FOMC Takeaways (Not Good)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • FOMC Decision Takeaways – Not Good.

Futures are slightly higher as markets bounce following Wednesday’s post Fed selloff.

It was a quiet night of news as there were no new headlines on trade, and most commentary focused on the takeaways of the Fed decision.

Economically, UK data was mixed as Nov. Retail Sales were strong (1.4% vs. (E) 0.3%) while Dec. Distributive Trades were weak (-13 vs. (E) 15).

Today focus will remain on the economic data, which becomes even more important in the face of the not dovish enough Fed.  We get to notable reports today, Jobless Claims (E: 220K) and Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey (E: 16.5) and if the later misses expectations, look for more selling.

FOMC Preview

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • FOMC Preview

US stock futures are enjoying a pre-Fed bounce this morning due to positioning and short-covering as stocks remain oversold after the steep losses Friday and Monday.

Despite the bounce in futures, news flows were actually bearish since yesterday’s close as both FDX and MU made cautious comments about slowing global growth in their respective earnings calls and both cut guidance for 2019.

In the US today, there is one economic report due to be released: Existing Home Sales (E: 5.190M) and a “beat” would be well received after the string of soft housing data points of recent, but frankly all eyes will be on the Fed and the report will not materially move markets.

The New York session is likely to be slow in the morning with traders positioning into the Fed. The FOMC Meeting Announcement and Forecasts will hit at 2:00 p.m. ET and then Fed Chair Powell’s press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Technical Update: Ugly Breaks

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Technical Update: Ugly Breaks

S&P futures are bouncing this morning but only modestly so relative to yesterday’s sizeable declines in U.S. markets which weighed broadly on global shares overnight (although the losses were not as bad as feared).

Growth concerns remain the primary driver of the recent risk-off money flows and the German Ifo Survey released o/n did not help as the headline missed estimates and Business Expectations hit a four year low.

Oil is notably down almost 3% as concerns have shifted from the supply side to demand side in recent weeks and if that continues, expect further pressure on energy shares today.

Looking into today’s session, there is only one economic report to watch: Housing Starts (E: 1.22M) but if it is a “whiff” like yesterday’s Housing Market Index was, which hit a multi-year low, it could keep growth concerns elevated and prevent a material relief rally.

Aside from the one economic report, the Fed meeting begins today and investor focus is likely to turn ahead to tomorrow’s FOMC Announcement, Forecasts, and Press Conference which is one of the last major catalysts of the year.

A New Headwind on Stocks

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • A New Headwind on Stocks (It’s Potentially a Big One)
  • It’s Not All Bad – A Legitimate Positive Scenario for Q1 ‘19
  • Weekly Market Preview
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet

Futures are slightly lower as markets digest Friday’s selloff following a quiet weekend.

There was no notable geo-political (i.e. U.S./China trade) or economic (global growth) news over the weekend, and investors/markets are looking ahead to Wednesday’s FOMC Decision.

Economic data was sparse but EU Core HICP (their CPI) met expectations at 1.0% yoy.

We get two economic numbers this morning via the  Empire State Manufacturing Survey (E: 21.0) and Housing Market Index (E: 61.0) but neither should move markets.  Investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday’s big FOMC Decision and that should lead to generally quiet trading, barring any surprise headlines or tweets.  More broadly, for stocks to bounce in the near term, we need to see leadership from the tech sector, and participation from financials and energy (both of which are very, very oversold).

Political Risks to this Market

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Political Risks to This Market

Futures are sharply lower (about 1%) as bad economic data is furthering worries about a slowdown in global growth.

Chinese Retail Sales (8.1% vs. (E) 9.0%) and Industrial Production (5.4% vs. (E) 5.9%) both badly missed estimates.

In Europe, the flash composite PMIs also missed expectations at 51.3 vs. (E) 52.5.

Geopolitically it was a quiet night although Chinese officials confirmed the reduction of auto tariffs to 15% from 40% (this was already pledged but it is good to see it will be enacted on Jan 1.).

Today it’s all about economic data.  The numbers from China and the EU this morning were not good and fears of a global economic slowdown are rising, and we need Retail Sales (E: 0.1%) and Industrial Production (E: 0.3%) to push back on that narrative, otherwise today could be another ugly day.

Economic Breaker Panel December Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Economic Breaker Panel December Update (More Signs of Weakness)
  • EIA Analysis – Can the Bounce in Oil Hold?

Futures are slightly higher following a very quiet night of news, as markets digest recent volatility.

There was no change in U.S./China trade overnight but that’s a net positive as there has been legitimate and concrete progress on U.S./China trade over the past week.

