Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Morning Call--It's all about interest rates and the dollar


The Morning Call

5/17/18

The Market
         
    Technical

The Averages (DJIA 24768, S&P 2722) recovered from Tuesday’s shellacking, though volume declined and breadth was mixed.   The S&P bounced off its 100 day moving average (now support and supporting the notion that Tuesday’s pin action was not a false flag; but the Dow remained below its 100 day moving average [now resistance]).   That challenge still has to be mounted to give clear sailing to the former all-time highs.  But that still seems likely.

Both remained above their 200 day moving averages.  The DJIA closed in a short term trading range but in intermediate and long term uptrends.  The S&P is in uptrends across all timeframes.  Longer term, the assumption is that equity prices will continue to rise.
               
                The VIX was fell 8 ¼ %, ending below its 100 day moving average (now resistance) and back below its 200 day moving average, negating Tuesday’s upside break  It also finished in a short term downtrend.

The long Treasury continued to decline, finishing below the lower boundary of its long term uptrend for the second day; if it remains there through the close next Monday (not Tuesday, as I previously stated), it will reset to a trading range.  It continues below its 100 and 200 day moving averages and within a short term downtrend.

And (must read):

The dollar was up on big volume, closing above on the upper boundary of its newly reset intermediate term trading range (if it remains there through the close next Monday, it will reset to an uptrend.  It also finished above its 100 and 200 day moving averages (now support).
               
GLD fell slightly, ending below its 100 day moving average (now resistance), below its 200 day moving average for a second day (now support; if it remains there through the close on Friday, it will revert to resistance) and below the lower boundary a newly reset short term trading range for a second day (if it remains there through the close today, it will reset to a downtrend).
               
Bottom line: there was more pin action around resistance/support levels yesterday. The long Treasury continues its challenge of its long term uptrend and the dollar is now challenging the upper boundary of its intermediate term trading range.  This is pointing to higher interest rates and a less accommodative Fed.  Logically, it would negatively impact gold

My assumption would be that it would also have a negative effect on stocks.  Clearly that is not happening---which means to me that equity investors are still operating under a scenario of an improving but low inflationary growth economy and a generally accommodative Fed.  As you know, that is not my narrative.  So the Markets appear to be nearing the point that I will proved right or wrong.
           
    Fundamental

       Headlines

            Yesterday’s economic stats were on the negative side: weekly mortgage and purchase applications declined and April housing starts were abysmal.  On the other hand, April industrial production was better than expected while capacity utilization was worse.

            Overseas data continues to be a downer: April EU inflation was woefully short of its ECB target and first quarter Japanese GDP declined.
           
            A couple of sideline issues that could come into play:

(1)   on the trade issue, Peter Navarro, Trump’s chief trade consigliere, appears to have been sidelined.  I have always felt that this guy was a loose cannon and, if allowed to prevail, would push the Donald passed the limits of his ‘art of the deal’ strategy---to the determent of all.  I look at this a good news for trade policy.

Inside the White House trade debate (medium and a must read):

(2)   on the potential impact of political turmoil on the Market, Mueller has apparently decided to not indict Trump.  That is not meant as an observation about Trump’s guilt or innocence.  It is meant as an observation that indicting a president is generally not a Market friendly action.

            Investors remained focused on economic forces (strength in the economy, commodity inflation [i.e. oil] and direction of Fed policy) that are driving the pin action in bonds and the dollar and debating the longer term implications of those forces on corporate profitability and valuation.

            Bottom line:  it’s confusing.  The economic numbers are OK but not that great; and certainly don’t show signs of getting better (as much as many would want to otherwise believe).  Meanwhile, global growth is slowing markedly; and, despite a monumental effort by the entire ruling class to ignore their grossly irresponsible fiscal policies, servicing the monstrous debt with which it has saddled the American electorate will be a burden on the productive asset of our economy.  On the other hand, deregulation, potential changes in the US trade regime and possibly significant cost reductions in healthcare expenses are all pluses.   My take is that (1) economic growth will continue to be sluggish, at best and (2) that sooner or later the Fed will bury a grossly overvalued Market.

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
 
           

Economics

   This Week’s Data

      US

            April industrial production was up 0.7% versus consensus of up 0.6%; capacity utilization was 78.0% versus expectations of 78.3%.

            Weekly jobless claims rose 11,000 versus estimates of up 4,000.

            The May Philadelphia Fed business outlook index came in at 34.4 versus forecasts of 21.0.

     International

    Other

            Update on big four economic indicators (medium):

            Update on the Chinese economy (medium):

            Trade war tensions between the US, China and the EU (medium):

            Update on auto loans (medium):
           
What I am reading today

            Chart crimes (medium):

            More bad news on the pension front (medium):


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