Monday, October 15, 2018

Quote of the Day: What it Takes

Yep, pull backs and corrections are never fun, particularly if you're constantly monitoring your portfolio. Thing is, they're part and parcel to the business of investing -- there's simply no escaping them. If you find yourself stressed every time the market takes a multi-point dip, you might want to sit yourself down and come to terms with reality. Do you want to spend the rest of your life emotionally at the mercy of the market? If you determine that there'll be no peace for you while the market's in apparent turmoil, then you must do yourself a favor and either get out of the market altogether, or sell down to a point that you can emotionally manage. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Analysts Not Liking the Earnings Prospects for Financials and Materials, and That's a Good Thing!

Financials and materials are currently two of our top three sector weightings. As it turns out, Wall Street analysts are, on balance, presently not with us on those two picks. And, guess what, that's a good thing.

This Week's Message: Should We React?

Statistics such as the ones below provided by Bespoke Investment Group speak to why long-term investor-types tell you to never to sell into the kind of plunge stocks experienced last week.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Quote of the Day: A Billion Bucks and Tens of Thousand of Jobs (just one company)

While not all clients and regular readers totally agree with me on the tariff topic, they do know exactly where I stand. Which is with Ford's Jim Hackett and United Technology's Gregory Harris:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Inflation Expectations Rising Among Businesses

Businesses (and they should know) see inflation rising going forward. Which supports the Fed's current stance, and, all else equal, bodes poorly for bonds and utilities, and well for financials (read higher interest rates) going forward:

Don't Call Your Friends Over Just Yet

As I type the Dow's up 300+ points, Nasdaq's up 2%, S&P 500's up 1.3%; very nice rally! Question is, should you believe it?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What's 'Actually' Going On, minute by minute (video)

Watch this video if you're thinking too much about the market this week.

Looking at the volatility, and knowing how traders think, I planned to do a quick video for you this morning, but then I remembered I did one with the same message earlier in the year, just as, we know now, the market was bottoming after a 10+% dip.

Correcting the Narrative

You're hearing in the media -- not just from the President, but from no small number of market actors as well -- that the Fed essentially gets the blame for the latest turmoil in the markets. This morning's bounce in the pre-market on less than expected inflation news may embolden that narrative. While, in fact, it debunks it. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Market Commentary: Underneath Today's Selloff (video)

You may find my comments on rotation (in the back half of the video) particularly interesting.

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

Touching Base

To help you keep the latest in perspective, recall the note I sent to you last week, when the present decline was just getting underway:    emphasis mine this morning...

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Outlooks Challenged (right out of the gate)

In this week's message we said the following about a potential headwind developing from forward outlooks this earnings season: 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ceding Influence to China

While I know I am somehow at odds with a few of my friends, colleagues and clients on the U.S.'s present positioning among its global partners, I suspect we can all agree (that is, if we are "all" paying attention) that while the U.S. pulls in, China is reaching out, big time.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

This Week's Message: Rough Road Ahead, Amid Still Bullish General Conditions

The ugly short-term setup exhibited in our last analysis played out as odds indicated, as equities tumbled to close the week.

This week's analysis, while nuanced as discussed below, shows near-term conditions only getting worse.

Here's last week's chart character and volume snapshot (right 2 columns):   click any insert below to enlarge...



Here's this week's:


Unlike the previous week, however, overall ETF flows to U.S. equities didn't confirm the ugly volume trends depicted in this week's charts, as U.S. ETFs, in the aggregate, saw net inflow.

Although, zeroing in sector by sector, last week's fund flows indeed confirm most of what the present charts indicate (right column is weekly flow):

On a positive note, per the above, retail and financial stocks, while experiencing net outflows on the week, saw strong reversals (one-day net inflows) on Friday (center column).

Bucking the weekly negative trend were communication services and industrials:

Long-dated treasuries saw investors screaming toward the exits:

I'm near-term bearish, intermediate-term neutral, long-term bullish on tech:

As I've been reporting the past several weeks, the internals for tech have been growing more and more suspect. Plus, my intermediate-term macro thesis does not allow for tech to continue the strong leadership it exhibited last year, and so far in 2018; with or without a protracted trade war. Per last week's action, it looks as though the "smart" money is beginning to agree. I.e., last week's drubbing of the tech sector (tech down 2.2%, vs financials, industrials and materials; up 1.6%, 0.68% and down 0.5% respectively) made perfect sense to me.

Non-US remains a mess, as, clearly, global growth has slowed and the world stresses over the threatened, and now occurring, disruption of long-held trade arrangements and strongly-rooted global supply chains.

While headline data suggest that the U.S. economy has remained immune to tariff effects thus far, our deeper analysis suggests otherwise, per my macro notes following the excerpts below.

I sympathize with the following published yesterday by Bloomberg:     emphasis mine...
Global manufacturing is growing at the weakest pace in almost two years and exports shrank last month for the first time since 2016. “The U.S. may be booming but the global economy is starting to slow,” said Janet Henry, chief economist at HSBC Holdings in  London.
The trade war is raising the biggest red flag. In the past few weeks alone Panasonic Corp., Ford Motor Co. and BP Plc have all highlighted the dangers of the escalating tensions, and those worries are starting to filter through into the broader economy.
Emerging market stresses from Argentina to Turkey, political uncertainty in the U.K. and Italy, and rising oil prices are among the other threats. While there’s no sense of growth coming to a halt, the crystallization of risks means the synchronized expansion of last year is a fading memory.
HSBC this week lopped its forecasts for 2019 world growth, mainly prompted by a downgrade for emerging nations struggling with the rising dollar. 
“About 50 percent of the value added that’s in Chinese exports to the U.S. comes from the rest of Asia,” said Fabiana Fedeli, global head of fundamental equities at Robeco. “Clearly other countries will also be impacted if the trade war continued to escalate.”
The confluence of factors may be enough for the IMF to trim the forecasts it’s maintained so far this year for the world economy to expand 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019. The fund will update its World Economic Outlook from Bali on Oct. 9. It hasn’t revised projections down for a year ahead since October 2016.
.... even the U.S. may not be immune. Recent data showed the trade skirmish shaping up as a clear drag on growth last quarter, prompting economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Amherst Pierpont Securities to pare their estimates for expansion.
Macro Readings:

