Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stocks Surging into Final Hour on Euro Bounce, Asian Equity Strength, Short-Covering, Technical Buying

Broad Market Tone:

  • Advance/Decline Line: Higher
  • Sector Performance: Most Sectors Rising
  • Volume: Below Average
  • Market Leading Stocks: Performing In Line
Equity Investor Angst:
  • VIX 16.02 +.25%
  • ISE Sentiment Index 80.0 -21.57%
  • Total Put/Call .78 +9.86%
  • NYSE Arms 1.13 +36.78%
Credit Investor Angst:
  • North American Investment Grade CDS Index 89.88 -1.01%
  • European Financial Sector CDS Index 113.30 -2.87%
  • Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 194.87 -1.87%
  • Emerging Market CDS Index 213.05 -2.42%
  • 2-Year Swap Spread 19.0 +1 bp
  • TED Spread 21.0 unch.
Economic Gauges:
  • 3-Month T-Bill Yield .05% unch.
  • Yield Curve 258.0 -1 bp
  • China Import Iron Ore Spot $169.80/Metric Tonne -.67%
  • Citi US Economic Surprise Index -71.40 -11.6 points
  • 10-Year TIPS Spread 2.24% -3 bps
Overseas Futures:
  • Nikkei Futures: Indicating -8 open in Japan
  • DAX Futures: Indicating +6 open in Germany
  • Higher: On gains in my Tech, Medical, Retail and Biotech sector longs
  • Disclosed Trades: Covered all of my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges and some of my (EEM) short
  • Market Exposure: Moved to 100% Net Long
BOTTOM LINE: Today's overall market action is bullish as the S&P 500 trades back above its 50-day moving average despite eurozone debt angst, rising energy prices, global growth concerns and emerging market inflation fears. On the positive side, Alt Energy, Paper, REIT, Homebuilding, Drug, Disk Drive, Semi, Ag and Oil Tanker shares are especially strong, rising more than +1.0%. Small-cap shares are outperforming again. (IYR) is relatively strong. Lumber is rising +3.06% and the UBS-Bloomberg Ag Spot Index is falling -.32%. On the negative side, Wireless and Restaurant shares are down on the day. Oil is surging +2.0% and copper is falling -.2%. The US price for a gallon of gas is -.03/gallon today to $3.78/gallon. It is up .64/gallon in less than 4 months. The 10-year yield is still falling too much too quickly, declining another -3 bps to 3.04%. The Japan sovereign cds is climbing +1.12% to 86.35 bps and key eurozone cds are not falling back much, notwithstanding the jump in the euro currency, equity gains and rising optimism for another Greek bailout. The Citi Latin America Economic Surprise Index fell -7.4 points today to -22.20, which is the lowest reading since mid-February. The major US averages remain very resilient in the face of mounting headwinds. Equity investors continue to cheer any signs of a pushing out of the dealing with the eurozone debt situation. I continue to believe that it is highly unlikely the eurozone will exist in its current form a few years from now. Asian equities traded very well overnight and could help boost US stocks further in the near-term. I expect US stocks to trade mixed-to-higher into the close from current levels on short-covering, bargain-hunting, technical buying, end-of-month window dressing, a bounce in the euro and lower food prices.

