Market Update: May 15, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Overnight in Asia most indexes were up fractionally while Japan pulled back slightly. G-7 discussions focused on protectionist threats, which weighed on sentiment. North Korea also fired a new missile over the weekend, adding to tensions on the peninsula.
  • WTI crude oil prices are up ~3.0%, to $49.25/barrel, after energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed that extension to oil production cuts for an additional nine months, through March 2018, is needed.
  • European markets were mixed on either side of flat. Investors were positive on Christian Democrats state victory supporting Merkel’s hold on power, while oil move was also welcomed.
  • U.S. markets are moving higher, boosted by news on potential oil production cuts. Meanwhile, concerns over cyberattacks and Trump/Comey drama may dampen enthusiasm as trading progresses.

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Key Insights

  • The economy remains on track for Q2 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.0% to 2.5% despite mixed inflation readings and retail sales below forecast.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose +0.2% month over month and up from the drop of -0.3% in March, however both year over year CPI (+2.2%) and year over year core CPI (+1.9%) were below expectations, triggering the rally in safe havens last Friday.
  • Retail sales (+0.4%) were also below expectations, but up from the prior month. When considering the improvement in consumer sentiment, it is important to remember that this data point (retail sales) and the performance of retail stocks, should not be viewed as an indictment of the U.S. consumer. Rather than a changing consumer, it is a change in consumer buying habits, which is combining to alter not only retail sales figures, but also pricing measures. Consumers are spending: 1) more online, 2) on experiences over goods, and 3) comparison shopping using mobile technology. Consequently, it is very difficult for the department store model to continue charging premium, retail prices.
  • Considering the unemployment rate of 4.4%, wage growth of +2.5% year over year, riding confidence and delayed tax refunds, the near-term (Q2) and longer-term (2017) GDP trajectory appears favorable. Clarity on tax reform could take these numbers even higher.

Macro Notes

  • Excellent earnings season but bar will soon be raised. First quarter earnings season has been excellent by almost any measure. Results beat expectations by more than usual, the overall growth rate is very strong, and guidance has provided above-average support for analysts’ estimates for the balance of 2017. But at the risk of raining on the earnings parade, we would note that comparisons will get tougher as we anniversary the earnings recession trough of 2016, while the risk that the corporate tax reform timetable gets pushed into 2018 has increased. Market participants generally expect fiscal policy to begin to provide an earnings boost by year end, an expectation that has become increasingly tenuous.

 

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  • Chinese industrial production growth weaker than expected. Chinese industrial production growth came in at 6.5% vs. expectations of 7% and down from period month of 7.6%. On an absolute basis, the economy is still on track to meet its growth goals, though it looks like growth may have peaked for the year at the end of the first quarter. The government continues to crack down on excess leverage in the financial system; today’s numbers are unlikely to move them off that path.
  • Japan domestic demand, and prices, rise in April. We normally think of Japan as an export oriented economy, but domestic demand increased over 4% on a year-over-year basis, with the impact felt most strongly in demand for raw materials. Producer prices rose modestly last month against declining expectations and are running at 2.1% annually.
  • Bank of Japan. Just like the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is under some public pressure to outline how it intends to unwind both its zero-interest rate policy and the massive expansion of its balance sheet to 93% of the country’s GDP. Recent statements from BOJ Governor Kuroda suggests such policy announcements may be coming. The more good news that comes out of the Japanese economy, the more pressure the BOJ is under.
  • Win streak snapped, but lack of volatility remains. The S&P 500 snapped its 3-week win streak last week, with a modest 0.3% drop. One thing continued though and that was the incredibly small daily ranges and lack of overall volatility. On the week, the S&P 500 traded in less than a one-percent range (from high to low) for the second consecutive week ( only the third time since 1995). Additionally, the intraday range on Friday was 0.22% – the smallest daily range on a full day of trading in nearly three years.
  • Checking in on small caps. The lack of volatility isn’t just in the blue chips, as the Russell 2000 has traded in a range of only 6.8% over the past 20 weeks. That is the tightest 20-week range since at least 1990. After a big jump in the fourth-quarter, small caps have lagged large caps this year, as they continue to consolidate the late 2016 gains.

