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%)

Global Markets Fall In Reaction To Trump Immigration Ban

In what may have been a completely convenient excuse to unwind some positions in overheated markets, analysts blamed Monday's global meltdown on US President Donald Trump's hastily-enacted immigration ban.

While the ban covers only seven countries - the same ones covered under a similar program under President Obama (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan) - reaction from both affected and unaffected countries has been vocal, but especially in the US, where protesters (many of them paid) set up camp at airports in major cities.

Aside from the obvious left-leaning, liberal crying and tooth-gnashing, market participants largely over-reacted to the condition, giving pause to any instant analysis. What Trump may have done with the ban is fire a first volley in what may eventually prove to be an escalating trade war with the focus more on currency manipulation and tariffs than immigration limits and its consequences.

Not only were US markets lower on the day, equity indices around the world were down. That's an unusual circumstance worth noting, because, in the normal conduct of business, somebody's loss often results in gain somewhere else. Apparently, this was not the case, leading to the belief that the off-hand selling was little more than relief form overextended stocks.

On the flip side, this one-off event could be the beginning of a disorderly decline in the value of major equities around the globe and a beginning to the dismantling of a monetary system and bull market both of which are creaking from old age.

The days and weeks ahead should offer better insight to the overall direction of markets. Perhaps Trump's "America First" pledge means that US stocks will feel the brunt of the correction before the rest of the world gets on board. Deflation has reared its ugly head once again.

At The Close 1.30.17:
Dow: 19,971.13, -122.65 (-0.61%)
NASDAQ: 5,613.71, -47.07 (-0.83%)
S&P 500: 2,280.90, -13.79 (-0.60%)
NYSE Composite: 11,205.24, -77.95 (-0.69%)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stocks Close Friday Flat Ending Wild Week As Trump's Immigration Ban May Kill The Rally

Stocks cautiously ended the first full week of the Donald Trump presidency just as Mr. Trump unveiled his most audacious edict via executive order, barring immigration from countries embroiled in the throes of radical Islam such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and four others.

While market participants have been somewhat encouraged by a number of first-week moves made by the new president, the promised immigration shutdown may have more implication globally than anybody may have wished. Stocks finished mixed in a week which witness a number of new all-time highs, particularly the Dow, which surpassed and held above the 20,000 level for the first time ever.

At the Close 1.27.16:
Dow: 20,093.78, -7.13 (-0.04%)
NASDAQ: 5,660.78, +5.61 (0.10%)
S&P 500: 2,294.69, -1.99 (-0.09%)
NYSE Composite: 11,283.19, -29.93 (-0.26)

On the week, all major indices sported gains, led by the NASDAQ and Dow Industrials, though the ramifications from the immigration ban were yet to be fully appreciated. As markets set to open in the US on Monday, futures indicated a negative open while markets around the world were suffering significant losses despite China and Hong Kong markets being closed all week for the Lunar New Year holiday. The tenor of trading suggests that markets may not be going along for the protectionist ride that the Trump administration has in mind. "America First" may well turn out to be the death knell for globalization, but the results of such radical policy changes is sure to increase market volatility, which, to this point has been benign.

For the week:
Dow: +266.53 (+1.34%)
NASDAQ: +105.45 (+1.90%)
S&P 500: +23.38 (+1.03%)
NYSE Composite: +90.39 (+0.81%)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dow Higher, All Other Indices Lower?

“If you owe your bank manager a thousand pounds, you are at his mercy. If you owe him a million pounds, he is at your mercy.”
― John Maynard Keynes

If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem.
-- J. Paul Getty

At The Close 1.26.17:
Dow: 20,100.91, +32.40 (0.16%)
NASDAQ: 5,655.18, -1.16 (-0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,296.68, -1.69 (-0.07%)
NYSE Composite: 11,313.13, -25.92 (-0.23%)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

At Last! Dow Shatters 20,000 Mark; S&P 500, NASDAQ Also At Record Highs

No comment necessary since the topic of the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking beyond 20,000 has been predicted, speculated upon, and beaten to death for more than a month running.

Incidentally, the S&P and NASDAQ also closed at record all-time highs.

The only question: will it hold?

Those of us who remember Dow 10,000 may recall that level being crossed some 57 times before finally moving on, so some back-and-forth is to be expected.

At the Close 1.25.17:
Dow: 20,068.51, +155.80 (0.78%)
NASDAQ: 5,656.34, +55.38 (0.99%)
S&P 500: 2,298.37, +18.30 (0.80%)
NYSE Composite: 11,342.70, +93.42 (0.83%)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yo-yo Stock Trading Continues; Dow Trading In Worst Rut Of 115 Years

Spurred by Democrat proposals for a $1 Trillion infrastructure spending bill, stocks took the high road, with the S&P 500 and NASDAQ each making new all-time highs. As has been the case of late, the Dow Industrials proved the laggards, not making new highs, but once again closing in on the mythical 20,000 level.

The Dow is now in a trading rut that happens to be the longest, smallest trading range since 1990. That's a long time, so it's going to break one way or the other. Tomorrow may prove to be the day it goes over 20,000, or not. As long as President Trump and congress continue to lay groundwork on a vast variety of programs and possible legislative agendas, the stock markets (which, as we've been told, hate uncertainty) will likely continue to bob and weave like lightweights.

The move higher today for the indices was led by basic material and energy stocks, in sympathy for President Trump's executive action to resume work on the troubled Keystone pipeline, a project that figures to be bullish for companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron.

Still, since mid-December, the Dow has gone... nowhere, a condition that should not be able to persist much longer.

Or can it?

At the Close 1.24.17:
Dow: 19,912.71, +112.86 (0.57%)
NASDAQ: 5,600.96, +48.01 (0.86%)
S&P 500: 2,280.07, +14.87 (0.66%)
NYSE Composite: 11,249.29, +78.67 (0.70%)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump Presidency Day One Sends Stocks Lower; Bonds, Precious Metals Up

Recall how everything was up on Friday, the day Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States?

Maybe it was a sugar high, market enthusiasm over the new faces in Washington, or just plain old vanilla speculation. Whatever it was, it certainly faded fast, as Monday, Trump's first full weekday as president saw markets getting closer and closer to a point of no return, at one point near midday having erased all of Friday's gains.

Fortunately for those of the bullish persuasion stocks held their own and finished with only minor losses. Oil was lower as well, though only marginally. In their places were some of the usual suspects from the other side of the trade; gold, silver, bonds, all rallied nicely. Gold continues to be the top asset performer for 2017, a welcome respite after three years of declines and a 2016 that saw it bounce nicely higher in the firt half of the year only to give back those gains in the second half, like a football team with a tiring defense.

As for the new president, he was busy. In the morning, President Trump met with business leaders and told them he'd like to roll back as much as 75% of existing regulations, most of them causing unnecessary reporting and tax burdens on businesses of all sizes.

Trump also signed three executive orders. One imposes a federal hiring freeze on all departments except the military, another pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the third re-imposed the so-called Mexico City Policy, outlawing funding of international organizations which promote abortion.

Previously, on Friday, when the President finally made his way to the Oval Office, he kept a campaign promise by signing an executive order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

One would think that the order covered just about everything, making ObamaCare a ruined piece of legislation, soon to be formally repealed.

There was also movement on clearing the way for confirmation of any number of the President's cabinet choices and more speculation on whether the congress would approve a tax overhaul suggested by Trump during the campaign. The changes are still off in the distance, but congress should be getting on with it as soon as the foot-dragging over cabinet nominees ends.

Use the calculator below to see how Trump's tax plan would affect you:

At The Close 1.23.17:
Dow: 19,799.85, -27.40 (-0.14%)
NASDAQ: 5,552.94, -2.39 (-0.04%)
S&P 500: 2,265.20, -6.11 (-0.27%)
NYSE Composite: 11,170.63, -22.16 (-0.20%)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Best Wishes To President Trump; The Wall, Obamacare, Education

It's Official!

Donald J. Trump is the 45th president of the United States of America.

And the markets apparently loved it. The Dow was up. The NASDAQ was up. The S&P 500 was up. So was the Composite, the Nikkei, Gold, Silver, Oil, the dollar. Call it a relief rally. Market participants were relieved that the uncertainties of the past two years of electioneering, mudslinging, maligning, and campaigning were at long last, over. At least now some people can get to work, least of all the new president, like him, loathe him, or feign indifference, he's safely ensconced within the White House walls, with nary a cut, scrape, bruise, or wound.

At least that's what we're seeing through the prism of the news media. There were more than a few bruised egos at the swearing in ceremony on the West steps of the Capitol, facing the Washington and Lincoln monuments, but, some of the more expansive egos were soon swept off the stage and sent packing. The Clintons and the Obamas were whisked into obscurity by the forces of change.

As for our new president, Mr. Trump promises to be, at the very least, entertaining, if not outrageous. While such antics as late-night tweeting and calling people names may not sit well with his establishment critics, the American public will likely relish the shift from the obfuscation, misinformation, and underhandedness which typified the last 16 years of presidential conduct to a more - on the surface - open, progressive (that's a real word, meaning a real effort toward getting things done, not the fancy adversarial adjective applied over the last two decades by liberals), and positive approach to government policy.

It is obviously too early to tell whether President Trump will usher in a new age of American exceptionalism, but there is little doubt that he will try his best to keep his promises and work untiringly toward restoration of traditional American vales. There's also little doubt that he will face significant opposition from the left, the right, his own party, the Democrat party, liberal wingnuts who will protest anything at the drop of a hat, foreign leaders, the Twitterati, Facebook foes, and just about anybody who has an opinion on anything, many of whom will appear regularly on the vicious, unencumbered media whores doing their dirty work for the forces of their paymasters.

That's just how it goes when you rise to the top of the heap as Donald Trump has done. There's always somebody looking to knock you off your mighty throne, literally or figuratively. As for our sentiments here at the Money Daily headquarters, we wish him all the best and will continue to support him - as we did throughout the election process - as best we can. If he can deliver on even half of his campaign promises that would be quite an accomplishment, but we'll settle for three big items:

1. Build the damn wall.
2. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (it does not have to be replaced; we already have too many insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and government involved in health care and would like to see much of that overhead removed)
3. Send education back to the states. The nation is too large and diverse (sorry, but the word does have its place) for a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Besides, the federal intrusion into education has been about as successful as the war on drugs or the war on poverty. Cut the Department of Education in half, or by two thirds, or, preferably, obliterate it.

In the meantime, Money Daily will try to stay out of politics and into money and economics, but, seeing the President and his staffers occasionally and regularly knee-cap the media whores wouldn't meet with any resistance from these parts.

Let the politicians do the dirty work. We'll aim to interpret the effects.

Let's start with a look down below at the weekly results. All four of the major indices were lower on the week, and that may be significant, but will be more so if that becomes a trend. The next two weeks are almost certain to be wild ones in terms of politicking and figurative bomb-throwing from the left, the right, and everywhere in between, but, if stocks continue to deteriorate (which happens to be our best guess for now), it's going to put more pressure on the new president. Not that he should do anything about it since he has no control of financial markets, but the media will crow endlessly about how the economy is going into the tank under the Trump administration.

We'll leave it there, for now. It's going to get a whole lot more interesting in coming weeks and months.

At The Close 1.20.17:
Dow: 19,827.25, +94.85 (0.48%)
NASDAQ: 5,555.33, +15.25 (0.28%)
S&P 500: 2,271.31, +7.62 (0.34%)
NYSE Composite: 11,192.79, +43.94 (0.39%)

For the Week Ended 1.20.17:
Dow: -58.48 (-0.29%)
NASDAQ: -18.78 (-0.34%)
S&P 500: -3.33 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: -34.38 (-0.31)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Globalism Is Dead And Dying At Davos

As the world prepares for a new American era to begin with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, the global elites are gathered at Davos to interpret the condition of the world economy.

Ian Goldin, a professor of globalization and development at Oxford University spoke briefly at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying,
“You can’t stop managing an entangled environment by disconnecting. This is the fundamental mistake of Brexit, of Trump, and of so many others. We are not simply connected. We are entangled. Our lives, our destinies are intertwined. What happens in China, what happens in Indonesia, what happens in India, what happens across Europe, and what happens in North America, across Africa and Latin America will affect all of us in dramatic new ways. The idea that somehow we can forge our future in an insular way, even for the biggest countries like the U.S., is a fantasy.”
Obviously, Mr. Goldin has been smoking too much of what he's been growing over the past couple of decades. To put it into a more precise perspective, Mr. Goldin kneels at the altar of globalization, thus, he's unprepared to express or even admit that there's any other opinion or world view than the one he personally promotes.

If one were living in a rural area in America, or India, or the Congo, even, the effects of global initiatives like those espoused and implemented by the people at Davos would be minimal, at best. One would still water plants, feed livestock, wash eggs, and perform all the other chores of a minimal farming/subsistence lifestyle. Mr. Goldin, being of the elitist character, has virtually no concept of digging holes for posts, erecting fences, germinating seed, slaughtering hogs, gathering chicken eggs daily, and so on. He's about as disconnected from the reality of everyday life as one could possibly be, viewing the world from his ivory tower at Oxford as he glances up briefly from his reading of some other obviously clueless professor emeritus or other "authority" whose mantra to which he subscribes.

Therefore, as we've seen in the Brexit movement and the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States of America, the globalist agenda is dead in the water, disconnected and disintegrating. The annual fete at Davos - through the media filter, at least - gives everyone an opportunity to see firsthand just how audaciously and vigorously the gathered elitists continue to promote their agendas. Liberalism, diversity, and globalism are all joined together into a kind of religion of the rich and powerful, but, the masses need not adhere to what is looking increasingly like failed policy.

If globalism has taken thirty or forty years to expand itself into monstrosities such as the European Union, the Arab Spring, and unadulterated acceptance of gay marriage, it's likely going to take an equal amount of time to dismantle its various parts and replace them with more stable value systems. As the globalists retreat from their worn-out traditions and values, popular uprisings will accelerate the decline. It starts, as do all major moral or political or economic upheavals, on the fringes of society, in the hinterlands, so to speak, before spreading to all ranges of the spectrum, from old to young, from the countryside to the cityscape.

