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Take Off Tuesday – Crisis, What Crisis?

43,138 infected and the Nasdaq don't care.  

It's more like the Nasdaq is excited about the Coronavirus.  It did care for a minute, back in January but, after two whole days of going down, right back up and then one more down day to end the month but everything has been coming up roses in February, so far.  

It's kind of strange as Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) is on CNBC right now telling viewers that this virus is a threat to our American way of life and was, in fact a Chinese Bio-Weapon that was being developed in a lab in Wuhan and he should know – because he's on the Senate Intelligence Committee (you can find that under the term "oxymoron").  

You know it's true because Tom Cotton has now CHALLENGED "The Chinese" to prove him wrong and, guess what?  They haven't!  That's certainly guilty enough for me and you, right?  

And why are we rusing to villify China for having a bug when the Swine Flu started in the US and no one accused us of doing anything other than catching a cold?  Well, China is a fantastic scapegoat that plays well with the Republican base and they need a villain to rile up support in an election year and Joe Biden's son didn't work out so well, so on to China! 

Blaming China gives Trump another reason to keep his Slush Fund (tariffs) going during the election year so he can hand out goodies to his pals – like Tom Cotton of Arkansas!  Trump already picked Tom Cotton to head the CIA and his own party rejected the idea as too crazy – even for Trump.  But that was back in 2017 – I wonder what would happen if Trump nominated him today?

Image result for tom cotton cartoonTom Cotton says we could win a war with Iran with just "two strikes, the first and the last" – like he seems to think we did in Iraq (where we still are, 17 years later).  Cotton has called his potentially fellow CIA department heads "insolent and obstructive" and he KNOWS the Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election, not the poor, innocent Russians.  Tom Cotton wants to be Trumps new Ted Cruise so badly you can smell it when he's on TV…

Meanwhile, back in reality, the spread of the virus does seem to be slowing a bit but 2 days does not a trend make so we remain cautious as the death toll passes the 1,000 mark (1,018 this morning, 10% more than yesterday) with only 4,284 patients having actually recovered – though it's possible a lot of early patients took too long to be detected so hopefully the death rate will drop off into next week.

Speaking of rates, Chairman Powell will spreak to Congress this morning and we're expecting the following topics:

1) US economy doing well (despite coronavirus)

2) $1 trillion deficit is not good

3) Boosting labor force participation & productivity should be “a national priority”

Image result for powell fed cartoon“Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path when the economy is strong would help ensure that policymakers have the space to use fiscal policy to assist in stabilizing the economy during a downturn,” Powell will say in prepared remarks to the House Committee on Financial Services.  Powell has been warning lawmakers that the central bank won’t have much ammunition left to fight the next downturn since interest rates are currently so low (the benchmark rate is just below 1.75 percent, far below rates above 5 percent in the past).

“Some of the uncertainties around trade have diminished recently, but risks to the outlook remain. In particular, we are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy,” Powell will say.

Will it make a difference if the Chairman of the Federal Reserve says he's concerned about the virus' effect on the US economy or will that too be ignored by traders?  We'll see shortly….


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  1. Good Morning!

  2. Another day, another conspiracy theory spread by the GOP! Anything to keep the base ginned up! Even better if it involves political or geopolitical opponents! Investigate Biden's son, Sanders' wife! Next will be ordering the IRS to audit Bloomberg (and keep Trump's tax return secret of course). Banana republic is not even strong enough!

  3. Good morning!  

    Second time's a charm on /CL and tight stops now at $50.50 because we can always go back in if it crosses back over and use that for a stop line.  No definitive statement from OPEC yet – apparently they are waiting on Russia to confirm they will participate in the next round of cuts (about 600,000/day more cuts so 2.3Mb/d in total cuts.

    Russia’s delay in responding to the proposal has frustrated some OPEC members. OPEC+ producers are scheduled to meet in Vienna on March 5-6 to consider policy. Their current cuts expire in March.

    There has been some discussion about bringing that meeting forward depending on how the coronavirus outbreak affects oil prices.

    Sechin, chief executive of Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft, has openly criticised the existing deal, saying it helps the United States increase its dominance of the global oil market while countries taking part lose out.

    Of course, the problem with capacity cutbacks is that a lot of the price of oil is the "risk factor" that there may be a supply disruption so, since people NEED oil on a steady basis, oil traders can generally count on the occasional price spikes to get them out of trouble on long-term contracts – allowing them to bid them up – even when there is no crisis.

    BUT (and I like big buts) if there's 2.3Mb of spare capacity sitting around, it becomes VERY unlikely that any single disruption will have a significant impact on global supply.  Also, Sechin is right, OPEC's (+) cutbacks only cede market share to US companies, who are only happy to ramp up unregulated production to fill any demand OPEC won't – so the whole thing is kind of counter-productive, but what other tool do they have?

    I still like this version best:

    Big Chart – That Nasdaq is out of control!  Tempted to just go long /RTY (1,675) and retire.  Instead I have 4 /ES short at 3,353 avg and 4 /NQ short at 9,537 avg.  But at least /CL is going well and also 3 /NG long at 1,7815 are below the line but I have hope.

    Sanders/StJ – 18 point lead over Trump with Independents!  Speaking of conspiracies though, the entire establishment is against this guy – even Warren.  They are so terrified of him and he still gets no coverage in the Billionaire-owned media.  

    National @Reuters/@Ipsos GE Poll:

    Buttigieg 41% Trump 41%

    Warren 42% Trump 42%

    Biden 44% (+2) Trump 42%

    Bloomberg 45% (+4) Trump 41%

    Sanders 45% (+4) Trump 41%

    Image result for bernie bros

    Socialism baby!  

  4. Oil just stopped out, indexes turning down a bit.  

    WTF?  We knew this would happen ages ago:  Sprint (NYSE:S+74% after judge approves T-Mobile merger.

    I am still surprised by how surprised the market can be by the news of something that was obviously going to happen.  I can't believe we didn't bet on this one – I didn't know they were still trading this low.

    YayYo (NASDAQ:YAYO-59% after announcing voluntary delisting from Nasdaq.

