Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Key Highlights

Dear Clients, despite the Nasdaq sitting at, and the S&P 500 near, all time highs, this week's highlights from our internal log will not inspire confidence in the go-forward setup for stocks... Which, by the way, in no way means that the next bear market is imminent... It simply means that the risk is historically high right here, and that liquidity, diversification, and, in our view, hedging here and there with options is these days more than warranted.

In our candid view, prudent long-term investing is all about knowing when, and when not, to add risk... Suffice to say that today's overall setup is not the sort that you find at the early stages of a sustainable equity bull market... One could argue quite the opposite, in fact.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Charts of the Day: "Abysmal Breadth"

Dear clients, if you're wondering what keeps us cautious on equities right here, among other things, the following is, let's say, compelling.

From this morning's log entry:

Friday, June 7, 2024

A Head Scratcher Jobs Report, Mixed Signals Galore, and a Quick Look at Key Markets (video)

Note, in this week’s video I mentioned gold’s Friday decline and suggested that it was likely a reaction to the May employment report… And while the notable selloff in treasuries perhaps lends credence to that view, I had missed the fact that China’s central bank announced last night that it did not add gold to its reserves in May… Not doubt that was a not-small contributor to Friday’s action.


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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Out Next Week, A Timely Quote and Some Key Highlights

Dear Clients, there'll be no written post next week, as I'll be on my annual Montana excursion, which once again has me offering up the link to an old blogpost that I believe has our all time highest hit rate.

Ironically, it has nothing to do with markets, so only take it in if you're in the mood for something touchy-feely.  

Here's the link to the 2020 version (disregard the days off mentioned, this time it's Tuesday - Saturday):  

http://blog.pwa.net/2020/09/gods-greatest-work.html


Now before we get to the highlights I wanted to share what I believe may ultimately turn out to be a timely quote.

At the end of Larry Montgomery's latest book, How to Listen When Markets Speak, he offered up the following message, which to a not-small degree concurs with our longer-term go-forward view:

Friday, May 31, 2024

Econ Update, Commodity Check, Our Near-Term Equity Mkt View vs The Technicals, Company Comments, yada yada... (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Key Highlights

Here are some selected highlights of key global economic and market data, signals, trends, etc., from our internal log over the past few days.

Be sure and read start to finish, as we cover lots of important ground over the course of a week.

Clients, if you'd like more color on any of the below, or anything else that went on in global markets/economics this past week (even if it's not featured below, there's a good chance I commented on it internally), please feel free to reach out.


Last Friday 5/24/24:

Per some of our recent tactical adjustments, we’re anticipating a decoupling among global economies… Europe, in spots, for example, had been in recession while the US continued to chug right along… Recent data suggest that Europe has bottomed, while we believe the US – despite yesterday’s positive PMIs – is in the process of peaking, if it hasn’t already peaked.

So, question being, can the rest of the world (we’ve seen some stabilization in China, for example, as well) sustain a new growth cycle, if/when the US slows markedly?

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Signals From the Labor Mkt, Commodities, Breadth, Sentiment and So On -- And a Note on Nvidia (video)

Clients, please be sure and take this one in!

Thanks! Marty 😎

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Key Highlights


Here are some selected highlights of key global economic and market data, signals, trends, etc., from our internal log over the past few days. 

Be sure and read start to finish, as we cover lots of important ground over the course of a week.

Clients, if you'd like more color on any of the below, or anything else that went on in global markets/economics this past week (even if it's not featured below, there's a good chance I commented on it internally), please feel free to reach out.


Last Wednesday 5/15

CPI came in a bit softer than expected, core pretty much in line… Markets, bonds in particular, are, as expected (on soft data), rallying on the news… 

Weaker than expected retail sales for April didn’t hurt markets either – as weak news is good news presently (all eyes on the Fed); which, alas, tends to be the making of greater market pain if indeed weak news ultimately becomes recession news.

A September rate cut is now priced into fed funds futures, if data continue to weaken that’ll get moved up in a hurry; right now there’s a 30% chance of a cut in July.

Europe, whose equities we’ve been adding to lately, has a June rate cut presently priced in.


Saturday, May 18, 2024

"Happy Talk", CPI, Copper -- And -- Yields & The Dollar (technicals) Are THE Tell On Equities Right Here (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Key Highlights

Here are some selected highlights of key global economic and market data, signals, trends, etc., from our internal log over the past few days.

