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 a B (favorable). This is an upgrade from B-. Gasoline prices have tumbled. Products from China have become cheaper as described in “Heads Up!” above. Both trends put more money in the pockets of Americans to spend on discretionary purchases.
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 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 5. These risks deserve our ongoing attention.