I noted Tuesday that the markets have been rallying in the last few days because the four major sources of anxiety—oil, base metals, bond yields, and European equities—have shown signs of bottoming. A rare day of weakness for the U.S. dollar provided additional help yesterday.
Several of these trends have been building for a while. Oil has been hovering in the mid-$40s for a month, and Europe has been stronger since mid-January.
But the combination of all four trends together—aided by word that a deal with Greece may be possible and a breakout in oil to the $50s—has created a powerful rally. The S&P 500 has rallied 70 points from its high to its low in two days.
Can it last? Lowry Research, the oldest technical analysis service in the United States (founded in the 1930s) issued a note to clients last night saying, in part, "the market reached an important low on Jan. 30th and has now embarked on a rally that should, at least, test the late Dec. bull market highs for the major price indexes."
Half way through earnings season, it should get easier.
Fifty percent of the S&P 500 have reported. Disappointing numbers from large banks and dramatic announcements of future production cuts and capital expenditure spending reductions from oil companies have greatly compressed earnings growth. We are looking at earnings gains of a little more than 2 percent for the S&P 500 for the fourth quarter, according to Factset.
What worries me is that earnings estimates are continuing to come down for the Q1, which is the quarter I really care about.