The Morning Call
The Averages (DJIA 25064, S&P 2804) sold off yesterday. Volume was up slightly; breadth deteriorated. The Dow continued to trade above its 100 day moving average (now support), above its 200 day moving average (now support), within a short term trading range but remains below its June resistance high. The S&P ended above both moving averages, in uptrends across all timeframes and above the minor resistance from its June high. Yesterday’s pin action and the somewhat lagging performance of the Dow notwithstanding, the assumption has to be that the indices will challenge their all-time highs (26656/2874).
VIX jumped 6 ½ %, but still finished below its 100 day moving average (now resistance), below its 200 day moving average (now resistance) and continued the bounce off the lower boundary of its short term trading range.
The long Treasury was up ½ %, ending well above its 100 and 200 day moving averages, in a long term uptrend but in a short term downtrend. The most noteworthy aspect of this chart is the narrowing gap between the upper boundary of the short term downtrend and the lower boundary of the long term uptrend. Yesterday, TLT finished very close to the upper boundary of the short term downtrend.
The dollar was up ¼% on volume, staying above both moving averages, within a short term uptrend and very near the June high (if it trades above that level, it will re-establish a very short term uptrend).
Gold (116) was down another ½% on huge volume, closing below both moving averages (its 100 DMA is a short hair a way from crossing below its 200 DMA---an additional negative), within a short term downtrend and below the minor support offered by its December 2017 low. The next visible support level is the lower boundary of its intermediate term trading range (106); so there is plenty of room for more downside.
Bottom line: the technical position of the indices remains strong and the assumption remains that stock prices are going higherand will at a minimum challenge their former highs.
TLT, UUP and GLD continue to perform like investors are betting on a relatively positive US economy versus the rest of the world’s economy. The only problem, in my opinion, is that doing less poorly than the rest of the world is not a reason for stocks to advance when they are already near historic high valuations.
Yesterday in the charts (medium):
Yesterday’ economic data was positive: weekly jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index were better than anticipated; the June leading economic indicators were slightly better than expected, but the May number was revised down more than the June increase which is a big offset.
The highlight of the day was another d**k stomping moment for the Donald. In an interview, he opined that the Fed shouldn’t be raising interest rates because they hinder economic growth by driving the dollar up (a strong dollar means US exports are more expensive and imports from say China are less expensive)---when he was doing all he can do to improve the economy. This is so stupid on so many levels that I can’t believe anybody on his staff had any idea that he was going to say what he did.
First of all, the Fed was created as an independent agency so that it would remain above politics. Historically, that has generally been respected by the office of the president for obvious reasons. Even if Trump is correct (which is questionable), making a comment like he did just puts him at odds with himself in trying to reduce government regulations. How can he justify wanting to reduce government oversight of the economy and then insinuate the need for more government control over what is an independent agency?
Second, the dollar is up because (1) the Chinese yuan is down because the Chinese government’s decision to devalue it in response to Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods [a lower yuan means Chinese goods are cheaper and it thereby offsets at least part of the impact of tariffs] and (2) the US economy is currently one of the relatively strongest of the globe’s economies. Investors generally seek to put their funds in the relatively best performing economies---which is a good thing for the US not a bad thing.
Finally, on a historical basis, US interest rates are very low. Indeed, as you are well aware, one of my major beefs with the Fed has been and remains that it has kept rates too low; and, as a result, this has led to the mispricing and misallocation of assets.
Emphasizing this point is the growing awareness that the Chinese are deliberately driving down the yuan, raising concerns that the trade war has been joined by a currency war.
Monetary policy is driving the Markets (medium):
Last but not least the EU announced said that it is now preparing a new list of US goods to hit with tariffs.
Bottom line: my wife and I used to laugh about the antics of our teenage daughter. Our favorite saying was that she wakes up every morning, sits on the side of bed and says to herself ‘what can I do to screw my life up today?’ and then she would go out and do it. Sometimes Trump reminds me of that time in my life. Yesterday was one of those times. I have no clue what he was thinking. My guess is that today will be spent trying to walk back his statements/logic.
While I like a lot of what Trump is trying to do, I worry that he will undermine his own efforts.
On days like today, Trump makes me happier than I should be that I own a decent cash position.
News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM): Q2 EPS of $3.08 beats by $0.04.
Revenue of $20B (+3.7% Y/Y) beats by $120M.
Sherwin Williams (NYSE:SHW) declares $0.86/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
Genuine Parts (NYSE:GPC): Q2 EPS of $1.59 beats by $0.01.
Revenue of $4.82B (+17.6% Y/Y) beats by $140M.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) declares $0.39/share quarterly dividend, 5.4% increase from prior dividend of $0.37.
This Week’s Data
Weekly jobless claims fell 8,000 versus estimates of +6,000.
The July Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey was reported at 25.7 versus forecasts of 22.0
The June leading economic indicators came in up 0.5% versus expectations of up 0.4%; but the May number was revised from +0.2% to 0.0%.
Fed policy is still easy (short):
Why interest rates are low (medium and a must read):
China suffers is biggest bankruptcy of 2018 (medium):
The latest on the EU/US trade spat (medium):
What I am reading today
Tips on grilling fish, hamburgers and ribs (medium):
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Disclosure: I am/we are long gps, ibm, ko, SHW.