Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Morning Call--Was yesterday a top?

The Morning Call


The Market

The Averages (DJIA 26091, S&P 2796) advanced for another day, though they closed well off their intraday highs.  However, the S&P ended below the lower boundary of its very short term uptrend; if it remains there through the close today, that trend will be voided.  The Dow voided its very short term uptrend on Friday.  The Dow ended above its prior lower high (25977); the S&P did not (2800). Indeed, it challenged 2800 intraday and failed for the fourth time---an extremely rare occurrence.  It is too soon to make a big deal out of this; but this pin action has the characteristics of a top.  So, follow through is important.

Volume was flat and breadth was mixed.

The VIX was up 10%.  It is unusual for the VIX to be up on an up Market day; it is even more unusual for it to be up this much.  However, still it remains below both MA’s and in a very short term downtrend.  

The long bond fell ¼ %, leaving open the possibility that it has made a triple top.

The dollar was down two cents, ending above both MA’s and within a short-term uptrend.  It remains stuck in that November to present trading range.

GLD declined slightly, but its chart remains strong.

 Bottom line: while the Averages managed another up day, yesterday’s pin action along with the strong performance of the VIX suggests that the current rally may be coming to an end.  As I said above, follow through will determine that.  However, even if they have reached an interim high, that doesn’t mean a major sell off is in the cards. 
          Gold’s chart remains strong; UUP is stuck in a range and the long bond may be starting to suggest that rates could be moving up.

                Monday in the charts.


            Yesterday’s economic data weighed to the negative: the January Chicago Fed national activity index and December wholesale inventories/sales were extremely disappointing, but the February Dallas Fed manufacturing index was much better than expected.

            Most of the Markets’ attention was focused on the news Sunday night that Trump would delay the March 1st deadline for the imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese goods.  That, in turn, lifted investors’ optimism that a trade deal will be struck. 


            Trump is misreading Chinese strengths/weaknesses.

            Will Trump blink?

            Also taking up a lot of space on CNBC was the annual interview with Warren Buffett after the release of his annual letter to shareholders.  One of the segments that stood out to me was the reversal of his opinion on the US deficit/debt.

            Bottom line: the dataflow is not getting any better.  My concern is rising that my own forecast of sluggish growth may be too optimistic.

               On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly likely that some sort of trade deal will be struck with the Chinese.  The question is, will it address Chinese industrial policy and IP theft in a meaningful way or will there be a lot of ‘further studies’ needed but in the meantime China buys more soybeans?  To be sure, the latter would be a plus for US growth near term; however, Trump has put the economy through some unnecessary pain if that is all he gets. 
            Should stock buybacks be banned?

            Howard Marks on getting the odds on your side.

            On Friday, the debt ceiling returns.

Most economists see recession by 2021 (does that mean that we won’t have one?).

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS): Q1 Non-GAAP EPS of C$1.75 misses by C$0.07; GAAP EPS of C$1.71.
Revenue of C$7.61B (+7.3% Y/Y) misses by C$170M.

Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS) declares CAD 0.87/share quarterly dividend, 2.4% increase from prior dividend of CAD 0.85.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD): Q4 Non-GAAP EPS of $2.25 beats by $0.09; GAAP EPS of $2.09 misses by $0.06.
Revenue of $26.49B (+10.9% Y/Y) misses by $90M.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) declares $1.36/share quarterly dividend, 32% increase from prior dividend of $1.03.           


   This Week’s Data


            December wholesale inventories rose 1.1% versus expectations of up 0.3%; however, sales declined 1.0%.
            The February Dallas Fed manufacturing index came in at 13.1 versus estimates of 4.8.

            December housing starts fell 11.2% versus forecasts of being slightly up; however, building permits were up fractionally versus consensus of a decline of 2.9%.


            More nonsense from the Fed.

            Update on student loans.

            $8 billion hedge fund using 10x leverage.

                May opens door for Brexit delay.

India and Pakistan rattle their nuclear swords.

What I am reading today

            Why smart people don’t necessarily make smart investments.

                And Markets have a way of making one look stupid.

                The nothingness value of cryptocurrencies.

                Edge over odds.

            Taming the wild.

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