    Kenney warns Trudeau on Teck oil sands mine

    • Alberta premier Kenney has publicly put Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau on notice, warning of potentially "devastating" consequences for Canada's economy and global markets if Teck Resources' $20B-plus Frontier oil sands proposal is rejected by the federal cabinet.
    • "If this project is not approved, it would send a chilling signal regarding federal intentions on all future oil sands or natural resource development projects," Kenney wrote in a letter to Trudeau that was shared on Twitter yesterday.
    • "A decision to kill the project at this late hour, after all that Teck has done to satisfy regulators and social and environmental concerns, would echo in global markets like a slamming door," the premier wrote.
    • Kenney also warned the rejection of the project could bring alienation in the western provinces to a "boiling point."

    Powell to urge lawmakers to use fiscal tools to help economy

    • In his semi-annual testimony in Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will tell lawmakers it's more important now that they use fiscal measures to support U.S. economic growth as low interest rates limit the central bank's ability to cut rates in a downturn.
    • "The current low interest rate environment also means that it would be important for fiscal policy to help support the economy if it weakens," according to Powell's prepared statement. His testimony starts at 10:00 AM ET this morning.
    • This comes the day after President Trump put forth his FY2021 budget proposal that hopes to narrow the federal deficit to $966B next year vs. an estimated $1T thisyear.
    • "A more sustainable federal budget could also support the economy's growth over the long term," Powell is set to say.
    • The prepared statement gives no indication of the FOMC's next move, giving the Fed's recently oft-repeated guidance that monetary policy is expected to stay where it its.
    • "The FOMC believes that the current stance of monetary policy will support continued economic growth, a strong labor market, and inflation returning to the committee's symmetric 2% objective."
    • While some trade tension risks have subsided, coronavirus has emerged as a potential risk to the global economy, as the Fed said in its semi-annual Monetary Policy Report released last week. 
    • Other areas of concern that Powell are subpar productivity gains throughout this economic expansion and a labor participation force that's lagging that of many other advanced economies.

    Record Stock Valuations Analyzed 

    FAA is approaching 737 MAX test flight

    • "We are following a very diligent process and it is important that we stay focused on the process and not on the timeline," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson declared at the Singapore Airshow.
    • "Having said that we are approaching a milestone: the certification flight is the next major milestone and once that is completed I think we will have a good bit more clarity… We are waiting for proposals from Boeing (NYSE:BA) on a few items."
    • Other recent news: The U.S. Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General said it will audit FAA pilot training requirements for U.S. and foreign air carriers, while Boeing is reportedly in talks with Bamboo Airways about a potential 777X jet order.
    • BA +1% premarket

    Hasbro and Mattel gain on China relief

    • Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) execs stated on the company's earnings call this morning that there is supply chain disruption from the coronavirus in China, but that the impact on business activity is small.
    • There has been some speculation in the analyst community that the toy supply chain would feel a more serious coronavirus impact.
    • Hasbro is up 6.55% in premarket action and the positive tone from the toy company has pushed up rival Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) by 1.99% in the early session.
    • Hasbro earnings call webcast
    • Previously: Hasbro +9% after EBITDA impresses (Feb. 11)

    Goodyear Tire & Rubber down on earnings miss

    • Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NASDAQ:GT) reports sales dropped 4% in Q4, driven primarily by lower industry volume and unfavorable foreign currency translation.
    • Tire unit volume down 2% to 39.6M for the quarter.
    • Original equipment unit volume fell 10% Y/Y, driven by lower global vehicle production.
    • Replacement tire shipments increased slightly.
    • Segment sales: America: $2.03B (-4%); EMEA: $1.14B (-6%); Asia Pacific: $546M (-1%).
    • Segment operating margin: America: 7.5% (-100 bps); EMEA: 3.3% (-280 bps); Asia Pacific: 9.5% (-30 bps).
    • Total segment operating margin rate contracted 140 bps to 6.5%.
    • GT -3.41% premarket.
    • Previously: Goodyear Tire & Rubber EPS misses by $0.34, misses on revenue (Feb. 11)

    AutoNation +9% after earnings topper

    • AutoNation (NYSE:AN) rallies after reporting flat same-store new vehicle sales in Q4 and a 12.5% gain for same-store used vehicle sales. Total same-store sales were up 3.9% vs. +2.7% consensus.
    • Domestic segment income was up 19% to $65M during the quarter and premium luxury segment income shot up 23% to $113M.
    • Shares of AutoNation are up 9.44% premarket to $47.86.
    • Previously: AutoNation EPS beats by $0.16, beats on revenue (Feb. 11)

    Dueling analysts on Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

    • Nomura Instinet keeps a Buy rating on Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE:NCLH) as it notes it has the least exposure to China and pan-Asian demand in the sector.
    • The story is different over at CFRA, where Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is dropped to a Strong Sell rating from Hold.
    • "With a more dire assessment of the potential near-term adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China, we cut our 12-month target price by $7 to $48 on a '19 P/E of 9.4x, sharply below its larger peers," warns analyst Tuna Amobi.
    • Amobi expects NCLH to guide low when it reports earnings on February 20. "We see further potential downside with a seemingly intensifying geopolitical fallout of the outbreak in the past week, while also wary of a potential near-term impact on overall bookings elsewhere (including the U.S. and Europe). This comes as NCLH's near-term Q1 '20 outlook was already tempered by a likely continued fallout of the Cuba travel ban and the potential carryover impact of the hurricane disruption," he notes.
    • Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are down 0.14% premarket to $50.93 vs. the 52-week trading range of $45.64 to $59.78.

    Vale Q4 iron ore output falls 22% following dam disaster

    • Vale (NYSE:VALE) says its Q4 iron ore production fell 22.4% Y/Y to 78.34M metric tons, and quarterly iron ore sales fell 3.2% from a year ago to 77.91M mt.
    • For FY 2019, Vale says sales volumes of iron ore fines and pellets reached 312.5M mt, in line with the annual guidance of 307M-312M mt; iron ore fines production fell 21.5% Y/Y to 302M mt, while pellets production fell 24.4% to 41.8M mt.
    • Results were hurt by the deadly Brumadinho dam collapse a year ago followed by interruptions at the Vargem Grande, Fábrica, Brucutu, Timbopeba and Alegria operations, combined with the stronger than usual weather-related seasonality in H1.
    • Vale +1.5% pre-market.

