Showing posts with label Conference Board. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conference Board. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Amid Turmoil, Stocks Jump to Open Week

Despite Friday's stock slide and confused rhetoric from the G7, investors appeared unconcerned as trading opened the week, with all the major averages up sharply on the day.

Bounces such as the one witnessed on Monday are normal in times of high volatility and anxiety. They can be generally disregarded as more noise than anything meaningful. The gains only half erased Friday's losses, leaving the Dow, NASDAQ, S&P, and Composite all hanging between their 50 and 200-day moving averages, a sign of indecision among market makers.

Gold and silver held onto gains, bonds continued to rally, with the two-year and 10-year notes even, with yields of 2.54% at the end of the day.

With trade talks stalled, traders may be seeking more information on the economy. The Conference Board's gauge of consumer sentiment is due out shortly after the markets open at 10:00 am ET.

At the Close, Monday, August 26, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,898.83, +269.93 (+1.05%)
NASDAQ: 7,853.74, +101.97 (+1.32%)
S&P 500: 2,878.38, +31.27 (+1.10%)
NYSE Composite: 12,519.62, +103.17 (+0.83%)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Stocks End Week on Super-Duper High Note as All Indicators Are Ignored

Other than options expiry, there was no good reason for stocks to go higher today, though this market doesn't need any reasons or rationale for any kind of movement. So, it was not surprising that, on a day in which the only relevant data came from the University of Michigan consumer sentiment and the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators - incidentally, the only two data points that were positive this week - that stocks would rise to new all-time highs on the Dow and S&P, while the NASDAQ continued its recent string of 12 1/2-year-highs.

Consumer sentiment catapulted from April's 76.4 to 83.7 in May, while the LEI came in with a gain for April of 0.6% on expectations of 0.3, after March's disappointing -0.2%, not that the prior reading mattered at all.

Stocks are raging, and to those who have invested and made money, congratulations. For those who have stayed on the sidelines, this is surely not an opportune time to invest, despite what all the financial pundits are saying, unless one believes it is wise to buy at all-time highs.

So ends another week in fantasy-land, aka, Wall Street.

Gold and silver were again taken out back and punished severely, but - big surprise - crude oil continued to march toward the $100/barrel level.

Happy motoring!

Dow 15,354.40, +121.18 (0.80%)
NASDAQ 3,498.97, +33.72 (0.97%)
S&P 500 1,667.47, +17.00 (1.03%)
NYSE Composite 9,576.41, +87.10 (0.92%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,820,408,750
NYSE Volume 3,736,158,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4518-1925
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 703-45
WTI crude oil: 96.02, +0.86
Gold: 1,364.70, -22.20
Silver: 22.35, +0.307

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Early Earnings Euphoria Turns to Tears as Economic Data Disappoints

In the most classic of all classic bear market chart moves, the major indices took the ball that was handed to them by the like of Bank of America (BAC) and DuPont (DD), both of which reported 1st quarter earnings before the bell, opening to the upside, though without much conviction as the 380,000 initial unemployment claims hung over the markets like the Sword of Damocles.

Sporting gains by the 10:00 hour, the next set of economic data included the index of leading indicators from the shills at the Conference Board posting a gain of 0.3%, the Philadelphia Fed index showing a number of 8.3 when the expectations were for 12.0 and existing home sales - the real killer number - sporting a 2% decline from 4.60M in February to 48.8 in March.

Adding to the housing debacle is the fact that the numbers are woefully behind the times and generally a best-guess situation, indicating that April's figures, which will be released about this time in May, will be off the mark as well.

With those key economic data points in hand, the markets began to turn south and continued to do so until reaching the lows of the day before 3:00, though, of course, no Ponzi-scheme market would be complete without the requisite end-of-session tape painting that chopped off about 40% of the losses.

Still, it was an ugly chapter for a market struggling to find any kind of positive momentum. Those who based their hopes on bank earnings from BofA were sorely disappointed to find that the nation's most hated banking entity (though JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are running close behind) produced a quarterly earnings report that more resembled a work of fiction rather than a well-reasoned, accurate accounting of their financial position.

Since 2008 - and probably even before then - all bank earning statements from the big five have been wholly fraudulent, based on assumptions like mark to model and other accounting gimmicks designed only to obfuscate the truth. Bank of America does't really make money any more than a dead person inhales oxygen, and the metaphor is appropriate, since BofA is technically a dead bank walking.

So, on a day in which the pundits and cheerleaders were looking for positives in corporate earnings, they got egg on their collective faces from the economy, which, after all, is the real harbinger of good or ill tidings. Continued high unemployment and a crippled housing market added to burgeoning government debt does not paint a very pretty picture, though Wall Street likes to view these things though rose-colored glasses.

