Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

Sunday, June 21, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Fake COVID Data, Faulty HCQ Studies, Bailouts for Zombies, Secret Handshakes, Excessive Lying and Bunk

The level of fraud in the scientific community is absolutely out of control. It's even beyond that of the government and media, though the media probably holds the title of most disingenuous as it lies or distorts on practically everything.

On Friday, yet another clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine was halted, this time by the National Institutes of Health.

Citing that the drug has no ill effects on hospitalized patients - in opposition to previously unfounded claims that HCQ was dangerous - a data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) said the drug offered no benefit to hospitalized patients.

It's too bad that the mainstream medical authorities have to be so obviously stupid. HCQ is used as a preventative medicine. It helps the immune system fight off coronavirus, especially when used in a regular regimen with zinc and Azithromycin when asymptomatic or in early stages of infection as this study and many others have clearly shown.

Instead, the NIH, CDC, WHO and other "official" medical bodies refuse to release the proof of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as what doctors call a prophylactic remedy, insisting that COVID-19 is a deadly disease and that billions must be spent in search of a vaccine, when they know a vaccine will likely never be developed.

These people, who first told the world that wearing a mask was a waste of time, then promoted the use of masks when it suited their purposes, should all be met with swift justice because it is they, not the virus, who are causing countless deaths that could have been saved if proper preventive measures had been taken. They, and the media which continues to promote COVID-19, lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing, absurdities like not allowing fans into sporting events, keeping restaurant customers six feet apart and other ridiculous notions should be tried for operating a criminal conspiracy.

Even this post, because it violates the dictatorial policy of Google, Twitter, or Facebook may be deemed conspiracy theory or in violation of their standards may be labeled with a warning or removed from public view.

The virus is a total scam. The rising cries of a coming "second wave" are nothing more than another attempt to scare people into rash behaviors using slanted statistics while playing on emotions. Places like Georgia, Texas, and Arizona have been cited as possible new hotspots for the virus, but the truth of the matter is that more testing has produced more cases, therefore increasing the daily bogus coronavirus counts. Additionally, all of the various tests have proven to show an abundance of false positives. Hospitalization and death statistics have been overstated since the beginning of the pandemic.

In other words, almost all of the data and scare-mongering from the media is bunk. Complete rubbish. Take off your masks and start living like a human being again. The chances of catching the virus are slim. It has mutated numerous times and most strains circulating are severe or deadly only to people over the age of 60 who have pre-existing health conditions or are obese, suffer from diabetes or heart disease. The general population is in no more danger from COVID-19 than from the common flu.

Get over it. Move on. Tell anybody who disagrees to take their opinions elsewhere. As it stands, there's no baseball this summer and there may not be football this fall. All this pandemic nonsense is about as important and vital as the BLM/Antifa protests. All of it needs to stop and the media is largely to blame for promoting false narratives.

The absurdities were on display at yesterday's Belmont Stakes, where no spectators were allowed into the sprawling Belmont Park facility and everybody on the grounds - except the horses - were required to wear masks. Even jockeys had to wear masks during the races. Please, somebody explain how a rider traveling at 25 to 40 miles per hour is going to catch the virus. It's as bad as the idiots who wear their masks while driving in their cars with the windows rolled up. Stupid. Banal. Idiotic. Is the world really populated by that many morons? If so, maybe the virus should relieve us of 30-40% of the population. More room for everybody. Happy days!

It's just all so annoying and stupid. This post was originally going to be about gold and silver, but the news of yet another HCQ trial being shut down changed those plans.

Go and check your local pharmacy or drug store or vitamin center. They're out of ZINC. Yeah, ZINC. Apparently, some people aren't buying the "we're all gonna die" narrative being shoved down the throats of the unsuspecting public. As the thrust of Money Daily posts over the past few days and weeks have been stressing, the media and government are doing you no good. You need to extricate yourself and your family from the clutches of creeping socialism and outright tyranny.

Let's get away from those who wish only to control everything and move forward to better lives. There is so much the word has to offer, having it ruined by a small minority of psychopathic monsters is a sin and an outrage.

Moving on to the markets and financial world from the week just past, stocks seem to have hit a stall space. The major indices, while all advancing for the week, have not recovered fully from the downdraft of Thursday, June 11. This week's gains were made mainly on Monday and Tuesday. Things slowed down in midweek and by Friday the bloom was off the rose once again.

Not to worry. There's a huge chance that the news will be cocked forward to produce a running start for the major averages and bourses around the world Monday morning. It's just how the Fed and the algorithm-pumping mechanisms operate these days. There's no market. There's no need to study charts or engage in fundamental analysis. Everything is fake, crooked, corrupted.

There is somewhat of a silver lining approaching for people who don't appreciate ever-rising stock prices when companies are showing dwindling profits or actually losing money, however. In a few weeks, publicly-traded companies will be releasing their second quarter financial reports and many of them figure to be absolute dumpster-diving material.

There's been a chart circulating recently showing the number of "zombie" corporations steadily increasing to a point at which nearly one in five US companies are insolvent. A zombie company is loosely defined as a business that has to borrow to survive and doesn’t make enough profit to cover the cost of its debt service. Simply put, these are companies being kept afloat by banks, or the Fed, or both. If it were possible to actually make sense of the books of large commercial banks like Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) and Citibank (C) it's probable that the banks themselves would be zombies, underwater and headed to bankruptcy if not for the largesse afford them by the Federal Reserve.

The outcome from keeping zombie companies afloat is lower, slower growth in the overall economy. The Fed is actually exacerbating the effects of ultra-low interest rates and keeping insolvent companies alive with the most recent emergency measures that have the Federal Reserve buying debt from ETFs and corporate paper of individual (healthy and failing) companies. The Fed is also buying up municipal debt and may be positioning itself to fund states and cities that have deep budget deficits and buying individual stocks. Yes, the Fed may soon be buying stocks. And who said the markets weren't manipulated?

The bottom line is that we have a central bank producing counterfeit currency to buy assets offered by insolvent companies. Making matters worse, is that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow believe the companies that have received bailouts or funding from the Cares Act should not be disclosed to the public. So, on top of it all, the underhanded workings of the government, the Fed and big business should be kept secret. Nice. Not.

Treasuries basically spent the week flopping around like a landed fish. The yield spread for the entire curve, from 1-month to 30 years ended at 1.31% on Friday, June 12. As of this past Friday (June 19) the spread was 1.34%. Some steepening, but not notable. The 10-year note ended the week one basis point lower than the previous Friday, at 0.70%.

