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Morning Commentary


By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
4/17/2017 9:46 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average began last Thursday  with a variety of geopolitical issues to grapple with, including signs of a potential nuclear bomb blast in North Korea in the coming days; and then, the bomb was dropped- the mother of all bombs, in fact. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 3.4% from 21,169, but continues to be in its perfect up channel that began after a double bottom was formed in February 2016.  The index is slightly below its exponential 50-day moving average; the stocks will have to take a stand soon as the next major support level is 20,000.

Over the weekend, North Korea fired a dud; that should momentarily quell some geopolitical anxiety, but there are other worries.

On Friday, retail sales for March were released.  The headline number came in below consensus as slumping sales continue to make this the worst two-month span in over two–years




Retail & food services



Motor vehicle & parts dealers






Furniture & home furn. stores



Electronics & appliance stores



Building material & garden



Food & beverage stores



Grocery stores



Health & personal care stores



Gasoline stations






Sporting goods, hobby



General merchandise



Department stores



Miscellaneous store retailers



Non-store retailers



Food services & drinking places




The Street might be able to put North Korea and slumping retail sales in the rearview mirror if earnings come in better than expected. Remember: expectations are sky-high with whispers of 12% earnings gains for the S&P 500 from a year ago.  Today 131 companies report but that’s only a drop in the bucket to the 369 reporting on Thursday.

Today’s Session

There is more soft data weakness this morning as the Fed’s Empire State survey on manufacturing has come in well below consensus.

There is no doubt near term anxiety is spread across several areas, from geopolitical concern to signs of a domestic economic slump.  On that score, the Philly Fed report reflects growing concerns about the near-term timetable of President Trump’s economic agenda while underscoring a general belief among manufacturing businesses that it eventually happens.  Manufacturers are much more confident on key components of their business six months out.

The market is poised to open higher after a brief dip on the Empire State news.  Without a doubt, stocks have become oversold on a short term basis.  The problem however has been sparking greater buying on slight moves higher. 

Let’s hold off this morning.

So... the $64,000 question is will the Freedom Caucus keep Trumps Agenda paralyzed and prevent it from moving forward based on perfectionism and petty politics, or will he pivot effectively and regain momentum. That is what I believe is taking hold of the mindset and weakening the momentum? Trump needs a political victory in the next 6 weeks and preferably a tax plan or the fade in the markets will grow stronger and renew the fight of the naysayers and shorts. Since we failed in repealing Obamacare, the better strategy would be to go big on tax cuts and forget about covering it under budgetary rules. Let it be sunsetted in 10 years with the hope that if they are big enough and effective enough, the resulting political capital will cause the kind of wins that will allow the votes in the future to make them permanent. If we do not,we will slide back into the abyss from whence we came with Obama's hypnosis of our economic might and vitality.

Ray Weldon on 4/17/2017 10:45:27 AM
It appears that the Fed may not move on 3 rate hikes this year; that being the case will the markets continue to move sideways and stay flat or would that tend to push the markets down a bit?

Kind regards

Robert Lenac on 4/17/2017 12:00:35 PM
So...well said ---thanks Ray W.

John Cowger on 4/20/2017 11:44:14 AM

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