Ishares Core Short-Term US Bond In Strong Uptrend

The Ishares Core Short-Term US Bond ETF is in a strong uptrend as large players continue to buy short term bonds.

A large amount of money is going into fixed-income exchange-traded funds in the first half of 2017, easily beating 2016’s record inflows. Traders are betting that the Federal Reserve will hike rates before the end of the year. Bond traders are front-running rate hikes in short term bonds in a bet that there will be another rate hike this year and up to three in 2018.

The Ishares Core Short-Term US Bond ETF Chart

Ishares Core Short-Term US Bond ETF

ISTB has a decent setup pattern. The rising large players volume shows big players are positioning in short term bonds. The rising Twiggs Money Flow shows traders are accumulating on pullbacks. Prices have been consolidating lately. There is a resistance zone just above the current price starting at $50.45. Right above this resistance zone may be a good entry point. There is a support zone below the current price at $50.38, a stop order could be placed below this zone.

The stock screener I used to find ISTB is the one I created for GuerillaStockTrading readers on Chartmill, under the Shared Screens tab, called GST Positive Divergence. I did a video on using Chartmill to find catalysts here.

Investors Pile Into PIMCO High Yield ETF

The PIMCO 0-5 Year High Yield Corp Bd ETF Effective Volume study shows large players are piling in to the ETF in big numbers.

You might be thinking that with the Federal Reserve raising rates, bonds and bond ETFs like HYS are in big trouble. I disagree. There will always be a need for bonds in a portfolio. Anybody who is cash flow sensitive or has a need for principal at a particular date in terms of fulfilling a certain funding or a certain drawdown, fixed income is a far more predictable and less volatile asset class compared to anything in the equity markets. It offers peace of mind for those who really want some predictability in terms of outcomes and reaching their goals.

PIMCO 0-5 Year High Yield Corp Bd ETF Chart

PIMCO High Yield ETF

HYS presents a decent setup opportunity with rising large players volume. There is a big accumulation going on in high yield bonds rights now. The Twiggs Money Flow supports the thesis that large players are accumulating HYS.

Prices have been consolidating lately. There is a resistance zone just above the current price starting at $101.31. Right above this resistance zone may be a good entry point. There is a support zone below the current price at $101.24, a stop order could be placed below this zone.

The stock screener I used to find HYS and its exploding large players volume is the screener I created on Chartmill here called GST Positive Divergence. I also did a lesson on the stock screener and finding positive divergences here.

Price of Copper Retakes Key Level as Global Economy Improves

Doctor Copper is signaling an improved outlook for the global economy as the price of copper has retaken the key $2.86 level.

China is the world’s largest importer of copper using more than three million tonnes a year. In an attempt to improve the environment, China is proposing a copper import ban. China’s copper industry is accelerating copper imports to build stocks ahead of the 2018 deadline. You can read more about China’s proposed copper ban here.

September copper futures trading on the Comex market in New York moved higher as the likely impact of new regulations in China spark another round of heavy buying in the US and Shanghai. Last Thursday more than 3 billion pounds of copper changed hands and the price jumped to $3.048 a pound ($6,720 per tonne) which is the highest in nearly three years. December copper hit $3.07 a pound. Analysts at DoubleView think copper is in a long overdue bullish cyclical move which predicts the next boom for the global economy is underway.

Price of Copper

Price of copper

Whether its a global economy thing or a China thing or even both, one thing is clear: The price of copper has confirmed the break above the key $2.86 level this month.

Federal Reserve Will Push Price of Copper Back Down

The problem I have with the Doctor Copper is signaling a global bull market thesis is the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is hiking rates and that ALWAYS slows down the economy and thus the demand for copper. I talked about this on the Saturday show back in June here. Please make sure you review my commentary on the Saturday show before going long copper. You may also want to use this stop limit order strategy to trade copper.

As for me, I’m not swing trading copper as its too dangerous and I see safer opportunities with higher yields elsewhere.

If you have any thoughts on Doctor Copper, leave your comment below.

FOMC Announcement Pushed US Dollar Down Big Time

The dollar did a big drop today after the FOMC announcement left rates unchanged. The Federal Reserve said the reduction of the balance sheet will begin relatively soon. I think relatively soon means September 2017.

