Date: January 5, 2024

Santa Did Not Call But Be Careful With Bears Coming to Broad & Wall – Bumpy is The Theme

Greetings from Beantown, one of my favorite cities. I have been traveling for work since 1989 with thousands of trips I guess and I have never forgotten my clothes. That is, until last yesterday. My plan was to head to Vermont from Boston and I have everything I need in Vermont. So as I am scrambling to get on the road with my UCONN napsack, I left the articles of clothing I needed behind. I did manage to bring a single pair of socks.

In the stock market it is now time for the bulls to remember who is really in charge. The bears scored a teeny tiny victory to end 2023 and they’ve kept up that little streak in 2024 so far. If I were them I would not get too comfortable. The bull market ain’t over. I liken 2024 to a flight that encounters some bumps along the way and the pilot requests that you fasten your seat belts, especially when not moving about the cabin.

When I started offering sneak peaks at my 2024 Fearless Forecast, I said that stocks would be up on the year but it was going to be bumpy, especially in Q1. As I finished writing the stock market portion of my forecast the other day, I think the first 4-5 months will see some bumpier conditions before warmer weather smooths out the flight.

I should also add the Santa Claus did not call, so bears may come to Broad and Wall as the Yale Hirsch adage goes. The truth is that when Santa doesn’t come, the previous year’s December low is in jeopardy in Q1 of the next year. For those curious, that’s 4550 on the S&P 500 and 36,000 on the Dow Industrials. Breaching those levels could feel crummy and worse than it is actually is, but that’s what the study shows from my research.

Looking at the S&P 500 below, that horizontal, blue line, plus or minus a percent, is a logical target for a pullback. It is the peak from Q3.

In the short-term, stocks are stretched to the downside and we have the monthly employment report at 8:30am. If the market perceives the data as negative for stocks and there is decent weakness early on, I think it’s a solid buying opportunity for a rally next week.

As the weekend approaches, New England is finally going to see a sizable snowstorm. And I can’t wait. Fingers and toes are crossed for 12-18 inches in Vermont and less in the populated areas.

On Tuesday we sold EMB. On Thursday we bought KJAN. We sold some SAPEX.


Paul Schatz, President, Heritage Capital