Trade Signals, by Steve Blumenthal
Trade Signals summarize various Equity, Fixed Income, Sentiment, Economic, and Gold market indicators. Market trends persist over time and stem from changes in risk premiums (the return investors demand to compensate them for the risks they take.) Risk premiums vary over time in response to new market information. Investors react to the changes gradually, and this creates trends. Rules-based Trend following strategies don’t predict; they react to what price movement signals in terms of supply and demand. With more buyers than sellers, the price moves higher. With more sellers than buyers, the price moves lower. The long-term objective of trend-following is to participate in secular bull market gains while minimizing the losses associated with secular bear market declines. Trade Signals is organized into three sections:
- Market Commentary
- Trade Signals — Dashboard of Indicators
- Charts with Explanations
Wishing you and your family a warm and joy-filled holiday.
The major trend in U.S. equities remains bearish. More red than green as you’ll see in the “Dashboard of Indicators.” HY is back in a sell signal. The trend in High-quality bonds remains bullish. Gold is looking favorable. The daily US Dollar MACD has turned bullish. The weekly US Dollar MACD is improving. Investor sentiment on US equities is “Extremely Pessimistic,” which is short-term bullish for stocks.
Following are various 2023 Forecasts for the S&P 500 made on January 3, 2022. We currently sit at 3,829. The closest was Morgan Stanley forecasting 4,400. None of the major banks were close.
NDR tweeted a chart on Amazon mid-week. Ouch.
This next chart looks at Stocks as a Percentage of Household Assets. When it is high, the takeaway is that investors are “all in” on their exposure to stocks. Less buying power remains, which is what you typically see at stock market peaks. The best buying opportunities present when investors are underweight stocks like 2002 and 2008/09. In short, look for a move toward the dotted black “mean” line. Conclusion: better, in the right direction, but not yet great.
I appreciate the time you share with me each week. A heartfelt thank you.
The Dashboard of Indicators follows next. More defense than offense! Not a recommendation for you to buy or sell any security. For information purposes only. Please talk with your advisor about needs, goals, time horizons, and risk tolerances. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Trade Signals — Dashboard of Indicators
(Green is Bullish, Red is Bearish, Orange is signal change is near)
Charts with Explanations
Primary Equity Market Signals – Charts
Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index – Buy Signal – 50% U.S. Large Cap Equity Exposure (Most Recent Score = 44.50)
The Ned Davis Research (NDR) CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index measures “market breadth.” Market breadth is simply a measurement of market activity, such as advances and declines, new highs and new lows, advancing and declining volume and price momentum, and Trends based on the number of stocks in uptrends and downtrends. Technicians like “breadth” measurements for two main reasons: 1) Breadth thrusts are often present at the start of major bull markets. 2) Breadth nearly always weakens before prices do at major peaks. (Source: Ned Davis Research) The NDR CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index process measures market breadth by analyzing the overall technical strength of the market across 24 Industry Groups (GICS), as measured by three types of priced-based, industry-level indicators: trend-following, volatility, and mean-reversion. Trend-following primary indicators include momentum and moving average measures that evaluate the rate of change in price in each of the 24 Industry Groups (GICS) over short-term, intermediate, and long-term time frames to assess the current direction of the markets. Mean-reversion indicators are applied in each of the 24 Industry Groups (GICS), measuring the deviation in price movement above and below the historic long-term price trend. Mean-reversion is based on the theory that prices and returns eventually move back toward their historical mean (or average). The model applies these primary and secondary indicators across the S&P 500 industry groupings to ultimately produce trade signals that are either bullish (meaning prices increasing over time) or bearish (meaning prices decreasing over time). The final market breadth composite is the scaled aggregation of these indicators across the S&P 500 industries to determine the breadth composite score (between 0 and 100). A high score means that there is broad positive up-trending participation across the 24 Industry Groups. A low score means many sectors have broken down. Generally, scores above 50 (bold red dotted line in the middle section of the chart) indicate a strong market environment, and scores below 50 indicate a weak market environment.
If you would like to see the long-term index history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at email@example.com.
S&P 500 Large Cap Index – 13/34–Week EMA Trend Chart: Sell Signal – Bearish for Equities
The process measures the intermediate-term Trend in the S&P 500 Index. A bullish trend is identified when the blue 13-week smoothed moving average (“M.A.”) trend line rises above the 34-week smoothed M.A. trend line. A bearish trend is signaled when the blue line drops below the red line. You can see that this trend process has done a pretty good job at identifying the major cyclical (short-term) bull and bear market trends (note small red and blue arrows). In terms of risk management, a good stop-loss level may be at the point when the 13-week drops below the 34-week EMA with re-entry at the point the 13-week crosses above.
