Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stocks Drop, Rally In Split Session; Dow Down Three Straight; Apple Beats; Gold, Silver Rally

Beginning just after 2:00 pm ET, a furious rally brought US stock indices back from the depths of despair, finishing up Tuesday with a split decision, the S&P and Dow down, the NASDAQ and NYSE Comp. positive.

In close focus was the Dow Industrial Average, which was lower by as much as 186 points, but gathered back nearly half of that in the final two hours of the session. Leading the way lower were financial stocks, Goldman Sachs (GS) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM), the same companies that boosted the averages during the "Trump Rally" following November's election.

Now, it appears the euphoria over the presidency of Donald J. Trump is waning and enthusiasm for making America great again is falling prey to the harsh realities of economics, politics, and a divided country. Also weighing on stocks ae Trump's own bold initiatives, Twitter tweets and statements which appear to indicate that the 45th president is about to engage in an all-out, no-holds-barred currency and trade war with America's largest trading partners, in particular, China, Mexico and the European Union.

It just so happens that what President Trump is doing is exactly what he promised all during his campaign for the high office. Trump is truly an agent for change, but his changes - and the execution of them - are almost certainly not going to be smooth or predictable.

Today's targets of Trump ire included pharmaceutical companies, Germany and congress. Among other things, Trump told pharma execs to lower prices and move their operations back to the US.

Early in the day, President Trump's top trade advisor, Peter Navarro, said Germany was benefiting from a "grossly undervalued" euro, that gave Germany an unfair edge over US and fellow EU trading partners.

As for congress, Trump continues to hoot over the Democrats' stalling tactics on his cabinet nominees. In a procedural move, Democrat senators walked out on committee votes for nominations for Health and Human Services nominee, Tom Price, and Treasury pick, Steve Mnuchin. Democrats also delayed a vote (reportedly only until tomorrow) on Attorney General choice, Jeff Sessions, a position which has been the focus of vigorous debate.

All of this is providing cover for sellers and considerable confusion in global markets, sending the Dow into the red for a third straight day. Since the top tick of 20,125.58 on January 26 (last Thursday), the Dow has dipped 340 points intraday, or about 1.6%.

While it's still not enough to call a trend, it is worrying to some, especially since anybody with even marginal knowledge of stock valuations has to understand just how overvalued equities are, especially under the current changing environment.

Amid the carnage in stocks, gold and silver rallied sharply as the dollar slipped. Bond yields fell, with the 10-year note holding at 2.45%.

It's been often said that Wall Street hates uncertainty, and there's more than enough of that fueling the current dips and dives.

Just in after the close are Apple's (AAPL) earnings for its fiscal 2017 first quarter. Apple had $78.4 billion in gross revenue on expectations of $77.4 billion, and reported earnings of $3.36 per share on expectations of $3.21. IPhone sales were well beyond expectations. Shares of Apple were up more than three percent in after-hours trading, which should provide at least a temporary boost to stock prices tomorrow.

At the Close, Tuesday, 1.31.17:
Dow: 19,864.09, -107.04 (-0.54%)
NASDAQ: 5,614.79, +1.07 (0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,278.87, -2.03 (-0.09%)
NYSE Composite: 11,222.97, +17.73 (0.16%)

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