February 15—19, 2021   SHORT WEEK STARRING INDUSTRIALS    We note that Truist Financial’s (TFC) SunTrust Advisory Services saidm last week, that with 300 out of 500 S&P 500 companies reporting, by Feb. 8th, 81.0% exceeded analysts’ earnings estimates—‘on track for the 3rd highest beat rate in {its} database going back to 2001, only behind the first 2 quarters. Notably," SunTrust A.S. goes on to say, "78.0% of companies are also exceeding sales estimates, which is on track for a record. Consequently, companies are beating earnings estimates by an average of 15.0% in the quarter, more than double historical norm." While I think we’re still 2 quarters away from those kinds of numbers being an issue, it may say more about analysts being well behind the economy than it does about companies’ sales and earnings. As a group, analysts are generally off but with more of a wink, collaborating with companies on setting expectations where they need to be so companies can just beat. These statistics are something else, again, And dangerous, if the Fed has reason to believe that kind of sales & earnings record justifies better hiring than companies are accomplishing—and to make sure the markets don’t prematurely anticipate rate rises, Powell et. al. will keep insisting it’s jobs on which they’re concentrating.

Our big day will be Wednesday—Ash Wednesday, to be precise, which means it might get off to a slow start, as Catholics visit church and make it to their desks a few minutes late. Aside from the Mortgage Bankers Ass’n weekly purchase & refinance data, we’ll get Jan PPI & Retail Sales, followed by Jan Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization, US Dec Wholesale & Retail Inventories, plus the Nat’l Association of Homebuilders’ Feb housing Market Index—much as I dislike making any decisions on sentiment indices—including those from U.Michigan & the Conference Board. Also Wednesday, the FOMC Jan 26—27th Meeting Minutes, in which I don’t’ anticipate surprises. Still, for a short week, Wednesday is a relatively big day, which bears note. Thursday, Robinhood Brokerage CEO is expected to testify at the US House on GameStoip, the selective halt in trading, and other Reddit so-called "meme" stocks though where that name came from is a bit of a mystery. Nonetheless, since we all seem to know that is meant, we can go with it. Thursday is when the EIA will release weekly Petroleum data, because of Monday’s holiday.

Friday, I’m attracted to Jan Existing Home Sales but, realistically, inventory remains low, which impedes sales. While we’re at it, bear in mind, Greater China is celebrating the Lunar New Year/Spring Festival, along with So Korea & Singapore, there could be some directionless trading ahead, which will surely disappoint the bulls who’ve had reason to expect weekly gains—often big gains, which might be harder to come by for another week.

Which brings us to the Earnings Calendar, which is voluminous, once again, yet with less than meets the eye. What stands out is the number of hotel chains reporting, and the first smattering of restaurant chains. Applied Materials, Thursday, also stands out but, so. too, do Advance Auto & Agilent Tuesday, Boston Bear Wednesday, along with Atlas Air Worldwide, Baidu, and Magna. Perhaps most important, is Walmart’s report Thursday, and it’s Investment Community Meeting to follow, Thursday, at 7:30am ct. I remain unmoved by the chain, which I still find filthy and unappetizing, my preference for Target not even a close match, even as TGT has been testing higher prices for 6 months, already, irritating me no end. Luckily I don’t have to choose WMT for lower prices on a few things I buy regularly, since I can pop into Big Lots just doors down from TGT, and pay WMT prices in a physical space that’s about 1/4th the size, which makes easy in and out a cinch.

Which brings us to somewhat slim schedule of events. Many industries & I-banks who usually hold events in the first 5 months of the year are, instead, postponing them out to June, if not August & September, in the hopes that in-person meetings will be possible, again., I don’t think that’s a condemnation of video conferencing, which was, actually, used for years, when out of state portfolio managers couldn’t make it to a meeting site—including simply because weather caused flight cancellations. If anything, video meetings & education have succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination—as far as it goes, and may not have been possible as few as 3 or 4 years ago. And not that we’re wearing blinders, because we’re not: Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Charter and other broadband suppliers are still hooking up students whose families can’t afford to pay the monthly bill required for fast access--required for smooth transmission of classroom sessions, or, even I-bank presentations. But, alas, it is what it is.

So what were the odds that both Barclays & Citi would hold Global Industrials V-Conferences, both starting Tuesday? And Tuesday might turn out to be THE day of the week. BIO CEO Investor starts meeting that day, as does CAGNY--the Consumer Analysts of NY Annual Meeting. A&D Strategies, usually a multi-day event augmented by I-bank conferences running in parallel is, instead, a single part of a day event, with no augmentation at all. IF Mardi Gras/Carnivale at favorites, they wrap on Fat Tuesday, ushering in Ash Wednesday, as previously mentioned. Wednesday, BTIG’s MedTech, Digital Health, Life Sciences & Diagnostic Tools will be the headliner, but don’t overlook the fact that the 2 major Industrials Conferences will be ongoing. Don’t know about you but I sure miss the pre-Viagra & Cialis days of the European School of Sexual Medicine Meeting, which starts Wednesday. Friday, Jefferies hosts Electronic Payments, about which we could find very little information, which suggests few of the presenting companies are public ones.

So, with all that said, and SunTrust’s run-down of how strong the Earnings season has been, it’s best to ho9pe the FOMC Meeting Minutes reflect the same concentration on jobs that Powell espouses, and that he sticks to the script in coming weeks and months. And given the strength in sales & earnings, maybe markets are not as overly bullish as they appear—nor strong just because of Federal Reserve & Congressional largesse. Still, with another stimulus package in the works, and no new impeachment to derail the negotiations, the plan for more staid markets may be more wishful thinking to catch our breath than actual fact,

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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 08—12, 2021 
CAN ANOTHER STIMULUS BILL KEEP THE HELIUM WORKING?     At some point, one has to wonder what’s inducing the bulls to keep buying. Is it the latest stimulus bill, which the Dems are finding a way to pass under reconciliation? Face facts, the vaccine roll-out has been an unmitigated disaster. Even here, in Florida, where only front line healthcare workers, and people 65 & over—and those who work in facilities for the elderly and infirm, the state is probably still a couple of months away from finishing that first group of eligibles. Even if JNJ’s vaccine is approved on the late in February schedule proposed for its FDA Advisory Committee meeting, it still won’t start getting into arms until March, in all likelihood, so that’s not going to appreciably up the pace in the near term. There are all the airlines who’ve made it clear that normalcy remains far off, and there’s the stock market, which is predicting a booming economy any minute now. At what point do the bulls say, enough is enough? Will it be when rates on bonds reach a certain yield that makes them more attractive? Or do bonds just have to rise a little more for traders to realize that the stock gig is up?

So, what do we have this week? NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index and JOLTS Tuesday, along with the start of the 2nd Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump, who some might remember was recently fired by American voters—his supporters "induced" to overrun the Capitol, on Jan 6th, on his command—the excuse those arrested have used for defacing and storming the US Capitol, on Jan 6th. Wednesday, Jan CPI, EIA weekly Petroleum/Gasoline/Distillates & Refineries Report, Bank of Canada Gov Lowe speaking, along with Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, on the US Labor Market, at the Economic Club of NY. Also anticipated, the FY20/21 Federal Budget, and the Treasury’s Jan Budget Statement. For those tracing outflows, the $600 stimulus dispersed to Americans whose income is below certain limits received those funds on January 4th, deposited directly into their accounts on file with the IRS. So that disbursement, along with others mandated in the same bill blew a whole through January’s Federal Budget. Also notable this week, the Chinese New Year. Though New Year’s Day is February 12th, the Spring Festival tends to run 7—10 days, closing manufacturing but boosting Greater China’s economy thanks to red envelopes, filled with yuan, given to family members, often spent on electronics/technology—perhaps a new iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21. Ironically, the Internal Revenue Services opens 2020 Tax Season on the 12th, too, at least 2 weeks later than usual, and in some cases, almost 4 weeks.

How about Wednesday’s CPI? I don’t see anything to really worry about until April, when the collapse in crude to negative (-$37.00) in the futures could make this year’s comparisons look like insane, runaway inflation, even if we all know that’s not true, since Crude shouldn’t have traded negative, ever.,

Thursday, the Fed Bank will send its semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress, prelude to Powell’s semi-annual Congressional testimony. Also Thursday, initial Jobless Claims/Continuing Claims, though almost all of Asia will be celebrating New Year, so don’t expect anything meaningful out of Greater China, Singapore, or So. Korea. Also worth noting, next weekend is a 3-day weekend, Monday, the 15th President’s Day, or if you’re the NYSE, Washington’s Birthday. For Many years, February 12th was a US Holiday—Lincoln’s Birthday, until someone decided to combine the presidents and give them a single day. NYSE has never moved off Washington’s Birthday, while I spend most of my grade school years lucky enough to have no school on my birthday—the reason Lincoln was always my favorite President.

Which brings us to Earnings, which are numbers but not, necessarily, earth-shattering. Three re-insurers are scheduled to report, along with some notable tech names, like Take-Two Interactive, Monday, and Tuesday, Akamai, Cisco Systems, NCR, and Twitter (though I only started paying attention to individual social media names after they tossed Trump out. Is it a big week if Lyft (Tuesday) and UBER (Wednesday) report? To some, evidently, though I’m more inclined to watch results from GM, Equinox, O’Reilly Automotive, Penske Automotive, and Pilgrim’s Price. On the other hand if I were to put together a FinTech EFT, I’d include Dun & Bradstreet (Monday,) FiServ, Willis Tower Watson (Tuesday), CDW, CME, Equifax, Equinox, Penske Automotive, Euronet Worldwide, Zillow Group (Wednesday for them all), and Thursday, CyberArk Software and VeriSign, while Friday, the nod would go to Moody’s. Coca-Cola (Wed.) and PepsiCo (Thurs.), report this week, though I’d take PEP’s collection of salty snacks over KO’s beverages, any day. I don’t eat salt—don’t cook with salt, either, but I’ve never stopped missing Frito’s, and would go for them first, if my body could tolerate salt.

At any rate, the Earnings Calendar is filled with interesting names, and some big ones in staples & tech but just not enough to move the markets one way or another. On the other hand, the Events Calendar promises evidence that Earnings reports are winding down, as Investment Bank conferences start sneaking back in. Sunday, Citi hosts Cybersecurity & Data Management, Tuesday, Cowen’s 42nd Annual Aerospace/Defense & Industrials V-Conference, Stifel Transportation & Logistics, while Wednesday, Goldman Sachs’ 2021 Technology & Internet V-Conference won’t be the only one to stand out. Also that day, Bank of America’s Insurance V-Conference, KBW’s Winter Financial Services, CanaccordGenuity’s Digital Assets, and B Riley’ Advisory Services Energy CFO V-Conference. Given those events Wednesday, it’s hard to get jazzed up for Baird’s 6th Private Company Technology & Services V-Conference.

Thursday, Guggenheim Healthcare Talks hosts Oncology Day, and BMO Capital an Auto Finance V-Forum. That’s more I-bank events in a few days than have been held in the last 3 weeks, combined. And even then, there are some major industry events that just won’t be what they usually are, forced to meet remotely and virtually, instead of live, and in-person. Which come to mind, specifically? MAGIC, the Fashion & Footwear show usually held in Las Vegas, though it won’t be totally lost. Orlando is hosting what’s being called a MAGIC Pop-Up, which will be live, and in-person but not nearly as well attended on the expo or attendance side, though Orlando has been open since June, the Universal & Disney parks there welcoming guests at 25% of capacity.. New York NOW, which used to be known as the New York International Gift & Housewares Show won’t be the same virtually, either. Again, not the same remotely and virtually. Then, consider how different NADA will be, for North American Auto Dealers.. Usually one of the two biggest events of the year for automakers, it just won’t be the same virtually. Ditto NAHB, the National Association of Homebuilders, concurrent with IBIS for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. And perhaps a bigger loss than some realize, all the Ag shows usually held in February & March, going virtually for 2021, some of them after being canceled last year, at the last minute.

I don’t feel the same despair about the I-bank conferences, since many of those have long been attended remotely, by portfolio managers (PM) who either didn’t want to travel, or who planned on traveling, then couldn’t, because a snow storm grounded their flight. And given how much business is being conducted over Zoom, or Cisco’s WebEx, for many months, now, I-bank presentations seem more natural to PM attendees than they surely will to a teen who entered at bull in an Animal Fair affiliated with an Ag Expo & Business Meeting.

In short, a busy calendar that won’t keep PM’s from having their eyes on the prize—the upcoming 3-day weekend. And honestly, it’s impossible to understand why the bulls remain so excited and long, when the vaccine roll-out has been a fiasco, and the world, rather than reopened, is seeing several extended lockdowns, around the world. So, after the DJIA was up nearly 4.0% last week, and the S&P +4.6%, the Comp +6.0%, it’s hard to see how much higher stocks can go from here. Not that they can’t, it’s just harder to imagine, the higher stocks keep marching. Perhaps I’ve been through too many Equity Market collapses to trust stocks that don’t ever seem to see sustainable profit-taking.

