While it would have seemed implausible during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, the financial markets and economy are getting a boost from commercial real estate. According to Bloomberg:
Prices of commercial properties sold by institutional investors surged 19 percent in 2010, the second-biggest gain on record, according to an index developed by the MIT Center for Real Estate. Investments in office properties, the largest part of the market, more than doubled last year to $41.6 billion, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc., which tracks commercial property sales globally.
We made the case yesterday for a positive outlook for stocks and risk assets based on positive fundamentals and positive technicals. Today's employment report will give us something new to chew on from a fundamental perspective.
Our technical argument from February 3 referenced two market breadth indicators to monitor. It is good news that these both improved yesterday. However as detailed on February 3, "overbought" conditions in these measures of market breadth would give us pause.
In the post-employment report market, here are a few things we are monitoring in order to better understand the staying power of the current leg up in stock prices. The S&P 500 has very significant long-term support near 1,200, which means even a big correction would most likely not derail the bull market. See December 15 comments for more detail on the meaning of the chart below.
Shorter-term, stocks have the next basic form of possible resistance coming in near 1,313. Notice 1,313 acted as support in early 2008 (see green) and then as resistance in late 2008 (see red); this makes 1,313 more important to traders in 2011. Hypothetically, it is plausible the markets become concerned about the end of QE2, and/or rising interest rates in the coming days and weeks; this could bring 1,313 or 1,326 into play from a possible resistance standpoint.
The reaction over the next few trading sessions to Friday's monthly labor report will help clear up some questions related to the U.S. dollar. The dollar remains weak, but there are two forms of possible support shown on the weekly and monthly charts below. We believe the fundamentals will determine the dollar's fate, with the technicals playing second fiddle.