VIX 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.

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.

BAD NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

Stocks surged higher today in spite of a weak jobs report. The Dow is currently up 299 points and the SPX is up 1.1%. The best performing sectors are tech (+2%), consumer discretionary (+1.5%) and communications services (+1.4%). Financials is the lone sector in the red—bank stocks are down on lower interest rates. The VIX Index is up slightly to trade around 16. European stock markets closed up about 1% and Most of Asia was higher overnight. Commodities are mixed. WTI crude oil rebounded to $54/barrel after taking a massive beating over the last six weeks. The bond market is rejoicing this morning on falling interest rates. Treasuries are up across the board, and even junk bonds are rallying. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped to 2.09% and is now at levels last seen in September 2017.


*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.

ANOTHER TRADE SETBACK?

Stocks gapped down at the open today (Dow -232 pts; SPX -.9%) after President Trump threatened new trade tariffs on Mexico. Ten of eleven major market sectors are down, led by communications services (-1.3%) and consumer staples (-1.1%). A number of key industry groups are down more than 1%, such as biotechs, retailers and transports. Not surprisingly, gold and gold mining stocks are up on the day. The VIX Index—a common measure of fear among traders—climbed back to 18.3. European markets closed down about 1% and Asia was mostly lower overnight. Interestingly, in the wake of higher trade tensions, China’s Shanghai Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index are down about the same in May, -5%. So we’re certainly not seeing any panic in global stock markets. Commodities are mostly lower in early trading. Gold is up about .9% but oil, copper and iron ire are falling in price. WTI crude oil is down 1.3% to trade at $55.35/barrel. Bonds are mostly higher—especially safe-haven Treasuries. After the Mexico tariff threat, the 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.17%, the lowest since September 2017.


*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 WITH HEADLINES

Stocks sank at the open, as is their custom this month. The Dow is currently down 367 pts and the SPX is down 1.5%. Energy is the worst performing sector, down 3.5% (see below). Most other sectors are down about 1% except the defensives (utilities, consumer staples, real estate). VIX Index June futures are trading up around 17, but that’s not considered elevated. There’s no real panic in the market, just a slow bleed on trade headlines. European stock markets closed down about 1.5% today and Asia was uniformly down overnight. The bond market is catching a bid—especially safe-haven Treasury bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield is down to 2.32%, the lowest level since November 2017.


*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.

TRADE WAR ESCALATION

Stocks gapped down at the open after China escalated the trade war with fresh tariffs on US goods. The Dow is currently down 624 pts and the SPX is down 2.5%. The US stock market is now down about 5% from its recent all-time high. The worst performing sectors today are tech, industrials and consumer discretionary—those considered hardest hit by trade tariffs. The only sector with gains today is utilities. The VIX Index jumped up to 20.6 but VIX June futures are trading at 18.6. Commodities are mostly lower. Bloomberg’s Commodity Index (BCOM) is down .6% today, but still up slightly on the year. WTI crude oil fell back to $61/barrel. Bonds are not surprisingly rising in value. The 10-year Treasury yield fell back to 2.39% and the next real support level is March’s low of 2.37%.


*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.

TROUBLE WITH TRADE

The major stock market averages gapped down at the open after news that US-China trade talks are breaking down. The Dow is currently down 220 pts and the SPX is down .95%. Consumer discretionary, industrials, tech and materials sectors are all down more than 1%. The VIX Index spiked briefly to 19 before falling back to 16. WTI crude oil dipped slightly to $61.60/barrel. The US dollar strengthened and gold is modestly higher today. Bonds are trading higher (except for junk). The 10-year Treasury yield fell back to 2.48%.


*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.

POST FED MEETING HANGOVER

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -104 pts; SPX -.58%). There is a bit of pouting among traders in the wake of yesterday’s Fed meeting (see below). Interest rates are rising, and that means bank stocks are up and utilities & real estate are down. Commodities are mostly lower in early trading. Copper has lost about 5% over the last two days. WTI crude oil tumbled more than 3% today to trade around $61.30/barrel. US oil stockpiles are at a two-year high while the volume of US production is at record levels. Bonds are falling in price as a result of the Fed meeting. The 10-year Treasury yield snapped back to 2.55%. Apparently, some traders had positioned with the expectation that the Fed would discuss cutting interest rates in the near future. That seems terribly misguided but appears to have been the case.


*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.

ARE EARNINGS ENOUGH TO SUSTAIN 2019 RALLY?

Stocks opened sharply lower this morning (Dow -123 pts; SPX -.4%). Communications services—down 2.5%--is the worst performing sector entirely as a result of Alphabet’s (GOOGL) earnings announcement. Other groups like biotechs, banks and transports are also trading lower. Defensive sectors are catching a bid. The VIX Index jumped to 14 for the first time in three weeks. European markets closed down modestly. The dollar is a bit weaker against a basket of foreign currencies and that is giving a little support to commodities. WTI crude oil up .5% to trade around $64/barrel. Bonds are rising in price, falling in yield. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up .3% today and up 1.6% so far this year. The 10-year Treasury yield is back down to 2.51%.


*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.