    Bright prospects seen for off-price retail

    • Wedbush Securities analyst Jenn Redding sees yesterday's guidance hike from Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL) as a strong positive read-through for TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) and Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST). Burlington guided for sales to increase 10.5% in Q4 vs. previous guidance of 9% to 10%.
    • "We are updating our above consensus estimates for the group as bright U.S. prospects continue to fuel domestic spending in discretionary despite increased volatility as evidenced by year-to-date data trends, especially given that U.S. focused off-price retailers are likely to avoid the brunt of the potential negative impact more China-focused retailers see as Coronavirus fears spread, and we continue to view the Off-Price sector favorably as the sector becomes increasingly attractive to us amidst macro uncertainty," writes Redding.
    • TJX is due to report earnings on February 26 and Ross Stores reports on March 3.

    Harmony's H1 results hit sour note as production falls, costs rise

    • Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY-4.6% pre-market after swinging to a net profit in the six months ended Dec. 31 but lowering its production guidance for the full year.
    • Harmony says it made an H1 2020 net profit of 1.3B South African rand ($86.5M), compared with a prior-year loss of 91M rand, while revenue rose 12% Y/Y to 15.47B rand.
    • H1 total production costs rose 9% Y/Y because of annual and inflationary increases, higher labor costs and increased electricity costs, among other factors.
    • As previously reported, H1 gold production fell 8% to 688,379 oz., primarily due to a 6% reduction in underground recovered grade at its Kusasalethu mine in South Africa, as well as production cuts in South Africa due to nationwide power outages.
    • Since H1 losses at Kusasalethu cannot be recouped, the miner lowers its full-year gold production guidance to 1.4M oz. from 1.5M oz. previously, at all-in sustaining costs of 600K-610K rand/kg.
    • CEO Peter Steenkamp says Harmony is in talks with groups about acquisitions but does not comment on whether they included AngloGold's remaining South Africa operations; a report yesterday said AngloGold had selected Harmony as the buyer for the assets.

    Morgan Stanley offering 6.25M shares of Uber – report

    • Morgan Stanley is reportedly offering a 6.25M-share stake in Uber (NYSE:UBER).
    • That stake is said to be re-offered at $39.85-$39.95, Bloomberg reports; that's just a fractional discount to today's close of $40.01.
    • Earlier, SoftBank's Marcelo Claure said the Vision Fund's stake in Uber is up 18%.

    Callaway Golf warns on coronavirus impact, guides Q1 below consensus

    • Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY-5.4% after-hours after reporting a larger than expected Q4 loss and warning that the coronavirus will affect its business in terms of sales in Asia and on the supply side.
    • For FY 2020, Callaway forecasts EPS of $0.82-$0.94 on a 3%-5% increase in net sales to $1.75B-$1.78B, in line with Wall Street earnings expectations of $0.88/share on revenues of $1.695B, as well as adjusted EBITDA of $190M-$205M.
    • The guidance "reflects our best estimate of the impact of this outbreak on our business," the company says, but "it is very difficult, however, to provide an estimate with any degree of certainty given the dynamic nature of this crisis."
    • For Q1, Callaway sees GAAP EPS at $0.41-$0.47 on revenues of $501M-$516M, well below $543M analyst consensus estimate, as it expects the coronavirus to slice $25M off net sales and $13M from adjusted EBITDA.
    • For FY 2019, Callaway says net sales jumped 37% Y/Y to $1.7B, reflecting increases in all operating segments and major product categories, and operating income rose 3% to $133M, both company records

  5. Natural gas sinks 5% to near four-year lows

    • Natural gas futures (UNG -4.3%) plunged to their lowest settlement in nearly four years, as expected mild weather continues to pressure prices.
    • Nymex March gas closed -5% at $1.766/MMBtu, the lowest settlement since March 2016 and capping a 19% YTD drop.
    • "With the little remainder of winter waning away, the possibility of a late-season return to colder temperatures to prop up heating demand becomes bleak," says Schneider Electric analyst Christin Redmond, noting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a high probability of warmer than normal temps across the eastern and midwestern U.S. during the coming 8-14 days.
    • U.S. production, which has been slowly rising though not quite at last year's rate, also is contributing to price weakness, says IHS Markit's Marshall Steeves, who adds that output has increased not just from shale but also from offshore Gulf of Mexico.

    Fed's Daly discusses shifting focus to higher inflation

    • For so long, monetary policy makers have been so accustomed to pushing inflation down, that "changing direction feels unnatural," said San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said in a speech in Dublin on Monday. 
    • Fundamental changes are pressuring prices downward, she explained. Slower population growth in advanced economies and an aging population increasing the pool of available savings are reducing real interest rates.
    • "We need to embrace the mindset that inflation a bit above target is far better than inflation a bit below target in today’s economic environment," Daly said.
    • With less room to cut interest rates, monetary policy alone may not be enough to deal with future downturns, but "fiscal policy will need to play a larger role in smoothing through economic shocks."
    • "Expanding the array of automatic stabilizers that form part of the social safety net can help mitigate the depth and duration of economic downturns," she said, using unemployment insurance as an example of such stabilizers.
    • Daly also says investing in such areas as infrastructure, research and development, and education will increase potential economic growth in the longer run.
    • "In today’s low interest rate environment, such investments are relatively easy to finance and will pay a high rate of return in the future," she said.
    • Daly isn't a voting member of the FOMC this year.

    Coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, still largely restricted to Hubei province

    • The latest figures for the coronavirus outbreak are 40,171 infections with 908 deaths, almost all still confined to Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province in China.
    • There have been two fatalities outside of China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

    Diamond Offshore to be cash flow negative in 2020, CFO says

    • Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO -9.8%) plunges to all-time lows despite reporting better than expected Q4 results and an increase in backlog, as CFO Scott Kornblau says the company will come in cash flow negative this year.
    • "We finished 2019 with $156M of cash and nothing drawn on our revolver," Kornblau told today's earnings conference call. "However, we soon expect to start drawing on our revolver likely in [Q2] and we expect to be cash flow negative during 2020 and end the year with a drawn revolver balance. But now that the heavy capex spend is in the rear view mirror, our focus will remain on delivering top notch performance, minimizing costs, and preserving liquidity."
    • Diamond also said it expects Q1 contract drilling revenues of $205M-$215M, with most of the decrease vs. $259M in Q4 2019 attributed to a non-repeating $30M margin commitment recognized in Q4, as well as fewer days on contract for the Ocean BlackLionOcean BlackRhinoOcean Monarch and Ocean GreatWhite, in connection with special surveys or preparation for upcoming campaigns, among other factors.
    • Full-year capital spending of $326M came in below prior guidance; the timing of the spend for several of its large-dollar projects was fluid, the company said during the call

    Bayer seeks reversal of $86M Roundup cancer verdict

    • Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY N/A) is asking a California appeals court to overturn an $86M verdict that found it was responsible for a couple's cancer caused by its Roundup weedkiller.
    • The May verdict by a California jury awarded more than $2B to the couple who claimed they sprayed Roundup on their property for more than three decades; the trial judge later lowered the damages to $86M.
    • The company says decades of studies have shown Roundup and glyphosate are safe for human use and that the lawyer repeatedly violated court orders during the trial in an attempt to inflame jurors.
    • Bayer, which acquired Roundup via its 2018 deal for Monsanto, so far has lost all three jury trials over claims that Roundup causes cancer.

    Google rivals want EU to investigate vacation rentals

    • Forty Google (GOOG +1.4%)(GOOGL +1.4%) rivals allege that the tech giant favors its own vacation rental service in search results and want EU antitrust regulators to take action.
    • The companies and trade bodies are located in the EU, Switzerland, and the United States and include Expedia and Tripadvisor.
    • Excerpt from a letter to EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, obtained by Reuters: "We see strong indications of a competitive strategy for Google to reduce us and our industry to mere content providers for the ‘one-stop-shop’ of Google’s new product."
    • Google is preparing to fight the first of three fines from Vestager, levied for favoring its own comparison shopping service

    Oscar ratings hit all-time low

    • Last night's ABC (DIS +0.7%) broadcast of the Oscars – still one of the television events of the year - drew the smallest audience in the recorded history of the show, beating 2018's low.
    • Some 23.6M viewers tuned in on average, a precipitous 20% drop-off from last year, and down 46% from a peak in 2014.
    • In terms of Nielsen ratings, it drew a 5.3 among adults 18-49 (down 31% Y/Y).
    • It's reflective of a secular decline in awards show ratings, though last year's Oscars viewership (the first without a host in some time) had ticked up 12%.
    • As for studios competing for the prestige (and a small revenue bump), awards count ended in a three-way tie between Neon (U.S. distributor of Best Picture winner Parasite), Sony Pictures (SNE -0.3%) and Disney. Netflix (NFLX +0.9%) – which drew heavily from 10 nominations for The Irishman - saw that film left out of award winners entirely.

    Burger King closings in China pile up

    • Restaurant Brands International (QSR +2.2%) outlined the impact of the coronavirus on the company's restaurants in China.
    • During today's earnings call (transcript), QSR management stated that about half of the 1.3K Burger King locations are closed due to local regulations.
    • Tim Hortons has 30 locations in China and Popeyes hasn't broken into China.
    • Last year, Burger King in China only accounted for ~2% of Restaurant Brand International's consolidated system-wide sales tally.
    • Previously: Restaurant Brands +2% after Popeyes dazzles (Feb. 10)

  6. Stocks extend gains at the open

    • U.S. stocks follow global markets higher as the rate of new coronavirus cases in China slowed even as the death toll topped 1,000, raising hopes that the virus – and damage to the world economy – would be contained; Dow +0.3%, S&P and Nasdaq +0.4%.
    • Investors will watch Capitol Hill when Fed Chair Powell delivers his semi-annual testimony before the House Financial Services Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET, and the market assumes the coronavirus outbreak will justify keeping monetary policy in a favorable position.
    • European bourses enjoy solid gains, with Germany's DAX +0.9%, U.K.'s FTSE +0.7% and France's CAC +0.5%; in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was closed, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +1.3% and China's Shanghai Composite +0.4%.
    • In the U.S., real estate (+1.2%), energy (+0.8%) and materials (+0.6%) lead the early S&P sector standings, while communication services (-0.3%) is the only loser following a 2% decline in Facebook following an analyst downgrade.
    • Sprint (+73.4%) and T-Mobile US (+10.8%) fly out of the gate after their merger agreement was approved by a Federal Court in New York.
    • U.S. Treasury prices are lower, pushing both the two-year and 10-year yields 2 bps higher to 1.40% and 1.57%, respectively; U.S. Dollar Index -0.1% to 98.77.
    • WTI crude oil +1.6% to $50.40/bbl amid the improved risk-on sentiment.
    • Still ahead:  job openings and labor turnover survey

  7. Our TLT play is still playable ahead of Powell:

    TLT Long Put 2020 19-JUN 145.00 PUT [TLT @ $144.39 $-0.44] 20 2/6/2020 (129) $10,600 $5.30 $-0.98 $5.30     $4.33 $0.33 $-1,950 -18.4% $8,650
    TLT Short Put 2020 19-JUN 140.00 PUT [TLT @ $144.39 $-0.44] -20 2/6/2020 (129) $-5,500 $2.75 $-0.73     $2.03 $0.05 $1,450 26.4% $-4,050
    TLT Short Call 2020 19-JUN 140.00 CALL [TLT @ $144.39 $-0.44] -7 2/6/2020 (129) $-3,745 $5.35 $1.10     $6.45 - $-770 -20.6% $-4,515

  8. Damn, I have to watch CSPAN as neither CNBC or Bloomberg seem to think it's worth broadcasting the Powell testimony.  

    /RTY is, in fact, catching up.  

  9. Livetweets from the WHO / Dr. Tedros:

    "As of 6am Geneva time this morning, there were 42,708 confirmed #COVID19 cases reported in #China & tragically we have now surpassed 1000 deaths – 1017 people in China have lost their lives to this virus.

    Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, with 1 death"-


  10. I'm mostly concerned about outside China.  If that stays contained and China doesn't explode, we can get past this.

  11. ptas

    Auto production Germany.
    They screwed themselves with the diesel and now they want to go big on electric but not many are falling for it. You or anyone here just explain to me if you stuck on a German autobahn in a snow storm in front of you there are even some accidents, traffic is at a standstill, what are you doing about not freezing to death, as you stuck there already for two hours. Battery now showing 1/4 full, and you actually have another 250 km to go, but as I said standing still.
    I like to hear an answer from some electric believers please.

  12. Phil

    Do you think we have bottomed on UNG

    What would be a current trade on UNG ?


  13. yodi

    I agree I was born in Manitoba where 40 below is just another day. batteries don't like the cold.      Also I think electric and driverless vehicles only make sense to people that have never left the high population city they live in. But what do I know I only drove about 100000kms a year for forty years. I Guess only time will tell.

  14. EV/Yodi – you turn the car off and ask the guy in the car behind you if you can sit in his backseat to stay warm. While sitting there, you google local towing companies. 

  15. Tmmyt,

    It is not only the cold, my question is how long do you carry on heating you interior with a battery? I know stupid question no one should ask.

    Just the joke of the day here at our camp side in Spain I see one German Mobil RV who pulls his TESLA behind on a trailer, with his diesel driven Mobil. Makes sense!!!!!

  16. dawgydaddy

    Best answer so far

  17. "German Mobil RV who pulls his TESLA behind on a trailer"


    Yodi, if you have a picture of that please post!

  18. Germany/Pstas – While we have to give some of these numbers a pass on the China thing, Auto Production has been slipping hard all year, this is just the final straw for Germany.  

    No alternative text description for this image

    Notice when the last time this happened was?  Party on markets…

    Diesel/Yodi – That's a good point, the scandal probably hit them and you guys like those long drives too much.  

    My solution for electric has always been swapable batteries.   If you could pull into a gas station and change your battery for one of the 100 (standardized) 100-mile charges they have ready to go, that would solve a lot of problems but the auto dealers would have to cooperate – and that's never going to happen without regulations.

    Tesla even demo'd battery swapping once.  It was complete BS and people let Musk slide on it but, conceptually, that would be a better way to go.  Doesn't have to be the whole battery system, just a pack that goes in the trunk or something that can quickly be replaced to give people additional charges that can be waiting at gas stations or delivered by tow trucks.  

    These are EV batteries, you just need to make maybe 6-10 of them accessible for swapping.

    Image result for how big is 100 mile charge auto battery

    Of course, BMW claims they can charge you for 120 miles in 8 mins (but you still need to build the stations):

    Image result for how big is 100 mile charge auto battery

    UNG/QC – Asian prices collapsed (because of LNG from US hitting the market there) so we might not get a big or prolonged turnaround.  That's why I've been more into quick plays with /NG (and UNG tends to decay over time).  If you are going to play UNG, you want to capture the hurricane season and exports should pick up over time as well.  So, for UNG, I'd go with:

    • Sell 10 UNG 2022 $13 puts puts for $2 ($2,000) 
    • Buy 20 UNG Jan $14 calls for $2.45 ($4,900) 
    • Sell 20 UNG Jan $18 calls for $1 ($2,000) 

    That's net $900 on the $8,000 spread so $8,100 (900%) upside potential if we get to $18 but you have to plan on rolling the Jan $14 calls to the 2022 $13 calls (now $3.20) before your Jan $14s fall below $1.60, hopefully for less than $1 and then you have 2 years to hopefully get a pop (and more time to sell calls down the road).

  19. EV/Yodi I have the BMW i3 which has a REX .. Range Extender .. a small gas generator with a 9litre gas tank and if the battery gets low the REX cuts in and keeps the battery at about 6%. Theoretically you can carry extra gas and keep driving (or heating) indefinitely. Love the car but confess I switch to my AWD Subaru outback for the Canadian winter .. mostly for the traction and handling in the bad weather (and the heating ;)

  20. Wow, Congress thinks Powell is there to solve all the World's problem.  And this one woman is giving him crap about going to a party at Bezos' house ("sends the wrong message").  Who in their right mind would turn down that invitation?

    EVs/Wing – I think that's the thing.  Most people have 2 cars and if your 2nd car is an EV, that's a tremendous help right there and 5 or 10 years from now (the next two car cycles), hopefully all the bugs will be worked out and EVs can be the only choice but it's not all or nothing right now.

    DETROIT (AP) — Cold temperatures can sap electric car batteries, temporarily reducing their range by more than 40% when interior heaters are used, a new study found.

    The study of five electric vehicles by AAA also found that high temperatures can cut into battery range, but not nearly as much as the cold. The range returns to normal in more comfortable temperatures.

    Many owners discovered the range limitations last week when much of the country was in the grips of a polar vortex. Owners of vehicles made by manufacturers including Tesla TSLA, +0.40%  , the top-selling electric vehicle company in the U.S., complained on social media about reduced range and frozen door handles during the cold snap.

    “As long as drivers understand that there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates, they are less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected drop in driving range,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering, said in a statement.

    AAA tested the BMW i3s, Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf from the 2018 model year, and the 2017 Tesla Model S 75D and Volkswagen e-Golf. All have a range of at least 100 miles per charge. They were tested on a dynamometer, which is like a treadmill, in a climate-controlled cell.

    The automobile club tested the cars at 20 degrees and 95 degrees, comparing the range to when they were tested at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a report on the study.


    At 20 degrees, the average driving range fell by 12% when the car’s cabin heater was not used. When the heater was turned on, the range dropped by 41%, AAA said.

    For example, AAA’s testers determined that the Tesla’s range when fully charged at 75 degrees was 239 miles, but it fell 91 miles, or 38%, at 20 degrees.

