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BETWEEN THE HEDGES



Portfolio Manager's Commentary on Investing and Trading in the U.S. Financial Markets



Updated: 2017-09-26T12:25:40.303-04:00

 



Morning Market Internals

2017-09-26T11:27:26.783-04:00

NYSE Composite Index:
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Tuesday Watch

2017-09-25T21:39:44.739-04:00

Evening HeadlinesBloomberg:U.S. Sees ‘Four or Five’ Ways to Resolve North Korean Crisis. (video) The U.S. has gamed out four or five different scenarios for how the crisis with North Korea will be resolved, and “some are uglier than others,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said as tensions remain high between the two countries. While McMaster said the threat from Pyongyang is “much further advanced” than anticipated and the Pentagon said the president has a “deep arsenal” to draw upon if needed, U.S. officials dismissed North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s comment that President Donald Trump’s warnings to Pyongyang at the United Nations amounted to a declaration of war.China's Curbs, Debt Woes Bring Developers Crashing Back to Earth. The world’s most extreme stock rally is getting a reality check. After share price gains at Chinese property developers accelerated at a breathtaking pace in the past month, led by a 87 percent surge in Sunac China Holdings Ltd., the momentum has started to turn as authorities have taken a harder line on reining in financial risks. Six of the 10 best performers on the MSCI All-Country World Index in the one month through Sept. 21 were Chinese real estate firms. Since then, they’re among the worst performers.Stocks in Asia Dip as Haven Rally Subsides. (video) Financial markets showed signs of stabilizing after a fresh trigger from North Korea had sent money into haven assets, with focus returning to comments from central bank policy makers. Equities in Asia began Tuesday mixed as gains in gold and the yen petered out. North Korea had injected a note of caution to markets on Monday after its foreign minister declared that the nation can shoot down U.S. warplanes. Focus remains on Chinese property developers, as one of the world’s most extreme stock rallies gets a reality check. Japan’s Topix index was slightly lower as of 9:21 a.m. in Tokyo. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.3 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures were down 0.4 percent.Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day. (video)‘This Is Chaos’: Day 5 in Storm-Ravaged, Blacked-Out Puerto Rico. (video)Wall Street Journal:Collins Becomes Third Republican to Oppose Graham-Cassidy Bill. Maine senator joins McCain and Paul in saying they won’t vote for health-care bill. MarketWatch.com:Read this before making a First Amendment political protest on the job.Fox News:Collins says no on ObamaCare repeal bill, effectively derailing Graham-Cassidy legislation.Sessions to declare free speech 'under attack' on campus, in broadside at political correctness. (video)CNBC: Commentary: Why I’m not getting worried about tech stocks — yet. (video)Zero Hedge:Last Ditch Obamacare Repeal Bill Officially Dead After Collins Says No.Here Are The Congressional Aides That Traded On Insider Information Over The Past Year.Hurricane Maria Has Transformed Puerto Rico Into A "Cash Only" Economy.Leaked Descriptions Of Infamous "Russia Ads" Derail Collusion Narrative "They Showed Support For Clinton".Massive Hack At Deloitte: Entire Internal Email System Compromised, Client Emails Exposed. Techs Wrecked, Financials Falter As Korean Threats Spark Gold Gains. (video) Business Insider:Australians are voting on same-sex marriage — and it's starting to get ugly.Night Trading Asian equity indices are -.5% to unch. on average.Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 82.25 +1.75 basis points.  Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 16.50 +.5 basis point.Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.17 unch. S&P 500 futures -.08%. NASDAQ 100 futures -.09%. Morning Preview Links Earnings of Note Company/Estimate (CCL)/2.20(DRI)/.99(FDS)/1.89(CTAS)/1.31(MU)/1.84(NKE)/.48 Economic Releases  9:00 am ESTThe July S&P CoreLogic CS 20-City MoM is estimated to rise +.2% versus a +.11% gain in June. 10:00 am ESTNew Home Sales for August are estimated to rise to 585K versus 571K in July[...]



Stocks Lower into Final Hour on Geopolitical Tensions, Diminished Healthcare Reform Hopes, Profit-Taking, Tech/Gaming Sector Weakness

2017-09-25T15:34:06.747-04:00

Broad Equity Market Tone:Advance/Decline Line: Modestly LowerSector Performance: MixedVolume: Around Average Market Leading Stocks: UnderperformingEquity Investor Angst:Volatility(VIX) 10.84 +13.0%Euro/Yen Carry Return Index 137.87 -1.19% Emerging Markets Currency Volatility(VXY) 7.90 +.25% S&P 500 Implied Correlation 24.55 +9.11%ISE Sentiment Index 91.0 +40.0%Total Put/Call .68 -29.17% NYSE Arms .95 -11.24% Credit Investor Angst:North American Investment Grade CDS Index 60.0 +.35% America Energy Sector High-Yield CDS Index 434.0 +.31%European Financial Sector CDS Index 60.14 +.58%Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 5.12 +1.09%Asia Pacific Sovereign Debt CDS Index 16.46 +2.65%Emerging Market CDS Index 191.32 +1.41%iBoxx Offshore RMB China Corporate High Yield Index 141.95 +.08%2-Year Swap Spread 25.75 -1.0 basis point TED Spread 31.0 +.5 basis point3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -32.75 -2.25 basis pointsEconomic Gauges:Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.19 -.52% 3-Month T-Bill Yield 1.02% unch.Yield Curve 79.0 -3.0 basis points China Import Iron Ore Spot $63.06/Metric Tonne -.79% Citi US Economic Surprise Index -8.70 +.1 pointCiti Eurozone Economic Surprise Index 40.80 -8.6 points Citi Emerging Markets Economic Surprise Index 15.20 -1.3 basis points10-Year TIPS Spread 1.85 unch.65.4% chance of Fed rate hike at Dec. 13 meeting, 66.1% chance at Jan. 31 meetingOverseas Futures:Nikkei 225 Futures: Indicating -182 open in Japan China A50 Futures: Indicating -58 open in ChinaDAX Futures: Indicating -37 open in GermanyPortfolio: Slightly Lower: On losses in my medical/tech sector longs Disclosed Trades: Added to my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges Market Exposure: Moved to 75% Net Long[...]



