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Tuesday, March 11, 2014 – The Next Wave

The Next Wave by Sinclair Noe DOW – 67 = 16,351 SPX – 9 = 1867NAS– 27 = 430710 YR YLD – .02 = 2.76%OIL – 1.60 = 99.52GOLD + 9.70 = 1350.50SILV + .05 = 20.99 Stocks were higher for most of the day, with the S&P 500 looking at record territory. Prices dropped as the session wore on. Copper futures slid as much as 3 percent to the lowest level since July 2010 as signs of slowing economic growth in China sparked concern demand will slump. (We told you about that yesterday.) Yesterday we marked the 5 year anniversary of the bull market and the 14 year anniversary of the bear market. Today, we remember the date 3 years ago, when the ground shook and a wave washed over the eastern shore of Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which exploded and underwent three core meltdowns, continues to spew radiation into the air and sea. Decommissioning is expected to take decades. Another earthquake could send radioactive fuel rods into another meltdown. There are still questions about whether to re-start other nuclear facilities in Japan that were idled following the disaster at Fukushima. Demonstrators have been marching by the thousands in Tokyo to mark the anniversary and to protest against nukes. Perhaps the most troubling thing is after three years there is no full explanation on what went wrong at Fukushima, and how to avoid a recurrence. The situation in Ukraine remains on the verge of a meltdown. Diplomatic …

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Monday, March 10, 2014 – Disconnected

Disconnectedby Sinclair Noe DOW – 34 = 16,418SPX – 0.87 = 1877NAS – 1 = 433410 YR YLD – .01 = 2.78%OIL – 1.64 = 100.94GOLD + .30 = 1340.80SILV – .05 = 20.94 This is a pretty quiet week for economic data; Thursday brings a report on February retail sales; we’ll also see reports Friday on inflation at the wholesale level and on consumer sentiment. That’s about it. Today, we ran across the Economic Report of the President, compiled by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which discusses the progress of the recovery. The economic report serves as the administration’s analysis of the president’s $3.9 trillion budget, which he unveiled last week. The president’s top economic advisors say the nation is on track to make economic progress over the next two years, but say it would do even better if Congress would enact the additional spending he proposed in his most recent budget. Yea, that’s not going to happen. Even without new government spending, the economy should pick up a little, in part because the budget cuts moving forward won’t be as bad as what we’ve already seen. The economists think consumer spending has adjusted since the payroll tax cut expired more than a year ago. Increases in housing construction and greater business investments should give the economy a boost as well. The report says gross domestic product should expand by 3.1% this year and 3.4% next year, which would be the best performance since 2005. The economy …

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Friday, March 07, 2014 – Jobs Report Friday and Aiming Higher

Jobs Report Friday and Aiming Higher by Sinclair Noe DOW + 30 = 16,452SPX + 1 = 1878NAS – 15 = 433610 YR YLD + .05 = 2.79%OIL + 1.00 = 102.56GOLD – 9.50 = 1341.90SILV – .51 = 21.03 This is a jobs report Friday. Here’s what you need to know. The economy added 175,000 net new jobs in February; this topped estimates of 150,000. The unemployment rate moved higher to 6.7%, up from 6.6% in January. After two months of very bad jobs reports, we returned to just below average levels of 189,000 per month; not a great showing but not ugly. The December and January reports were revised higher by 25,000 jobs. So why did the unemployment rate go up? The labor pool got bigger; more people were looking for work. The ranks of the short-term unemployed declined by 61,000 to 2.3 million, while the ranks of the  long-term unemployed jumped by 200,000 to 3.85 million, and the labor participation rate held steady at 63%, just above the generational low of 62.8% in December. That seems to be a discrepancy, but the unemployment rate is based on a separate survey of households from the one that tracks hiring by employers, and the household survey showed an increase of 264,000 in the labor force. The participation rate is still well below the range of 66% to 67% where it had been for the past 20 years or so. The unemployment rate went up slightly because that 264,000 gain …

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Thursday, March 06, 2014 – Energy as Arsenal