The July futures contract for WTI crude oil closed at a three-month high Friday, at $39.75 a barrel. Like the stock market, oil prices have engaged in a V-shaped rebound, the bottom coming in mid-April when oil hit $11.57 a barrel. While there has been some demand recovery, there's still a worldwide overhang of supply. The price of oil, with almost a direct pathway to gas prices, is another manufactured number. Most US shale producers can't survive below $50 a barrel, much less $40. Thanks to renewables like solar, wind, and hydro-electric, the oil business is dying a slow death. There's abundant resources available, but inroads have been made by so-called "green energy", and efficiencies in newer vehicles are crimping the use of oil and distillates. In an economy on a slowing glide path, there's no good reason for oil prices to rise other than to support the ailing old companies that rely on pumping and consumer use of the greasy stuff.

In the precious metals space, both gold and silver were dumped in the futures market on Monday and then rallied over the course of the week. Silver, despite a generally positive end to the week, closed at the lowest week-ending price ($17.52) since May 11. Since the March 19 bottoming at $12 an ounce, the trend has been higher, though it's been a slow grind despite high demand, shortages, huge premiums, and shipping delays.

Gold was flattened to $1710.45 on Monday, but rebounded to the high of the week at the close of business in New York Friday, at $1734.75. Like silver, gold has been rangebound since mid-April, suggesting a breakout on the horizon, though it could go either way.

Here are the latest free market prices for select items on eBay (prices include shipping, which is often free):

Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 26.50 / 39.90 / 31.52 / 31.12
1 oz silver bar: 24.75 / 46.00 / 31.35 / 28.70
1 oz gold coin: 1,803.85 / 1,963.52 / 1,875.30 / 1,865.36
1 oz gold bar: 1,780.00 / 1,852.38 / 1,833.92 / 1,840.45

Finally, Fearless Rick nailed the trifecta in the Belmont Stakes, making a public pick prior to the race for everyone. Such generosity! What a guy!

At the close, Friday, June 19, 2020:
Dow: 25,871.46, -208.64 (-0.80%)
NASDAQ: 9,946.12, +3.07 (+0.03%)
S&P 500: 3,097.74, -17.60 (-0.56%)
NYSE: 11,980.12, -92.48 (-0.77%)

For the Week:
Dow: +265.92 (+1.04%)
NASDAQ: +357.31 (+3.73%)
S&P 500: +56.43 (+1.86%)
NYSE: +112.95 (+0.95%)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Fed Fiat Funny Money Has Managed to Short-Circuit the Crisis, for Now

Against a backdrop of Great Depression-like numbers - 33 million Americans out of work and an "official" unemployment rate of 14.7% - equity investors enjoyed a remarkably positive week, with all major indices rising by at least 2.50%, with the NASDAQ leading the way with a six percent gain.

The NASDAQ's advance was not only remarkable, but it is also ludicrous. The tech-heavy index has advanced beyond both its 50 and 200-day moving averages and is within 720 points of its all-time high. Investors in the speculative sector of the market have either divorced themselves from reality or are seeing something the rest of the world is missing. Money has to go somewhere, even money from the Federal Reserve, released to companies across the investing spectrum, but most of it appears to be heading toward Silicon Valley.

No doubt, chasing momentum has amplified the absurd move to the NASDAQ, which is likely a dangerous precedent. Many of the companies moving higher sport P/E ratios well above the norm, even the norm in a major bull market, a position that was shattered eight weeks ago.

Some of the standouts in the nebulous NASDAQ unicorn universe include Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG), bottomed out at 1056.62 on March 23, and closed Friday at 1388.37.

Netflix (NFLX) fell out at 298.84 on March 16, but has since rebounded to Friday's close of 435.55.

Amazon (AMZN) reached an all-time high of 2474.00 on April 16, after dropping to 1676.61 on March 12, an amazing gain of 47.6% in just over a month. Amazon may be a superb, dynamic company, but it's arguably extremely overvalued, with a P/E of 113.

Facebook (FB) finished at 146.01 on March 16 and closed at 212.35 on Friday.

Some investors have been getting fat while the larger economy has, for the most part, imploded.

As almost all states (47 of 50 as of Saturday, May 9) have at least partially reopened their businesses and relaxed stay-at-home and other restrictions on the populace, anecdotal reports show that business is still a long distance from anything approaching normal, i.e., prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wall Street is pushing a narrative that the country and the economy is all well and good, the recovery - in terms of stock prices - well underway, even as cases of coronavirus are still prevalent and rising in some cases and deaths continue at a run rate of over 1,000 a day. How well that works out for investors won't likely be known for some time. For now, investors, and the companies getting the most attention, are sitting pretty.

Crude oil continued to be under pressure from both a supply glut and slack demand, hovering in the mid-20s throughout the week. The June contract on WTI crude rose from $19.78 last Friday (May 1) to $24.74 a barrel this Friday (May 8). The contract expires within two weeks and there hasn't really been much improvement on the supply side of the equation, though demand has improved as the United States and most other countries around the world have begun getting back to business.

The treasury curve steepened over the course of the week. The entire complex is covered by 129 basis points as of Friday, up from 117 the prior week. All of the yield gains were at the long end. As money rushed out of bonds and back into stocks on Friday, the 10-year note added six basis points, to 0.69. The 30-year bond yield gained from 1.31 to 1.39.

Precious metals continued to be among the most-desired asset class since the onset of the pandemic. Both gold and silver are selling at massive premiums (up to $200 for gold, 40-80% for silver) and dealers are still experiencing supply issues with many popular items out of stock, though available to order. Delivery times have come back a bit, with gold and silver in quantity available within two weeks of placing orders.

Here are representative recent prices (5/9-5/10) on eBay for standard gold and silver coins and bars (prices include shipping):
Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 24.45 / 38.00 / 30.58 / 30.48
1 oz silver bar: 23.00 / 30.95 / 26.77 / 26.20
1 oz gold coin: 1,750.00 / 1,946.65 / 1,854.84 / 1,841.99
1 oz gold bar: 1,799.99 / 1,871.52 / 1,843.90 / 1,851.47

In cryptocurrency-land, the Bitcoin Halving approaches. Fr those unfamiliar with the concept, the "halving" is the predetermined moment when Bitcoin’s block subsidy gets cut in half. The halving of Bitcoin’s block subsidy occurs every 210,000 blocks (approximately every four years) and is a key feature of Bitcoin. It is because of the Halving that there is a capped supply of 21 million bitcoin that will ever exist. The halving is scheduled to take place Monday at approximately 6:49 pm ET.

Bitcoin surpassed the $10,000 mark in US dollars, but fell back to the $8850 range in anticipation of the event.

And, just to throw another spanner into the works, the government of Argentina failed to reach agreement with creditors by its self-imposed Friday deadline, essentially defaulting on $65 billion worth of bonds, though talks between the two sides are continuing. Argentina will formally default on May 22, as it missed a $503 million payment last month and the grace period is expiring.