MonitoringWeek_header

Tuesday

  • Italy: GDP (Q1)
  • UK: CPI & PPI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: GDP (Q1)

Wednesday

  • Russia: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: GDP (Q1)

Thursday

  • LEI (Apr)
  • ECB: Draghi

 

 

 

 

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: April 24, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • U.S. up, Europe surging in wake of French vote. U.S. equities are tracking global markets higher this morning following yesterday’s first round of the French presidential elections in which Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen finished in the top spots, triggering a run-off vote set for May 7. Friday’s session concluded with the major indexes posting modest losses ahead of the vote, as the S&P 500 (-0.3%) was led lower by the telecom (-1.6%) and financials (-0.9%) sectors, with only utilities (+0.5%) and industrials (+0.1%) finishing positive. Overseas, Asian indexes reacted positively to the French election as the Nikkei (+1.4%) and Hang Seng (+0.4%) gapped higher; the notable exception was the Shanghai Composite (-1.4%), which fell amidst a government crackdown on leverage. European indexes are spiking as the STOXX 600 (+1.8%) benefits from investors betting on the pro-E.U. candidate Macron; Frances’s CAC is up more than 4% to its highest level in nine years. Finally, the yield on the 10-year Treasury has jumped to 2.30%, WTI crude oil (-0.5%) is just below $50/barrel, and COMEX gold ($1271/oz.) has dropped 1.4%.

MacroView_header

  • Solid start to Q1 earnings season. With 95 S&P 500 companies having reported, Thomson-tracked S&P 500 earnings for first quarter 2017 point to an 11.2% year-over-year increase, compared with consensus estimates of +10.2% as of quarter end on April 1, 2017. The early upside has been driven largely by financials, which are tracking to a 19.0% year-over-year increase, more than 4% above quarter-end estimates. Industrials have also surprised to the upside thus far. Conversely, since earnings season began, first quarter earnings estimates have been cut for the consumer discretionary, energy, and telecom sectors, though it is probably too early to call any of these sectors “earnings season losers.” This week (4/24/17-4/28/17) is the busiest week of earnings season with 194 S&P 500 companies slated to report. All of the widely-held sectors are well represented on the earnings calendar, led by industrials.

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  • Leading indicators rise for seventh consecutive month. The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) pushed 0.4% higher in March, ahead of expectations but decelerating from a downwardly revised 0.5% increase in February. Eight of 10 indicators increased in March, led by contributions from the yield curve and strong new manufacturing orders survey data. The LEI has climbed 3.5% year over year, a rate that has historically been associated with low odds of a recession occurring within the next year.
  • The latest Beige Book suggests a steady economy with modest wage pressure. The Federal Reserve (Fed) released its April Beige Book last week ahead of the May 2-3, 2017 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Our Beige Book Barometer (strong words minus weak words) rose to +77 in April, its highest level since +84 in January 2016, indicating continued steady economic growth in early 2017 with some signs of potential acceleration. Words related to wage pressure have held steady over the last six months at levels above the 2015-2016 average, indicating the appearance of modest but still manageable wage pressure.
  • Important period for European markets. This week, we examine the importance of European market earnings, particularly in important sectors like energy and banking. Expectations remain high for earnings growth throughout 2017, which has kept us cautious on investing in European markets. Political risks also remain, but seem to be abating as we get past the first round of French Presidential elections.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Germany: Ifo (Apr)

Tuesday

  • New Home Sales (Mar)

Wednesday

  • BOJ Outlook Report & Monetary Policy Statement
  • BOJ Interest Rate Decision

Thursday

  • Durable Goods Orders (Mar)
  • Eurozone: Consumer Confidence (Apr)
  • ECB Interest Rate Decision
  • Japan: CPI (Mar)

Friday

  • GDP (Q1)
  • UK: GDP (Q1)
  • Eurozone: CPI (Apr)

Saturday

  • EU Leaders Summit
  • China: Mfg. & Non-Mfg. PMI (Apr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: April 17, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks tick higher to begin week. U.S. equities are slightly higher this morning as earnings season ramps up this week with 63 S&P 500 components set to report. Markets moved lower the final three sessions of the last week’s shortened trading week, concluding with a 0.7% loss for the S&P 500 on Thursday which was led lower by energy (-1.9%) and financials (-1.7%). Asian indexes closed mixed overnight, with the Nikkei gaining 0.1%, while China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.7% as a request from the country’s top securities regulator to tighten controls overshadowed an upside surprise to Gross Domestic Product (GDP); European markets are closed for Easter Monday. Meanwhile COMEX gold ($1291/oz.) is near flat, WTI crude oil ($53.03/barrel) is dropping 0.3%, and the yield on the 10-year Note little changed at 2.23%.