GOLDMAN, CITIGROUP SOUR THE MOOD

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -82 pts; SPX -.3%). Defensive sectors are trading modestly higher (consumer staples, utilities, healthcare). Cyclicals, on the other hand, are in the red (i.e. energy, financials, industrials). US small-caps and foreign stocks are mostly lower as well. The VIX Index rose to 12.8 but is still at a very low level. Commodities are mostly lower in early trading. WTI crude oil fell back to $63.20/barrel. Gold is down a tad. Bonds are mixed in early trading. Treasuries are up slightly whereas corporates are down. The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.55%. By the way, Germany’s 10-year sovereign bond yield ticked up to .07%, the highest in weeks. Investors are uneasy about the fact that billions of dollars of foreign sovereign bonds are trading with a negative yield. That is, investors are guaranteed to lose money. Aside of the fact that this doesn’t make any sense, it tends to encourage foreign bond investors (like pension funds and insurance companies) to buy US Treasuries instead. And that, in turn, drives our yields lower. The takeaway is that if German bond yields are rising, we can probably expect US Treasury yields to rise as well.


*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.

BOND MARKET DEBATE

Stocks opened higher this morning (Dow +89 pts; SPX +.5%). The best performing sectors include tech (+1.4%) and financials (+.7%). Sub-groups like biotechs and gold miners are also catching a bid. But real estate, energy and communications stocks are down in early trading. REITs just hit an all-time high, so it makes sense that we’d see some give-back here. The VIX Index continues to fall, suggesting traders are complacent about risk over the next 30 days. European markets will close higher by roughly .5% to 1% today. Asian markets also posted gains last night. The dollar is weaker against a basket of foreign currencies, giving a little boost to commodities. Remember, many commodities are priced in US dollars around the world. However, WTI crude oil ($58.40/barrel) is taking a breather today after a monster run year-to-date; same thing with copper (+11% YTD). Bonds are trading higher in price, lower in yield today. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked down to a fresh 2 ½ month low of 2.59%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

ECONOMIC DATA TO THE RESCUE

Stocks surged at the open this morning on better than expected economic data. The Dow is currently up 187 pts and the SPX is up .9%. Tech and healthcare sectors are leading the way, up over 1% in early trading. Banks, transports and biotechs are particularly strong. The VIX Index sank back toward 13.3, indicating waning investor fears. So far, the trading session can be characterized as broadly risk-on. Commodities are trading mostly higher. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is up .5% today, and 6% so far on the year. Crude oil rose to nearly $58/barrel, the highest level since November. Bonds are mostly selling off, with the exception of high-yield (or junk). After dipping to a 2+ month low, the 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.62% today. Since the stock market bottomed on Christmas Eve, the 10-year yield is up only 7 basis points (or .07%). Typically, a huge run-up in stocks is accompanied by a sharp rise in yields. After all, better prospects for stocks usually causes investors to sell bonds. Not this time, and it’s mostly due to the Federal Reserve’s abrupt pause on monetary tightening.


*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.

WAITING ON MAR-A-LAGO

WAITING ON MAR-A-LAGO

Stocks gapped up at the open this morning following the Trump Administration’s announcement that it will further delay a scheduled trade tariff hike on Chinese imports. The Dow is currently up 157 pts and the SPX is up .45%. Cyclicals are leading the way—financials, industrials, tech, materials. And yet, the VIX Index is trading back up around 13.8. That’s not a high level, but one would typically expect the VIX to fall as the stock market rises. Commodities are mostly lower in early trading. WTI crude oil is down 3% today to trade around $55.30/barrel after President Trump complained to OPEC that oil prices are too high. I’m shaking my head in disbelief. If this isn’t proof that oil prices are routinely manipulated by traders and politicians, I don’t know what is. Bonds are trading mostly lower. The 10-year Treasury yield is back up around 2.68%. It has been trading between 2.65% and 2.70% for the last three weeks. As I mentioned last week, interest rate volatility has collapsed. By the way, Warrant Buffett says stocks are incredibly cheap if you think interest rates won’t skyrocket upward. If rates are relatively stable around current levels, stocks are attractive relative to bonds.


*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.

SOFT ECONOMIC DATA IN FOCUS

SOFT ECONOMIC DATA IN FOCUS

Stocks opened lower today but are clawing back (Dow -63 pts; SPX -.16%). The energy sector is leading to the downside (-1.6%), along with biotechs (-1.4%). Defensives—utilities, consumer staples—are faring better. The VIX Index, down under 15, is suggesting low volatility over the next 30 days, despite the US-China trade deadline in March. The dollar is a bit stronger today and commodities are trading mostly lower. WTI crude oil is down around $56.80/barrel. Copper and iron ore are also in the red. The flavor of the day is clearly risk-off. However, the bond market is down as well. Long-term Treasury bonds, which usually trade inverse to stocks, are down nearly 1% today. The 10-year Treasury note yield shot 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.

RISING INFLATION SAYS RECESSION NOT IMMINENT

RISING INFLATION SAYS RECESSION NOT IMMINENT

Stocks gapped up at the open this morning, but quickly faded. The Dow is currently up 70 pts and the S&P 500 (SPX) is up .2%. Gains are broad-based, led by energy, semiconductors and transports. Defensive sectors like utilities aren’t really participating. The VIX Index has stabilized below 16 over the last week. Foreign stock markets are acting better—especially China—and that suggests some expectation for resolution of trade concerns. Traders are excited about the fact that the SPX closed above its 200-day moving average for the first time in over two months. The index is now only about 6.5% below its all-time high reached 13 months ago. So risk assets are acting better this year. The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) is up 4.5% so far in 2019. WTI crude oil is back up over $54/barrel. Iron ore and copper are also climbing. I’ll point out that while falling commodity prices were seen as a very scary sign of falling economic growth in 2018, very few are seeing the commodity recovery as a sign global economic improvement.


*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.