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2018 EXCERPTS FROM PRIOR WEEKS BELOW:    
July 2nd—6th, 2018 
 TARIFF DAMAGE ABOUT TO HIT HOME?   On June 14, 2017, the FOMC laid out its plans to roll off Treasuries & Agency debt it had accumulated through several rounds of QE. However, a close read of the roll off plan announced then, implementation to begin in September 2017, laid out increases in the amount allowed to roll off over 12 months, only. That means, at some time in the very near future, likely at the July 31st meeting that will end on August 1st. Initially, for the first 12 month period, the Fed set $6B in Treasuries to run off for 3 months, the amount to increase in steps of $6B, until it reaches $30B per month. Right now, the Fed should be at $24B, as of July 1st, and will rise to $30 by September. For Payments of Principal from its holdings of agency debt & mortgage backed securities, the Fed set out $4B monthly to initially roll off, the amount rising in steps of $4B at 3 month intervals, until it reaches $20B over 12 months, which will, also, be by September. And in a footnote to the June 14, 2017 FOMC Meeting addendum to the Policy Normalization Principles & Plans, not many have read, what was laid out on June 14, 2017, was a recap of a plan first adopted at a meeting on September 16, 2014, the only news being when it was implemented.

Now, the FOMC did say that it intended to see its automatic roll off remain at the caps placed on them--$30B for Treasuries, $20B for Agency debt & MBS, so that the Federal Reserve’s Securities Holdings will continue to decline in a gradual and predictable manner until the Committee judges that the Federal Reserve is holding no more securities than necessary to implement monetary policy efficiently and effectively. Still, Powell, and the two very hawkish female FOMC members seem really eager to get the tightening going, so an acceleration of the background run-off wouldn’t surprise me, at least. Trump starting a trade war was never something anticipated by the Federal Reserve. Not only will Trump’s tariffs raise the prices of many things consumers use but will artificially but nonetheless push up inflation, which would encourage the FOMC to tighten more quickly—or at least move off neutral, or wherever they’re at right now. So, as the anniversary of the roll off approaches, in September, what the FOMC intends to do with the roll off should be mentioned, side by side with rate setting, even though the FOMC did clearly state that toying with rates was its main tool for setting monetary policy.

What better time than fresh off the Stress Tests & CCAR to note the US system used to rate banks is called "Camels. "That stands for "Capital Adequacy, Asset quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity, and Sensitivity to market risk." I thought that not only cute but educational. After some 40 years in the biz, albeit following equities, not debt, it’s never too long before I read or hear something new to surprise me.

Back in July 2016, NBCUniversal (CMCSA) acquired rights to the ‘Harry Potter’ series & other current & future Warner Bros Films (T), as of July 1st, 2018. It’s fair to question whether T will try to buy out CMCSA’s rights. AT&T wasted no time getting a postcard out to all its customers, notifying them of the new relationship with Time Warner, now Warner Media, and that means T is able to cross market Time Warner & AT&T customers’ information back and forth. Precisely, "AT&T Companies share your information with each other. With our merger, WarnerMedia is not included. This will mean great deals, relevant offers and new ways for you to enjoy premium content from Turner, HBO and Warner Bros." Something else that caught my eye last week, for the first time: Who’s the UBS Retail Analyst, talking about Nike results? Jay SOLE. What were the odds? Do you ever wonder, If July 4th is the day the U.S. Declared Independence from Britain, why isn’t that day some kind of holiday there—something along the lines of ‘shrinking kingdom day of depression? Of mourning?’ Something—anything to recognize Britain’s New World Loss!

TECSYS (TSX TCS) is a Canadian software company that will report on Thursday, after the bell, but will hold its conference call the next morning, Friday, at 8:30am et. I mention it only because Barron’s noted TCS would host its conference call Friday, without pointing out that the release will arrive the night prior. Frankly, hats off TCS’ PR firm. I’d never heard of them before, had you?

The week will be filled with the first trickling of June data, including the PMIs, ISMs, Motor Vehicle Sales, and the all important June Unemployment Report, out Friday. It’s also a time frame known for portfolio rebalancing, and taking a little off the table—especially if one is invested in any sector that should suffer from US tariffs and global retaliation. And perhaps I should change my mind and name June Motor Vehicle Sales as the all important June datapoint out with week, because the group might be suffering a touch of whiplash given all the tariffs, retaliatory tariffs, and the retaliatory tit-for-tat tariffs being described, threatened, and in some cases, about to be levied, as of this Friday. One would hope that Thursday’s FOMC Minutes of the June 12—13th meeting would have noted tariffs levied and threatened, and the dangerous pressure they could exert on manufacturing companies—the automakers, especially. And, not that I wish New England lobstermen any harm but I will be very glad if China’s new, 25% tariff on US seafood, including Lobsters, brings down the cost of a lobster dinner in the US. After years of paying between $13.95--$18.95 for a one pound lobster, the price suddenly rose to $28—37, a couple of years ago, because Maine did such a splendid job marketing lobster to the Chinese. I would love to see retail & restaurant prices lower, again.

Note that markets close early, Tuesday, on the Black Friday schedule, with equities closing at 1pm et, bonds at 2pm et. With a holiday Wednesday, then only 2 days left until the weekend, new tariffs being initiated, on Friday, Q2 results to be announced, starting in the middle of this month, may take a back seat to warnings about Q3 earnings if the tariffs are assessed as discussed. And really, back and forth tariffs become a game of who’s on top, spiraling to a point where global trade comes to a halt, as countries are restricted in some way against every country. Does Trump really think he can drop out of the Iran nuclear agreement, and force other countries making no changes to the agreement they signed drop all business with the country? Because Trump says so? I think it’s fair to say the countries Trump has gone out of his way to humiliate are ready to defy his orders—instead abide by the treaties they signed, even if Trump pulls the U.S. out. Megalomania is an ugly trait to confront and rarely admitted by the person exerting all the signs.

From where I sit, the question isn’t whether tariffs are getting out of control but, rather, why have the markets so calmly accepted, until now, the vicious cycle the US kicked off? Don’t be surprised if all hell breaks loose, now--prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if something milder grips the equity markets.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

June 25—29, 2018  
Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review   The Federal Reserve, FDIC & OCC don’t release the results of the CCAR until Thursday, after hours. However, historically, banks have announced their intentions to raise their dividends & buybacks, as soon as Wednesday and, once, on the Tuesday before the release of the results. The Federal Reserve discusses the results with the banks & holding companies subject to the review, before the results are released to the rest of the world. The results determine the extent of the capital return plans regulators will permit. Because banks know prior to release of the actual results, on Thursday, after the close, most rush out announcement of their capital plans, like proud parents who’ve learned their kid got into Harvard. You might recall a few banks, last year, announcing capital plans that were below their previously stated objectives, earlier in the year. That was the result of input from the regulators who control how much the banks & holding companies can disburse. On the other hand, Goldman Sachs has had a habit of not releasing any capital news, in the week during which the CCAR results are out. Hewing to the fact that it’s up to the board of directors, GS waits until the directors have met and voted on a course of action, before announcing updated capital plans. For that reason, GS has often underperformed other banks, JPM & MS, in particular. You’d think the Street would be wise to GS’ methods, by now, but somehow, it’s always news to them.

The Economic Calendar also promises hosuing data, like Monday’s May New Home sales, Tuesday’s S&P Case Shiller CoreLogic April 20-city Home Price Index. Does anyone else wonder why the Street is so spellbound by data that old, in an age of lightening fast computers? Wednesday, May Durable Goods Orders & Shipments, the May International Trade Deficit, which might prompt a tweet storm from the #1 disser of current International trade balances. Also Wednesday, May Pending Home Sales from the Nat’l Ass’n of Realtors, EIA’s weekly Petroleum stats, and Fed Vice Chair for Supervision, Quarles, speaking at the UBA 110th Conference, starting 9:20am, presumably, local time, in Sun Valley ID, though that was not specified on the agenda. What the heck is that, you might rightly ask? Well, that’s the Utah Bankers Ass’n, the state a favorite for what’s referred to as "industrial" banks—banks that serve a solitary business of a certain industry or company. Industrial Banks may be Home Depot’s credit card business, or IBM’s employee credit union. Licenses for new Industrial banks haven’t been issued since the 2007 crisis, and worse, at least for a friend of mine, was the fact that the Fed’s simultaneously kept a tight grip on license transfers, so friend with a Utah industrial Bank that negotiated a $400m cash sale was nixed by the regulators. His wife waited another 9 years for a divorce, by which time he’d raised the cash he needed to be freed, while she lowered her sights on how many millions she felt she was entitled to, that license still not transferred to anyone new, though additional partners were allowed in. Fed’s Rosengren is delivering the John Olcay Lecture on a topic that still has me scratching my head: "Is the Economy too Sensitive to Economic Downturns?" Surely I jest, you’re thinking but I’m dead serious. The Peterson Institute is responsible for the topic, as host. Also Wednesday, the Treasury’s auction of 5-year Notes, at 1pm, may not go well, so it’s something to keep in the back of your mind. Likewise, Thursday’s auction of 7-year Treasuries may be even worse. Of course, CCAR results out after hours might heal any Treasury wounds. And at the least, mark your calendar for Friday, because that’s the end of the trading month, quarter, and half-year. If you’re trading the Russell indices, I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that, on the 26th, FTSE Russell’s reconstituted Russell indices debut on open, which is, also, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be reconstituted, GE out & Walgreens Boots Alliance inserted in its stead. Walgreens merged with Boots, a European pharmacy chain, that makes up almost half of sales. I’m sure that’s why it was chosen over CVS Caremark, even as CVS is waiting for regulators to approve its buy of Aetna. Still, many think WBA was a bad choice, altogether, preferring another tech-dependent name. Maybe when they replace IBM they can fill that spot with another tech company.

Turkey held an election this Sunday. Current President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won as expected, his victory accompanied with complaints that the elections were rigged. The EU is holding a summit on immigration, this week, with Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic not attending because they don’t like the theme—more equal sharing of migrants.

The event of the week may be Goldman Sachs’ 14th European Business Services, Transport & Leisure Conference, starting Monday, its London location no hindrance. On Monday, the AIAA starts its 2018 Aviation Forum, in Atlanta. Ste3phens begins its Airline Investor Trip in Atlanta, the following day, and will have dropped in on Delta, Spirit Airways, American Airlines & United Airlines, ending up in Chicago on the 27th. Jefferies hosts a Steel Conference one day prior to earnings releases from Schnitzer Steel & Worthington, both of which report on Tuesday--both beneficiaries of Trump’s tariffs on steel. You’ll note that most of the I-bank events this week are occurring overseas. That’s because this is the week before the July 4th celebrations will break up the first week in July. Major tech companies will come together on Friday, for the US-China A.I. Summit at Half Moon Bay, in California. That’s a day after JPMorgan’s NextGen Payment Services Forum, and Berenberg’s Blockchain Conference, on opposite coasts.

The movies opening Friday leave much to be desired. The Red Sox vs Yankees 2-game interlude, in London, could be better watching than the movies debuting, that surely account for the big hits already opened and running strong. Then, again, you could just hop down to Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in Orlando, for the launch of "Toy Story Land." Happy hunting into the end of the month, quarter, and half-year. The worst months of the year started in May. I expect one more spike into August 5th, or so, as Q2 Earnings Reports don’t surprise. But by the time we’re into August, the Street will start looking ahead to 2019, and that’s when the trouble should begin. And you could always pop into Old Navy (GPS), where flip-flops are being advertised for $1 p/pair, a fairly regular July 4th promotion for the chain. Pandora Jewelers (PANDY) offered 45% off about 2% of its merchandise, a bigger promotion than typical. And don’t be misled by how small a percentage of its overall merchandise the sale component represents. Two percent is, still, well over 500 pieces. And, unlike some of its pendants, which require a separate purchase of the chain, a few of the pendants in the 45% promotion come with the chain. So, a chain & 2 star pendants that retail for $90, were reduced to $52 with sales tax included, when the chain, alone, usually costs more than that. Still, the mall store wasn’t as jammed as one might have expected, on the last Saturday of the sale, even though the mall was still enjoying the better traffic that showed up in Q1. That may say more about shoppers’ ability to snub their noses at any sale that isn’t at least 50% off, most in the past week 50% off plus an additional 10—25% off, except at Banana Republic, where it was an additional 40% off merchandise already discounted by 50%. Gap divisions are pulling out all the stops for business, and not getting as much response as might be hoped.

ECONOMIC:(Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar is here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, along, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
 

June 18—22, 2018 
CENTRAL BANKERS AGAIN DOMINATE UNTIL THURSDAY.   That’s Stress Test Results Day on Market Close    Megabank& Financial Holding Company Stress Tests will be released after the Close (4:30pm et). The market may well act like that’s the whole story and nothing but the story. Of course, the rest of the world may suspect the CCAR out a week later are more important, because CCAR decides the level that dividends & buybacks can rise to. But, of course, that’s not all because the New York Federal Reserve Bank welcomes its new leader, John Williams, previously from the San Francisco Fed, who’s scheduled to be in NY on Monday. And not just arrive quietly. Instead, the NY Fed is hosting an event, Monday, that until now NY Fed CEO/Pres William Dudley will open with "Reforming Culture & Behavior in the Financial Services Industry: Progress, Challenges, & the Next Generation of Leaders. Williams will close the event, at 4pm, with remarks on "Financial Services Industry Culture," a passing of the baton, if you will, from departing Dudley in the morning, to Williams right as the market closes. In between, Dudley and a former Fed Governor, Elizabeth Duke, currently atop the Board at Wells Fargo, will be panelists. Duke, for the record, was the first female board member at WFC, replacing the Wells Chairman Stephen Sanger, in August 2017.

But, I digressed: The day-long, New York Fed conference, is not all we’ll hear from the Fed. On Wednesday, ECB’s Draghi, FOMC Chief Powell, BoJ’s Kuroda, & RBA’s Lowe will all speak on a Central Bank panel, at the ECB’s Central Banking Forum, in Sintra Portugal, which will run through the 21st. And while we’re at it, the Swiss National Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets, also Wednesday, its leader, Jordan, will host a post-Meeting Press Conference. Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, issues an interest rate decision, as well. So too will the Bk of England, the sole central bank that releases its minutes at the time it releases its MPC statement, at the conclusion of the meeting. Mark Carney, the BoE chief, will host a post-Meeting press conference of his own, which usually occurs late enough in London to occur not long before the US markets open—late enough in the British business day that Bloomberg often broadcasts it to the early morning crowd. And just to finish the last of the Central Banking news worth knowing, be aware that Esther George (vocal hawk) is the alternate who will replace the absent San Francisco Fed president, voting at future FOMC Meetings. That places one of the most outspoken rate hawks in voting position 6 months before she would have, ordinarily, rotated into a vote, only the second time an alternate has stepped up to the plate. Given that Janet Yellen was the San Francisco Fed President prior to becoming the FOMC Chief, and Wiliams is moving into the New York Fed Monday, taking over from William Dudley, who is retiring, it appears that the San Francisco Fed’s profile is rising strongly. (For the record: The last time the rule requiring an alternate member to vote at the Fed was triggered was in 2006, when St. Louis Fed Bank President William Poole voted twice in lieu of the Atlanta Fed President, as that spot was vacant.

The other organized body that should be watched is OPEC. It’s holding the 7th Petroleum Seminar, starting on Wednesday, the 20th, in Vienna Austria, that will run through the 21st. Then, on the 22nd, OPEC will hold its 174th (Ordinary) OPEC Meeting, at its headquarters in Vienna. Of course, with a 2-day global meeting Petrol meeting preceding the regular meeting on the 22nd, it’s possible all the horse trading on easing the production cuts will have been concluded by the time the "regular" meeting takes place—a rise in production recognition that Venezuela & Iran’s production are too erratic to count into daily totals.

