Financial Review

The New Norml

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 34 = 17,712 SPX + 4 = 2061 NAS + 27 = 4891 10 YR YLD – .06 = 1.95% OIL – 3.01 = 48.42 GOLD – 5.70 = 1199.40 SILV – .13 = 17.07   Modest gains on Wall Street today, but not nearly enough to make up for the four previous days of losses. It wound up being the second-worst week for the market so far this year. The Dow Jones industrial average remains down slightly for 2015, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is essentially flat. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 2.2 percent, the Dow lost 2.3 percent and the Nasdaq declined 2.7 percent. The semiconductor sector was a leader today after a report that Intel is in talks to buy rival chipmaker Altera. Intel shares were up 6%; Altera shares were up 28%.   Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate last quarter. This was the Commerce Department’s third estimate of GDP, and it was unchanged from last month’s estimate.  Economic growth cooled in the fourth quarter and after-tax corporate profits recorded their biggest drop since early 2011, as a strong dollar dented the earnings of multinational corporations. The fourth quarter GDP was down from a very strong third quarter reading of 5% growth. The first estimate on the first quarter will be published April 29th.   Profits originating outside the U.S. …

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Financial Review

While the Sun Shines

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 40 = 17,678 SPX – 4 = 2056 NAS – 13 = 4863 10 YR YLD + .09 = 2.01% OIL + 2.22 = 51.43 GOLD + 9.00 = 1205.10 SILV = .15 = 17.20 Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies started bombing targets in Yemen as the country slides closer toward civil war. A Saudi military spokesman said there were no immediate plans to launch ground operations in Yemen. Importers say the Saudi attack is not expected to disrupt oil supplies, but the threat of spreading war in the region could likely impact oil flows. Yemeni President Hadi reportedly fled the country yesterday. The White House says the US will provide “logistical and intelligence support.”   Yemen is a fairly small oil producer, but still the news helped push oil prices up almost 5% today, and there are several reasons. First, if things go wrong, this could turn into a proxy war between Shiite Iran, which is backing the rebels, and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni monarchies that supported the Yemeni regime.  The Saudi action could exacerbate tensions in Libya, Syria and Iraq; in other words, this could be part of a trend in the region.   Yemen is also geographically strategic, at the chokepoint of the Red Sea; so there might be the possibility the rebels could disrupt oil tanker traffic; 3.8 million barrels a day are …

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Financial Review

A Bit Ironic

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 292 = 17,718 SPX – 30 = 2061 NAS – 118 = 4876 10 YR YLD + .04 = 1.92% OIL + 1.70 = 49.21 GOLD + 1.90 = 1196.10 SILV + .01 = 17.06 Not much in the way of economic data today. Orders for durable goods dropped in February, a possible sign the slowdown in global growth may be weighing on American manufacturers. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years declined 1.4 percent after a 2 percent gain in January that was smaller than previously estimated. Demand for American-made products may be softening as economies abroad struggle to accelerate and a stronger dollar makes it more attractive for foreign customers to buy from elsewhere.   Certainly not much in the way of news that would push the markets down to triple digit losses, but that’s the way the markets have been recently. In the past couple of weeks we see big moves in the markets, a little more to the downside than the upside. One of the better explanations I’ve heard for what is moving the market – irony. It seems like good news is bad and bad news is good. A strong dollar is good news for the consumer; certainly when it comes to lower gas prices. A strong dollar hurts durable goods orders. The jobs picture has shown solid and consistent …

