2021 EXCERPTS FROM PRIOR WEEKS BELOW:                           
July 12—16, 2021  
POWELL & FINANCIALS RULE    The chief of the Federal Open Market Committee, Jerome Powell’s Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report and testimony at the US House is Wednesday, at the US Senate is Thursday. Then, toss in Earnings releases from JPMorgan Tuesday, Wednesday from Bank of America, BlackRock, Citigroup, PNC Financial Group, and Wells Fargo, then Thursday from Bank of New York Mellon, Morgan Stanley, Truist Financial, and US Bank on Thursday, before State Street reports on Friday, and that’s one enormous recipe for tension. Goldman Sachs is listed by many services as reporting this Tuesday but, even 07/11, I could find no confirmation of that report on its IR site. Furthermore, GS does often report a week after other majors, so that could be happening again.

The financials are expected to report strong quarters but, then, will they be strong enough? Trading wasn’t as active as it had been in recent earlier quarters, and lending seems to have slipped a little, though IPO’s are managing another bumper crop. But, then, the outlooks may not be as strong as they were accompanying recent reports, which may weigh more heavily on activity than the actual reports. Outside financials, reports are expected from PepsiCo on Monday, ConAgra on Tuesday, Delta Airlines and Infosys on Wednesday, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing & United Health Thursday, before Friday reports from AutoLiv Inc & Kansas City Southern. Before we move on from Earnings reports, I want to call out Loop Industries & EXFO Inc for particularly frustrating websites, which just aren’t worth our time.

Which brings us to Powell, who’s going to need to walk a very fine line between acknowledging inflation that’s far higher than expected, and insistence that it’s transitory, which is hard to swallow hook, line and sinker because higher wages are rarely rolled back except by severe recessions, which no one sees on the horizon. Furthermore, last week’s Minutes of the June meeting confirmed that taper talk has already begun, albeit without any sense of urgency, unless you’re Fed Presidents Bullard (St. Louis) & Kaplan (Dallas). That opens the door to Congresspeople, fresh back from their July 4th holidays, pushing against Powell’s certainty that inflation isn’t worrisome. Meantime, if we’re calling out Fed Presidents with a strong point of view, we have to nod towards San Francisco Fed CEO Daly, who’s more worried about the coronavirus than her peers seem to be, pointing out new variants’ ability to derail the economy, even as most economists are acting as if the threat is past. Perhaps news from ECCMID: European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, ending Monday.

Events will take a back seat to Powell & Earnings, I-bank events from smaller, boutique firms. Nowhere is that more true than Tuesday, when SVBLeerink hosts Therapeutics, Ladenburg Thalmann Healthcare, and CJS Securities New Ideas, even as Wednesday Wm Blair will host Biotech Focus, healthcare clearly the theme for all but RBC, which is hosting Private Company Technology, Tuesday, an event no one can trade on—except in the private markets, even as Access to Giving is a first of its kind—and event at which companies hosting either presentations or 1x1’s must pay an entry fee that goes to charity. How that will work out remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Citi hosts Private Company EdTech Summer virtual Summit, Friday, even as Credit Suisse hosts Korea Company Insights—Semiconductor/Display Equipment, the status of chip shortages clearly on every manufacturer’s mind. Korea is home to many semiconductor manufacturing plants, even as Taiwan Semiconductor, reporting Thursday, as stated earlier, could wind up THE report of the week. Recall, it’s a contract manufacturer, so its clients are the chip designers, and those hurt worst by any shortages caused by, say, silicon wafers, themselves, rather than completed chips, which are much farther down the supply chain.

One big Industry Event is InterSolar North America, scheduled to start Wednesday, in Long Beach CA, accompanied by Energy Storage @InterSolar, often accompanied by opportunistic I-bank events, though not, apparently, this year. If we’re going to cast light on weightier events of the week, we’d have to zero in of Agriculture, which boasts of the 13th Global Ag Investing event, and ICAAAS--Agronomy & Agronomic Sciences, both starting Monday, ASABE’ Annual Agricultural & Biological Engineering, starting Tuesday, which segues into plants as food for animals, like those that will be top subjects at the 74th American Reciprocal Meat Science Ass’n, starting Wednesday, of ASAS/CSAS/WSASAS The American, Canadian & World Societies of Animal Science, also Wednesday, before Thursday’s American Convention of Meat Processors Thursday, .

It’s almost funny that this week includes The China Licensing Expo, starting Wednesday. The entire notion of the event cracks me up. Anyone believe China is licensing the majority of the foreign stuff it manufacturers? It’s a foray into the lion’s den. And were one to really deep dive into the Events Calendar day by day, they’d probably notice that there seems more individual corporate events that either industry of I-bank events. Chalk that up to both summer, and the fact that the Earnings Season gets seriously underway this week.

So, all in, It’s Powell I’m worried most about. He clearly doesn’t want to admit that the Fed will have to start tapering its MBS & Treasury purchases sooner rather than later, and probably has already waited too long to start tapering Mortgage-Backed Securities, given a housing market on fire, thanks to mortgage rates at rock bottom. And maybe it isn’t inflation that’s transitory but, rather, the strongly rebounding economy that’s transitory—depending on whether you believe that’s why the 10-year yield has been trolling lows, rather than continuing towards 2.0%, as it looked likely to do, earlier this year. The housing market we’ve been seeing is one that could end in tears, if the most recent buyers overpaid for their homes, as is possible. In other words, I’m worried that Powell doesn’t have his eyes fully open—and could be making the same mistake many prior Fed Chiefs have made, the worst of those overstaying their welcome resulting in the 2008 housing collapsed. Too much of what’s going on seems to have a familiar ring to it—one that’s off-key.

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 only one factor in more complete due diligence.

      
July 05—09, 2021 
  FOMC MINUTES TOP WEEK    The FOMC June Meeting Minutes, out Wednesday will be the week’s highlight, unless someone expects the G20 meeting to break ground. The minutes should reveal how deep the conversation about tapering really got. The alternate highlight is the CEBRA Annual Meeting—the Central Bank Research Association, which promises a stellar cast of characters, including opening with a fireside chat with Ben Bernanke (former Chair of the US FOMC, currently Brookings Institution). Besides Ben, other featured speakers include hawk, S.L. Fed Pres Bullard, BoE Gov Olli Rehn, World Bank’s Carmen Reinhart, Harvard’s Paul Tucker, Riksbank’s Olsson, and more here. It’s hosted by MIT’s Golub Center for Finance & Policy (GCFP) and organized by the Leibinz Institute for Financial Research (SAFE). Among the topics to be discussed, Bond Market Liquidity & Financial Stability, Interconnectedness, Macroeconomic Policy, Imperfect Competition; Impact of Climate Change on Inflation & Monetary Policy; Sustainable Finance; Inflation: Drivers & Dynamics; Price-Setting & Inflation; Integration or Fragmentation of Global Banking; COVID-19 Crisis & International Financial Architecture—and more than a dozen additional topics, eventually getting to digital currencies. It’s a stellar cast of characters that even Les Recontres Economiques didn’t match. Also notable, May US Consumer Credit, also out Wednesday, an hour after the FOMC Meeting Minutes.

Economists make a big deal of the JOLTS, out Wednesday, also, though I seriously doubt the number of legitimate job openings available, since I know quite a few people who’ve been applying for jobs getting no response from the alleged ‘employers.’ Anyway you slice it, though, Wednesday shapes up to be a big day for markets, since every item mentioned, including the start of the G20 meeting, occurs on that day. Of course, Thursday’s weekly initial Jobless Claims & Continuing Claims will continue to hold their place on the calendar, the surprise that initial claims remain so high, at this point in the recovery, when there’s, supposedly, so many jobs finding wanting. Otherwise, it’s ECB Pres Christine Lagarde who’ll be everywhere, this week, including at the G20 FinMin & Central Bankers Meeting, which isn’t shown on the Fed Reserve Bank Board Calendar but doesn’t mean Powell won’t attend. The calendar doesn’t list 3rd-party events, except when the Fed, itself, intends to stream any speech.

The Earnings Calendar is so slim, if you skip the three consumer names Thursday, you’ll have missed the week’s calendar, altogether.

The Events Calendar is barely any bigger than the one for Earnings. We expect the Allen & Co Annual Media Shindig to start on the 6th, but that’s a guess, since we’re not invited. Had we been, a private jet would have shown up at Boca Raton’s private airfield to take us out west. It’s a bit of a shame that AT&T didn’t wait for the Allen & Co return to announce how it’s going to rip WarnerMedia from the whole. That’s precisely the kind of announcement Allen & Co lives for—assuming we have the week correct, if not the exact dates. Beyond Allen & Co, TD Securities Energy Conference, starting Tuesday, is the biggest North American event, even if it’s heavily weighted towards Canadian companies.

When it comes to interest, though, Cowen’s Virtual Summit, Friday, on Psychedelics & Novel Mechanisms in Neuropsychiatry may take the cake. CBS’ "60 Minutes" has run a piece on psychedelics in treating depression that seems to help enough people to draw interest from the medical community. Still, it’s not an easy sell to health insurance companies, so coverage is tough to come by. And it’s not as if Timothy Leary laid the ground work for serious scientific inquiry.

At a guess, markets will struggle to regain the upside, this week, since we suspect the FOMC Minutes won’t be as benign as markets want them to be. While tapering MBS purchases may still be months away, the market has been sending signals that sooner is better than later. That’s why the extremely negative reaction to Powell’s discussion of starting discussions about tapering after the June meeting came as such a shock. Markets had been begging the Fed to read the writing on the wall—the part its purchases of Mortgage Backed Securities may have been playing in the extraordinary rise in house prices, only to revolt at the point the Fed hinted at joining the discussion. When it comes to tapering of any kind, the markets want their cake and to eat it too. It’s likely Wednesday’s Minutes will acknowledge the need to start slowing purchases, satisfying a market calling for that—at the same time the market freaks out because it’s getting what it’s been begging for. The Fed can’t win for losing, no matter what it does! Expect markets to struggle with the Fed changing its tune.

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.
  
                                            

June 28—July 02, 2021   CAN YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH UNTIL FRIDAY"S UNEMPLOYMENT REPORT?     If you can hold your breath until Friday’s Unemployment (UE) Report, it won’t help but it will replicate what the market may well feel like—even as the FTSE/Russell Index Reconstitutions will be first up Monday. Markets have this habit of waiting for the monthly Unemployment Report, then doing the unexpected once it’s out—no matter how far off it is from expectations. What are the expectations this week? According to Barron’s, 625K jobs returned in June, a moment to reflect on the fact that we’re already closing out June, in a most unusual year. Would 635K job adds satisfy? I’d think so, given that it’s more than the economy has managed since April, when it was just shy of 1m, and June often sees education-related lay-offs, in cafeterias, busses, and other non-instructional positions. With 8.4m people still collecting benefits of one kind or another, and the high water mark back in April, why 625K would satisfy says much about how poor the results were in May, and to an even larger extent, how much optimism has been drained from sentiment.

Other data on the Economic Calendar should include June US Vehicle Sales, by all accounts strong, FHFA & S&P/Case-Shiller April Home Price Indices (Tuesday), OPEC Meeting, to be followed by the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee Meeting (Wed/Thurs), Nat’l Ass’n of Realtors May Pending Hhome Sales, and a US House "FIRE" Hearing on Crypto Currency, Thursday. And while Friday’s release of the June Unemployment Report will be the event the whole week drives toward, it will, also, all but end the week, as the great escape for the July 4th holiday waits for no one. Notably, though, only the bond market closes early. And while the equity markets will be open until 4pm, rest assured, there’ll be nothing going on in the waning hours of the day—not even mischief.

The two biggest events of the week are the Mobile World Congress, and Les Recontres Economiques—Le Cercle des economistes is just that—a circle of Economists, few from the highest echelons of the US, this year. And given that the event will be hybrid, it’s quite mysterious that NO US central bankers are zooming in. We’d love to write more about MWC—Mobile World Congress, being held as a hybrid, in person in Barcelona Spain, and live-streamed, as well. But with much too much on the agenda, including many CEOs sharing the stage for several keynotes, and virtual tours of many top sponsors, we’ll provide the link to the
Agenda, instead, and let you explore for yourself. We did highlight Elon Musk’s scheduled keynote, on the 29th, a few days after last week’s announcement of his plan to take SpaceX public once free cash flow is more predictable.

Les Rencontres Economiques—Le Cercle des economistes speakers include: ECB Pres. Lagarde, Nobelist Shairin Ebadi, Valero CEO/Chair, HSBC CEO France, SocGen Chairman, Amazon AWS Gen. Mngr, Olivier Blanchard, Euronext Chairman, OECD, Suez CIO, Airbus CEO, Boston Consulting Chairman, LMVH CFO, Capgemini Chairman, Carresfour Sec’y Gen, ING Bank France CEO, Schneider Electrics Chair/CEO, Samsung Electronics CTO, Solvay CEO, UBS Chairman Axel Weber, and many more heads of corporates from around the world, as well as the largest group of financial journalists I’ve ever seen registered to speak at any event, in 44 years of doing tracking events. Yes, many have registered, in the past, to cover the event but speaking roles? Not as many as this year. And, of course, they are, usually economists. The other notable item that caught my attention? There are fewer American central bankers & regulators than I’m used to see, based on past experience. Whether that’s because of July 4th plans or another reason, will remain unknown.

The last few days of the week hold little to no events but at least one deserves some explanation—even though we detailed it the same way for a version held earlier this month. The Macquarie D.E.L.T.A.H. event refers to Digital Transformation-Energy Transition-Lifestyle & -Technology-Automation & Mobility, as mentioned for the prior instance it used the same initials for a conference. Otherwise, we’ve emboldened those portions of event names worth noting, Diabetes, Utah Bankers, WasteExpo, Nightclub,& Bar/Beverage Retailer, and Bank of America InsurTech (not until Wed.) stand out.

The Earnings Calendar is as slim as I am. Monday, Herman Miller gets the nod, not just because furniture has been hot, this year, but also because it’s buying Knoll—a deal that would attract anti-trust attention if it were in another industry. The most notable day of the Earnings week will be Wednesday, with Bed Bath & Beyond, Constellation Brands, General Mills, Micron Technology & Schnitzer Steel. Thursday, we note Affirmed, which offers payment plans upon check-out, at many eCommerce sites, without any interest on the balance, if it’s paid on time, and before the deal offered expires. Wildly unprofitable, Wall Street loves the stock. Also Thursday, Acuity Brands—lights, and McCormick, the spice company, as well as Walgreens Boots Alliance. We know of no companies scheduled to report Friday.