Clients, if you'd like more color on any of the below, or anything else that went on in global markets/economics this past week (even if it's not featured below, there's a good chance I commented on it internally), please feel free to reach out.


Last Wednesday 5/8


BCA’s US Equity Strategy Team’s remarkably accurate model is the most bearish it’s been since I’ve been following it… Chief strategist Peter Berezin, however, sees potential near-term upside should data begin to weaken soon, as the market will likely rally on the notion that the Fed will, thus, become measurably accommodative... 
Which is my current base case as well.



Last Wednesday 5/8


Despite it being down slightly since we put on our small starter position, I’m liking the longer-term setup for the yen right here.

My view from the get-go is far more basic than the rantings of those who see a currency crisis in the making… I.e., it’s simply a matter of macro cycle timing and interest rate differentials.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Consumer Credit, Cat Sales, Shipping Costs, Earnings Comments, Stocks, Yields, the Dollar and Gold (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Key Highlights: Near-Term Setup, Value Elsewhere, Labor Market Signals, Waning Business Sentiment, Etc...

Here are some selected highlights of key global economic and market data, signals, trends, etc., from our internal log over the past few days.

Clients, if you'd like more color on any of the below, or anything else that went on in global markets/economics this past week (even if it's not featured below, there's a good chance I commented on it internally), please feel free to reach out.


Last Thursday 5/2
Generally speaking, it’s pretty clear that the market (equity mkt in particular) is pricing in a soft landing and strong go-forward corporate earnings growth.

Given that there are sufficient leading indicators to cause concern, the soft landing thesis continues to stand on shaky ground, which of course conflicts with that forward earnings bullishness.

Ironically, while my stated concern ultimately leads to consequently-lower equity prices, along the way to a harder-than-priced-in-landing, a notable rally in equities (classic “blowoff top” perhaps) is very much on the cards – as the economy/inflation cools.

Bottom line, the likely equity market transition for the no-soft-landing scenario sees stocks flat to down as long as inflation remains elevated… Then stocks rally as the economy and, thus, inflation cools… Then stocks finally rollover when recession becomes reality… Then a fundamentally-sound buying opportunity presents itself.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Labor Mkt Signals and Their Investment Implications, Other Relevant Stuff!, Earnings Comments, Etc. (video)

Clients, please be sure and take this one in when you have a few minutes. 

Have a nice weekend!


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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Key Highlights: GDP Stuff, Less-Hot Cocoa, Dollar Bulls Aplenty, Employment Costs A Problem, Consumers Less Confident, The Fed, yada yada

Here are some selected highlights of key global economic and market data, signals, trends, etc., from our internal log this past week.

Believe it or not, in a feeble attempt at brevity, I cut a ton out... So, clients, if you'd like more color on any of the below, or anything else that went on in global markets/economics this past week (even if it's not featured below, there's a good chance I commented on it internally), please feel free to reach out.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Old "Rules" Don't Apply!

Well, I'm already breaking my own new rule, by publishing two blog posts on the same day... Can't resist it this morning... I.e., I don't want this one to get lost in the shuffle of next week's summary.

This morning's log entry:

4/27/2024

This from Grant Williams' podcast guest is, in essence, what I’ve been describing during client review meetings of late…
I.e., In terms of what he says about how policy will be implemented going forward, I couldn’t agree more!
Emphasis mine:

GDP, Consumer Confidence, Commodities, Stocks, Yields, the Dollar, Gold and Earnings Call Comments (video)

I somehow failed to mention the market implications of next week's treasury quarterly refunding announcement... Before you click the play button, here’s from our internal notes: 

4/23/2024 

Next week’s QRA (the treasury’s quarterly refunding announcement) is likely to be big for markets. 

If Yellen wants to concentrate go-forward issuance on the short end of the curve, that’s easy for the market to absorb and bullish for equities. 

If, on the other hand, she signals that issuance will concentrate on the long-end (far more difficult for the market to absorb (i.e., yields higher), that’s bearish. 

With regard to the TGA (treasury general account), if she sets a high target (i.e., much bond issuance proceeds get stuck in the TGA, as opposed to being spent in the economy), that’s bearish. 

If she sets a relatively low target (i.e., more juice going into the economy), that’s bullish. 

