initial jobless claims

STOCKS DRIFT AIMLESSLY AT THE MERCY OF INTEREST RATES

The stock market gapped up but quickly faded in early trading. The Dow is currently down 20 points and the SPX is down .2%. Transports, retailers, and biotechs are up a bit. On the other hand, gold miners, semiconductors, and utilities are sharply lower. Commodities are trading mostly lower as well this morning. WTI crude oil is down about .9% to trade around $58.90/barrel. Gold is down about 1% today, and it’s roughly flat for the year. Iron ore is down slightly, giving back some of its massive games so far in 2019. Bonds are mostly unchanged today, with the exception of junk bonds (+.1%). The 10 year Treasury note yield is hovering around 2.39%.


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

December 13, 2018

December 13, 2018

Stocks opened modestly higher again today, but soon faded. The Dow is now up 10 pts on the day and the SPX is down .28%. Transports, retailers and banks are down. REITs and utilities are trading higher along with bonds. Commodities are broadly higher, trying to recover from a rough year. WTI crude is trading over $52/barrel. Year-to-date, copper is still down 19%, gold is down 5%, and oil is down about 10%. The iShares Global Agriculture Producers ETF (VEGI) is down nearly 7%. Despite strong economic growth and corporate earnings, cyclical risk-on sectors like energy, materials and industrials have not fared well in 2018.


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

December 6, 2018

December 6, 2018

Stocks sank at the open despite better than expected economic data. For the first couple of hours, most major market sectors were down more than 3% before bouncing off the lows. This could be the correction’s capitulation flush. While the Dow was down about 770 points, it is now down 436 pts. The SPX is currently down 1.7%. The more defensive sectors (consumer staples, utilities) also dumped at the open but are trying to claw their way back. Foreign markets aren’t serving as a safe haven. European markets closed down more than 3%. Asian markets were down roughly 2% overnight. The dollar is weaker, but that’s not helping commodities, most of which are trading lower. WTI crude oil fell back to $50.60/barrel, but quickly bounced back over $51. Bonds are catching a bid as you might expect. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up .6%. High-grade corporate bonds, which have lagged lately, are up as well today. Junk bonds continue to struggle. The 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields are down around 2.71% and 2.85%, respectively. The difference between those two yields, 14 basis points, is very small and that’s spooking equity markets. Looking back at the last two months, any volatility in rates has been greeted with fear. The market doesn’t like it when rates rise, and neither does it approve when rates fall. Both are somehow begin viewed as bad news.


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

September 20, 2018

he major stock market averages gapped up again at the open. The Dow is currently up 240 pts and the SPX is up .68%. Ten of eleven sectors are in the green, led by tech (+1%), materials (+1%) and consumer staples (+1%). Only energy is stalling. The VIX Index just fell back under 12 despite the fact that we’ve had no good news on the trade war front. European stock markets are poised to close up nearly 1%. Asia was mixed overnight. The dollar is falling against a basket of foreign currencies and that’s allowing emerging markets equities to continue yesterday’s rally. Commodities are mixed today. WTI crude oil is unchanged at $70.95/barrel. Copper and gold are also flat on the session. Bonds are mixed after a 3-week selloff. The 5-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.95% today. The 10-year yield is unchanged at 3.06%. Junk bonds have been performing better than Treasuries or investment grade corporates all year, and today is no exception.


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

April 26, 2018

Stocks gapped up at the open as investors reacted to better earnings announcements and economic data. The Dow is currently up 147 pts and the SPX is up .65%. Tech, biotech and retailers are leading the way after strong first quarter reports from Facebook (FB), Abbvie (ABBV), and Visa (V). The VIX Index is trading down around 17 and VIX May futures are trading exactly in line. So traders aren’t anticipating any blow-ups over the next month. WTI crude oil is down slightly to trade around $68/barrel. Higher oil prices boosted first quarter profits for Royal Dutch Shell, and traders are getting much more positive on the energy sector. Bonds are taking a breather after selling off hard over the last couple of weeks. While the stock market is roughly flat year-to-date, bonds are down across the board. Long-term Treasuries (iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF) are down 6.6% on a total return basis. Junk bonds (SPDR High Yield Bond ETF) are down 1.1%. Intermediate high-grade corporate bonds (iShares IG Corporate Bond ETF) are down 4.5%. That’s what happens when interest rates reset to a higher level. 


