(By David Brown) A weekend of more election surprises in Europe, as a socialist candidate won a key state vote in Germany, threatening Prime Minister Angela Merkel‘s stance on austerity in the Eurozone. The Greek "leadership" has all but abandoned hope of forming a new elected government, likely requiring yet another vote.
Those European issues combined with new concerns about China's growth didn't do anything to mitigate the JP Morgan embarrassing announcement of a new $2 billion trading loss. Unsurprisingly, the market performed poorly yet again today as the S&P 500 fell more than a percent to 1338, its lowest level since early February, extending the streak to six weeks since our last new high.
Market Stats. The worst style/cap last week was Large Cap Growth, losing -1.05%. The best was Small Cap Value, gaining a tiny +0.19%. Utilities and Healthcare, classic flight-to-safety sectors, were the only positive sectors, with each gaining about +0.5% or less. Basic Materials dropped a whopping +2.7%, followed closely by Energy which dropped more than 2%.
Here are the market stats.
Today, not a solitary sector gained anything while the Dow lost 125 points and Nasdaq, 31 points. Financials writhed in the fallout from JP Morgan's massive trading loss as well as the weakness in most European banks due the Greek impasse and the German election surprise.
Economic Releases. Retail Sales from April will be announced tomorrow but are expected to be only a +0.2% increase compared to a +0.8% increase last month. CPI and Business Inventories also will be released tomorrow but are unlikely to create much stir. Wednesday, we get New Housing Starts, which are expected to be up sharply over last month.
The important Industrial Production release will also be on Wednesday and could generate a little optimism if it is up as expected. Initial Jobless Claims will arrive on Thursday and could spark or spook the market. Finally, Leading Indicators will end the busy week of economic releases, but is unlikely to help much if the earlier announcements haven't already got the market engine running.
Fortunately, valuations are still attractive in many stocks (see a few below), and our European ETF hedges—IEV, EWP and VGK—were all down nearly 5% or more over the past week and should continue to serve us well as long as the European scene is so muddled.
4 Stock Ideas for this Market
This week, I used the Large Undervalued Growth preset search in MyStockFinder. Here are four stocks worth your attention: