Phil's Newsletter

Which Way Wednesday – Waiting on the Fed (Again)

TODAY is the day!  

I blame Econoday, which had Powell speaking yesterday on Monday's Economic Calendar but it turned out he is speaking today and tomorrow to Congress so the market just drifted along for the most part – continuing the boring trend for the month as we attempt to get over the 3,000 line on the S&P 500 (/ES).  

We did the math for the 5% Rule™ in yesterday's Live Member Chat Room and decided that 2,976 would be the inflection point and we closed a bit over the line yesterday but we're right back on the line this morning.

Powell's testimony begins at 10am and goes on for a couple of hours but his official statement being released at 8:30 so we'll see a quick reaction (not necessarily the right one) ahead of the bell.  Oil and Gasoline are up 2% off a strong API Report and the EIA Report confirms or denies those numbers at 10:30 – so that's another market-mover to watch this morning AND we have the Atlanta Fed's Business Expectations Report, also at 10 am and, just in case Powell doesn't get us over 3,000, Bullard has a speech lined up at 1:30 – just ahead of the Fed minutes.

8:30 update:  So much for waiting for Powell as his statement has popped the Dow 100 points already and here are the key points from his statement:

  • Since June, uncertainty continues to weigh on the outlook
  • Inflation pressures remain muted
  • Uncertainty over trade, global growth
  • Business investment slowed ‘notably’
  • Brexit, debt ceiling are unresolved
  • ‘Crosscurrents have reemerged’
  • Fed will ‘act as appropriate’ to sustain expansion
  • Baseline is still solid economic growth
  • Economy performing ‘reasonably well’
  • Inflation to move back over time to 2% objective

Traders are keying off "Fed will act as appropriate to sustain expansion" which indicates they are 100% behind this rally but it's a bit of cherry-picking as Powell is also saying we are on track to hit the inflation target (so easing makes no sense) and the "worries" he has for the economy are still Trade and Brexit (and their effect on
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Tuesday Testification – Powell Speaks to Congress

Image result for trump fedTo ease or not to ease

That is the question investors will be looking for Fed Chairman Powell to address when he testifies at 10 a.m. Wednesday before the House Financial Services committee and the next day to the Senate banking panel. Friday's strong jobs report has led to a sell-off as investors now believe the Fed is less likely to cut rates at their end-of-month meeting and of course they shouldn't be cutting with record-low unemployment, rising inflation and a record-high stock market – that would be MADNESS!!!  

Of course madness is Trump's sweet spot and he's been hammering on the Fed lately to lower rates because Trump needs to stretch this rally out another year or there's no way he'll get re-elected and he's going to need the Fed's cooperation because this rally has already overstayed it's welcome and is quite overdue for a correction.  The Fed, for it's part, wants to RAISE rates so they are then able to LOWER them WHEN it is necessary. If they lower rates when it's not necessary, what are they going to do when it is?  

Image result for trump baby balloonThat's the difference between thinking like a child and thinking like an adult, of course and, as our friends in the UK like to point out – Trump is essentially a giant baby with low attention span who likes to repeat catchy phrases with little understanding of the underlying issues and has an absolute melt-down if he doesn't immediately get what he wants.

Powell, like any Fed Chairman, is supposed to be the adult in the room and tries to intervene only when necessary – generally staying out of politics.  The need for an independent Federal Reserve has been recognized by every President in US History – until this one…  Even now, Trump is packing the Fed with his own people and is pressuring Powell to step down so he can put another sycophant in charge of our monetary policy – very scary stuff.  

Fortunately, the Fed doesn't answer to the President and they don't answer to Congress either but, twice a year, they are required to appear before Congress and explain themselves – though Alan Greenspan was great at making…
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Monday Market Movement – Morgan’s Misgivings

Morgan Stanley says we're in a Recession already.  