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Financial Review

Thirst for Innovation

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 104 = 18,011 SPX – 12 = 2091 NAS – 16 = 4994 10 YR YLD – .03 = 1.88% OIL + .06 = 47.51 GOLD + 3.90 = 1194.20 SILV – .04 = 17.04   The Labor Department reports the consumer price index climbed by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% last month. Gasoline prices rebounded in February. Higher costs for food, housing and new cars also contributed to the increase. Still, there’s been zero overall inflation in the last 12 months, mainly because of the big drop in gas prices. If food and energy are excluded, so-called core consumer inflation has risen at a 1.7% rate over the past 12 months.   In February energy prices rose 1%. Gasoline price are still down almost 33% in the past year. Food prices moved up 0.2% last month, bringing the increase over the past 12 months to 3%. Shelter costs also rose 3% in the past year. The cost of medical care fell in February for the first time since 1975, although overall health-care costs were unchanged.   Now, the reason the CPI number is important is because the Federal Reserve last week shifted from being patient about raising interest rates to being data dependent about hiking rates, and the data they are focusing on is inflation and jobs. Although the Fed uses a different index as its preferred price …

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Financial Review

Transitory, Not Terminal

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 11 = 18,116 SPX – 3 = 2104 NAS – 15 = 5010 10 YR YLD – .01 = 1.91% OIL + .88 = 47.45 GOLD + 6.90 = 1190.30 SILV + .25 = 17.08   The Dow Jones Industrial Average is still above 18,000. The Nasdaq Composite is above 5,000. The Russell 2000 is near record highs. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Composite, which dipped below 17,000 early in the year, took about a month to surge from 18,000 to 19,000 and is now rapidly approaching the 20,000 level; heights that haven’t been seen since 2000. Germany’s DAX recently traded above 12,000 for the first time and is up nearly 30 percent from the lows set earlier this year. London’s FTSE 100 is over 7,000, at its highest level in 15 years. Central bank monetary easing seems to be having the desired effect of pumping up financial assets around the globe, and even if the Fed is talking about hiking rates in the US, we haven’t seen a serious rate hike tantrum on Wall Street, yet.   U.S. home resales rebounded less than expected in February. The National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales rose 1.2% to an annual rate of 4.88 million units. Inventories are tight and also sales were hurt by harsh winter weather in the Northeast, where sales dropped 6.5%; sales were up 5.7% …

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Financial Review

No Matter How Long the Winter

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 168 = 18,127 SPX + 18 = 2108 NAS + 34 = 5026 10 YR YLD – .04 = 1.93% OIL + 1.76 = 45.72 GOLD + 11.40 = 1183.40 SILV + .62 = 16.83   The Nasdaq Composite is back above 5,000. It couldn’t close above the old record high of 5048 from March 10, 2000, but it is close. Even with today’s advance it remains a long way from its intraday high of 5,132, reached the same day. For the week, the Dow gained 2.1 percent while the S&P 500 rose 2.7 percent, both snapping a three-week run of losses. The Nasdaq ended up 3.2 percent.   In London, the FTSE 100 Index hit a fresh record and climbed above 7,000 for the first time. The benchmark gauge of U.K. stocks climbed 0.9 percent to close at 7,022.51 in London, doubling since a low in 2009.  The index first surpassed its dotcom era record last month, having taken more than 15 years for it to regain all the losses from the burst of the tech bubble.   Today is a quadruple witch, and then some.  Index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures all expire Friday as the first quarter nears its end. Today also marks a rebalancing of the S&P 500 index, to reflect things like mergers, acquisitions, or other changes. About $15.9 billion of shares were …

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Financial Review

Times Change

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 117 = 17,959 SPX – 10 = 2089 NAS + 9 = 4992 10 YR YLD + .02 = 1.97% OIL – .81 = 43.85 GOLD + 4.10 = 1172.00 SILV+ .22 = 16.21   The Federal Reserve wrapped up a two-day FOMC meeting yesterday; and the stock market responded with a rally; the dollar dropped initially. After a day of consideration, stocks slipped and the dollar clawed back gains.  Oil prices rose yesterday and dropped again today. You could make the case that the Fed has maintained an overly accommodative monetary policy for too long, or you could argue that the economy will take a hit if the Fed hikes interest rates too soon. The Fed removed its pledge to be patient in tightening policy, while also cutting its forecast for the economy. Go figure.   Initial jobless claims edged up by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 291,000 in the period stretching from March 8 to March 14.  New claims have tracked below 300,000 for the second straight week after spiking to a 10-month high of 325,000 at the end of February in what now appears to have been weather-related quirk.   The Commerce Department said the current account gap, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, increased to $113 billion from a $98 billion deficit in the third …

