President Trump

TRADE TALKS IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT

The major stock market averages surged higher this morning (Dow +430 pts; SPX +1.5%). Ten of eleven sectors are in the green, led by materials (+2.4%), industrials (+2.2%) and financials (+2%). Only the utilities sector has been left out (-.2%). Though trite, the reason given for this rally is “Trade Optimism,” according the Bloomberg. So we continue to trade in a range, knocked around daily by Tweets and vague headlines. In this case, President Trump Tweeted that “Good things are happening at China Trade Talk Meeting.” European stock markets closed sharply higher as well this morning, and Asia was up 1-2% last night. Commodities reacted as one might expect—gold fell 1% and oil rallied 1.4% to trade around $54.30/barrel. Bonds not surprisingly sold off. Long-term Treasury bonds are down more than 1% in early trading and high-grade corporates are down roughly a quarter of a percent. Only junk bonds, which typically trade along with the stock market, are modestly higher. The 10-year US Treasury Note yield climbed back 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.

SUBDUED MONDAY

Major stock market averages opened in the green this morning (Dow +148 pts; SPX +.6%). The SPX is in the process of re-testing its July 26th closing high of 3,025. The results of that test will help determine whether October is a good or bad month for investors. Ten of eleven market sectors are higher today, led by technology and healthcare. Energy is the only standout, down another .3%. Over the past couple of weeks, WTI crude oil has retreated from $63/barrel to just $55/barrel. That move comes, by the way, as energy-related geopolitical tensions have flared up between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It used to be that such events would cause monster spikes in oil, but the world has changed. US producers now have the ability to produce more oil than ever. The bond market is roughly unchanged this morning. After a mini spike in overnight interest rates, intervention by the Federal Reserve has had the desired calming effect. Here’s a check on prevailing bond market yields: longer-term save haven Treasuries 1.7% - 2%; intermediate high-grade corporates 3%-3.5%; intermediate municipals 2.5%-3%; junk corporates 5%-5.5%.


*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.

TEMPER YOUR ENTHUSIASM

Stocks opened higher on misplaced optimism over upcoming trade talks, but quickly faded. The Dow is currently down 30 pts and the SPX is down .2%. Defensive sectors are leading the way (utilities, consumer staples). The energy is sagging, down 1.2% in early trading. Other key groups are down as well, including banks, semiconductors and biotechs. The VIX Index edged back up to 16 this morning and VIX October futures are trading up around 17. Those are fairly low levels, and with the stock market near all-time highs traders are expecting some type of sell-off in the near-term. Commodities are down on the day, with oil down 1% to $57.60/barrel. Gold is taking a breather after having surged 18% so far this year. Bonds are trading higher across the board today as yields continue to slide. Long-term Treasuries are up about .8% and intermediate high-quality corporates are up about .25%.


*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.

GEOPOLITICS REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

Stocks fell at the open (Dow -147 pts; SPX -.4%). Most sectors are down today. The energy sector, however, surged 2.5% in early trading. Over the weekend, drones—likely from Iran—attacked Saudi oil fields, knocking about 5% of global oil production temporarily offline. As a result, WTI crude oil is up nearly 11% to about $60.80/barrel. That’s the largest one-day move since 1991. President Trump said the US is “locked and loaded” to retaliate “depending on verification” of Iran’s culpability. Chevron (CVX) is up about 2%, EOG Resources (EOG) is up 5.5%, and Pioneer Natural Resources is up 3%. Not surprisingly, aerospace/defense stocks are also up 1-3%. Other commodities are mixed. While iron ore and copper are down about 1%, gold is up 1% on the day. Bonds are trading higher as well, with safe-haven Treasuries faring the best. The 10-year Treasury Note yield fell back to 1.85%.


*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.

BETTER DATA = BETTER MARKET

Stocks opened modestly higher today (Dow +51 pts; SPX flat). The materials sector (+1.3) is leading the way, along with financials (+1%) and industrials (+.8%). On the other hand, defensive sectors like utilities and consumer staples are down. The immediate reason is better than expected economic data (see below). The VIX Index fear gauge fell to 13.6 and stock markets around the world rallied today. Commodities are mixed. WTI crude oil is flat around $55/barrel. Copper surged 2%. Gold is down about .6%. Bonds are selling off hard today after enjoying a huge rally from the end of February to the end of August. The 10-year Treasury yield has backed up to 1.88% from 1.50% this month.


*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 WEAKER ON TRUMP TWEETS AND ISM DETERIORATION

Stocks sank at the open this morning after the latest round of trade tariffs were imposed on $300bil of goods imported form China. On top of that, President Trump Tweeted that if he is reelected, hammering out a trade deal with China “would get MUCH TOUGHER.” The Dow is currently down 325 pts and the SPX is down .7%. Sectors down more than 1% in early trading include industrials, tech, financials and energy. European stock markets are poised to close down about .4% and Asian markets were mixed overnight. Commodities are mostly lower as well (except for gold +1.2%). WTI crude oil is back down around $53.25/barrel, a three-week low.


*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 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.