Fear of Fed Hike, Low Oil Prices, and Weakness in Chinese Stock Market Led to Selloff in U.S. Stocks

Today was a very heavy selling day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down over 300 points. At 8:30 this morning the S&P futures were very weak, down about 20 handles. When the markets opened at 9:30 we saw very heavy selling. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ, and the Russell 2000 pushed to new lows. Between 11:30 and 12:00 the market started pushing up but it did not last. The advance decline was more than 5:1 negative, with more than 5 stocks down for every 1 stock up. At around 1:00 the overall market began to drift lower and by 3:00 accelerated to the downside. The S&P futures broke the 2000 level, trading below it.

There were three factors leading to the weakness in the overall market today. The first factor is the fear that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates on Wednesday when they release the minutes from the December meeting. I do not know what the Federal Reserve is thinking considering raising interest rates. There is a slowdown in China, the European economy is struggling, the U.S. GDP is only at 2-2.5%, and the U.S. economy is not growing ever after the 4.5 trillion dollars of stimulus. I think that the Federal Reserve will surprise everybody on Wednesday and not raise rates. After seeing the 300 point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average the Federal Reserve does not want any more volatility in the market between now and the end of the year. The second factor is the weakness in crude oil. Crude oil pushed down to a low of 35.16 and was down over 1.40 at one point today. The decline in crude oil is leading to the selling of the S&P 500 oil stocks. The weakness in the oil stocks is leading to a wave of selling in the overall S&P 500 index, heavily contributing to the decline over the last couple days. The third factor is the heavy selling in China last night. The decline earlier this year in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from the 18300 level down to 15371 was a result of the Chinese Market selling off from the 4900 level down to the 2900-3000 range.

Going forward the overall market is almost oversold here. I am very close to getting a sell signal on the daily charts. This is troublesome as even if we do get this pushup it won’t be anything significant. I see the Dow Jones Industrial Average possibly getting up to the 17600-18000 range. With only 13 business days left in the year I do not expect significant gains unless the Federal Reserve does something on Wednesday to put the firepower back into the market.

Today gold got up to the 1079 level. Gold is dead money here in a range between 1040 and 1090. A couple days ago gold got up to the 1088 level, did not get into my range, and then dropped to 1065.

Crude oil has dropped about 12 dollars since I got the sell signal on the daily chart that mirrored the weekly chart. The decline in crude oil is great for the consumer with the decrease in gasoline and heating oil prices. I think this decline will continue. Earlier this year one of the big member firms was calling for crude oil to get down to 20 dollars a barrel, we are not that far away. OPEC continues to pump out oil, even with the surplus, in order to hurt a few of the U.S. oil firms. I expect we will start seeing U.S. oil firms’ start declaring bankruptcy in the next six months, as a result of their debt in addition to the falling oil prices. Oil is very oversold here and I would not be surprised if oil pushes up to the 38-39.50 range.

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