Friday, September 21, 2018

Dow Theory Thwarted; Bulls Back In Charge As Industrials Register New All-Time High

In what has to be regarded as a false signal from the Dow Theory tracking primary trends, the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a new all-time closing high on Thursday, finishing the session at 26,656.98, eclipsing the previous record close of 26,616.71 reached on January 26, 2108.

In the interim, the Dow suffered through a shallow correction in February and March, gradually regaining its momentum in the second quarter, gaining 158.97 points for all of April, May, and June. During that period, however, other indices were exhibiting strength, especially the NASDAQ, which soared to record highs in June, followed by more all-time highs in July and August.

The S&P 500 took longer to recover, finally reaching a new apex on August 24, though the index showed considerable resilience and strength from April though the summer. It too finished at a record, gaining 22.80 points, it's best single-day gain in nearly two months.

The bear market, primary trend reversal signal sent via Dow Theory was initially triggered when the industrial average made a new short-term low on March 23, at 23,533.20, and confirmed on April 9, when the Transportation Index also closed at a new recent low of 10,119.35.

Skeptics noted that the transports, immediately after reaching that critical low, immediately rebounded with a 650-point rally over the next seven sessions. The aftermath from the signal forward didn't appear to be anything even remotely resembling a bear market, and if it was, the signal was too late and not useful for trading purposes. In fact, had one paid heed to the primary trend signal, one would have missed out on some sizable gains from April though the present.

The transportation index made a fresh record close at 11,436.35, on August 21 and has since finished higher than that on a tuber of occasions. The new high close on the Dow Jones Transportation Index was the first signal that the primary market trend was about to reverse again. It was just a matter of time and playing catch-up for the Dow to achieve a new record.

Whatever the market rationale - be it the Trump effect, animal spirits, or simply the general attractiveness of US markets caused by the recent strong dollar - stocks continue to be the best investments available to the general public and the larger institutional investing community.

Where the market goes from here is, as always, an open question, though it appears that the longest bull market in history will continue apace. Nothing, not even regular, quarterly interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, has been able to slow down the US equity express.

On the heels of solid performances in July and August, the Dow is poised to post the best quarterly results of the year when the third quarter concludes in just one week, September 28. The Dow added 1143.78 points in July, 557.29 in August, and has racked up a gain of 692.16 in September.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17
9/14/18 26,154.67 +8.68 +189.85
9/17/18 26,062.12 -92.55 +97.30
9/18/18 26,246.96 +184.84 +282.14
9/19/18 26,405.76 +158.80 +440.94
9/20/18 26,656.98 +251.22 +692.16

At the Close, Thursday, September 20, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,656.98, +251.22 (+0.95%)
NASDAQ: 8,028.23, +78.19 (+0.98%)
S&P 500: 2,930.75, +22.80 (+0.78%)
NYSE Composite: 13,225.11, +103.14 (+0.79%)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Blue Chips Gain, Dow, S&P Closing In On Records

As the Dow zipped ahead Wednesday, tech stocks on the NASDAQ were shunned and the S&P 500 was nearly flat, though approaching its all-time high (2,914.04, August 29).

The highly-anticipated trade wars touted by the Trump-hating press have yet to materialize, and multi-national corporations are adjusting to the new world of tariffs as opposed to the falsely-defined "free trade" policies of the past three decades.

With President Trump rewriting the parameters of global commerce, US companies are, as they should, making adjustments to currency distortions and disputes arising from the sudden departure from the past. That being the case, Dow stocks are performing favorably, while tech vacillates. The key to direction seems to be headed by the banking and financial sectors, which underpin all commercial activity.

Seeking to normalize interest rates, the Fed is set to raise the federal funds rate again in less than a week, at their September 25-26 FOMC meeting. Bank stocks have been largely untouched by any kind of organized selling pressure, which leads to complacency on trading desks and within investor portfolios. Passive index funds continue to perform well, despite perceived distress over presidential policies and political hijinks.

There's so much bullishness apparent that contrary practitioners have toes in the water, many of them already burned by bounces in the market structure. This is not an environment in which one would readily short stocks, as the bull market rages on without so much as a five percent pullback since the lows of February and March.

The money is out there, most funds fully invested without a worry in the world. That's a condition that usually leads to disaster, though this time looks to be truly different. If President Trump MAGA promise can be gauged at all, the stock market might be a proxy for the health of the American economy and it is doing quite well.

The Dow has posted gains in six of the last seven sessions, adding nearly 550 points over that span.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17
9/14/18 26,154.67 +8.68 +189.85
9/17/18 26,062.12 -92.55 +97.30
9/18/18 26,246.96 +184.84 +282.14
9/19/18 26,405.76 +158.80 +440.94

At the Close, Wednesday, September 19, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,405.76, +158.80 (+0.61%)
NASDAQ: 7,950.04, -6.07 (-0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,907.95, +3.64 (+0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 13,121.97, +29.99 (+0.23%)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Traders Shrug, Stocks Rip Higher

Bear market in Emerging Markets? No problem.

Upcoming Fed rate hike? Why worry?

Trade war with China? Nah.

The general attitude on Tuesday - following a somewhat dismal start to the week - seemed to be the old "buy the dip" mantra that boosted stocks high for most of the last ten years in the extended bull market.

As long as nothing major appears to disrupt the global money flow, traders in New York seem to be content buying stocks at just about any price, any multiple, any day, any time.

Tuesday's trading was a textbook example of momentum trading on the absence of news, good, bad, or otherwise. Stocks got off to a solid start and added to their gains throughout the session, with the markets in lockstep for a change.

The Dow was led higher by a wide swatch of companies, from Boeing (BA) to Nike (NKE), to Pfizer (PFE), Intel (INTC), and Home Depot (HD), all of which gained more than one percent on the day. 25 of 30 Dow components were winners, with just five losing ground.

Blue chips closed at their best level since the end of January, eclipsing the losses incurred in February and March, which are now fading into the deep recesses of trading memory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is less than 400 points from making a new all-time high. Such a move would negate the Dow Theory bear market signal issued in April, as the Dow Transportation Index has already broken above its previous high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17
9/14/18 26,154.67 +8.68 +189.85
9/17/18 26,062.12 -92.55 +97.30
9/18/18 26,246.96 +184.84 +282.14

At the Close, Tuesday, September 18, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,246.96, +184.84 (+0.71%)
NASDAQ: 7,956.11, +60.32 (+0.76%)
S&P 500: 2,904.31, +15.51 (+0.54%)
NYSE Composite: 13,091.98, +60.07 (+0.46%)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Apple Leads Dow, Stocks Lower On Valuation, Dividend Yield Concerns

It's not like Apple (AAPL) isn't a rock-solid stock. The Cupertino, California-based company which has given the world smartphones, smart watches and really zippy computers isn't the world's largest company by market cap for nothing.

