May 9, 3:00 pm EST

Stocks have a huge influence on sentiment.  And sentiment has a huge influence on economic activity.

With that, for the better part of the past four months, we’ve discussed the technical correction we’ve seen in stocks.  And we’ve waited patiently for a catalyst to end the correction and resume the long-term bull trend for the stock market.

That catalyst, we anticipated, would be first quarter data (namely earnings and GDP growth).  Indeed, that data has confirmed that fiscal stimulus is stoking the economy – shifting it into a higher growth gear than what we’ve seen coming out of the global financial crisis.

Let’s take a look at how this has played out, and the important technical break we’ve had today in the Dow that further supports that the correction is over.


As you can see, we put in the low of this technical correction in the Dow the day after the first quarter ended. And we’ve since seen Q1 earnings roll in, with record positive earnings surprises, record margins and the hottest revenue growth we’ve seen in a long time.  Toward the end of April, we had our first look at Q1 GDP growth.  That too beat expectations and showed an economy that is growing at 2.875% over the past three quarters — closing in on that big 3% trend-growth level.

Along the way, we’ve tested the 200-day moving average (the purple line) and held. And today, we get a break of this big trendline from the highs of January.

And this beak in stocks comes with the 10-year yield back at 3%, and with oil above $70.  While some have seen these levels as a risk to growth, they are rather reflecting a stronger economy, with surging demand.

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May 7, 3:00 pm EST

Crude oil crossed the $70 mark today, and with new sanctions to be placed on Iran, likely tomorrow, $100 oil is looking very possible.

We’ve talked a lot about oil prices over the past couple of years.  In early 2016, we talked about the price crash that was induced by OPEC as an effort to crush the competitive U.S. shale industry.

While they nearly succeeded, these oil producing countries nearly killed their own economies in the process.  So, in effort to drive oil prices higher, to salvage oil revenues, they flipped the switch in late 2016, cutting production for the first time since 2008.  And they did so, in a market that was already undersupplied.

In my January 12th note, we revisited Leigh Goehring’s call for $100 oil.  Goehring is one of the best research-driven commodities investors. And has been calling for triple-digit oil prices–this year! He predicted a surge in global oil demand (which has happened) and a drawdown on supplies (which has been happening at “the fastest rate ever experienced”). He said that with the OPEC production cuts from November 2016, we’re “traveling down the same road” as 2006, which drove oil prices to $147 a barrel by 2008.

Below is the chart of oil.  A break of $70 is putting the price of oil very close to the levels that it collapsed from that Thanksgiving Day evening back in 2014. That was when OPEC announced that it opted NOT to cut production, despite an oversupply and plunging prices.


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May 6, 3:00 pm EST

At the end of last week, I said “it looks like the all-clear signal has been given to stocks.”

Well, we had some more discomfort to deal with this week, but that statement probably has more validity today than it did last Friday.

With that, let’s review the events and conditions of the past two weeks, that build the case for that all-clear signal.

As of last Friday, more than half of first quarter corporate earnings were in, with record level positive surprises in both earnings and revenues (that has continued). And we got our first look at first quarter GDP, which came in at 2.3%, better than expected, and putting the economy on a 2.875% pace over the past three quarters.

What about interest rates? After all, the hot wage growth number back in February kicked the stock market correction into gear. The move in the 10-year yield above 3% last week started validating the fears that rising interest rates could quicken and maybe choke off the recovery. But last week, we also heard from the ECB and BOJ, both of which committed to QE, which serves as an anchor on global rates (i.e. keeps our rates in check).

Fast forward a few days, and we’ve now heard from the last but most important tech giant: Apple. Like the other FAANG stocks, Apple also beat on earnings and on revenues.

Still, stocks have continued to trade counter to the fundamentals. And we’ve been waiting for the bounce and recovery to pick up the pace. What else can we check off the list on this correction timeline? How about another test of the 200-day moving average, just to shake out the weak hands? We got that yesterday.

