U.S. markets opened with slight gains on Monday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he takes it as a sign of good faith by China that officials will restart trade talks in early October and that his objective is getting a good deal for American workers and companies.

Mnuchin also reiterated President Trump is willing to continue with tariffs on Chinese goods if there’s no deal while adding he didn’t see signs of a U.S. recession.

The slight momentum faded in the afternoon as the major indexes held a tight range into the close before settling slightly mixed with the small-caps showing strength.

The Russell 2000 rallied 1.3% after holding positive territory throughout the session while tapping a morning high of 1,526.

Lower resistance at 1,515-1,530 and the 200-day moving average was cleared and held for the time in 3 sessions with a close above the latter and the 50-day moving average signaling strength towards 1,545-1,560.

The Dow edged up 0.1% to extend its winning streak to 4-straight sessions following the intraday push to 26,900.

Near-term and lower resistance at 26,800-27,000 was cleared for the 3rd-straight session and held with a close above the latter keeping 27,250-27,500 and all-time highs in play.

The Nasdaq gave back 0.2% after stalling at 8,131 and failing near-term resistance at 8,150 on the open.

Current and upper support at 8,050-8,000 and the 50-day moving back held on the pullback to 8,052 with risk towards 7,900-7,850 on a close below the 8,000 level.

The S&P 500 slipped just a quarter-point, or 0.01%, to snap a 3-session winning streak after trading in a 20-point range.

Lower resistance at 3,000-3,025 held on the 1st half high of 2,989 with a close below 2,950 and the 50-day moving average signaling near-term caution.

Energy and Financials were sector standouts after surging 2% and 1.5%, respectively.

Consumer Discretionary were up 0.4% while Communications Services and Industrials rounded out the winners after advancing 0.3%.

Healthcare stumbled 0.9% to pace sector weakness while Technology and Real Estate were down 0.8%.

Global Economy – European markets were also mixed following ongoing Brexit drama that overshadowed better-than-expected economic news.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has prepared a legal strategy to counter opposition lawmakers’ attempts to enforce a 3-month extension to the U.K.’s Brexit deadline, if no deal is agreed by October 31st.

UK’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6% while the Stoxx 600 and France’s CAC 40 gave back 0.3%. The Belgium20 jumped 0.9% and Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.3%.

U.K. July manufacturing output was up 0.3% versus expectations for a decline of 0.1%. Meanwhile, U.K. July GDP rose 1% year-over-year, topping forecasts of 0.8%.

Asian markets closed mostly higher as weak economic data raised expectations that China may introduce more stimulus measures to prop up its economy.

China’s Shanghai soared 0.8% and Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.6%.

South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.5% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up less than a point, or 0.07%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 9 points, or 0.04%.

China August exports fell 1%, well below forecasts for a rise of 2%.

Japan’s economy grew an annualized 1.3% rate in the 2nd quarter, below initial estimates for 1.8% expansion.

Baker Hughes reported the international rig count for August was 1,138, down 24 from the 1,162 counted in July, and up 130 from the 1,008 counted in August 2018.

The international offshore rig count for August was 244, down 11 from the 255 counted in July, and up 32 from the 212 counted last August.

The average U.S. rig count for August was 926, down 29 from the 955 counted in July, and down 124 from the 1,050 counted in August 2018.

TD Ameritrade IMX Level for August came in at 4.62.

Consumer Credit surged $23.3 billion in July, much stronger than forecasts of $16.1 billion, after increasing to $13.8 billion in June and representing the biggest increase since November 2017.

Nonrevolving credit rose $13.3 billion following June’s $14.0 billion gain.

Revolving credit rebounded $10 billion, recovering from the $200 million decline previously, and was the largest increase going back to November 2107 as well.

Market Sentiment – The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) was lower for the 2nd time in 3 sessions after sinking to a low of $143.19 ahead of the closing bell.

Prior and upper support at $143.50-$143 was breached but held. A close below the $142.50 level would be a slightly bearish development with risk towards $141-$140.50.

Lowered resistance at $144-$144.50

Market Analysis – The Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) was up for the 3rd time in 4 sessions after trading to an intraday high of $152.24.

Lower resistance at $152-$152.50 and the 50-day moving average was cleared with both levels holding.

A close above $153 would be an ongoing bullish signal for a possible retest towards $154.50-$155 and prior support from late July.

Current and near-term support is at $150.50-$150. A close below the latter and the 200-day moving average would be a slightly bearish signal with risk towards $148-$147.50. This would fill-in last week’s gap higher and breakout above these levels.

RSI is in an uptrend with resistance at 55-60.

A close above 60, and a level that has been holding since April, would be a bullish signal for a run towards 65-70 and early February peaks. Support is at 50-45.

The Consumer Discretionary Select Spiders (XLY) extended its winning streak to 4-straight sessions after tapping a session high of $123.66. Prior and lower resistance from mid-July at $123.50-$124 was cleared but held.

A close above the latter would be an ongoing bullish signal for a blue-sky breakout towards $125-$127.50, depending on momentum. The current all-time high from mid-July is at $124.60.

Current support is at $122.50-$122. A move below $121.50 would signal a near-term top with a likely retest towards $120.50-$120 and the 50-day moving average.

RSI remains in a uptrend with resistance at 65-70.

A move above the latter would be a bullish signal for additional strength towards the 75 area and mid-July highs.

Support is at 60-55. A move below 50 reopens risk towards 45-40 with the latter serving as the mid-August low.

We are holding the following positions:

CELG: +25% Allocation | $88.17 Protective Stop Loss | $108.72 Profit Objective
FB: +25% Allocation | $170.46 Protective Stop Loss | $211.41 Profit Objective
KLAC: +25% Allocation | $140.11 Protective Stop Loss | $168.57 Profit Objective
QCOM: +25% Allocation | $72.56 Protective Stop Loss | $87.60 Profit Objective

Option Traders – the following (regular monthly) options meet our criteria:

CELG – 17JAN $97.5 Strike Price CALL (Expires January 17, 2020)
FB 15NOV $195 Strike Price CALL (Expires November 15, 2019)
KLAC 17JAN $150 Strike Price CALL (Expires January 17, 2020)
QCOM – 20DEC $80 Strike Price CALL (Expires December 20, 2019)

All the best,
Roger Scott.