As you can see from this chart, the Treasury Yields are flashing signs we usually don't see until we are already deeply in a Recession only this time we're ignoring those signs, as well as dozens of other Economic Indicators that are screaming recession – to those who are willing to listen.  According to MS, "decelerations and disasppointments are mounting":

  • Cass Freight Index
  • Retailer earnings
  • Durable goods orders
  • Capital spending
  • PMIs
  • May payrolls
  • Semiconductor inventories


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Fallback Friday – Trump’s Parade Gets Rained On, S&P Teases 3,000

Wow are "THEY" trying hard to sell you this rally.  

The official close on the S&P 500 on Wednesday was 2,995.82 but they pushed and pushed once the volume went down at the close and hit 3,000 after hours but it all began to unwind at 3pm – as soon as the European Markets opened and the volume picked up.  That's a pretty strong indication that a lot of this "rally" is "fake, Fake, FAKE" but we can reserve judgment until 8:30, when we see the Non-Farm Payroll Report and the market's reaction to that.

As I noted on Tuesday, we're at the top (probably) of a 400-point run from 2,600 and, according to our fabulous 5% Rule™, we can expect a 20% pullback of this 15% move higher (2,990 actually) soi 400 points x 20% is 80 points back and since it's really 2,900 and since we like to round, we can say we expect to see 2,900 for a weak retrace of the run and somewhere between 2,800 and 2,840 (the real strong retrace from 3,000) should be a healthy pullback from here so that's the tendency we expect and now we'll see wha the data says.

8:30 Update:  Up 226,000 jobs!  That just blows away expectations of 160,000 and May was revised even lower, to 72,000 but this makes that look like an aberration and not a trend.  Unfortunately, Average Hourly Earnings are only up 0.2% so people have jobs but they aren't making any money.  You would think the markets would pop on that many jobs but no, too many jobs means the Fed is less likely to hike and their next meeting is July 31st, before the next jobs report – so this is what they'll be looking at and it would seem foolish for them to cut with these kinds of jobs numbers – where a HIKE is usually mandated.

  

"Fortunately" the jobs gains are mitigated by low wages so the Fed doesn't have pressure to raise rates but they would really have to twist themselves into knots in order to give Trump the cuts he wants and, of course, strong payrolls mean a strong demand for the Dollar and that's sending the Dollar up 0.5% which
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Philstockworld Mid-Year Portfolio Review (Members Only)

Image result for one million dollars animated gif$2.1 MILLION Dollars!

$2,093,568 to be exact in our primary portfolios, the paired Long-Term Portrfolio (LTP) and the Short-Term Portfolio (STP) whose job is to protect it.  It's really nothing to crow about as we're actually DOWN $40,487 since our June Review (through mid-May) though these numbers are only through mid June and the month finished with quite a bang.  We close our months on option expiration day, of course, so we won't really know how the first half went until after July 19th and, by the time I consolidate that into a review it will be August and it would sound silly to call that a mid-year review – so that's why I'm calling this one a mid-year review.

While semantics are fun, let's get back to talking about trading strategies:  Our intention over the summer was to lock down our portfolios in neutral as $2.1M is up from our Jan, 2018 start with $500,000 in our LTP and $100,000 in the STP so, overall, we're up $1.5M (250%) in 18 months and, with China Trade still up in the air, I'd rather protect my $1.5M in gains than risk them trying to make another $150,000 (10%).  That's one of the problems you have as you make more and more money – you spend a lot more time protecting your wealth, rather than concentrating on making more wealth.

That's why we like to have multiple virtual portfolios at PSW.  The LTP/STP is where we keep the bulk of our investing capital and they follow a strategy that is constantly hedging to protect what we started with.  Nonetheless, they can still make spectacular gains but this cycle we have a very odd situation in which we have usually guessed correctly when we have added and removed hedges in the STP, causing an unusual $600,000 gain in a portfolio that usually loses money while the LTP gains.  

It's been a very unusual market with lots of dips and recoveries and that kind of suits our trading style perfectly as we tend to scale into positions, buying small, conservative spreads to begin and adding more and widening the spread on dips.  Another strategy we use is rolling our profits and the leads to a lot of our big gains.  For…
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Why Bother Wednesday? Low Volumes Ahead of the Holiday

July 4th Week ProductivityThere's not much going on this week.

It's only a holiday for the US tomorrow but so may people take vacations this week and the people not on vacation are planning parties and such and no one is in the mood to work – so very little goes on.  Even as I go through the news I find a lot fewer articles being published – writers take time off as well.  So no one is making news and no one is reporting news and Trump is distracted by his parade – let's just sit back and enjoy the quiet...

I didn't find a chart for a Thursday July 4th but that's probably just a flatline into the weekend – this is usually the week I take my family on vacation but my girls are getting older and have plans with friends and we'll do a family thing next month (when it's less convenient for me).  Anyone who's been a boss knows this week is second only to Christmas in not getting anything accomplished but there is a Non-Farm Payroll Report on Friday, for some reason, so we can't completely ignore the markets.  

The Futures are up a bit this morning as Europe has nominated the IMF's Christine Lagarde to replace Draghi at the ECB.  I don't think Lagarde is going to be quite the dove they think she will be as she's been quick to lend money to struggling nations but does not sit on the lap of Goldman Sachs, as Draghi did (his previous employer).  A truly independend ECB would be a great thing – but not so much for the markets.  

Meanwhile, my theme of the week is gathering steam as now 82% of the companies pre-announcing earnings revisions are guiding down and Analysts have now downgraded the most stocks since June of 2017, though that's not really something to worry about since 2017 was a great year where we barely dipped.  It's the fact that we're getting worse and worse that should be a concern, not the comparison.

In June, 116 more companies had their earnings forecasts cut by analysts than raises – that's 20% of the S&P 500.  “There is some sagging in
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Testy Tuesday – Can We Hold onto the New Highs?

2,982.  

That's where the S&P 500 crested yesterday and now we're back to 2,965 this morning after falling to 2,855 yesterday afternoon.  We're so close to 3,000 that is makes no sense at all to be bullish into the holiday weekend as S&P 3,000 is going to be a tough line to cross as it's up 2,334 points (350%) from the March 2nd, 2009 low of 666.  

Clearly companies are not making 350% more money than they did in 2009 but that's a false benchmark because the stocks were clearly UNDERvalued at the time and 666 was stupidly cheap for the S&P 500 but S&P 3,000 is still going to cause people to question valuations and, as I noted in yesterday's Report, Corporate Profits are very unlikely to justify these record highs and we begin to see those results on July 15th, as Q2 earnings begin coming in volume. 

The run to 3,000 has come off our most recent consolidation at 2,400 and before that 2,000 and there's nothing wrong with moving up 20% (400 points) between 2015 and mid-2017 – that's pretty normal for 2.5 years but, just 2 years after that, we're up 600 more points and that's probably a bit much.  We WERE having healthy consolidation around the 2,800 mark in 2018, when S&P 500 companies combined for $134.95 per share, giving the S&P 500 a Price/Earnings Ratio of 17.78 at 2,400.  For Q1 of this year, we are pacing at $135.73, just a 0.5% improvement but, as we close in on 3,000 on the S&P, that's up 25% – and the P/E Multiple at 3,000 is 22.10 and that's up 24.3% – see the pattern?  

I know it may not seem like it when you have a runaway market and it's easy to say that Fundamentals don't matter but they do to the people who aren't trading every day.  The silent majority of traders are the buy and hold fund managers who hold stocks in long-term portfolios and have no reason to sell them when they S&P 500 goes up 350% in 10 years (13% annual compounded gains) but God help us all if they do decide to sell because S&P volume is not even 1/4 of what
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Monday Market Movement – Trade Talks Back on with China!

