Stocks are flatter than the Oscar telecast this morning as investors continue to play out the clock in what is turning out to be a sneakily huge February. Here’s what you need to know as we get cranking up on a Tuesday:
1. Stocks were lower yesterday except for the Nasdaq (^IXIC) which inched slightly green. It’s now been almost two trading weeks since the Nasdaq closed lower on any given day. By that standard Monday was a crash. On the upside, that makes this turnaround Tuesday. We’re now .8% from 5000 on the Nasdaq, at which point the world’s problems will pretty much be solved.
Related: Nasdaq 5000 and other market movers to watch this week
For February the tech-laden Nazz is up 7% or more than 325 points. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) is up 116 points for the month so far. That would make this the third biggest month in the history of the S&P 500 on a point basis. Yes, the rally is tired. A pause is overdue. One measure I’ve been talking about is the Average Trading Range which is simply the average range of trading over a 14 day period. In the last month that’s dropped by more than a third. That’s typically been a time to look for a rest. I’m not saying sell. I’m saying don’t chase.
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2. Janet Yellen will head to Capitol Hill to deliver her Humphrey-Hawkins testimony over the next two days. Today it’s the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow the House Financial Services Committee. That is all you need to know about her testimony. In fact, that’s too much. There is nothing she could possibly say that should cause you to change your investment strategy. Nothing. Literally anything other than watching her testimony is a better use of your time. Whipslash is available on iTunes today. It was the best film of last year. A hardcore yet heartwarming look at how we draw genius out of young people. It challenges our modern assumptions about parenting even as it tells a gripping story. You’ll learn more from watching that movie than you will from Yellen. I promise.
3. I’m going to go ahead and revisit number two by reiterating just how unimportant Janet Yellen’s testimony is today, at least in regards to your investments. The Fed is data dependent. They look at the same numbers you do. Seriously. Do anything else. Try to get on the Home Depot (HD) call with a question. Say “nice quarter” then ask if they feel bad about playing a part in the house flipping crisis. Go see 50 Shades of Grey. Find the US – Soviet 1980 hockey game on YouTube.com. Anything.
- Janet Yellen