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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 01—05, 2021  GAMESTOP MISHANDLED FROM THE START, REMAINS A NIGHTMARE   In every media citation of the GameStop short squeeze, any quote from a GME stock or options trader is—in my experience--exclusively male, and repeatedly cited as 23, 26, 28, and in one case, 18, exactly the profile of an avid GameStop shopper or game disc trader or 5, 10, or 15 years ago. In fact, what’s struck me most, in all the press the GameStop short squeeze has attracted is the failure for anyone else to mention the connection between today’s GME jockey, and the kids who drove the chain to some incredible profits, trading in Guitar Hero for a new game, or their old Playstation 2 for a PS3 or xBox. In fact, why GME attracted this newbie cohort seems so obvious to me: the current stock & options jockeys are its former loyal customers. The 142% short interest, surely, should have never happened, and enabled the squeeze’s utmost pain point but the conscious or subconscious connection GME held for one-time teen males most certainly had as much to do with it.

Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, complained regularly and loudly about illegal shorts targeting his company’s shares, to no avail. Yet, sudenly, a ‘mob’ on Reddit and/or Facebook (founded in 2005 & 2004 respectively), took up his call to arms against short sellers. Why? Why now? Because there was no visceral connection to Overstock.com, the way there is to GameStop. No need to recommend that short sellers check message boards in the future. That lesson was surely learned, last week. But, not only was there a remarkably small GME float available but those idle hands discovering stock & options trading, for the first time, have sentimental connections to some tickers more than others—and I’d argue GME was one of their past, top retail chains. I’m just waiting for Whitney Tilson to come out and say he went short GME around $400 per share, ‘cause I’m fairly certain he did--it must have looked like such a tempting morsel. And I applaud the poor shlubs who rode GME shares down from the mid-$20’s, or even $30’s, and finally had a great chance to get out without losing their shirts. And then, so it’s said, consider the market makers who sold all those call options, over the last 2 weeks. They had to cover the call options sold with share purchases. When options closed out last Friday, the market makers were able to put the shares to the call buyers who didn’t sell out of their positions. The fact that call option buyers can have the stock put to them, may not be fully understood by the newbies. At any rate, the result will be a whole lot fewer shares held by "the smart money," (options market makers), leaving at least one sling holding up GME shares gone. Where do shares go from there? Probably around $143, initially, but, eventually, back to where they started, in the teens, and ultimately, lower, unless some of the newbie biggest winners held onto a share or two, in memory of their big score..

The preliminary Annual Benchmark Revisions to the past 12 months’ Unemployment Reports are released in September, based on the month of March, only. This Friday we get the full Annual Benchmark Revisions derived from actual state-filed claims for unemployment. It comes accompanied by the January Unemployment Report, in which economists expect December’s loss of (-140K) jobs will be made up for with 140K added in January. With new coronavirus variants no popping up across the US, the UK & South African versions said to be even more transmissible than the original Wuhan one, people even more shy about dining indoors—or doing anything indoors—seems a reasonable reaction, especially as vaccine supply badly lags demand. Remember when some worried demand would only be 30.0% of the population, making herd immunity impossible to attain? Seems the scarcer the vaccine becomes, the higher the demand for vaccines.

As a new month begins so neatly, on Monday, we’ll get the usual PMIs & ISMs, Vehicle Sales, and a surprisingly modest schedule of Treasury Auctions. The Federal Reserve Conference to end all conferences is hosted by 5 different regional Fed banks, each of their Presidents/CEOs speaking at 2pm on a different day between Feb 1st and 4th. The topic is "Uneven Outcomes in the Labor Market: Understanding Trends & Solutions," with both Atlanta Fed’s Bostic & Boston Fed’s Rosengren lead off speakers on the 1st. NY Fed’s Williams, separately, will be "In Conversation with NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman," Tuesday, at the Economic Club of New York. Interestingly enough, checking on that event, at 1pm est, guided me to spotting Jerome Powell’s speech there, on the 10th. Meanwhile, Dallas Fed’s Kaplan discusses Economic Issues, Wednesday, with the CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, at 5pm—presumably Dallas time, though the zone was not specified. Overseas, BoE Gov Bailey and members of the ECB are speaking at the London School of Economics’ 20th German virtual Symposium, even as the Royal Bank of Australia meets on Rates, overnight, Monday into Tuesday, and the Bk of England meets on Rates & QE, Wednesday night into our Thursday morning, Gov Bailey’s post-Meeting Press Conference available on Bloomberg, to early risers.

The interesting thing about the RBA is it’s Meeting wraps long before we rise on Tuesday morning. The Chart Pack is out the next day. Then in the wee hours of the 5th, the Statement on Monetary Policy is released, even though the post-Meeting statement is released 3 days earlier. I checked the website 3x, and that’s the sequence, as puzzling as that is. The BoE is a champ in transparency: It releases the votes for and against the policy decision with the decision, and the minutes of the meeting, as well, though more detailed minutes do arrive later. Still, for all the recent talk by BoE Monetary Policy Makers on the pros & cons of negative rates, we’ll know Thursday morning who voted for and against whatever action the BoE decides to initiate, if any. And if there’s any doubt about the decision, we’ll presumably learn moe when Bailey & ECB V.P. de Guindos offer "Modern Challenges for the Modern Central Bank: Perspectives from the BoE & ECB," a panel at LSE’s 20th German V-Symposium, that will be chaired by BoE’s Tenreyro. In the meantime, with the Chinese New Year arriving on February 12th, some manufacturers will be going back to the country as soon as the weekend just wrapping, if not by mid-week. The Chinese New Year is usually a boon to kids who get red envelopes filled with money they traditionally spend on technology—New Galaxy (Samsung) or iPhones, anyone?

Which brings us to another big week for Earnings. Monday, all eyes will be on Nam Tai, NXP, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Tuesday, look for Alibaba, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, and Amgen, and we’re not even out of the "A’s" yet. Bit oil? How about BP, ConocoPhillips & ExxonMobil? Or, for instance, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chubb Corp, Eaton, EA, Emerson Electric, Harley Davidson, HCA, McKesson, Philiip Morris Int’l, Perkin Elmer, Pfizer, ManPower, Sanmina, Sysco (food distributor), United Parcel Service, & Water Corp? Maybe Wednesday is more your style, promising AbbVie, Allstate, Biogen, Capri Holdings (formerly known as Michael Kors, with Versace & Jimmy Choo thrown in for good measure), CheckPoingt Software, eBay, Gglasko SmithKline, Humana, Ingredion, KLA Corp, Lithia Motors (a competitor to Asbury Autos, Tuesday), MetLife, Murphy USA, Novo Nordisk, Qorvo, Qualcomm, Sony, Spotify, W W Grainger, and YUM China. Note, Aflac is another reporter on Wednesday, its disability insurance, no doubt, exceptionally popular, in Japan, where it does most of its business, in the middle of a pandemic. Throw in a weakening dollar, and profits could be turbo charged.

