Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Morning Call---Trump gives Investors nonchalance on trade a test

The Morning Call


The Market

The Averages (DJIA 24919, S&P 2793) had another good up day.  While volume was flat, breadth improved.   The Dow finished above its 100 day moving average for a second day (now resistance; if it remains there through the close today, it will revert to support), above its 200 day moving average for a third day (now resistance; if it remains there through the close today, it will revert to support) and within a short term trading range.  The S&P ended above both moving averages and in uptrends across all timeframes.  The assumption is that prices are going higher, though the S&P is now facing minor resistance from its June high.

 VIX fell ½ %, closing below its 100 day moving average (now resistance), below its 200 day moving average for a third day (now support; if it remains there through the close today, it will revert to resistance) and within a short term trading range.  It is nearing the May/June double bottom; suggesting that stocks may have to labor for any further short term advances.

The long Treasury was down a penny, but remains well above its 100 and 200 day moving averages and is in a long term uptrend. 

            The Japanese yield curve is flattening dramatically (medium):

            The dollar was again up fractionally, remaining well above both moving averages and in a short term uptrend.

            Gold was up another ¼%, but its pin action still looks like nothing more than a dead cat bounce.  It is still below both moving averages and in a short term downtrend.

            Bottom line: the DJIA’s pin action continues to improve bringing it ever closer to harmonizing with the S&P---a plus sign for future stock movement.   I found another analyst that agrees with the thought that the confusing performances of TLT, UUP and GLD is likely the result of investors betting on a relatively positive US economy versus the rest of the world’s economy.

However, if true (global economic activity is slowing and could deteriorate even further if a trade war breaks out), I don’t still don’t want to be fully invested in the equities in a relatively upbeat economy when their prices are already a short hair off their all-time highs.   In other words, if you don’t own some cash, this is probably a good time to do so.

            Yesterday in the charts (short):

                        Stock buybacks hit record highs in first half (medium):



            Yesterday’s US economic releases were upbeat: the June small business optimism index and month to date retail chain store sales were better than expected.  Overseas, not so much: July German economic sentiment was disappointing and June Chinese PPI was hotter than anticipated.

            With a lot of attention on Wimbledon, the Soccer Playoffs, the new Supreme Court nominee and Trump’s trip to Europe and the absence of any big economically related headlines, there is not much on which to comment (though the confirmation of a pro-business judge would be a long term plus for the economy).  Investors’ concern about a trade war seems to be on the backburner for the moment and appear to be anticipating a good second quarter earnings season.

            ***overnight, Trump imposed tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods.   Remember that this is not immediate, the US will have to go through a number of procedures before they take effect.

Bottom line:  the technical factors continue to point to further price increases even though those prices are near historic high valuations.  In that circumstance, I think it makes sense to take some money off the table.  As you know, I have already done so.  Importantly, not because I think that the indices suggest equity overvaluation (even though they do) but because individual stocks within our portfolios have traded into the Sell Half Ranges established a Model that produces valuations based on very long term financial history of the underlying companies and historical valuation measures.  Even then, my discipline is to only Sell Half of an overvalued position.  Still, I don’t think it prudent to hope for the best when stock prices are already at highs.

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) declares $0.7172/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.

Cummins (NYSE:CMI) declares $1.14/share quarterly dividend, 5.6% increase from prior dividend of $1.08.


   This Week’s Data


            Month to date retail chain store sales grew faster than in the prior week.

            Weekly mortgage applications rose 2.5% while purchase applications were up 7.0%.

            June PPI came in at +0.3% versus estimates of +0.2%: ex food and energy, it was +0.3%, in line.



            A chorus of Trump/trade critics (medium):

            The June dividend report (short):

            Fiscal policy in good and bad times (medium and a must read):

            BLS job opening report (short):

The latest data on oil supply/demand (medium):

What I am reading today

            Nine essential elements for committing massive fraud (long):

            Mexico’s new president wants to build a wall against illegal immigration (medium):

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