Our PWA [Macro] Index sank 9.53 points to a yearly low of 28.57. The financial markets subindex was the culprit; plunging 41.61 points to a net score of -9.53, with the following 8 (of 23) data points deteriorating on the week:

  • Individual Investor Bullish Sentiment sprang to 45.7% (we consider 50+ to be dangerously optimistic on the part of the predominantly untutored, emotional, reactionary and inexperienced individual investor community). 
  • The VIX Curve moved from positive to neutral as volatility spiked markedly during the second half of last week. 
  • The Put/Call ratio (option trader sentiment reading) sprang 20 bps to 0.84. 
  • The consumers staples/discretionary ratio turned notably in favor of consumer staples. 
  • Overall breadth plunged (accounting for 4 of the 8 lower readings), with the S&P 500's advance/decline line rolling over, its % of members trading above their 50-day moving average falling below 50% (49.2), and sector readings showed marked deterioration among the cyclicals (save for energy). 
On the bright side, the economic subindex actually gained 4 points, as auto sales improved in September (moving to neutral on our chart, from negative), the chemical activity index, after flattening for a stretch, resumed its positive trajectory, rail traffic turned higher in similar fashion, and the Citi U.S. economic surprise index moved into neutral territory (from negative). Two readings detracted from the subindex's overall score; they were, Global PMI falling for the 4th straight month to a still expansionary 52.8 (moving from positive to neutral), and Citi's Japan economic surprise index moving from neutral into negative territory.

Summary:


Presently the market is facing headwinds from multiple fronts:

1. While Q3 earnings reports will reflect the strong profits that come with strong business conditions, I expect that they will be marred notably by uncertain outlooks due primarily to global trade concerns, which will exacerbate the otherwise typical inflation concerns that accompany a mid/late-stage economic expansion.

2. Rising inflation, as noted in #1.

3. An appropriately hawkish Fed (read rising interest rates).

4. Iran sanctions taking effect on November 4th, thus hampering the distribution of the world's fourth largest store of oil reserves. I.e., higher prices at the pump are likely during the coming holiday shopping season.

5. Uncertainty over mid-term elections.

6. Coming to terms with a slowing global economy and the inevitability/realization that the U.S. is in no way immune to the conditions impacting the other 96% of the world's population.

7. The real potential for further deterioration in U.S./China trade relations.

All of the above said, while our macro index is plumbing new 2018 lows, it still presents a scenario where odds favor continued expansion over recession going forward. Presently 49% of its components read positive, 20% negative and 31% neutral; with 53% of this week's negative readings occurring within the financial markets subindex. I..e., recent equity market volatility -- as opposed to current economic weakness -- has much to do with the overall index hitting this year's low.

The begging question -- for the experienced long-term investor -- of course being, will a near-term uncertain investing environment ultimately drag the economy into a recessionary state, or will generally strong economic conditions ultimately pull the market further into all-time high territory?

The receding conditions illustrated by our macro index that have prevailed since its peak on January 15 have (until, as noted above [and last week], very recently) had little to do with stock market conditions, and lots to do with the rising headwind against global trade flows. It appears as though, finally, investors are taking note of those risks; which is what we've suggested from the get-go is needed to inspire all sides to come to the table with the aim of hashing out a legitimate, working "solution".

Our analysis says that there remains ample time (ample conditions, that is) for a treaty to be fashioned and for stocks to resume their bull market march, which, therefore, dictates that we stay the course with our generally growthy sector weightings for the time being.

Just how long conditions will support such a thesis, as well as our present allocation strategy, of course remains to be seen. Which is why we perform our analyses religiously, week in and week out, and remain open to all possibilities.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Touching Base

Away from the office currently, with spotty connection, but wanted to pop in, in light of today’s market action.

Clients and regular readers should not be surprised, nor should they expect that one day’s volatility will remedy the near-term imbalances we’ve been taking note of lately. 

Here’s from this week’s message:
The next few weeks (leading into mid-term elections), are, at best, likely to see a notable pickup in volatility. At worst, a pullback in the mid-single to low-double-digit % range.“
What ultimately counts, general conditions, clearly point to higher interest rates, but low odds of near-term recession. In fact, higher rates, at this juncture, confirm the presently positive longer-term setup. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

American Industry In Good Shape; From The Horses' Mouths

September's results for the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing and Services Sector Surveys are out, and, clearly, american industry is presently in very good shape. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Makes Me Shudder, A Little...

When discussing the prospects for inflation this morning, Fed Chair J. Powell said the following:
"... many factors, including better conduct of monetary policy over the past few decades have greatly reduced, but not eliminated, the effects that tight labor markets have had on inflation."

Monday, October 1, 2018

Chart of the Day: I Like Our Present Mix

Referring to last week's action, in this week's message we said:
"Blame the rout in materials and industrials on heightened trade risks."

The Ultimate Lesson In This Morning's News

Looks like NAFTA (under a new name) is going to survive after all. Canada and the U.S. have reportedly come to terms that will have the trilateral agreement survive, after a fair bit of tweaking. Not to throw a wet blanket on the good news, but, well, looking into the details, let's just say it's a real head-scratcher. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

This Week's Message: Rough Market Currently

This week's message to clients is my weekly note to our staff and associates. If you like getting into the weeds, by all means take it all in, if you prefer to cut to the chase, feel free to skip to the summary.

Overall, a rough week last week.

