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Week of Apr 14 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

April 17th, 2017

“The desire for constant action irrespective of underlying conditions is responsible for many losses in Wall Street even among the professionals, who feel that they must take home some money every day, as though they were working for regular wages.” – Jesse Livermore

1. FOMC Chairwoman Yellen Latest Statement On Economy – It’s ‘Pretty healthy’ and Doesn’t Need Fed’s Help — the economy’s doing pretty well and doesn’t necessarily need a step on the accelerator from the Fed, Chairwoman Janet Yellen says, but the “neutral” ending spot for short-term interest rates is “pretty low.” On a recent speech at the University of Michigan, she didn’t tip the Fed’s approach either way, but characterized the central bank as near its twin goals of full employment and inflation control.
2. China Investigates Top Insurance Regulator — the anti-corruption crackdown in China rose to a new level over the weekend after the head of China’s insurance regulator fell into the spotlight. China Insurance Regulatory Commission leader Xiang Junbo was charged with serious disciplinary violations, a phrasing typically associated with graft. Xaing has led the insurance regulator since 2011 and has been vocal about finding “financial crocodiles” while on the job.
3. China’s Export Outlook Beats Expectations, Points to Continued Strength — China’s 2017 export outlook brightened after the government reported better than expected trade growth for March and as U.S. President Trump suddenly declared China is not a currency manipulator. China’s exports rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in March, up 16.4% Y/Y, while import growth remained strong at 20.2%; the country’s crude oil imports hit a record high of nearly 9.2M bbl/day. Analysts said the stronger trade data reinforces the growing view that economic activity in China has remained resilient and that global manufacturing is improving.
4. IEA Cuts Oil outlook for 2017 Demand Growth, Sees Second Straight Annual Drop — the International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered its forecast for 2017 global oil demand growth to 1.3M bbl/day in its latest monthly market report, with growth expected to slow in 2017 for second year in a row. OPEC’s oil production fell by 365K bbl/day in March, bringing the cartel’s compliance to its supply commitments to 99% and likely smoothing talks as members begin to consider the prospect of extending production cuts. Meanwhile, the IEA says production in the U.S. rose to 9M bbl/day in March from a trough of 8.6M bbl/day last September.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Apr 7 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

April 10th, 2017

“I measure what’s going on, and I adapt to it. I try to get my ego out of the way. The market is smarter than I am so I bend.” – Martin Zweig

1. Q1 2017 Performance Summary — courtesy of BIG, as shown in the sector performance chart below, Technology did most of the heavy lifting this quarter with a rally of 12.4%, or more than double the S&P 500’s gains. Behind Technology, Consumer Discretionary rallied 8.2%, while Health Care gained 8%. On the downside, the only two sectors that were down on the quarter were Energy (-7.2%) and Telecom Services (-4.8%). Besides these two sectors, others that underperformed during Q1 were Financials, Real Estate, Industrials, and Materials.

2. US Trade Deficit Drops Sharply to $43.6 Billion in February — the Commerce Department reported the deficit fell to $43.6 billion in February, 9.6 per cent below January’s deficit of $48.2 billion. Imports dropped 1.8 per cent to $236.4 billion as the flow of Chinese goods tumbled by $8.6 billion, led by a big drop in cellphone imports.
3. Payless ShoeSource Files for Bankruptcy — Payless ShoeSource has filed for bankruptcy, marking the 10th filing by a national retail chain this year. As part of its restructuring, the company will close nearly 400 stores as it attempts to boost its balance sheet and restructure its debt load. Chains that compete with Payless include DSW (NYSE:DSW) and Caleres (NYSE:CAL).
4. Trump Rattles Putin With Strikes on Syria, Escalating Civil War – U.S. President Donald Trump bombed the Russia-backed forces of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for the first time, escalating a six-year civil war and heightening tensions between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Trump ordered the launching of dozens of cruise missiles from U.S. warships after accusing Assad’s regime of killing scores of civilians with poison gas. What started as a Syrian crackdown on protests in Damascus has morphed into a conflict involving the U.S., Russia, Iran and Turkey, as well as multiple extremist groups and militias backed by regional powers such as Saudi Arabia.
5. AAII weekly Market sentiment — according to the weekly sentiment survey from AAII, only 28.3% of individual investors considered themselves bullish in the last week. That’s down from an already low reading of 30.2% last week, and it’s the lowest weekly reading seen since before the election. This week’s decline also extends the record streak of consecutive weekly readings where bullish sentiment was below 50% to 118.