Click here to see “How I think about the 13/34-Week Exponential Moving Average.” TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Volume Demand vs. Volume Supply: Sell Signal – Bearish for Equities
When there are more buyers than sellers, prices move higher. When there are more sellers than buyers, prices decline. Supply and demand dynamics work that way in all things – real estate, oil, stock prices, and all goods in a free market. The Volume Demand vs. Volume Supply process looks at a smoothed total volume of declining issues versus a smoothed total volume of advancing issues using a broad market equity index. The performance, reflected in the chart below, is better when Vol Demand is better than Vol Supply. More buyers than sellers. This is a relatively slow-moving but important indicator. Source: Ned Davis Research NDR Disclosure. Click here for additional information about the indicator. If you would like to see the long-term index history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
S&P 500 Index Monthly MACD: Sell Signal – Bearish for Equities
S&P 500 Index Daily MACD Indicator: Sell Signal – Short-term Bearish for U.S. Large Cap Equities
Focus on the MACD moving average lines at the bottom of the chart. Buy signals (green arrows) occur when the black line crosses above the red line. Sell signals (red arrows) occur when the black line crosses below the red line. You can learn more about MACD here.
Don’t Fight the Tape or the Fed – Indicator Reading = +0 (Neutral Signal for Equities)
Current readings are highlighted below. The idea of this indicator is to”Watch out for -2!”
- The indicators that comprise this reading are a combination of NDR’s Big Mo and the 10-Year Treasury yield. It highlights just how important Fed activity is to market performance. Readings range from +2 to -2.
- Bottom line: when both the Trend in interest rates (lower yields) and the Trend in the overall market (the tape) are bullish, the market has historically performed best.
- +2 readings have occurred approximately 11% of the time since 1994, and returns were the best.
- +1 readings have occurred approximately 26% of the time since 1980, and returns were good.
- 0 readings have occurred approximately 31% of the time since 1980, and returns were positive and similar to long-term stock market return averages.
- -1 readings have occurred approximately 26% of the time since 1980, and returns were positive but in the low single digits.
- -2 readings have occurred approximately 6% of the time since 1980, and the returns were worst, similar to long-term bear market average declines.
If you would like to see the long-term index history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at email@example.com. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Value vs. Growth Factor Model: Favors Value over Growth
NDR requested we not share certain charts. If you want a copy of this chart, I can share it with you one-on-one. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The process plots a relative strength ratio comparing the S&P 500-Citigroup Growth Index to the Citigroup Value Index. When the relative strength ratio is rising, growth is outperforming value. When falling, value is outperforming growth. When the model is “neutral,” it indicates there is no clear tendency for outperformance by either Value or Growth. This is a long-term model that tends to produce one trade per year to one trade every few years. More Information Here If you would like to see the long-term index history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at email@example.com. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Secondary Equity Market Signals – Charts
S&P 500 Index vs. 200-Day Moving Average Trend: Sell Signal – Bearish for US Large Cap Equities
Here is how to read the chart:
- Please note that this is not a trading model. I believe that too many investors use the 200-day moving cross rule to trade the market. My problem with this approach is professional traders, and algorithmic trading systems look to take advantage of logical areas of a potentially large trading volume. Aware of this behavior, professional traders and quantitative trading models seek to force investor activity, creating a short-term trading opportunity for themselves.
- The objective of the following chart is twofold: First, to see where the 200-day moving average line is, and second, to see if the 200-day MA is rising or falling. As the hypothetical data history suggests, returns are historically better when the orange-dotted 200-day moving average line is rising.
- This is NOT a trading model; however, it is helpful in understanding the market’s dominant trend. Less defense in up-trending markets and more defense in down-trending markets.
If you would like to see the long-term index history or a different date range, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
S&P 500 Index vs. 50-Day & 200-Day Moving Average Cross: Sell Signal – Bearish for US Large Cap Equities
Sell signals occur when the 50-day shorter-term moving average trend line drops below the longer-term 200-day moving average trend line. The idea is to be invested when the primary trend is bullish and risk protection when the trend is bearish. Red arrows (sell signals) point to when the 50-day MA crosses below the 200-day MA. Green arrows (buy signals) point to periods when the 50-day crossed above the 200-day MA.
