If we back out BAC, who had the crap fined out of them this Q, then the S&P earnigs are up a more respectable 4.9% but, on the other hand, that includes superstars like AAPL, who dropped $13Bn on the S&P by themselves, and it's very unlikely the rest of the S&P will bring up the curve. In fact, Zacks is now estimating that overall earnings will be DOWN 0.9% for the quarter compared to last year and DOWN 4.6% from last quarter.
No wonder we are seeing the continued exodus of "smart money," who sell in volume into every rally we have. What's getting scary (and keeping us bearish) is that now we aren't even making gains on weak volume. Yesterday's move up was 100% due to AAPL, which gained over 8% on the day.
Since AAPL is 15%+ of the Nasdaq, that 8% gain should have popped the Nasdaq 1.2% and the rally in AAPL suppliers should have lifted the index even more. But it didn't. The Nasdaq was only up 0.8%, so it would have been down 0.5% without AAPL's contribution and even further without the rally in suppliers and the sectors that support them.
David Rosenberg provided a nice list of risk in this morning’s client letter. The one major risk that Rosenberg and the market is largely overlooking at this juncture is the housing double dip. This has the potential to be THE most important story of 2011. As I’ve previously explained, declining asset values are highly destructive during a balance sheet recession. If the housing double dip surprises to the downside the problems that we’ve swept under the rug will quickly reemerge and this time there won’t be any political will for government intervention.
I still believe we are mired in a balance sheet recession that will result in below trend growth, deflationary risks and leaves us extremely vulnerable to exogenous risks that could exacerbate the current malaise. Rosenberg’s excellent list follows:
1. China is getting more active in its policy tightening moves as inflation pressures intensify. It’s not just food but wages too. Headline inflation, at 4.4%, is at a 25-month high. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) just hiked banking sector reserve ratios by 50 basis points to 18.5% — the second such increase in the past two weeks and the fifth for the year. This could well keep commodity prices under wraps over the near-term.
2. European debt concerns will not be fully alleviated just because a rescue plan has been cobbled together for Ireland as it deals with its banking crisis. The focus will now likely shift to other basket cases such as Portugal and Spain. Greece has a two-year lifeline before it defaults. This saga is going to continue for some time yet.
3. Massive tightening in U.S. fiscal policy coming via spending cuts and tax hikes. This is the part of the macro forecast that is not given enough attention. See States Raise Payroll Taxes to Repay Loans on page A5 of the weekend WSJ.
4. Gasoline prices are about six cents shy of re-testing the $3-a-gallon threshold for the first time since mid October 2008. On a national average basis, prices at the pump are up 26 cents from a year ago — effectively draining about $25 billion out of household cash flow. Tack on the coming
Overview of retail sales in November. On the surface, retail sales exceeded expectations, but there are a few underlying problems--for instance, increases in gasoline prices, sampling changes, and an unclear effect of a seasonal adjustment. - Ilene
Sales at U.S. retailers rose more than expected in November as consumers spent more on gasoline and a wide range of other goods, data showed on Friday, raising hopes of a self-sustaining economic recovery.
The Commerce Department said total retail sales increased 1.3 percent last month, the largest advance since August, after rising by a downwardly revised 1.1 percent in October. It was the second straight monthly gain. Sales in October were previously reported to have increased 1.4 percent.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales gaining 0.7 percent last month. Overall sales in November were boosted by strong receipts from gasoline stations, increased purchases of motor vehicles and parts, building materials and electronic goods among others. Gasoline sales surged 6 percent, the largest increase since June.
Compared to November last year, sales were up 1.9 percent, the first year-on-year gain since August 2008, a Commerce official said.
The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose more than expected last month, up 1.3 percent in November after a gain of 1.1 percent in October. The November gain was the biggest increase since a 2.4 percent surge in August and brings the year-over-year change (unadjusted for inflation) back into positive territory for the first time in 15 months.
This came as something of a surprise to analysts because retailers across the country had been reporting lackluster sales during the holiday shopping season so far.