With all the hoopla about autonomous vehicles, there are few industry events as important as the SAE Automated & Connected Vehicle Systems Testing Symposium (06/19—21), taking place at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), in Greenville SC. Virginia Tech, which first detected the VW emissions defeat software is the opening presenter, offering group leaders from its Truck & Bus Safety Transportation Institute, along with PACCAR’s Peterbilt Motors, and dealer Local Motors (Nat’l Harbor MD), in addition to the hosts. With many University-based speakers, side-by-side with corporate speakers, and the US Dept of Transportation, the symposium reads like the cross section of all autonomous undertakings.. And, in addition to companies like Metamoto, SGS Transportation, BMW Group, Ford Motor Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobile, Toyota, NHTSA (Transportation Safety Agency), Michelin No. Am, TUV SUD, Robotics Research Corp, and TNO, tech companies like Intel are fewer and farther between than one might guess but, also, features the unexpected, like Shanghai Int’l Automobile City—"A NICE City." Then again, it felt like 2 of the biggest elephants in the room are missing—perhaps 3, if one adds GM to Tesla & Panasonic, the latter’s batteries running almost all the prototypes & vehicles already being tested.

Then again, it’s surprising how few times Tesla’s sister solar company gets mentioned, even as California is mandating that all residences built starting in 2020 must have solar panels. PV Production & InterSolar Europe, will be held in Munich, starting in Wednesday. In the past, it was so well covered, and stocks involved shot up so high, the event might as well have been in the US. But nOW, even with California forcing builders to include solar power in new homes, Pres. Trump slapping tariffs willy nilly on everything the US imports or produces—the latter to protect US companies producing the tariffed items--the news out of InterSolar may be like that adorable puppy in the window your heart yearns to take home but Daddy says you can't have. For what it’s worth, 2 solar companies are reporting this week: Jaso on Monday, Rene Sola on Wednesday. Otherwise, Earnings Reports are expected from high profile tech companies (ORCL, MY, RHT), consumer companies (BKS, FDI, FINL, KR, KMX, CCL), and companies who will be badly hurt by tariffs on steel & aluminum: Winnebago & Steelcase. Ultimately, of course, CarMax could benefit, short-term from metal tariffs, since they’ll increase the selling price of all vehicles, and could make smaller vehicles more popular than they’ve been in recent years, when pick-up trucks & SUV’s were all shoppers wanted to buy. And the more expensive new vehicles become, the better KMX can do with an inventory of off-lease sedans few have wanted until now. Same thing must have happened with Deutsche Bank’s AutoTech Day, in London, Friday.

Which brings us to the rest of the week’s Events, none of which will rouse the Street as much as the ones already mentioned, though Tuesday stands out for me. Jefferies is hosting a Consumer Conference, in Nantucket, on the Cape, Oppenheimer is hosting its 18th Annual Consumer Conference (Boston), while CIBC is hosting a Retail & Consumer Small Cap Forum, too, even as it’s hard to see Amazon’s Alexa Dev Day (Toronto), on the same day, as anything but a consumer event, given Alexa has been targeting consumers, above all else. As more and more developers write software for Alexa, the Amazon ecosystem—and Prime—become harder to leave, as Apple surely knew from the get go, with iPhone. Just why so many I-banks woke up some 6 of 8 months ago, and decided they’d cover consumers, on June 19th, is beyond me but that what must have happened for them all to be scheduled simultaneously, CIBC & Amazon’s Alexa single day events, unlike the others that will end on the 20th.

Then, again, did I mention the Megabank Stress Tests are out Thursday, after the close? I did, but perhaps too many lines ago. And it might pay to bear in mind that trade opens Monday, after last Friday’s quadruple witching expiration, which often sees stocks rise for about 18 minutes, before they reverse course and sell off, sometimes steeply. What happens by the end of the day is usually the direction worth following for the next few days—though I’d be surprised if bets on Thursday aren’t to the upside, in advance of release of the Stress Tests. Failing grades for an Ally Bank, as happened previously, won’t upset most applecarts. Then again, don’t ignore the housing data out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday, either, though watching rates might serve your purposes well, in that case.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security.. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

June 11—15, 2018  
 FOMC MEETS for the Quarter Point Hike the STREET AWAITS, & that’s not even half the story, cause so do the ECB & BoJ!     Trump meeting with the North Korean dictator on the 12th, the FOMC meeting Quarter point hike expected on the 13th, everything else on both ends of those two days likely to be more noise than substance. Yes, last week’s break out took me by the surprise but the coming rate hike is likely to stall out the rally—no matter how well anticipated it is in advance. Jerome Powell’s 2nd post-Meeting press conference is also Wednesday.

The Signature event of the week is Goldman Sach’s 39th Global Healthcare Conference, starting Tuesday, never mind it’s a sector so well covered with I-bank meetings, already, this year. The Goldman event is the book end to JPMorgan’s Jan. event, which kicked off the year. Last week, former FOMC chief Bernanke predicted stocks could fall 50%. This week, Janet Yellen is the headliner for Stifel’s Cross Sector Insights Conference, expected on Wednesday in what’s being referred to as a "fireside chat" with Stifel’s leader.

Economic Data ramps up also, with May CPI on Tuesday, PPI on Wednesday. Also Tuesday, the federal court is expected to release its opinion on the AT&T merger with Time Warner that the DoJ sought to block. A couple of observers found the judge to seem skeptical of the administration’s position in blocking the combination. But the judge might be trying to find a way to buck the administration without suffering a fuselage of tweets from the President who may still be in Singapore. On Thursday, the Dept of Justice Inspector General is supposed to release its report on the investigation into the DoJ & FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal server for email—email she still denies ever contained classified information. Then, again, I don’t imagine Hillary expected that any of her emails would show up on the laptop of a man who can’t keep his hands off himself, who liked to email photos of the job he does on himself, to underage girls. Well, maybe not the first time he was slammed for doing so but certainly after that, donchya think? Is covered in the IG’s report should be the conduct of former FBI director James Comey who announced a new investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails 11 days before the elections, in 2016, only to say never mind, 8 days later—too late for even some fans to vote for Hillary.

Trading on Monday, June 11th, could be a bit wild, given it’s the first day of trading after FTSE Russell published preliminary lists of changes to its indices to come at the end of the month. It’s also the first day of trades after Quadruple Witching—the expiration of options & futures on stocks & indices+commodities, respectively. The June 11th Deutsche Bank dbAccess Caterer’s Day & French Food Retail Investor Trip (Paris FR) sounds ridiculous until it’s connected to the Global Consumer Conference, also in Paris, starting the following day. I don’t know what Credit Suisse was thinking, naming its conference starting on Wednesday the US West Coast Yankee Bank Conference & Investor Day (San Francisco). There’s not a Yankee bank—or even a US bank—amongst those presenting, which are all European banks. At least Piper Jaffray’s Heartland Conference is all about presenting companies based in the heartland—and many of those healthcare, to boot!

If you missed it, last Thursday, the Feds & FDIC announced the schedule of releases of the mega-bank & mega-holding company Stress Tests & Comprehensive Capital Analysis & Review, otherwise known as CCAR. The Stress tests will be out after the close on June 21st. The CCAR is coming on the 28th, both at 4:30pm, right in time to influence the weekly options that expire the day after both of those Thursdays. But, then, we warned you last week to take into consideration the release of those items when buying any options expiring in June.

On June 12th E3 Expo opens the video game starring turn, producers like EA & Activision at levels never seen, only dreamed of back in the late 90’s. EA, alone, already sent out 6 press releases, touting its games to come, and the dates of release. And don’t forget, the White House has promised to unveil its list of $50B worth of Chinese products on which the US will slap new tariffs. That’s why the Earnings Calendar’s two solar power reports are not highlighted. They’re already under tariffs, and there’s probably more to come.

So, it promises to be one very busy week, Every mid-year index change creates stronger volume and more active trades in everything expiring at the end of the week but rarely does the Quad Witch arrive so early in the month, and rarely—if ever—with an FOMC meeting that promises a rate hike, a US leader in North Korea (that’s never happened before but Trump’s desire to win a Nobel prize knows no bounds). But add to that, the previous FOMC leader speaking on the same day the current one is holding a post-Meeting press conference, with the DoJ’s IG report to come, and a Federal Court deciding whether the US can go ahead and block the merger of a telco with a content company. Whew! Even just writing about it all is exhausting, and that’s before we have any idea what the latest dot-plots (SEP) will look like—whether 2 hikes look more likely after the 2nd hike of the year arrives on Wednesday. If the week were a mystery book gathering all the suspects for the big reveal, it couldn’t be any more suspenseful than the one ahead. Be careful out there! Wednesday could mark a near term top, trade the rest of the week to a downside the markets act like they don’t expect, after Wednesday’s hike. Then, again, the rally could gather another leg if the dot-plots still anticipate only 3 hikes this year, leaving only one after Wednesday’s near certain quarter point addition. And to think, we've got all this going on even as the ECB and BoJ meet this week, as well, with Dragh's press conference flowing into the US morning on Thursday.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar is here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence. 

June 04—08, 2018  Apple WWDC May Be the Event of the Week   It’ll be a week with few items to recommend it—a week before the one during which the FOMC meets. That makes it a tweener, where foreign data will catch up with what the US already released, last Friday, and Earnings Reports dominated by Consumer Names, many of them disasters in progress, along with a few Tech names that won’t make or break the markets. The Techs include Dell Technologies & Palo Alto Networks, on Monday, when Building Supplier Quanex also reports. Tuesday, Ambarella is the tech name, that stands out, along with HD Supply (formerly Home Depot Supply), Navistar & another building supply company, NCS. Wednesday, Brown Forman is the notable name, Jack Daniels’ maker but still as much a consumer name as Ascena Retail, Casey’s & Fred’s, on Monday. Thursday, Broadcom is the major tech reporting, Hovnavian the Builder du jours, but the world won’t end if any of them miss, Broadcom the only one that might shake confidence.

ASCO—the American Society of Clinical Oncologists got underway on Friday, and will finish up Tuesday. Any news out of ASCO is already publicly known, by this week, except for anything Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, or Merck might say when they meet with analysts @ASCO, Monday. BlackRock hosts an analyst meeting Tuesday.. I-banks are back in full swing, most of them hosting conferences, this week, even as the hotel & REIT analysts will all be at NAREIT’s Investor Relations Conference, on the 4th, similar to mass analysts meetings recently held by AGA & EPG. On the 5th through 7th, NAREIT hosts REITweek, less 1x1 than the IR day on the 4th. Also notable, DDW—Digestive Disease Week, along with Evercore ISI Autonomous Driving, AI & Mobility, similar to Needham & Co’s Automotive Tech Day, both Monday.

Even with Goldman Sach’s Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant & Leisure Conference, and the EEI Annual Convention +AGA Tech Advisory Cmte Meeting & CFO Meeting, plus BIO International, it’s really Apple’s WWDC (worldwide developers’ conference) that will captivate the media, which all bulls have to hope goes well, given it retains the biggest market cap in the world, and the biggest of all Tech Stocks, though some would dispute its inclusion in that category, given how much of its earnings come from the retail & wholesale sales of iPhones. Still, if you’re a bull, you have to hope analysts & developers are impressed with the software introduced at WWDC. There generally isn’t much discussion of hardware at WWDC, though there is more of that in some years than there used to be.

Beyond Apple, there’s ASM, Thursday, for Microbiology & Microbes, which is co-located with Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy. In truth, IAAC has been absorbed into ASM, but some old-timers still look for the IAAC to be named. Also notable, Friday, is release of the Preliminary list of Russell Indices’ reconstitution, which will be updated on June 15th & 22nd. Lastly, Canadians are hosting G7--Growth that works for Everyone, one of the 5 topics of focus at the meeting, though it’s also been adopted as part of the title of the event. The others are preparing for Jobs of the Future; Working Together on climate change, oceans, and clean energy; Building a more peaceful & secure world; Advancing gender equality & women’s empowerment. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presides over the meeting, at which US reps may well be shunned. And finally, after the "Hans Solo" disappointment, "Oceans 8" hits theaters with female cast members replacing the male crews that dominated 11 & its successors. Some theaters will show "Oceans 8" on Thursday some theaters are offering early peeks.

I give the bulls credit for not letting the markets fall apart, altogether. That suggests some underlying interest in staying long shares—despite the old maxim ‘Sell in May & Go Away.’ But I don’t think the bulls have had the last move, yet. In a typical year, crude would cool off starting now, until the first hurricane threatens the Gulf. Stocks would mark time or even pull back some more, before winding up for a last hurrah to the upside, after July earnings. Financials, though, may not have to wait that long, given the FOMC has said it would release results of the C CAR & Stress Tests, before June 30th. As I said last week, make sure to account for that release when buying any calls or puts that expire in June. The place to get short until late Oct won’t arrive until around August 5th. Then, again, we’ve never had anyone like Trump, who seems to relish in the possibility of starting a trade war. Canada already filed a complaint with the WTO against the US tariffs on steel & aluminum? Does Trudeau really think Trump will give a crap about what the WTO decides? And that’s the very independence that should scaring businesses in the US, and all the world over.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

May 28th - June 1st, 2018  MUCH ADO ABOUT FRIDAY’S ECONOMIC RELEASES and Wednesday’s Beige Book    It would be my pleasure to take the week’s breakdown, below, and distill it into just a few items but that won’t be possible. First, my fingers are doing their own thing, not obeying my directions, at all. (C-6 & 7 crushed, impacting my arms & hands.) Then, I think I’ve already highlighted the biggies for Economic, Earnings & Event Releases, that you all are capable of distilling for yourselves. Take Canada’s Monetary Policy Committee Meeting Decision falling on the same day as the Fed releases its Beige Book. I wouldn’t expect Canada to take any action while NAFTA negotiations are ongoing. As for the Beige, there’s little reason to expect it to waffle any less than it always does. Nor do I expect companies to stop complaining that workers are hard to find. What they really mean when they say that is that other companies are paying more for workers, so we can no longer hire people and pay them squat and expect them to stay longer than 2 months.

While we’re on the Federal Reserve, the board announced its tentative 2019 meeting and press conference schedule. It includes 8 meetings and 4 press conferences after the March, June, September & December Meetings. Move along. Nothing to see here. Pundits had it wrong. As of now, they are not increasing the number of press conferences. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20180525a.htm

Speaking of the Federal Reserve, in announcing the scenarios for the 2018 CCAR (Capital Analysis & Reviews), and Stress Tests of the largest 18 banks operating in the US (Includes foreign ones), the Fed said results of its supervisory tests would be announced by June 30th. That means the Fed could announce it’s going to release the results at any time between Friday and the end of the month. I can’t speak for Jerome Powell or other current leads at FDIC but, historically, the Fed has had a habit of scheduling huge events like stress test results on the Thursday night prior to expiration. In that case, the results could be announced as soon as June 14th, June expiration one of the shortest, coming on the 15/16th. Then, again, the news could be released on June 21st or 22nd. In my book June 28th or 29th are less likely, because the major banks, by then, will be rushing to close their books, for the quarter, and don’t need any additional complications. In fact, that’s why June 14th/15th sound more reasonable, all around. The Fed’s announcement on stress tests & CCAR, with the "by June 30th" release date, here. Furthermore, the list of those banks & holding companies that must submit to the tests is included in that release. DB USA Corp is, presumably, Deutsche Bank which, at the rate it’s shrinking, may well escape the stress test mandate as soon as next year. Recall, last week it was rumored that as many as 10K US based employees could be subject to job cuts. At any rate, when you’re buying options--no matter which week in June they expire—you must build into the cost what may happen if the stress tests & CCAR results are released, or even, supposed to be released by that week’s end.