While the S&P 500 only declined 0.53%, there was some technical damage done sector by sector.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Oops! So Far Tariffs Are Accomplishing The Opposite of Their Intended Goal

International Trade in Goods 
Released On 9/27/2018 8:30:00 AM For Aug, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Balance$-72.2 B$-72.1 B$-70.8 B$-72.2 B to $-69.0 B$-75.8 B
Exports % change-1.7 %-1.6 %-1.6 %
Imports % change0.9 %0.7 %

Highlights
Amid the unfolding of tariff effects, exports are moving in the wrong direction and
look to be a big negative for third-quarter GDP. The nation's trade deficit in goods
was a whopping $75.8 billion in August with exports down 1.6 percent for a second
straight month.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Scratch Last Week's China-May-Be-Taking-The-High-Road Message

In a blog post last Thursday I quoted the following from a Bloomberg Economics article:
"China is planning to cut the average tariff rates on imports from the majority of its trading partners as soon as next month, two people familiar with the matter said, in a move that will lower costs for consumers as a trade war with the U.S. deepens."

The Fed Move, The Current Setup, and "THE" Risk Going Forward (video)

As the whole world expected, the Fed raised its benchmark rate by .25% today and signaled that there's another coming in December and 3 more next year. Their commentary was very upbeat and, to my surprise, stayed completely out of the political fray; making no mention of tariff risks.

Today's Log Entry: Tech Holding Up

Every now and again, when I feel it would be instructive (or at least interesting) for readers, I'll share a market log entry on the blog. Here's this morning's:

Monday, September 24, 2018

Quote of the Day: A "High Visibility" Selloff Would Help End the Trade War

Bloomberg's Economics Team shares our view that it may indeed be a notable rough patch for stocks that ultimately brings the trade war to a close.

Chart of the Day: Welcome To The Worst Week of the Year

Stock market seasonality is never an investment theme, and it can be a most difficult thing to trade.

With that out of the way, if this week turns out "bad" for stocks, know that that (last week of Sept. down) has consistently been the case (bigtime!) over the past 10 years. And of course the previous nine were not saddled with trade wars, etc.:

Take a look:   click to enlarge...

Bonus Message of the Week: Why We Remain Sanguine (for now)

Are you wondering why, amid our constant warnings of rough patches and ultimate trade war casualties, we remain relatively sanguine, and, thus, growthy in our equity allocation?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Quote of the Day: Always Govern Yourself by Conditions, Never By Fears!

If we're right, and a "rough patch" is on the near-term horizon (what an easy "prediction" to make! I mean, there's never not a forthcoming market rough patch; the question is when), the following is timely:

This Week's Message: I Repeat, Expect A Rough Patch!

In our September 10 message we said to "expect a rough patch". Here was our reasoning:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Leading Indicators Paint a Presently Nice Picture

The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators is featured in our PWA [Macro] Index. Bloomberg explains why:

Now This is Interesting, And Encouraging!

The following speaks to possibly two things: One being tactical, the other being simply good economics:

CFOs Are Fretting Over Trade

So why do we continue to pound on the trade topic while stock traders seem to remain sanguine? Well, if you missed it, please view this week's video and you'll understand why we believe that focusing primarily on underlying conditions (which include underlying market technicals, as well as the macro environment) is the most prudent way to approach the business of investing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Quote of the Day: There'll Be A Negotiated Solution, But How Much Pain in the Meantime -- and After?

G.W. Bush Administration Assistant Trade Representative (now Asia Society VP) Wendy Cutler perfectly states the present state of trade affairs:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Investing With A Conditions Orientation (video)

The PWA Index today consists of 84 economic, economic and market sentiment, credit and equity market data points.

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Quick thought on today's tariff and Apple news...

Commentators sound surprised by the fact that Apple traded lower today despite the rumor that some or all of its products may not be included in the tariffs that are reportedly to be announced any minute. Well, they shouldn't be...

This Week's Message: Staying the Course, But With a Watchful Eye


Despite a moderate pickup in the Financial Markets subindex, our PWA [Macro] Index declined 2.38 points to 42.36 (this year's lowest score) this week -- as the Economic subindex gave up a notable 6 points, with commercial and industrial loans seeing a large decline and rail traffic threatening to roll over. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bonus Quote of the Day: Target's targeting a strong holiday season!

Target says it's hiring more seasonal help this year than any traditional retailer ever has. And, of course, more folks receiving a paycheck just improves the prospects for strong Q4 consumer spending:

Quote of the Day: Echoes from the Consumer

The following from Bloomberg's commentary on today's stellar consumer confidence report echoes our assessment of present conditions:

Chart of the Day: This Week's Rebound

No additional commentary needed:  click to enlarge...

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dealing With the Timing and Type of the Next Recession -- And -- Is There a Game Changer On the Horizon?

Hedge fund legend Ray Dalio has been making the rounds this week promoting his latest book Big Debt Crises (already can't put it down!).

Wow! What A Labor Market!

We can talk all day (sometimes I do) about how important the flow (through borders) of goods, capital and, yes, labor (people) is -- or we can simply look at the data:

Monday, September 10, 2018

This Week's Message: Expect a Rough Patch

This week's message is brief and to the point.

Taken from the summary of my weekly internal commentary after scoring our PWA index and assessing short and long-term technical market factors:

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Still Bullish On Financials, Less So On Tech

Clients know we continue to like financials right here. Despite their thus far lackluster 2018 results, the macro environment (save for one huge elephant [trade war] in the room) -- as well as the sector's own fundamentals -- screams in their favor. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Near-Term Conditions

My parting note to a client this morning pretty much sums up all that needs to be said today about the near-term state of the market:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Again, Like We Said

Tuesday we highlighted for you the ISM Manufacturing Survey; pointing out the resoundingly good present situation, and the ongoing concerns around the trade issue. 


This morning's release of the ISM Non-Manufacturing (services) Survey also echoes the sentiment we expressed in this week's message

Why America Is Great and So Many Other Countries, Well, Aren't (Yet)!

I've made the case multiple times herein, and ad nauseam in client review meetings, that the miracle that a country housing merely 4% of the world's population commands far and away the world's largest economy has to do largely with its openness to foreign markets, to foreign consumers and to foreign investors. Of course I'm talking about the U.S.A..

