Today was an inauspicious start to December. Based on positive pre-opening behavior from Europe, including a number of positive PMIs (purchasing manager indices), as well as a positive November PMI of 52.8 from our own economy (up from 51.0 in October), our domestic markets opened up about 0.5%. But the markets went "south" from that point, including most of the European bourses, although all but the IBEX 35 closed up for the day. Why?
For one thing, the strength of the PMI number seemed to be contradicted by the ISM reading, released an hour later. The ISM survey saw increasing inventories and the first monthly contraction for their employment figures in the last three years. Whether or not the contrast between these two reports could be related to the effects of Sandy is all but impossible to know. At best, they indicate nothing positive together -- or at least that was the market's response.
Later in the day but well before closing, the GOP leaders led by Boehner sent a formal letter to the President that refused tax increases on the wealthy, and once again failed to provide specifics on the deduction limits that they claim will generate $800 billion in new revenue. It also insisted on Medicare reform, state-administration of Medicaid, and renewed demand for health care reform.
In short, no clear revenues and no plausible spending cuts were defined. I am politically independent, but I am shocked at the indifference both sides have to giving us some comfort that they will work together to get the fiscal cliff issues solved. No, they say. Better to send letters and respond on Twitter. Unbelievable. The market reacted as you would expect. Indeed, the world's markets responded with predictable disgust as the market sharply sold off from up about 7 S&P 500 points to down about the same amount. Had the European markets not closed earlier, they would likely have gone into the red as well, as they closed in a near free fall.
It is inconceivable that the elected Congress will treat the very people who elected them this way with the fiscal cliff staring us in the face. These folks must have spent the weekend watching football. It is doubtful that the average voter was aware of exactly what was transpiring.
This means extreme caution for the markets. Too many are watching. Too many are angry. Maybe that is why the leading style/cap last week was small caps. Small caps stocks are not as affected by world events or by the crush of regulatory issues that are likely to result from this standoff. Small cap companies are also not as likely to be throwing millions of lobbying dollars at our "esteemed" politicians. They can just keep their heads down, build their products, provide their services and pray that somehow the flotsam and jetsam doesn't land on them. And it really doesn't matter much what sector they are in.
3 Stock Ideas For This Market
This week, I selected three highly ranked stocks from Sabrient's universe with great value and exiting growth prospects for you to consider because we think they are what the market wants.
Delek US Holdings, Inc. (DK) - Energy
MagnaChip Semiconductor Corp (MX) - Technology
Cirrus Logic, Inc (CRUS) - Technology
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.