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On our Macro Morning Call (available now, daily, by podcast – email ) last week, we talked about contrarian moves that might catch people off-side’s in the first few weeks of the new year. One was a final meltup in the SP500.  Another was a potential reversal (to the upside) in the US Financials.

Today we are seeing the Financials (XLF) play catch-up with the SP500. The XLF is up +0.75% in a flat tape, outperforming all of the sectors in our 9 sector SP500 Risk Management model.

Most importantly, the XLF is breaking out above our intermediate term TREND line. That line = $14.65/share. The question now is, can this mean reversion move in the XLF hold its gains? If it can, into and out of Friday’s employment report (ahead of JPM kicking off the sector’s earnings next week), this will get very interesting, very quickly.

Don’t forget that the XLF has underperformed the SP500 by 1100 basis points since it put in an intermediate term peak in mid-October. There are plenty of reasons to fear the financials, not the least of which are Macro Themes we’ve been beating on like Re-Regulation.  Today, consensus favorite, Meredith Whitney, is trying to add to well placed fears in the money centers and brokers by taking down her numbers again in Goldman Sachs.

Last month, we launched coverage of the Financials sector with a bearish immediate term view on the money center banks and a bullish view on Capital One (COF). In the long term however, Josh Steiner and I think that the financials should hold their long term TAIL of support (outlined in the chart below at $12.16).  

In between now and then, the best risk-managed approach to this sector will be to let real-time prices tell you where to bob and weave. Watch this $14.65 line in the XLF very closely.


Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

Financials Breaking Out: Can They Hold? - XLF