Today's Headlines

2017-09-25T15:02:16.891-04:00

Bloomberg: North Korea Claims Right to Down U.S. Jets Outside Airspace. (video) North Korea can shoot down U.S. strategic warplanes in international airspace as part of its right to self-defense under the United Nations charter, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said in New York as tensions between the nations remain high. “The UN Charter acknowledges member states’ right of self-defense,” Ri said outside a hotel near the international body’s headquarters on Monday. “As the United States has declared a war, even though its strategic bombers don’t cross our border, we will come to own all rights to respond for self-defense including shooting down its planes at any time.”Draghi Pledges Euro Area Will Get All the ECB Support It Needs. (video) Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank will keep as much stimulus as the euro-area economy needs when policy makers decide to adjust their 2.3 trillion-euro ($2.7 trillion) bond-buying program later this year. Speaking in Brussels on Monday, the ECB President pointed to uncertainties about the medium-term outlook for inflation as he presented an upbeat picture of economic recovery after 17 consecutive quarters of growth and unemployment at the lowest level in eight years. He stressed there was no pre-set size for the central bank’s balance sheet, which depended on the instruments the central bank was using and the state of the economy.Rough Seas Slow Crude Deliveries to U.S. East Coast Refineries. (video)Rowan(RDC) Is Said in Talks to Acquire Maersk's Drilling Business.Your Evening Briefing.Cash Is in Short Supply in Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico. (video) In post-hurricane San Juan on Monday, commerce picked up ever so slightly. With a little effort, you could get the basics and sometimes more: diapers, medicine, or even a gourmet hamburger smothered in fried onions and gorgonzola cheese. But almost impossible to find was a place that accepted credit cards.Steeler Who Stood for Anthem Now Has Best-Selling NFL Jersey.Wall Street Journal: North Korean Official Says U.S. Has Declared War. Country’s foreign minister says Pyongyang is justified to down U.S. planes in international airspace.U.S. Has Options as Tension With North Korea Escalates. Experts say there are paths the Trump administration could take to try to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear advances. Revised GOP Health Bill Targets Wavering Senators. New text trumpets more benefits for certain states, more leeway to waive insurer benefits.Merkel Faces Big Challenges in Forming Government. German chancellor is likely to seek a three-way coalition that has never been tested at the federal level.Target(TGT) to Boost Minimum Wages in Battle for Store Workers. Retail chain to start pay at $11 an hour, pledges to increase to $15 an hour within three years.MarketWatch.com: European stocks ring up small gain after German election. The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.18% added 0.2% to close at 383.90. On Friday, the index ended up by 0.1% and marked a weekly advance of 0.7%.Fox News: North Korea's 'gruesome' murder of Kim's brother meant to 'horrify world,' new report says.CNBC: Here's what we know about the Republican tax reform plan so far. (video)Amazon(AMZN) can't compete with off-price retailers, JPMorgan says.McCain calls brain cancer prognosis 'very poor'.China steel production cuts set to take effect.China Blocks WhatsApp, Broadening Online Censorship.Fed needs to see prices rise before next rate hike, Evans says.Navistar(NAV), VW will collaborate on electric truck, connectivity.Zero Hedge: North Korea Says "Trump Declared War", Threatens To Shoot Down US Jets.Angry NFL Fans Lash Out, Burn Jerseys Over Protests: "You Can Take Your NFL And Shove It"."Sunday Night Football" Ratings Slide Following Day Of Player Protests.FANG Stocks Plunge Most In 3 Months, AAPL Nears Correction. (graph)Trump Escalates War With NFL In Early Tweetstorm.Anthony Weiner Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison For Sexting A 15-Year-Old[...]



Bear Radar

2017-09-25T13:43:37.236-04:00

Style Underperformer: Large-Cap Growth -.8%Sector Underperformers: 1) Social Media -3.0% 2) Hospitals -2.5% 3) Steel -2.0%Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume: TCMD, DGX, CATM, BEDU, EVTC, SQM, TRIP, NLNK, ATSG, FB, TSS, MX, TTWO, FSLR and BABAStocks With Unusual Put Option Activity: 1) TRIP 2) OPK 3) EPD 4) PF 5) LITE Stocks With Most Negative News Mentions: 1) CATM 2) TRIP 3) DGX 4) SNAP 5) ALB Charts: ETFs Falling on Unusual Volume Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume [...]



Bull Radar

2017-09-25T13:25:57.093-04:00

Style Outperformer: Mid-Cap Value +.4%Sector Outperformers: 1) Oil Service +2.7% 2) Energy +1.4% 3) Gold & Silver +1.1% Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume:SECO, OUT, ICPT, GPC, VERI, RGNX, AAAP, CIR, PLSE, VYGR, SODA, AIMT, CMP, UNIT, FINL, PBA, UFI, ASND, CRE, PTCT, KRC, GM, CL, EXXI, CREE, GPRO and APTSStocks With Unusual Call Option Activity: 1) UPS 2) RHT 3) OPK 4) CCL 5) DRI Stocks With Most Positive News Mentions: 1) AGN 2) RIG 3) PDLI 4) STAA 5) ESV Charts: ETFs Rising on Unusual Volume Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume [...]