We are at the beginning of a new age, one which promises the demise of authority at all levels from local to supranational and more freedom for the working classes and ordinary citizens.

On cue, one day before the actual inauguration of the man all the "experts" said had no chance of winning, Donald Trump, world markets continued a dizzy dance of denial and suspense, especially the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which spasmodically descended today to a point below where it began the year, closing at its lowest level since Decemeber 30 of last year (19,732.40, -72.32 (-0.37%)).

Though the drop in percentage terms was hardly sensational, the level is of more immediate concern. Since December 12, the intraday level never fell below 19,718, the mark made on the final day of trading for 2016, December 30.

While broader indices, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ, retained a positive tilt for 2017, it has been the Dow that garnered the most attention of late, especially over its historic (failed) attempt to crack the 20,000 level.

With Trump taking the oath of office at noon tomorrow, the question on every trader's mind is how the markets will respond. With a whimper or a yawn, or might the Dow set aim again for an historic close?

At The Close 1.19.16:
Dow 19,732.40, -72.32 (-0.37%)
NASDAQ: 5,540.08, -15.57 (-0.28%)
S&P 500: 2,263.69, -8.20 (-0.36%)
NYSE Composite: 11,151.69, -44.41 (-0.40%)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Risk On - Risk Off Roller Coaster Is Expected In The Age Of Trump

Get used to volatility in the age of Trump.

Markets - especially stocks and bonds - are more than likely to correct and enter bear territory during Trump's administration. The bond bubble has been extended beyond its "use by" date and the stock rally since 2009 has been nothing short of miraculous, if one considers the creation of 11 trillion dollars (probably more) out of thin air to be the stuff of miracles.

Stocks and bonds are both overvalued, thus, we should experience a 10-year note at 3.0% or higher at some point in the near future, and stocks reversing course due to the competition and relative safety of bonds. Trump's policies are likely to exacerbate the condition of extreme overvaluation which will manifest itself in wild swings. He'll certainly get much needed help from the Fed, whose stated aim is to impose a regime of never-ending inflation.

Problem is, there are major distortions in the US and global economy, mostly the overhang from doing nothing to fix the issues of 2008 (actual bank failures). Let's see interest rates rise, stocks fall and somehow, inflation? A dubious argument at best.

Deflation is the friend of the frugal and that's what's coming. With less capital to blow on hookers and blow, the thrift-loving Americans in the heartland (forget the cesspool cities, they're toast) will benefit from all manner of liquidations and fire sales. It's a transfer of wealth from rich to poor and urban to rural that is long overdue. Most of the debt is tied to cities, not arable land and/or hunting/wilderness/undeveloped/underdeveloped properties.

One can get a unique impression from living in one of America's poorer areas, such as rural upstate New York, but you know what? Some people are thriving, those being land owners, farmers, growers, people with roadside stands, trade specialties, mechanical abilities and low overhead. It's pretty basic stuff, but large swaths of rural America are going to be very affordable and desirable. The cites, not so much. Pain for some, gain for others. The survivalist mentality had it right all along and will be proven winners in coming months and years.

As for today, two days before Mr. Trump assumes the office of president, markets were roiled again, lurching from one idea to another, up, then down, then sideways. European stocks were higher, WTI crude oil got smashed early but rebounded. Gold was flat, then lower; silver, always the outlier, hit its best level in a month, ended the day in New York down on the session, and has been trending higher into the inauguration, but options and futures settlements are closing fast (26th and 27th of January).

Mostly, stocks tread water and didn't offer much in the way of direction though by now, unless reading charts is grossly overrated, it's apparent that the Trump rally has run its course and Dow 20,000 is a fleeting memory.

At The Close 1.18.16:
Dow: 19,804.72, -22.05 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 5,555.65, +16.93 (0.31%)
S&P 500: 2,271.89, +4.00 (0.18%)
NYSE Composite: 11,196.11, -0.18 (-0.00%)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Donald Trump Moves Markets; Hugo Salinas Price Details Decline In International Reserves

It was back to work on Tuesday for US speculators, and the mood was gloomy as president-elect Donald Trump quipped that the "dollar is too strong," which sent world markets into a wild frenzy.

Asian and European markets had already been upset on Monday, while the US rested for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but on Trump's vocalizing of displeasure, US markets took it to heart.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average backed away from the formerly-attainable 20,000 mark, down 110 points on Monday before a late rally slashed the losses in half.

