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The “Heat Map”

March 17, 2015 | Weekly Commentary

Most of the time the U.S. stock market looks to 3 factors (call them the “pillars” that support the stock market) to support its upward trend – let’s grade each of the pillars.

CONSUMER SPENDING: This grade is an A (very favorable) due to the favorable effect of lower gasoline and heating oil prices.

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.

BUSINESS PROFITABILITY: This factor’s grade has been reduced to a C (average). Many forecasters are starting to think earnings will be flat in 2015 thanks to the dollar’s potentially painful influence. Negative first quarter earnings warnings will begin soon and the March quarter at least will be terrible for energy companies, poor for most big companies, and weak in general.

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 2, the same as last week. These risks deserve our ongoing attention.

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