earnings season

ANOTHER TRUMP SLUMP

The major stock market averages gapped down at the open, but quickly pared losses. The Dow is currently down 350 pts and the SPX is down 1%. Energy & financial sectors continue to slide, down 2% or more in early trading. In fact, the S&P energy sector has fallen nearly 11% since mid-July, right along with oil prices. It seems oil is somewhat over-supplied at the moment. The VIX Index, which spiked to 24.5 on Monday, has settled down toward 21. The index measures fear among traders, and hasn’t been this high since January. Commodities are mostly lower in today’s session, save copper and gold. In fact, gold is now up over 6% this month. Bonds are, in the words of Jim Cramer, trading like a recession is around the corner. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up over 7% this month. Interest rates for Treasuries, municipals, and high-grade corporates are falling. The 10-year Treasury Note yield is down around 1.64%, the lowest since early 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.

FED DAY!

Stocks opened modestly higher this morning (Dow +27 pts; SPX +.12%). Most market sectors are higher in early trading, led by energy, tech and real estate. Consumer staples & discretionary sectors, however, are in the red. Earnings announcements continue to push around individual stocks, but the market as a whole is waiting on the outcome of today’s Federal Reserve policy meeting for some direction. The bond market is moving higher this morning, with rates dipping. The 10-year Treasury yield is back down to 2.03%. Junk bonds are also in green, perhaps because traders expect the Fed to formalize the flip to monetary easing today (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.

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.

EARNINGS SEASON IS GOOD ENOUGH

Major stock market averages opened higher this morning on some better than expected earnings reports (see below). The Dow is currently up 11 points, and the SPX is up .45%. The NASDAQ is up 1% in early trading. The communications services sector spiked 3% on the back of a much better than expected earnings report by Alphabet (GOOGL). On the other hand, industrial and energy sectors are down on the day. Commodities are mixed: gold and iron ore are in the green but copper and oil are down. WTI crude oil is back down around $55.90 per barrel. Bonds are trading slightly higher this morning. Yields edged lower right after the GDP report (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.

MARKET TAKES A BREATHER

Stocks opened down this morning (Dow -67 pts; SPX -.47%). At the sector and industry level, most everything is in the red. Attention is focused on individual companies reporting earnings, some of which are up nicely. European stock markets closed down by about one-third of a percent in the wake of a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting (see below). Asian markets traded higher overnight. The dollar is flat at the moment, and commodities are mostly lower. WTI crude oil is up about .6% to trade around $56.24/barrel. Bonds are trading broadly lower as yields tick upward. The 10-year US Treasury Note yield is hovering around 2.07%.


*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 EARNINGS BEAT GOES ON

Major stock market averages opened modestly higher today (Dow +86 pts; SPX +.2%). The materials sector (+1.5%) is leading the way after paint maker Sherwin Williams (SHW) reported excellent second quarter results. Financials are up (+.8%) and industrials (+.6%). However, utilities & communications services sectors are in the red. Commodities are mostly lower in early trading. WTI crude oil is back down under $56/barrel this morning. Oil is in the middle of a tug-o-war between geopolitical tensions with Iran, and modest global oversupply. Bonds are mostly lower in price as yields tick higher. The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.05%. Junk bonds, which usually trade with the economy and corporate earnings, are holding their own this year. The SPDR High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) has been roughly flat over the last three months after recovering from last year’s selloff.


*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.

"TINA" is back

Stocks opened mixed this morning (Dow +40 pts; SPX flat). Utilities (-.8%) and real estate (-1%) are getting hit because interest rates are up in early trading. On the other hand technology, energy and industrial sectors are in the green. Bonds are trading a bit lower as yields tick higher. The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 2.04%. That number alone makes one think back to the acronym TINA (There Is No Alternative to investing in stocks). Bonds just don’t offer high enough yields to do anything other than (barely) keep up with inflation. And with the Federal Reserve hinting at possibly cutting interest rates later this month, there’s even less implied value in the bond market. And that’s one reason why the stock market is grinding slowly higher despite the trade war and slowing economic growth.


*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.

EARNINGS SEASON KICKS OFF

Major US stock market averages opened mixed this morning. The Dow is currently 28 pts and the SPX is down .2%. The Nasdaq is also down .2%. Industrials (especially transports) and materials sector stocks are rallying. On the other hand, utilities and real estate are down on a bump in interest rates. Commodities are mixed; gold and iron ore are down, but oil continues to recover. WTI crude oil is hovering around $60/barrel. It was trading down around $51/barrel one month ago. Bonds are selling off a bit today on rising interest rates. It seems like the better-than-expected jobs report back on July 5th marked a turnaround in rates. The 10-year Treasury yield has risen to 2.13% from 1.95% since then.


*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.

MR. POWELL'S WILD RIDE

Stocks gapped up at the open during Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony this morning. The Dow is currently up 78 pts and the SPX is up .33%. But don’t expect the rally to last—and make no mistake, earnings season will trump any Fed rate cut in terms of influencing the direction of the stock market. At the moment, most sectors are in the green, led by energy and tech. Financials are down along with interest rates today. Crude oil, copper and gold are all up. WTI crude jumped 3% to trade around $59.50/barrel, right around the 2-month high. Bonds are rallying after Mr. Powell hinted at a rate cut (see below). The 10-year Treasury yield dipped to 2.04%.


