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Afternoon Note

Down Sector Intrigue

By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
3/28/2019 1:29 PM

What’s up isn’t as intriguing as what’s down in today’s session.  Utilities are getting walloped, which is interesting considering the overall cautious feel of the session. 

Communications Services is trading down as Verizon (VZ) is lower by 4% and taking down others in the group as well.  The sell-off is likely due to end of quarter profit taking.  T-Mobile (TMUS) is also down significantly as investors worry about the state of the pending merger with Sprint (S).   

Oil, while still down, has come off the lows reached after Trump’s Tweet.

S&P 500 Index



Communication Services (XLC)



Consumer Discretionary (XLY)



Consumer Staples (XLP)



Energy (XLE)



Financials (XLF)



Health Care (XLV)



Industrials (XLI)



Materials (XLB)



Real Estate (XLRE)



Technology (XLK)



Utilities (XLU)




On the economic front, initial claims for the week ending March 23, decreased 5,000 to 211,000.  A better gauge, the 4-week moving average, was down 3,250 to 217,250 from last week’s revised 220,500 from 225,000.

Continuing claims increased 13,000 to 1,756,000 for the week ending March 16.  The previous week was revised lower by 7,000 to 1,743,000.

On the housing front, pending home sales of existing homes were down 1% in February.  Year over year, contracts are down 4.9%.   Lawrence Yun, Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors said, “In January, pending contracts were up close to 5 percent, so this month’s 1 percent drop is not a significant concern.” He added, “As a whole, these numbers indicate that a cyclical low in sales is in the past, but activity is not matching the frenzied pace of last spring.”

Part of the issues is that the West has a lack of inventory for sale, and home prices have gone up significantly, despite the strong job market.

The markets have been in and out of positive territory and are up slightly at midday. Let’s see how things trade for the remainder of the session. 

My house faces I-20. Based on observations that there are almost as many trucks as cars on this major highway, our part of the country is booming. Don't know about the rest of US.

Jon Lewis on 3/28/2019 2:11:38 PM

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