So much for falling volatility. The indices (DJIA 17387, S&P 2029) moved down big yesterday but remained within uptrends across all timeframes: short term (16464-19236, 1911-2892), intermediate term (16493-21648, 1737-2451) and long term (5369-18860, 783-2083).
Volume jumped; breadth was lousy. The VIX climbed 11% finishing within a short term trading range, an intermediate term downtrend and back above its 50 day moving average.
The long Treasury rose but not enough to re-capture the lower boundary of its very short term uptrend. Hence, the break of that trend is confirmed. It remained within its uptrends across all the remaining timeframes and above its 50 day moving average. While the violation of the very short term uptrend is a downer for the bond bulls, (1) that trend was very steep and ultimately not sustainable and (2) so far the ‘consolidation’ has been meager at best. So the TLT chart remains quite strong.
GLD was up, ending within a very short term uptrend, above the upper boundary its short term uptrend, within an intermediate term trading range and above its 50 day moving average. The bounce suggests that like TLT the current consolidation will be relatively mild. At the open today, our Portfolios will Buy a 2% position in GLD.
Bottom line: the good news in an otherwise poor day was that the Averages remained within all uptrends as well as above the mid December lows (17288, 1920). The bad news is that they have made two lower highs in the last month. With the post close euphoria levitating on the upbeat Yahoo and Apple news, today’s pin action should be interesting.
GLD’s sell off didn’t last long, so our Portfolios will nibble today. ‘Nibble’ is the operative word; they are not establishing a full position.
Stock performance in February of pre-election year (short):
Lots of US economic news yesterday; virtually all of it positive: the November Case Shiller home price index, the January flash services PMI, December new home sales, January consumer confidence and the January Richmond Fed manufacturing index were all ahead of expectations. However, all was not rosy; December durable goods orders really sucked. In sum though, the numbers were good and the strong new home sales were an offset to the durable goods orders.
The principal focus of the day though was more poor earnings reports from leading companies in major industries---and clearly, investors weren’t happy. I have been commenting on this developing negative trend since earnings season started but cautioned that it was too early to assume that profits for the entire season would be disappointing. Yesterday’s pin action suggests that it may not be too early anymore.
That said, after hours Yahoo announced that it was spinning off Alibaba and Apple reported great earnings. After pissing and moaning all day, the media turned on a dime, largely dismissing the 290+ point decline in the Dow and its potential causes, instead focusing on these two positive datapoints. Of course, they may correct in doing so. Today’s tape will certainly provide some guidance on that point. However, irrespective of that, the momentum to date in profit reports has been on deteriorating earnings; and if that continues, the long term implications for both corporate profits and the economy in general will likely overwhelm any temporary respites provided by the occasional upbeat revenue and income statement.
Overseas there was one stat reported: Chinese industrial earnings dropped 8% year over year. Not good but again largely ignored as investors and the media continue to struggle with the implications of the Greek elections. My bottom line is that I have no clue how this story ends but expect confusion to reign before it does. Here are some clarifying articles:
This is a good explanation of the size of Greece’s debt problem and possible solutions (medium):
Greeks brace for a showdown (medium):
A brief look at the winning anti-austerity party’s (Syriza) coalition partner (medium):
***overnight, Syriza’s first policy moves (medium):
***overnight, China is expected to lower its 2015 growth target to 7% and Singapore joins the QE free for all.
Bottom line: yesterday’s poor earnings reports and the ensuing sell off notwithstanding, stocks are still priced to reflect an outlook that incorporates an extremely positive assumption to every possible economic variable---to the point that even if that perfect scenario occurred, they would still be overpriced. Until one of the numerous risks facing the US manifests itself with sufficient force for investors to seriously question their faith that the global central banks’ polices are not only correct and will provide an infinite Market put, stocks are likely to retain their current risk premium. When that faith is broken, which I believe will, I don’t want to be caught wondering what I should Sell. Because it will be too late.
I can’t emphasize strongly enough that I believe that the key investment strategy today is to take advantage of the current high prices to sell any stock that has been a disappointment or no longer fits your investment criteria and to trim the holding of any stock that has doubled or more in price.
Bear in mind, this is not a recommendation to run for the hills. Our Portfolios are still 55-60% invested and their cash position is a function of individual stocks either hitting their Sell Half Prices or their underlying company failing to meet the requisite minimum financial criteria needed for inclusion in our Universe.
The latest from John Hussman (medium):
The latest from Odey Asset Management (medium):
In our annual review of Rockwell Collins (COL), the company failed to meet the minimum quality standards for inclusion in the Aggressive Growth Universe. Therefore, at the Market open, the Aggressive Growth Portfolio will Sell COL and the stock is being Removed from the Aggressive Growth Universe.
Investing for Survival
IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014: The Categories and Scores
Accurately scoring the world’s top retirement locations is a complex process. So, we’ve broken down each of our categories to give you a “behind the curtain” look at how we put the Index together.
Countries where real estate prices are low and the purchase of real estate is relatively easy received good scores. For 2014, we have also taken the average purchase price and rental price per square meter into consideration. And we’ve added a “value factor,” based on reports from our contributing editors and from real estate contacts around the world on how much bang for your buck you get when buying real estate in each country.
This category considers government provisions that make moving to and living in each country easier and more affordable for foreign retirees. Taken into account are discounts on health care, public transport, airfares, entertainment, utilities, whether you can import goods duty free, property rights for foreign residents, and property tax rates.
This score is based on the first-hand information collected by our editors and contributors. We look at the daily costs a couple encounter in a destination, utilities, groceries, transport…we ask how much a good meal costs, and if the price of a movie ticket or a day trip out of the city is low…
In order to score countries in this category, we looked at things like the degree to which English is spoken, the friendliness of the locals, the size of the existing expat community and the availability of home comforts.
Here, we looked at the range of activities open to expats. We rated the quality and availability of restaurants, movie theaters, outdoor activities and local music and art. We also ask our in-country contacts to rate the variety of activities on a scale to see how much excitement you can find in a destination.
Considered in this category are the cost of health care and the quality. How much a typical visit to a general practitioner tells you a lot, as does cost and the coverage particulars of health insurance. Also considered are the number of people per doctor, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people, the percentage of the population with access to safe water, the infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and public health expenditure as a percentage of a country’s GDP.
We look at the quality of the roads, the availability of good public transport, the number of cell phones, and Internet penetration, and how easy it is to get to and from the U.S. and Canada by plane.
Countries with temperate weather throughout the year, moderate rainfall and little risk of natural disaster come out on top in this category. This year, we also took the comfort factor into consideration for the first time. We use data representing each country as a whole instead of favoring one region over another.
The Final Scores
News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
This Week’s Data
The November Case Shiller home price index came in at +0.7% versus consensus of +0.6%.
The January flash services PMI was reported at 54.0 versus expectations of 53.8.
December new home sales rose 11.6% versus estimates of up 3.1%.
January consumer confidence came in at 102.9 versus forecasts of 96.0.
The January Richmond Fed manufacturing index was reported at 6.0 versus an anticipated 5.5.
Weekly mortgage applications fell 3.2% while purchase applications were off 0.1%.
The impact of congress’ 2013 decision not to re-authorize the extension of unemployment benefits (short):
Fear and dread of deflation (medium and a must read):
International War Against Radical Islam
Obama’s Iran nonsense (short):
Ponder this (short):