And that pretty much sums up the week, other than Monday’s after hours press releases from the largest financials, detailing their plans for raising dividends & stock buybacks, which the Fed asked them to hold off on since Thursday’s after hours release of the results of the large bank stress tests. That messed up the usual pattern of banks announcing their higher dividends and buybacks if not simultaneously but, occasionally, prior to the release of the stress test results. And for the record, we have the Living Will proposals due July 1st but, for some reason, my deepest brain waves suggest those were suspended, this year, so we can’t say for sure they’re due this week. Had we not had an encounter with a reckless and distracted UPS driver, we’d be diving into digging up the facts but, alas, I’m badly bruised, and bleed the minute I move my left leg or arm, never mind trying to remove a bandage so I can shower. Both are gushers, at that point. And I can now state, without hesitation, that a green nose is not a good look. And while we fiddled taking a cursory look for the info, the FDIC & FRB sent notice that those will move a 3-year cycle, depending on the institution, here.
https://www.fdic.gov/resauthority/idi-statement-06-25-2021.pdf?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

So what do we expect of the markets? A flurry to the upside Monday morning, on volume, in reaction to the index reconstitutions. Of course, FTSE/Russell have provided more than sufficient advance notice of what was changing, and by how much but there are those so slavishly aligned to replicating the performance of an index, that even a few hundredths of a penny difference would disturb them. Then, another upside flurry on volume, as reaction to what the banks announce after hours, Monday, hits the tape. But it will be all downhill from there, until another late Thursday flurry of volume from traders seeking to position for Friday’s UE Report. In the end? Maybe not much of a move at all, except in the financials, which have every right to celebrate release from being under the thumb of the Fed & FDIC. And in the end, no matter what you think about your bank, personally, there can’t be a growing economy without facilitation from the banks—a position that allows them to profit from just being there. So that’s the group that’s got our favor for this week, even as we scooped up ONLN—the ETF that covers online sales, when Alibaba’s earnings "disappointed," sending the ETF down to near $69, which looked too good to be true. And honestly, with Prime Days just wrapped up, Singles Day ahead (11/11 in China), Back-to-School & the Holidays, ONLN is one I’d be adding to, on dips.

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.
 

June 21—25, 2021     POWELL TESTIMONY & BANK STRESS TEST RESULTS      Let’s cut to the chase. FOMC Chief Jerome Powell is speaking at the House on Tuesday. Some commentators, including Barron’s, have pointed out that NY Fed Pres./CEO Williams is speaking this week, too, three days in a row but his confirming Powell’s more bearish turn would be the deathknell of equities. I think it’s more likely that both men will qualify any bearish turn by saying "if the economy continues to progress on the path it seems to be on. Why that qualification? Because 2 months of Employment Situation Reports have been pretty tepid, which flies in the face of everything Powell had been saying until last Wednesday—that he’d all but ignore inflation to concentrate on restoring employment to levels closer to where they were before the pandemic struck. And so it’s said, his topic Tuesday, is the Federal Reserve’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, and not until 2pm et. g

Also note the major bank stocks were some of the hardest hit last week. Thursday, at 4:30pm et, the Fed will release results of the 19 largest bank Stress Tests, and has already said they’d be allowed to resume some level of stock buybacks after the results are released. With buybacks halted in fall of 2020, a considerable amount of cash has built up on bank balance sheets—Jamie Dimon said, last week, his bank was sitting on $500B, because he was waiting on higher rates to put it to use. Instead, rates fell last week, which is why banks were hit as hard as they were. Now, of course, it’s fair to ask how the heck did rates fall, after the Fed moved up its date to start raising rates? It’s a valid question and one of the many puzzles equities have suffered over the past couple of years, as stocks—including banks—have flown to higher levels. I’d suggest 2 banks unlikely to pass their stress tests with flying colors—Credit Suisse and Nomura, both of which suffered big losses from providing prime services to Archegos. You might recalls both lost over $5B from their relationship with that firms—some say as much as $9B, so even if they were found to have sufficient capital, that won’t allow them to escape the jaundiced eye of the Fed, for such poor client account management.

And it’s just like the Fed Reserve to release the results of the large bank Stress Tests on eve of FTSE Russell Equity Index Reconstitutions. It could have been worse, the Quarterly Futures could be expiring this week, instead of just last Friday. If anyone truly believes it was St. Louis Fed’s Bullard, on CNBC, that triggered Friday’s big bank sell-off, I have a bridge to sell you. He has long been the most optimistic member of the Federal Reserve, and won’t become a voting member until Feb. 2022. So his comments last week shouldn’t have surprised, and really shouldn’t have sparked the reaction attributed to him. I don’t, personally, think they did. Instead, I think the market was watching bond rates and, instead rising and one might have expected, they fell. And that was all she wrote!. Of course, if you believe he triggered the sell off in banks, then duly note he’s speaking again Monday, at the OMFIF Fed Week, where over half the Fed residents will speak before the event wraps.

As for other items on the Economic Calendar, there’s Monday’s first trades after Quarterly Futures and Options expired, last Friday. And the US Treasury Issuance calendar flush for the first time in weeks. $377B to be auctioned, without counting the 4- or 8-week Bills to be offered, since the values of those won’t be revealed until Wednesday. Other items of note include Realtor’s May Existing Home Sales, on Tuesday, New Home Wales Wednesday, May Durable & Capital Goods released Thursday, along with the Final Q1 GDP estimate, that day. Thursday morning, the Bk of England will weigh in with results of its Financial Policy Meeting, though now change is expected, at all, and it’s the only bank that releases minutes with its decision. Friday morning, we’ll get May Personal Income & Spending, along with another estimate of PCE, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, that also accompanies GDP the day prior. Friday, of course, is the day we could see a last minute mad dash in equities, as the FTSE Russell Equity Indices prepare to change after the close.

The Earnings Calendar is tidy, though not without some heavy hitters that include Accenture, FedEx & Nike Thursday, and CarMax on Friday. KB Home reports Wednesday but so soon after Lennar, there are no surprises that should be feared.

Which brings us to Events. As we’ve said in prior weeks, many Events are still being postponed until later in the year, when it’s hoped, they’ll be held in-person. Even so, a few events, even now, are being held as Hybrid events, which means they have a location for in-person attendance, and plan to stream sessions, for those still staying home. Given its summer home time of year, the option to attend from a backyard pool remains very appealing, even as some are venturing out to events held at convention centers and hotels—especially if they’re in prime locations like Las Vegas. Oddly, many of the Wells Fargo "Bricks to Clicks" Digital Conference (Wed.) presenters are dominated by private companies. The Public ones include: CVNA, CSPR, CZOO, DHWY, HYRE, ID, BARK, REAL, TDUP, only, just a day after Amazon’s 2021 Prime "EPIC" Sale 2-days.

The Milken Institute Summit has, easily, over 100 speakers, we won’t begin to name them but will, instead, send you
here to see them all. Meanwhile, the Sunday night Women Political Leaders Summit is chock full of world leaders—just none from the US. Speaking agt thagt event, is ECB Pres. Lagarde, French Pres Macron, Italian P.M. Draghi, NATO Chief Stoltenberg, Australia P.M. Gillard, and EU Commission President van der Leyen, to name the most prominent. It would be tough to gather a more.impressive group of leaders without an American in attendance but it, surely, is the one even that truly lives up to its name.

JPMorgan’s European Automotive V –Conference, Monday, would ordinarily be farther down the list, that day except so many of the presenters are American companies, it deserves to be where it is. The Surprise that day is Marine Money Week, that day, being held as a Hybrid event in NY. Perhaps nothing drives home how far New York has come from the early days of the pandemic than the fact that the shipping community plans to meet in-person, as well as stream sessions for those who don’t make the trek. The Paris Air Show, the same day, is canceled but, as far as we know, Citi still plans to hold its affiliated V-Conference with suppliers who’ll be there, next, in 2023. Likewise, Tuesday, AEA—Aircraft Electronics—plans to proceed as planned, in Dallas, while the Tech SuperShow, with sections in 5G, IoT, Evolution, OpenSource, Smart City, and more will meet in Miami, Florida’s Governor, a Trumper of the first order, has been insisting his state is open since March. Too bad the recent Cryptocurrency Convention in that city turned into a super-spreader event, which may or may not deter some attendees.

Wednesday, JPMorgan is hosting vNextGen Payments & FinTech, BMO Chemicals & Packaging, CIBC Energy & Infrastructure, B Riley Energy CFO, and Bk of America Hydrogen. Farther down that day, Jefferies plans UK SMID Cap, Citi Digi Money, UniCredit Kepler Cheveux German & Austrian Property, Citi Asia Pacific Property, and UBS Korea, even as Nomura hosts Thailand non-Bank Financial Corporates. Any doubt that the I-bank is squeezing in as many events as they possible can before July? Thursday, I expect Jefferies Sports Betting Day to be well attended. It’s billed as a specialty day @the Consumer Conference but the Consumer Conference is advertised as ending the day prior. A somewhat weird way to promote a topic of rising interest. Also that day, Citi is hosting SEQUAL: FinTech & Banking Technology Past, Present & Future.

Friday, the big event is the 81st Diabetes Scientific Sessions thru the 29th. It’s also the day "F9: The Fast Saga" opens, the couple of reviewers allowed to see the movie panning it savagely but I’m not sure that will bother moviegoers. Through 8 prior films and the death of original star Paul Walker, the franchise has never failed to deliver. There’s something about fast cars ignoring law enforcement that’s too compelling for some to miss. In fact, the franchise’s draw is exactly why there are no other tent pole films opening this week.

So, how much lower will stocks descend? Using the SPY as proxy for the S&P 500, 405 looks like strong support. Using the DIA as proxy for the DJIA, 330 is nearby and looks like a possible support. In banks, JPM may want to hold around 148, though I expect even stronger nibbling as Stress Test Results near on Thursday. In sum, it looks like stocks should take a stab at holding not far from where they ended Friday—assuming Powell says nothing scarier Tuesday. And I don’t think he will. He understands how important the markets are to wealth in America—how much worse the pandemic would have hit the US, were it not for the quick reversal back up in April 2020. Did stocks come too far too fast? I don’t think there’s any doubt about that but a deep, crushing sell off is not something the FOMC wants, either.

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.
                                                                                         

June 14—18, 2021    WILL FOMC CHANGE ITS TUNE?   Earnings season is winding down, which would usually mean Earnings warnings are on the horizon. But not this year. With much of the country under lockdown, last year, or something similar, it would be hard to screw up this year. And honestly, those vaccinated are out celebrating—as the 60 people I found online at a TJMaxx, last week, waiting for check out registers proves. I appeared to be the only one unwilling to wait, putting my intended purchase down on the returns counter, and walking out.

There’s a whole lot of nothing going on this week, outside the FOMC meeting that wraps on Wednesday, with Powell’s press conference at 2:30pm. Everyone expects them to stick with the "transitory" inflation position but 5.0% is higher than some Fed Governors expected, as at least 2 admitted, but not beyond the realm, given that used cars had a lot to do with the outsized rise. And the FOMC isn’t the only central bank meeting, this week but surely the most important. The Bk of Japan, a day later, would kill for 5.0% inflation—even 2.0%but that hasn’t happened in decades.

While members of the FOMC are in a quiet period, members of the European Central Bank & Bank of England are talking up a storm. As for data, there’s May Retail Sales & PPI on Tuesday, as well as Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization, US Business Inventories, and NAHB’s June Housing Market Index, builders optimistic despite crushing price hikes for lumber, labor, and land, Wednesday, May Housing Starts/Building Permits, the EIA weekly Petroleum report, and the aforementioned Powell presser. Thursday, the usually weekly Initial Jobless Claims & Continuing Claims, my question from last week still valid—why are there still so many people filing for first-time jobless claims, if so many jobs are, allegedly, going begging? Also Thursday, the SEC is hosting a Crypto Finance Virtual-Conference, a subject the Brits & EU are much deeper into than the US.

The Earnings Calendar is tidy, with a number of consumer-facing companies reporting. In tech, there’s Oracle Tuesday, and both Adobe & Jabil Circuits Thursday.

That brings us to the Events Calendar, with number I-bank events but nothing compared to last week. Morgan Stanley’s US Financials, Payments & CRE starts Monday, along with Credit Suisse’s 23rd Communications V-Conference, and Bank of America’s Napa Healthcare V-Conference, leading the list. Tuesday, NASDAQ hosts its 44th Investor Conference, in association with Jefferies, a tech-heavy event that also features biotech. Goldman Sachs is hosting Disruptive Technology, Jefferies Airlines, JPMorgan European Insurance, and Citi European Healthcare. At least some of their thunder could be usurped by E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, being held virtually, this year, Microsoft hosting one of its 2 press conferences that night. It’s second presser will be Thursday, when it’s supposed to introduce a dongle that plugs into connected TV’s, via which gamers can play Microsoft games on their TV, using Microsoft’s Game Pass, a subscription to its games that bypasses a video game console

Also of note, Thursday, is Goldman Sachs’ Inaugural Digital Economy V-Conference includes Tietoevry, BE Semiconductor, Quotient, Tinkoff, STMicroelectronics, FarFetch, SAP, Infineon Technoloies AG, Nemetschek Group, Cazoo (UK online car retailer merging with AJAX SPAC), Software AG, Mail.ru Group, Zalando Corp, Innoviz Technologies, a conference that would have been in Europe, it appears, had it not been held virtually. Were the city mentioned, upfront, we’d have realized it was mainly a European event but that only became clear when we raised the presenters. We’d thinking Wards Intelligence Auto Outlook, that day, may be the sleeper most aren’t noticing. Wednesday, Deutsche Bank is hosting a Global Auto Industry V-Conference, that will probably get credit for Wards’ comments. Also flying a bit under the radar, the FTSE Russell Index adds & deletions, whose lists will be updated, again on Friday, after the close.

Robin Hood Foundation on the 16th, is not related to the broker that recently filed for public listing. Jay-Z is the Emcee/headliner. The event also promises David Tepper, Ray Dalio & Paul Tudor Jones. A kids’ cancer charity is not the beneficiary, this year, which is one of the stranger changes.

Stocks have largely marked time for about a month—consolidating big gains that came earlier in the year. The Street tends to get impatient when stocks don’t move, and should have gotten antsy last week, when inflation hit 5.0% and bond yields fell. Lower yields are either foretelling an economy that’s going to stall, or is merely a way that pensions & other large money managers express their discuss with yields that aren’t properly rewarding buyers. One way or another, something’s got to give and my gut tells me that will be stocks, since yields can’t get a whole lot lower from here. And it might just be high time that Powell & Co. admit that run away inflation has gotten their attention. It sure has gotten the attention of anyone who’s shopped in a supermarket, latgely

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.

June 07—11, 2021    INVESTMENT BANK CONFERENCES OVERWHELMS THE CALENDAR    What could signal a return to "normal" more than a G-7 Meeting live, in-person, with each nation’s leader in attendance? That’s happening, at the end of this week, with Pres. Biden among those in the crowd. Of course, he has less experience muscling aside other leaders to take center stage but that’s not his personality, anyway. While his expected message is that the US is back to lead the free world, a meeting, first, with Russia’s Putin, will likely accomplish nothing.

Other notable items on the Economic Calendar include Bank of Canada’s interest rate meeting, Wednesday, and one from the European Central Bank, very early (US time) Thursday. The ECB cut rates into negative territory, and has struggled to achieve consensus on a pandemic stimulus bill that finally seems within reach. I’d love to say US Consumer Prices, out Thursday, will make a difference but Jerome Powell & Company have talked themselves into transitory inflation, and seem to have done a masterful job of convincing the Street. I say that because Interest rates on Treasury bills have been so quiescent, it’s almost scary. True, it’s PCE, not CPI, that the Federal Reserve likes best, and that still remains about a half a point lower than CPI. Still, what’s risen most seriously are wages—especially starting wages, and those rarely backtrack once elevated. Whatever transitory inflation members of the FOMC see in food, gasoline, heating oil, and staples may, indeed, be transitory but when have you ever heard of wages being rolled back? Then, again, Bernanke & Yellen, in their day atop the FOMC, would have given an eye tooth for higher wages on the bottom employment rung.

