Stock Market Today Is Half the Size It Was In 1996 Thanks To the Fed

The stock market today is about half the size it was in 1996. In the U.S, the number of stocks has fallen by half in the past 20 years, from 7,322 to 3,671 last year according to a report from Barron’s (link above).

Stock Market Today Is Half the Size Thanks To the Fed

I know, it’s every bloggers favorite past-time to lay blame for everything at the foot of the Federal Reserve. But folks, if the shoe fits…

Ultra low interest rates means that companies have access to plenty of low interest loans. With a lot of money sloshing around at the corporate level thanks to years worth of QE, why would a company want to go public and deal with the headaches of regulatory compliance?

Companies are also choosing to exit public markets at a vastly greater clip than the number that are joining the public marketplace. The number of initial public offerings in the U.S. has declined by almost 90% annually in the past 20 years.

According to Pantheon and others, what’s left in the public marketplace isn’t as fast growing as the universe of publicly traded stocks from past decades.

That explains why finding the next Walmart, Amazon, Google, or Netflix in the stock market today just became a lot harder. Do you think that’s an exaggeration? Think again.

The WSJ just published a report entitled Stock Picking Is Dying Because There Are No More Stocks to Pick.

The Affordable Care Act Holds On As CBO Torpedoes Senate Replacement Bill

The CBO just torpedoed the replacement of the Affordable Care Act today. The reason we care as stock traders is that the Trump Administration feels it can’t pass tax reform until it deals with healthcare first. The torpedo from the CBO today means that lower taxes and an infrastructure spending bill just got delayed again.

The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act was edging toward complete failure on Monday following the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stating that it would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026.

Insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it was encouraged by the addition of incentives for continued coverage. Molina Healthcare said it preferred the Obamacare mandate, stated the Senate bill, even after revised, would only delay care.

But after the CBO’s statement today, congressmen are running away from the Senate bill as fast as they can.

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin hinted that he would likely oppose taking up the bill on a procedural vote expected as early as Tuesday, meaning that the fall of the Senate bill is likely imminent.

“On the present bill I am not voting to get on it unless it changes,” said Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Asked if that meant he’d vote “no” on the first motion to proceed, the Kentucky Republican said “absolutely” and argued that leadership does not currently have the votes it needs.

Ms. Collins wrote on Twitter on Monday evening that she wanted to work with her colleagues from both parties to correct flaws in the Affordable Care Act, but that the budget office’s report revealed that the “Senate bill won’t do it.”

The report left Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky two options: pulling the bill from consideration while he renegotiates, or allowing it to go down in defeat.

The vote could come as soon as Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday.

The Senate bill would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion within a decade, the budget office said.

Mr. McConnell, who’s the chief author of the bill, wanted the Senate to approve it prior to a planned recess for the Fourth of July, but that seems increasingly doubtful. Misgivings in the Republican bill extend beyond some of the moderate and conservative members and Mr. McConnell can lose only two Republicans.

Johnson and Paul, as well as GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah), announced last week that they couldn’t support the bill in its present form.

Under the bill, the budget office said, subsidies to help people buy health insurance could be “considerably smaller than under present law.” Beginning in 2020, the budget office said, deductibles and premiums would be so onerous that few low-income individuals would buy any plan.

For instance, it said, for a 64-year-old having an annual income of $26,500, the net premium in 2026 to get a midlevel silver program, after subsidies, would average $6,500, compared with $1,700 under the Affordable Care Act.

The report stated, for a 64-year-old having an annual income of $56,800, the premium in 2026 would average $20,500 a year, or three times the number expected under the Affordable Care Act.

The budget office report was a significant setback to Senate Republican leaders.

The White House discounted the report, saying that the CBO had “consistently proven it cannot accurately predict the way that healthcare laws will affect insurance coverage.”

The 15 million people the CBO estimates will be uninsured in 2018 is mainly because of the repeal of the penalty associated with being uninsured. The CBO didn’t consider the revised version that included the new waiting period.

Phillips 66 Stock Price Has Good Relative Strength

Oil and energy stocks are not the place to be right now; however, the weakness in the energy sector can reveal which energy companies are quietly showing good relative strength like Phillips 66 stock price.

Oil refiners like Phillips 66 buy crude oil and sell gasoline and other products. They make their money on the spread, or difference between crude and the products. When crude oil is cheap, that’s good for the refiners. And right now, the price of gasoline is outperforming the price of crude oil, even though both are falling.

Phillips 66 Stock Price

Effective Volume shows that some large players are buying PSX. The Twiggs Money Flow also looks bullish which suggests accumulation.

PSX looks like a decent setup opportunity. Prices have been consolidating lately and the volatility has been reduced. There is a resistance zone just above the current price starting at 80.97. Right above this resistance zone may be a good entry point. There is a support zone below the current price at 79.85, a stop order could be placed below this zone.

