Showing posts with label supply and demand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supply and demand. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Oil Crashes, Takes Stocks Down With It

Quite literally, oil is the grease of the global economy. Nothing moves unless oil is pumped, shipped, distilled and employed in the manufacture of just about everything. It is instrumental not only in manufacturing, but in food production and distribution.

Thus, when the price of oil crumbles, as it did on Tuesday, it worth taking notice. WTI crude futures were down sharply on Monday and again on Tuesday, dipping below $46 per barrel before recovering slightly to around $46.50. Tuesday's slide marked a $30 decline in the price of crude in just the past three months. On a percentage basis, oil is off 40% from its high of $76 per barrel in early October, coinciding with an all-time high recorded on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (October 3).

While the price drop may superficially be assigned to oversupply, there's also the condition of slack demand amid what is largely being hailed as a global slowdown set to commence early in 2019, if not already well underway. If companies aren't growing, they're not using more oil. With too much supply already weighing down prices, a perceived lack of demand is causing futures traders to panic.

The price of oil is going to be a boon to consumers as gas prices have been dropping, with some states now seeing gas at the pump for under $2.00 per gallon. Cheaper gas helps people with moderate income, freeing up capital for other expenses. The last time oil was down in this range (2015-16) the price dropped as low as $30 per barrel but at the time, people expressed a desire to either save the extra money they weren't spending on gas or pay down debt. If that's the generally-accepted policy for consumers at this juncture, it's going to play right into the global slowdown meme and send not just oil and gas prices tumbling, but stocks as well, as has already been the case.

As far as stocks were concerned, traders tried to shrug off Monday's crushing losses by bidding the Dow up by more than 300 points on Tuesday. As has been the case for weeks, the rally fizzled midday, and the Dow - along with the other US indices - fell into negative territory early in the afternoon. In what's become something of a motif for this current regime of volatility, short-covering perked up the indices into the close, but the entire session wasn't much of a response to Monday's mess. In fact, there was more weakness on display as stocks failed to hold ground, finishing with minor success.

With oil in the dumps and stocks hitting the skids, now might be the right time to cash out and walk away from the betting tables. After all, it is December. Any losing wagers can help with the inevitable tax bill come April.

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

At the Close, Tuesday, December 18, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,675.64, +82.66 (+0.35%)
NASDAQ: 6,783.91, +30.18 (+0.45%)
S&P 500: 2,546.16, +0.22 (+0.01%)
NYSE Composite: 11,502.16, -29.96 (-0.26%)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dow Down 100, NASDAQ Up 0.01; Crude Oil the Culprit

From the You Can't Make This Stuff Up Department:

The Dow was down 100 points (and 69 cents, but who's counting), while the NASDAQ finished a hectic day of trading with a gain of 0.01. All told, this was a losing session, as both the S&P 500 and NYSE Composite ended the day underwater.

One might have assumed that Tuesday's losses were an extension from Monday, with Apple leading stocks lower, but, even though the Cupertino computer colossus did finish lower by an even one percent, the biggest losers on the Dow were energy companies ExxonMobil and Chevron, which bracketed Boeing (BA), a 2.11% loser. XOM lost 2.29%. CVX was down 1.74%.

Volatility in stocks is making everybody crazy. The Dow was up 1075 points over the first six sessions in November, but has given back 905 in the past three sessions, leaving it up a mere 170 points for the month, one which traditionally is among the best for long players.

Thus, the answer to the question of what moved markets today is simple: the price of oil, as WTI crude lost ground for the 12th straight day. At $55.19, it's at the lowest level since November last year. Tuesday's decline was also the largest during the recent rout, down nearly eight percent.

Saudi Arabia reduced its estimate for global demand from two million barrels per day to 1.29 million, sending the price sharply lower. Oil peaked on October 3rd, above $76/barrel, and has been on a diagonal course lower since, now officially in a bear market.

While the Saudi's may be fretting over demand and promising production cuts in the near future, the real villain in the oil patch is supply. There's been a glut of oil forever, and the only movement in price was due to artificial crises, forced production cuts, and pure speculation. In June of 2017, WTI crude oil was going for $46/barrel, but was bumped up continuously over the next 16 months before the recent setback. From all indications, reduced demand and oversupply could push prices down below $50/barrel before Thanksgiving and further declines might be a welcome Christmas present for drivers and those who heat their homes with oil.

