Friday, May 19, 2017

The Morning Call--Do investors even care?

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 20663, S&P 2365) managed to stabilize yesterday, leaving them above their 100 and 200 day moving averages and the lower boundaries of uptrends across all major time frames---in other words, in solid uptrends.  In addition, they remained below those big opening gaps down.  So there is currently no reason to even consider a potential technical breakdown.  Volume was flat with Wednesday’s high volume; breadth was little improved despite the up day.

The VIX (14.6) challenged the upper boundary of its short term downtrend intraday, failed and finished down 6%.  It remained well above its 100 day moving average for a second day (if it remains there through the close today, it will reset to support), its 200 day moving average (if it remains there through the close next Monday, it will revert to support) and Wednesday’s huge gap opening.
Trading in the dollar (up) and gold (down) followed the Averages lead, reversing Wednesday’s pin action.  However, the dollar was not up enough to prevent its short term uptrend from resetting to a trading range---suggesting a weak economy/lower interest rates and/or loss of faith in the US as a safe haven.  TLT was up as it was on Wednesday, also suggesting a weak economy/lower interest rates but not a loss of faith in the US as a safe haven

Bottom line:  so no follow through to the downside, though it remains to be seen if yesterday’s price performance was a dead cat bounce or investors deciding that the events in Washington are no big deal.  It is going to take a bit more time to determine which it is.  In the meantime, we have to assume that there is little danger of a trend reversal.


            Yesterday’s economic stats were positive: weekly jobless claims were down, the May Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index was a blowout number while April’s leading economic indicators came in on target.  Since there are no data releases today, these numbers are the deciding factors for this week’s positive score.

            Overseas, the stats were also upbeat: first quarter Japanese GDP was better than forecast and April UK retail sales were up more than anticipated.

            Most of yesterday’s investor focus was on (1) the Market, why it fell on Wednesday and what, if anything that means going forward and (2) the Trump dilemma, [a] with most agreeing that the appointment of the special prosecutor should lower the heat, at least short term and [b] the release of a tape of earlier Comey testimony in which he said there has been no obstruction to any investigations.

Bottom line: yesterday I opined: ‘Of course, that doesn’t mean that Trump has seen the last attack on his actions.  Usually, just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.  Whatever happens, the most important take away remains how much will these issues delay or destroy the Trump/GOP fiscal agenda.  Almost certainly, it will likely push any passage of repeal and replace and tax reform into 2018; and depending on how these accusations are resolved (i.e. whether or not Trump is found guilty/complicit), they may never get enacted.  With that pleasant thought, the pressure is clearly off to make any adjustments to our long term secular economic growth rate assumptions based on the impact of the Trump/GOP fiscal plan.’

            As far as equities go, assuming that I am right about the potential delay in reform legislation, the two questions are (1) how much will Street economic and earnings assumptions be marked down and perhaps more importantly (2) will investors even care.   After all, they have chosen to ignore historical valuation measures for the last couple of years.  And as long as the prevailing optimism remains unaffected, any lowering in earnings expectations is not likely to change anything. 

            This is a must read summation of the likely implementation of Trump’s promised fiscal policy.  Surprisingly, it is from my favorite liberal.  (medium and a must read):

            More on valuations (medium):
The latest from Doug Kass (medium):

            A bullish counterpoint to the above opinion (medium and a must read):
My thought for the day: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away.  Thus sayeth Kenny Rogers.

In other words, you need some measure of risk management in your portfolio to achieve long term success.   Most people do the opposite of what they should due to emotional biases - the sell when they should buy, the hold onto losing positions hoping they will come back, they double down on losing positions, they sell winning positions too soon and many more mistakes that are almost all entirely driven by emotion rather than logic.  Emotional players always lose in gambling and investing.  

A good investor must develop a risk management philosophy (a Sell Discipline). The odds of success can be substantially increased by removing the emotional biases that drive most investment decisions.  Being well disciplined within an investment strategy allows you to act and react successful to a fluid and changing investment landscape.   Sell signals, trend changes, pre-determined exit strategies, etc. will give you the chance to fold before losses mount.
       Investing for Survival
            Passive aggressive investing.

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
            Home Depot (NYSE:HD) declares $0.89/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.


   This Week’s Data

            The April leading economic indicators rose 0.3%, in line.


            Barry Ritholtz on the latest consumer credit numbers (medium):

            The latest example of Chinese ‘make believe’ accounting (medium):



  International War Against Radical Islam

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