Where Does The Market Go From Here? Keep An Eye On This Crucial S&P 500 Level

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) gave up early gains to trade mostly flat in midday trading on Friday, potentially on track for its second consecutive day of gains.

It’s been another brutal week for the S&P 500, but technical traders are hoping the silver lining is that the index has at least established a near-term support level this week.

Key Technical Level

On Friday, Miller Tabak chief market strategist Matt Maley told CNBC the S&P 500 has bounced every time it has dipped below the 2,350 level this week and it has yet to open or close below that key level despite testing it each of the past four days.

“Now we went down and actually broke below that level slightly on Wednesday and then again … on Thursday, but both times we’ve bounced back,” Maley said. “If we can rally even further off that, that’s going to … finally give [investors] some confidence that we can get a rally of more than one day.”

But before investors get too excited about the potential new support level, they need to keep this week’s trading action in perspective. DataTrek Research co-founder Nicholas Colas has been following a trading playbook based on market action in late 2008.

Colas said in a Friday newsletter that his 2008 playbook has been working like a charm up to this point.

SPY Chart by TradingView new TradingView.widget( { “width”: 680, “height”: 423, “symbol”: “AMEX:SPY”, “interval”: “D”, “timezone”: “Etc/UTC”, “theme”: “light”, “style”: “1”, “locale”: “en”, “toolbar_bg”: “#f1f3f6”, “enable_publishing”: false, “allow_symbol_change”: true, “container_id”: “tradingview_8dd21” } ); 2008 Playbook Update

The S&P 500 has been following an accelerated track of exactly how it traded in late September and early October of 2008, according to Colas.

Colas said Thursday the 2008 playbook puts the current period in-line with Oct. 10, 2008. After a huge sell-off to start the month of October, the S&P 500 found brief support and traded mostly sideways for about two weeks before the sell-off resumed in late October and early November.

“If the 2008 playbook works (and it certainly has so far) US equity markets are set for a short period of relative stability over the next week or so,” Colas said.

Colas cautioned investors about making the same mistake he has seen play out many times during similar periods in the past.

“The pattern is always the same: they see a few days of calm in a troubled stock or the market as a whole and assume the worst has passed,” he said.

Looking ahead, Colas said the next leg of the 2008 sell-off would correlate to a 2020 S&P 500 price target of 1,868, a level he called the “worst-case scenario bottom.”

Bullish sentiment among StockTwits messages mentioning the S&P 500 was at 30.5% on Friday, up from 26% on March 12 but down from 73.9% back on Dec. 1.

Diamond samples in Canada reveal size of lost continent

Canadian scientists have discovered a fragment of an ancient continent, suggesting that it was 10% larger than previously thought.

They were studying diamond samples from Baffin Island, a glacier-covered land mass near Greenland, when they noticed a remnant of North Atlantic Craton.

Cratons are ancient, stable parts of the Earth’s continental crust.

The North American Craton stretched from present-day Scotland to North America and broke apart 150m years ago.

Scientists chanced on the latest evidence as they examined exploration samples of kimberlite, a rock that often contains diamonds, from Baffin Island.

“For researchers, kimberlites are subterranean rockets that pick up passengers on their way to the surface,” University of British Columbia geologist Maya Kopylova said. “The passengers are solid chunks of wall rocks that carry a wealth of details on conditions far beneath the surface of our planet over time.”

Ms Kopylova and her colleagues says the sample bore a mineral signature that matched other portions of the North Atlantic Craton.

“Finding these ‘lost’ pieces is like finding a missing piece of a puzzle,” Ms Kopylova is quoted as saying in an article published by the University of British Columbia’s website.

The samples were taken from deep below the Chidliak Kimberlite Province in southern Baffin Island. Previous reconstructions of the Earth’s plates had been based on shallow rock samples formed at depths of one to 10km (six miles).

Ms Kopylova said the discovery adds about 10% to the known size of the craton. “Our knowledge is literally and symbolically deeper,” she said.

This Weird Shape Might Actually Be What Our Sun’s Magnetic Bubble Looks Like

Every planet in our Solar System, including our own, is enclosed in a bubble of solar wind, emanating from our Sun at supersonic speeds.

The particles making up this wind create an invisible magnetic field, which protects us from the rest of interstellar space. For decades now, astronomers have been analysing this system of radiation and magnetism known as a heliosphere, mapping its boundaries in an effort to figure out what it looks like.

A collaborative new model from experts at several different universities now suggests it’s a weird amalgamation of pretty much all our theories. 

For many years, scientists thought the heliosphere looked more like a comet or a wind sock, with a round nose at one end and a trailing tail at the other.

This is how it is usually depicted in textbooks and articles, but in recent years, there are two other shapes that seem more likely.

