Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google. 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, October 29, 2019

S&P Sets Record All-Time High; Fake Trump Tweet; FOMC Meeting to Begin

With an FOMC meeting in the dock for Tuesday, investors took the opportunity to ramp stocks higher prior to the expected 25 basis point cut to the federal funds rate. Just prior to the opening bell, an apparently fake news story about a presidential tweet appeared on ZeroHedge.com, saying President Trump tweeted, "today will be a good day in the stock market," and, "the China deal is moving forward ahead of schedule."

We checked the president's twitter feed and could not find any such tweet. We also checked Bloomberg, which featured an article on President Trump's tweets that related to the stock market. No such tweet was shown in the article.

This clearly looks like a somebody spoofed the grammatically-challenged Zero Hedge website. It was most likely one of their "reliable" email contacts trying to look good. It's a shame that "the Hedge" has slumped to such low levels of journalism - if that's what you want to call it - because it is normally a pretty good source for economic news not found elsewhere.

Recently, Zero Hedge has taken to posting political and other non-economic articles, to its detriment. Many of the commentators who frequented Zero Hedge in its heyday (2008-2009), prior to it being purchased by ABC Media (British Columbia, not the US media giant). According to the one-liner in the website's footer - Copyright ©2009-2019 ZeroHedge.com/ABC Media, LTD - the company took it out of the original owner's hands in 2009, as the GFC was winding down.

For the S&P 500, Monday was a special occasion, setting a new all-time record high closing. Trump may not have pumped it with a tweet, but his "America First" policies have certainly contributed to the rise of all US indices.

If stocks were overvalued prior to Monday, they are even more overvalued now, and will likely be uber-overvalued after the FOMC announces another rate cut on Wednesday.

In the meantime, earnings season is in full swing. The big story was Google parent, Alphabet, third quarter earnings, reported after the close. Alphabet posted a per-share profit of $10.12 in the quarter, decidedly below the $13.06 a share from the same period last year. Analysts polled by Bloomberg were expecting a per-share profit of $12.35.

The sizable miss was due largely to losses in investments. Among investments that may have contributed to the loss, Alphabet was involved with Uber and Slack, two companies that recently IPO'd and have lost value.

Little of this will affect Tuesday's trade outside of Alphabet (GOOG). There's far too much enthusiasm for equities and anticipation of looser monetary policy from the Fed already backed into the mix.

At the Close, Monday, October 28, 2009:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,090.72, +132.66 (+0.49%)
NASDAQ: 8,325.99, +82.87 (+1.01%)
S&P 500: 3,039.42, +16.87 (+0.56%)
NYSE Composite: 13,186.43, +40.19 (+0.31%)

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%)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Stocks Can't Gain Traction; Tech, Industrials Lead Broad Decline

Continuing the stock rout that began in earnest two weeks ago became deeper and more pronounced on Thursday as broad declines sent speculators scurrying for cover.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its fifth triple-digit loss of the month and its eighth losing session in 14 trading days this month. The index is down nearly 1500 points from the all-time high reached at the close on October 3rd (26.828.39). If this isn't the beginning of a serious correction or bear market, it certainly looks like one.

Only five of the 30 Dow stocks managed gains, led by Verizon (VZ, 54.65, +0.69, +1.28%). Exxon Mobil and Chevron were also among the few winners, despite another day of declines in oil futures, which slumped below $69/barrel for the first time in a month. Mirroring the decline in stocks, WTI crude futures peaked on October 3rd at 76.20, but it's been all downhill since.

Caterpillar (CAT) was the Dow's biggest loser, dragged down nearly four percent on poor results from industry peers. CAT is off nearly 15% since October 3rd.

The other major indices suffered more serious losses, with the NASDAQ leading the way down, losing 157 points, more than a two percent drop. Once again, tech stocks dominated those losing ground, with Netflix, Google, Apple, and Tesla all declining by more than two percent.

There seems to be no escaping the cascade of falling stocks in October, traditionally one of the most volatile months for equities. No sector is particularly a safe haven, though utility stocks have largely been spared, thanks to low alpha and steady dividends.