After hours, last Friday, FTSE Russell announced the most preliminary additions & deletions to its indices. Monday is the first chance anyone will have to trade on the post. The Earnings Calendar, for the record, is filled with consumer-facing names, a few of particular interest. Take GameStop, Wednesday, the so-called "meme" stock of the year, which will be hard-pressed to eke out earnings without the Reddit bulls buying more game consoles & video games than they can possibly use on their own. Calvado Growers, Tuesday, is a proxy for the amount of guacamole Chipotle has sold—even as it faces new public competition from Mission Produce, ticker AVO, reporting Thursday. Mission claims, right on its IR site, that it produces "the world’s finest avocados." Casey’s, Tuesday, is a convenience/gas station chain that whose results should track the rise in gasoline consumption, as traffic returns to US roads and bridges. Pizza slices & Hot dogs might be its most profitable items on the menu

Outside all the Consumer names emboldened, there’s, also, Navistar reporting Tuesday. NAV is being acquired by Traton, born out of VW. Were Navistar French, I don’t believe Macron would let it be taken over. There are just some companies that represent national pride, in some countries, that Americans can’t seem to muster. Thor reports the same day, the kind of pandemic winner no one might have predicted. We’re talking homes on wheels that run $90K and up! Yet, a winner it was, which begs the question, what happens now? . I kiinda like Oxford Industries here, (OXM reporting Wednesday), because its brands like Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer scream summer fashion. I haven’t been in a mall since the pandemic was declared but happened into TJMaxx Saturday, only to find 60 people backed up on a line, waiting to pay for merchandise. I put down the spoon rest I’d picked up but marveled at all the people closely packed, single file, willing to wait for a register, to buy their shopping baskets full of apparel, shoes, and even luggage. I’ll admit to some disappointment in the jewelry department, where I expected rows of men’s watched for Father’s Day and, instead, found all of 8. But I could also understand the buyers’ hesitancy about some categories, given what the country’s been through in the past year. Furthermore, many now use either smart watches or smartphones in place of watches, per se but there some who haven’t gotten the memo, like Michael Kors, for instance.

What’s especially notable about this week is the overflow of I-bank conferences scheduled. It behooves us to point out some of the larger ones, like JPMorgan’s Global Consumer, Retail & Technology Conference, with Urban Outfitters, ePlus, Insight, Bookings Hldgs, Lowe’s, Aramark, and Spectrum Brands, just some of the names confirmed. At Baird’s Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference, Walmart is one star, Visa another. Additional confirmed presenters include Vonage, ICF, 2U, TransUnion, Vocera, Axon Enterprises, CEVA, Velodyne Lidar, 8x8, Urban Outfitters, WillScot-Mobile Mini, Floor ‘n Décor, Cricut, Impinj Inc, siteOne Landscape Supply, TELIS Int’l, Synopsys, Blackbaud, Nielsen Holdins plc, Concentrix, and many more—too many to name here.

Berenberg’s Innovation V-Conference promises Alfen NV, Barco NV, Boku Inc, Ceres Poer Holdings plc, Evonik Industries AG, IP Group plc, MIPS AB, Nordic Entertainment Grp, ProSibebSat.1Mida SE, Smurfit Kappa Group plc, Soltec Power Hldgs, Zalando Se, a real mix-up of sectors.

Credit Suisse Global Energy V-Conference was, originally, a Sydney Australia Conference, then switched to London but Virtual instead, so assume London pins down the broadcast time zone, London currently BST—the "s" for summer. JPMorgan’s European Capital Goods Conference includes Electrolux Group, Epiroc, Siemsn Energy AG, Landis+Gyr, Warsila, KION Group AG, Andritz Group, Alstom, and lots of other companies that aren’t within our universe.

But we could ask who’ll win the Bloomberg/CNBC/Fox Business sweepstakes for media attention, and we have a few very strong contenders, not the least of which is Apple’s WWDC—Worldwide Developers Conference, starting Monday. Throw in ASCO, ongoing, with several big cancer names providing IR events from the meeting, early this week. We have to include Goldman Sach’s 42nd Global Healthcare Conference, starting Tuesday, Bank of America’s Global Technology Conference, UBS Global Industrials & Transportation, and NAREIT REITweek, around which, at least, half a dozen I-banks are hosting virtual non-deal roadshows or marketing. Those start Tuesday, also.

It’s just a coincidence that Credit Suisse is hosting Global Energy, RBC Capital Global Energy, Power & Infrastructure, Cowen Sustainability & Energy Transition, and Argus Global Gasoline, all starting Tuesday. Likewise, it’s coincidence that, on Wednesday, PiperSandler is hosting Global Exchange & FinTech, while HSBC is hosting Markets & Securities Services. One can go back to Tuesday for Citi’s Investment Management Industry Revolution. Is that a "meme" inference? Beats us!

More coincidence is the handful of ESG events, including, starting Wednesday, Bk of NY Mellon ESG for Financials and Morgan Stanley’s 6th Sustainable Future. BIO International is, usually, a headline event but it feels to us as if it will be drowned out by other, larger events. Let’s not overlook the fact that the timing of BIO is, often, coincident to Goldman’s Healthcare Conference but, this year, with virtual conferences, there are no scheduled events on a lower floor or at the hotel next door—events, when live, that are meant to capitalize on all the CEOs & PM’s assembling for the big I-bank event. And, yet, none of the ancillary events were canceled or rescheduled to a time of year when they’d attract more attention. Hundreds of corporate and industry events have been rescheduled, like NAIAS—the North American International Automotive Manufacturers’ show, returning in early 2022, and in the meantime, replaced or patched on the calendar with a September event, being called Motor Bella, about which there wasn’t as much information as we would have preferred.

Make no mistake, I’ve been keeping an Markets Event Calendar for over 36 years, and I can’t remember ever seeing a day as stuffed with I-bank events as Tuesday promises to be. There isn’t enough time in any PM’s day to listen to all the broadcasts that will be available—should anyone even desire to attempt it. That suggests to me we’ve reached the silly season for investment bank conferences, and all need a summer break. Meantime, expect markets to continue consolidating the springs big gains, before setting up for Q2 Earnings Reports, and another attempt to the upside.

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

© Sandi Lynne 2021 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a recommen-dation 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 31 –June 04, 2021    I-BANK CONFERENCES IN HIGH GEAR   You’d never know the Earnings Season is still wrapping up, unless you were highly attuned to all the I-Bank conferences scheduled for this week. The abundance is almost proof that the Street has moved on to other matters and, in particular, scheduling as many conferences as it can fit in before the July exodus to summer schedules.

For a short week, even the Economic Calendar is packed, with FOMC Chief Powell, ECB Pres Lagarde, and BoE Gov Bailey are highlighted speakers this week, all three on a panel, together, of Central Bankers Friday, at the Green Swan Global Conference. Heck! Even the head of the PBoC , IMF, and BIS are on the panel, hosted by the FT’s Gillian Tett, very early Friday morning. They’ll be over-shadowed, of course, by the release of May’s US Unemployment Report, when 700K job adds are predicted, below March’s 917K but well above April’s disappointing 266K jobs. Of course, none of these are actually jobs added but, rather, jobs restored but that’s another matter most prefer not to discuss.

Regional Fed Presidents Bostic, Evans, Harker & Kashkari re all scheduled to speak Wednesday, at Racism & the Economy: Focus on Entrepreneurship. The prize winner, this week, is BoE Gov Bailey who speaks three more times this week, besides his turn as a panelist. Meanwhile, Fed Gov Brainard, Fed V.Chair Quarles, and both Bostic & Harker repeat at Workforce Realigned: National Launch Conference Thursday, while the Fed’s Beige Book is out Wednesday. The PMI & ISM Indices are out globally, on several days this week, while Quarles, in charge of Regulation, speaks late Thursday at SIFMA’s Prudential Regulation Conference, jointly hosted with BPI—the Bank Policy Institute. Come Friday in the wee hours, the G7 is hosting its first in-person meeting since 2019. Invited to join were the IMF, OECD, World Bank Group, Eu Commission & Eurogroup, which won’t wrap until Saturday, next week.

The Earnings Calendar is flush with both Consumer names and some big tech companies, like Ambarella, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, NetApp & Ciena. In the consumer department, Advance Auto Parts, JM Smucker, Land’s End, PVH, Duluth Trading, Express Stores, Five Below, Hovnavian, Lululemon, Toro, & Zumiez, to name just a few. New to the calendar, Latham Group, ticker (SWIM) which is a pool company—a sign of the COVID times, for certain.

Then, the flood of I-Bank conferences can wait while we give a nod to the Indy 500, held Sunday, with 135K spectators might be the trend setter of the week. Such a big crowd has not been allowed anywhere, since COVID was identified as a pandemic, and we’re not sure how that will work out for the attendees. But I digress, because I-bank Conferences were the topic, and the Indy 500 is not one of them, though owned, now, by Penske (PAG).

So let’s start with Tuesday’s Deutsche Bank Global Financial Services Virtual Conference, which includes a FinTech/Info Services V- Conference. Cowen hosts its 49th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom V-Conference, few able to boast such a long, continuous output, even among the majors. Jefferies hosts Healthcare, William Blair its 41st Annual Growth Stock V-Conference, KeyCorp’s Industrials & Basic Materials, Jefferies Business Aviation, Citi Global Shipping & Freight V-Field Gtrip, Bk of America Emerging Markets Deb & Equity, and Stephens an Aftermarket automotive V-Field Trip, JPMorgan Global (doesn’t make sense to me either!) China V-Summit, and Citi Global C-Suite Pan-Asia. And that’s all starting Tuesday!

Wednesday is nearly as packed, when one considers all the virtual events starting Tuesday that are continuing into Wednesday. But even as a stand alone day Wednesday promises Bernstein’s 37th Strategic Decisions, RBC Capital Consumer & Retail, Wells Fargo & BMO Capital separate Energy V-Conferences, Credit Suisse Chemicals & Agriculture, Packaging & Cement Series V-Conference, Stifel Jaws & Paws (our winner for the name, alone), Craig-Hallum 18th Institutional Investor V-Conference, Wells Fargo BDC Power-Alley, and most puzzling of all. Credit Suisse’s 5th US Midwest & West Coast Yankee Bank V-Conference. International events Wednesday include RBC Capital’s Canadian Housing & Mortgage V-Conference, MainFirst Interlaken V-Conference, Citi Pan-Asia Regional Investor V-Conference, Credit Suisse Asia Consumer V-Conference, and St. Petersburg International Economic V-Forum. A mouthful and we’ve only covered the first two days of the week after the holiday, Monday.

One of the biggest events of the season starts Friday—ASCO, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Scientific V-Program, most of the companies hosting investor calls related to data revealed at ASCO waiting until the 8th but Amgen is getting a jump on all the other companies, hosting its call Friday, at 4pm edt. Another usually big event is High Point, the Furniture Market planned for in-showroom visits, starting Saturday, that may or may not materialize. Clearly, a lot of people are eager to return to events like concerts and the Indy 500 but furniture showrooms? We just won’t know until the post-mortem is completed.

Meanwhile, early days of new months have been rousing celebrations for the bulls but another week of consolidation would serve a better purpose. The bulls had gotten so out of hand earlier this year, marking some more time would give everyone a chance to reassess, and pick through the shares that still have upside. At the moment, even the financials seem overcooked, and that’s not something that comes out of our moths often. And some hesitation into Friday’s May Unemployment Report would make sense, as well. And we may all be curious about whether the BoE intends to hint at tightening when it meets this week--not that it would influence Powell but it might set the table for changed thinking in a bond market that's been remarkably docile.

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.
 

May 24—28, 2021 
   SLIDING INTO A U.S. HOLIDAY    Let’s start with the Economic Calendar, and Tuesday’s release of both the FHFA & S&P/Case-Shiller March Hose Price data—both a bit moldy by the time they arrive. April New Home Sales also scheduled for the same day—a trifecta of housing data no matter how it’s sliced, even before Toll Bros weighs in with results, on Tuesday, as well. Expect more interest in Thursday’s weekly Initial Jobless Claims, and the wonder that over 400K new, jobless applications are still being filed when GDP is estimated by the Fed +10.0%+ this quarter, with the economy reopening, and even sports teams are opening up arenas to 75% capacity.

Also Thursday, April Durable/Capital Goods, Orders & Shipments. I don’t we get a clean release, given tariffs on steel & aluminum, and a shortage of chips that are embedded into every appliance, auto, and much more than the computers that immediately come to mind when one says "chips." Also Thursday, a 2nd pass at Q1 GDP, CapEx, Household Consumption, Corporate Profits, and PCE—the inflation version the FOMC remains partial to. Top it off with April Pending Home Sales, the same day, and the amount of housing data is an explosion, for a single week

Some of the most interesting data may be Friday’s April Personal Income & Spending, because the Income side could, well, surprise to the upside. Seniors who don’t file personal income taxes didn’t receive their $1,400 Biden stimulus payment until April 7th—4 days after they usually can count on their monthly social security deposit. Seniors who don’t earn enough to file personal taxes are by their very nature those who need the money most, and likely to spend it—or pay down bills with it—quickly. So both income & spending could wind up skewing higher than expected because most on Wall Street don’t have much insight into those citizens. And, while we’re discussing anomalies, the calendar: offers one on Memorial Day, a full week later this year, than last year, which will push some of the weekend’s sales into June, from May. That will impact retailers, most, though I didn’t hear complaints about that on the conference calls I listened to post-Earnings releases. And since CostCo Warehouse is the only large retailer still reporting monthly comparable store sales, it’s something to watch as it prepares to report its quarter, Thursday. While we’re on the 3-day weekend, not only the Bond market closes early Friday, at 2pm et. Equities will remain open until 4pm, though watching pain dry might be more exciting than the action in stocks, after the bond market closes.

Which brings us to the Earnings Calendar. Four big Canadian banks report this week, along with a few big tech companies that includes Intuit, AutoDesk, Dell Inc, Hewlett-Packard (computer/printer version), DXC a combo software company, nVidia, Salesforce.com, and VMWare soon to be totally independent of Dell Inc. Also reporting, neither consumer nor digital technology, is Agilent, Tuesday.

Which brings us to the consumer discretionary names expected to report: Monday, Car-Mart, Tuesday AutoZone, CitiTrends, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Nordstrom, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, and Urban Outfitters. Wednesday, results are expected from American Eagle Outfitters, Calvaco Growers (think all those avocados Chipotle consumers), Capri Holdings Ltd—formerly known as Kors, for Michael Kors, which added Jimmy Choo and Versace. Also reporting Wednesday, Designer Brands (DSW Shoe Warehouse & Camuto), E.L.F. Beauty, ticker LAZY, which sells & Rents RV’s, and Williams-Sonoma. Thursday, reports should land from Best Buy, Burlington Warehouse, CostCo, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Gaps Stores, ?Guess, Movado, Ollie’s, Sanderson Farms, and Ulta Beauty. Friday, Big Lots, Caleres (a big shoe manufacturer & retailer most have never heard of, though brands like Stride Rite should ring a bell), and Hibbett Sports. Lionsgate Entertainment reports Thursday, the fact that it remains independent a mystery on its own. Toronto-Dominion Bank wrapping up a week of Canadian Banks that included BMO CIBC, and Royal Bank of Canada earlier in the week.

The BIG event of the week is JPMorgan’s 49th Global Technology, Media & Communications V-Conference, which starts Monday (all events virtual, if not stated otherwise, this week) Also starting Mondaym UBS Global Healthcare, and Wolfe Research Global Transportation & Industrials, before the I-Banks scheduled for "overseas" events, all virtual, so location of little import, at the moment, beyond the time zone in which conference calls and/or videos will be delivered, initially. Monday, Northcoast Research is hosting a call with Kelly Services and, as I’ve maintained for decades, there’s no one better positioned to assess global hiring, than Kelly.

