I sure am laying eyes on the S&P 500 approaching strategists' full-year value objectives, yet I'm making no real bold calls in either direction regarding the next move. If we begin to get modest upward hikes in year-end S&P 500 targets, the market may boil them down as unworthy of incurring the extra risk. In other words, the risk-reward scenario would be unfavorable.
Where Are the Players At?
One thought I am wrestling with is that, in September, when the market's ballerz return to action, will they really want to get long a market sent higher by machines and rookies? The core fundamentals -- meaning corporate sales and earnings -- are uninspiring. Further, the risk of being horribly wrong into the back half is too great a threat when it comes to buying stocks today at higher valuations vs. June. The rally feels as if it's losing some steam, so play it close to the vest. Have you scored a profit on a core position? Great -- book it and wait to see if the market hurdles over key technical resistance points that would aid in sucking in others.
The retail space has officially become a brutal place to pick stocks. Best-in-breed names are known, and the valuations reflect the fact that their fundamentals are best in show. A few companies that come to mind in this department are Gap ( GPS), Ulta Salon ( ULTA), Target ( TGT), Home Depot ( HD), TJX ( TJX) and Michael Kors ( KORS). I remain upbeat on Gap, Home Depot and TJX -- I just want them at cheaper prices if possible. As for the fundamental horror stories, they will stay that way for the foreseeable future. If I had a gun to my head, I'd underweight Guess ( GES), a globally exposed brand that has had a stock gone haywire amid subdued European Union news flow instead of positive company-specific news. The risk is high for a tepid guidance outlook to smack the stock in the face.