Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Morning Call--Ignoring problems

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 19796, S&P 2256) diverged again yesterday (Dow up, S&P down); and again on big volume and improving breadth---as long as these measures remain strong, I don’t think that there is a lot to read into the Averages disparate behavior.   The VIX (12.6) jumped 7 1/2 %, but remained below its 200 day moving average (now resistance) below its 100 day moving average (now resistance) and within a short term downtrend. However, it did close right on the upper boundary of that very short term downtrend.  A finish above that boundary would indicate the potential loss of downside momentum.   It remains near the lower boundaries of its intermediate term trading range (10.3) and long term trading range (9.8) both of which were set back in 2006.

The Dow ended [a] above on its 100 day moving average, now support, [b] above its 200 day moving average, now support, [c] in a short term uptrend {18176-20226}, [c] in an intermediate term uptrend {11627-24477} and [d] in a long term uptrend {5675-20165}.

The S&P finished [a] above its 100 day moving average , now support, [b] above its 200 day moving average, now support, [c] within a short term uptrend {2120-2464}, [d] in an intermediate uptrend {2000-2602} and [e] in a long term uptrend {881-2419}. 

The long Treasury (117.7) rose slightly, but still ended below its 100 day moving average (now resistance), below its 200 day moving average (now resistance), below a key Fibonacci level and in a very short term downtrend.  However, it bounced off the lower boundary of its short term trading range, avoiding for the moment a challenge of that level (117.3).

GLD (110) was up fractionally, but still closed below its 100 day moving average (now resistance), below its 200 day moving average (now resistance), below the lower boundary of its short term downtrend and back below a key Fibonacci level.  There is not much stopping it from going lower.

The dollar fell back below the upper boundary of its short term trading range (for the third time), keeping us all in suspense about whether it can successfully challenge that boundary.  Failure to do so would be a plus for US companies with global operations.

Bottom line: the upside momentum paused yesterday; but not by much.  The S&P was off only slightly while volume and breadth remained strong. I continue to believe that there is more upside at least through year end, driven by seasonal factors along with institutional investors being underinvested and all investors being unwilling to sell until next year because of the anticipated changes in the tax code.  However, I also believe that stocks will not stay as overbought as they are forever.  Once year end institutional window dressing and the Santa Claus rally ends and a new tax year begins, money flows are apt to change.  Whether the indices can reach the upper boundaries of their long term uptrends in the meantime is the big question. If they do, I still believe that those challenges will be unsuccessful.


            Only one US datapoint yesterday and that was a greatly increased November US budget deficit.  Not a big plus for bonds or for those anticipating a big increase in government infrastructure spending.


(1)   OPEC agreed on production cuts.  As you know, I remain firmly in the skeptics’ camp based primarily on past behavior,

(2)    the ECB rejected a request from Monte Paschi for more time to arrange private financing; however, the Italian treasury said that it would help with the recap.  I refer you back to last week’s link that outlined the Italian government’s options to assist this bank and the problems associated with each alternative.  The point being that it is not as simple as the ‘government helping with the recap’.  I am not suggesting for a second that I know what is going to happen, just that whatever does has consequences that are not insignificant.

***overnight, November Chinese retail sales and industrial output came in above expectations while fixed asset investment was in line.  However:

In addition, November UK inflation was higher than forecast.  Italy’s largest bank said in would lay off 14,000 workers and raise E13 billion in new capital.

Bottom line: seasonal factors (Santa Claus rally) are adding fuel to the enthusiasm spawned by the Trump election/GOP sweep, which probably means everything will be coming up roses until, at least, the turn of the year. 

However, there are problems out there that I don’t hear investors recognizing (and therefore discounting), among them (1) the aforementioned solvency issue at Monte Paschi, (2) potential trade issues resulting not only from the Donald’s threats on NAFTA but also his sticking his finger in China’s eye which just happens to be a major trading partner of ours, (3) a rising dollar negatively impacts foreign operations of US companies, higher interest rates raise borrowing costs not just for companies but also for consumers---think housing, (4) Trump’s promises of deregulation versus his daily tweets attacking US companies, (5) Trump’s cabinet nominees [Labor, EPA, State] are not getting high approval even within the GOP.  What happens to tax cuts and infrastructure spending if Trump and congress get into a pissing match over those nominees? 

I say none of this to diminish my initial upbeat take on the likely positive impact of a new fiscal/regulatory regime.  But I am repeating that this is all ‘on the come’ which (1) doesn’t seem to be properly considered in the current Market euphoria in which everything that Trump does is an unmitigated positive [remember lower oil prices?] and (2) even if none of those negatives occur, the resulting economic environment is already being more than adequately discounted.

            Mitch McConnell pours cold water on Trump fiscal plan (medium):

            You may want to trade this rally, but stay with very liquid securities and maintain very tight stops.
            My thought for the day: group think is when an investor feels compelled to accept the commonly held thesis especially when that thesis is having a significant impact on prices.  Sometimes that thesis is correct; sometimes it is not.  The point is, if you choose to join the crowd, be sure it is the result of your own independent analysis not because you assume that they have it right.

            Interest rates, valuations and timeframes (medium):

            This is a good explanation about how to look at future returns in the stocks market; however, I think that he maybe a little too optimistic on the specifics (medium):

            Six things to consider as stocks hit new highs (medium):

       Investing for Survival
            The best investors in the world are not special and neither are you.

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
            Boeing (NYSE:BA) declares $1.42/share quarterly dividend, 30.3% increase from prior dividend of $1.09.


   This Week’s Data

            The November US budget deficit was $136.7 billion versus October’s report of $44.2 billion.

            The November small business optimism index came in at 98.4 versus estimates of 96.5.

            November import prices fell 0.3% versus expectations of down 0.4%; export prices were down 0.1% versus consensus of 0.0%.


            Update on household net worth (short):

            The Philly Fed business conditions index (medium):



Update on climate change (medium):

  International War Against Radical Islam

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