STOCKS IN A HOLDING PATTERN

STOCKS IN A HOLDING PATTERN

The major stock market averages opened roughly unchanged this morning (Dow & SPX flat). The materials sector is leading the way (+1.4) on higher commodity prices and optimism over a potential US-China trade deal. Semiconductors and gold miners are up 1%+, energy stocks are up over .5%, and banks are up .3%. The healthcare sector is lower after CVS Health (CVS) reported quarterly results. REITs are down nearly 1% in early trading. Commodities are trading higher today. Copper and iron ore—which tend to move on China’s economic outlook—are up 12% and 26%, respectively, so far this year. WTI crude oil is back up to nearly $57/barrel. Bonds are mostly lower in price, higher in yield today. The 10-year Treasury yield is up slightly to 2.65%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

STOCKS & BONDS RISING TOGETHER

STOCKS & BONDS RISING TOGETHER

Stocks opened slightly higher this morning (Dow +21 pts; SPX +.2%). Consumer goods sectors are up about .7% after Wal-Mart (WMT) reported strong fourth quarter results. Other than that, cyclical sectors are faring worse than the defensives. Traders are pondering—now that the SPX has risen back above its 200-day moving average—whether the recovery rally can continue, or some consolidation is needed after a really strong run. WTI crude oil is up a little to trade around $55.80/barrel. Copper is up nearly 2% today and nearly 10% so far this year. Bonds are trading modestly higher as interest rates tick lower. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are back down to 2.46% and 2.64%, respectively. The Treasury bond market and stock market essentially don’t agree right now. Stocks are telling you the economic outlook is a little less positive but things are OK. The bond market seems to be less optimistic. But remember, Treasuries are reflecting a more dovish Federal Reserve, and also ultra-low or negative sovereign rates overseas. So lower Treasury yields aren’t necessarily warning of a coming recession. As evidence, look to the junk bond market, which is up over 5% so far this year. If the bond market really believed recession was coming within the next year, you’d see much higher junk yields.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

DON'T BE MISLEAD BY NEWS HEADLINES ON THE ECONOMY

The major stock market averages opened lower today on the some disappointing retail sales data (see below). The Dow is down 107 points and the SPX is down .2%. The consumer staples sector is down over 1% after a weak earnings report from Coca Cola (KO). Financials are down over 1%, and industrials are down .6%. This could be the consolidation we’ve been expecting after a sharp rally in January. Commodities are mixed in early trading. WTI crude oil is unchanged around $54/barrel. Bonds are modestly higher in price, lower in yield. Longer-term Treasury notes—as measured by iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT)—are up about .5% today. TLT is flat on the year, whereas corporate bond ETFs are mostly higher so far in 2019. As you might expect on a day when stock prices are falling, junk bonds are also weak.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

RISING INFLATION SAYS RECESSION NOT IMMINENT

RISING INFLATION SAYS RECESSION NOT IMMINENT

Stocks gapped up at the open this morning, but quickly faded. The Dow is currently up 70 pts and the S&P 500 (SPX) is up .2%. Gains are broad-based, led by energy, semiconductors and transports. Defensive sectors like utilities aren’t really participating. The VIX Index has stabilized below 16 over the last week. Foreign stock markets are acting better—especially China—and that suggests some expectation for resolution of trade concerns. Traders are excited about the fact that the SPX closed above its 200-day moving average for the first time in over two months. The index is now only about 6.5% below its all-time high reached 13 months ago. So risk assets are acting better this year. The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) is up 4.5% so far in 2019. WTI crude oil is back up over $54/barrel. Iron ore and copper are also climbing. I’ll point out that while falling commodity prices were seen as a very scary sign of falling economic growth in 2018, very few are seeing the commodity recovery as a sign global economic improvement.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

GOVERNMENT FUNDING DEAL?

The major US stock market averages gapped up at the open on a potential cross-party deal to forestall another government shutdown. The Dow is currently up 310 points and the SPX is up 1.2%. Ten of eleven sectors are in the green, led by financials & materials (+1.8%) as well as industrials & consumer discretionary (+1.5%). European markets closed about 1% higher and Asia was up overnight. Hard to believe, but so far in 2019 The Dow is up nearly 9%, the Euro Stoxx 50 Index is up 6%, the Nikkei is up 4% and the Shanghai Composite index is up 7%. To maintain those gains, we’re going to need to see better economic data around the world. The dollar is a little weaker today and commodities are mixed. WTI crude oil is up 1.5% to trade around $53.20/barrel after a report that Saudi Arabia has cut back oil production. Treasury bonds are down in price, up in yield today. The 5-year Treasury yield is back up to 2.49% and the 10-year yield is up to 2.69%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