Yesterday, in the true form of a market that is bottoming, we had a sharp slide in stocks, through the 200-day moving average, and then a very aggressive bounce to finish in positive territory, and on the highs of the day. That took us to this morning, where we had another jobs report. Perhaps this makes a nice bookend to the February jobs report. This time, no big surprises. The wage growth number was tame. And stocks continued to soar, following through on yesterday’s big reversal off the 200-day moving average.

With all of this, it looks like “the all-clear signal has been given to stocks.”

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April 26, 4:00 pm EST

We will get the important Q1 GDP number tomorrow.  We’re already seeing plenty of evidence in Q1 corporate earnings that the big tax cuts have juiced economic activity.  Not only do we see positive earnings surprises and record margins, but we’re getting positive revenue surprises too. That means demand has not only picked up, but it has exceeded what companies and Wall Street have expected.

Tomorrow will be another big piece of evidence that should prove to markets that the economy has kicked into another gear, and that an economic boom is underway.  Remember, we looked earlier in the week at the sliding expectations for tomorrows growth data.  Reuters poll of economists has pegged Q1 GDP expectations at 2%.

Remember, we’re coming off of two quarters of 3%+ growth.  And that was before the realization of big tax cuts, which not only has increased profitability for companies, wages for employees and savings for tax payers, but has fueled confidence in the economy and the outlook.  And fuels economic activity.

So, at a 2% consensus view on tomorrow’s GDP number, we’re setting up for a positive surprise on GDP.  That should be a low bar to beat. And if we do get a beat on GDP, that should be very good for stocks.

As we’ve gone through this price correction in stocks, we’ve been waiting for Q1 data (earnings and growth) to become the catalyst to resume the bull trend for stocks.  And it has all lined up according to script.   We’ve gotten big beats in the earnings data, as we suspected.   We’ve retested the 200-day moving average in the S&P 500 in the past couple of days, as suspected.  And as we discussed yesterday, we have two big central bank meetings (the ECB this morning, and the Bank of Japan tonight) which should calm the concerns about the pace of move in the global interest rate market (i.e. as the ECB did this morning, the BOJ should telegraph an appetite for continued asset purchases – which continues to serve like an anchor on global interest rates).

Bottom line:  With a good GDP number tomorrow, we should be on the way to a big recovery for global stock markets, to reflect an economy growing back around trend growth, corporate earnings growing a 20% and a valuation on broader stocks that remains cheap relative to the low interest rate environment.

If you are hunting for the right stocks to buy on this dip, join me in my Billionaire’s Portfolio. We have a roster of 20 billionaire-owned stocks that are positioned to be among the biggest winners as the market recovers. 

April 23, 6:00 pm EST

We’re getting into the heart of Q1 earnings now, with about a quarter of the companies in the S&P 500 now in, and many more reporting this week.  And we’ll get the first look at Q1 GDP this Friday.

Remember, as we went through the price correction in stocks, we’ve been waiting for the data to “prove it” to the market that fiscal stimulus and structural reform are indeed fueling a return to trend growth.

On that note, the performance of companies in Q1 have NOT disappointed.  As of Friday, 80% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have beat earnings estimates.  And 72% have beat revenue estimates.

Now we have the build up to the big Q1 GDP number at the end of this week.  We were already heading into the first quarter, with the economy growing at better than 3% for the second half of 2017.  And then the fire was fed with the tax bill.

So what are the expectations going into the GDP report?

The Atlanta Fed attempts to mimic the model used by the BEA on their GDP forecast.  They are looking for 2% for Q1 growth. And as you can see in their chart above, the forecasted number has been on a dramatic slide as we’ve seen more and more economic data through the period.  More importantly, Reuters has the consensus view of economists at 2%.

The New York Fed’s model is predicting 2.9% growth (closer to that important trend growth level).

As with earnings, a low bar to hop over tends to be very good for stocks.  And at a 2% consensus, we’re setting up for a positive surprise on GDP.