2g.Heliosphere Image main BoundariesLg

In 2015, data from the Voyager 1 spacecraft suggested there were two tails, making the heliosphere look more like a weird croissant. Two years later data from the Cassini mission suggested we should do away with the whole tails thing altogether, making it more like a giant beach ball.

“You don’t accept that kind of change easily,” says Tom Krimigis, who led experiments on both Cassini and Voyager.

“The whole scientific community that works in this area had assumed for over 55 years that the heliosphere had a comet tail.”

Now, we may have to reshuffle our assumptions once again, because if the new model is right, the heliosphere could very well be shaped like both a deflated beach ball and a bulbous croissant, it just depends on where and how you define the boundary. 

The heliosphere is thought to extend more than twice as far as Pluto, with the solar wind constantly pushing up against interstellar matter, protecting us from charged particles which could otherwise tear through our Solar System.

But figuring out where this boundary exists is like trying to figure out which shade of grey should distinguish black from white.

Using data from the New Horizons spacecraft, which is now exploring beyond Pluto, astronomers have figured out a way to tease the two sides apart.

Instead of assuming charged particles are all the same, the new model breaks them down into two groups: charged particles from the solar wind and neutral particles drifting in the Solar System.

Unlike charged particles in interstellar space, these neutral “pickup ions” can slip through the heliosphere easily, before having their electrons knocked off.

By comparing the temperature, density and speed of these pickup ions to solar waves, the team has figured out a way to define the shape of the heliosphere.

“The depletion of [pickup ions], due to charge exchange with the neutral hydrogen atoms of the interstellar medium in the heliosheath, cools the heliosphere, ‘deflating’ it and leading to a narrower heliosheath and a smaller and rounder shape, confirming the shape suggested by Cassini observations,” the authors write.

In other words, depending on which ‘shade of grey’ you pick to define the boundary, the heliosphere can look either like a deflated sphere or a crescent moon.

“If we want to understand our environment we’d better understand all the way through this heliosphere,” says astronomer Avi Loeb from Harvard.

But we still need way more data. While we are slowly starting to reconcile our models, they are still limited by how little we know about the heliosphere itself.

Apart from the two Voyager spacecrafts launched more than four decades ago, no other vehicle has passed beyond its boundary. And even the two craft that have passed that line don’t have the tools to measure pickup ions on the periphery.Paragraph

As such, some astronomers are calling on NASA to send out a probe in the next decade to investigate and start exploring the bubble of Sun that contains us.

“With the Interstellar Probe we hope to solve at least some of the innumerous mysteries that Voyagers started uncovering,” says astronomer Merav Opher from Boston University.

The Best Way To Pick The Next Big Stock

When considering valuation metrics, price-to-earnings ratio has always been the obvious choice. This is because calculations based on earnings are easy and come in handy. However, price-to-sales has emerged as a convenient tool to determine the value of stocks that are incurring losses or are in an early cycle of development, generating meager or no profits.

While a loss-making company with a negative price-to-earnings ratio falls out of investor favor, its price-to-sales could indicate the hidden strength of its business. This underrated ratio is also used to identify a recovery situation or ensure that a company’s growth is not overvalued.

A stock’s price-to-sales ratio reflects how much investors are paying for each dollar of revenues generated by a company.

If the price-to-sales ratio is 1, it means that investors are paying $1 for every $1 of revenues generated by the company. So, it goes without saying that a stock with a price-to-sales below 1 is a good bargain, as investors need to pay less than a dollar for a dollar’s worth.  

Thus, a stock with a lower price-to-sales ratio is a more suitable investment than a stock with a high price-to-sales ratio.

Price-to-sales is often preferred over price-to-earnings as companies can manipulate their earnings using various accounting measures. However, sales are harder to manipulate and are relatively reliable.

However, one should keep in mind that a company with high debt and low price-to-sales is not an ideal choice. The high debt level will have to be paid off at some point, leading to further share issuance, rise in market cap and ultimately a higher price-to-sales ratio.

In any case, the price-to-sales ratio used in isolation cannot do the trick. One should also analyze other ratios like Price/Earnings, Price/Book and Debt/Equity before arriving at any investment decision.

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SpaceX reveals timeline for first manned flight to International Space Station

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will soon launch U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 flight test will send two astronauts to the International Space Station in May, the first time American astronauts aboard an American rocket and spacecraft have visited the station since the final space shuttle mission on July 8, 2011.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will make the journey aboard Crew Dragon launched from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “NASA and SpaceX are currently targeting no earlier than mid-to-late May for launch,” a statement released by NASA read.

In March, Musk’s Crew Dragon capsule made a round trip to the ISS, which lies in orbit more than 250 miles above Earth, with a mannequin on board. It returned to the Atlantic after six days in space, according to AFP.

