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Monday, April 07, 2014 – I Don’t Know, They Don’t Know

I Don’t Know, They Don’t Know by Sinclair Noe DOW – 166 = 16,245SPX – 20 = 1845NAS – 47 = 407910 YR YLD – .03 = 2.69%OIL – .44 = 100.70GOLD – 5.40 = 1297.90SILV – .09 = 19.97 The biggest 3 day drop in the markets in about 2 months. All of the sudden we start hearing the Wall Street stock peddlers waxing enthusiastic about the prospects for a correction or a crash or whatever will scare you. Fear sells; with talk about a 1987-like stock market crash, geopolitical unrest in Ukraine and the risk of a debt crisis in China, investors are starting to get jittery. I don’t know, they don’t know. The big pullback so far has been in the Nasdaq, and especially biotech stocks. As always, you want an exit plan in place before you ever get into a trade; and if you don’t have an exit plan, get one now. You don’t make money by letting profits slip through your fingers. Earnings season gets underway this week. Expectations have been ratcheted down; at the start of the year, S&P 500 companies were projected to have grown earnings at 6.5%, now that estimate has slipped to 1.2%. We could see companies beat diminished expectations and start a fresh rally or miss expectations and the markets could get a bit ugly. The simple rule of thumb is that when the trailing P/E ratios hit 10, the S&P 500 is likely undervalued; when the P/E hits 20, …

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Friday, April 04, 2014 – The March Jobs Report

The March Jobs Reportby Sinclair Noe DOW – 159 = 16,412SPX – 23 = 1865NAS – 110 = 4127 (-2.6%)10 YR YLD – .06 = 2.73%OIL + .77 = 101.06GOLD + 15.50 = 1303.30SILV + .14 = 20.06 Today is a jobs report Friday. Let’s get geeky. The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls increased by 192,000 jobs last month after rising by 197,000 in February (that’s revised from 175,000). The prior 2 months were revised to show 37,000 more jobs than previously estimated; the revisions indicate that the bad winter weather was not a huge problem for the labor market; it did have an effect but not huge, and we certainly shouldn’t hear any more weather related excuses. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7% as more people were looking for jobs. The consensus estimate was 200,000 jobs, so the figures were a little below expectations. Private employment rose to 116.09 million, finally moving beyond the previous high of 115.98 million recorded at the very start of the recession in January 2008.Total employment is just a little below the pre-financial crisis days; we still have about 437,000 fewer jobs than the peak in 2008, but private employment is now above the peak by 110,000 and at a new all-time high; the difference is that more than a half million government jobs have been cut during that time; also, the population and the labor force has grown over the past 6 years, so the unemployment rate remains fairly high. And the …

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Thursday, April 03, 2014 – Tomorrow, Tomorrow, It’s Only a Day Away

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, It’s Only a Day Away by Sinclair Noe DOW – 0.45 = 16,572SPX – 2 = 1888NAS – 38 = 423710 YR YLD – .01 = 2.79%OIL + .73 = 100.35GOLD – 3.10 = 1287.80SILV – .16 = 19.92 Forget about today; at least in terms of Wall Street trading. Tomorrow is more important. The first Friday of each month is always a big day because of the monthly jobs report; tomorrow, maybe more than most. The consensus estimates called for 200,000 net new jobs in March and the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.6% from 6.7%. Then there is the whisper number. Many people believe the harsh winter weather has held back hiring, like a balloon trapped under water by a thin sheet of ice, and when the ice melts, as it did in March, the balloon will jump out of the water like a salmon swimming upstream. Weather sensitive industries such as retail, construction and manufacturing might be especially strong performers. A March jobs report that shows a broad increase in hiring across most or all industries would show the economy is recovering and everything, including the Fed, is on track. A disappointing number, though, would bolster the case of the increasingly famished Wall Street bears that bad weather alone is not the source of weak economic growth so far in 2014. And if the number comes in right at expectations, we’ll have to go to the tiebreakers. We will look at the number …

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014 – Speak Your Mind by Blowing Your Wad