Then again, faster than it does some months, Friday’s June 1st data will include May Motor Vehicle Sales & the May Unemployment Report. Because the BLS makes "seasonal adjustments," there’s little reason to expect an onslaught of college graduates will make either the unemployment or participation rate look remarkably different from recent ones On the other hand, I know of at least one 34-year employee laid off from a construction company, and a teacher who’s decided to throw in the towel, due to untoward politicizing of her elementary school. And, while we’re at it, there’s probably nothing that will come from the G7 Pow-Wow in Whistler, late this week. "Investing in Growth that works for Everyone" is, simply, not on any legislative priorities.

The Earnings Calendar is extremely heavy with retail names and other consumer companies. JCPenney started closing 100 stores on May 27th, 2017. At the time, (soon to be ex-)CEO, Marvin Ellison, said activity in the stores slated for closure were going to remain open for a few weeks longer than originally planned, because the stores were so busy. Liquidation sales raised considerable revenues, that will make this quarter’s comparable store sales that much more difficult. I have not been a bull on Macy*s for a decade, and can’t stand the "John’s Bargain Store" look of its main floor, as shoes, handbags, and menswear host Backstage clearance sections, up to 80% off. Worse, traffic has picked up but so, too, has the amount of liquidation priced merchandise, much of it shopworn, missing buttons and belts, have pulls or runs, and half fallen hems, or suffering other indignities that make some of the inventory unappealing at almost any price. But, with Sears & JCPenney closing so many stores. Macy*s could well wind up the only lower end department store left for shoppers of a certain income level. In the short-term, Macy*s may well suffer uninspiring sales caused by the liquidation prices at JCP & SHLD, as they close stores but 2 or 3 years ago, SHLD and JCP may have so few stores that they’re no longer competition to Macy*s, at all, and out 7—10 years, may not be around, at all.

But, in addition to retailers, Booz Allen, Bank of Nova Scotia, Hewlett-Packard, Salesforce.com, Analog Devices, Ciena, Marvell Technology, Tech Data, and VMware will attract plenty of attention. Also worth noting are Microsoft’s InterOp DevDays in Asia, and Walmart’s Q&A with the Investment Community, as well as MSCI’s inclusion of Chinese A-Share listed companies in its emerging market index.

Likewise, there are few larger events than ASCO, and surely none that are more newsworthy, as a rule, for biotechs. It doesn’t open until Friday, so whatever hasn’t already been announced won’t be until the doors open. But that’s not all the Event Calendar offers; There are an insane number of I-bank events as the Street rushes in now that Earnings are largely done, and before the summer escape empties the caverns of lower Manhattan. Other than ASCO, Sanford C Bernstein’s Strategic Decisions CEO Conference is well respected though a mishmosh of sectors. Deutsche Bank’s Global Financial Services Conference (Tues.) should be full of positive news, as recent volatility is manna from heaven to trading facilitators. Cowen & Co’s 46th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference is reliably newsworthy, as the calendar just entered the tail end of the quarter push.

Last week I was positive on FootLocker which worked out well. I don’t have a pick for this week, though. I base my preferences on the actual action I see in malls, and despite busy corridors, I’m not see as many shopping bags as I am people empty handed as my area (southern Florida) enters its 25th straight day of rain. American Eagle Outfitters? They’ve been closed, here, or rather, open in a temporary, new location outside, where one must get rained on to enter. Not a good move given all the rain we’ve had. It is rebuilding is usual spot, adding the leasehold next door, that used to American Apparel, probably to add more aerie and, possibly, kids. Adding kids is exactly what Abercrombir & Fitch has done, after closing the dedicated kids’ store, last year before back to school. Expanding the sizes available is probably a good way to curb piling up inventory of items that might not sell, while reducing the rent expense ANF suffered when it maintained 2 separate stores, one for kids, one for adults. Target, in what’s got to be record time, opened a dedicated "pick-up" are close to its entrance, for shoppers who either call in or order online, and want to be quick about picking up the order already paid for. Six spaces were cordoned off one Monday, and three weeks later the spots were market with large signs. Whether shoppers are respecting those "PICK—UP ONLY" signs or not is anyone’s guess. My 91 year old mother feels entitled to use the maternity parking spots near Talbot’s, where are too few handicap spaces. Is anyone going to argue with her? Probably not."

If there are any other events worth concentrating on, they’re probably those concentrating on sectors less traveled, like RayJay’s Defense & Government IT (Wed.). Is there anything that’s going to come out of Book Expo America, in NY (starting Wed.)? The only valuable intel I could scrounge up is that most of the author readings & signings will take place on June 1st. BEA has one of the most annoying websites I’ve ever encountered, that revs up the same video before disclosing any information, slowing down a researcher like me to maddening distraction—enough to elicit an email to the producer.

With that our digits are done. It’s just too painful to keep typing except to say that Trump knows he needs to actually meet with Kim Jung-on of North Korea to be in contention for a Nobel Prize for Peace, so expect him to push for that meeting to take place, no matter how little is likely to get done.

ECONOMIC:  (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here.)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, along, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.  

May 21—25, 2018  EVEN MORE CENTRAL BANKERS & RETAILERS GALORE   After a light week for debt issuance, last week, the US Treasury cranks it up this week, offering $231B in debt. Most worrisome is the $30B 7-year Notes being offered Thursday, the $36B 5-year notes perhaps needing a higher rate to attract sufficient buyers. How smart is it for the Treasury to offer $33B of 2-years Notes, on Tuesday, then, $16B of reopened 2-year Floating Rate Notes on Wed.? With the next rate hike all but promised for the June 12—13th Meeting, it doesn’t take a genius to expect FRN’s to do better than fixed rate debt of the same duration—even if that duration is short by central bank terms..

The FINRA Annual Meeting speakers list is filled with many lawyers and brokerage house members, along with the SEC’s Chairman Jay Clayton. Keynote from Robert Cook, Chair/CEO of FINRA, Wells Fargo Advisors represented by Ron Long, is an ironic panelist on "Working Together to Protect Senior Investors." I say ironic because I know, first hand, through my mom, that Wells employees thought nothing of opening unwanted accounts for seniors, that charged them monthly fees, even when the accounts held jumbo funds, and the money was transferred out from accounts that charged no such fee. There’s a bootcamp on Advertising Compliance, while WFC offers a panelist for "Emerging FinTech Trends." IMO Wells needs to do a better job of running the bank it has before getting into FinTech.

Take a look at Monday’s FedHead speakers: Bostic on Welfare Economics, Harker at the Chief Executives Organization CEO Financial Seminar 2018—Visionary Investment: Managing late cycle Risk & Opportunities. Tuesday, SEC chairman Jay Clayton keynotes at the FINRA Annual. FOMC May 1st—2nd Meeting Minutes are out Wednesday, along with April New Home Sales & Neel Kashkari At Next Energy Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND. In addition, Wednesday, the Treasury will ber auctioning 5-year Notes in addition to the aforementioned 2-year FRN, while overnight, NY Fed’s soon to be leaving President Wm Dudley, is a panelist at BoE’s Markets Forum 2018, the topic: "Reference Rate Reform" Improving the Culture of FICC Markets," a topic we’re pretty sure he won’t be asking his former firm about, since Goldman Sach’s FICC has badly lagged every other firm’s. Thursday, Fed’s Kaplan, Bostic & Harper are co-panelists on a "Policymaker" panel at the Dallas Fed TED: Technology Enabled Disruptgion: Implications for Businss, Labor Markets & Monetary Policy (Dallas thru 25th) And if that weren’t enough for Thursday, Harker will participate at a later Q&A at TED, at 2pm et. Meanwhile, Thursday also promises FHFA March & Q1 House Price Index (9am), & NAR April Existing Home Sales (10am). At 1pm the Treasury will try and auction off $30B in 7-year Notes, which worries me. Longer tenors have not gone well, of late.

Friday is expected to be challenging for Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Verizon’s Yahoo & AOL due to EU’s GDPR—General Data Protection Regulation, effective on the 25th, which includes the "Right to Be Forgotten." Before the day is over, Fed Chief Powell will be a panelist with Boe’s Carney & Riksbank’s Liikanen at "Financial Stability & Central Bank Transparency," at Sveriges Riksbank Anniversary Conference: 350 Years of Central Banking—The Past, Present & the Future (Stockholm 9:20am et) Before the day is over, Fed’s Evans, Bostic & Kaplan will be co-policymaker panelists, again, at the Dallas Fed TED event that Kaplan will, also, close. But Friday could be a lost cause: It’s not T-3 for End of Month, and Treasuries, along with other SIFMA controlled markets close at 2pm. Equities, only, will remain open, because the NYSE doesn’t like to close no matter what Bonds do.

Which brings us to Earnings, Consumer Discretionary names dominant, from Auto Parts Stores Advance Auto Parts to AutoZone, plus discounters TJMaxx (Tues), Ross Stores +Target (Thurs), but also some tech firms like Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Intuit (Tues), NetApp & Synopsys (Wed.), and Autodesk (Thurs), plus builder Toll Bros (Tues), apparel manufacturer & retailer Ralph Lauren, plus Tiffany & Williams-Sonoma, Canadian Banks RBC & TD, plus Spam (forever food) maker Hormel, McKesson & Medtronic. And if malls have improved, which they lately seem to have done, than the Street is too negative on Footlocker, reporting Friday.

Sunday, The Nat’l Restaurant Ass’n Meeting continues, as does ATS, AUA, the Int’l Trademark Ass’n Annual, along with Infusion Therapy. Starting Sunday, the ICSC (Int’l Council of Shopping Centers) REcon, a Global Retail Real Estate event, REITs that own Retail Real Estate out of favor has more store closures get announced monthly. Beyond REcon, AGA is the American Gas Association’s Financial Forum, a mass analyst meeting that, rightfully, attracts all the analysts that cover the group. Ditto, EPG is Electrical Products Group, holding its Spring Annual Meeting, like AGA, a mass analyst meeting at which companies like 3M, GE, & Honeywell will host analysts meetings in Longboat Key FL. Barron’s and other publications have talked up UBS Global Healthcare Conference in NY but that’s a subject overplayed since JPMorgan kicked off the year with its own Health Care Conference in January. The only thing one can say about biotechs & pharmaceutical companies is that there’s zero optimism in them, despite Trump offering little in the way of restraining their pricing on drugs, when he unveiled his plans. FDA Chief Gottlieb wants to do more to more generics along but he can’t really do any more than the Congress has allowed. So, yeah, drug makers may bounce this week but I wouldn’t bet the farm in that direction. In fact, I’d be putting the rest of the year under serious scrutiny by listening to some of the presentations at AGA & EPG. Raymond James is stepping out of the box to host meetings at the Wireless Infrastructure Show, which this year is taking the name "Connectivity Expo) in Charlotte NC. The Medicaid Managed Care Congress is in Baltimore.I even like the Licensing Expo (starts 22nd) better than many of the I-Bank Conferences, this week. This is where real TV, Toy, Apparel & Other Merchandising properties gets seen and licensed.

I do prefer UBS’ Global Oil & Gas Conference to its Healthcare one, and like that Argus has scheduled its North American Natural Gas Conference, and the New Texas Swing DUG Permian Basin Conference, not any of them in the same city in Texas. To top it off, Daiwa is hosting a Texas (Energy) Research Tour in Texas, thru the 25th. And we just looked at Sunday and Monday. Tuesday, Gas Shipping Americas takes place in Houston, one of several shows OPEC lists on its calendar. JPMorgan heads to London for its 45th Annual TMT CEO Conference, where Morgan Stanley will land, too, for ChemTech Day. Don’t overlook SEMICON Southeast Asia, in Kuala Lumpur, either. Or ConFab which started Sunday, since Semi’s have been sizzling places to invest, until last week’s report from Applied Materials. All could be on its way to recovery, if Micron Technology makes the right noises, Monday, when it hosts its analyst meeting. Int’l Display Week, starting Tuesday on the West Coast could also give a boost to LED semiconductor companies—CREE a name that’s held its own after its last 2 earnings reports.

For fun, Memorial Day weekend, there’s a host of Disney movies available. Think "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity war," & opening Thursday, "SOLO: A Star Wars Story," a prequel of sorts, which introduces Chewbacca, and his role as the co-pilot. For women, there’s Book Club, with women of a certain age who are stlll attractive & sexy to men of the same or more age. While Stocks could rise on low volume into week’s end, it won’t be anything to get too excited about, unless the news out of AGA & EPG are a lot better than either GE or 3M gave anyone to expect.

Drive safely! Enjoy the long Weekend next weekend. We will update the Economic Calendar but an Outlook is debatable.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

May 14—18, 2018  RETAILERS & I-BANK CONFERENCES DOMINATE, with a side of Central Bankers    The Consumer Discretionary space will dominate Earnings, this week, with reports from Macy*s, Nordstrom & Walmart, to name the 3 most notable names. WMT, of course, is not about current earnings for the moment but, rather, about the billions it’s spending for a majority stake in India’s Flipkart, the fact that it’s giving up on the UK, selling ASDA to J Sainsbury, jumping from one boiling pot to another, when it hasn’t really done a fantastic domestically, yet. But, also, we’ve gotten ahead of the way we lay out the weekly Outlook Calendars, so let’s circle back to the Economic Calendar, and take them in order.

The US Treasury won’t be offering a lot of debt, this week, just 4-week, 3-, & 6-month Bills, Monday, and $11B of reopened 10-year TIPS, on Thursday. Also Thursday, the Treasury will announce its refunding plans, even as it just announced the April budget surplus was at a record $214B. That would be thanks to Corporate fiscal taxes due March 15, and personal income taxes due April 15. Stocks often struggle less when Treasury auctions don’t disappoint. There’s nothing on offer this week capable of disappointing, short of a complete strike against US Debt.

Also this week, April Retail Sales & NAHB’s May Housing Market Index, both Tuesday. Wednesday promises April Housing Starts & Building Permits, April Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization, the latter likely strong, given shale oil drilling and a freak spring snow storm that kept utilities in overdrive to warm homes & businesses. Before markets open Monday, Fed’s Mester will speak in France, those from BoE Governor Carney & ECB’s Praet probably not earth-shattering, since their topic is Gender & Career Progression. More trembling is the opening of the new US Embassy in Jeruselum, which has enraged just about everyone but Trump and his family members, along with Israel’s government. The people of Israel may celebrate the move publicly but privately they bemoan that Arab hatred for both Israel and US are at near all time highs.

Fed’s Bullard presents at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018, in NY, Monday, part of BlockChain Week New York. The Senate Banking Committee will hold hearings on the nominations of Richard Clarida & Michelle Bowman to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. Neither should encounter big issues getting confirmed. Fed’s Williams, soon to move from the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank to New York’s more prestigious one, conferring on him a permanent vote at FOMC meetings, will speak at the Economic Club of Minnesota, Thuesday. Fed’s Bostic will provide an Economic Update Wednesday, the same day Bullard opens the Homer Jones Memorial Lecture, not quite the venue for monetary policy proclamations. Thursday, Fed’s Kaplan & Kashkari are at separate events, Kashkari, a well-entrenched dove on rates, answering questions put to him by the Executive Director of the Minnesota Home Ownership Center. Many hours later, in Frankfurt, Mester, a hawk, will keynote the 2nd day of the 3rd ECB Macroprudential Policy & Research Conference, on "The Limits & Overlaps of Macroprudential & Monetary Policy." Mester is hawkish enough that she’d find a way to discuss her objection to the FOMC raising rates so slowly, no matter what the topic. The topic of this conference works, perfectly, to her leanings. Still, she probably would have been more comfortable speaking at the BoE/ESCoE/ONS Conference on Economic Measurement, which questions the value of statistics and their interpretation.