Energy as Arsenal by Sinclair Noe DOW + 61 = 16,421SPX + 3 = 1877NAS – 5 = 435210 YR YLD + 4 = 2.74%OIL + .45 = 101.90GOLD + 13.60 = 1351.40SILV + .28 = 21.54 The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed at another all-time high. The number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week fell more than expected. That’s a sign fewer workers are being laid off. Tomorrow we have the monthly jobs report and we’ll see. Does a string of weak economic data in recent months represent a genuine slowdown in US economic growth, or is it just weather-related noise? The February jobs report might not provide much clarity because the reference week for the household survey coincided with a mid-February storm that dumped ice and snow (again) on much of the eastern US. Federal funding for extended unemployment benefits expired at the end of December, so we’ll be watching the jobs data to see what happens to people who have been out of work for more than six months. Of course, the jobs number is hugely important because it supposedly plays into Federal Reserve monetary policy. Fed officials have signaled they’re on track to trim the central bank’s bond-buying program in $10 billion increments this year. The jobs report probably would need to very ugly to change their minds. Of course, the past two months of jobs numbers have been ugly but that was dismissed as weather related. Maybe the February report will …

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014 – Not Much Change

Not Much Change by Sinclair Noe DOW – 35 = 16,360SPX – 0.1 = 1873NAS + 6 = 435710 YR YLD + .01 = 2.70%OIL – 2.40 = 100.93GOLD + 2.40 = 1337.80SILV + .02 = 21.26 ADP, a payroll processing company, reports its own monthly jobs estimate each month, just before the government comes out with its monthly jobs report. Today, ADP said the economy added 139,000 new jobs in February; they revised the January number down to 127,000 from the previously reported 175,000. When the Labor Department reports on jobs Friday morning the best guess is about 150,000 jobs and the unemployment rate holding at 6.6%. So, the ADP report is reasonably close. Separately, initial jobless claims for the past week did not point to any improvement in the labor market with initial claims up 14,000 in the February 22 week to a 348,000 level. In other news, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index slipped to 53.5 in February from 54 the previous month. This afternoon the Federal Reserve published its Beige Book, which is a compilation of reports and observations from the 12 Fed districts. Growth slowed in Chicago and activity was stable in Kansas City. While the other eight districts reported growth, the Fed said it was characterized as “modest to moderate” in most cases, an overall downgrade from its last report on January 15, which showed “moderate” growth in nine regions. Business contacts were still upbeat, and real estate activity picked up in some …

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014 – Everybody Clap Your Hands

Everybody Clap Your Hands by Sinclair Noe DOW + 227 = 16,395SPX + 28 = 1873NAS + 74 = 435110 YR YLD + .08 = 2.69%OIL – 1.57 = 103.35GOLD – 15.90 = 1335.40SILV – .27 = 21.24 Ukraine has not exploded. The situation has not escalated, nor has it de-escalated. Apparently Russia and the West have both figured out that conflict has the potential for mutually assured destruction, not along the lines of the old nuclear Cold War, but potentially painful for both sides; and so today, everything is on hold. Vlad Putin said he sees no immediate need to invade Ukraine; the Obama administration is trying to put together $1 billion in loan guarantees. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev and there is still talk of sanctions if things don’t de-escalate. Putin says sanctions would be cause for retaliation. The Ukrainian military has shown remarkable restraint, adopting a Gandhi-like non-violence stance in the face of overwhelming firepower. And for the moment, there is a standoff but not a truce. That could change tomorrow. A story in Politico today says the Russians no longer respect or fear Western leaders. Why? “Russia thinks the West is no longer a crusading alliance. Russia thinks the West is now all about the money.” Quite so. More specifically, “Putin’s henchmen know this personally. Russia’s rulers have been buying up Europe for years. They have mansions and luxury flats from London’s West End to France’s Cote d’Azure. Their children are safe at British …

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Monday, March 03, 2013 – Carry On

Carry Onby Sinclair Noe DOW – 153 = 16,168SPX – 13 = 1845NAS – 30 = 427710 YR YLD – .05 = 2.60%OIL + 2.20 = 104.79GOLD + 21.70 = 1351.30SILV + .18 = 21.51 Manufacturing expanded at a faster pace than projected in February. The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index rose to 53.2 from 51.3 in January. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing activity. Consumer spending in the US climbed more than forecast in January, reflecting the biggest increase in services in over 12 years. Household purchases rose 0.4%, after a 0.1% gain the prior month. Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, rose 0.3% after adjusting for inflation. It dropped 0.2% in the prior month and was up 2.8% from January 2013. The saving rate was 4.3% in January, unchanged from the prior month. Wages and salaries increased 0.2% after dropping 0.1% in December. The big economic report this week will be the monthly jobs report on Friday. Faster than you can say “the Russians are coming”, they invaded Ukraine. Moscow now has operational control of the Crimean Peninsula, with about 6,000 airborne and ground troops. Russia has military bases on the Red Sea, but the troops have gone off base. The Russians have just taken over without any real fighting; indeed, many Crimeans are sympathetic to Russia. Ukraine has a large Russian ethnic minority, which it inherited mainly as the result of Soviet policies, including a re-drawing of the inner map …