As we’ve discussed, despite the move higher in global rates over the past week, and the coming break of the 3% barrier in the 10-year yield, it will be hard to dispute the signal of economic strength and robustness from the combination of a huge earnings season and a positive surprise in GDP.  If we get it, that should kick the stock market recovery into another gear.

If you are hunting for the right stocks to buy on this dip, join me in my Billionaire’s Portfolio. We have a roster of 20 billionaire-owned stocks that are positioned to be among the biggest winners as the market recovers. 

April 23, 5:00 pm EST

Yields continue to grind higher toward 3%.  That has put some pressure on stocks, despite what continues to be a phenomenal earnings season.  This creates another dip to buy.

Yesterday, we talked about a reason that people feel less good about stocks, with yields heading toward 3%.   [Concern #1] It conjures up memories of the “taper tantrum” of 2013-2014.  Yields soared, and stocks had a series of slides.

My rebuttal: The domestic and global economies are fundamentally stronger and much more stable.  But maybe most importantly, the economy (still) isn’t left to stand on its own two feet, to survive (or die) in a normalizing interest rate environment.  We have fiscal stimulus doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Let’s look at a couple of other reasons people are concerned about stocks as yields climb:

[Concern #2] Maybe this is the beginning of a sharp run higher in market interest rates — like 3% quickly becomes 4%?

My Rebuttal: Very unlikely given the global inflation picture, but more unlikely with the Bank of Japan still buying up global assets in unlimited amounts (Treasuries among them, through a variety of instruments). They can/and are controlling the pace, for the benefit of stimulating their own economy and for the benefit of stimulating and maintaining stability in, the global economy.

[Concern #3] I hear the chatter about how a 3% 10-year note suddenly creates a high appetite for Treasuries over stocks at this point, especially from a risk-reward perspective (i.e. people are selling stocks in favor of capturing that scrumptious 3% yield).

My Rebuttal:  In this post-crisis environment, a rise toward 3% promotes the exact opposite behavior.  If you are willing to lend for 10-years locked in at a paltry rate, you are forgoing what is almost certainly going to be a higher rate decade than the past decade.  If you need to exit, you’re going to find the price of your bonds (very likely) dramatically lower down the road.  Coming out of a zero-interest rate world, bond prices are going lower/not higher.

Remember this chart …

The bond market has become a high risk-low reward investment.  Meanwhile, with earnings set to grow more than 20% this year, and stock prices already down 7% from the highs of the year, we have a P/E on stocks that continues to slide lower and lower, making stocks cheaper and cheaper.  That makes stocks a far superior risk/reward investment, relative to bonds – especially with the prospects of the first big bounce back in economic growth we’ve seen since the Great Recession.

If you are hunting for the right stocks to buy on this dip, join me in my Billionaire’s Portfolio. We have a roster of 20 billionaire-owned stocks that are positioned to be among the biggest winners as the market recovers. 

April 2, 7:00 pm EST

As we’ve discussed, the proxy on the “tech dominance” trade is Amazon.  That’s the proxy on the stock market too.  And it’s not going well.  The President hammered Amazon again over the weekend, and again this morning.

Here’s what he said …

Remember, we had this beautiful heads-up on March 13, with the reversal signal in Amazon.

That signal we discussed in my March 13 note has now predicted this 15.8% decline in the fourth largest publicly traded company.  And it’s dictating the continued correction in the broader market.

If you’re a loyal reader of this daily note, you’ll know we’ve been discussing this theme for the better part of the last year.  The regulatory screws are tightening.  And the tech giants, which have been priced as if they are, or would become, perfect monopolies, are now in the early stages of repricing for a world that might have more rules to follow, hurdles to overcome and a resurrection of the competition they’ve nearly destroyed.

As we know, Uber has run into bans in key markets. We’ve had the repeal of “net neutrality” which may ultimate lead big platforms like Google, Twitter, Facebook and Uber, to transparency of their practices and accountability for the actions of its users.  Trump is going after Amazon, as a monopoly and harmful to the economy.  Tesla, a money burning company, is being scrutinized for its inability to mass produce — to deliver on promises.  For Tesla, if sentiment turns and people become unwilling to continue plowing money into a company that’s lost $6 billion over the past five years (while contributing to the $18 billion wealth of its CEO), it’s game over.