Her track record thus far – not to mention, incentives – leans heavily toward t-bill concentration and a lowish TGA target (i.e., she definitely wants to keep financial markets buoyant going forward)... Problem being, that would be economically-stimulative, which might problematically offset what would otherwise be hugely bullish (operative word their being “might”) for equities... I.e., a resilient economy means sticky inflation, and sticky inflation means no aggressive rate cutting over the next few months, which could be a real downer for equities going forward. 

Nevertheless, if we're talking relatively light issuance (less than last quarter) focused on the short-end of the curve, and, again, a lowish TGA target, stocks are likely to, at least initially, rally on the news.

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Key Highlights: Beige Book Caution, A Manufacturing Head Fake (maybe), Overbought Commodities, and A Potentially Waning Consumer

Here are the latest highlights of key global economic and market signals, trends, etc., from our internal log... Be sure and peruse all the way to the end, as we highlight a broad range of topics.

4/19/2024

Equity futures, bonds, currencies, commodities all reacted aggressively to the initial news of Israel’s attack on a military base in Iran… As the dust settled it became clear that the attack was limited in scope – i.e., tit for tat – and, therefore, for the moment, not a market event… As I type, 7:04am, the S&P is flat, the Nasdaq’s off 56 bps, yields are down a bit, gold’s up 25 bps, the dollar’s down 21 bps and oil’s flat.

4/19/2024

The latest Fed Beige Book release (a view from each of the 12 districts) points to an economy that continues to expand, albeit at a snail's pace at this point, and a consumer who is, on balance, becoming more cautious on spending… Inflation signals are mixed, but, on balance, somewhat problematic for businesses as their pricing power now seems to be fleeting.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Economic Update: Mixed Data, Earnings Call Comments, Stocks, Yields, the Dollar, and Atypical Gold (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Macro Highlights: Is Inflation and Employment Peaking?, Mixed Retail Sales Results, Hot Cocoa, And An "Income-Driven Expansion"

Here's a summation of the key global economic and market signals, trends, etc., that we touched on in our internal log in recent days... Be sure and peruse all the way to the end, as we highlight a broad range of topics.

4/18/2024

Yesterday saw a rebound in our commodity-oriented, non-US equity and fixed income positions, essentially resulting in a resumption of the recent trend where our core allocation notably outperforms the broad US equity averages. That said, and to be clear, this week’s comments in that regard should not be taken as me suggesting that equities are a benchmark that we strive to match or beat, they’re not, it’s simply an observation, given that our industry indeed scores itself relative to equity markets, which, in my view, is a potentially dangerous distraction from the task of responsibly managing (and risk-managing) client portfolios.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Economic Update (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Macro Highlights

Dear Clients, per my last note, you'll be receiving fewer blog notifications going forward, as we're now summarizing for you the key global economic and market signals, trends, etc., that we record in our internal log each week... Be sure and peruse all the way to the end, as we highlight a broad range of topics.


As this week comes to a close, the world is on heightened alert over concerning signals that an attack on Israel by Iran is imminent. 
Resulting in stocks down, oil, gold and bonds up in early Friday trading.

Here are some key bullet points from this week's log (clarification added parenthetically):      Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Changing Up The Blog A Bit

Dear Readers,

You'll be receiving fewer blog notifications going forward, as we've decided to forego sending out a daily note. Instead we'll be offering up a concise weekly summation of the thoughts and the data we compile each day in our internal macro log. Along with the usual video report on our findings from the weekly scoring of the PWA Index -- where we'll throw in some commentary on the weekly scoring of our financial stress and sentiment indices as well.

The technical market updates will continue, but, to avoid redundancy, I'll produce those only when there's a notable change in the technical setup across equities, yields, the dollar, etc.

Plus, we'll continue to summarize for you the results of the monthly scoring of our equity market conditions index as well.

The goal here is to be less piecemeal, and, thus, to provide a more accessible and succinct accounting of what our work says about the ongoing state of general investment conditions.

Your feedback of course is always welcome.

Thanks so much,
Marty


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Economic Update: Hot Jobs Number And Strong Equity Market Reaction, What Gives? (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

More on Sentiment, Valuations, the Technicals, and What Will Move Stocks Big (Up or Down) In the Short Run (video)

Dear Clients, here's yet another important one to take in! 

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Key Highlights

 Key highlights from our latest messaging herein:

Yesterday:

Stocks continued to advance over the past month, despite the notable headwinds outlined in our February report.

While sector leadership remains bullish – and breadth has improved notably – valuation, sentiment and the technicals, in particular, continue to reflect significant downside risk going forward.

