NFIB Small Business Optimism Index

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM FOR THE MOMENT

Stocks opened modestly higher this morning, edging closer to April highs. The Dow is currently up 58 pts and the SPX is flat. Banks, retailers, semiconductors and energy are all up about .5% in early trading. On the other hand, utilities, industrials and healthcare are down. VIX July futures are trading around 17, suggesting traders don’t expect a near-term volatility spike. Expected Treasury bond market volatility has collapsed this month as well. Commodities are mostly higher today, save gold. WTI crude oil bounced back to $53.50/barrel after bottoming around $51.70 a week ago. The bond market is mixed today. Treasuries are selling off a bit after a monster 6-week run. The 10-year Treasury yield notched up to 2.16%. Corporates are faring better in early trading, with the SPDR High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) up about .3%.


*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.

RELIEF RALLY

Stocks opened higher this morning in an attempt to recover from a week-long 5% correction. The Dow is currently up 219 pts and the SPX is up 1.25%. Ten of eleven market sectors are in the green, led by tech (+1.9%), financials (+1.5%) and energy (1.7%). The VIX Index—a common gauge of fear among traders—fell back to 18.5. Oil prices also recovered after a series of attacks on Saudi oil tankers and pumping stations, presumably by Iran in retaliation for trade sanctions. WTI crude is back up around $61.80/barrel. Bonds are little changed this morning. The 10-year Treasury yield edged up to 2.42%.


*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.

ANY EXCUSE TO CONSOLIDATE

The major stock market averages gapped down at the open today (Dow -177 pts; SPX -.33%). Utilities and communications sectors are modestly higher, but most everything else is in the red. The energy sector is down .8% along with oil prices. Industrials are down 1% on weakness in Boeing (BA). European markets closed lower by about .3%, whereas Asian markets are up 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.

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.

January 8, 2019

January 8, 2019

Stocks opened higher yet again today (Dow +165 pts; SPX +.45%). The financial sector is down nearly .6% and the tech sector is pretty flat. But every other sector is in the green, led by communications and energy. WTI crude oil extended its recovery from the late 2018 crash and is now trading up around $49.50/barrel. Most of the bond market is trading higher as well, meaning that interest rates are lower. Junk bonds are up over .3% in early trading (see below). High-grade corporate bonds are up about .2%. Treasury bonds are modestly lower on the day, which is what you would expect. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are back up around 2.55% and 2.71%. I expect they’ll head higher from here.


*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.

December 11, 2018

December 11, 2018

Stocks rose at the open after a report suggesting progress in negotiating some sort of de-escalation of the trade war. The Dow is currently up 37 pts and the SPX is up .45%. The best performing groups in early trading are semiconductors, biotechs and retailers. The European markets closed up about 1.6% and most of Asia was up overnight. The dollar is stronger yet again, but WTI crude oil is up around $51.60/barrel. Bonds are trading modestly higher again. For the first time in a while we’re seeing a little rally in junk bonds. In Treasuries, we’re seeing short and long yields continue to converge. That is, you’re not picking up much additional yield for investing in longer-dated notes. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are sitting at 2.71% and 2.85%, respectively. So yield curve concerns are front and center.


*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.

July 10, 2018

Stocks gapped up at the open this morning (Dow +150 pts; SPX +.33%). Ten of eleven major market sectors are in the green, led by utilities, energy and consumer staples. The VIX Index is trading at very low levels, around 12.7. European markets will close up about .5% today and most of Asia was up overnight. So overall this is a fairly positive session. WTI crude oil is down modestly to trade around $73.70/barrel. Recall that oil hasn’t been this high since the end of 2014. Most other commodities are lower on the day, including gold, copper, and iron ore. Bonds are trading roughly flat. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are currently at 2.76% and 2.86%, 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.

February 14, 2018

The major stock market averages opened lower this morning following a substantial rebound from correction lows. The Dow and SPX are currently flat and +.4%, respectively. The correction, by the way, seems to have been halted at 11.7% (intraday) and 10% (closing). It took only 10 trading sessions to reach the bottom on an intraday basis. According to S&P Capital IQ, that’s the fastest 10% decline since WWII. Today, interest rate sensitive sectors—utilities, real estate—are in the red due to a higher than expected inflation report. Not surprisingly, financials are in the green because they tend to benefit from higher interest rates. WTI crude oil, which recently fell from $64 to $59, is up modestly to trade around $59.40/barrel. Bonds are selling off as yields tick higher. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are up around 2.63% (a fresh 8-yr high) and 2.89% (a fresh 4-year high). The next stop for the 10-year is likely 3.03%.


*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 3, 2017

The major stock market averages opened higher again today. The Dow—currently up 65 pts—briefly touched a new all-time high. The SPX is up very slightly. Believe it or not, the telecom is leading the way, up .8%. A host of other sectors and industries are higher on the day as well (i.e. semiconductors, transports, consumer goods). Utilities & healthcare are in the red. European stock markets are poised to close up about .3% and most of Asia was higher overnight. The dollar is slightly lower against a basket of foreign currencies today, but has been strengthening over the last month. And if US economic growth accelerates & the Fed hikes interest rates again late this year, you can expect that the dollar will rise. Commodities are mixed today. Copper and gold are higher on the day but WTI crude oil backed down to around $50.30/barrel. Bonds are trading mostly higher as yields edge lower. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are currently at 1.92% and 2.33%, 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 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.

January 11, 2017

Stocks surged at the open (Dow +97 pts; SPX +.13%). Yesterday, the Nasdaq hit a fresh all-time high. Energy and industrials sectors are leading this morning as oil prices bounces back. Biotechs, gold miners, telecom carriers and REITs aren’t participating. The dollar is stronger on the day, but oil prices are up 2% to $52/barrel anyway. Bonds are pretty much unchanged. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 1.89% and 2.39%, 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.