Remember the special amplifiers used by the fictional rock group Spinal Tap that could be dialed up to eleven? S&P’s decision last year to designate Real Estate as a full-fledged sector means that our GS rankings can now be dialed down to eleven, and unfortunately the Energy sector has been a frequent occupant of that undesirable spot.
As expected, our VLT Momentum algorithm triggered a “low-risk” cyclical buy signal on crude oil in late October, only the 11th buy signal in the past 30 years. This algorithm was originally designed to identify low-risk entry points into the stock market, but we’ve found it useful with other assets as well.
With the recent weakness in oil prices and the renewed strength of the U.S. dollar, we would not be surprised to see weaker headline numbers in the next few months. The expectations of a rate hike might actually end up pushing the rate hike further out. We are now less sanguine about a pick-up in PPI in the rest of the year.
The last of the tactical “Oil Patch Recovery” play initiated in early 1983 has been closed out. What now? We expect oil stocks to be underperformers for at least six months. $25 crude prices would not be a surprise in 1984. And on a long-term basis, we still expect oil prices to erratically decline in real dollars for the rest of the century.