Bearish sentiment rose to just under 40% this week (39.6%), marking the fourth week in the last five where bears have outnumbered bulls.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Mar 31 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

April 4th, 2017

“When I get hurt in the market, I get the hell out. It doesn’t matter at all where the market is trading. I just get out, because I believe that once you’re hurt in the market, your decisions are going to be far less objective than they are when you’re doing well… If you stick around when the market is severely against you, sooner or later they are going to carry you out.” – Randy McKay

1. OPEC and Non-OPEC Oil Producers Meeting in Kuwait Agreed to Evaluate Six More Months of Oil Output Cuts — a joint committee of ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers has agreed to evaluate whether a global pact to limit supplies should be extended by six months. At a meeting in Kuwait, the committee requested a technical group and the OPEC Secretariat “review the oil market conditions and revert… in April, 2017 regarding the extension of the voluntary production adjustments.”
2. Comcast to Expand Streaming Service — Comcast is planning to rebrand and expand a streaming video option for broadband subscribers who do not want to pay for a traditional cable package. The service, dubbed Xfinity Instant TV, will be priced as low as $15 a month to roughly $40 a month, sources told Reuters. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) will include major broadcast networks as well as add-on options.
3. Brexit Process Set to Begin — British’s PM Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty with a hand-delivered letter to EU President Donald Tusk. That process set the stage for two years of landmark negotiations, including trade, immigration and the future of Britain’s $2.6T economy. While the Brexit decision last summer came as a surprise and rocked markets, stocks quickly recovered and have since notched record highs.
4. Trump “Border Wall” Extend the Bids Process Until April 4, 2017 — companies looking to build President Trump’s border wall will now have until April 4 to submit offers after the DHS extended deadline. Almost 700 businesses have already placed bids, including U.S. Concrete (NASDAQ:USCR), KBR, Martin Marietta (NYSE:MLM) and Fluor (NYSE:FLR). The wall must be at least 18 feet high, can’t be climbed, prevents digging below it for at least six feet and has a U.S.-facing side that is “aesthetically pleasing.”
5. BlackRock Stock-Picking Goes High-Tech — the evolution of stock picking has taken a toll on jobs and fees at BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) after the world’s biggest money manager said it will increasingly rely on data-mining technology to make investment decisions. Over forty staff will be laid off, including some portfolio managers. The revamp marks BlackRock’s biggest attempt to rejuvenate its actively managed equities business as investors shift to ETFs.
6. U.S. 4Q GDP Revised Upward to 2.1% on Consumption — the U.S. economy grew 2.1% in the fourth quarter versus estimated for 2%. The data reinforce the underlying story of the U.S. economy: the seven-year expansion continues to be led by consumers, who are cushioned by a firm labor market and rising confidence. At the same time, rising corporate profits could provide continued momentum for hiring and support further capital investment.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Mar 24 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

March 27th, 2017

“Letting losses run is the most serious mistake made by most investors.” – William O’Neil

1. U.S. Weighs Broad Sanctions on North Korea — the Trump administration is considering imposing sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as a response to its nuclear threats and missile tests. The penalties would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure, especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with Pyongyang.
2. Target’s Store Makeover Plan — Target’s first fully redesigned shop in Houston will include two separate entrances: one for time-crunched grocery shoppers, and another for those who want to browse fashion or beauty. The company will use the design, which also includes order pickup parking spots, as a starting point for the 500 stores it plans to make over in 2018 and 2019. It’s part of the $7B investment Target (NYSE:TGT) disclosed last month.
3. Gain in the S&P500 YTD Made up of MegaCap Stocks –the S&P 500 is up over 6% already in 2017, but thus far it has only been large-cap stocks. Courtesy of BIG, In the chart below, decile 1 (labeled “Largest”) contains the largest 10% of stocks in the index at the start of the year. Decile 2 contains the next largest 10%, and so on and so forth until you get to the last decile (labeled “Smallest”), which contains the smallest 10% of stocks in the index.

