Monday, January 4, 2010

The First Trading Day of 2010 - The Message From the Market

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. We have coined this term to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government, which involve unprecedented money printing. This is the official blog of the New York Investing meetup.

Observant investors can find moneymaking opportunities if they pay attention to what takes place during the first four trading days of the year. This idea was already part of market lore over a hundred years ago and was confirmed by academic research decades ago. The reason the beginning of the year is more important is that more investment money gets allocated or reallocated on those days than at other times. Whether we like it or not, investing is influenced by a quarterly calendar with the beginning of the first quarter having outsized significance. Which parts of the market money flows into or out of as annual trading begins indicates the aggregate opinion of investors on each sector of the market and the various asset classes. If you want to know what they are thinking, follow the money.

The best way to approach this analysis is with a top down approach. First look at how the major asset classes - stocks, bond, commodities, currencies - are trading. For U.S. stocks you can look at the four major indices: the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 or their respective ETFs, DIA, SPY, QQQQ (actually the Nasdaq 100), and IWM. For stocks outside the U.S., EFA (Europe, Far East and Australia) and EEM (emerging markets) can be used. For bonds, intermediate maturity U.S treasuries are a good place to start. IEF can be used for treasuries in the 7 to 10 year range.  Overall commodity performance is best tracked through DJP, which is the ETN for the Dow Jones AIG Commodity Index. The two major commodities gold and oil should also be watched. Either their spot prices or GLD and USO can be used to do this. For a quick read on currencies, DXY gives the performance of the trade-weighted dollar.

This initial cursory view can then be refined further based on what assets are doing best or by an investor's particular interests. For stocks, the next step is to look at performance by country, market cap and the nine major sectors of the market. This can then be refined one more step by looking at sub-sectors for the sectors that have done the best. In the end, investors should look for opportunities in the top performing countries and sectors by market cap size (small, mid or large). While stocks are the most complex to analyze, commodities and currencies are the easiest because there are only a small number of them. The performance of each one them can be ranked and it is immediately apparent which ones are the best. Keep in mind seasonal factors can create bullishness or bearishness though, especially for commodities. Bonds are of course more complicated since they can be government or corporate, have a number of maturities and exist in a number of countries.

As can be seen below, based on the first trading day of the year, money was flowing into almost all markets. Stock markets outside the U.S. did the best with emerging markets being the strongest. Small cap stocks did better than large caps. Commodities generally did better than stocks. Interest rates were barely changed. The U.S. dollar lost ground, while other major currencies rallied.

STOCKS:               DIA             Up        1.5%
                               SPY             Up        1.7%
                               QQQQ        Up        1.4%
                               IWM            Up        2.5%
                               EFA             Up        2.6%
                               EEM            Up        3.0%

BONDS:                 IEF              Up        0.3%

COMMODITIES:   DJP             Up        2.0%
                               GLD            Up        2.3%
                               USO            Up        2.4%

CURRENCIES:      DXY           Down    0.5%

Please see 'The Second Trading Day of 2010 - The Message From the Market' to find out more.

Disclosure: Long gold.

NEXT: The Second Trading Day of 2010 - The Message From the Markets

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

1 comment:

Tomas said...

Thanks for the information. Traders enter commodity trading business with an observation to make money. Discovering what proficient trader do that detaches them from the losing stacks is the vital point to know to survive in this type of trading.