The Trump administration has clearly gone all-in on turning the supposed war on coal into a war for coal, but the outcome will depend on electric utilities and power companies. We'll focus on the risks and opportunities associated with government intervention when we attend the Edison Electric Institute's financial conference in November.
Narrowing market leadership since April made us wonder whether the market could be due for a pullback. While a relatively small number of stocks powered the index to new highs, many small- and mid-capitalization names lagged over this period. As recently as mid-August, for example, fewer than 50 percent of the names listed on the NYSE traded above their 200-day moving average. Today, almost two-thirds of NYSE-listed stocks are in an uptrend, the highest proportion since April.
Nevertheless, our outlook has called for natural gas to remain volatile but range-bound, as spikes toward $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) will sow the seeds of their destruction by incentivizing production growth and prompt electric utilities to switch from gas to coal. Conversely, moves below $2 per mmBtu will encourage demand and prompt exploration and production companies to slow their drilling and completion activity.
While the risks of today’s low-volatility stock market are clear, we continue to believe the next sell-off in the broader market will be a correction, not the beginning of a new bear market. Look for a rotation out of the growth-oriented fare and into cyclical and value groups.
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