Job Openings & Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report

WAITING ON THE FED

Stocks opened sharply higher this morning (Dow +99 pts; SPX +.6%), probably because recent economic data (see below) encourages traders to believe the Federal Reserve will soon begin lowering interest rates.

Payroll processor ADP says the US economy generated 102,000 new jobs in the month of June. That’s a lot better than May’s 41,000 but it’s also less than economists were forecasting. The fear, of course, is that hiring activity is slowing, whether because economic growth is slowing or because we’re already at full employment. It’s true that there are more open positions than job seekers.

ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Index, which measures business activity in the service sector, fell to 55.1 in June from 56.9 in the prior month. The decline was a bit more than economists were expecting. And while any reading above 50.0 indicates continued expansion of activity, the index is down around a 2-year low. The index’s key forward-looking new orders component fell to 55.8, the lowest since December 2017. In both manufacturing and service sectors, overall business activity as well as hiring, cost inflation and new orders are slowing. A spokesman for ISM noted the trend and said surveys “reflect mixed sentiment about business conditions and the overall economy. A degree of uncertainty exists due to trade and tariffs.” However, business activity “continues to reflect strength.”

Investors are rightly concerned about the trade war’s impact on business investment. And today we learned that corporate capital spending continued to soften in May. New orders for capital equipment excluding defense/aircraft are up only 1% from year-ago levels. That compares with 7% growth a year ago. Still, Bloomberg points out that conditions aren’t as bad as many anticipated. At least business investment is still showing some growth. Perhaps some underlying resilience can be teased out of this report.


*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 11, 2018

September 11, 2018

Stocks gapped lower at the open but quickly turned around. The Dow is currently up 136 pts and the SPX is up .46%. Energy, tech and telecom are the best-performing sectors, up 1% in early trading. Apple (AAPL) stock is up 1.9% in front of its new product event tomorrow. European stock markets closed about flat and most of Asia was modestly lower overnight. Despite the fact that China’s government is directing traders to buy stocks hand-over-fist, the Shanghai Composite Index is still down 20% in local currency terms this year. Most commodities are lower today, save oil. WTI crude oil prices are up 2% to $69/barrel. Bonds are trading slightly lower on the day. The 5-year Treasury yield is up around 2.87% and the 10-year yield is up to 2.97%. Rates want 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.

March 16, 2018

The major stock market averages opened higher today (Dow +104 pts; SPX +.36%). Nearly all sectors are in the green, led by energy (+1%), telecom (+.65%) and financials (+.7%). Only tech is trading slightly lower. It looks like traders are putting aside for the moment chaos as the White House. European markets are poised to close up about .7% although most of Asia was down overnight. The VIX Index is trading down toward 15.3. The dollar is stronger today after some better than expected economic data. WTI crude oil opened roughly unchanged but suddenly, and unexpectedly, spiked to $62.00/barrel. Bonds are falling in price, rising in yield. That makes sense alongside a stronger dollar. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are up around 2.63% and 2.84%.


*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 11, 2017

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -110 pts; SPX -.6%). We’re right in that weird pre-earnings season period with only geopolitics to keep us busy. Financials and tech are down almost 1% in early trading. It looks like some of the stocks that have surged over the past few months are getting hit harder (MU, SWKS, AAPL, AMAT). I think the market will likely recoup some of the these losses by the end of the session. The VIX Index is up 11% to trade over 15.5; that’s a big jump in expected volatility. The VIX hasn’t been above 15 since the election. But remember, typically the VIX isn’t considered elevated unless it reaches 20. The dollar is down today (and about 1.5% year-to-date). Gold is higher on the day but most other commodities are lower. WTI crude is trading modestly lower to $52.80/barrel. Bonds are higher on the day (lower in yield). The 5-year Treasury is down around 1.84% and will likely fall to technical support at 1.80%. The 10-year Treasury is now yielding 2.31% and the next support level is 2.29%. 


*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 7, 2016

The major stock market averages opened lower. The Dow and SPX are currently down 48 pts & -.2%, respectively. Tech & energy sectors are modestly higher but the defensive sectors are in the red. Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen utilities, consumer staples and telecoms lose momentum, whereas the tech sector has clearly begun to lead. The VIX Index is currently trading at 12 suggesting very little volatility over the next 30 days. And the VXTLT, which measures fear in the Treasury bond market, is also very low. Bonds are little changed on the day and have been trading in a very tight range over the last month. Yields are showing no sign that the Federal Reserve is preparing to hike interest rates. Indeed, some of the latest economic data have been rather negative (ISM business activity surveys). 


*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 5, 2016

Stocks gapped down at the open (Dow -90 pts; SPX -.8%; Nasdaq -.7%). All ten major market sectors are in the red; financials, healthcare and utilities are down over 1%. The VIX Index is trading up to 15, suggesting modestly higher volatility expectations. Believe it or not, the Nasdaq Biotech Index is higher—it seems institutional investors are stepping back into biotech after a 7-month drubbing. In addition, small-cap stocks and transports are faring a bit better than the Dow and SPX this morning. Commodities are mixed, and investors are beginning to notice that the inverse relationship between the dollar and commodities has broken down lately. Both the Bloomberg Commodity Index and the dollar are lower on the year. WTI crude oil is down slightly to $35.50/barrel today. Bonds are modestly higher (5-year Treasury yield at 1.18% and 10-year at 1.72%). There is some technical support for the 10-year yield right here, and it will likely bounce higher in the coming days.   


*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.