Eventually, reality strikes home and the only option is to hit the sell button. Notably, today's volume was much higher than what has been the norm, not a good sign for any bulls still holding corporate shares.

Dow 12,964.10, -68.65 (0.53%)
NASDAQ 3,007.56, -23.89 (0.79%)
S&P 500 1,376.92, -8.22 (0.59%)
NYSE Composite 7,995.94, -34.43 (0.43%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,965,208,125
NYSE Volume 4,138,306,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2162-3363
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 134-91
WTI crude oil: 102.27, -0.40
Gold: 1,641.40, +1.80
Silver: 31.78, +0.29

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American Airlines Goes Belly Up; Housing Slides, but Confidence is Up?

AMR, parent company of American Airlines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday morning in federal bankruptcy court in the Southern district of New York.

While it seems an inappropriate time for an airline to file for bankruptcy, the timing could prove beneficial to the airline, the last of the major carriers to undergo reorganization. The company, while it has over $4 bllion in unrestricted cash, has $9 to $12 billion in debts.

The company announced that flights would not be disrupted and no immediate layoffs were announced. AMR lost $162 million in the third quarter and has posted losses in 14 of the last 16 quarters.

A pre-packaged bankruptcy such as this sure sounds all bright and cheery on the surface, but these things have ripple effects, as some vendors and creditors are surely to get stiffed or be forced to take pennies or dimes on their dollars. American Airlines will survive, but unseen companies will be hurt down the line and many employees will likely lose their jobs. The American recovery lives on, but why didn't the government bail out AMR like they did General Motors? Maybe they've lost interest in business.

The current S&P/Case-Shiller 10-and-20-city indices both fell month-to-month and year-over-year, as housing continues to deteriorate Despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades, potential homeowners are largely shut out of the market by stringent underwriting standards and, more importantly, the lack of jobs needed to finance and support the payments on a home purchase.

Declining by 3.9% in the third quarter, the index showed a bit of relief from the second quarter's 5.8% decline, though there wasn't much hope in the report, which tracked sales through September. Only Detroit and Washington, DC reported gains during the period, of 3.7 and 1 percent, respectively. Home prices have fallen back to 2003 levels nationally.

Wall Street shrugged off the bad housing data and focused instead on the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence which rocketed up to 56 in October, from a revised 40.9 in September. It was the largest monthly gain in confidence since April 2003, though the current reading comes off a two-year low for the gauge.

Meanwhile, over in Euro-land, finance ministers kicked off a two-day summit designed to define a framework for the various entities - countries, the ECB and the ESFS - to deal with the ongoing debt crisis. Some of the ideas being floated around this time involve countries trading a bit of sovereignty for more bailout funding, and leveraging the ESFS roughly 2.5 times, to provide funding for stressed economies, mostly in the Southern part of the continent.

As usual, nothing concrete has - or will - come from these meetings, as European leaders inch closer to a complete currency collapse, which now, along with the breakup of the Euro currency partners, is rated by top economists as a 50/50 chance.

Here in America, the few traders still not completely scared away pushed stocks higher for a second straight day on the Dow and S&P, though the NASDAQ finished in the red. Trading volume was extremely thin. If there is to be a so-called Santa Claus Rally, it's not likely to awaken any sleeping children and will probably be sold off in a session or two, as the choppiness and extreme volatility is not likely to abate before the European crisis either is resolved or blows up completely.

Dow 11,555.63, +32.62 (0.28%)
NASDAQ 2,515.51, -11.83 (0.47%)
S&P 500 1,195.19, -2.64 (0.22%)
NYSE Composite 7,149.71, +29.16 (+0.41%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,621,070,500
NYSE Volume 3,951,292,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2486-3131
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 65-166
WTI crude oil: 99.79, +1.58
Gold: 1,713.40, +2.60
Silver: 31.85, -0.31

Friday, June 17, 2011

Desperate Late Rally Bumps Dow to First Gain in Seven Weeks

What an absolute mockery the US stock markets are.

With stocks deteriorating late in the day, synchronized buying in the final 4 minutes brought the Dow Jones Industrial average back over 12,000, and to the first positive close in seven weeks.

The S&P move, similar in time frame, was even sillier, getting the widely-watched average to close exactly 0.52 higher than it ended last week. The Dow was up 52 points for the week, while the NASDAQ finished up the week a loser, down 27 points. Apparently, the genius brain trust on Wall Street missed that one.

In a few words, stocks are still very weak and the issues causing the weakness have yet to be resolved.