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Friday, February 28, 2014 – Tantrums

Tantrums by Sinclair Noe DOW + 49 = 16,321SPX + 5 = 1859 NAS – 10 = 430810 YR YLD + .02 = 2.66%OIL + .05 = 102.45GOLD – 5.10 = 1327.70SILV – .06 = 21.30 Broadcasting from the Renaissance Esmerelda in Indian Wells for Financial Fest Palm Springs edition.   Remember last summer when various Fed officials floated the taper balloon? The hinted that the Fed might taper from $85 billion a month in QE asset purchases. The result: Wall Street had a taper tantrum; the yield on the 10 year note spiked up to 3%; mortgage rates shot up and made many question the strength of the housing recovery; stocks swooned as the froth escaped the market. The tantrum didn’t last long, even when the Fed announced the actual taper. Markets treated the announcement with a yawn. Stocks resumed their climb to record highs; Treasuries settled down; the housing market, well that’s always a local story, so it depends; and the economy continued to muddle. The markets seemed to accept the idea that the economy could handle a little less Fed stimulus, after all, they gave forward guidance that interest rates would remain low until the cows come home. In retrospect, last summer’s taper tantrum seems nothing more than a blip. Not so fast. A new paper released today before the Monetary Policy Forum in New York argues that the tantrum might portend a negative response as taper continues and as the Fed moves closer to someday raising …

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Thursday, February 27, 2014 – As She Was Saying…

As She Was Saying… by Sinclair Noe DOW + 74 = 16,272SPX + 9 = 1854NAS + 26 = 431810 YR YLD – .03 = 2.64%OIL – .35 = 102.24GOLD + 2.00 = 1332.80SILV + .05 = 21.36 Two weeks ago, the freshly minted Fed Chair Janet Yellen appeared before the House Financial Services Committee to deliver her first bi-annual Humphrey Hawkins testimony on the state of the economy and monetary policy. She read a prepared statement and then answered questions from the Congressional representatives. The next day she was scheduled to repeat the process with senators; that didn’t happen because of a big winter storm that essentially resulted in a Snow Day for Washington DC. Today, Yellen returned to Capitol Hill to continue her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. Yellen began today’s hearing with the same prepared remarks from two weeks ago, but then she got to the part about the Fed’s outlook for the economy and this time she said something a little different: “Mr. Chairman, let me add as an aside that since my appearance before the House committee, a number of data releases have pointed to softer spending than many analysts had expected. Part of that softness may reflect adverse weather conditions, but at this point, it’s difficult to discern exactly how much. In the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and I will be attentive to signals that indicate whether the recovery is progressing in line with our earlier expectations.” Now for the past …

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 – Inequality With a Dash of Salt

Inequality With a Dash of Salt by Sinclair Noe DOW + 18 = 16,198SPX + .04 = 1845NAS + 4 = 429210 YR YLD – .03 = 2.67%OIL +72 = 102.55GOLD – 11.80 = 1330.80SILV – .68 = 21.32 Sales of new single-family homes started 2014 with surprising strength, with January posting the fastest pace in more than five years. Home sales jumped 9.6% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, hitting the highest level since July 2008. Today’s sales news follows a string of recent reports signaling recent sputtering in the housing market. The data, to be fair, have a huge confidence interval—plus or minus 17.9% in January. That means we can’t know for certain whether sales rose or fell during the month. On a three-month average, sales rose 1.2% in January. Sometimes you have to take a look at economic data with a dash of salt. Bank earnings jumped in the fourth quarter, but not solely because of increased net income. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, financial institutions in the US earned a whopping $40.3 billion in net income in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 16.9% from a year earlier. More than half of the 6,812 FDIC insured institutions reported a year-over-year growth in quarterly earnings. And the portion of unprofitable banks dropped to 12.2% from 15% in the fourth quarter of 2012. But it’s not all good news. The improvement in earnings was largely attributable to an $8 billion decline in …

