Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Morning Call--It appears that the deficit is only going to get bigger

The Morning Call


The Market

The indices (DJIA 24601, S&P 2656) extended their Friday rally.  Both are now back above both moving averages and within uptrends across all major timeframes.  However, both are also in very short term downtrends.  To get jiggy about the very short term, the indices have to negate that downtrend.  Volume declined but breadth improved. It is too soon to alter the technical assumption that long term stocks are going higher. 

The VIX fell another 12%, but is still at elevated levels---continuing to exert a negative impact on the Market.

The long Treasury rose ½ %, finishing below both moving averages and in very short term and short term downtrends.  It remains near the lower boundary of its long term uptrend, a breach of which would clearly intensify investors’ concern about rising interest rates/inflation

The dollar declined, leaving it below both moving averages, in an intermediate term downtrend and below the lower boundary of a developing very short term uptrend. This remains an ugly chart.
GLD recovered, bouncing off a minor support level and leaving its chart in relatively good shape.

Bottom line: very short term, the Averages remain in a downtrend, though just barely; long term, the trend is up.  Last week’s stomach churning volatility may raise some questions about whether the Market has hit a high; but so far the answer is no. 
            Yesterday in the charts (medium):

            The anatomy of this correction (short and a must read):

            For the bulls (medium):

            But still the correction may not be over (medium):

            This is a good, comprehensive look at the technicals following the recent decline (medium):


            The January budget surplus was less than expected.  While not dramatically so, it is nonetheless emblematic of the mess our fiscal policy is becoming.
            Speaking of which, Trump released his infrastructure plan.  The headline spending number was $1.5 trillion; however, the good news is that only $200 million is coming from the federal government as ‘seed money’ to encourage state and local governments as well as private business to ‘invest’ the remainder.
            Goldman’s take (medium):

            Trump also released his FY 2019 budget which doesn’t even pretend to be in balance over the next ten years.  The good news is that it is believed by many to be DOA.

            Bottom line: while yesterday’s headlines were not encouraging if you are concerned about more policy initiatives that will further explode the government deficit/debt near what appears to be the end of an economic cycle, the new policy proposals look to be nonstarters.  Cue the applause. That said, it is probably too much to hope for that nothing will come of an infrastructure spending plan or that somehow the FY2019 budget deficit will not expand further given the previous actions by our ruling class on taxes and the debt ceiling.

Whatever the outcome, the combination of an economy operating roughly at full capacity coupled with a huge increase in the deficit (which we already have irrespective of the final versions of the infrastructure plan and the FY2019 budget) on top of a historically high national debt is a recipe for inflation and a potential nightmare for the Fed.

            Of course, it appears that I am wrong about the impact of the tax bill; so I could be equally wrong on this score.

            The national debt is speeding out of control (medium):

            When fiscal policy might make matters worse (short):

            SocGen on the likely impact of rising rates on stock prices (medium):

            Bias in action (medium):

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios

PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP): Q4 EPS of $1.31 beats by $0.01.
Revenue of $19.53B (+0.1% Y/Y) beats by $140M.

Pepsico (NYSE:PEPhiked its annual dividend by 15% to $3.71 ($0.9275/share quarterly), effective with the dividend expected to be paid in June 2018.

   This Week’s Data


            The January Treasury budget surplus was $49.2 billion versus expectations of $51.0 billion.

            The January small business optimism index was reported at 106.9 versus estimates of 105.5.


            The January UK inflation rate was 3% versus the BOE’s goal of 2%.


            Also for the bulls (medium):

            The trade deficit is rising (short):

            Port of Long Beach experienced record January traffic (short):

            Update on Chinese monetary policy (medium):

What I am reading today

            Four things homeowners need to know in filing 2017 taxes (medium):

            US air strikes kill over 100 Russian fighters in Syria (medium):

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