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These are the key data points that may determine whether the market is near the bottom

Was that the bottom? That’s all anyone was talking about over the weekend. Last week’s rally is certainly impressive, but the bulk of the commentary seems to suggest that the bottom is unlikely for now because we lack the critical data needed to make that determination. Consider the three main issues moving the market: 1) China: Good news here: the reopening in Shanghai continues, and Beijing has avoided major lockdowns. China is taking steps to stimulate its economy. 2) Russia/Ukraine: There is no resolution, with commodity prices remaining elevated. 3) Inflation: With the consumer price index and core personal consumption expenditures price index reports, there are some signs inflation may be peaking, but we don’t know how much it may be slowing. There is a sense that the Federal Reserve has at least stopped moving the goal line, but that could change if inflation doesn’t keep moving down. The key data this week will be the ISM manufacturing index out Wednesday, and the ISM services index and the May jobs report out Friday. It’s a tricky game: The data needs to show some slowing, but not too much. Too much slowing will bring about a “stagflation” panic. As a result, the market remains on edge. Technical analysis service Lowry Research reflected much of these skepticism about a sustainable bottom in their note to clients on Friday: “The problem is that thus far it is all sizzle and no steak. Such rallies from short-term oversold levels appear solid on the surface but there is no true leadership observed only stronger rebounds in the hardest hit… Though improved, the weight of evidence does not yet support a firm, sustainable bottom at this time.” My old friend Sam Stovall at CFRA Research agrees, noting “we remain skeptical of the rally’s sustainability.” He also said that “June is not a month associated with market fireworks,” noting that since 1945, June returns on the S & P 500 have been in the bottom-third of monthly returns.

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