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A Day Of Gains And Losses


Tempting fate — it never fails to disappoint. Yesterday’s regular trading day, after I proclaimed nothing could get in the way of this latest leg of a bullish trading wave, things did. Market participants who’d been riding an enormous wave of technology looked at their year-to-date gains in companies like nVIDIA NVDA, which had topped up 113%, and sold them off 10% yesterday. As for Bitcoin, I said nothing could stop it. Then one of its exchanges lost power, and the value of one Bitcoin fell more than $2000.

Well, Bitcoin has since recovered a bit and nVIDIA is trading up in today’s pre-market. In fact, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 are all up ahead of today’s opening bell. This is because, profit-taking and machine malfunctions aside, the overall bullish narrative is intact: equities continue strengthening on solid economic metrics like the labor market, consumer confidence, etc. Oil prices are well above $50 per barrel today (with a newly minted OPEC deal just hitting the newswires this morning), and geopolitical strife — rhetoric between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un notwithstanding — is at a minimum.

Ahead of today’s open, new Initial Jobless Claims came down even further: 238K claims last week is down 2000 from the upwardly revised previous week. This is solidly in the very healthy range of 225-250K we’ve enjoyed the past few years, temporary hurricane-related issues aside. Continuing claims, however, are creeping up even further: from beneath 1.9 million just weeks ago, this latest read of 1.957 million is the closest we’ve been to 2 million continuing claims we’ve seen in quite some time.

Personal Income and Spending numbers also came in this morning, with the October headline of +0.4% one-tenth ahead of expectations. Spending reached +0.3%, in-line with analysts’ consensus. These figures show that growing consumer confidence in other metrics is indeed strengthening, which is paramount to a strong holiday shopping season. So we remain hopeful a strong Q4 in both earnings and GDP will be in the offing as of early next year.

The markets can be expected to rally further should news from Capitol Hill regarding progress on tax reform/cuts be forthcoming today. Just the simple event of an actual vote on the Senate’s bill today could be interpreted as a good sign; if the GOP-led body knew they didn’t have the votes to pass it, they probably would not call the vote til next week. This would give leaders of the bill time to massage senators still in need of convincing. As of now it looks like a bit of a toss-up, with sentiment coming down on the pro-passage side.

Finally, supermarket giant Kroger KR reported fiscal Q3 2018 results during today’s pre-market: earnings of 44 cents per share beat the Zacks consensus by 4 cents, and revenues of $27.75 billion easily outpaced the $27.31 billion expected. The parent company of Mariano’s, Pick ’n Save, Ralph’s and others also upped its full-year guidance to $2.00-2.05, ahead of our expected $1.97. Shares of Kroger are up 12% in today’s pre-market. Clearly someone is putting their nVIDIA profits to work elsewhere.

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