Morning Market Internals

2017-09-25T10:33:03.562-04:00

NYSE Composite Index:
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Monday Watch

2017-09-24T22:31:21.643-04:00

Today's Headlines Bloomberg:Merkel Chastised as Far-Right Surge Taints Fourth-Term Win. (video) Angela Merkel won a fourth term as German chancellor in a victory that was marred by the hollowing out of support for the two main parties and a surge for the populist AfD in a clear rebuke to her open-doors refugee policy. Both Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc and her main challenger, Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats, plunged to historic lows as votes flowed to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in a sign of the growing polarization in Europe’s biggest economy. Six parties are now poised to enter the lower house, the Bundestag, for the first time since 1953.Euro Falls as Merkel Faces German Coalition Test After Win. (video) The euro slipped 0.4 percent to $1.1903 in early Monday trading in New Zealand. “Currencies are less liquid this early in the Asia session and the price action may be only the beginning of a more meaningful correction lower in euro crosses later today,” said Credit Agricole SA strategist Valentin Marinov.Yen, Kiwi Drop as Politics in Focus; Stocks Mixed. (video) The yen declined on speculation Japan’s prime minister will press for a stimulus package alongside his expected call for a snap election -- sending the nation’s stocks higher. The kiwi and euro both slid initially as ballot results foreshadowed potentially complex political coalition building. New Zealand’s vote kicked off what could be weeks of coalition-building talks, weighing on the currency amid disappointment the ruling party failed to get a majority. The euro was modestly weaker against the dollar after Chancellor Angela Merkel won Germany’s election with a smaller share of the vote, with focus on a surprisingly strong result for a far-right party. South Korea’s currency rose as concerns over North Korean tensions faded, despite fresh rhetorical exchanges with the U.S. over the weekend. Japan’s Topix index advanced 0.5 percent as of 9:30 a.m. Tokyo time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index swung between gains and losses. Contracts on Hang Seng Index futures were up 0.1 percent.Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day.Trump Says He Wants 15% Corporate Tax Rate Despite Plan for 20%. (video) Republican tax negotiators are targeting a corporate tax rate of 20 percent, according to two people familiar with the matter -- but there’s at least one potential obstacle: President Donald Trump. “We’ll see what happens, but I hope it’s going to be 15 percent,” Trump told reporters Sunday as he prepared to return to Washington after a weekend in New Jersey. The current corporate tax rate is 35 percent. Meanwhile, the group of administration officials and congressional leaders that’s planning a framework for tax legislation is also expected to recommend cutting the top individual tax rate to 35 percent, down from 39.6 percent, according to two people familiar with the matter.Wall Street Journal:Tensions Rise as U.S. Warplanes Skirt North Korean Coast, Pyongyang’s Envoy Sharpens Threats. Eight American planes prowl coastline as Pyongyang warns of ‘inevitable’ attack on U.S.The Politicization of Everything. Everybody loses in the Trump-NFL brawl over the national anthem. Spain Moves to Block Catalonia Vote but Independence Push Persists. Secessionists press on as Madrid’s efforts appear to lessen turnout prospects for a vote it deems illegal. Iran Tests Ballistic Missile Amid U.S. Tensions. Test comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump sharply criticized Iran in U.N. address. Leveraged Loans Are Back and on Pace to Top Pre-Financial Crisis Records. Investors worry this could pressure financial markets if global economic expansion fades. ObamaCare’s Tax on the Poor. The mandate penalty hits low-income Americ[...]



Weekly Outlook

2017-09-24T22:25:14.745-04:00

BOTTOM LINE: I expect US stocks to finish the week mixed as oil strength, tax reform hopes and yen weakness offsets geopolitical fears, diminished healthcare reform hopes and profit-taking. My intermediate-term trading indicators are giving neutral signals and the Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the week.
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Today's Headlines

2017-09-23T23:30:46.979-04:00

Bloomberg:China Cities Tighten Home-Sale Rules to Tame Property Market. Several large Chinese cities including Shijiazhuang, Chongqing, Nanchang, Nanning and Guiyang are imposing restrictions on home resales as part of the nation’s campaign to cool its heated property sector. Chongqing will ban sales of new and existing residential properties in downtown areas within two years of purchase, according to a statement on the city’s housing authority website. The move seeks to curb speculative investment and boost healthy development of the property market, it said late Friday. The measure takes effect from Sept. 23.New Earthquake, Magnitude 6.1, Shakes Jittery Mexico.Wall Street Journal:McCain Says He Can’t Support Latest GOP Senate Health Bill. Senator is second GOP no vote, would be third if Collins opposes.Iran Tests Ballistic Missile Amid U.S. Tensions. Test comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump sharply criticized Iran in U.N. address.Spain Moves to Block Catalonia Vote but Independence Push Persists. Secessionists press on as Madrid’s efforts appear to lessen turnout prospects for a vote it deems illegal. ObamaCare Groundhog Day. John McCain and Rand Paul all but doom a second reform attempt.Barron's: Had bullish commentary on (ONCE), (AVXS), (ORCL), (GPRO), (RGNX), (VYGR), (BOLD) and (PFE).Had bearish commentary on (SIX). Fox News:Trump targets Paul, Murkowski, McCain on ObamaCare vote in tweets. (video)CNBC:Tax plan could mean good things for stocks as third quarter ends with surprising strength. (video)China moves to implement UN sanctions with limits on some refined oil exports to North Korea.Here are the retailers that have filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017.Up to 25 percent of cars may soon be fully electric, says Mercedes-Benz USA CEO after automaker invests $1 billion in electric vehicle production. (video)The Trump value trade might not be dead after all, and could see a 'monster' recovery. Zero Hedge:Russia Warns US In Unprecedented "Secret" Face-To-Face Meeting Over Syria, But What's The Endgame?Trump Blasts Warriors Star Stephen Curry: "Your White House Invitation Has Been Withdrawn".Putting America's Record-Breaking $20 Trillion Debt In Global Context. Trump Sports Feud Escalates: Demands NFL Chief "Tells Them To Stand".Why The German Elections Matter, And Not Just For Germany.Australia Cracks Down On Foreign Real Estate Buyers As "Ghost Towers" Increasingly Outrage Locals. (graph)North Korea Tells UN "Trump Is On A Suicide Mission; Inevitably Our Rockets Will Hit US Mainland".Drone Footage Shows Puerto Rico Devastation From The Air. (video) Spain In Crisis: Catalan Police Reject Madrid Takeover, Vow To "Resist". Trump Trounces "Hypocrite" McCain, Thinks Rand Paul "May Find A Way" To Save Obamacare Repeal Bill. America's 'Fake' Stability & Boobs On Credit. Trump Bars Breitbart From Alabama Rally As Feud With Bannon Escalates. Earthquake Detected Near North Korea Nuclear Test Site; China "Suspects Explosion". Pictures Of Pyongyang: WSJ Unveils Never-Before-Seen Images From North Korea's Showcase Capital.Florida Residents Warned They'll Be Ticketed For Hurricane-Damaged Homes. Pound Flash Crashes After Moody's Downgrades UK To Aa2.Weekend Reading: Yellen Takes Away The Punchbowl.VIXtermination Sparks Buying-Panic In Stocks As Yield Curve Crashes To 10 Year Lows. (graph)Business Insider:The NFL is getting hammered after another game was played in a half-empty stadium.Trump slams NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over players' national anthem protests: 'Tell them to stand!'NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says Trump's attacks show an 'unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL'. Traders are betting billions against Disney(DIS).Mark Zuckerberg will sell up to $12.7 billion in Facebook(FB) stock over the next 18 months.[...]