Though the overall increase was paced by a 6.0 percent gain in gasoline station sales, due largely to higher gasoline prices, gains were broad based, only three of the 13 retail sales categories posting declines. Excluding gasoline,
I am not pointing this stuff out to say "I told you so", I am simply aghast at what passes for reporting nowadays. It is also a good way to show, it really does not matter what reality is, it simply is our perception of reality. Since I’ve been around a while, and I know some portion of the readers are new to "the game", I am just trying to show you how it all ties together. Behold…
And in between these two auctions are tomorrow morning’s retail sales. Remember, when we analyze a government report we have to ignore everything the actual retail companies are saying in their reports and trust statisticians from D.C. (who know better than retailers on the ground) Since gasoline prices alone jumped substantially in the past month, this alone should provide "better than expected" retail sales (remember, high gasoline prices are a good think because they stoke monthly retail sales – just wait how "good" $4 gas will be for this number)… and boy oh boy the only thing the market needs to confirm green shoots is the "consumer is back".
As for economic reports we have a light week – we have a government retail report (in which we ignore everything the retailers are telling us and instead await the government to tell us what is correct)… with gas prices rising I can already see it now, we see futures surging Thursday as retail sales came in ‘better than expected’. No one will point out the fact that gas prices jumping month over month will account for much of the ‘surge in spending’.
So what was the headline today? You guessed it.
The Commerce Department said total retail sales rose 0.5 percent, the first advance in three months….
Gasoline sales jumped 3.6 percent in May after dropping 0.8 percent the previous month. Excluding gasoline, retail sales rose 0.2 percent.
It's not easy being a millionaire in the New Normal.
No really, because even though over the past 7 years every single Fed action has catered exclusively to the wealthiest 1% within polite US society, desperate to make them wealthier in hopes their combined trilions in net worth will magically " "trickle down", according to another voyeristic UBS study into America's high net worth public, while "millionaires enjoy a great deal of happiness and appreciation for what they’ve earned... many feel compelled to strive for more, spurred on by their own ambition, their desire to protect their families’ lif...
The beginning of a new month starts the usual cycle of economic data. Among these only the US employment report is significant. A weak report would not only rule out a June hike by the Fed, but would call a September move to question as well. A strong report could mark the return of the dollar bulls after taking a six-week spring vacation.
In addition to the US jobs report, two other events stand out. First is the UK election on...
After posting record highs the previous week, stocks closed last week slightly down overall. But the major indexes held their psychological levels, including Dow at 18,000, S&P 500 at 2100, NASDAQ at 5,000, and Russell 2000 at 1200. Although the bulls continue to find reliable support levels nearby, strong overhead technical resistance and neutral-to-defensive rankings in our SectorCast fundamentals-based quant model continue to suggest that a major upside breakout is not quite imminent, although a selloff doesn’t seem to be in the cards, either. Overall, stocks appear to be coiling ever tighter while awaiting a catalyst. Earnings season hasn’t provided it, so it might not come until the June meeting of the FOMC.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer...
It was a bit of a non-event for indices as early gains were unable to hold by the close of business. As a result, some of the challenges on highs faded and all indices remained inside prior consolidations. Volume was also down on Friday's, which kept things muted. For example, the S&P touched on 2120 resistance, but finished below this level. The Nasdaq is stuck in the middle of its bearish rising wedge While the Russell 2000 was unable even to mount a challenge of overhead resistance at 50-day or 200-day MA...
Margin Debt of late hit all-time highs, surpassing levels reached in 2000 and 2007, should we be concerned? In the long-term, margin debt at these levels will most likely become an issue that will impact markets, possibly like it has in the past.
In the past, it wasn’t high levels that ended up being the signal to reduce exposure to stocks. So what was the signal? When should we be concerned that these levels could impact stocks?
Below looks at Margin debt on a 12-month rolling Average basis. The chart below reflects that when margin debt was expanding rapidly on a 12-month basis in 2000 and 2007; then it turned sharply lower, that is when investors sh...
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Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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