Week of Jan 19 2018 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

January 19th, 2018

“By living the philosophy that my winners are always in front of me, it is not so painful to take a loss.” – Marty Schwartz

1. Ford Ups Electrification Investment to $11B — Ford will significantly increase its planned investments in EVs to $11B by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup. “We’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Chairman Bill Ford told reporters. Ford (NYSE:F) also showed off its 2019 Ranger, after pulling the midsize pickup off the market in North America eight years ago.
2. China Crackdowns on Crytocurrency – South Korea stating a ban on trading was now “a live option” and China reportedly raising the bar on its cryptocurrency crackdown. Bitcoin dropped eventually tumbling to under $11,000 for the first time since Dec. 6 from the high of nearly $20,000. PBOC Vice Governor Pan Gongsheng says authorities should ban centralized trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services.
3. U.S. Plans New Nuclear Weapons – the Pentagon is planning to develop more “low-yield” nuclear warheads and a sea-based nuclear cruise missile, according to a leaked draft of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. It follows reports that Russia has developed an unmanned underwater nuclear drone that has a range of 10,000 kilometers and can carry a 100-megaton nuclear warhead. Companies affected are: BW, HON, ACM, JEC, SAIC, OA, COL, LMT, BA, NOC, GD, AJRD, HII.
4. U.S. Considers ‘fine’ on China for IP Theft — the U.S. is considering a major “fine” as part of a probe into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property. “We’re talking about big damages,” President Trump told Reuters. “We’re talking about numbers that you haven’t even thought about.” American businesses claim to have lost billions of dollars to Chinese firms that force them to turn over intellectual property as part of the price of doing business in the country.
5. US World’s Next Largest Oil Producer According to IEA – the IEA said in the latest monthly report that “2018 promises to be a record-setting one for the U.S.,”. “Relentless growth should see the U.S. hit historic highs above 10M barrels a day [in production], overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivaling Russia during the course of 2018 – provided OPEC and non-OPEC restraints remain in place.”

Majority of company earnings will be announced next week.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Jan 12 2018 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

January 15th, 2018

“If you personalize losses, you can’t trade.” – Bruce Kovner

1. SEC Crypto Crackdown Continues — the SEC continues to crack down on cryptocurrency trading, halting shares of UBI Blockchain Internet (OTCPK:UBIA) through Jan. 22. The regulator cited potentially inaccurate disclosures and unusual market activity. The stock spiked to $87 on Dec. 18 from just $9 on Dec. 11 and has since fallen back to $22.
2. Intel Unveils Self-Driving Car, Security Ipdates at CES – Intel showcased its first self-driving test car at CES, announcing a number of automaker tie-ups and stating Mobileye’s autonomous tech will be used in 2M vehicles. Also, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) said it will form a new cybersecurity group and expects to issue processor updates by the end of January. Also, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) capped its keynote address at this year’s CES by letting an 18-rotor air taxi fly across the stage. That marks the first time the Volocopter VC200, which can cover a distance of 27 kilometers and charges in less than 40 minutes, flew in North America.
3. China Diversifying Forex Reserves — China is diversifying its foreign exchange reserves in order to safeguard their value, according to the country’s currency regulator, while dismissing a Bloomberg report stating the government was halting or reducing its U.S. debt purchases. Chinese officials were said to have recommended the move amid a less attractive market for Treasury bonds and rising U.S.-China trade tensions.
4. S.Korea Plans Trading Ban Cryptocurrency via Exchanges — South Korea is planning to ban cryptocurrency trading via exchanges, according to Justice Minister Park Sang-ki, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil. It’s a major development as the country is one of the biggest markets in the crypto space. The news also follows warning from Warren Buffett that speculation in bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, “will have a bad ending.”
5. S&P Cuts Brazil Rating Deeper into Junk — citing the government’s failure to pass key fiscal reforms, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Brazil’s credit rating deeper into junk territory, to BB-, or three notches below investment grade. It’s a disappointed move for the administration of President Michel Temer, which has been touting Brazil’s progress in recovering from its worst recession on record.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Jan 5 2018 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

January 8th, 2018

“If I have positions going against me, I get right out; if they are going for me, I keep them… Risk control is the most important thing in trading. If you have a losing position that is making you uncomfortable, the solution is very simple: Get out, because you can always get back in.” – Paul Tudor Jones