Which brings us to Earnings. In addition to the 3 names mentioned above, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Depot, VIPshop Holdings, Take-Two Interactive, Tencent, Children’s Place, and JCPenney, stand out. But the week isn’t, exclusively, the province of retailers or restaurants. Other notable reporters include Agilent, Invitation Homes, Applied Materials, Canadian Solar, Cisco Systems, and Deere. Deere, known more for agricultural machines than Caterpillar, and on a six month slide since the year began, seemed to rally on CAT’s strong earnings, last week but left room for additional gains if it reports a strong quarter and sees one ahead. Canadian Solar was a name I wouldn’t usually mention but California’s new law requiring builders to install solar panels on almost all new homes, starting in 2020, has opened my and other traders’ eyes to the Canadian solar name, given the hefty tariffs on Chinese solar panels. As always, filtering out the tickers to mention is very subjective. Feel free to disagree.

Last, the Events Calendar bucks up just as retailers begin dominating the Earnings Calendar. I try to sort the events by geographic region, first, then by what I think will be most influential on stocks. So US events, trump Canadian ones, and are listed prior to European ones, with Asia and Australia usually last. Within those parameters, I afford the most weight to the investment houses with the most influence, and sometimes place related events near the main one, to emphasize how many ancillary meetings spring up to capitalize on a particular event. For Monday and Tuesday especially, this week, I did the best I could. Rarely are days so filled with I-bank run conferences that they’re dizzying but that’s where I was this week. I’m partial to events that don’t follow a long string of similar ones, so JPMorgan’s 11th Annual Homebuilding & Building Products Conference, in NY, took the top spot Monday. With interest rates rising, even as home prices are rising strongly, and the calendar is at the height of the builders’ season, it struck me as an event that portfolio managers (PMs) will be eager to attend. But, really, any of the first 5 events that appear for Monday list could have been on top. And no fewer than 3 I-banks are hosting China Conferences, this week. And sometimes I have to scratch my head: while Tudor Pickering Holt’s Hotter ‘n Hell Energy Conference starts Tuesday, Citi’s hosting Energy & Utilities in Boston, Stephens is hosting energy in Little Rock Arkansas, and Deutsche Bank is hosting Clean Tech, Utilities & Power in NY. And while JPM is the top dog for this week’s homebuilding sector, Jefferies offers Residential Real Estate Housing Summit, also in NY, even as Morgan Stanley will host E&P & Oil Services in Houston. Instinet’s Gaming, Leisure, & Lodging Conference, Monday, has competition from Wells Fargo’s 9th Annual Gaming, Hospitality & Leisure Conference is nearly identical. Believe me, I don’t mean to sound like I’m criticizing any of the I-banks. Instead, I’m merely pointing out how I decide the hierarchy, and the schedule that results with so many similar conferences occurring bunched together, because all the I-banks observe a quiet period around the three weeks during which the most S&P companies report their earnings, and most suspend conferences during the summer, when many PMs are either at their summer homes or otherwise engaged with other activities.

Last week I discussed the potential for a post-earnings season rally that usually starts this week. Traders jumped the gun and fanned the flames burning in bulls’ hearts, reversing a long slide with a big rally. While I’m not expecting a rally similar to last week’s to occur this week, I do think that a period of backing and filling will be followed by more gains, before the pre-Q2 earnings season jitters grip stocks.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.   

May 07—11, 2018   EARNINGS TAKE BACK SEAT TO CENTRAL BANKERS plus Welcome Back I-Bank Conferences  The tide has shifted again, and though Wednesday is flooded with Earnings Reports, it’s really the central bankers on the Economic Calendar worth attention. In fact, I suspect the Richmond Fed’s Thomas Barkin may be set for his coming out party, Monday, when he’s scheduled to speak at George Mason University. If he’s spoken before it escaped my notice. He was installed on January 1st of this year. Given all the Fedheads speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Machines Learning Finance Conference, it’s a bit surprising that he wasn’t on the schedule. But it’s not just the Federal Reserve Banks that are offering up speakers, the BoJ is set to release its March Meeting Minutes, before the US Markets open on Monday, the New Zealand central bank is holding a Monetary Policy Meeting, the MPC decision due out Wednesday, overnight, while the BoJ will also release its summary of Opinions from its April 26—27 Meeting the same night, while the BoE will hold a Monetary Policy Meeting, and release the results overnight Wednesday, also.

Outside the central bankers, there’s FTSE Russell Indexes’ Reconstitution Rank on Friday, with 2 more updates in June, before the reconstituted indexes make their debut after the close, on June 22nd.And it that wasn’t enough, there’s the Treasury intending to auction 30-year Bonds on Thursday, the 10-years meeting some resistance, so 30 could be a disaster—you never know. A softish April Employment Report last Friday has some thinking that, perhaps, Caterpillar’s CFO had it right—the high water mark was 18Q1.

I did my best to highlight the scheduled Earnings Releases I suspect will attract the most attention but it’s not always for their earnings, specifically. Taken Tyson, Monday. Are the Chinese pulling back from buying the chicken feet because of US Tariffs? Then, what are the odds that 3 big brewers would report on Wednesday? Who, you wonder? AmBev S.A., Anheuser-Busch, and Craft Brewing. All we’d need is Constellation Brands, which has already reported, and Sam Adams, and the entire industry would be reporting Wednesday. Likewise, there are a number of solar-related names reporting this week, and more than a few entertainment companies. Then, again, it should be interesting to hear how IAC’s chairman, Barry Diller, also chairman of Match Group, both reporting on Wednesday, downplay the risk of FaceBook’s entry into dating. Then, Thursday, Kelly Services is reporting, the company usually an early warning sign of economies slowing down, since the first thing they do is freeze hiring, before they even get to laying off some workers.

And it can’t be a coincidence that a Timeshare merger was announced, last week, just as ARDA World & Global Time Shares start their meeting in Las Vegas, today, Sunday, as I write. I-banks are back in the conference mix, though many of them are venturing to the Orient for their meetings and, in some cases, Tours, which both JPMorgan & Citibank plan, even as Macquarie plans a Greater China Conference on Thursday, even as UBS hosts China A-Shares in New York, Monday. Macquarie’s Business Services C-Suite Conference, in Boston, starting Thursday, sounds like a fresher topic—certainly less trod ground than Healthcare, which happens to be the biggest I-bank event of the week. It’s also the oldest, Deutsche Bank’s 43rd Annual Health Care Conference, starting Tuesday, in Boston. But then, Citi is hosting Consumer Staples on Monday, and Goldman is doing the same on Tuesday. Then, again, on Tuesday, both Wells Fargo & Oppenheimer are hosting Industrials, in NY.

All in, it will be a busy week, the hundred some odd companies reporting earnings a bit of a sideshow to the main events. Those start with Central Bankers yapping on both sides of the Atlantic, then move to I-bank conferences. But there is something to be said for this week’s earnings, they usually end a period of 3—4 weeks of market indigestion that typically accompanies both the earnings season and income tax season. By the week after this one, the bulls might be able to flex some muscle, as the Street decides the best earnings season in years thanks to a tax cut ushered in some optimism for the 3 quarters ahead. It wasn’t all bad.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.  

April 30—May 04, 2018    2nd DELUGE of EARNINGS + CENTRAL BANKERS   After last week’s $229B of issuance, the US Treasury provides a light week, with 4-week Bills, amount not yet announced, and both 3- & 6-month Bills Monday, and that’s it. Of course, the FOMC meets this week, post-Meeting Statement on Wednesday, at 2pm but virtually the entire FOMC will be speaking this week, albeit, not until the end of the week. The happy rate hikers speaking at the Hoover Institution (Stanford University), Friday and Saturday, before Gov Quarles does double duty next Sunday, at the 23rd Annual Financial Markets Conference on "Machines Learning Finance," a somewhat unexpected topic for the Federal Reserve’s Banking Supervision governor.

It’s not just US central bankers speaking. Tuesday’s Bk of Canada’s Poloz speaks, Wednesday, in addition to the FOMC statement, the Norges Bank (Norway) monetary policy committee meets on rates, while the ECB’s Constancio & Coeure speak on "Fostering Banking Union & Capital Markets," and the Bk of France’s Galhau speaks, at the Bank of France/European Investment Bank jointly host a conference on Investment in France: Gearing up for momentum, in Paris, while, by Thursday, the St Louis Federal Reserve s hosting its Advances in Research Conference, with a surprising lack of FOMC leaders in attendance. But feat not, the Swiss National Bank’s Gov Jordan will be speaking, on the Vollgeld Initiative—a movement that wants to see every penny lent by financial institutions backed by cash or gold. (No, I didn’t see Rand Paul or his father on their Agenda). Then, Friday, the Hoover Institution hosts a smorgasbord of FOMC members for its "Currencies, Capital & Central Bank Balances: A Policy Conference." Fed Gov Quarles & San Francisco (soon to be NY Fed) Pres Williams present on "Financial Stability, Regulations & the Balance Sheet." Before the day is out, the Fed’s Bostic, George & Kaplan will, also speak. And even so, the highlight of the week may well be next Saturday’s Yahoo stream of Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger’s Q&A with shareholders at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, a weekend event known, also, as Woodstock for Capitalists.

Which brings us to Earnings, this week’s volume of reports only slightly smaller than last week’s. And though it may feel like every important company has reported, already, let me point out a few you might be overlooking: Monday, Akamai, Allergan, McDonald’s, & Vornado Realty Trust, to name just 4 out of a larger group highlighted. Tuesday, Aetna, Allstate, American Tower, Anadarko Petroleum, Apple, ADM, AutoNation, BP, Eaton, Gilead, HCA Healthcare, Kindred Health, Merck, Mondelez, Pfizer, Sabre, Scotts-Miracle-Gro, Seagate Technology, Tapestry (formerly Coach), Under Armour, Wellcare Group, & Yum China are just a few of the names highlighted.

Wednesday, reports are scheduled from AIG, AmerisourceBergen Brunswick, Apache, Automatic Data Processing, Avis Car Rental, Beazer Homes, CDW, Cerner Corp, CF Corp, Clorox, CVS Caremark, DinEquity, Energizer, Equinix, Estee Lauder, Express Scripts, FireEye, Host Hotels & Resorts, Humana, Hyatt Hotels, Kraft Heinz, Madison Square Garden, MasterCard, MetLife, Molson Coors Brewing, Murphy Oil, Norwegian Cruise Lines (2 days before its analyst meeting), Novo Nordisk, NXP Semiconductor, Prudential Financial, Republic Services, Scientific Games, newly public Spotify, Square, Tableau Software, Taylor Morrison Homes, Tesla, Wayfair, Wyndham Hotels, YUM! Brands, and Zoetis. I won’t even try and pull out just a few names for Thursday, given how many significant reports have been highlighted, already. Skim the last two days of the week yourself, and then look deeper into the daily lists, if you wish. It’s simply another ridiculous week for earnings, no ifs and or buts about it. Why does the entire public vacation-ownership segment seem to be scheduled to report on Thursday? Beats me but most are somewhat recently spun out of their original, hotel parent. And Alibaba stands out for me, Friday, just as Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meeting does for others, Saturday, competition for the Kentucky Derby, the Triple Crown’s opening leg. For the record, my naming some of these companies I’m not endorsing them or, sometimes, not even interested in them but either the Street, traders or the media must be, for me to embolden them.

Which brings us to Events, where the number of I-bank meetings remain slight, because the Earnings calendar is so heavy. Which makes it ironic that so many oil companies are scheduled to report, even as Offshore Technology starts Monday, Credit Suisse an exception, hosting a concurrent meeting & tour. The Interactive Ad Bureau’s week-long schedule of NewFronts, this week, starts on Monday, with FaceBook, New York Times, and Viacom. A day later, FaceBook’s F8 Developer Conference could shine the brightest, Tuesday, as developers surely await the changes they should expect after the Cambridge Analytica disaster. NewFronts, fo those who vaguely recall the term are the digital equivalents to the major networks’ UpFronts—it’s when companies try and pre-sell ad space on their digital (internet) websites.

All in, it will be another insane week, the spotlight, thanks to NewFronts, still on the internet companies that have already reported, even as the rest of the big names are scheduled for this week, BABA included. Plus, the schedule promises a surfeit of energy names, hotels, hospitals, insurers, and large biotechs, plus cult names like Tesla, who Whitney Tilson may well mention during his "Art, Pain & Opportunity of Short Selling " presentation, Thursday, an event CNBC will definitely cover, since it’s the sponsor. And much as this week will, for some, be all about waiting to hear the Q&A from Buffett & Munger next Saturday, for most of the Street, the biggie will be this Friday’s Unemployment Report. (You know I’m waiting to see the final revisions to February, the shortest month of the year which has, so far, delivered the largest number of jobs added in years—over 300K.) The FOMC meeting statement, Wednesday, will be Jerome Powell’s 2nd, so his emphasis is still evolving in the Street’s eyes. The Minutes for his first meeting as chief was filled with uncertainty, especially about what the tax cuts & budget passed means for the economic outlook. For all the central bankers speaking this week, Powell is not among them. That seems odd, unless he’s trying to develop his voice in private, before taking his place more prominently, at some of the events his underlings are populating. And that’s odd, given that his first duty as FOMC Chief was the semi-annual testimony before Congress, in February. You can’t make your grand entrance twice!.

Historically, this is the last week of earning-related hesitation before a post-earnings relief rally, celebrating getting through earning season without getting bludgeoned to death by huge misses. No need to jump the gun before later in the week, unless you have a particularly strong opinion about where the Unemployment Report will come out. .

ECONOMIC:
(Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be only one factor in more complete due diligence.  

April 23—27, 2018  EARNINGS SLAM    IMF and orld Bank Group Meetings? Who cares? G7 & G20 meetings on the sidelines? No one cares. A slug of US Housing Data? Unlikely to change the trajectory of interest rates, the Treasury making up for lost time, this week, by auctioning off $229B of debt, the 5 & 7-year Debt not going as smoothly as some might hope, of late, higher rates not a cure-all and starting to ding stocks. .

This week’s Sohn Conference might make things worse, since its value investing speakers are likely to point out a lack of value available in stocks at current levels. Also this week, March Durable Goods Orders & Shipments, and the first crack at Q1 GDP. One facet of GDP is the Personal Consumption Expenditures—PCE, upon which the FOMC bases its inflation snapshot. Of course, the first estimate of GDP isn’t often close to the final, 3 months later but the initial guess is often the one that attracts the biggest reaction. The Blue Chip Consensus ranges around 2.5% but the Atlanta Fed shows GDP far from the 3.0—4.0% Trump and his team promised. In fact, there’s a chance GDP will barely make it to 2.0%, at least in the first pass. The Feb GDP estimate of nearly 5.0% a mystery to one and all. Then, again, harsh snowstorms, right into April, must cut into productivity, just as Sunday’s southern deluge of rain kept everyone inside.

There are, also, central bank rate decisions expected from Sweden’s Riksbank, the ECB, and the BoJ. Mario Draghi has promised that European rates would go nowhere until, at least, past September, though some are betting the ECB will withdraw some of its stimulus before the year ends.