Speak Your Mind by Blowing Your Wadby Sinclair Noe DOW + 40 = 16,573SPX + 5 = 1890NAS + 8 = 427610 YR YLD + .04 = 2.80%OIL – 33 = 99.29GOLD + 10.10 = 1290.90SILV + .22 = 20.08 The S&P 500 closed at another record high. The Commerce Department reported that orders to US factories rose 1.6% in February, the most in five months. January’s durable goods orders were revised to show a larger drop of 1.0% instead of the previously reported decline of 0.7%. Yesterday, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose in March. A private survey showed that US companies stepped up their hiring in March. Payroll processer ADP said private employers added 191,000 jobs. ADP also revised February’s job creation up to 153,000 from the 139,000 figure reported earlier. The report comes ahead of the government’s monthly jobs report, scheduled to be released on Friday; the over-under number for Friday is 200,000 net new jobs. We know the Federal Reserve will be watching the jobs report. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaking to reporters at his branch of the central bank, said a formal rate rise is “still a considerable distance away.” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said today: “Based on my working medium-term outlook, I see the latter half of 2015 as the likely time frame for the first move to higher rates,” but if the economy doesn’t grow as he current expects, Lockhart thinks, “a later …

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014 – Murderers and Cheats

Murderers and Cheatsby Sinclair Noe DOW + 74 = 16,532SPX + 13 = 1885NAS + 69 = 426810 YR YLD + .04 = 2.76%OIL – 1.99 = 99.59GOLD – 5. 00 = 1280.80SILV un = 19,86 Congratulations Mary Barra, you’ve been named CEO of General Motors, one of the biggest companies in America; now head on over to Capitol Hill to take the blame for the people who used to run the company. Barra’s appearance before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee represented a significant new phase in the company’s crisis since it issued recalls that began in February for 2.6 million Cobalts and other vehicles. The problems with the cars involve faulty ignition switches; GM repeatedly failed to fix faulty ignition switches, despite conducting multiple internal studies of the problem since 2001, and 13 people died in the defective vehicles. Members of Congress and the families of people killed in GM cars are urging Barra to declare the cars unsafe to drive until new ignition switches are installed. So far, GM has said the vehicles are safe to operate as long as there are no objects attached to the ignition key.  GM conducted several internal investigations of the switch problems, dating back as far as 2001. Company engineers learned that the key in the ignition could be inadvertently bumped into the off or accessory position, causing the engine to lose power and disabling air bags. Documents show that GM approved the switch for installation in its …

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Monday, March 31, 2014 – Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worstby Sinclair Noe DOW + 134 = 16,457SPX + 14 = 1872NAS + 43 = 419810 YR YLD + .01 = 2.72%OIL – .18 = 101.49GOLD – 10.10 = 1285.80SILV – .06 = 19.86 Wrapping up the first quarter let’s go to the scorecard. The Dow Industrials lost 121 points in the quarter but gained 136 points in the month of March; the S&P 500 finished the quarter up 24 points and up 13 points in March; the Nasdaq Comp gained 22 points in the quarter and lost 110 points in March; oil prices are up $3.50 a barrel since the start of the year and down .42 in March; gold gained $74.80 for the quarter but lost $41.90 the last month; silver added .33 for the quarter but down $1.44 for the month of March. The first quarter marked the fifth straight quarter of gains for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indices. Last week’s drop of 2.8% in the Nasdaq Comp was the first such drop since October 2012, or the first time the Nasdaq dropped by 2.8% in 77 weeks. Did you see 60 Minutes last night? They interviewed Michael Lewis, who is an excellent financial writer; he has a new book called “Flash Boys” and it deals with high frequency traders on Wall Street. They tried to present the idea that they had just discovered the market is rigged. It is rigged, and it has been rigged for …

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Friday, march 28, 2014 – Ukraine, Climate Change, and More

Ukraine, Oil, Climate Change, and More by Sinclair Noe DOW + 58 = 16323 SPX + 8 = 1857 NAS + 4 = 4155 10 YR YLD + .04 = 2.71% OIL  + .30 = 101.58 GOLD + 3.20 = 1295.90 SILV + .13 = 19.92 Consumer spending increased 0.3% in February, but the January reading on spending was revised lower to 0.2%. Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, rose 0.3% after adjusting for inflation, the most since September. It climbed 2.1% from February 2013. Wages and salaries increased 0.2% after a 0.3% gain. This tells us a few things; consumers are spending what they earn, basically hand to mouth; also incomes and spending are not enough to lift the economy and we will be seeing first quarter GDP estimates revised lower. Today’s spending report showed purchases of durable goods, including automobiles, increased 0.1% after adjusting for inflation following a 0.4% drop in January. Purchases of non-durable goods, which include gasoline, gained 0.3%. Household outlays on services climbed 0.2% after adjusting for inflation. Today’s data also showed the core price measure, which excludes fuel and food, rose 1.1% from a year ago, the same as in January. Total prices, which are the ones tracked by Federal Reserve policy makers, were up 0.9% from February 2013, the smallest year-to-year gain since October. That remains well below the central bank’s 2% target. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index final reading for March came in at a four-month …

