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Apr 22, 2019

CNN Video I Tapper shows how the Trump team's contact with Russia evolved

Health Care Stocks Analysis | Analyzing the Extreme Selling in Health Care Stocks

By Lucas Downey Updated Apr 22, 2019



Waves transfer energy, not matter, meaning that water can bob up and down without moving side to side because it's riding on a wave of energy. They have crests and troughs, and a wave's height is the distance from trough to peak.
When we think about a surfer escaping a crashing wave, we might be missing something. It's what's going on underneath the wave that matters. Waves don't collapse until they reach depths of 1.3 times their height. It's when waves get to shallow water that they tumble forward and trip. But don't let that fool you – waves can be very powerful. A typical tsunami length is 100 times its depth. So, a 13,200-foot-deep wave can travel 440 miles per hour – about as fast as a commercial jet.
Markets are cyclical – like waves in a pool. A lot of little waves mostly move together. When all waves move together, they can slap up over the top of the pool, sometimes enough to knock over something important, like a wine glass. (This is an adult pool we're talking about.) That's like when the whole market falls – all sectors move more-or-less in tandem downward, and the collective energy is amplified. Sectors also can crest and trough individually. Let's look at what's crashing around the pool of the S&P 500.
Value won this short week in a small-scale rotation. Investors moved capital out of growth and small caps into "safer" perceived stocks such as those in the Dow Jones Industrial Average – the best performer of the big four indexes. The Russell 2000 was down 1.2%, and the S&P 500 finished slightly lower. The NASDAQ was slightly higher, largely due to semiconductors.
When we look at the individual sectors, it's clear that growth continues. Information technology, industrials and consumers were all up nicely. Again, the PHLX Semiconductor Index was having a week, posting a +4% performance for a total gain of 45.7% since Christmas. That's a gain of 0.39% per day including weekends. Remember, we're not talking about a single stock, but an index of 30 of them! Let's put that into perspective: if you bought a $500,000 house on Christmas Eve, at the same growth rate, your house would be worth $655,000 today and nearly $3.6 million five years after the day you bought it.
Moderate market pain points were localized to real estate and utilities. These are rate-sensitive securities and are often chucked aside when growth is in the air. Real estate shed 3.2%, and utilities lost 1.6%.
 FactSet

Health Care's Cause for Gauze

And then there was health care. The wave crashed. Last week saw a bludgeoning of the S&P 500 Health Care Sector Index of -4.39%. It's the weakest performing index since Christmas and the whipping boy for right now.
But do you recall when Hilary Clinton came out and said she had her eye on health care around August 2015? The sector got pounded, only to come back swinging, and I believe that this is a similar setup. One underlying story is that health care will be a big issue for the upcoming election. Democrats will push for Medicare for All, and Trump is openly against the "thievery of big pharma." The news cycle paints a lose-lose situation for health care companies.
Health care saw unusual selling in approximately 30% of the stocks we track last week. It's a clear outlier, and the story makes sense.
www.mapsignals.com 
Stories are nice, but we live in a data-driven world. Selling ripped through health, but I noticed that, while the sector is scoring very weakly technically for us, telecom is still a much weaker sector in terms of fundamentals. We looked at prior times of intense health care selling and what that meant for forward returns. Based on the findings, there is cause for pause and gauze.
Wednesday's data alone showed that over 28% of our health care universe returned an unusual institutional (UI) sell signal. To put this rare event into perspective:
  • Year to date, before Wednesday, the daily average percentage of health care stocks showing UI sell signals was 1.52%.
  • Going back to 2013, including Wednesday, there have been only 14 trading days where 25% or more of our health care universe has shown UI selling.
Below are all days where 25% or more of our health care universe saw unusual selling since 2013. At first glance, there tends to be more days of extreme selling after the first day of big selling. This indicates more bumps ahead.
www.mapsignals.com
Extreme selling days are rare, but while the average forward return for health care is inconclusive, it's not strong. However, one thing I know is that people won't stop getting sick. When the rotation is over, there will be great bargains.
Before you worry about the state of health care tomorrow, "Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." – Dale Carnegie

The Bottom Line

We (Mapsignals) continue to be bullish on U.S. equities in the long term, and we see any pullback as a buying opportunity. Health care stocks saw immense selling last week, suggesting that the near-term trend is likely range bound.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in any securities mentioned at the time of publication.

Source: Investopedia

FX | Currencies | Dollar lower in holiday-thin trade, oil drives loonie, rouble gains

3 minutes




Reusable US dollar
The U.S. dollar has regained some strength in recent weeks.
Getty Images
The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies in thin holiday-impacted trading on Monday, while a jump in the price of oil on news that Washington will end sanctions waivers for major Iranian oil importers boosted the Canadian dollar and the Russian rouble.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was 0.19% lower at 97.28. The index hit a two-week high of 97.485 late last week.
Against the Japanese yen the dollar was about flat, while the euro was 0.10% higher against the greenback.
Financial markets in Australia, Hong Kong and many major countries in Europe are closed on Monday for the Easter holiday. Currency trading continues globally but volume is expected to be light.
“With much of the market still out on Easter and Passover related holidays there is not a whole lot to chew on to start the week,” said Brad Bechtel, global head of FX at Jefferies, in New York.
The greenback has found support in recent weeks on the back of a gradual rise in U.S. 10-year Treasury yields and signs of strength in the world’s top economy, including better-than-expected retail sales in March, following a weak start to the year.
Traders will be keenly watching the U.S. GDP report due Friday for further clues on the health of the U.S. economy, analysts said.
On Monday, crude oil prices were the biggest driving force in currency markets, analysts said.
Brent crude topped $74 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November, as the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to eliminate all waivers issued to eight economies that had allowed them to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions.
With the jump in the price of oil, one of Canadas major exports, the Canadian dollar rose 0.36% against its U.S. counterpart.
The rouble hit its highest level against the euro since last April and a one month-peak versus the dollar on Monday, driven by the jump in oil prices and local month-end taxes that boost demand for the Russian currency.
Sterling was a shade lower at $1.2982, dipping below the $1.30 handle and nearly 0.4 percent off a two-month low of $1.2945 hit last month. The currency is now at its least volatile in years as investors await a breakthrough in Britain’s European Union divorce process.

Source: CNBC

Bond Yields Report on Monday 22, 2019 | Treasury yields move higher ahead of home sales data

Holly Ellyatt



U.S. government debt yields were little changed Monday as investors continued to monitor economic data.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.57% while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 2.977%. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
Bond traders could see a quieter day Monday as markets re-open following the Easter break. Existing home sales data for March, due 10.00 a.m. ET, will be in focus for traders.
The Chicago Fed’s monthly update on economic activity suggested a pickup in March led by employment-related indicators. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) rose to –0.15 in March from –0.31 in February. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from February. However, the Chicago Fed said that three of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in March.

Source: CNBC

Wall Street Closing Report on Monday 22, April 2019 | Stocks end the day little changed as Wall Street braces for a corporate earnings deluge

Fred Imbert


Xinhua | Wang Ying via Getty Images | Xinhua News Agency
Halliburton and Kimberly-Clark are among the companies that reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Monday morning. Their shares rose 0.3% and 6.1%, respectively.
So far, the majority of corporate earnings reports have topped expectations. FactSet data shows 76.5% of the S&P 500 companies that have posted earnings have surpassed analyst estimates. Analysts came into the season with low expectations, forecasting a 4.2% drop in profits.
"First-quarter earnings are coming in slightly better, so it's removed some of the concern from the market," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth. "But not enough to move investors out of the sidelines."
"I think that's one of the reasons the market is consolidating," he said.
Sentiment was also muted on Monday after the South China Morning Post reported China's policy-making committee will pursue structural changes to its economy, rather than add stimulus. Chinese stocks closed sharply lower overnight, with the Shanghai Composite losing 1.7% while the Shenzhen A Shares index declined 1.5%.
Wall Street also focused on the oil market as U.S. crude rose 2.7% after the Trump administration said it will not allow the purchase of Iranian oil by some countries. The move could take about 1 million barrels per day out of the oil market. Energy shares rose along with oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) traded 2% higher, led by Marathon Oil and Devon Energy.
Investors came into Monday's session after a mixed weekly performance. The Dow and Nasdaq posted marginal gains last week, while the S&P 500 snapped a three-week winning streak.
Still, the major indexes remain within striking distance of record highs set last year. The Dow and Nasdaq are both 1.6% below their all-time highs while the S&P 500 is 1.2% away from reaching its intraday record.
John Davi, chief investment officer at Astoria Portfolio Advisors, said positioning in stocks is "still fairly light," adding: "A better-than-expected earnings season is probably needed for people to get more comfortable."
Still, "companies are doing OK relative to what was priced into the market," he said. "I think we probably break the all-time high and then we consolidate more towards the summer."
On the data front, existing home sales for March fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million. The drop last month came after an 11.2% surge in February.
—CNBC's Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report

Source: CNBC


Opinion | A brutal Sunday for Trump

By Jennifer Rubin




Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Trump, speaks in Portsmouth, N.H. Charles Krupa/AP) (Charles Krupa/AP)


Jennifer Rubin
Opinion writer covering politics and policy, foreign and domestic
The full impact of Robert S. Mueller III’s report is beginning to register with both Democrats and President Trump’s apologists. If the Sunday shows were any guide, it’s going to be tough sledding for Trump’s spin squad.
Kellyanne Conway on ABC’s “This Week” chose simply to lie about the report. She denied the report left the decision on obstruction up to Congress. She danced away when presented with Trump’s explicit statement that he never wanted to fire Mueller and with the report’s findings that he told then-White House counsel Donald McGahn to fire Mueller. A small snippet of the exchange demonstrates her abject dishonesty in lying about a report documenting Trump’s lies:
[MARTHA] RADDATZ: I do want to talk about Russian interference, but I want to get a clear answer on Don McGahn. Do you believe Don McGahn when he says the president tried to get him to fire Bob Mueller?
CONWAY: I believe the president was frustrated about the investigation from the very beginning and knew it was ill-conceived. And I would remind everybody of something that gets zero coverage, which is, days before …
RADDATZ: Please answer that question, Kellyanne. It’s the only question …
CONWAY: You’ve got to ask Don McGahn and the president. I can only talk about …
RADDATZ: It is in the Mueller report and Don McGahn said he’s telling the truth, under oath …
CONWAY: I don’t believe — I don’t believe it amounts to obstruction of justice and if it had, then Mueller would have said this is obstruction of justice …
RADDATZ: But do you believe Don McGahn?
CONWAY: I believe that Don McGahn is an honorable attorney who stayed on the job 18 months after this alleged incident took place and that, if he were being asked to obstruct justice or violate the constitution or commit a crime — help to commit a crime by the president of the United States, he wouldn’t have stayed. I certainly wouldn’t stay. The president is — was rightly frustrated and trying to, like everybody else tries to do, make an ill-conceived, illegitimate investigation that’s produced no collusion, no criminal conspiracy, no indictment, no impeachment of this president.
He was trying to make it go away because he says, on page 61 — on page 61 of Volume 2 — people should read it — the — Mueller admits that the president is rightly frustrated that he thinks this ill-conceived investigation is going to affect his ability to go forward with foreign policy and his domestic agenda. He’s been under a cloud from day one even though on January 6 …
“Frustration” is no defense to obstruction of justice. In fact, it is a motive.
When guests behave as Conway did, it is best for the host to explicitly state the guest is not answering the question and/or is lying.
That’s what Fox News’s Chris Wallace did with Rudolph W. Giuliani when he tried to assert that Trump was exonerated on obstruction. (“But, Mayor, that’s not true. The Mueller report makes a clear, especially on the issue of … obstruction … that he’s leaving it to Congress.”)
At other times, the Trump team just attacked Mueller, whose work they were touting just days ago:
WALLACE: Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect noncriminal personal interests to protect against investigations for underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment.
Mueller says the injury to the justice system is just as great. It doesn't matter whether there was an underlying crime. It's still obstruction.
GIULIANI: Well, when did Mueller become god? Mueller says the injury to the justice system is still as great — there was no injury, by the way. We’re talking about an inchoate crime. We’re talking about something that didn’t happen.
And then there is the tactic of confessing to conduct that all but the Trump cult would consider to be a betrayal of one’s country and our democracy. On “Meet the Press,” Giuliani tried to condone using WikiLeaks, a Russian cut-out, to win the election:
CHUCK TODD:
Why did the president trumpet WikiLeaks so many times?
RUDY GIULIANI:
Because they were putting out things that were true and very, very damaging to Hillary Clinton. Of course, of course you would want things that are —
CHUCK TODD:
And you knew this was a — but you at the time even sort of knew that these were stolen by foreign —
RUDY GIULIANI:
I didn't.
CHUCK TODD:
— folks.
RUDY GIULIANI:
I did not. I knew WikiLeaks had them. It’d be like the Pentagon Papers. I mean, Pentagon Papers were stolen. They were stolen from the, from the, from the Department of Defense. My god, that’s horrible. During, during and about a war —
CHUCK TODD:
This is a foreign adversary though. This is a foreign adversary, someone who many —
RUDY GIULIANI:
What's the difference between a spy and a foreign adversary?
CHUCK TODD:
One works for the United States of America and one doesn't.
RUDY GIULIANI:
Well, wait a second. Wait a second.
CHUCK TODD:
Doesn't one work for the United States of America and one doesn't?
RUDY GIULIANI:
Clearly, stealing classified documents is theft. Now, there were overriding reasons for it, but it’s still theft. Legally, it’s the same thing. Morally, it’s the same thing. And the reality is, here’s the thing that’s really interesting about it. And I don’t want to dispute this too much. But everything they put out about Hillary Clinton was true. They didn’t make things up. They shouldn’t have stolen it. But the American people were just given more information about how deceptive, how manipulative her people and her campaign were. …
CHUCK TODD:
But in 2016, I'm just curious. In 2016, the intelligence services knew that WikiLeaks was not a journalistic enterprise anymore. It may have started that way. That it was serving as a front for essentially foreign adversary intelligence dumps.
RUDY GIULIANI:
Right.
CHUCK TODD:
Why did the president think it was ethical to essentially trumpet what WikiLeaks was doing?
RUDY GIULIANI:
Well, if I’m, if I’m — even in law enforcement, if I’m running an investigation and all of a sudden evidence is given to me about the criminality of the person I’m investigating, even if it comes from a, from a questionable source, I’m going to use that information. And there was nothing, nothing to suggest that this was manufactured evidence. Everything printed about —
CHUCK TODD: But does it bother you at all that a foreign adversary wanted to manipulate our elections?
RUDY GIULIANI:
Sure it does. Absolutely.
CHUCK TODD:
So why participate in helping in their manipulation?
RUDY GIULIANI:
Nobody's participating in it.
CHUCK TODD:
Trumpeting WikiLeaks is participating in it.
RUDY GIULIANI:
No, it is not. It is not. That’s not at all participating in it. …
But of course holding up the fruits of hacked material obtained by a Russian cut-out is “participating” in the plot, just as his campaign team attending a meeting in Trump Tower with the hope of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians constituted “participating” in a foreign government’s interference with our election.
Let’s not gloss over what Giuliani in essence is saying: Yeah, why not let a foreign power help him win?! (Someone should ask Trump if he intends to ask Russia to help him out again in 2020.) No, in a democracy we — not a foreign dictator — get to pick our leaders. (In case you think this might have been a slip of the tongue, Giuliani repeated this argument on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He told Jake Tapper that “there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”)
In short, Giuliani acknowledges that Trump, just as Mueller said in the report, eagerly looked to Russia to help win the presidency. If Trump really cannot acknowledge that such conduct is a betrayal of our sovereign country, he has no business being its president. It’s ironic for a president who was obsessed with Democrats’ trying to delegitimize his presidency to defend himself by acknowledging he looked to Russian hackers to win the election.
The administration is trapped in its own spin. Having claimed vindication by the report, Trump and his flunkies now must deny what is in it, avoid answering questions for which there is no good answer and/or deny that getting help from a hostile power betrays our country. That might get the administration through a news cycle or two, but at some point a significant majority of Americans may conclude Trump is a menace to our Constitution — to our sovereignty — and must be ejected before he can do more harm.
Read more:

Crude Oil Price Report on Monday 22, April 2019 | Oil surges 3% to nearly 6-month highs as US aims to cut Iran's crude exports to zero

Tom DiChristopher, Weizhen Tan



Oil prices surged about 3% at midday on Monday, hitting fresh 2019 highs, after the Trump administration announced that all oil buyers will have to end imports from Iran in just over a week or be subject to U.S. sanctions.
The administration said the State Department will cease granting sanctions waivers to any country still importing Iranian crude or condensate, an ultra-light form of crude oil, after May 2.
Brent crude futures shot up more than 3% to $74.52 per barrel around midday, sailing past last week’s 2019 high at $72.27 and hitting the highest level since Nov. 1, 2018. Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, was last up $2.26, or 3.1%, at $74.23 per barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $1.75, or 2.7%, to $65.75 per barrel, after earlier hitting $65.92, the highest level since Oct. 31, 2018. WTI had been trading sideways after hitting a five-month high at $64.79 nearly two weeks ago.

Crude futures first hit new 2019 highs following report by the Washington Post on the Trump administration’s new policy.
The surprise move is driving the breakout in oil prices, said Michael Bradley, equity strategist at investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt.
“Crude markets were taken by surprise today as the Trump administration indicated it WON’T renew waivers that lets countries purchase Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions,” he said in a research note. “Many expected that the US would take tougher action on the waiver front, but most DIDN’T expect an announcement of zero waivers.”
The U.S. reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of a nuclear accord struck in 2015 between Iran and world powers. Washington, however, granted eight of Iran’s biggest oil buyers exemptions that allowed them limited purchases for an additional six months.
The eight buyers are China and India — Iran’s biggest customers — as well as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece, and Taiwan. The waivers have allowed Iran to continue exporting about 1 million barrels per day, down from roughly 2.5 million bpd last year.
The decision to end the waivers comes as oversupply is rapidly draining from the oil market following several months of production cuts led by Saudi Arabia. The top oil exporter is spearheading an effort by OPEC and other producers, including Russia, to keep 1.2 million barrels per day off the market.
“The market reaction you’re seeing right now is because we are in a tight situation supply-wise because of the efforts of Saudi Arabia over the past several months,” John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.
Brent prices have risen by 38% and U.S. crude is up nearly 45% this year following a collapse in the cost of crude in the final months of 2018.
In a statement, the White House said the U.S. will work with OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom will “coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance.”
“In the next few weeks, the Kingdom will be consulting closely with other producing countries and key oil consuming nations to ensure a well-balanced and stable oil market, for the benefits of producers and consumers as well as the stability of the world economy,” Falih said in a statement.
OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet at the end of June to decide whether to lift the production caps or continue suppressing output.
A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry and Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs denounced the U.S. policy towards Iran following the announcement.
Of the buyers of Iranian oil, India could suffer the most from Washington’s move, said Daryl Liew, head of portfolio management at financial services company Reyl Singapore.
“I think India is probably one of the key potential countries that might suffer from a higher oil price, in terms of their current account deficit, for example. And that’s going to be basically putting pressures on inflationary pressures as well,” Liew said, speaking on CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday.
Meanwhile, major OPEC oil producer Libya’s capital Tripoli was hit by a series of airstrikes and explosions over the weekend, in escalating violence that could threaten oil supply further.
The country has been torn by conflict since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya is on the cusp of full-scale civil war after an eastern military leader ordered his forces into Tripoli, the seat of a rival, United Nations-recognized government.
The situation in Libya could lead to a rapid drop in oil production, said Kang Wu, head of analytics for Asia at S&P Global Platts.
“Libya is producing 1.1 million barrels per day. If things go wrong, immediately somewhere around 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day of oil may be affected,” he said.
“A lot depends on how Saudi Arabia will react to the situation — they have surplus capacity — but supply concerns will keep pressure on oil prices in the short term,” Wu added.
— Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

Gold Price Report | Gold holds steady on weaker dollar, US-Iran tensions

Tom DiChristopher




Reusable Gold Bullion
Gold steadied on Monday, holding above a near four-month low touched the previous session on support from a weaker dollar and expectations the United States would further restrict Iranian oil exports.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,275.26 per ounce. On Thursday, it touched $1,270.63, its lowest since Dec. 27. The market was closed on Friday.
U.S. gold futures for June delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1,277.20 an ounce.
“They (U.S.) have taken an aggressive move by not extending the waivers. There are some geo-political risks and a bit of safe-haven demand” for gold, said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
He said a weaker dollar and lower equities were also supporting bullion.
Oil topped $74 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November, as the United States was set to announce a further clampdown on Iranian oil exports.
Wall Street equities were trading lower, weighed down by technology shares, which helped bullion accumulate safe-heaven bids.
“There is some risk aversion in the marketplace to start the trading week, as the U.S. is ratcheting up its economic sanctions on Iran,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals in a note.
The dollar was down 0.2 percent, making bullion cheaper for investors holding other currencies.
On the technical front, gold’s break below key support levels, including the 100- and 50-day moving averages last week, signalled a further downside to prices, analysts and traders said.
“Technically, the gold bears have the overall near-term technical advantage,” Wyckoff said.
Meanwhile, speculators switched to a net short position in COMEX gold in the week to April 16, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped to 751.68 tonnes on Thursday, the lowest levels seen since Oct. 26.
Among other metals, silver rose 0.6 percent to $15.01 per ounce.
Platinum fell 0.1 percent, to $899.81 per ounce and Palladium was down 0.7 percent to $1,412.61, having earlier climbed to its highest in more than two weeks at $1,429.91 an ounce.

Source: CNBC



Buy Gold Coins And Gold Bullion | APMEX®

5-7 minutes



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Trump says he won't nominate Herman Cain for Fed seat

By POLITICO STAFF



Herman Cain
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
President Donald Trump said Monday that he would not nominate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve after the former GOP presidential candidate asked him not to.
Senate Republicans had warned the White House against naming the businessman and 2012 presidential hopeful to serve on the body's board of governors.
Story Continued Below
"My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board," Trump tweeted. "I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!"

Source: Politico

Kitco News Video | Frank Holmnes: Corrections Are "A Buyer's Opportunity"

Europe Markets Closing Report on Monday, April 22, 2019 I European stocks close higher as investors shrug off weak data, look to strong earnings


Chloe Taylor, Ryan Browne


European stocks closed higher on the final day of a shortened trading week, as investors looked past weak euro zone data to fresh corporate earnings.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed provisionally up almost 0.2%, with sectors and major bourses largely in positive territory.
Equities initially turned negative after the release of weak manufacturing PMI numbers out of France and Germany. German manufacturing data came in below expectations, while France’s data also showed a decline in output.
PMI data for the euro zone came also came in below forecasts, stoking concerns of a slowdown in the region. The euro fell to a one-week low against the dollar after the figures were released.
But investors soon turned their attention to corporate earnings, with results from consumer goods giant Unilever and energy management firm Schneider Electric beating expectations. The two companies’ share prices rose toward the top of the European benchmark, both up around 3%.
On the other end, French luxury group Kering tumbled close to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after the company’s earnings narrowly beat estimates on Wednesday and growth at flagship brand Gucci cooled. Shares of the Paris-listed stock fell nearly 5%.
Elsewhere, sterling also declined against the dollar, falling to around $1.3001 despite the U.K. posting strong retail sales figures for March.
On Wall Street, stocks gave up most of their earlier gains on Thursday as losses in the health-care sector continued for a third straight day.
The U.S. corporate earnings season also continued on Thursday as companies like Honeywell and BB&T reported better-than-expected profits.
So far, more than 78% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.

Source: CNBC

Politics I Democrats Make Sure Trump Can’t Escape Mueller

By Shannon Pettypiece and Justin Sink



Donald Trump returned from a long Easter weekend in Florida to a new political landscape, one where his administration is at last freed from Robert Mueller’s pursuit yet laid bare in all its dysfunction by the special counsel’s report.
Trump arrived Thursday to his Mar-a-Lago resort with the swagger of a conquering hero, after Mueller reiterated that he had found no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. The president high-fived supporters at the Palm Beach airport and pumped his fists.
But in Florida, storms regather quickly. Lawmakers back in Washington as well as the media focused on Mueller’s depiction of a president who repeatedly sought to interfere in the Russia investigation while deceiving the public about his actions.
Congressional panels moved to schedule testimony by Mueller and Attorney General William Barr. Democratic presidential candidates called for impeachment proceedings. The president’s mood appeared to sour as he absorbed the developments, with a series of tweets Easter morning griping about the report and its news coverage.
Trump, though, insisted on Twitter that he had “never been happier or more content.” Asked outside church on Sunday if he felt betrayed by aides who cooperated with Mueller, Trump paused as if to respond. But he only offered a grin and a wave.

Tricky Decisions

Both Trump and and his opponents face tricky political decisions in the weeks to come.
Democrats broadly desire to keep Mueller’s report in the spotlight. But while the party’s presidential candidates and many activists have demanded Trump be held accountable, its congressional leaders fear that pursuing impeachment could backfire and wind up strengthening the president, similar to the Republican attempt to remove President Bill Clinton from office.
“We will have to decide, do we nonetheless go through an impeachment because to do otherwise would signal that somehow this president’s conduct is OK, that future presidents can engage in this kind of corruption without consequence?” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on "Fox News Sunday." “Or do we decide that we’re better off doing the oversight through the context of oversight hearings rather than a formal impeachment?”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a call with her caucus on Monday to discuss strategy.
Many of Trump’s advisers, meanwhile, would like to put the report behind them and focus on policies and messaging that they believe will help him win re-election in 2020 -- emphasizing the strength of the economy and his effort to secure the U.S. southern border and crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
But the president, who has frequently described himself as a counter-puncher, has no intention of letting go the “witch hunt” so long as his opponents insist on talking about it.
Over the weekend, he pinned an attack on Senator Mitt Romney to the top of his Twitter feed. The Utah Republican issued one of the most blistering criticisms of Trump’s behavior, saying in a statement on Thursday that he was “sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the president.”
Trump in response mocked the senator for his loss to Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

McGahn Attacked

Trump’s lawyers meanwhile may be reconsidering whether to release a rebuttal to Mueller’s report they said they were assembling. His attorney Jay Sekulow said last week that they had nothing more to say on the matter. But on Sunday, Rudy Giuliani said that “there will be a point at which we’ll put it out. Not tomorrow, not the next day. Then we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
Giuliani and other Trump allies leveled many of their attacks over the weekend against former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who spoke extensively with Mueller about Trump’s efforts to impede the investigation. The criticism was perceived as an indication of the president’s own anger toward McGahn. But the public lashing only served to focus attention on the former White House lawyer’s account of some of Trump’s more outrageous actions.
Trump’s advisers are optimistic that Democrats will overplay their hand by focusing on Mueller’s report rather than issues such as immigration and health care that they believe are more resonant with voters. As long as they do, Trump will continue with his counter-narrative: The investigation was part of a so-called “deep state” conspiracy, essentially a coup -- a message that is well-received among the president’s devoted base.
“The president would be smart to continue hammering on potential illegality that went into the formation of the investigation,” said Jason Miller, a former spokesman for the Trump campaign. “Democrats are never going to stop.”
Indeed, they too face demands from their base. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was the first major Democratic presidential candidate to call for Trump’s impeachment in the aftermath of the report, called it a “point of principle.”

Source: Bloomberg

Markets I Tech Stocks Are the New Black

The Wall Street Journal.
Markets Bear logo.
Markets
Welcome back. Amrith Ramkumar with you setting up trading for the week ahead.
Stock futures are slightly lower, with major indexes still hovering near record levels. Investors are looking ahead to a first look at first-quarter GDP scheduled for Friday. 
U.S. crude-oil prices are surging on reports that the State Department is expected to announce the end of waivers for countries to import Iranian oil. 
It's a packed week on the earnings calendar, with Whirlpool on deck after the market closes today and tech behemoths Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon slated for later in the week. Results from industrial stalwarts United Technologies, Boeing and Caterpillar are also on tap. 
Plus, our Michael Wursthorn explains why some investors expect the market's favorite internet stocks to keep rising after earnings. 
 

Markets in a Minute

Markets Data
 

Overnight Developments

  • The Shanghai Composite slumped Monday, while European markets were closed for Easter Monday ahead of a packed week of earnings.
 

Low Interest Rates Push Investors Back to FANG

Highflying tech stocks are back in favor as major indexes near records. 
Wall Street’s FANG gang is growing again.
Big money managers and other investors are again buying shares of Facebook, Amazon.com, Netflix, Google parent Alphabet and shares of other fast-growing companies, as the prospects of interest rates remaining low and a still-expanding U.S. economy have pushed investors back into one of the bull market's most profitable trades.
The so-called FANG companies, as well as Apple and Microsoft, have gained $872.5 billion in market value so far this year, nearly recouping the $945 billion in losses those stocks suffered in a punishing fourth-quarter selloff. Their increase has contributed heavily to the S&P 500’s 14% gain since January.
Unlike last year, when the quick rise of technology and other growth stocks spooked investors, several say conditions are ripe for these companies to run higher.
They have still-attractive valuations, and the expectations are that many of those companies will continue to outgrow the broader market.
“The climate couldn’t be any more different from last year,” said Denny Fish, a portfolio manager who co-manages Janus Henderson’s global technology fund. He is bullish on Netflix and maintains significant positions in Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and others.
“Investors are now thinking through a more positive outcome, whether it’s China or the Fed,” Mr. Fish added, referring to investors’ expectations of a trade deal between the U.S. and China and the Fed’s more cautious stance.

That has more fund managers crowding into those stocks.
More than 180 fund managers overseeing $547 billion in assets said they considered the FANG stocks, as well as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, the second-most crowded trade in the market, behind shorting European equities, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s April fund-manager survey, its highest ranking since the bank’s November survey.
Although fund managers usually view overcrowding in tech as a drawback, a factor that was frequently cited in 2018 as a major risk to the stock market, some say this year's trade is less congested, leaving more room for further upside.
Active fund managers, for example, had higher allocations to FANG stocks last month, compared with the fourth quarter, but allocations remained below levels seen over the last two years, Bank of America added in a separate report.

Market Facts

  • The WSJ Dollar Index surged to its highest level since early March on Thursday following upbeat retail sales data, pulling within 0.1% of its early year peak. The dollar is still up more than 7.5% in the past year after edging lower Friday, threatening corporate profits for large multinational companies.
     
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed for the seventh consecutive session on Thursday, hitting a fresh eight-month high. The index is up 16% for the year and 5.7% below its April 2015 record. European markets were also closed Friday for Good Friday and are closed again today for Easter Monday.
     
  • On this day in 1970, the Dow dropped 1.3% to 762.61, and H. Ross Perot suffered the worst one-day personal investment loss then on record. His Electronic Data Systems dropped from roughly $150 a share to around $80 in chaotic over-the-counter trading, a paper loss of $450 million for Perot.

Key Events

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Existing-home sales for March are slated for 10 a.m. and expected to rise at an annual pace of 5.3 million compared to 5.51 million a month earlier.
 

Must Reads

Traders work in the VIX pit on the floor of the Cboe Global Markets building in Chicago. PHOTO: DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS
With major U.S. indexes approaching fresh records, investors are facing a dilemma: Lock in this year’s startling gains or hang on for the ride. Many fund managers are holding back from adding to stock allocations or even reducing them, worried that the volatility that buffeted markets at the end of last year could return.
Traders wager on calm as volatility evaporates. Stock-market fluctuations have continued to shrink in 2019, a sign that some investors are embracing riskier assets again. 
The U.S. is expected to end waivers for buyers of Iranian oil. The decision could further tighten global supply as the Trump administration aims to drive Iran’s exports to zero.
Why the Uber and Lyft IPOs may lead to higher fares. The ride-hailing services' initial public offerings stand to enrich early investors. But for customers of these services, the IPOs might eventually cost them money as going public brings pressure to generate profits.
Elon Musk to tout robot cars amid Tesla sales slump. Investors are set to get a peek at the auto maker's driverless-car technology today, two days before the company is expected to report a quarterly loss.
How retirees should invest. The key to investing at a time of low interest rates is to create a portfolio that gives a dependable source of cash flow, whatever happens to the economy.
The myth of the "dumb money" is dying. A study of Vanguard clients shows individual investors to be patient and prudent. It also offers a hint as to how investors and their financial advisers can get a little smarter still, investing columnist Jason Zweig writes.
 

What We've Heard on the Street

“For Pinterest and Zoom Video, braving the public waters may be less an act of audacity than an act of necessity.”
—Heard on the Street columnists Dan Gallagher and Laura Forman
 

Stocks to Watch

PayPal Holdings: Executives at PayPal’s digital payments company Venmo have been meeting with banks since late last year to discuss issuing a Venmo-branded credit card, The Wall Street Journal reported. The firm is close to selecting Synchrony Financial as its credit-card issuer and is hoping to announce the card this year.
McDonald’s: The fast-food chain is taking “signature crafted” hamburgers off its menu, after the sandwiches slowed operations at the chain’s restaurants.
Key Energy Services: Goldman Sachs Group has acquired a 7.5% stake in the Houston-based company.
Pinterest: Shares of the online image-search company surged in their market debut Thursday, rising 28% to $24.40 from an initial-public-offering price of $19.
Zoom Video Communications: Zoom shares also rallied on their first day of public trading Thursday, advancing 72% to $62 from their IPO price of $36.
People’s United Financial: The company posted softer-than-expected earnings for its latest period, though it said its net interest margin rose more than anticipated.
Intuitive Surgical: The maker of robotic systems used in surgery reported a slightly smaller-than-expected increase in quarterly sales and missed on profits.
Exponent: The engineering and science consultancy said quarterly profits rose more than expected.