1. Iran Unrest Lifts Crude Prices — crude oil benchmarks, Brent and WTI, have both started the year above $60 per barrel for the first time since January 2014. “Growing unrest in Iran set the table for a bullish start to 2018,” the U.S.-based Schork Report said in a note to clients. Iran is the third-largest producer in OPEC, which agreed last year to extend its oil output cuts through Dec. 31, 2018.
2. China Became Biggest Importer of Natural Gas — Beijing’s crackdown on pollution has put China on track to overtake Japan this year as the world’s biggest importer of natural gas. Already the largest importer of oil and coal, China is the world’s third biggest user of natural gas behind the U.S. and Russia, but has to import around 40% of its total needs as domestic production can’t keep up with demand.
3. Trump to ‘Sharply’ Expand Offshore Drilling, Including Pacific Ocean — looking to boost domestic energy production, the Trump administration has proposed opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, including in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans. That would reverse the Obama-era order placing 94% of the Outer Continental Shelf off limits to drillers.
4. Attorney General Sessions to Allow State Attorneys Decide on Federal Pot Enforcement Law — Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy that had discouraged prosecutors in states where marijuana was legalized from bringing pot-related charges, unless they involved distribution to minors, revenue sale benefiting gangs and a few other federal priorities. In its place, prosecutors will be given discretion (not guidance) to pursue marijuana-related prosecutions.
5. AAII Weekly Sentiment Survey — According to the weekly sentiment survey from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), bullish sentiment increased to 59.75% from 52.65% last week. Not only is this the third straight week where bullish sentiment has been above 50%, but it’s also the second-highest reading in bullish sentiment of the bull market!

Also, Bearish sentiment dropped from 20.63 down to a paltry 15.56%. The only week where bearish sentiment was lower was in November 2014, when it dropped to 15.05%.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Blackstone ’s Byron Wien Ten Surprises for 2018

January 2nd, 2018

courtesy of Blackstone, Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman in the Private Wealth Solutions group at Blackstone, issued his list of Ten Surprises for 2018.
Byron’s Ten Surprises for 2018 are as follows:

1. China finally decides that a nuclear capability in the hands of an unpredictable leader on its border is not tolerable even though North Korea is a communist buffer between itself and democratic South Korea. China cuts off all fuel and food shipments to North Korea, which agrees to suspend its nuclear development program but not give up its current weapons arsenal.

2. Populism, tribalism and anarchy spread around the world. In the United Kingdom Jeremy Corbyn becomes the next Prime Minister. In spite of repressive action by the Spanish government, Catalonia remains turbulent. Despite the adverse economic consequences of the Brexit vote, the unintended positive consequence is that it brings continental Europe closer together with more economic cooperation and faster growth.

3. The dollar finally comes to life. Real growth exceeds 3% in the United States, which, coupled with the implementation of some components of the Trump pro-business agenda, renews investor interest in owning dollar-denominated assets, and the euro drops to 1.10 and the yen to 120 against the dollar. Repatriation of foreign profits held abroad by U.S. companies helps.

4. The U.S. economy has a better year than 2017, but speculation reaches an extreme and ultimately the S&P 500 has a 10% correction. The index drops toward 2300, partly because of higher interest rates, but ends the year above 3000 since earnings continue to expand and economic growth heads toward 4%.

5. The price of West Texas Intermediate Crude moves above $80. The price rises because of continued world growth and unexpected demand from developing markets, together with disappointing hydraulic fracking production, diminished inventories, OPEC discipline and only modest production increases from Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq and Iran.

6. Inflation becomes an issue of concern. Continued world GDP growth puts pressure on commodity prices. Tight labor markets in the industrialized countries create wage increases. In the United States, average hourly earnings gains approach 4% and the Consumer Price Index pushes above 3%.

7. With higher inflation, interest rates begin to rise. The Federal Reserve increases short-term rates four times in 2018 and the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield moves toward 4%, but the Fed shrinks its balance sheet only modestly because of the potential impact on the financial markets. High yield spreads widen, causing concern in the equity market.

8. Both NAFTA and the Iran agreement endure in spite of Trump railing against them. Too many American jobs would be lost if NAFTA ended, and our allies universally support continuing the Iran agreement. Trump begins to think that not signing on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a mistake as he sees the rise of China’s influence around the world. He presses for more bilateral trade deals in Asia.

9. The Republicans lose control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the November election. Voters feel disappointed that many promises made during Trump’s presidential campaign were not implemented in legislation and there is a growing negative reaction to his endless Tweets. The mid-term election turns out to be a referendum on the Trump Presidency.