V-SHAPED RECOVERY TO PAUSE

V-SHAPED RECOVERY TO PAUSE

Stocks gapped down at the open for the second day in a row following the revelation that US and Chinese negotiators are still very far apart on a potential trade deal. At the moment, the Dow is down 270 pts and the SPX is down .65%. Ten of eleven major market sectors are in the red, led by energy (-2%), financials (-1.1%), and materials (-.8%). The VIX Index jumped back up to 17.3; that’s probably a much more muted reaction than traders were expecting. European stock markets will also close lower for the second consecutive session. The easy culprit for the change in market direction is tenuous trade negotiations. But the fact is that after such a strong January, we’re due for some consolidation. After a growth scare that produced a 20% correction in stock prices, one cannot expect the recovery to be as sharp as it has been since Christmas Eve. Commodities are mixed today. Oil prices roughly unchanged around $52.50/barrel. Copper is also unchanged after rising 8% so far this year. Gold is up very slightly today (+2% on the year). Fixed income markets are mostly higher in price with the notable exception of junk bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield has fallen back to 2.64%. That’s a long way from 3.2% just three months ago.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

IGNORE WASHINGTON, WATCH EARNINGS

IGNORE WASHINGTON, WATCH EARNINGS

Stocks opened modestly lower this morning (Dow flat; SPX -.25%; Nasdaq -.4%). Exchange trade volume is low. The communications services sector is down 1.5%; REITs are down .75%; energy is off .3% and banks are down .2%. Semiconductors are bucking the trend, however (see below). As I mentioned yesterday, The VIX Index has collapsed back to 15; traders are no longer as fearful, but they’re wondering how far this V-shaped recovery can go before the market needs to step back and consolidate. After all, the SPX has now retraced nearly ¾ of its late 2018 correction. Commodities are trading mostly higher—with the notable exception of gold. WTI crude oil is back up around $54.10/barrel and it looks like the path of least resistance is up. Copper is now up 9% on the year, which is odd since China’s economy is said to be losing steam. Further, iron ore is up around a 2-year high and Barzil’s Vale SA (VALE) just warned of a global shortage. That doesn’t square with the consensus narrative that global economic growth is falling. So either global growth is better than we’ve been hearing, or China is pushing fiscal stimulus in a big way this year. Usually those two move together. Bonds are roughly unchanged this morning. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 2.50% and 2.69%, respectively.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

CALM PREVAILS…FOR NOW

CALM PREVAILS…FOR NOW

CALM PREVAILS…FOR NOW

The major stock market averages opened higher today. The Dow is currently up 112 pts and the SPX is up .25%. Semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and retailers are among the best performing. On the other hand, REITs and banks are in the red. Now that the stock market has retraced more than half of its late 2018 correction and the VIX Index has fallen back to 15, traders are wondering whether the recovery is running out of steam. And there is a case to be made for a little consolidation after a very strong January. The dollar is stronger vs. a basket of foreign currencies today after some weak economic data out of Europe. So far this year, the dollar is flat. Not surprisingly, oil is falling back after a strong run from $42/barrel to $55/barrel in just five weeks. WTI crude is currently trading around $54.10/barrel. Bonds are trading higher on the day. Junk bond ETFs are up about .4%, high-quality corporates are up about .4%, and long-term Treasuries are up about .4%. One doesn’t normally see Treasuries rising in price right along with the stock market.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE JOB MARKET

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE JOB MARKET

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE JOB MARKET

The major stock market averages opened modestly higher today following the monthly jobs report (see below). The Dow is currently up 148 pts and the SPX is up .4%. The energy sector is up nearly 2% on continued gains in oil prices. Transports, banks, and semiconductors are also in the green. On the other hand, retailers, gold miners and utilities are down in early trading. Commodities are moving higher as well. WTI crude oil is back up around $55/barrel. Copper is up .3% and iron is up more than 3%. Bonds are falling back, giving up yesterday’s gains. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 2.51% and 2.69%. By the way, Treasury yields have been hovering around 1-year lows this month, a condition that usually reflects a softening economic outlook and a more dovish Federal Reserve. But on days when we get some encouraging economic news—like today’s jobs report—yields tend to jump.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

RETURN OF THE FED PUT

RETURN OF THE FED PUT

RETURN OF THE FED PUT

Stocks surged at the open this morning following yesterday’s Fed meeting. The SPX is up .8% and the Nasdaq is up 1.4%. Only the Dow is lagging a bit, down 6 points. The communications services sector shot up nearly 4%. Most other sectors are in the green as well, with the notable exceptions of financials and materials. Oil prices continue to recover, with WTI crude back above $55/barrel. Copper is now up over 5% this month, signaling some optimism over a trade deal with China. Bonds, strangely enough, are uniformly higher as well. The iShares 20+Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up .8% in early trading, and the SPDR High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) is up .4%. It is rather unusual to see stocks, commodities and bonds all trading higher on the same day.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

