Friday, January 13, 2017

The Morning Call--The kickoff of earnings season

The Morning Call


The Market

After being off big early in the day, the indices (DJIA 19891, S&P 2270) finished down modestly.  Volume declined but remained at a high level.  Breadth was negative.   The VIX (11.5) was up 1 ½%, but still closed below its 200 day moving average (now resistance), below its 100 day moving average (now resistance), within a short term downtrend and remains close to the lower boundary of its intermediate term trading range (10.3).  
The Dow ended [a] above its 100 day moving average, now support, [b] above its 200 day moving average, now support, [c] in a short term uptrend {18473-20513}, [c] in an intermediate term uptrend {11690-24540} and [d] in a long term uptrend {5730-20318}.

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 {2155-2498}, [d] in an intermediate uptrend {2022-2623} and [e] in a long term uptrend {881-2435}. 

The long Treasury declined, ending in a very short term downtrend, in a short term trading range and below the 100 day moving average (now resistance), falling further below its 200 day moving average (now resistance). 

GLD rose, but remained in a short term downtrend and below its 100 day moving average (now resistance) which continues to push further below its 200 day moving average (now resistance).   However, it can continue to recover significantly before threatening to challenge major resistance/downtrends.

The dollar fell, continuing its pattern of acting in reverse of GLD (and TLT?), finishing considerably above multiple support levels---so it can fall a lot and not challenge its 100 or 200 day moving averages (now support) or its short term uptrend.   

Bottom line: my assumption continues to be that the indices will at least challenge the 20000/2300 levels.  The recent pin action appears to reflect continuing investor faith in major positive changes coming in fiscal/regulatory policies.  Until that notion gets disabused, stock prices are likely to go higher.

            The GLD, TLT and UUP investors are apparently a bit less sanguine about the ultimate implementation of those debates and policies.  As I said Tuesday, I don’t how this gets resolved; I am simply pointing out the disagreement among investor types.
            Long speculative positions in crude oil are near record highs (medium):



            Yesterday’s economic data turned positive: weekly jobless claims rose less than expected; and  December import prices were up less than estimates while export prices were up more---a sign that the strong dollar could be having an impact.

            Overseas, 2016 German GDP came in stronger than anticipated.  In addition, after getting a E6 billion infusion from the Italian government, Monte Paschi announced it is still seeking upwards of E10 billion from private investors.  In other words, the last chapter of this story hasn’t been written.

            ***overnight, 2016 Chinese exports fell 7.7%, while imports declined 5.5%; OPEC acknowledged that there wouldn’t be 100% compliance with the production cut, that it was likely 80% and that 50% was still acceptable---yeh, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you; Monte Paschi must wait two weeks for eurozone approval (for the plan that has not yet materialized); and last but certainly not least, in a speech, Yellen said the economy is doing well.

            Potential changes in the political/economic landscape remains the central theme for investors, although yesterday was a relatively quiet day.  Today we start getting earnings reports from the major banks which will bear watching.

Bottom line: the driving force behind the recent Market surge has been the anticipated positive changes coming in fiscal/regulatory policies.  However to date, the hard news that we have gotten is not universally upbeat.  On the plus side, the Trump cabinet nominees, who are unabashedly pro business, are breezing through the congressional approval process; and it looks like there is consensus between Trump and congressional leaders over the handling of repealing and replacing Obamacare. 

On the other hand, the promise of a ‘border’ tax (anti-free trade) I consider a negative to economic growth.  Plus the lack of any details on tax and spending issues suggests discord between Trump and GOP leaders who have already pushed back against many of his campaign’s fiscal promises.  To be sure, the guy hasn’t even taken office yet, so it is too soon to get our panties in a wad over the shortage of details in this area.  Nonetheless, Trump has been much more detailed on the issues of trade, moving jobs overseas and Obamacare---also campaign promises.  So it begs the question, why hasn’t there been any discussion of the major plank in his economic policy.

And here is the reason (short):

            My thought for the day: in designing our Models, there were five important factors for which I felt I must have well studied and thought out estimates in order to have any hope of generating a decent forecast---decent not precise.  (1) what is the trend in economy---growing, contracting and at what rate, (2) what is inflation doing---rising, falling and at what rate, (3) how much does money cost, i.e. interest rates, and how available is it, (4) how do the aforementioned impact revenue and profit growth of corporations and (5) how is all of this reflected in stock valuations.  Doing the homework on these factors does not mean that there will necessarily be any accuracy in my Economic or Valuation Models; but it does mean that I am a step ahead of those who don’t engage in this mental discipline.

       Investing for Survival
            Distrust forecasts, Part 2

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
            Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) declares $0.53/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK): Q4 EPS of $5.14 beats by $0.10.
Revenue of $2.89B (+1.0% Y/Y) misses by $70M

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) declares $2.50/share quarterly dividend, 9.2% increase from prior dividend of $2.29.


   This Week’s Data

            December PPI was up 0.3% versus November’s reading of up 0.4%; ex food and energy, it was up 0.2% versus November’s 0.4%.

            December retail sales rose 0.7% versus expectations of up 0.7%; ex autos, the number was up 0.2% versus estimates of up 0.5%.




The conflict of interest in government (short):

  International War Against Radical Islam

            Just when you thought that the Syrian conflict was winding down, Israel bombs Damascus (medium):

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