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  • First big earnings week on tap. This week 16% of the S&P 500’s market cap will report first quarter 2017 results, highlighted by the financials and industrials sectors. Banks got the season off to a good start late last week, pushing the financials earnings growth rate to near 18% from an estimated 15.6% over the past week. Overall, Thomson-tracked consensus for S&P 500 earnings is calling for a 10.4% year-over-year increase in the quarter; a strong 76% earnings beat rate thus far has lifted overall earnings growth by 0.2% (though just 6% of the S&P 500’s market cap reported last week). Look for our earnings dashboard here on April 24.
  • Consumer prices fell in March. The consumer price index (CPI) fell 0.3% month over month in March, below consensus expectations for a flat reading. Core prices, excluding food and energy, slipped 0.1% month over month, the first sequential decline since January of 2010 and well below consensus estimates of +0.2%. The drop pushed the year-over-year changes in headline and core prices to 2.4% (down from 2.7% in February) and 2.0% (down from 2.2% in February), respectively. The drop in prices was broad based, driven by a combination of wireless phone services, apparel, autos, and housing. We continue to expect two more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve (Fed) in 2017, but the soft data in March may cause markets to at least partially discount the probability of a June hike, which is currently about a coin flip based on fed funds futures markets.
  • Retail sales fell for the second straight month. Following a downward revision to February, retail sales fell for the second straight month in March, slipping 0.2% (vs. consensus of -0.1%), though sales increased by a respectable 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. Core retail sales (excluding autos, gasoline, building materials and food services), rose 0.5% month over month, above expectations, after a downwardly revised 0.2% decline in February. Consumer spending clearly slowed in the first quarter after a strong finish to 2016, but weather, delayed tax refunds, and seasonal quirks in first quarter data in recent years suggest a rebound in the second quarter is likely. Still, first quarter gross domestic product, based on available data to date, is tracking to only about 1%.
  • Upside surprise to Chinese GDP. The Chinese government released its official Q1 GDP report overnight, up 6.9%, better than expectations which generally were in the 6.5%-6.7% range. Economic indicators were up across the board, including growth in Fixed Asset Investment (infrastructure and real estate spending), which is often heavily influenced by government policy, and retail sales. Consumer spending is key to the Chinese government, as it is trying to manage its economy away from infrastructure and heavy industry and toward consumer spending and the service sector.
  • Though many are skeptical regarding Chinese GDP growth figures, what may matter most is how China responds to them. Because the government is signaling that the economic situation is strong, it gives it room to be more aggressive on important issues, primarily the debt problem. Chinese shares were down slightly despite the positive data. Why? Perhaps because of the government’s signal that policy will shift away from supporting the economy (which officially no longer needs the support) and toward dealing with these longer term imbalances.
  • Checking in on technicals, sentiment, and uncertainty. This week we will take a look at market technicals, sentiment, and the ever increasing uncertainty. The good news is market breadth remains strong and globally we are seeing many major markets in uptrends as well. Still, sentiment is a mixed picture and the level of uncertainty remains high. All of this, coupled with the historically low level of market volatility during the first-quarter, makes the potential for higher volatility very likely.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • BOJ: Kuroda Speaks to Trust Companies Association

Wednesday

  • Beige Book
  • Eurozone: Trade Balance (Feb)
  • Eurozone: CPI (Mar)

Thursday

  • Initial Jobless Claims (Apr 15)
  • Conference Board US Leading Index (Mar)
  • Eurozone: Consumer Confidence (Apr)

Friday

  • Existing Home Sales (Mar)
  • Eurozone: Markit Mfg. & Services PMI (Apr)
  • CAD: CPI (Mar)
  • ECB: Current Account (Feb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: March 13, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Traders cautious ahead of Fed decision. The S&P 500 is modestly lower this morning after advancing Friday, led by utilities (+0.8%) and telecom (+0.7), but snapping a six-week winning streak. Energy (-0.1%) lagged, but held up well given the 1.6% drop in the price of oil. Investors are trading cautiously ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, which begins tomorrow; the market has priced in a 25 basis point (0.25%) rate hike. Overnight, Asian markets were led higher by the Hang Seng (+1.1%) and Shanghai Composite (+0.8%); Korea’s KOSPI (+1.0%) continued to climb after the country’s president was removed from office on Friday. European exchanges are mostly higher in afternoon trading, with the STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4%. Meanwhile, WTI crude oil ($48.30/barrel) is higher after last week’s slide, COMEX gold ($1203/oz.) is up modestly, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note is up 0.01% to 2.59%.