EARNINGS TO THE RESCUE

EARNINGS TO THE RESCUE

EARNINGS TO THE RESCUE

Stocks opened higher today after Apple’s (AAPL) earnings announcement (see below). The Dow is currently up 369 pts and the SPX is up 1%. Tech, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors are leading the way, up over 1% in early trading. In particular, AAPL is up 4.7% and Amazon (AMZN) is up 3.4%. The VIX Index—a common fear gauge among traders—is still hovering around 19 where it has been for the past couple of weeks. With every passing day it seems more likely that Christmas Eve was the correction bottom. Commodities are trading mostly higher today. WTI crude oil is back up around $54.70/barrel and you can expect it to keep going in the near term. Bonds are mixed; Treasuries are down but junk bonds are higher on the day. The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.73% and has been pretty tight to that level over the last two weeks. The yield curve is still flattish but hasn’t inverted yet. By the way, Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference today discussing the FOMC’s monthly policy meeting.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

SIGNS OF OPTIMISM

SIGNS OF OPTIMISM

SIGNS OF OPTIMISM

Stock market averages are mixed in early trading today. The Dow is up about 97 points but the S&P 500 (SPX) is flat. Industrials and materials are up about 1%, and that’s important because those sectors are among the most vulnerable to a continued trade war with China. So this is a sign of optimism regarding a potential deal between President Trump and Xi Jinping. Trade tensions are of course one of three major concerns for investors at the moment. The other two are slowing global economic growth and the (temporarily resolved) government shutdown. European stock markets closed higher by .5% to 1% today. Asia was mostly lower overnight, but China’s Shanghai Composite Index is up 6% so far this year. Commodities are mostly higher as well today. WTI crude oil shot up nearly 3% to trade around $53.50/barrel (see below). The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) is up almost 5% this month. By the way, the fact that commodities are recovering from last year’s rout probably signals a little more optimism about the global economy going forward. Treasury bonds & high-grade corporates are trading broadly higher as yields tick lower. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury note yields are hovering around 2.56% and 2.72%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

January 28, 2019

Stocks sank at the open this morning after Nvidia (NVDA) and Caterpillar (CAT) reported quarterly results. The Dow is currently down 340 points and the SPX is down 1%. A number of major market sectors are down more than 1%: tech, communications, industrials, healthcare, and energy. The VIX Index rose back to nearly 20, which shouldn’t cause much panic among traders. After all, we’ve had five consecutive weeks of gains for the stock market, and a pause (or some give-back) should be expected. Commodities are mostly lower today; WTI crude oil is back down around $51.60/barrel. Copper is up about 4% so far this year, which suggests some nascent optimism regarding China’s ability to stabilize their economy with fiscal stimulus. Bonds are trading slightly higher today. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields dipped to 2.57% and 2.73%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

INVESTOR SENTIMENT IMPROVING ON TRADE TALKS

INVESTOR SENTIMENT IMPROVING ON TRADE TALKS

INVESTOR SENTIMENT IMPROVING ON TRADE TALKS

The major stock market averages surged in early trading following a report that the Chinese are offering trade concessions (see below). The Dow is currently up 280 pts and the SPX is up 1.2%. The materials & industrials sectors shot up 1.8%. Those groups have perhaps suffered the most from the trade war and may have the most to gain from a trade deal. As sentiment regarding a potential trade deal improves, the VIX Index continues to soften (now down to 17.6). And oil prices continue to recover (up around $53.60/barrel). Bonds are trading as you would expect on a very risk-on day. Treasuries are down in price, up in yield. The 10-year Treasury yield is back up around 2.78%, and wants to test resistance around 2.81%. Corporates, on the other hand, are at long last catching a bid. And for today, the worse the credit quality, the higher the price gain.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

Fourth Quarter Stock & Bond Market Overview For 2018

Fourth Quarter Stock & Bond Market Overview For 2018

Stocks bookended the beginning and end of the year with drops, despite returning over 10% in the two middle quarters.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropped, respectively, 3.5% and 4.4% for 2018.  Smaller firms (S&P 600) were worse, dropping 8.5 % last year.  During down markets, defensive styles are usually safe havens – not this time.  Counterintuitively, growth and momentum stocks were the only broad styles not in the red for 2018.  Volatility, as measured by VIX, started the year at about 9 and ended at 21, just north of its historical average of 20.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