Weekly Scoreboard*

2017-09-22T15:13:32.676-04:00

S&P 500 2,499.51 -.03%The Weekly Wrap by Briefing.com.   IndicesDJIA 22,331.30 +.25%NASDAQ 6,422.63 -.41%Russell 2000 1,450.53 +1.35%S&P 500 High Beta 38.74 +1.74% Goldman 50 Most Shorted 137.91 -.39% Wilshire 5000 25,908.33 +.14%Russell 1000 Growth 1,248.47 -.31%Russell 1000 Value 1,158.61 +.42%S&P 500 Consumer Staples 555.33 -2.38%Vanda Cyclicals-Defensives 1.3323 +.81% NYSE Technology 1,582.14 -.11%Transports 9,703.84 +1.66%Utilities 727.25 -2.58%Bloomberg European Bank/Financial Services 100.92 +1.74%MSCI Emerging Markets 45.39 +.02%HFRX Equity Hedge 1,231.77 +.30%HFRX Equity Market Neutral 1,007.85 -.14%Sentiment/InternalsNYSE Cumulative A/D Line 302,434 +.41%Bloomberg New Highs-Lows Index 371-22Bloomberg Crude Oil % Bulls 47.92 -27.1% CFTC Oil Net Speculative Position 374,480 -2.0% CFTC Oil Total Open Interest 2,345,125 +.80% Total Put/Call .94 -12.15%OEX Put/Call .65 +25.0%ISE Sentiment 77.0 +1.39% NYSE Arms 1.15 -5.0%Volatility(VIX) 9.94 -2.16%S&P 500 Implied Correlation 23.62 +.72%G7 Currency Volatility (VXY) 8.89 +2.07%Emerging Markets Currency Volatility (EM-VXY) 7.89 +2.73% Smart Money Flow Index 19,684.46 +.21%ICI Money Mkt Mutual Fund Assets $2.724 Trillion -.53%ICI US Equity Weekly Net New Cash Flow -$3.201 BillionAAII % Bulls 40.1 -2.8%AAII % Bears 27.2 +23.9% Futures Spot PricesCRB Index 188.47 -.37%Crude Oil 50.49 +1.30%Reformulated Gasoline 166.22 -.05%Natural Gas 2.96 -2.34%Heating Oil 181.21 +.82%Gold 1,294.10 -1.95%Bloomberg Base Metals Index 196.35 +1.13% Copper 294.40 -.22%US No. 1 Heavy Melt Scrap Steel 287.0 USD/Ton +1.89%China Iron Ore Spot 63.56 USD/Ton -11.9%Lumber 393.60 +3.76%UBS-Bloomberg Agriculture 1,037.78 -.63%EconomyAtlanta Fed GDPNow Forecast +2.2 -80.0 basis points ECRI Weekly Leading Economic Index Growth Rate +0.0% -30.0 basis pointsPhilly Fed ADS Real-Time Business Conditions Index -.4951 +7.26% US Economic Policy Uncertainty Index 143.66 +12.85% S&P 500 Blended Forward 12 Months Mean EPS Estimate 140.76 +.01%Citi US Economic Surprise Index -8.8 +10.2 pointsCiti Eurozone Economic Surprise Index 49.4 +31.0 pointsCiti Emerging Markets Economic Surprise Index 16.50 +.6 point Fed Fund Futures imply 85.5% chance of no change, 14.5% chance of 25 basis point hike on 11/1US Dollar Index 92.17 +.36%MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index 1,637.57 -.53%Euro/Yen Carry Return Index 139.62 +1.12% Yield Curve 82.0 unch.10-Year US Treasury Yield 2.26% +6.0 basis pointsFederal Reserve's Balance Sheet $4.418 Trillion -.29%U.S. Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 25.87 -.17%Illinois Municipal Debt Credit Default Swap 338.62 +1.16% Western Europe Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap Index 5.06 +2.33%Asia Pacific Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap Index 16.03 -12.4%Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt CDS Index 40.40 -1.25%Israel Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 55.82 +7.06% South Korea Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 71.98 +4.96% Russia Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 146.81 +11.09% iBoxx Offshore RMB China Corporate High Yield Index 141.84 +.08%10-Year TIPS Spread 1.85% -1.0 basis pointTED Spread 30.50 +1.5 basis points 2-Year Swap Spread 26.75 +1.5 basis points 3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -30.0 -7.25 basis pointsN. America Investment Grade Credit Default Swap Index 60.19 +6.74%America Energy Sector High-Yield Credit Default Swap Index 431.0 +3.49% European Financial Sector Credit Default Swap Index 59.20 +22.25%Emerging Markets Credit Default Swap Index 188.48 +11.3%CMBS AAA Super Senior 10-Year Treasury Spread to Swaps 152.0 +2.0 basis pointsM1 Money Supply $3.577 Trillion +.37% Commercial Paper Outstanding 1,043.90 +2.0%4-Week Moving Average of Jobless Claims 263,250 +5,500Continuing Claims Unemployment Rate 1.4% unch.Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate 3.83% +5.0 basis pointsWeekly Mor[...]