MacroView_header

  • Busy week ahead in a very busy month. March is an unusually busy month for global markets. This week, the FOMC meeting, along with Bank of Japan and Bank of England meetings, are accompanied by an election in the Netherlands, a press conference by Chinese Premier Li, and a ton of key U.S. economic data (retail sales, CPI, housing starts, leading indicators). President Trump will release his fiscal year 2018 budget document, the G-20 finance ministers meet in Germany, and the U.S. will hit its debt ceiling.
  • FOMC preview. This week, we ask and answer key questions that investors may have about the Fed and monetary policy ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. With a 0.25% rate hike fully priced in, markets will want to gauge the pace and timing of rate hikes over the rest of 2017 and into 2018, as well as Fed Chair Yellen’s thoughts on fiscal policy and the impact on monetary policy.
  • How much does the current bull market have left in the tank? The bull market celebrated its eighth birthday last Thursday, March 9. During that eight-year period, the S&P 500 rose 250% in price and more than tripled in value (including dividends), leaving many to ask the question: How much does this bull run have left? We try to help answer that question by looking at some of our favorite leading indicators. Although valuations are rich and policy risks are high, none of our favorite leading indicators are sending signals suggesting the bull market is nearing its end.
  • The weekly win streak is over. The S&P 500 ended with a slight gain on Friday to close the week down 0.4% – just missing out on the first seven-week win streak since late 2014 and ending a six-week win streak in the process. The big move last week came in crude oil, as it sank more than 9% for the week – the largest weekly loss since right before the election. Small caps, as measured by the Russell 2000, fell 2.1% and high yield also saw a big drop. Many have noted that weakness in energy, small caps, and high yield could be a warning sign for large caps. We will continue to monitor these developments.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • ECB’s Mario Draghi Speaks in Frankfut
  • China: Retail Sales (Feb)
  • China: Fixed Asset Investment (Feb)
  • China: Industrial Production (Feb)

 Tuesday

  • Small Business Optimism Index (Feb)
  • Germany: ZEW (Mar)

 Wednesday

  • Empire State Mfg. Report (Mar)
  • CPI (Mar)
  • Retail Sales (Mar)
  • FOMC Decision (Rate Hike Expected)
  • FOMC Economic Forecasts and “Dot Plots”
  • Yellen Press Conference
  • General Election in the Netherlands
  • China’s Premier Li Holds Annual Press Conference

 Thursday

  • Philadelphia Fed Mfg. Report (Mar)
  • US Debt Ceiling Reinstated
  • President Trump to Release His FY 2018 Budget
  • UK: Bank of England Meeting (No Change Expected)
  • Japan: Bank of Japan Meeting (No Change Expected)

 Friday

  • Index of Leading Indicators (Feb)
  • G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Germany

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Monthly Market Insights | December 2016

U.S. Markets

A surprise election outcome ignited an unexpected rally that pushed stocks into record territory, as investors anticipated faster economic growth, lower corporate taxes and increased infrastructure spending under the newly elected president.

For the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 5.4 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 3.4 percent, and the NASDAQ Composite rose 2.6 percent.1

Head Fake

The wave of investor selling overseas in response to the U.S. election results threatened to extend to domestic stocks, with U.S. stock futures down sharply prior to the first day of post-election trading. However, instead of dropping, stock prices jumped as investors appeared to focus more on the potential positives of a Trump presidency than its uncertainties.

quote

Along with the rally in prices came a weakening in the strong correlations among industry sectors that have existed for some time now. For example, since the election, the correlation between financial stocks and the S&P 500 Index fell to 0.59, down from 0.89 on November 7.2 (A correlation of 1.0 indicates the two are moving in perfect harmony.)

Correlation Watch

When examined more broadly, a benchmark measuring the anticipated average correlation among stocks dipped to its lowest level since 2008.3  Whether lower correlations become a more permanent feature of the markets remains a question mark.

Long-Term Trend?

Should the larger dispersion of returns among industry sectors persist, the ability of investors to separate leaders from laggards may be met with greater reward than it has been met with in the recent past. In short, a weakening in correlations potentially could mean more opportunities for active managers to outperform popular indexes.3

After posting gains for three straight weeks in November, market momentum stalled in the closing days of trading, despite news that OPEC nations reached an agreement to cut oil production.

Sector Performance

The majority of industry sectors posted strong gains, led by Financials (+12.34 percent) and Industrials (+9.16 percent). Also advancing were Consumer Discretionary (+5.77 percent), Energy (+2.10 percent), Health Care (+2.40 percent), Materials (+5.74 percent) and Technology (+1.33 percent). Meanwhile, Consumer Staples (-2.41 percent), Real Estate (-0.49 percent) and Utilities (-0.39 percent) ended lower.4

us-market-11-2016

World Markets

World markets did not participate in the stock market rally experienced in the U.S., with the MSCI-EAFE Index sliding 2.05 percent for the month.5

Some European markets struggled in November, weighed down by persistent economic weakness and growing concerns about spreading populism in the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. U.K. and Germany closed lower while France posted a slight gain.6

Markets in the Pacific Rim grappled with their own challenges, while Australia managed a slight gain on stronger commodity prices.7

World Markets 11-2016.png

Indicators

Gross Domestic Product: The economy expanded at a rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter, up from the initial estimate of 2.9 percent. This represents the strongest growth in two years.8

Employment: The unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent as employers added 161,000 new nonfarm jobs, while the prior two months saw upward revisions from original estimates. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers jumped 2.8 percent, year-over-year, the largest such increase since June 2009.9

