President Trump

TRADE WAR MOVES TO DEFCON 4

Stocks gapped down at the open this morning. The Dow is currently down 350 pts and the SPX is down 1.5%. Nearly every sector of the market is down more than 1%, led by energy and tech (-2%). Domestically oriented stocks like healthcare insurance, real estate and utilities are holding steady. But companies exposed to the trade war are getting hit. A lot of this is headline driven (see below). The VIX Index spiked to 17.5. Commodities are falling in value, save gold (+1.5%). WTI crude oil is down 3% to $53.60/barrel. Bonds are sopping up the negativity and benefiting from it. The 10-year Treasury Note yield fell back to 1.55% and the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up nearly .9% this morning. The often cited “yield curve” difference between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields is still barely positive. This is a technical indicator bond traders watch in order to gauge the chances of an economic recession within the next year or two.


*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 jumped at the open (Dow +260 pts; SPX +1.25%) after the Secretary of Commerce said President Trump intends to delay restrictions on US companies doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies. This has been flashpoint between US and Chinese trade negotiators, with the president using it alternatively as a carrot and then a stick. Traders are enjoying the carrot today; maybe we’ll see the stick again tomorrow or next week. UBS’s Rob Sechan says 85% of stock exchange trade volume during this month’s correction has been either ETF or algo-based—in other words, driven by short-term traders. All eleven major market sectors are in the green today. The cyclical sectors like energy, tech and consumer discretionary are leading the charge, up more than 1.3%. Interest rates jumped, allowing the banks to rally as well. WTI crude oil bounced back to $55.50/barrel, and gold is down .8%. Bonds sold off on higher yields. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed back to 1.60%. Junk bond are the exception, up .25%, as they typically trade along with stocks.


*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.

TRADE WAR IS TAKING A TOLL

Stocks opened modestly higher this morning (Dow +38 pts; SPX +.16%). Defensive sectors—utilities, consumer staples, real estate—are leading way. On the other hand, energy, industrials and tech are flat to down in early trading. The VIX Index is holding its ground at 21.8 and VIX September futures are trading at 20.4. So despite incredibly bearish financial news media coverage, trading aren’t panicking. European markets will close slightly lower, whereas Asian markets were mostly higher overnight. Oil is down in price again; WTI crude is down 1% to trade around $54.60/barrel. The dollar is stronger after hints by an official at the European Central Bank (ECB) that a bigger monetary stimulus package is coming. Bonds are trading uniformly higher today as yields continue to drop. Junk bonds are up about .25% after some better than expected reports on the economy. But Treasuries are also catching a bid. The 10-year Treasury Note yield has fallen to just 1.55%, the lowest since September 2016.


*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.

THE BOND MARKET IS DRIVING THE BUS

Stocks opened sharply lower today (Dow -590 pts; SPX -2.1%). Financials and energy are leading the market lower, down by over 3% in early trading. The only sector in the green is utilities, up .4%. The SPX is still about 1.5% higher than it fell on Monday August 5th, so this is not even the worst day for stocks this month. Machine trading has taken over in reaction to falling yields in the bond market, and also lower trade volume. The VIX Index climbed back to 21, but that’s pretty tame compared with the spike above 35 we saw last December. As opposed to yesterday, everyone wants to be first to call the next recession. Scanning Bloomberg headlines, we see the following:

“Bond Panic Pummels Banks with Global Recession Fears…”

“Countdown to Catastrophe? The Yield Curve and Stock Bull Markets”

“Recession Worries Pile Up for the Battered Global Economy”


*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.

MANIC MARKET FLIPS ON TRADE HEADLINES

Stocks rallied after the Trump Administration delayed some of the new trade tariffs planned for next month. The Dow is currently up 363 pts, the SPX is up 1.3% and the Nasdaq is up almost 1.6%. Not surprisingly, the leading sectors today—consumer discretionary, industrials, tech—are viewed as having the most vulnerability to an escalating trade war. By contrast, the two sectors seen as the safest in an uncertain global trade environment—utilities and real estate—are in the red today. The VIX Index, a common gauge of fear among options traders, fell back to 17.9 from 21 yesterday. European stock markets rallied sharply on the trade tariff news as well. Asian markets, however, were down overnight on civil unrest in Hong Kong. The US dollar continues to strengthen as the Chinese yuan weakens. But better investor sentiment today is propping up commodities. WTI crude oil spiked 3% to $56.80/barrel for no good reason. Bonds are selling off after an enormous 2019 rally. The 10-year Treasury Note yield bounced back to 1.68% this morning. Since investors’ primary concerns at the moment are 1) trade war, and 2) falling interest rates, any day in which rate rise will generally evoke risk-on sentiment.


*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.