Thursday’s Earnings seem almost anti-climatic, the shares likely to attract the most attention highlighted, anyway, because it’s what we do, even in cases like Peleton, which holds zero appeal to us, since we grew up with home exercise bicycles that, ultimately, wound up very expensive close hangers. But, then, with Activision Blizzard, AmerisourceBergenBrumswick, Ford, Merck, PayPal, NY Times & News Corp, not to mention Post Holdings, Prudential Financial, Quest Diagnostics, Ralph Lauren, Royal Dutch Shell, Synaptics, T-Mobile, Tapestry (formerly known as Coach), Wynn Resrts & Casinos, plus YUM Brands, there’s plenty there to watch, and then some. Friday, Adient, Cardinal Health, CBO Exchange, Regeneron, Sanofi, and Zimmer Biomet, this is the heaviest week of reports, though the biggest fireworks may be over by Tuesday. Earnings will, no doubt, eclipse the Events Calendar.

Note, big I-bank events are MIA this week, in deference to the heavy Earnings Calendar. And I don’t care how adept a buyer one is, it’s very hard to full embrace something like New York Now, completely online. That’s the former NY International Housewares & Gift Show. Ditto MAGIC, the apparel & Footwear Show, usually in Las Vegas, this year, online. Sundance Film Festival is more adaptable to a virtual event, given that we’ve all gotten so used to streaming films & TV Shows, which is little different than watching scheduled cable TV, or on demand. SuperTechnology North America, Tuesday, seems to have supplanted SuperReturn East & West, for the time being. Meanwhile, there’s a NASS for Spinal Surgeons, and the one this week, for the National Association of Secretaries of State. ASTA, for Vegetables & Flower Seeds didn’t even have a navigable website 2 years ago, and this year is streaming its 60th Conference, starting Monday. Somehow, I suspect, there’ll be crowds returning to shows like that when they’re finally able to be held in-person again. Granted, I think most business travel will be slow to revive but big shows like that? Bet on big crowds showing up whenever that becomes possible, safely.

Friday’s Lung Cancer & Liver Cancer virtual meetings are multi-day events but let’s be honest. Many of the events—especially those medical events required to continue specialty certifications—are being held on either much shortened schedules, or stretched out to weeks of on-demand events. None resemble the events of years past but many are already into a second year of adapted events. It was a year ago when the first US cases of coronavirus were identified, and looks where we’ve wound up a year later—an unthinkable 450K+ dead, and over 23m diagnosed. Now, we’ve learned, that fully vaccinated people can avoid illness but remain carriers, meaning vaccinations are not the "Get Out of Jail" card free many hoped they were.

It’s clear to me that the tone of the market has shifted dramatically, and I don’t think all the blamed can be put on the lack of sufficient vaccines—though that is, clearly, symptomatic of a very dysfunctional government that failed its people for a year. Maybe the House should have impeached Trump for insisting the virus would just "puff! Like that, disappear!" Or maybe JnJ needs to do a better job of explaining its COVID-19 vaccine was only 76% effective because it was tested on people in South Africa & the UK, with much more transmissible variants than the one freely circulating in the US, for the past year. But it won’t be until May that the first clinical trials will have aged by a year, and only then, and from then on, will we know how long the vaccine protection lasts. In the interim, it seems a dose of reality has finally descended on the markets.

Whether strong earnings from the likes of BABA, GOOG & AMGN can clear the clouds remains to be seen. But I doubt it. Markets have left La La Land and are coasting towards a more sensible reality. Or are they? See the thing is, the 2nd through 4th week of Earnings Season is often filled with stocks seeing profit taking, before markets breathe a sigh of relief, and rally back in week 5 or 6. I suspect it was the disappointing efficacy of JNJ’s vaccine more than GameStop that was the final straw for the most bullish investors. Then, again, there’s no doubt some big players suffered big GameStop short losses, which is bound to curb enthusiasm. It might take until July’s earnings rotation before the most bullish sentiment re-floats the markets with outsized euphoria again. Truth be known, the reality of a COVID world is not all sugar, spice and chocolate ice cream.

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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 factor in more complete due diligence. 

January 25—29, 2021  
IMPEACHMENT, CABINET APPROVALS, FOMC, AS EARNINGS RAMP UP    It’s hard to even know where to start, this week. On Monday, after hours, Nancy Pelosi et al will walk over the 2nd Impeachment document to the US Senate. Wednesday, a 2-day FOMC meeting will be capped off with Jerome Powell’s press conference following the meeting. By the end of the week, we’ll have heard earnings from about one-third of the S&P 500, though surely, far fewer will be offering an outlook. How could they when this past weekend, vaccination injections had finally gotten into the arms of 20m Americans, the number who were supposed to be injected by the end of last year. And who knew the question being asked most around Washington would be ‘where are all the vaccines supposedly purchased & delivered to the Federal government?:

The appearance of so many central bankers speaking this week, can be attributed to the World Economic Forum, aka WEF. It is not holding its usual Annual Meeting but, instead, will meet virtually, calling it the Davos Agenda 2021, with the theme, "Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust." As such, the main topics will be COVID-19 vaccination programs, job creation, and climate change. All of that sounds right out of Pres. Joe Biden’s inaugural speech and executive orders, doesn’t it? While we’re at it, it’ worth mentioning that Italy has taken over the G20 presidency and hosting its kick-off meeting (with ECB MPC Panetta, early hours Tuesday), ending a year in which the US held the presidency, yet hosted not a single meeting, virtual or otherwise, Trump, having planned to use the occasion to fill rooms at his Doral (FL) resort & golf course which, immediately, set off alarm bells everywhere, later moved it to Camp David, but that was deferred by the pandemic. Or so it seemed. Look closer and it’s possible that deferral was the result of world leaders bowing out—preferring not to honor Trump with a leadership position on the world stage, after he’d gone out of his way to insult every leader in the world, except Kim Jung Un and Putin, the 2 leaders Trump respected.

One of the most notable items on the Economic Calendar is the amount of debt the US Treasury plans on auctioning. For the first time, at least in my memory, there’s a "6" handle in the value of debt, like $61B 5-year Notes planned to be offered on Tuesday. I’ve been following the three calendars below for over 50 years, and can’t remember the value of any prior auction starting ‘$6.’ And that’s not a one-off event; Thursday, the Treasury is auctioning $62B 7-year Notes. No doubt, my eyes will not even notice such big numbers in a couple of months, as higher levels of debt will be on offer for as long as the US must pay for the support it had no choice but to offer, in the past year and the additional amounts it will need to offer this year—even if Biden doesn’t get the $1.9 Trillion in added pandemic stimulus funds he’s requested. Mind you, I’m not critical that we’ve come to this point. With rates near zero there’s never been a better time for the US to issue lots of debt. Debt service will be slight, rather than a burden. Still, it’s a significant threshold that felt worthy of mention.