Retail Sales: On the eve of holiday shopping season, retail sales jumped 0.8 percent, while September sales were revised upward to 1.0 percent, from the originally reported 0.6 percent increase. These back-to-back increases represent the best two months in at least two years.10

Industrial Production: Industrial output was unchanged in October as unseasonably warm weather kept home and office heating demands low.11

Housing: Housing starts increased 25.5 percent, the fastest pace since August 2007. Through October-end, starts were higher by 5.9 percent.12

Sales of existing homes increased 2.0 percent, touching a sales level not seen since February 2007.13

New home sales, however, declined 1.9 percent in October, though they are 12.7 percent higher year-to-date over the same 10-month period last year.14

CPI: Consumer prices jumped 0.4 percent from a month earlier. When compared to a year earlier, the increase represents the fastest rate in two years, signaling firming inflationary pressures.15

Durable Goods Orders: Posting the biggest increase in a year, orders of durable goods jumped 4.8 percent in October, propelled by a nearly 100 percent increase in civilian aircraft orders. September’s durable goods orders were revised higher, from an initial decline to a 0.4 percent gain.16

The Fed

In testimony to Congress, Janet Yellen on November 17 reiterated her belief that the U.S. economy is stable enough to absorb an interest rate hike, telling lawmakers that such an increase might come “relatively soon.” Her comments confirmed market expectations of a Fed hike in the federal funds rate at its next meeting on December 13-14.17

What Investors May Be Talking About

December is one of the best performing months on an historical basis. Since 1926, it has experienced the highest number of positive monthly returns of any month, the fewest number of negative returns, the least performance volatility and the second highest average return.18

Since past performance is not indicative of future results, this December’s market performance may turn on how investors respond to the wealth of news that unfolds over the course of the month.

Secrets of the Temple

Perhaps the most critical news might be what the Fed does about the federal funds rate. The Fed has signaled that a hike may be likely in December, though they may reconsider taking action in light of the unexpected election result.

If they move ahead with a rate hike, how the markets will respond may depend on whether this anticipated action has been fully priced in the markets. In the alternative scenario where the Fed delays a rate hike, the market’s response may be even greater, though no one can be sure in which direction such a development would drive stock prices.

Cabinet Positions

There is a Washington D.C adage, “personnel is policy.” This may never be truer when it comes to the incoming Trump presidency. Markets may be watching very closely any news about potential Cabinet appointments as a sign of the policy direction that the new administration may be taking once it assumes office in January.

Markets also are expected to keep an eye on consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of GDP.19 No month is more critical than December for retail sales.

Retail Spending

For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales, with jewelry stores reporting the highest percentage (27.4 percent) during the 2015 holiday season. Overall, last year’s holiday sales represented nearly 20 percent of total retail industry sales.20

As December marks the close of 2016 and represents the gateway to a new year, the uncertainty that reigns over the economic and foreign policies that will be pursued by President-elect Trump may lead to bouts of market skittishness in the weeks and months ahead.

By the Numbers

Beginnings and Endings

Year the first “greenbacks” were issued in the U.S.: 186121
Birth of the mail-order catalog: 174422

The first self-made multimillionaire in America: John Jacob Astor (1763-1848)23Famous hotel co-founded by Astor’s grandson and namesake: The Waldorf-Astoria24
How Astor’s grandson died in 1912: Aboard the Titanic24

First year Social Security taxes were collected: 193725
Size of the first lump-sum Social Security check: 17 cents25

Approximate number of kindergarteners in the U.S.: 3.7 million26
Approximate number of students who graduate from high school each year: 3.5 million26
Percent of graduating seniors who enroll in college the following fall: 68.4%26

Approximate number of new businesses started in the U.S. last year: 680,00027
Share of new businesses that survive 20 years or more: About 1 in 527

Success rate of businesses whose founder has previously started a successful business: 30%28
Success rate for businesses whose founder has previously failed with a start-up: 20%28
Success rate for first-time entrepreneurs: 18%28

Average retirement age: 6329
Share of Americans who plan to “keep working as long as possible:” 27%30

Number of AirBnB users over age 60: 1 million31
Percent of AirBnB hosts over age 60: 10%31