With that said, this all creates the prospects for a big bounce back in those industries that have been damaged by tech “disruption.”  And this should make a stock market recovery much more broad-based than we’ve seen.

With the sharp decline in stocks today, we’ve retested and broken the 200-day moving average in the S&P 500.  And we close, sitting on this huge trendline that describes the rise in stocks from the oil-crash induced lows of 2016.

Today we neared the lows of the sharp February decline.  I suspect we’ll bottom out near here and begin the recovery.  And that recovery should be fueled by very good Q1 earnings and a good growth number — brought to us by the big tax cuts.

If you are hunting for the right stocks to buy on this dip, join me in my Billionaire’s Portfolio. We have a roster of 20 billionaire-owned stocks that are positioned to be among the biggest winners as the market recovers. 


March 22, 9:00 pm EST

Stocks were down big today.  The media will have fun touting the Dow’s 700-point loss.  But while 700 points has good shock value, on a Dow at 24,000, it’s not what it used to be.

Still, as we’ve discussed, the media and Wall Street are programmed to fit a story to the price.  And there are no shortages of potential risks to point to when stocks fall.  We have trade posturing in Washington. We have a Fed that’s in a tough position, trying to balance a bullish view on growth with the perception that rising rates could choke off that growth.  And we have more regulatory scrutiny growing against the tech giants — with Facebook being the latest in the hot seat.

All of that sounds like bad news.  But we also have corporate earnings on pace to grow at nearly 20% this year.  And that could be an undershoot, given the inability of Wall Street to calibrate the effects of tax cuts on demand.  And we have a big trillion-dollar plus infrastructure plan coming down the pike too.  This is all as consumers are in as healthy a position as we’ve seen in more than a decade.

But what about a trade war?  Doesn’t that threaten the earnings and growth outlook.  Not more than nuclear war.  And that was, in the public perception, probably as much of a risk last year, as a trade war is now.  Stocks went up 20% last year.

Most importantly, we’ve discussed the merits of fighting China’s currency manipulation. If we don’t, we (and the rest of the world) are destined to repeat the cycles of credit booms and busts, with a persistent wealth drain along the way.

It has to be done.  And it’s best done when there is leverage.  And there is leverage now, as our economic recovery has the chance to lift the global economy out of the rut of the post-crisis stagnation (i.e. everyone needs our fiscal stimulus-driven recovery to work, including China).

Now, as we’ve discussed for quite some time:  Markets will correct, as they have.  And corrections are a gift to buy stocks on sale.  But we won’t likely see a resumption of the long-term trend higher in stocks (and likely new highs by year end) until we start seeing hard evidence that fiscal stimulus is working.  And we’ll see that in earnings and growth data, much of which is still a month out.

With all of this said, we pointed last week to the signals that predicted this latest down-leg.  It was the big technical reversal signals across the tech heavyweights: Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.  Those three stocks led the bounce from the February lows.  And those three stocks have predicted this slide and maybe retest back toward the February lows.

What may be the real casualty left from this correction in stocks, when it’s all said and done?  It may be those tech giants.  As we’ve discussed, the heyday of crushing competition with the advantage of little-to-no regulation, are probably coming to an end.  That will change the way these companies (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Uber, Airbnb, etc) operate.

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March 7, 3:00 pm EST

As we discussed yesterday, stocks have fully recovered the decline that people were attributing to Trump’s trade barrier announcement last week.

With that, the tariff hysteria seems to have subsided a bit, as they struggle for evidence to support their hyperbole.  Perhaps people may start acknowledging that we are now in a higher volatility environment, and that we will be slowly working out of this recent price correction until corporate earnings and economic growth data start confirming the benefits of tax cuts.