VOLATILITY IS HERE TO STAY IN AUGUST

Stocks opened lower this morning, taking a breather after two days of gains. The Dow is down 218 pts and the SPX is down 1%. Technology (-1.7%) and energy (-1.3%) are the worst performing sectors. Only utilities are holding flat. The VIX Index climbed back to 18.5 this morning. European stock markets (and those in China) closed down by about 1%. Commodities are mostly lower on the day, save oil. Oddly enough, WTI crude oil spiked more than 3% to trade at $54.40/barrel even after an IEA report showed global oil demand at a decade low. It’s no secret that slower global economic growth is bringing down the rate of demand growth; at the same time, US producers continue to pump oil near record levels. It just goes to show that speculation and manipulation are rampant with commodities, and day-to-day prices moves often don’t make sense. Safe-haven Treasury bonds are gaining in price today, pushing yields lower. On the other hand, corporate bonds are falling in price.


*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.

CHINA'S CENTRAL BANK STABILIZES GLOBAL STOCK MARKETS

Stocks opened sharply higher this morning (Dow +197 pts; SPX +1.4%). All eleven major market sectors are in the green, led by tech (+1.9%), materials & consumer discretionary (+1.7%), and communications services (+1.5%). In fact, the SPX has now recovered 50% of its recent decline. The VIX Index collapsed back to 17.6 as jittery traders breath a sigh of relief. Near-term, it looks like Monday’s SPX correction low was successfully re-tested yesterday. But make no mistake, we’re not out of the woods when it comes to volatility. Remember, President Trump’s new round of trade tariffs is scheduled to take effect at the beginning of September. For the moment, however, everything looks rosy. European markets closed up by more than 1%, and Asian markets are also up overnight. Commodities are rebounding today, paced by a sharp recovery in oil prices. WTI crude is up 3% to trade around $52.60/barrel. The bond market about-faced as well. Junk bonds, which sold off by 2% early this month, are now recovering. Treasuries and high-grade corporates, however, are selling off after a monster run. The 10-year Treasury Note yield, which collapsed from 2% to 1.71% in a matter of a few days, ticked up to 1.75%.


*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.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE TRADE WAR

Stocks gapped down at the open after China surprised the world by devaluing its currency (see below). The Dow is currently down 596 pts and the SPX is down 2.3%. Not surprisingly, cyclical sectors like consumer discretionary, tech and financials are down the most. Stocks more exposed to China are getting hurt (i.e. Apple Inc. down 4%). Utilities is the best performing sector, essentially flat. Gold is up 1% in early trading and gold mining stocks are up more than that. Other commodities, however, are in the red. WTI crude oil is down 1% to trade around $55/barrel. Copper and iron ore are down nearly 1%. The bond market is trading mostly higher—save junk bonds. Treasury bond yields are down across the board as investors all around the world shift to the ultimate safe-haven asset. The 10-year Treasury yield gapped down to 1.77%, the lowest since mid-October 2016.


*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 ECONOMIC MOMENTUM

Stocks opened lower this morning on trade war concerns. The Dow is currently down 22 pts and the SPX is down .28%. Pharmaceuticals, transports, semiconductors and banks are all down. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are up on the better than expected pending home sales report. The consumer staples sector is higher on a strong earnings report by Procter & Gamble (PG). European markets were uniformly and sharply lower in today’s session, whereas Asian markets traded higher overnight. Commodities are mostly higher, with WTI crude oil bouncing back toward $57.15/barrel. Bonds are mixed. Long-term Treasuries are up slightly, but corporates are down on the day. The iBoxx Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) is showing signs of topping out after 10% run this year. As we see more signs of improving economic momentum (see below) rates could move upward, pushing bond prices lower.


*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.

AWAITING THE FED

Stocks opened slightly higher this morning but quickly faded. The Dow is currently down 38 pts and the SPX is up .18%. The tech sector surged 1% in early trading, led by semiconductor stocks. In addition, biotechs and transports are modestly higher. Most everything else, however, is in the red. The Dow is now up about 18% this year, and investors are scrutinizing earnings reports to see if the growth outlook will support further stock market gains (see below). The VIX Index—a common measure of fear among traders—is hovering around 14, considered fairly low. And strangely enough, surveys by the American Assn. of Individual Investors (AAII) show improving sentiment among non-professional investors. Taken together, we can conclude that people feel fairly good about the market. Commodities are mixed today. Iran’s geopolitical tantrum is propping up oil prices (WTI crude back up over $56/barrel). But copper and iron ore are lower in price. Bonds are mostly higher in early trading. The 10-year Treasury Note yield fell back to 2.03% today. Long-term Treasury bond funds, such as iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up nearly .5%.


*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 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.

GOOD NEWS IS BAD NEWS

The major stock market averages opened lower this morning after a stronger than expected jobs report. The Dow is currently down 106 pts and the SPX is down .55%. The financials sectors is up about .25% but all other sectors are lower in early trading. European stock markets closed down by about .6% today. In the wake of the jobs report the dollar strengthened and commodities fell. Gold is down 1.5%, copper is down about 1% and WTI crude oil fell back to $57.28/barrel. In addition, the bond market reacted by selling off. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed to 2.05% from 1.95% in the prior trading session. Whether municipals or corporates of Treasuries, the bond market is down sharply today. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) fell 1.6%.


*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.

