steepening yield curve

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.

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.

October 4, 2018

October 4, 2018

Stocks sank at the open on Fed/interest rate fears. The Dow is currently down 255 pts and the SPX is down .9%. Bank—and strangely enough utilities—are just about the only groups posing gains in early trading. Consumer discretionary, healthcare, technology and telecommunications sectors are all down more than 1%. The VIX Index is back up around 13.3, as you might expect. European stock markets are down between .8% and 1.2% in today’s session. Most of Asia was down overnight with the notable exception of China, which saw gains of about 1%. The dollar is flat on the day and commodities are mostly lower. Bonds are also selling off as yields rise. The 10-year Treasury yield just climbed to 3.20% for the first time in seven years. And since short-term yields aren’t up as much, the yield curve is the steepest it has been in two months.


*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 25, 2018

September 25, 2018

Stocks opened mixed this morning. The Dow is currently up 27 pts and the SPX is flat. The Nasdaq is up .2%. Biotechs and energy-related stocks are leading the way. REITs are bouncing back from yesterday’s rout. On the other hand, a back-up in interest rates is causing the utilities sector to fall 1%. European stock markets are poised to close modestly higher today, but most of Asia was down overnight. China’s Shanghai Composite Index has recovered a bit over the last week, but remains 20% lower than where it began the year. Pretty much alone in the world, China is experiencing its own bear market. Most of the commodity complex is trading higher. WTI crude oil is up modestly to trade at $72.29/barrel. Copper is up about 7% so far this month after having taken a beating in June/July. Copper tends to trade with the Chinese stock 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.

September 19, 2018

September 19, 2018

Stocks opened higher this morning (Dow +203 pts; SPX +.17%; Nasdaq flat). Banks, basic materials producers and emerging markets stocks are up over 1% in early trading. On the other hand, utilities and FAANG stocks are trading lower. European markets are poised to close up about .5% and Asia was up over 1% last night. The dollar is flat against a basket of foreign currencies today and commodities are mostly higher. WTI crude oil is up around $70.70/barrel. After falling more than 20% this year, copper prices have retraced about 3% this month. Bonds are selling off as yields head higher. The 5-year Treasury yield is back up to 2.96%, a level it hasn’t seen in 10 years. The 10-year Treasury yield is up around 3.08%, toward the high end of its 7-year range. Bond traders are clearly anticipating two more interest rate hikes by the Fed this year, but according to Bloomberg, traders are starting to price in a Fed pause in mid-2019. That’s because eventually, Fed tightening can choke off economic growth by making lending too restrictive.


*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 18, 2018

September 18, 2018

Stocks surged at the open despite escalation of the trade war with China. The Dow is up 118 pts and the SPX is up .58%. Technology and consumer discretionary sectors—thought to be especially vulnerable to a trade war—are leading the way with 1% gains. European markets will close modestly higher and Asia was mostly higher overnight. In fact, China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.8% and copper prices surged more than 3%. That is absolutely not the expected reaction to more trade tariffs. Commodities are higher on the day and the US dollar is trading flat. Iron ore is up over 1% and WTI crude oil is up around $69.60/barrel. Bonds are selling off today as interest rates head higher. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are up around 2.92% and 3.03%, respectively. In addition, the yield curve steepened just a bit.


*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 24, 2018

The major stock market averages surged at the open following a spate of better than expected earnings announcements. The Dow is up 185 pts and the SPX is up .6%. Energy and materials—i.e. commodity-based sectors—are up over 1% in early trading. Only the defensive interest-rate sensitive sectors—utilities, consumer staples, real estate—are down. The VIX Index is sagging back down to 12.2 as investors’ fortunes look slightly more secure this morning. WTI crude oil is up sharply to trade around $68.80/barrel. Copper, gold and iron ore are all up as well. Bonds are mixed this morning. The 5-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.82% and the 10-year yield is flat around 2.96%. Short-term bonds are flat but everything else is up a bit. 


*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 23, 2018

Stocks are mixed in today’s trading session (Dow -14 pts; SPX +.16%). The financial sector is up over 1% on a positive move in the yield curve. Tech and healthcare sectors are also modestly higher, but most everything else is flat or down. The VIX Index is up modestly to trade around 13.5 and VIX August futures are down around 14.2. So the VIX isn’t predicting any increase in market volatility over the next 30-60 days. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is up .25% this morning, but is still down nearly 5% so far this year. WTI crude is back up around $68.60/barrel and has been trending upward over the last 12 months. But copper, gold and many agricultural commodities are down on the year. Bonds are selling off a bit today as yields head higher. The 5-year Treasury yield is back up to 2.81% and the 10-year yield is up around 2.95%.