The Dow is up 250 points pre-market.

That's after bursting over 100 points higher in the last 30 minutes of Friday's session.  Overall, it's a very low-volume rally, mostly short covering (we will be covering some shorts ourselves) as Trump met with Xi at the G20 and he decided Huawei isn't spying on us after all (despite slandering them all over the world) and that Trump will not put tariffs on another $300Bn worth of Chinese goods but he is keeping the tariffs already in place.  Keep in mind this is all to arrive at an eventual deal that is not likely to be substantially different than the deal he broke last year – so why all the celebration?

As you can see from the chart above, earnings haven't grown at all this year and it's been Valuation Expansion or Multiple Expansion that's accouted for 90% of the move in the S&P 500 for the first 6 months.  Very simply, we are paying much more for the same earnings as last year.  Granted a lot of companies did us "China" to excuse their shortfalls and we can imagine, with the Trade War hopefully winding down, that we'll get some real growth but that doesn't mean we're not paying too much for the growth we do get.

Notice that 87 S&P 500 companies have already pre-announced negative guidance for Q2 and, when we get back from the Holiday weekend next Monday, we'll begin to see those Q2 earnings reports.  So, while we hedged heavily into the weekend – just in case the G20 went badly – we will be using those hedges into Q2 earnings season, albeit less aggressively as we sell some covers as well.

We know the Fed is certainly in no hurry to raise rates, so that's a big plus for the market but I'm not so sure the Fed is looking to lower rates as we are no in the 121st month of a market expansion – the longest in history (and 104 (86%) months of it came before Trump was President – in case you are wondering).

Nonetheless, Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see a 30% chance of recession over the next 12 months and growth…
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EOQ Friday – Quarter Closes with G20 Meeting in Play

Image result for g20 cartoon japanWe've got high hopes!

Whatever problems the World has, we like to think our leaders are going to solve them and there is often a lot of faith put into these G20 meetings and, while it is great that our leaders get together and talk once in a while – it's really no different than any executive retreat – not a whole lot actually gets done – it's mostly an all-expense paid week off for 20 of the most powerful people in the World.

They do get together and issue a "communique" but already at this meeting France is insisting that the G20 make a firm statement on Climate Change and re-commit to the Paris Accords, which is something they have all done except Trump so it's really aimed at just him.  Japan wants the communique to promote free trade and again, this is all about Donald Trump and trying to get him to agree with the other 19 World Leaders.  

We always have high hopes into these meetings but I'll remind you that the last G20 Meeting was in Buenos Aires on December 1st of last year and that was a Saturday and on December 3rd the Dow topped out at 26,000 and by Christmas Eve (24th) we were below 22,000 – a 4,000 point correction after the G20 Meeting – so forgive me if I'm just a little sceptical as we head into another one pressing new market highs (26,650).

At the December Summit, the agenda was to discuss the Future of Work (as more and more people are being replaced by robots), Infrastructure and Sustainable Food along with the need for Crypto-Currency Regulation and resolving the Trade Wars.  In fact, the US, Canada and Mexico sight NAFTA – oh, excuse me, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is not just NAFTA again – and even that still hasn't been ratified 6 months later.  

While the other 19 nations at the last Summit recommitted tot he Paris Climate Accord, saying it was "irreversible and committing to its full implementaion" they also aknowledged that the United States withdrew from the Agreement, so I imagine when France says they wants a statement on Climate – I…
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G20 Thursday – World Leaders Gather as Storm Clouds Form Over Global Economy

Trump is on the other side of the World.  

Unfortunately, that doesn't stop him from tweeting and the President was active last night, sending this very scary video out to his followers while calling the Democratic Debates "BORING!" (they were, but it's not polite) and calling NBC and MSNBC "FAKE NEWS Orgainzations", which undermines the basic principles on which our democracy was founded.  All in a day's work for the President...