Other items on the Economic Calendar include a handful of "green" events hosted by regional Fed banks, a subject ECB Pres. Lagarde was all over before she arrived at the ECB, while still managing director of the IMF. Trump was a climate change denier but Pres. Biden has been all over it. Roof-top solar is something builders are now offering, S&P Case Shiller & FHFA both offering November House Price Indices Tuesday. Also Tuesday, SOTN—State of the Net 2030, an annual Congressional Caucus that runs through the 27th. Wednesday, the MBA will release weekly Mortgage Purchase/Refinance applications. A little later in the day, Durable & Capital Goods Orders & Shipments for December will be released, even as Whirlpool releases earnings the same day—a seller of Durable Goods reflected in the report, likely to be pressured by the lack of Boeing planes delivered. .

Thursday is a nail biter with weekly Initial Jobless Claims & Continuing Claims, the Advance look at 20Q4 GDP/Corporate & Government CapEx/Prices Paid/Household Spending, & PCE, the Fed’s preferred version of Consumer Prices. Thursday is the day the Richmond Fed, & San Francisco Fed host separate Climate-related Economics webinars, while the Chicago Fed is hosting one of Inclusion, another new, favorite topic for the Fed. Friday, another PCE, for December, which accompanies US Personal Income & Spending.

As for the FOMC Meeting, it’s a new mix of voting members. Beyond the permanent voters who sit on the Fed Board, newly enlarged with Christopher Waller, confirmed in early December, the rotating voting members now includes Chicago Fed’s Evans, Richmond Fed’s Barkin, Atlanta Fed’s Bostic, and San Francisco Fed’s Daly. BoE Gov Bailey’s talk at Net Zero came directly from the BoE calendar site. But, when we navigated to the site cited (if you will), only 2020 was posted. We could not find 2021. Is it possible a BoE media clerk picked up a year-ago event and didn’t realize it’s not this year? Sure, we’ve done that ourselves, occasionally, but we don’t keep the schedule for the chief of the Bank of England. We did find a similar sounding event at
www.futurenetzero.com/cagtegory/webinars but still didn’t find a current calendar—though at least one title included 2021. The problem with the site is no dates on its webinar menu, and nothing to tie Gov Bailey to the site.

That brings us to Earnings, with about 60 more banks reporting than we note, below, because they’re outside our universe, more fully detailed in that section. We’ve been very restrained highlighting tickers of note because more quantity doesn’t mean there are more likely to move the markets. In fact, so many of the reporters are such whales, they make markets on their own. So, yes, we did highlight ADM and Capital One but suggest Tuesday, alone, as exemplary of the companies we find significant. 3M, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), American Express (AXP), D. R. Horton (DHI), GE, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Lockheed Martin (LMT), Microsoft (MSFT), Paccar (PCAR), Prologis (PLD), Raytheon Technologies (RTX), Starbucks (SBUX), Texas Instruments (TXN), & Verizon (VZ). One could do worse taking the pulse of the US Economy than using those companies. I feel the same about Wednesday, Thursday & Friday’s highlighted companies but would be remiss if I didn’t put emphasis on Apple, reporting Wednesday, since it’s the biggest company in terms of market cap, unless MSFT reports such good news that it steals the crown., first. Likewise, I can’t just whizz past Tesla, since its market cap exceeds those of all the publicly traded automakers, together—or so I’ve read numerous times this past week. And with Amex, COF, Alliance Data Systems (ADS), )MasterCard & Visa (the three latter all Thursday), plus Synchrony reporting this week, there’s almost nothing we won’t know about consumer spending, by week’s end And so it’s said, not, also, the airlines & other defense companies reporting this week, along with ST Microsystems. Choosing which tickers to highlight is strictly subjective but I think you’d be hard-pressed to make better choices.

So we arrive at Events, and must point out how surprised were are to find so many events usually scheduled for January through March postponed, this year, until August or later. The majority of events scheduled through May are detailed as "Virtual" or "Digital" events—no doubt scheduled and posted before anyone knew how slowly vaccines would roll out. Those in August or later detail cities in which they’re planning to be held. At the rate things are going, even August seems optimistic for live events. That’s why there are fewer I-bank events on the Calendar than one might expect. Then, again, many of the I-bank events usually scheduled early in the year are associated with other events, like recently held JPMorgan Healthcare and the ICR Conferences. MAGIC, an giant apparel & shoe show, usually in Las Vegas, now through early February, has been converted to a virtual event, so many of the I-banks usually holding events associated with it are not doing so this year. You walk the booths with clients when there are no booths.

Macquarie’s Shape of the Cloud in 2021 is an Asian event, with Kingdee, GDS, Mingyuan Cloud, Winning Health Tech, Chanjet, & Kingsoft Cloud. The detailed program for Baader Helvea’s IR week is detailed
here. On the corporate side, the major Industry events are related to IPPE, the Feed Production & Processing V-Expo, at which Int’l Poultry Production & Processing is a big co-located event, but so is the Pet Industry, which holds a Leadership event concurrently. MAGIC promises Sole Conference, The National Shoe Retailers (NSRA) FN (Footwear News) Platform, and the PGA Merchandise Show, as well as Golf Business. . Then, again, while the US is involved with MAGIC & related virtual events, Paris France will host a virtual Men’s Haute Couture Fall 2021 show, followed by the Women’s version, streamed fashion shows at both completely at the discretion of the designers.

WasteCon is another industry event that usually draws several I-bank events but not this year. Perhaps the most significant event of the week is "Suicide Prevention in Healthcare," a virtual Summit that takes place Tuesday. TD Securities hosts Mining on Wednesday, Cowen a Gene Therapy V-Summit, subtitled The Changing Regulatory Landscape. For some, the most exciting event of the week will be Samsung starting to ship its new Galaxy S21 smartphones. Surely, it’s a red letter day for Qualcomm, which manages to get content into smartphones no matter who makes them.

But, then, let’s be honest. Most won’t be paying attention to the virtual events taking place. In fact, the sector likely to see the best coverage is fashion—with lifestyle sections of newspapers, magazines & web media filled with snippets of fashions unveiled at the "Paris" shows. Beyond that, it’s earnings that will dominate, once the FOMC statement & Powell’s press conference has been sliced, diced, and stir fried. We all know the Fed isn’t making a move, and is more likely to insist it isn’t thinking about future rate hikes. And while at meetings past, there may have been doubt about how long the Fed can stay where it is, hovering just above zero, because there was optimism about quick dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccines, and a full reopening of the economy, that best case has been dashed.. Now, more than 6 weeks into approval, and with only a few subjects shy of 10m vaccinated the 2 times they’re supposed to be for the vaccine to be effective, that reopening of the economy seems farther out than it did earlier. A display of some level of disappointment seems reasonable to expect. Whether that means stocks pull back 3%, 5%, or 7%, is unknown but, unless JNJ has good vaccine news when it reports earnings Tuesday—a real possibility—the market could well express its disappointment.

