A Turn Could Be Around the Corner

 | Jul 30, 2014 | 7:38 AM EDT  | Comments
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The rolling correction continues. We have seen some really powerful downward moves in some of the major industrials of late. They remind me of something that Byron Wien -- senior adviser at Blackstone, and by far my favorite market commentator -- said at the beginning of the year. He remarked that the S&P 500 would initially drop 10% in a worst-of-times situation, and then in a best-of-times situation it could rally 20%, heading perhaps to 2300 at the end of the year.

I point this out because Wien put out his monthly note Tuesday night, and it is very positive on the market -- but, in it, he does not directly address that he thought stocks would have that initial decline.

Yet, as I look over so many of the big industrials and many of the technology stocks, I see the market did have a pretty large correction already. Stocks such as General Electric (GE) and Boeing (BA) and United Technologies (UTX) are down huge from their highs. The cloud-computing stocks, despite their nascent rallies, are down much more than 10%.

Many of the drug stocks have been rocked.

In fact, the advance has become narrower and narrower.

So, in this void, perhaps it is worth interpreting Wien thus: We have seen a huge correction within the market, and you now need to look for signs that it is ending.

On Tuesday I talked about the weakness in so many cycles: aerospace, farm, housing, transports, trucking, insurance. I could add retail and restaurants, excepting special situations, too.

The question I have is: Have the stocks in those cycles already adjusted to the weakness?

Let's take agriculture: last night I had Agco (AGCO) on Mad Money. That's the third-largest agricultural-equipment maker. We all know that prices are down huge for grains. But Agco shares are down 16%. Isn't it right to ask whether the stock has factored that in?

Or take Boeing. This stock has had a relentless decline: It has lost 10% for the year and is now selling for 15x earnings. Isn't that enough of a pasting?

Housing has cooled. But isn't that why Toll Brothers (TOL) is down 15% for the year?

Owens Corning (OC) has been a huge part of the housing industry's rebound. But it is now down 14% for the year. Is that enough of a correction? How about Armstrong (AWI) losing 31%?

Sure, autos might be weakening, but General Motors (GM) is down 15%, and it has a 3.48% dividend yield. Yes it was a "bad" quarter -- but that bad? Yes, there are real issues regarding reparations, but they aren't going to put this company's dividend in jeopardy.

Yes, there's been weakness in some shipping stocks of late, but UPS (UPS) is down more than 5%. Does it have to be down 10%?

The consumer has been troubled. But isn't that why Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) are down about 4% on average?

I understand that big pharma has been challenged by patent expirations and the like. That's why it makes sense, though, that Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Pfizer (PFE) are down 4% and 3%, respectively.

Trucking weaker? Cummins (CMI) just fell from $161 to $143 to reflect that weakness.

The consumer's not going out as much now as she's done in the past, so Panera (PNRA) is down 17% and Darden (DRI) is off 14%.

The cloud stocks are all roughly flat to down, but they are still off huge from their highs and experienced more than a Wien-like correction from where they had started -- much more.

I could go on and on. My point is that, in many parts of this market, we have been seeing some serious ongoing corrections of the level that Wien talked about when he made his predictions.

When we talk about weakness in cycles, moreover, we have seen the concomitant weakness in stocks.

My point? There are major players in each of the cycles that are turning down, and their stocks are reflecting that weakness. Others are still strong and haven't been hammered. But, at the same time, just as I pointed out Tuesday, so many cycles have peaked and rolled over that we now have to ask what happens to all of these stocks if the rollover is finished.

What if the cycles turn up?

That's what's now worth watching.

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