The issue is more one of value over speculation. Apple is fully-capitalized, has doubled in price in less than two years, but the kicker might be the dividend of 2.92 is less than one-and-a-half percent (1.30%), while the 10-year treasury note is currently yielding three percent and probably is going to be higher in coming months.

Those numbers have to give serious investors pause to reflect on whether the tech giant - a mature company, not an instant start-up by any means - can continue to provide appreciation value in excess to their dividend. T-bills offer yield with nearly zero risk. All stocks carry risk to the downside, and Apple may have peaked a few weeks ago when it hit an all-time high of 228.35 at the September 4 closing bell.

Investing isn't a game of chasing winners, it's a matter of timing, though most advisors will deny the thought of market-timing. Proper discipline would have one buying Apple when it looks like it's cheap. With a P/E of just under 20, it's close to being expensive, so some players are obviously taking chips off the table while the gains are fresh and probably taxed at the long-term capital rate. It would make sense to do so. There are other stocks which may perform better in the near future and the allure of risk-free money at three percent is strong.

Whatever the reason, Apple has been leveling off, but the selling got serious on Monday, with volume above 36 million shares, about 10 million higher than average. The stock closed down 5.96 points (-2.66%), leading all Dow components as the Dow and NASDAQ suffered outsized losses, the NASDAQ especially, down nearly 1.5%.

Google (GOOG) also took a pretty big hit on Monday, losing 16.48 (1.41%), as did tech darling, Netflix (NFLX), which was broadly sold, -14.21 (3.90%), to 350.35.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw an even split with 15 gainers to 15 losers, but of the six stocks that trade for more than 200 per share, five of them declined, led by Apple. The others were Boeing (BA), UnitedHealth (UNH), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Home Depot (HD). The sole 200+ share price winner was 3M (MMM), which finished at 209.53, up 1.65 points (+0.79%).

Markets overall took a bit of a beating on Monday, though it wasn't enough for anybody to start yelling 'fire' on Wall Street. That may come when the Fed meets next week (September 24-25) and announces the third rate hike of 2018. That may prove to be more this market can bear.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17
9/14/18 26,154.67 +8.68 +189.85
9/17/18 26,062.12 -92.55 +97.30

At the Close, Monday, September 17, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,062.12, -92.55 (-0.35%)
NASDAQ: 7,895.79, -114.25 (-1.43%)
S&P 500: 2,888.80, -16.18 (-0.56%)
NYSE Composite: 13,031.91, -18.61 (-0.14%)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Weekend Wrap: Dull Markets Post Solid Gains For Week

As far as financial highlights and highjinks were concerned, the second week of September was rather uneventful though fairly propitious for investors in high-quality stocks.

The Dow closed out the week at its best level in seven months, just 500 points from the all-time high set back in January (26,616.71).

The NASDAQ posted the best gains of the week, rising 1.36%.

Pretty standard stuff. Elon Musk didn't even do anything weird.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17
9/14/18 26,154.67 +8.68 +189.85

At the Close, Friday, September 14, 2108:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,154.67, +8.68 (+0.03%)
NASDAQ: 8,010.04, -3.67 (-0.05%)
S&P 500: 2,904.98, +0.80 (+0.03%)
NYSE Composite: 13,050.52, +15.91 (+0.12%)

For the Week:
Dow: +238.13 (+0.92%)
NASDAQ: +107.50 (+1.36%)
S&P 500: +33.30 (+1.16)
NYSE Composite: +139.40 (+1.08%)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Stocks Gain To Best Levels Of September

Stocks posted their best gains in more than three weeks and the S&P came just short of closing at an all-time high.

Officials at the Ministry of Finance (aka Federal Reserve) offered no explanation for the surge in equity trading.

Fiat money might have had some impact.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17

At the Close, Thursday, September 13, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,145.99, +147.07 (+0.57%)
NASDAQ: 8,013.71, +59.48 (+0.75%)
S&P 500: 2,904.18, +15.26 (+0.53%)
NYSE Composite: 13,034.61, +44.51 (+0.34%)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Stocks Flatlined In Bifurcated Trading; Can Reform MAGA?

Maybe investing should be a little more like Wednesday's activity: boring. Slow. Uninteresting, aside from the continuance of the Dow-NASDAQ dichotomy.

Back in the mid-90s, with the advent of the internet and the CNBCs of the world, stock trading became more akin to fantasy sports than serious investing. Day-trading became the norm, volatility increased and the natural outcome was to favor professionals who had the tools, skills, and patience to ply the market with the requisite aptitude and attitude.

Today's algo-driven compression chamber that is called a "market" is a far cry from the staid and simple concepts of just a generation ago. Prior to the internet explosion of online brokerages and sophisticated strategies, buy and hold was the norm. Investment advisors - at least the honest ones not tied to commissions or performance - put people's money into solid companies with deep backgrounds, decades of dividend payments and reasonable price-earning ratios.

Investors today throw money at companies such as Tesla (TSLA), which hasn't made a dime in earnings. That nomenclature was also the trademark of the dotcom boom and bust. Pets.com, Beyond.com and other pie-in-the-sky, profitless, promising companies fell to the waysides in 2000 after being hyped non-stop on message boards and from boiler room operations such as those prominently featured in movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Not to say that there aren't new-age companies that deserve the backing of the investing public, but it's a crowded space, and valuations on companies like Google (Alphabet, GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and others are out in the stratosphere somewhere, reflecting future growth of mammoth proportions which may or may not come to fruition.

That's probably why the aforementioned Dow-NASDAQ see-saw exists. Investors in Dow stocks (30 blue chips) are quite a bit more circumspect and conservative than the punters and speculators on stocks covered by the NASDAQ. They're also more likely to hold - or even add to positions - during downturns rather than sell outright and go looking for the next momentum-chasing darling of the day.

In the past, rules and regulations on banking and investment houses kept speculation at reasonable levels. All of that changed with the internet, 24-hour financial news, and, most importantly, changes to the Glass-Steagall act under President Bill Clinton in 1999. Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed SOME of the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act, most notably, those measures which kept the banking business separate from the investment business.

Certainly, the new requirements struck a blow for free markets as the original Glass-Steagall act of 1933 was a response to wide-open conditions which contributed to the Great Depression. But, Clinton's new liberalness may have been a step too far. Since the enactment of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the US economy has suffered the dotcom crash, the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09, and various distortions of Federal Reserve policies like ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy) and QE (Quantitative Easing).

Now that the Fed seeks to unwind its bloated balance sheet and normalize interest rates, perhaps it's time to call out the real culprit of financial repression: widespread advantageous policies for the banking sector which crowd out and frustrate individual efforts. While a democratization of the investing world has occurred to some degree with crowd-sourcing, the regulations surrounding the nascent rise of small offerings continue to throttle companies and potential investors with needless rules and strictures.

In a true free market, there would be 1/10th the number of regulations in place today, and most of them would be foisted upon the high-profile trading houses of Wall Street, not the start-up companies that must wade through SEC regulations and countless pages of blue sky laws.