NASDAQ Composite vs. 50-day & 200-Day Moving Average Trend: Sell Signal – Bearish for Equities
This is the same concept as the above S&P 500 Index 50-day vs. 200-day Moving Average Trend chart. Note the red and green arrows. The last signal was a sell signal in Q1 2022 at approximately 13,750.
Investor Sentiment Indicators
“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful.” – Warren Buffett Fear and Greed can be measured in terms of investor optimism and investor pessimism. In this section, we look at the NDR Crow Sentiment Poll (a weekly sentiment indicator), the NDR Daily Trading Sentiment Composite (a daily sentiment indicator), and the Put Call Ratio (an indicator commonly used to determine the mood of the options market).
NDR Crowd Sentiment Poll: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities)
The NDR Crowd Sentiment Poll is a composite sentiment indicator designed to highlight short- to intermediate-term swings in investor psychology. The evidence, looking at this indicators data back to 12-1-1995, suggests that the crowd (investors in general) are wrong at market extremes. Supporting Buffett’s advice.
- The current daily sentiment reading is 49.40. It was 52.70 last week.
- Buying opportunities occur at “Extreme Pessimism” readings below 57. The percentage gain per annum for the S&P 500 Index was more than 20% per annum, looking at data back to 12-1-1995.
- Selling (and/or hedging) opportunities occur at “Extreme Optimism” readings above 66. The percentage gain per annum for the S&P 500 Index was negative, looking at data from 12-1-1995.
- Source: Ned Davis Research. (NDR Disclosure; CMG Disclosure
If you would like to see the long-term performance history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at email@example.com. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
NDR Daily Trading Sentiment Composite: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities)
- The current daily sentiment reading is 32.22. It was 58.89 last week.
- Buying opportunities occur at “Extreme Pessimism” readings below 41.5.
- Looking at the data back to 1994, the percentage gain per annum for the S&P 500 Index was more than 20% per annum.
- Selling/trading opportunities occur at “Extreme Optimism” readings above 62.5.
- Looking at the data back to 1994, the percentage gain per annum for the S&P 500 Index was negative.
- Source: Ned Davis Research. (NDR Disclosure; CMG Disclosure.)
If you would like to see the long-term performance history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Put-Call Ratio: Extreme Pessimism (S/T Bullish for Equities)
The Put/Call Ratio is an indicator that shows put volume relative to call volume. Put options are used to hedge against market weakness or bet on a decline. Call options are used to hedge against market strength or bet on an advance. The Put/Call Ratio is above 1 when put volume exceeds call volume and below 1 when call volume exceeds put volume. Typically, this indicator is used to gauge market sentiment. The sentiment is deemed excessively bearish when the Put/Call Ratio is trading at relatively high levels and excessively bullish when at relatively low levels. As with most sentiment indicators, the Put/Call Ratio is used as a contrarian indicator to gauge bullish and bearish extremes. Contrarians turn bearish when too many traders are bullish and turn bullish when too many traders are bearish. Traders buy puts as insurance against a market decline or as a directional bet. While calls are not used so much for insurance purposes, they are bought as a directional bet on rising prices. Put volume increases when the expectations for a decline increase. Conversely, call volume increases when the expectations for an advance increase. Sentiment reaches extremes when the Put/Call Ratio moves to relatively high or low levels. These extremes are not fixed and can change over time. A Put/Call Ratio at its lower extremities would show excessive bullishness because call volume would be significantly higher than put volume. In contrarian terms, excessive bullishness would argue for caution and the possibility of a stock market decline. A Put/Call Ratio at its upper extremities would show excessive bearishness because put volume would be significantly higher than call volume. Excessive bearishness would argue for optimism and the possibility of a bullish reversal. Source: StockCharts.com The current regime is highlighted in yellow below.
- The current daily sentiment reading is 1.27 (green circle at the top of the chart).
- The blue horizontal line in the center of the chart marks the neutral line (equal put and call volume).
- Green EXTREME PESSIMISM ZONE (Bullish for Stocks)
- Red EXTREME OPTIMISM ZONE (Bearish for Stocks)
Fixed Income Trade Signals
The Zweig Bond Model Current Signal: +2 Buy Signal on Bonds Model Trend Indicators:
- Buy when the Dow 20 price index rises from a bottom by 0.6%. Sell when the index falls from a peak by 0.6%.
- Buy when the Doe 20 price index rises from a bottom by 1.8%. Sell when the index falls from a peak by 1.8%.
- Buy when the Doe 20 price index exceeds its 50-day moving average by 1%. Sell when the index crosses below the 50-day by 1%
- Buy when the Fed Funds Target Rate drops by at least 1/2 point. Sell when the rate rises by at least 1/2 point.