Tuesday’s big I-bank even is UBS Global Oil & Gas, dovetailing nicely with Jefferies Renewables Energy. Truist’s Financial Services is a holdover from Sun Trust Robinson Humphreys. RBC Capital is hosting Global Data Center, Cloud & Broadband Infrastructure which might complement Jefferies IT Services. But there’s no way to do the I-banks justice, when our daily list of events is comprehensive, the most notable is JPMorgan’s European TMT, which starts the last day of its US version. When all events are virtual, geography is nothing more than a guide to which time zone is host of the event. A last made crush of events into the Memorial Day weekend is a holdover from the days of live events at hotels, when more than half the portfolio managers dialing in (so to speak) are already at their beach or mountain get away, with no intention of returning to Wall Street before September, if at all.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week down half a percent, while the S&P finished the week losing less than half a percent, and the Comp up 1/3 of a percentage point but within the week, the moves were a lot more volatile than the finish belies. And stocks have entered the notorious May to October period, when, at least, small losses are typical, albeit with a pop to celebrate the Q2 Earnings Releases in late July and early August. Notably, crude-related equities usually top by Memorial Day weekend, dead ahead, when the summer driving season & A/C’s start cranking up, even as Hurricane Season arrives starting June 1st. With retailers reporting in volume this week, analysts will start talking about Back-to-School and pent-up demand—not for BTS, per se but for shopping, in general. And that may well be true---there’s pent-up demand for everything: shopping, eating at restaurants, and ultimately, traveling, and seeing movies in cinemas. What’s really odd, though, is how many people are still choosing Instacart & DoorDash or Uber Eats, instead of stepping into a supermarket. It’s possible all the pent-up demand will stagger back into the world we used to know as normal. Meanwhile, stocks may need more time to consolidate, before seeking higher ground, again—even if the pre-holiday bias is usually to the upside.

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. 

May 17—21, 2921
RETAILERS TAKE OVER      FedHeads are speaking this week but it’s probably too soon to expect any change in stance—after multiple Feds spoke last week, all insisting it was too early to talk taper. And speaking of the Fed, it announced plans to make slight adjustments to which Treasuries it purchases, it seems, mostly to account for the 20-year returning after years gone. Monday, Fed Vice Chairman Clarida will discuss ‘Sovereign Markets, Global Factors,’ @the Atlanta Fed’s 24th Financial Markets V-Conference, "Fostering a Resilient Economy & Financial System—The Role of Central Banks." Fed Gov. Bowman keynotes the K/.C. Fed Regional State Member Bank V-Conference, Challenges & Opportunities: Navigating a Shifting Environment,: (What shift is that? To Mask or Not to Mask? I went into the local gourmet market, and all the employees were still masked. Until vaccinated people arrive with stickers on their foreheads, they don’t know who is or isn’t vaccinated, and won’t take a risk. I totally understand) Dallas Fed Pres Kaplan rounds out the Monday speakers, at a Town Hall. Of course, tax returns are due Monday, which will probably consume more people than any of that day’s speakers.

I skipped Monday’s NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing Index because NY simply isn’t a hot bed of manufacturing, Tuesday, April Housing Starts & Building Permits will be more interesting, even as FINRA hosts its Annual V-Conference, and I am curious about the ECB’s "Corporate Zombification: post-pandemic risks in the euro area." Clearly a bond guy wrote that paper’s title, since equity guys rarely talk about deeply indebted companies being zombified. Also Tuesday, BoE Gov Bailey, along with financial policy makers Broadbent & Ramsdem will testify @UK House of Lords on QE. Sounds interesting. Later that night, into US Wednesday, the ECB will release its Financial Stability Review, after pre-releasing it Sunday. EU CPI/HICP, Q1 GDP will also be released, along with Qtr on Qtr Employment Data, just as the UK will release April CPI, PPI, the Retail Price Index, and New Car Registrations.

Wednesday, the Chicago Fed, Upjohn Institute, Economic Development Quarterly, & Citizens Research Council of Michigan co-sponsor the "Creating Conversations on the Challenges & Opportunities Facing Rural Economic Development
V-Conference, that was originally scheduled for 05/19—20, but now claims will be held 05/20—21, on the description, even as the details remain 05/19—20. Given we have no ties to Rural Economic Development, we’re going to let those who need to know figure it out for themselves. It’s scheduled for Grand Rapids MI though probably remains a Virtual event, since the change in CDC guidelines occurred just a day prior to our posting. The NY Fed hosts Scaling Equitable Solar Finance, hosting a Financial Innovations V-Roundtable, after which the Atlanta Fed is hosting "Ask Us Anything-Labor Policy Reform for a Cohesive Workforce Development Sector." At 2pm Wednesday, the FOMC will release the Minutes of its April 27—28 Meeting, at which there could have been more discussion of tapering than FOMC Chief Powell—or any of the others—are letting on. After the minutes, K.C. Fed Pres Esther George will offer a closing keynote. It might be interesting to see how much gasoline & jet fuel was left in storage, as the Colonial Pipeline was shut down. Yes, it was temporary but a big hassle for plenty of people. We heard about Colonial a week ago Friday, so filled up an hour later. No line, no shortage but as a veteran of many hurricanes, I feel for those who wasted half a tank of gas to fill up wit 12 gallons, which was the limit set by many gas stations, even as others were letting people fill their gas tanks and several portable gas containers.

Thursday brings the usual weekly Initial Jobless Claims & Continuing Claims. Philly Fed offers its May Manufacturing Index, CapEx, and all the rest, the area more involved in manufacturing than NY. Meanwhile, the Presidents of the Atlanta Fed (Bostic), Dallas Fed (Kaplan) & Richmond Fed (Barkin) will take part in a policy roundtable @11:15am ct, @Technology-Enabled Disruption: Implications for Business, Labor Markets & Monetary Policy, another Virtual event. Overnight Thursday, BoE FPC Hauser speaks @Blomberg’s "Investing in net zero: how central bank monetary policy portfolios can help support orderly transition." Given the switch from LIBOR to SOFR has been postponed twice, call us a skeptic on any ‘orderly transition.’ IHS Markit will release May Manufacturing/Services/Composite PMI for the EU, France, & Germany. Friday morning, Breakfast with the Fed asks "Is Inflation Making a Comeback?" ECB Pres Lagarde will be at the Eurogroup ECOFIN Meetings, with her MPCs de Guindos & Enria, before hosting a press conference to wrap those meetings. Meantime, IHS Markit will release the US flash May Manufacturing/Services/Composite PMI, before US April Existing Home Sales are Released, followed by the usual Baker-Hughes weekly Rig Count. Saturday, de Guindos takes the post-ECOFIN Meeting Press Conference.

Which brings us to the Earnings Calendar, and a rare mix of big retail & big tech. First up bi tech, which includes Tencent Music Entertainment, Monday, Baidu & NetEase on Tuesday, then Analog Devices, Cisco Systems, Synopsys, & Synopsys Wednesday, before Applied Materials on Thursday. Not either big tech or retail, Copart is Out Wednesday, John Deere is out Thursday. The latter does have a retail component but it’s not one anyone thins about when thinking of it.

So, what about those retailers? Home Depot, Macy*s Inc, The Container Store & Walmart are due to release reports Tuesday, along with Take-Two Interactive, both Fish & Fowl in this case. Wednesday, reports are expected from China’s JD.com, L Brands, Lowe’s, Shoe Carnival, Target, TJX, and foreign VIP Shops. Thursday, BJ Wholesale, Children’s Place . Decker’s Outdoor, Kohl’s, Ralph Lauren & Ross Stores Dress for Less are in a mix with Keysight Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, and Hormel Foods. That’s prelude to Friday’s The Buckle, FootLocker & VF Corp. VF worries me a little because so few people left their homes, this past winter, there was little chance to break-in outerwear, let alone wear it out. VANS also probably didn’t get worn out, either. Love the company but worry about what the report and fall order books will look like.

I’m going to rush through the Events Calendar due to a really bad headache—and flush out more on Monday morning. Still, here are highlights: Monday, Needham hosts its 16th Technology & Media V-Conference. Otherwise, the biggest events of that day are in Germany where Bankhaus Lampe & Baader Helvea are hosting Germany Equity Spring V-Conferences. Meanwhile, network and major cable UpFronts get underway, each listed at the bottom of each day’s events, where we always list individual corporate events of note, like Ford’s coming unveil of its Lightning F-150 Pick-up truck, Wednesday.

Tuesday notable vents include Barclays Americas Select Franchise, usually a London event to showcase top American companies. Also Tuesday, Goldman Sach’s Global Staples, RBC Global Healthcare, Bank of America’s 16th Global Metals Mining & Steel V-Conference, and Berenberg’s v-Conference USA, generally held in Tarrytown, NY but not this year. Meanwhile Tuesday, there’s a slew of overseas V-Conferences that were planned, as well, including Macquarie D.E.L.T.A.H. China Conference. The initials stand for Digital Transformation, Energy in Transition, Lifestyle, Technology, Automation & Mobility & Health with presenters that range from Albemarle to BUD, through WUXI. Nomura hosts KASHKUSHAN V-Seminar, Jefferies & Fubon Taiwan Corporate Access, Daiwa China A-Share V-Conference & Credit Suisse China Autos Corporate V-days.

Wednesday I the big, American Gas Association (AGA) Financial Forum, a mass analyst meeting for natural gas powered Utilities. Wells Fargo is hosting V-meetings at AGA. JPMorgan will host Homebuilding & Building Products, UBS its 22nd Annual Financial Institutions V-Conference and Wells Fargo its Financial Services Investor V-Conference. Then, BMO Capital will offer a virtual 15th Farm-to-Market Conference, Rosenblatt its 13th Annual FinTech V-Summit, and Wolfe Research Pipeline Unplugged. Back overseas, Goldman Sachs offers TechNet AsiaPacific, while Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will begin auctioning seats on space flight—an auction expected to run into next month.

If all that weren’t enough, Thursday, Citi hosts Chemicals V-Conference, SVB Leerink a Vaccine V-Forum, Cowen part of its Oncology Innovation V-Summit, this one Insights for ASCO & EHA (European Hematology). CanaccordGenuity will host its Musculoskeletal V-Conference, while the most interesting one of all might the 75th Int’l V-Conference on Disease in Nature Communicable to Man, which the coronavirus that’s ravaged the world is believed to have been. Overseas, Credit Suisse hosts Stockholm Consumer IR V-Day, and Citi Regional (Taipei) Tech V-Conference (thru the 24th), and Credit Suisse more China Autos Corporate V-Days. Friday, Oppenheimer is hosting Rare & Orphan Disease V-Summit, Jefferies a Structural Winners 1x1, and Wolfe Research Restaurant, Beverages, Food & Retail Consumer Access though we were hard-pressed to find anyone other than Starbucks to confirm. Meantime, DDW—Digestive Disease Disorders week kicks off, usually a major medical event—May & November known for a slug of biotech/medical events, and this month living up to that reputation, since we start the week, Sunday, with the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions.

It felt to me like there was some nibbling at hard hit tech, last week. While everyone seems to be watching the ARK Innovation ETF, the one that caught my eye was ONLN, the Online Retail ETF, whose biggest component is Amazon, followed by Alibaba, with a mix of Wayfair, Chewy, Etsy, and plenty of other online retailers. Months ago, I set a price level just above $70 to buy it, and it got below $70 before rebounding, reluctantly, Friday. I don’t expect a rocket back up but thought the price action was notable. ARKK, meantime, did fall below $100 before bouncing, too. Again, too soon to say but it appears the worst for tech could be over, even if the best is nowhere in the immediate future.

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.

May 10---14, 2021 
FEDHEADS OUT IN FORCE, ALONG WITH I-BANK EVENTS     The National Association of Business Economists NABE) & Society of Business Editors & Writers (SABEW) both host meetings this week. SABEW is where a few FedHeads are speaking, virtually of course. Then, again, the first handful of in-person meetings are, also, scheduled this week. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who by the way, attended the now, disputed, Kentucky Derby, on Sunday predicted mask indoor rules will soon be adjusted if not lifted, claiming mask mandates will; become a seasonal affair in the future. I wonder if such an occurrence will bring around more unvaccinated people. Before I was vaccinated that was my biggest fear—indoor mask mandates would be withdrawn and I would still be masking, because I was unvaccinated.

The US Treasury issuance schedule is a little lighter than it’s been some weeks, a notch in favor of the stock bulls who were out in full force last week. The 3rd week of consolidation predicted didn’t happen,. Instead, the DJIA rose over 900 points, or 2.66%, the S&P was up 1.23% and even the Nasdaq managed to rise 119+ points, Friday, albeit posting a loss on the week of (-1.51)%. And that was despite that significant April Jobs miss, coming in at 266K instead of over 1m, with revisions to the 2 prior reports also to the downside. Even the March report, alleged at 917K, was only 770K, when the revisions were done. If not for the supposed 917K originally reported, economists may not have been looking for over 1m in April but, then, we’re used to economists keeping their jobs, no matter how misguided their predictions. My favorite example will always be Ed Yardeni, who foresaw planes falling from the sky and the electric grid failing completely, due to Y2K, or the turn of the century from 1999 to 2000, which he insisted computers couldn’t handle.

While many will be pointing out JOLTS, Tuesday, to prove there are more jobs available than willing workers, the key to the week may well be Retail Sales, out Friday, because MasterCard SpendingPulse says they jumped 23.3%, at least on its network, presumably. Recall, a year ago, the country was all but locked down in March and April, so a huge bounce back appears reasonable. On the other hand, against 2 years ago, MA says it was up 10.8%. Last year, of course, there was plenty of shopping being done online but most of its was necessities, like food and toilet paper/paper towels, where available. It wasn’t until later months that people working from home started buy other items, that were completely discretionary. Beyond Retail Sales, is the number of Fedheads, many of whom have chosen US Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy as their topic.

It’s not just FedHeads talking at SABEW & NABE, this week. US Labor Secretary Walsh is speaking at SABEW on Monday, as is Fed’s Evans. BoE Gov. Bailey is in discussions with NY Fed Pres./CEO Williams Tuesday, even as Phi;lly Fed’s Harker is also speaking, on Higher Ed, before Fed Gov Brainard discuses the topic of the week—US Economic Outlook & Monetary Policy @SABEW, which surprised me because most of her speeches this year have been on community development, while San Francisco Fed’s Daly speaks on Brainard’s usual topic, to Community Bankers,. Tuesday. Fed Vice Chairman Clarida is offering the top of the week at NABE, Wednesday, while BoE Gov Bailey will ksyone ISDA—the International Swaps &

Derivatives Annual General Meeting the same day. The EU Banking authority Chairman, Campo, keynotes ISDA, also, the same day. Thursday, newbie FedHead Waller speaks on the topic of the week at the GIC—Global Interdependence Center Monetary & Trade V-Conference. Wednesday, we’ll get CPI, and Thursday PPI but, alas, the FOMC insists CPI rises will be transitory, and at least, after Friday’s weak April Jobs Report, we can’t dismiss such talk out of hand. An economy as weak as that jobs report proved, if sustained upon revisions, can’t handle significantly higher inflation, no matter that Kimberly-Clark & Procter & Gamble plan to raise the price of toilet paper. They’ll get away wit hit on necessities but, perhaps, not on other staples.

