Iran

INCREASING PRESSURE ON CHINA

The major stock market averages gapped up at the open, but quickly faded. The Dow is currently up 47 pts and the SPX is up .29%. Energy is the best performing sector, up 1.1% on higher oil prices. And unlike yesterday, cyclical sectors are faring well but defensives are in the red. There’s just no discernible trend in the market this week. European stock markets closed roughly flat this morning and most of Asia was lower overnight. Hong Kong protests over a proposed extradition law are gaining momentum and have grown violent. Bloomberg reports hundreds of thousands of people are involved. Hong Kong is officially autonomous but China’s communist party exercises effective control. Commodities are trading sharply higher, led by oil. WTI crude oil climbed back to nearly $53/barrel after terror attacks—likely initiated by Iran—on two oil tankers in the Strait Hormuz. Bonds are again moving higher in price, lower in yield. The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.10%.


*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.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, HAVE A NICE WEEKEND

Stocks dropped at the open but quickly recovered after a positive consumer sentiment report. The Dow is currently flat and the SPX is down .28%. Utilities and healthcare sectors are up modestly. Most retailers are catching a bid as well. On the other hand, semiconductors, energy and industrials are in the red. European markets closed down about .4% and China’s markets dived more than 2% last night. Emerging markets funds have really underperformed this month on rising trade tensions. Commodities are mostly lower today. WTI crude oil is flat at about $62.90/barrel. Remember, oil is reacting to Iran’s terrorism, not to the US-China trade dispute. Bonds aren’t moving much, except at the long end. The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.39%. Bond traders are watching to see if the 10-year can hold above near-term support at 2.37%.


*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.

MARKET AT THE MERCY OF TRADE HEADLINES

Stocks gapped down at the open this morning, but quickly recovered after President Trump said he would delay planned auto import tariffs hikes. The Dow is currently up 41 pts and the SPX is up .5%. By the way, the Dow had its best day in a month yesterday. Ten of eleven sectors are in the green, led by communications services (+1.6%) and tech (+1%). Banks, on the other hand, are down along with interest rates. The VIX fell back to 17.3 today. Commodities are also trading higher today. WTI crude continues to climb on fears of Iranian terrorism in the Persian Gulf. Bonds are trading higher across the board, forcing yields lower. The 10-year Treasury Note yield is back down to 2.39% and will probably test its near-term support level of 2.37%. One doesn’t normally see stocks and bonds move in tandem. But of course any time geopolitical tensions rise one can expect safe-haven trades like gold and Treasuries to move 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.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, CHECK BACK TOMORROW

Stocks fell at the open this morning but quickly recovered. The Dow and SPX are currently flat. Defensive, interest rate sensitive sectors (utilities, real estate) are down in early trading. The energy sector, on the other hand, is up over 1.8% on higher oil prices. Trade volume is pretty light coming off of a holiday weekend. European markets are still closed for Easter. The stock market looks kind of tired after a huge recovery rally in the first quarter. In other words, don’t expect a lot of excitement today. Earnings will provide plenty of excitement later this week. WTI crude oil shot up to $65.50/barrel, the highest since the end of October last year. That’s a direct result of the Trump Administration saying Iran’s trade sanction exemption will expire on May 2. A White House statement said the decision “is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.” Bonds are trading a bit lower as yields tick higher. The 10-year Treasury yield is back up to 2.58%. The “yield curve” (that is, the difference between the 10-year and 2-year rates) is still pretty narrow and fragile. In fact, the spread is just .19% and has been in the range of .10% and .20% for the last 5 months. Should it break convincingly above .20%, that will likely be viewed as a bullish signal for traders.


*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.

November 6, 2018

November 6, 2018

Stocks opened higher again today as voting gets underway. The Dow is currently up 114 pts and the SPX is up .4%. Most major market sectors are in the green, led by materials (+1%) and industrials (+1%). Those two groups are widely seen as the primary beneficiaries from a potentially split congress that may only be able to agree on higher infrastructure spending. In addition, the fact that stocks are rising seems to suggest that the “Blue Wave” won’t show up at the polls. Further, if investors sniffed a return of Democratic control in both the House and Senate, you’d at least see healthcare stocks falling today. The point is, market action is telling us what investors expect: gridlock. The VIX Index is still hovering around 20, but VIX December futures fell to 18.5 today. So the options market doesn’t seem to expect a continuation of the stock market correction. We’ll see. Commodities are trading mostly lower today. WTI crude oil fell 2.4% to $61.60/barrel after President Trump granted Iran a trade sanction waiver. Bonds are trading modestly lower as interest rates tick higher. The 5-year Treasury yield is back up around 3.04% (the 2018 high is 3.07%). The 10-year yield is trading at 3.21% vs. the 2018 high of 3.23%.