For America to be great again, maybe boring isn't the way to go, but unfair rules which favor the well-heeled over start-ups might need to be examined and revised.

In the meantime, despite the promise of crowd-sourcing and online trading, small investors will continue to be subject to unfair trading practices which puts the interests of Wall Street far ahead those of Main Street.

At the close, Wednesday, September 12, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,998.92, +27.86 (+0.11%)
NASDAQ: 7,954.23, -18.25 (-0.23%)
S&P 500: 2,888.92, +1.03 (+0.04%)
NYSE Composite: 12,990.10, +37.80 (+0.29%)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nothing Good Happens After Noon?

A peek at Tuesday's charts - post-closing-bell - reveals that US markets rose relentlessly in the morning, but then leveled off at noon and traded basically unchanged from there the rest of the day.

Not that it's unusual to see a pattern like that - though it actually is - but nothing really surprises anybody anymore, especially since the computer algorithms have thoroughly distorted normal trading patterns.

Apparently, everybody was happy with the returns at noon, and kept them. All afternoon was just churning, and that's no good.

There's fake news, so why not fake markets?

Tuesday's action was very unconvincing. Expect some kind of sell-off Wednesday.\

Before noon, of course.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24

At the Close, Tuesday, September 11, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,971.06, +113.99 (+0.44%)
NASDAQ: 7,972.47, +48.31 (+0.61%)
S&P 500: 2,887.89, +10.76 (+0.37%)
NYSE Composite: 12,952.30, +23.63 (+0.18%)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dow Losses Widen, Deepen; Top Four Components Slashed

Stocks flopped around like fish out of water Monday, as investors found nothing on which to hang a positive spin or trade. The Dow gave up early 100+ point gains to finish lower for the second straight session and the fifth time in the last seven.

The NASDAQ put up a better fight, but still could not find adequate footing to stage any meaningful rally. Stocks are unrealistically valued as the business cycle - despite commentary and central bank intervention suggesting that it has been abolished - heads into the latter stages and nears overcapacity.

It is, after all, September, and there's plenty on the minds of individuals and investors, not the least of which being odious debt levels in corporate, government and individual accounts. With interest rates on the rise and winter approaching, concern may be more toward preservation of capital than appreciation of such. Risk is rising for obvious reasons and the global economy is groaning from severe stresses placed upon it by a rising dollar, which has become the go-to currency and the US the trading capitol of the world.

More than a few economists and analysts had predicted a second half slowdown, so, after gains in July and August, September may be the market's Waterloo, forcing the hands of even the most ardent bulls. This week also marks the ten-year anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers, as well as another reminder of the 9-11 tragedy of 2001, tomorrow.

Somber as the mood may be, American hearts and minds are forever looking ahead, so a slow week or even a down month is unlikely to unhinge the usual giddiness of the bulls. It's been nearly 10 years since the market retreated in a serious manner, but current conditions don't augur well for a sudden collapse. Rather, a bumpy road lower may be the preferred path as the signs of decay over the past week are beginning to make more of an impact.

The Dow can't seem to handle prosperity over 26,000. It has closed above that level a handful of times (three, to be exact) in the last week of August, but beat a hasty retreat once it was revealed to be overbought.

Monday's losers were an odd assortment of UnitedHealth Group (UNH) 259.73, -8.55 (-3.19%); Boeing 341.86, -7.42 (-2.12%); Traveler's 127.60, -2.49 (-1.91%); and, Apple (AAPL) 218.33, -2.97 (-1.34%). These are diverse businesses, the only possible connection being finance, though that's dubious, at best. Adding in Goldman Sachs (GS) 231.91, -2.00 (-0.86%), the other common thread is that Boeing is the most expensive stock on the index, UNH second, GS third, and Apple, fourth. The Travelers (TRV) is a distant 13th-most expensive, the selling in those shares possibly tied to potential losses from Hurricane Florence, which is taking dead aim at the coastal communities of the Carolinas and due to make landfall later this week (likely Thursday morning).

On a positive and somewhat perplexing note, the Dow Jones Transportation Index closed at a new record high, picking up 206 points to finish at 11,554.08. This is not ordinary trading, with the Dow down, the NASDAQ up, along with a record on the transports. Either traders are playing momentum-chasing games or something unseen is occurring out of sight from regular investors. The odd trading patterns that have persisted since the sudden February fallout are bizarre and without explanation. Adding in the commodity shakedown, markets are sending mixed signals which only those with fingers firmly on triggers can apparently comprehend.

On world indices, the Far East continued lower, Europe didn't decline, but gains were marginal, and South American markets returned to their downward trend with gusto.

With a slow start to the week, it's difficult to image a good result as the grind toward the September 25-26 FOMC commences.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75

At The Close, Monday, September 10, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,857.07, -59.47 (-0.23%)
NASDAQ: 7,924.16, +21.62 (+0.27%)
S&P 500: 2,877.13, +5.45 (+0.19%)
NYSE Composite: 12,929.01, +17.89 (+0.14%)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Weekend Wrap: Investors Disappointed, Spurring September Selloff; Tesla On The Ropes; EM Bears

Tech and transportation stocks, the Dow, and the S&P 500 all registered positive gains in August, but once the three-day Labor Day holiday turned the calendar to September, much of summer's optimism turned to autumn angst as all four of the major indices - lead by tech and the NASDAQ - began showing signs of weariness.

The NASDAQ lost ground in all four of the short week's trading sessions, combining for a 2.55% decline in the first week of September. While much of the losses can be attributed to profit-taking, the biggest declines belonged to the beloved FAANGs, all of which fell in a wide-based tech retreat. Facebook (FB) Amazon (AMZN), Apple (APPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG) all suffered losses, though the biggest decline was seen on the stock of Tesla (TSLA), as continuing concerns over the health not only of the company's finances, but of founder and CEO, Elon Musk, snatched nearly 13% off its price in four days.

Shares of the electric car-maker are down 30% since reaching a peak of 379.57 on August 7. Tesla closed out the week at 263.24, within 10 points of its 52-week low due to a rash of executive departures and strange behavior by Musk, which included threats to critics, talk of taking the company private, crying, drinking, and taking a toke on a joint during a podcast interview.

While Musk's behavior is certainly a major factor influencing the share price, more concerning are questions over the company's continued viability. Yet to turn a profit, Tesla is burdened with an excessive amount of debt and faces competition in the electric car space from the likes of BMW, Porsche, Audi, and scores of Japanese and American automakers as the number of competitive electric autos already in market or due to be soon has steadily increased over the past 18 months.

With a poor track record, mounting issues with reliability and safety, and Musk's seemingly manic-depressive behavior, investors are bracing for the worst, fleeing in record numbers. With share prices still at stratospheric levels, the declines should continue for the foreseeable future.

