Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Morning Call--Anticipating tomorrow

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 21136, S&P 2429) drifted lower again yesterday, though again not by much.  That left the Dow below its recent high; meaning that it is still not confirming the S&P’s break above its comparable level.  So, the near term technical issue remains which of these divergent trends will change direction and confirm the other.  I still believe that the Dow will ultimately trade above its high and the Averages will make a run at the upper boundaries of their long term uptrends (now circa 24198/2753).   Volume rose slightly; breadth weakened.

The VIX (10.1) was up another 4 ¼ %, ending back above the lower boundary of its intermediate term trading range, thereby voiding last Thursday break and remaining above the lower boundary of its long term trading range.  However, it is still below its 100 and 200 day moving averages and in a short term downtrend.
The long Treasury was up, closing above its 200 day moving average (if it remains there through the close on Friday, it will revert to support) and finishing above its 100 day moving average and in a very short term uptrend. 

The dollar was smacked once again, ending in a very short term downtrend and below its 100 and 200 day moving averages.

GLD popped 1 1/8%, closing above its 100 and 200 day moving averages, in a very short term uptrend and is nearing the upper boundary of its short term trading range.

Bottom line:  ‘TLT, UUP, GLD investors are all betting their money on a weaker economy and lower rates.  That is somewhat at odds with the equity narrative; but I am not sure that means anything in the current ‘all news is good news’ atmosphere.  My assumption remains that the indices are headed higher.’
            The volume of M&A activity is declining (short):



            There were two datapoints released yesterday: month to date retail chain store sales growth improved from the prior week and the April JOLTS report showed a big increase in job openings---the latter causing a good deal of confusion.

Nothing from overseas.

            ***overnight, Spain’s largest bank is taking over the bank I mentioned yesterday that was in danger of defaulting.

            The rest of the news flow was also quiet.

(1)   Trump held a news conference in which he touted his fiscal plans.

Ron Paul on Trump’s budget (medium):

                  Greg Mankiw on tax cuts (medium and a must read):

(2)   more discussion on the sudden isolation of Qatar (medium)

***overnight, Saudi Arabia issues ultimatum (short):

***overnight, (1) the US and Mexico reached an "agreement in principle" designed to avert a trade war over sugar, setting the course for bigger talks on rewriting NAFTA and (2) the European Union is set to unveil proposals today for a new European defense union. The "nature of the trans-Atlantic relationship is evolving," the EU's executive arm will say in a "reflection paper" on the future of the bloc's defense.

Bottom line:  yesterday was a typical slow summer day with little to drive investor attention.  Rather focus seems to be on Thursday which, as I noted yesterday, will be big for headlines: UK elections, ECB meeting and Comey’s congressional testimony.  Usually these highly anticipated news days turn out to be much less dramatic than are expected.  I see no reason why this one will be any different. 

My assumption is that investors will continue to tip toe through the tulips, pushing equity prices higher.  I continue to monitor our Portfolios for stocks that are near or entering their Sell Half Range and for companies with deteriorating fundamentals.

My thought for the day: it is common for investors to pursue a strategy of averaging down when an initial purchase isn’t working.  However, it can be dangerous to do so.  Not because it doesn’t work; often it does.  But because of what happens when it doesn’t work, i.e. the investor keeps adding to a position that keeps going against him/her.  It could be the fundamentals change, it could be other investors have a different idea of valuation.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter; because the stock is still a loser.  By continuing to buy a stock that is going against him/her, the investor is guaranteeing his/her biggest positions will be losers.

       Investing for Survival
            How much can you safely spend in retirement?

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B): Q4 EPS of $0.38 misses by $0.03.
Revenue of $887M (-4.9% Y/Y) beats by $148.58M.


   This Week’s Data

            Growth in month to date retail chain store sales improved from the prior week.

            The April Labor Department JOLTS (job openings) report showed an increase of 259,000 job openings versus expectations of a decline of 11,000.

            Weekly mortgage applications rose 7.1% while purchase applications were up 10%.


            Mark Perry on the trade deficit (medium):

            Government insolvency gets harder to ignore (medium):

            Alabama sees 85% decline in food stamp participation after work requirements reinstated (medium):



  International War Against Radical Islam

            Europe’s response to terrorist attacks (short):

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