It is apparent that the euphoria over Trump has faded significantly and American investors are heading for safer shores, mostly in bonds and cash, though precious metals may have even more appeal with gold and silver both making new highs for the year on significant gains. Spot silver stood at 17.175 and gold at 1216.70 at the close of trading in New York, but the rally may be just beginning to heat up.

Hugo Salinas Price makes important notice of the abrupt decline in international reserves. Of all the reports on matters economic, his may be the most acute and insightful. It's a must read and should be given careful consideration due to Mr. Price's status among economic thinkers.

At the Close 1.17.16:
Dow: 19,826.77, -58.96 (-0.30%)
NASDAQ: 5,538.73, -35.39 (-0.63%)
S&P 500: 2,267.89, -6.75 (-0.30%)
NYSE Composite: 11,190.76, -36.41 (-0.32%)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

NASDAQ Posts Seventh Record Of 2017; Dow Flat; Gold Outperforming All Other Assets

As America lurches toward inauguration day (Jan. 20), stocks remain a mixed bag.

The Dow ended the week with a small loss on Friday as the NASDAQ rose to another record close, its seventh this year.

For the week, the NAZ was up nearly one percent. The Dow's loss was minor, at less than one half percent (-0.39%), but the broader S&P and NYSE composite suffered almost no depreciation.

Overall, it was fairly uneventful in markets, which is odd, given the cross-currents blowing through the political and economic spectrum.

Next week, with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as America's 45th president putting a final glow on the proceedings, promises to be a more volatile period, shortened by one day, as markets are idle for Monday's Martin Luther King holiday.

Ominously, the Dow Jones Industrial Average remains positioned below the expected 20,000 level but has been flat as a pancake for the past four weeks.

WTI crude oil remains mired in the mid-fifties, while gold, the year's best-performing asset thus far, pierced the 1200/oz. mark on Friday but fell off and closed at 1196.90 the ounce.

At The Close 1.13.16:
Dow: 19,885.73, -5.27 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: 5,574.12, +26.63 (0.48%)
S&P 500: 2,274.64, +4.20 (0.18%)
NYSE Composite: 11,227.17, +23.02 (0.21%)

Week Ending 1.13.16:
Dow: -78.07 (-0.39%)
NASDAQ: +53.06 (0.96%)
S&P 500: -2.34 (-0.10%)
NYSE Composite: -10.45 (-0.09%)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stocks Slump, Regain Ground In Anxious Session

Yesterday, it was big pharma that took a hit after Donald Trump singled them out in his press conference, saying that the US government would begin bidding lower prices for many prescription drugs.

Today, health care insurance companies took the hit - if only briefly - as the senate pushed forward a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. Aetna, Anthem, Cigna and United Health were among a handful of companies that felt some shock at the open.

The Senate voted 51-48 on a measure to repeal the current president's signature health initiative. The measure now will move to the house where its passage is all but assured, with the membership heavily weighted with Republicans.

As for the rest of the market, stocks went red at the open and trimmed early losses after 11:00 am ET. The Dow was down more than 180 points in the early going, but manage to recover almost two thirds of the losses as the session dragged forward.

Missing from the narrative today was the chorus of "Dow 20000," as the industrial index extended its failed attempt at the historic milestone for the 22nd straight session.

Maybe tomorrow...

At The Close 1.12.16:
Dow: 19,891.00, -63.28 (-0.32%)
NASDAQ: 5,547.49, -16.16 (-0.29%)
S&P 500: 2,270.44, -4.88 (-0.21%)
NYSE Composite: 11,204.15, -22.63 (-0.20%)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trump Presser A Non-Event; America Awaits Inauguration

Though widely-anticipated as a market moving event, President-Elect Donald J. Trump's press conference at 11;00 ET today was more or less an exercise in sell the hype, buy the news.

Trump handled questions about the "fake news" Russian dossiers widely circulated by CNN and other outlets and quickly dismissed them as nonsense. The audacious level of mendacity displayed by the mainstream media in the run-up to the inauguration of America's 45th president has been unconscionable and unprecedented, but the Donald managed to deflect any potential harm as the media and intelligence community reports have been devoid of facts or proof of their veracity.

Other than waving off and refusing to take questions from anybody from CNN, Trump laid out basically the same nebulous outlines upon which he campaigned, without getting too specific. Thus, what the market wanted was not what they received, but traders were assuaged by the one-hour appearance and resumed trading within the prevailing range of the past month, between 19,800 and 19,999.

If the market seems moribund, it's likely the result of non-specifics from the soon-to-be-sitting president, meaning this regime of up-down-up-down may persist through the next week, culminating in next Friday's inauguration.

Otherwise, it was another uneventful day, with the Dow still planted just south of 20K.

At the Close 1.11.16
Dow: 19,954.28, +98.75 (0.50%)
NASDAQ: 5,563.65, +11.83 (0.21%)
S&P 500: 2,275.32, +6.42 (0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 11,221.92, +38.59 (0.35%)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dow 20000 No Go Again; Is The Trump Rally Over?