As for the other tech titans, it would appear that Apple, Google, and Amazon are still in a safe zone, despite lofty valuations, but Facebook and Netflix may suffer further declines. Both companies have internal and external problems which have yet to be addressed adequately. The numbers suggest that users of the social platform and streaming video service are not increasing at the same rates previously encountered and continued growth is a major question.

The Dow appeared to be the safe space for traders until Friday, when it led markets lower despite positive news on employment, with September jobs increasing by 201,000 in August, ahead of analyst estimates, and wage growth increasing to 2.9% annualized.

Though the numbers were encouraging for the middle class, the investor class may have been eyeing the bullish employment figures with a jaded eye, focusing on the upcoming FOMC meeting at the end of the month (September 25-26), in which the Fed is expected to raise the key federal funds rate another 25 basis points, to 2.00-2.25%. The usual knee-jerk reaction to Fed rate hikes is to sell equities and buy bonds, and that dynamic may well have been in play on Friday and might contribute to further selling in the weeks leading up to the policy meeting.

Also on the minds of investors was the global drawdown in emerging markets, which is approaching or already is in bear market conditions. The strong dollar and use of the US as a safe haven has led to capitulation in currencies and markets, especially in Turkey and Argentina, each of which have suffered sharp currency devaluations over the past six months. Turkey is stubbornly fighting the carnage from within, whereas Argentina has supposedly reached agreement on a bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Argentina's condition in world markets seems to be that of a chronic abuser as this is a repetitive pattern by that deadbeat debtor nation.

While the EM bust has yet to affect US markets in any major way, European and Far East markets have felt some pain, especially in Germany, as the DAX is already in correction, down more than 10% this year. If and when the EM issues become a contagion will be a top of mind issue in the weeks and months ahead.

Precious metals and the entire commodity complex continued to face stiff selling. Gold and silver are trading at three-year lows and are vulnerable to any number of potential market shocks. They are traditionally the first assets sold in a widespread market rout and may be signaling more trouble ahead.

While caution is always advisable, the run-up to the US midterm elections may be particularly volatile as cantankerous political forces vie for control of the enormous state and federal governmental complex.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28

At the Close, Friday, September 7, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,916.54, -79.33 (-0.31%)
NASDAQ: 7,902.54, -20.18 (-0.25%)
S&P 500: 2,871.68, -6.37 (-0.22%)
NYSE Composite: 12,911.12, -27.79 (-0.21%)

For the Week:
Dow: -48.28 (-0.19%)
NASDAQ: -207.00 (-2.55%)
S&P 500: -29.84 (-1.03%)
NYSE Composite: -105.77 (-0.81%)

Friday, September 7, 2018

Tech Rout Deepens As Users Shed Facebook, Global Meltdown Continues, Musk Lights Up

As the Dow posted a second straight smallish gain, the NASDAQ was once again bruised as investors reassessed positions in various high-profile social media and internet stocks.

On Thursday and into early trading Friday, equity indices around the world were in a sea of red, though South American stocks rebounded into their Thursday closes as Argentina prepares for a new round of financing from the IMF. Argentina's currency and stocks have been in free fall, and the IMF bailout is yet another in a series of bad financing deals for the South American basket case.

Facebook (FB) suffered another in a continuing series of declines, losing 4.65 points to close at 162.53. The 2.78% loss was the sixth in the last seven session, leaving the troubled social media platform down 55 points since July 25th, the most recent catalyst a Pew Research report that found one in four users deleting the Facebook app from their mobile phones among other startling statistics.

Facebook's problems stem from revelations that they violated their own privacy policies by sharing private user data with third parties, but perhaps more and more people are beginning to realize that the high school acquaintances they've reconnected with on Facebook are still boorish, stupid, or otherwise stuck on themselves.

Being the ultimate tool for narcissism, Facebook's days may be numbered.

Tesla (TSLA) stock was taking a hit (pun intended) after enigmatic founder and CEO, Elon Musk, was seen toking on a blunt filled with tobacco and marijuana on Joe Rogan's popular Podcast. Shares were trending lower, down 1.40% prior to the regular trading open.

Perhaps Musk's message to shareholders should be, "just chill."

Facebook and Tesla shares are both down more than 20% from recent highs.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87, +20.88 +31.05

At the Close, Thursday, September 6, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,995.87, +20.88 (+0.08%)
NASDAQ: 7,922.73, -72.45 (-0.91%)
S&P 500: 2,878.05, -10.55 (-0.37%)
NYSE Composite: 12,938.91, -29.64 (-0.23%)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

FAANGs Whacked Again As Investors Pull Back From Tech Space

Netflix was murdered in trading on Wednesday as investors reacted to a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty that Apple plans to launch a competing video service though the company has to date made no announcement.

It was enough to take seriously, and money flowed out of Netflix (NFLX) to the tune of a 22.42-point decline, off a whopping 6.17% at the close. Apple's stock barely budged, but in fact was down 1.49 (-0.65%).

A day after topping $1 trillion in market cap, Amazon (AMZN) shed 44 points to close at 1994.82, a solid two-percent decline.

Alphabet (GOOG), parent of Google was lower by 10.82 (-0.88%), and Tesla lost nearly three percent, closing at 280.74, reaching its lowest closing point since May 25.

Facebook lost nearly four points to finish the day at 167.18, a four-month low.

All of this trading occurred while tech executives were brought before congress to testify in a wide-ranging probe of the unregulated social media space. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey faced congressional scrutiny before a select committee of senators and House representatives. It's political theater at its very best, with lawmakers preening and getting in good soundbites in the lead to the midterm elections in two months.

Wishing for nothing less than to regulate free speech on the internet, congress is unlikely to have much impact upon the operation of the social media behemoths. As private enterprises, these mammoth companies are free to do as they please, from banning users who upset their dilettante views to promoting largely socialist idealism.

While the hearings make for some useful political jabbing, the congress shows by its naive use of forums such as these that they are as much a part of the problem as the companies themselves. Since most politicians use social media platforms to promote their particular agendas, dragging big company executives to Capitol Hill is more red herring than serious hearings.

While congress browbeats, investors are keenly aware that some of these companies are seriously overvalued. Tesla, for instance, is down 100 points in less than a month's time, exceeding a 25% decline. Facebook is off 50 points since July 25 and is likewise trading under bear market conditions, down nearly 24% over the last six weeks.

With the current round of tech profit-taking having a serious effect on investor confidence in the space, the staid stocks of the Dow gained slightly on the day, barely moving the needle. Elsewhere, stocks were roiled worldwide, as emerging market conditions continue to deteriorate.

The September swoon is gathering momentum and a more severe decline may be dead ahead for US stocks despite a booming economy and low unemployment. The main problems are rising interest rates and fundamental overvaluation issues.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17

At the Close, Wednesday, September 5, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,974.99, +22.51 (+0.09%)
NASDAQ: 7,995.17, -96.07 (-1.19%)
S&P 500: 2,888.60, -8.12 (-0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 12,968.55, -1.31 (-0.01%)

Stocks Start September Slowly As Trade Wars Widen, Currencies Collapse In Emerging Markets

The late-summer rally that saw fresh record highs on the NASDAQ and S&P, adding 1600 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, may be coming to an abrupt end in September.