The Fed seemed to indicate that “gradual” policy tightening will continue.

The Federal Reserve will begin winding down the stimulus program it embarked on to save the economy from the financial crisis. As expected, the Fed unanimously declined to raise interest rates.

The Fed predicts inflation will stabilize around the Committee’s 2% objective over the medium term despite inflation being below 2% in the near term. The Fed said they continue to expect “gradual increases in the federal funds rate”.

Fed Announcement Pushed Down the US Dollar

What the drop in the US dollar is telling us is that the Federal Reserve is dragging its feet. Just a few months ago, the Fed suggested we would get a rate increase in September. Instead, the Fed has backed off of that and now is toying with the balance sheet. The Fed seems to be telegraphing that it wants to slow down on tightening if inflation and wages don’t play out the way that they expect. I think the low inflation rate and low wage growth is really bugging the Fed because inflation should not be this low, at this time, in the economic cycle. Without a threat of runaway inflation, I think the Fed now feels that there’s no reason to rush another rate hike. This is all dovish which explains why the US dollar took a big dump today.

The FOMC announcement suggests they will begin quantitative tightening (QT) in September as they begin rolling off the $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds it has accrued on its balance sheet, largely in the years after the crisis and the Great Recession. Balance sheet reduction is really the new QT as explained here.

The committee expects to begin implementing its balance sheet normalization program relatively soon, provided that the market evolves as expected.

The Fed also offered a bit more information on the balance sheet reduction strategy. Having ballooned to $4.5 trillion thanks to QE, the Federal Reserve has already announced a strategy of gradually limiting the reinvestment of proceeds of maturing assets. The question has been the timing. This statement suggests it will begin “relatively soon”, whereas previously they had merely stated it will start this year. I think traders are pricing in a balance sheet reduction to start either in September or October. Efforts will entail allowing a restricted level of proceeds from the bond portfolio to run off. The program will begin at $10 billion per month and increase to $50 billion. Fed officials estimate that once the program has run its course, the balance sheet will probably still exceed $2 trillion.

Chair Janet Yellen and many others have suggested that the balance sheet runoff should not be disruptive to markets, though it’s possible that QT may push up rates if demand for the bonds the Fed is rolling off are not absorbed by private markets and central banks in other countries. However, we do not see any sign of that happening yet.

Janet Yellen really tried to downplay the planned balance sheet reduction last month.

The other big focus in Wednesday’s FOMC announcement was the Fed’s perspective on inflation. The core personal consumption expenditures index has dropped away from the central bank’s target for the last four months. The softer inflation figures together with the probability of a September balance sheet reduction means that December is likely the next month the Fed will consider hiking rates.

General inflation, excluding energy and food prices, has declined and is running under 2%.

Fed Board Chair Janet Yellen told Congress that temporary variables like prescription drugs and cheaper cellphone programs were behind the inflation downturn.

Markets didn’t expect the Fed to increase rates at this meeting. Dealers from the fed funds futures market are assigning about a 50-50 chance the central bank does one more rate hike before the year’s end.

In assessing the economy, the FOMC announcement showed that the committee held to its assessment that action was rising moderately so far this year. On inflation, the statement removed the word “somewhat” from June’s verbiage and said simply that inflation was running “under two percent,” a subtle tweak which nonetheless probably signifies officials are somewhat more cynical about reaching their mandated objectives.

Average hourly wage growth was stuck around 2.5 percent. Other inflation measures are even lower, with the Fed’s preferred estimate, the personal consumption expenditures index, at 1.4 percent.

Looking further ahead, we are still on with the prediction for two rate increases in 2018, anticipating reasonable 2-2.5% GDP growth over the next year and a likelihood that inflation will slowly return to target, helped by a tight labor market and the possibility of a gradual uptick in wage growth.

If you have any thoughts on the FOMC announcement feel free to comment below.

Here is the full FOMC announcement.

FOMC Announcement

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending and business fixed investment have continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and the measure excluding food and energy prices have declined and are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further. Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal. The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.

For the time being, the Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee expects to begin implementing its balance sheet normalization program relatively soon, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated; this program is described in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Neel Kashkari; and Jerome H. Powell.