  21. China-related consumer names bounce back

    • Investors are nibbling at some China-related stocks today as business activity continues to return to different parts of China.
    • Gainers include China Eastern Airlines(CEA +2.5%), China Southern Airlines(ZNH +3.1%), IMAX(IMAX +0.5%), Yum China (YUMC +3.2%), Nio (NIO +4.3%), Canada Goose(GOOS +5.2%) and Luckin Coffee (LK +5.3%). The consumer-facing companies have faced closures and cancellations due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

    Verizon the loser as Sprint/T-Mobile win – analyst

    • Verizon (VZ -2.3%) is the "net loser" from T-Mobile's and Sprint's court win, analyst Craig Moffett writes, chiefly due to the respective spectrum situations among major carriers.
    • It's no secret that Verizon needs midband spectrum to proceed with 5G deployment, he says, and the merger going forward "takes not just one, but two spectrum options off the table."
    • Verizon bet exclusively on millimeter wave, leaving it without a good answer now except to bet on C-band, he adds – and that will take years to deliver usable spectrum in smaller areas.
    • Other carriers today: AT&T (NYSE:T-0.5%; Sprint (NYSE:S+72.5%; T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS+10.9%?

    Tower stocks rise as Sprint/T-Mobile moves forward

    • Communications tower stocks are higher today in reaction to another key catalyst among wireless carriers (Sprint/T-Mobile prevailing in their trail against state AGs).
    • American Tower (NYSE:AMT) is up 3.9%; Crown Castle International (NYSE:CCI) is up 5.7% and SBA Communications (NASDAQ:SBAC) is up 7.3% in the wake of the judge's decision in the wireless merger case.
    • The tower stocks have tended to move up in the past alongside bad news for the merger, though the deal as constructed looks to make Dish Network (DISH +6.2%) a fourth viable national carrier.


    Caterpillar reopens most Chinese facilities

    • Caterpillar (CAT +1.8%) is one of today's top gainers on the Dow Jones after the company reopened most of its facilities in China after receiving approval from the local government following the coronavirus outbreak.
    • None of CAT's factories are in the worst affected province, but the company had delayed reopening by a week after the Lunar New Year; China accounts for ~10% of Caterpillar's global sales.
    • Industrial names in general are performing well today: DE +1.3%CMI +1.1%.

    Under Armour UAA -19%


    Under Armour anxiety not contagious

    • Under Armour (UAAUA) trades at its lowest level of the year after setting a worrying tone on 2020.
    • On the company's conference call, execs pointed to ongoing demand challenges, weakness in the off-price channel and concerns about the impact of the coronavirus in Asia (for an indeterminate length of time) on the supply chain.
    • Under Armour also guided for a Q1 loss of $0.14 to $0.15 vs. +$0.06 consensus estimate.
    • The weak read from UA isn't rattling investors of Nike (NKE +0.3%)Lululemon (LULU +0.7%) and Foot Locker (FL +0.9%) as with previous reports from the Baltimore-based company. Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY) is only down 0.22% in trading across the Atlantic.
    • Previously: Under Armour plunges after weak guidance (Feb. 11)

    Wells Fargo to split into five units from three – WSJ

    • Wells Fargo (WFC +0.9%plans to divide its three business units into five as it revamps its reporting lines, Charlie Scharf's first major structural change since he became CEO in October, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing a company statement.
    • The move comes after the 2016 bogus account scandal led to increased scrutiny of the company that then led to other charges of misconduct in its banking practices.
    • The current wholesale bank will be split into a commercial bank that provides back-end services for companies and an investment bank that focuses on capital markets.
    • Out of the consumer bank, one unit will focus on branches and small businesses and a separate unit will focus on consumer lending.
    • “I am confident that this organizational model and our strengthened risk and control foundation will bring greater focus and accountability to the company,” Mr. Scharf said in a statement.

    Boeing gets zero new airplane orders in January

    • Boeing (BA -0.5%secured no new orders for airplanes last month, the first time it has come up empty in January since 1962, as its former best-selling 737 MAX remained grounded.
    • The company delivered 13 new airplanes in the month, including six 787 Dreamliners, a pair of 777s, two 767s and three 737NGs.
    • The lack of orders is in contrast to rival Airbus, which racked up orders for 274 commercial airplanes in January.

    Facebook, Sprint, Cisco now out of MWC

    • Facebook (FB -2%) has joined what is becoming an exodus from Mobile World Congress, as throngs of companies are electing to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
    • Cisco (CSCO +1.2%) and Sprint (S +71.2%) have announced withdrawals from the event (the year's biggest telecom gathering) as well.
    • Previously, Ericsson, LG Electronics, Ciena, Intel, Nvidia, Sony, InterDigital and announced they wouldn't be attending.
    • The conference is still planning to open as normal on Monday, Feb. 24.

    Total to enter Spain solar market with 2 GW of projects

    • Total (TOT +0.6%) is set to enter the Spanish renewables market with plans to develop nearly 2 GW of solar projects in the country.
    • The company says its Total Solar International subsidiary signed a joint venture deal with Powertis, a developer of utility-scale solar plants in Europe and South America, to develop solar PV projects in Spain; Powertis will bring a pipeline of 800 MW of early stage projects to the venture, and the JV will develop additional new projects.
    • Total Solar also agrees to acquire a 1.2 GW portfolio of solar PV projects which are being developed by Spanish company Solarbay.
    • The first project is set to begin operations by year-end 2020 and will aim for all projects of both portfolios to be in service in 2023.
    • Total does not give a value for the deals but says it will pay success fees to Solarbay and Powertis at agreed steps during development of the projects.

    Fed doesn't see need for law change on LIBOR issue, Powell says

    • During Fed Chair Jerome Powell's testimony in Congress, U.S. Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) asks the Fed head whether the impending end of LIBOR will require a federal law change and to let lawmakers know soon.
    • "We are committed to have banks ready by the end of next year," Powell answered.
    • "I don't think we'll need a federal law change," he added, when pressed.
    • Sherman asked that if the Fed considers a law change prescribing back-up rates to LIBOR necessary, then Congress should be told about that need within a month "rather than wait a year."

    Tesla crashes placed on NTSB docket

    • The National Transportation Safety Board opened its public docket on two crashes involving Tesla (TSLA -0.1%) vehicles.
    • The March 23, 2018 crash of a Tesla Model X in Mountain View, California and the March 1, 2019 crash of a Tesla Model 3 in Delray Beach, Florida both drew some media attention.
    • The NTSB dockets on the crashes contain only factual information collected by investigators; they do not provide the final report, analysis, findings, safety recommendations or probable cause yet.
    • In other news, Tesla is reportedly trying to land a $100M grant from the German government to support the construction of the Giga Berlin factory and there is a video purportedly showing a busy Model 3 line at the Shanghai Gigafactory.