Bottom line: Per the above, and the entirety of this report, current overall conditions leave us uninspired to add measurable equity market risk, or to hedge less, at this juncture.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Equity Market Conditions Update

While, per the below, the monthly scoring of our own "Equity Market Conditions Index" (EMCI) denotes improvement in the overall setup, general conditions remain stressed to the point that demands that we remain very diversified, liquid, and continue to hedge against something potentially consequential to the downside -- while maintaining sufficient exposure to responsibly participate in the current uptrend.

The following captures the intro to our internal report, and, to follow up on yesterday's message, features the inputs to our assessment of valuations. We also featured the section on economic conditions, which we considered upgrading to neutral, although, as you'll see in the brief narrative, wasn't justified just yet.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 1, 2024

Euphoria Has Set In, And Your Weekly Results Update

I mentioned in a recent video commentary that we are probably spending more time of late assessing narratives that don't jibe with our present view of general conditions, versus those that do -- as open-mindedness and objectivity are absolute musts for us... Well, I'm definitely not doing that in this post when it comes to the present risk/reward setup for US stocks.

Those of you who've been taking in our latest messaging will find the following very familiar... I.e., Peter Boockvar shares our present concerns:

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Mixed Signals, Insider Selling, Two-Tiered Markets, and Diversification Is THE Key Right Here (video)

Clients, this one's a must watch, start to finish!

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A Quick Look at Stocks, Yields, the Dollar, the Euro and the Yen (which we just added) (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Morning Note: All Things Equal?

There's essentially very little to add this morning to our last two video commentaries.

In a nutshell:

1. Fed Chair Powell is comfortable setting market expectations at 3 rate cuts this year -- in essence dismissing the latest inflation data -- no longer, for the moment, concerned with an early 80s repeat... I will, however, add that not all on his team are on board, as we'll likely hear from some select commentary this week.

2. The economic data are improving, particularly in the manufacturing space -- notably reducing the odds of near-term recession -- i.e., likely, at a minimum, pushing the start-date further out.

3. Equity market technicals, and sentiment, point to increasing odds of an equity market pullback sometime over the next few weeks.

4. Given reduced recession odds, and an on-balance accommodative Fed, all things equal, odds would favor a buying of any decent near-term dip in equities.

5. #4 notwithstanding, there is large leverage (in the derivatives space in particular) underpinning these levels, which means a cracking of certain levels to the downside could indeed spark something far more meaningful than simply a buyable dip... That said -- and, again, all things equal -- odds favor #4.

6. We nevertheless -- given certain elements of the overall setup (present macro dynamics, risks highlighted above, historically high valuations) -- need to accommodate (via liquidity, diversification, and hedging) for the fact that, in markets, all things are indeed not always equal.

In case you missed them:

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Data Are Improving -- Implications, Considerations -- And Some Mixed Signals From the Earnings Calls (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, March 22, 2024

So What's Motivating the Fed Right Here? And What's Gold Signaling? (video)

This morning's analysis is nearly all narrative on what may or may not be behind the Fed's dovish tone amid reemerging inflationary forces, and on what gold's impressive rally may or may not be signaling.

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Come Hell Or High Prices! And, Gold and Stocks Hit Highs Simultaneously -- That A Good Thing?

Stocks, at historically high valuations, seemed a bit jittery heading into yesterday's Fed rate decision and Powell’s press conference... And, per the below, rightfully so.

YTD % change in the price of a gallon of gas:

of a barrel of oil:

of a plateful of food:

and a copper pipe:

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Morning Note: Boggles (and troubles) the Experienced Mind! And Your Weekly Results Update

So, the "magnificent seven" stocks that pretty much explain 2023's rally now represent a greater market cap than every equity market on the planet, save for only the US's:

The odds of this ultimately not ending well are, well... let's just say they're too high for comfort!

As is -- as we've been pointing out of late -- sentiment right here:

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Economic Update: Problematic Inflation, Some Important History Of Our Assessment, And A Quick (important) Stock Chart Update (video)

Attention Clients, while all of today's video analysis is timely, please be sure to watch from the 6:45 mark on, where I chart our assessment alongside the equity market over the past few years... I.e., while we've generated positive returns even as our recession light remains lit, the current macro backdrop, and, not to mention, history, virtually demands that -- while we'll continue to seek out and exploit value where we find it -- we stay broadly diversified, liquid, and hedged against the potential for something swift and meaningful to the downside, at least for the time being. 