A lower price for oil, and, consequently, for gasoline and other derivatives, should act to boost the general economy, allowing consumers more disposable income to spend on necessities and/or holiday splurges, all of which should be positive for markets. However, the math isn't quite so simple, as Americans, beset with record credit card and other debt, might tighten their collective belts and pay down some of those nasty, recurring, monthly bills on credit cards with interest rates well beyond what used to be considered usury.

For the pair traders out there, that would mean shorting oil stocks and financials while buying consumer staples and cyclicals.

Fun for everyone.

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

At the Close, Tuesday, November 13, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,286.49, -100.69 (-0.40%)
NASDAQ: 7,200.88, +0.01 (0.00%)
S&P 500: 2,722.18, -4.04 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 12,328.23, -15.28 (-0.12%)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stocks Creamed At Opening, Rally For Minor Losses

As mentioned in the most recent post, stocks tested a variety of support levels on Tuesday and actually crashed right through them early in the session.

But, about 10:30 am ET, a rally began, first in fits and starts, but by noon, it was well underway, lifting stocks well off their lows and continuing until... until... well, no, the major indices didn't turn positive, not even for a fleeting instant. By 3:00 pm all of the "greater fools" had been had, the dip buyers had bought all the dips they could and stocks drifted slightly lower into the close.

What started with the Dow down nearly 550 points, the NASDAQ off by more than 200, the S&P losing more than 60 points and the NYSE Composite down 264, ended with merely pedestrian losses and investors wiping the sweat from their furrowed brows. Once again, as has happened so many times during the Fed-led bull market of the 2010s, stocks averted catastrophe and sailed through the day thanks to so-called bargain hunters, that rare breed of speculators who believe buying a stock that's three to five percent off its highs is some kind of grand deal.

This is more than likely the coordinated work of central banks, who are not ever audited, who can created limitless amounts of funny money with the push of a button, and who have done so regularly in order to keep alive the dreams of prosperity and financial security for millions, by inventing - and then investing - trillions.

Behind the scene presented to the unsuspecting, unprofessional investing class - those people with retirements and life savings locked into 401k and other accounts - there was real damage. One index that did not recover very well at all was the Dow Jones Transportation Index, which slipped 199 points, to 10,237.02, a loss of 1.90%, sending it well below the key level of 10,397.23, its most recent low, from October 11, while also descending into correction territory for a second time this month, below 10,413.

With the transports falling like a bowling ball off a cliff, the importance of transportation to the rest of the economy has to be put into question. If nothing's moving, or, at least moving with less alacrity and determination, how strong is the whole economy? With their relevance to the Industrials via Dow Theory and in real life practice, the transports are the answer in search of a question, the question being how long can the slip-slide-recover charade continue before the bottom falls completely out?

The other fly in the financial ointment is, and has been, oil. WTI crude lost ground again today, sliding more than four percent into the low-$66 range, well off the $76/barrel high recently achieved. Not to offer a punnish perception, but oil greases the skids of industry and transportation. Lower pricing for the world's most vital commodity can mean one of three things: 1) lack of demand, 2) oversupply, 3) global recession. Of course, a combination of all three might be the correct analysis, though the implications of such a paroxysm might trigger a more virile reaction amongst the monied class.

Considering the ramifications of the major indices falling straight through support levels and then rebounding to more respectable levels, plus the demise of oil and the transports, one can easily conclude that the October volatility that has been apparent since the start of the month is nowhere near abatement. Even the mediocre losses today add to somebody's misery, though the pain felt is being doled out in small units, much like Chinese water torture, rather than having investors suffer the quick blade of the guillotine in a sudden crash (that may be saved for closer to the mid-term elections).

Stating the very, very obvious, this is far from over.

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 -1,405.48
10/12/18 25,339.99 +287.16 -1,118.32
10/15/18 25,250.55 -89.44 -1,207.76
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 -1,078.86
10/19/18 25,444.34 +64.89 -1,013.97
10/22/18 25,317.41 -126.93 -1,140.90
10/23/18 25,191.43 -125.98 -1,265.88

At the Close, Tuesday, October 23, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,191.43, -125.98 (-0.50%)
NASDAQ: 7,437.54, -31.09 (-0.42%)
S&P 500: 2,740.69, -15.19 (-0.55%)
NYSE Composite: 12,287.44, -87.33 (-0.71%)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Small Gains in Nowhere Market

Stocks continue their September dance, going nowhere fast, admirably marking time between Labor Day and the mid-term elections. November 2 cannot get here quickly enough for most of the remaining participants in the market. There's no upside to either the market or the economy in sight and lingering fears of a stagnation or limited growth potential in the US have investors, traders and casual players on the sidelines.

