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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Financial Review

Monday, April 14, 2014 – Blood Moon and More

Blood Moon and More by Sinclair Noe DOW + 146 = 16,173SPX + 14 = 1830NAS + 22 = 402210 YR YLD + .02 = 2.64%OIL – .11 = 103.63GOLD + 8.20 = 1327.60SILV un = 20.07 Here’s what you can expect; the Earth will eclipse the moon tonight about 10:58PM pacific time, adjust according to your time zone. The eclipse will take some time, a few hours. The moon will shift color from orange to blood red to brown, again depending on you locale and the weather. It should be interesting. The stock markets started the day in positive territory and as trading dragged on, the major indices moved lower on the very cusp of turning red, almost as if they were being eclipsed, and then positive again, right at 3:15 PM eastern time, everything just picked up. Now, you might think the markets are rigged. You might. A group of traders has sued CME Group Inc, accusing the operator of the world’s largest derivatives exchange of selling market data to high frequency traders, cheating other investors who lacked such access. The suit says the CME and its Chicago Board of Trade unit have been giving high-frequency traders early access to buy and sell orders.  They said this deprived other investors of the transparent, real-time data on futures and interest rate contracts that they thought they were getting, and were paying for. Volume was down from Friday; that’s a nasty trend, lighter volume on up days, heavier volume on …

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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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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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Friday, March 21, 2014 – Friday Wrap-up

Friday Wrap-up by Sinclair Noe DOW – 28 = 16,302SPX – 5 = 1866NAS – 42 = 427610 YR YLD – .02 = 2.75%OIL + .69 = 99.59GOLD + 6.20 = 1335.70SILV un = 20.38 The S&P 500 briefly climbed to a record high of 1,883.97, just over its previous record of 1,883.57. We hit resistance and didn’t break through. For the week, the Dow is up 1.8%, the S&P is up 1.6% and the Nasdaq is up 0.9%. The European Union has added a few more sanctions against Russia, adding 12 names to their list of Russians and Ukrainians facing asset freezes and travel bans. One EU commissioner said the goal is not sanctions, the goal is to get Putin to the negotiating table. The EU doesn’t want anything to rattle their already weak financial situation. In Europe they consider the Spanish “recovery” to be one of their success stories. GDP is projected at 1% growth, double last year’s 0.5% pace, and youth unemployment is still 55%; and this is considered good news. Spain, and several other EU nations are in no condition to fight a sanctions battle with Russia. A separate order signed by President Obama yesterday expanded sanctions and authorized potential future penalties. Yesterday’s sanction expansion included Bank Rossiya, not one of the largest Russian banks, but it starts to pull the financial sector into the equation. The EU cancelled a summit in Russia planned for June. US bankers are now considering whether they participate in a …

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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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Monday, February 03, 2014 – Another Piece of Cake, Marie?

Another Piece of Cake, Marie?by Sinclair Noe DOW – 326 = 15,372SPX – 40 = 1741NAS – 106 = 399610 YR YLD – .09 = 2.58%OIL – .78 = 96.71 GOLD + 11.20 = 1258.10SILV + .17 = 19.44 In economic news, manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January on the back of the biggest drop in new orders in 33 years while construction spending barely rose in December. Maybe it had something to do with the cold weather, maybe it’s just a pause after slightly stronger economic growth in the third and fourth quarters. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 51.3 last month, its lowest level since May 2013, from 56.5 in December. It was the second straight month of slowing growth from November’s recent peak reading of 57, which had been the highest since April 2011, and indicated manufacturing was slowing after output grew at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the fourth quarter. Underscoring the weather impact, delivery delays increased a bit last month, but the biggest red flag was the huge drop in the forward-looking new orders index, which fell to 51.2 from 64.4 in December. That 13.2-point drop was the largest monthly decline in the key component since December 1980. In a separate report, the Commerce Department said construction spending rose 0.1% in December, slowing from the prior month’s 0.8% increase. While private construction spending hit a five year high, outlays on public construction projects …

