Financial Review

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 – What Could Go Wrong?

What Could Go Wrong? by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 27 = 16,808 SPX + 4 = 1941 NAS + 16 = 4337 10 YR YLD + .06 = 2.65% OIL – .30 = 106.60 GOLD un = 1272.70 SILV + .09 = 19.86 The FOMC, the Federal Open Market Committee started two days of meetings today; tomorrow they are expected to announce more of the same. The FOMC is largely expected to taper its asset purchase program by $10 billion to $35 billion. Effective July 1, the Fed is expected to lower its asset purchases to $15 billion in agency mortgage backed securities (MBS) and $20 billion in Treasuries. The Fed is also expected to maintain its current forward guidance language on federal funds rate support; in other words, they will keep telling us that rates might increase sometime next year.   The committee is likely to make some upgrades to its description of the economic outlook in its economic projections. The committee will probably need to reduce its 2014 real GDP growth forecast to take into account the Q1 disappointment, and we can probably expect the committee to reduce its unemployment rate forecast and lift its inflation forecast slightly.   The consumer-price index climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in May from a month earlier. It marked the fastest increase since February 2013 and doubled the pace of economists’ forecasts. Excluding food and energy components, so-called core prices increased 0.3%, the fastest pace since August 2011. From a year …

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Financial Review

Monday, June 16, 2014 – Manic Monday

Manic Monday by Sinclair Noe DOW + 5 = 16,781 SPX + 1 = 1937 NAS + 10 = 4321 10 YR YLD – .01 = 2.59% OIL – .12 = 106.79 GOLD – 4.20 = 1272.70 SILV un = 19.77   It’s Monday, and that means mergers. Today’s acquisition news comes from Medtronics, the medical device maker, announcing it will acquire Covidien for nearly $43 billion. Medtronics was founded in a garage in Minneapolis in 1949, but they will change their headquarters to Ireland, which is where Covidien has been headquartered since 2009. Covidien is actually a Massachusetts company, and they operate out of Massachusetts. Medtronics will continue to operate out of Minneapolis; the whole deal is about a lower tax rate, and for Medtronics, the ability to repatriate $20 billion in offshore profits, without paying tax.   Meanwhile, the IPO market remains white hot, and 14 companies will come to market this week. So far this year 124 companies have priced in the US, up 57% from a year ago. Total proceeds raised come to $25.8 billion, up almost 41% from 2013. Data today showed industrial production climbed more than forecast in May. Output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.6% after a revised 0.3% drop in April that was smaller than previously estimated. In a separate report, the New York Fed’s Empire manufacturing report rose to 19.28, better than expectations.   The Fed FOMC meets later this week to determine monetary policy. After their meeting concludes Wednesday, …

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Financial Review

Friday, June 13, 2014, – Infallible Source Predicts Economic Collapse!

Infallible Source Predicts Economic Collapse! by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 41 = 16,775 SPX + 6 = 1936 NAS + 13 = 4310 10 YRYLD + .02 = 2.60% OIL + .38 = 106.91 GOLD + 2.80 = 1276.90 SILV + .15 = 19.77   For the week, the Dow was down 0.9%, the S&P fell 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.25%. The week’s decline was the first after three weeks of consecutive gains on the S&P 500. For the year, the broad market index is up about 4.8%. So, it was a rough week, but a good Friday the 13th. The Producer Price Index measures prices at the wholesale level; the PPI was down 0.2% in May. The decline was driven lower by cheaper food and gas, and follows two months of strong gains. In the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 2%, matching the Federal Reserve’s inflation target. That’s down from an annual gain of 2.1% in April. Excluding the volatile food, energy and profit margin categories, (for all you people who don’t eat food or drive in cars) core producer prices were unchanged in May. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, has been mostly below 2% for the past two years.   Of course, that might change, at least for people who eat and drive cars. The price of oil has jumped the past few days, now standing at $106.91 a barrel, mainly on fears of a civil war in Iraq. …