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 – Dumb Luck

Dumb Luck By Sinclair Noe DOW – 27 = 16,179SPX – 2 = 1845NAS – 5 = 428710 YR YLD  – .05 = 2.70%OIL – .76 = 102.06GOLD + 5.00 = 1342.60SILV – .07 = 21.99 Just a couple of economic reports to start. The S&P/Case-Shilller home Price Indices for December were posted today. Nationally home prices closed the year of 2013 up 11.3%, while posting a fourth quarter decline of 0.3%. After 26 months of consecutive gains, Phoenix posted -0.3% for the month of December, its largest decline since March 2011. Phoenix once led the recovery from the bottom in 2012, but Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco were the top three performing cities of 2013 with gains of over 20%. Another sign that the housing market slowed down during the fourth quarter: Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest mortgage guarantor, saw demand for foreclosed properties dip at the end of the year. Fannie reported last week an $84 billion annual profit for 2013 on the backs of large home-price gains and a series of one-time legal and accounting benefits. The report also showed that its inventory of foreclosed homes increased for the second straight quarter as it begins to take back more properties in Florida and other states where foreclosures have been tied up in courts. The report showed that the prices Fannie received on those properties, as a share of the underlying mortgage balances, declined slightly from the prior quarter for the first time in 2½ years. …

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Monday, February 24, 2014 – Wine and Neurosis

Wine and Neurosis by Sinclair Noe DOW + 103 = 16,207SPX + 11 = 1847NAS + 29 = 429210 YR YLD + .01 = 2.75%OIL + .64 = 102.84GOLD + 10.50 = 1337.60SILV + .11 = 22.07 The S&P 500 hit a new high today; topping out at 1858; surpassing the intraday high of 1850 set back January 15th, and finishing at 1847.61, just below the record high close of 1848.38, again from January 15. So, we couldn’t hold on to a record close, but it was tempting. The S&P was banging up against resistance, briefly floating above the ceiling and into new, rarified air. And we would all love to be on that rocket, if it really is going to soar. Patience, patience. Now, we know that fundamentals, the news of the day, only offers justification for movement, and we know that the fundamentals can also prove to be contrary indicators. Still, the best explanation I’ve heard today for the enthusiasm is the recent M&A activity has created something of a halo effect. There has been quite a bit of merger action. Consider: RF Micro Devices will merge with Triquint Semiconductor in an all stock deal announced this morning, last week was news of Men’s Warehouse upping its offer for Joseph A. Bank conditioned on Bank dropping its bid for Eddie Bauer, Actavis is buying Forest Laboratories, Comcast buying Time Warner Cable in a deal to create the world’s biggest consumer complaint, and Facebook buying WhatsApp. And suddenly everybody …

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Friday, February 21, 2014 – Grab Tight and Hope for the Best

Grab Tight and Hope for the Best by Sinclair Noe DOW – 29 = 16,103SPX – 3 = 1836NAS – 4 = 426310 YR YLD -.02 = 2.73%OIL – .50 = 102.25GOLD + 3.10 = 1327.10SILV + .03 = 21.95 Sometimes you just grab tight and hope for the best. There is a deal in the Ukraine. Ukraine’s opposition leaders signed an EU-mediated peace deal with President Viktor Yanukovich. Under pressure to quit from mass demonstrations in Kiev, Russian-backed Yanukovich made a series of concessions, including a national unity government and constitutional change to reduce his powers, as well as announcing an early presidential election this year. The Ukrainian parliament then voted to revert to a previous constitution, which essentially stripped Yanukovich of some powers, sacked his interior minister blamed for this week’s bloodshed, and amended the criminal code to pave the way to release his arch-rival, jailed opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The deal was mediated by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France, and appears to have been a victory for Europe in its competition with Moscow for influence. The European envoys signed the document as witnesses, but a Russian envoy did not. And just because a deal has been signed it doesn’t mean it will be easy. Protesters remain encamped in Kiev’s central Independence Square, where approximately 77 activists had been killed over the past week. There were some celebrations but many of the demonstrators were skeptical that Yanukovich could be trusted. Ukraine …

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Thursday, February 20, 2014 – Searching for Inflation