Talks were extended through Monday in hopes that Argentina could avoid its ninth sovereign default.

At this juncture, everything is at risk. According to recent economic data, the global economy is flat on its back. Most developed countries are either in a recession or about to enter one. The response to the coronavirus has ramped up unemployment and knocked down GDP estimates.

Thanks to massive infusions of capital from the Fed and other central banks to both business and individuals, the crisis has been managed to a degree, but the future remains a guessing game. Whether or not QE to infinity will save the day - and the underlying currencies - is a real gamble.

At the close, Friday, May 8, 2020:
Dow: 24,331.32, +455.43 (+1.91%)
NASDAQ: 9,121.32, +141.66 (+1.58%)
S&P 500: 2,929.80, +48.61 (+1.69%)
NYSE: 11,354.34, +232.68 (+2.09%)

For the Week:
Dow: +607.63 (+2.56%)
NASDAQ: +516.37 (+6.00%)
S&P 500: +99.09 (+3.50%)
NYSE: +295.77 (+2.67%)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stocks Slip Amid Mixed Earnings, Awaiting FOMC Interest Rate Decision

Stocks took a breather the day after the S&P 500 set a new all-time closing high, slumping slightly on various earnings results that were a mixed bag.

Google parent, Alphabet (GOOG), started the dour mood after the close on Monday by missing EPS estimates by a wide margin. General Motors (GM) was another big name that fell short, reporting $1.20 per share against analyst estimates for $1.31. There were plenty of smaller firms reporting solid or neutral results for the third quarter, but the large caps dominated the news flow.

Drops on the main indices were contained, not unusual following a healthy upsurge. Waiting upon the Federal Reserve's FOMC policy decision announcement Wednesday afternoon (2.00 pm ET), trading was muted but not depressing.

When the market opens Wednesday, earnings reports will already have been released for some other big names, including Yum! Brands (YUM), General Electric (GE), and Sotheby's (BID).

Apple (AAPL), Starbucks (SBUX), and Facebook (FB) report after the close.

In between earnings releases and calls, the Fed will provide most of the excitement on Wednesday.

At the Close, Tuesday, October 29, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,071.42, -19.30 (-0.07%)
NASDAQ: 8,276.85, -49.13 (-0.59%)
S&P 500: 3,036.89, -2.53 (-0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 13,209.63, +23.20 (+0.18%)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Year That Was: Investors Bid 2018 GOOD RIDDANCE; Worst Year Since 2008

Should all acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind,
Should all acquaintance be forgot and the days of auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet for the sake of auld lang syne.
Let's have a drink or maybe two or maybe three or four
Or five or six or seven or eight or maybe even more.

A cup of kindness, indeed. It's what some investors would have liked in December, or October, or maybe February or March.

Those were the worst months for stocks.

Dow loss, February, 2018: -1120.19
March, 2018: -926.09
October, 2018: -1341.55
December, 2018: -2211.10

As the year wore on, conditions proceeded to deteriorate for holders of US large cap equities. On the S&P and the NASDAQ, some stocks suffered losses of 30, 40, 50% or more.

Facebook (FB) was the poster child for tech stocks breaking bad. On July 25, the famous brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg topped out at 217.50. As of December 24, it bottomed out at a closing price of 124.06, a 43% loss. It wasn't a very merry Christmas for Facebook. Still, Zuckerberg is still one of the richest persons in the world, just not quite as rich as he used to be.

Netflix (NFLX) was another one being hammered in the second half of the year. Closing at 418.97 on July 9, the streaming video service lost 44% by December 24, closing that session at 233.88.

Stocks weren't the only asset class that was sucker-punched during the year. One standout of the commodities class was crude oil, where the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) shot up from $60 to $76 in October - coincidentally, on the same day the Dow peaked - before retreating to under $45 nearing the end of December, striking a low of $42.53 on Christmas Day.

In similar manner, precious metals were abused during the year. Gold spent the early part of the year fluctuating in the $1300-1350 per ounce range, never closing above $1352. By June, signs of weakness were appearing, with the metal of kings dipping into the $1200 range, eventually bottoming out at $1178 by August. With stocks on the decline in the fourth quarter, gold was the beneficiary, ending the year at $1278 per ounce.

Silver was damaged more severely. Peaking at $17.52 per ounce on January 25, silver slumped all the way to 13.97 in November. December was the best month of the year for gentleman's coin, as it closed at a five-month high on December 31, with a price of $15.46. Both gold and silver ended the year on high notes, suggesting that they are due for a long-overdue rally.

Bonds were perhaps the most entertaining of the financial assets, with investors watching for an inversion in the treasury yield curve between the two and 10-year notes. While that did not materialize, a smaller inversion between 2 and three-year and the five-year yield presented itself in December, but only persisted for three weeks. The five-year was actually yielding less than both the 2s and 3s on December 4, but corrected back to normalcy - with yields rising over duration - on December 21. Still, it was a wake-up call to investors fearing a recession in 2019 and may have contributed to some of the panic selling during the final month of 2018.

Yield on the barometric 10-year note ended the year at an 11-month low, checking in at 2.69% on New Year's Eve. The 30-year was also pushed lower. By year's end, it was yielding a mere 3.02%, all of this occurring in the face of four quarterly federal funds rate hikes over the course of the annum. Surely, the bond vigilantes are out in force, and as the year of 2018 comes to a close, fear is winning out over greed in rather obvious manner.

What 2019 will bring is anyone's guess, considering the continuing dysfunction coming out of the nation's capitol. Republicans and Democrats are at war, leaving the American people to fend as best they can as casualties or collaterally-damaged bystanders. Rhetoric from both sides of the aisle has been inflamed to a combustible state, and, with the partial government shutdown already in its second week, when the Democrats seize control of the House of Representatives on January 3, chaos will reign.

Despite honest effort from President Trump, nothing good will come out of Washington this year, unless one considers complete rejection of government by the people to be constructive, because that is precisely where the swamp dwellers inside the beltway - with ample assistance from a media that operates as a free press in name only - are taking the country.

2019 may be a year worse than the one preceding it, perhaps much worse, as the political leaders of the greatest nation on the planet can do no better than bicker, posture, and fail in their duties.

Until and unless Washington changes its ways, the financial picture will be clouded by the politicians, whose only aim seems to be one of destroying anything good in the country. While the Democrats can largely be blamed for inciting division, Republicans in the Senate share nearly equal responsibility for not standing up for the public.

Sadly, Washington has made it clear that it wants to be all-important, all the time. The cost will be borne by the people in ways that exceed mere finance.