Stocks Slightly Higher into Final Hour on Economic Optimism, Technical Buying, Short-Covering, Retail/Defense Sector Strength

2017-09-22T14:45:42.861-04:00

Broad Equity Market Tone:Advance/Decline Line: HigherSector Performance: MixedVolume: Below Average Market Leading Stocks: OutperformingEquity Investor Angst:Volatility(VIX) 9.95 +2.9%Euro/Yen Carry Return Index 13.55 -.35% Emerging Markets Currency Volatility(VXY) 7.89 +.9% S&P 500 Implied Correlation 23.58 +3.19%ISE Sentiment Index 73.0 +19.67%Total Put/Call .90 +8.43% NYSE Arms 1.22 +14.27% Credit Investor Angst:North American Investment Grade CDS Index 60.22 +1.11% America Energy Sector High-Yield CDS Index 431.0 +.52%European Financial Sector CDS Index 59.8 +5.14%Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 5.06 +13.84%Asia Pacific Sovereign Debt CDS Index 16.04 +6.19%Emerging Market CDS Index 188.60 -.36%iBoxx Offshore RMB China Corporate High Yield Index 141.84 -.01%2-Year Swap Spread 26.75 -.5 basis point TED Spread 30.5 +.25 basis point3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -30.0 -4.5 basis pointsEconomic Gauges:Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.62 +.26% 3-Month T-Bill Yield 1.02% -1.0 basis pointYield Curve 82.0 -2.0 basis points China Import Iron Ore Spot $63.56/Metric Tonne -3.83% Citi US Economic Surprise Index -8.80 +.5 pointCiti Eurozone Economic Surprise Index 49.40 +28.2 points Citi Emerging Markets Economic Surprise Index 16.50 +.1 basis point10-Year TIPS Spread 1.85 +1.0 basis point68.8% chance of Fed rate hike at Dec. 13 meeting, 69.4% chance at Jan. 31 meetingOverseas Futures:Nikkei 225 Futures: Indicating -66 open in Japan China A50 Futures: Indicating -40 open in ChinaDAX Futures: Indicating +6 open in GermanyPortfolio: Higher: On gains in my medical/tech/retail sector longs Disclosed Trades: Covered some of my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges Market Exposure: Moved to 100% Net Long[...]



Bear Radar

2017-09-22T13:30:05.846-04:00

Style Underperformer: Large-Cap Growth -.1%Sector Underperformers: 1) HMOs -1.6% 2) Steel -.8% 3) Papers -.7%Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume: ICPT, CMP, DVA, EXEL, W, PRAA, PTCT, ABEO, IRBT and TCMDStocks With Unusual Put Option Activity: 1) ICPT 2) FINL 3) FSLR 4) JNPR 5) RHT Stocks With Most Negative News Mentions: 1) VSAR 2) ICPT 3) EXEL 4) RVLT 5) X Charts: ETFs Falling on Unusual Volume Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume [...]



Bull Radar

2017-09-22T13:13:49.572-04:00

Style Outperformer: Small-Cap Growth +.3%Sector Outperformers: 1) Disk Drives +1.4% 2) Defense +1.3% 3) Networking +1.1% Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume:ASND, EFX, VERI, AJRD, FSLR, NYLD, KMX, JUNO, CUB, UNIT, MODN, QUAD, JOE, JOBS, LJPC, AZN, ICFI, NVS, TMUSP, ENTL, HCC, CNOB, DM, NTNX, REV, NLNK, PSXP, AJRD, ZGNX, CARS, KTOS, BOX and HCLPStocks With Unusual Call Option Activity: 1) AMJ 2) FINL 3) VSAR 4) KMX 5) TXN Stocks With Most Positive News Mentions: 1) CUB 2) KMX 3) S 4) TXN 5) AAL Charts: ETFs Rising on Unusual Volume Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume [...]



Morning Market Internals

2017-09-22T12:06:49.237-04:00

NYSE Composite Index:
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Friday Watch

2017-09-21T22:35:33.230-04:00

Evening HeadlinesBloomberg:Stocks Drop, Yen Rises on Renewed N. Korea Tension. After a flat start to Friday’s Asian session, benchmarks dropped in Tokyo and Seoul, and S&P 500 Index futures declined. Bond yields retreated and the yen and gold climbed after Yonhap News cited a North Korean official saying the “highest level of hard-line” countermeasures against the U.S. could refer to a hydrogen-bomb in the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s nuclear tests up to now have taken place on its own soil. Japan’s Topix index fell 0.3 percent as of 11:30 a.m. Tokyo time and South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.8 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent. Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day.Shale Billionaire Hamm Slams 'Exaggerated' U.S. Oil Projections. (video) Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm says the government was way too optimistic with its prediction of more than 1 million new barrels a day in U.S. production, and the snafu is “distorting" global crude prices. This year’s rise is likely to be closer to about 500,000 barrels, far off an initial forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, according to Hamm, the chairman of Continental Resources Inc. and a pioneer in the shale industry.Wall Street Journal: Puerto Rico After Maria: No Power, No Cell Signal, and Lots of Damage. Many communities are cut off from communication; governor warns flooding, mudslides are ‘giant problem’.U.S. Monitored Manafort After He Left Trump Campaign. The surveillance came as part of a counterintelligence probe into Russian interference with presidential election. Top SEC Officials Only Recently Learned of 2016 Company-Database Hack. Edgar system stores confidential forms that could be juicy targets for hackers.Facebook(FB) Says It Will Hand Over Russia-Backed Ads to Congress. The social-media giant has been under pressure from for withholding information. Fox News: Trump signs executive order targeting North Korea's trading partners. (video)Zero Hedge: Stocks, USDJPY Stumble After North Korean "H-Bomb Test" Threat Reports. (graph)Kim Jong Un Vows To Tame "Mentally Deranged Dotard" Trump "With Fire".A Look At How Nestle Makes Billions Selling You Groundwater In A Bottle."No One Knows How To Interpret The Fed" Trader Reflects On Crushed Curve-Steepening Trade."Choose North Korea Or The US": White House Releases Details On Latest N.Korean Sanctions.  VIX Set For Calmest September In History (Despite Nukes, Fed, Quakes, And Storms). (graph) Dallas School Board Designates Founding Fathers As Having "Confederate Links".Yield Curve Collapse To 10-Year Lows Kills Dow Win Streak (But Banks Surge). (graph)Night Trading  Asian equity indices are -.5% to unch. on average.Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 78.75 +.5 basis point.  Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 15.0 -.25 basis point.Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.46 +.04%. S&P 500 futures -.30%. NASDAQ 100 futures -.49%. Morning Preview Links Earnings of Note Company/Estimate (KMX)/.95(FINL)/.11 Economic Releases  9:45 am EST Preliminary Markit US Manufacturing PMI for September is estimated to rise to 53.0 versus 52.8 in August.Preliminary Markit US Services PMI for September is estimated to fall to 557 versu 56.0 in August. Upcoming Splits None of noteOther Potential Market Movers The Fed's Williams speaking, Fed's Kaplan speaking, Fed's George speaking and the Eurozone PMI report could also impact trading today.BOTTOM LINE:  Asian indices are mostly lower, weighed down by industr[...]