    Four Texas LNG projects get DoE export approval

    • Four proposed liquefied natural gas export projects on the Texas Gulf coast have won federal permits to ship a combined 47M metric tons/year of liquefied natural gas.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy yesterday authorized Exelon's (EXC +2%) proposed Annova LNG, NextDecade's (NEXT -0.6%) Rio Grande LNG and Texas LNG projects at the Port of Brownsville and an expansion project at Cheniere Energy's (LNG +0.4%) Corpus Christi LNG to export liquefied natural gas to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the U.S.
    • The authorizations come as LNG prices in Asia are at record lows, and the projects face strong opposition from a coalition of Rio Grande Valley shrimpers, fishermen, environmentalists and communities who likely will file a federal lawsuit to stop the projects.

    Powell urges resisting speculation on coronavirus economic effect

    • Commenting on the potential economic effect of coronavirus on the U.S., Fed Chair Jerome Powell, said it's too early to tell, as other government officials have.
    • "We know there will be some impact on China," of course, he said. And there may be some effect on the U.S., but "will they be persistent and will they be material?" he asked.
    • "We must resist the temptation to speculate," he said.
    • The central banker emphasizes the strength of the U.S. economy going as the backdrop against the virus outbreak in China.
    • He asserts, "we find the U.S. economy in a very good place, performing well, with strong job creation."

    Chain store sales drop below 5% pace

    • Chain store sales increased 4.8% for the week ending February 9, according to the latest report from Johnson Redbook.
    • Johnson Redbook expects chain store sales to be up 5.6% for the full month.


    Powell was generally upbeat and, now that he's done with no shockers -  back to rally, I guess. 

  22. Yodi /electric;


    We both know that Europe approach to transportation is different of U.S.,  the American concept of "one vehicle takes it all" is not so useful in Europe.

    During decades people living in big cities, (London Paris, Milan,) and many medium-size as Barcelona, Toulouse or Milan uses a multichoice approach, basically keeping the car for weekends and moving in public transport, scooters or bikes in the week.

    Nowadays is very common to find Millenials who don´t care to own a car and rent or share one when need it, so if you are moving for along distance you rent a hybrid or ICE car. but that will happen during 5% of the days in a year.

    Your case or mine having a big diesel for moving a 20 Ft. RV is different, but moving around in Barcelona for me is easy, have a yearly public pass (metro, buses, trams), have my own scooter, have access to shared vehicles as Scoot, e-cooltra , electric bikes, etc. so why to use a car, and pay a parking fee?

  23. Another chance to go long /CL at $50!  

    /SI very tempting at $17.50

  24. TFC – Sold the last of TFC Feb 52.5 calls for %2.50.

    Purchased Jan 30 at .13.

  25. Well this is annoying:  REITs report to brokers their dividends as ordinary income but so as near as I can tell you have to go to each web site and get the breakdown of dividends into ordinary/qualified/return on capital/section 199A   for tax reporting.  I am guessing the IRS will at times want verification of your claims.  

  26. REIT's/Tangled – Check out whether Trader Status works for you.  You could also set up a family fund.  Those are ways where you simply declare your net P&L trading (short and long-term) less expenses and treat is like a business so you don't have to deal with that other crap:

    Trader Status and U.S. Income Taxes – Part One

    Trader Status and U.S. Income Taxes – Part Two

    The move comes hours after President Trump criticized the department’s original request that his longtime confidant Roger Stone spend more than seven years behind bars.30 minutes ago

    The woman initially was given a negative result and allowed to return to the quarantine compound in San Diego, calling into question the reliability of evaluations.15124 minutes ago

    Large catastrophe losses and low interest rates have squeezed insurers, and they have responded by raising rates for companies of all sizes across the country.69

    Credit-Card Debt in U.S. Rises to Record $930 Billion

    Total credit-card balances increased by $46 billion, well above the previous peak seen before the 2008 financial crisis.

    Image result for move along nothing to see here

  27. Wow, /NQ shorts went green – back to 2 short, of course (tight stops on the other 2)

    9,500 is very likely to bounce, of course.  

  28. Phil / charts – how do you get your neon resistance / support lines?  (or perhaps they're percentage?)


  29. So if we know 9,500 is going to be bouncy and we fell from 9,600 then the bounce lines are 20s so 9,520 (weak bounce) and 9,540 are what we have to watch closely to see which way we're trending (short-term).

    The middle line is also important (9,550) so, above the strong bounce, that's the next key level but failing 9,540 indicates we're likely to fail 9,520 and test 9,500 and then, if we only weak bounce to 9,520 and fail there – it becomes likely 9,500 will fail and we look towards another round of shorts below that line.

    Lines/Potter – Right click on the chart and then:  Studies/Add Studies/Trend Studies/L-P/Pivot Points

  30. Oh, I set my charts for 5 mins, 3 days and then I save the style (right click again) as 3Day 5 Min but name it whatever you want.  

    /NG breaking out finally.  

  31. thanks Phil.  I too was interested to see what would happen if i went long /RTY @ 1,676.  I've been UP to 1,696 and back down to break even again.  I suppose we'll see how it pans out. 

    Interested on your thoughts 

  32. /RTY/Potter – You can't expect to make so much on those, a nice 20 points is plenty intra-day – especially if you are hitting a tough line to cross like 1,700.  As you know, my heart wasn't in the bull side, I was just playing the shorts with conviction and being frustrated.