And what a relief good news from JNJ would be. A single shot, instead of 2 needed with both the Moderna & Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines; no notable freezing requirements—like MRNA’s freezing and PFE/BNTX’s minus (-94) degrees Fahrenheit. And 100m vaccines available from the moment JNJ’s vaccine is approved. What I think happened, was Trump turned down more vaccines from both MRNA & PFE, counting on JNJ to deliver its vaccine perhaps one or 2 weeks after those 2 submitted for Emergency Approval. Problem is, JNJ had said February from the start but, like so much of what Trump did, he heard what he wanted to, and counted on JNJ getting its vaccine out earlier. So here’s a lesson in science—huge companies don’t stake their reputations on Trump’s assumptions. Fingers crossed for JNJ to deliver good news either Tuesday, with its earnings report, or days later, when its papers are ready to submission to the FDA. JNJ repeatedly said it will be ready to submit its data in late January/early February, and we’ve just slid into late January, with February just one week away.

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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 18—22, 2021   Hey! Donald J Trump YOU’RE FIRED!     Short week, Monday the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday, with Senate hearings for Janet Yellen’s nomination as President-elect. Biden’s Treasury Secretary, on Tuesday, & the Biden/Harris Inauguration on Wednesday—a day the Fed Reserve Bank will be closed. Even as the Senate Finance Committee is holding the Yellen hearing, the Senate Intelligence Cmte will be holding a hearing on Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, while the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Cmte will hold hearings on Alejandro Mayorkas’ expected nomination as Secretary of Homeland Security, all at 10am, to be followed, at 2pm, by the Foreign Relations Cmte’s hearing on Anthony Blinken’s expected’ nomination as Secretary of State.

This is in tremendous contrast to Trump, whose cabinet nominations for many positions were months coming, and who allowed many agency heads to remain in office as "acting" directors, never confirmed. And while we’re going down memory lane, since his election, Biden has held nearly daily press conferences, nominating his cabinet & the rest of his team, and laying out his economic intentions and plans to attack coronavirus, when at the same time in 2016/17, Trump offered nothing but news cameras following the entries into, and exits from, Trump Tower’s elevators. I sure hope Biden inserts somewhere into his inauguration speech, "Trump, the American people want you to know one thing—You’re Fired!" but he’s too much the gentleman, and too serious a leader to do so. And thanks to the outgoing administration’s indifference and incompetence, there’s plenty about America for the new administration to be very serious about.

Martin Luther King Jr’s "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered in 1983. Pres. Ronald Reagan declared a holiday in 1988. It wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states declared his birthday a state holiday, yet in 2020 we clearly saw the dream Martin Luther King Jr’s foresaw has still not been achieved. RIP George Floyd.

The Economic Calendar promises Housing Data, Wednesday both MBA’s weekly Mortgage Purchase & Refinance Data and NAHB’s Jan Housing Market Index, a sentiment Index that may have been influenced by the January 6th assault on the US Capitol. You probably aren’t too eager to move to D.C. unless you’re in incoming Democratic politician, and may hesitate to move into a state capitol, if you don’t have to. Thursday, weekly Initial Jobless Claims & Continuing Claims, with little reason to expect recent trends to reverse much. The gross number of initial claims could ease from last week’s, as retail seasonal employees saw their mass seasonal dismissal but the claims number may not be much smaller than lst week’s. Also Thursday, Dec Housing Starts & Building Permits, while Friday will wrap with the Nat’l Ass’n of Realtor’s Dec Existing Home Sales. Note, too, that EIA data will not be out until Friday, which is rare.

Do mak4e note of the number of Central Bank Rate Decisions, this week: China’s PBoC will set its Prime Rate, overnight into US Tuesday morning, the Bk of Canada Wednesday, the Bk of Japan and Norges (Norway) Central Bank overnight Wednesday, the, European Central Bank in the wee hours of US Thursday, and that’s not highlighting the South African Central Bank’s Rate meeting, also early Thursday morning, and a couple of other third world central bank decisions we don’t cover.

Because of the holiday, Monday, there are no scheduled Earnings releases of which we’re aware. Those that some sites listed for Monday have been confirmed for Tuesday, including Logitech. Other Tuesday reports are expected from ASML Holdings, Bk of America, Charles Schwab, Goldman Sachs, Discover Financial Services, Fastenal, Kinder Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, US Bank, United Airlines, and United Health. That group, alone, would be enough of a cross section of the economy in and of itself, without 2 more days of significant reports. Thursday, reports are expected from Baker-Hughes, Citrix Systems, CSX Railroad, Intel, IBM, Intuitive Surgical, Keybanc, M&T Bank, Northern Trust, PPG, Seagate Technology, Travelers Insurance, and Union Pacific Railroad. Friday, look for Ally Financial, Huntington Bancshares, Kansas City Southern Railroad, Moog, and Schlumberger. Ordinarily, Fastenal would not have made the list but it is instrumental in the Industrial Economy and airline manufacturing, which made it a significant report.

Events that stand out include the 1st Anniversary of the opening of Disneyland’s Star Wars: Rise of Resistance ride, which arrives Sunday, closed in March, and hasn’t opened since, as California has been wracked by coronavirus, causing an extended ban on large gatherings. It’s notable that the anniversary is this week, since so is the first instance of the virus being detected in the US. One I-bank event that stands out is UniCredit Kepler Chevreux’s 20th German Corporate V-Conference, starting Monday, and Jefferies’ Consumer Summit, that covers Restaurants, Foodservice, Gaming, Lodging & Leisure, starting Tuesday. Stifel is hosting Seniors Housing, even as ASHA, for Senior Housing companies meets, as well, starting Wednesday.. NobleCon17 is Noble Financials annual small and microcap event.

It’s a little strange that CanaccordGenuity is hosting Battery & EV Metals Investor Conference, B Riley an Oncology Investor Conference, and CIBC its 24th Western Institutional Investor V-Conference, all Wednesday, as the Inauguration is planned to take place. On the other hand, before just pointing to those firms as foolish, I’m not sure the inauguration would have been elevated to the stress-point it'’ become, since the January 6th assault on the capitol. Yes, it would still be a noteworthy event, and there’d be news bureaus counting the number of viewers in attendance on the Washington Mall but, instead, it will be an event without an audience outside those streamed or broadcast, and a tightly controlled group of dignitaries invited to attend. There’ll be no comparing Trump’s lack of a crowd to Biden’s, since there’ll be no one but police, FBI, Secret Service, and National Guardsman on the mall. And puhleeze! Someone get those guardsman gloves. I haven’t seen one of ‘em wearing globes in the sub-freezing temperatures, that surely the government should be providing.