Comparing Phillips 66 stock price to XLE, you can see how PSX is showing good relative strength to XLE over the last 2 weeks.

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Sign Housing Market Is Teetering On the Edge of Collapse

The housing market is in a bubble. I have been saying that for about a year now. The average selling price of a house is around $377K. Right before the housing collapse in 2007, the average selling price was around $330K. New signs are emerging that the housing bubble is dangerously close to popping.

Housing Market

House prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have risen so fast that they have forced renters to devote a greater share of their income to housing. Today, more than 30% of Americans pay half their income in rent.

As Bloomberg reports here, a luxury condo at Manhattan’s One57 is scheduled for a foreclosure auction, the second foreclosure in a month that a property seizure is being sought at the Billionaires’ Row tower following a mortgage default.

Some ultra-luxury buildings in Manhattan like One57 are struggling with unsustainable vacancy rates of nearly 40%.

We saw foreclosures go up in 2006 right before the collapse of the housing market. The reason is that before a recession, its often better to just walk away from a property that you can’t afford the mortgage payment on and let the bank foreclose on it so that then they have to deal with finding a buyer for the depreciating asset.

Two foreclosures in the same building does not make a trend yet but keep your eyes open for more foreclosures in markets where property prices have risen way beyond the wages of the people who live there, which is practically everywhere.

United States Economy Teetering On Collapse

The United States economy is teetering, despite what the stock and job markets are saying. The US economy is consumption-centric. Growth in the current recovery has focused on three sectors that have fed through to consumption in its various forms: autos, energy, and financial services.

The scariest set of financial indicators to emerge in decades reveals what is crushing the dreams of record numbers of young, middle-class and older Americans.

While nationwide unemployment is down to 4.3 percent, policy experts and economists are warning of disturbing signals in the economy.

As any industry veteran can tell you, those on the sell-side are the second-to-last to surrender to a downturn in economic activity. A 401K Advisor or money manager will not produce negative forecasts when their most important objective is keeping its customers completely invested in risky assets.

United States Economy

The Citi Surprise Index shows a big disconnect between the economy and Wall Street.

The disconnect will not last for long as the chart above shows. Either the economy improves a lot over a short period of time, else the stock market comes plunging down to earth. It’s easier for the stock market to come down than it is for the Federal Reserve and republicans to somehow get this economy going, a feat that has remained elusive for the last 8 years.

Debt is what has kept the United States economy going for the last 8 years. Debt placed a floor under and then helped commercial property reach for the skies. Debt kept dying retailers alive. Debt also caused back-to-back years of record car sales.

Salaries for the typical American worker have hardly grown for decades, well-paid middle-class jobs are disappearing, and lots of the new jobs are from the low-wage service sector.

Consumers are being crushed by high healthcare costs and it partially explains why the American population grew at a small 0.7 percent this past year, the lowest rise since the Great Depression. As Russ Zalatimo of HudsonPoint Capital said, the tendency around recessionary times is that the birth date really drops like we are now seeing.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated autos are headed for a “decisive downturn” that will trough in 2021 at about a 13-million-unit annualized rate, down from last year’s blistering record 17.6 million. A week earlier, Morgan Stanley, whose numbers aren’t quite as grim, also reduced its revenue forecast, recognizing that the best days of this cycle have come and gone.

With the Trump White House scrambling to advance different measures to fuel economic growth – tax reform, infrastructure spending, maintaining jobs from fleeing abroad, some analysts say more radical steps are desperately needed.

Manufacturing isn’t just dead, say analysts. But it’s no longer dominated by smokestacks and rudimentary assembly. There are about 360,000 jobs in US manufacturing that are vacant and not being filled and companies are saying, “We need people to fill them.”

Meanwhile, retailers are currently choking on their debt as profit margins implode. Restaurants today employ 10.6 million individuals.

According to the Tax Policy Center, Trump’s tax reform could cause overall tax cuts of $6.2 trillion over the next ten years.

Losses on securities backed by automobile loans are piling up even as the unemployment rate has hit 4.3 percent, the lowest since 2001.

Additional evidence that the United States economy is teetering is becoming more and more apparent in credit card delinquencies. Experian reported that the domestic bank card default rate climbed to 3.53 percent in May, a four-year high. There are even nascent signs that families have started to struggle to make their mortgage payments.

Cheniere Energy Adds South Korea to Growing List of Customers

Cheniere Energy has added South Korea to the growing list of customers buying America’s shale gas. Cheniere Energy, the sole exporter of liquefied natural gas from U.S. shale basins, commenced a 20-year supply agreement with Korea Gas Corp. at a ceremony in Louisiana on Sunday. Under the agreement, Cheniere may ship almost 183 trillion thermal units of LNG a year to South Korea, the world’s biggest LNG buyer, representing at least $548 million of revenue.