The Dow needs only to finish Friday with a loss of 39 points or better to avoid a fourth straight weekly decline. A solid close to the week would also allow the S&P and NASDAQ to close out the week with gains, thanks to Tuesday's melt-up advance. However, stocks in Europe are losing ground in early Friday trading.

Dow Jones Industrial Average October Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
10/1/18 26,651.21 +192.90 +192.90
10/2/18 26,773.94 +122.73 +315.63
10/3/18 26,828.39 +54.45 +370.08
10/4/18 26,627.48 -200.91 +169.17
10/5/18 26,447.05 -180.43 -11.26
10/8/18 26,486.78 +39.73 +28.47
10/9/18 26,430.57 -56.21 -27.74
10/10/18 25,598.74 -831.83 -859.57
10/11/18 25,052.83 -545.91 -1405.48
10/12/18 25,339.99 +287.16 -1118.32
10/15/18 25,250.55 -89.44 -1207.76
10/16/18 25,798.42 +547.87 -659.89
10/17/18 25,706.68 -91.74 -751.63
10/18/18 25,379.45 -327.23 -1078.86

At the Close, Thursday, October 18, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,379.45, -327.23 (-1.27%)
NASDAQ: 7,485.14, -157.56 (-2.06%)
S&P 500: 2,768.78, -40.43 (-1.44%)
NYSE Composite: 12,445.48, -167.57 (-1.33%)

Monday, September 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

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

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Stocks Flatlined In Bifurcated Trading; Can Reform MAGA?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 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%)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Weekend Wrap: Booming Economy, Gradual Inflation Boosts US Stocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

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

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


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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Stocks Stagnate Prior To Google's Blowout Report

Stocks continued to loll around the unchanged mark to open the week's trading. The major indices have not moved much at all in the past week, though there could be a sudden lift after Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG), reported second quarter earnings that smashed expectations.

The $5 billion fine leveled against Google the for antitrust violations by the European Union will barely dent the company's reported $100+ billion in cash and marketable securities.

While Google may stand alone atop the tech heap, it may need help lifting the rest of the market off the mark. Investors appear to be awaiting the report on second quarter GDP before making definitive decisions regarding stock purchases or sales.

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

At the Close, Monday, July 23, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,044.29, -13.83 (-0.06%)
NASDAQ: 7,841.87, +21.67 (+0.28%)
S&P 500: 2,806.98, +5.15 (+0.18%)
NYSE Composite: 12,794.05, +4.14 (+0.03%)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Dow, NASDAQ Hammered As Investors Continue Flight, FAANGs Pounded; What a Mess!

How's this for a healthy economy?

Facebook (FB): 196.35, -5.39 (-2.67%)
Amazon (AMZN): 1,663.15, -52.52 (-3.06%)
Apple (AAPL): 182.17, -2.75 (-1.49%)
Netflix (NFLX): 384.48, -26.61 (-6.47%)
Google (Alphabet, GOOG): 1,124.81, -30.67 (-2.65%)


...and, for good measure,

Tesla (TSLA): 333.01, -0.62 (-0.19%)

Tesla gets special consideration because its demise will be swift, painful and awe-inspiring for a variety of reasons. First, the company is run by a person (Elon Musk) who is almost certainly bi-polar, meaning he's brilliant, but eventually a nut-case, like a Pee Wee Herman on steroids. Second, the company has mountains of debt which will not likely be serviced in an orderly manner. Third, the cars keep bursting into flames. Fourth, and possibly most important, the competition in the eVehicle category is fierce and will swallow up the upstart. Everybody from Porsche, to BMW, to Jaguar has invested heavily in battery powered vehicles and these companies have more expertise and money than little Tesla.

Telsa is one of those companies that is wildly overvalued and ripe for a fall. It was spared today because nobody has any nterest in selling it just yet. They're all along for the ride (pardon the pun). When the bugs start getting squashed on the windshield, so to speak, it will be epic. Tesla's EPS is a humorous (if you're not an investor) -13.97 per share. Yep, they're losing money on every car they sell, and they don't make it up on volume. This one's a definite long-term short.

As for the rest of the market, one can only assume that seasoned veterans of the investing business see what's ahead. Trade wars don't help, but they're certainly not the only cause. Stock buybacks will prove to be disastrous once the price drops become permanent (soon, within months or weeks). The FAANGs in particular have been responsible for up to 75% of the recent gains on the NASDAQ, and they're based on nothing more than herd behavior. The stocks were hot, everybody got in. When everybody tries to get out, days like today are the result. Expect more of them over the next 3-5 months.