The U.S. shut down space shuttle missions after 30 years in service in 2011, and since that time only the Russians have been going back and forth to the ISS.

SpaceX has made the trip 15 times since 2012 but only to refuel the station. However SpaceX is not the only private company servicing NASA: Boeing has also won a contract and is developing its own Starliner capsule.

Home  Science  News NASA reports asteroid to pass close to Earth tomorrow, might ‘airburst’

An asteroid currently being tracked by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CENOS), known as 2020 EF, will pass close enough to the planet to potentially ’cause an airburst’. However, the agency explains that we’re safe either way — the asteroid is too small to survive contact with Earth’s atmosphere.

The chunk of rock is currently on an Earth-intersecting orbit and is fast approaching the planet at more than 10,000 mph. CNEOS researchers estimate that it is about 98 feet in diameter, according to IBTimes.

Space rocks

2020 EF has been classified as an Aten asteroid, a group of asteroids whose orbits naturally come close to, and even intersect, that of Earth. This particular one follows a very wide orbit around the sun, giving it almost the same overall path of motion as Earth. The diagram also shows multiple near-approaches between 2020 EF and the planet.

After 2020 EF’s approach, Earth will then be visited by the asteroid 2020 DP4, which is traveling at a faster velocity and is much larger than 2020 EF.

Being so small, 2020 EF will most likely not cause an impact event and is much more liable to break apart if it enters Earth’s atmosphere, NASA explains. However, it might cause an airburst — an explosion in the sky. Ideally, you shouldn’t be looking at it when it happens.

The last recorded airburst took place over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, which produced a flash 30 times brighter than the Sun and caused 180 cases of eye pain and 70 cases of temporary flash blindness.

The asteroid is expected to approach Earth on March 18 at 11:15 p.m. EDT., at roughly 3.9 million miles from the planet’s center.

The TSX Stock Market Is Closer to the Bottom Than You Think

The Canadian stock market has lost over 20% of its value this year. It’s lost 14.7% over the past five days alone. With the ongoing pandemic, chances of a travel shutdown, and collapse in crude oil prices, there could be plenty of pain ahead for investors. 

While there’s no way to time the market and predict the bottom of the crash perfectly, there are signs that the plunge in stock prices could be over sooner than you expect. Here are three reasons the bottom could be near. 

Viral statistics

While there’s certainly a sense of panic pervasive in Canada right now, people seem to be overlooking the good news emerging from Asia. The number of cases in Singapore and South Korea have plateaued. Hong Kong and Japan seem to be handling the outbreak as well. China’s Hubei province is gradually recovering and the number of cases have stalled. 

This indicates that travel restrictions, early detection, and social distancing work. If Canadian health authorities take the right precautions, we could stem this tide before it’s too late. It seems the government is already considering travel restrictions and widespread screening. Early steps could save lives and buttress the economic fallout as well. 

Government stimulus

Across the border, the United States Federal Reserve has jumped in with monetary stimulus. The Fed is injecting US$1.5 trillion to put a floor under stock prices and prevent economic chaos. 

In Canada, the central bank has cut interest rates, while the Trudeau administration has announced $1 billion in support for small businesses and employees. Investors can probably expect further stimulus if the fallout continues. The Bank of Canada may be forced to cut interest rates even lower. That means there’s a floor on stock prices, even if it seems invisible now. 

Market valuation

Another reason the sell-off could be ending soon is the valuation of the overall stock market now seems reasonably attractive. The Buffett Indicator, a measure of the stock market’s value to the nation’s gross domestic product, hit 105% on Monday. Today, the ratio stands at 103%. The lowest it’s ever been is 78%. 

That means the market needs to fall just 3% more to be fairly valued and 20% more to be historically undervalued. That means the bottom could be here sooner than expected.  Meanwhile, investors have a chance to pick up some stellar stocks at unbelievable discounts. 

Foolish takeaway

The ongoing pandemic and oil price war is unprecedented. To cut the risk, the government may have to restrict travel and prevent large gatherings. Meanwhile, the sense of panic that now seems pervasive could lead to a cut back in consumption. In other words, there could be more economic pain ahead.

The stock market is clearly reflecting this, as investors try to estimate the damage. However, the market crash could end when investors realize valuations have become too attractive. Meanwhile, the government’s fiscal and monetary stimulus measures could put a floor on the stock market.

The bottom of this historic plunge could be closer than you think.

Stock market’s ‘Bearmageddon’ scenario appears to have occurred, JonesTrading strategist says

With S&P 500 futures ES00, -4.784% plunging 4.8% in Sunday evening trading, JonesTrading Chief Market Strategist Mike O’Rourke said it appeares his worst-case “Bearmageddon” scenario has occurred. He described that scenario as one in which the economy rolls over at a time of maximum level of easy monetary policy while asset values are expensive, a combination of events that becomes “toxic” because investors become concerned that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy has become impotent.