4. Apple Is Closer to Manufacturing Phones in India — WSJ reported that Taiwanese contract manufacturer Winstron Corp. could start making the iPhone 6 and 6S models at its plant in Bangalore as soon as April, and add the assembly of Apple’s cheaper SE model in three months. India has one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets, and Apple currently only has about a 4 percent share of it. As the Indian population of 1.2 billion people continues to grow, the move presents an opportunity for the company to boost sales.
5. Oil Dropped for the Third Week Ahead of Kuwait meeting — oil is set for its third weekly drop ahead of this weekend’s meeting in Kuwait, at which OPEC and its production-cutting allies will assess the effectiveness of their actions to date. Talks will also be overshadowed by the question of whether the persisting glut requires curbs to be extended beyond the summer.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Mar 17 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

March 21st, 2017

“The trick is not to be the hottest stock-picker, the winningest forecaster, or the developer of the neatest model; such victories are transient. The trick is to survive! Performing that trick requires a strong stomach for being wrong because we are all going to be wrong more often then we expect. “ — Peter Bernstein

1. Intel To Buy Mobileye for $14B-$15B — Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) agreed to buy Mobileye (NYSE:MBLY), a leading manufacturer of software for autonomous vehicles, for $14B-$15B. There are no industry standards for relatively nascent driverless-car technology, and being in the lead now could set Intel up for long-term dominance. The move, if approved, would leapfrog Intel ahead of Qualcomm and Nvidia, said Rolland. That’s even as Qualcomm’s pending $39 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors NXPI, -0.22% gives it a suite of automotive chips and Nvidia’s partnership with Bosch and Audi puts it on track to get Level 4 driverless cars—almost fully autonomous—on the road by 2020.
2. Pershing’s Ackman Exits Valeant(VRX) — Long-time Valeant Pharmaceuticals bull Bill Ackman has apparently waved the white flag. CNBC reports that he sold 27.2M shares for around $11 each, taking a loss of more than $3B after trying to rescue the struggling drug company for some 18 months.
3. International Energy Agency (IEA) Noted Oil demand to ease in 2017 — in its latest monthly report, the IEA cautioned that the market was still dealing with a vast amount of past supply, but added the compliance rate from OPEC’s production cuts averaged 98% during the first two months of the deal. While oil demand is expected to drop from 1.6M bpd last year to 1.4M bpd in 2017.
4. The U.S. Federal Reserve Raised Interest Rates For The Second Time In Three Months — the decision by the FOMC to lift the target overnight interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.75 percent to 1.00 percent marked a convincing step in the Fed’s effort to return monetary policy to a more normal footing. The Fed also stuck to its outlook for two additional rate increases this year and three more in 2018. The central bank lifted rates once in 2016. However, they did not flag any plan to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening, with the policy-setting committee reiterating and Yellen emphasizing that future rate increases would be “gradual.” At the current pace, rates would not return to a neutral level until the end of 2019.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Mar 10 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

March 13th, 2017

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked” – Warren Buffett

1. Trump Endorses GOP Healthcare Plan to Replace Obamacare — President Trump is “proud to endorse” a plan to replace Obamacare backed by Republican leaders in Congress, and called for its quick passage even as opposition to the American Health Care Act hardened among conservatives. Alongside the end of health insurance mandates, the proposal would create a new tax credit tied to a person’s age and income for those who cannot get insurance through their employer, and would restructure the country’s Medicaid program. Trump also tweeted plans to lower drug prices. “I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!”.
2. Soda Industry Prepares for Tax Hit — Philadelphia’s new soda tax has high stakes for the beverage industry, with PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) recording a 40% drop in sales and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) seeing volumes slump 30%-50%. A much bigger market, Chicago’s Cook County, has passed a similar tax that goes into effect July. Boulder, San Francisco and others also voted on related measures, while Santa Fe has a hearing on the issue this week.
3. Oil Drops Below $50 for First Time Since December on Supply Glut — Oil dropped below $50 in New York for the first time since December as concerns that OPEC’s output cuts are failing to restrain record U.S. stockpiles triggered the biggest slump in more than a year. Oil had fluctuated above $50 a barrel since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other nations started trimming supply for six months starting Jan. 1 to reduce a global glut. The market swoon stoked the second-highest WTI options trading volume ever and sent volatility surging.
4. President Trump Pushes for $1 Trillion Infrastructure spending — President Trump is pushing his White House team to craft a $1T infrastructure spending plan that would pressure states to streamline local permitting, WSJ reported. He suggested a 90-day deadline to start projects and said they would be financed through public and private capital.
5. Bullish Sentiment Figures At Dangerous Levels — chart below show the S&P500 weekly index Investor’s Sentiment spikes above “Dangerous Level”. In the three times the reading has been that high since 2011 it has led to declines of 7% (2/11), 8% (5/13), and 3% (11/13). Also of note is that late last week the number of stocks making new 52-week highs on the NYSE collapsed by some 80%.

