The unbearable pain of the tech sell-off is working its way into the blue chip names that have thus far held firm during the onslaught. I have been doing this work for almost thirty years, and have seen this over and over, yet it never changes. Part of the problem is that so many investors miss the early part of rebound/rally, and there is no cushion to mentally absorb their losing positions. So selling begets selling, which begets more selling, which gets to the point where one believes that the most innovative companies of the future are going out of business tomorrow.
There are several exogenous factors to the sell-off, including geopolitical activity, slow economic recovery, and valuations concerns.
"I once said, 'We will bury you,' and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you."
August 24, 1963
Vladimir Putin is running circles around President Obama; this is not an opinion, it is a fact. When the president pats himself on the back for getting singles and doubles with his foreign policy, I just cringe. Then he says they have had occasional homeruns, at which I start to cry. You have got to be kidding me, right? The idea of a re-set button and backroom promises with Russia only emboldens Putin's ambitions of bringing back to the USSR, its former glory. (This was his dissertation in college).
I have no idea if Putin will invade the rest of Ukraine, although it would seem to be a dumb move economically. The strategic need to absorb Crimea is obvious, and when his guy had to flee, maybe there was no choice. I know many smart people who believe Putin is hell-bent on slowing NATO's move into the former members of the Soviet Empire. However, it is unlikely that this would happen without a fight, which would force America to step up, whether we like it or not.
Therefore, I have little confidence in President Obama, or John Kerry, and can only think of the old Sting song, which asks, "If the Russians love their children, too."
Next, are those investors who think America itself has reached an inflection point, where socialism and its tendencies have won the day: I flat out disagree! Yes, the campaign is non-stop, but the results of these redistributionist ideas and policies have failed in practice across the nation. Of course, the challenge is for people to understand why this is a flaccid recovery, instead of buying into the notion that the rich must pay even more to fix the economy.
On that note, the rich are speaking up more and more including voices from Hollywood, of all places.
Not So Funny
Tim Allen's tweet going into the weekend could have been the biggest news in Los Angeles, if it were not for the controversy with the Clipper's owner. This topic is central to the nation that dictates its future. In a skit, Allen joked about California being a "socialist state" where the homeless are getting free stuff, like cell phones, and if they stayed out in the streets long enough, they could qualify for a free Tesla. These socialist tendencies have many worried that the nation has gone too far, and cannot reverse its course.
I disagree socialism is winning, because it has never worked anywhere else around the world, and it is not working in the United States.
|Worst Income Inequality||Highest Tax Burden|
|States||Gini Coefficient||City||Unemployment Rate|
Major American cities that have been run by left wing politicians for decades, all suffer from the worst gaps between the rich and poor.
Detroit is the best case study of a thriving city throwing it away with the lavish promises of redistribution, while the richest states and cities today, are also excellent examples.
One day, even modern-day serfs in these cities will connect the dots.
However, I get that the master planners are trying to urbanize the nation, knowing that groupthink in the cities gives them the ability to social engineer things like cutting out fossil fuels and controlling food selection, but even acolytes have epiphanies. Tim Allen was forced to tamp down his comments, but more and more there are signs that even in the most liberal places, some people are at least asking; why with higher taxes and all the other aspects of these urban Utopias, are things getting worse?
I think the first question investors (or at least those that consider themselves investors as long as stocks are moving higher) must ask, if these companies are going out of business? It is not farfetched because the pile-on effect makes it seem like that as each tick lower snares, even more investors have reached their pain threshold. I continue to think this is a deliberate shakeout of the small investors, and it is creating screaming buying opportunities.
While it can be disheartening, I know that taking a huge haircut and regretting it down the road, leads to an even greater and more permanent pain. Late in these sessions, a group of buyers emerges and nibbles enough to erase the worst of the session. Who are these buyers? There is no way that these are individual investors, but more than likely these are the same people talking these stocks lower.
I think the market is oversold but obviously vulnerable, and yet the trading action, including 184 points in Dow Jones swings are bound to keep fear at the forefront, not to mention the continued meltdown of tech names. A lot depends on Friday's jobs results, but we could be near a near-term bottom for techs. If selling continues, then even the blue chips might yield ground, but so far money has been rotating into the large-cap household names and even into bonds.
Do not panic, and do not be afraid to buy real soon.
Lots of earnings news and more mergers this morning including Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Orbital Science (ORB), which has to spin off its sporting gun division. Private sector rocket and satellite sales could get a huge bump in the future as Elon Musk's lawsuit to open up government contracts makes its way through the system. This deal creates a giant player in the space. Note: ATK is an open position in model portfolio.
Earnings from Cummins Engine (NYSE:CMI) stands out the most for me, as it is yet another industrial company that is pointing to North America as its strongest market. Overall revenue for CMI during the quarter was +12% with North America +25%; offsetting weakness in India, Australia, Mexico and Brazil. Once again, like North America, China and Europe were stronger as well. The big business segment driver was Components, up 21% and pushed higher by sub-component emission (+36%).