The Chart Seminar notes
Comment of the Day

May 29 2012

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Chart Seminar notes

Eoin Treacy's view At the US venues for The Chart Seminar in April, a considerable number of instruments were quite overextended relative to their respective 200-day MAs and were looking susceptible to mean reversion. At last week's seminar in London and following a difficult month for many investors, mean reversion has taken place for a considerable number of instruments.

For the most consistent trends, as the 200-day MA is approached it is now for the bulls to prove their mettle. Support will need to be found in the region of the trend mean if the medium-term upside is to continue to be given the benefit of the doubt.

In common with last summer, a dichotomy has emerged between instruments associated with industrial production or leveraged to global economic growth and those offering exposure to the growth of the global consumer class. The commonality in the consumer related sectors remains a compelling argument in support of the on-going secular bull market driven by hundreds of millions of people entering the middle classes. This was particularly clear in the instruments delegates chose for the various examples covered in the seminar.

It is sometimes educative to highlight what delegates did not ask for because such instruments often represent a sector which is being overlooked by the wider market. It was particularly notable last week that while the delegates expressed considerable interest in the European debt markets no one asked to see a European index or European equities apart from banks.

The Eurozone's travails remain a considerable focus of investor concern. The re-run of the Greek election, the potential for the country to leave the currency union, Spain's banking and employment crisis, the absolute and relative weakness of the European banking sector generally as well as widening peripheral government bond spreads have conspired to deter investors from looking at the Eurozone as a potential investment destination. Some fear that the currency in which various securities are denominated will cease to exist and favour the relative safe haven of Bunds and Treasuries as well as currencies such as the Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar etc. However, while the likelihood of a Greek exit is rising, how likely is it that the Euro will disappear altogether? I suspect very low indeed.

Therefore, the current malaise is creating investment and trading opportunities as prices decline and contagion becomes more of an issue. For example, 190 of the Dow Jones Europe Stoxx 600 have made at least a new 3-month low in the last five days. As an exercise in identifying the most oversold Eurozone equities that may have been unjustifiably pummelled I took the 304 constituents of the Euro Stoxx Index and excluded all those trading above their 200-day MAs and all the banks. I next split the list into core Eurozone countries and peripheral countries. Here is the resulting PDF sorting shares by country of domicile, industry subgroup and as a percentage of how oversold they are relative to their 200-day MAs.

As pointed out in Comment of the Day on May 3rd , the European telecommunications sector has been particularly weak. A number of shares in this sector feature on the above list and while there is some risk to their dividends, there is no doubt that even in a worst case scenario consumers are going to require phones.

While the US and UK utility sectors have been among some of the better relative performers due to their bond-like qualities, the Eurozone's electric, gas and water utilities and its toll roads have been among some of the worst performers. (Also see Comment of the Day on May 11th) . Nevertheless, they are cash flow positive businesses whose yields are likely to prove attractive when the political climate becomes less of an issue.

Energy, Chemical and diversified manufacturing operations also predominate in this report but this is probably more to do with concerns over slowing global economic growth rather than specifically Eurozone related fears.

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