The slow pace of the market is making for some dull reporting - this blog included - and the days of "everybody's an investor" seem to be officially and permanently gone. The ownership society has given way to a nation of savers, worriers and soon-to-be-retirees.

For the second straight day, stocks ramped up at the open and sold off throughout the day. Even though the major indices have recorded gains in five of the past six sessions, there's an unmistakable, unsustainable feeling to it all.

Dow 10,415.24, +28.23 (0.27%)
NASDAQ 2,236.20, +7.33 (0.33%)
S&P 500 1,104.19, +5.32 (0.48%)
NYSE Composite 7,034.17, +34.23 (0.49%)

Advancing issues led decliners again, though the margin has narrowed, 3331-2352. New highs remained well ahead of new lows, 378-59, and volume was, again, sub-par. It's gotten to the point that reporting on the lack of volume in the markets is not even news. It is really becoming the "new normal."

NASDAQ Volume 1,602,241,250
NYSE Volume 3,365,649,250

Oil fell 42 cents, settling at $74.25. The precious metals failed to sustain their elevated levels for a day, with gold down $6.70, to $1,248.90, and silver off by 16 cents, to $19.81. There seems to be a surplus of everything except new credit unless one is a major corporation with a AAA rating, from cash to oil to homes to stocks. There's even evidence of a worldwide oil glut developing.

The effects of cheaper oil - some say as low as $40-50 per barrel would certainly fit into the deflationist argument, though the Fed and European central bankers are doing everything they can to avoid such a scenario. If deflation becomes inevitable, while a boon to middle and lower classes, the effect on paper wealth - in stocks, bonds and derivatives - could be devastating.

Despite what experts are saying about inflation running rampant, it's still a difficult concept to embrace when unemployment remains at record levels, consumers are more concerned about paying down debt than buying new things and home prices may begin a second leg lower.

Oversupply is inherently deflationary, but the force of the central banking cartel continues to push against reality.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Not Great, But Good Enough

US indices registered another positive session on Monday, even though the gains were marginal at best. Still, investors shrugged off weekend terrorism threat news and another big drop in China's markets.

Dow 13,676.32 +8.21; NASDAQ 2,618.29 +4.37; S&P 500 1,539.18 +2.84; NYSE Composite 10,064.45 +21.45

While investors in China's emerging market adjust to the realities of government intervention and an overheated environment, US shareholders are singing the praises of being old, established and considered ultra-safe.

As America slept, the Shanghai Composite divested itself to the tune of an 8.3% drop, the largest one-day decline since
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the 8.8% collapse in late February that triggered market selloffs throughout the global financial community. The Dow lost over 400 points then, but today's reaction was more of a yawn than a shriek.

Please send Alan Greenspan a note that he's no longer relevant.

Even though overall market gains were negligible, internal numbers were solid. Advancing issues outperformed losers by roughly a 5-4 margin. New highs trounced new lows, 545-69, an eye-popping differential.

As long as the A-D and High-Low lines remain so heavily positive, this market has no possibility of turning lower any time soon. Despite high gas prices and an inept, ineffectual federal government (that may be a good thing), stocks continue to be superb short term instruments.

One reason for the unprecedented long bull run may be summed up in three words: supply and demand. The heavy handed private capitalists have been snapping up shares and taking them private. At the same time, a slew of companies have been engaged in huge stock buy-back programs. While each of these activities indicates some degree of underappreciated value in US shares, they both dilute the number of shares available to the investing public.

Money has to go somewhere, and those shares previously invested in companies which have been taken private, gets re-invested elsewhere. Stock buy back programs takes more shares away from the investing public. According to Keynes, insufficient availability always results in higher prices, every time, and stocks are no different than apples or iPods.

With those two trends in place, expect public shares to continue rising for some time to come.

Checking commodities, those things which actually are in somewhat limited supply, oil gained another $1.13 to $66.21. Gold and silver barely budged. Grains and other foodstuffs were equally somnambulant.

Today was not a great day, but by any measure, it was a good one.