Aso shows the Composite Index from 1929 to present.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Mar 3 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

March 1st, 2017

“Financial markets will find & exploit hidden flaws, particularly in untested new innovation — and do so at a time that will inflict the most damage to the most people” — Raymond F. DeVoe

1. Trump Budget to Hike Military Spending – President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal will seek a nearly 10% boost in military spending, with offsetting cuts from nondefense agencies, financed partly by cuts to the State Department, EPA and other non-defense programs. In a speech to supporters, he pledged “one of the greatest military buildups in American history.”
2. France’s Q4 GDP Growth Doubles — driven by consumption and investment, France’s economy expanded at a faster pace in Q4, with GDP rising 1.2% year-on-year. The consumer price index in February also revealed a 1.2% rise on the year, but missed forecasts, while spending figures showed a 1.4% increase. GDP revisions will also be released in the U.S. A second estimate is expected to come in at an annualized 2.1% for Q4.
3. Fidelity Cuts Trading Commissions to $4.95 from $7.95 and TD Ameritrade Cuts Commissions to $6.95 – Fidelity blew up the online brokerage sector after cutting stock and ETF trading commissions to $4.95 from $7.95, following Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), which slashed its commissions to $6.95 from $8.95 in early February. Hit hardest was TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD), which tumbled 10.5%, and immediately announced a cut in its commissions to $6.95 from $9.99.
4. Venezuela Running Out of Cash to Pay Debt — Venezuela only has $10.5B in foreign reserves left, according to its most recent central bank data, and still needs to make $7.2B in debt payments for the rest of 2017. The thinning reserves paint a dire financial picture as the country faces a humanitarian crisis sparked by an economic meltdown. Inflation is expected to rise 1,660% this year and 2,880% in 2018.
5. Snap IPO Brings Big Fees for WallStreet – shares of Snapchat (SNAP) popped in the company’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, finishing the day 44% higher at $24.48 per share. One big winner of the offering is Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the lead underwriter in SNAP’s public debut (it’s set to bring in almost $26M in fees). Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), another key underwriter, could make as much as $21M from the listing.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Feb 24 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

February 27th, 2017

“The speculator’s chief enemies are always boring from within. It is inseparable from human nature to hope and to fear. In speculation when the market goes against you hope that every day will be the last day – and you lose more than you should had you not listened to hope – the same ally that is so potent a success-bringer to empire builders and pioneers, big and little. And when the market goes your way you become fearful that the next day will take away your profit, and you get out – too soon. Fear keeps you from making as much money as you ought to. The successful trader has to fight these two deep-seated instincts . . . Instead of hoping he must fear; instead of fearing he must hope.” Jesse Livermore

1. Trump Named New national security adviser, Update travel ban — Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster has been named as President Trump’s new national security adviser, while retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff. Trump also plans to issue a revised version of his temporary travel ban as early as today, with a likely focus on fewer people so it could survive immediate legal challenges.
2. Fed Reserves Harker, Williams & Mester Fedspeaks Summary — speaking of rate hike signals, Philly Fed President Patrick Harker stated last week that he didn’t think “March should be taken off the table,” while policymaker John Williams felt the U.S. economy is “essentially at full strength.” Meanwhile, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester cautioned that Trump’s administration brought a new degree of uncertainty to the central bank’s outlook, but she’s “comfortable” with rates moving higher.
3. UPS Tests Drone Deliveries — UPS just tested a delivery drone on a farm outside of Tampa, Florida, with the UAV returning to the roof of the truck. The big feat? The vehicle already moved 2,000 feet down the road. “Drones won’t replace our uniformed service providers,” said UPS’s Mark Wallace. “That’s key, but in this case, it really is there to assist.”
4. Many Fed Officials See Rate Hike ‘Fairly Soon,’ Latest Minutes Show – Federal Reserve officials expressed confidence they can raise interest rates gradually, while a hike “fairly soon” might be appropriate to avoid the risk of an overheated economy, according to the latest minutes of Federal Open Market Committee’s. Before the minutes were released, traders are pricing in about a one-in-three chance of a rate increase when the FOMC next meets March 14-15.
5. S&P500 Market Stats that Show Gains in Jan & Feb –since 1945, there have been 27 years when the S&P has achieved gains in January and February. The stock index then finished up for the year (on a total-return basis) in every one those years, according to Stovall. The average rise in those years was 24%, as shown in his chart below, and the gauge was up further in the remaining 10 months 25 of 27 times.

