Small Cap Stocks are Hit the Hardest as the Market Correction Unfolds; Avoid the Falling Knives; Large Cap Stocks and Biotechs Can Lead the Market when the Next Rally Arrives

Today was a tough day for stock investors. A toxic brew of bad news caused another round of market sell off, but now the volume is increasing, which is definitely not a good sign. The Russell 2000 index, representing small cap stocks, was hit the hardest out of the major U.S. stock indexes. Small cap stocks typically outperform during the expansionary phase of the economic cycle. Consequently, the underperformance of the small cap index versus the large cap S&P 500 index is a worrisome sign.


In spite of the best efforts by the ECB, increased concern about economic contraction in Europe has caused Eurozone markets to enter a downtrend in July. As the Wall Street adage says, “do not try to catch a falling knife”, we believe that investors are best served to continue to avoid Eurozone investments until the proverbial knife hits the floor. Currently, no floor is in sight.


Crude oil and other commodities tend to be priced in dollar terms, so as the dollar rallied against all major currencies starting in July, stocks in the energy sector to sell off. The sell off is also exacerbated by concerns about a possible world-wide economic weakness. We will continue to watch the relative strength of the energy sector compared to the S&P 500 index to look for a turn-around that may be similar to what we have seen in February.


On the bright side, the bull market is still intact for large cap stocks as investors seek out the safety of blue chip companies. As we reported earlier (see article), a rotation of capital is under way into large cap stocks.


Biotechnology is another area of the stock market that is still holding up. While investing in the biotech sector is appropriate only for aggressive investors, tracking this sector can give us clues about the ability of the stock market to rebound from the correction.



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The Best Fidelity Funds to Invest in after the Fed Meeting

The Federal Reserve said in a statement today that it will wind down its bond purchasing program in October, but will continue to aim at keeping interest rates low for a considerable time. Initially, equity markets reacted positively to the news, but the rally faded by the close of the market session.

From the technical standpoint, the most interesting development was the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a new all-time high at 17,156, while the other major indexes were not able to follow through. Small cap stocks, which typically lead the market in the early phases of a growth cycle, are the weakest right now.

As money rotates into large-cap blue chip stocks, the Fidelity Large Cap Growth Enhanced Index Fund (FLGEX) may be one of the best ways to put fresh money to work in the current market environment:



Unlike what we have seen during previous market rallies earlier this year, not all sectors show positive momentum right now. Consequently, as we head into the seasonally weak October period, investors will have to be increasingly more selective. The technology and health care sectors show the strongest relative strength right now and barely corrected during the recent sell off. Here are two Fidelity funds that investors can consider using to overweight positions in these two large sectors:




While the Fed’s intention is to keep interest rates low, the yield on the long-term Treasury bond has started rising already and broke its long-term trend today:



As the result, the bond market sold off and most Fidelity bond funds retreated, as well. Should interest rates continue to climb, bond fund investors will be faced with a difficult situation: the Net Asset Value (price) of their funds can decrease, while they will still be liable for paying taxes on the dividends distributed by the funds. This situation may force more selling of bond funds, which can create a negative feedback cycle for the bond market. The trend reversal for the following two widely held Fidelity bond funds show the potential danger bond investors will face in a rising interest rate environment:





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