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Financial Review

Not Patient But No Hurry

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 227 = 18,076 SPX + 25 = 2099 NAS + 45 = 4982 10 YR YLD – .11 = 1.95% OIL + 1.25 = 44.71 GOLD + 18.30 = 1166.90 SILV + .36 = 15.99 Today is Fed decision day. The Federal Reserve released a policy statement along with quarterly economic projections followed by a Janet Yellen news conference. In the statement, the Fed removed the phrase about being “patient” regarding an interest rate increase, which might seem like bad news for Wall Street; except, they came up with new language which sounds like they will be …, well, patient about increasing interest rates.   Here is the new language: The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term.    So, now we are looking for “further improvement in the labor market” and reasonable confidence” about inflation.   If this sounds like so much word play, well it is; but the bottom line is that they did not make a firm commitment to raising rates in June, and it could be quite some time until we see interest rates rise. Wall Street liked it and went from a triple digit loss …

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Financial Review

Buckle Up

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 128 = 17,849 SPX – 6 = 2074 NAS + 7 = 4937 10 YR YLD – .04 = 2.06% OIL – .42 = 43.46 GOLD – 5.70 = 1149.60 SILV – .10 = 15.63   The FOMC will wrap up its two-day meeting on interest rate policy tomorrow. The key question: will the Fed give a hint about raising interest rates? IMF Director Christine Lagarde says even if the Fed is able to manage expectations about an interest rate hike, “the likely volatility in financial markets could give rise to potential stability risks.”   ECB President Mario Draghi says, “Most indicators suggest a sustained (eurozone) recovery is taking hold.”  Draghi is urging governments to use the brighter outlook to advance reforms that would improve the region’s long-term growth prospects. Draghi claims, “Confidence among firms and consumers is rising. Growth forecasts have been revised upwards. And bank lending is improving on both the demand and supply sides.”   Draghi sounds a little overly optimistic. A couple of weeks of bond buying have not changed the overall economies of the Eurozone. Unemployment is still rampant in Spain and Italy and Greece and Portugal and several other countries. No doubt QE is increasing liquidity in the sovereign debt markets; the private banking system are surely pleased with cheap money policy, but it hasn’t changed the jobs picture, it hasn’t resolved the …

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Financial Review

What Happens When We Run Dry

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:19 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 228 = 17,977 SPX + 27 = 2081 NAS + 57 = 4929 10 YR YLD – .01 = 2.10% OIL – 1.12 = 43.88 GOLD – 4.30 = 1155.30 SILV – .01 = 15.73   Halfway through March, the S&P 500 is almost exactly flat year to date after a January tumble and February recovery, as we head into a Federal Reserve FOMC policy meeting later this week. Halfway through March a year ago, that was exactly the same situation: US stocks flat for the year directly ahead of the March Fed meeting, when the Fed’s intent to slowly tighten up policy was affirmed. It is widely expected that Fed policy setters will remove the word “patient” from their statement, opening the door for a rate increase in June.   The Fed has kept its benchmark lending rate near zero for more than six years, underpinning a strong rally in stocks. Wall Street loves to feed at the zero interest rate trough. Wall Street has a history of whining about tighter monetary policy; remember the “taper tantrum”, and so today’s gains feel like a sucker’s rally. Or the Fed could surprise us and they could very well remain patient. Crude fell for a fifth day, dropping to its lowest intraday price since March 2009. Crude oil closed $43.88 a barrel, closely following the IEA’s prediction on Friday that …

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