Dow 12,004.36, +42.84 (0.36%)
NASDAQ 2,616.48, -7.22 (0.28%)
S&P 500 1,271.50, +3.86 (0.30%)
NYSE Composite 8,000.11, +36.51 (0.46%)

For the first time in a while, advancers carried the day, unconvincingly beating declining issues, 3857-2774. On the NASDAQ, there were only 28 new highs and 113 new lows. The NYSE saw 25 new highs, but 48 new lows, making the combined totals favor the new lows for the 11th straight session, 161-76. Volume was healthy, having much to do, as did the general gains, with quadruple witching on options expiration. Beginning next week, with the options play out of the way, stocks can get right back to falling off the table again.

NASDAQ Volume 2,491,541,250
NYSE Volume 4,925,850,000

Crude oil was hammered down again, losing another $1.94, to close out the week at $93.01. Gold finished up $10.80, at $1540.00, while silver added 31 cents, to $35.90.

Economic data was muted, with the Conference Board's Index of leading Indicators up 0.8% for May, while the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index backtracked from 74.3 in May to 71.8 in June.

It was a wild week for everyone, even those of us who only report on the madness.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

While Japan Melts Down, US Stocks Melt Up

Though many doubted the thrust and wisdom of the Federal Reserve's QE2 and ZIRP efforts, the Fed can now claim some success.

That success, however, is limited to one's perception. If higher commodity, food and energy prices, a completely collapsed housing market and a stock market rally in which almost nobody participates is one's idea of success, then a big hand for Chairman Bernanke and his merry band of idiots otherwise known as the Board of Governors of the Fed.

It was reported yesterday in this space that trading volume had sunk to its lowest level of the year. Today's numbers were a mirror image, marking the two slowest trading days of the year, for sure, and possibly the lowest two-day total volume since sometime in 2009.

So much for the so-called wealth effect we hear so much about. The only investors actually trading are the Primary Dealers with their virtually-free POMO money. It's almost as though the markets have lost the confidence of the individual investor forever. Surely, those with pension funds tied to the market must be seeing better returns, but how long they will last is anyone's guess, though it's fair to say that as long as the Fed continues to throw $100 billion or more into the fray, stocks will keep rising. It's been about the easiest trade ever.

There isn't much more to say about today's gains other than they completely disregarded the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, which is now almost completely out of control, as one reactor appears to have melted through its containment vessel.

The wild-eyed buyers of today also paid no heed to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index, which confirmed that housing has entered the double-dip phase, falling for the sixth consecutive month. Of course, that would assume that one believes the first dip ever ended.

And everybody simply looked the other way when the Conference Board showed its index of consumer confidence fell to 63.4 this month, from a revised 72.0 in February.

Apparently, we mere mortals simply don't understand the stock market, where news is always bullish, no matter how bad it is. Supposedly, a comet obliterating all of Europe would be cause for a 1000-point rally according to the current metrics.

Whatever is going on down on the trading floors and at the desks of the biggest brokerages, it simply doesn't jibe with reality, but that's what we've got, a rogue market on its very own illogical trajectory.

Dow 12,279.01, +81.13 (0.67%)
NASDAQ 2,756.89, +26.21 (0.96%)
S&P 500 1,319.44, +9.25 (0.71%)
NYSE Composite 8,345.38, +48.86 (0.59%)

Advancers led decliners, 4381-2145. The NASDAQ reported 114 new highs and 27 new lows. On the NYSE, there were 117 new highs and 12 new lows.

NASDAQ Volume 1,610,826,875
NYSE Volume 3,856,315,250

Commodities were mixed, with oil up 81 cents on the front-end WTI contract, to $104.79. Gold slipped $3.70, to $1,416.20 and silver fell 10 cents, to $36.99 per ounce.

This represents one of the more confusing markets in history. Bad news simply will not move stocks to the downside, and any downward move is met with a rally in short order, wiping away any and all losses in a matter or days, or hours.

Hardly mentioned is the upcoming non-farm payroll data courtesy of the BLS on April 1, this Friday, though prior to that, on Wednesday, ADP will report their proprietary survey of private sector employment. That little nugget will be released at 8:15 am, EDT, though it's generally not a market mover, being widely discredited as being unreliable.

This is fun for somebody, but who that might be remains a mystery.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Markets Plunge on Data, Fear; False Bottom in Place

There are so many negative issues plaguing equity investments at this juncture one can only hope to keep abreast of daily developments. Investors and traders should simply assume that all prior data was poor and that future data will continue in the same poor fashion for the foreseeable future - and maybe beyond.