In 2016, having first crossed the 19,800 point on December 12 and closing above 19,900 the following day, one would have thought that crossing the 20,000 rubicon for the Dow Jones Industrial Average would have been a slam dunk before New Year.

It wasn't and it still isn't. Like the final five yards on a scoring football drive, the final 100-200 points on the widely-watched blue chip index are proving to be tough, resistant, and, at this point, possibly a field goal attempt would be in order. Or a punt.

Including the 12th of December, it's been 20 days since the "Dow 20,000" baseball caps began circulating, but nobody's been able to don one just yet. There has been more than a fair share of drama over the simply psychological level, especially this past Friday, when the average fell just 0.37 points short of making magic.

But twenty days of hanging just below the number is giving some investors cause to pause and consider that the eight-year bull market - and more specifically, the massive post-election Trump rally - is finally tiring and about to head back to the corral. And if that happens, the confidence so prevalent the past few months will have been for naught unless one had the foresight to sell into the rally at some point.

Stocks continue to be highly valued, some say overbought. The last meaningful decline was in January of last year when the Dow and other indices took a hit somewhere between 12 and 15%. Though that particular correction never materialized into a bear market, it was a confidence-shaker and those who suffered losses are wont to forget it.

Taking a stab in the dark, it would appear that speculators are more interested in NASDAQ stocks, which continue to tear up new highs, just as the Dow is stalling. Could the NAZ pull the Dow along with it, or does the Dow hold the losing hand with which it will eventually pull down the composite, S&P, transports, et. al.?

With the Dow ending today roughly 150 points from the requisite top, it's still out there for the taking, though there seems to be no catalyst for any kind of extended move, so, reiterating past posts, even if the Dow makes the mark, it's doubtful it would hold for long. A correction is in the cards and it's likely to be swift rather than a slow grind, so day traders must keep stop losses close to the vest and hang on with all their fright. Yes, that's no typo. Fear and greed rule the markets and the fear index is on the rise.

At the Close 1.10.16:
Dow: 19,855.53, -31.85 (-0.16%)
NASDAQ: 5,551.82, +20.00 (0.36%)
S&P 500: 2,268.90, 0.00 (0.00%)
NYSE Composite: 11,183.33, +13.54 (0.12%)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Futures: Right Or Wrong Directional Trades; 12 Step Bloody Mary Redux

Stocks never had a chance on the first day of the first "full" week of trading (last week was only four days), dropping like rocks from a crumbling overpass at the open, only briefly showing any positive momentum and closing lower for the day, with the obvious exception of the wildly overpriced, speculative, and soon-to-crash NASDAQ.

The Dow refused to get even within earshot of 20,000, falling instead below 19,900 at the close, so the (so far) winning strategy of Fearless Rick remains intact. The peerless prognosticator called for "no Dow 20,000" by year-end 2016, and reiterates the same sentiment until June 2017, with a "may not" break over 20,000 until the year 2023.

It's a bold shot across the bow of the happy-happy, joy-joy "recovery" or the trumpeters of one Donald J. Trump, the president-elect who vows to "Make America Great Again." Not that Fearless Rick doubts the Donald; he backed his campaign from the start, predicting he would win the presidency as far back as December 31, 2016 (all the way at the end of the article), but the Trump years in the White House may be a calculated, "one step forward, two steps back," as radical policy shifts will cause some serious FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) and some liquidations that should have happened in 2008 or 2009 will occur under the Trump banner (see Sears, Mexico).

All of which brings up the point of futures and options, wherein one's ability to predict events beforehand is called into serious question. As a matter of fact, all investors are predisposed to make wagers on future events, whether they be into stocks, commodities or precious metals, because one would not "invest" in a company or anything without some idea that it would be worth more tomorrow or next month or next year than it is today.

Thus, investors fall into various camps, which, for matters better discussed elsewhere, are largely defined as "right until you're wrong" and "wrong until you're right."

The matter is simple, but real life examples provide the most descriptive narrative.

Take Fearless Rick's one-way bet on Dow 20,000. That's a case of being "right until you're wrong." So far, Rick is right and myriad derivative trades can be based upon his open principle, especially if one is to extend the time frame out to the ludicrous, or in this case, 2023.

Rick is also a precious metals speculator. In December he called for silver under $16 when it was trading in the range of $17 to $18. He was, early on, "wrong until he was right." The implications for investors - and one could take a lesson or two from the movie "The Big Short" for a glimpse at how extreme these future "wagers can become.

Speculation, prognostication and risk are not for everybody, especially those of feint heart. For the rest of us, it's a way of life.