Today's Headlines


  • Consumer Confidence Slumps to 6-Month Low. Consumer sentiment unexpectedly decreased in May to the lowest level in six months as Americans grew concerned over the outlook for jobs and the economy, while a measure of home prices dropped to a nine-year low. The Conference Board’s confidence index dropped to 60.8 from a revised 66 reading in April, figures from the New York- based private research group showed today. Home prices decreased 5.1 percent in the first quarter from the same time in 2010, according to data from S&P/Case-Shiller. A separate report today showed manufacturing cooled. Consumer finances have been squeezed by rising costs of food and fuel and erosion in home equity, causing spending to slow. The group’s measure of present conditions decreased to 39.3 from 40.2 a month earlier. The gauge of expectations for the next six months slumped to 75.2, the lowest since October, from 83.2. The share of respondents expecting more jobs over the next six months dropped, as did the proportion projecting their incomes will rise.
  • Chicago Purchasing Mangers Index Falls to 56.6 in Sign Expansion Slowing. Business activity in the U.S. cooled more than forecast in May, a sign manufacturing may be leveling off after leading the recovery in the world’s largest economy. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its business barometer fell to 56.6 this month, the lowest since November 2009, from 67.6 in April. The measure’s 11-point drop this month was the biggest since October 2008.
  • IMF Must Reflect the End of U.S.-Led Order, Sachs Writes in FT. The next head of the International Monetary Fund must be capable of helping to create a new global framework, for the existing U.S.-led order has had its day, Jeffrey Sachs, who heads the Earth Institute at Columbia University, wrote in the Financial Times. The answer is a system based on several regional currencies: the dollar, the euro, the yuan and, perhaps, the Brazilian real and the Indian rupee; that means regional groups such as the eurozone, the Arab world and the main economies of southeast Asia must assume responsibility for monetary policy, financial regulation, tax coordination and enforcement and fiscal policy harmonization, he said.
  • Crude Oil Futures Rise as Greece Aid Package Bolsters Euro Versus Dollar. Oil climbed, trimming the biggest monthly drop in a year, on signals the European Union will approve aid for Greece, bolstering the euro against the dollar. Crude rose as much as 2.8 percent after Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said leaders will decide on a new aid package by the end of June. The comments sent the euro to a three-week high versus the dollar, increasing the appeal of commodities.
  • Buyout Firms Morphing Into Asset Managers. After making their founders billionaires, buyout specialists such as Carlyle Group and KKR & Co. are turning into asset managers that run hedge funds and strip malls as fresh capital and takeover targets become scarce.
  • China Raises Power Prices for Business, Farmers as Summer Shortage Looms. China raised electricity prices for businesses and farmers for the first time in more than a year, threatening to exacerbate inflation as the nation aims to curb power shortages that may be the worst on record. The increase in electricity costs may complicate China’s fight against inflation, which is above the government’s target. The world’s biggest energy consumer may boost residential rates in the second half, according to Citigroup Inc. Higher prices may spur generation as pressure eases on profit margins squeezed by rising coal costs. An electricity shortfall this summer may be as much as 40 gigawatts, surpassing the 2004 record, State Grid Corp. of China said.
  • Ex-Egypt Bank Head Arrested on Sex Charges. The former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria was charged with sexually abusing a maid at the Pierre Hotel in New York, police said. Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, 74, chairman of El-Mex Salines Co., was arrested yesterday after a 44 year-old female maid alleged he attacked her May 29, according to a police department spokesman.
  • Apple's(AAPL) Jobs to Unveil iCloud, New Software. Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs will address an annual conference on June 6 to unveil a service that lets users store content online and tout a new version of the software that runs the iPad and iPhone. Jobs, in the midst of his third medical leave since 2004 as he battles a rare form of cancer, will deliver a keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement. It will be Jobs’ second appearance this year, after the iPad debut in March. Apple follows rivals Google Inc. (GOOG) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) in creating services to make it easier for customers to store and access music and other content via the Internet.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Economists Downgrade Prospects for Growth. The world's largest economy may be facing a growth problem. After a disappointing first quarter, economists largely predicted the U.S. recovery would ramp back up as short-term disruptions such as higher gas prices, bad weather and supply problems in Japan subsided. But there's little indication that's happening. Manufacturing is cooling, the housing market is struggling and consumers are keeping a close eye on spending, meaning the U.S. economy might be on a slower path to full health than expected.
  • Obama Taps Businessman Bryson for Commerce Post. President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated John Bryson, the former chairman of a California power company and a prominent environmental advocate, to be his next commerce secretary. Mr. Bryson retired in 2008 from Edison International, a publicly traded power company and the parent of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group, after 18 years there. He now serves as one of 20 senior advisers to the private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Business Insider:
Zero Hedge:
New York Times:
  • As China's Workers Get a Raise, Companies Fret. Wages are surging this year in China and in its main low-wage Asian rivals, benefiting workers across the region. But the increases confront trading companies and Western retailers with surging costs, and are making higher price tags likely for American and European consumers.
Washington Post:
  • Credit Unions Increasingly Offer High-Rate Payday Loans. To millions of member-customers, credit unions are the financial equivalent of a trusted uncle, dispensing prudent loans for cars, homes, and education without the profit motive of traditional banks. But encouraged by federal regulators, an increasing number of credit unions are competing directly with traditional payday lenders, selling small, short-term loans at prices far higher than they are permitted to charge for any other product.
CBS News:
  • Muslim Girl in Beauty Contest Stoned to Death. A teenage Muslim girl was stoned to death by suspects claiming the 19-year-old has violated Sharia law by taking part in a beauty contest, a British newspaper reports. The body of Katya Koren was found in a forest near a village in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Will Stewart of the Daily Mail writes that Koren's remains were found a week after her disappearance. She appeared to have suffered head injuries and been strangled. Police are investigating claims that three Muslim youths killed her, saying her death was justified under Islamic law. The Daily Mail reports one 16-year-old suspect under arrest told police Koren had "violated the laws of Sharia." According to an official report on a Crimean government website, the 16-year-old classmate confessed to her murder, and gave as his reason, "I just wanted to kill her."
Rasmussen Reports:
  • 68% Say Bank Bailout Money Went To Those Who Caused Meltdown. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that 61% think it was a bad idea for the government to provide bailout funding for banks and other financial institutions. Twenty-four percent (24%) say the bailouts were a good idea.
  • Exclusive: EU Energy Plan Threatens Carbon Billions. The Europe Union's carbon market could be flooded with excess pollution permits over the next decade, cutting prices in half and depriving governments of billions in budgeted revenues, EU sources say. "There's a real concern of negative impacts on prices if the issue is not properly addressed," one EU source said on condition of anonymity. "Some of the studies imply that carbon prices will collapse."
  • German FDP Expert Calls for Greek Eurozone Exit - Report. A leading finance expert of the junior coalition partner in Germany's parliament called on Tuesday for debt-laden Greece to exit the euro zone. "As long as Greece hasn't privatised a single cent worth of assets, increasing the aid would be absolutely the wrong signal," Free Democrat parliamentarian Frank Schaeffler told business daily Handelsblatt. "At the same time governments must help with an orderly euro zone exit," added Schaeffler, one of the loudest dissenting voices against Greek aid in the FDP. Athens should restructure its debt and private creditors should participate in the restructuring, he said.
  • Ally Financial Bests on Risky Subprime Car Loans. Ally Financial Inc, the United States' largest maker of car loans, hopes that people have forgotten the time when "subprime" became a synonym for "disaster." Ally, once known as GMAC Financial Services, is getting ready to go public this year, and is making the case that subprime loans for used car buyers are not about to produce the same results that they did in the housing market a few years ago -- a near-collapse of the financial system.
Helsingin Sanomat:
  • Greece's access to funding on the international markets next year "looks difficult," Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said. He declined to comment on a new bailout package for Greece, saying no decisions have been made and it's too early to comment on the matter. "Any new aid will be decided on at a later stage," Papaconstantinou said. "A lot depends on whether we can tap international markets for funding already next year. At the moment that looks difficult."
Die Zeit:
  • Northern European Union countries led by Germany still want private creditors to Greece to contribute to bailouts of the over-indebted country. The countries are especially pushing for a lengthening of maturities of outstanding Greek government bonds.
O Globo:
  • Brazil Finance Minister Guido Mantega conditioned his support for Christine Lagarde's candidacy to head the IMF on Brazil being granted a "strategic position" on the IMF's board.

