Can Energy and Defense Stocks Rally Following the Allied Airstrike in Syria?

Defense stocks surged on April 7, following the first U.S. strike to punish the Syrian regime. We think that we will likely see a similar response by investors following last night’s airstrike on chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

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The Fidelity Select Defense and Aerospace Fund (FSDAX) has outperformed the broad market for more than a year. We anticipate that the strong trend will continue in the wake of allied airstrikes in Syria.

 

We also think that the increased risk of escalation of the Syrian conflict and the potential for disruption of oil production could lead to higher oil prices and the continuation of the bullish rally for energy stocks.

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The price of the West-Texas Intermediate Crude Oil (WTIC) could reach the $70 per barrel mark next week in response to increased geopolitical risks.

 

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The energy sector experienced a 20% correction at the beginning of 2018 but seems to be recovering again in response to higher oil prices. The Fidelity Select Energy Fund (FSENX) could be a great way to play this trend.

 

View fund rankings at FidelitySectorReport.com

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Sector Rotation: Technology Sector Outperforms in 2015; Avoid the Utilities and Natural Resources Sectors

Summary:

  • The technology sector, led by Apple, semiconductor and large cap Internet companies, has become one of the leading equity sectors in 2015
  • Rising interest rates resulted in a trend reversal for the utility sector
  • The strengthening dollar and declining energy prices cause the natural resources sector to resume its decline

The Nasdaq index (where many of the market-leading technology companies are listed) closed above the historically important 5,000 level yesterday. This level has not been seen since the dot com bubble of 2000. This time around, we think that the bull market in the technology sector is sustainable and stock prices will go higher from here.

One of the best ways to participate in this trend for Fidelity mutual fund investors is by building a position in the Select Technology fund (FSPTX). The top portion of the chart below shows that the relative strength of FSPTX compared to the S&P 500 has turned positive in 2015, which is a very bullish sign:

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Steadily rising long-term Treasury rates caused a sharp sell off in the interest rate sensitive utilities sector. The chart of the Fidelity Select Utilities Fund (FSUTX) shows that the sector is not participating in the stock market rally and has broken its long-term uptrend:

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In a previous article we warned that it is too early to invest in the natural resources sector. In spite of the rally in January, this sector continues to be in a downtrend and we think that there are many better investment opportunities in this market.

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Read more about investment strategies involving these funds at FidelitySignal.com

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Sector Rotation: Declining Oil Price Boosts Retailing and Automotive Stocks

The price of energy-related commodities, such as light crude oil, experienced a sharp short-covering rally at the beginning of the week, but the downtrend appears to be resuming again:

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As consumers save money at the gas pump, they have more disposable income to spend at the shopping mall or to purchase merchandise online, which boosted the earnings prospects of companies in the retailing sector. The Fidelity Select Retailing Fund (FSRPX) is an excellent way to take advantage of this trend:

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Car company stocks also responded positively to declining energy prices. Should this trend continue into the summer months, the strategy of overweighting the Fidelity Select Automotive Fund (FSAVX) and underweighting energy stocks may offer the most optimal portfolio allocation approach:

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Read more about investment strategies at FidelitySignal.com

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Long-Term Bullish Trend is Intact for U.S. Equities, in spite of Increased Volatility; Gold Forms a Bullish Double-Bottom Chart Pattern; It is Still Early to Invest in the Energy Sector or in International Equities;

It is always good to take a look at long-term trends when short-term volatility increases, in order to have a better sense of the market direction. While the widely anticipated stock market correction remains a possibility, in our view, the long-term bullish trend for U.S. equities is still intact.

The chart shows that the multi-year uptrend for the benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) has not yet been interrupted by the recent market volatility:

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In a recent article (see Best Fidelity Mutual Funds for 2015) we highlighted the most attractive investments for 2015. The selected mutual funds have continued to perform well in the last few weeks of trading. Especially, conservative sectors, such as real estate, utilities, medical equipment and consumer staples have outperformed the S&P 500 index:

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Perhaps, the most interesting new development in 2015 is the renewed interest in buying gold mining stocks. The chart of the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) below shows a short-term bullish double bottom pattern and increased buying activity during the first two weeks of the New Year. However, gold has a long way to go before it can establish a long-term uptrend.

While gold is traditionally viewed as an inflation hedge, in the current deflationary environment precious metals are looked at as an alternate asset class that can potentially serve as a volatility hedge. We’d like to caution investors, that while gold can provide returns that have low correlation with equities, this sector is highly speculative and is more appropriate for the purposes of short-term trading than long-term investing.

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As noted in earlier articles, we believe that it is still too early to diversify into the weakest sectors, such as natural resources (in particular energy), and into underperforming international markets.

The blue lines on the charts of the Fidelity Select Energy Fund (FSENX) and the Fidelity Latin America Fund (FLATX) indicate that the bearish downtrends that are still in place:

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Read more about investment strategies involving these funds at FidelitySignal.com

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