Lest one needs reminding, the Dow confirmed bear market conditions on April 9, and that HAS NOT CHANGED. Nor will it. Stocks will continue to be out of favor for the foreseeable future. Selected, mostly-defensive stocks will fare better than the recent high-flyers, but most money managers who can are turning aggressively to cash because they see no way out of an end-of-cycle bust scenario.

The market decline, top to bottom, could take another 12 to 18 months, having begun in February of this year and we haven't even hit recession yet, which is likely to occur in the fourth quarter of this year or the Q1 2019, though a third quarter negative read is not yet off the table, though unlikely.

The initial panic phase caused by the February correction on the Dow was only the beginning. The Dow is closing in on a second correction at 23,954. It will have to fall below 21,292 to be officially called a bear market (-20%), but by then, it's probably too late for many, who will be forced to take the ride down to wherever it finally rests. Anybody paying attention has already been on alert and hopefully divesting with profits.

While the next market bear bottom will be substantially lower than where it is today, it is unlikely to be the end of the world, though to many, it will seem like it. The current phase is slower and more grinding, such as witnessed over the past two weeks. The Dow has only seen one close to the upside in the last 10 sessions, and this was the largest decline since May 29 (-391.64), though there have been more than enough triple-digit declines and gains in the interim and surely more to come.

Today's drop on the Dow wiped out all of June's gains and is within 140 points of flushing the gains from April (+50) and May (+252), which would make the second quarter a loser, just like the first, although, with nothing to backstop markets here, still be not equal than the losses experienced in the first quarter. There's only four more trading days left in the quarter and the scramble is underway to shed losers and find safe havens.

Good luck with that.

Next stop for the Dow, on the downside, is somewhere between 22,700 and 23,300. It should get a bounce of maybe 400-600 points from there, but the trend is surely to the downside for the near and long term.

The treasury yield curve flattened just a touch on the day, with two particularly interesting flavors. The 5s-10s spread is now a measly 12 basis points (2.75%, 2.87%). That's not much of a premium on the benchmark 10-year note over the five. Why wait an additional five years to get your money back at basically the same rate? The 10s-30s spread is only 16 bips (3.02%). That's flat. As a pancake. If the 5s-10s invert, all hell breaks loose, and it's not out of the question that it could happen, soon, possibly within weeks.

Anybody holding gold or silver should be selling if not altogether out by now. The PMs have been a poor choice since 2012, but the silver lining is that they will be even cheaper in coming months. The metals, through the magic of rampant manipulation by central banks, are mirroring stocks presently, and, as they did during the GFC of 2008-09, will be ripped lower on redemptions and hustles for cash, but will likely be the first to recover.

It's advisable to sell out of PMs now and buy them back at a lower price come later this year. Gold may hit $950, and silver $13.50 before any bounce.

Invest wisely. Drink Kambucha. Drive a Porsche.

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
6/15/18 25,090.48 -84.83 +674.64
6/18/18 24,987.47 -103.01 +571.63
6/19/18 24,700.21 -287.26 +284.37
6/20/18 24,657.80 -42.41 +241.96
6/21/18 24,461.70 -196.10 +45.86
6/22/18 24,580.89 +119.19 +165.05
6/25/18 24,252.80 -328.09 -163.04

At the Close, Monday, June 25, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,252.80, -328.09 (-1.33%)
NASDAQ: 7,532.01, -160.81 (-2.09%)
S&P 500: 2,717.07, -37.81 (-1.37%)
NYSE Composite: 12,481.60, -157.97 (-1.25%)

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%)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Stocks Tumble As Investors Flee Overvalued Stocks

Today was yet another example of the kind of days which are typical in a bear market, and make no mistake, this is the early phase of what could become a raging bear which will strip stocks of 40-60% of their valuations. Stocks were higher in the early trading and slumped in the afternoon, with the Dow Industrials closing at its lowest level in three weeks.