But first, a timely quote from an investing great:
“The desire for more, the fear of missing out, the tendency to compare against others, the influence of the crowd and the dream of the sure thing—these factors are near universal. Thus they have a profound collective impact on most investors and most markets. This is especially true at the market extremes. The result is mistakes—frequent, widespread, recurring, expensive mistakes.” —Howard Marks
Thanks so much! Marty

Note that, where (at the 6:12 mark) I say "staples were ramping up" heading into, and during, past recessions, sends an incorrect message. They weren't, per se, ramping up during recessionary periods, they were just substantially outperforming (at times losing significantly less than) discretionary stocks.

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Valuations & Sentiment Paint a Precarious Picture For Stocks (video)

Dear Clients, in today's snapshot I touch on the typical, and historically-dangerous-to-chase, pull-forward nature of parabolic moves.

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Morning Note: Patience, an "absolute must!" --- (a must-read post for clients!)

To be sure,

"if patience is a virtue in life, it is an absolute must in trading and investing."

--Randy Finney (technical analyst and trader)

If you tend to think of stocks and your long-term portfolio synonymously, well, if you're a PWA client, I'd say don't! But recognizing that Wall Street has done such a masterful job of engraining such thinking into investor-psyche, the following is intended for those who do.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Morning Note: Key Highlights

This morning's inflation data, in the aggregate, came in a touch hotter than expected, but not to the point -- at least in pre-market action -- to derail the equity market's expectation of a mid-year rate cut.

Meanwhile, here are a few key highlights from our latest messaging herein:

Monday, March 11, 2024

Economic Update: Amid Mixed Signals, Evidence of Weakness (in labor and credit in particular) Remains Too Much To Ignore (video)

Attention clients, please be sure and take this one in when you have a few minutes.


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:


Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Strong bullish sentiment "hints at a top," although..... And a quick stocks, yields, dollar and gold update (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Morning Note: Manufacturing "Mini Upcycle" -- And -- Beware "The Other Side of the Parabola"

In our latest economic update I entertained the notion that the recent strengthening in manufacturing sector sentiment might prove to be a head fake.

On Monday, BCA suggested that that may indeed be the case:

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A Check In the Magazine Cover Box, Some Mixed Signals, Stocks, Yields, the Dollar and Gold (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Morning Note: Giddy Media, But Not Over Gold -- And Your Weekly Results Update

Fascinating: The media, and Wall Street, are giddy over bitcoin nearing all time highs, and over the S&P 500 (I'd say "stocks" but the majority of stocks are clearly not there) at all time highs, while nary a mention of gold punching its way into never-before-seen territory.

Of course that, all by itself, has to have gold bulls feeling very good about their positioning right here.

I.e., long-term tops typically do not occur when upside breakouts go unnoticed -- suggesting that the asset in question remains under-owned.

The following, on the other hand, is the sort of signal you look for when you're concerned that present levels may be dangerously over-owned:

Monday, March 4, 2024

Economic Update: A Manufacturing Recovery or Head Fake? The Inflation Bugaboo And Some Telling Earnings Call Highlights (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:


Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Another Look At Wall Street's Hopes, A 3-Year Look At the Technicals, Some Data, etc. (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Morning Note: Will Wall Street Get What it Wants?

I couldn't agree more with the first line in the following quote.

"Wall Street forecasts what it wants, it doesn't forecast necessarily what's going to happen.  
Now, sometimes, what it wants happens and their forecasts are prescient. 
What Wall Street wants right now is lower interest rates. 
They want lower rates because they see 5% money market rates as competition for the stock market."  
--Jim Bianco

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Stock Market Snapshot: Not What An Early-Stage Bull Market Typically Looks Like (video)

Dear Clients, here's a very brief, yet important, assessment to be sure and take in.

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Morning Note: The 'F' Word -- And Your Weekly Results Update

If you're getting tired of hearing about inflation, or the potential lack thereof going forward, sorry, this will be a top topic of discussion for I suspect many years to come.

As for the time being, recent "hotter" than expected CPI and PPI -- potentially PCE this week -- notwithstanding, I do believe that before the current cycle runs its ultimate course, those who, on behalf of their stock positions, pray for dis(or de)flation will indeed see their prayers answered in the affirmative.