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Financial Review

Thursday, June 12, 2014 – The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game by Sinclair Noe DOW – 109 = 16,734 SPX – 13 = 1930 NAS – 34 = 4297 10 YR YLD – .05 = 2.59% OIL + 2.51 = 106.91 GOLD + 12.70 = 1274.30 SILV + .34 = 19.63   This is a big day for sports fans. In the US, many fans are thinking about the NBA playoffs or the start of the US Open golf championship, but those games are small potatoes compared to the World Cup. Over the next month, the World Cup will attract about 4 billion television viewers, maybe more when we consider all the digital devices that can replay the games; that’s more than the 3.6 billion viewers who watched the Beijing Olympic games; more than the 3.2 billion that watched the 2010 World Cup. By comparison, the Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl managed a record 111 million viewers. The cumulative viewership for all the matches over the next month might top 35 billion. It’s a corporate marketing bonanza.   Over the next month, there will be countries across the globe that will quite literally shut down for 90 minutes intervals. Courts will delay hearing cases, hospitals will not schedule surgeries, offices and retail outlets and factories will shut down, the crime rate will drop, the streets will empty with almost zero traffic, planes stop flying, and trains stop running. I’ve seen it happen; and because I am blessed to be married to a lovely Brazilian woman, I have been caught up …

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Financial Review

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 – Nowhere to Hide

Nowhere to Hide by Sinclair Noe DOW – 102 = 16,843 SPX – 6 = 1943 NAS – 6 = 4331 10 YR YLD + .01 = 2.64% OIL + .14 = 104.49 GOLD + .70 = 1261.60 SILV un = 19.30 The US posted a $130 billion budget deficit in May and the smallest shortfall for the first eight months of a fiscal year since 2008. The deficit last month was about $9 billion less than May of last year. For the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the government is running a budget deficit 30% smaller than it was a year earlier; or about $436 billion compared with $626 billion. Revenues for that period are 7% higher than a year earlier and outlays are 2% lower.   The Congressional Budget Office in April projected that the federal deficit will decline to $492 billion this fiscal year, the smallest in six years; down from $680 billion in 2013 and down from a record $1.4 trillion in January 2009. The CBO estimates that next year, the shortfall will decline further, to $469 billion. The 2014 deficit will be 2.8% of gross domestic product, compared with 4.1% of GDP in 2013.   The World Bank has cut its global growth forecast, predicting the world economy will grow 2.8% this year, below its previous forecast of 3.2% made in January. In its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank said tensions between Ukraine and Russia hit confidence worldwide.   The bank …

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Financial Review

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 – Equity Party in the Wormhole

Equity Party in the Wormhole by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 2 = 16,945 SPX – 0.48 = 1950 NAS + 1 = 4338 10 YR YLD + .02 = 2.63% OIL – .22 = 104.19 GOLD + 7.90 = 1260.90 SILV + .13 = 19.29   The Dow Industrial Average hit another record high close; the fourth consecutive record. How did the Dow manage to move higher? Who knows? It wasn’t a big move but any positive results in a new record. How now Dow? Maybe it has something to do with the Federal Reserve and the other central bankers vacuuming up all the toxic detritus from the world of finance, pushing rates to sub-zero; leaving investors with little choice but a move to equities. Maybe global corporations have found a way to squeeze extra value out of a bone dry economy. Maybe the major indices have entered a cosmic wormhole devoid of common sense.   Today’s case in point is Uber, which is an app designed to connect riders with cars and drivers; which sounds a lot like hailing a taxi, but this is different because you can hail the taxi and pay the taxi with your smartphone; which means it’s software that eats taxis. Uber is different mainly because it is worth about $18 billion; which means it is worth more than most of the companies in the S&P 500 index. It’s an equity party, and for now at least, nobody is turning out the lights. Friday’s …

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Financial Review

Monday, June 09, 2014 – Record Highs and a Few Crumbs

Record Highs and a Few Crumbs by Sinclair Noe DOW + 18 = 16,943 SPX + 1 = 1951 NAS + 14 = 4336 10 YR YLD + .02 = 2.61% OIL + 1.73 = 104.39 GOLD – .30 = 1253.00 SILV + .05 = 19.16   The major indices are now up for 4 consecutive sessions. The Dow Industrials hit a record high close for the 10th time this year. The S&P is now up 14 of the last 17 trading sessions. The last time the Dow experienced a 10% correction was back in October 2011; since then, the Dow has gained almost 60% over 32 months without a 10% correction. Typically, you can expect a correction about every 12 months on average. The longest period without at least a 10% pullback was an 82 month run from 1990-1997. The S&P 500 hit a record high close for the 19th time this year. The S&P bull market is now at 62 months and counting, the best run since 1994 to 2000.   The CBOE Volatility Index moved a little higher today to 11.34. On Friday, the VIX hit a low of 10.73, the lowest level since January 2007. The VIX can go low and stay low for an extended period of time. In 2007, after hitting a low, the VIX steadily rose for the remainder of the year but stock prices didn’t peak until the end of 2007. The VIX measures options trades, but does it really mean investors …