10. Xi Jinping, having broadened his authority at the 19th Party Congress in October, focuses on China’s credit problems and decides to limit business borrowing even if it means slowing the economy down and creating fewer jobs. Real GDP growth drops to 5.5%, with only minor implications for world growth. Xi proclaims this move will ensure the sustainability of China’s growth over the long term.


Every year there are always a few Surprises that do not make the Ten because either I do not think they are as relevant as those on the basic list or I am not comfortable with the idea that they are “probable.”

11. Investors recognize that the earnings of companies in Europe, the Far East and the emerging markets are growing faster than those in the United States while the price earnings ratios in those regions are lower than those in America. Global investments become more broadly represented in institutional portfolios.

The Mueller investigation of the 2016 presidential election fails to implicate any members of the Trump family in collusion with Russian operatives.

Artificial intelligence gains visible momentum. Service sector jobs are automated, particularly clerks in legal and finance professions, as well as workers in fast food outlets and healthcare. Economists begin to question the unemployment data because the rate drops below 4% while so many people still appear to be out of work and seeking government assistance.

12. Cyberattacks become more prevalent and begin to affect consumer confidence. A major money center bank suspends deposits or withdrawals for three days because its system is penetrated. Numerous retail organizations report that customer personal information has been obtained by hackers. Those invading corporate information systems appear to be smarter and more innovative than the internal employees protecting the computer data, suggesting that the systems themselves need to be upgraded.

13. The regulatory authorities in Europe and the United States finally get concerned about the creative destruction of Internet-related businesses. As a result of pressure from retailers and traditional media companies, they begin an investigation of anti-competitive practices at Amazon, Facebook and Google. The public begins to think these companies have too much power.

14. The risks in Bitcoin are so great that regulatory authorities restrict trading. Among their concerns are: no regulatory oversight; no safety and soundness measures; no recourse in the event of mistaken or miscalculated transactions; high cyber risk; no deposit insurance. (Risk source: Morgan Stanley.)

Week of Dec 29 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

January 2nd, 2018

“The December Low Indicator — Forget all the noise you hear about the January Barometer; pay much more attention to the December low. That would be the lowest closing price for the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the month of December. If that low is violated during the first quarter of the New Year, watch out!” – Lucien Hooper


1. China Extends Tax Rebate For NEVs (New-Energy Vehicles) — China’s Finance Ministry will extend a tax rebate on purchases of new-energy vehicles from the end of this year until the end of 2020 amid a shift away from the internal combustion engine. The extension comes as automakers in China brace to meet strict quotas starting in 2019 that are sparking launches of NEV models and a flurry of new deals.
2. MasterCard (NYSE:MA) Released Strong Early Christmas Numbers — MasterCard (NYSE:MA) released strong early Christmas numbers. Excluding autos, sales rose 4.9% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, marking the fastest pace since 2011. E-commerce naturally drove the gain, up 18.1%. Helping the figure was Christmas falling on a Monday, giving retailers a full weekend to reel in extra sales.
3. Israel Latest to Crack Down on Bitcoin — Israel has become the latest nation to crack down on cryptocurrencies, proposing regulation to ban companies trading in bitcoin from operating on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. The move follows last week’s warnings by FINRA against firms that “tout the potential of high returns associated with cryptocurrency-related activities,” as well as China’s decision to shutter bitcoin exchanges and ban ICOs in September.
4. Korea Also Crackdown on Cryptocurrency – S Korea eyed new regulations that would include prohibiting anonymous trading accounts and could give authorities the ability to shut down exchanges. The head of the country’s financial regulation agency also told reporters that the “bubble in bitcoin will burst later.” Bitcoin’s plunge comes after futures contracts started trading on CME Group’s exchange, giving investors new ways to bet on the digital coin’s price moves. Furthermore, India’s finance ministry is the latest global regulatory body to caution about the risks of trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, saying the investments are like “Ponzi schemes.”

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Dec 22 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

December 25th, 2017

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” — Warren Buffett
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year — from the staffs of EGS

1. Chile’s Corfo, SQM Seek Settlement of Lithium Mining Claims — Corfo and Pampa Calichera, a Chilean development agency that controls Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQM) stated that it had agreed to suspend its arbitration battle with SQM for 30 days as they try to solve a dispute over lithium mining claims. Chile will be able to expand its lithium production “significantly” if the negotiations are successful.
2. China Looks to Curb Greenhouse Emissions — China is planning to start a giant market to trade credits for the right to emit greenhouse gases. The program would initially cover the nation’s state-dominated power generation sector, which produced almost half of the country’s emissions from burning fossil fuels last year.
3. AAII Weekly Sentiment Survey — the weekly sentiment survey from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) showed that bullish sentiment increased from 45.0 up to 50.5%. That’s the first 50%+ reading since the first week of 2015! That streak of 154 weeks without a 50%+ reading was the longest in the history of the survey!

4. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Passed by Congress and Signed into Law by President Donald Trump — the new tax law will be a mixed bag of give-and-take for individual taxpayers, with benefits sharply skewed to the wealthy. The main component, the top corporate tax rate will drop from 35%—one of the highest top rates levied by developed nations—to 21% in 2018. Most taxpayers will see their tax burdens decline and their after-tax income rise in 2019, after the new law is fully in effect.
5. Congress Passes Stopgap Spending Bill – Congress has passed a stopgap spending bill that keeps the government funded through mid-January, punting thorny policy debates into next year. The most contentious part of the bill is what’s called a “pay-go” waiver. The provision suspends rules that bar the government from enacting expensive new programs, like the GOP tax cuts, unless there is enough money in the current year’s budget to pay for them.
6. Wall Street Strategists’ Forecast Year-End Price Targets — according to Bloomberg, the consensus S&P 500 price target for the end of 2018 stands at 2,854. That would represent a 2018 gain of roughly 6%.
Below is a chart showing consensus year-end price targets for the S&P 500 for every year going back to 2000. For each year, we show where Wall Street strategists saw the S&P 500 trading at the end of the year, the estimated annual percentage change based on the price target, and the actual percentage change that the S&P 500 experienced that year.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Dec 15 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

December 18th, 2017

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.” – John Templeton

1. Bitcoin Debut on CBOE Futures Exchange — futures on the world’s most popular crypto-currency – trading under symbol(“XBT) – surged as much as 25% to $18,850 during their debut session on the CBOE Futures Exchange, triggering two temporary trading halts meant to cool volatility earlier this week. About 2,700 contracts for January changed hands. Also, the SEC has issued a warning to investors on the dangers of putting their money into cryptocurrencies. “There are tales of fortunes made and dreamed to be made,” said Chairman Jay Clayton. “We are hearing the familiar refrain, ‘this time is different.’”
2. WTO’s Ministerial Ramping Up Trade Pressure on China — the WTO’s ministerials, the EU, Japan and U.S. will announce a new alliance to take on China. The three economies will target “severe excess capacity” in important sectors like steel and commodities, the role of illegal subsidies and abusing intellectual property rules to acquire strategic technologies.
3. GOP Raising Corporate Rate to 21% — GOP negotiators have reached a tentative agreement to raise the corporate rate in their joint House-Senate tax bill from 20% to 21%, according to The Hill. The higher rate could pay for a reduction in the top individual rate, which Republicans are talking about lowering from 39.6% to 37%. It could also pay for keeping more deductions for taxpayers, particularly in high-tax states.
4. FOMC Raised Interest Rates but Sticks to Go-Slow Approach — the central bank raised its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point to between 1.25% and 1.5% — the fourth increase in a year. In addition, the central bank made no change to its forecast for inflation and struck a wait-and-see stance in light of persistently low inflation and a pending change in leadership.
5. AAII Weekly Sentiment — courtesy of BIG, according to this week’s sentiment poll from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), bullish sentiment increased from 36.9% up to 45%. That’s the greatest weekly increase in three months and the fourth straight week of increased optimism. The last time bullish sentiment increased for four straight weeks was back in early 2016, and we haven’t seen five straight weeks of increased bullish sentiment since 2012. It has now been a record 154 straight weeks since bullish sentiment last eclipsed 50%.

In addition, bearish sentiment saw a 6.1 percentage point decline this week, falling from 34.2% down to 28.1%. That’s the lowest weekly print for bearish sentiment in just over a month, but nowhere near the lowest levels of the year.

