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Phil's Stock World



Daily stock picks and option trades, market analysis, and investing strategies for investors and traders of all types.



Last Build Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:52:49 +0000

 



Testy Tuesday – All Time Highs Ahead of the Fed, What Can Go Wrong?

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:33:18 +0000

(image) What can go wrong?

Well, for one thing, the Fed could tighten.  As you can see from the Fed's own projections, which are to be released tomorrow (but are on their web site today), the Fed is projecting a Fed Funds Rate of 2.9-3.9% next year.  This year it was a much wider -0.1 to 2.9% and we're right in the middle at 1.25% but what if we're in the middle next year at 3.5%?  Are you ready for a 2.25% rate hike?  Is anybody?

Certainly people with adjustable mortgages are not ready or revolving debt (reccord highs) or variable loans like Corporations tend to have, which would add $400Bn to their $2Tn debt balance.  Are the banks ready to have their loan margins squeezed as rates climb, which is often the case?  

Even just 3% would require 7 rate hikes in 8 meetings – unless the Fed hikes us this year, then it would be 6 of 8 or, if they surprise us and hike tomorrow, they buy a bit of fexibility next year and "only" have to hike rates 0.25 every other meeting, plut one.  Their other projections are on track.  The market thought lowering the Q3 GDP forecast (see yesterday's Morning Report) would keep the Fed off the table but they are only projecting 2.0-2.4% GDP for 2017 and LESS next year – so we're right on track.

(image) Unemployment is below their target, Inflation is above – there's really no excuse for the Fed NOT to raise rates so don't be surprised if everyone is surprised tomorrow by a quarter-point hike, hurricane or no hurricane.  Of much more concern than the rates going up (though the repercussions of that alone will be tragic) is the potential unwinding of the Fed's Balance Sheet, which currently stands at $4.47 TRILLION and that's up about $3.7Tn since 2008.  

Even if the Fed "only" withdraws their money over the same 8 years they put it in, that's $500Bn a year coming OUT of the economy – no wonder they project a significantly lower GDP next year!   Meanwhile, the BOJ and the ECB have been putting in $400Bn a month and Japan's stimulus is so out of proportion to their $5Tn economy…
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Just Another Manic Monday – World War 3 Edition

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:56:37 +0000

(image) Yes, I know no one cares, BUT:

On CNN yesterday, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United Nations Security Council has just about reached the limit of its ability to economically punish North Korea.  Responding to a question by CNN’s Dana Bash about whether President Donald Trump’s famous “fire and fury” remark was an empty threat, Haley insisted that the US has held back out of a sense of “responsibility.” But now that diplomatic solutions appear to be dwindling, she would be “perfectly happy handing the situation off to Defense Secretary James Mattis, the source of some of the US’s harshest rhetoric against North Korea. Mattis, Haley said, would “take care of it.”   

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“What we’re doing is being responsible where North Korea is being irresponsible and reckless. 


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Friday Failure – S&P 2,500 Remains Elusive

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:37:39 +0000

Can we ignore more terrorism today? I don't see why not, "only" 22 people were injured this morning as a bomb went off on a London Subway and that's nothing to the relief Japan must have felt when the missile North Korea fired over their heads turned out NOT to have a nuclear warhead – isn't that great?  Frankly, I don't know what it would take to spook this market anymore – it seems to only head up – no matter what happens.  Our President, of course, handled the incident in London with his usual compassion: Donald J. Trump      ?@realDonaldTrump   Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!       …[...]



Threatening Thursday – North Korea Threatens to Nuke Japan and US – Markets Shrug

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 12:30:59 +0000

(image) Does anything matter?

This morning, North Korea threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Japan and turn the U.S. into “ashes and darkness” for passing fresh UN sanctions earlier this week - fiery rhetoric that is likely to exacerbate tensions in North Asia.  “Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Thursday, citing a statement by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee. “The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” it said, a reference to the regime’s ideology of self-reliance.

I love that that's a message from the Peace Committee.  I can't wait to hear what the War Council has to say!  

Keep in mind these guys just fired an actual ICBM right over northern Japan and no, it was not shot out of the sky or disabled in flight.  Japan simply advised it's citizens to seek shelter and hope for the best.  There's really no time to react as this would be like New York bombing Chicago – it's a very short flight at 15,000 miles per hour (yes, that's how fast they go).   Anyway, it's all just a fun fact as the Nikkei has already shaken off the news and headed higher this morning and our markets are flat though Europe is turning down slightly.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the war on the poor continues and the Top 1% have scored a major strategic victory by having their pet Congresspeople in the GOP plant legislation in the budget bill that essentially requires the IRS to audit all 28M recipients of Earned Income Tax Credits.  At the same time, the Republicans are cutting the IRS budget so, effectively, they are making it impossible for the IRS to do their actual jobs and audit high-income returns.  

(image) The IRS already spends 39% of their time auditing EITC under the current rules and these audits account for just 7% of their revenues, this legislation would triple the time required while lowering the overall budget.  The amounts at stake in EITC audits are relatively small. Overclaim errors are often just a few hundred dollars, compared with the hundreds of thousands or
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