It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.
--John Paul Jones

At The Close 1/9/16:
Dow: 19,887.38, -76.42 (-0.38%)
NASDAQ: 5,531.82, +10.76 (0.19%)
S&P 500: 2,268.90, -8.08 (-0.35%)
NYSE Composite: 11,169.79, -67.83 (-0.60%)

And, just because it's the preferred weather for Bloody Mary's, Fearless Rick's 12-Step Bloody Mary™
1. Glass
2. Ice
3. Vodka
4. garlic pepper
5. hot sauce
6. ground black pepper
7. worcestershire sauce
8. celery seed
9. tomato juice
10. lime (or lemon) juice
11. horseradish
12. combine, stir and drink.

Apologies to alcoholics everywhere, from drunks around the world.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Dow 20,000 Ceiling

After the release of the non-farm payroll data for December, futures rose on the news that the nation created 156,000 net new jobs in the month, just shy of consensus estimates for 170,000. What may have been the cause for optimism was the 0.4% increase in wages carried in the report. The unemployment rate rose a notch to 4.7%, but that was at 8:30 am ET, an hour before the market open.

The bigger event began hours later as the Dow Jones Industrial Average - with the other major indices in tow - powered higher, eventually getting to within 0.37 points of the mystical, magic mark of Dow 20,000. The stall occurred at 19,999,63, the high for the day, right around noon.

For roughly the next four hours, the Dow tantalized and amused traders and spectators alike, hovering just below 20,000, reaching to within single points on various occasions.

But it never made it, as though somebody had placed a lid on the market right at the 20,000 mark. The index struggled and failed, over and over again throughout the afternoon, to no avail. Finally, with less than ten minutes remianing in the trading day, all the stops apparently run, the ghost was given up and the Dow closed not only short of 20,000 but also shy of a new record, at 19,963.80, a few ticks short of the all-time high close made on December 20 of last year, 19,974.62.

Explanations abound as to why the Dow cannot break through this hysterical, purely-psychological number, the best of them probably involving program trading, as computer algos have been set to sell as the number is approached. If that is the case, there's more than a few sharpies on Wall Street thinking that stocks are severely overvalued, or that even if Dow 20,000 is pierced, it will not hold.

Stocks are severely overvalued, boosted over the past eight years by cheap funding courtesy of the Federal Reserve, whose pockets are being emptied, replaced by promises to pay in the form of treasury and mortgage bonds, many of them losing value.

This was a close call for sure, but the 20,000 mark still stands triumphant over a market that continues to show weakness and an unwillingness to carry through to even higher figures.

With this in mind, the question to be answered over the weekend is, will it do it on Monday? Tuesday? Ever?

From all appearances, with markets stretched to the breaking point, it's not a very good bet, no matter how close it gets.

Thus, the first trading week of the new year ends in tears, though it was a profitable one for stocks with the notable exception of the NYSE Composite, which closed down for the day. Gains were made on all major indices, but perhaps people should be paying more attention to interest rates, which, after an initial surge in yield following last month's 25 basis point hike in the federal funds rate, have fallen hard. The 10-year note yielded 2.418%, but closed Thursday at 2.368%, the lowest yield in a month. While the apparent reversal from the Fed's induced yield above 2.50% is not set in concrete, it is surely something which bears close inspection. Spreads have narrowed since the rate hike, an ominous sign of rough times ahead. If stocks falter, the stampede into bonds will be overwhelming, but possibly the move has already begun in anticipation of a stock market correction or reversal into a bear market.

However, elite traders can pat themselves on the back as they head home for the weekend. So far, January 2017 is looking good for equities, despite the obvious failure at Dow 20,000.

At the Close 1.6.16:
Dow: 19,963.80, +64.51 (0.32%)
NASDAQ: 5,521.06, +33.12 (0.60%)
S&P 500: 2,276.98, +7.98 (0.35%)
NYSE Composite: 11,237.63, -10.06 (-0.09%)

For the Week:
Dow: +201.20 (1.02%)
NASDAQ: +137.94 (2.56%)
S&P 500: +38.15 (1.70%)
NYSE Composite: +180.73 (1.63%)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

With Non-Farm Payrolls Up Next, Dow Closes 100 Points Away From 20,000

Negative forces were at work on Thursday, keeping the Dow Jones Industrial Average below the magic 20,000 mark once again.

Prior to the market open was the ADP jobs report for December, which, in anticipation of Friday's non-farm payroll report, reported that the US added 153,000 jobs in the month, below consensus analyst estimates of roughly 170,000 jobs.

That, in addition to the ongoing turmoil in Chinese yuan was enough to start US markets off on a very tepid tone.

By late morning, the Dow had sunk to what would be the lows of the day, off by 113 points to 19,811, but the plunge was not significant and very short-lived.