6. New Attorney General Sessions Reverses Obama Prison Order — the U.S. Justice Department has reversed an order by the Obama administration to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons. In a memo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the policy impaired the government’s ability to meet the future needs of the prison system. Related companies are: CoreCivic (NYSE:CWX) and GEO Group (NYSE:GEO)

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Feb 17 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

February 20th, 2017

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Bernard Baruch

1. Chief Executives of Some of America’s Largest Retailers Rallied to Kill a U.S. border tax — Chief executives of some of America’s largest retailers, including Target (NYSE:TGT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Gap (NYSE:GPS) and AutoZone (NYSE:AZO), will make their case that an import tax would raise consumer prices and hurt their businesses. Best Buy has even circulated a flyer to lawmakers, which cites an analyst forecast that a 20% tax would wipe out the company’s projected annual net income of $1B and turn it into a $2B loss. Furthermore, the EU and other U.S. trading partners have begun laying the groundwork for a legal challenge to an American border tax proposal in a move that could trigger the biggest case in World Trade Organization history.
2. Humana Pulls out of Obamacare for 2018 — Humana (NYSE:HUM) said it will pull out of the Affordable Care Act marketplace in 2018, making the announcement after it ended a merger agreement with Aetna (NYSE:AET). President Trump said the decision was proof that “Obamacare continues to fail” and “will repeal, replace & save healthcare for ALL Americans.”
3. CEO Dorsey buys $7M in Twitter stock — CEO Jack Dorsey bought $7M worth of TWTR shares last week, showing investors just how much confidence he has that Twitter can turn around its business. He tweeted about the stake on Valentine’s Day, appropriately adding the hashtag “Love Twitter.” The 426,000 shares ranged in price from $15.84 to $16.60 for around $7 million dollars.
4. Greek Bailout Deal to Miss Deadline — Eurozone finance ministers and the IMF seem likely to miss the coming week’s deadline to agree on a €7B bailout for Greece. The two sides remain at loggerheads over an IMF demand that Athens be granted debt relief and easier surplus targets, meaning a pact may now be months away. While Greece won’t face bankruptcy trouble until July, eurozone officials were racing to strike a deal so the drama wouldn’t be forced into the upcoming Dutch and French elections.
5. AAII Market Sentiment As Neutral As It Gets — the latest data from AAII shows a picture that is just about as neutral as it gets. As shown in the chart below, bullish sentiment this week came in at 33.09%. This is the fifth straight week that bullish sentiment has been below 40%, and the 111th straight week that bulls have failed to take a majority, and that makes this the longest sub-50% run in bullish sentiment in the history of the AAII survey.

Like the bulls, slightly less than a third (32.36%) of investors placed themselves in the bearish camp this week, but with stocks at record highs, you would expect a low level of bearish sentiment.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

Week of Feb 10 2017 Weekly Recap & The Week Ahead

February 13th, 2017

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” — Thomas Jefferson

1. Trump Border Wall Could Cost $21.6B — President Trump’s “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6B, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report. The price tag is much higher than a $12B figure cited by Trump in his campaign and estimates of as high as $15B from Republican Congressional leaders. Companies that might benefit from “Trump Border Wall” include: ACM, CX, CXW, EXP, FLIR, FLR, GEO, GVA, KBR, MLM, NUE, STLD, SUM, TPC, TTEK, USCR, USG, VMC, WMS, X.
2. Army Corps Will Give Easement For Dakota Access Pipeline — the U.S. Army will grant the final permit for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline after an order from President Trump to expedite the project despite opposition from Native American tribes and climate activists. It would allow the final section of the line to tunnel under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system, enabling the $3.8B pipeline to begin operations as soon as June.
3. China Forex Reserves Fall Below $3T — China’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped below the $3T level for the first time since 2011, marking the seventh straight monthly decline as capital continues to flow out of the world’s second-largest economy. Data from the PBOC showed reserves falling by over $12B in January, despite government efforts to tighten capital movement controls and stabilize the yuan’s exchange rate.
4. S&P500 Intra-Day Moved Within 1% Set Record Since Dec 14 — the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) hasn’t had a 1% intraday move since December 14. Chart below courtesy of Charlie Biello.

The week ahead — Economic data from Econoday.com:

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