As the global deflationary death (and debt) spiral persists, there's little any single entity can do to prevent major dislocations and value deterioration. The stock market is only a proxy for the general US economy, though it serves as a very solid guide to global conditions. What seems to be a major stumbling block for the overall health or decay of a global economic system is that it is made up of many smaller, moving parts - equity markets, bond markets, governments, nations, derivatives, commodities, etc. - and without coordination (virtually impossible) from these moving parts, stemming the deflationary tide is next to impossible.

Tuesday's decline was not confined to, nor was it a result of, US interests. It was global, begun with a revision to China's April Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) by the Conference Board, from a gain of 1.7% to a much smaller - and much more significant - 0.3% gain. The pain felt in bourses around the globe was exacerbated by the same Conference Board's US Consumer Confidence reading for June, which tumbled to 52.9 from May's 62.7 mark.

Other than the China revision and one sentiment gauge, overall data and news flow has been nothing but sad. There hasn't been a positive economic data release since the June non-farms payroll data, itself a complete flop. Plaguing markets are a myriad of touchy, intertwined forces, including unemployment, residential housing, commercial real estate, slumping bond yields, government debt, household debt, shrinking money supply, tight credit conditions and currency fluctuations.

It's almost too much to expect from any market individually, so all markets are collectively sharing the pain. Oversimplifying the matter to the extreme, an oversupply of assets on a base of faulty investments funded with massive amounts of unsecured debt (in the Trillions of dollars) is collapsing at a rapid rate. That's why gold and silver have risen, or, at least lately held up much better than most assets - there's a finite, limited supply of them.

The selling began early and accelerated through the afternoon, with indices closing very near their lows of the day. The final, closing price of the S&P 500 was the lowest since October 30, 2009, an 8-month low, breaking through previous double-bottom support.

Dow 9,870.30, -268.22 (2.65%)
NASDAQ 2,135.18, -85.47 (3.85%)
S&P 500 1,041.24, -33.33 (3.10%)
NYSE Composite 6,520.09, -216.51 (3.21%)

Decliners decimated advancers, 5837-752 (nearly 8:1); new lows bounded past new highs, 324-93, finally confirming the roll-over of that indicator and sending the strongest sell signal possible. The daily high-low ratio has been mixed for the past four weeks and has now finally founded direction. Additionally, volume, which was non-existent on Monday, absolutely exploded to near-panic levels today.

NYSE Volume 7,193,685,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,783,303,750

Crude oil tumbled on demand concerns, losing $2.31, to $75.94. Gold saw a little bit of a bid, up $3.80, to $1,242.00, though silver fell 8 cents, to $18.59.

It was one of Wall Street's worst days of this or any year and the general consensus is that it's far from over. With three days remaining to the week and more sensitive data due out, there's no hope for the bullish case.

There is a small amount of support around Dow 9800, though it is very tentative, and likely to be broken without much fuss. The next leg down in the still-unfolding global de-leveraging process is likely to be the steepest from peak to trough and we are only at the beginning of it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Consumer Confidence and the Second American Revolution

Proof that I'm not a pessimist, but rather a realist, comes from The Conference Board's latest Consumer Confidence reading. As it turns out, pessimism may turn out to be a new national pastime if the 5000 households surveyed are any indication.

Check out these figures:
The overall index stands at 49.3 in June, down from 54.8. That number is much worse than it would appear on the surface. Consider that the index is calibrated to conform to a 1985 reading of 100. Well, life certainly wasn't perfect in 1985, so the index being more than halved in the subsequent 24 years means what? People are only half as satisfied or confident as they were then? In any case, it's not good.

Here's the really terrifying stuff. though. The percentage of people claiming that business conditions were "good" fell to 8.0%, from 8.8%. 8 percent! Now that's what I call pessimistic. There's more: People who thought jobs were plentiful: 4.7%; people who thought their incomes would increase in the next six months: 9.8%. Less than one in ten people expect a raise by December. That's pretty gloomy, no? Or maybe, just maybe, the people in this survey, which we assume is a nice cross-section of America, are not pessimists, but realists, who have seen the government's attempts at stimulus fall flat, who maybe don't believe all the lies from the controlled media, and who may have been around long enough and been through enough to lose faith in the federal government and its promises to fix everything.

America has always been an optimistic nation, but considering the current crop of politicians (largely failures) in the power structure of Washington, it is conceivable that many people have lost their patience and are losing faith in the "system," which is clearly broken and not about to be fixed by the people who broke it.