The opposite of this phenomenon -- how a country that houses a massive 20% (nearly) of the world's population can remain mired in far too-much poverty, weak infrastructure and a general dearth of personal freedoms and opportunity -- has to do largely with its isolationist tendencies. Here I'm referring to India.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Today's Log Entry: On Tech and Emerging Markets


Thought I'd share today's entry to our internal market log:

9/5/18 (Wednesday)

Tech is selling off markedly this morning, which makes perfect sense if we’re indeed entering a seasonal rough patch. Tech has had a huge year, leaving our higher conviction 2018 picks (financials, industrials and materials) in the dust -- relatively speaking.

Tech’s momentum of late has come from very good earnings (although our top picks have posted exceptional earnings results as well) and a political backdrop that, for now, has spared finished consumer tech products from the trade skirmishes. This sets up a virtual no-chance scenario for tech to continue to dominate for much longer from here, for two reasons: 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Chart of the Day: F-Series Sales Say Good Things About the Economy

While the trend in overall auto sales the past few months has been nothing to write home about (now subtracting a point from our PWA macro score), Ford's F-Series truck sales have been nothing short of stellar.

While not itself a data point we score, we do acknowledge that -- being the preferred vehicle of U.S. small businesses (the employers of 2/3rds of American workers) -- F-Series truck sales results are in a real sense an economic indicator worth tracking.

Like We Said

This morning's release of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Survey echoes the sentiment we expressed in this week's message

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Truth Will (well, should) Set Trade Free!

In talking with some old friends (clients of roughly 20 years) yesterday about how technology, about how our ability to capture and assimilate data, and, thus, about how our systems, processes and approach to the markets have evolved over the years, I stressed how important it is that I be able and willing to transcend my moods, my fears, my whims, and, most importantly, my personal biases as I assess the facts and make investment decisions on behalf of our clients.

This Week's Message: Our Present Thesis

In last Thursday's blog post we pointed out how without the tech sector the S&P would have quite a ways yet to go to reach its January 26 all time high.

Drilling further down, we can see that without Apple and, to a lesser degree, Microsoft, even the tech sector itself would offer little to write home about:

Friday, August 31, 2018

Imagine Being 'Basically' (Competitively) Shut Out of Half of the Rest of the World's Markets!

Our (the U.S.) economy amounts to 24.3% of the world economy. Can you imagine a situation that takes us out of the trading mix (on competitively favorable terms) on 50% of the rest?

Well, frankly, you need to:

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Before You Get Too Enamored With the "New All Time High"

Before you get too crazy over the S&P 500 eclipsing its January 26 (all-time) high, recall that, per last week's video commentary, a more pertinent benchmark for diversified portfolios -- the NYSE Composite Index -- has a good ways yet to go:

China's Picking Up Where We're Presently Leaving Off!

Was talking with a friend yesterday about the ultimate (we're not nearly there yet) risk of the dollar losing its "world reserve currency" status if America truly adopts fundamentally less-global policies over the long-term.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Today's Economic Data Dump: Anything But Dumpy!

All we can say about today's economic data releases is that anyone who would suggest that the presently flattening yield curve points to severe risk of near-term recession is really -- for whatever  unsupported-by-the-evidence reason(s) -- aching for a recession. 

Here's our summary:

A Problem With Yesterday's US/Mexico Trade News

Well, there's a problem with yesterday's announced trade deal with Mexico. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

This Week's Message: The Fed's Clearly Behind the Curve

If I had a nickel for every time I've read, or heard, an "expert" proclaim that the Fed is forever the culprit who brings on U.S. recessions, well, I'd have me some serious nickels.

Charts of the Day: Lots of stuff moving!

Whenever I find myself on the freeway I take visual note of what you might call the big-rig-to-regular-car ratio. When it looks to me like there's a disproportionate number of semis relative to Subarus on the road I'm thinking the economy's in pretty decent shape. And I've been seeing lots of trucks these days! 

Generally, I find that what my eyes tell me while driving is confirmed by my charts.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bonus Quotes of the Day: Not 1974

Two things worth quoting in CNBC's article titled Stocks Fall As Worries About US-China Trade, Trump Legal Issues Dampen Investor Sentiment.

Market Commentary: Not Chasing the S&P (video)

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

Quote of the Day: Not Something to Celebrate

If there's one fundamental reality we all need to understand -- regardless of whether or not we agree with the present international trade track we're on -- is that it is NOT in any way good news for the world's largest economy that the #2 may be under some stress. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bonus (and most important) Quotes of the Day: It's Definitely the Economy, However...

Larry Kudlow, President Trump's top economic adviser, nailed it this morning (to regular readers this should sound familiar):

Quote of the Day: U.S. Offerings Are Hugely Popular Elsewhere!

U.S. offerings are exceedingly popular in Asia -- the home of 4.5 billion potential customers (nearly 14 times potential U.S. customers!). 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A VERY FOOLISH IDEA!!

In this week's message we reiterated our position that a protracted trade war "would indeed lead ultimately to a serious global recession."

Sunday, August 19, 2018

This Week's Message: Our Trade-Risk Rotation Theory

Clearly, recent technical trends favor the economically defensive sectors over the cyclical. We should view this as a legitimate red flag that the bull market may be moving into its later stages; as traders rotate (their buying) away from economically sensitive stocks to those that tend to fare better when expansions begin to peter out.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Is Tech Finally Giving Way?

Coming into this year our analysis of general conditions dictated that we maintain a moderate target weighting (presently 14% of equities) to technology. That's despite the huge momentum the sector had coming into the year, and our acknowledgement of the S&P 500's historically high weighting (presently 26+%) to the sector. We reference the latter because we recognized that we would likely under-perform the S&P should tech continue its epic run.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Stat of the Day: Very Low 'Current' Recession Risk In This Consumer Driven Economy

While our PWA [Macro] Index has dropped from the low 80s to the low 40s (still a historically decent reading) during the course of this year, the driver of 2/3rds of U.S. economic activity -- based on his/her credit performance -- is doing just fine.
Here's Bespoke Investment Group on the subject:

Chart of the Day: No Pros When It Comes To tariffs!

