Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Morning Call--Lots of targets but nothing on taxes or infrastructure spending

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 19826, S&P 2267) moved lower yesterday.  Volume rose, remaining at a high level; breadth was negative---the overbought condition is now history.   The VIX (11.9) was up 6%, 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 {18479-20519}, [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 {2160-2503}, [d] in an intermediate uptrend {2024-2625} and [e] in a long term uptrend {881-2435}. 

The long Treasury jumped 1%, but remained 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 1 ½ %, but was still 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)---though it is now nearing those MA’s.

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: the Averages remain within very tight trading ranges dating back to mid-December.  That kind of tight consolidation in which key support levels are not being challenged, suggests that investor enthusiasm is only taking a rest.  As long as investors that major positive changes are coming in fiscal/regulatory policies, 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 policies.   I don’t know how this gets resolved; I am simply pointing out the disagreement among investor types.



            There was only a single datapoint released in the US yesterday: the January NY Fed manufacturing index was below estimates.  However, the IMF did raise its US GDP growth forecast for 2017 and 2018.

            It was a different story overseas: January German investor confidence soared; UK inflation rose the most in 2 ½ years; EU auto sales hit a nine year high. 

            ***overnight, Chinese home prices rose less than anticipated.

            The news continues to be driven by politics, in this case, by the Donald.  Over the weekend, he said that

(1)   the dollar was too high.  His point was that a lower dollar is better for trade; and that is true.  But a lower dollar tends to signal of economic or political weakness or both.  So he may want to be careful what he wishes for.

(2)   the Ryan border adjustment tax was too complicated and that endangered its effectiveness.  He is probably right.  I think that this suggests that the corporate tax policy is one of those issues that gets decided later rather than sooner,

(3)   NATO is no longer relevant.  That will likely tighten some sphincters in Europe---probably because there is so much truth to it.  Only five European countries meet their financial obligations to NATO---the US foots the bill.  Even worse, the whole of Europe is being invaded by the Middle East.  Don’t interpret that as being anti-muslim.  But these immigrants are making no effort to assimilate; indeed, in many of the major cities, sharia law prevails, the local police are attacked if they enter muslim dominated areas and the residents condone if not nurture jihad. My opinion is that this is an existential threat to the Europeans; and if they are unwilling to help themselves, then the US needs to change its policies.

Now, if he would just go after the UN.

In other news, Brazil declined to go along with the OPEC production cut request.  This after the Saudis conceded that the quotas may not extend beyond mid-year.

Bottom line: I noted last Friday that ‘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.’ 
First, for all the weekend activity, there is still nothing on tax or infrastructure spending.

Certainly, Trump’s dollar remarks are way off.  When the rest of the world looks at your country as a source of economic/political strength, that is, and in my opinion, always will be a plus.  Owning a dollar is like owning a stock.  How can you complain when the rest of the world wants to buy it?    

I agree with Trump’s comments on the Ryan border tax plan.   It is too complicated; and when the government does complicated, the result is generally a snoot full of negative unintended consequences.  But disagreeing with your own House leader in public is not the way to hasten solutions to a problem that you want corrected. 

Trump says that he will renegotiate NAFTA as soon as he takes office (medium):

Finally, the Donald’s comments on NATO are spot on and way overdue.  The Marshall Plan is over.  I have no problem helping on the defense of Europe as long as it contributes its pro rata share.  But the US is not their defense department; and we definitely shouldn’t be spending our money to protect them from external threats while they blindly allow their internal threats to metastasize.  But, but, but….threatening NATO will likely cause heartburn here as well as in Europe.  It may be a revolutionary idea whose time has come, but revolutions tend not to be quiet.

            Muni bonds aren’t risk free anymore (medium):

            My thought for the day: most people in finance don’t have your best interest at heart.  Wall Street attracts some of the best and brightest individuals.  I suggest that their motivation for seeking these jobs is not help the efficient allocation of capital; but rather, it is to get rich.  The quickest way to do that is not becoming a Warren Buffett or Carl Icahn---that takes too long and is simply too difficult.  No, the easiest way is to find investors stupid or na├»ve enough to pay ridiculously high fees or commissions on products that almost never beat a basic index fund.

       Investing for Survival
            Facts about annuities.
    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
            Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) declares $0.57/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.


   This Week’s Data

            Weekly mortgage applications rose 0.8%, while purchase applications fell 5.0%.

            December CPI was up 0.3%, in line; ex food and energy, it was up 0.2%, also in line.


            Wealth creation and poverty reduction (medium):

            Fed starting to hint at unwinding its balance sheet (medium):



Senate preserves ban on earmarks (short):

A thought on Trump’s style (medium):

  International War Against Radical Islam

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