*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.

July 16, 2018

The major stock market averages are meandering aimlessly today (Dow & SPX flat). Financials are up 1.2% after some positive earnings announcements (see below). Telecoms are also higher in early trading, but most other sectors are in the red. The VIX Index jumped back up to 12.6, but that’s still considered very low. Most European markets will close down slightly today, and except for Japan, Asian markets were down overnight. Oil is taking a hit, down 3% after Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said some US oil importers could get waivers to continue buying Iranian oil temporarily. “We want people to reduce oil purchases to zero, but in certain cases if people can’t do that overnight, we’ll consider exceptions.” Seems like a massive over-reaction by oil traders, but they’ve always been good at creating volatility where it’s not needed. Anyway, most other commodities are also in the red today. Year-to-date, the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down 5.7%. Bonds are trading modestly lower this morning as yields tick upward. But there is now only 10 basis points difference between the 5-year and 10-year Treasury note yields. The yield curve continues to flatten.


*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.

May 9, 2018

Stocks opened mixed this morning (Dow -18 pts; SPX +.27%). The energy sector is leading (+1.8%) after WTI crude oil spiked over $70/barrel for the first time since Nov. 2014. Industrials, financials and materials are up a bit. The defensives and interest rate sensitive sectors are falling as rates head higher. Utilities are down .9% after falling more than 2% yesterday. The VIX Index is down around 14.3, suggesting low expected volatility over the next 30 days. For the past three weeks, the dollar has been rising, which reverses the 16-month down-trend. This move coincides with rising expectations for more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. Bonds are selling off again today. The 5-year Treasury yield is up around 2.83%. The 10-year yield ticked up to 3.0%.


*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.

September 29, 2016

The major stock market averages opened lower this morning (Dow -55 pts; SPX -.3%). Utilities and healthcare are the worst-performing groups in early trading. Banks, transports and retailers are modestly higher. The dollar and commodities are flat. WTI crude oil is up modestly to $47.30/barrel. Bonds are trading a bit lower as yields tick higher. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are currently hovering around 1.15%, and 1.59%, 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.

April 18. 2016

Stocks gapped down at the open but quickly recovered. The Dow and SPX are currently up 70 pts & .4%, respectively. The Dow is very close to hitting 18,000, and the only sectors in the red are utilities and materials. The VIX Index is down under 14, suggesting very little volatility in the next 30 days. WTI crude oil is down 2.5% to $39/barrel this morning. Over the weekend, oil ministers met in Doha to discuss the possibility of freezing oil production levels. They failed to reach an agreement; Saudi Arabia says that unless Iran participates, it will not agree to a production freeze. And of course, we know that Iran is not willing to commit to a freeze. So the meeting was a non-event, although it did afford speculators a chance to create a little volatility in oil prices. Bonds are modestly lower today as yields tick higher (5-year Treasury yield at 1.23%; 10-year at 1.78%).


*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.

March 14, 2016

The major stock market averages opened modestly lower this morning (Dow -7 pts; SPX -.24%). Energy, healthcare and materials sectors are leading the market lower. Oil prices are down today; WTI -4% to about $37/barrel. Iran confirmed it will not agree—with Saudi Arabia, Russia and others—to freeze oil production at January levels. The country’s goal is to boost production from its current level around 2 million barrels per day to a target of 4 million barrels. Most other commodities are lower (Bloomberg Commodity Index -1% on the day and up slightly this year). Bonds are modestly higher as yields tick lower. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are trading at 1.47% and 1.96%, respectively. Speaking of bonds, “junk” or high-yield bonds are recovering from a 1-year rout. The SPDR High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) is actually up 2% for the year. Oil’s convincing move back over $30/barrel is helping to ease credit conditions. In addition, economic data has come in better than expected lately.


*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.