The Earnings Calendar was not prepared with the kind of thoroughness upon which we pride ourselves. Comcast upgrading the grid here, kept us offline most of the weekend. That prevented us from checking every purported Earnings release scheduled. When all was said and done, we checked selected tickers, like Alibaba and Airbnb, on Thursday, but simply couldn’t check the rest. In most cases, were deleted the tickers we couldn’t verify, and left a few that seemed reasonable based on part experience. We’ll note that some large hotel chains are reporting, some chain restaurants, and two large casino suppliers—Scientific Games & IGT. Also note Walt Disney, on Thursday.

Which brings us to Events, and the return of I-bank conferences in greater numbers, even as many industry events are still being pushed out to August and later, when in-person events are more likely, even as a few show up this week. Speaking of hotels reporting, Monday Wells Faro & Raymond James jointly host a Lodging V-Summit. Citi is hosting Communications Services, Infrastructure & Media IR V-Day, while JPMorgan is hosting an Insurance 1x1 V-Forum, and Northcoast Research its Spring Consumer & Industrials V-Conference. The 33rd Hunter Hotel Investment Conference is also this week, along with SEMI ASMC—the Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing V-Conference, as well as Jefferies’ China Semi & Smartphone Component V-Days. Note, also, EDS—Electronic Distribution, because they’re the first to see supply chain shortages.

Tuesday there are even more big conferences, including Bk of Americda’s Healthcare, Goldman Sachs’ Industrials & Materials, Citi Global Energy & Utilities, Barclays Energy Leaders, and Oppenheimer’s Emerging Growth, as wekk as CannacrodGenuity’s Cannabis, KBW’s European Finbancials, Morgan Stanley’s GEMS/EMEA, Credit Suisse Mexico Investment, and Berenberg’s Diagnostics, plus Citi Diversified Financials, UBS Pan-European Financials, UBS Pan-European Small & MidCap, & Credit Suisse 9th Annual China A-Share V-conference. For those of you new to us or have forgotten, when we list Events, we list US events first, followed by outside US Events. When all events are Virtual, they’re all more accessible, and the location is nearly immaterial. But we’ve kept to our listing system, anticipating the full return to in-person events in the near future. Armed with the key to our system, please check Wednesday through Friday, as listed, the US events, followed by outside US events, followed by individual corporate events, and some general interest events, after those. The Sohn Conference, long held to raise money to support children’s cancer treatment, this year is in support of Rockefeller University, which leaves us flat. Speakers start at noon edt, and not as well-known as those of past years.

I think all the FedHeads will reinforce the message Powell has been sending, backed by everyone but Kaplan & Bullard—it’s too soon to even talk about talking about tapering. April’s Employment Report makes that stance look less foolish than it did pre-266K jobs added. Some are claiming seasonal adjustments are distorting the numbers, because April is a month in which we’re used to seeing strong hiring. Perhaps but there’s no getting around how weak the number was. Or, as I’ve long been saying, all the Economy has been doing is restoring jobs lost to the pandemic. There have been NO jobs added. Per se. When the 8m still unemployed are rehired we can talk about added jobs. Until then, it’s all restored jobs.

Furthermore, I’d like to remind those upset that the administration wants intellectual property "ownership" waived for the COVID-19 vaccine, that the prior administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ spent billions to support vaccine development, and by rights, owns all the IP that arose from that spending, Moderna would not have been able to develop squat, without a rich Uncle Sam, or a large pharma footing the bill. Pfizer didn’t accept billions, only the promise that the US Government would spend billions if its vaccine candidate was approved for use—quite an incentive, that steered it to BioNTech, who had the technology that would allow quick development. And speaking of COVID-19 vaccines, a personal aside, after Global Citizen’s VAX Concert reportedly raised $302m.

I was told 12 years ago to never have another vaccination. Until COVID-19, I’d observed that ban, which came from the neurologist treating my mother for Guillain-Barre, who’d noticed a lump on my arm where my last vaccination has been injected. He was unavailable to consult during the pandemic, so I called the CDC and asked what they’re recommending to people who’d suffered a reaction to their last vaccine, and were told never again. Speaking in general terms, since they couldn’t examine me, I was told that people in my situation were being asked to seek the J&J--one-and done, since most reactions occurred after the 2nd shot of Moderna or Pfizer, if at all. While it’s only been a week, and I could still suffer the much-publicized blood clot no one wants, so far so good. I share this information for anyone similarly situated, who wants to know what others are doing. Mom, who’s still around, was told she should NOT have another vaccine, and has decided to seek out as many as it takes until one says she can. Sounds like a bad idea to me but since she still living after celebrating her 94 birthday 2 months ago, she didn’t get there listening to me, and will continue to forge her own path. To everyone else, I say get the vaccine, for yourself, your family, and your neighbors.

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

© Sandi Lynne 2021 Nothing contained in this commentary should be construed as a on 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 02—07, 2021  A THIRD WEEK UNCHANGED ON ITS WAY, as the Earnings Deluge Becomes a Tsunami    Thursday, more companies will report earnings than reported the entire first week of the Q1 Earnings Season. But unlike last week, there just aren’t the power in this week’s reports to take the entire market down, or lift it up. Powell is speaking Monday but on Community Development, hardly the kind of topic that moves markets strongly. And anyway, it’s far too soon to expect him to shift positions. In fact, many are coalescing on the August Jackson Hole Economic Summit for a change, if any is coming, to be detailed.

One item in favor of stocks is an extremely light calendar of Treasury Issuance. For all intents and purposes, Treasuries are over and done and Monday, given what’s left is 42-day, 4-week & 8-week issues, and nothing else. And of course, positioning will be difficult before Friday’s April Unemployment Report, when at least 1m job additions are expected—more hoped for. The Bank of England Financial Policy Committee meets Thursday with no change expected, despite intermittent spoken interest in negative rates, by some FPC members. The RBA (Aussie) also meets this week but with no power to influence US rates or equities.

The 29th Hyman P Mnsky Conference, on the 5th is from the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. It’s subtitled ‘Prospects & Challenges for the US and Europe in an Emerging post-Pandemic Recovery.’ Among the speakers, Dallas Fed Pres. Kaplan, Chicago Fed Pres. Evans, Leuthold Group’s James Paulsen, Goldman Sach’s Jan Hatzius, and many other distinguished economists, including some former gov’t ones, like Harvard’s James Furman, and the Economic Cycles Research Institute’s Laksman Achuthan—the group that declares recessions & their conclusions. It usually makes news.

Which takes us to Earnings, a boatload of reports that crescendo on Thursday. But a quick glance at those emboldened, compared to the sheer volume of reports, pretty much says it all about our expectations for markets to move on the news., Energy-related & Hotel companies are prevalent among the reportors, along with major Pharma companies like Merck, Pfizer, Regeneron, & Moderna.. There are also a few cable companies, and T-Mobile along with the 3 largest auto insurers, ex-Geico & State Farm, which aren’t independently traded, though you can play Geico via Berkshire Hathaway. There are a slug of miners we simply couldn’t confirm. In fact, of all the sectors we include in the Earnings Calendars, none is more deficient in providing a heads-up than the miners. Very disappointing, given the number of gold believers there are as an age old hedge against inflation the gold bugs are sure is coming.—about to get out of control.

The Events Calendar sees the return of I-banks in greater numbers. Tuesday, OpCo hosts Industrials Growth, Wednesday, Wells Fargo Industrials. D.A. Davidson hosts Financial Institutions on Wednesday, Credit Suisse Xtreme Services on Thursday, a tech segment that is attracting greater interest all the time—even before Salesforce.com was added to the Dow jones Industrial Average. Friday, the FTSE Russell Indices Rank Date for June’s Rebalance will be issued after hours. There’ll be 5 more notices from FTSE Russell, before the rebalance actually happens but positioning will begin soon enough—and long before the rebalances are finalized.

VAX Live is a Charity event, Saturday night, organized by Global Citizen, Jennifer Lopez & Selena Gomez. It will also feature Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, H.E.R., and others who’ve signed on since it was first announced. Meanwhile, Billy Crystal is breaking the chain of movies premiered online as well as in theaters. He wrote, directed and also stars with Tiffany Haddish in "Here Today," which he insisted had to open exclusively in theaters, and not be streamed simultaneously. It’s another story of dementia overtaking a man’s mind—Crystal’s, in the film—the subject that won Anthony Hopkins an OSCAR last week, which the world thought would go to Chadwick Boseman.

Last week, our Outlook was for a 2nd flat week, and that’s what we got, with the S&P 500 flat, the DJIA off 0.5%. and the Nasdaq Composite off 0.4%. We’re calling for another week of consolidation, though the absence of serious Treasury issuance could weigh in the equity bulls favor. Beyond that is still anyone’s guess, and something we don’t have to venture except week by week.

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.

April 26—30, 2021   FOMC COMPETES with 4 BIGGEST STOCkS BY CAPITALIZATION     We could tip the week towards the FOMC Meeting & Jerome Powell’s follow-up press conferences but it’s hard to imagine him moving off his mark do soon after insisting that inflation will be transitory, and it’s hard to argue with that position. Last year, the US all but shut down in March and April, so comparisons to 2929 are nearly worthless. For the same reason, a huge bounce in economic activity means less than it normally would. If a train doesn’t run one year, and then does the next, is it going as fast as it seems or is everything relative-comparative?

Me thinks the bigger risk is Powell starting to waiver in his insistence that inflation is transitory, and it won’t be time to first talk about trimming asset purchases until Employment is a lot stronger than it currently is—at about 9.0%---10.0%, rather than the 6.0% headline monthly unemployment numbers put it.

So, barring a complete turn around by Powell, Wednesday, which isn’t expected, the FOMC has to compete with earnings releases from Apple (Wed.), Alphabet (Google, Tues.), and Amazon (Thurs.), with the largest market caps in the world, and that’s just for starters. But I don’t want to dismiss the Economic Calendar out of hand, because it holds at least one potential land-mine. As if the end of the month wasn’t sufficient pressure, the US Treasury is dumping so much issuance on the market, that schedule could hold the clue to whether this week will turn out as volatile as last week—whether Treasuries will suck the lifeblood out of equities, which occasionally occurs. Notes, also, March Durable/Capital Goods orders & Shipments, out Monday, Thursday, besides the weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Continuing Claims, there’ll be Q1 advance GDP and March Pending Home Sales, while Friday brings March Personal Income & Spending, along with PCE, which accompanies GDP, as well. Of course, if Powell is simply going to dismiss all signs of inflation, for now, there’s nothing to fear from a couple of PCE’s, other than Street economists and analysts who might become more vocal about the Fed, once again, ignoring the nose on their faces, as they’ve done before.

If the 3 biggest stocks and Microsoft (Tues.)aren’t your thang, then by all means, go through, at least, the emboldened tickers on the Earnings Calendar because there are other gems there besides those 4, including every oil major, the early restaurant reporters, including McD & Starbucks, several large consumer staples stocks, and a large portion of the packaged foods world, too. Because it’s the biggest week of Earnings season, so far, note the scarcity of I-bank conferences. Analysts can only be in so many places at any one time, and this week it’s tuned into Earnings announcements.

Did we mention the week ends the month? Then, throw in Yale Hirsch’s Wall Street Almanac’s reminder that with the arrival of May, the best 6 months for equities ends with April—though the Nasdaq often manages to extend gains into May, as the bulk of the significant Earnings reporting season ends with this week’s schedule—despite retailers yet to report--prompting a celebration..

There’s, likely, another volatile week ahead, and if bulls are lucky, this week ending nearly unchanged--a near repeat of the week that just finished. Wednesday, Pres. Biden addresses a socially distanced almost joint session of Congress, at which his plan for higher capital gains taxes is likely to be laid out, among other items on his agenda. Hopefully, he has a plan for the flood of migrants crossing the southern border, and for treating the kids sent, alone, to the US—sometimes dumped over Trump’s wall—hoping for a more humane solution than ICE has handed them to date. We all know even just the Democratic Senators won’t be unanimous in support of a capital gains rate of near 43.0%, on the 1.0%. So a number like that is a non0starter but that doesn’t eliminate a sell-off if it’s proposed. Wall Street has long shot first and used its keppe later. Expect that to happen again, for a day or two.

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.
 

April 19--23, 2021  
EARNINGS DELUGE JUST STARTING  This is not the busiest week for Earnings, it will just fell that way because the volume of scheduled reports picks up considerably, from last week. So let’s start with that calendar, to give it its due, after at least a nod to Earth Day, Thursday, so no one calls me out on that.

What’s worth noticing about this week is the number of banks still to report. With the biggest money-center banks already done, for many, the financials are done. But that ignores the sheer volume of financials yet to report, the big regional banks, in particular, this week. In particular, my eye was caught by M&T Bank, Monday, Northern Trust Tuesday, Signature Bank, Wednesday, and Regions Financial, Friday. Then, I couldn’t really overlook other non-bank financials, like Interactive Brokers, Tuesday, Discover Financial Services and the Nasdaq Exchange, on Wednesday, & American Express on Friday, or a non-financial inextricably tied to financials, Equifax, on Wednesday, or private equity elephant, Blackstone Thursday.

Airlines and other transports are well represented, this week, including United Airlines, Monday, CSX Tuesday, Canadian Pacific (Rail) Wednesday, Spirit Airlines, the same day, and on Thursday, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Union Pacific (another rail). For added transport measure, there’s AutoNation, Lithia Motors, and Harley-Davidson Tuesday, General Parts, and MarineMax Thursday, Then, some household names are represented, including Coca-Cola Monday, Procter & Gamble, Tuesday, and Kimberly-Clark on Friday.

Big names whose reports won’t be overlooked include IBM Monday, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, and Netflix Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Anthem, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Lam Research, Verizon, and Whirlpool, and NextEra, which is one of the largest solar power provider, though it also owns Florida Power & Light, with a couple of nuclear power plants. Thursday, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention American Telephone & Telegraph, Intel, Biogen Idec, Boston Beer, D R Horton, Danaher, Dow Chemical, Quest Diagnostics, and Friday, Schlumberger NV. If metals and mining are your preference, then take a look at Steel Dynamics Monday, Cleveland Cliffs & Freeport MacMoran, Nucor, along with Reliance Steel, all Thursday, Then, again, if additional insight into the Unemployment situation is your desire, we offer ManPower on Tuesday, and Robert Half International, on Wednesday. But be our guest, check out the entire list of expected reports, and in particular, those emboldened, because none were highlighted causally.

The Treasury is in full issuance mode, Wednesday’s 20-year Bonds still a new enough maturity for us to pause as we type that. The FOMC is in virtual silent mode, the week before a meeting, while the members of the Bk of England Financial Policy Committee are out in full swing, the ECB meeting wrapping with release of its statement before US markets open, Thursday, followed by a press conference., Realtors release March Existing Home Sales, Thursday, Earth Day, as previously mentioned. Just remember, when builders, at least one reporting this week, complain about the soaring price of lumber, it’s another tree Earth has lost. Someone tell me why Trex can supply recycled plastic for decking and trees are still supplying the lumber for housing? Friday, look for March New Home Sales. Of course, Existing Home Sales require listings, which are in short supply, right now but, give rising prices enough time to scale the heights, and the shortage may just correct itself.