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22
12/12/18 24,527.27 +157.03 -1011.19
12/13/18 24,597.38 +70.11 -941.08
12/14/18 24,100.51 -496.87 -1437.95
12/17/18 23,592.98 -507.53 -1945.58
12/18/18 23,675.64 +82.66 -1862.92
12/19/18 23,323.66 -351.98 -2214.90
12/20/18 22,859.60 -464.06 -2678.96
12/21/18 22,445.37 -414.23 -3093.19
12/24/18 21,792.20 -653.17 -3746.36
12/26/18 22,878.45 +1086.25 -2660.11
12/27/18 22,878.45 +260.37 -2399.74
12/28/18 23,062.40 -76.42 -2476.16
12/31/18 23,327.46 +265.06 -2211.10

At the Close, Monday, December 31, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,327.46, +265.06 (+1.15%)
NASDAQ: 6,635.28, +50.76 (+0.77%)
S&P 500: 2,506.85, +21.11 (+0.85%)
NYSE Composite: 11,374.39, +83.44 (+0.74%)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Another Blue Monday As Stocks Slammed Hard All Day; Techs Lead Losers

Whew!

This is becoming serious. Last week, when stock traders had a day off for observance of Veterans Day, the week opened with a 600-point loss. Today, the start of a new week, sees stocks tank to the tune of nearly 400 points.

It's not just the start of the week that's been bad of late, it's a recurring trend for the Dow and NASDAQ to slide by triple digits over the course of one session. The down days are beginning to add up, suggesting that something bigger is on the immediate horizon, and it's happening at a time which is usually a good one for stocks. November and December are among the better months for stock gains, though that doesn't look to be the case this season (Is it too early to say "Happy Holidays?").

Most of the selling on Monday came early. Shortly after noon in New York, the Dow had already shed more than 60 points. For the remainder of the session the blue chip index bounced around in a 100-point range, as some tepid buying emerged, though there was not wide enough commitment to keep stocks from near the lows of the day.

Faring even worse was the NASDAQ, which lost more than 100 points for the eighth time in the past seven weeks. In for particular harsh treatment are, and have been, tech stocks. It seems as though any company with a CEO under 40 or with any connection to computers or the internet has been targeted for extermination.

Here are some of the more notable Silicon Valley names on the Wall Street hit list:

  • Facebook: hit a high of 217 in July, closed today at 131.55.
  • Alphabet (Google): August 29: 1,249.30; Today: 1,020.00
  • Netflix: August 30: 370.98; Today: 270.60
  • Apple: September 4: 227.57; Today: 185.86
  • Nvidia: September 4: 283.70; Today: 144.70
  • Amazon: August 31: 2,012.71; Today: 1,512.29

These stocks were among the leaders during the long run-up from 2016 and prior. Now they are the loss-leaders. Amazon's peak is of interest because that was also the day the NASDAQ finished what looks like a pretty solid double top. It closed on August 29 at 8109.69 and on the 31st at 8109.54. It's been downhill since, the NASDAQ sporting a 13% decline since then.

Nobody knows exactly where this is all going, but, from recent market action, it looks to be headed to a not very nice place.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42
11/13/18 25,286.49 -100.69 +170.27
11/14/18 25,080.50 -205.99 -35.72
11/15/18 25,289.27 +208.77 +173.05
11/16/18 25,413.22 +123.95 +297.00
11/19/18 25,017.44 -395.78 -98.78

At the Close, Monday, November 19, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,017.44, -395.78 (-1.56%)
NASDAQ: 7,028.48, -219.40 (-3.03%)
S&P 500: 2,690.73, -45.54 (-1.66%)
NYSE Composite: 12,280.91, -119.37 (-0.96%)

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%)

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%)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Stocks Charge Ahead; Dow At Highest Level Since February

With the bull market less than three weeks from being the longest ever in US financial history stocks moved forward as the main indices ramped higher in tandem.

The S&P 500 closed at its highest level since January while the Dow finished the session at a six-month high. The last time the Dow was higher was February 26 (25,709.27) as the industrials snapped back from a wicked decline earlier in the month.

The NASDAQ, which recently has taken on losses due to companies like Facebook (FB) and Tesla (TSLA), gained to within 50 points of its all-time high, set on July 26, at 7932.34.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of a vacationing congress, a booming economy, low unemployment, and the third rate hike of the year by the Federal Reserve on schedule for late September. The FOMC meets September 25-26, and is widely anticipated to raise the federal funds rate by another 25 basis points, to 2-2.25%.

Investors are taking an approach to stocks that is largely ignoring high valuations on the back of impressive recent returns.

While warnings that stocks are overpriced have been circulating since mid-2014, the market seems content to add to gains relentlessly, without regard to underlying fundamentals.

The wild card for stocks is the political front. On the one hand, President Trump's policies seem to have ushered in a fresh era of confidence in the US economy, while on the other, his opponents on the left continue to harass and harangue his administration.

To his credit, Mr. Trump has continued to implement policies he promised during his 2016 campaign of "Make America Great Again," while his Democrat opposition has largely been engaged in pure obstructionism against his positive message.

Where markets go from here are, naturally, unpredictable, though there's little doubt that most of the betting is on higher equity prices in the near term.

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

At the Close, Tuesday, August 7, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,628.91, +126.73 (+0.50%)
NASDAQ: 7,883.66, +23.99 (+0.31%)
S&P 500: 2,858.45, +8.05 (+0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 12,999.59, +35.32 (+0.27%)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Which Way Is Up? Markets Careen As Trump Makes Deal With EU, Facebook Falls From Grace

It's too early to call it a trend, but the Dow broke out of the trading range in which it had been ensconced for over four months after President Trump met with European Commission president Claude Junker and announced a breakthrough on trade and tariff negotiations between the European Union and the United States, forestalling what many feared would become a trade war.

The Dow, which had been lumbering below the unchanged line most of the session, broke above it shortly after 3:00 pm EDT, and then rocketed higher, gaining over 150 points in the final half hour of trading.

The other indices responded in similar manner, though after hours, Facebook (FB) took a severe lashing, losing 24% at one point, after its second quarter earnings failed to meet expectations. Facebook's fall sent NASDAQ futures into a 1.5% nosedive, though they're recovering prior to Thursday's opening bell.

What is most important to note about these developments is the movement in the Dow. According to Dow Theory, the index entered bear market conditions on April 9, when the Dow Jones Transportation Index confirmed the Industrial Average's February-March double-dip off January highs. Besides the reliability of Dow Theory in gauging market movement and primary trends, stocks have not readily behaved as they would in an ordinary bear market, with both the NASDAQ and S&P recovering to make all-time highs, the most recent, just Wednesday, as the NASDAQ set a new, high-water mark at the close.

The current episode of market mania is being driven by forces both unforeseen and unseen, most of it emanating from Washington, D.C., where, on one hand, President Trump's audacious approach to governance and world politics has thus far returned positive results, including Wednesday's breakthrough with the EC.