Searching for Inflationby Sinclair Noe DOW + 92 = 16,133SPX + 11 = 1839NAS + 29 = 426710 YR YLD + .02 = 2.75%OIL + .02 = 102.86GOLD + 12.10 = 1324.00SILV + .29 = 21.92 The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.3% in January following no change in December. Over the six months through January, the LEI rose 3.1%. The LEI tracks 10 indicators designed to signal business cycle peaks and troughs. In the most recent report, 5 of the 10 indicators were positive, including a drop in jobless claims and a pickup in factory orders; on the negative side, declines in building permits and hours worked. Meanwhile, the Conference Board’s index of coincident indicators, a gauge of current economic activity, rose 0.1 percent for a second month. Overall, the leading indicators point to moderate expansion once the nation gets past inclement weather, with the caveat that consumer demand needs to pick up. No surprises in that report. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in January after a 0.2% gain in December. The CPI measures prices at the retail level. The core rate, excluding food and energy prices, also rose 0.1%. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices were up 1.5%, and the core CPI was up 1.6%. Energy costs increased 0.6% from a month earlier and were up 2.1% over the past 12 months. Food costs rose 0.1%. Gains in the cost of hotel rooms, medical care and rents were mostly offset by declining costs for new …

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – Stake your Claim

Stake your Claim by Sinclair Noe DOW – 89 = 16,040SPX – 12 = 1828NAS – 34 = 423710 YR YLD + .02 = 2.73%OIL + .81 = 102.91GOLD – 11.40 = 1311.90SILV – .43 = 21.64 This winter has been brutally cold for much of the country, the worst in 20 years. The harsh weather makes an easy scapegoat for slow economic growth and sickly earnings. Every bad bit of economic data and all ugly earnings reports can be buried under the snow and ice. Many companies and sectors aren’t really affected by the weather; while others were definitely slammed. This is true of new construction. The Commerce Department reports housing starts dropped 16% to 880,000 in January from 1.05 million in December. For all of 2013, builders began work on 926,700 homes, up the most since 2007’s 1.36 million. The good news is that the weather related downturns will eventually melt away like so much ice on a warm sidewalk. Another report today showed producer prices increased 0.2% in January, led by gains in goods such as food and pharmaceuticals. This follows a 0.1% increase in the PPI in December. Today’s data mark the debut of the PPI after its first major overhaul since 1978, which more than doubles its reach of the economy by including prices received for goods, services, government purchases, exports, and construction. The revamped PPI encompasses 75% of the economy, up from a third of all production for the old index, which reflected the …

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – Econ Roundup

Econ Roundup by Sinclair Noe DOW – 23 = 16,130SPX + 2 = 1840NAS + 28 = 427210 YR YLD – .03 = 2.71%OIL + 2.14 = 102.27GOLD – 6.90 = 1323.30 SILV + .12 = 22.06 Homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market declined sharply this month as the severe weather battering much of the nation keeps many would-be buyers at home. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index dropped to 46. That’s down from January’s reading of 56 and is the lowest level since May. A reading of 50 is the tipping point between good and bad sales conditions. Certainly one sector singing the blues over the cold weather has been the airlines. More than 500 flights were cancelled today; almost 1,400 flights cancelled yesterday for the Presidents’ Day holiday and more than 4,000 delayed. The big day for cancellations was last Thursday, when more than 7,500 flights were scrapped. That’s bound to have some effect on revenue and earnings. Last week’s economic news was generally disappointing with weak payroll growth, mortgage applications slipping, retail sales dropping to the lowest growth rate of the recovery, and a sharp drop in manufacturing activity; that can’t all be blamed on bad weather. Several retailers didn’t even mention severe weather as they missed estimates for the holiday shopping season. US auto dealers have about $100 billion worth of unsold cars and trucks sitting on their lots. That level is striking given that car makers have pledged not to overstock …

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Friday, February 14, 2014 – Cold, Cold, Cold

Cold, Cold, Cold by Sinclair Noe DOW + 126 = 16,154SPX + 8 = 1838NAS + 3 = 424410 YR YLD + .01 = 2.74%OIL – .05 = 100.30GOLD + 16.30 = 1320.10SILV + 1.02 = 21.61 The cold weather back East has left its frozen footprints all over a variety of economic reports from payrolls to new home sales to retail sales. Estimating the extent of the weather effect is a guess at best, and it is possible that consumer spending might have slowed even with more pleasant weather. The best guesses from economists are that the snow, ice and bitter cold this winter will shave about 0.3 percentage point from economic growth; that works out to about $47 billion in lost productivity and about 76,000 jobs. Other estimates suggest fourth quarter GDP could be revised from 3.2% to as low as 2.2%(so maybe – $15 bln). Fortunately, a revision in GDP does not mean you have to write a refund check; whatever you made or lost in the fourth quarter is unchanged. Schools closed, traffic non-existent, or massive traffic pile-ups, businesses closed, thousands of flights cancelled, electricity outages, the Great Lakes are 75% frozen over; it’s all a big frozen, expensive mess. The most recent storms, the ones going on right now in the East, could cost $20 to 40 billion. The Federal Reserve reported this morning that manufacturing output fell 0.8% in January; they blamed the severe weather. At the same time, utility use jumped 4.1% last …