Which brings us to the Events Calendar, with a number of conferences continuing from days prior, including EEI—the Edison Electric Institute Electrification Forum, held virtually, of course, as are almost all the events scheduled this week, unless they specify a city of that they’re Hybrid events. The most closely watched event, this week, undoubtedly, will be Apple’s "Spring Loaded" virtual event on Tuesday. Speculation has it as an iPad Pro and, perhaps, watch event, with some throwing in Apple TV, perhaps more wishful thinking than actual subject. Even as more states, including New York, legalize recreational Cannabis, I can’t help feeling Cowen’s Market Perspectives on Cannabis V-Summit is so yesterday—even as I’ll concede to the number of people who credit legalization with curing their aches and pains. Speaking of which, Pain Medicine meets starting Friday, Addiction Medicine, starting the day prior.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) canceled its Annual meeting for the 2nd year in a row, which was supposed to start Monday, but Managed Care for Hospitals & Health Systems Medical Directors (AAHIDS) still plan to go ahead with their meeting starting Tuesday. It appears Pain Medicine & AAD—Dermatology, will be the headline medical events, this week, though neither starts until the end of the week, a Psoriasis Virtual Forum part of AAD, at which Bristol-Myers Squbb will be presenting clinical updates.

Make no mistake, the Events Calendar is lacking big I-bank Conferences, virtual or not, because of the size of the Earnings Calendar, which will be the dominant one this week. The big money-center banks seemed to have cleaned up, when they reported last week, even without the reserves against losses they were able to release. Didya think the Fed Reserve & Congress were going to lend or distribute funds without the banks being intermediaries? And have 3, separate, pandemic support payments, to people making less than $150K, there was no doubt that some of the funds would be spent, immediately, by those most desperate due to lack of work, while others were just going to p---s it away as the free money it was. Again, given how much of what was spent was filtered through eCommerce sites, was it really a surprise that banks benefited as much, if not more, than PayPal, Square, and other virtual payment options? Speaking of which, neither of those two have reported yet. Hmmm. Just how much did they benefit from stimulus payments? Surely, the lower rung, like Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Walmart did but, how about the online payment processors? Is their good fortune fully baked in? We warned you last week, the banks would be dissed for strong Earnings reports, if the upside ‘surprise’ was a benefit from reserve releases. So, it’s fair to ask whether the online payment processors and world of dollar stores are, also, dissed for upside surprises that came, exclusively, from Pandemic largesse—most recently $1,400 checks that didn’t even get to Social Security recipients who collect too little to pay taxes, until April 7th. So that’s one segment that won’t be counted in most Q1 Earnings Reports, except the Retailers whose Q1 didn’t event start until March 1st, and won’t be reported until next reporting cycle.

So do our homework, and don’t jump the gun. After repeated new highs in the senior averages, it’s time for some consolidation, a period of digestion, even if enthusiasm is too high, right now, for such static activity. And ya know what? That’s why multi-month highs are often reached in late July or early August, rather than in spring.

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.
                                                                                                                                     
 

April 12—16, 2021   IT’S ALL ABOUT FINANCIALS   Jerome Powell once again starred on CBS’ "60 Minutes," and speaks Wednesday at the Economic Club of Washington DC, and Fed Presidents Bostic, Daly, George, Mester & Rosegren may all be speakers at a 12 Regional Fed Bank Webinar Tuesday, on Racism, & The Economy, that’s really about enticing more women into the Economics Profession. And maybe the US Treasury is back with a full slate of Auctions, unlike last week when it was light. And we’re going to get March CPI on Tuesday, the Beige Book on Wednesday, and March Retail Sales on Thursday, along with several Fed Indices, but make no mistake. The week’s centerpiece is the Earnings Calendar, with Reports, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo on Wednesday, Bk of America, BlackRock, Citi, Truist, and US Bank, on Thursday, plus Ally, Bank of NY Mellon, Morgan Stanley, PNC, and State Street on Friday.

Now, analysts have been talking up the Reserves stashed away last year, due to be released starting with this Earnings cycle but donchya be fooled by such talk. Any portion of results that isn’t recurring is likely to be dismissed out of hand, not celebrated as the talk and notes going out the past two weeks would have anyone believe. So here is what is good news about the coming earnings: loan and credit card defaults have not been as extreme as anyone expected. Even the number of mortgages in forbearance have been sliding to under 5.0%, and companies with the worst prospects, including the cruise industry, have been able to raise debt and float more equity. Of course, that will pressure future earnings for a couple of years, especially, but willing buyers have eaten it all up. And with any luck, pent-up demand will flood the bookings side of the ledger, allowing debt to be paid off sooner than contemplated by the terms of the float.

Aside from Financials, the Earnings Calendar promises Fastenal, Tuesday, a seller of bolts and screws, Bed Bath & Beyond, Wednesday, Delta Airlines Thursday, along with JB Hunt, a trucker, PepsiCo, PPG—a paint maker, especially for vehicles, trucks, airliners, and other items that have to bear up under extreme weather, plus Taiwan Semiconductor—the biggest contract chip maker in the world, and United Health. By any measure, that’s a good cross section of the economy, with TSM perhaps nearly as meaningful, in the presence of a chip shortage, as the collection of financials teeing up results.

There are so many advantages to Virtual meetings, that future events, long after COVID-19 has passed, may include a virtual component for years, if not forever. Once an event is streamed, on-demand visits are so easy, that an event like Monday’s 58th MIPTV Global TV Market , starting on the 12th, will make keynotes from David Beckham, Marc Anthony, and Paul Buccieni (Pres. of A+E Networks—{AMCX}) likely to be much more widely accessed than they would be, if in-person, only. In fact, one can ask why it took a pandemic to see streamed content part of every event. In medical conferences, science abstracts have long been streamed by the sponsoring medical/ biotech company So, really, what the heck took so long for the rest of the meeting world to get it together and stream?

Sunday, a Japanese man was the first to win the Masters Golf Tournament. Played in Augusta Georgia, and given that club’s history of racism—until Tiger Woods won the Masters, I couldn’t help but wonder how the golf world sat in silence, even as Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star game out of the state over the new, restrictive voting law that seems to target under-privileged voters. And if the Masters wasn’t enough, a week earlier there was a ladies golf event at the same club, without a word of protest.

Otherwise, we’re pretty underwhelmed by the Events Calendar. I know AACR has always stirred excitement in the past, as did NABShow but after 14 months of streaming content to TVs & computers, how exciting is another event streamed to a TV or computer. Does that negate what I just said streaming being here to stay? No, it’s just that, like everyone else, I’m more than ready for Hybrid events, that I can choose to attend or stream, at my own discretion.

Needham Healthcare is heavily small biotechs. EEI—Edison Electric Institute’s 2 events aren’t packed with the presentation schedule more typical of its Spring & Fall main events—though I sure know something about mutual assistance, without which, every hurricane that’s caused a 7—9 day outage, here, would have been worse—s in longer in duration. AJA—the American Jail Association is meeting just days after Pres. Biden dismissed privately run prisons. Well, lucky for the group, I haven’t really hear a single governor say the same about their state—though surely one or two may have.

Speaking of chip-making DesignCon Tuesday likes to say, where the Chip Meets the Board—as in the circuit board. Of course, without chips, there’s nothing to meet the board except the blank space where a chip should go. The magnitude of the shortage, I believe, has yet to be seen, making me very glad my fridge, dishwasher, clothes dryer, and other appliances are relatively new—especially given how infrequently my appliances are used. Living single has its advantages.

As you scan the Events Calendar, bear in mind many spring and early summer events have been rescheduled to late summer and fall, hoping that timing will be more conducive to in-person events. The only events that seem to be going forward as planned, as streamed events, are those from the medical community that offer CME credits, as required for updating licenses. But then, how much any of the Events will matter in a week in which such instrumental financials are reporting. And bear in mind, Goldman & Morgan Stanley usually report a week after their peers, so this really is a bonanza week when they’re all reporting within 3 days of each other. Fasten your seat belts, though I do expect most to please. Rates have been ticking up, loan defaults were far lighter than feared, and loan and debt activity has been robust, along with IPO’s, especially of the SPAC variety. What could go wrong? Bull exhaustion, perhaps, though that would be temporary, if it does occur.

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 are the author’s, alone, and should be just one factor in more complete due diligence.
  

April 05—09, 2021   DIVISIONS DRAWN ON $2.3 TRILLION JOBS PLAN  IMF-World Bank Group & G20 Dominate    Republicans have long hoped for an infrastructure plan but now that a President has finally put one on the table, it’s not good enough for them—too few dollars for infrastructure or jobs, they complain. Their objection, of course, is the greening of America though it seems like the tide has already turned, whether Republicans are on board or not. Of course, Republican Senate leader McConnell, of Kentucky, wants to protect the coal mines in his state, even though he knows there’s no dirtier fuel. And, quite honestly, the timing is off, given Republicans are more focused on changing voting laws, state by state, to restrict the ease with which Democrats voted by mail, with drop off ballots. Georgia, which upheld the narrow margin by which Trump lost the state and 2 seats in the Senate, was first to drop a new state law, Gov. Kemp’s attempt, perhaps, to smooth things with Trump, who tried to convince election officials and the governor to find him just 11K votes to beat Biden. One day, a Republican will explain to me what the love affair with Trump was all about.

The week’s Main Event is IMF-World Bank Joint Spring V-Meeting, focused on a "Green, Resilient & Inclusive Future," which some don’t see as the purview of Central Banks—especially the US Federal Reserve whose goals are economic stability (defined, also, as inflation in check) and Full Employment. Speakers include World Bank chief David Malpass and IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, with John Kerry-- Pres. Biden’s Green ambassador, delivering a thematic speech, "A Critical Year for Climate Action." For what it’s worth, ECB Pres. Christine Lagarde was the first Central Banker to let the bank’s regulatory subjects know that greening and climate change was going to become a new yardstick for success. She doesn’t figure prominently in the IMF/World Bank Group joint meeting but does for G20. Italy is the current host but meeting in conjunction with the IMF/World Bank Group joint gathering. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks on Green, Resilient & Inclusive Future on the 6th, Powell on the 7th is in conversation with IMF Managing Director Georgieva

Other items on the Economic Calendar include global non-Manufacturing & Composite PMIs & ISMs, Feb Factory Orders (Mon.), Tuesday, JOTS—Job Openings & Quits along with March CPI, PPI not until Friday. Wednesday, the FOMC Meeting Minutes will be released, discussion of an earlier hike to rates possibly part of the discussion that Powell categorically rejected in his press conference, March 17th. Note the very light US Treasury Issuance schedule, this week, often a boost to equities.

The Earnings Calendar is about as light as it ever gets. We found a few tickers to highlight but that’s a big portion of the calendar, anyway, given the slight number of listings. Nothing positive is expected from Carnival Cruiselines Wednesday but Lamb Weston is the French Fry provider to McDonald’s, while Schnitzer Steel is a company that is supposed to benefit from Trump tariffs on foreign steel, still in place. Thursday, ConAgra offers many eat-at-home comfort foods, and Constellation Brands the alcohol to go with food. Levi Strauss makes always popular jeans though not many pairs are being worn out as even more comfortable leggings and work-out gear are the top choice. PriceSmart is a warehouse club in Latin & South America with plenty of room to grow though we don’t follow it, so don’t know if it was deemed an essential business in its markets—though it likely was, as the warehouse clubs CostCo, BJ’s, Sam’s Club, and others were so designated in the US, along with big box retailers Walmart & Target, and grocery stores.

Which brings us to the Events Calendar, not quite as slim as Earnings. Normally, Enercom & Scotiabank’s CAPP Energy would be notables but an afterward to last week’s OPEC+ Meeting decision to raise quotas at a slower rate than some anticipated. Given that, Wells Fargo’s Biotech Corporate Access Days & SVB Leerink’s Oncology Dx (Diaganostics) & Liquid Biopsy get the nod, Tuesday, along with Applied Materials Investor/Analyst Day, Tuesday. We’d normally be dismissive of ROTH Capital’s Golden Cannabis Day, Wednesday, but with New York legalizing recreational marijuana—albeit with NY--style tax of 13.0%--it’s worth mentioning. Likewise, Wednesday’s Farm Equipment Manufacturers Supply Chain Summit & Showcase, held as a hybrid both virtually & in Kansas City Missouri is worth watching, given the strength in both Caterpillar & John Deere.

Note Friday’s start of the AACR—American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting. That means the biotech & pharma companies involved should be announcing the date & time of their presentations. Often, companies can be involved in a dozen presentations, each of them available for webcast from the meeting. Reading the schedule won’t always connect a company to the subject—which is why IR sites should be consulted. Given the more than a dozen authorizations the FDA has granted to Merck’s Keytruda, you’d think it would have a number of presentations teed up at AACR but that’s not the case. There are no presentations until a May 3rd Organon & Co Investor Day. Likewise, Amgen is too busy with acquisitions to mention presentations at AACR—even in its Pipeline section. Last we checked Bristol Myers Squibb which noted an April 23rd IR event in conjunction with the Academy of Dermatology V-Meeting Experience but nothing for AACR. Those three omissions are puzzling, especially given trials of approved drugs in combination with competitors’ approved drugs.

Which brings us to the euphoric stock market which seems to make new all-time highs 3 days a week. I think we all can agree that won’t go on forever, even if this earnings Season benefits from low expectations that can easily be beat. For now, the bulls remain in firm control but I can’t stop thinking of the bank CEO who, back in 2008, pointed out that his firm keeps playing musical chairs until the music stops. For Nomura & Credit Suisse, the music stopped 2 weeks ago, when Archegos positions went against it. I’d think that’s not only an incident to keep in mind but the genesis of those stocks collapsing so obvious, it’s no wonder, at all, that Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley avoided serious damage. ViacomCBS decided to issue shares and mandatory convertible preferred shares, after its stock had quadrupled, diluting current shareholders. That’s an invitation to short the shares, if I’ve ever seen one, so a surprise that Archegos was so unprepared for the stock to fall. Once one high-flying media stock collapsed, it wasn’t a surprise that another did, too. And, as Barbara Rockefeller pointed out, Arch Egos is how the family office name broke down—and that’s exactly what it took for the firm to be so highly leveraged, its prime brokers mostly unaware of the positions the others held. That kind of sloppy behavior works as long as the music keeps playing but the share issuance VIAC announced stopped the music. The same will happen, one day, for equity markets, at large. It just doesn’t feel like this is the moment for anything more than consolidation.
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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.

March 29, 2021—April 02, 2021  
QUARTER ENDS    Monday, when Fed Gov Waller speaks, we believe it will be his first public speech since his nomination cleared the US Senate. Other Fed speakers include Quarles, NY Fed’s Williams, Dallas Fed’s Kaplan, and Philly Fed’s Harker, but nothing like last week’s Powell et al onslaught. Still, given Equities trade only 4 days, this week, that’s a lot of Fed speakers for a short week.

The quarter ends Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releasing March Unemployment Data Friday, even though Equities will be closed. Because of the BLS, the Bond Market will remain open until noon, Friday, a rare instance when Equities are closed and the Bond market will be open—albeit only for the morning. Data besides Friday’s Employment Report includes both the FHFA & Case Shiller Jan Home Price Indices, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s March Pending Home Sales from the National Association of Realtors—NAR to Cognoscenti. Thursday, to open the new month, we’ll get PMIs, ISMs, and Vehicle Sales from those who still report such data—the biggest 2 US OEMs, perhaps not releasing their sales until they report their Quarters in late April or early May. In short, the Treasury Issuance Calendar is light, the Economic Data Calendar heavy by comparison.

However, with Friday a holiday, and next weekend promising Easter, whatever plans PMs have to rebalance their portfolios to end the month will be largely finished by Wednesday—any buying intentions likely to wait until after Easter Sunday.

