Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Morning Call--Maximum confusion

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 16484, S&P 1929) had a roller coaster ride, selling off dramatically at the open and then recovering to end on a modest plus note.  Breadth was mixed and volume continued to fall.  The VIX declined slightly, leaving it above the lower boundary of a very short term uptrend as well as its 100 day moving average.
   The Dow closed [a] below its 100 day moving average, now resistance, [b] below its 200 day moving average, now resistance, [c] below the lower boundary of a short term downtrend {16725-17471}, [c] above the lower boundary of its intermediate term trading range {15842-18295}, [d] in a long term uptrend {5471-19343}, [e] and, maddeningly, closed right on the level of that former lower high Monday.

The S&P finished [a] below its 100 day moving average, now resistance, [b] below its 200 day moving average, now resistance [c] above the lower boundary of its short term downtrend {1878-1964}, [d] within its intermediate term trading range {1867-2134}, [e] in a long term uptrend {800-2161}, [f] still within a series of lower highs and [g] right on the 1928 Fibonacci retracement level. 

The long Treasury fell, ending [a] within its short and intermediate term trading ranges, [b] well above its upward trending 100 day moving average and [c] slightly below the lower boundary of a very short term uptrend. 

GLD was up, remaining within very short term and short term uptrends as well as above an upward trending 100 day moving average. 
Bottom line:  the maxim is that the Market does its best to frustrate the most people---and it is working with me right now.  Within the context of all the longer term trends that I list every day, the most sensible technical comment right now is that the bulls and bears are battling it out in a very short term trading range (15448-16518, 1812-1948) and clearly closed yesterday nearest the upper end of that range.  I could reiterate a lot of ‘on the one hand/on the other hand’ factors; but they ultimately will only mean something within the context of which way the Market breaks.  Follow through.

            We are still in a downtrend (medium):



            Yesterday’s economic news was a bit disappointing: while purchase applications rose, mortgage applications (granted less important) declined, the February flash services PMI plunged as did January new home sales.   A couple of notes:

(1)   as I have pointed out before, the economic bulls are hanging their case on the service sector remaining strong and basically ‘carrying’ the economy through the current malaise.  This is now the second poor service sector reading of late---the other being the ISM nonmanufacturing index.   I am not saying the economic bulls have now been discredited; I am saying that the time is getting closer,

(2)   to be sure, new home sales are only about one tenth the magnitude of existing home sales which were reported up earlier this week.  However, new home sales have a much more powerful multiplier effect on the economy because they represent production not just resale.

Other news included:

(1)   the Saudi oil minister ruling out oil production cuts anytime soon.  This on the back of the Iran calling a production freeze a joke.  That doesn’t mean that oil prices still can’t go up.  But with flat to rising supply and falling demand, I can’t come up with the scenario that results in it,

***overnight, Whiting Petroleum suspends fracking operations.  Time for a Saudi victory lap? (medium):

(2)   all three credit rating agencies lowered Brazil’s rating to junk.  That is not going to help an already faltering economy finance itself out of trouble.  Nor will it help the balance sheet strength of banks that own Brazilian government bonds,

(3)   JP Morgan added $500 million to its loan loss reserves.  However small this may be relative to the bank’s balance sheet, it directionally is all wrong and supports the notion that risks still remain to the stability of the global financial system.

FDIC warns of signs of growing credit risk (short and a must read):

            ***overnight, January EU inflation was reported less than expected.

Bottom line:  there is nothing in the current data, here or abroad, that suggests that the global economy or US corporate earnings will not continue to be weak.  And there is nothing to suggest a recovery in oil prices to which stock prices have been closely tied for the last four months; though I could buy into a stabilization scenario near current levels.  (see above)  That may result in a sigh of relief by some Market participants; but ultimately it will do nothing the help profits in the energy or financial sectors which have been the principal victims of low oil prices. 

On the other hand, the G20, the ECB and the Fed are all meeting in the next couple of weeks; and I can see investors starting to wish/guess/hope/prepare for more central bank ease.  In my opinion, more of the same misguided Keynesian claptrap will only make economic conditions worse.  But given the past relationship between QEInfinity and investor jigginess, hope will likely continue to spring eternal.   If it does, it makes sense to use any rebound to take some profits in winners that have held up during recent decline.

            ***overnight, the IMF called for ‘bold action’ from G20 to support demand growth.  St. Louis Fed chair Bullard, a long time hawk, repeated that it would be unwise to continue to raise rates.

            The latest from Citi---we have a problem (medium):

       Investing for Survival
            Will you be the gambler or the house?
    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios

   This Week’s Data

            The February flash services PMI came in at 49.8 versus estimates of 53.7.

            January new home sales fell 9% versus forecasts of down 4%.

            January durable goods orders rose 4.9% versus forecasts of up 2.5%

            Weekly jobless claims rose 10,000 versus consensus of up 8,000.


            You are richer than a 19th century billionaire (short and a must read):



  International War Against Radical Islam

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