Thus, the number that bears watching continues to be the January 23 all-time closing high on the Dow of 26,616.71. While the index has broken above what was considerable resistance, it still has a wall of worry - and about 1200 points - to climb before the existence of bearish conditions can be eliminated.

On the other side of the coin, Facebook's woes may only be the beginning for the tech sector, the NASDAQ and the market as a whole. Next up on the chopping block appears to be Tesla (TSLA), whose CEO, Elon Musk, has been raising concerns about the company as a whole by his strange and possibly bi-polar behavior. Tesla is under considerable pressure to produce positive results after months of scrutiny over its cars exploding, production questions, quality concerns and the general mental well-being of its founder and CEO.

Tech stocks have largely been the driver behind the rise of the NASDAQ, whereas President Trump has been generally holding down the Dow. Now those two elements appear to be working in reverse, and the result could be a shock to both the upside on the Dow and the downside on the NASDAQ.

It's hard to imagine the two indices diverging for very long, but the future is unknowable. With Trump "winning" on many fronts, he still faces a massive horde of opposition in Washington, not only from Democrats and the so-called "deep state," but from members of his own party as well.

Add the Fed's unwinding of its balance sheet and relentless quarter-by-quarter raising of interest rates and you have an imperfect storm through which stock and bond speculators and investors must navigate.

Rough seas ahead, for certain, but in which direction? With so much on the deck and cross-currents blowing in every direction, trading should become volatile and choppy until November, when the midterm elections will likely determine the ultimate direction of not just the stock market but of the US and global economy as well.

Dow Jones Industrial Average July Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
7/2/18 24,307.18 +35.77 +35.77
7/3/18 24,174.82 -132.36 -96.59
7/5/18 24,345.44 +181.92 +85.33
7/6/18 24,456.48 +99.74 +185.07
7/9/18 24,776.59 +320.11 +505.18
7/10/18 24,919.66 +143.07 +648.25
7/11/18 24,700.45 -219.21 +429.04
7/12/18 24,924.89 +224.44 +653.48
7/13/18 25,019.41 +94.52 +748.00
7/16/18 25,064.36 +44.95 +792.95
7/17/18 25,119.89 +55.53 +848.48
7/18/18 25,199.29 +79.40 +927.88
7/19/18 25,064.50 -134.79 +793.09
7/20/18 25,058.12 -6.38 +786.71
7/23/18 25,044.29 -13.83 +772.88
7/24/18 25,241.94 +197.65 +970.53
7/25/18 25,414.10 +172.16 +1142.69

At the Close, Wednesday, July 25, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,414.10, +172.16 (+0.68%)
NASDAQ: 7,932.24, +91.47 (+1.17%)
S&P 500: 2,846.07, +25.67 (+0.91%)
NYSE Composite: 12,933.63, +86.14 (+0.67%)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dow Lower, NASDAQ Higher; Which One Is Right?

There's been an interesting dynamic to the market over not just the past few days, but for the past six months, though it has become somewhat pronounced recently, and that is the divergence between the staid, centered 30 stocks that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the thousands which populate the NASDAQ composite exchange.

Whenever the Dow is up, it's almost certain that the NASDAQ will produce gains as well, but, when the Dow is lower, the NASDAQ is often higher, which means there are not only some major differences of opinion on which stocks to own, but also on the general nature and direction of the economy.

It appears that those invested primarily in Dow stocks are probably more conservative in their investment approach, primarily due to the collective pre-eminence of the Dow components and the fact that all stocks in the Dow pay dividends.

The NASDAQ has always been more of a speculator's paradise, where some of the best new technology, finance, energy, and medical stocks reside. It's also home to many smaller firms with limited histories and even more limited earnings records. In fact, many stocks listed on the NASDAQ don't have any earnings at all. Those are fledgling enterprises operating at a loss, a not unusual circumstance, but one of which many funds and investment advisors steer clear.

To say that stocks traded on the NASDAQ are possibly of lower quality long term and risk-sensitive would be an understatement. Consider the leading percentage gainers in today's big move to yet another all-time high.

Destination Maternity (DEST), Etsy (ETSY), Nightstar Therapeutics ADR (NITE), iQIYI ADR (IQ), and Dropbox (DBX) were the five biggest gainers.

Of those, maybe you've heard of Etsy and Dropbox. The others? Probably not. That's where the speculators are playing.

Not only is the NASDAQ home to new ideas and new companies, many of the big tech names are listed there. The top 20 most actives today included the likes of Intel, Cisco, Comcast, 21st Century Fox, Apple, Netflix, Microsoft, Facebook, and Zynga, a pretty good sampling of large, established entertainment and media companies.

Apparently, the NASDAQ is where the action is, as it has outperformed the Dow quite handily this year.

The Dow still carries the weight of the world, though, and it's been sluggish.

Which one is on the correct path? Absolutely, time will tell.

Dow Jones Industrial Average June Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
6/1/18 24,635.21 +219.37 +219.37
6/4/18 24,813.69 +178.48 +397.85
6/5/18 24,799.98 -13.71 +384.14
6/6/18 25,146.39 +346.41 +730.55
6/7/18 25,241.41 +95.02 +825.57
6/8/18 25,316.53 +75.12 +900.69
6/11/18 25,322.31 +5.78 +906.47
6/12/18 25,320.73 -1.58 +904.89
6/13/18 25,201.20 -119.53 +785.36
6/14/18 25,175.31 -25.89 +759.47

At the Close, Thursday, June 14, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,175.31, -25.89 (-0.10%)
NASDAQ: 7,761.04, +65.34 (+0.85%)
S&P 500: 2,782.49, +6.86 (+0.25%)
NYSE Composite: 12,773.15, -12.30 (-0.10%)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Stocks Split as Dow Flirts with 25,000 Mark

The Dow Industrials and the NYSE Composite ended the day lower on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ posted gains.

All of the moves were muted, amounting to nothing more than market noise, except for the frothy NASDAQ, which posted an all-time closing high at 7637.86, barely - by 0.59 points - topping the previous high from mid-May.

The soaring NASDAQ should remind veteran traders of the red-hot dot-com market of 1999 and early 2000, which ending in tatters, cascading lower in March of 2000 in one of the greatest stock market routs of all time.

It took the NASDAQ a full 13 years to regain those 2000 highs, with an additional collapse in 2007-09. If anybody is thinking that the NASDAQ is once again running full throttle on hope and hype, they're probably in the cautious camp that has seen this kind of market madness before.

The leading stocks of the NASDAQ are the usual suspect, overvalued companies - the FAANGS - and traders will be riding their valuations for as long as the good times roll. The obvious question is how long before these titans of technology roll over.