The week will be flooded by the sheer number of companies scheduled to report earnings this week. It can only be considered a slam. Sheer volume, as well as some of the biggest FANGs will influence what tech does this week and, possibly, beyond, as Alphabet (Google) (Monday), Amazon (Thursday), Facebook (Wednesday), and Microsoft (Thursday) report, as do Comcast (Wednesday), Charter Communications (Friday),, & Time Warner (Thursday), not to mention Royal Dutch Shell (Thursday), and on Friday, both Chevron, & ExxonMobil. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of companies scheduled to report, which should make this THE week for earnings. The volume will drown out almost everything else but equity investors should not overlook what’s happening with interest rates because rates are starting to reach damaging levels, that will make everything from cars to mortgages more expensive. Higher rates have the power to lower company earnings, and lower consumption. While credit card companies haven’t yet raised their rates on the best customers, that can only be around the corner, crimping consumption even more.

Surviving the week won’t be easy but if you do, perhaps you’ll end the week at the movies, seeing Disney’s "Avengers: Infinity War," which it turns out, is debuting before Black Panther has finished its run in theaters.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the authors, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence. 

April 15—20, 2018  FOMC RARELY AS UNCERTAIN AS IT SOUNDS NOW     The following 3 paragraphs excerpted from the much longer FOMC Minutes of March 20th—21st Meeting stood out for me. First, they don’t know how tariffs, retaliation, or tax cuts will impact the economy, yet, they didn’t shy from raising rates at the meeting, or forecasting more rate hikes to come. So whether Street economists see 3 or 4 more rate hikes coming, they know no more or less than the members of the FOMC, who aren’t really sure how anything will pan out.

Participants did not see the steel and aluminum tariffs, by themselves, as likely to have a significant effect on the national economic outlook, but a strong majority of participants viewed the prospect of retaliatory trade actions by other countries, as well as other issues and uncertainties associated with trade policies, as downside risks for the U.S. economy. Contacts in the agricultural sector reported feeling particularly vulnerable to retaliation.

Tax changes enacted late last year and the recent federal budget agreement, taken together, were expected to provide a significant boost to output over the next few years. However, participants generally regarded the magnitude and timing of the economic effects of the fiscal policy changes as uncertain, partly because there have been few historical examples of expansionary fiscal policy being implemented when the economy was operating at a high level of resource utilization.

Participants agreed that the longer-run normal federal funds rate was likely lower than in the past, in part because of secular forces that had put downward pressure on real interest rates. Several participants expressed the judgment that it would likely become appropriate at some point for the Committee to set the federal funds rate above its longer-run normal value for a time. Some participants suggested that, at some point, it might become necessary to revise statement language to acknowledge that, in pursuit of the Committee's statutory mandate and consistent with the median of participants' policy rate projections in the SEP, monetary policy eventually would likely gradually move from an accommodative stance to being a neutral or restraining factor for economic activity.

The Economic schedule is filled with FOMC speakers, as well as central bankers from other countries, given the joint Spring meetings of the World Bank Group & IMF. That Joint Meeting is always accompanied by meetings of other groups timed to take advantage of the central bankers from around the world who intend to participate in the schedule. In truth, both the World Bank & IMF host their own, individual, spring meetings starting the 17th, then join for the Joint meetings on the 19th—22nd.

Speaking of meetings, future meetings of the House of Representatives will look drastically different, a year from now. Republican members are planning to retire in record numbers, the Speaker of the House, as well. So I wondered how much a representative makes for living away from home, for months at a time, aside from the perks like staff salary allowances, and housing allowances. What’s it worth in pensions to have put up with all the muck and dirt slung at the House. Paul Ryan’s pending retirement income is quite modest, after 20 years, and explains why a former House or Senate member would set out on the speaker circuit, and write a book.

At 48, Paul Ryan can claim his pension in 2 years, collecting a Federal Employees’ Retirement System pension of nearly $85K p/annum, $76K of which is for his 20 years of service as Congressman, another $6,493 for toiling as a staffer in Congress. FERS contributions have been mandatory since 1984. When he’s older, Ryan will be able to collect Social Security, as well, plus whatever he’s put away in the Congressional equivalent of a 401(K) plan, a Thrift Savings Plan. Of course, Ryan will make real money once his one-year "cooling off" period ends, that period the Congressional equivalent of a non-compete. Afterwards, he can make 6-figures as a lobbyist, consultant, or any other job he may be offered. Evidently, Congress anticipated the pot at the end of the rainbow, as speakers, boards of directors, and other more lucrative possibilities, when setting such a small pension for members. How else to justify explain such a puny pension after 20 years of flying back & forth to Wisconsin, and 3 years as the leader of the US House?

The Economic Calendar also includes the typical monthly releases; Housing data Monday & Tuesday, as well as March Retail Sales Monday, which analysts expect to reverse weakness in Jan & Feb, tax-refund related delays to some spending. Canada’s monetary policy committee meets Wednesday, the country’s data expected to be released throughout the week, Friday March CPI & Feb Retail Sales. Most interesting, perhaps, Fed Gov Quarles testimony in Congress, Tuesday and Thursday, the first appointed point person on banking supervision and regulation in years—a position that never got filled under Obama.

The biggest week of earnings, so far, starts Monday, with Bank of America, Netflix, & Charles Schwab 3 highlights. In the past, Bank Earnings usually lifted markets that were, shortly thereafter, brought down by successive reports from the rest of industry. This time, banks reported strong earnings, last week, none of which seemed to please the street—not even when accompanied by strong outlooks.

Tuesday could prove another important day for earnings, with Goldman Sachs, CSX Railroad, Interactive Brokers, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kinder Morgan, Lam Research, Omnicon, United Airlines, and UnitedHealth set to report. Wednesday, note American Express, Morgan Stanley, Robert Half Associates, Steel Dynamics, Textron, & US Bank Corp.

On Thursday, note Alliance Data, Bk of NY Mellon, Blackstone, Keybanc, Philip Morris, PPG, Quest Diagnostics, & Taiwan Semiconductor, leading into Friday: Baker-Hughes a GE Company, GE, Honeywell, Kansas City Southern (Rail), Manpower, Procter & Gamble, Regions Financial, Schlumberger, Stanley Works, State Street, SunTrust, & Waste Management, a hefty cross section of every sector but Utilities & REITs, which are yet to come. The week, in short, will clear out the last of the most important financials to report, ex-insurers.

Former FBI director James Comey interview debuts Sunday, at 10pm on 20/20, with George Stephanopoulos lobbing the questions. Tuesday his book, "A Higher Loyalty" launches, and I sure hope it’s better than Wolfe’s "Fire & Fury," because that’s a terrible book, very poorly written.

What about Industry & I-bank Events? The schedule dries up during the heart of earnings season, and especially when the IMF & World Bank are set to take center stage. The biggest conference, AACR, the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting is usually a highlight of the spring. It was surprising that analysts weren’t stepping out more, last week, bulling the biotechs & pharma companies scheduled to have research unveiled. Amgen sent a press release about studies to be revealed at AACR, while Gilead did the same on NASH, at HIV & Co-Infections in Whistler, the Liver Meeting in Paris France, and the British Society of Haematology in the UK. Also notable this week, the International Home Furnishings Market, in High Point. Cruise Lines should be in focus as Cruise3Sixty gets underway in Ft Lauderdale. Norwegian is the latest to provide a horrible experience to passengers, renovating a vessel were people were on a $10K cruise. Then, there are people who keep falling off cruise ships, usually because they were drunk as skunks, and trips where rape committed by cruise employees are hush-hushed. If you want to subject yourself to lawlessness, a cruise is an easy way to accomplish that, the noro and roto viruses often the least of passenger worries.

The Denver Gold Group is hosting the European Gold Forum in Zurich, just as gold is finding some favor. Bigger still, Business Aviation Asia, in Shanghai—which I’m typing just as "60 Minutes" is finishing its hack of AllegiantAir. Watch the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Supply Chain Summit, given Trump is working on offsets to tariffs & repercussions, which should be a highlight. HIDA, the healthcare distributors e-Commerce Conference strikes me as a rebuttal to the possibility that Amazon could enter the field, even though there’s never, before, been an eCommerce event for the healthcare distributors. Then, again, I can’t remember a world congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis & Musculoskeletal Diseases in Poland, before. Or, you could just sneak away to Indio California, and let loose at Coachella.

Meantime, if you’re still long, be looking for levels to get out. The Trump honeymoon is dead, and even a great earnings season won’t be sufficient to drive stocks up.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
 

April 09—13, 2018  
CONGRESS BACK IN SESSION    Congress back in session rarely good for sentiment though it was pretty low the last week, without Congress around. And FaceBook’s CEO/Founder Zuckerberg will be before the Senate Tuesday, and the House on Wednesday. Given the Trump market gains have been reversing, with a mid-term election ahead, expect members of Congress to posture Tuesday & Wednesday, perhaps chafé at the thought that Zuck could buy them all and have plenty of assets left over. Still, there’s been little said about Cambridge Analytics’ help to Trump & the Republican Party. Why’s that?

The other big even of the week is the Release of Minutes of the FOMC March 20—21st out Wednesday, at 2pm. Given how little is known about new Chair Powell’s positions on much of anything (aside from his comments in a speech, last Friday), there is much that might be learned from the minutes—including the rise in members to 7 out of 15, from 4 earlier, in favor of faster rate hikes. Then again, it’s a shame there’s been so much backlash against th4e appointment of San Francisco Fed’s leader, John Wiliams, to take over from retiring William Dudley in NY. Why wasn’t Dudley appointed to head up the entire FOMC? Surely, that’s why he’s leaving, because Powell was chosen over Dudley, when we don’t even know if Dudley was in contention. US PPI & CPI, Tues/Wed. not likely to attract much concern, no matter how much attention they might attract. Amazon is the most deflationary force in history. As long as it’s growth anything better than 25%, it will continue to exert downward pressure on US Prices. March Chain Store Sales, Thursday? Not only don’t enough companies report their monthly sales to glean any intelligence but Quarterly insight doesn’t arrive until May.

Earnings don’t become interesting until Thursday’s BlackRock & Delta Airlines, and even more so Friday, with JPMorgan, PNC & Wells Fargo. BIG things are expected—17% earnings growth, much of it from significantly lower corporate taxes but, also, from heightened trading activity in March, when stock market volatility picked up to the benefit of JPMorgan, and next week, Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley. It’s not equally important to PNC or Wells. On the other hand, BlackRock’s fund flows could suggest some institutions lightening up on investments in favor of cash.

Broadcasters are meeting in Las Vegas but the real battle remains in a Federal Court, where AT&T is fighting with the government to complete its merger with Time Warner.

Tuesday’s Events, including Jefferies Complement Therapeutics, Digital (Auto) Dealer Conference, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer Spring Conference, and the Nat’l Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meeting are evens worth noting, even though MIPTV Global TV & Digital Content Market will draw more media, in Cannes France, thanks to celebrity attendees. Stem Cell Research & Regenerative Medicine, Thursday, is probably more eagerly awaited than most. Then, again, EASL, an International Liver Conference will, no doubt, be market moving.

Don’t tell General Mills and Kellogg but it seems at least half of their high cost problems could be solved with the trade spat, since China will surely try to buy fewer soybeans, oats, and wheat from the US. Now, if transport costs could only come down, too, there’d be no reason to even try to raise consumer prices for their cereals. And, of course, there isn’t much that will help shareholders overcome their aversion to the price GIS is paying for Blue Buffalo Pet Products but, hey! You can’t have everything.

The downside momentum didn’t look as awful on the charts as one might have expected after Friday’s 572 decline in the DJIA on Friday. Democrats were filled with "woe is me" when Trump won the election. Now that their worst fears are being realized, in a trade spat with China—a spat that can’t hurt China as much as it could US farmers, in particular. The Trump momentum trade is over. Now, it’s time to sell the rips rather than buy the dips, unless reaction to this week’s earnings are a heck of a lot more bullish than I expect.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here.)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing Contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
  

April 01—06, 2018   MARKET WILL CONTINUE TO SEEK DIRECTION   If you think April will suddenly reverse the volatility and pressure of March, think again—at least until the due date for US Income taxes passes, on 04/17. That’s because procrastinators everywhere have until then to fund retirement accounts, whether at 401 K’s at work or IRAs, while older workers & retirees must complete their mandatory, annual retirement withdrawal, or to file their taxes or extension request but pay the taxes that are due—even if they take an automatic, 6-month extension. So, there’s a flood of money moving in and out of brokerage & mutual fund & retirement accounts, last minute funding, offsetting last minute withdrawals. April has often delivered the best gains for the DJIA but, often, those gains don’t start racking up until a week start until the later part of the month. That 2nd half of the month brings the start of Q1 earnings releases, most of that from financials. And that should be good for the bulls, since their taxes are falling significantly, and most—Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays & Wells Fargo excepted—have shed the burden of fines and penalties. Along that line, note the CCAR & Dodd-Frank stress tests are due by the 5th, Thursday, the results to be announced in June.

One of the most interesting events, this week, may well be around the larger amounts of debt the Fed allows to roll off with reinvestment onto its balance sheet.. As of April, the New York Federal Reserve will be reinvesting in the same class of debt only amounts that are in excess of $18B in maturing Treasuries, and in excess of $12B of Agency MBS. When the Fed first started holding back some of the funds maturing, to leave the cash on its balance sheet until sent to the US Treasury, last October 2017, the amount of Treasuries allowed to roll off was at only $6B, and for Agencies, the amount was merely $4B. As Sen Dirkson once said, "a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money." Given that the amounts not reinvested will continue to increase, quarterly, for a couple of more years, the weekly release of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (Thursdays, after market close) will become a more closely inspected document than it appears to be, now.

And, of course, the March US Unemployment Rate will be released Friday. Given the outsized number reported for February--313,000 jobs added--expect revisions. Makes no sense that the shortest month of the year (Feb), and one that saw the middle of the country & east coast slammed with paralyzing snow storms, shows the best hiring in years. The Feb report at an incomprehensible.313,000, would surprise even more if there isn’t a large revision released with the March report.. The number of Motor Vehicles sold in March is the other item on the Economic calendar likely to be closely scrutinized. Again, a short month & snow storms that paralyzed a decent portion of the country weighs against record sales. And even if there was a record set, the size of incentives will surely be held up in dispute.

The Earnings schedule is for one of the lightest weeks of the year. Discretionary outfits that sell to consumers are the bulk of the slight report, CarMax, Fed’s, Lennar, and PriceSmart speak for themselves. Monsanto reports Thursday, and will not hold a post-release conference call because its take-out by Bayer is pending. I was sure that CFIUS would block this deal but it doesn’t appear to be in mortal danger, at all. Schnitzer is a steel company, so it ‘s first out of the gate to project how much the Trump tariffs on steel will mean to a US Company. Conn’s is scheduled to report, Thursday at 10am cdt on the 5th, Thursday. It was, not too long ago, bankrupt and closed a serious number of stores. However, in addition to any damage it might have suffered from Hurricane Harvey, there’s an equally tantalizing possibility that the damage wrought by Harvey spurred a serious surge in sales of appliances and other household goods. I wouldn’t buy a new dishwasher from a company I wasn’t sure would be a round in a few months,or in a year but other people wouldn’t care and buy from whomever’s price is best. For me, CONN is a pariah, for others a salvation, given how much of its business is built on credit extended to buyers, those borrowers, often, on shaky ground.

As for Events, there are barely any.. Here, kids were off from school for a week, starting March 19th. Other school districts were closed last week, and still more this week. So, given investment banks can’t send inquiries to every school district or portfolio manager, it appears the I-banks just avoided scheduling too many activities for this week. Starting with Morgan Stanley’s Healthcare Insight Panel, through Credit Suisse’s 4th Australian Corporate Day, in Boston, of all places, through Cowen’s Annual Future of the Consumer Conference, and Jefferies Immuno-Oncology/Cell Therapy Summit, in Boston, and its Healthcare REIT Summit in NY, there is I-bank activity each day this week but nothing like the typical, winter week.. And none of them likely to move the market or sector.