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Thursday, February 13, 2014 – The Popsicle Economy

The Popsicle Economy by Sinclair Noe DOW + 63 = 16,027SPX + 10 = 1829NAS + 39 = 424010 YR YLD – .02 = 2.73%OIL – .02 = 100.35GOLD + 11.00 = 1303.80SILV + .25 = 20.59 According to the latest AAII Investor Sentiment Survey, over the last week the number of self-described bulls jumped to over 40% while bears plunged from over 36% to 27%. Did all those people suddenly become timing experts or is this an indication that it’s time to take profits? The number of Americans who applied to receive unemployment benefits rose last week and the gradual decline in claims since last year appears to have halted. Initial jobless claims climbed by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 in the seven days ended Feb. 8. RealtyTrac reports monthly foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — reversed course and increased 8% to 124,419 in January from December. One month does not make a trend, but the foreclosure rebound pattern is not only showing up in judicial states like New Jersey, where foreclosure activity reached a 40-month high in January, but also some non-judicial states like California, where foreclosure starts jumped 57% from a year ago, following 17 consecutive months of annual decreases. As a whole, 57,259 US properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in January, rising 10% from December but still down 12% from last year. On a monthly basis, retail sales decreased 0.4% from December to January (seasonally …

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014 – Which Way the Wind Blows

Which Way the Wind Blows by Sinclair Noe DOW – 30 = 15,963SPX – 0.49 = 1819NAS + 10 = 420110 YR YLD + .04 = 2.76%OIL + .33 = 100.27GOLD + .90 = 1292.80SILV unch = 20.34 After a four day rally, the stock market came back to a dose of reality. Just a reminder that the Fed has started gradually reducing the amount of money it pumps into the economy. The move could hardly have been a surprise, because the Fed announced as early as last spring that it would begin doing so by the end of 2013. Now, it’s happening, and likely won’t change, and Janet Yellen said the rest of the world needs to adjust because the Fed has set its course. That has made for shaky markets around the world. Remember that about a month ago, we started worrying about emerging markets. China said their economy was slowing down; that in turn will hurt the exports of commodity producers, weakening their trade balances. The big question now is how much further growth in China will slow. A serious cutback in China’s demand would not just harm emerging markets’ shipments directly to China, it would also cause further erosion in the already falling world prices for emerging markets’ coal, copper, palm oil and other commodities. China is also dealing with a shadow banking system ripe with potential defaults. But that isn’t the only problem in the world. Many of those emerging markets also have unique economic …

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – Yellen: Far From Complete

Yellen: Far From Complete by Sinclair Noe DOW + 192 = 15,994SPX + 19 = 1819NAS + 42 = 419110 YR YLD + .04 = 2.71%OIL + .36 = 100.42GOLD + 15.90 = 1291.90SILV + .16 = 20.34 Janet Yellen went to Capitol Hill this morning to deliver her first semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress as Fed Chair; this is what we used to call the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony and it involves prepared remarks followed by a question and answer before the House Committee of Financial Services; tomorrow, she’ll repeat the process with senators. With regard to monetary policy, Yellen said she expects a great deal of continuity in the FOMC’s approach to monetary policy. No surprise; Yellen was the vice-chair, she served on the FOMC, she helped formulate the current monetary policy strategy, and she supports the strategy. Yellen pointed to real gross domestic product growth which rose at an average annual rate of more than 3.5% in the third and fourth quarters, versus 1.75% in the first and second. She also said there has been “progress” in the labor market which has added 3.25 million jobs since the Fed began a new round of asset purchases in August 2012. However the economy added just 113,000 jobs last month, and 75,000 jobs the month prior. While Yellen did not specifically reference these weaker than expected reports in her prepared remarks, she called the labor recovery “far from complete.” And the Fed’s target of 6.5% unemployment as the line where …

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