The Earnings Calendar is particularly thin, with Micron Technology & Walgreens Boots Alliance, both Wednesday. There are a few other tickers highlighted, including BioNTech, Chewy, McCormick (the spice company) and PVH, formerly Phillips Van Heusen, but neither BNTX nor CHWY are highlighted because of their Earnings. On the contrary, CHWY is better known, right now, for its founder’s position at GameStop, and BNTX known for the vaccines it partnered with Pfizer to produce. CarMax on Thursday could be the overlooked report that might surprise the most, as Used Car prices have been rising, making for better margins until the cost of buying its inventory gets too high to justify.

The Event Calendar is what you should expect from a week shortened by a holiday—not to mention the fact that Monday is the 2nd day of Passover which for some, is a holiday. If I had to circle one event that stands out, this week, it might be B. Riley’s Spring Sports Betting & Gaming Conference, given the interest in those topics, right now. Much as Guggenheim’s Genomic Medicines & Rare Diseases peaks the interest, given it’s scheduling on a day when many will work half a day, if at all, it could get lost in the shuffle.

Stocks have been reaching new highs so regularly, it doesn’t make sense to bet against them. On the other hand, with a new Quarter starting, and the possibility that Earnings Warnings could be few and far between, any that crop up could upset the market more than they normally would. In short, the unusual, rather than the expected is what could upset the trend—and I don’t see much of that arriving too soon. But I would watch the big tech names that have been left on the side of the road. If they’re going to see a renaissance, a new quarter would be a good time for that.

ECONOMIC: (Highlights, only, below. Full
Int’l Economic Calendar & Links here)

© Sandi Lynne 2021 Nothing contained in this commentary is intended 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 22—26, 2021   
  POWELL, POWELL, and POWELL with a DOSE of CLARIDA. WILLIAMS & MORE  Well, you just had to at the press conference that followed the FOMC meeting. Staff projections were for far faster growth—sooner than expected earlier, unemployment coming down faster, too, and also sooner than previously expected, but policy remained unchanged—except the one item announced after the meeting and press conference were finished. The SLR—Supplemental Leverage Ratio at banks, suspended for a year, is going to be restored after March 31st, as originally planned. That was the fastest 9 points JPMorgan’s stock ever lost, albeit after the group has flown too close to the sun for comfort. We’ll see what happens this week, which demands a retest of the post-SLR announcement low, before anything else occurs.

Then, there’s nothing like a big weekend deal to get the juices running, Monday morning, which it should be pointed out, is the first trading day after Futures Expiration, and the quarterly rebalance of S&P Indices. Back to that merger, it’s Canadian Pacific Rail buying Kansas City Southern for $28.9B, including debt. Wolfe Research has a previously scheduled Tuesday, virtual, non-deal roadshow conference call with KSU, so it will be interesting to see if that’s canceled—or if just the non-deal portion is canceled.

Events are still being moved around the chess board, some by a week or two, others by a full year. For instance, PackExpo was set for March 21st, in Philadelphia, until a few weeks ago, when the year suddenly changed to 2022, everything else remaining the same. It means we have to check every event 3 times, to make sure we’re providing the most accurate information available, as of the Thursday we start writing the outlook. In the case of this week’s outlook, that was March 18th. And, as our online Events Calendar disclaimer states—always check with the organizers to assure an event is going to proceed as claimed.

So, let’s check on the Economic Calendar, first, and Powell, Clarida, Williams, Brainard, Bowman, Daly, and the other Fed officials set to speak this week. Jerome Powell is testifying at Congress on Tuesday & Wednesday—at the US House Financial Services Committee first, at noon, please note. His testimony is one pandemic relief bill behind the times—on the CARES Act. Wednesday, his Senate Banking Cmte testimony will start at the more usual time—10am et. But he’s participating in other headline events this week, including NABE—the National Association of Business Economists, where other Fed speakers include Fed Gov Brainard, St. Louis Fed’s Bullard, & Richmond Fed’s Barkin also speak. Bullard, we’ll point out, is the most bullish central banker on earth. Other speakers at NABE, include SIFMA Pres/CEO Bensten, Ford Motor chief economist, FDIC, Stanford Univ, CEMEX Chief Economist, CoreLogic Chief economist, OECD chief economist, Peterson Institute for Int’l Economics, Am. Enterprise Institute, Wells Fargo, GM Chief economist, BIS, Nat’l VC Ass’n, Oxford Economics, IHS Markit Sr Dir, Intel chief economist, FHA Dpty Dir, Harvard Biz School, Jason Furman (Harvard Kennedy School of Economic Policy), Ned Davis Research, Airports Council Int’l, PCAOB, Freddie Mac, Citi chief economist, Wharton School of Biz, Fannie Mae, SoCal Edison, ADP chief economist, MIT, Bloomberg, Tuck School of Biz, Dir of CBO, Peter G Peterson Foundation, NFIB, US MBA, and many dozens more. In sum, many of the speakers will attract media attention.

The other headline event of the week is BIS’ Innovation V-Summit (virtual, like almost every other event this week—a single one in Japan a notable exception). BIS, for those who are feeling Monday fog stands for the Bank for International Settlements—that’s the bank that balances the accounts between the central banks. So it’s said, ECB Pres Lagarde is a speaker there, too, as is BoE Gov Bailey, and Bank of Canada’s Macklem. The Swiss National Bank holds a monetary policy meeting, as does Thailand, for that matter. If we were looking for another notable event for the week, heavy with central bankers, the prize would go to a toss-up between CERES & The Economist’s Climate & Sustainability V-Events, respectively, Lagarde a climate hawk since the IMF. The recent support from other major central bankers the icing on the cake—and something the US Fed would have had a hard time supporting if Trump had not lost the presidency to Biden

Should we confined ourselves to the US Economic Calendar, only, and block out all the Fed speakers, we’d note the Nat’l Association of Realtors Feb Existing Home Sales, Monday, Feb New Home Sales Tuesday, Feb Durable & Capital Goods, out Wednesday, and the final look at 4Q20 GDP, Thursday. Friday, we’ll get Feb Personal Income & Spending, with PCE—the Fed’s favorite measure of consumer inflation (Personal Consumption Expenditures) a component of both GDP & the monthly Personal Income & Spending report.

Is your head spinning yet? Well, no complication from the Earnings Calendar. Some of the tickers emboldened on that Calendar are so-called ‘meme’ stocks, rather than names we’d ordinarily highlight but we live in the Reddit world, and must stay abreast of that, just like short sellers now do. SYNNEX sells computers & networking gear to businesses, and is an integrator that might prepare a few thousand new PC’s or laptops for companies like Morgan Stanley, or JPMorgan. We can make that statement without hesitation because, years ago, I bought heavily discounted machines that we’re built, originally, for both of those firms., I also know of a college & private high school that ordered thousands from SYNNEX too—in other words, the kind of tech business that should have succeeded early in the remote work & school days, and did just as well as the new school year started this past fall. That will make comps tough, though, going forward. Last week, I was at an outdoor mall where RH had one of its original, premiere Restoration Hardware stores on the East Coast. It’s gone, now, onto bigger and better things like hotels & residences but what’s come in to replace what left was interesting. Urban Outfitters filled a small portion of RH’s former space with an flagship UO store, adjacent to the Anthropologie store that’s been there a couple of years. Sephora opened a store that’s more like a closet, than a typical store—without any of the make-up chairs or counters, most of the stock in a back room. H&M moved into where Williams-Sonoma once was, and I was able to see my first YETI store, ever. In a bid to spring, everything in the store was either Aqua or Pink, and probably a hot spot this weekend, thanks to a nearby boat show. I first learned of the name from boaters.

Which brings us to the Events Calendar, where ESG & Energy events are ironic dominants. Hot on the heels of last week’s news of regulators looking into Visa debit fees, KBW’s (Tues.) Cards, Payments & Financial Technology V-Symposium is sure to be a hot ticket. Bank of America’s Global Property V-Conference (starts Wed.), includes just about every REIT in the world. Otherwise, I don’t think any event withstands the several events the central bankers rule as speakers. And also worth noting, Passover, which starts at Sundown on Saturday, Easter a week later, which means Friday, April 2nd . is Good Friday, will be a bond market half day holiday—because March payrolls—and the Unemployment Report--will be released, that day. The NYSE & other Equity Exchanges will be closed all day, as they usually are Good Friday. When do bonds stay open even when Equity Exchanges are closed? The answer is THIS Good Friday! Something to look forward to.

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.
  

March 15—19, 2021  FOMC MEETING THAT WON’T SURPRISE    The biggest event of the week should be the S&P Quarterly Rebalance, after Friday’s market close but surely won’t be the FOMC meeting. After all, Chief Jerome Powell’s most pressing issue is convincing the markets that rising bond rates are a false signal, and he’s not moving rates until Unemployment has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, or thereabouts. Therefore, much as a few renegades on the Street are trying to convince him and the rest of the industry that there’s no need for the Fed to continue buying so many Treasuries & Agency MBS, he won’t go there. Stocks are clearly anticipating a full recovery, Powell is not there yet—far from it.

So, if the Quarterly Rebalance & an FOMC meeting won’t be driving the action, this week, how about the Chinese National Statistics’ Bureau’s Press Conference, overnight Sunday, into Monday morning’s open? On the agenda are the February New House Price Index, Jan/Feb combined Fixed Asset Investment, Industrial Production, Retail Sales & the Unemployment Rate, which China can make whatever it wants that to be. Just a reminder that, this time of year, stats for January & February are combined to account for the Lunar New Year’s celebration, which moves around. It fell on Feb. 12th, this year but has been as early as late January, some years.

One data point that will be closely watched is Feb Retail Sales, due out Tuesday, after some disappointing prior months. Let’s be honest, more people are being vaccinated, setting more former shut-ins free, but it might not be a retail store people want to visit first. In fact, I’d argue, there’s a real yen to eat out at restaurants. But while we’re talking restaurants, note that St. Patrick’s Day is, traditionally, one of the most bullish days of the year for equity investors. And while we’re speaking tradition, note the way the amount of Treasuries offered seem to keep creeping up frequently.

Other notable items on the Economic Calendar include Feb Industrial & Manufacturing Production and Capacity Utilization, NAHB’s March Housing Market Index, and what the heck! The new US Secretary of State & head of the NSA, meeting with 2 Chinese counterparts, in Anchorage Alaska, Thursday, the same day we’ll get the latest read on weekly initial jobless claims & continuing claims, which in my book is one of the most significant weekly data points we only wish was more accurate than it really is. The Ban of Japan meets Thursday overnight but, really? What could that group say or do that would change the truth? Japan has been in a rut for decades, the BoJ spending so much of GDP to support the economy without any appreciable change. Time for a new tactic? Long past time!

As for Earnings, there’s not much there, much of what’s emboldened consumer-related but let’s call a few names out, anyway. Start with Jabil Circuits (Tues.) which has a hand in making some Apple products and, especially, prototypes. Also, Calares, one of the largest shoe conglomerates, reporting the same day as Designer Brands, formerly Designer Show Warehouse, which is still its largest division. Then, there’s Lennar, one of the largest builders in the country. Wednesday, Cintas is a read on the factory floor, its uniforms standard issue, though it’s Williams-Sonoma that might draw the most attention, that day. Wayfair has soared throughout the pandemic, WSM the higher end version with less furniture. Thursday is the blockbuster, with Accenture, FedEx, Herman Miller, Nike, and Signet, the latter mass market jewelry, exactly why it matters, as much as Dollar General, where people trade down for big bargains. So a light schedule, handled in a short paragraph but not without a significant panorama of the economy, from top to bottom.

Then, there’s the Event Calendar, with a couple of notable I-bank events, including JPMorgan’s Industrials, Monday, Oppenheimer’s Healthcare & UBS Energy—both Tuesday, when Citi is hosting Communications Services, so soon after the big three of wireless providers just held their analyst meetings. If the topic is of interest, there’s an ETF for that, of course—XLC. It’s an S&P category that was rejiggered within the past couple of years, making the sub-sector a heck of a lot more attractive than it used to be. Also note, Citi’s Retail Madness, Thursday, with a possibility that Macquarie’s Consumer Bright Ideas might usurp it. Among those presenting: Cinemark Holdings, Corsair Gaming, Sprout’s Farmers Market Full House Resorts, AMC Entertainment Hldgs, IMAX, Las Vegas Sands, and more. Then, again, as mentioned before, the FOMC meets this week, and Powell is going to do his best to stick to the script.

Let’s just say there’s reason to believe that JPMorgan’s Industrial Conference is likely to attract more PM’s (Portfolio Managers) dialing in, than usual—whether because they believe Pres. Biden can finally get an infrastructure bill over the finish line, or because they believe that’s where a lot of the dough being dispensed locally, through the most recent pandemic Rescue Bill will wind up, it’s hard to say. Just know that more PM’s are talking about industrials than in recent years, and some of the names have been too hot to avoid touching. The only question I have is whether the rally can go on indefinitely. I don’t think there’s any disagreement about that—it won’t go on forever, and late March is often a time stocks take a dip, especially as earnings warnings start popping up near quarter’s end. But there’s a big difference between a rally stalling out and/or consolidating, and ending with a serious decline. For now, universal liquidity weighs in the bulls’ favor but it wouldn’t hurt to protect the downside for a few weeks, if you’re the type who panics at the first set back.

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.

March 08—12, 2021  
  INVESTMENT BANK CONFERENCES RULE     The Economic Calendar is relatively devoid of Fed Reserve speakers, compared to what’s one on for the past few weeks. That’s because the FOMC meets mid-month, and the group adheres to a quiet period prior to meetings. Of course, both the Bank of Canada (Wed.) & ECB (Thurs.) meet this week, so it’s not as if Central Bankers are on mid-term holidays. And in the Far East, China’s National People’s Congress continues, through mid-week, at least. But it’s not as if we got an invite, so we know it started on the 5th, and last about a week, but we’re not expert on the subject, so can’t really tell you more, other than the expectation that there will be more announcements by the time it ends.

The Economic Calendar, also, promises a full schedule of US Treasury issuance, the yield to be paid, no doubt, of intense interest, after rising rates have skewered some former tech high-fliers. Furthermore, if rates rise too far, Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Rescue Act starts getting a lot more expensive than the Debt issued under the prior administration, when Trump was still begging for negative rates, as exist in Europe. We’ll also hear Feb. CPI (Wed.) & PPI (Fri.), hearing the same from China, overnight Tuesday. In addition to Thursday’s usual weekly Initial Jobless Claims & Continuing Claims, monthly JOLTS will be released, as well (Job Turnover & Openings).

We usually check EVERY ticker to verify the Earnings reports, supposedly, coming but this week’s list was heavily dominated by so many unconfirmed ones, we wound up deleting the vast majority of them, since they were outside our universe. We caught CASY, MVIS, and a few others we were fairly confident report this week, and confirmed them but a growing list of unfamiliar biotech names, known mostly for large losses, were not compelling enough for us to search. Life’s too short.

