Most of the time, the U.S. stock market looks to 3 factors (call them the “pillars” which support the stock market) to support its upward trend – let’s grade each of the pillars.
CONSUMER SPENDING: This grade is increased to B+ (very favorable). Gasoline prices continue to drop. Imports have become cheaper due to the strength of the U.S. dollar. Low interest rates will help real estate, an important component for the consumers’ wealth effect. These trends put more money in the pockets of Americans coming into the all-important Holiday shopping season.
THE FED AND ITS POLICIES: We continue to grade this factor an A+ (extremely favorable) because the FED cannot do much more than it is doing to support the stock market and asset prices. The FED kept interest rates unchanged last week. The next big milestone is Fed meeting will occur Oct 27-28.
BUSINESS PROFITABILITY: This factor’s grade is a C (average).
OTHER CONCERNS: The “Heat Map” is indicating the U.S. stock market is in OK shape ASSUMING no international crisis. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest level of crisis, we rate these international risks collectively as a 6 due to continued signs of a slowdown in China. These risks deserve our ongoing attention.