Nothing lasts forever, including stock manias based on companies that have recently come under fire for misdeeds and faulty business practices and products. Tesla (TSLA), Facebook (FB), Starbucks (SBUX), and Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG) have each had bouts of bad publicity, though the fallout hasn't readily struck their valuations.

Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) are testing their upper ranges, adding some supposed value nearly every day. Apple is approaching a valuation of one trillion dollars, while Amazon is not far behind. Is any company worth a trillion dollars? That is a lot of money.

Meanwhile, the Dow continues to plow along just below 25,000, a figure it has achieved only one time since March 13. While 25,000 is still 1600 points below the all-time high on that index, it appears to be a psychological barrier that may prove difficult to surpass and maintain.

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
6/1/18 24,635.21 +219.37 +219.37
6/4/18 24,813.69 +178.48 +397.85
6/5/18 24,799.98 -13.71 +384.14

At the Close, Tuesday, June 5, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,799.98, -13.71 (-0.06%)
NASDAQ: 7,637.86, +31.40 (+0.41%)
S&P 500: 2,748.80, +1.93 (+0.07%)
NYSE Composite: 12,658.70, -15.21 (-0.12%)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Facebook Helps Wall Street Rally; Amazon Posts Monster 1Q Surprise After Close

Facebook's (FB) blowout earnings were enough to propel markets forward for the day, but after the bell Amazon (AMZN) made serious noise when it absolutely crushed expectations, earning, in the first quarter, $3.27 per share on $51 billion in revenues for the quarter. Analysts had expected $1.27 per share on revenues of $49.96 billion. In the same quarter last year, earnings were $1.48 per share on $35.7 billion in revenue. Amazon was trading more than six percent higher in after-hours trading.

It's plain to see that Jeff Bezos of Amazon has taken internet technology and employed it to maximum capitalization. Traditional brick and mortar retailers have been failing and falling faster than the price of used shoes.

Amazon's monster quarter, combined with Friday's first estimate of first quarter GDP should be enough good news for a significant upside to close out the week. The timing could not have been better for the pushers of stock certificates, because February and March were down months for the Dow and other averages, and a third straight month of losses might have opened the selling floodgates wide.

With just two trading days remaining for the month, it's a safe bet that April will end in the black on the Dow, holding off, if only temporarily, the eventual sell-off everybody knows is coming. The Dow continues to wallow roughly 2000 points below the all-time high from January 26 (26,616.71). Expect the rally that started yesterday to continue into May, for a week or two. It should be good for 1000 Dow points at the minimum before it's exhausted. Look for pivot points upon which to place short bets, play puts or sell call options.

Dow Jones Industrial Average April Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
4/2/18 23,644.19 -458.92 -458.92
4/3/18 24,033.36 +389.17 -69.75
4/4/18 24,264.30 +230.94 +161.19
4/5/18 24,505.22 +240.92 +402.11
4/6/18 23,932.76 -572.46 -170.35
4/9/18 23,979.10 +46.34 -134.01
4/10/18 24,407.86 +428.76 +294.66
4/11/18 24,189.45 -218.55 +76.11
4/12/18 24,483.05 +293.60 +369.71
4/13/18 24,360.14 -122.91 +247.80
4/16/18 24,573.04 +212.90 +460.70
4/17/18 24,786.63 +213.59 +674.29
4/18/18 24,748.07 -38.56 +635.73
4/19/18 24,664.89 -83.18 +552.55
4/20/18 24,462.94 -201.95 +350.60
4/23/18 24,448.69 -14.25 +336.35
4/24/18 24,024.13 -424.56 -88.21
4/25/18 24,083.83 +59.70 -28.51
4/26/18 24,322.34 +238.51 +210.00

At the Close, Thursday, April 26, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,322.34, +238.51 (+0.99%)
NASDAQ: 7,118.68, +114.94 (+1.64%)
S&P 500: 2,666.94, +27.54 (+1.04%)
NYSE Composite: 12,582.90, +65.04 (+0.52%)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dow Posts Best Week Of Year; NASDAQ Falls

Confused?

In what was the best performance week of the year for the Dow (a nearly three percent gain), the NASDAQ lost more than one half percent.

The math is fairly simple. Outside of Apple (AAPL), which is a component of Dow 30 stock, the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) all got beaten down.

Facebook (FB) lost 1.78%.
Netflix (NFLX) was down 0.41%.
Amazon (AMZN) fell 1.44%, and Google (GOOG) dropped 1.10%. Additionally, another of the high-fliers, Tesla (TSLA) shed 0.75%.

Those stocks make up a mammoth portion of the total volume on the NASDAQ, thus nullifying any gains by all other stocks on the index.

Fear not, however, holders of high P/E paper, because since the Senate tax legislation was cleared Saturday morning by a narrow margin, all is well in the land of the free. Monday morning futures are pointing to a moon shot open.

For the Week Ending December 1, 2017:
Dow: +673.60 (+2.86%)
NASDAQ: -41.57 (-0.60%)
S&P 500: +39.80 (+1.53%)
NYSE Composite: +192.63 (+1.55%)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

US Equites In Danger Zone After Very Volatile Week

The US economy isn't exactly on its back, but it also isn't growing by the phony 3+ percent the government reported in the past two quarters.

Speaking strictly from an economist's perspective, the US government GDP figures include grossly-inflated government spending and just about every spare dollar their statisticians can unearth from the mainland, Alaska and Hawaii.

GDP-watching is a Wall Street phenomena, serving the interests of the corporatists who need to return dividends or share growth to stockholders. Thus, it adds impetus to the argument that investing in US corporations is a good idea. That may or may not be true, depending largely upon which corporation is attracting the investing dollars.

Obviously, the FAANGs (Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Google (Alphabet, GOOG) have been the most attractive of the past six to eight years, while quite a few have faltered. Most of the stocks making gains since the GFC of 2007-09 have been the result of massive stock buybacks, a dubious distinction, as these high-fliers are the ones most prone to collapse in the case of a market rout.

They've diluted their shares and have deployed capital in one of the worst ways, buying back shares in order to boost EPS (earnings per share). Having fewer shares available while keeping profits at roughly the same level improves EPS, but it does not expand the business potential. Banks and financials are especially guilty in this regard. They're over-leveraged and will pay a price, but their executives and shareholders are happy little clams, for now.

When the share price falls, and dividends are slashed, the shareholders will be singing a different tune. The executives will be long gone because they've proven to care only about their own pockets and bonuses.

In any case, stocks ran through a very volatile week, punctuated by a massive dead-cat-bounce rally on Thursday which stanched some of the losses incurred since all-time highs the previous Tuesday.

There could be a waterfall effect developing, because confidence is waning. The holiday shopping season - which is demonstrably longer than last year's - should provide a boost, but the economy is lurching closer to two important events: the December Fed meeting and the expected rate hike, and another round of negotiations in congress over the debt ceiling limit, both mid-month.

