Ventured&Gained - Personal Finance News and Insight I Bloomberg

The Selloff: How Bad -- and What to Do Now

Today we attempt to answer two pressing questions:

1. How bad is the selloff?

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Warning Signs for Housing Stocks

Two big banks today with one clear message: Housing bulls beware.

Earnings reports this morning from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) revealed significant declines in mortgage activity. JPMorgan originations fell 48 percent compared to the same period last year, while Wells Fargo applications dropped 26 percent. Given that Wells Fargo typically underwrites one quarter of the nation's mortgages during a given quarter, this weakness is significant.

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Searching for Buy Candidates in the Small-Cap Carnage

Here's something we haven't seen in 20 years: Small-capitalization stocks have come completed unglued from their large-cap counterparts.

These two extreme segments of the market have tended to trade in tandem, generally rising and falling together over time. This year however, data from Strategas Research Partners indicates that only 40 percent of the stocks in the S&P Smallcap 600 Index are currently in an uptrend, compared to 72 percent for the S&P 500 Index.

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Trouble in Store for Oil Stocks

Oil drops for a fourth consecutive day to a two-year low, as Saudi Arabia lowers prices to Asian customers. Feeling the pressure, Iran is expected to match discounts next week, and fellow OPEC member Nigeria has still only sold half its November cargoes.

These latest signs of weakness follow a string of bearish developments since oil posted a one-year high in June.

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A Place for Stock Investors to Hide From Falling Markets

Stay invested and sleep at night.

Recent gyrations in the stock market have pushed the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) to its highest level since last March. In the first six trading days of October alone, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) has risen or fallen by at least 200 points four times.

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The International Monetary Fund yesterday lowered its global growth forecast for a third time in less than a year. And in the past 24 hours, markets have responded in unison. The MSCI World Stock Index has dropped 1.4 percent, ICE Brent crude oil futures have fallen 2.1 percent and global bond yields have fallen to new lows.

In some European countries, two-year yields have even turned negative. Imagine paying indebted governments to hold your money. That's fear -- and a palpable perception deflation has already arrived.

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How Profits and Politics Could Lift U.S. Stocks

Two reasons to buy stocks in the near-term: earnings and elections.

FBN Securities Inc. technical strategist J.C. O'Hara provides two visual examples of what he describes as "seasonal forces which turn extremely positive in the coming weeks."

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What's Working for Outperforming U.S. Stocks

Today we focus on boardroom strategies generating the biggest stock market returns for shareholders, courtesy of the team at Ned Davis Research Group. Whereas strategists tend to focus on industries and sectors, this analysis groups together companies according to factors like dividend policy and capital investment.

Three specific categories produced the highest stock market appreciation in September, according to NDR:

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Value Investing the David Herro Way

We are back in buy mode, with the help of Morningstar Inc.'s Fund Manager of the Decade.

This week marked an important turning point for the stock market. As we discussed in yesterday's blog, pessimism and selling reached climactic levels Wednesday - Thursday. Coupled with Friday's headline jobs report featuring the lowest unemployment rate since July 2008, markets have rebounded convincingly. Technical strategist Chris Verrone of Strategas Research Partners LLC describes the price action as follows:

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Has the Stock Market Selloff Run Its Course?

The one question every stock investor wants answered this morning: How much farther could stocks fall?

Yesterday's 238-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked the second such selloff in five days. The S&P 500 Index has dropped 4.1 percent from the all-time high on Sept. 18, and the beleaguered Russell 2000 Index of smaller capitalization stocks is now down 7.2 percent for the year.

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About Ventured&Gained

Ventured&Gained offers posts and features about the real issues and opportunities facing individual investors. Analyses or commentary are the views of the author and/or commentator, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Suzanne Woolley, Editor
swoolley2@bloomberg.net

Ben Steverman, Deputy Editor
bsteverman@bloomberg.net

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