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

April 19, 2018

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -52 pts; SPX -.5%). The consumer staples sector is absolutely tanking, down 3%. Tech, materials and real estate are also down over 1%. The standout today is the financial sector, up 1% on rising interest rates. WTI crude oil is trading up yet again, now eclipsing $69/barrel for the first time since Nov. 2014. The move is partly contrived: Reuters is reporting Saudi officials want to push oil prices back up to $100/barrel. It is not clear, obviously, how supply-demand dynamics would support that. But if Bonds are trading lower as yields resume their march higher. In a somewhat surprising move, the 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 2.91% this morning, a 2-month high.


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

October 6, 2017

Stocks sank at the open after a disappointing jobs report. The Dow is currently down 33 pts and the SPX is down .28%. Just about everything is in the red except for gold miners, semiconductors and healthcare stocks. The VIX Index, which has been languishing below 10 for over a week, is up a bit to trade around 9.8. VIX October futures are up slightly to trade around 11. That’s not much of a move. Commodities are lower on the day; WTI crude oil is down 3% to $49/barrel. Despite a weak day for stocks, bonds are selling off as well. The 5-year Treasury yield shot up to 1.96% and the 10-year yield rose to 2.36%. It seems bond traders didn’t like the jobs report for a different reason—rising wage inflation.


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

September 28, 2017

Stocks gapped down at the open but quickly recovered. The Dow is currently up 22 pts and the SPX is flat. Transports, semiconductors, pharma and gold miners are trading higher, but banks and retailers are giving back some of their recent gains. By the way, the SPX is poised to achieve its eight consecutive quarterly gain. European markets are up slightly in today’s session after a survey of economic confidence gave investors a positive surprise. Most of Asia was higher overnight. The dollar is weaker today and WTI crude oil is up again to trade around $52.30/barrel. Bonds continue to sell off as yields march higher. The 5-year Treasury yield is up around 1.92% and in the near term it could move up to test resistance at 1.96%. The 10-year Treasury yield is up around 2.33% and will likely test 2.40% in the near future. 


*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.

August 3, 2017

The major stock market averages pulled back this morning (Dow flat; SPX -.23%). Ten of eleven sectors are in the red, with energy down .9%, materials down .6% and financials down .5%. Consumer staples is the only stand-out, up .3% in early trading. That’s largely due to a rebound in tobacco stocks. Small-caps, by the way, are really lagging large-caps today (and for most of 2017). The dollar is stronger today after the Bank of England cut its economic growth outlook for the UK. Despite dollar strength, WTI crude oil is trading up toward $50/barrel and it hasn’t been there since late May. Bonds are modestly higher in price, lower in yield today. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 1.80% and 2.24%, respectively. Both of those levels are short-term support levels. Rates have fallen this year, but let’s keep things in perspective—the 10-year yield was just 1.5% a year ago.


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

July 13, 2017

Stocks opened slightly higher today. The Dow is current up 18 pts and the SPX is up .1%. Retailers, banks, and some tech stocks are trading modestly higher, whereas telecoms, biotechs and gold miners are lower. The VIX Index is still hovering around 10. Most commodities are lower, although WTI crude oil is up about 1% to trade around $46.10/barrel. That’s great news for the stock market. Bonds are selling off again today as yields resume their slow march higher. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.35% and I’m guessing the 10-year will soon test near-term resistance at 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.

February 9, 2017

Stocks opened higher this morning after President Trump promised a “big league” and “phenomenal” announcement on tax reform. We’ll see about that. The Dow and SPX are currently up 128 pts & .6%, respectively. Most sectors are higher in early trading, led by financials and energy. Those two groups have not done well lately, mostly because they’re digesting late 2016 gains. And by the way, the leading sector so far in 2017 is tech, up nearly 7%. One of the key reasons is that we’ve seen very good earnings announcements from major players in tech (i.e. Facebook, Alphabet, Apple). The VIX Index is down again today, trading around 11.1. VIX February futures are down around 12.3. So we’re still hearing traders bemoan “complacency.” Today, WTI crude oil is trading up around $52.80/barrel. Most other commodities are faring well so far in 2017: copper +6%, iron ore +18%, agricultural commodities +4%, gold +7%. After selling off for nearly 2 months, bonds are rising in price today. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields ticked up to 1.85% and 2.38%, respectively. 


