First, the big economic data point this week was retail sales. Although the headline number was a little light at 0.3% versus an expected 0.5% gain month-over-month, it still hit another new all-time high along the way (source: US Census Bureau). “The miss could be a sign the consumer is finally starting to slow amid record COVID-19 cases and more restrictions, with restaurant sales dipping for the first time since April,” explained LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.
The good news is retail sales has hit a new high for five consecutive months, and the economy has never been in a recession after three consecutive new highs—yet another sign the recession may be over, even if it hasn’t been called officially.
How strong has the recent rally been? Well, as of Tuesday’s close, the S&P 500 Index was on pace to have its second-best month of November ever. November isn’t over yet of course, but this could open the door to a potential late-month snap back lower after a huge move, which would be perfectly normal and healthy.
After Monday’s record close, the S&P 500 now has 24 new all-time high closes in 2020.
The surge after the election was historic in many ways. The number of stocks in the S&P 500 recently making new monthly highs caught our attention. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, previous surges in new monthly highs opened the door for near-term weakness, but the weakness was a nice buying opportunity. In fact, a year after previous major breadth thrusts saw stocks higher every single time, not something we want to ignore.
Last, more than 85% of the stocks in the S&P 500 recently were above their 200-day moving average—another sign of impressive participation in this recent market strength. Once again, future results would suggest this extreme strength is a sign of potential future strong performance and weakness could be used as a buying opportunity.
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