Elsewhere, oil remains at elevated levels, above $55/barrel for WTI crude, gold and silver were bounced around but appear ready for a breakout (as they have too many times in the past four years, with nothing to show), bonds were flatter still.

At the Close, Friday, November 17, 2017:
Dow: 23,358.24, -100.12 (-0.43%)
NASDAQ 6,782.79, -10.50 (-0.15%)
S&P 500: 2,578.85, -6.79 (-0.26%)
NYSE Composite: 12,302.89, -0.39 (0.00%)

For the Week:
Dow: -63.97 (-0.27%)
NASDAQ: +31.85 (+0.47%)
S&P 500: -3.45 (-0.13%)
NYSE Composite: -19.71 (-0.16%)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Which Way is Up? Stocks Battered Again; VIX, Bond Yields Exploding

Volatility is back, to the chagrin of equity investors who have enjoyed the easiest ride to Easy Street possibly in the history of the US stock market.

The VIX, a broad measure of market volatility, spiked today as high as 15.16, a huge move, considering the close on Wednesday was 10.03. That's better than a 50% move to the top, though the slaughter was interrupted and canceled midday, when it appeared the world was ending. No doubt, the PPT another central bank cohorts rushed to the aid of everybody in quelling the panic, sending the VIX back to 11.44 at the end of the session.

The Vix halting helped the major indices to some degree, though it could not stem the selling. The Dow melted down as low as 21,203, a full 250 points from the close on Wednesday. The NASDAQ was again hit full force, bottoming out at 6090, before receiving somewhat to close with a mere 90-point loss.

With the Federal Reserve's loose policy unchecked for eight years running, stock picking has been easier than throwing darts at a barn door. Despite the easy money, most hedge fund and money managers have failed to keep pace with simple indices, a shameful state of affairs for the people who are supposed to know what they're doing when it comes to investing. Now, as everything from the presidency to health care to the media and the future of the global economy is being questioned, the bifurcated reasoning of ultra-low interest rates and gambling recklessly in equities is beginning to lose some favor.

All of this came as the government reported, prior to the opening bell, first quarter GDP at a surprising 1.4% growth rate. This was the third estimate, after the first - back in April - came in at 0.7, and the second, in May, was better, at 1.2, were still below an acceptable range. Apparently, nobody is particularly interested in an economy that is growing at less than two percent, and maybe even less interested in the government's goal-seeking statistical chicanery.

It seems, from all appearances, that the Federal Reserve is being taken seriously about rising rates, if one agrees that bonds tell the real story. The rally in the 10-year note has been shunted, with yields spiking the past few days, opening at nearly 2.30%. The note closed at 2.267, a gain of better than two percent, a large move in treasuries.

Tech stocks were the usual suspects, as the FAANGs took the heat. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google all suffered losses on heavy volume.

So, is this the beginning of the end of the bull market?

Maybe. Maybe not. Nobody really would know, though there are those of the opinion that the market is vastly overextended and the core economy is under-performing and facing severe deflationary pressure.

What to watch now are the movie averages. The Dow is still gleefully above its 50-day moving average, but the NASDAQ closed precisely on its 50-day, as is the S&P. Further weakness could send sell signals and a plummet through the 50-day toward the 200-day.

Also to keep in mind is the rough guideline for correction territory, which is casually assumed to be a 10% decline.

The NASDAQ topped out at 6341.70, nearly three weeks ago. A quick look at a NASDAQ chart reveals the collapse on Friday, June 9, exactly three weeks ago as of tomorrow, as if somebody rang a bell, denoting the tippy-top of the market. A level of 5707 would have to be met for the NAZ to fall 10% and it is the most vulnerable index, having had the best run-up over the past three months.

Not that it would be a huge move, though significant in percentage terms, but it would erase gains all the way back to February 9, so just five months of lost appreciation.

Friday closes out not only the week, but the month and the quarter, so it should be instructive from a technical standpoint, if that actually matters any more.

Bull markets do not last forever, no matter how low interest rates are nor how easy money is to lend.

At the Close, 6/29/17:
Dow: 21,287.03, -167.58 (-0.78%)
NASDAQ Composite: 6,144.35, -90.06 (-1.44%)
S&P 500: 2,419.70, -20.99 (-0.86%)
NYSE Composite: 11,739.98, -72.82 (-0.62%)

Monday, June 12, 2017

What Happened Friday? A Shaky Trend Is Developing

Strangely enough, the skyrocketing NASDAQ took a serve turn for the worse on Friday, dropping a massive 113 points at the same time the Dow was setting a new record with an 89-point gain and the NYSE Composite tacked on 65 points.

What drove the NASDAQ to its knees on Friday were the stocks known as FAANGs - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google - taking hits to their massively-overvalued share prices.

Here's the ugly reality
Facebook (FB) -5.11 (-3.30%); Apple (AAPL) -6.01 (-3.88%); Amazon (AMZN) -31.96 (-3.16%); Netflix (NFLX) -7.85 (-4.73%); Alphabet (parent of Google) (GOOG) -33.58 (-3.41%).

One-day, three-to-five-percent declines in any equity is usually a big deal. Having all of these institutionally-widely held stocks take a nosedive like that on a single day is a large, red, flashing warning sign that something is fundamentally wrong with the market, the economy, maybe even the world.

These shares weren't dumped all at once because somebody was taking profits. Volume was three times normal. Everybody was booking gains, and probably with good reason. The price/earning ratios for these tech darlings are unsustainable. Netflix leads the way with a P/E of 204, followed by Amazon, at 184, according to Yahoo Finance. Google seems modest by comparison, at 32. Facebook is 38, and Apple looks downright cheap with a P/E around 17.

So, only two of these stocks are wickedly overpriced, using standard metrics, but they all suffer some similar characteristics: They are all tech companies, based on the West coast, run by billionaire founders (excepting Apple, though Tim Cook was surely an heir apparent to Steve Jobs). The only other company that comes to mind with these characteristics is Microsoft (MSFT). The company founded by Bill Gates took a pretty good hit on Friday, down 1.63 (-2.27%).

Does this suggest that the "big one" is about to shake out the left coast, battering California from LA to San Jose with aftershocks up the coast to Seattle? And just how would anybody know that? OK, that theory falls into the category of tin-foil hat conspiracy theory, but, if Cali shakes, rattles and rolls someday soon, Money Daily will take credit for calling it (that's a joke, son).