    Household debt rises 1.4% to $14.15T in Q4

    • Total household debt rose, up 1.4% Q/Q marks the 22nd straight quarterly increase, according to the New York Fed's Center for Microeconomic Data.
    • Total household debt is now $1.5T higher, in nominal terms, than the pre-recession peak of $12.68T in Q3 2008.
    • Mortgage orginations rose 42% in the quarter to reach $752B vs. $528B in Q3 2019, driven by boost in refinancing; marks the highest volume since Q4 2005.
    • Mortgage balances increased by $120B to $9.56T in the quarter.
    • Non-housing debt balances rose by $79B in Q4, including a $16B increase in auto loans, $46B in credit card balances and $10B in student loans.
    • Debt transitioning to serous delinquency increased in the quarter to 2.36% of all debt balances vs. 2.27% in Q3.
    • Previously: Consumers end the year taking on more debt (Feb. 7)

    Fed working with banks on credit-sensitive rate in LIBOR transition

    • As part of its efforts to help banks transition from their reliance on the LIBOR benchmark, the Fed is working with regional and larger banks on the possibility of creating a credit-sensitive rate.
    • "There's a question about having a credit-sensitive rate in addition to SOFR" (secured overnight financing rate), Fed Chair Jerome Powell said his semi-annual testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives.
    • “Libor itself is really a problem in the sense that there’s no guarantee”  that the rate will be published after the end of 2021, he said.

    Stocks lost some of their luster at about midday, soon after the FTC ordered five tech giants to turn over more information retarding prior acquisitions.

    This is a great line, from a Trump rally:

    “With Trump you don’t have to worry about it,” Mr. Stocker added. “He’s the most vetted president in our country’s history. Since he announced he was running for president they’ve been doing nothing but investigating him.”

    José Rojas, a 38-year-old truck driver from Nashua, N.H., arrived in a shirt that read: “My rights don’t end where your feelings begin.”

    “In my next life I want to come back as the son of a Democrat because you can do anything you want. If I did what Hunter did, I would be in jail right now,” Donald Trump Jr. said.

    “Nancy Pelosi can rip up all of my father’s accomplishments,” he added, “but she can’t rip up your spirit. And under my father, America will never be a socialist country.”

    “We have more in this arena than all the other candidates in the Democratic Party,” Mr. Trump said. “One candidate today had 104 people.”

    The crowd laughed.

    Image result for crowd laughing animated gif

    “I see them campaigning down the street. It’s really boring stuff,” Mr. Trump added. “We are going to defeat the radical, socialist democrats. We are going to win New Hampshire in a landslide.”

  33. Wow, suddenly my Futures are all green!

    Back to 2 short /ES 3,365 avg (takes into account profits off the table), 2 short /NQ @ 9,576, 2 long /CL at $49.94,2 long /NG at 1.775 and 3 long /HG at 2.547 but shame on me for missing $2.60 earlier to take at least 1 off.

    After a scare the short TSLA March $1,000 calls are back to $18.30 – I think I'll take 2 off the table now and leave 3 with stops at $25, $30 and $40 (out of $120).    Much less stressful that way.

  34. Like a heart beat:

    Still, not bad for a week's work…  

  35. Heart beat/Phil – not seeing a p-wave there. Hmmm. Atrial fib?

  36. What a mental giant dumpy's kid is. HIS father WAS a democrat. Apparently he never knew How surprising.

  37. Averaged down on /CL to 48.85   4 contracts  Out now.  That was an adrenaline rush!

  38. Dumpy said he changed parties because the Republicans were stupider and easier to fool.  People do have terrible memories.

  39. oops  meant 49.85  

  40. Phil / FXP -  It seems China is back to normal.  Hail Xie, time to exit FXP?    Covid2019 only causes Canadian pot companies to run out of cash or so they claim…

  41. A wild headline and story….

    Justice Department to Reverse Itself, Ask for Less Prison Time for Roger Stone



  42. tdump could have pardoned stone, but instead chose to show everyone who runs the justice department…. :(

  43. /CL/Willsons – API has a big build, even with the draw in diesel:


    Oil holding $50 though, so I'm still liking my longs.  

    Still, demand just sucks.  That's a month straight of big builds.

    FXP/Vidt – I don't know, the impact from missing most of a quarter in half of China has to be massive.  These companies do report earnings at some point.  

    Stone/1020 – Wow, what a joke.  And the really funny thing is that 4 prosecutors can stage a protest like that (unprecedented) and you know Trump could care less.  He's untouchable, doesn't care about appearances or how something looks on the record.  It's a joke.  "I didn't MAKE them reduce the sentences – I just said they were too harsh" – he's like a bratty brother who's torturing his little sister without crossing some imaginary line as if that makes it OK.

    You're right 1020, it's a power play.  Trump is now the Mafia Don of the United States – he just whispers in people's ears and terrible things happen that he has nothing to do with…

  44. FXP/Vidt – I guess it's the massive bailouts China is doing so maybe we should move on, come to think of it.  It's back where we started.

    CHL is a good offset though,  saving it from being a loss:

  45. A Grammy-winning favorite of mine to fire up the Dems….


    Heat lighting flash, but don't blink
    Tranquility ruse
    You're gonna happen again
    That's what I think
    Follow the evidence
    Look it dead in the eye
    You are darkness
    Trying to lull us in, before the havoc begins
    Into a dubious state of serenity
    Acting all surprised when you're caught in the lie

    We know better
    It's not unlike you
    It's not unlike you
    We know your nature

    Blame it all on the bastards when you're blowing out
    Shame on you
    Shame on you, now
    No amount of wind could to begin to cover up your petulant stench and demeanor
    Calm as cookies and cream, so it seems
    We're not buying your dubious state of serenity
    Acting all surprised when you're caught in the lie

    We know better
    It's not unlike you
    It's not unlike you
    We know your nature

    Calm before the torrent comes
    Calm before the torrent comes
    Calm before the torrent comes
    Calm before the tempest comes to reign all over

    Disputing intentions invites devastation
    A tempest must be true to its nature
    A tempest must be just that

    Control, your delusion
    Insane and striking at random
    Victim of your certainty
    And therefore your doubt's not an option
    Blameless, the tempest will be just that
    So try as you may, feeble, your attempt to atone
    Your words to erase all the damage cannot

    A tempest must be just that
    A tempest must be just that


  46. Blood Bath and Beyond?

    guess that's why the premium was so high on the puts

  47. This Is No Way to Run a Central Bank

  48. Paging Michael Bloomberg

  49. People here less hopeful about opportunities: Poll