Morning in Arizona

Morning in Arizona
Rainbows over Canyonlands - Dave Stoker

The Headline Animator

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Meet the Press

Financial Review

Meet the Press

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 12:16 — 5.6MB)

DOW + 98 = 19,954
SPX + 6 = 2275
NAS + 11 = 5563
RUT + 2 = 1373
10 Y – .01 = 2.37%
OIL + 1.57 = 52.39
GOLD + 4.20 = 1192.50

The Nasdaq pushed to fresh record highs again. The S&P and Dow are very close to records. The S&P 500 index was unchanged yesterday – not a small move – unchanged.

So, we did a little digging. The last time the index ended a trading day flat was Jan. 3, 2008. Before 2008, the benchmark index had gone nearly 11 years without posting an unchanged day. Since 1980, the S&P has recorded just 10 unchanged sessions.

There were no top-tier U.S. economic reports, nor any Fed speeches. President-elect Trump held his first press conference since the election, and yes, it moved the markets.

The healthcare sector dropped after Trump said the country needs more competitive drug bidding. He said pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder” by charging high drug prices. Health care dropped more than 1.5 percent as the worst performer in the S&P 500, with the pharmaceuticals sub-sector down more than 1.5 percent and the biotechnology sub-sector off nearly 3 percent.

Lockheed Martin dropped about 1 percent after Trump said the F-35 fighter jet project “is way behind schedule and billions over budget.” Mexico’s peso weakened to a historic low of 22 per dollar, then bounced higher. Gold gained and the Dow dropped.

The dollar dropped as Trump talked about trade but then rebounded when Trump said: “There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder and if our politicians had what it takes they would’ve done it years ago.”

Trump insisted he will not divest himself of his businesses as he assumes the presidency; he will turn over operations to his two oldest sons and will not be involved in operations. The Trump Organization will not enter into any new deals with foreign partners.

Prior to the press conference a Trump lawyer said any profits from foreign government payments to his hotels will be donated to the US treasury. The press conference probably raised as many questions as it answered regarding conflicts of interest.

Trump first said he thinks Russia directed cyberattacks on Democratic Party targets, but later made his view less clear. He said the hacking activity “could be others” and repeatedly deflected attention to attacks by China and other foreign countries and institutions.

He contended that Russia will no longer hack the U.S. when he is president but did not answer questions about whether he will uphold Obama administration sanctions in response to suspected interference in the 2016 election.

Trump blasted BuzzFeed for reporting on unverified allegations that Russia put together compromising information on him. Trump called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage,” arguing the online media outlet “will suffer the consequences.” He also took CNN to task for “going out of their way to build it up,” before refusing to take a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta; saying, “Your organization is terrible. I am not going to give you a question, you’re fake news.”

This story about a possible Russian dossier of compromising info about Trump also raises more questions than it answers, not just about Trump, or the media, but also about the intelligence community. Strange days indeed.

So, it was an interesting and unique press conference. It also shifted focus off the confirmation hearings, which continue on Capitol Hill.

The World Bank says global growth will pick up slightly in 2017The World Bank has lowered its 2017 global growth forecast to 2.7% from its June outlook of 2.8%, but that would still be ahead of the 2.3% growth that was experienced in 2016.

The World Economic Forum told us what to worry about. WEF’s Global Risks Report, which sets the agenda for the annual confab of global heavyweights in Davos next week, identified rising nationalist sentiment, economic inequality, technological disruption (i.e., jobs becoming obsolete), and climate change as the biggest risks in 2017.

The environment is now considered not just more likely to cause global disruption, but also more capable of generating the biggest impact. The report concludes that the biggest risk for 2017 is “extreme weather events.” It’s not as if the economic risks have just magically melted away. It’s just that environmental problems are considered more urgent than before. Solutions will be discussed by world leaders and corporate bigwigs in Davos next week.

Some of those ideas were echoed in research from Wells Fargo Investment Institute which says we are in the “age of discontent” and we should invest accordingly. The report says households across the country have felt economic recovery to very different and uneven degrees post-financial crisis, according to the report, which attributes such “discontent” for market participants to frustration across economic classes, along with increased political uncertainty on the horizon.

The stark differences in economic recovery might be found in the employed versus the unemployed, savers versus consumers, and small business versus large corporations. What’s more is economic growth is not improving quickly enough for many, the report added, citing wage and real income stagnation as forces “fueling protectionism and geopolitical unrest.”

US oil output is expected to rise in 2017 and 2018A report released by the US Energy Information Administration on Tuesday showed US crude-oil production was expected to increase by 110,00 barrels a day in 2017 to 9 million and by another 300,000 barrels a day in 2018.

Bill Gross of Janus Capital, who was once referred to as the “Bond King,” says the 2.60% level on the 10-year Treasury yield is what everyone should be watching, as a breakout above that level would mark the end of the 30-year bull market in bonds.

Gross says the 2.6% level is “much more important than Dow 20,000. Much more important than $60-a-barrel oil. Much more important that the dollar/euro parity at 1.00. It is the key to interest rate levels and perhaps stock price levels in 2017.”

Jeff Gundlach, CEO of Doubleline Funds (sometimes called the NEW “Bond King”) says the bond bull market is dead if the 10-year hits 3.00%During the presentation of his 2017 outlook, Gundlach said a move to 3.00% and above would have “a real impact on market liquidity in corporate bonds and junk bonds.”  If the 10-year moves back above 3% it will be the end of lower-highs in the recent trend and signal, finally, the end of an era.

Gundlach also covered high yield or junk bonds; the major points from his presentation: defaults are high, the rally is entirely predicated upon rising oil prices but seems overdone because the last time spreads were this tight oil was at $80.

Gundlach said: “Many people seem to think that because junk bonds had a great 2016 that they’re somehow not vulnerable to interest rate hikes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The junk bond market has decent interest rate risk on it, it’s just that they were depressed with commodities so low.”

As for stocks, Gundlach says they are overvalued on almost every metric. Looking at forward price/earnings ratios Gundlach says we would need a combination of buybacks funded by repatriated cash, plus lower taxes and some pro forma magic to justify valuations.

Looking to stoke demand for electric cars, BMW, VW, Ford and Daimler are aiming to build a network of ultra-fast charging stations across Europe. The 400 next-generation 350 kilowatt chargers would be nearly three times as powerful as Tesla’s, reloading an electric car in minutes instead of hours.

Airbus’s productivity surged in December, allowing it to record a full year delivery of 688 planes, but it still fell short of rival Boeing, which rolled out 748 jets to customers. But in the race for new business, Airbus recorded 731 net orders in 2016, compared with the 668 of Boeing. Still, the combined book-to-bill ratio of the two giants dipped below 1 for the first time since 2009, placing a dent in record industry order backlogs.

Canada’s largest alternative-asset manager has submitted proposals regarding its interest in buying the yieldcos of bankrupt solar company SunEdison. Brookfield Asset Management would purchase all of TerraForm Power for $11.50 per share in cash, or a total consideration of $1.6B, and may even raise its offer to $12.50 per share if it can also buy TerraForm Global.

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