Morgan Stanley (MS)

STOCKS DOWN ON MIXED ECONOMIC/EARNINGS REPORTS

Stocks opened lower this morning as investors strain to digest quarterly earnings & economic reports. The Dow is currently down 123 pts and the SPX is down .3%. Financials and consumer staples are in the green, but most everything else is down.

Here’s a quick look at earnings announcements. Morgan Stanley (MS) is flat after reporting better than expected revenue and earnings; the wealth management business stood out. United Health (UNH) is down 2.8% after reporting better than expected second quarter results and boosting its 2019 profit outlook. Netflix (NFLX) fell 11% after reporting only 2.7 million new subscribers compared with Wall Street forecasts closer to 5 million. Danaher (DHR) is up 1.4% after reporting revenue & earnings slightly ahead of estimates. Honeywell (HON) surged 2% even though second quarter revenue fell slightly short of Wall Street forecasts. Investors felt management executed very well despite a weak global economic environment.

CNBC’s latest “Rapid Update” survey shows that economists believe the US economy is tracking to 1.8% growth in the second quarter, and 2% in the third quarter. That’s roughly equivalent to what the Federal Reserve calls long-term potential growth. Reporter Steve Liesman notes the gap between that figure and the Trump Administration’s goal of 3%, and says achieving that goal would require a boost in capital spending by Corporate America. Unfortunately, the trade war with China is clearly restraining capital spending. So while the US economy achieved about 3% growth last year, don’t expect that this year or next.

The Index of Leading US Indicators (LEI) fell in June, suggesting the 6-month outlook for the US economy is softening. This index is actually a set of 10 different economic indicators designed to predict economic conditions. The primary reasons for the drop were weakness in orders for manufacturing equipment and also building permits. It’s important to note that the index isn’t predicting recession, but the US economy has definitely lost some momentum over the last year. The LEI is 1.6% higher than it was a year ago, and that’s on the low end of the 8-year trend.

China’s economy grew by 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019. That sounds pretty strong, but it’s not. The truth is that growth has been decelerating in China for decades. Part of that trend is natural, due to the law of large numbers. But more recently, growth has slowed due to the trade dispute with the US and also slower economic growth in Europe, a major trading partner to China. Government stimulus, mostly debt-fueled , is being thrown at the problem. But Bloomberg notes that total corporate/household/government debt now equals 300% of China’s annual economic output. While the economy is growing at 6.2%, total debt is growing at an unsustainable 11%. This report, by the way, emboldened President Trump to announce that the US and China are no closer to a trade deal despite ongoing negotiations.


*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.

HEALTHCARE ROUT

Stocks opened a bit lower this morning (Dow -23 pts; SPX -.2%). The healthcare sector is down nearly 2% today and 5.5% so far this month. The direct cause is fear over the rise of socialism in Congress. See yesterday’s update for more details. The real estate sector is down 1% today and 2.7% this month after having climbed over 17% during the first quarter. Semiconductor stocks are up over 1% after Apple (AAPL) and Qualcomm (QCOM) finally settled their legal battle over intellectual property. The energy sector is up about .5% after a report showing lower than expected crude stockpiles in the US. Commodities are mixed. Copper is now up 14% this year and a good portion of that has to do with China stimulating its economy. WTI crude is flat on the day at $64/barrel. Bonds are trading pretty flat as well. The 10-year US Treasury yield is hovering around 2.59%.


*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.

October 16, 2018

October 16, 2018

The major stock market averages screamed higher in early trading, reversing the prior week’s trend. The Dow is currently up 374 pts and the SPX is up 1.5%. So far, this is the Dow’s best day in two months. All eleven market sectors are in the green, led by tech and healthcare (+2%). Even financials are participating to some extent. The VIX Index gapped down below 19 suggesting traders are increasingly less nervous about the near-term. European stock markets are poised to close up well over 1% and most of Asia was up overnight (except China). The dollar is flat against a basket of foreign currencies after having declined a bit over the last week. Commodities are mixed in early trading. WTI crude oil is unchanged at $71.70/barrel. Gold is up slightly today (& up about 4% over the last two weeks). Bonds are trading modestly lower as yields tick up. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury Note yields are back up around 3.03% and 3.17%, 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.

September 18, 2018

September 18, 2018

Stocks surged at the open despite escalation of the trade war with China. The Dow is up 118 pts and the SPX is up .58%. Technology and consumer discretionary sectors—thought to be especially vulnerable to a trade war—are leading the way with 1% gains. European markets will close modestly higher and Asia was mostly higher overnight. In fact, China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.8% and copper prices surged more than 3%. That is absolutely not the expected reaction to more trade tariffs. Commodities are higher on the day and the US dollar is trading flat. Iron ore is up over 1% and WTI crude oil is up around $69.60/barrel. Bonds are selling off today as interest rates head higher. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are up around 2.92% and 3.03%, respectively. In addition, the yield curve steepened just a bit.


*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 18, 2018

Stocks opened a bit higher this morning (Dow +63 pts; SPX +.13%). Defensive sectors—utilities, real estate, consumer staples—are down today. The financial sector, on the other hand, is up 1.5% after a strong earnings report from Morgan Stanley (see below). The industrials sectors is up over 1% on strength in the transports. Semiconductor equipment manufacturers are jumping today after a positive earnings announcement from ASML Holdings (ASML). Remember, this group has been smashed on trade tariff fears. European stock markets are poised to close up about .7%, but outside of Japan most of Asia was down overnight. Commodities are mostly lower today; WTI crude oil is trading down around $67.95/barrel. Bonds are mostly unchanged, continuing the month-long trend of extremely low volatility in the bond 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.

