Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Morning Call---The Fed's narrative still upbeat

The Morning Call


The Market
The Averages (29276, 3357) marched in place yesterday (Dow unchanged, S&P up 5 points).  The S&P remained above its all-time high for a second day, re-establishing a very short term uptrend;  however, the Dow again (29373) fell short.  That leaves the indices out of sync---not that unusual when they are in trading ranges.  However, further mudding the water, the VIX continues to trade like investors are more risk averse than suggested by the indices’ price action.

At the moment, my assumption is that the indices are in a very short term trading range defined by their all-time highs on the upside (29373, 3337) and the mid-December gap up opens (28394/3215) on the downside. 

What money flows say about the stock market.

Buybacks are running 27% ahead of the same period last year.

            A study of past epidemics and their impact on the Market.

            Is there a link between Market crashes and the GOP?
GLD, TLT and UUP all drifted lower.  Not that big a deal on ho hum Market day.  Follow through is what is important.  Their pin action continues to say ‘safety trade’ to me. 

            The dollar surge poses risk to the economy.

Tuesday in the charts.



            Yesterday’s reported stats were negative though they were tertiary indicators. Month to date retail chain store sales and the December Jobs Openings (JOLTS) report were disappointing.
Overseas, the preliminary Q4 UK trade balance and December GDP growth were better than anticipated; Q4 business investment plus December industrial production and manufacturing production were below estimates.

***overnight, OPEC slashes oil demand forecast.

Other issues with potential impact on stock prices:

(1)   Trump’s budget maybe DOA but that doesn’t mean that the historic pattern of profligate spending will change.

                 The national debt is an intergenerational injustice.

(2)   Powell gave his first day of Humphrey Hawkins testimony before the house yesterday.  There was little new in either his prepared comments or during the Q&A.  The bottom line being to expect further rate cuts this year.

                 On Judy Shelton’s (Fed candidate) policy leanings.

                 Is a fix in the works for the repo market liquidity problem?

                      And will it provide the Fed with plausible deniability that NotQE exists?
            Bottom line: valuations on many stocks are getting richer everyday even though investors know that earnings estimates are going to come down, at the very least temporarily.  Longer term, there is cause for debate: (1) the length and magnitude of the coronavirus hit is simply not knowable at this time [though, as you know, I don’t believe the effect will be a major negative] and (2) longer term, I think that the adverse impact of irresponsible fiscal and monetary policies on economic growth will disappoint investor corporate profit expectations. 

                None of that matters as long as the central banks QE provide cheap money to speculators.

                Why we should worry about stagflation (must read):
             UBS flagship real estate fund hit with redemptions.

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
Cummins (NYSE:CMI) declares $1.322/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.


   This Week’s Data


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

            The December Jobs Openings (JOLTS) report showed 6.423 million openings versus consensus of 7 million.

                     Weekly mortgage applications rose 1.1% but purchase applications fell 5.8%.


December EU industrial production declined 2.1% versus estimates of -1.6%.

January Japanese machine tool orders YoY dropped 35.6% versus forecasts of -28.0%.


            Mortgage delinquencies fell in Q4 2019.

                Household debt tops $14 trillion in Q4 2019.

What I am reading today

            How to choose an airplane seat.

            What causes auto deaths.

            This is what winners do.

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