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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Cohen

3X Market Journal - Issue 16

Debt Ceiling Concerns Overshadow Inflation Progress

Gray, white, and blue 3X logo, with tech-inspired details.

Welcome to the sixteenth edition of the 3X Trading Market Recap & Outlook Report. The 3X Trading Team reviews economic data releases, notable earnings, and other remarkable news and uses that information in alignment with technical analysis to establish opinions on the market’s outlook. That information is consolidated and compiled into this report every week for publication on the Dividend Dollars website and 3X Trading. The members of the 3X Trading Team are not traders nor investment analysts by practice nor profession. They are learning within this server just like many of our members. Therefore, nothing should be taken as financial advice, please so your own due diligence before making trade or investment decisions. Rather, this report is just another resource within our toolbox and should be used to provide additional information and opinions on the market and its happenings. Enjoy reading!

Dividend Dollars’s Stock Market Outlook & Opinion

Last week we ended the outlook with a call that the early week would be fairly directionless leading into CPI, which could then lead to a green week on positive inflation reception. We were only half correct here, we nailed the catalyst and the lead up, but not the direction afterwards.

The Consumer Price Index report rose 4.9% for April year-over-year, down from 5% in March and the 5% consensus. The Producer Price Index came in at 2.3% for April, down from 2.7% in the prior month and under the 2.5% consensus. Both readings are still well above the Fed’s 2% inflation target, though they have been steadily falling since June of last year. Historically, both reports tend to have an outsized effect on the market (CPI more so than PPI), however, this go around they seemed to be overshadowed by debt ceiling concerns that muted their effects. Earnings surprises also seem to have muted moves up in stock price, likely for the same reason.

The Q1 earnings season wrapped up this week with 32 S&P 500 companies giving their reports. 21 of them beat EPS estimates. On average, this season has beat EPS estimates 78% of the time which is above the 10-year average of 73%. Despite the strong performance in earnings, the average stock price appreciation after an earnings beat was 0.3%, compared to a 5-year average of 1%. Meanwhile, companies that reported a surprise to the downside experienced and outsized moved down of 4.1% on average compared to the 5-year average of down 2.2%. The numbers show that the market is rewarding positive surprises less while punishing negative surprises.

While $SPY and $VIX were fairly flat this week, the technical have not changed much. Stocks continue to prove the naysayers and recession doomsday-ers wrong by performing better than most expected for 2023. SPX remains well above is significant moving day averages and the consolidation around 4,100 is not in its 6th straight week. At these levels, falling back down to the bear market low from October would take a 13% decline while a move higher needed to declare a new bull market is less than 4% away. It seems nothing is really moving the market much at the moment, despite debt ceiling battles, inflation, and ongoing recession warnings.

Next week’s economic calendar is light. With inflation continuing to moderate, political analysts expecting a debt ceiling deal, and a labor market hardly showing signs of slowdown, it looks like we may have another sideways week. OI changes on VIX, SPX, and equities are all mixed, same with open interest put call ratios. None of the market sentiment indicators that I follow have had extreme readings, and there were just a few more downgrades than upgrades this week. The indicators seem to be balanced, giving me a neutral outlook for next week.

Weekly Market Review


The Nasdaq Composite closed the week with a slim gain while the S&P 500 closed with a slim loss. The 4,100 level was an important area of support for the S&P 500 this week. Mega-cap stocks held up the broader market, led by Alphabet who rose 11.0% this week following its Google IO Developer's Conference.

The Fed’s Senior Loan Office Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices (SLOOS) confirmed that lending standards have tightened and banks expect to tighten standards across all loan categories over the remainder of 2023. PacWest was a losing standout from bank stocks, falling 21.0% this week after announcing that its deposits fell 9.5% for week ending May 5th and cut its dividend to one penny.

The debt ceiling angst weighed on the market after Yellen warned of chaos if the situation is not resolved. President Biden met with congress leaders on Tuesday to discuss the ceiling, but did not calm market concerns. He was supposed to meet with them again on Friday, but that got postponed to next week.

Inflation readings showed continued month-over-month moderation in inflation which may at least spur the Fed to keep its policy rate on hold in June. Economic readings culminated on Friday with the consumer sentiment survey that showed an increase in inflation expectations.