Bear Radar

Style Underperformer:

  • Mid-Cap Growth (+.48%)
Sector Underperformers:
  • 1) Gold & Silver -.44% 2) Education -.23% 3) Wireless -.22%
Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume:
Stocks With Unusual Put Option Activity:
  • 1) NOK 2) CIEN 3) NKE 4) MRO 5) DHI
Stocks With Most Negative News Mentions:
  • 1) WEC 2) HOMB 3) KEY 4) SMG 5) LMT

Bull Radar

Style Outperformer:

  • Small-Cap Value (+.59%)
Sector Outperformers:
  • 1) Alt Energy +1.99% 2) Papers +1.63% 3) Oil Tankers +1.26%
Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume:
Stocks With Unusual Call Option Activity:
  • 1) OPTR 2) LYB 3) XCO 4) KO 5) AONE
Stocks With Most Positive News Mentions:
  • 1) SFN 2) BIG 3) ITRI 4) FST 5) EGN

Tuesday Watch

Weekend Headlines


  • Greek Aid Package to Be Decided by June. European Union leaders will decide on additional aid for Greece by the end of June and have ruled out a “total restructuring” of the nation’s debt, said Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the euro-area finance ministers’ group. Inspectors from the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are set to wrap up a review of Greece’s progress in meeting the terms of last year’s 110 billion-euro ($157 billion) bailout in coming days. The EU will then formulate its plan for further aid to Greece, which remains shut out of financial markets a year after the rescue package. “We are waiting for their final judgment,” Juncker, who is also Luxembourg’s prime minister, said yesterday in Paris after meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Their position will partly determine our position, so it’s too early. We will try to solve the Greek problem by the end of June.”
  • Greek Day of Reckoning Looms in Ponzi Europe: Mario I. Blejer. One of the undeniable features of the European debt crisis is the tendency to obscure, verbally and politically, the real issues at play. Euphemisms, statistical gimmicks, meaningless institutional squabbling, undecipherable acronyms, and plain double talk proliferate as part of the debate.
  • Iran Seeks to Slap Travel Sanctions on U.S. Officials, Mehr Says. Iran’s parliament approved the outlines of a bill to impose travel and financial restrictions on 26 U.S. officials, whom it accuses of being involved in "human rights violations," Mehr reported. The bill would also call for the officials to be tried on charges of “crimes against humanity” and “human rights abuses,” Kazem Jalali, the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee spokesman said, according to a report published yesterday by the state-run news agency, which didn’t specify the names. Iran’s prosecutor general would submit the names and relevant documents to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mehr said. Iran’s Foreign Ministry will be in charge of following up on the implementation of the proceedings at international forums, it said.
  • Tepco May Not Meet Deadline for Stabilizing Reactors, Kyodo News Reports. Tokyo Electric Power Co. may not be able to meet its year-end deadline to bring reactors at its Dai- Ichi nuclear plant under control, Kyodo News reported. The deadline was only a target, the report quoted an unidentified company official as saying yesterday. Since setting the deadline, the company has said meltdowns occurred at more rectors at the plant than previously thought. The additional damage will delay work, the report said, citing another company official.
  • Fukushima Debacle Risks Chernobyl 'Dead Zone' as Radiation in Soil Soars. Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near Japan’s crippled nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a “dead zone” remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded. Soil samples in areas outside the 20-kilometer (12 miles) exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels a square meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government. Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 square kilometers (230 square miles), according to the report. The extent of contamination shows the government must move fast to avoid the same future for the area around Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant as Chernobyl, scientists said.
  • China's production of rare earths, fueled by private companies that didn't pay medical insurance and disregarded environmental damage, was "out of control," Chen Zhanheng, a researcher at the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, wrote in a commentary. The nation's rare earth industry has output capacity of about 200,000 tons, which is almost double total global demand, Chen wrote. The "disorderly state" of China's rare earth industry makes export quotas necessary, Chen wrote. China has about 36% of the world's rare earth deposits and accounts for 95% of global supplies, Chen said.
  • Container lines plan to add a record amount of capacity in 2013, outpacing growth in demand for shipping services, which may drive maritime-transport rates lower, according to NH Investment & Securities Co. The capacity of the global container-shipping fleet may increase by a net 1.9 million boxes in 2013 if all options and letters of intent for new vessels are exercised, according to Alphaliner. That would expand the fleet by 11%, the fastest annual increase in five years, according to the Paris-based maritime data provider. "We may have to start worrying about overcapacity again," said Jee Heon Seok, an NH Investment analyst in Seoul. "Shipping lines have rushed to make orders before ship prices increase, and they seem to have forgotten about the consequences they could face when the vessels are delivered."
  • Copper in New York Declines for First Day in Five on U.S. Economy Slowdown. Copper in New York fell for the first time in five days before reports this week that may show the economy is slowing in the U.S., the world’s second-largest consumer of the metal after China. July delivery copper dropped as much as 1.2 percent to $4.135 a pound on the Comex in New York and was down 0.5 percent at $4.1635 by 1:15 p.m. local time in electronic trading. The London Metal Exchange and U.S. markets are closed today for holidays, and today’s trades will be counted in tomorrow’s pricing.
  • Alwaleed Says Saudi Arabia Seeks $70 to $80 Oil to Preserve Sales to West. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said an oil price of $70 to $80 a barrel is in the best interests of Saudi Arabia because it diminishes the urgency in the U.S. and Europe to develop alternative energy sources. The rebellion in Libya, political turmoil in Bahrain and speculative buying are responsible for driving oil prices to more than $100 a barrel, Alwaleed said.