I think it’s safe to say that despite the distractions, Earnings will be a centerpiece of the week. And there won’t be a reasonable person who won’t breathe a sigh of relief once the inauguration ceremony concludes, hopefully without a shot fired or a single arrest. To Trump we say, as we started, YOU’RE FIRED!!

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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. diligence. 

January 11—15, 2021
EARNINGS & EVENTS SHOULD DOMINATE      The first thing you have to know is that the week ends on a day many workers in 23 states will first see a rise in their hourly pay, as the minimum wage is rising in half the states, this year, but not all of them as of January 1st. Many issue pay twice a month, so Friday, the 15th, will be a big day. Second, the week ends into a 3-day weekend, as Monday, the 18th, is the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday, one of the few when US markets are closed. Then, on the 20th, of course, we’ll see the inauguration of Joseph Biden Jr as the 46th President of the United States, and not a day too soon, after last week’s insurrection and storming of the Capitol, instigated by the departing President. There is no early close this Friday, in any market.

Many believe Monday will see the second impeachment of Donald Trump—a first for any US President. Rare enough for an impeachment but 2 for one single term President, unprecedented. Some Democrats worry that impeachment will wind up a diversion, early in Biden’s new presidency, derailing his plans for his first 100 days. Well, there’s little chance that Trump will resign, and at least one reason to impeach him is because it would then be impossible for him to try for a second term in 2024. Some Dems have called on Biden to call off the impeachment plans but he’s already stated his reaction, if anyone was listening. It’s up to Congress, not him.

The Federal Reserve is hosting an Artificial Intelligence Virtual Symposium, starting Tuesday, with Fed Gov. Lael Brainard doing kick-off honors. The Racism & Economy—Focus on Education V-Summit requires some explanation, given the 4 regional Fed Bank CEOs speaking. They’re speaking on successive days, each of them starting at 11am. Also Tuesday, release of NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index, Nov. JOLTS—Job Openings & Quits.

Other notable Economic Events include Dec CPI on Wednesday, the weekly MBA Mortgage Data, and the Fed’s Beige Book, along with Fed Vice Chair Clarida on the Fed’s New Framework—Average 2.0% Inflation over a sustained period of time. The disaster of the day, Wednesday, will be the Federal Government’s December Budget Statement, though it’s doubtful the freshly issued $600 per most people Pandemic Stimulus payment will be included, since those seem to have hit most bank accounts on January 4th but it’s not impossible that they show up in the Dec. statement. Trump finds ways to be proud of distinctions most presidents would shun, so running the biggest budget deficit in a single non-war year could be one of ‘em. Fed Gov Brainard is also speaking Wednesday, at the Canadian Association of Business Economics, which will run through the 14th. Her speech is the Inaugural Mike McCracken :lecture on Full Employment. In recent months, she’s more often spoken on revisions to and other facets of the Community Redevelopment Act, CRA. The moderator for her speech is Carolyn Wilkins, the Senior Deputy Governor of the Bk of Canada, often appearing with the former Governor, Poloz, at his monetary policy post-meeting press conferences.. The companion group, TABE, is the Toronto Association for Business Economics, which dominates the sessions on the 14th, ‘Cities Post-Covid: What does the Future Hold?’

While Trump has not been a fan of climate change—even opening Alaska to more oil drilling, the Federal Reserve has jumped on the risks of climate change, Thursday several regional Fed bank sponsored virtual events, though FOMC Chair Powell’s speech that day is not on climate, that we know of. And advertised as a "conversation," rather than a speech, expect more Q&A than prepared text. Friday, Dec. Retail Sales & PPI, along with Business & Retail Inventories, the Empire State NY Fed Jan Manufacturing Index, and University of Michigan’s first look at consumer sentiment, this year. It was only a year ago, Friday, that China’s Vice President Liu arrived in D.C. to sign the first phase of the Trade Agreement. I said at the time, the fact that Xi wasn’t coming felt telling, and it turns out, that might have been the case. Even given the unusual year, disrupted by COVID-19, there doesn’t seem a chance in Hades that China will fulfill the purchases promised in Phase 1, and there certainly won’t be a Trump Phase 2—just as everyone speculated last year..

ECB Pres Lagarde is speaking at Reuters Next Virtual Event. That takes place across 3 different time zones—SGT, GMT, EST, starting at 5:30am GMT. The
Next V-Event, is subtitled "Rethink, rebuild, recover." Besides ECB Pres Lagarde, speakers include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, FaceBook’s Sheryl Sandberg, AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Chevron CEO Michael Wirth, World Nuclear Ass’n Dir. Gen, Polar Explorer Ann Daniels, U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Exec Sec’y, Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network Int’l, Columbia Univ Ctr for Sustainable Development, Lloyd’s of London Market Ass’n, Legal & General Investment Mngmnt, Indorama Ventures, Climate Bonds Initiative, Centrus Energy Corp, Baker Hughes CEO, Novelis, Natura & Co LatAm, Moody’s Investor Service, church of England Pensions Board, Albemarle Pres. Lithium GBU, Stockholm Environment Institute, Greenpeace USA, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Shell Chief Climate Change Advisor, Refinitiv, Chile Minster of Energy & Mining (and many other 3rd world ministers), Univ of Oxford. Next runs through January 14th, across several tracks: Sustainable Future, Media & Free, Recovering Growth, Radical Redesign, Policy & Progress.

The Earnings Calendar promises intense interest. Monday, it’s the disaster that’s Carnival Cruiselines, and Charles Schwab, which hasn’t seemed hurt by either free equity trades or rock-bottom interest rates. Wednesday, Albertson’s, which came public just in time to become an "essential" retailer, and K B Homes, builders flourishing with mortgage rates at all time lows, despite rising prices for land, lumber and other requirements to build houses. Thursday, Earnings are coming from BlackRock, Delta Airlines, and Taiwan Semiconductor. Friday, a bankalooza, with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial, & Wells Fargo. While Morgan Stanley & Goldman Sachs won’t be reporting until the following week, much of what anyone would need to know will be revealed by dissecting this week’s reports.

That brings us to the Events Calendar, for which, this week, we tried something new. We underlined the events likely to attract the most attention, while also putting related but unaffiliated events below each of the main events. For instance, JPMorgan’s 39th Healthcare Conference is often the most important healthcare event of the first quarter. Several events have sprung up around JPM’s, occurring this year, even though they can’t be co-located. Likewise, the ICR Conference is one of the biggest of the year for retail, restaurants, and apparel/footwear manufacturing, around which has sprung any number of I-bank events. Ditto CES—the Consumer Electronics Show, of which, Goldman Sachs’ Tech & Internet V-Conference is just one, likely to be the better attended event, this year, than the Digital CES. Nonetheless, Verizon’s CEO is offering the opening Keynote, while Samsung is expected to be another keynote highlight, Thursday, at Digital Hollywood, that includes unveiling of new Galaxy mobile devices. JPMorgan’s 19th Annual Tech/Auto V-Forum is another CES-related event, as is Sunday’s IEEE V-Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE) and Digital Hollywood’s Digital Experience. Thursday’s SAE Connect2Car & the Automotive News Future of Mobility V-event are all regular CES affiliated events. Even the Chicago Fed’s Automotive Insights (Wed.) is timed coincident to CES.