STOCK & BOND TRADERS AT ODDS ON NEAR-TERM OUTLOOK

Stocks jumped at the open after Presidents Trump & Xi agreed to pause further trade tariffs and re-start negotiations. The Dow is currently up 133 pts and the SPX is up .74%. In fact, the SPX touched an all-time high this morning. The best performing groups today are not surprisingly those that were hit hardest by the trade war: semiconductors and retailers. But we’re also seeing a 1% bump in financials despite the fact that interest rates aren’t rising. Commodities are mixed today. Traders are generally shifting to risk, so it’s not surprising to see gold down 1.4%. WTI crude oil climbed to nearly $59/barrel. But strangely, the bond market is not selling off. Bond traders are ignoring the G-20 trade war truce because of weak manufacturing data (see below). The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.02%.


*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.

MEXICO TRADE RELIEF

Stocks opened higher today after US & Mexican negotiators reached a tentative arrangement to avoid new trade tariffs. The Dow is currently up 174 pts and the SPX is up 1%. Consumer discretionary, financials and technology sectors are all up 1.5% or more in early trading. The VIX Index—a common gauge of fear among traders—sank back to 16. European stock markets closed up by about .5% and most Asian markets were up over 1% last night. In the wake of the Mexico headline, the dollar strengthened and gold & bonds fell. WTI crude oil is trading flat just under $54/barrel. Most areas of the bond market are down today, except for junk bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed back to 2.14%.


*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.

FED TO THE RESCUE

The major stock market averages opened a bit higher this morning (Dow +50 pts; SPX +.25%). This week has been one of recovery, especially after a couple of Federal Reserve officials hinted that they’d loosen monetary if necessary to keep the business cycle alive. Energy is the best performing sector in early trading, up 1.2% despite the fact that oil prices are down again. Some kind of bounce is to expected since energy has absolutely cratered over the past six weeks on oversupply concerns. Today, WTI crude oil is down .6% to trade around $51.44/barrel. Gold is now up 4% on the year as a safe-haven trade. Bonds are trading higher this morning as yields dip again. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) shot up 1% today as the 10-year Treasury bond yield fell back to 2.09%. The reason for continued bond market gains is also the Fed (see below).


*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 today on some ever-so-slightly encouraging trade headlines. The Dow is currently up 390 points and the SPX is up 1.5%. The best performing sectors—financials and tech—are up over 2% in early trading. Real estate and utilities are in the red. The VIX Index sank back to 17 and somehow traders are in the mood to buy stocks, saying we’re “oversold.” European markets closed up by about .5% to 1%. Commodities are mostly trading higher, save gold. WTI crude oil fell at the open but recovered to $53.30/barrel. The bond market is broadly lower today. The 10-year Treasury note yield rebounded to 2.14% this morning after falling to a 20-month low. By the way, 2019’s downshift in bond rates and inflation have stoked speculation that the Federal Reserve will be cutting its policy short-term interest rate before long. Fed officials are obviously noncommittal but Chair Jerome Powell said in a speech today that the Fed will “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” That’s exactly what investors want to hear.


*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.

TRADE WAR II HERE TO STAY

Stocks opened lower again this morning (Dow -71 pts; SPX -.26%). But remember, the recent pattern has been a lower open with late afternoon recovery. At the moment, the energy sector is down 1.2% on concerns that China will reduce purchases of US natural gas. Tech, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors are down as well on trade tensions. Defensive sectors are in the green as traders shift into low volatility plays. The VIX Index is pretty low (14.8) considering current geopolitical tension. Commodities are mostly lower, led by oil. WTI crude fell back to $61.75/barrel. Copper is flat on the day, as is gold. In fact, gold has done nothing since the trade war reignited. Remember when gold used to be a dependable safe-haven play? Bonds are trading higher as yields edge lower. The 10-year Treasury yield is back down to 2.39%. All types of bonds—investment grade, junk, asset-backed, Treasuries, long-term, short-term—have done pretty well this year because interest rates are down.


*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.

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.

HIGHER TRADE TARIFFS COME AT LAST

The major stock market averages opened lower as the trade war with China escalated. The Dow is down 290 pts and the SPX is down 1.4%. The pattern over the last few trading sessions has been a sharp decline in the morning following by a recovery in the afternoon. We’ll see if that pattern persists today; my guess is that traders won’t want to be “long” going into the weekend. Tech and healthcare are the worst performing sectors at the moment, down about 1.8%. Utilities is the only sector in the green. The VIX Index continues to hover around 20, which is typically considered the lower threshold of elevated fear among traders. Overseas things are looking better. European markets closed flat. China’s Shanghai Composite Index actually closed up by 3%! Commodities are trading mostly higher. Copper, gold and iron ore are up a bit. WTI crude oil is flat at $61.60/barrel. Bonds are following the same pattern we’ve seen through the week. Treasuries are up in price, down in yield; high yield corporates (junk) are down in price, up in yield. The 10-year Treasury yield is all the way back down to 2.43%. So bonds are painting a risk-off picture, if only temporarily.


*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.