Interestingly, they seem to hate the trade threat, far more than the love the tax incentives and the pro-growth initiatives.  And while trade is a complicated issue, everyone seems to suddenly have an expert opinion on it.  And everyone is an expert on the Smoot-Hawley Act (which, by the way was a tariff on over 20,000 goods) and depression-era economics.

If they indeed were reflective about the economy, I think they would agree that we (and the world) desperately need growth initiatives to save us from terminal central bank life support (which wouldn’t be so terminal given they have fired all of their bullets to keep us afloat as long as they did).  And they would know that we are in for a perpetual cycle of booms and busts (repeat of the credit bubble and burst) if the trade imbalances (mainly between China overproducing and the U.S. overconsuming) ultimately are not corrected.

Now, as more of the conversation on trade turns more toward China, I want to revisit an excerpt from my note in December of 2016 (when Trump was President-elect):

MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2016 — “While many think Trump will provoke a military conflict, that’s far from a certainty.  With the credibility to act, however, Trump’s tough talk on China creates leverage.  And from that leverage, there may be a path to a mutually beneficial agreement, where the U.S. can win in trade with China, and China can win.  But it may get uglier before it gets better. In the end, growth solves a lot of problems.  A hotter growing U.S. economy (driven by reform and fiscal stimulus), will ultimately drive much better growth in the global economy.  And China has a lot to gain from both. Though in a fair-trade environment, they won’t get as much of the pie as they’ve gotten over the past two decades. But it has the chance of leading to a more balanced and sustainable economy in China, which would also be a win for everyone.”

Now, why not just focus on China now?  Because they will continue to abuse other countries. And those open trade channels will still allow that product to enter the U.S.  As we discussed yesterday, the global economy has been damaged by China’s currency/trade policy, yet the rest of the world has been relying on the U.S. to lead the fight.  They need to join the fight to create the leverage to make it ultimately work – so that the global economy can find a sustainable path of recovery and robust growth.

If you are hunting for the right stocks to buy on this dip, join me in my Billionaire’s Portfolio. We have a roster of 20 billionaire-owned stocks that are positioned to be among the biggest winners as the market recovers.

February 27, 4:00 pm EST

As we discussed yesterday, the minutes from the most recent Fed meeting (which was still under Yellen) gave us some clues about the tone of a Powell-led Fed.  They acknowledged the lift they expected from fiscal policy, which we didn’t hear all of last year, despite the clear telegraphing of it from the Trump administration. Powell was Trump appointed.  And it looks like the Fed messaging will now reflect that.

This is from his prepared remarks today:

“The economic outlook remains strong. The robust job market should continue to support growth in household incomes and consumer spending, solid economic growth among our trading partners should lead to further gains in U.S. exports, and upbeat business sentiment and strong sales growth will likely continue to boost business investment. Moreover, fiscal policy is becoming more stimulative. In this environment, we anticipate that inflation on a 12-month basis will move up this year and stabilize around the FOMC’s 2 percent objective over the medium term. Wages should increase at a faster pace as well.”

So he’s bullish on economic output, wage growth and therefore, inflation. That’s bullish for rates.  And, for the moment, what’s bullish for rates is bearish for stocks.

Oddly, on the same day Powell had his first testimony to Congress, the two former Fed chairs (Bernanke and Yellen) thought it was acceptable to host a chat about monetary policy this afternoon at the Brookings Institute.

It looked a bit like a partisan counter-punch. The same two former Fed Chairs that were, not long ago, begging Congress for fiscal stimulus to take some of the burden off of monetary policy, continue to (now) criticize the move.  In fact, in Powell’s statement, he called the lack of fiscal response from Congress in past years, a headwind:  “some of the headwinds the U.S. economy faced in previous years have turned into tailwinds: In particular, fiscal policy has become more stimulative.”

The takeaway from our first look at Powell:  He doesn’t sound like a guy that will risk choking off the benefits of fiscal stimulus with overly aggressive “normalization” of monetary policy. That’s good.

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