Sell in May and Go Away?

Friday the major indices ended their impressive six consecutive up week streak[1]. During the streak, the SPX averaged 4.15% return per week with the first week boasting a 10.71% increase. Regardless of what the media or the bears are saying, this rally has substance. A rally of this magnitude should not have lasted as long if the underlying fundamentals were not changing. The real question is whether or not American citizens will pay for this rally in the future. The answer is yes, and they will pay for it in the form of double digit inflation. For the future of this country, let’s hope unemployment begins to decrease before inflation begins to increase.
The major indices declined Monday and Tuesday on fears that the Swine Flu would turn into world-wide pandemic. As of Wednesday night, there have been 93 confirmed cases in the United States and one death. The one death in the United States was a 22 month baby in Texas, but the baby was not an American citizen. The baby was a Mexican citizen and was visiting Texas to receive medical attention. Although it is suspected that as many as 160 people have died in Mexico only 8 deaths have been confirmed. Swine Flu is suspected of sickening more than 2,500 people in Mexico, but only 99 cases have been confirmed by the CDC[2]. While this could escalate into a world-wide pandemic if the virus is able to spread to enough people, it is likely to be less serious than the attention it is receiving. Only people from Mexico have died, a fact that scientists cannot explain thus far. It is likely that Swine Flu will pass faster than Bird Flu or SARS[3]. Some of the confirmed cases in the United States did not know they had the virus, which may suggest the virus can be controlled with proper precautions.
Last Thursday, jobless claims[4] decreased by less than expected, implying an economic recovery. Although the existing home sales[5] were worse than expected, new home sales[6] exceeded expectations. This mixed housing data supports the notion that the housing market is bottoming. On Tuesday, consumer confidence posted[7] the largest one-month jump in four years. This data sparked an early morning rally, but low volume and Swine Flu concerns caused a late afternoon fade. GDP[8] contracted more than expected for the first quarter of 2009. This news, along with the Federal Reserve meeting, acted as the catalyst for Wednesday’s 2%+ rally.
The results of the Stress Test will be announced Monday, May 4th. There have been many rumors surrounding the release of these results, specifically in regards to some of the banks needing additional capital. Citigroup will likely announce the conversion of preferred shares for common shares at the conversion price of $3.25 on Monday following the release of the Stress Test results. The conversion will be an attempt to improve their tangible common equity, one of the main metrics of the Stress Test.
Market Fallacy expects the major indices to trade significantly higher over the next seven trading days. Current targets[9] for the SPX and DJIA are 950 and 9000 respectively. Following this explosion to the upside, an ensuing retracement is highly probable. The major indices have established new support above the previous resistant levels, an extremely bullish sign. The markets are preparing for a significant move in either direction, with a slightly higher probability for a move higher. It is not impossible for a retracement over the next two weeks, but unlikely. Market Fallacy now has a blog, which will attempt to provide insight into individual questions concerning the markets. Please visit the blog to receive personal attention regarding the markets.
[1] SPX, synonymous with S&P 500, closed down 0.39% for the week beginning April 20
[2] Center for Disease Control and Prevention
[3] Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome
[4] Jobless claims consensus 651,000 vs. 646,750 actual
[5] Existing home sales consensus 4.72 million vs. 4.57 million actual
[6] New home sales consensus 330,000 vs. 356,000 actual
[7] Consumer confidence consensus 30.0 vs. 39.2 actual
[8] GDP consensus -5.0% vs. -6.1% actual
[9] S&P 500 target 950 and Dow Jones Industrial Average target 9000

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