Why There’s Some Cause for (Cautious) Optimism

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why There’s Some Cause for Cautious Optimism

Futures are slightly lower following a quiet night of news as markets digest Thursday’s rally.

Economically the only notable number was the UK Home Price Index, which like the U.S. readings this week saw smaller than expected declines, falling –0.1% vs. (E) -0.7%.

Geopolitically, Russia continued Thursday’s missile bombardment of Ukraine is a clear signal that fighting will rage on as the New Year begins.

Trading today will be dominated by book squaring and year-end positioning but there is one notable economic report, Chicago PMI (E: 41.0), and if it’s weak it could weigh on markets moderately.

Dow Theory Update (Bearish)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Dow Theory Update (Bearish)
  • VIX Analysis Update

Futures are moderately higher following positive China COVID news.

Chinese authorities said they hoped to end all lockdowns in Shanghai by May 20th as cases continue to fall.  If the Chinese economy can fully reopen in the coming weeks that will remove a big headwind from stocks.

Economically, EU Industrial Production wasn’t as bad as feared, as IP fell –1.8% vs. (E) -2.0%.

Today the focus will be on the inflation expectations contained in the Consumer Sentiment (E: 63.7) report and if five-year inflation expectations can decline from 3%, that will be another anecdotal signal that inflation pressures have likely peaked (and it should add incrementally to this morning’s rally).     We also get two Fed speakers, Kashkari (11:00 a.m. ET) and Mester (12:00 p.m. ET), but we don’t expect them to move markets (look for them to reiterate the current Fed mantra of two more 50 bps hikes).

Technical Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Technical Update – Bearish Price Patterns and Dow Theory Threatens to Turn Bearish

Futures are modestly lower this morning after a quiet night of news as yesterday’s big intraday reversal higher is being digested.

Today is lining up to be a busy one with a slew of economic data due to be released, in order of importance: Durable Goods (E: 1.0%), Consumer Confidence (E: 106.8), Case-Shiller Home Price Index (E: 1.5%), FHFA House Price Index (E: 1.6%), and New Home Sales (E: 772K). Investors will want to see solid data that contradicts the growing fear that the Fed is getting more aggressive with policy into an economic slowdown.

There are no Fed speakers today but there is a 2-Yr Treasury Note auction at 1:00 p.m. ET that could move the bond market and ultimately impact stocks in the early afternoon.

The market’s main focus today will be on earnings with: UPS ($2.87), PEP ($1.24), GE ($0.20), MMM ($2.33), and JBLU (-$0.85) reporting ahead of the bell while MSFT ($2.18), GOOGL ($25.63), GM ($1.57), V ($1.65), and COF ($5.39) are all scheduled to release results after the close.

Bottom line, for yesterday’s late day reversal higher in equity markets to continue today, we need to see good economic data, steady or falling bond yields, and most importantly favorable earnings, especially out of big tech names like GOOGL and MSFT.

Dow Theory Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What the Early-November Squeeze in the Dow Transports Means for the Broader Equity Markets

Stock futures are little changed this morning as a hot U.K. inflation report is digested ahead of more retail earnings.

U.K. CPI rose 4.2% vs. (E) 3.9% year-over-year which is pushing the pound higher against most of its peers as rate hike expectations rise.

Today, there is just one economic report: Housing Starts & Permits (E: 1.587M, 1.630M) but it is another very busy day of Fed speak: Williams (9:10 a.m. ET), Mester (11:20 a.m., 12:40 p.m. ET), Waller (12:40 p.m. ET), Daly (12:40 p.m. ET), Evans (4:05 p.m. ET), and Bostic (4:10 p.m. ET).

There is also a 20-Year Treasury Bond auction at 1:00 p.m. ET that could move yields and investors will be closely watching earnings releases from notable retailers ahead of the open: TGT ($2.87) and TJX ($0.81) as well as NVDA ($1.10) after the close.

Dow Theory Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Dow Theory Update

Futures are modestly lower to start the fourth quarter as House Democrats failed to pass infrastructure legislation, while economic data was better than expected.

House Democrats remain divided about the size of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, and the Debt Ceiling can’t be increased until a compromise is found.

EU and UK global final PMIs slightly beat estimates while EU Core HICP (their CPI) was slightly hot (1.9% yoy vs. (E) 1.8% yoy), implying the global recovery remains on track and that inflation pressures are still firm.

Today’s focus will be on important economic reports.  First, the Core PCE Price Index (E: 0.2%, 3.6%) is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation and if it’s much hotter than expectations, that will push yields higher and be another headwind on stocks.  Also, the ISM Manufacturing PMI (E: 59.8) gets released and markets will want to see stability there.  We also get Consumer Sentiment (E: 71.0) and the inflation expectations component will be closely watched.  Finally, there are two Fed speakers today, Harker (11:00 a.m. ET) and Mester (1:00 p.m. ET) but neither should move markets.


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What Is Dow Theory Saying Now?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What is Dow Theory Saying Now
  • 10’s-2’s Yield Spread and Bank Stock Outlook (Post Powell’s Press Conference)

Futures are bouncing slightly ahead of the jobs report and following yesterday’s modest declines.  Generally it was a quiet night of news.

EU Core HICP (their CPI) was stronger than expected, rising 1.2% vs. (E) 1.0% and incrementally added to the modest hawkish shift in the global central bank outlook following Powell’s press conference.

Today the headline numbers are the Employment Situation Report (Jobs: 180K, UE: 3.8%, Wages: 0.2% m/m) and the ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI (E: 57.3).  If the jobs number is very strong (job adds above 250k, UE below 3.7% and wages above 3.5% yoy, that might cause a decent sell off given Powell’s hawkish surprise on Wednesday, but barring that it shouldn’t impact markets too much.

Absent a jobs report surprise, the two biggest events today are comments by Fed Vice Chair Clarida (11:30 a.m. ET) and Williams (1:45 a.m. ET).  Specifically markets will be looking to see whether they echo Powell’s “transitory” comments about inflation, or if they sound more concerned.  The former will pressure stocks, while the later might provide some relief.

Other Fed officials speaking today include: Evans (10:15 a.m. ET), Bowman (3:00 p.m. ET) and after the market close: Bullard, Daly, Kaplan, Mester.

A Potential Warning Sign from Dow Theory, March 22, 2017

An excerpt from today’s Sevens Report (the Sevens Report is everything you need to know about the markets, in your inbox by 7AM in 7 minutes or less).

The price action this week has made us more cautious on this market from a technical standpoint (we’ve been cautiously positive fundamentally for some time). And the reason for the caution has to due with Dow Theory.

The Dow Transports are poised to print a bearish “lower low” on the weekly chart (depending on how things play out through Friday’s close). In a nutshell, the Transports plunged through their most-recent weekly closing low at 9043.90 yesterday. The “lower low” would be the first signal of the four needed to turn our interpretation of Dow Theory bearish.

As a reminder, the last time we published that Dow Theory had turned bearish was in July 2015, just weeks be-fore the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 fell 1000 points and 100 points, respectively, in the opening minutes of trade due to Chinese currency turmoil. While Dow Theory was bearish, stocks fell nearly 15% before recovering after the election and turning back bullish. Our signals did miss out on a modest 3% upside gain (most of which took place in the back half of election week, before the signal was offered).

Bottom line, Dow Theory remains positive for now; however, the Transports did just flash a warn-ing sign. And while we still believe the path of least resistance, based on technicals, is higher for now, we are monitoring the technical situation carefully to keep you informed of another potential period of volatility.

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