Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stocks Drubbed on Cool CPI

Stocks opened on the downside for the seventh consecutive session, only this time they did not manage a complete comeback by the close. What triggered the selloff was a tight CPI number, as the widely-watched index of US consumer prices inched up only 0.1% in October, the smallest gain in three months.

At another time in the pantheon of stock market momentum and movement, the soft inflation figure might have spurred a buying spree, as investors could gain confidence that the Fed would not raise rates in December, as is widely anticipated, but that was not the case today. The mood has changed significantly and there's a persistent pessimistic undertone that there soon could be blood in the streets.

Bonds may be calling the next move via the curve (or non-curve as the case may soon be). The spread between 5s and 30s plunged to 73 Basis Points today, the flattest since November of 2007, a key point in time, as it was then that the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) was about to unfold.

The 10-year note remains mired in the 2.30-2.38 range. A break in yield below 2.28 could be a triggering event prior to the December FOMC meeting at which the Fed is poised to raise the federal funds rate for the third time this year.

Credit is being squeezed as are margins in various industries, especially consumer retail. Amazon's foray into the grocery business via its Whole Foods acquisition may be the defining deflationary event of the decade.

As far as the indices are concerned, all eyes are on the Dow Industrials, which, after breaking to an all-time high last Tuesday, have done nothing but drift lower, though the flight path has been gradual... until today.

At the close today, the blue chips have shed 331 points, or about 1.4% since the high reached on November 7.

At the Close, Wednesday, November 15, 2017:
Dow: 23,271.28, -138.19 (-0.59%)
NASDAQ: 6,706.21, -31.66 (-0.47%)
S&P 500: 2,564.62, -14.25 (-0.55%)
NYSE Composite: 12,220.34, -59.77 (-0.49%)
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