Disney was a drag on sentiment after reporting a decline in Disney+ paid subscribers. Energy, materials, and industrials sectors showed some of the steepest declines for the week while communication services and consumer discretionary sectors were the lone outperformers boosted by their respective mega-cap components.


The market was mixed and in a wait-and-see mode leading into the SLOOS. The loan officer report confirmed what most were already expecting following the regional banking issues that began two months ago. Lending standards have tightened and are expected to remain tight across all loan categories through 2023.

The day mostly closed flat and was supported by mega-cap gains while regional banks rolled over at the end of the day. $KRE was up 2.7% in the morning and closed with a 2% loss. Concerns of the debt ceiling was a distracting factor with statements from Yellen and planned meetings with President and Congress leaders.


The market traded flat and slightly weak in from the CPI report expected on Wednesday. Ongoing debt ceiling concerns continued to mute most moves as Biden and Congressional leaders met at 4PM on Tuesday to discuss the ceiling.

The $DIA outperformed on the day largely due to a gain by Boeing on the news that they received 150 orders for 737 Max-10 plans from Ryanair, with an option for 150 more. Data for the day was only the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for April with fell to 89, a 10 year low.


Wednesday was a mixed day as the $DIA was mostly negative while $QQQ and $SPY outperformed with gains in the mega-cap space. Price action was muted till a later afternoon rebound took place, leaving the indices closing comfortably above their opens. $GOOG was a big driver of support as it rallied on the back of its Developer’s Conference presentation, which included updates on its AI efforts.

Initially, the market responded positively to the April Consumer Price Index report, but a closer look left investors feeling uncertain about the Fed’s policy path. Total CPI was up 4.9% YoY, down from 5%, which marks the first sub 5% reading in two years. Core CPI was up 5.5% YoY down from 5.6%. The report may sway the Fed to hold rates at their current level at their next meeting in June, on the other hand, a 5% reading is not going to convince the Fed to cut rates any time soon. Especially with the fact that the shelter increase of 0.4% MoM was the largest contributor to the increase in total CPI.

Other data included the MBA Mortgage Application Index which rose 6.3% with refinancing activity up 10% and purchase applications up 5%. The April Treasury budget was also released which showed a surplus of $176B compared to $308B last year. The report showed that individual income and corporate tax receipts were $465B which is 32% less than April of last year.


The indices closed mixed near their highs of the day on Thursday, yet the overall market was a bit weaker then the indices indicated. Growth concerns are creating a rush to safety buying interest in mega-caps which is driving a lot of the price action. The Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF rose 0.2% while the equal weighted S&P 500 ETF fell 0.5%.

As previously mentioned, news about $PACW’s deposit loss and dividend cut paired with $DIS’s 2% loss of subscribers added to growth concerns. This paired with the continued looming debt ceiling threat is creating a rough market environment.

Data for Thursday included the April Producer’s Price Index and the Weekly Initial Claims. PPI came in at 0.2% compared to -0.4% last month, showing continued moderation in inflation. Weekly claims was 264k, up from 242k last week. Continuing claims also showed some gains. Initial claims hit their highest level since last October, tracking in a direction that reflects an initial loosening in our tight labor market.


Friday closed out the week on a more upbeat note, despite the negative price action for most of the day. The late afternoon bounce left the indices with only modest losses on a low volume day. Money flows reversed somewhat on Friday as $MGK fell 0.3% compared to the 0.2% loss in $RSP, showing a more mixed market breadth compared to Thursday.

Economic data brought us the April Import/Export prices which followed suit with the CPI and PPI reports with its own moderation in inflation pressures on a YoY basis. Import prices rose 0.4% compared to a 0.8% loss last month. Export prices were up 0.2% compared to a 0.6% decrease prior. Year over year figures were flat for imports and down for exports.

The May Consumer Sentiment report showed worse expectations with a reading of 57.7 compared to a 63.5 reading last month, and a 62.9 estimate. Consumer sentiment has weakened on concerns about the economic outlook which threatens discretionary spending and took out nearly half of the index’s gains since bouncing from its last all time low in June.


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