Also weighing on stocks was the retail sector as Macy's and Kohl's both reported sluggish holiday sales after the bell on Wednesday. Macy's plans to close 68 stores nationwide and displace over 10,000 workers. Sears chimed in as well, announcing store closures and selling its iconic Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million.

Still flirting with the 20,000 level, the Dow stabilized close to the 19,900 level as continued optimism at the prospects of a Trump-inspired stimulus kept spirits somewhat still ebullient, though subdued.

Since mid-December, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been hanging onto gains and closing just below historic highs, though signs are evident that the rally may not have much stream remaining. Those clinging to gains from the post-election surge may be gradually trimming their positions, as stocks seem to have stalled after Christmas.

What everyone believes but is loath to admit is that stocks are not fairly valued. They are expensive and a significant decline of five to ten percent might be just what's needed to resume the climb to new records. In other words, a short-lived sell-off might present a buying opportunity. On the other hand, market participants are fearful that any decline in equity values could unleash an uneasy and still-hibernating bear.

Tomorrow's non-farm payroll report for December should be enough of a catalyst in one way or another. The wait continues...

At the close 1.5.16:
Dow: 19,899.29, -42.87 (-0.21%)
NASDAQ: 5,487.94, +10.93 (0.20%)
S&P 500: 2,269.00, -1.75 (-0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,244.07, -2.47 (-0.02%)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Stocks Edge Closer To Dow 20,000

Just the numbers at the close:
Dow: 19,942.16, +60.40 (0.30%)
NASDAQ: 5,477.00, +47.92 (0.88%)
S&P 500: 2,270.75, +12.92 (0.57%)
NYSE Composite: 11,246.55, +92.20 (0.83%)

Looks like tomorrow could finally be the day.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Stocks Up On First Trading Day Of Year, Signifying Nothing

Having - i some small ways - dispelled the concept that reaching for fantastic numbers such as Dow 20,000 is somehow productive, traders today took no heed of... well, anything, and pushed the DJIA close to the historic, albeit meaningless, mark.

That was early in the day. Shortly after the noon hour, the Dow had given up nearly all of the gains (all 160+ points) and was close to UNCH for the day. At the same time, the big run-up in WTI crude - to its highest level in 18 months (July 2015) - quickly was eviscerated, sending crude back below the break-even point for the day and into the red, where it closed on the NYMEX (53.49, -1.17).

However, the trading was not over on the stock exchanges and market participants seemed determined to open 2017 on a positive note, which they did, the major averages closing about 25% off their high points of the day.

Gains were well distributed, with nine of ten sectors positive, led by basic materials and energy. The only loser was utilities, though the loss was mild (-0.07%).

None of this one-day-one-off momentum-fest should be cause for alarm nor excitement. It's a new year, loaded with new ideas and fresh money and that money needs to go to work. While there are still impediments and potholes on the road to a brighter economic future and higher stock prices, none of that appeared to be of any consequence today.

Tomorrow may be another story with the very good possibility that the Dow will pierce the golden 20,000 mark and go well beyond. On the other hand, the evidence from the final two weeks of 2016 was robust in telling that the Trump rally from election day forward had run out of steam, so sideways could be the order of the day.

Money Daily was correct in predicting that Dow 20,000 would not be achieved in 2016. The second hypothesis was that it wouldn't reach that number until June of this year. Our third and most bombastic call was to say that Dow 20,000 may not be hit until 2023. Note the word MAY. We did not say the Dow would NOT reach 20,000 by that time, only that it MAY NOT. Big difference, but the call is based on a nascent understanding that everything in finance-land is not as rosy as the fake news media might have all of us believe.

The concept is very deep and rooted in a theory that the bulk of stock gains since the GFC of 2008 were achieved only though the means of depreciating and nearly decapitating currencies around the world. If money is cheaper today than it was yesterday, assets will accordingly be priced appropriately higher. Of course, should this free-money regime persist (we think it won't) then Dow 20,000 is not only achievable in the short run, Dow 30,000 would be in the kluge lights in short order, as would Apple at 250, and sirloin steaks at $24 a pound. In other words, inflation, then hyperinflation - such as is the case in Venezuela today - would make pricing irrelevant. Survival on $100,000 a year would be challenging and nobody is looking forward to that kind of nightmare scenario.

So, we see the gains of the last eight years as chimeras, and fading. And, if they fade, they will continue to fade until they are almost all gone. Not that a major, dramatic, collapse in prices would be a panacea for a better world, but only one which could be called closer to rational.

That's the view.

At the Close: 1.3.17:
Dow: 19,881.76, +119.16 (0.60%)
NASDAQ: 5,429.08, +45.97 (0.85%)
S&P 500: 2,257.83, +19.00 (0.85%)
NYSE Composite: 11,154.35, +97.46 (0.88%)