I don’t expect moves as large as we saw on several days in the past 2 weeks but also don’t expect the bulls to show they won the March war. On the contrary, I expect more swings up and down because traders aren’t sure which swing to bet on, and won’t know until the earnings from financials start arriving the week of April 9th, through the week of April 16th which coincides with IRS’ tax due date, on the 17th. (15th is a Sunday, the 16th is Founder’s Day, when some IRS offices are closed.) Just recall that even when financials please, and stocks run up in response, the reports scheduled for the last week of the month may not please as much as banks do but, benefiting from a lower tax rate, should still report big comparative upside versus last year’s Q1.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, here. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The Opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

March 27—20, 2018  
MARCH’S END CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH FOR BULLS    March’s end can’t come soon enough for the bulls but is coming fairly fast, with most Western Markets closed Friday, including US Markets, & Treasuries closing early on Thursday, to usher in the Easter Holiday. Passover, likewise, arrives on Good Friday, at sundown, a Sabbath start requiring a few extra prayers to push back dinner.

As is typical for the end of any month, housing data will dominate the releases, including the S&P Case/Shiller Jan 20-city Home Price Index Tuesday, NAR’s US Feb pending Home Sales Wednesday, and the final update on US 17Q4 GDP, also Wednesday. The US Treasury will auctions only $29B 7-year Notes but the longer durations have been shunned of late, and could put the kabbosh on Quarter’s end. And what a quarter it’s been, gains racked up in January given back, and then some, in March.

Spring seasonal clothing sales usually ramp into Easter. Not this year: Not only is Easter so early Good Friday falls in March but a Nor’easterner blanketed the East Coast with snow, which puts a chill on sales of spring fashions. Next year, comparisons will be tough since Good Friday isn’t until April 19th. Even those used to markets that serve up surprises, will be surprised by the comparisons.

Earnings are, again, dominated by discretionary companies, though the number of reports start slimming down until mid-April, when the banks report in quantity. And it might be mid-April’s bank earnings that it takes to reduce the extremes we’ve seen for 4 weeks or more. Before the next earnings cycle starts in mid-April, though, we’ll have to get through the FOMC Minutes, on the 11th, which may reveal more about where the Powell FOMC is headed than the 43 minute post-meeting press conference did. Powell did throw out the tidbit that PCE remains the FOMC’s favored assessment of consumer inflation but not much more.

As for Events, the NCAA’s March Madness will not be as big a distraction as it was last week, since the number of teams that remain in the hunt have been trimmed considerably. NVdia is one stock to watch, as it hosts its Investor Day on Tuesday. Jefferies’ Consumer IR Summit might be the star of Tuesday’s other events, since it’s rich with retailers & restaurants, while WWD’s Men’s Wear and Global Shop will add to the interest in discretionary names that came to life in Feb. JPMorgan’s Wednesday West Coast Energy Infrastructure/MLP 1x1 Forum couldn’t be more perfectly timed for those who want to know what the MLP tax ruling handed down last week means for the group and any specific names attending. Barclays Materials ROC Stars Conference is well timed because the Street has hosted one healthcare conference after another, since JPM’s in January, and it’s time for fresh topics. Needham does seem to bat cleanup on that topic, which probably won’t offer anything new.

The forces of end of month & quarter will compete with the Portfolio Managers who’ll be trying their best to salvage how the Quarter looks to their mutual fund investors. VIX isn’t as high as it should be given the steep decline seen last week. Stocks could go either way, this week but the downside conviction could be stronger than any upside impulse. What happened to 50 cents? Remember the guy or firm that was buying downside puts waiting for a pullback? None of the weekend press either mentioned him or the profits he made last week, though they did during the early February pullback. It would be a shame to learn there were so few short the market into last week’s massacre there are few who need to buy to close out their positions into the weekend holiday. That’s bad for the bulls, if there are still any.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only. Full International Economic Calendar, here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
  

March 19—23, 2018   POWELL the STAR    Some are talking up the FOMC going for a half point increase this week, instead of the quarter point hikes that started in Dec 2016. How could someone think Powell is going to disrupt the markets on what’s really his debut as the chief. Instead, I think anything new he’s contemplating adding to his Fed will be glimpsed in the minutes, due out on April 11th. I doubt that he’s thinking about half point increases but think Powell could cut a different path by adding a press conference after each meeting, instead of the quarterly ones that Bernanke & Yellen adhered to. In fact, it’s something he briefly touched on in his Senate confirmation hearing testimony—and something even Yellen dismissed by saying, "I suspect you folks will show up if we suddenly add a press conference to the schedule, at the end of the first day of out 2-day meetings. And that’s something I wonder about, also: Single day meetings were commonplace pre-2008 disaster but haven’t appeared in the past 11 years. With the unwinding of its balance sheet on automatic pilot (the amounts allowed to roll off rise on April 1st), and inflation still not close enough to 2.0% to satisfy the Fed doves, Neel Kashkari of the Minneapolis Fed would strenuously voice objection to a half point hike, especially with the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow just lowered to less than 2.0%, the magic but illusive Fed goal. And trust me, Kashkari’s not one easily quieted by any chairman—no matter how new or long standing.

There are other central bank meetings this week, the 2nd most important the Bank of England, Carney’s press conference likely to attract some Financial TV attention on Thursday morning, before the open. RBA (Aussie) March Meeting Minutes will be out, overnight, Monday. Brazil’s Central Bank Rate will be set Wednesday, while the SNB (Swiss National Bank) releases its Annual Report on that night, even as the G20 Central Bankers & Finance Ministers are supposed to be in Buenos Aires (Argentina) for one of 4 meetings that segment of the G20 planned for this year.

The Earnings Calendar is surprisingly heavy with retailers, an apparel manufacturer, a couple of restaurants, and 3 solar firms. The only names reporting with the power to infect the market—or their sector, are homebuilders Lennar & KB Homes, database tech Oracle (Monday), FedEx (Tuesday), and Micron Technology (Thursday), along with consultant Accenture, that day, also. Nike and Finish Line report on Thursday, along with Micron Technology, while the one to watch may well be Lands’ End, as Sears tees up new lists of stores to be closed with virtually every press release. Lambert has people with signs standing on corners on the main drag through town, promising up to 80% and the fixtures for sale but that means he’s closing Lands’ End stores more quickly than LE could replace them. And maybe it won’t, given that catalog & online sales were its primary channels, for decades. Meanwhile, the Solar Companies reporting are likely to be key players at Solar Power Finance & Investment, in San Diego, starting Tuesday.

Now, with respect to 2 major tech companies reporting this week, ACN & ORCL, I have a point to make about IBM, should either of the two reporting give traders a reason to sell down IBM. The company Introduced a new mainframe in Sept 15th, 2017. As a rule, sales and signed maintenance contracts start adding to profits about 9—12 months after introduction—as machines at customers’ on beta test start converting to sales. If IBM doesn’t knock the cover off the ball in April, it probably will by its July report. Some of this might be reaching analysts’ ears at THINK & InterConnect, in Las Vegas, starting Monday. Ironically, Microsoft starts its Tech Summit the same day, in San Francisco but it’s AT&T’s Federal Trial to restore its deal with Time Warner that might catch a lot more press, at least for the first week of what the judge said is expected to take eight weeks. But, if you’re waiting with call options for MU to blow past analysts’ consensus, when it reports Thursday, take not of Wafers to Wall Street—changing Investor perceptions, growing trends in Semiconductors, then keep an eye on Qualcomm & nVidia, QCOM’s shareholders holding out for a higher bid undone by presidential decree, even as it appears that’s not top for NVDA anywhere in sight.

Macquarie Consumer Bright Ideas range from Hilton & IMAX to Las Vegas Sands, Ralph Lauren, Target, Tiffany, & Vail Resorts, and lots more. Many of the same companies will show up at Telsey Advisory Group’s 10th Annual Spring Consumer Conference (TAG born in the wake of Bear Stearns’ sale to JPM, and Lehman’s collapse). Dana Telsey is still widely respected by the Street, and a frequent CNBC guest. More retailers will appear at ShopTalk, which started Sunday.

It’s a little weird that Winnebego always seems to report earnings in the middle of a convention, the industry’s 97th started Sunday. GDC, for Game Developers & independents starts Monday but in recent years has been eclipsed by Licensing, usually in NY, in June. With Toys R Us liquidating, there’s going to be a lot IP looking to sign deals with new entities, so they can replace Toys’ share. Platts 14th Annual Steel Markets North America will be in Chicago, starting Tuesday, the day Morgan Stanley opens its European Financials Conference in London.

OpCo’s Healthcare Conference starting Tuesday feels like "yet, another healthcare conference," after 8 major ones that started back in January, with JPMorgan. Bk of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Industrials will get more attention in London, though it’s Thursday’s line up that’s most intriquing: ATD for Truck Dealers, NADA for the Auto Dealers Association, aided by J.D. Power’s Automotive Summit, And Automotive News’ Retail Forum @NADA. So how did MATS (Mid-America Trucking Show) wind up on the same dates, but instead of in Vegas, where ATD & Automotive Dealers meet, in Louisville KY. J.D. Power, for those curious, was bought by the Chinese.

And it all that wasn’t enough, S&P does some quarterly rebalancing, after the quarterly index options & futures expire. And you sure want that on your radar screen, as well, even if Jerome "Jay" Powell will be the star of the show. I expect him to be Yellen 2, early in his term.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence..

March 12—16, 2018   WEEK BETWEEN    This week is the week between, notable, mostly, for the amount of debt the US Treasury is going to auction, in contrast to last week’s light schedule. Monday’s 10-year Notes & Tuesday’s 30-year Bonds are the most dangerous, based on recent auctions. The longer the terms, the worse the debt has fared, even with the rest of the world offering much lower rates on their sovereign debt. The Street will have its eye on next week, this entire week, in anticipation of Jerome Powell’s first post-meeting Press Conference, and the updated forecasts of FOMC members. Do any now see 4 rate hikes this year? Better put: How many now see 4 rate hikes this year, in anticipation of Trump’s tax reform juicing business earnings.

The 313K jobs added in Feb just doesn’t ring true for me. Not only was it a short month—not even a leap day to it—but a snow storm kept many from reaching jobs they might have otherwise. So, unless all those added jobs—say 113K of them in excess of Street’s assumptions—all were hired to plow snow, I expect that 313K print will be revised away over the next 2 years. And watch out if either US Feb CPI (Tues), PPI (Wed) or Retail Sales (Wed) suggest a whiff of inflation. It’s what got stocks down in early February, last week’s Employment Report backing off the bigger rise seen in Jan. As for NAHB’s March Housing Market Index, Thursday, now’s about the time for analysts to speak out in builders’ favor, in anticipation of a strong spring selling season before mortgage rates move even higher. .

It’s a light earnings week, the biggest names in retail already out with reports, this week’s reports more curiosity than market movers, perhaps with the exception of Broadcom & Ulta Salon, (Thursday), and Tiffany Friday, with a quiet nod to Signet & Williams-Sonoma, both Wednesday. Still, with the exception of Broadcom (AVGO), better watched for its Qualcomm bid, interrupted by CFIUS, for now, there’s no earth shattering reports on their way this week.

Trust me, The Quadruple Witch Expiration Friday will be more significant than any of the Economic Data or Earnings. Still, the Events Calendar has some events worth pointing out. Cowen & Barclays host Healthcare, or Health Care & Healthcare respectively, Monday & Tuesday. Citi drops into Shipping Day at the Capital Link 12th Shipping Forum, while RayJay does the same at OFC & Satellite 2018. Stephens has some of the most narrow events planned, mostly on the West Coast, the participants named on the calendar. Ditto Deutsche Bank with Basic Materials, on Wednesday, even if Trump’s Infrastructure plans have gone nowhere, and probably won’t go far while Gary Cohn’s seat in the white House is vacant. So watch that Quad Witch, and remain prepared for S&P’s rebalancing, since it’s likely to result in financials & technology representing heavier weightings. And some give back after last week’s outsized gains seem in order, too.

ECONOMIC: (Highiights, only, below Full International Economic Calendar here)  

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author's, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

March 05—09, 2018  
TARIFFS NOT AS ORIGINALLY SHOT ACROSS THE BOW?  There seemed to be some back tracking on the severity of tariffs the Trump White house will levy on steel & aluminum, over the weekend. At a minimum, there was talk about exemptions, which is all well and good, but doesn’t solve the problem of the enhanced influence Peter Navarro may be having on the President.

Note how little debt the Treasury is planning on offering this week. Three-month, 6-month, and 4 week is It! That may help keep stocks from falling too much more, especially if the rumored exemptions become reality. But with so many central bankers speaking—our own, as well as the rate setting committees in Australia, Canada, at the ECB, and, finally, into Friday, the BoJ. The latter has dropped the taper bomb with no repercussions, as yet.

The Earnings Calendar is concentrated around consumer names, including many retailers & restaurants. Target & Ross Stores should lead on Tuesday, Costco Wholesale & Dollar Tree on Wednesday, Kroger on Thursday, though I also emboldened a few names that are less followed, because it might be time to give them more attention. In the same vein, note the analyst meetings, this week, Chevron, Lam Research & Target on Tuesday, when half the tech analysts will be focused on Qualcomm, and the nominees to its board that Broadcom is asking shareholders to approve. Given that QCOM basically told AVGO that it will take more money than what’s been offered, I suspect shareholders will hold their ground with current management. ExxonMobil is hosting its Analyst Day Wednesday, Cott on Thursday, while Bank of NY Mellon, CBRE, & USG on Friday.

Big Events include IHS Markit CERAWEEK, which starts on Monday, the 5th, include well known speakers Dr Daniel Yergin, DoE Sec’y Rick Perry, Saudi Armaco’s Amin Nasser, GM CEO Mary Barra, RDS.A CEO, OPEC Sec’y General Barkindo, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the leaders of OXY, BP, IEA, UAE Minister of Industry & Energy, DUK, FCX’s LNG, Trafigura, Xcoal Energy, SLB, Siemens, Reliance Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy, DOW Chemical, FERC, Edison Int’l, PG&E, Exelon, EMR, Petronas, COP, CPN, HES, YPF, BHGE and more So one highlight of the week.

Also starting Monday, Deutsche Bank’s Media, Telecom & Business Services Conference in Palm Beach—if the NY area and other East Coast airports can reopen. There’s a break before JPMorgan opens Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum starting Thursday, a day on which Bank of America/Merrill Lynch hosts Refining.

A fantastic 16-month run up after the election doesn’t have the excesses wrung out of it by 3 or 5 days of selling. Still, should the White House include exemptions from the Steel & Aluminum tariffs, as rumored over the weekend, then a bounce would not surprise but it won’t solve the problem of Navarro’s growing clout, or the wild man elected President who loves to shock & awe.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, below. Complete International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed is the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
       

February, 26th—March 2nd, 2018  
CAN POWELL TALK AND SAY SOMETHING?   FOMC chief Powell’s testimony at House Financial Services Cmte moved to Tuesday from Wednesday, due to a scheduling issue. He reprises his testimony in the Senate on Thursday. This will be his first solo testimony, at which we’re not likely to learn as much about his positions as the Street wants to know. For balance, ECB’s Draghi testifies at the EU Parliament, Sunday night (Monday European time). His days are numbered, since his term ends next year, and there’s already jockeying for his position. While we’re on the subject, other Central bankers speaking include Bullard, Vice chairman Quarles, even as Governors at NGA will split up, Monday, and meet with either Trump or Pence at the White House.