Here's Bespoke Investment Group on the effect of tariffs on ironically the metals and mining industry group:
"You can say whatever you want about tariffs and the pros and cons on both sides of the argument, but with respect to the metals and mining companies, keep your ‘pros’ to yourself.  The group has been stuck in a downtrend ever since the topic of tariffs first came up, and it’s now basically in full flush mode."

Quote of the Day: Hoping Cooler Heads Prevail

We titled our August 11 blog post
"Hugely Broad Tariff Risk! But imagine the upside if/when cooler heads prevail..."
The Dow's up 324 points as I type, here's the story:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Quote of the Day: Markets Will Fall Despite the Fundamentals

Ironically, given this morning's economic reports (they were net strong) and the drop in stock prices (as well as this year's overall lackluster results despite the strong fundamental setup coming in), last evening I found myself going over my old notes in Jack Schwager's instructive book A Complete Guide to the Futures Market.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Charts of the Day: Small Business Owners Feeling Good About Their Prospects!

Being that small businesses employ 2/3rds of American workers, we take the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) monthly survey seriously.

Here are the three areas we track, updated this morning with July's results (note today's look versus heading into past recessions [red shaded areas]):   click to enlarge

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Week's Message: Near-Term Mixed

Here's the summary for our market/economic analysis for this week:


The Technicals (long-term trends)

Our long-term technical trend analysis remains notably bullish for the S&P 500. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

America Prospers From A Prosperous China

In my August 6 blog post I made mention of the following recent commentary by the President:
Over the weekend he boasted that the U.S. market is "stronger than ever" and that Chinese stocks are "down 27%". The U.S. is therefore "winning the trade war."
After updating readers on the returns of U.S. stocks vs. Chinese stocks since the 2016 election (it's a dead heat by the way), I stated the following:

Hugely Broad Tariff Risk! But imagine the upside if/when cooler heads prevail...

UBS compiled its list of companies "most at risk from President Trump's trade war." 

I entirely agree that the present trend toward protectionism puts the listed companies at serious risk. But, my, we're only talking the tip of the iceberg here! 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Market Update: Why Shorts Have Been Losers This Year (video)

In this morning's video I update you on the state of the current market correction as well as general conditions:

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Chart of the Day: U.S. Government Borrowing -- and Foreign Investors Lending -- At Record Pace

Three key takeaways from the chart and highlight below:

Our Latest Log Entry: Washington's Pushing the Needle


Sharing the latest entry to our log:

8/7/18 (Tuesday)

The market continues to hold up remarkably well given the trade war threat, which I attribute 100% to favorable general conditions, as there’s absolutely nothing bullish in the prevailing rhetoric. 

My "remarkably well" comment notwithstanding, given the hugely strong setup coming into the year, the exceedingly positive Q1 earnings results, and I’ll say notably positive Q2 results, tax cuts, etc., the fact that the broad market isn’t up considerably more speaks to the ill-effects/uncertainty of protectionism.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Is Capitalism Only For the Elites?

Yesterday The Economist posed the following question to its readers:
"Is capitalism rigged in favour of the elites?"
 Its own Callum Williams set the stage for the debate with:

The Data Say There's Something Wrong With The Present Narrative

In my world -- and, most importantly, on behalf of our clients -- I can't let my politics cloud my thinking. And of course cloudy, no, make that foggy with virtually zero visibility, would be the state of my economic thinking if my guide happened to be a given political narrative. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

In Terms of The "Trade War" and U.S. vs China Stocks, If We Must Go There, Both Sides Are Just Now On Equal Footing

Preface:
Given the passion many folks have for their politics, I find myself prefacing more blog posts these days with the blunt reminder that we do not play politics at PWA. If, therefore, we strike a nerve, know that that's never our intent. That said, we're willing to run the risk, for if we weren't this investment/economic blog would be of little use to anyone, except perhaps for those only interested in commentary that jibes with their political ideology. We'll assume that's not you, or you'd have unsubscribed long ago. 

For our investment client readers, our willingness to remove our political biases from the business of economic research and portfolio management has to be utter music to your ears, for obvious reasons!


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In a recent CNBC interview the President said "we're playing with the bank's money", then followed with a proclamation that the market is up 40% since his election. Over the weekend he boasted that the U.S. market is "stronger than ever" and that Chinese stocks are "down 27%". The U.S. is therefore "winning the trade war."

Sunday, August 5, 2018

This Week's Message: General Conditions Remains Strong, But We're Seeing Some Cracks Here and There

For this week's message we're sharing the general conditions summary of our weekly analysis, which includes my view of the possibilities going forward: 

Open Letter to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow

Dear Mr. Kudlow,

On occasion over the years when I tuned into your old CNBC talk show I found my self appreciating your mostly free market way of thinking
.

Today I'm hoping you can shed some light on your recent change of heart.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Chart of the Day: Copper's Flashing A Warning Sign!

Copper, the ubiquitous industrial metal, is considered an economic indicator in and of itself. In fact, its price is one of the 84 inputs to our macro index.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Quote of the Day: Service Sector Remains Strong, But....

The good news in today's QOTD is that the service sector is still humming along fine, signaling that -- for the time being -- we need not worry about recession (ISM above 50 denotes confidence and continued expansion). The bad news is that sentiment has waned a bit  of late, and the cause is a totally avoidable top-down creation:

The Trade Gap Widened In June, Great News for the U.S. Treasury!

Good news today for the U.S. Treasury!
"The total deficit in goods and services rose to $46.3 billion for the month, from $43.2 billion in May, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Imports increased by $1.6 billion, to $260.2 billion, while exports declined by $1.5 billion, to $213.8 billion."
Yep, no kidding. Despite all that you're hearing, a widening of our trade deficit is a good thing given the current state of U.S. government affairs.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Quotes of the Day: "Had we frozen the economic structure in 1950"

The consensus estimate for the July employment report (due out tomorrow morning) is for 192k new jobs created. The unemployment rate is expected to come in at 3.9%.