- Buy when the yield curve (AAA corporate yield minus the 90-day commercial paper yield) exceeds 0.6. Sell when the yield curve falls below -0.2. Go neutral between -0.2 and 0.6.
Add up the total score. Scores can range from +5 to -5. Positive scores of +1 or higher equal a buy signal. Negative scores of -1 or lower equal a sell signal. Historically, bond market returns are meaningfully better when the model is in a buy signal. Click this link to learn How to Track the Zweig Bond Model. The Model index performance history vs. buying and holding is available at your request. If you would like to see the long-term performance history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at email@example.com. NDR Disclosure; CMG Disclosure TRADE SIGNALS SUBSCRIPTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT / IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
10-Year Treasury Weekly MACD: Buy Signal – Rising Rates: Bullish on Bonds
Extended Duration Treasury ETF: Buy Signal -Declining Rates: Bullish on Bonds
High Yield Bond Market: Sell Signal – High Yield Bond Market
Historically, the high-yield bond market has been an early economic indicator. Watching the trend in price can tell us a great deal about what is happening fundamentally with U.S. businesses. Some traders like to use a moving average as a price signal, buying when the price moves above a MA line and selling when it moves below. Pictured in the next chart is a 30-day MA line (blue). In the bottom section, I highlight a MACD price momentum indicator. Signals occur when the faster-moving black line crosses above or below the slower-moving red line. It is a measure to determine the intermediate price trend in the high-yield bond market. Some traders use a cross above the 30-day moving line to buy and a drop below the 30-day moving average line to sell. The popular PIMCO High Yield Bond fund is used as a real-time proxy for what is happening in the high-yield bond market. Important Note: CMG has managed a high-yield bond price trend trading strategy since 1992 and continues to manage the strategy to this day. CMG’s buy and sell signals are based on different trend indicators, and therefore, actual trades may vary from the signal process below. CMG does not publish its signal. Not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Consult your advisor.
Economic and Select Recession Watch Indicators:
- Global Recession – High Probability of a Global Recession
- U.S. Recession – High Probability of U.S. Recession Risk (Next Six Months)
- Inflation Watch – Declining Inflationary Pressures
- Dr. Copper – Long-term Bearish Sell Signal
- U.S. Dollar Price Trend – Short-term (Daily MACD) Sell Signal
- U.S. Dollar Price Trend – Medium-term (Weekly MACD) Sell Signal
Dr. Copper: Long-term Bearish Sell Signal
“Dr. Copper” is insider lingo used in the commodities markets to explain price trends in copper’s ability to predict the economy’s overall health. When copper prices decline, it may indicate sluggish demand and an imminent economic slowdown. The following chart looks at monthly price data.
U.S. Dollar Price Trend: Short-term (Daily MACD) Buy Signal
U.S. Dollar Price Trend: Medium-term (Weekly MACD) Sell Signal
Select Recession Watch Indicators:
The average decline in the S&P 500 is approximately 37% during recessions. The last two recessions have given us greater than -50% each. Given that we have tripled up on the same thing that caused the last recession (debt/leverage/Fed policy), the next recession will be equally or more challenging than the last two. Thus, my recession obsession. Following are my favorite recession watch indicators. Bottom line: We are likely in a global recession.
Global Recession Probability Indicator – High Probability of a Global Recession
- This indicator plots the probability of a global recession based on leading indicators from 35 countries (non-U.S.).
- Ranging on a scale of 0 to 100, The current reading is 98.15, meaning there is a 98.15% probability that we are in a global recession.
- Bottom line: High Global Recession Risk.
If you would like to see the long-term performance history, we can share it with you on a one-on-one basis at your request. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Economy Based on the Stock Market Indicator – High U.S. Recession Risk
- Economic expansion signals (up arrows) are generated when the S&P 500 Index rises by 3.8% above its five-month smoothed moving average line.
- Economic contraction signals are generated when the S&P 500 Index falls by 4.8% below its five-month smoothed moving average line.
- Current signal = Contraction as of 4-3-22
- Note the 77% “Correct Signals” in the top left corner of the chart. This process has done a good job of signaling before recessions. Not perfect, but pretty good.
Recession Probability Based on Employment Trends – Low U.S. Recession Risk
- Expansion signals are generated when the Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index rises by 0.4% from a low point.
- Contraction signals are generated when the index falls by 4.8% from a high point.
- Current signal = Expansion (SIGNAL ON 7-31-2020)
Credit Conditions – Neutral, Modest U.S. Recession Risk
- When lending tightens up “Credit Conditions Unfavorable,” companies have difficulty funding.