This is not to say that Americans are becoming pessimists, it's just saying that they're fed up with the status quo, and actually have been for quite some time. Americans may also be sending a message to Washington which goes something like this:

"We don't want more debt. We don't want a $1.75 trillion deficit. We want you (the government) to tighten your belts, cut spending and trim some of the fat. We are not on board with tax-and-spend, cap-and-trade, more expensive health care and the rest of your proposed plans for us. We are not standing with you, because you don't stand for us. If you continue, we shall stand against you."

That's pretty much it, isn't it? Americans are pretty tired of the US government, their state government and their local government sticking their noses into every last aspect of their lives and taxing them into oblivion. Nobody in Washington is currently listening to the American people and there's pretty good evidence that nobody's been listening for the past 10 years. Since they're not going to listen, then why pay them tribute? We owe them nothing. In fact, they owe us plenty.

Change will come, and mostly by the actions of government. Voting obviously hasn't made an impact, so the natural progression is for people to vote with their wallets and purses, and that's already occurring. Less and less revenue is flowing into government coffers and the flow will continue to slacken until it is just a trickle. This device, known as "starving the government" will produce change because the government will be unable to fund anything but the most rudimentary programs, and maybe not even those.

Americans, realists all, will not pay taxes and government will fall. That is our history, that is our right. The second American revolution has begun.

Noting that confidence is waning, Wall Streeters quickly abandoned their "window dressing" strategy in favor of a "jump ship" approach. After the Conference Board's report, stocks turned from narrowly positive to grossly negative in a hurry and stayed down for the remainder of the session. Coupled with yesterday's gains, the Dow is up a mind-boggling 8 points this week.

Dow 8,447.00, -82.38 (0.97%)
NASDAQ 1,835.04, -9.02 (0.49%)
S&P 500 919.33, -7.90 (0.85%)
NYSE Composite 5,905.14, -57.36 (0.96%)

Internals confirmed that the turnaround was no fluke. Declining issues outpaced advancers, 3653-2712. New lows surpassed new highs, breaking a three-day trend, 64-59. Volume was very light, as has been the case for most of the past month.

NYSE Volume 1,296,750,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,064,647,000

Like stocks, oil turned around on Tuesday, shedding $1.60, to close at $69.89. Gold also beat a steady retreat, losing $13.30, to $927.40. There was some dumping of silver as well, down 38 cents, to $13.60.

Americans are neither happy nor optimistic, a fairly obvious condition after being promised change but receiving more of the same. The time for real change has been at hand for some time. Whether Americans actually have the nerve and fortitude of their forefathers, only time will tell. Unheeded citizen complaints can only take one of two paths: reformation or tyranny.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Confidence Boost

The markets surely needed a lift and they got one today from the Conference Board, which reported their Consumer Confidence Index for December at 110.3 , the highest level since May of 2002.

The mostly upbeat report was tempered by the coincident Expectations Index, which declined to 94.5 from 96.3. Included in the report was the statement:

"This month's slight increase in confidence was solely the result of an improvement in the Present Situation Index, fueled primarily by a more favorable job market," says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Looking ahead, however, consumers are not as optimistic as they were in December. All in all, the Index suggests a moderate improvement in the pace of growth in early 2007."

Wall Street responded on cue, with the three major indices jumping well into positive territory around 11:00. Highs for the day were reached at that early point, with trading for the rest of the session vacillating in a narrow range.

The Dow gained 32.53 points; the NASDAQ was up 7.55; the S&P 500 added 8.20.

High among the anxiety points were corporate earnings, which for the most part had been lackluster. The prevailing mood wasn't helped much by Dow component 3M (MMM), which reported 4th quarter profits of $1.57 per share, including 47 cents from the sale of its drug business and 4 cents a share of stock option expenses.

With the quarter essentially in line, what spooked investors was the outlook from the conglomerate, calling for 2007 earnings between 4.60 and 4.75 per share, well below Wall Street's outlook of 4.99. Shares of 3M took a 5% hit on the day.

Drug maker Merck (MRK) also disappointed, posting 4th quarter earnings of just 22 cents, as opposed to 51 cents in the year-ago period. The company included charges of 7 cents for restructuring and 21 cents for the purchase of a small biotech company, Sirna Therapeutics. Shares lost 60 cents, or 1.6% on the day.

What had to have been the biggest move of the day was in the energy sector. Continued cold weather and an announcement of production cuts from an OPEC minister sent oil higher by $2.96 to close at $56.97. Natural gas rose 80 cents, or 12% to $7.74 per 1000 btu.

Not surprisingly, stocks in the energy sector led all others on the day. Breadth was solidly on the plus side, with gainers swamping losers nearly 2-1.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) releases guidance tomorrow after 2:30 and is widely expected to announce no change in interest rates, a stance they have held since August of 2006.