6. Final Version of the Republican Tax Bill Head to Congress This Week – If the tax bill is passed this week, the sectors that should benefit the most are: Financials, Retailers, Telecom, Transports, and smalll–cap stocks. Indeed, the small–cap Russell 2000 saw a big lift on Friday as it bounced off of its 50-day moving average. Copper’s recent rally is also suggestive of world–wide economic strength.
The chart below shows the three secular Bull Market since 1949.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Dec 8 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

December 11th, 2017

“I’m always thinking about losing money as opposed to making money. Don’t focus on making money, focus on protecting what you have” – Paul Tudor Jones

1. Walgreens Rebranding Effort in Pharmacy Wars — Walgreens is taking a different approach to grow in the wake of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) announcing plans to acquire Aetna (NYSE:AET). The company is re-positioning to reach two demographics of female shoppers – millennials and Gen X – with a big emphasis on beauty and food products.
2. Japan Wants Missiles that Could Strike N.Korea — Reuters reported Japan is preparing to acquire precision air-launched missiles that for the first time would give it the capability to strike North Korea. The country is exploring Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) JASSM-ER, as well as missiles from Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. The report comes as UN chief diplomat Jeffrey Feltman travels to Pyongyang for rare, high-level, political talks to diffuse tension.
3. The Senate and House Passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Bill ” — the Senate and House lawmakers passed the “Tax Bill” and are now working to come up with a final version of the tax bill, and they still have some differences to resolve. Below is the summary of the Senate and House versions.

4. House Approves Two-Week Funding Extension, Avoiding Government Shutdown — the Senate has passed a stop-gap spending measure to continue funding the federal government for two weeks. President Trump would sign a stop-gap spending measure funding the government through Dec. 22, according to a statement from the White House. In addition, the White House said it will move forward with a massive infrastructure program in 2018.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Dec 1 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

December 1st, 2017

“Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.” – unknown

1. Strong Start to Holiday Sales Season — Cyber Monday hit record revenues of $6.59B, making it the largest U.S. online sales day ever, in the latest report released. In comparison, Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day brought in $5.03B and $2.87B respectively. The internet holiday shopping season has so far (Nov. 1-27) driven a total of $50B in revenue, a 16.8% increase.
2. Bitcoin Shoots for $11,000 — a day after breaking above the $9,000 level, bitcoin has cracked $11,700, boosted by growing signs of mainstream adoption. About 100,000 Coin-base accounts were added over the Thanksgiving holiday, while CME will list bitcoin futures in the second week of December.
3. Samsung Develops Graphene-Based Battery, Quicker Charge than Lithium — Samsung Electronics has successfully developed a graphene-based battery that would take just 12 minutes to be fully charged, compared to current lithium-ion batteries, which take about an hour. Graphene has been dubbed a “miracle material” in the global electronics industry given its strength, electrical conductivity and elasticity.
4. OPEC/Russia Agree on Oil-Cuts Extension to End of 2018 — OPEC agreed to extend its oil-production cuts to the end of 2018. OPEC and other oil exporters led by Russia have kept 1.8 million barrels a day off the market since January, helping to boost crude prices about 40 percent from the lows of the year. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters “My preference is to go for nine months, we will meet again in June and we look at not only how we have done in first half of the year, but also our outlook for third and fourth quarters of 2018 and act accordingly.”
5. Amazon is in Exploratory Talks with Generic-Drug Makers — Amazon has held preliminary talks with makers of generic drugs about its potential entry into the pharmacy space, according to CNBC. The conversations, including with generics giants Mylan and Sandoz, a unit of Novartis. Stocks of drug distributors and others in the pharmaceutical supply chain, such as pharmacies and pharmacy benefits managers, have been pressured by the specter of Amazon entering the space.

The week ahead — Economic data from

Week of Nov 24 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

November 28th, 2017

“Throughout my financial career, I have continually witnessed examples of other people that I have known being ruined by a failure to respect risk. If you don’t take a hard look at risk, it will take you.” – Larry Hite

1. Governing Crisis in Germany — Germany’s Angela Merkel said she would prefer fresh elections to ruling with a minority government after talks on forming a three-way coalition collapsed. Subsequently, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated Germany is facing its worst governing crisis in the history of its post-WWII democracy and pressed all parties in parliament “to serve our country” and form a government.
2. Europe’s First Bitcoin Mutual Fund — a Paris-based asset manager has launched Europe’s first bitcoin mutual fund. Tobam is classifying it as an alternative investment fund since it’s not traded on an exchange, but it does have daily liquidity based on market closing prices. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) is also reportedly getting into bitcoin futures trading even though CEO Jamie Dimon believes it’s a fraud.
3. Russia-OPEC Agree on Framework to Extend Oil Cuts — OPEC and Russia have crafted the outline of a deal to extend their oil production cuts to the end of next year, although both sides are still hammering out crucial details. Moscow and Riyadh now agree they should announce an additional period of cuts at the Nov. 30 meeting. West Texas Intermediate crude extended gains to the highest level since July 2015. Futures for January delivery rose as much as 1.6 percent to $58.92.

The week ahead — Economic data from

January 2018
« Dec    
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