Time was, the Peters & Co Winter Energy Conference would be one of the biggest events of the year—you don’t hold something 27 prior times, if that’s not true but this year could get lost in the flood of events starting Monday. Ditto Needham’s 23rd Annual Growth V-Conference, Monday, and AAS—the Astronomical Society’s 237th Event, also Monday, for which you should think Space. Were I a fly on the wall of Credit Suisse’s Tuesday Aircraft Leasing V-Conference, I’d expect to hear whispered speculation about Indonesia’s latest Boeing aircraft disaster, though even news anchors reporting the event were outspoken about lax maintenance out of Indonesia, and the age of the aircraft. Still, just a couple of days after Boeing agreed to pay a $2.5B fine for fraud in its dealings with the FAA, the latest crash can’t just be ignored, even if it wasn’t a 737 MAX that fell out of the sky, into the sea.

And even though monthly Options don’t mean as much as they used to, given the growing popularity of weekly options, it must be remembered that the January options expiring at the end of this week could have been purchased as much as 3 years ago, at a time they were LEAPs. Granted, few hold onto options that long, and most should have been sold as the coronavirus sell-off started in March, it’s still a fact that some suffer so badly from inertia they could well be holding onto options that bought that long ago, waiting for Friday’s deadline to finally exit or call the underlying shares. And more important than all the events detailed above and below, is the fact that by Friday, we’ll be looking at a 3-day weekend, before coming back for just one full day before Joseph Biden Jr’s inauguration as the 46th President of the Unites States, closing out a sad chapter in U.S. history.

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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 04—08, 2021  SENATE RUN-OFFs, ELECTORAL COLLEGE, & DEC. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE    We found ourselves frustrated, this week, because of the firms that failed to provide roll-over calendars for 2021, including the Bank of England, and the Council on foreign Relations, for instance. At CFR, if you click on "Upcoming Events," it returns, "There are currently no upcoming events," though we see Fed Vice Chair Clarida is a speaker on Friday. Therefore, we suspect our calendar is incomplete, in spots, but are unable to do anything about it, until those who keep all the calendars we consult return to work. For the record, the FOMC neglected to note the December Meeting Minutes, out Wednesday.

Solebury Trout Annual V-Management Access 2021, is a
9-day event, this year, to allow multiple 1x1 conference calls, the firm’s way of adapting because of COVID in-person restrictions. But, it’s worth mentioning, that the first week of many New Years got off to insane floods of events, which is not the case this year. It’s quite ironic: The one year almost no one will travel for the holidays, the number of events scheduled to be held at the year’s opening are the fewest we can remember in decades.

Of course the big events of the week are the unusual: i.e. the Tuesday, Georgia Senate Run-off Elections, and the Joint session of Congress, Wednesday, to accept the vote of the Electoral College, which Joe Biden won convincingly. Now, dozens of Republicans claim they’re going to challenge the vote, which should make for a long day, Wednesday, but not impact the results. Gotta wonder what Trump has on all the Republicans who want to upset the applecart—something not done previously. Also Tuesday, NYC Fed CEO/Pres. John Williams will deliver a virtual speech to the AEA Annual Meeting, @3:45pm et. His topic is Monetary-Fiscal Nexus w/Ultra Low Rates. BoE’s Lane is also speaking there but that calendar is down, so we couldn’t confirm. Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the December Unemployment Report, which some say could be the first negative report since the economy reopened in early summer. By that, they mean, instead of growing jobs, the economy may have lost more jobs. I suspect it doesn’t matter to the 14m+ unemployed, whose benefits stopped and may not resume without a couple of week lag, after Trump delayed the signing of the latest Pandemic aid.

The Earnings Calendar is slim and concentrated mostly into Wednesday &, particularly, Thursday. Highlights, Thursday, include Bed Bath & Beyond, ConAgra, Constellation Brands, Helen of Troy, Micron Technology, Price Smart, Schnitzer Steel, & Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Often, CES starts immediately after the year opens but, this year, it starts on the 11th. Nonetheless, Citi’s Global TMT West Virtual Conference starts Monday, a day after the American Economic Association Annual Meeting started. Jefferies hosts China Consumer Access, while Credit Suisse hosts its 12th ASEAN V-Conference, in collaboration with ASEAN Exchanges. Credit Suisse, Wednesday, hosts a Greater China Technology & Internet V-Conference, while Jeffereies host China Consumer, the same day. Then, whaddya know? Citi hosts China Consumer Corporate V-Day Thursday, when Jefferies will host a Tech REIT V-Summit, Stephens Beers & Banks, and Strategas its 10th Annual Washington Policy V-Conference. Meanwhile, Canada’s National Bank is hosting its 11th Annual Energy V-Conference, and Citi European Insurance, and Morgan Stanley its 13gth Latin America Executive V-Conference. Citi follows up Friday with Diversified Financials Road Ahead, even as the American Lung Association Annual Chest Disease V-Conference gets underway. Daiwa, Tuesday, hosts P.U.R.E. stands for Power, Utes, Renewables & Environment Energy & healthcare V-Conference. That may should like a lot of events but none are as big as the events yet to come, in the coming weeks. In addition to CES, think the ICR Annual Conference, and JPMorgan’s Annual Healthcare Conference, all teed up in the very near future.

After a couple of weeks of lackluster trade to end the year, expect a little more selling to come, as traders who held onto winning positions jettison them, just in case the Democrats sweep the Georgia Senate run-off elections. That’s not impossible, given the number of Republicans who stated reluctance to vote, since the general election was stolen from them—warped thinking Trump placed in many Republican heads, which could undermine the incumbents’ chances to hold their seats. Both Sen. Purdue & Sen. Loeffler were accused of using their positions in the Senate, and access to early information on COVID-19, to trade out of stocks that would soon swoon, in March. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck it’s probably a duck but it wasn’t and isn’t illegal, under current Congressional rules. Given Republican threats to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress to accept the Electoral College vote, there’s plenty of reason for the markets trade a little nervous through mid-week. By Friday, expect the worst of any losses to be recouped before the week ends—depending on how the Georgia Senate races conclude. Should republicans hold both seats, the market might, just celebrate long before Friday.

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

Sandi Lynne 2021 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.

Send comments by hitting the "Contact Us" on the left frame or Sandi.Lynne@wallstreetinadvance.com.