Political Risks Persist 04-19-17

This week, gold approached but failed to eclipse the $1,300 mark. Today, as the dollar bounced back slightly, the yellow metal fell to a one-week low. The failure to surpass the psychologically important round number likely spurred some profit taking. Still, with tensions over North Korea persisting and the French national election happening this weekend, gold may still see some renewed buying interest. Read more about Political Risks Persist 04-19-17

Staying Hedged 04-12-17

The much anticipated summit between President Trump and President Xi came and went without incident, though Trump did order an airstrike against Syria before his dinner with the Chinese head of state. Contrary to his persistently tough rhetoric against China and prediction for a “difficult” meeting, Trump came out of the summit declaring that he’s developing an “outstanding” relationship with Xi. Read more about Staying Hedged 04-12-17

Looking for Direction 04-05-17

Stocks have treaded water in recent days in the absence of major economic catalysts, one way or another. This afternoon’s Fed Minutes sent the market slightly lower. The details of the last FOMC confab showed that Fed officials debated whether to begin to reduce the central bank’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet (by selling off bonds) and some officials had remarked that stock prices are high by standard measures (implying that the market is bubbly). Read more about Looking for Direction 04-05-17

Indicators Largely Neutral 03-29-17

The American Health Care Act, or “Trumpcare,” as some call it, died in the House of Representatives. With the Democrats unified against the bill, and enough dissenters within the ranks of the Republican Party to block its passage, Speak of the House Paul Ryan decided to cancel the vote. While the president and Republicans haven’t given up and could muster another attempt to replace Obamacare, the failure of AHCA proves that passing controversial legislation won’t be a cakewalk even if Republicans control the White House and both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Read more about Indicators Largely Neutral 03-29-17

Political Capital Not Well Spent 03-22-17

Yesterday, the S&P 500 logged its first daily loss of 1 percent or more in 2017. In fact, it’s the first such loss for the blue chip index in five months. In the post-election euphoria, the market has priced in faster growth as most market participants seem to assume that President Trump’s legislative agenda will have a smooth passage through Congress. This week’s drama over the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) appeal shows that in fact that isn’t the case.    Read more about Political Capital Not Well Spent 03-22-17

A Dovish Rate Hike 03-15-17

As was widely expected, at the end of its two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the Fed today raised the benchmark federal funds rate. With one dissenter, committee members voted to increase the rate by one-quarter percentage point to a target range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent. This was no surprise given recent economic data and recent Fed official comments that strongly telegraphed the imminence of a hike. Read more about A Dovish Rate Hike 03-15-17

Market Showing Some Weakness 03-08-17

The big mover today was oil, which ended trading at a 2017 low. The weekly U.S. oil inventory published by the Department of Energy showed an 8.2 million increase in the week ended March 3. The total crude stock tallied 528.4 million barrels, a record. Since reaching a low of 468.2 million barrels in October, the inventory has risen by nearly 13 percent in about two-and-a-half months. As oil prices have recovered into the $50 range, U.S. oil production has risen to a one-year high.   Read more about Market Showing Some Weakness 03-08-17