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

December 29, 2016

Stocks opened mixed this morning as the post-Christmas doldrums continue. The Dow and the S&P 500 are flat at the moment. Defensive sectors are leading (consumer staples, utilities, telecoms). The VIX Index is up 3% to 13.4. Gold miners are having a very strong day. But banks and semiconductors are lower. The US dollar is down a bit today but has been rising steadily since September. A stronger dollar usually means better economic growth but it also puts a damper on profit growth for US multi-national companies. So it will be a concern for 2017. Oil is retreating a bit from 17-month highs. WTI crude is hovering around $53.90/barrel. But the chart really sets up well and suggests oil could run up to $61/barrel in no time. Bonds are up on the day as yields retreat. The 5-year and 10-year Treasuries are trading at 1.98% and 2.49%, respectively.


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

August 25, 2016

Stocks gapped down at the open but quickly recovered (Dow +7 pts; SPX +.1%). Financials, materials and utilities are leading the way. Retailers and transports are in the red. Semiconductors (SOX Index) continue to power ahead, now up 15% this quarter. European markets will close down today and Asia was lower overnight. WTI crude oil is trading up slightly to $47.14/barrel and other commodities are mixed. Copper is down 7% this month and gold is down 2%. Treasury bonds are unchanged but corporate bonds continue to rise. 


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

July 21, 2016

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -17 pts; SPX flat). Energy, healthcare and consumer discretion are higher but just about every other sector is modestly lower. The VIX has fallen flat around 1 12, indicating low expected volatility over the next 30 days. The dollar is flat and commodities are higher on the day.  WTI crude oil is down a bit to $45.40/barrel. Bonds are lower again this morning with yields moving higher. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are up to 1.14% and 1.60%, respectively. 


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

July 7, 2016

Stocks opened higher this morning but quickly faded (Dow flat; SPX +.1%). Semiconductors, banks and airlines are rebounding. And despite a slightly stronger dollar the materials sector is up over 1%. The VIX Index is down 3% to trade around 14.5, but VIX August futures are still well ahead of the spot price at 17.5. So we can expect more volatility. WTI crude oil is up 1.2% to $48/barrel, and this is likely dragging stocks upward. The market is apparently shrugging off rumors that China’s strategic petroleum reserve is full. We’ve been watching interest rates fall to historic lows in recent days, but today yields ticked up a bit. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are trading at .99% and 1.42%, respectively. 


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

June 30, 2016

The major stock market averages are higher in early trading (Dow +53 pts; SPX +.58%). So this is the third consecutive day of recovery for stocks following the Brexit smack-down. In fact, the SPX has now retraced most of that beating. At the moment, all ten major sectors are in the green, led by consumer staples and industrials. But this is not an all-out risk-on day because the defensive sectors are really holding their own. This indicates that investors’ appetite for safer dividend-paying stocks is not waning. 


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

April 7, 2016

Stocks opened lower this morning (Dow -150 pts; SPX -.9%). As yesterday was risk-on, so today is risk-off. There’s really no good reason for this flip-flop, but that’s the market we’re in. Telecom, tech, materials and financials are leading the market lower, all down more than 1% in early trading. Gold is higher on the day (now up 16% year-to-date). Most other commodities are lower (today and year-to-date). WTI crude oil is down 2% to about $37/barrel. Brent (European) crude oil is down 2% to $39/barrel. Bonds are higher on the day as yields fall. The 5-year Treasury yield dipped to 1.15%. There is a support level, by the way, at 1.13% and that’s likely where this move stops. The 10-year Treasury yield is back down to 1.70%. Why? Again, it’s trouble overseas. European markets are poised to close down 1% today and have sunk 11-12% year-to-date. Japan’s Nikkei is down 17% on the year as well. So investors are wondering if all of the central bank stimulus will actually spur 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.

March 10, 2016

Stocks opened higher but quickly turned lower. Volatility is still very much with us. The Dow and SPX are currently down 142 pts & .85%, respectively. The only sector holding onto a modest gain is telecom. The worst performing sector is energy (-1.2%). WTI crude oil is down 1.4% to $37.75/barrel and Brent crude is trading at $40/barrel. At this point, the longer oil stays above $30, the more institutional money managers will be convinced that it has bottomed. That’s critical to keeping the stock market in recovery mode. Most commodities are modestly lower today. Bonds are lower as yields continue to rise. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are up to 1.45% and 1.95%, respectively. It really looks like the 10-year is making a run at 2.0% in the near term.


*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.