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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Markets have been digesting some better-than-expected news lately, which has propelled prices near yearly highs.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls outperformed expectations; with earnings season starting up, fundamentals could be the new catalyst higher.
The first chart is of
Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight(RSP) over
SPDR S&P 500 Price (SPY). As markets have rebounded since the
Federal Reserve hinted at winding down easing earlier this year, market breadth has similarly rebounded.
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Alcoa(AA) announced after markets closed on Monday it projects stronger growth for the remainder of 2013. This bodes well for materials stocks as well as cyclical sectors tied to economic growth.
As the markets return to fundamental drivers as opposed to artificial central bank injections, look for stronger earnings and economic data to push markets to new highs.
The next chart is of
iShares MSCI Italy Capped Index(EWI) over
iShares S&P Europe 350 Index(IEV). This measures the relative strength of Italian equities versus a broader European equity index.
Italy had its sovereign debt downgraded on Tuesday due to political wrangling and weaker growth expectations. Although the downside in Europe has been capped by central bank actions, it does not mean that robust growth is around the corner.
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Political crises have sprung up in Portugal, Greece and Italy this year, which greatly hinders the ability for governments to make structural changes. These structural changes are essential for European economies to correct their inefficiencies and resume the prosperity they saw at the turn of the millennium.
The last chart is of
iShares MSCI BRIC ETF(BKF) over
Vanguard Total World Stock Index ETF(VT).
As inflation indicators have fallen and commodity prices trend downward, emerging-market BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) have seen resounding weakness.
Weakening global growth has led to a lack of natural resource demand, which serves as major revenue streams to emerging economies. This has led to continued downward revision in BRIC GDP estimates.
As long as developed countries remain tied up in political mess, their economies will be nothing more than central bank-driven. Solid corporate and economic growth are needed for a reversal in the relative downtrend seen in commodities, commodity-linked currencies and equity markets that derive much of their revenue from natural resources.
At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.Follow @AndrewSachaisThis article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.