  • Hoenig Seeks Higher U.S. Interest Rates to Boost Saving, Avoid New Bubbles. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig, the central bank’s longest-serving policy maker, said the U.S. needs to raise interest rates to encourage individuals to save and avoid future asset bubbles. Hoenig, who doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, has repeatedly urged the central bank to tighten lending to prevent inflation and asset price bubbles. He voted eight times in 2010 against record monetary stimulus led by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, tying former Governor Henry Wallich’s record in 1980 for most dissents in a single year. “I’m not advocating for tight monetary policy, but I do think we have to get off of zero if we want to avoid repeating some of the mistakes of the past with a very easy credit environment,” Hoenig said.
  • Syrian Forces Kill Two Near Homs as Wave of Arrests Made Around Damascus. Syrian security forces carried out widespread arrests overnight as anti-government protesters took to the streets in the suburbs of the capital after 13 people were killed in rallies. Demonstrations took place in the Damascus suburbs of Douma, Barzeh, Harasta and Daraya yesterday night, said Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, in a phone interview from Syria. Security forces fired on anti-government protesters in several cities May 27 as they broke up rallies nationwide, pushing the death toll past 1,100 since demonstrations against the government of President Bashar Al- Assad began in mid-March, said Ammar Qurabi, head of Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights. Syrian opposition groups and activists will hold a conference in Turkey May 31 in support of the protesters demanding political changes, according to Qurabi.
  • China's power producers may curb operating hours to reduce financial losses even as the nation faces an electricity shortage that may be the worst on record.
  • Merkel Will Scrap German Nuclear Plants by 2022 After Fukushima Disaster. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition endorsed a blueprint to shut its nuclear-power plants by 2022, repealing the law she pushed to extend the life of the reactors to become the biggest nation to exit atomic power.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Cyber Combat: Act of War. The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force. In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," said a military official.
  • AT&T's(T) Critics on Deal Growing. Opposition is steadily growing to AT&T Inc.'s proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA, as competitors, state regulators and elected officials have come out in recent days expressing concerns about the acquisition from Deutsche Telekom AG. The views add to pressure on a combination—of the second- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the U.S.—that has already raised serious initial concerns at the Justice Department, which is worried it will hurt competition, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Australia Fund Says No to Euro-Zone Rescue Bonds. Australia's Future Fund doesn't plan to buy the debt being issued to rescue ailing euro-zone countries, Chairman David Murray said.
  • Libya's Goldman(GS) Dalliance Ends in Losses, Acrimony. In early 2008, Libya's sovereign-wealth fund controlled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi gave $1.3 billion to Goldman Sachs Group to sink into a currency bet and other complicated trades. The investments lost 98% of their value, internal Goldman documents show. What happened next may be one of the most peculiar footnotes to the global financial crisis. In an effort to make up for the losses, Goldman offered Libya the chance to become one of its biggest shareholders, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.
Dow Jones:
  • Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said the U.S. central bank may soon raise interest rates to curb inflation, citing comments he made in Madrid. Volcker said that the U.S. budget deficit and interest rates close to zero will eventually lead to "inflationary problems." The time to raise interest rates "is getting very close," Dow Jones cited Volcker as saying.
  • NYSE Euronext(NYX) Plans Dual Clearing Venues With LCH. Exchange giant NYSE Euronext is looking to set up two parallel clearing services if it seals its proposed deal to buy Anglo-French clearing house LCH.Clearnet as well as merging with Deutsche Boerse.
  • China's Economy Slows, But Inflation Still Looms. Chinese manufacturers’ backlogs of orders are gradually shrinking in many industries. Purchasing managers have become less optimistic about their businesses’ prospects. And after surging past the United States in car sales over the last two years, the Chinese auto market unexpectedly stalled last month, as carmakers curtailed production plans. Because China’s cooling economy is partly a result of Beijing’s efforts to contain inflation, some economists are not worried, saying a slight slowdown could be positive. And they say that after the government eases off the brakes, economic growth should quickly pick back up. But other experts worry that inflation is already so entrenched that the government may be forced to continue braking the economy for a considerable time. “They have to continue to tighten policy into what we expect will be a sharp growth downturn, already likely to be under way,” said Diana Choyleva, an economist in the Hong Kong office of Lombard Street Research, an economic forecasting firm based in London.
  • 'Delicate Moment' for Global Economy as Manufacturing Slows. High input prices, supply chain disruptions from the tsunami disaster in Japan and slowing demand from China have combined to brake manufacturing momentum in Europe, the United States and Asia in recent months following a steady run of robust growth. Just how sharp the slowdown is will become clearer this week with the release of data from factory purchasing managers in major economies across the globe.
NY Times:
  • Shale Boom in Texas Could Increase U.S. Oil Output. More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around here in the next 12 months. The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska.
NY Post:
  • Senator Schumer: Probe Oil Refiners' Profits. New York Sen. Charles Schumer wants the government to investigate U.S. oil refiners' skyrocketing profits, which he said are to blame for high gas prices. "Something is rotten," said the Democrat, speaking today at a gas station on Manhattan's West Side. He said refiners' profits have more than doubled since last year. Meanwhile, the price of unleaded gas went up by almost 12 percent in just the two weeks ending May 6, topping $4 a gallon in New York. The senator said he believes refiners may be fixing prices by cutting back on stockpiles — by keeping refining capacities to only 81 percent and through exports that diminish domestic availability.
Business Insider:
Zero Hedge:
USA Today:
  • Kazakh Opposition Calls for Halt to China Expansion. Opposition activists in Kazakhstan called on the government on Saturday to stop Chinese investment in the country's natural resources, saying Beijing could be preparing a land grab in Central Asia. Several hundred people gathered in Almaty, the country's largest city, for an officially sanctioned rally against Chinese expansion into Kazakhstan, a vast former Soviet republic holding 3 percent of the world's recoverable oil reserves. "Chinese relations to resource exploitation have imperialist undertones," said Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the unregistered Alga! opposition party.
Financial Times:
  • Private-equity officials say they are concerned by rising levels of debt in buyouts. In some instances, debt levels have reached seven times operating profit, a level hardly seen since the credit crisis started.
  • Beijing Steps Up TV Censorship. The Chinese government has stepped up censorship of local television in a sign of the broadening of a political crackdown that has landed many dissidents in jail.
  • EU Plans to Strip UK of Bank Regulation Powers. Sovereign control of financial regulation is under threat from European moves to harmonise rule books across member states, the three men at the heart of the future Bank of England have warned.
Der Spiegel:
  • Greece's return to the capital markets in March 2012 is a "very ambitious target," European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in an interview. An exit of Greece from the European Monetary Union is "not a serious option" and a restructuring of the country's debt isn't on the European Commission's agenda because it would have negative consequences for the Greek financial system and could initiate a chain reaction affecting the rest of Europe, Rehn said.
  • Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Chairman, said that restructuring Greek debt would worsen the country's problems and called for deeper economic reforms there, citing comments he made in Madrid.
Globe and Mail:
  • Canada's Flaherty Warns of Frail Global Economy. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty fears the world could be faced with another recession, given the fragility of the global economy and especially the troublesome debt and deficit situation across the border. “I am quite worried,” Mr. Flaherty told CTV’s Question Period Sunday. “We have lived three-and-a-half years now since the credit crisis started in late August, 2007. We are seeing in Europe, in particular, some very difficult situations.”
  • China's property tax may be expanded nationwide after revising a trial program imposed on the cities of Chongqing and Shanghai, citing Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan. Construction of large homes fell, and luxury home sales and prices declined after Chongqing started the trial on Jan. 28, citing Huang.
Shanghai Daily:
  • Home Sales in China may decline by more than 10% this year because of government tightening measures, citing Nie Meisheng, head of the China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce.
  • China Rates May Rise Next Week on High CPI. The three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, which ends next Monday, may be the time when the People's Bank of China, the central bank, is likely to announce another interest rate increase, UBS Securities Co said in a note. "Although China's economic growth has shown signs of moderation, inflationary pressure remains high and it pushes China to continue to tighten its monetary policies," the brokerage said. It estimated the Consumer Price Index, the main gauge of inflation, may surge 5.5 percent in May and then climb to 6 percent in June. The recent droughts in central China may be the reason for food prices to rise and so push up the CPI.
Securities Times:
  • Beijing's existing home sales may fall to a 28-month low in May, citing data from the city's government-run property transaction website. About 7,190 existing homes were sold from May 1 to May 29, a decline of 47% from the same period a year earlier.
Financial News:
  • China's inflation can't be curbed unless it maintains a prudent monetary policy, citing former deputy central bank governor Wu Xiaoling said. "The market" has been calling for a looser monetary policy because of concerns about risks of a hard-landing in China, he said.
Economic Information Daily:
  • Jing Xuecheng, a former deputy head of China central bank's research bureau, said that a research report on converting the U.S. debt held by China to equity has been submitted to relevant departments.
  • Credit Squeeze Drives Yields Toward 17-Month High in Mainland. Chinese companies are turning to the bond market for financing amid the biggest credit squeeze in three years, pushing relative yields toward a 17-month high. The weighted average lending rate on bank loans rose to 6.91 percent in March, 60 basis points higher than the one-year benchmark and 260 basis points above the yields of AAA-rated corporate bonds for the same maturity. The premium investors demand to hold five-year corporate notes instead of sovereign debt reached 166 basis points on May 25, near the high of 169 in March. "Corporate demand for capital has far exceeded banks' lending capacity this year, so for most companies bond financing becomes the only viable alternative," said Wu Haiwen, a Shanghai-based fixed-income analyst at Shanghai Pudong Development Co. "That's bad news for the market. We expect the yield spread between top-rated corporate bond and government debt to widen."
Oriental Morning Post:
  • China's June consumer prices may increase about 5.7% from a year earlier and interest rates will likely be raised next month, citing Li Xunlei, chief economist at Guotai Junan Securities Co.
Weekend Recommendations
  • Made positive comments on (FL), (TJX) and (PSMT).
Night Trading
  • Asian indices are -.25% to +1.25% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 110.0 -1.5 basis points.
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 115.25 -.75 basis point.
  • S&P 500 futures +.58%.
  • NASDAQ 100 futures +.62%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note
  • (PVH)/1.16
Economic Releases
9:00 am EST
  • The S&P/CS 20 City MoM% SA for March is estimated to fall -.24% versus a -.18% decline in February.
9:45 am EST
  • The Chicago Purchasing Manager for May is estimated to fall to 62.0 versus a reading of 67.6 in April.
10:00 am EST
  • Consumer Confidence for May is estimated to rise to 66.5 versus 65.4 in April.
Upcoming Splits
  • (FFIN) 3-for-2
  • (CHD) 2-for-1
  • (FTNT) 2-for-1
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The 3-Month/6-Month Treasury Bills Auctions, NAPM-Milwaukee for May, Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity Index for May and the Keybanc Industrial/Automotive Conference could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by automaker and technology shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and to weaken into the afternoon, finishing mixed. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekly Outlook