- Data Source: NDR’s Credit Conditions Index (B345A)
- Bottom line: Lending conditions are currently favorable.
U.S. Economy vs. Yield Curve (6mo Tsy vs. 10-year Tsy) – Inverted Yield Curve High U.S. Recession Risk
- Inversion happens when the 6-month Treasury Bill yield exceeds the 10-year Treasury Note yield. Many follow the 2-year vs. 10-year Treasury (same idea – when short-term rates are higher than long-term rates, something is not well in the system.
- Inversion happened for the third time 2022 in June 2022. 22 of them have resulted in recession within 6-mo’s to 18 months. Source: Commonwealth Financial Network.
- Among bear markets since 1946, the average decline with a recession was 35.8% versus 27.9% on average without a recession. Source
- An inverted yield curve has preceded every recession since 1958, with a “mean lead time” of ~14 months before the recession’s start, according to Ned Davis Research (chart E641).
- Since recessions are only known in hindsight, it is important to have a high probability of knowing in advance. All the bad stuff happens in recessions.
- Bottom line: Signaling high recession risk.
13-week EMA vs. 34-week EMA: Sell Signal
Buy signals occur when the 13-week moving average trendline (blue line) crosses above the 34-week moving average trendline (red line). Sell signals occur when the 13-week moving average trendline (blue line) crosses below the slower-moving 34-week moving average trendline (red line). Green arrows indicate buy signals; red arrows sell signals.
Intermediate-Term MACD: Buy Signal
Why risk management?
Asset Classes Move Through Periods of Bull and Bear Market Cycles Over Time: This next chart shows the BULL market Secular Trend for Stocks (top section), the direction in Long-Term Government Bond Yields (middle section), and Commodities (bottom section). The best gains are made in Secular Bull market cycles.
Investing is a probability game. Limit downside: In the long run, it’s about the math. This next chart shows the “The Merciless Mathematics of Loss”. A 10% decline only requires an 11% subsequent return to get back to even. A 30% decline requires a 43% subsequent return to get back to even. A 50% decline requires a 100% subsequent return to get back to even. You can read more about it here.
Please email me at Blumenthal@cmgwealth.com with any questions/comments.
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With kind regards, Steve Stephen B. Blumenthal Executive Chairman & CIO CMG Capital Management Group, Inc. 10 Valley Stream Parkway, Suite 202 Malvern, PA 19355 email@example.com Telephone: 610-989-9090 Facsimile: 610-989-9092
Advisor/Investor Education Materials and White Papers Several client educational pieces:
- When Beating the Market Isn’t the Point
- Trend Following Works!
- Correlation, Diversification and Investment Success
- The Merciless Math of Loss (this is about how compound interest works for you and significant loss against you)
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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Investing involves risk. Past performance does not guarantee or indicate future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended and/or undertaken by CMG Capital Management Group, Inc. or any of its related entities (collectively, “CMG”) will be profitable, equal any historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. No portion of the content should be construed as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. References to specific securities, investment programs or funds are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities. Portfolio positions are subject to change at any time without notice. Please contact your CMG representative if you have any questions about your account. Certain portions of the content may contain a discussion of, and/or provide access to, opinions and/or recommendations of CMG (and those of other investment and non-investment professionals) as of a specific prior date. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, such discussion may no longer be reflective of current recommendations or opinions. Derivatives and options strategies are not suitable for every investor, may involve a high degree of risk, and may be appropriate investments only for sophisticated investors who are capable of understanding and assuming the risks involved. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained herein serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from CMG or the professional advisors of your choosing. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisors of his/her choosing. CMG is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. This presentation does not discuss, directly or indirectly, the amount of the profits or losses, realized or unrealized, by any CMG client from any specific funds or securities. Please note: In the event that CMG references performance results for an actual CMG portfolio, the results are reported net of advisory fees and inclusive of dividends. The performance referenced is that as determined and/or provided directly by the referenced funds and/or publishers, has not been independently verified, and does not reflect the performance of any specific CMG client. CMG clients may have experienced materially different performance based upon various factors during the corresponding time periods. The Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index is not sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices or its affiliates or third party licensors (collectively, “S&P Dow Jones Indices”). S&P Dow Jones Indices will not be liable for any errors or omissions in calculating the Ned Davis Research CMG U.S. Large Cap Long/Flat Index. “Calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices” and the related stylized mark(s) are service marks of S&P Dow Jones Indices. S&P® is a registered trademark of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC.
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