Temporary Debt Ceiling Relief Could Prompt Stocks To Break Resistance

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Key Takeaways:

  • Stocks Meeting Resistance on Many Fronts but a Debt Ceiling Could Prompt a Break
  • President Putin Surprises Energy Traders with a Commitment to Help with the Crises
  • Consumers Preparing for Santa’s Stuffed Supply Lines

Stocks look to push higher for the third day in a row as futures point to a higher open. Stocks built some positive momentum on Wednesday with news of a temporary debt ceiling resolution and easing in the global energy crunch. The developments appear to have assuaged investor fears and now investors may see the pullback as buying opportunity.

A few of the stocks that are moving premarket include Twitter (TWTR) which is up 2% in premarket trading on the announcement that it’s selling its mobile ad firm MoPub to AppLovin (APP) for $1.05 billion in cash. Private equity firm Blackstone BX (BX) was up more than 3% on plans to acquire a majority stake in outsourcing services provider VFS Global. Electric car maker Nio (NIO) rose more than 5% before the open after being upgraded by Goldman Sachs GS and given a new $56 price target. Finally, ConAgra CAG (CAG) traded 1.7% higher on better than expected earnings.

Initial jobless claims were better-than-expected showing job gains in the services job sector. Continuing jobless claims were also lower-than-expected as more and more workers are getting back to work. With more workers hitting the job market, the Fed can feel more confident in its tapering plans.

Wild Wednesday

On Wednesday, stocks shrugged off a negative open to close higher on news that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Democrats a chance to “kick the can down road.” The offer included an emergency debt ceiling extension into December of this year. However, investors used the trading session to buy defensive stocks in the Utilities, Consumer Staples, and Real Estate sectors.

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Energy stocks were among the weakest groups despite crude oil inventory coming in at about half of what was expected by analysts. Oil futures (/CL) fell 2.38%. Earlier this week, oil prices broke a historical resistance level around $76.50. Technical analysts often look for securities to retest old resistance levels as new support. The ability to hold this level could be important for energy bulls.

Stocks and oil were interesting, but things got really wild in natural gas. A sudden drop in Natural Gas (/NG) prices helped pull energy stocks lower. Natural gas dropped more than 9% on Wednesday despite Europe seeing prices surging 19% the night before. The fall was prompted by Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing that Moscow would work to help stabilize the global energy market. This seems to contradict a pervious report from OPEC+ that Russia and the OPEC members agreed to maintain current production levels.  

Double Double Coil and Trouble: My charting friends tell me that price patterns are helpful when trying to identify levels of support and resistance. These levels can help identify areas of buying and selling. Triangle or coil patterns are commonly considered continuation patterns that often breakout out in the direction of the prevailing trend.

However, many technicians don’t get caught up in the labels of “continuation” and “reversal” because a breakout of either level could be a trading opportunity. A news item or unexpected announcement could trigger an unexpected breakout in the opposite direction.

Talking Turkey: Tyson TSN Foods (TSN) announced plans to continue its pattern of investing in Mississippi by spending $61 million to expand its Vicksburg poultry plant. Tyson was able to renegotiate a $2.25 billion credit agreement with JPM JPM organ Chase (JPM), which could help fund the plant and payoff antitrust lawsuits from chicken and turkey farmers.

Tyson is a little more than 3% off its 52-week high. The stock has butted up against the $81 resistance level three times this year and failed to sustain a breakout in August. If Tyson can get its fiscal ducks in a row, perhaps investors may take another run at resistance.

Santa’s Supply Line Issues: Consumers are anticipating resistance and taking fiscal actions of their own. Swedish fintech firm Klarna Bank provides online payment services for online retailers. Last week, the company released its Holiday survey results, which found that 40% of U.S. shoppers plan to get an early start and 22% have already begun. Many consumers are aware of the supply chain headaches and half of those surveyed planned to start shopping earlier to ensure they get their gifts on time.

October is the beginning of “peak” retail season and already some companies are cutting expectations. For example, Nike (NKE) cut its forecasts because COVID-19 has caused factory closures in Vietnam. Port backups and cargo container shortages along with unfilled job openings could make Christmas a little less merry for some consumers. Based on FedEx FDX (FDX) recent earnings call, seasonal hiring may be difficult. Companies like UPS (UPS) and Walmart WMT (WMT), which often need seasonal help, could struggle too.

Maybe it’s time to stop rolling your eyes at the early Christmas displays and start shopping to ensure a happy Yuletide.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

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