Percentage of retirees who say going on an RV trip is very appealing: 24%31
Most popular bucket list item, according to bucketlist.net: See the Northern Lights32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2016
  2. The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2016
  3. The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2016
  4. Interactive Data Managed Solutions, November 30, 2016
  5. MSCI.com, November 30, 2016
  6. MSCI.com, November 30, 2016
  7. MSCI.com, November 30, 2016
  8. The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2016
  9. The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2016
  10. The Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2016
  11. The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2016
  12. The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2016
  13. The Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2016
  14. The Wall Street Journal, November 23 18, 2016
  15. The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2016
  16. The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2016
  17. The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2016
  18. Yardeni Research, “Stock Market Indicators: Historical Monthly and Annual Returns,” Yardeni Research,” October 2, 2016
  19. The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2016
  20. National Retail Federation, 2016
  21. UScurrency.gov, 2016
  22. Wikipedia, October 20, 2016
  23. Britannica.com, 2016
  24. Encyclopedia-Titanica.org, 2016
  25. Social Security Administration, 2016
  26. NCES.ED.gov, 2016
  27. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 28, 2016
  28. Inc.com, October 21, 2015
  29. SmartAsset.com, October 28, 2016
  30. Bloomberg, May 13, 2016
  31. Forbes, June 3, 2016
  32. BucketList.net, 2016

Source: Lake Avenue Financial

Market Update: November 28, 2016

MarketUpdate_header

  • Markets inch lower to begin data-heavy week. U.S. equities are pulling back modestly this morning as investors pause following a record-setting week for major indexes and ahead of a swath of economic data due out this week, including Friday’s non farm payrolls report. Volatility in WTI crude oil prices is also adding to caution amid doubts a deal will be reached at Wednesday’s OPEC meeting. As expected, Friday’s shortened session saw low volume, and the major averages all moved modestly higher (S&P 500 +0.5%); utilities (+1.4%) and telecom (+1.1%) outperformed, while only the energy sector (-0.4%) lost ground on the day, trading lower alongside a 3% drop in oil. Asian markets finished mostly positive overnight Monday, with the exception of the Nikkei (-0.1%) due to a strengthening yen. Italy’s MIB (-0.9%) is leading the retreat in European stocks ahead of Sunday’s constitutional referendum. Finally, oil is back in positive territory by over 2% ($47.15/barrel) after seeing sharp declines overnight, COMEX gold ($1186/oz.) has advanced 0.6% after touching nine-month lows on Friday, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury is down 2 basis points to 2.33%.

MacroView_header

  • Corporate Beige Book shows improved sentiment among corporate executives, based on the use of more strong words relative to weak ones in earnings conference calls during Q3 2016 earnings season. Talk of recession was virtually non-existent, election comments were minimal, and fewer mentions of currency suggested limited Brexit disruption and reflected a smaller currency drag on earnings. Meanwhile, oil and China continued to garner a lot attention. We believe Q3 results were strong enough to justify the improved tone from corporate executives and support our expectation for mid- to high-single-digit earnings growth in 2017.
  • Soft Black Friday shopping weekend reflects shifting retailer behavior, not consumer weakness. The National Retail Federation (NRF) said shoppers spent 3.5% less over the four-day Black Friday weekend than they did in 2015. The NRF said the decline in spending was a function of earlier promotions and longer-lived discounts. The trade group maintained its 3.6% growth forecast for holiday spending. Within these sales totals, online sales were very strong, rising 18% year over year on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to Adobe, and more people shopped online than in stores over the weekend.
  • OPEC deal in doubt? Headlines are all over the place regarding the likelihood of a deal. Comments out of Saudi Arabia suggesting the oil market would balance itself in 2017 even without a deal, coupled with Iran’s continued push for an exemption, suggested a deal was unlikely. On the flip side, Saudi Arabia’s comments are likely intended to increase negotiating leverage, while Iraq has stated its desire to cooperate with other OPEC members to reach an agreement. This one is tough to call, but our bias would be to buy on weakness in the absence of a deal should oil prices return to $40 a barrel or lower.
  • S&P 500 scores more new highs. The week of Thanksgiving tends to have a bullish bias and that played out this year, as the S&P 500 gained all four days of the week to close higher by 1.4%, the third straight higher weekly close. Interestingly, this was the third consecutive election year that the week of Thanksgiving was higher all four days. In the process, the S&P 500 closed at a new all-time high four consecutive days for the second time this year (it did it in July as well), but the index hasn’t closed at new highs five straight days since November 2014. Speaking of November, the S&P 500 is now up 4.1% for the month, the second best November return going back 14 years. As another way to show how strong the market has been, the S&P 500 hasn’t violated the previous day’s low for an amazing 14 consecutive days, which is the longest streak since 15 in a row in November 2004.
  • Small caps continue to soar. The Russell 2000 (RUT), a proxy for small caps, is up an incredible 15 days in a row. This now ties the streak of 15 in a row from February 1996 for the second-longest win streak ever. The record is 21 straight green days in 1988. Lastly, the RUT has made a new high nine straight days for the first time since September 1997 and the last time it made it to 10 in a row was May 1996.
  • Here comes December. The upcoming month is full of potential market-moving events. Historically, December is a strong month for the S&P 500; since 1950[1], no month sports a better average gain or is positive more often. Still, with the first Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) rate hike of the year likely coming in the middle of the month, the potential for a volatile month is much higher. Factoring in a highly anticipated OPEC meeting, the November employment report, elections in Austria and constitutional referendum in Italy, and a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting – you have all the ingredients for some big market moves in December. We will take a closer look at all of these events, along with the Santa Claus rally.

