad market Russell 2000.

In addition, across the board, they all reversed multi-week down bars. And the Dow’s reversal was the most longed-for of all four indexes: It snapped an eight-week collection of weekly down bars.

All in all, the action was a welcome sigh of relief. So, what happened after that? Did we get much follow-through last week?

While we didn’t get another weekly up bar in all four indexes, all four did manage to book higher lows than the prior week.

Is that a good thing? You bet. It means that despite selling, prices held up. It also means that sellers didn’t have to resort to continually lower lows to attract buyers: Buyers were finally willing to pay up for shares. And I don’t have to tell you that change in sentiment was a huge improvement over the constant bearish price action over the last two months.

Are we out of the woods yet? Not by a long shot. In fact, as I mentioned last week, the recent positive action in all four stock markets could just be a temporary bull market rally.

It might also develop into what’s called a “dead cat bounce.” Here’s what I mean: Continue reading "Stocks And Bitcoin Holding Up"

Here's Why Stocks Rallied Last Week

I don't know about you, but right now, I'm breathing a little sigh of relief.

And with good reason. Finally last week, we got some good news out of stock market action. And pretty much across the board, the news was positive. Here’s what I mean:



As you can see from this set of multiple weekly charts, stocks booked some decent action last week. In fact, the Dow was up 6.2% for the week. Meanwhile, the S&P 500, a good proxy for the broader stock market, was up 6.6%. Also, last week, the Nasdaq was up 6.8%, and the Russell 2000, a good indicator of what all stocks are doing, was up 6.5%.

You have to admit that's broad positive action across all equity asset classes. And it's welcome news considering what the markets have been up to over the past two months. Continue reading "Here's Why Stocks Rallied Last Week"