*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 THE FED

Stocks opened lower this morning, continuing to pout after a better than expected jobs report last Friday (see my blog entry titled “Good News is Bad News”). The Dow is currently down 139 pts and the SPX is down .6%. The worst performing sectors today are healthcare (-1%) and communications (-1%). The energy sector is up modestly as oil prices stabilized after OPEC agreed to continue modest production cuts. The market is in suspended animation pending Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s annual congressional testimony on Wednesday & Thursday. Traders will be scrutinizing every word for clues about potential interest rate cuts. Friday’s jobs report sent gold down (-1% so far this month), but most other commodities are a bit higher today. WTI crude oil is back up around $57.90/barrel. It is thought that Saudi Arabia is trying to defend oil at $50/barrel or above. The bond market is mixed today. Long-term US Treasuries edged higher but corporates are down in price. The 10-year Treasury Note yield is hovering around 2.03%, and Barron’s used this stat to assert, “There is little value in the bond market.”


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

GREEN SHOOTS FOR THE ECONOMY

Stocks opened pretty flat this morning, waiting for the flood of earnings announcements scheduled this week. Today, the Dow is flat and the SPX is up .2%. The financial sector jumped 1.3% in early trading in reaction to rising interest rates (see below). The communications services sector is up .6% on a pop in telecom stocks. On the other hand, utilities and REITs—which are sensitive to interest rates—are down .5% to .7% today. Commodities are trading mostly lower. Copper plunged more than 5%--a big move for one day. We’ve heard that Chinese authorities are pulling back on economic stimulus, believing they’ve succeeded in stabilizing their economy. WTI crude oil is flat at $63.30/barrel. Bonds are selling off, especially at the long end. The 10-year US Treasury yield backed up to 2.53%. But the big news on the interest rate front is a surprise steepening of the yield curve. You may recall I’ve flagged the flat yield curve as a potential problem for the market and economy. The difference between short-term and long-term interest rates has been very small, suggesting slowing economic growth. Specifically, the difference between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields has been in the range of just .10% to .20% for about five months now. But late last week the gap started to widen, breaking out of that range. This could be good news and it bears watching.


*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 EXHAUSTED, TAKES A BREATHER

Stocks are mixed in early trading (Dow -33 pts; SPX -.2%). The energy sectors is slumping 1.2%. Banks, biotechs and telecom stocks are also falling. Defensive sectors are faring better, but there’s little conviction in today’s trade. Investors are busy digesting the flow of earnings announcements.


*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.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, CHECK BACK TOMORROW

Stocks fell at the open this morning but quickly recovered. The Dow and SPX are currently flat. Defensive, interest rate sensitive sectors (utilities, real estate) are down in early trading. The energy sector, on the other hand, is up over 1.8% on higher oil prices. Trade volume is pretty light coming off of a holiday weekend. European markets are still closed for Easter. The stock market looks kind of tired after a huge recovery rally in the first quarter. In other words, don’t expect a lot of excitement today. Earnings will provide plenty of excitement later this week. WTI crude oil shot up to $65.50/barrel, the highest since the end of October last year. That’s a direct result of the Trump Administration saying Iran’s trade sanction exemption will expire on May 2. A White House statement said the decision “is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.” Bonds are trading a bit lower as yields tick higher. The 10-year Treasury yield is back up to 2.58%. The “yield curve” (that is, the difference between the 10-year and 2-year rates) is still pretty narrow and fragile. In fact, the spread is just .19% and has been in the range of .10% and .20% for the last 5 months. Should it break convincingly above .20%, that will likely be viewed as a bullish signal for traders.


*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.

RETAIL SALES REBOUND

Stocks opened higher this morning (Dow +100 pts; SPX +.13%). Real estate and utilities are catching a bid after a rough week. Industrials are also in the green after Honeywell’s (HON) earnings report. On the other hand, healthcare stocks continue to slide due to political risk. Popular health insurer UnitedHealth (UNH) is down 27% from its December high. Commodities are mixed; copper continues to climb (+1.4%) but oil and iron ore are flat. WTI crude oil is hovering around $63.60/barrel. Bonds are trading higher today as yields tick lower. The 10-year Treasury yield fell back to 2.56%.


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

HEALTHCARE ROUT

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


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

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.

EARNINGS SEASON KICKOFF

The major stock market averages gapped up at the open. The Dow is currently up 200 pts and the SPX is up .4%. The financial sector surged 1.5% on better than expected quarterly results by Wells Fargo (WFC) and JP Morgan (JPM), which kicked off earnings season today. Most other sectors are also trading higher, except real estate and healthcare. Commodities are mixed—oil is moving higher but copper and iron are in the red. Gold is flat today, and so far this year. WTI crude is back up over $64/barrel. Chevron (CVX) announced a deal to acquire Anadarko (APC), and investors are wondering if this is the beginning of a wave of consolidation in the industry. Bonds are trading mostly lower as yields tick higher. The 10-year Treasury yield is back up around 2.54%. If earnings season proves better than Wall Street is forecasting, you can bet interest rates & bond yields will 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.

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.