April 18, 2018

Stocks opened mixed this morning (Dow +21 pts; SPX +.4%). Energy, industrials and materials sectors are up over 1% in early trading. Tech, telecom and consumer staples are trading lower. (Year-to-date, the worst performing sectors are telecom, staples, real estate and utilities.) The VIX Index is up a bit to trade around 16.4. European markets will close up about .5% today and Asia was mostly higher overnight. 


*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 18, 2018

Stocks opened lower this morning on weaker than expected housing starts (Dow -98 pts; SPX flat). Defensives (real estate, utilities, consumer staples) are getting hit as interest rates head higher. For some reason we’ve seen telecom de-couple from that group day-to-day. But year-to-date the defensives are definitely underperforming the cyclicals. At the moment, semiconductors and retailers are in the green. Bonds are tanking today with yields higher. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are up around 2.41% and 2.61%, respectively. So those rates are nearly on top of one another. As I mentioned yesterday, the next resistance level for the 10-year is 2.63%, and it looks like that level will be broken in short order.


*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.

October 17, 2017

Stocks opened mixed today (Dow +25 pts; SPX flat). The Dow just hit 23,000 for the first time. Retailers & biotechs are trading higher, but most everything else is in the red. The VIX Index is up 4% to trade just over 10. VIX November futures are trading around 11.7. Commodities are trading lower (copper, gold, oil). WTI crude oil is down .8 to trade around $51.40/barrel. Bonds are down slightly as well. The 5-year Treasury yield is up around 1.96% and the 10-year Treasury yield is up around 2.31%. 


*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.

June 30, 2017

Stocks opened modestly higher following yesterday’s rout. The Dow and SPX are currently up 58 pts & .18%, respectively. Most sectors are trying to bounce back, except for financials, healthcare and telecom. The deep cyclical-type groups are weaker today—biotechs, semiconductors, banks. The VIX Index is sitting at 11.5 and VIX are trading at 12.3. The dollar is modestly stronger today against a basket of foreign currencies, but oil prices are rising as well. WTI crude is trading up around $45.40/barrel. Bonds are ever-so-slightly lower in price, higher in yield. The 5-year Treasury yield ticked up to 1.86% and the 10-year yield is up to 2.28%


*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 20, 2017

Stocks opened higher this morning, reversing yesterday’s losses. The Dow is up 98 pts and the SPX is currently up .57%. Financials, industrials and energy are leading the way. Utilities, telecoms and consumer staples are in the red. So this is a pretty classic risk-on day for capital markets. The VIX Index is down around 14.5. Most commodities are a bit higher in early trading. WTI crude oil is back up over $50.50/barrel. And by the way, the average price of gasoline around the US is $2.41/gallon. That’s about 15% higher than it was a year ago. Bonds are falling in price, higher in yield. The 5-year Treasury yield is back up to 1.77% and the 10-year yield bounced back up to 2.24%. 


*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 10, 2017

Stocks opened higher this morning but quickly turned around. The Dow and SPX are currently flat. Energy is the leading sector, up .9% in early trading. Transports and retailers are also up .5% to 1%. The VIX Index has risen from 11.4 to 13 over the last two weeks. However, VIX May futures aren’t much higher than that, around 13.9. With North Korea back in the headlines, I expected more of a volatility spike. European markets are poised to close down slightly today, but are up 5-6% so far this year. The dollar is flat and oil is headed higher again. WTI crude oil is back to $52.90/barrel, partly due to the US airstrike last week, and partly because the Russian oil minister mentioned the possibility of extending OPEC-led production cuts. Bonds aren’t moving much this morning. The 5-year Treasury yield is hovering around 1.90% and the 10-year Treasury is trading at 2.36%. 


*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 17, 2017

Stocks sank at the open (Dow -48 pts; SPX -.26%). The SPX is now about .5% off of its record high, set back on 1/6. Defensive sectors (utilities, consumer staples) are leading way, up over 1% in early trading. The financial sector, up 16% since the election, is down about 1.7% today. The US dollar is weaker today and commodities are higher. WTI crude oil is trading up around $52.60/barrel. Bonds are trading up as yields fall. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 1.84% and 2.34%, respectively. Remember, rates rose aggressively from Brexit last summer through December 15th. But since then we’ve seen some give-back (or “consolidation”) in rates. 


*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.

October 19, 2016

Stocks opened higher as the market continues to digest quarterly earnings announcements. The Dow and SPX are currently up 67 pts & .26%, respectively. The energy sector is up over 1.7% in early trading. Gold miners and banks are up as well. WTI crude oil climbed back over $51/barrel this morning. In fact, oil briefly touched a 15-month high of $51.72/barrel. Bonds are slightly higher as well, with the 5-year Treasury yield down to 1.22% and the 10-year trading at 1.74%. 


*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 20, 2016

Stocks opened higher again this morning. The Dow and S&P 500 are currently up 49 pts & .4%, respectively. Biotechs, airlines and semiconductors are leading the way for a change. Utilities, consumer staples and telecoms are down in early trading. Bank of America is calling this rally the “bear capitulation,” saying investors have been against this market until just now because they’re afraid of “missing out.” The dollar is up again and commodities are mostly lower, except for oil. WTI crude is trading back up to $45/barrel. Stability in oil is key to this rally. Bonds are down in price today as yields edge upward. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are currently at 1.15% and 1.59%, respectively. So those are roughly 2-week highs on 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.