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Thursday, March 27, 2013 – Certain Assumptions

Certain Assumptions by Sinclair Noe DOW – 4 = 16,246SPX – 3 = 1849NAS – 22 = 415110 YR YLD – .03 = 2.67%OIL + 1.02 = 101.28GOLD – 14.10 = 1292.70SILV – .05 = 19.79 Stocks fell for the fourth time in 5 sessions. This year’s first quarter, which ends Monday, isn’t nearly as bullish as last year, when the benchmark Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index soared 10% in the first three months of the year on its way to a 29% gain. The broad market is unchanged in 2014.  The losing sectors today included banks and biotech. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, up 304% in the last five years, has fallen 11% since the end of February, while the Russell 2000 gauge of smaller companies has slipped 2.7% after rallying more than 230%. If you really want a great investment, it’s hard to beat collecting $7,250 for every $1 you spend. That’s the benefit Boeing will reap from a ramped-up lobbying push in Washington state that ended with a massive $8.7 billion tax subsidy. A new analysis of lobbying data shows the tax break came as part of a deal to keep production of a new jet, the 777X, in the Seattle area. Lobbying data is notoriously difficult to parse because matching individual dollars to specific legislative priorities is often impossible. It’s plausible that the company could have achieved the same result with a single phone call, given how terrified state officials were that the company might ship …

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014 – Render to Caesar

Render to Caesar by Sinclair Noe DOW – 98 = 16,268SPX – 13 = 1852NAS – 60 = 417310 YR YLD – .03 = 2.70%OIL + 1.03 = 100.22GOLD – 5.90 = 1306.80SILV – .27 = 19.84 Durable goods orders increased 2.2% in February, ending 2 straight months of declines. Durable goods are items like refrigerators, cars, and airplanes that are built to last for several years. But we need to dig into this report just a little; orders for non-defense goods, excluding aircraft, were actually down 1.3%. This might also indicate that first quarter business investment is weak. The US Census Bureau began releasing data from its 2012 Economic Census, a survey of American businesses taken every 5 years. The enormous boom in domestic oil and gas production helped make the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction industry one of the fastest growing sectors of the US economy. The number of businesses rose 26% from 2007 to 2012, employment in the sector rose 24% and revenue surged 34%. Meanwhile, from 2007 to 2012 manufacturing lost 2.1 million jobs, now down to just 11.3 million people employed in manufacturing. The finance and insurance sector shed 390,000 jobs between 2007 and 2012 and industry revenue fell by $137 billion, nearly 4%. But revenues in 2012 were still up 61% from 15 years earlier. There were one million retail stores operating in 2012. But the retail trade sector shed 65,000 establishments and nearly 778,000 jobs from five years earlier. Internet-based selling …

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014 – Want to Buy a Cookie?

Want to Buy a Cookie? by Sinclair Noe DOW + 91 = 16,367SPX + 8 = 1865NAS + 7 = 423410 YR YLD un 2.73%OIL – .39 = 99.21GOLD + 2.10 = 1312.70SILV + .07 = 20.10 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price report, the home price index covering 10 major US cities increased 13.5% in the year ended in January. The 20-city price index advanced 13.2% for the year. Month to month, the 20-city index dropped 0.1%; the drop is not just weather related; from December to January, prices fell in 12 of the 20 cities Case-Shiller tracks. Taking a look at a few cities: LA was down 0.3% for the month but up 18.9% for the past year, San Diego was up 0.6% for the month and 19.4% for the year, Phoenix was down 0.3% for the month but up 13.8% for the year, San Francisco was up 0.5% for January and 23.1% for the year, the hot spot was Las Vegas up 1.1% for the month and 24.9% for the year, to lead the nation. The Commerce Department reports new home sales dropped 3.3% from January to February to a seasonally adjusted rate of 440,000. Sales fell in all regions except the Midwest, where they jumped 36.7%. Sales dropped 15.9% month to month in the West. The national median price for a new home was $261,800 last month, up from $260,800 in January. Compared with February 2013, the median price fell 1.2%. At the current sales pace …

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