As the dollar has soared against emerging market currencies, US markets have become a favorite of foreign money, lifting individual stocks and entire indices from already-high valuations. However, blowback from collapsing economies in emerging markets such and Turkey, Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, India, and China may become severe if market participants decide its time to repatriate their gains.

With President Trump on a tariff crusade, imports from foreign shores are rapidly becoming less valuable to the source exporters and governments are taking note of the erosion in not just their currencies but in their trade balances.

Stock markets in South American countries are being wrecked, with Argentina and Brazil already in bear markets. Exchanges in Japan, China, and most of Europe - especially the powerhouse Dax of Germany - are already in correction territory and not far from becoming full-blown panicked bear markets.

Thus far, the US has been the beneficiary of other nations' pain, but, there's no free lunch and companies with heavy investment outside the US may soonest profits declining in what were recently solid, growing markets for their goods and services.

How the combination of trade warfare and declining currency valuations will play out may prove to be disastrous to all participants. A great decline in international trade was partially responsible for the global Great Depression of the 1930s. History may soon be repeating if countries don't heed the warnings from prior episodes of trade antagonism.

Casualties are beginning to mount with the precious metals complex already heading past the correction phase and closer to bear market conditions. Gold has been trading in the $1190 per troy ounce range after reaching close to $1360 in March. Silver has collapsed from from a high above $18/ounce to $14.15 at the close on Tuesday. That is already in a bear market.

Reminiscent of September 2008, when investors dumped gold and silver holdings to meet margin requirements and governments scrambled to meet current obligations, the precious metals decline may be a harbinger of things to come for the broader markets.

Insofar as US stocks have performed brilliantly since the brief February correction, there exists a danger that stocks have reached a climax and are overdue for a massive selloff.

Speculation and conjecture being worth exactly nothing until real money is put into play, market participants may soon find out just how far a rally can go before everyone runs for the exits at once, desiring to not be left holding a bag half full.

Tuesday, the first trading day of September started with a steep decline at the open. Stocks gained ground gradually throughout the session, eventually posting minor losses. It could have been worse and it's likely not yet over. The rest of the week and the weeks heading toward the next FOMC meeting on September 25 and 26 will be volatile and potentially damaging to heavily-leveraged, diverse portfolios.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34

At the Close, Tuesday, September 4, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,952.48, -12.34 (-0.05%)
NASDAQ: 8,091.25, -18.29 (-0.23%)
S&P 500: 2,896.72, -4.80 (-0.17%)
NYSE Composite: 12,969.86, -47.03 (-0.36%)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Weekend Wrap: Booming Economy, Gradual Inflation Boosts US Stocks

While the NASDAQ and S&P set multiple intra-day and closing records, the Dow continued its slow progress toward the January 26, all-time closing high of 26,616.71.

Once more, the NASDAQ led all indices in percentage terms, chalking up a two percent gain for the final week in August. The Dow finished up August with a second consecutive monthly gain (+557.29), though it was less than half of July's rise (+1143.78).

Despite two straight losing sessions, the Dow stands just 650 points away from the record.

The strategy being forwarded by the Trump administration has great appeal on Wall Street, as the summer saw many positive gains across all sectors despite efforts by the media to ignore or downplay the president's accomplishments Pointing up potential drawbacks from proposed and enacted tariffs on imports and negotiated trade deals with Mexico and Canada, the left-leaning TV and big-city newspaper media continue a vain attempt to discredit the election of Trump in 2016 via ongoing harassment by the fake Mueller investigation and countless talking heads from former administrations taking every opportunity to trash-talk the current occupant of the White House.

Thus, while the media and proponents of the left side of the political aisle promulgate a false narrative, Donald Trump and his team are actually moving forward on bold economic plans, rescuing America from over a decade of stagnation and building for a better future.

Official and unofficial sources confirm that the two-pronged assault via media and political character assassination are being called into question by US citizens. Seeing bigger paychecks, job openings everywhere and a dramatic decline in Washington war-mongering, the general public simply is not buying with the media, Democrats, and political shills are selling.

With the three-day Labor Day weekend marking an unofficial close to summer, many professional traders will be getting back to serious work approaching the next FOMC meeting (September 25-26). It's accepted that the policy meeting will produce another 25 basis point increase in the target federal funds rate, boosting it to 2.00-2.25%. The effective rate as of July was 1.91%. There is s normal lag between the target and effective rate of a few days or weeks on the lower end. Currently, the effective rate has been rising between the 1.75% and 2.00% target rate set in June.

Two big items on the Fed radar are inflation and the dollar. Having targeted two percent inflation as desirable, official data shows a slow but steady rise, approaching or even exceeding the goal. The strong dollar, however, is acting as a counterweight not only to inflation but to tariffs, the rising dollar able to purchase more foreign goods for the same amount of money.

The strong dollar, rising interest rates, and positive data on the US economy (4.2% GDP growth in the second quarter) offer the additional benefit of making the US the best place to invest, either in equities (growth) or fixed income (stability).

With one month remaining in the third quarter, the US economy engine seems to be operating on all cylinders. Any slowdown, even as predicted by a potential inverted yield curve, is still expected to be at least six months to over a year away. With that kind of time horizon, there's little concern on Wall Street over even the most expensive stocks, such as the FAANGs (Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Google (GOOG) (Alphabet)), which continue to guide the NASDAQ to new highs.

Such strong speculative conditions should persist past the FOMC meeting into the fourth quarter. More than a few analysts had predicted a weaker second half of 2018, though those forecasts are likely to be tossed upon the scrapheap of financial history.

Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" jingo is sounding like sweet music to the ears of investors, a condition unlikely to change any time soon.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/23/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45
8/24/18 25,790.35 +133.37 +382.82
8/27/18 26,049.64 +259.29 +642.11
8/28/18 26,064.02 +14.38 +656.49
8/29/18 26,124.57 +60.55 +717.04
8/30/18 25,986.92 -137.65 +579.39
8/31/18 25,964.82 -22.10 +557.29

At the Close, Friday, August 31, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,964.82, -22.10 (-0.09%)
NASDAQ: 8,109.537, +21.174 (+0.26%)
S&P 500: 2,901.52, +0.39 (+0.01%)
NYSE Composite: 13,016.89, -23.04 (-0.18%)


For the Week:
Dow: +174.47 (+0.68%)
NASDAQ: +163.56 (2.06%)
S&P 500: +26.83 (+0.93%)
NYSE Composite: +17.45 (+0.13%)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Stocks Take A Breather As Tariff Talk Toughens; Underground Economy, Self-Employment Rising Rapidly

This was not completely unexpected.