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Thrusday, January 16, 2014 – The “It Could Be Worse” Victory Lap

The “It Could Be Worse” Victory Lap by Sinclair Noe DOW – 64 = 16,417SPX – 2 = 1845NAS + 3 = 421810 YR YLD – .04 = 2.84%OIL – .07 = 94.10GOLD + .70 = 1243.70SILV – .11 = 20.20 The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for the second consecutive week last week; down 2,000 to 326,000. This might suggest that the December jobs report, which was a weak 74,000 jobs added, maybe that report was just a temporary slowdown. In a separate report, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 9.4 points this month from 6.4 in December. Any reading above zero indicates manufacturing expansion in the region. In another report, the Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% after being flat in November. In the 12 months to December, consumer prices accelerated 1.5%. A 3.1% increase in gasoline prices was mostly behind the spike in inflation last month. The increase in gasoline was the largest since June and followed a 1.6% fall in November. Food prices rose 0.1% for a third month. There is no wage inflation. Average hourly earnings adjusted for inflation fell 0.3% in December; and with the weakness in the labor market, there is very little chance of wage growth for quite some time. The Fed targets 2 percent inflation, although it tracks a gauge that tends to run a bit below CPI. And outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says inflation is …

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Friday, October 18, 2013 – Biscuits on the Dark Side of the Moon

Biscuits on the Dark Side of the Moon by Sinclair Noe DOW + 28 = 15,399SPX + 11 = 1744NAS + 51 = 391410 YR YLD un = 2.59%OIL + .28 = 101.15GOLD – 2.70 = 1318.40SILV + .07 = 22.06 There will be a lunar eclipse a little later this hour. In the West we won’t see it, but you can phone your friends in the East. Maybe it explains something. The S&P 500 index hit another all time record close. Tobias Levkovich is the chief US equity strategist for Citigroup, and he may have had the best analysis of post-deal state of the markets: “Kicking the proverbial can down the street does not address the long-term fiscal imbalances. The twin decisions of a taper timing push out and the discord in Washington being swept under the rug until January and February roll in could keep P/E multiples more compressed as equity risk premiums stay elevated. Investors typically do not like uncertainty and it is hard to determine how these recent almost non-decisions can be seen as reinvigorating confidence aside from some relief that an imminent likely disaster has been avoided. Nonetheless, one cannot respectably believe that things truly have turned for the better as opposed to averting the worst. The long-term growth of non-discretionary government spending can still prove to be an overwhelming liability and it has not been the primary focus for legislators.” Larry Summers will not be the next Federal Reserve Chairman, and maybe that gives …

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Thursday, August 01, 2013 – From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love by Sinclair Noe DOW + 128 = 15,628SPX + 21 = 1706NAS + 49 = 367510 YR YLD + .13 = 2.72%OIL – .08 = 107.81GOLD – 14.30 = 1309.90SILV – .18 = 19.73 Record highs for the Dow and the S&P 500 indices. Economic data today from the Institute for Supply Management; its index of national factory activity rose to 55.4 last month from 50.9 in June, with increases in new orders and production. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, which hit a soft patch in the spring. The pick-up in manufacturing was also corroborated by financial data firm Markit, which said its U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to a four-month high in its final July reading. Measures of factory jobs rose in both reports, with the ISM employment index reaching its highest since June last year. The improvement in employment is in line with a separate report from the Labor Department showing initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 last week, the lowest since January 2008. In another report, consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas said planned layoffs at U.S. firms fell 4.2 percent in July. Tomorrow morning we’ll get the government’s monthly jobs report. The government is expected to report nonfarm payrolls increased 185,000 last month after rising 195,000 in June. And the unemployment rate might inch down to 7.5%. Overall job gains in the second quarter averaged 196,300 per month. A federal court …

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