Earlier Sunday, the Fed cut its benchmark rate to zero and implemented a $700 billion bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing. “All of us have just witnessed a central bank expend all of its conventional and unconventional tools to support an equity market that is less than a month from all time highs,” O’Rourke wrote in a note to clients. More concerning, is that the Fed’s two recent rate cut announcements have come after the S&P 500 SPX, +9.28% bounced 4.6% and 9.3% the day before. “The central bank refuses to let markets clear, which simply extends the period of market volatility,” O’Rourke wrote.

SpaceX launch aborted in final second before liftoff

The countdown for a planned launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida automatically aborted in the last second before liftoff Sunday after an on-board computer detected unexpected data during an engine power check.

The dramatic last-second abort occurred at 9:22 a.m. EDT (1322 GMT) Sunday, moments after the Falcon 9’s main engines ignited on launch pad 39A.

A member of launch team announced engine start and liftoff. A second later, she said: “Disregard. We have an abort.”

There was an instantaneous launch opportunity Sunday, so the abort meant SpaceX had to scrub the day’s launch attempt.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket was set to loft 60 more Starlink satellites for SpaceX’s planned Internet service, joining 300 Starlink stations launched by five previous rockets since last May. SpaceX is launching the satellites 60 at a time, aiming to deploy more than 1,500 of the quarter-ton spacecraft to provide near-global service by late 2021 or 2022.

SpaceX tweeted later Sunday morning that a “standard auto-abort triggered due to out of family data during engine power check.”

Last-second aborts after engine ignition during SpaceX countdowns are rare, but they have happened before on several occasions. On the Falcon 9’s inaugural launch in June 2010, SpaceX aborted the countdown just before engine start and tried again the same afternoon, resulting in a successful mission that reached orbit.

The company said it will announce a new target launch date once the schedule is confirmed with the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Space Wing, which runs the Eastern Range that oversees all launch activity at Cape Canaveral.

An updated launch weather forecast released by the 45th Space Wing on Sunday suggested the next launch opportunity for the Falcon 9 rocket might be Wednesday at 8:21 a.m. EDT (1221 GMT).

The weather forecast shows an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions for launch Wednesday morning with scattered clouds, light easterly winds, and a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The primary weather concern is with cumulus clouds.

The upcoming launch will mark the 83rd flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010, and the sixth SpaceX launch of 2020.

The Falcon 9 is programmed to deploy its 60 Starlink payloads into an elliptical, or egg-shaped orbit ranging between 130 miles (210 kilometers) and 227 miles (366 kilometers) above Earth. The target orbit is inclined 53 degrees to the equator.

The two-stage launcher will head northeast from Cape Canaveral to reach the intended orbit. The Falcon 9’s reused first stage booster — flying for the fifth time on this mission — will attempt to land on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

U.S. Looks To Snag Market Share From Russia In Its Own Backyard

The U.S. State Department has announced “the willingness of U.S. companies to begin immediately selling oil to Belarus at competitive market prices” in a clear signal to Minsk — and neighboring Russia — of Washington’s desire to expand trade ties with the post-Soviet country of around 10 million people.

A State Department spokesman said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had “reiterated U.S. support for Belarusian sovereignty” and “discussed the potential to increase bilateral business ties” in a March 13 phone call with Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei.

The announcement comes a little over a month after Pompeo made the first trip to Belarus by a sitting U.S. secretary of state since 1994 and emerged saying the United States was seeking closer ties with Minsk but did not need to choose sides between Belarus and Russia.

Belarus has spent decades being heavily reliant on Russia for cheap oil and gas as well as billions in annual subsidies to prop up its highly centralized economy.

But it has been intense talks with Moscow over oil prices for months.

Oil and gas disputes have sharpened a wider political discord between the two post-Soviet countries over forming a union that both sides pledged to in 1999.

On March 11, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhey Rumas said the sharp drop in oil prices had opened room for Minsk to reach an agreement with Moscow over supplies.

In February, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to start tapping oil from a transit pipeline if Russia did not supply Belarus with the volumes of crude it needed.

The 4,000-kilometer-long Druzhba pipeline crosses Belarusian territory and supplies about 1 million barrels of Russian oil to Europe per day.

Druzhba oil deliveries were halted in April 2019 due to high concentrations of organic chloride found in the pipeline, a problem that caused months of friction and disputes.

Lukashenka has been in power in Belarus for more than 25 years but has faced growing pressure from Moscow to agree to deeper integration under a 1999 unification agreement, which envisaged close political, economic, and military ties but stopped short of forming a single nation.

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