U.S. Week Ahead by MarketWatch (video).
Wall St. Week Ahead by Reuters.
Stocks to Watch Tuesday by MarketWatch.
Weekly Economic Calendar by Briefing.com.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect US stocks to finish the week modestly lower on growing Mideast unrest, global growth concerns, rising eurozone debt angst, more shorting, technical selling and emerging market inflation fears. My intermediate-term trading indicators are giving neutral signals and the Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the week.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Market Week in Review

S&P 500 1,331.10 -.16%*


The Weekly Wrap by Briefing.com.

*5-Day Change

Weekly Scoreboard*


  • S&P 500 1,331.10 -.16%
  • DJIA 12,441.58 -.56%
  • NASDAQ 2,796.86 -.23%
  • Russell 2000 836.26 +.87%
  • Wilshire 5000 13,968.05 +.01%
  • Russell 1000 Growth 612.70 -.08%
  • Russell 1000 Value 677.91 -.07%
  • Morgan Stanley Consumer 785.78 -1.19%
  • Morgan Stanley Cyclical 1,078.52 +.01%
  • Morgan Stanley Technology 680.64 -.68%
  • Transports 5,408.58 -.74%
  • Utilities 433.54 -1.43%
  • MSCI Emerging Markets 47.64 +.72%
  • Lyxor L/S Equity Long Bias Index 1,047.83 -.43%
  • Lyxor L/S Equity Variable Bias Index 889.68 -.09%
  • Lyxor L/S Equity Short Bias Index 620.73 -.32%
  • NYSE Cumulative A/D Line 127,563 +1.23%
  • Bloomberg New Highs-Lows Index 125 +143
  • Bloomberg Crude Oil % Bulls 39.0 -7.14%
  • CFTC Oil Net Speculative Position 199,192 -1.91%
  • CFTC Oil Total Open Interest 1,522,076 -3.84%
  • Total Put/Call .71 -31.07%
  • OEX Put/Call 1.32 -14.84%
  • ISE Sentiment 102.0 +18.60%
  • NYSE Arms .83 -43.15%
  • Volatility(VIX) 15.98 -8.32%
  • G7 Currency Volatility (VXY) 11.65 +2.19%
  • Smart Money Flow Index 10,531.41 +.62%
  • Money Mkt Mutual Fund Assets $2.748 Trillion +.40%
  • AAII % Bulls 25.61 -4.05%
  • AAII % Bears 41.42 +.31%
Futures Spot Prices
  • CRB Index 346.27 +1.38%
  • Crude Oil 100.59 +.68%
  • Reformulated Gasoline 309.20 +4.96%
  • Natural Gas 4.52 +4.54%
  • Heating Oil 299.05 +2.41%
  • Gold 1,537.30 +1.57%
  • Bloomberg Base Metals 253.22 +1.97%
  • Copper 418.60 +2.07%
  • US No. 1 Heavy Melt Scrap Steel 409.33 USD/Ton -.16%
  • China Hot Rolled Domestic Steel Sheet 4,864 Yuan/Ton -.18%
  • UBS-Bloomberg Agriculture 1,677.92 +2.12%
  • ECRI Weekly Leading Economic Index Growth Rate 5.0% -30 basis points
  • S&P 500 EPS Estimates 1 Year Mean 95.61 unch.
  • Citi US Economic Surprise Index -57.20 -8.1 points
  • Fed Fund Futures imply 42.0% chance of no change, 58.0% chance of 25 basis point cut on 6/22
  • US Dollar Index 75.42 -.42%
  • Yield Curve 260.0 -3 basis points
  • 10-Year US Treasury Yield 3.07% -8 basis points
  • Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet $2.759 Trillion +.62%
  • U.S. Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 50.45 -.87%
  • Illinois Municipal Debt Credit Default Swap 155.0 +2.88%
  • Western Europe Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap Index 198.25 +6.30%
  • Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt CDS Index 159.87 +3.90%
  • Saudi Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 100.14 -3.01%
  • Iraqi 2028 Government Bonds 91.86 -1.61%
  • 10-Year TIPS Spread 2.28% -2 basis points
  • TED Spread 21.0 -1 basis point
  • N. America Investment Grade Credit Default Swap Index 90.51 +.57%
  • Euro Financial Sector Credit Default Swap Index 116.62 +16.34%
  • Emerging Markets Credit Default Swap Index 217.59 +5.11%
  • CMBS Super Senior AAA 10-Year Treasury Spread 163.0 +5 basis points
  • M1 Money Supply $1.922 Trillion +.39%
  • Business Loans 646.10 +1.21%
  • 4-Week Moving Average of Jobless Claims 438,500 -.4%
  • Continuing Claims Unemployment Rate 2.9% -10 basis points
  • Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate 4.60% -1 basis point
  • Weekly Mortgage Applications 540.80 +1.12%
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort -48.4 +1.0 point
  • Weekly Retail Sales +4.0% -30 basis points
  • Nationwide Gas $3.81/gallon -.08/gallon
  • U.S. Cooling Demand Next 7 Days 39.0% above normal
  • Baltic Dry Index 1,474 +9.26%
  • Oil Tanker Rate(Arabian Gulf to U.S. Gulf Coast) 37.50 unch.
  • Rail Freight Carloads 234,235 +1.02%
Best Performing Style
  • Small-Cap Growth +.93%
Worst Performing Style
  • Large-Cap Growth -.08%
Leading Sectors
  • Gold & Silver +4.61%
  • Coal +4.37%
  • Homebuilders +3.76%
  • Agriculture +3.55%
  • Oil Service +2.50%
Lagging Sectors
  • Utilities -1.42%
  • Computer Services -1.47%
  • Medical Equipment -1.64%
  • Airlines -4.07%
  • Oil Tankers -4.84%
Weekly High-Volume Stock Gainers (17)
Weekly High-Volume Stock Losers (10)
Weekly Charts
*5-Day Change

Bear Radar

Style Underperformer:

  • Large-Cap Value (+.25%)
Sector Underperformers:
  • 1) Restaurants -.35% 2) Medical -.15% 3) REITs -.111%
Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume:
Stocks With Unusual Put Option Activity:
  • 1) LEN 2) MHS 3) FLR 4) OVTI 5) MRVL
Stocks With Most Negative News Mentions:
  • 1) AFL 2) RIMM 3) EWJ 4) WY 5) RKT

Bull Radar

Style Outperformer:

  • Small-Cap Growth (+.75%)
Sector Outperformers:
  • 1) Coal +2.16% 2) Construction +1.62% 3) Oil Tankers +1.45%
Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume:
Stocks With Unusual Call Option Activity:
  • 1) CVS 2) BCSI 3) MHS 4) BRCM 5) OVTI
Stocks With Most Positive News Mentions:
  • 1) CVS 2) GORO 3) IM 4) WBC 5) AIN