*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 5, 2018

Stocks gapped down at the open following Friday’s dip. The SPX is currently down .8% and the Dow is down 250 pts. Energy, Financials, Consumer Staples and Healthcare sectors are down more than 1% in early trading. Only Utilities are trading modestly higher. The SPX is now down 4.7% from its all-time high back on Jan. 26th. So this is not yet a “correction,” typically defined as a 10% decline. The VIX Index is up around 18 and VIX March futures are trading down around 15, so that suggests we’re approaching the bottom a short-term market pullback. Commodities are mixed. Copper and gold are trading higher—gold is now up 2.5% on the year). WTI crude oil is trading down 1.8% to $64.28/barrel.


*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.

January 18, 2018

Stocks opened lower this morning on weaker than expected housing starts (Dow -98 pts; SPX flat). Defensives (real estate, utilities, consumer staples) are getting hit as interest rates head higher. For some reason we’ve seen telecom de-couple from that group day-to-day. But year-to-date the defensives are definitely underperforming the cyclicals. At the moment, semiconductors and retailers are in the green. Bonds are tanking today with yields higher. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are up around 2.41% and 2.61%, respectively. So those rates are nearly on top of one another. As I mentioned yesterday, the next resistance level for the 10-year is 2.63%, and it looks like that level will be broken in short order.


*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.

January 9, 2017

Stocks opened higher again this morning (Dow +99 pts; SPX +.3%). Healthcare stocks are on the rebound after yesterday’s rout. In fact, the Nasdaq Biotech Index is up 1.6% at the moment. Banks are also rallying over 1%. Bond replacement stocks, such as utilities, telecoms and real estate are down. The dollar is stronger against a basket of foreign currencies and bonds are selling off. The 5-year Treasury yield shot up to 2.31%, which is a long-term resistance level going back to April 2011. The 10-year yield is also moving higher, to 2.53% (highest since last March). The next level of resistance is 2.63%. If Friday’s CPI inflation report comes in high, the 10-year could possibly hit that resistance level in short order.


*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 20, 2017

Stocks opened mixed this morning (Dow +16 pts; SPX flat). Utilities and real estate are down for the second straight session, and consumer staples about-faced to fall .7%. Telecoms are the best performing sector at the moment, up 1.5%, likely because they will really benefit from lower corporate taxes. Energy, materials and industrials are also trading higher. European stock markets will close in the red and Asia was mostly down overnight. The dollar is a bit weaker today against a basket of foreign currencies and commodities are not surprisingly trading higher. WTI crude oil is up slightly to trade around $57.80/barrel. Bonds are again selling off, with yields higher. And again, this is probably the biggest story of the day. The 5-year Treasury yield spiked to 2.24% and the 10-year yield rose to 2.49%, breaking out of its recent trading range. Importantly, the yield curve has steepened over the last two trading sessions. That is, the difference between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury note yields has increased from 51 basis points to 62 basis points. When longer term rates rise faster than short term rates, it is a signal of rising inflation expectations. 


*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 8, 2017

Stocks opened higher this morning (Dow +76 pts; SPX +.4%). Most market sectors are in the green, led by healthcare and energy. The only sectors retreating are utilities and consumer staples. The VIX Index is down to 9.7 and VIX January futures are trading down around 12.4. The dollar is stronger on the day due to some strong economic data. Commodities are also higher. WTI crude oil is back up to $57.45/barrel. Bonds are little changed but the yield curve steepened just a bit. The 5-year Treasury yield is fat at 2.14% and the 10-year is up around 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.

July 27, 2017

he stock market continues to grind slowly higher on the back of positive second quarter earnings announcements. The Dow is currently up 53 pts and the SPX is up .13%. Telecoms are leading again today after Verizon reported. Retailers and banks are also up modestly. On the other hand, transports, gold miners and REITs are trading lower. The VIX Index is trading down to 9.3 and VIX August futures are trading around 11. The dollar is a bit stronger—but still down 8% so far this year—and commodities are mostly higher today. WTI crude oil has rebounded all the way back to nearly $49/barrel. Bonds are lower in price, higher in yield. The 5-year Treasury yield ticked up to 1.86% and the 10-year yield is trading at 2.32%. 


*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.

November 16, 2016

The major stock market averages opened lower this morning (Dow -60 pts; SPX -.25%). The financials sector is giving back some of its outperformance from the past week. Interest rate sensitive sectors like utilities and real estate continue to fall. On the other hand, tech and consumer discretion are higher in early trading. The dollar is stronger on the day, and is about 2.5% higher since the election. WTI crude oil was down but turned around (now $46.10/barrel) after the Russian oil minister said he expects some kind of OPEC deal to limit oil production. Gold is down 4% this month, a casualty of the stronger dollar. Bonds continue to sell off as yields spike. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are up to 1.70% and 2.25%, respectively. But even though we’ve seen a massive updraft in rates this month, we’re only back to year-end 2015 levels. 


*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.