Markets have been absolutely on fire the past two weeks, and a pullback was inevitable. The culprit, as usual, will be Donald Trump, and his threat to slap tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

While the additional revenue will no doubt aid the fiscal formula of the federal government, the merger impact will be in the form of higher prices, though the effect will be spread out among America's 325 million populace.

Another way of looking at it is that $200 billion worth of Chinese goods spread among roughly 200 million adult Americans comes to $1000 per person. If you whack the goods another 25% with tariffs, it's another $250 per person. Over the course of six months or a year, it's not much, say five to 10 bucks a week.

Chump change... or maybe, Trump change.

An article that caught the eye today focused on the burgeoning self-employment movement in the United States, which has been growing at three times the rate of regular employment over the past three years.

Credit American ingenuity. Work is changing and more than a few people are trading in the nine-to-five grind for making their own hours, especially among Millennials and older, healthy retirees or semi-retired folks. With the burden of Obamacare taken off the backs of Americans, the workforce is free to follow the money, be it as a Uber driver, seller of goods on eBay, pushing online services, or a myriad of other self-employment opportunities, many of which are unregulated, untaxed, and unreported.

The so-called "underground economy" which the US government gave up trying to track in the mid-seventies, is enormous. Its presence and size puts to shame all the government employment statistics, especially the low "persons in the labor force" numbers that plagued the Obama years. Americans come in all stripes and flavors, from welfare recipients who do side jobs, to baby boomers who mow lawns for cash. Most of all, Americans are resourceful and many of them are overtaxed and seeking ways to increase their incomes without notifying the IRS or state governments.

It's working, and the money generated goes all through the economic powerhouse that is the US domestic economy. Governments - local, state, and federal - are all too big and they all waste people's time and money. The US population moved on years ago. Only now, it's getting to be so large that it's hard not to notice.

There probably aren't too many people who remember the years of Prohibition (1920-1933), when government over-reached, outlawing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages. By the mid 1920s, the "underground economy" of the day had exceeded the "official" government-tracked economy. We're on the same path today. People want more control of their lives and their money, and they're taking both back, with a vengeance.

No pension? No problem. Little league umpires make $30-60 per game and most of it is paid in cash. That's just one example.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/23/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45
8/24/18 25,790.35 +133.37 +382.82
8/27/18 26,049.64 +259.29 +642.11
8/28/18 26,064.02 +14.38 +656.49
8/29/18 26,124.57 +60.55 +717.04
8/30/18 25,986.92 -137.65 +579.39

At the Close, Thursday, August 30, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,986.92, -137.65 (-0.53%)
NASDAQ: 8,088.36, -21.32 (-0.26%)
S&P 500: 2,901.13, -12.91 (-0.44%)
NYSE Composite: 13,039.93, -92.23 (-0.70%)

S&P, NASDAQ Set Fresh Records, Dow Higher 4th Day In Row

The gains are beginning to become monotonous.

As the second estimate of 2Q GDP came in hot, at 4.2%, investors were encouraged to buy even more stocks, sending the S&P and NASDAQ to all-time closing highs, pushing the Dow closer to it's January 26 mark of 26,616.71.

There seems to be nothing in the way of this current hot streak. The Dow is up four straight days and has tacked on nearly 1000 points since August 15.

There's likely to be some kind of pullback this week, though it's probably going to be temporary. With Labor Day upcoming, market professionals will be back to business on Tuesday of next week without much worry.

All signs point to an extension of the record market run.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/23/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45
8/24/18 25,790.35 +133.37 +382.82
8/27/18 26,049.64 +259.29 +642.11
8/28/18 26,064.02 +14.38 +656.49
8/29/18 26,124.57 +60.55 +717.04

At the Close, Wednesday, August 29, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,124.57, +60.55 (+0.23%)
NASDAQ: 8,109.69, +79.65 (+0.99%)
S&P 500: 2,914.04, +16.52 (+0.57%)
NYSE Composite: 13,132.16, +47.36 (+0.36%)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Stocks Add Marginally To Upside Awaiting 2nd 2Q GDP Estimate

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on modest gains, as did the NASDAQ and S&P 500. It was the seventh day in the last nine trading session in which the Dow has posted gains. The index is up 900 points since August 15.

On the downside was the NYSE Composite, losing 17 points.

Investors were on hold in advance of Wednesday's second estimate of second quarter GDP. The prior estimate, released in late July, saw the economy rowing at a 4.1% annualized rate.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/23/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45
8/24/18 25,790.35 +133.37 +382.82
8/27/18 26,049.64 +259.29 +642.11
8/27/18 26,064.02 +14.38 +656.49

At the Close, Tuesday, August 28, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,064.02, +14.38 (+0.06%)
NASDAQ: 8,030.04, +12.14 (+0.15%)
S&P 500: 2,897.52, +0.78 (+0.03%)
NYSE Composite: 13,084.80, -17.23 (-0.13%)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Dow Gains 259, NASDAQ, S&P Set New Record Highs

Since June 27, the NASDAQ has made a strong advance of 572 points, a nifty 7.68% return in two months.

The S&P 500 has tacked on 196 points over the same span, a 7.26% gain.

The Dow has galloped ahead 1933 points in the past two months, 8.02%, topping both index rivals and closed above 26,000 on Monday for the first time since February 1. Overall, investors are piling into stocks, unconvinced that the Fed's now-quarterly interest rate hikes will slow down US production in major industries. Income creation has been a duopoly since the Trump tax cuts became effective after the start of the year and stocks shook off the shocks of February and March.

With the Dow posting gains in six of the last eight sessions, the industrials have added nearly 900 points since August 16. With a three-day holiday dead ahead, the positive vibe may extend through Friday.

There is no other way around it. This rally is real, and has legs. The next FOMC meeting and widely anticipated 25 basis point rate hike is still a month off, on September 25-26.

Along with the NASDAQ and S&P closing at record highs on Monday, the Dow is a mere 600 points from its previous high from January 26 of 26,616.71.

Summertime... and the profits are easy.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/23/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45
8/24/18 25,790.35 +133.37 +382.82
8/27/18 26,049.64 +259.29 +642.11

At the Close, Monday, August 27, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,049.64, +259.29 (+1.01%)
NASDAQ: 8,017.90, +71.92 (+0.91%)
S&P 500: 2,896.74, +22.05 (+0.77%)
NYSE Composite: 13,102.03, +102.59 (+0.79%)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Despite Deep State and Media Trump Hatred, US Economy Continues Expansion

Stocks made steady advances through the week and were especially profitable on Friday, as the NASDAQ and S&P 500 reached all-time closing highs.

The week also marked an historic moment on Wednesday, when the current S&P 500 became the longest bull market in US history, though the celebration was largely muted and overshadowed by fake news concerning President Trump.

While Washington and the mainstream media remains focused on unseating a duly-elected president, Wall Street is making hay while the sun shines, living large in the light under Trump's easy fiscal and tough trade policies which have put more money in the pockets of American workers, upset the global status quo, and spurred a delightful rally since he won the presidency in November, 2016.