Big Economic Data is centered around housing, including Monday’s Jan New Home Sales, & Tuesday’s Case Shiller Dec Home Price Index & FHFA’s Dec Home Price Index. December? Why would the Street wait for that when Zillow and other sites are updated sooner? OK, Ok, FHFA I get because it compares sales of a specific house with its prior sale but S&P Case Shiller CoreLogix? They have time to add more titles but not to push out the data faster?

One big event, this week, is in Barcelona, rather than the US. It’s the GSM Mobile World Congress, Samsung supposed to debut its Galaxy S9 at the show, on Sunday, before the show officially opened. Sony’s Monday press conference presumably is to unveil a new smartphone, too, while Huawei is expected to launch its latest, even as HMD Global, holder of the Nokia licenses, is expected to debut at least one new smartphone.

Other big events this week, closer to home, include Morgan Stanley’s Tech, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, JPMorgan’s Global Emerging Markets & Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance both meet in Miami Beach, and overlap. There’s, also, the 11th Annual Medicaid Managed care Summit, Citi’s Asset Management, Broker Dealers & Market Structure Conference, BAC/MER’s Global Agriculture & Materials Conference, KBW Cards, Payments & Financial Technology, in NY. The largest US corporate meeting is AAAI Jointly with the World Allergy Congress, starting Friday, in Orlando.

All in, a very busy week with much of what happens dependent on what Jay Powell says in 2-days of Congressional testimony. He may not have mastered the art of saying a lot without saying anything but, then, maybe he’ll be more like Janet Yellen, and not really look to do anything but honestly guide markets and rates. The questions is what’s his favorite indicator? For Yellen, it was PCE—Core Personal Consumption Expenditures. For Powell? That is the question.

Consumer names own Earnings, this week, including Macy*s, Nordstrom, JCPenney, TJX, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, FootLocker, Lowe’s, Big lots, Gap Stores, Kohl’s, to name just a few. My bet is JPMorgan Chase’s analyst meeting will be more influential. Furthermore, I expect some of the air that’s was blown into retailers after holiday sales were not as devastating as in past years to leave the shares after they report. The wonder wasn’t that Walmart fell after it reported a miss but that the Street had fallen so in love with WMT, into its Q4 results. The two stores closest to me are still filthy, poorly stocked but distasteful locations that no one seems to care about.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

February 19—23, 2018   ANOTHER SHORT WEEK THAT COULD FEEL LONGER THAN IT IS   I thought about highlighting Walmart’s earnings, or maybe WMT & Home Depot earnings, and stopping there (both Tuesday) but, in the end, the volume of restaurants reporting weighed against that fleeting thought, suggesting more angles for consumer spending to be examined. Still, I think the week amounts to those 2 reports, because the FOMC Minutes, out Wednesday, will still reflect the Yellen Federal Reserve, not lead by Jay Powell. Put February 28th on your calendar for his starring role at Congress.

Otherwise, what stands out this week is China’s Lunar New Year celebrations, which means no guidance from the far east. And that’s unfortunate, in a week that includes so much Treasury Debt at Auction, including $55B worth of 4-week bills, an amount I can’t say I ever remember seeing. Add in larger than previous 3-, & 6-month Bills, plus 5- and 7-year Notes (Wed/Thurs), and the Asian absence could be felt, the longer the term, the more dampened interest, of late.

And it’s not like we’re not going to hear a lot from FOMC speakers, this week. It’s bonanza time, some on the Street fairly vocal in their wish that Powell would tamp down the competing viewpoints espoused intra-meetings.

The Conservative Political Action Committee meeting just outside D.C. promises Trump, VP Pence, Ed Sec’y Betsy DeVos, Sean Hannity, Ajit Pai, Mick Mulvaney, Sen. Ted Cruz, Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison, UK’s Nigel Farage, and many others that aren’t equal bold-faced names. Still, that grumbling you hear during the week may just be liberals nursing stomach aches. NGA, the National Governors Winter Meeting is also in D.C, this week, a speaking invitation to the Pres. no doubt out months ago. If that’s happening, it’s impossible to say. The Event Website offers a skeletal Agenda, without details. It won’t be a repeat of CPAC, though.

In other Events, CAGNY(Consumer Analysts of NY) stands out, Monday, because the package foods industry, the dominant speakers, need some inflation to grow their earnings. One surprise invitee is JNJ. Wednesday also stands out because both Citi & Barclays are hosting separate Industrials Conferences that start that day, both in Miami. What were the odds? Thursday’s 94th USDA Ag Outlook Forum: The Roots of Prosperity is scheduled at a time when farmers are looking at some of their worst earnings, another group that could use some inflation to boost prices of commodities.

So, a market that’s a little directionless without Asia doesn’t mean stocks can’t continue their recovery, but does increase the odds that stocks may be looking up at nearby resistance, and feel a need to chop around consolidating the territory already recouped since the Fed Chief Powell swear-in sell off that started on 02/05.

I have 2 off-topic comments: Since when does flying down a mile-long ice structure at 60 mph, on a lunch tray with handles constitute sport? I realize some "sports" Ndate back to win men went out with guns & clubs to catch dinner but skeleton? Are you kidding me, calling it a sport?

And then, I have to say something about the Parkland massacre, which occurred less than 11 miles from where we live, and 2 years ago, might have trapped one of our god children in the madness. I get that the constitution allows for citizens to arm but nowhere in the constitution did the founding fathers either explicitly or by inferrence extend that right to automatic weapons which they could neither anticipate nor cite. It is time for automatic weapons to be left to law enforcement and the armed forces but kept out of citizens hands. Sandi

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

February 12—16, 2018  
HOW DOES THE STREET REACT TO BLOWING UP THE DEFICIT BY ANOTHER $200B?   Whether the latest volatility runs its course by this week could depend on how the Street reacts to Trump proposing adding another $200B to the deficit on infrastructure spending. Recall, the problems started in the debt markets, so that’s what must be watched, still. Meanwhile, 3 weeks sick makes me wonder how deeply this year’s flu epidemic curtailed worker productivity.

ECONOMIC: (Full Int'l Economic Calendar here)

© 2018 Sandi Lynne Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
 
                                                              
February 05—09, 2018   CORRECTION COULD FIND A BOTTOM BY END OF WEEK      Sandi’s still very sick and doing as much as she can.

Time was, Super Bowl was a 4-day weekend of events for fans who’d spend $20--$45 to roam through football fandom. For 2018, the festivities have been going on since Jan 29th, and there was, even, a 19th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. This surprises me because I attended one of the Super Bowl weekends in Miami, maybe even more than 19 years ago, and this is the 1st time I’ve seen a "Gospel" celebration on the schedule. Tix were $20, and some were still available as of Thursday afternoon, 02/01. Here’s the other head scratcher I found on the NFL site: A location is listed for drop off and pick up of Uber, Taxi’s, & Lyft but no vehicles for hire—Limo, Sprinter, Mini Bus or Motor Coach--is allowed to drop off or pick up at US Bank Stadium. I realize Super Bowl moves around, so all NFL teams get a chance to host the game—and rake in all the bucks associated with the event but, really, given the early February scheduling, why wouldn’t the NFL pick a stadium in a warmer climate than Minneapolis? Even the covered stadium doesn’t spare anyone the inhuman sub-zero temps getting there and back

ECONOMIC: (See FULL International Economic Calendar Here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
 

January 22—26, 2018 
FLU GOT ME DOWN, Sandi  Sick as a dog this past 4 days, so the Full International Economic Calendar didn’t get made. Below the best we could do.

ECONOMIC: (
Full International Economic Calendar can be viewed, here)
SUNDAY, 01/21

MONDAY, 01/22
IMF World Economic Outlook Press Conference (Davos)

TUESDAY, 01/23
WEC: World Economic Forum
Annual Meeting (Davos-Klosters, Suisse thru 26tth)
Bloomberg Year Ahead & Smart Economic (Davos thru 24th)
NAFTA talks Resume (Montreal Canada)

WEDNESDAY, 01/24

THURSDAY, 01/25

FRIDAY, 01/26

EARNINGS: We know longer separate pre-market from after market earnings releases. We cover only the major money center banks, the largest regionals, and foreign banks traded in the US. We ignore "the" in a corporate name unless it’s integral ot the ticker.

MONDAY, 01/22: BRO, HAL, HMST, IIVI, ISRG?, JJSF?, LOGI?, NFLX, PETS, RMD, STLD, SYK, AMTD, UBS, WTFC, WWD, ZION

TUESDAY, 01/23: ARAY, ATI, BKU, BEDU, CNI, COF, CREE, DLB, FITB, FUL, HBAN, JNJ, KMB, LPL?, MRCY, MDP, NAVI, NAP, EDU, NVR, OSIS, BPOP, PG, PLD, QSII, SEIC, SMED, STT, SNV, TESS, TXN, TSS, TRMK, UFI, UAL, VZ, VRTS, WAT, WBS

WEDNESDAY, 01/24: ABT, AMP, APH, AZPN, AUDC, BHGE, BANR, BGG, CLS, CNS, CMCSA, CVLT, CMRE, CCI, DFS, DST?, ETH, FFIV, F, GD, GE, GWW, HXL, ITW?, LRCX, LVS, LM, MJCO?, HZO, MRLN, MRTN, NSC, NTRS, NVS, OPY, PGR, RJF, RBBN, RLI, RHI, ROK, ROL, RCL, RES, SLG, SWK, SMCI, TROW, TEL, TER?, URI, UTX, VAR, WHR?, WYNN, XLNX

THURSDAY, 01/25: MMM, EGHT, ABAX, ALK, ADS, AAL, AEP, AIT, AJG, AVT, AVX, BIIB, BDN, CCMP, CRR, CAT, CE, CELG, CLF, CVTI, DLX, DGII, ETFC, FII, FCAU?, FLEX, FCX, HP, HTH, INTC, ISCA, JBLU, LRN, KTEC, KLAC, LLL, LANC, MATW, MXIM, MKC, MSCC, NOC, ORI, OSK, PGC, PKI, PX, RTN, RCI, SHW, LUV, SBUX, STM, SIVB, TAL, TMST, UNP, WDC

FRIDAY, 01/26: ABBV, APD, CL, DWCH, GNTX, HRC, HON, LEA, VIVO, MOG/A, NEE, NEP, NG, OIIM, POL, COL, USAP, WRLD

EVENTS:
CONTINUING SUNDAY, 01/21

1st Stock Trades After Options/formerly LEAPS Settle
Argus Media Americas Crude Summit @Petroleum Markets Week (Houston TX)
Winter Rheumatology Symposium (Snowmass Village CO thru 26th)
Int’l Headache Academy (Los Angeles CA thru 22nd)
Enigma: Emerging Threats & Novel Attacks (Santa Clara CA)
Men’s Haute Couture Week (Paris France)
Imprinted Sportswear (Long Beach CA)
CHA Crafts & Hobby MEGA Conference/Trade Show (Phoenix AZ thru 22nd)
DLD18 Digital Life Design (Munich Germany thru 22nd)
BioInformatics (Madeira Portugal)
AO—Australian Open Tennis Championship, 1st of 4 majors (Melbourne thru 28th)
Sundance Film & Arts Festival (Park City UT thru 28th)

STARTING SUNDAY, 01/21
Inside ETFs (Hollywood FL thru 24th)
VRC Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (Vancouver Canada thru 22nd)
RILA Retail CEO Forum (Tucson AZ thru 25th)
NDIA Winter Simulation Innovation Workshop (Orlando FL thru 26th)
Keystone Organ Crosstalk in Obesity & BioEnergetics + Metabolic Diseases Symposium (Keystone CO thru 25th)
PTC’18 Pacific Telecommunications Council (Honolulu HI thru 24th)
Fancy Foods Show (San Francisco thru 23rd)
24th Annual SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards (Los Angeles and TNT + TBS TV)

MONDAY, 01/22
Health Benefits
Conference/Expo (Clearwater Beach FL thru 24th)
Tour d’ALIS Americas Lodging Investment Summit (Los Angeles thru 24th)
Citi @ALIS Lodging Summit Meetings (Los Angeles)
DDP: Drug Delivery Partnerships (Palm Beach Gardens FL thru 24th)
PMWC Precision Medicine World Conference (Mountain View CA thru 24th)
World Stem Cell Summit (Miami FL thru 25th)
CleanTech Forum (San Francisco thru 24th)
Macquarie A-Share Corporate Day (NY thru 23rd)
Call Center Summit (New Orleans LA thru 25th)
SIA SnowSports Industries America (Denver CO thru 24th)
AHR (HV/AC) Expo (Chicago IL thru 24th)
FETC: Future of Education Technology Conference (Orlando thru 26th)
Women’s Haute Couture Week (Paris France thru 25th)
LSE SU Alternative Investments Conference (London thru 23rd)
Credit Suisse HK/China Analyst Relay II Showcase (Hong Kong)
European 3D Summit (Dresden Germany thru 24th)
Nike (NKE) hosting Macquarie clients at Hdqtrs (Beavertown OR)

TUESDAY, 01/23
IECI: Electric National Business Summit (Las Vegas NV thru 24th)
DistribuTECH (San Antonio TX thru 25th)
MPMC Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Media Trade Council (Santa Ana CA thru 25th)
PGA (Golf) Merchandise Show & Demo Day (Orlando FL thru 26th)
AHA (Heart) International Stroke Conference (Los Angeles thru 28th)
IC3 Int’l Capital & Cannabis Conference (Miami FL thru 24th)
World of Concrete (Las Vegas thru 26th)
Pool & Spa Show (Atlantic City NJ thru 25th)
Scotiabank Multi-Family Residential Panel (Toronto Canada)
Euromoney 20th Global Airfinance Conference (Dublin Ireland thru 25th)
Future WAN ’18, an SD-WAN
virtual summit (thru 26th)
EFI (EFII) Connect: Users Conference (Las Vegas thru 26th)
Progressive Insurance (PGR) New York Boat Show (NY thru 28th)

WEDNESDAY, 01/24
CFANY (formerly NYSSA) American Gas Ass’n Luncheon (NY)
CIBC 21st Annual Whistler Institutional Investor Conference (Whistler BC Canada thru 27th)
Int’l FCStone Coffee Futures, Options & Structured Products Risk Management Seminar (Miami FL thru 26th)
IREI VIP: Vision, Insights & Perspectives Americas (Dana Pt CA thru 28th)
Yankee Dental Congress (Boston MA thru 27th)
ASTD Tech Knowledge Conference/Expo (San Jose CA thru 26th)
Deutsche Bank dbAccess Retail Store Tour (Manchester UK thru 26th)
MGF Global Games Forum (London thru 25th)
BETT Education Technology (London thru 27th)
Citi A-Share & Connect Day (Shenzhen China thru 25th)
China Int’l Printed & Flexible Electronics + Emerging Technologies (Shanghai thru 26th)
ISPO Beijing (Beijing China thru 27th)
Microsoft (MSFT) Tech Summit (Birmingham UK thru 25th)
Philip Morris’ (PM) IQOS System with Marlboro Heatsticks, including menthol Heatsticks, (MRTPA-Modified Risk Tobacco Product Applications) before FDA Tobacco Products Scientific AdCom
OSCAR Nominees Announced (Hollywood CA)

THURSDAY, 01/25
ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium (San Francisco thru 27th)
SNMMI Society of Cancer Research-Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Mid-Winter Meeting (Orlando thru 27th)
SurfExpo (Orlando thru 27th)
Guelph Organic Conference (Ontario Canada thru 28th)
Citi GPS: Risk Launch 2018 (London)
4th Annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum (London)
34th IHS Display Search Japan (Tokyo thru 26th)
EGA (European Generic Ass’n) 17th Regulatory & Scientific Affairs Conference (London thru 26th)
Taco Bell (YUM) beings offering $1 Nacho Fries in the US

FRIDAY, 01/26
Food Marketing Institute Mid-Winter Executive Conference (Miami thru 29th)
School Mental Health: Treating Students K to 12 (Boston thru 27th)
American Bus Association Marketplace (Charlotte NC thru 30th)
Altria (MO), Reynolds America (RAI), Philip Morris Int’l (PM): FDA lays out approach to evaluating nicotine replacement therapies (NRT)
MOVIES OPENING:
"Maze Runner: The Death Cure" with Rosa Salazar, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, based on the novel "The Death Cure," it’s the finale of The Maze Runner Saga, from 20th Century Fox (FOXA). "Hostiles," with Rosamund Pike, Scott Shepherd, Christian Bale, Stella Cooper, a period Western. Originally distributed to a limited number of theaters, on 12/22/17, Entertainment Studios bought US rights and is taking it wide, now. "Kickboxer: Retaliation," with Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mike Tyson, & Sara Malakul Lane, a follow-up to "Kickboxer: Vengeance," distributed by Our House Films.

