The manic-depressive mood of financial markets lately brings to mind the title of this hit R.E.M. song: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). When Britain stunned the world by voting to leave the European Union, pundits went berserk and predicted catastrophe. Global markets went into free fall.
However, days later, markets largely recouped their losses after it began to sink in that Brexit didn't herald the apocalypse after all. Below, we pinpoint a time-tested investing method that allows you to profit from this extreme volatility, while protecting your capital.
Assuaging fears that U.S. job growth is losing steam, the Labor Department reported on Friday that employers boosted payrolls by 287,000 in June, a surprisingly robust surge that gives Democrats political ammunition as the two parties prepare for their respective conventions this summer.
Weak employment numbers in May combined with Brexit had stoked worries that the U.S. recovery was in danger of sputtering. But the jobs report on Friday presented investors with a coveted "Goldilocks" economy: not too hot and not too cold, with low interest rates probably in place until after the presidential election. The S&P 500 (SPY) soared Friday, gaining 1.5% to end the trading day just shy of the record close it posted last year.
But can the momentum last, or do we face a "bear trap?" Economic data and earnings reports on the docket for the coming week will provide clues. In particular, Friday's schedule is chocked with key reports that are likely to move the energy, retail and financial services sectors.
As for earnings reports, the most salient results will be those from the big banks, which remain vulnerable to a deeply indebted energy sector and the fallout from Brexit. The latest economic news has been positive, but earnings reports continue to disappoint.
Major banks this week are expected to report year-over-year declines in quarterly earnings. That said, Wells Fargo (WFC) and U.S. Bancorp (USB) (both holdings of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) ) could beat expectations on the strength of their improving balance sheets.
WELLS FARGO is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells WFC? Learn more now.
Unless the gap between high valuations and lackluster earnings can be bridged, the stock market remains on shaky ground. Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries have fallen to their lowest-ever levels, a sure sign that investor nervousness still abounds. The upshot: "defensive growth" is your smartest strategy for the time being.
The most important economic reports to watch in the week ahead:
Monday: Labor Market Conditions Index.
Tuesday: NFIB Small Business Optimism Index.
Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications and EIA Petroleum Status Report.
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, and EIA Natural Gas Report.
Friday: Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales, Industrial Production, Business Inventories, Consumer Sentiment, and Baker-Hughes Rig Count.
The scheduled corporate operating results that you should keep an eye on include:
Monday: Alcoa (AA) . Average analyst expectations for earnings per share (EPS): 10 cents, compared to 19 cents in the same quarter a year ago.
Citigroup is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells C? Learn more now.
Despite the market's recent rally, post-Brexit anxiety continues to roil global markets. If you'd rather avoid stocks, bonds and funds altogether during this period of extraordinary volatility, I know a way you can make a guaranteed $67,548 over the next 12 months. In fact, this moneymaking technique is so successful and simple, you might want to give up "conventional" investing forever! Click here now to learn more.