On his way to meet with the other World leaders, Trump insulted all of our allies saying that, if the United States were attacked, Japan would only “watch it on a Sony television.” He called Germany a security freeloader and chastised India for raising tariffs on American goods.

Trump has meetings scheduled with each of those leaders tomorrow so we're off to a great start already.  The President has already spoken favorably about Vladimir Putin and told reporters that what they discussed in their meeting would be "none of your business" and Saturday Morning, Trump is scheduled to meet with Mohammed Bin Salman, who had Jamal Khashoggi murdered and dismembered – Trump had nothing bad to say about him either.

As noted in the New York Times, Trump also continues to repeat his lies about NATO – our primary military alliance:

After assailing the treaty with Japan, Mr. Trump went on to repeat what has become a perennial attack on Ms. Merkel’s Germany. “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO,” he said. “People don’t know that. We pay for close to that because Germany doesn’t pay what they’re supposed to pay, and out of the 28 countries, seven are paid up.”

As he has consistently done since taking office, Mr. Trump mischaracterized how NATO works and


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Phil's Favorites

Why are Atlantic and Gulf coast property owners building back bigger after hurricanes?

 

Why are Atlantic and Gulf coast property owners building back bigger after hurricanes?

Surf threatens beach houses on Dauphin Island, Alabama, September 4, 2011 during Tropical Storm Lee. AP Photo/Dave Martin

Courtesy of Eli Lazarus, University of Southampton and Evan B. Goldstein, University of North Carolina – Greensboro

U.S. coastal counties are densely populated and extensivel...



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Zero Hedge

Russian And South Korean Fighter Jets Face Off In "Mid-Air Confrontation"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian jets flying through South Korean airspace provoked the South Korean military into a "midair confrontation" that involved firing hundreds of warning shots. All told, South Korean jets fired 360 machine-gun rounds and at least 20 flares, Bloomberg reports.

Three Russian military planes (two Tu-95 bombers and one A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraf...



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Insider Scoop

The Daily Biotech Pulse: Acadia Schizophrenia Drug Fails, Viveve Plummets, Eisai Gets Breakthrough Therapy Designation

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Here's a roundup of top developments in the biotech space over the last 24 hours.

Scaling The Peaks

(Biotech stocks hitting 52-week highs on July 22)

  • Acasti Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: ACST)
  • Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: APLS)
  • Arcturus...


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Crude Oil Sending a Bearish Message to the Stock Market?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Crude Oil (NYSEARCA: USO) and the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP: .INX) have peaked and bottomed together several times in the past 9 months. See points (1) and (2) on the chart above.

In summary, the correlation between Oil and the stock market has been quite interesting and demands investors attention.

Crude Oil has been creating lower highs of late and is breaking price support at (3).

If the correlation remains the same, Crude Oil may very well be sending a bearish message to stocks.

Tricky spot for active investors – careful here.

...

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Chart School

RTT Plus Chart Book (Sneak Peak)

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

The magic of support and resistance channel lines and how they direct price. Here are some chart disclosed to members via the RTT Plus service. All charts are a few weeks old. 


XAU bound by parallel channel lines.


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Newmont Mining support from Gann Angles.



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US Dollar index (DXY) dominate cycle ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Suddenly Panic-Bid, Bitcoin Back Above $10k

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following further selling pressure overnight, someone (or more than one) has decided to buy-the-dip in cryptos this morning, sending Bitcoin (and most of the altcoins) soaring...

A sea of green...

Source: Coin360

Bitcoin surged back above $10,000...

Ethereum bounced off suppo...



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Biotech

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

Reminder: We're is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...



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ValueWalk

Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

 

Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

Courtesy of Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

ValueWalk’s Q&A session with Professor Shubha Ghosh, a professor of law and the director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute. In this interview, Professor Ghosh discusses his background, the Human Genome Project, the current state of gene editing, 3D printing for organ operations, and gene editing regulation.

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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