EARNINGS & STIMULUS TO THE RESCUE

EARNINGS & STIMULUS TO THE RESCUE

EARNINGS & STIMULUS TO THE RESCUE

The stock market gapped up at the open today on overseas headlines (see below). The Dow is currently up 126 pts and the SPX is up .24%. Banks are up over 2% in early trading after strong earnings reports from Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS). Oil fell back under $52/barrel in early trading, but that could easily turn around through the trading day. Bonds are mixed—corporates are modestly higher on the day but Treasuries are selling off as yields tick higher. The 10-year Treasury yield has rebounded to 2.73% from 2.55% just 2 weeks ago. Remember, higher long-term Treasury yields will likely be viewed by investors as a positive for the economic outlook.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

SHUTDOWN DISRUPTION & FADING VISIBILITY ON THE ECONOMY

SHUTDOWN DISRUPTION & FADING VISIBILITY ON THE ECONOMY

SHUTDOWN DISRUPTION & FADING VISIBILITY ON THE ECONOMY

Stocks opened higher this morning despite the US Trade Representative’s comment that no progress was made in US/China trade talks last week. The Dow is currently up 137 points and the SPX is up 1%. A number of sectors are up more than 1% in early trading, including utilities, communications, tech, healthcare and consumer discretionary. European markets closed higher by about .5% and Asia was up 1% or more last night. The VIX Index has fallen back to 18, which is below the long-term average of 20. The dollar is a bit stronger today and commodities are also higher. WTI crude oil is back up to $51.70/barrel after crashing to $42 last month. Bonds are mixed. Treasuries are unchanged but junk bonds are modestly higher.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

EARNINGS SEASON BEGINS

EARNINGS SEASON BEGINS

EARNINGS SEASON BEGINS

The stock market opened lower this morning after some soft Chinese economic data (see below). The Dow is currently down 98 pts and the SPX is off .5%. Ten of eleven market sectors are lower, led by utilities (-3%), tech (-.9%) and materials (-.7%). One of the only groups working today is the banks, up about 1%. European markets closed down by roughly .5% and most of Asia was lower overnight. The dollar is lower after a report showing US exports to China fell flat. WTI crude oil is down about 1% to trade at $51/barrel. Bonds are trading lower today. Junk bonds (-.3%) are following the stock market. Treasuries are slightly lower as well as yields rise. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.71%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

RECOVERY CONTINUES IN FITS & STARTS

RECOVERY CONTINUES IN FITS & STARTS

RECOVERY CONTINUES IN FITS & STARTS

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -45 pts; SPX -.1%). Most major market sectors are in the red, led by energy and utilities. Semiconductors and banks, on the other hand, are trading higher. Over the last several days, the VIX Index has collapsed—that is, expected near-term volatility has collapsed. European markets closed .5% lower today after we learned that Italy’s economy contracted in the third quarter and industrial production plunged in November. On the other hand, most of Asia was positive overnight. China’s Shanghai Composite has been cautiously advancing since January 3rd—could that signal some optimism over trade? Commodities are trading mixed today. WTI crude is down 2% to $51.60/barrel, hence the dip in energy stocks. But make no mistake, oil’s new trend is up. Bonds are mostly higher today, except junk which is following the stock market pretty closely these days. Interest rates are down across the curve today. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are back down to 2.52% and 2.70%, respectively.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

IMPROVING SENTIMENT

IMPROVING SENTIMENT

Stocks opened higher again today, as investor sentiment gradually improves. The Dow is currently up 143 pts and the SPX is up .5%. Tech, energy, healthcare and industrials are up nicely in early trading. Utilities, consumer staples, real estate and communications services are in the red. European stock markets will close up by about .5% and Asia was broadly higher overnight. The Shanghai Composite Index, China’s main stock index, closed up .7%. The dollar is down about .5% against a basket of foreign currencies. That’s a big deal. Dollar weakness means emerging markets stocks do better; it means US multi-national exporters do better; it signals that investors believe inflation is well under control and the Fed won’t be aggressive with monetary tightening. It might even signal more optimism (among traders) that the trade war can be resolved. All else equal, commodities generally rise as the dollar weakens. WTI crude oil is up nearly 3% today to trade at $51.25/barrel. Copper and gold are up modestly as well. Bonds are trading slightly higher as well. Both investment-grade and high-yield corporate bond ETFs are up about .2% today. The exception is long-term Treasuries. Whereas the 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are basically flat to slightly lower, the 30-year Treasury yield jumped up to 3.02%. And remember, we want Treasuries to sell off when the stock market is moving higher. I can’t emphasize enough how closely traders are watching the bond market as a signal to whether the stock market recovery can continue.


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