With today's losses, the Dow has plunged into negative territory for the month, following back-to-back declines for February and March. Even earning reports are not enough to keep stocks elevated, especially after Alphabet (parent of Google, GOOG) posted what appeared to be strong numbers only to reveal increasing expenses, crushing profit margins.

Dow component 3M (MMM) led the decline after posting earnings per share of $2.50, which missed analyst estimates of $2.52, and were 16% higher than the $2.16 posted in the year-ago period. The stock was blasted, losing 14.77 points (-6.84%) to end the day at 201.11.

Caterpillar was close behind in the loss column, down -9.80 points (-6.36%).

Alphabet dropped a stunning -47.47 (-4.45%) to close out the session at 1,019.98.

Only six of 30 Dow stocks managed gains on the day. The NASDAQ and other major indices were also badly damaged.

The prevailing trend this earnings season has been that whatever a company posts, it's probably not good enough for anybody seeking to get out of a position, as risk aversion has suddenly become popular once again, especially with yields on the ten-year-note approaching three percent and precious metals (gold, silver) at bargain basement prices.

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

At the Close, Tuesday, April 24, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,024.13, -424.56 (-1.74%)
NASDAQ: 7,007.35, -121.25 (-1.70%)
S&P 500: 2,634.56, -35.73 (-1.34%)
NYSE Composite: 12,513.91, -96.87 (-0.77%)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

FAANGs, NASDAQ Under Assault as Investors Book Profits

Profit-taking in tech stocks continued on Monday as high-flying, high-p/e companies known affectionately as the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) were subjected to relentless, high-volume selling.

For the record, here's how these tech darlings fared on Monday:
Facebook (FB) 171.47, -3.63 (-2.07%)
Apple (AAPL) 169.80, -1.25 (-0.73%)
Amazon (AMZN) 1,133.95, -28.40 (-2.44%)
Netflix (NFLX) 184.04, -2.78 (-1.49%)
Alphabet (Google, GOOG) 998.68, -11.49 (-1.14%)

General holders of these stocks are not yet alarmed over the losses which began a week ago, following the last-gasp ramping over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, because the companies have been among the best performers since January.

What is apparent is that investors are taking profits made in these stocks - none of which, other than Apple, offers dividends - and investing largely in Dow companies, all of which provide dividends to shareholders.

There's nothing unusual about what analysts typically call "sector rotation," except that the movement is quite pronounced. The S&P and Dow have outperformed the NASDAQ for six straight sessions.

With the markets less than two hours from the opening bell on Tuesday, futures are diverging wildly, with Dow futures up in the range of 130 points, while NASDAQ futures are falling by 90 points or greater.

At the Close, Monday, December 4, 2017:
Dow: 24,290.05, +58.46 (+0.24%)
NASDAQ: 6,775.37, -72.22 (-1.05%)
S&P 500: 2,639.44, -2.78 (-0.11%)
NYSE Composite: 12,634.89, +20.33 (+0.16%)

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%)

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%)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Wall Street Stalling As DC Politicians Fight Over Nothing, Threaten Shutdown

The NASDAQ recorded another record close (6,048.94), but stocks struggled to remain positive Thursday as politicians in Washington continued to wrangle over funding the government and a potential vote on a replacement for Obamacare.

Democrats have called for a government shutdown if the Republicans bring a health care bill to the House floor before passing a continuing resolution for federal government funding.

This seems to be all that the politicos in Washington - and, apparently, the wizards of Wall Street - care about at present, though first quarter corporate earnings continue to be largely impressive.

Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG), released impressive first quarter results. Both stocks were up sharply on the day, but there was little luster elsewhere.

With gridlock having become the norm for the sacred cows of congress, investors need to begin looking beyond the sham that is government, which loses money all the time and is generally a burden to taxpayers rather than a benefit, for other catalysts to keep the eight-year bull market ramping along.

Nothing good is going to come out of Washington, DC, for the foreseeable future. Investors should turn a blind eye toward the nation's capitol and focus in on business, the true creator of capital.

At The Close, Thursday, April 27, 2017:
Dow: 20,981.33, +6.24 (0.03%)
NASDAQ: 6,048.94, +23.71 (0.39%)
S&P 500: 2,388.77, +1.32 (0.06%)
NYSE Composite: -11,578.52, -14.39 (-0.12%)

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%