Stocks Lower into Final Hour on Fed Rate-Hike Worries, Geopolitical Concerns, Profit-Taking, Steel/Oil Service Sector Weakness

2017-09-21T15:10:42.684-04:00

Broad Equity Market Tone:Advance/Decline Line: Modestly LowerSector Performance: MixedVolume: Below Average Market Leading Stocks: Performing In LineEquity Investor Angst:Volatility(VIX) 9.71 -.72%Euro/Yen Carry Return Index 140.0 +.61% Emerging Markets Currency Volatility(VXY) 7.80 +1.56% S&P 500 Implied Correlation 22.29 +1.32%ISE Sentiment Index 52.0 -8.77%Total Put/Call .80 -6.98% NYSE Arms 1.11 +24.11% Credit Investor Angst:North American Investment Grade CDS Index 59.33 +1.09% America Energy Sector High-Yield CDS Index 429.0 +4.67%European Financial Sector CDS Index 57.62 +1.44%Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 4.44 -.67%Asia Pacific Sovereign Debt CDS Index 15.10 -3.14%Emerging Market CDS Index 188.89 -.36%iBoxx Offshore RMB China Corporate High Yield Index 141.85 +.13%2-Year Swap Spread 27.25 +1.5 basis points TED Spread 30.25 +1.0 basis point3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -25.5 unch.Economic Gauges:Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.42 -.13% 3-Month T-Bill Yield 1.03% unch.Yield Curve 84.0 +1.0 basis point China Import Iron Ore Spot $66.09/Metric Tonne -5.11% Citi US Economic Surprise Index -9.30 +8.1 pointsCiti Eurozone Economic Surprise Index 21.20 -1.1 points Citi Emerging Markets Economic Surprise Index 16.40 +.9 basis point10-Year TIPS Spread 1.84 -2.0 basis points72.2% chance of Fed rate hike at Dec. 13 meeting, 72.8% chance at Jan. 31 meetingOverseas Futures:Nikkei 225 Futures: Indicating -32 open in Japan China A50 Futures: Indicating -7 open in ChinaDAX Futures: Indicating -7 open in GermanyPortfolio: Slightly Lower: On losses in my medical/tech sector longs Disclosed Trades: None Market Exposure: 100% Net Long[...]



Today's Headlines

2017-09-21T14:37:13.366-04:00

Bloomberg:Puerto Rico's Economic Crisis Grows in Maria's Wake. Hurricane Maria is Puerto Rico’s worst in nearly a century, a double blow as it follows the destructive Hurricane Irma by just two weeks. The costs, both human and financial, have only begun to come into view. This much is certain: the U.S. territory, bankrupted by runaway debt, now confronts an even deeper economic crisis. Four months after the island’s government sought protection from creditors in the nation’s largest municipal insolvency, the odds of a speedy resolution now appear to be dimming. President Donald Trump said Thursday he plans to visit the island and declared Puerto Rico a disaster zone, which helps clear the way for federal assistance.S&P Cuts China’s Credit Rating, Citing Risk From Debt Growth. (video)China's Credit Party Rolls On Despite S&P's Downgrade. (video)Your Evening Briefing.Take the Fed's Dot Plot Forecast in Stride, Deutsche Bank Says. (video) The bond market needs to take a chill pill when it comes to the dot plot -- the Federal Reserve’s quarterly outlook for policy rates, which was updated Wednesday. That’s what Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank AG, says given that with Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer attending his final FOMC meeting this week, four of the seven board seats will be empty. “For markets, this might not seem important here and now, but it is pretty clear that dramatic changes are coming to the Fed before the end of the year, which has significant implications” including on the leadership’s outlook for inflation, wrote Slok in a note. “It almost makes you wonder if the dot plot and forecasts the Fed released yesterday have any value for markets.”What CEOs Are Saying About the Impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. (video)Mercedes Plots Tesla Attack With $1 Billion U.S. Electric Push. (video)The Supreme Court Gets Its First Test of Gay Rights Since 2015.Wall Street Journal: The Republicans Who May Save ObamaCare. Start with Rand Paul. Can he vote ‘no’ on Graham-Cassidy after voting ‘yes’ in July?With Timing Tight for GOP’s Health-Law Repeal Effort, Opponents Rush to Mobilize. Critics step up attacks on latest bill amid narrow window for Senate vote.Puerto Rico Braces for More Flooding as Maria Dumps More Rain. The most powerful storm to hit the U.S. territory in almost a century has knocked out power across the entire island.Amazon(AMZN) Puts Whole Foods on Fast Track to Conventional Supermarket. Specialty grocer will no longer allow ‘brand advocates’ in stores, a potential blow to local sellers. MarketWatch.com: Household net worth climbs by $1.7 trillion as stock market rises.Nvidia(NVDA) investors should ‘ignore the noise’ about a Tesla(TSLA)-AMD(AMD) partnership. Banks lead European stocks higher after Fed hints at rate hike. The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.24% rose 0.2% to 382.88, closing at its highest level since July 20. On Wednesday, the benchmark closed fractionally lower as investors marked time before the highly anticipated Fed policy announcement. Fox News: China banks reportedly to halt business with North Korea as South Korea sends $8 million. (video)Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico powerless, at least 15 dead on Dominica. (video)CNBC: Stocks could rally 10% into year's end thanks to the Trump effect, says longtime bull Jeremy Siegel. (video)Halloween spending slated to hit record $9.1 billion, NRF says.Art Cashin: The Fed projects 3 rate hikes for 2018, but Trump could change that. (video)Google(GOOGL) agrees to buy part of HTC [...]