Thing is, beyond the knee-jerk rally that'll no doubt come on "cooler" inflation data and sweettalk from the Fed, there's, alas, that 'F' word that'll ultimately be rolling off the tongues of many a Wall Street analyst, economist, market guru, yada yada!

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Pockets Of Strength, What the Fed -- Despite Their Panicky Impulses -- Hopes to Avoid, and Ubiquitous Copper (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Game Still On For AI Stocks, And An Overall Equity Market, Yields and Dollar Snapshot (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Morning Note: While Some Key Conditions Improve, Leading Indicators Still Warn, And Healthcare Well-Positioned

The following from BCA's narrative around this week's US Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) release should sound very familiar to clients and regular readers:

"Indeed, the US economy has been robust and the data do not point to an imminent recession. Financial conditions have eased, home prices have risen and consumer sentiment has rebounded. All these factors are supporting economic activity.

However, our base case remains that a recession is likely in late 2024 or early 2025. Beneath the surface of the resilient labor market, some of the leading indicators are weakening. Similarly, default rates on credit cards and auto loans have risen and the tailwind from excess pandemic savings is fading.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Stock Market Snapshot and a Look at NVDA's Technical Setup (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Morning Note: “Beware the Ideologue” And Your Weekly Results Update

Not much to add this morning to our weekend video update, except perhaps the following on objectivity, and humility (absolute must-have qualities if one is to be a successful investor) from William Bernstein's outstanding volume The Delusions of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups:

“…the more points of view a group brings to bear on an estimate, the more accurate that estimate is liable to be. Diversity of opinion also benefits the individual as well; as put by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” 

Over the past three decades, psychologist Philip Tetlock has examined the forecasting accuracy of hundreds of well-regarded experts; he found that those who took into account a wide variety of often contradictory viewpoints performed better than those who viewed the world through a single theoretical lens. In plain English: beware the ideologue and the true believer, whether in politics, in religion, or in finance.”

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Labor Hoarding, Households and Homebuilders Happier, Small Businesses Not, Inflation Forces and Some Corporate Commentary (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Stagflationish Data, Sentiment Extreme, When We'll Be Buyers, And That Dangerous Soft-Landing Narrative (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Morning Note: Hints of Stagflation, And Some Key Highlights

In our last video commentary I mentioned the term “stagflation” — a stagnating economy amid sticky, or rising, inflation — as a distinct go-forward possibility.

Well, this morning’s data releases certainly don’t conflict with that concern.

As for the economy side of that narrative*:


That's quite the miss: -0.8 month-on-month for headline vs -0.1 expected (plus a -2% revision for December) -- as well as a -0.5% print against +0.2% expectation for core (ex-cars and gas).

As for inflation:


Again, quite the miss: Import price expectations were for a decline of -0.1% month-on-month; what we actually got was a whopping 0.8% increase. As for exports, prices also popped 0.8% m-o-m, vs a -0.2% expectation... On a year-on-year basis, prices did contract, but at a bit slower pace than the previous print.

*Note, a potential factor to consider that may have impacted the retail sales numbers was the messy January weather.

Stay tuned...


Here are some key highlights from our latest messaging herein:

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Beyond the Short Term, Today's Hot Inflation Print Is Not the Big Risk for Stocks (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Morning Note: On the Other Hand.....

Yesterday I shared a thread by BCA Chief Strategist Peter Berezin, who now sees likely weakness among US consumer and, thus, the US economy as well in the coming months... That scenario would be met with falling yields.

Today, in contrast, I'm offering up the alternative scenario from Bianco Research's Jim Bianco, who sees no recession this year, and anticipates rates breaking to the upside over the coming weeks.

As we've expressed herein, the market's in a tough spot right here... In the recession scenario, corporate earnings take a hit, and, believe me, stocks are in no way priced for it right here... In a no-recession scenario, yields do not decline -- per the below, according to Jim they rise -- and, alas, stocks are in no way priced for that either, per this morning’s initial reaction to January’s CPI print:

Monday, February 12, 2024

Morning Note: "Consumer Reality Tour" -- And Your Weekly Results Update

BCA chief strategist Peter Berezin was not in the heavily-crowded recession camp last year... He estimated -- correctly! -- that, despite the plethora of leading indicators screaming otherwise, the consumer's momentum and resources would keep the economy chugging along throughout 2023.

Per the below, his 2024 analysis paints an altogether different picture:

Friday, February 9, 2024

Receding Recession Risk in Context, And Why Stock Market Breadth Matters (video)

Clients, here's another important one to take in when you have a few minutes... Thanks! Have a Great Weekend!

