The indices (DJIA 21892, S&P 2457) had a good day on improved breadth, though volume continues low. The S&P remains in focus; yesterday, it closed (1) above the lower boundary of its short term uptrend, (2) above the upper boundary of a developing short term downtrend as well as pushing out of the pennant formation to the upside and (3) also in the process broke the potential formation of a head and shoulders pattern. We need some follow through today; but it appears that the S&P has completed its recent consolidation process and is heading higher.
The VIX (11.2) fell 4 %, leaving it below the upper boundary of its short term downtrend, back below its 100 day moving average (if it remains there through the close on Friday, it will revert to resistance), below its 200 day moving average (if it remains there through the close next Monday, it will revert to resistance) but finished above the lower boundary of a developing very short term uptrend. I am left questioning whether or not the VIX has bottomed.
The long Treasury declined fractionally, ending above its 100 and 200 day moving averages (both support), the lower boundaries of its short term trading range and its long term uptrend and has now made a third short term higher high. That is a lot of support.
The dollar rose, but still finished in a short term downtrend and below its 100 and 200 day moving averages. However, it closed back above the lower boundary of its short term trading range, negating Monday’s break.
GLD fell, but ended above the lower boundary of its very short term uptrend, above its 100 and 200 day moving averages (both support) and above the upper boundary of its short term trading range for a third day, resetting to an uptrend.
Bottom line: while we need another day or so of follow through, it appears the S&P’s struggle to hold its short term uptrend is over. However, the continued positive pin action in TLT along with the upside breakout of GLD are somewhat inconsistent with the renewed strength in the S&P. I would like a little more clarity before I am comfortable with the overall technical picture.
Yesterday’s economic data were mixed: weekly mortgage and purchase applications fell, the August ADP private payroll report showed job increases above estimates and revised second quarter GDP was above consensus while corporate profits were less than originally reported.
A closer look at the GDP number (medium):
Overseas, EU economic confidence rose to its highest level in a decade.
***overnight, the August Chinese manufacturing PMI came in ahead of expectations while the services PMI was below; August EU inflation was slightly above projections; August German unemployment declined.
The major news item of the day was (aside from going a second day without insulting somebody critical accomplishing his agenda or sticking his foot in his mouth) the kick off of a series of Trump speeches on tax reform. In it he laid out four objectives: simplify the tax code, lower corporate tax rates, lower middle class tax rates and repatriate the foreign profits of US firms. Worthy objectives; but few details. The three big questions are (1) what will it cost, i.e. is it revenue neutral, (2) can the Donald restrain his penchant for insulting everything that moves on capitol hill long enough to effectively work with congress to accomplish this objective and (3) even if he does, can the GOP come together to get it done. Stay tuned.
The US ups the ante against North Korea (medium):
Bottom line: I continue to believe that the most important factor to further improving in the long term secular growth rate of the economy is the implementation (or lack thereof) of the Trump/GOP fiscal program. Having failed at healthcare, the next big item is tax reform; and yesterday, we got our first look at the Donald’s version of that. The good news is that his goals sounded great; the bad news is that there wasn’t a hint of how much they would cost. Until we know that, this is just an exercise in dreamweaving.
I also continue to believe that the economy has little to do with the ultimate fate of stock prices. The key is that stocks, specifically, and assets, in general, have been through an extended period of mispricing and misallocation caused by misguided central bank monetary policies and which will likely be corrected sooner or later. As a result, I think cash is an important part of any portfolio’s composition.
This is a nice lesson from Warren Buffett in not panicking in a market rout. What the author leaves out is that in both the market downturns that he describes, Buffett had plenty of cash to take advantage of the decline in prices. That is a huge part of the math of achieving the returns mentioned. Buffett had cash because he accumulated (and didn’t spend) it when stocks were at higher valuations---which happens to be a contradiction of the author who in prior articles argues for buy and hold.
My thought for the day: most investors treat the recommendations of highly regarded Wall Street analysts as having great insight and worthy of being followed. In fact, several studies have shown that for the most part, analyst’s prediction are so far off the mark as to be virtually useless. Buyer beware.
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This Week’s Data
Weekly jobless claims rose 1,000 versus forecasts of up 3,000.
July personal income was up 0.4%, in line; personal spending advanced 0.3% versus estimates of up 0.4%.
August retail chain store sales were ahead of their July number.
Staff reductions in the State Department (medium):
International War Against Radical Islam
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