Friday, February 24, 2017

The Morning Call--Priced for perfection but with nothing concrete to discount

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 20810, S&P 2363) lifted modestly---again, the Market seems to be taking a breather as it works off an overbought condition.  Volume fell (for the fifth day in a row), but remained at a high level; breadth was strong but did weaken a bit.   The VIX (11.7) was down slightly, finishing below its 100 and 200 day moving averages (now resistance) and in a short term downtrend but is near the lower boundary of its intermediate term trading range (10.3)---leaving complacency at a near record high level.
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 {18804-20862}, [c] in an intermediate term uptrend {11782-24634} and [d] in a long term uptrend {5751-23298}.

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 {2202-2536}, [d] in an intermediate uptrend {2050-2651} and [e] in a long term uptrend {881-2561}.

The long Treasury rose, continuing the process of building a pennant formation, but remained in a very short term downtrend, near the lower boundary of its short term trading range and below the 100 day moving average (now resistance), falling further below its 200 day moving average (now resistance). 

GLD was up 1%, closing within a very short term uptrend and above its 100 day moving average (now support).  But it finished below its 200 day moving average (now resistance) and within a short term downtrend. 

The dollar fell, ending above its 100 day moving average (now support), its 200 day moving averages (now support) and in a short term uptrend.  

Bottom line: yesterday’s mild action by the Averages was normal as they consolidate a very overbought condition.  Remember that they did exactly the same thing the last time this occurred; that is, prices consolidated by going sideways in a very narrow range for a time instead declining.  That suggests to me that there remains underlying strength in the Market and that the assumption has to be that the Averages are on their way to challenging the upper boundaries of their long term uptrends. 


            Yesterdays’ US economic data was mixed: weekly jobless claims were up but just barely and fractionally more than anticipated; the January Chicago Fed national activity index well below expectations while the February Kansas City Fed manufacturing index advanced nicely over its January reading.  So far, in a very slow week, statistically speaking, the numbers are evenly matched up and only two more are scheduled for today.  So if this week ends ups anything but neutral, it won’t be by much.

            Overseas, there was no release of statistics but there were reports that the EU and ECB are at odds over Monti Dei Paschi rescue while the IMF told Greece that it must make further structural changes before assistance can be provided.  Leaving these two problems unresolved is a lot worse news than a couple of poor datapoints.

            In Thursday with Trump, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin suggested that any tax bill will likely not be forthcoming until August and perhaps later.  He also referred to the proposal as tax reform not a tax cut.  I maybe reading more into the change in semantics, but certainly hints that the tax plan will be revenue neutral.  Later, in an interview, Trump said that he supports ‘some form of a border tax’.   Finally, late in the day, rumors circulated that infrastructure spending legislation was being put off until 2018.  I have no idea what all this means but it seems likely to create more uncertainty about key economic proposals.

Bottom line: we wait for an economic plan, an Obamacare repeal and replace plan, a possible re-do of Dodd Frank and multiple re-sets of trade treaties.  At this moment, investors are basing their buy/sell decisions on leaks, rumors and suppositions.   Not that possible positive outcomes shouldn’t be taken into consideration in valuing equities.  But at the moment, virtually nothing concrete has happened with respect to tax cuts, repeal of Obamacare and infrastructure spending and yet stocks are at all-time highs---suggesting that they are priced for perfection.  Not owning a decent cash position at this time, is, in my opinion, a huge mistake.

            Only blind faith works in this Market (medium):

            Update on dividend cuts (short):

            My thought for the day: Warren Buffett has famously said---be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.   So I ask the question, were you greedy in 2009 and are you fearful today?  If the answer is no, then join the ranks of ‘others’.  The problem with most ‘others’ is that their expectations are based on what happened recently.  They should learn that hindsight is not foresight.  The better solution is to have a plan (model) that guides them irrespective of their greed or fear; a plan that can be put into action regardless of what happens in the Market tomorrow.

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   This Week’s Data

            The February Kansas City Fed manufacturing index was reported at 14 versus January’s number of 9.


            Decline in gasoline demand maybe a problem (medium):

            And copper as well (short):




            The latest from North Korea (medium):

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