Bear Radar

2017-09-21T13:45:28.073-04:00

Style Underperformer: Large-Cap Growth -.1%Sector Underperformers: 1) Steel -1.9% 2) Oil Service -1.1% 3) Tobacco -.6%Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume: XLRN, SCHL and ICPTStocks With Unusual Put Option Activity: 1) FINL 2) GIS 3) FITB 4) RHT 5) TRV Stocks With Most Negative News Mentions: 1) ICPT 2) TNTR 3) JD 4) JAKK 5) VALE Charts: ETFs Falling on Unusual Volume Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume [...]



Bull Radar

2017-09-21T13:22:59.801-04:00

Style Outperformer: Small-Cap Growth +.3%Sector Outperformers: 1) Hospitals +1.1% 2) Disk Drives +.8% 3) Energy +.6% Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume:CCC, BECN, VAC, TPRE, VERI, XOMA, ALNY, PNK, MATX, APC, RDY, CRTO, ALOG, AMPH, BP, FDS, MBUU, NTLA, DSLV, FOLD, EBIX, IPXL, HIMX, GPRO, EXAS, SUPN and PSTGStocks With Unusual Call Option Activity: 1) SMH 2) SPB 3) TXN 4) HON 5) GRPN Stocks With Most Positive News Mentions: 1) RYES 2) GRPH 3) MANU 4) ALNY 5) SEE Charts: ETFs Rising on Unusual Volume Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume [...]



Morning Market Internals

2017-09-21T11:17:14.672-04:00

NYSE Composite Index:
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Thursday Watch

2017-09-20T20:58:23.666-04:00

Evening HeadlinesBloomberg: Ten Cities Tell the Tale of China's Spreading Real-Estate Risk. Beijing and Shanghai are now well known for their ballooning house prices -- double-digit gains last year prompted more regulatory tightening. But the the risk factors that could decide the fate of China’s property boom can be found well beyond the capital and biggest city. A close look at the available economic data of ten cities reveals big differences in the factors that can inflate, and deflate, property bubbles, including population growth, income gains and the ratio between house prices and pay.Why Sanctions Against North Korea Are Causing Pain in China. Along China’s border with North Korea, residents are more worried about feeding their families than the possibility of nuclear war. In Hunchun, a city of about 230,000 people near China’s shared frontier with North Korea and Russia, protests briefly broke out last month after the United Nations Security Council approved sanctions banning exports of seafood and other goods from Kim Jong Un’s regime. Dozens of wholesale stores were shuttered, dealing a blow to the packagers, distributors, drivers and restaurateurs who depend on the trade.Soaring Food Prices Spice Up Asia's Inflation Outlook. Radish prices jumped 71 percent from a year earlier in South Korea last month. In India, prices for tomatoes and onions have doubled from a year ago. Japan’s squid prices rose 17 percent in July from a year earlier. And in China, egg prices have surged at least 62 percent since April at Beijing’s Xinfadi, the nation’s largest agriculture wholesale market. With exports across Asia faring better than just about anyone expected and domestic demand in most markets robust, could this be the start of a long-anticipated inflation breakout?Yen Falls as Dollar Jumps on Fed's Hawkish Tone. The yen maintained losses in early Asian trading after the dollar surged and Treasuries tumbled as the Federal Reserve struck a more hawkish tone than markets anticipated. Asian equity-index futures signaled a mixed start. The yen was weaker for a fifth day after Bloomberg’s dollar index rose with the central bank setting an October start for shrinking its balance sheet and maintaining a forecast for another rate increase this year. The 10-year Treasury yield approached 2.30 percent. A slump in Apple Inc. dragged tech shares lower. Oil advanced above $50 a barrel and gold was steady. Contracts on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose, while they fell on the Kospi index and were little change on the Australian benchmark.Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day.Managers of $3 Trillion Buy Dollars After Worst Slide in Decade. The dollar has been mired in its worst slump in a decade, battered by political drama in Washington and shifting bets on central-bank policy. Managers of $3 trillion say the carnage has gone on long enough. Mellon Capital Management Corp., State Street Global Advisors and UBS Asset Management are wagering that the greenback will recoup some of its 9 percent slide in 2017 as traders embrace a scenario that was all but written off a few weeks ago: a December rate hike by the Federal Reserve. That view gained traction Wednesday after policy makers stuck to their forecast for another increase this year. The dollar surged on the announcement.Wall Street Journal: Hackers Entered Equifax Systems(EFX) in March. Equifax previously disclosed data was potentially accessed in May[...]



