Stocks surge… now what?

Zoom, baby! US stocks burst out of the gates yesterday and never looked back. The S&P 500 (^GSPC), Dow (^DJI) and NASDAQ (^IXIC) all rose 1.8%. We are now positive for the year though still within the gravitational pull zone of resistance at 2050. And we’re slightly below record highs made December 29th.

I hope you enjoyed this echo-V shaped drop and pop because now it gets interesting. Monday starts earnings season with Alcoa (AA) limping its way out of the gate after the bell. The JPMorgan (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) all report their imaginary profits. On Thursday things get serious with Intel (INTC), Lennar (LEN) and Schlumberger (SLB).

As always, you can pretty much ignore the banks. In fact, in terms of the general news you’re going to be hearing much the same things from all the American multi-nationals. “US business is relatively strong but foreign headwinds, specifically currency, are going to impact reported earnings and (possibly) international demand.”

Currency is sort of wonky but it’s a legit excuse here. The Euro has absolutely fallen out of bed against the dollar. It’s down 5% just in the last month. One euro costs you about $ 1.18 today. That’s the lowest price in more than 5 years. Over the last 12 months the S&P 500 is up about 13% and the euro has dropped the same amount. That means it’s cheaper for us to go to Europe but more expensive for them to buy our stuff. We already know that so don’t be surprised when you hear it.

The question isn’t the news but how Wall Street decides to take it. Intel like a lot of dinosaur tech has had a huge run. Up 45% in 12 months. It’s no longer “cheap”, especially when you consider that EPS growth is going to be capped by international headwinds.

Does that mean the stock is a sell? No. It just means bulls aren’t going to be able to fall back on much of a fundamental case to support us in the event of a sell-off.

Your bottom line is this: things are about to get real. You’ve had time to get your trading game faces on and shake the sugar plums out of your head. If not rest up over the weekend. 2015 gets started on Monday afternoon.

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