Pin the Retail Donkey (AMZN,XRT,HD)

Pin the Retail Donkey (AMZN,XRT,HD)   We’re going to step out on a limb today and encourage you to consider the retail sales trade that we’re proffering hereunder.   It’s not an easy thing to buck the trend at a time when big name sellers are closing at their fastest pace ever all across this land, when companies like JC Penney and Macy’s and Sears are facing what could be their final breaths, and when traffic at malls across America appears to be drying up like a pack of seals stuck in a Saharan sirocco. Whither the American Shopper…?   There’s no question that online sales are taking a bite out of the bricks and…

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Le Plus Que Ca Change… (HD,SPY)

Le Plus Que Ca Change… (HD,SPY)   Bull and bear markets can be defined in a great many ways, but the simplest and most direct (and correct) definition is, naturally, our own: And there you have it.   Not much more need be said.   With what appears to be a war looming in the Far East with North Korea (and maybe China), in the Middle East with Syria (and maybe Russia), at home in Berkeley for safe space, on airplanes that don’t have enough space, and quite possibly in outer space for new tourist destination space, there’s every reason to believe that a bear market is coming.   What the…!?   It’s all rather…

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Breaking: Transgender NYSE Floor Trader Charged with Self-Rape! (GM,HD)

Breaking: Transgender NYSE Floor Trader Charged with Self-Rape! (GM,HD) Sometimes you get hit with a single news item or piece of data that literally knocks you off your feet.   It’s unnerving, to put it mildly, because over time one gets used to the sanguine moves to and fro in the regular series that one examines.   And then whammo!   We had a day like that yesterday when the NFIB released its small business optimism survey, and we were thrown to the mat like “Killer” Kowalski in his title match against “Mad Dog” Vachon back in 1978.   We were there at the old Maple Leaf Gardens when it happened, and no kidding, it…

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2017: Year of the Hair-Ball (HD,LUK,HSY)

With 2017 but days away, we feel it appropriate to take a moment to offer a few thoughts on the year to come, and to wax a tad introspective.   It won’t take too long.   We do it because the world is not just about investment money and the ‘pursuit of happiness’ (as our Founding Fathers euphemistically called it).  There’s also the healthy suffering and sacrifice that we invest in our families and children, in our communities and the institutions we hold dear.  For them, no amount of sweat and toil is too much.  We love and appreciate them, and so we stick our necks out, bend and wrack ourselves, going sleepless and aching…

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Slap-Happy Credit Trade (V, AXP, FAS, HD)

We start today with the dollar, as we believe the case for long term dollar strength is a powerful one.   And that’s not just because the Euro is taking a drubbing after Italy’s latest referendum results.  The Euro will likely see a continued arse-kicking as France, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries begin their move to the political right over the next year.  Elections are expected to significantly weaken establishment parties in those countries in the spring and summer, and with it, support for the very idea of a unified Europe and currency.   That’s all dollar positive, of course, as are current weaknesses in the Japanese Yen and Turkish Lira.  The latest dollar-yen…

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Big Fat New-Home Trade (HD)

It’s been a fascinating couple of weeks, no doubt one that historians and social scientists will be focused on for decades.   Market historians, too, will find much of interest in this period, we believe, as it marks the transition between the second and final phases of the bull market that began in 2009, or 1980, or 1931, depending upon who’s doing the counting.   For our part, it matters little.  The essential thing is that all engines are a go for this last stage, booster rockets have been engaged and capsule separation is now occurring, even as we write.   With Dow 19,000 now in the record books, we trudge on to 20,000, perhaps…

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Rotate Your Money, Pal! (IDU,FAS,HD)

Most people who drive automatic cars are unaware what would happen if, while cruising at highway speed, they threw the transmission into reverse.   Now, we’re not suggesting anyone try this on the way home from work, or even down at the local speedway, but having made the blunder ourselves on one occasion, we can assure you that the resulting action is not what you’d think.   There’s no riotous gear grinding, no thousands of itsy bitsy metal pieces shooting out like bullets onto the road, no screeching/wailing/careening this way and that, a la some late 70’s Burt Reynolds movie.   None of it. The car turns off.   It what?   You heard me….

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Deep Breath. Hold. Exhale. (UPS,HD)

There’s growing evidence that the worst is behind us and that markets are calming.   Against a backdrop of stabilizing oil prices (now having thoroughly tested the $30 level and come away secure), traders big and small seem to be taking a breath.   Volatility, too, as measured by the CBOE’s VIX index, has fallen back to its trendline, a move that we believe marks the end of the panic attack of the first six weeks of the year.   Have a look here – Transportation stocks, too, have been climbing steadily, looking every bit the solid citizens they were until their late 2015 tumble had everyone worried they were about to be deported to…

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The Builders: Trump, China and the Depot (HD,XLP,XLY,XOM,USO)

When the FBI demanded access to Apple’s encryption technology to unlock the iPhones of the San Bernardino terrorists, we were disturbed.  As far as we were concerned, Apple’s refusal to empower an already intrusive surveillance state was commendable. But others saw it differently.   Donald Trump, for one.   Trump went on the offensive, saying we ought to use ‘common sense’ and give the government what they need to fight the bad guys, to know if there were accomplices, etc. And that would be a great thing – to catch the bad guys. All of them. And lock them up.   But there was something unsavory about Trump’s appeal and his further suggestion that we…

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Taking a Stab at Oil (XOM,USO,HD)

We’re in the middle of a bounce.   We don’t know how long or how high it will carry, so until we see genuine technical signs of a continued bull, we have to be guarded.   That said, we bulls still have a few key indicators on our side.   The first is sentiment, which is dreadful. No one is happy, the world looks increasingly dangerous, protest candidates are surging, and the last thing on the minds of Main Street investors is shoveling more of their savings into equities.   Fair enough. We track AAII sentiment numbers precisely for moments like these. We’re now in the pit of sentiment hell. It can’t get any worse….

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