[1] Please note: The modern design of the S&P 500 stock index was first launched in 1957. Performance back to 1950 incorporates the performance of predecessor index, the S&P 90.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • ECB’s Draghi Speaks in Brussels
  • OECD releases 2017 Economic Outlook

Tuesday

  • GDP (Q3 – Revised)
  • Dudley (Dove)
  • Germany: CPI (Nov)

Wednesday

  • Personal Income and Spending (Oct)
  • Chicago Area PMI (Nov)
  • Beige Book
  • Mester (Hawk)
  • OPEC Meeting in Vienna
  • China: Official Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • China: Official Non-Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • China: Caixin Mfg. PMI (Nov)

Thursday

  • ISM Mfg. (Nov)
  • Vehicle Sales (Nov)
  • Mester (Hawk)

Friday

  • Employment Report (Nov)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. A money market investment is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money markets have traditionally sought to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. Technical Analysis is a methodology for evaluating securities based on statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices, volume and momentum, and is not intended to be used as the sole mechanism for trading decisions. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security’s intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns and trends. Technical analysis carries inherent risk, chief amongst which is that past performance is not indicative of future results. Technical Analysis should be used in conjunction with Fundamental Analysis within the decision making process and shall include but not be limited to the following considerations: investment thesis, suitability, expected time horizon, and operational factors, such as trading costs are examples. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC. 

Market Update: November 21, 2016

© Provided by CNBC

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks higher to begin holiday-shortened week. Equity markets are modestly positive this morning after gaining for the second week in a row; though the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq each fell 0.2% on Friday. The healthcare sector (-1.1%) underperformed, led lower by biotech, while no other sector moved by more than 0.5%. Overseas, both the Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.8% overnight, while European markets are ticking higher in afternoon trading. Elsewhere, last week’s strength in crude oil ($47.65/barrel) has carried over as the commodity is up another 2.8% ahead of next week’s official OPEC meeting in Vienna, COMEX gold ($1214/oz.) is up 0.4%, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury is a couple of basis points lower after finishing the week at 2.34%, its highest close in over a year.

MacroView_header

  • Final earnings push to the finish line. With just a couple dozen S&P 500 companies left to report Q3 2016 results, Thomson-tracked earnings for the index are tracking to a 4.2% year-over-year gain, representing a 5% upside surprise. Excluding the energy sector’s earnings declines, earnings on pace for a solid 7.5% year-over-year gain. As impressive as the Q3 upside has been, the minimal 0.8% drop in estimates since October 1 for the next four quarters, including a small increase over the past week, has been particularly noteworthy and we think bodes well for the next two or three quarters.

earnings-dashboard-11-21-16

  • Another weekly gain for the S&P 500. The S&P 500 gained 0.8% for the week last week, but what is more worthwhile is it did this after gaining more than 3% the week before. Incredibly, this is now 10 consecutive times that the week after a 3% gain was green. Leading the way again were small caps and mid caps, as both the Russell 2000 and S&P 400 Midcap indexes closed at new all-time highs on Friday. The Russell 2000 is now up 11 consecutive days for the longest winning streak since 12 in a row back in 2003.
  • Holiday shopping preview. Although the market’s attention has been squarely on the election for the past several weeks, we should not forget how important this time of year is for the U.S. economy. Consumers are in good shape, with low financial obligations, steady job and wage gains, and high consumer sentiment measures. This, along with retailers’ back-to-school shopping increases and the solid stock market performance in 2016, suggest the National Retail Federation’s 3.6% forecast for year-over-year holiday sales growth may be doable. We do not necessarily expect these sales gains to translate into outperformance for the consumer sectors, but we do not expect them to spook markets.
  • Housing, manufacturing, and the consumer in focus this week as investors await the OPEC meeting. While a high-level OPEC meeting is set for Monday and Tuesday this week, the official OPEC meeting in Vienna isn’t until November 30. Until then, investors will digest Black Friday sales figures, which have become much less important in recent years, along with data on home sales, durable goods orders, and the Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing. The Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) will release the minutes of its November 1-2, 2016 meeting this week as well. Other than the key German IFO data for November, it’s a fairly quiet week for international events and data, aside from a speech by European Central Bank (ECB)President Mario Draghi early in the week.
  • Welcome to Thanksgiving week. Historically the week of Thanksgiving has had a slight bullish bias, as do most trading days around major holidays. Over the past 20 years, the average return during the week of Thanksgiving for the S&P 500 has been 0.8%, positive 65% of the time (13 out of 20). Looking at the day-by-day performance, Monday has the best average return, up 0.5%, although Wednesday has been higher more often, 70% of the time. Surprisingly, the best Thanksgiving week over that timespan was 2008, when all four days were green and the S&P gained 12.0%. The worst? All four days in 2011 were red and the index fell 4.7%.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • OPEC Meeting in Vienna
  • ECB’s Draghi Speaks in Strasbourg