Many deep state politicians and the loathsome mainstream media seem to be on another planet when it comes to politics and the economy. While middle America is flourishing after years of mismanagement under presidents Bush and Obama, they look the other way when it comes to Trump, refusing to acknowledge his various successes, instead plowing ahead with false narratives that run the gamut from colluding with Russia during the 2016 campaign to steamy affairs with a porn star and a Playboy playmate.

Politicians on the left and even many so-called RHINO Republicans seem content to spend most of their time fomenting fear and hatred. At the same time, Wall Street remains unimpressed and without concern over the political hijinks and wasted efforts to impeach or impair the Trump presidency.

It's a sad state of affairs when the dominant media can only produce stories that are shakily superficial and barely believable. If anything unsettles markets, it would likely come from the swamp creatures in DC and the media, though as of yet, investors and the general US population aren't buying it.

Approaching the final week of unofficial summer, markets are robust but heavily overvalued. Profits since the last recession and the 2008-09 financial crisis have been all too easy. Market veterans know just how quickly good times can turn bad, although since the downturn in February and March there's been little thought or discussion about booking profits, moving to cash positions, or consolidating gains in any concerted fashion.

Bonds have been stable, precious metals have gone into a long, deep reversion, and inflation is not overwhelming. Outside of high valuations and the constant attacks on President Trump, the US economy appears as healthy as it has been in the past 20 years.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/23/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45
8/24/18 25,790.35 +133.37 +382.82

At the Close, Friday, August 24, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,790.35, +133.37 (+0.52%)
NASDAQ: 7,945.98, +67.52 (+0.86%)
S&P 500: 2,874.69, +17.71 (+0.62%)
NYSE Composite: 12,999.44, +65.98 (+0.51%)

For the Week:
DOW: +121.03 (+0.47%)
NASDAQ: +125.65 (+1.66%)
S&P 500: +24.56 (+0.86%)
NYSE Composite: +91.18 (+0.71%)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Stocks Take A Break, All Major Indices In Red

The S&P just set a record as the longest bull market in US history, the Dow has been on a tear and the Dow Transportation Index just set a new all-time high two days ago, so, it's perfectly natural for stocks to take a breather here.

It is, after all, the 23rd of August, the proverbial dog days of summer. Plenty of people needed to take a break, look things over, calm down, have another mai tai by the pool and relax. Markets have been running at breakneck speed thanks to the Trump hate, tariffs, emerging market slide, Turkey's currency crisis, Italy's break away government, et. al.

Thursday's trading differed from previous session in that all four of the major indices finished lower. Lately, the pattern has been for split markets, with the Dow and NASDAQ moving in opposite directions. Though the losses were not significant, the fact that the direction was similar may signal something more ominous.

Of course, the way markets have been consistently, over time, moving to higher ground, going short here would seem to be a rather risky proposition.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07
8/22/18 25,656.98 -76.62 +249.45

At the Close, Thursday, August 23, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,656.98, -76.62 (-0.30%)
NASDAQ: 7,878.46, -10.64 (-0.13%)
S&P 500: 2,856.98, -4.84 (-0.17%)
NYSE Composite: 12,933.46, -57.05 (-0.44%)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Of The Long Bull Run And The Short Bear

Today, the S&P 500 set a new mark as the longest bull run in stock market history, surpassing the bull market record that ran from October 1990 to March 2000.

On Wednesday, the bull market that began on April 8, 2009, reached 3,453 days. The nearly 9 1/2 year run without a decline of 20% has seen the S&P rise from its low of 815.55 on April 7, 2009, to yesterday's closing high of 2,862.96, a gain of 2047.41, an average annual return of 26.4%. It's been quite a decade for Wall Street after the financial crisis had put the world on edge.

Unlike anything seen before, excepting possibly the expansion during the 1990s dotcom boom, investors have been showered with profits from virtually all sectors. There is no denying that the bull market of the 20-teens will go down in economic history as one of the more bizarre experiences ever, fueled by unlimited free-spending by central banks in global coordination, slashing interest rates at times, in some countries, to negative yields.

Adding to the hyper activity in the markets were stock buybacks by nearly every major corporation, financed by ultra-low interest rates. Buybacks reduced the number of shares outstanding, thus boosting earnings-per-share calculations beyond normal ranges.

While many still argue that this bull market was mostly smoke and mirrors, enhanced by the Federal Reserve and of benefit to only the richest one percent of the population, anybody who invested during this period made money. That's an undeniable fact that serves to silence even the grizzliest of bears.

Shortest Bear Market?

Adherents to Dow Theory (Money Daily being of that disposition) saw the end of the bull market earlier this year, when the Dow dropped precipitously from its January 26 all-time high close of 26,616.71 to 23,533.20 on March 23. The primary trend change (bull to bear) was confirmed when the Transportation Index closed on 10,119.36 on April 9. Since then, the Dow has come back, though it has not surpassed its previous high, which would signal another primary trend change from bear to bull. However, yesterday, August 21, the Transports set a new record closing high, finishing the session at 11,436.36 and well beyond its previous record close of 11,373.38, reached on January 12, 2018.

While the Transports have been leading (without much notice) the charge to new highs, it will take another spurt higher of nearly 900 by the Dow Industrials to surpass its own all-time high. If that scenario develops, the Dow will confirm the trend change that the Transportation Index has suggested. According to Dow Theory, the two have to react in tandem, confirming the primary trend direction.

The Dow demands close scrutiny in the weeks and possibly months ahead, because, despite the larger universe of pundits and analysts celebrating the longest bull run ever, until the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 26,616.71, theoretically, this is still a bear market and the recent activity since late March of this year has been nothing but speculation and noise.

For all the hoopla over the bull market record, today's action was noticeably subdued. Of the four major indices, only the NASDAQ returned a winner, as investors waded back into the tech-soaked speculative morass.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76
8/22/18 25,733.60 -88.69 +326.07

At the Close, Wednesday, August 22, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,733.60, -88.69 (-0.34%)
NASDAQ: 7,889.10, +29.92 (+0.38%)
S&P 500: 2,861.82, -1.14 (-0.04%)
NYSE Composite: 12,992.05, -4.71 (-0.04%)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Stocks Continue Rally, S&P 500 Reaches New All-Time High

There was cause for celebration on Wall Street and around America on Tuesday as the S&P 500 reached a new all-time record close, gaining 5.91 to finish the day at 2,862.96, four-and-a-half points beyond the previous high set just two weeks ago, on August 7th.

While the S&P and NASDAQ have surged to new records after the February correction, the Dow is still 800 points shy of its all-time mark, though, with the economy booming, there's little to no apprehension among investors. The widespread belief is that the Dow will push forward, despite the warnings from Dow Theorists who insist a bear market on the Dow Jones Industrial Average had commenced earlier in the year. Clearly, recent data disputes the veracity of any argument made by the venerable Dow Theory.