SATURDAY, 01/27
SPIE Photonics West (San Francisco thru 02/01)
Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons Annual +AATS Tech-Con (Ft Lauderdale FL thru 31st)
AACR Obesity & Cancer (Austin TX thru 30th)
ASTA 58th Annual Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference (San Diego thru 30th)    

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
 

January 15—19, 2018  HOLIDAY WEEK WON’T FEEL LIKE ONE BY FRIDAY  Throw a dart on any day the rest of the week and you’ll find an important entry on the Economic Calendar. Some of the most important data will seep out from China & the UK, China’s growth essential to the worldwide growth & stability, the UK’s plan to exit the EU intensifying, as the clock keeps ticking. Then, there’s $135B in shorter term debt a boatload that will be easily absorbed. In addition to Jerome Powell’s appointment to head the Federal Reserve, which will be voted on, again, Wednesday, there are Evans & Kaplan speaking to Reinsurance Executives, Bk of Canada Gov Poloz and his Deputy Wilkins speaking after their monetary policy committee wraps a meeting, and the Fed’s Evans & Kaplan speaking, too, to the Reinsurance Executive Roundtable, hosted by the ACLI (American Council of Life Insurers), in Palm Beach FL, along with the Fed’s Mester on monetary policy communications, hosted by ACLI (Am. Council of Life Insurers), in a brisker New Jersey.

Some of the Economic Calendar highlights are on housing, including China’s Dec. Property/House Prices, and the US’s NAHB Jan Housing Market Index, & Dec Housing Starts/Building Permits, along with the UK’s Dec RICS House Price balance. And, dare we say it, OPEC’s release of its monthly Oil Market Report, Thursday, when both Crude & Natural Gas will be released by the EIA, Monday’s holiday pushing crude stats out by one day. Also out Thursday, China’s 17Q4 GDP, Dec. Retail Sales, Fixed Asset Investment, and Industrial Production. Wed. we’ll get the US Dec Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization, snow storms likely to push up utility production, a large part of IP & CU every month.

And overhanging it all is the midnight, Friday, Jan 19th deadline for Congress to fund the government, or risk a government shutdown, which Trump said, at one time, might be good for the country. Really? They lock workers out of office buildings, send them home to nervously plot how to pay bills, without a paycheck coming in, all to collect back pay for days no one worked, once the "shut down" is over. And with a President as erratic as Trump, for all we know, he’ll make the funds for building the southern wall to block off Mexico a prerequisite for his signature on whatever continuing resolution or budget Congress sends to him. The Pope will be visiting South America this week, perhaps he’d like to put in a good word for hard working Americans, who fear the world is going to h—in a hand basket. Friday is notable for another deadline—the last day to trade January options that started as LEAPs up to 3 years ago. Those new to the market may not realize how recently weekly options were added, so not familiar with LEAPS that started trading as long ago as 2014.

The Earnings Calendar is, once again, dominated by financials, including Citigroup, Bk of America, Goldman Sachs, US Bank, American Express, Bk of New York Mellon, BB&T, KeyBanc, Morgan Stanley, Citizens Financial, Regions Financial, SunTrust, & Synchrony. A finance line up every bit as influential as last week’s. And if that weren’t enough, there’s CSX, Canadian Pacific & Kansas City Southern, teed up to report, along with UnitedHealth, Kinder Morgan, PPG, Taiwan Semiconductor, and Schlumberger, each a heavy weight in its sector.

Which brings us to the Events Calendar, well stocked this week, too. Start with NAIAS, the North American International Auto Show, put on by the Auto Industry, with related events from IEEE (Electrical Engineers), Automotive News World Congress at NAIAS, Deutsche Bank 2018 Global Auto Industry Conference, and IHS Markit Annual Briefing @NAIAS. Markit owns J D Power but the Power auto event is not concurrent with this week’s. However, the European Auto Salon takes place in Brussels, Belgium, starting Sunday, putting autos at the center of 2 continents.

Another, literally big show is the NRF BIG Show, in NY, which is more about the physical shop and processes than a fashion show. At BIG Show, one can order hangers and price tickets but not the clothes on which they’ll hang. Jefferies Winter Consumer Summit includes apparel manufacturers & sellers along with hotels & restaurants. Oddly enough, news out of SIHH Luxury Watch—Haute Horlogerie could trump some bigger events because the state of the high end watch industry has become a serious datapoint for deciphering the penetration of smart watches & other wearable technology, even as what’s going on at the very top of the luxury watch market says a lot about the spending by wealthy people, as well as those who must answer to the state, like wealthy Chinese buyers.

Also Sunday, Southern Seed, Plant & Animal Genome XXVI, Clinical Dermatology, and an S&P Global Platts Aluminum Symposium, along with Heart Failure, Retina, and State of the Brain. Monday, while markets were closed, Jefferies opened its 7th Winter Consumer Summit, Sunday, while ISS runs Semi Strategy Symposium, and ISS Strategic Materials Conference. Both meet at Half Moon Bay CA. NATPE (Nat’l Ass’n of TV Programming Execs) gets a lot of attention, as billions of advertising moves from TV to the small screen of mobile phones. MoffetNathanson is just one I-bank hosting clients at NATPE.

Another multi-leg event is Argus Media’s Petroleum Week which includes Americas Crude Summit, America’s LPG Summit, and America’s Motor Fuels Summit, all in Houston TX. Wolfe Research is hosting a "Thunder & Lightning" tour around Tulsa & Oklahoma City, visiting WPX energy, Devon Energy, Gulfport Energy, and Continental Resources. Wednesday, Peters & Co starts its Winter Energy Conference, in Alberta, while RBC is just one of 2 I-banks hosting Private Company Energy Conferences. The other is Credit Suisse. Wolfe also hosts an Oil & Gas Earnings Preview Lunch, Thursday.

It’ll be a busy week that won’t feel "shortened," by any stretch of the imagination. The fact that financials, again, dominate the Earning Calendar takes the spotlight off the reported earnings, to shine brightly on the out quarters. Based on last week’s reports, expect near term write downs and charges required by the tax cut bill, though reserves for taxes will be far lower, going forward, sprucing up the future bottom line. Rails, PPG, and Taiwan Semiconductor offer less history, since last week wasn’t populated by peers. Still, with companies benefiting the most from the tax cut bill passed, there’s reason to expect forecasts that won’t upset anyone. (We won’t discuss how hard hit the same companies may look next year, when they’re comping against one time adjustments from this year, because there’ll be plenty of time for that. Bear in mind, the $1k employee bonuses announced recently are all one-off, which leaves workers with lower income, next year. When reality catches up with the calendar, employees will look shafted, while companies will look like the big beneficiaries they are, indeed.) What might start upsetting the market is the cost of gasoline at the pump, which is rising everywhere, not nearly caught up with the price of a barrel of crude, at recent times. Some retailers will complain about refunds arriving late, the IRS not even accepting tax filings until Jan 29th.

Last week’s huge gains were surprising. Expect a period of consolidation, at the least. I will personally being going farther, by looking for ways I can actively protect my gains.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)  

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the authors, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

January 08—12, 2018  
EARNINGS SEASON SNUCK UP ON US    For all the hooplah around "Fire & Fury: Inside the Trump White House," Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump White House, neither the book nor the New York Magazine with an excerpt were available at the local Barnes & Noble. And that’s why the chain is likely to go 6 feet under—even the one here, directly across the street from the entrance to FAU. And there was no help to help, so when I looked up the book on the "help desk" computer, I was mistaken for an employee, and asked to look up Fire & Fury, about seven times before the computer return the message that it won’t be in until 01/09, the disk 3 days later.

There are 3 major events, this week, that will dominate the newsfeed: CES (Consumer Electronics Show), JPMorgan Healthcare, and ICR Conference, the latter with separate schedules for public and non-public companies. What’s remarkable is the number of I-bank events scheduled around all 3 events, in a last throwback to the mid-90’s, and COMDEX, when those in-the-know could time options purchases on Microsoft and, (back then), Compaq, timed to capitalize on the dinners Goldman Sachs would host on successive days, and the upgrades for each of them that arrived like clock work the day after the dinner at which each starred. And back then, it was not only Goldie’s dinners, cocktail parties, and morning after upgrades that made COMDEX such a tradable event, but the dates of COMDEX itself, when there was no internet to search. In fact, Wall Street In Advance began as a full year’s printed calendar, the top events neatly featured on the days those events started. At one time, COMDEX was bigger than everything.

CES Intel CEO Krzanich delivers the Keynote on Monday, while nVidia keynotes Sunday night, before Intel. NVDA wowed in 2017, talking about its autonomous cars & AI that needs its chips. INTC can no longer pretend it has nothing to fear from NVDA, as the latter has successfully convinced investors and analysts that it moved from graphics chips to chips that power servers, autonomous vehicles and AI. Ironically, Intel is expected to roll out lots of new chips, at CES, especially high end ones for laptops & gaming but including a chipset that includes an AMD graphics chip—a rare collaboration between the two, on the I7 CPU that incorporates an AMD Radeon GPU chip, suggesting how serious INTC is about matching and surpassing NVDA. Some are eager to hear what CEO Krzanich plans in AR/VR after it shut down Project Alloy, its VR headset project. INTC does have a project to stream MLB games in VR. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his scheduled appearance at CES, citing death threats. JPM & Citi host events at CES.

Many retailers & apparel/shoe manufacturers, restaurants & leisure parks will be updating their Qtr outlook at the 20th ICR, this week. I.e. Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell is scheduled to keynote at noon, on the 9th, updating its holiday sales guidance. It won’t be alone, Others not appearing at ICR, like Tiffany, schedule a separate holiday (November/ December) sales update, for TIF, on Jan 17th. (While the timing for TIF’s call hasn’t been announced, yet, 8:30am is when it hosts earnings conference calls.) The best way to gauge when holiday sales updates will arrive, short of looking up every company individually, would be to load the ICR Conference
presentation schedule, and assume every company on the agenda plans to update holiday sales, on the 8th or 9th. Private companies present on the 10th. There’s one track for retailers, on the 8th, in the morning, that starts with SEAS, moves to ASNA, CROX, LE, LULU, CHS, before the luncheon keynote. On a separate track, it’s restaurants: RUTH, CHUY, FOGO, RRGB, TACO. I-banks like Citi are hosting clients here, too. ICR is the meeting that has the most satellite meetings of I-banks and their clients, including Wells Fargo, Citi, Raymond James, and more

And then, there’s the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, that attracts more "satellite" events than any other, throughout the year. Even Leerink, one of the most respected Biotech I-banks schedules events to coincide with JPM.

Normally, I’d be pointing out all the Fed Reserve speakers, this week but with a new sheriff coming to town, I feel about those events the way I did about last week’s Fed minutes from its Dec meeting—new voters and a new chief made the minutes of little interest. But, with the two doves who dissented against the rate rise in Dec leaving the voting panel, and at least one emphatic hawk getting a vote in 2018—Loretta Mester—we’re all in the dark until we’ve seen a couple of meetings, and the minutes that result. John Williams, also joining the voting in Feb., is more hawkish than the rest of the FOMC except Mester. Mester spoke of 3, or even 4 hikes this year, while Williams seemed to endorse the 3 already planned by the SEP (Member projections last released in Dec.) And let’s not forget that NY Fed Pres/CEO William Dudley is leaving this year, probably by the summer, which might be additional discomfort, as the Powell/ Quarles FOMC unfolds. Then again, Bostic is a newbie, speaking on Monday but talks to Rotary Clubs rarely are a setting for policy position speeches. And so it’s said, Yellen has said she’ll leave when her successor is sworn in. Everyone assumes that will be AFTER the Jan 30—31 meeting, on Feb 3rd, when her first and only term will end. But who’s to say Trump won’t see to Powell’s swearing in, sooner, ending Yellen’s term faster than expected—fast enough to put Powell in the chair at the head of the table, by the late January meeting.

Bits & Pieces: NAHB, the Nat’l Association of Homebuilders assembles for its annual show, starting Tuesday, which is the day Goldman Sachs is hosting a Global Energy Conference, both, coincidentally, in Florida which makes them attractive getaways after last week’s Bombcyclone. Pfizer said, Saturday, it will stop searching for drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, giving up a fight that has cost so much and delivered so little. If Disney looks soft, that might be because "Star War: The Last Jedi" opened to very underwhelming ticket sales, in China ($28.7m over the weekend). The two Koreas are meeting this week, though I can’t imagine what will come of it: A promise not to bomb each other, when the North Korean midget wants to bomb the US? The Treasury is offering a boatload of debt, this week, and what bothers me is the amount of 3-, & 6-month debt on offer, every month, even as rates are rising and being pushed higher by the FOMC, elevating the costs to service that debt. At one time, Treas Sec’y Mnuchin seemed to favor really, really, long term debt, of the 50-year & 100 year really long but, instead, $90B of debt on offer this week will mature by summer, while 3-year Notes will amount to just $24B, 10-year $20B, and 30-year a mere $12B, the latter 2 reopenings.

And then, Earnings Season begins this week, Friday a huge day because BlackRock, JPMorgan, PNC, and Wells Fargo reporting, at the end of a week that will have, also, included Delta Airlines, K B Homes, and Lennar. And watch out for CY17 Economic Data, because the Dec. Employment Report was soft.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)

© Sandi Lynne 2018 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
      

January 01—05, 2018
MORE PROFIT-TAKING TO START? Typically, the first few days of a new year start with some selling, as gains or losses were delayed until the new year. The balance switches after the December Employment Report is issues, late in the week, which also coincides with retail investors sending more funds to their mutual funds, which helps offset the selling.

Watch also the amount of principal the Federal Reserve allows to run-off without reimbursement because it doubles, as of this month, through Q1. For this Quarter, the amount that will be allowed to run off without reinvestment is double the amount of Treasuries & Agency MBS run off since the bank first started to hold back some reinvestment, in October. $12B in Treasuries & $8B in Agency MBS.
Addendum here.)

Daiwa P.U.R.E. Energy stands for Power, Utilities, Renewables & Environment., the first conference of the year (Hong Kong thru 5th). The one to watch, however, is the American Economic Association’s Annual Meeting, at which central bankers are the stars. In fact, time was the first week after the New Year was flush with major I-bank events but that’s not true this year. The Biggie is AEA, concurrent with ASSA (Allied Social Science Association) Annual. Rarely have central bankers been out in such a heavy presence so soon after the New Year celebration, and they’ll remain out through next weekend.

The call for this week, more selling than seen to end the year, which won’t be nearly offset by fresh funds flooding into the market & mutual funds, at least not until late in the week, coincident with the December Unemployment Report.

ECONOMIC:  (Highlights, only, below. Full International Economic Calendar here)
        EARLIER COMMENTS FROM 2017 HERE


© Sandi Lynne Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.

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