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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The Best Fidelity Mutual Funds for 2015

Summary:

  • Economic conditions continue to favor real estate investments
  • Municipal income and mortgage securities can provide an alternate source of income for bond investors
  • Style rotation: value investing is likely to outperform growth stocks in 2015, just as small caps have the potential to outperform large caps
  • Gold has not yet emerged as a good choice for diversification
  • It is too early to invest in the energy sector or in international equities

The slowly improving U.S. economy and low interest rates have created a favorable environment for real estate investments. The Select Construction and Housing Fund (FSHOX) and the Real Estate Income Fund (FRIFX) are two excellent Fidelity funds, which allow investors to participate in this trend. The blue arrow in the top panel of the chart below shows that FSHOX has a positive relative strength compared to the S&P 500 index, because FSHOX has outperformed the S&P 500 index since August of 2014. Similarly, FRIFX has outperformed the benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Bond Index Fund (FBIDX).

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As the U.S. economy continues to improve, the Fed may start to increase interest rates in late 2015 or early 2016. In a rising interest rate environment bond investors may find it increasingly difficult to identify income funds that do not decline in value. As an example, the Fidelity High Income Fund (SPHIX) has already started to decline:

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Two income funds that can outperform in 2015 are the Fidelity Spartan Municipal Income Fund (FHIGX) and the Fidelity Mortgage Securities Fund (FMSFX). The current yield of FHIGX is 3.54%, while FMSFX yields 2.49%.

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Style rotation refers to the periodic over and under performance of different investment styles, such as growth vs. value, or large cap vs. small cap. For most of 2014 growth has outperformed value investing, and large caps have outperformed small caps. In 2015, we think that these relative trends can easily reverse. Two Fidelity funds, which can help investors to participate, are the Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX) and the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (FLPSX):

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Investing in gold mining stocks can provide an attractive opportunity for portfolio diversification. Of course, the best time to invest in the gold mining sector is when it is not declining. Unfortunately, that is not the case right now. However, should this trend reverse, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) is an excellent mutual fund for investing in this sector.

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The history of the stock market shows that the weakest investments in one year can often become the best performing investments a year or two later. However, looking at natural resources and international stocks, the two weakest investments areas in 2014, we think that they likely to continue to decline in early 2015, therefore it is too early to accumulate an investment position.

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

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Gold Stocks Enter a New Bull Market

After reaching a multi-year low a year ago, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) has now decisively advanced past a treacherous up and down trading range and started the initial stage of a potentially long-term new bull market.

The first rally came in August 2013, which signaled the end of the bear market for the gold sector. However, prices unexpectedly reversed the bullish trend in September following the highly publicized selling of gold assets by hedge funds, which also coincided with low inflation expectations.

In December, gold stocks revisited the June lows, but were able to hold this level creating a chart pattern that is known as the double bottom. From the December low the sector rallied strongly and has been making higher highs and higher lows, which is one of the hallmarks of a bullish trend. As the result, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) is the best performing Fidelity mutual fund so far in 2014 with an outstanding 35.11% return.

We must caution investors that the gold sector can be highly volatile and investing in gold stocks is often regarded as highly speculative. Investing in the broader natural resources sector provides more diversification and may be more appropriate for a conservative portfolio (read more on the Fidelity Natural Resources Fund).

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See more portfolio strategies at FidelitySignal.com

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Sector Rotation: the Banking and the Telecommunications Sectors are the Top Performers Today; Real Estate and Gold Stocks are in Correction

Markets rallied today due to positive economic data following the sell off yesterday that was triggered by Chairwoman Yellen signaling the possible end of the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program this year, which may be followed by interest rate increases next year.

The Fidelity Select Banking Fund (FSRBX) was the top performer today. The FSRBX chart shows the continuation of the multi-year bull market.

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The Fidelity Select Telecommunications Fund (FSTCX) was the second best performer. The improving economy and innovative new cellphone and service technologies can become catalysts for this sector, which has underperformed the market since last October:

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The Fidelity Real Estate Fund (FRESX) did not participate in the rally in a meaningful way today. The chart shows that after making impressive gains in 2014, FRESX is in a correction mode now. We continue to like real estate investments, since the improving economy should continue to be positive for both commercial and residential companies in this space.

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While 80% of Fidelity’s Select sector funds gained today, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) was one of the weakest Fidelity funds. Similarly to real estate, gold stocks had a strong run up in the last few months and now in correction mode. However, unlike real estate, we regard gold and related investment as purely speculative. On the plus side, FSAGX can be used to increase diversification and to hedge against geopolitical events.

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Source: FidelitySignal.com

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Sector Rotation: Real Estate, Healthcare, Technology and Gold Funds are Emerging as the Strongest Investments in the Current Market Environment

While the benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index Fund (FUSEX), which is Fidelity’s S&P 500 index fund, barely moved higher today, multiple sector funds continue to show increased relative strength and may become promising equity investments for the next weeks or months. The first chart shows that FUSEX bounced off of the blue support line following the January market sell off and just barely holding above the 100-day moving average:

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The next chart shows that Fidelity Real Estate Fund (FRESX) is one of the most interesting opportunities to watch for in the next few weeks. The top part of the chart displays the relative strength, which is the ratio of FRESX versus the S&P 500 index. The blue arrow indicates that the relative strength is improving for this sector starting from the beginning of January. Indeed, FRESX did not correct as much as FUSEX in the recent sell off and has already broken out to a new high for the year. The 1-year chart also shows that FRESX has not yet established a clear bullish trend, but the price action is promising.

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The long-term picture for the technology and healthcare sectors is very different from real estate, as these large sectors have performed very well last year, but did not correct hard in January, and their relative performance compared to the broad market indexes continue to improve. Fidelity has multiple select funds for both of these sectors. We show here two examples of health care funds (FSPHX and FSMEX), which continue to provide excellent returns:

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The following two charts show examples of two Fidelity technology funds (FSELX and FSPTX) with increasing relative strength and promising outlook:

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One of the most interesting recent developments has been the strong rally of gold mining stocks. As the result, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) has gained 11.74% already this year.  The five year chart below shows that FSAGX reached its peak in 2011, but dropped in the following year and a half by almost 68% to reach the most recent low in last December. The blue downtrend line appears to be broken now, but since the gold mining sector can be highly volatile, investors should be very cautious with taking large positions in this sector until a clear uptrend gets established. For example, in the second half of 2012 gold made a similar bullish move, but resumed its bear market for another year:

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Source: FidelitySignal.com

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Gold Mining Stocks are Still in Downtrend

The chart below shows that the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) has approached its long-term trendline, but still in a downtrend.

The Fed will issue its policy statement today and we expect that it will have a strong influence on the direction of both gold and mining stocks: a decision to continue with the tapering of the quantitative easing program will most likely strengthen the dollar and weaken gold.

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View the top 10 Fidelity funds at FidelitySignal.com

 

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Gold Stocks Resume Bear Market

In our November 17 blog we looked at the chart pattern of Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) and observed that if FSAGX holds its support, we could make a bullish case. Unfortunately the gold sector did not hold its support and now resumed the bear market.

Gold is the worst performing asset class in 2013 by far due to the fundamentals, including low and decreasing inflation, and low demand from Asia. The recent sell-off was triggered by renewed fears about an early tapering by the Fed, which in turn would strengthen the dollar and weaken gold. However, since gold prices are approaching production costs, we would not be surprised to see gold establishing a new support level in 2014. At that point gold stocks will be worth considering again as an investment.

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Buy/sell signals for Fidelity funds are available at FidelitySignal.com 

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