On Wednesday, stock pickers will be in a celebratory mood once again, marking the longest bull run in US market history, surpassing the dotcom run from 1990 to 2000. According to this LA Times story there is some disagreement, but there are few who argue that this bull run has been outstanding, starting on April 9, 2009, without as much as a 15% decline throughout the duration of the run.

Tomorrow it is, then. Another record.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16
8/21/18 25,822.29 +63.60 +414.76

At the Close, Tuesday, August 21, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,822.29, +63.60 (+0.25%)
NASDAQ: 7,859.17, +38.17 (+0.49%)
S&P 500: 2,862.96, +5.91 (+0.21%)
NYSE Composite: 12,996.76, +31.66 (+0.24%)

Dow Reaches Higher, S&P Closing In On Record As Bull Market Extends

Same song, different day.

The Dow led the major indices higher on Monday, while the NASDAQ languished near the unchanged mark most of the session, finishing with a small gain. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 improved to within a point of its all-time closing high. The previous record was 2,858.45 on August 7.

Despite the ongoing, beneath-the-surface currency crisis in Turkey and a full-blow economic collapse in Venezuela, the high rollers on Wall Street seem to have little sympathy as the Dow now stands at its high-water mark since February 25th.

According to most metrics, the US economy is cruising right along, with low unemployment and only slight hints of inflation. America's prosperity may be coming at the expense of the emerging nations of the world, though that's not a concern for those seeking gains in equity markets.

The Dow Industrials are less than 1000 points from the January 26 all-time high of 26,616.71 and the general markets are one day from becoming the longest bull market in US history.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79
8/20/18 25,758.69 +89.37 +351.16

At the Close, Monday, August 20, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,758.69, +89.37 (+0.35%)
NASDAQ: 7,821.01, +4.68 (+0.06%)
S&P 500: 2,857.05, +6.92 (+0.24%)
NYSE Composite: 12,965.10, +56.83 (+0.44%)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Change of Sentiment; Something Bad In Tech-land

As of a week ago, the leading index was the NASDAQ, up more than 11 percent on the year, as opposed to the Dow Industrials, which had been lagging. Prior to this week, the Dow was up less than four percent and it was down for the year much of the time between February and early July.

Something snapped in the minds of investors this week. Maybe it was the high valuations on some of the more speculative stocks sporting the NASDAQ. Perhaps, in the search for yield, investors sought the safety of dividend producers on the Dow. Whatever the case, the Dow, this past week, was up 1.41%, while the NASDAQ shed 0.29%. It was a radical shift that appeared, magically, Wednesday morning, when the Dow was trading below 24,000.

In a matter of less than three trading session, the Dow tacked on a whopping 687 points, much of it at the open on Thursday, when the Dow popped higher and stayed well into the green the rest of the day.

Skeptics of the market will point to the radical rise on Wednesday and Thursday as proof of manipulation, or even - everybody's favorite word this season - collusion, by central banks and their ancillary brokers, to boost the share prices of the staid and steady heavy industrials. Such speculation cannot be bought off easily in this environment. It's apparent to just about everybody that the Federal Reserve and their counterparts in Japan, China, and the European Union will not stomach a severe downturn, at least not at this time. The bull market is just a few trading days from becoming the longest in American history, something the head honchos at the Fed wish to pin on their beanies before they ride triumphantly into some economic sunset.

The shifting sentiment was stunning, however. As the Dow soared, the NASDAQ soured. Many of the grand tech bonanza stocks like Netflix (NFLX) and Telsa (TSLA) were down hard for the week. Netflix dropped nearly 10%, from 345 per share to 316 at the close of business Friday. From its peak just a month ago (July 11), Netflix is down more than 100 points.

Tesla is another story altogether. The darling little electric engine that could is rapidly approaching bear territory, down to 305 at the close Friday from 379 on August 7, a span of just nine trading sessions.

Facebook, everybody's favorite ranting and raving lunatic asylum, is already in bear territory, dropping from a high of 217.50 on July 25, to a close of 173.80 Friday afternoon. That's precisely a 20.1% decline. Be sure to post to your friends, family, and anybody who gives a hoot, rat's behind, or beaver dam.

None dare call is collusion, so maybe collision is the correct word for what happened on Wall Street this week. It was nothing short of a collision of rational thinking and emotional yield-chasing.

Next week may be more or less intriguing, but after Labor Day, this market is going to become very interesting indeed.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79

At the Close, Friday, August 17, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,669.32, +110.59 (+0.43%)
NASDAQ: 7,816.33, +9.81 (+0.13%)
S&P 500: 2,850.13, +9.44 (+0.33%)
NYSE Composite: 12,908.26, +66.98 (+0.52%)

For the Week:
Dow: +356.18 (+1.41%)
NASDAQ: -22.78 (-0.29%)
S&P 500: +16.85 (+0.59%)
NYSE Composite: +64.77 (+0.50%)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Dow Surges Nearly 400 Points Even As Turkey Crisis Deepens

Apparently, those mystery buyers who emerged Wednesday after the Dow was down 360 points were not quite finished with their stock buying spree. On Thursday, blue chips were all the rage, with the Dow soaring nearly 400 points on the day, it's best one-day performance since a 428-point advance on April 10.

So, that's more than 750 points in less than two days. The message is clear: buy stocks. Buy stocks with dividends. Disregard the price you are paying.

Obviously, something is afoot, though it seems that these recent buys are wrong-footed, at the least.

Friday will open lower, though there's no telling where stocks will go after that. Turkey's currency crisis is not going to improve in a day or two, or even in a few weeks or months. The economy of the crossroads nation is going to be a basket case for years. The same is true of Argentina, which is suffering through another crisis, something that occurs on a regular basis in South America. Venezuela's economy is dead, Brazil is devolving into widespread chaos, and the rest of the so-called EM (Emerging Market) economies are being clubbed to death by a strong US dollar.

Now, perhaps the rest of the world suffering is good for the advanced nations such as the US and in Europe, but that should be viewed as a short-sighted point of view in the long run.

Eventually, between their currencies deteriorating and President Trump piling on tariffs and sanctions, most of the world's emerging market nations will not be very emergent at all. Rather, their economies will suffer, their populations will grow increasingly restive, and trade with them will decline.

The silver lining for the United States is that such conditions should drive more domestic innovation and jobs. Eventually, the smaller nations will adjust to the new normal and maybe the US will muddle through. However, this is not the kind of environment that necessitates massive investment in well-entrenched industries.

Or, maybe it is. Maybe these dip-buying professional traders really do know it all.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20

At the Close, Thursday, August 16, 2017:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,558.73, +396.32 (+1.58%)
NASDAQ: 7,806.52, +32.41 (+0.42%)
S&P 500: 2,840.69, +22.32 (+0.79%)
NYSE Composite: 12,841.28, +118.19 (+0.93%)