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Stock Market Snapshot: A Quick Look at the Technicals (video)

Just a quick note in front of today's brief video update (click "read more" below to view).

I don't believe we can over-emphasize how unusual, and unhealthy, the internal breadth setup has been for the equity market.

As I stated yesterday, the Nov/Dec rally of last year was actually very healthy from a breadth perspective, but as we entered the new year it quickly, and dramatically, deteriorated... And this morning's action is no exception.

As I type, the S&P 500 is up 0.29%, however 58% of its members, and 8 of its eleven sectors, are in the red... The Nasdaq 100 is up 0.75%, while 47% of its members, and 6 of its ten sectors, are in the red as well... The S&P 500 Equal Weight Index is actually down 0.14% on the morning (which jibes with the breadth readings).

In my next video (which you'll receive in your inbox tomorrow morning) I'll, once again, offer up some historical context that illustrates why this is on our radar.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Morning Note: An Improving, Yet Dubious, Setup

In thinking through the dynamics of the past few months, I come up with 2 key observations/assumptions.

1. The impressive rally in the equity market last November and December reflexively showed up in some improved data, as it clearly reignited animal spirits among businesses and consumers (the latter in particular).

For example, here are the latest sentiment readings on the consumer: 

Conference Board Consumer Confidence:

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

While Equity Mkt Conditions Ain't Pretty, Financial Conditions Have Eased -- But Be Careful What You Ask For! (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Morning Note: Equity Market Conditions Rolling Back Over

Per the following intro to our latest Equity Market Conditions Analysis, which reflects in the scoring of our own Equity Market Conditions Index (EMCI), after a notable improvement heading into January, our assessment of equity market conditions has since rolled back over -- taking it deeper into the red.

Please keep in mind that this monthly analysis is in no way designed, or intended, to be a market timing indicator... But rather, it serves as a general assessment of the present risk/reward setup for primarily the US equity market; as history has proven, time and again, that stock market action -- in either direction -- can defy fundamental logic for extended periods of time.

Ultimately, however, and make no mistake, even in a world where powers-that-be strive mightily to keep asset prices elevated, fundamentals do tend to matter! 

Now, all of the above, and the below, said, we have seen some recent improvement in overall economic conditions -- i.e., odds still favor recession going forward, but less-so of late... This is something we're of course paying very close attention to.

Our bottom line: Our aim here at PWA is to manage our clients' long-term assets in a manner we deem most prudent from a risk/reward perspective, given our deep, ongoing assessment of global macro conditions.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Morning Note: Tops are Choppy -- And Your Weekly Results Update

So, if you're paying attention to the markets, and you have feelings about what you're hearing and seeing, I strongly encourage you to take in our twice per week videos! While, granted, I can get overly technical, I promise, you will always get the main message.

Here's from this weekend's (recorded Friday):

"I don't mean to sound like such a skeptic folks, I just want to articulate what tops look like; tops in the economy, tops in the markets, and so on... Tops are difficult, they are choppy, they can take a long time... Once they give up the ghost they can be quite dramatic to the downside... What do they say? "They take the escalator up and the elevator down."  And I'm not promising that there is an elevator down scenario in our near-term future, I'm just saying that the risk remains very high, and there's nothing about today's action that changes that." 
In fact, per the video, the character of "today's action (Friday's)" actually confirms that the risk remains high.


Here's your weekly sector, region and asset class update:

Friday, February 2, 2024

Stocks Went Up Today, Or Did They? Amazon/Meta Thoughts, Stock-Price Shepherds, and A Confusing Jobs Report (video)

Clients, here's an important under-the-surface analysis to be sure and take in!

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Fed's Conundrum... Investor Amnesia? Is This Time Different? And An Investable Regime to Come! (video)

Note, yesterday's price action (strong by the close) in equities accurately anticipated strong earnings results out of Meta and Amazon (not so much from Apple) that carried over into post and pre-market futures trading. However, this morning's shockingly strong jobs number (nearly double the consensus expectation) -- doing quite the upside number on yields and the dollar -- has taken virtually all but a handful of tech stocks (that dominate the S&P and the Nasdaq) into the red as I type (26 minutes after the open). 

While the day is still young, literally 79% of the stocks in the S&P, and 76% of those in the Nasdaq are presently in the red.

Now, as we'll explore in this week's economic update, while the monthly jobs number is important, and often market-impacting, make no mistake, it is very much a lagging indicator, as it covers the previous month, plus revisions for the months leading up to it... Weekly jobless claims (higher than expected yesterday), and job openings and quits rates (rolling over), are historically very good leading labor market indicators.

I.e., while December's numbers were indeed impressive (although bearish for markets yearning for Fed cuts), their sustainability is in serious question going forward.

Yesterday's video (below) is not one to miss:

Morning Note: The Ultimate/Obvious Conundrum

Yesterday's QRA (we've explored this topic herein this week) wasn't quite what the market (the bulls) expected, but it nevertheless didn't seem to move the needle when released -- i.e., it didn't move the S&P and the Nasdaq -- suffering from disappointing news from the tech space -- out of their pre-market red.

As the morning progressed, news came out that New York Community Bancorp reported a surprise Q4 loss and a cut to its dividend... Commercial real estate loan exposure was the culprit, which, as you might imagine, spooked equities and kept a bid under bonds.

Then came the Fed announcement, that essentially poured cold water all over the bulls' notion that rate cuts are to begin come March.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Market Snapshot: Charts Update (video), But First, Some Key Stats

Dear Clients, please be sure and take these videos in when you can... In them we address what's churning underneath these celebrated "record highs" that the media seems so enamored with of late.

For example, here's a look at where the SP500, the SP500 Equal Weight (a truer look at the overall market), and the Russell 2000 indices presently sit vs the SP500s previous all-time high:


And, speaking of the SP500, here's a look at the performance by sector since that January 2022 high, note that 7 of the 11 remain in the red... I.e., this is what you'd call historically bad breadth... And while things can definitely improve on that front, what we're looking at right here is anything but the character of a healthy equity market:

Morning Note: Market-Friendly QRA -- And -- UBS and JPM Share Our Concerns

In our latest economic update I mentioned the Treasury Quarterly Refunding Announcement (QRA) as being potentially bigger this week than even the Fed meeting.

While yesterday's announcement of the anticipated debt issuance needed this quarter
 (came in less than expected) definitely juiced the equity market,

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Economic Update: Traveling Through Soft Landing Valley (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Market Snapshot: Good Time to Be Patient, Per Breadth, Sentiment, and the Technicals (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.


Morning Note: From Tech to Plane Tickets, From Homebuilders to Booze, etc. -- A Mixed Bag of Company Commentaries

With earnings season now in full force we thought it timely to offer up some highlights from company commentaries.

I color-coded the text to express our view of the messaging therein.

As you'll see, it's quite the mixed bag out there.

While the attitudes of the execs of the companies featured hold different degrees of economic relevance, if we were to nevertheless treat them equally, and score the below like an index, +100 to -100, it would come in at a mere +4.17, with 33% of the comments scoring economically positive, 29% negative and 38% neutral.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Soft Landings, Noisy Action, Russel Resistance and Rising Dispersion (video)

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Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.

Morning Note: "Soft Landing" Searches Near-Record -- And -- Will "AI Optimism" Do The Trick (Again) In 2024?

The number of Bloomberg articles mentioning soft landing has reached a level not seen since the early 2000s -- as represented by the blue line in the chart below.

Per the chart, this doesn't necessarily paint a comforting picture (grey areas highlight past recessions) -- call it, save for the one exception, a contrarian indicator:   HT Daily Shot

Monday, January 22, 2024

Morning Note: Labor, "Underneath the Surface" -- And -- Your Weekly Results Update

Only one of our premium research providers has a team that had high conviction that there'd be no recession in 2023... I.e., they were hugely in the minority, yet they got it right! Recall that, among others, Bloomberg economics gave recession 100% odds last year.

Well, alas, the team (that runs "BCA Global Investment Strategy"), the one that was spot on last year, now sees very high odds of recession come the second half of this year.

Here's a snippet from their Jan 19 piece titled "These Labor Market Indicators Are Pointing To A Hard Landing."

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Economic Update and Stock Market Snapshot: Certain Conditions, and the Technicals, Say Be Very Careful Right Here (video)

Clients, please be sure and take this one in! 😎

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:

Attention Non-Client subscribers: Nothing in this video should be construed as investment advice. The examples expressed relate to portfolio management we perform on behalf of our clients, and, again, under no circumstances are they to be considered recommendations to the viewer.