Economic data was sparse as German CPI was the only notable number and it met expectations (2.3% yoy).

Today the highlight event is the ECB Meeting (E: No Change to Rates) but other than a potentially dovish tone from Draghi at the press conference, this shouldn’t impact markets too much.  Outside of the ECB, we get Jobless Claims (E: 228K) and Import & Export Prices (E: -1.0%, 0.1%).

Bottom line, geo-political headlines remain key but as long as nothing implies a reversal of U.S./China trade progress, then stocks can extend this rally, led by tech and other China sensitive sectors (industrials, materials, consumer discretionary).

Finally, at a subscribers suggestion (thank you Maria!) we are now including the 10’s-2’s Treasury yield spread in the currencies and bonds table.  Given how close the curve is to inversion, we’ll update that spread daily going forward so you’ll have a consistent place to check and see the latest levels.  We hope you find it useful.

Sector Value and Performance

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Sector Valuations and Performance Since the Breakdown

Stock futures are trading higher again this morning thanks to ongoing improvement in US-China trade war sentiment as Brexit drama and the threat of a potential US government shutdown continue to be largely shrugged off.

Huawei’s CFO was released on bail in Canada which was a market positive and Trump also told Reuters he may intervene in the case if it would help with a trade deal.

Economic data overnight was mixed but did not move markets as focus remained on trade.

Looking into today’s Wall Street session, focus will be on U.S. inflation data early with CPI due out ahead of the bell (E: 0.0%).

Beyond that release, the list of scheduled catalysts is thin as there are no Fed officials speaking or other economic reports which will leave traders focused on any further trade war developments.

Dow Theory Just Turned Bearish

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Dow Theory: First Bearish Signal Since July 2015

Futures are enjoying a bounce this morning after top economic officials from the US and China held a conference call o/n regarding the next stages of trade negotiations.

Economically, the German ZEW Survey was mixed as the Current Conditions reading badly missed at 45.3 vs. (E) 55.0 but Business Expectations were not as bad as feared: -17.5 vs. (E) -26.0.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was a disappointment this morning with the headline coming in at 104.8 vs. (E) 107.0, the lowest headline since May.

Looking at the calendar today, the catalyst list is fairly thin as there is only one economic report: PPI (E: 0.0%) however inflation has been an important topic recently and a material “miss” or “beat” could move markets. Meanwhile there are no Fed officials scheduled to speak.

That will leave the primary focus of the market on U.S.-China trade relations including any further developments or details from last night’s “trade call” as well as the Huawei CFO’s bail hearing in Canada.

Bottom line, as long as we see more positive trade headlines, sentiment should improve and trade optimism will likely continue to act as a near term tailwind for markets.

Why Markets Dropped and How We Find Stability

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Stocks Dropped (New Reason) and How Markets Stabilize
  • Weekly Market Preview
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet (CPI Wed. and lots of data Friday)

Futures and global markets are modestly lower due to momentum from Friday’s sell off.

News over the weekend was actually net positive as U.S./Chinese officials implied the Huawei CFO arrest was separate from trade, while China signaled it will begin buying U.S. soybeans and energy again.

Economically, Chinese exports missed estimates (5.4% vs. (E) 10.0%), although that number is very “noisy” and it’s not moving markets this morning (the Chinese economic data this Friday is more important than the trade balance).

There’s only one economic report today,  JOLTS (E: 7.0M), and no Fed speakers so focus will remain on geo-political headlines (trade) and we should continue to expect more volatility.  That said, the market is now deeply oversold in the short term, and if tech can stabilize and rally early, markets can bounce.

Technical Update (Encouraging Signals)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Market Technical Update (Encouraging Signals)
  • Why Stocks Rebounded Yesterday
  • Why the Yield Curve Has Flattened SO Quickly (Blame Oil)

Futures are modestly lower as markets digest yesterday’s late day rally and look ahead to this morning’s jobs report.

Geopolitically, initial reports imply the U.S./China trade talks will continue despite the Huawei CFO arrest, which if confirmed is clearly a positive.

Global economic data was mixed again as Chinese currency reserves beat estimates while German IP missed.  But, neither number is moving markets this morning.

Today is all about the jobs report and given sudden uncertainty on Fed policy (will they pause?) this jobs report is now the most important one of the year.  Expectations are as follows:  Job Adds: (E) 190K, UE Rate: (E) 3.7%, Wages (E) 3.2% yoy), and the best outcome for stocks is a “mild miss” across all three segments.

Away from the jobs report we also get Consumer Sentiment (E: 97.4) and one Fed speakers, Brainard (12:15 p.m. ET).