Outside of Friday's tumult, general economic data has not been encouraging. First quarter GDP was 1.2% (second estimate), which is pretty close to stall speed. The US - and largely the global - economy has been anything but robust since the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09. Captains of finance at places like the World Bank, the Fed, ECB, and elsewhere have been touting "recovery" for eight years, wherein none, in fact, has occurred, unless one peers only at stock charts all day. While stocks have soared on easy money accommodation, he same cannot be said of Main Street's outlook. Retail stores are closing everywhere in America, small business has already been dumped into the trash bin of history, and new company creation has hit a 27-year low. Additionally, the Fed is hell-bent on raising rates for the second time this year when the FOMC meets on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

What's troubling about the fall of the FAANGs is that these companies have largely benefitted off the backs of consumers, monopolizing markets and cannibalizing profits to the C-suite executives. Now, the largest shareholders - pension, mutual, and hedge funds - may be taking their money elsewhere, either to cash, bonds, or, maybe just to more stolid, established, dividend-paying stocks. It's tough to know, groupthink among the elites being difficult to gauge or define.

Whatever the case, with the smallish losses on the Dow and S&P earlier in the week followed by a fallout in the most speculative stocks establishes a trend, which, for now, we can only identify as "shaky."

With most stocks and indices hovering near all-time highs, shaky is not a word one would normally associate with risk-taking. The time to run is when the avalanche is first seen at the top of the mountain, not when it barrels into the lodge.

At the Close, 6/9/17:
Dow: 21,271.97, +89.44 (0.42%)
NASDAQ 6,207.92, -113.85 (-1.80%)
S&P 500 2,431.77, -2.02 (-0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,744.73, +65.78 (0.56%)

For the Week:
Dow: +65.68 (0.31%)
NASDAQ: -97.88 (-1.55%)
S&P 500: -7.30 (-0.30%)
NYSE Composite: +26.03 (0.22%)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Stocks Little Changed For Week With Tech Titans Continuing Leadership

Taken as a whole, the week on Wall Street was about as exciting as a Gheorghe Zamfir concert, without the music.

Stocks gyrated through very narrow ranges, extending a pattern that have prevailed - with only minor aberrations - since late March. In that span of time the major averages are roughly even on a daily and weekly basis, the major exception being the NASDAQ, which continues to climb without regard to fundamentals, driven largely on an odd combination of momentum, hope, faith, greed and a noticeable absence of fear, pricing out major tech companies, especially Alphabet (GOOG), parent of Google; Amazon (AMZN); Apple (AAPL); and Facebook (FB).

Those four companies have outperformed the broader market and carried the whole of Wall Street with it. In an investing environment largely devoid of critical analysis, these "no-brainers" of tech 2.0 or 3.0, or whatever moniker one wishes to place upon the rapid multiple expansion in this space, a few stocks make for giddy headlines.

The facts be damned; all of the investment money from funds and pension plans are routinely flowing into this small piece of the pie, crowding out smaller firms which operate without the largess of the Wall Street elite connected by the hip to the Federal Reserve.

It's a troubling scenario which bears watching closely as the bull market continues to run at its own pace. With the Fed and central bank cronies underwriting the entire market, there's a fakery here that is reminiscent of the tightly-held mainstream media.

Happy hunting!


At the Close, 5/12/17:
Dow: 20,896.61, -22.81 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 6,121.23, +5.27 (0.09%)
S&P 500: 2,390.90, -3.54 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 11,547.05, -16.55 (-0.14%)

For the week:
Dow: -110.33 (-0.53%)
NASDAQ: +20.47 (0.34%)
S&P 500: -3.54 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: -68.54 (-0.59%)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rally Falls Short in Final Hour; NASDAQ Still Down for the Week; Investors Not Biting on FANGs

Of the hardest hit stocks, many of them, including some of the tech all-stars, such as Facebook (FB), Amazon.com (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Alphabet (Google, GOOG), otherwise known as the FANGs have been mercilessly sold off since December, and, likely, for good reason.

Overall, their price-earnings ratios are stratospheric, they don't actually make anything, Amazon, in particular, rarely turns a profit, and they don't offer dividends, only appreciation in stock price as their sole saving grace.

Take away the increasing stock price and what have you got? Losses as far as the eye can see, and traders have recently shied and run away from these four horsemen of the internet.

The big winner today was Facebook, which gained nearly three percent, but is still down close to 10% overall. The others didn't fare quite so well. Amazon gained close to 2%, though it is still down over 12% since December 30. Netflix added back just 0.5%, and is down close to 20% since highs made the first week of December. Google, the best of the bunch, with regular profits and solid earnings quarter after quarter, gained 2% and is only down about 8% since after Christmas.

Fourth quarter earnings are coming due for the bunch of them, and market participants will be eager to note any difficulties experienced during the holiday period, though Amazon could surprise, as more and more people flocked to the web for holiday shopping in the past year.

Otherwise, it was a hopeful day on Wall Street, though the massive rally sparked by St. Louis Fed governor James Bullard's comments that the low price of oil was an impediment to the Fed's 2% inflation target, and thus, the Fed may "rethink" its interest rate hike policy for 2016.

While lower oil - and consequently gas - prices are good for everyone except possibly the oil companies and the Fed, Bullard's jawboning served to send the markets soaring on the day, wiping out much of Wednesday's steep losses.

However, the rally fell short in the final hour, as traders exhausted their buying optimism.

Not much should be made from today's trade. Stocks are still moribund and stuck well below all-time highs. The hope of making back the losses of the past two weeks is slim, and anyone thinking the indices will retrace all the way back to all-time highs made in May 2015 is whistling past the grave.

Unless earnings for the fourth quarter are utterly surprising to the upside, expect the pattern of wild swings to continue. Global markets are still in trouble, as is the worldwide currency crisis, reaching from Japan to China, Australia, Europe and even to Canada, where the looney has lost significantly to the dollar due to the downturn in the price of oil.

It's indeed unfortunate that so many keys of economics are locked to the price of oil, because, by most measures, the price is going to stay low or lower for an extended period of time, pushing all other prices down with it. At the apex of the deflationary spiral, oil, which powers more than just machines, pushes down prices for virtually all products, from manufactured to agricultural.

The rally today erased the loss for the week on the Dow, left the S&P virtually unchanged, and the NASDAQ with a 26-point loss. Friday will determine whether the week ends with a positive or negative tone.

The day's action:
S&P 500: 1,921.84, +31.56 (1.67%)
Dow: 16,379.05, +227.64 (1.41%)
NASDAQ: 4,615.00, +88.94 (1.97%)


Crude Oil 31.09 +2.00% Gold 1,077.20 -0.91% EUR/USD 1.0867 -0.14% 10-Yr Bond 2.0980 +1.55% Corn 358.25 +0.07% Copper 1.98 +1.12% Silver 13.85 -2.20% Natural Gas 2.14 -5.69% Russell 2000 1,025.67 +1.53% VIX 23.95 -5.04% BATS 1000 20,474.30 +1.64% GBP/USD 1.4412 -0.07% USD/JPY 118.0400 +0.34%