2021 EXCERPTS FROM PRIOR WEEKS BELOW:       
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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