On Monday Nvidia (NVDA) hit an all-time high. For 2023 through November 17, Nvidia and the other 6 stocks in the Magnificent Seven–Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Meta (META), and Tesla (TSLA)–have gained more than 70%. The other 493 stocks in the Standard & Poor’ 500 are up 6% for that same period.
So let’s see how the market takes this tomorrow.
Today stocks staged an impressive upside more. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 1.89% and the NASDAQ Composite ended the day 1.78% higher. The small cap Russell 2000 was the day’s best performer with a win of 2.67% Tomorrow? Well, the October jobs report released at 8:30 will certainly help set the tone for the day with a weak report likely to reinforce the belief that the Federal Reserve is done aiding interest rates. But given how much of the recent bounce has been fueled by a return of optimism about technology stocks, it’s likely that Apple’s disappointing results, announced after the close of trading today, Thursday, November 2, will determine the direction of the trend.
I’ve hi-lighted the key characteristics of the coming global debt bomb explosion that investors MUST include in any plan to protect a portfolio from the explosion of this bomb.
So what do you do with your portfolio for the rest of 2023? And what’s your best strategy to be prepared for 2024? In Part 1 of this Special Report I laid out the 10 developments that I thought would drive the financial markets for the rest of 223 and into 2024. Today, in Part 2, I’m going to give you the first 2 of 10 moves to take–with as much detail and as many specifics as possible–that you should be making now to position your portfolio for the uncertainties of the last quarter of 2023.
Now that Fed day is done and behind us, we return to our regularly scheduled programming. Back on September 15, I posted “A tough day for tech–Part 1” after news on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM) reporting that the company was slowing orders with suppliers of chip making equipment because of sluggish demand for chips from its customers. Now onto Part 2 of bad news for tech stocks.
I’m looking for another wild ride for Apple (AAPL) and consequently for the entire tech sector. Apple shares dropped another 3% on Thursday taking the two-day losses in the shares to almost $200 billion, (Yep, with a “B.” That brought Apple’s market cap to $2.9 trillion. Yep, with “T.”) A massive (Internet irony alert) rally on Friday took the shares up 0.35%. And I think that this coming week could be just as volatile.
Ho, hum, it’s a quiet week with nothing much going on. Oh, except for the meeting the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate setting Open Market Committee on Wednesday, July 26. Oh, and earnings from Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOG) on July 25, and Meta Platform (META aka Facebook) on July 26. Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN report on August 3.
Right now economists are projecting that the U.S. economy didn’t slip into a recession in the second quarter that ended on June 30. But those same forecasts are looking for a further slowdown in economic growth in the quarter.
On July 3 the GDPNow forecast from the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank put second quarter growth at an adjusted annual rate of 1.9%. That’s down from the model’s 2.2% forecast on Jone 30. And that rate of growth would be a further deceleration from the 2.0% growth rate (that was an upward revision from a first estimate of just a 1.3% growth rate) in the first quarter and the 2.6% growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. The very recent downward revision in the GDPNow forecast is a result of a drop in private domestic investment growth to 8.8% from 10.4%.So now recession–good news–but a further slowdown in the economy–expected with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. And a continued drop in company profits.
The Federal Reserve’s meeting on Wednesday, May 3, is a big story but it’s not the only story. There will also be earnings from Apple, Ford, Qualcomm, and Starbucks. The Federal Reserve is very likely to raise interest rates another 25 basis points on Wednesday. The CME FedWatch Tool puts the odds at 83.9%. That’s down from 89.1% on April 21 but up from just 47.1% on March 29. Unless the Fed is playing games with the market–they are such jokesters, aren’t they–I think we’ll get that 25 basis point boost. After all, it’s not like inflation has waved the white flag lately, right? The key for stock market direction, however, isn’t what the Fed does at this meeting but what the Fed says about future interest rate increases, or the lack thereof. The Goldilocks scenario that is supporting stocks at current levels is built on a relatively quick end to rate increases and then a relatively rapid pivot to interest rate cuts–by the end of 2023. Wall Street will be listening for anything that hints at that scenario in the Fed’s post-meeting statement. And stocks will rally if Wall Street thinks it hears anything to confirm its hopes. On Friday, the CME FedWatch Tool put the odds for a June 14 interest rate increase at just 26.8% and the odds that the Fed will put interest rates on hold at 62.2%. There’s enough wiggle room in those odds to convince me that the market isn’t all that certain about the Fed ending interest rate increases at that meeting.The other story this week is earnings.
Shipments by all PC makers slumped 29% in the first quarter to a level below that in early 2019, according to tech market analysts at IDC. Lenovo Group and Dell Technologies registered drops of more than 30%, while HP (HPQ) was down 24.2%. No major brand was spared from the slowdown, with Asustek Computer Inc. rounding out the top 5 with a 30.3% fall. But Apple (AAPL)let the plunge with personal computer shipments down by 40.5% in the first quarter.
Ok, so Dan Ives is talking his book (or sector at least) but he still raises an interesting point. (Dan Ives is a Managing Director and Senior Equity Research Analyst covering the Technology sector at Wedbush Securities since 2018.) With bank stocks in particular and the financial sector in general in turmoil, will investors looking for steady earnings turn to tech stocks? (Well maybe not all tech stocks but how about Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT)?
Today’s Quick Pick is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). For this Quick Pick, I’m suggesting you wait to buy until Apple falls to around $140 (which I think is coming.) Apple, like many tech stocks, is a seasonal stock, and we’re currently in one of the company’s traditionally weaker quarters. The Christmas buying quarters (the last two quarters of the year) are when Apple brings in the most revenue, and the first two calendar quarters are generally weaker. Apple took a hit during the big downward turn on the bear when all tech stocks were hit, but the stock recovered strongly during this early 2023 rally. If shares get down to $140, that’s a great place to get in before Apple announces new technology and updates to its product line. There are rumblings of an Apple VR headset announcement coming soon and we know that we’ll see new iMacs and Powerbooks. We can also look forward to the Apple Developer Conference in May and new product announcements in September. If you can get this cheap in the first half of the year, you can look for a big recovery in the second half of the year.