From Humble Student of the Markets February 21, 2013 - 3:37am
I wrote that I had been watching the behavior of cyclical stocks for a signal that a correction may be starting (see Correction? Watch the cyclicals!) and we may have seen that signal yesterday.
Is the consumer getting into trouble?
Consider, for example, the relative performance of Consumer Discretionary stocks against the market as a measure of risk appetite. This sector began a relative uptrend against the market last August but declined through a relative uptrend yesterday. This move, in conjunction with the behavior of other key sectors, may signal the end of the risk-on trade for the time being.
I would also point out that we have seen two consecutive housing related releases come in below expectations (homebuilder sentiment and housing starts). The housing sector, which recently turned from a train wreck into a recovery, has been a mild economic tailwind for the economy and consumer. Cullen Roche at Pragmatic Capitalism is not as sanguine about the housing recovery as many other analysts:
I still don’t see the recovery in the various housing indices that many are raving about. To me, this looks almost exactly like what I’ve been predicting all along. A sidewa...