Which brings us to the Events Calendar, flush with Investment bank Conferences, typically spread before & after summer recess. Industry events, usually spread throughout the year, with Biotech events heavily scheduled for May & October/November, don’t stand out so much this year. In fact, most Industry Events have been pushed out to at least August, many into October through December, when organizers are betting in-person events will, again, be common. But the flood of I-bank conferences are remarkable, even for March—when Passover falls near the end of the month, accelerating the scheduling of some of them. To quickly sense how busy the I-banks are this week, look no further than Tuesday. We usually place US-based I-bank events on the upper portion of each day’s calendar, listing them, generally, by the number of attendees & presenters expected, taking into consideration the import of the I-bank hosting the event. After the list of US-based I-bank events, other US events are generally list, followed by the foreign I-bank hosted events, again, arranged by size and import of the host. Of course, now, with events held virtually, we sometimes only know where the event was intended to take place, originally, by scanning the presenters. In the case of I-banks that shut us out of that kind of detail, we do searches on Csion and other P.R. distributors, to learn who’s planning on presenting. But, in general, virtual & "digital" events mean original or past locations are less important than they used to be, though there are so few industry hosted events, it’s unimportant, now. Still, if you just look at Tuesday, for example, Mexico, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Australia, on the lower portion of the day’s listings, suggests to us, that the US-based events still seem likely to attract the most attention. By Thursday, there are almost no industry events, I-banks, again, clearly dominating.

So which of the plethora of events strike us as likely to attract the most attention? Right off the bat, Monday, Deutsche Bank’s 29th Annual Media, Internet, & Telecom V-Conference stands out. After 28 years, the components are no less relevant today, than they were in 2001, when the event started Then, don’t overlook the fact that AT&T, T-Mobile, & Verizon (listed alphabetically) all hold Analyst/Investor Meetings, this week. (How does that happen?) Of maybe it’s because of DB’s event, that the three scheduled them this week.

It’s hard to ignore both Bank of America & UBS hosting Consumer & Retail (virtual) Conferences, even if BAC’s specifies Retail Technology. RBC Capital’s Global Financial Institutions is usually a big event, while Baird’s Vehicle Technology & Mobility should attract a lot of attention, even as Susquehanna’s 10th Technology V-Conference attracts some of the biggest names. And note that most of the events are meeting for, at least, two days. That probably explains why so few I-bank events start Wednesday.

Thursday, JPMrgan’s Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure V-Forum will probably be the biggest event, though let’s take nothing away from JPM’s Large Bank Forum, Jefferies’ Online Education & c-Learning, or Berenberg’s Thematic Software V-Days: Design Software, Cybersecurity, & DevOps, or HSBC'’ Future of Payments. But that is not to slight the rest of the day’s events, most of which are of great interest.

Note CBOE EDGX moving up Equities Exchange Trading to 3:30am est, 7am previously. And bet on the adidas Group analyst meeting, Wednesday, being of high interest, also, since it’s the only group that’s threatened Nike’s dominance, since 1986 (back then it was Reebok aerobic high tops, in 7 colors, that temporarily dethroned Nike.) And for the record, move your clocks ahead, next Saturday night, before retiring to bed.

So, with the week laid out, what’s the one thing to watch out for? Rates, of course, as it’s been for a couple of weeks but, also, what kind of outlook companies offer at all the I-bank events. Fourth quarter reports, still ongoing, have been, largely, accompanied by forecasts for at least the current quarter, if not the full year. That’s something we did not get in the quarters prior. But now that those forecasts are out, are companies going to stream presentations at all these I-bank events and stand behind their outlooks? That’s the question!

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.

          
March 01—05, 2021   CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY DOMINATES   It’s rare for a month to start on a Monday but that’s where we find March, the last month of the first quarter, as the tail end of Earnings Season barrels to a close with retailers dominating. The Beige Book is on its way, also, on Wednesday, the surest sign that the month promises a FOMC meeting. That’s smack in the middle of the month, on March 16th through 17th, St. Patrick’s one of the most reliably green market days of the year. Meanwhile this week’s Economic Calendar is filled with Fed speakers, many for subjects of secondary importance, none other than Jerome Powell speaking Thursday, "A Conversation on the US Economy," the setting more telling than the subject of his speech: The Wall Street Journal Job Summit, noon-time that day. For all those unconvinced that the Fed is focused on employment, that about says it all.

Speaking of Employment, Thursday we'll get the usual Initial weekly Jobless Claims and Continuing Claims which will pale in comparison to Friday’s February Unemployment Rate/ Change/Participation Rate, full- & part-time Employment, and more, with Texas presumably back on line, which may impact the February Unemployment Report, as much as it might the Weekly Initial Claims out Thursday. If there’s something else on the Economic Calendar that overshadows those two items, I don’t know what it is but you’re welcome to message me to set me straight.

The Earnings Calendar is finally shrinking, just as the number of retailers & restaurants reporting kicks into high gear, none more eagerly awaited than Target’s Tuesday, a day when we’ll also hear from Abercrombie & Fitch, Autozone, Kohl’s, Nordstrom & Ross Stores Dress for Less, to name just a few of that day’s highlights. The good thing about retail is that no one expects great numbers out of any of ‘em, except maybe, the Dollar Stores—and even then, it’s more wishful thinking than conviction. That leaves a lot of room for surprises to the upside, far less likelihood of disappointments.

On the other hand, I-bank events are back in full swing—at least the ones not otherwise postponed until August, September, or October, in hopes that live, in-person events will return by late summer or fall. A few very large events are eagerly awaited, including Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media & Telecom, Cowen’s 41st Annual Health Care Conference, Credit Suisse’s 25th Annual Energy Summit, IHS Markit’s CERAWeek, Raymond James 42nd Annual Institutional Investors Conference, JPMorgan’s High Yield & Leveraged Finance, and that’s only half of the I-bank events scheduled to start Monday. The majority of the events scheduled run though at least Wednesday, many through Thursday, despite several more I-bank events starting Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

All in, a busy week from every angle, no matter which sub-calendar is of interest to traders—Analyst Meetings from Anthem, Enterprise Products & ExxonMobil, all Wednesday, might draw the most media coverage but what Retailers have to say about the current quarter, when they their report Q4, could be most telling. After all, it’s Seniors first in line, in most states, for vaccinations, and seniors who have the most leisure time and, often, the most or least disposable income. With 14.0% of the US citizens now vaccinated, with JNJ’s just approved vaccine shipping out, this week (to CVS & Walgreens, we hear), they should be first to demonstrate any optimism retailers have reason to cite. And if not, that should be a warning to restrain the enthusiasm—which I still think is the wiser course of action, for now.

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

© Sandi Lynne 2021 Nothing contained 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 22—26, 2021 
JEROME  POWELL STARS   The title says Powell Stars but, in truth, it’s really Congress. First up is Powell’s Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Testimony to the Senate, Tuesday, and US House on Wednesday. (Anyone interested in reading the Fed’s Monetary Policy Report before Powell testifies, this week, it’s here https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mpr_default.htm ) Also starting Tuesday, hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to be US Attorney General. For those who'’ve forgotten, he was the Obama Supreme Court Nominee, on March 16th, 2016, who Mitch McConnell refused to send to committee, for the last 10.5 months of Obama’s term—in contrast with McConnell’s rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, pushed through to replace the late Justice Ginsburg, just prior to the 2020 election, and before her body had even chilled or been buried.

What else is going on in Congress? Tuesday the SolarWinds hack will be taken up by the Senate Intelligence Committee, with Microsoft Pres. Brad Smith & FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia also summoned. Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter & Google (Alphabet), the crux of which is section 230, which protects the platforms from what’s posted on their sites.

As if that wasn’t enough, FHFA & S&P/Case-Shiller offer Dec. House Price Indices, Tuesday, while Wednesday, Jan. New Home Sales will be released, also, from the Census Bureau. Thursday, not to be outdone, offers Nat’l Ass’n of Realtors’ Jan Pending Home Sales. Also Thursday, Initial weekly Jobless Claims and Continuing Claims, Jan Durable & Capital Goods Orders & Shipments, and the 2nd estimate of 20Q4 GDP/Cap/Ex/Household Consumption/PCE. Now, in and of itself, all the above data would be sufficient but there’s more: On Friday, Jan Personal Income & Spending will be Released, with another version of PCE. And for the heck of it, notice the values of US Treasury debt being offered, this week, creeping up, as we’ve pointed out previously. Plus, any number of Federal Reserve Presidents/CEOs are speaking this week, along with Fed Governors Bowman & Brainard, along with Vice Chairmen Qualres & Clarida. While we’re at it, note the number of Central Banks slated for meetings in March, after taking February off.

Which brings us to Earnings, and the shock I felt seeing such a large schedule of reports, this late into the season. For that we can thank the two national holidays—MLK Jr & President’s Day. So what’s on its way, this week? More retailers including Macy*s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, L Brands, TJMaxx, Best Buy, Crocs, Sprout’s Farmers Market, Steve Madden, FootLocker, and Wayfair, to name just a few. It seems a good place to repeat something pointed out previously: Retail Sales in January rose +5.3%, which should have been no surprise, since the stimulus bill passed in December 2020 allotted $600 to each adult & child below a certain income level, the vast majority of those funds deposited into bank accounts on January 4th, just one day after directly deposited social security checks. Throw in whatever bonuses those still working were awarded, and it’s plain to see what boosted retail sales—and as we’re likely to see Friday, savings weren’t enhanced by that recent stimulus grant. In fact, look back over history and it’s plain that most see December as the biggest spending month of the year it’s really January that’s a surprise winner, boosted by bonuses, gift cards given out over the holidays, and returns of gifts sent over the holidays, the proceeds of which are often spent before the person returning the gift ever exits the store. Throw in "free" $600, plus additional Unemployment Benefits granted with that Dec. Stimulus Bill, and the conditions for a pop in retail sales were set.

Now, compare that to Walmart who reported a strong quarter but offered an outlook that was lower than expected. Walmart lays the blame on labor costs, and especially, the costs required to take virus sanitation steps, and voila! Walmart expects to miss expectations. Evidently, finally forced to pay a near-living wage is cutting into earnings, when I’d contend its stores are still dirty, and dark warehouses compared to the bright, and color-filled Target stores—at least around here. What’s that meant to shoppers? An alternative to Walmart, and quite frankly, Target’s dirty secret: it has repeatedly ticked up pricing on products, and still not lost customers, because its RedCard holders get a 5.0% discount, making the differential small, for now. Still, as a multi-decade observer of retail, I have to credit Target for learning that the CapEx it’s spent on upgrading stores has allowed it to raise prices above Walmart’s, without losing many customers in the bargain,. While increasing its profit margins. That will continue to a point but, ultimately, customers who have to watch every penny—as some 10.8m unemployed do—which return to where their limited funds go the farthest. That could be Walmart, dollar stores, or Big Lots!

Also reporting this week, beer makers, media channels like Discovery AMC Network, NextStar, Salem Broadcasting, ViacomCBS, and more. Plus, a couple of big tech companies are reporting, including Dell & VMWare, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), nVidia, NetApp, American Tower & SBA Communications. Also reporting, AirBNB, DoorDash, Etsy, DraftKings, and, it must be said, the now nearly infamous Moderna. So, too, is SolarWinds, in some circles, as infamous as Moderna. Last, worth mentioning, some builders & their suppliers. A number of Canadian Banks may, or may not be reporting this week. Their websites wouldn’t allow us into the IR section, because we refused cookies. Then, again, the beer companies refused us entry to their IR sites because we wouldn’t post our birth date and zip code, and, in one case, our driver’s license #. Really? To look at news releases on their Investor Relations site???

Which brings us the Events Calendar, flush with more I-bank virtual conferences than we’ve seen in a long time, even as hundreds of industry events keep getting pushed out to late summer & fall. So which are the marquee events, this week? SVB Leerink 10th Global Healthcare V-Conference, around which there’s usually smaller, boutique I-bank meetings scheduled. Not so much this year. I wouldn’t, ordinarily, point out a JPMorgan foreign-focused even so early in the Outlook but given the now, well-advertised chip shortages, and the biggest fab no less than Taiwan Semiconductor, it seemed essential to point out JPMorgan’s Taiwan CE/CFO V-Conference, also starting Monday. Another Monday event? Stephens virtual Bank Trip, including the following tickers: BANR, COLB, FIBK, GGBCI, HFWA, NBHC, PPBI, PACW, SIVB, TCBK, UMPQ, WAL, WAFD + additional companies TBD, Stephens wrote but I’d doubt it at this point. Nomura’s Global Real Estate V-Forum doesn’t get the same prominence as JPM’s even because the listed presenters at Nomura were Japanese, with little connection to the US.

Citi’s Tuesday Cybersecurity & Data Management V-Conference is flush with private companies, limited the market influence. AV21—Autonomous Vehicles Tuesday should attract more attention. Other events Tuesday include KBW’s FinTech Payments V-Conference (includes Capitol One), Truist Securities Consumer V-Symposium (participants include Hain Celestial, ScottsMiracle-Gro, Newell Brands, Central Garden & Pet, iRobot) Baird Sustainability V-Conference, and Institutional Investor ESG & Sustainability Investments Digital Series, UBS West Coast Mini Chemicals V-Conference, Pareto Securities Battery Metals & Mining V-Conference. That’s more I-bank events on Tuesday, alone, than seen so far this month, me thinks.

But it’s Wednesday that really kicks into gear with Credit Suisse’s 22nd Financial Services V-Forum, running through the 24th, Wolfe Research’s Global Auto, Auto Tech & Mobility V-Conference, Citi Healthcare Services, MedTech, Tools & HCIT V-Conference, and Wells Faro 24th Real Estate Securities V-Conference—and those are just the headliners Wednesday, though I suppose we should mention Credit Suisse’s 2nd Tokyo Internet & Game V-Days, given how durable Nintendo, especially, has proved, over so many decades.

Also worth highlighting, Citi’s SPAC-tacular V-Seminar, Thursday, and Bank of America’s 2021 Global Agriculture & Materials V-Conference Friday, along with G Research (Gabelli) 31st Pump, Valve & Water Systems V-Conference, also Friday.

That brings us to the Industry Events, not rescheduled for later this year, which starts with AAAI Friday—the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual V-Meeting. Also notable, WWD (Womens Wear Daily) Beauty Inc, Thursday V-Forum, given how much excitement L’Oreal earnings generated, even as Coty disappointed. Wednesday, ABA (Am. Bankers) Wealth Management & Trust V-Conference, of course, appeals to Wall Street. Tuesday industry notables include Immuno-Oncology 360, Neurodegenerative Drug Development, NBAA (Business Jets) GO: Flight Operations, National Pavement Expo—dreaming of a Biden infastructure plan, & TMA—Turn-Around Management Association’s Distressed Investing V-Conference. Monday, Merchant Payments Ecosystem, & CCRA & Camex for Campus V-Conference & Expo, plus Sunday’s Solar Market Assessment & Strategic Future of the Solar Supply Chain webinars. The last is usually one of the biggest events of the year, with multiple boutique & major I-Bank events revolving around it. Not in 2021, at least not until later this year when conference hosts are, clearly, expecting in-person events to again return.

Given such a busy week planned despite Jerome Powell’s Semi-Annual Monetary Policy testimony, markets could suffer from information overload and spend another week consolidating recent gains. That doesn’t mean stocks can’t make marginal new highs but they’re likely to do so without the help of big tech, given the hearings on Section 230, one of the week’s highlights. And should Powells change his tune, at all, and fail to give the same assurances that employment remains the focus, look out below. Some strategists saw danger in last week’s minutes of the Jan meeting, detecting possible rate moves sooner than Powell assures us is going to happen, when that was quite the stress. I simply don’t see this week as off to the races but, then, stocks have continually surprised me to the upside, so I’m always prepared for that to happen, again, despite a market that looks quite expensive to me.

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

© 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 far more complete due diligence.
         

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.
  PRIOR   2020 EXCERPTS HERE

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