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Financial Review

Friday, June 06, 2014 – Jobs Report Friday

Jobs Report Friday by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 88 = 16,924 SPX + 8 = 1949 NAS + 25 = 4321 10 YR YLD + .01 = 2.59% OIL + .31 = 102.79 GOLD – .90 = 1253.30 SILV – .02 = 19.11   Another record high close for the Dow Industrial Average and the S&P 500.   It’s said that it takes a war to end a war; 70 years ago, 150,000 soldiers invaded Normandy, and it’s estimated that about 4,400 lost their lives in the biggest military assault in history, D-Day. There were ceremonies on the beach today, as well as locations around the world, to honor the soldiers lost and the veterans still with us; their numbers are dwindling with the passage of time, but about 3,000 made the pilgrimage to Normandy today.  For the rest of us, it’s hard to imagine what happened 70 years ago, but whatever difficulties we may face in our day to day lives seem small compared with what those men faced. This is a special day, one that should never be forgotten.   Each month we analyze the jobs report. The jobs number came in about as expected. Non-farm payrolls added 217,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate, which is drawn from a different survey of households, remained unchanged at 6.3%.   April’s employment numbers were revised down to 282,000 jobs added from 288,000. March payroll figures were not revised, remaining at 203,000 jobs added. This is the fourth consecutive …

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Financial Review

Thursday, June 05, 2014 – The European Central Bank Has Done Something

The European Central Bank Has Done Something by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 98 = 16,836 SPX + 12 = 1940 NAS + 44 = 4296 10 YR YLD – .02 = 2.58% OIL – .18 = 102.46 GOLD + 9.60 = 1254.20 SILV + .24 = 19.04   The Dow and the S&P finished with record high closes.   We start in Europe. The European Central Bank has done something. No, I’m serious, they did something; not just talked about doing “whatever it takes”, they actually took some action; nothing terribly bold; probably not enough, but something. Specifically, the ECB cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.15% from 0.25%, and the deposit rate to minus 0.10% from zero. The rate cuts will take effect next week, on June 11. They are trying the  negative interest rate, which has never been tried on a large scale, in a bid to push down the value of the euro and encourage banks to invest excess cash rather than hoard it in central bank vaults.   The ECB will also begin offering four-year loans to banks at the benchmark interest rates, under conditions meant to ensure that lenders use the money to issue loans to businesses. The loans are designed so that they can’t just borrow the money from the ECB at 0.15% and toss it into government bonds.   Also, the ECB will start buying packages of loans, or asset-backed securities; another measure designed to push lending to small businesses; right now …

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Financial Review

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 – An Airtight Defense

An Airtight Defense by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 15 = 16,737 SPX + 3 = 1927 (record close) NAS + 17 = 4251 10 YR YLD + .01 = 2.60% OIL – .27 = 102.39 GOLD – 1.30 = 1244.60 SILV – .01 = 18.90   Eight times a year the Federal Reserve gathers economic updates from the 12 districts and publishes the information about two weeks before its FOMC meetings. The data is published in a beige folder, and that is why it is called the Beige Book, although it might actually refer to the writing style. Anyway, economic activity expanded all across the country, with most districts reporting moderate or modest growth. Consumer spending expanded across almost all districts. Tourism was another bright spot and manufacturing activity expanded across the country. Home sales were described as “mixed across the country” even as home prices continue to rise. Labor markets were described as steady. Inflation was tame, with a slight exception for higher food prices in some areas.   In other words, when the Fed meets in a couple of weeks, there won’t be any big changes in monetary policy.   The Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 56.3%, its highest level since August, from 55.2% in April. That’s the number and they’re sticking with it.   The US trade deficit grew to $47 billion in April, up from $44 billion in March. Exports slowed in April, down slightly to $193 billion. Imports, meanwhile, …

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