This morning's jobless claims number extended the record below-300k streak to 178 weeks.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The ISM June Manufacturing Index: Telling It Like It Is!

The Institute for Supply Management's monthly manufacturing and services sector surveys are hugely important economic indicators. They essentially give you the take on present conditions and future prospects by the nation's purchase and supply executives. Who better to listen to?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

This Morning's Data Looks Good! Inflation, while definitely brewing, reads tamer than I expected...

This morning's data dump is interesting.

As for what it says about the present state of the economy -- it's full steam ahead!

What's interesting is, save for the Chicago PMI -- notwithstanding the below-the-surface pressure you'll note below -- it's tamer on inflation than I might've guessed at this juncture. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Persimmons, Cinnamon Rolls and Oatmeal, In Perfect Harmony!

So let's say that you love persimmons, and that I happen to grow the consistently best you've ever eaten, and at a great price to boot.

Charts of the Day: Do Not Blame the Fed!

This is stuff the White House needs to pay very close attention to:

This Week's Message: We'll Hope For Scenario 3, But We'll Work With Whatever We Get

My fundamental view of the world at large (and, thus, the trend in the dollar) remains basically what it was at the beginning of the year; that the U.S. economy’s relative strength will make for a higher dollar and, thus, a plunging gold price, etc. going forward (it was very much a minority call at the beginning of the year).

Friday, July 27, 2018

Q2 Top and Bottom Lines Coming In Strong, However....

In this week's weekly message we shared our view that earnings guidance was about take a hit, and explained why:

My Two Cents On Today's GDP Number

We said the other day:
"....we expect this week’s Q2 U.S. GDP report to come in at the high-end of expectations, and, thus, there’ll be the attendant “we-told-you-sos” and “see-we-know-what-we’re-doings” coming from White House officials – which, by the way, would be deserved self-pats on the back, given the justifiable optimism spawned over tax cuts and deregulation!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Housing Woes Still Appear To Be More About Supply Than They Do Demand

Monthly new homes sales reported this week missed estimates big time, down 6.1% over the past three months, although they're still up 2.4% year-over-year. 

Protectionism's Silver Lining

If there's a silver lining to the protectionist dark cloud hanging over the global economy (and markets), it's that folks are now witnessing (learning) firsthand the below the surface reality that protectionism can hit the perpetrator just as hard (if not harder) than the target(s). 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Quote of the Day: Tariffs Undermining GM On Every Front!

Sorry to hammer the point home so often (btw: I did it every bit as much, if not more, during the last administration). Just can't help it!

While, as virtually every economist who's not politically captured will attest, protectionism has always been one of the most pernicious big-government endeavors (depression-era tariffs were an absolute economic disaster!), given the dynamics of the 21st Century U.S. economy it's more destructive now than ever.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Chart of the Day: Financials Looking Up?

We came into the year bullish on financials and cautious (but certainly not bearish) on tech. 

So What Happens When A Politician Meddles With a Central Bank?

So what stands to happen when a politician meddles with his nation's central bank? Well, Turkey is providing us with a 21st Century test case.

From The Economist this morning:

Quote of the Day: U.S. Stocks Get A Chunk of The Money You Spend on Foreign Stuff -- And -- Maybe Let's Not "Level the Playing Field"

While my experience doesn't entirely agree with Bloomberg's analysts' statement that a rising dollar is necessarily a net positive for stocks (the 20-yr monthly correlation is actually negative) -- although there have absolutely have been periods when it appears as such -- the point that equities receive foreign capital flows is, sadly, a seldom-spoken irrefutably inevitable benefit of trade.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Bull Market Consolidation Or Harbinger Of The Next Bear Market? (video)

In this morning's written commentary I suggested that 2018's stock market action so far looks more like a consolidation in an ongoing bull market than it does the beginning of the next big downturn. Here's more support for that notion:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

This Week's Message: The Setup's Fine, but less so than at the beginning of the year...

Long-term technical trends and macro conditions at this juncture have 2018’s market action looking more like a consolidation within an ongoing bull market than it does the saw tooth pattern that often precedes a looming bear market. The still generally strong macro setup explains how – as evidenced by a flat NYSE Composite Index on the year – equities have been able to buck the extreme headwind of rising protectionism.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

If You're Truly Interested In Understanding Global Trade

If you're truly interested in getting your head around the trade issue, and if you're willing to set your politics aside (trust me, my views here have zero to do with my politics! [more on that below]), take a few minutes and watch the President in an interview aired this week on CNBC. Then read my "A Consumer and An Economist Talk Protectionism". Then watch one of history's great, and purely objective, economists, Milton Friedman, on the topic. Then, lastly, take in the whiteboard lesson that I produced back when President Obama was going after our trading partners (as I recall, some of my friends on the left didn't seem to appreciate my lesson back then any more than some of my friends on the right appreciate my criticism of the same sort of shenanigans going on today):

Update On China/Africa Relations

While chatting with a well-traveled friend the other day she expressed how amazed she is by all of the Chinese investment she's seeing in Africa. "China is pouring money into Africa", I believe is how she put it. So what does that mean? Well, it means China is investing heavily outside its borders, which to some degree involves offshoring manufacturing to Africa (and other places); which means Africa (and other emerging countries) are picking up the manufacturing mantle as China moves further toward a services-oriented economy (like ours), while taking full advantage of the cheap labor and natural resources the developing world has to offer. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today's Data Support Yesterday's Message On Housing, And An Important Note Regarding the Fed

Yesterday we reported on weak data from the housing market and suggested that -- while we are indeed taking note -- factors other than waning demand may be the culprits.

This morning's data releases support that notion:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Housing Headwinds

While June's homebuilder sentiment survey (released yesterday) was just fine with an overall score of 68 (above 50 denotes optimism), last month's housing starts and permits results (released this morning) were anything but!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trade Deals Going On Everywhere! Well, almost everywhere...