Just last year, the first cargo of LNG sailed from Cheniere Energy Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. Today, buyers including South Korea, Mexico, Chile and Japan have put the U.S. on a path to becoming a net gas exporter for the first time in decades. Since the surge in production from America’s shale reservoirs transforms the country into an international gas powerhouse, the U.S. may surpass Australia and Qatar to becoming the world’s largest LNG supplier by 2035.

LNG may play an even bigger part in meeting South Korea’s energy demand following the election of Moon Jae-in. Together with the Korea Gas supply agreement in place, Cheniere is in a position to capitalize on the policy shift.

Cheniere Energy

There’s a positive divergence between large players and price. The price of LNG has been falling for the last few weeks while the Effective Volume shows large players rising. LNG is a somewhat risky setup pattern. Prices have been consolidating lately and the volatility has been reduced. There is a resistance zone just above the current price starting at 47.65. Right above this resistance zone may be a good entry point. There is a support zone below the current price at 47.41, a stop order could be placed below this zone.

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Analog Devices Stock Shows Large Players Accumulating

The Analog Devices stock chart shows that large players are accumulating shares as the price consolidates. Institutional ownership has increased by 13.64% over the last 3 months.

Back on June 19, 2017, Raymond James re-initiated coverage of Analog Devices with a “market perform” rating, citing some complications related to its March merger with Linear Technologies. Raymond James thinks the combination of Analog Devices with Linear Tech will result in an analog chip “powerhouse” down the road, but upcoming headwinds related to the company’s recent loss of Apple Inc. business poses a problem managing upward estimate revisions.

Analog Devices Stock

A bullish Pocket Pivot signal occurred on Friday, June 23, 2017 (blue dot on chart above). There is a huge positive divergence between the price and the Effective Volume which shows large players accumulating the stock. Do large players know something we don’t? The Twiggs Money Flow is still negative for Analog Devices stock and so you need to be cautions about taking an entry. There is a resistance zone just above the current price starting at 82.63. Right above this resistance zone may be a good entry point. There is a support zone below the current price at 81.07, a stop order could be placed below this zone.

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Marriott International Setting Up Symmetrical Triangle Breakout

The stock chart of Marriott International looks to be setting up into a Symmetrical Triangle after RBC Capital reiterated its Outperform rating on June 12, 2017. RBC Capital raised its price target to $109 from $92.

Marriott International Stock Chart

Notice the bullish Pocket Pivot (blue dot on the chart above) in the apex of the Symmetrical Triangle pattern. This increases the odds of a breakout. The Effective Volume shows that large players have been increasingly buying MAR as it consolidates. This positive divergence between large players and the price of the stock is bullish.

Marriott International looks like a good long entry. We see reduced volatility while prices have been consolidating in the most recent period. There is a resistance zone just above the current price starting at 104.13. Right above this resistance zone may be a good entry point. There is a support zone below the current price at 102.42, a stop order could be placed below this zone.

GO HERE TO CHART LARGE PLAYERS AND THE TWIGGS MONEY FLOW LIKE THE CHART ABOVE… AWESOME TOOL

GO HERE TO CHART LARGE PLAYERS AND THE TWIGGS MONEY FLOW LIKE THE CHART ABOVE… AWESOME TOOL

Trader Alert – So Goes Oil Prices… So Goes the US Economy

Lance Jepsen of GuerillaStockTrading has issued a trader alert regarding oil prices. So goes oil, so goes the US economy.

Traders and investors are looking for a continuation of strong earnings to justify high stock valuations, now trading near their highest levels since 2004.

Most of the expectation for a recovery in earnings is predicated on oil prices being around $47 to $55 a barrel. If you don’t get those numbers, you do not get the strong earnings the stock market needs to warrant the high S&P 500 P/E ratio of around 25.

Oil Prices

U.S. crude futures have been pressured lower by a supply glut. They’ve averaged over $48 per barrel so far this quarter, however, traded around $43 on Friday and are down over 20 percent from February, when they hit an 18-month high.

U.S. stocks are in the ninth year of a bull run that has been fueled of late by bets on pro-growth policies from U.S. President Donald Trump. But with the timetable for reforms extending further into the future, earnings are regarded as a crucial support for stock prices.

Revenue expectations have dropped for 10 of 11 industry groups since early April.

The benchmark S&P 500 stock index as a whole is expected to deliver 7.9 percent profit growth, down from 15.3 percent in the first quarter, and below the 10.2 percent forecast in April, Thomson Reuters data shows.

While lower oil prices can help some sectors such as industrials and transports, as well as boosting consumer sentiment, high expectations for earnings growth mean any stumble will be felt broadly.

Energy industry profits are seen up an incredible 683% from a year ago according to Thomson Reuters data. Without energy, profit growth estimates drop to 4.8 percent for the quarter.