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Monday July 19, 2004 - 11:28:27 GMT
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Equity Trading Strategies - July 19th 2004

DAX may further dip to 3800; FTSE 100 may fall further to 4300 -- new bull phase for both initiates thereafter

Fewer U.S. companies raised earnings forecasts for 2Q than for 1Q of the year. The decrease signals that stocks are vulnerable in coming weeks as Wall Street sees the peak of profit growth is past.


- Crude oil futures in New York fell from a six-week high as a hiatus in attacks on oil export facilities in Iraq and rising OPEC output raised expectations supplies in the U.S. will be enough to meet demand. Iraq's southern oil pipelines and terminals, which supplied about 1.8 percent of the world's oil last year, have been producing without disruption for 12 days. That may help maintain U.S. crude oil inventories that are almost 9 percent higher than a year ago. Imports into the U.S., the world's biggest oil user, have been about 5 percent higher in the past two months, Energy Department reports show. Crude oil for August delivery was 0.8 percent, or 32 cents, lower at $40.93 at 11:54 a.m. Singapore time. On Friday, the contract gained 1.2 percent to $41.25 a barrel. Friday's close was the highest since prices soared $2.45, or 6.1 percent, to a record $42.33 on June 1, the first day of trading after a weekend attack against oil workers in Saudi Arabia that killed 22 people.

- Fewer U.S. companies raised their earnings forecasts for the second quarter than for the first three months of the year. The decrease is a signal that stocks may extend losses in coming weeks as Wall Street realizes the peak of profit growth is past. More than a third of U.S. companies that forecast first- quarter earnings, such as General Electric Co. and PepsiCo Inc., said analysts' estimates were too low. Corporate optimism ebbed for the second-quarter earnings now being released, as just 26 percent of companies raised predictions. Investors may have a better idea of whether analysts' earnings estimates are too optimistic after this week, the busiest five days for second-quarter earnings reports. About 180 S&P 500 companies -- more than a third of the index's members -- are scheduled to release their results.

Equity Markets Summary

Asian semiconductor-related stocks fell, led by Samsung Electronics Co., after Motorola Inc. reduced the initial public offering of its chip unit by a third, suggesting investors are shunning the industry. South Korea's Kospi index fell 0.1 percent to 739.29 at 11:22 a.m. in Seoul. The Taiex index in Taipei dropped 0.2 percent to 5488.71, led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Morgan Stanley Capital International's Asia-Pacific excluding Japan Information Technology Index, which tracks 72 computer-related shares, had the biggest decline in the regional benchmark. It fell 0.3 percent. Japan is on holiday Monday.

Although the CPI report was the most anticipated event on Friday, the University of Michigan also released its preliminary July reading on consumer sentiment, which showed a disappointingly small improvement from June. Due to this downbeat reading, as well as a lukewarm reception to the latest second quarter earnings news, stocks finished lower. The Dow lost 0.2%, the S&P slipped 0.5%, and the Nasdaq dropped nearly 1.6%.

On Friday, the major stock markets of Europe, with no key economic data on tap, took their cue from a modest tech rebound following recent declines and, initially, from a strong U.S. open. However, after gaining through much of the day, most bourses dipped in late afternoon trading. In the end, the DAX and CAC-40 hardly made any progress on the day, as the former fell 0.1% and the latter rose 0.1%. The FTSE-100, battered by a dip in pharmaceutical stocks but lifted by gains for the financial sector, was broadly unchanged on the day. Overall, however, it has been a dismal week for the European bourses and all three major indices are well below Monday morning’s opening.

Equity Technicals:

DAX Index - the DAX on Friday made a lower low at 3830 from the previous 3840, but the downwards momentum is clearly dying and the downwards drift should end soon, possibly at 3800. The index should make an upmove to 3930 area later in the week. The medium-term outlook remains unchanged -- expect a new upwards cycle to form, one which should go on and challenge the 4175 top further out, and perhaps go on and focus at a 4500 upside target later in the year. The idea, from here on up to next week, is not to quibble about a cyclical low, but rather start building a long stake at current levels for the medium-term haul.

FTSE 100 Index - the index retests the 4325 baseline, but the down phase should end soon, possibly at 4300. The index should advance further towards the 4400 area later in the week. The medium-term outlook remains positive. The next upwards phase from there may kick off a new upside sequence which will go on and challenge the 4600 top, and perhaps extend gains further towards 4750 later in the year. Therefore, the idea, from here on,is not to quibble, but rather start building a long stake at current levels for the medium-term haul.

S&P 500 - the index fell further Friday and may fall further to 1095 -- but we are still looking for an 1120 recovery thereafter nonetheless. The medium-term view remains positive -- recent action supports the view that a bigger scale +test of the low+ phase is about to end, and that a new bull market cycle, which started at 1076 in May would shortly resume. The new bull phase may go on and challenge the 1165 top, and thereafter extend gains to 1300 later in the year.

Dow Jones Ind Ave. - the Dow may yet fall to circa 10,100 -- but we still look for a rally to 10,290 nonetheless. And, the medium-term view remains positive regardless. A new bullmarket phase may be about to unfold. All of these details should be immaterial from an investment point of view -- start building a portfolio now for a medium-term haul. We are looking for this middling correction to end soon -- the main uptrend which started at 9820 from the May low, should resume shortly. The bull market's revival waits in the wings -- and eventually, we expect to see a rally to the 10,800 top, and perhaps further appreciation towards 12,000 later in the year.

NDX 100 - another test of the 1380 - 1367 support band looms ahead -- but we still expect an upmove towards the 1440 resistance from there nonetheless. A new bull phase may be in the offing, but will only know for certain once the 1440 resistance is taken out. But is it important that medium-term investors should start building a new portfolio, as the uptrend should reassert soon. The medium-term view remains strong -- the new bull market started at 1372 in May, and should go on to test the 1560 top, and perhaps further appreciation towards 1750 later in the year.

Nikkei - the index retests the 11.200 base, and looks like a recovery is in progress. We still believe in the bulls case -- a new bull uptrend may have already initated from the 10,450 low in May, which may have 15,000 - 15,500 as the major goal late in the year. -- No change in view -- Japan is on holiday Monday.

Hang Seng - no change in view -- the index may have found support above 11,800 and the index should ratchet higher from here to challenge the 12,600 resistance. The market gets set for a new bull market rally. The uptrend should then resume and may target the 16,500 - 1 7,000 area later in the year.


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