Friday Watch

Evening Headlines


  • Euro Heads for Weekly Decline on Debt Woes. Gains in the euro were tempered before a European Commission report today forecast to show an index of executive and consumer sentiment in the region slid to 105.7 this month from 106.2 in April. The single currency slid to an all-time low against the franc after Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads euro- area finance chiefs, said the International Monetary Fund may not release its share of aid to Greece next month. “Concerns about sovereign debt are spreading in the region, weighing on the euro,” said Masahide Tanaka, a senior strategist in Tokyo at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., a unit of Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value. “The European and U.S. economies are slowing down.” The euro has weakened 2.5 percent over the past month according to the Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes, which track 10 developed-nation currencies.
  • Fukushima Faces 'Massive' Radioactive Water Problem. As a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled nuclear plant today, academics warn the company has failed to disclose the scale of radiation leaks and faces a “massive problem” with contaminated water. The utility known as Tepco has been pumping cooling water into the three reactors that melted down after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into basements and other areas of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, according to Tepco’s estimates. The radiated water may double by the end of December. “Contaminated water is increasing and this is a massive problem,” Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist in isotope analysis and radiation detection at Nagoya University, said by phone. “They need to find a place to store the contaminated water and they need to guarantee it won’t go into the soil.”
  • Pandora Sales More Than Double Ahead of IPO. Pandora Media Inc., the Internet- music company preparing for an initial public offering, said revenue more than doubled last quarter and its user base topped 90 million, solidifying its lead in streaming radio. Sales rose to $51 million in the three months ended April 30, from $21.6 million a year earlier, the Oakland, California- based company said today in a regulatory filing.
  • South Korean builders may struggle to refinance $9.7 billion of short-term debt due through July even as the government backs a "bad bank" to buy up soured real-estate loans, according to Eugene Investment & Securities Co. "These short-term notes are a time bomb that have been moved from one basket to another," said Kim In, a Seoul-based Eugene Securities banking analyst. "No one will be willing to roll over these debts, so builders' liquidity will be squeezed even further, leaving more of them at risk of defaulting."
  • U.S. Senate Advances Extension of Patriot Act Wiretap Power. The U.S. Senate voted to advance a four-year extension of provisions of the USA Patriot Act allowing law enforcement to track suspected terrorists with roving wiretaps. The Senate voted 79-18 to move toward a final vote on the provisions, now scheduled to expire at midnight. They would be extended until June 1, 2015.
  • Emerging Stock Funds Post 2nd Week of Outflows, Citi Says. Emerging-market equity funds reported a second consecutive week of outflows as escalating concerns over Europe’s sovereign debt crisis dented demand for riskier assets, according to Citigroup Inc. Funds investing in developing-nation stocks lost an overall $1.03 billion during the week ended May 25, compared with net outflows of $1.64 billion the previous week, Citigroup analysts led by Markus Rosgen said in a report today, citing data compiled by EPFR Global. “Investors remained cautious amid lingering credit concerns in Europe,” the analysts wrote.
  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(GS), once the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, is veering toward being the riskiest in the eyes of debt investors. Credit-default swaps on Goldman Sachs have jumped 36 basis points in May to 149 basis points, poised for the largest gain in 13 months, according to data provider CMA. The contracts surpassed Citigroup Inc.(C) and Bank of America Corp.(BAC) this month and are now tied with Morgan Stanley, perceived to be the least creditworthy of the six largest U.S. banks.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Goldman(GS) Restructures Hotel Debt. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s (GS) Whitehall Real Estate Funds restructured $1.42 billion of debt coming due on one of its largest hotel portfolios, the latest indication that property owners are working through some of their most troubled assets. Under terms of the deal, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the investment arm of the United Arab Emirates capital city, will inject $475 million into the portfolio, people familiar with the matter said.
  • House Votes to Ban Troops for Libya War. The House on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to prohibit ground troops from being sent to Libya and only narrowly defeated a measure to force President Barack Obama to lay out plans to end the Afghanistan war, in moves that show the limits of congressional support for military involvement in overseas conflicts. The U.S. military's actions on three fronts—Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq—are wearing on the public, polls show, and lawmakers are leery of additional open-ended military commitments amid a severe budget crunch.
  • Fed's Focus Turns to Firm's Executives. A sprawling federal insider-trading investigation involving public-company employees who freelance as consultants has widened to include the top executives of Primary Global Research LLC, a so-called expert-network firm at the heart of the probe, according to people familiar with the matter. The focus on Unni Narayanan, Primary Global's chief executive, and Phani Kumar Saripella, its chief operating officer, would bring prosecutors to the top of the California-based firm, which has been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors for more than two years.
  • Public Pensions Leap Back to Hedge Funds. Public pension plans are lifting hedge-fund investment, seeking to boost long-term returns despite losses suffered in some funds in the financial crisis. Also, pension officials are using the historically strong returns of hedge funds to justify a rosier future outlook for their investment returns. By generating more gains from their investments, pension funds can avoid the politically unpalatable position of having to raise more money via higher taxes or bigger contributions from employees or reducing benefits for the current or future retirees. The Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado, which manages roughly $3.5 billion, now has 11% of its portfolio allocated to hedge funds after having no cash invested in these funds at the start of the year.
  • California Regulators Move to Investigate AT&T(T), T-Mobile Deal. California state regulators moved Thursday to launch an investigation of AT&T Inc.'s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, opening another front in the battle over the controversial deal.
  • Saudi Bid to Curb Iran Worries U.S. Saudi Arabia is rallying Muslim nations across the Middle East and Asia to join an informal Arab alliance against Iran, in a move some U.S. officials worry could draw other troubled nations into the sectarian tensions gripping the Arab world. Saudi officials have approached Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Central Asian states to lend diplomatic support—and potentially military assistance in some cases—to help stifle a majority Shiite revolt in Sunni-led Bahrain, a conflict that has become a symbol of Arab defiance against Iran.
  • Ballmer Bares China Travails. Rampant piracy means Microsoft Corp.'s revenue in China this year will only be about 5% of what it gets in the U.S., even though personal-computer sales in the two countries are almost equal, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told employees in a meeting here.
  • Mediscare: The Surprising Truth. Republicans are being portrayed as Medicare Grinches, but ObamaCare already has seniors' health care slated for draconian cuts.
  • Options Traders Salivate Over LinkedIn(LNKD). Get ready for a big options play on LinkedIn Corp. Friday.
  • Greece Aid Is Under Threat, Europe Finance Chief Says. A top euro-zone policy maker suggested the International Monetary Fund may withhold its next payment on Greece's €110 billion ($155 billion) bailout, rattling financial markets with questions about whether a new Greek payments crisis is imminent. Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the conclave of euro-zone finance ministers, suggested Thursday that an important review of the bailout program might conclude that Greece doesn't have enough loan commitments to carry it through the next 12 months.
Business Insider:
Zero Hedge:
NY Daily News:
Rasmussen Reports:
  • 50% Expect U.S. Government To Go Bankrupt Before Budget is Balanced. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s more likely that the government will go bankrupt and be unable to pay its debt before the federal budget is balanced. Thirty-three percent (33%) believe the budget is more likely to be balanced first.
  • Top US Lobbying Banks Got Biggest Bailouts - Study. The more aggressively a bank lobbied before the financial crisis, the worse its loans performed during the U.S. economic downturn -- and the more bailout dollars it received, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week. The report, titled "A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis," said that banks' lobbying efforts may be motivated by short-term profit gains, which can have devastating effects on the economy. "Overall, our findings suggest that the political influence of the financial industry played a role in the accumulation of risks, and hence, contributed to the financial crisis," said the report, written by three economists from the International Monetary Fund. Data collected by the three authors -- Deniz Igan, Prachi Mishra and Thierry Tressel -- show that the most aggressive lobbiers in the financial industry from 2000 to 2007 also made the most toxic mortgage loans. They securitized a greater portion of debt to pass the home loans onto investors and their stock prices correlated more closely to the downturn and ensuing bailout. What the economists could not determine definitively was the banks' motivation for lobbying. If banks were looking to generate income at society's expense, then it would make sense to curtail their lobbying. If banks were concerned mainly about short-term profit and not thinking about the long-term consequences, then executive compensation practices should be changed, the report said. And if banks just wanted to inform lawmakers, and were overoptimistic about their prospects, it would be more difficult to suggest reforms.
  • Equity Fund Outflows for Third Straight Week - Lipper.
  • US Senator Says CFTC Breaking Law By Not Acting on Oil.
Financial Times:
  • Internet Chiefs Unite Against Regulation. Internet entrepreneurs confronted their would-be regulators in Deauville on Thursday as the leaders of Facebook, Google and other technology companies warned the G8 leaders to tread carefully in attempting to police the web. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said that mooted rules on copyright or privacy could stymie innovation and inhibit the free expression that fuelled the recent Arab uprisings.
National Business Daily:
  • China's consumer prices may increase as much as 5.5% from a year earlier this month, rather than 5.4%, citing Huachuang Securities Co. The brokerage raised its May consumer price index estimate because vegetable prices in southern China had large gains due to drought.
Evening Recommendations
  • None of note
Night Trading
  • Asian equity indices are +.25% to +1.0% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 111.50 +2 basis points.
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 116.0 +.5 basis point.
  • S&P 500 futures +.23%.
  • NASDAQ 100 futures +.29%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note
  • (MENT)/.18
Economic Releases
8:30 am EST
  • Personal Income for April is estimated to rise +.4% versus a +.5% gain in March.
  • Personal Spending for April is estimated to rise +.5% versus a +.6% gain in March.
  • The PCE Core for April is estimated to rise +.2% versus a +.1% gain in March.
9:55 am EST
  • Final Univ. of Mich. Consumer Confidence for May is estimated at 72.4 versus a prior estimate of 72.4.
10:00 am EST
  • Pending Home Sales for April are estimated to fall -1.0% versus a +5.1% gain in March.
Upcoming Splits
  • None of note
Other Potential Market Movers
  • None of note
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by commodity and technology shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and to maintain gains into the afternoon. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stocks Higher into Final Hour on Euro Bounce, Tech Sector Strength, Short-Covering, Bargain-Hunting