Ironically, the threat of a global trade war is inspiring trade deals across the globe. Sadly, however, the traditional U.S. leadership in such agreements is missing.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Headlines of the Day: The Consumer's Still In Very Good Shape

The following headlines from this morning speak to what we're seeing in the consumer components of our macro index:

The Markets Hold Great Sway Over the Political Powers That Be

We've maintained that the saving grace for the market when it comes to the threat of a global trade war is the market itself.

This morning's news with regard to oil makes our case. Here's the headline:
Oil Falls 3%, Below $69, As Treasury Says Importers May Get Leeway to Buy Iranian Crude, Despite Sanctions

This Week's Message: General Setup Remains Constructive, But There's Undue Risk Resulting From Trade Disputes


The following are highlights from our weekly market and economic analyses:

Technicals:

The overall short/intermediate-term setup remained mostly unchanged last week across the cyclical sectors. The one exception was energy recapturing its 50-day moving average. Financials, industrials and materials continue to score poorly, while tech, consumer discretionary and now energy receive the highest possible scores.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Two Forces Changing Everyday Life for the Better!

I'm always a bit perplexed when I hear folks lament the ills of modern society. They tell tales of a hollowed out middle class and of increased poverty at home and abroad. All the while I know that they, in their own communities, see what I see as I meander along the trails in my own neck of the woods; which vividly illustrate for me that while life in 21st Century America ain't perfect, it certainly ain't all that bad either. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Unfortunate Headline of the Day -- Or -- The Stifling of Stagnation

The headline reads:
China's Trade Surplus With the US Grew In June
Yep, that's an unfortunate headline indeed! Unfortunate in its wording, that is.

No News Is Good News....

In this week's video I suggested that the recent rally at that point  looked to me like a "no-news-is-good-news" event. I.e., amid a bullish setup, any lull in THE headwind (trade war) would see prices higher. I also cautioned viewers to expect "more volatility because, clearly, neither side is willing to concede at this point." Then of course that evening (Tuesday) the Administration laid out its plan to tariff another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and, of course, yesterday saw the Dow down 200 points. 

Stat of the Day: Good Inflation

Yesterday we described the circumstances under which inflation can be considered a good thing:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Stat of the Day: Good and Bad Inflation

Inflation can be a good thing, when the timing's right. In fact, it's what the Fed has been trying to create (to the tune of 2% annually) ever since the 2008 recession.

Copper's Catching a Cold

We were more than clear from the get go that if President Trump was to act on the promises of Candidate Trump, the bad (protectionism) would pose a major headwind for the good (tax reform, deregulation, infrastructure) when we're talking the markets and the economy.

Aside from the equity market serving up a pancake during the first half of a year when the setup coming in was better than the previous year (which happened to be a very good year for stocks and the economy), there's no more vivid a validation of our concern than the present state of the copper market.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Present State of the Market: Remains a Correction in an Ongoing Bull Market (video)

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sunday, July 8, 2018

This Week's Message: General Conditions Don't 'Yet' Justify The Recent Rotation To Defensives

The following is my summary of our weekly market analysis:

Last week showed some very short-term technical improvement – my subjective view in “daily chart character” -- virtually across the board. The binary (objective) technical analyses showed improvement in transportation stocks (recaptured their 200-day moving average), in home builders (recaptured their 50-day moving average) and in the positioning of the 50, 100 and 200-day moving averages for healthcare.

The S&P 500 Index itself continues to exhibit strong technical trends. The message being: probabilities suggest that the bull market has significant room to run, once it completes what, at this point, appears to be healthy consolidation.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Where Do We Go From Here?

In conversations with friends and clients (also friends), I hear over and over again how they (many of them) are concerned about the latest on foreign trade, but that they appreciate that something is finally getting done to "level the playing field."

What that tells me is that many folks -- given that they have lives -- either haven't had the time or desire to really dig into the issue, and/or they don't fully grasp it, and/or the sources where they dig offer up biased depictions of the present state of affairs.

While our primary purpose herein is to keep clients abreast of the whys and wherefores of how we manage their money, we also feel compelled to offer up some clarity on economic-related waters that politicians and the media are so adept at muddying up.

The one thing we can promise is that there'll be no politics in our depictions. Our ultimate aim is to forever see, and present to our subscribers, the world as it is, not how we or they may like it to be.


Where Do We Go From Here?

As you know, the first shots have been fired in what we can legitimately call a trade "battle"; call it a border skirmish, maybe. Whether or not it escalates to all-out war remains to be seen.

Friday, July 6, 2018

In the Face of a Looming Trade War

To give you a feel for what's inspiring today's action, here's this morning's entry to our internal market log:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Very Brief Reprieve?

Here's what has the market jumping this morning (Dow futures point to a 200-point surge at the open):

Monday, July 2, 2018

This Week's Message: Technicals Mixed, Fundamentals Strong, However.......

We'll make this week's main message short and sweet (or sour, given our take on recent developments) by sharing my weekend entry to our internal market log. There'll be much more to come herein over the next few days: 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Midterm Madness?

The data on market action during midterm election years is consistent with our present thesis for the balance of 2018. That is, a volatile -- potentially rougher than your typical midterm election-year summer (read tariffs) -- with a potentially strong finish for the year. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Consumers Still Feeling Good, For Now

While the title to the following article on the June results of The University of Michigan's monthly consumer sentiment survey (an input to our macro model) may sound concerning, 98.2 is still a strongly positive reading.

There is a looming issue, however, that we've fully expected to begin rearing its ugly head in both the consumer and business surveys (and it is!); it's clearly showing up in expectations. The survey director's commentary in the last paragraph perfectly echoes our concern:

No Dollars Lost

So what happens to all of those dollars we spend on foreign stuff in excess of what foreigners spend on U.S. stuff?

Well, each week we track "foreign portfolio investment" in the aggregate, as well as to what extent stocks and bonds contribute to the total, across a number of countries  -- and therein lies a big part of the answer. Just completed the exercise and felt inspired to offer up the following lesson.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Quote of the Day: Where might we be ex the trade issues?