Stocks Slightly Lower into Final Hour on More Hawkish FOMC Commentary, Apple(AAPL) Worries, Profit-Taking, Tech/Homebuilding Sector Weakness

2017-09-20T15:43:55.068-04:00

Broad Equity Market Tone:Advance/Decline Line: Modestly HigherSector Performance: MixedVolume: Above Average Market Leading Stocks: OutperformingEquity Investor Angst:Volatility(VIX) 10.0 -1.77%Euro/Yen Carry Return Index 139.27 -.26% Emerging Markets Currency Volatility(VXY) 7.73 +.39% S&P 500 Implied Correlation 22.77 -2.3%ISE Sentiment Index 52.0 -11.9%Total Put/Call .88 +14.3% NYSE Arms .91 -8.1% Credit Investor Angst:North American Investment Grade CDS Index 58.95 +6.8% America Energy Sector High-Yield CDS Index 425.0 +2.87%European Financial Sector CDS Index 57.18 +23.3% (new series)Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 4.48 -5.19%Asia Pacific Sovereign Debt CDS Index 15.59 -13.29%Emerging Market CDS Index 191.15 +9.14%iBoxx Offshore RMB China Corporate High Yield Index 141.65 +.01%2-Year Swap Spread 25.75 -.25 basis point TED Spread 29.25 -.5 basis point3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -25.5 unch.Economic Gauges:Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.53 -.09% 3-Month T-Bill Yield 1.03% unch.Yield Curve 83.0 -1.0 basis point China Import Iron Ore Spot $68.85/Metric Tonne +1.16% Citi US Economic Surprise Index -17.40 +.1 pointCiti Eurozone Economic Surprise Index 22.30 +1.1 points Citi Emerging Markets Economic Surprise Index 15.50 +.1 basis point10-Year TIPS Spread 1.86 -2.0 basis points67.1% chance of Fed rate hike at Dec. 13 meeting, 67.7% chance at Jan. 31 meetingOverseas Futures:Nikkei 225 Futures: Indicating -5 open in Japan China A50 Futures: Indicating +15 open in ChinaDAX Futures: Indicating +32 open in GermanyPortfolio: Slightly Higher: On gains in my biotech sector longs and emerging markets shortsDisclosed Trades: Covered some of my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges Market Exposure: Moved to 100% Net Long[...]



Today's Headlines

2017-09-20T15:10:23.439-04:00

Bloomberg:World Economy Is Set to Grow at Fastest Pace Since 2011.ECB's Top Officials on Parade Ahead of Critical October Decision.Your Evening Briefing.Fed to Shrink Assets Next Month, Boost Rates by Year-End. (video)Alcoa(AA) Set for Highest Close Since 2008 as Aluminum Prices Surge. Aluminum is on a roll and it’s taking its makers with it. Alcoa Corp., the largest U.S. producer of the metal, headed for the highest close since the global financial crisis hit in 2008 as aluminum extended its rally to a five-year high. The metal advanced for a third day after a report of possible production cuts in China, compounding supply concerns.The Fed’s New Dot Plot.Wall Street Journal:Trump Urges GOP Senators to Back New Health Bill. President singles out Rand Paul in a tweet as Graham-Cassidy push continues.Apple(AAPL) Acknowledges Cellular Connectivity Problem in New Watch. Company says it is investigating a fix for a future software release.U.S. Demands Changes to Iran Nuclear Deal, Tillerson Says. U.S. to hold talks on Iran accord on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly gathering. MarketWatch.com:Fed decision and Janet Yellen press conference – live blog and video.Welcome to the second biggest bull market since World War II.European stocks mark time as investors focus on U.S. Fed. The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.04% ended down 0.04% at 381.98, echoing quiet action seen in the U.S.Fox News:North Korea’s Kim keeps teen sex slaves, executes musicians with anti-aircraft guns, defector reveals. (video)Rouhani calls Trump's threats 'ignorant,' vows to take action if nuclear pact is broken.CNBC:Why Goldman Sachs(GS) sees $1 trillion in tax cuts coming.Here's what changed in the new Fed statement.These high-flying life sciences stocks make Netflix and Amazon look dull. (video)As smartphones last longer, a $999 iPhone could spell trouble for wireless carriers.California to file lawsuit over Trump border wall.General Mills'(GIS) earnings miss sparks a food stocks sell-off.Zero Hedge: "Extraordinary & Worrisome" - WSJ Demands To Know How FBI 'Meddled' In 2016 Elections.Iran's Rouhani Responds To "Rogue Newcomer" Trump's "Ugly, Ignorant Words".FX Traders Haven't Been This Worried About An FOMC Meeting Since Last Year."I Have Decided": Trump Says He Has Made Decision On Iran Deal.Nasdaq Plunges As AAPL Suffers Triple Whammy.Venezuela Bankrupt? Caracas Fails To Make Sept 15 Interest Payment.WTI/RBOB Drop After Smaller-Than-Expected Gasoline Draw, Big Crude Production Rebound.Fed's Asset Bubbles Now At The Mercy Of The Rest Of The World's Central Bankers. (graph)Existing Home Sales Slump To 1-Year Lows, NAR Says "There's Simply Not Enough Homes For Sale"."We've Never Seen Anything Like This" - Maria Slams Puerto Rico With 9-Foot Storm Surge, 155Mph Winds.The Morning After: Mexican Earthquake Leaves Over 248 Dead, Millions Without Electricity.32 Children Dead, 30 More Missing In Rubble Of Collapsed Mexico City School.How Did Toys "R" Us Implode So Fast? The CEO Explains.[...]



Bear Radar

2017-09-20T13:38:02.294-04:00

Style Underperformer: Large-Cap Growth unch.Sector Underperformers: 1) Semis -1.8% 2) Computer Hardware -1.3% 3) Homebuilders -.9%Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume: BBBY, SQM, MDXG, GIS, IONS, RGR, MMYT, AOBC, AERI, TROX, RCII and WDCStocks With Unusual Put Option Activity: 1) ALNY 2) KMX 3) GIS 4) BBBY 5) SM Stocks With Most Negative News Mentions: 1) BBBY 2) TNTR 3) LB 4) SNCR 5) SCS Charts: ETFs Falling on Unusual Volume Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume [...]