Broad Market Tone:

  • Advance/Decline Line: Higher
  • Sector Performance: Most Sectors Rising
  • Volume: Light
  • Market Leading Stocks: Performing In Line
Equity Investor Angst:
  • VIX 15.99 -6.44%
  • ISE Sentiment Index 122.0 +2.52%
  • Total Put/Call .97 +34.72%
  • NYSE Arms .75 -42.38%
Credit Investor Angst:
  • North American Investment Grade CDS Index 91.11 +.12%
  • European Financial Sector CDS Index 122.59 -.62%
  • Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 196.92 +.04%
  • Emerging Market CDS Index 219.65 +3.42%
  • 2-Year Swap Spread 18.0 unch.
  • TED Spread 21.0 unch.
Economic Gauges:
  • 3-Month T-Bill Yield .05% unch.
  • Yield Curve 257.0 -2 bps
  • China Import Iron Ore Spot $171.30/Metric Tonne -.98%
  • Citi US Economic Surprise Index -57.90 -9.0 points
  • 10-Year TIPS Spread 2.29% -3 bps
Overseas Futures:
  • Nikkei Futures: Indicating -2 open in Japan
  • DAX Futures: Indicating +65 open in Germany
  • Higher: On gains in my Tech, Medical, Retail and Biotech sector longs
  • Disclosed Trades: Covered all of my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges and some of my (EEM) short
  • Market Exposure: Moved to 100% Net Long
BOTTOM LINE: Today's overall market action is bullish as the S&P 500 trades back to its 50-day moving average despite eurozone debt angst, rising food prices, global growth concerns and emerging market inflation fears. On the positive side, Coal, Software, Computer, Disk Drive, HMO, Homebuilding and REIT shares are especially strong, rising more than +1.5%. Small-cap shares are outperforming. (IYR) is relatively strong. Tech stocks have also traded well throughout the day. Lumber is gaining +4.32% and oil is falling -1.1%. The US Muni CDS Index is falling -2.8% to 120.31 bps. The AAII % Bulls fell to 25.61 this week, while the % Bears rose to 41.42, which is also a positive. On the negative side, Oil Tanker, Defense, Utility, Computer Service and Airline shares are down on the day. The UBS-Bloomberg Ag Spot Index is rising +.64%. The US price for a gallon of gas is unch. today at $3.81/gallon. It is up .67/gallon in 99 days. The 10-year yield is starting to fall too much too quickly, declining another -7 bps to 3.06%. The Russia sovereign cds is gaining +2.13% to 143.15 bps, the Brazil sovereign cds is rising 2.62% to 107.75 and the Portugal sovereign cds is gaining +1.46% to 678.13 bps. The +36% rise in the Eurozone Financial Sector CDS Index over the last 9 days is also a large negative. Moreover, the Shanghai Composite continues to trade poorly, falling another -.2% last night and finishing near session lows, as the rest of Asia saw strong gains. The Citi Latin America Economic Surprise Index fell to -12.6 today, which is the lowest reading since February. The major US averages remain very resilient in the face of mounting headwinds. However, I suspect equity weakness will reappear later next week. I expect US stocks to trade mixed-to-higher into the close from current levels on short-covering, bargain-hunting, a bounce in the euro, tech sector strength and lower energy prices.