Today's narrative:

Industrial Stocks and The Trade Issue

In last week's video I touched on the action in the Dow and illustrated the huge hit Boeing and Caterpillar were taking due to trade issues. 

Here's that chart of the Dow components; the two lines at the bottom represented the percent changes in Boeing and Caterpillar stocks:

People Have to Have a Reason, And the Media's Forever Willing to Accommodate -- AND -- Our Present View on the Dollar and Gold

To steal from our title this morning -- particularly when it comes to markets -- people have to have reasons, and the media's forever willing to accommodate. Apparently, however, the quality of those accommodative efforts is of secondary concern.

Note that the following headlines crossed my screen 16 minutes apart (and there was no new news on "global cues" during that quarter-hour):
6/23/2018 4:32
Gold extends gains on positive global cues
6/23/2018 4:48
Gold, silver prices fall on weak global cues

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Thinking Behind Our Top Holdings

For client subscribers in particular, we think it's important to keep you abreast of why we're doing what we're doing within portfolios. 

Below are our latest summary narratives for our top 5 sector targets:

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Current State of the Market (video)

This morning I touch on the state of the current correction, this morning's selloff, trade relationships developing outside the U.S., political risk and current conditions, all in 4 minutes.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

THE Problem for the Market

As we've been harping herein continually, the current environment around trade is, in our view, the problem for the market so far this year.

Bespoke's analysis overwhelmingly agrees:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ronald Reagan on Trade (video)

President Ronald Reagan in his August 31, 1985 radio address shared his wisdom on trade. 



HT Dan Mitchell

CFOs On Current Conditions

The first paragraph in yesterday's blog post captures our view of near-term prospects for the market:
"Clearly, global equities have little upside (and notable downside) potential as long as Washington holds the line on its current trade stance – despite a generally good macro setup (particularly in the U.S.)." 
The responses, encapsulated below, to CNBC's latest Global CFO Council Survey support that view:

Friday, June 22, 2018

Please, Don't Hold Your Breath On This Morning's Rally: Yesterday's and This Morning's Log Entry

06/21/18 (Thursday)

Clearly, global equities have little upside (and notable downside) potential as long as Washington holds the line on its current trade stance – despite a generally good macro setup (particularly in the U.S.).
Per Bloomberg this evening there’s quite the division on the issue among White House officials. Thankfully, some on the staff of the National Economic Council understand the fundamental flaws in the current path we're on:

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Quick Dive Below The Surface (video)

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Like We Said

From our weekly message posted Monday:
The thing about the U.S.'s protectionist ambitions is that they're being imposed on virtually all of our major trading partners at the very same time. In essence, we are doing "battle" with a number of armies, none of whom are battling among themselves. In fact, our recent actions are sowing a newfound kinship among our now trade adversaries and a great deal of global deal making (that excludes us) in the process.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Putting Current Market Action In Perspective (video)

Once playing, click the icon in the lower right corner for full screen. Focus should occur after a few seconds; if not, click the wheel to the left of the YouTube icon to adjust:

 

Monday, June 18, 2018

This Week's Message: Good Time For A War? Well, That's What Pyrrhus Once Thought....

Three of the world's major central banks held their policy meetings last week and issued statements in line with what we anticipated and  expressed herein. Asset prices responded as we suggested they would as well; that is until the threat of a global trade war was thrust back onto the scene in a big way.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

This Morning's Log Entry: A Followup To Yesterday's Blog Post

6/14/18 (Thursday)

The Fed and the ECB meetings played out precisely as we scripted  yesterday: The Fed was more hawkish with 4 hikes this year now being the consensus, and the ECB softened up by pushing QE through year-end, and announcing that – as economic things currently stand -- interest rates won’t be touched until we’re well into 2019.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Fed Says The Economy's In "Great" Shape, And Won't Weigh In On Fiscal Policy, However.....

As you've noticed, we're not the least bit shy in expressing our concerns over the potential for an increase in protectionism between us and our trading partners. Listening this morning to Fed Chairman Powell's post-meeting press conference, he had to field a few questions on the topic.

Today's Log Entry: The Dollar vs The Euro

Currencies have my attention this week; particularly the U.S. dollar and the Euro.

Monday, June 11, 2018

This Week's Message: Many Things Have Gotten Better With Time

Keeping this week's message brief, as there'll be quite the number of pending issues we're likely to circle back with over the next few days...
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We here at PWA, on behalf of our clients, have to set aside our personal politics -- as well as our proclivities toward optimism or pessimism -- and forever let the data instruct what we do inside of client portfolios. While I know that can be frustrating at times -- particularly when we state empirically proven facts that conflict with certain public policies -- trust me, you shouldn't want it any other way!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Quote of the Day: Moving On Up

The notion that the U.S. middle class is being "hollowed out" has been a curiously popular one for years. This morning I'm borrowing Don Boudreaux's quote of the day, including his followup comment:

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Consumer and An Economist Talk Protectionism

Experience compels me to preface the below with a statement about politics. I've found over the years that when I go to a place that conflicts with a position taken by the party in power I generally touch a few nerves. Thus, over the past few years I've devoted far less time herein than previously to topics other than those directly related to the business of investing. That said, some of the topics that tend to touch political nerves -- such as tariffs -- are indeed related to (impact) the business of investing. 

Gauging Smiles and Wrinkles

Confirmation on the strength, or lack thereof, of the economy can come from multiple sources. In that the consumer accounts for 2/3rds of U.S. economic activity, we are forever digging deep for data that instruct us as to how the everyday American is faring (we recently touched on  the presently high hotel occupancy rates).

Apple Amid the Noise

Apple's performance amid the news flow, with regard to its messaging to suppliers, of the past couple of years speaks to the importance of not  relying on media accounts, on doing your own research and on properly assessing current conditions.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Quote (and Chart) of the Day: History's Frightening Account of Tariffs

In its "Investors' Corner" article this afternoon Investors Business Daily reminds us of the history of the U.S.'s most infamous act of protectionism: