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Morning Commentary


By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
1/17/2020 9:15 AM

Thursday was another remarkable session that saw the market gain strength into the close, as investors digested a tidal wave of good to great corporate news and economic data. The biggest winner in the S&P 500 was Morgan Stanley (MS), powered by strong earnings and even better guidance.

I know I used a similar chart yesterday, but the visual of combined new highs on the NYSE and the NASDAQ Composite is a sight to behold.

Yesterday, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index climbed for the eighth time in the last nine weeks, finishing at its highest level since October 2011. The comfort gauge among married adults has hit a record high, and the Midwest attained its best level since September 2000. The buying climate rallied to a reading of 58, the second-best on record.

Big Economic Calendar

Today, we’ll have a lot to chew on with a wide slate of data that should confirm certain trends and information on investment strategy. I would like to see less partisanship in sentiment numbers because that could help take the measure to an all-time high. 


Consensus Estimate

Housing Starts

1.375 million

Housing Permits

1.473 million

Capacity Utilization


Consumer Sentiment


Jobs Opening


The Last Shall Be First?

The Russell 2000 has been the best performing sector over the past five days, and the index is making a major breakout. I’ve looked at the index for the past year, maybe it’s time.

Major Indices

Russell 2000

S&P 500

Dow Jones


5 -Days





Year to Date





One Year





Three Years






Portfolio Approach

Yesterday, we added a new position to Consumer Discretionary.  If you are not on our Hotline service, click here to get started today. 

Today’s Session

Housing Renaissance

Housing Starts for December are through the roof. The street was looking for annualized rate of 1.37 million, instead the actual number was 1.608 million – a monster beat!

Total Housing

Single Family


After a mind-boggling surge in the prior month, November was the highest level in more than 12 ½ years, permits were mostly in line with slight month to month decline, -3.9% to 1.416 million units , but it’s up 5.8% from year earlier.  The story of housing gets better and better, and it could have a dramatic impact on economy in 2020.

Note: the early morning rally was fading until these numbers were released, doubling the pre-open levels for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.






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