Tuesday

  • OPEC Meeting in Vienna

Wednesday

  • Durable Goods Orders and Shipments (Oct)
  • Markit Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • FOMC Minutes
  • Eurozone: Markit Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • Japan: Nikkei Mfg. PMI (Nov)

Thursday

  • Germany: Ifo

Friday

  • Advance Report on Goods Trade Balance (Oct)

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. A money market investment is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money markets have traditionally sought to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. Technical Analysis is a methodology for evaluating securities based on statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices, volume and momentum, and is not intended to be used as the sole mechanism for trading decisions. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security’s intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns and trends. Technical analysis carries inherent risk, chief amongst which is that past performance is not indicative of future results. Technical Analysis should be used in conjunction with Fundamental Analysis within the decision making process and shall include but not be limited to the following considerations: investment thesis, suitability, expected time horizon, and operational factors, such as trading costs are examples. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Amazon May Face Heat From Margins, Competition

Provided by CNBC

After a breakout 2015, is Amazon(AMZN) losing its luster? While its stock price is likely to tick higher, narrowing margins could weigh on investors, analysts told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Monday.

At $593.19, shares of the tech-driven retailer are 12 percent lower so far this year after a January earnings reportsent the stock tumbling. Now the company’s dominance in cloud computing is facing more competition as industry laggard Google (GOOGL) poaches customers.

Raymond James internet analyst Aaron Kessler downgraded the stock last month, calling for a price target of $655, down from more than $700.

“We’re still positive, but I would say we see the pace of margin expansion to slow,” Kessler said Monday.

While Amazon’s disruption of the retail and cloud space has been “phenomenal,” there are concerns, said Bob Peck, internet equity analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who has a price target of $600 on the stock.

“[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos has recently given you several quarters of margin expansion, letting it flow to the bottom line,” Peck said. “Investors love to see that. If you look back historically, he then tends to reinvest … you’ll see margins under pressure as we go forward here.”

Peck values Amazon’s cloud business, Amazon Web Services, at $100 billion and said his research shows that the business is positioned well in spite of competition. Still, Google and Facebook (FB) are Peck’s top stock picks in the internet sector, while Kessler recently upgraded Twitter (TWTR).

Amazon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

“[Amazon is] going to see a little more competition on the AWS side, so I think just the perception of more competition could be a concern,” Kessler said.

Written by Anita Balakrishnan of CNBC

(Source: MSN)

Nike Will Sell Actual Self-Lacing Sneakers, Just Like Back to the Future

 

The Verge

Nike just announced a self-lacing shoe called the HyperAdapt 1.0, bringing to life the dream that sneaker fans have shared since Back to the Future II premiered almost 30 years ago.

When you step into the HyperAdapt 1.0 your heel hits a sensor that automatically tightens the laces, according to the Nike website. Wearers can adjust the tightness of the fit with buttons on either side of the shoe.

Nike did make real-life versions of the self-lacing Air Mag sneakers from Back to the Future, and the company spent years teasing the public about them, but the company never intended them for the mass market. Late last year Nike gave a pair to Michael J. Fox, and even announced plans to sell them in extremely limited quantities, but that seemed to be the end of it all.

Now we have the HyperAdapt 1.0, which shares the same tech that Nike used in those commemorative Air Mags, but comes in a much more consumer-ready form factor. It will actually be sold to regular customers this year, though you’ll only be able to buy a pair if you’re a member of the company’s fitness portal, Nike+. They will be available during the holiday season in three colors, according to Nike.

While the adaptive laces on the HyperAdapt 1.0 can be manually controlled, Nike is hinting that much more automatic versions of the technology could be seen in the future. Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield says in a statement that sneaker could eventually sense when you need a tighter or looser fit and adjust on the fly. “That’s where we’re headed,” he says.

Written by Sean O’Kane of The Verge

(Source: The Verge)

Weekly Market Recap: February 17, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 5.04.41 PM

The week in review

  • Job openings up to 5.6 m
  • Retail sales up 0.2% m/m
  • Import prices down 6.2% y/y
  • Export prices down 5.7% y/y
  • Business inventories up 0.1% y/y
  • Consumer sent. down to 90.7

The week ahead

  • Housing starts
  • Final demand producer prices
  • Empire State mfg. survey
  • Philly Fed survey
  • FOMC minutes
  • Consumer price index

For more information please visit the Source below.

(Source: JPMorgan)