Monday, June 5, 2017

Unconvincing Open To the Week; Inflation/Deflation Debate Grows; Oil Continues Slide

In the ongoing inflation/deflation scrimmage, it's a draw, but, depending on where you've placed your bets, the victories may be huge.

For the investing crowd, stocks are golden and likely will continue to be so. Rough spots ahead include the June FOMC meeting (next Tuesday and Wednesday) and the coming fight in the congress over President Trump's proposed tax plan, which would constitute not only a major victory for the president, but also a big one for the American people, so it's far from a sure thing.

Congress, in case nobody has noticed, remains, for the most part, useless. Unless one is interested in hearings which lead to nothing or vacation time for rich Senators and soon-to-be-rich members of the House, neither the Republicans nor Democrats seem willing to actually legislate upon anything that will benefit anybody outside the District of Columbia. Truly, congress has become a closed loop between special interests represented by K Street lobbyists and insider deals that benefit one's own district (and that's becoming something of a rarity).

Noting that the government - outside of President Trump's ongoing efforts for change - remains powerless to do anything positive, Wall Street is probably giddy over the prospects, being that the major corporations which own, buy, and sell debt and equity are well insulated against any untoward legislation or outside shocks within their own cozy club.

Thus, it makes little sense to do anything except invest in the only asset class returning gains and/or dividends. Precious metals have floundered for the past four years, and oil has been in the dumps over the past two.

The slide from the low $50 range for WTI crude continued on Monday, dipping as down to 46.86 before recovering late in New York into the low $47 range.

So, in a nutshell, food and many other consumer staples remain without pricing power, restaurants are varyingly in a race to the bottom or towards diversifying menus with many of the large chains offering enticing deals. Retail overall is a basket case, now that online shopping has gone mainstream and will soon overtake brick and mortar from a gross revenue standpoint.

It's stocks for appreciation, though the wizards of Wall Street are somewhat blind to the disinflation, deflation and decimation of Main Street.

At the Close, 6/5/17:
Dow: 21,184.04, -22.25 (-0.10%)
NASDAQ: 6,295.68, -10.11 (-0.16%)
S&P 500: 2,436.10, -2.97 (-0.12%)
NYSE Composite: 11,693.65, -25.04 (-0.21%)
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