Janet Yellen Testimony Economy Strong Enough For Rate Hikes

The US economy is healthy enough to absorb gradual rate increases and the reduction of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, Fed Chair Janet Yellen testimony before Congress on July 12, 2017.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress on Wednesday that the bank hopes to keep raising a key interest rate and also intends to begin this year, the reduction of its bond holdings.

Yellen took note of several factors, such as household wealth and job gains that she said should fuel growth.

In what could be one of her last appearances on Capitol Hill, Yellen portrayed a market that, while growing gradually, continued to add jobs, gained from continuous household consumption and a recent leap in business investment, and was currently being supported too by stronger economic conditions overseas.

She blamed the economic slowdown in the first half of 2017 on inflation. She said Fed officials are watching developments closely to be certain price gains go back toward the 2 percent inflation target of the Fed.

Janet Yellen Testimony Freak Out Over Inflation

Janet Yellen seemed a little freaked out over the big drop in inflation over the last few months.

I take Yellen’s comments on inflation to mean that the economy should not have the CPI plunging in this part of the economic cycle. In fact, just the opposite should be occurring. But she added that it was considered by officials as an anomaly; inflation is predicted by the Fed next year.

Many economists believe the Fed, which has raised rates three times, will increase rates yet another time this year.

The Fed continues to anticipate that the development of the market economy will justify gradual increases in the federal funds rate over time while reductions in the Fed’s holdings of more than $4 trillion in securities will probably start “this year”.

In her prepared testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Janet Yellen testimony repeated the message she’s been sending: the market has improved enough that it no longer requires the support the central bank began providing in 2008 in the aftermath of a serious financial crisis and the deepest recession since the 1930s.

In light of the continuing expansion, the Fed plans to keep raising its benchmark rate of interest and to lower its investment holdings, Ms. Yellen said in prepared testimony. She did not offer details concerning the time of the next actions of the Fed. Analysts expect the Fed to begin shaving its bond portfolio before the end of 2017.

The economy began the year with a slow growth rate of just 1.4 percent, it has regained momentum in recent months, aided by strong job gains, a revival of business investment and a strengthening of international markets.

Bottom line: the market is at full employment and the Fed is moving rates. As the Fed reinvests some of the bond holdings which mature monthly, they will decrease that reinvestment to reduce their balance sheet which will mark the beginning of QT (quantitative tightening). Many believe that QT began this year when the Fed did a series of rate hikes.

The Fed needs to keep policy accommodative to keep on supporting the recovery, but may hit a “neutral” rate quicker than anticipated. Estimates are that inflation has been dropping so fast that we could be near zero right now. Yellen has said the Fed expects estimates of the inflation rate to grow over time.

Yellen said in her testimony that as it stands rates “might not need to rise all that much farther” to reach neutral.

Yellen said growth remains moderate with business investment and consumer spending picking up, and the US economy is benefiting from growth in other countries too.

A strengthening in economic development abroad has provided significant support for U.S. manufacturing production and exports, Yellen said.

The Fed slashed its key policy rate to near zero to fight the worst economic recession since the 1930s, and kept it there for seven years before nudging it higher in December 2015. It left the rate unchanged before increasing it again in December 2016, March 2017, and June 2017 of this year.

At its June meeting, the Fed indicated that it expected to start decreasing its $4.5 trillion balance sheet after this year, a measure that could put slow upward pressure on longer-term prices for such things as home mortgages.

Yellen said, the market seemed to be in a virtuous loop of hiring, investment and spending which should increase resource usage somewhat further, thereby fostering a quicker rate of wage growth and price increases.

The Janet Yellen testimony was fairly uneventful except for her comments on falling inflation which seemed to baffle the Fed as to why this was happening at this point during the economic cycle.

Fed Rate Hikes Are More About Slowing GDP Than Improving GDP

The pitch by the Federal Reserve is that GDP is growing which is why they are hiking rates. The Fed has said that rate hikes are representative of their belief that economic growth is picking up and so really, rate hikes are something that is bullish for the economy and GDP going forward.

If you believe that, I know a guy who has an original picture of Jesus Christ in a piece of brick that he’d like to sell you for just $9,999.99.

The mainstream financial media is running with Yellen’s story as if it’s based in reality.

You can’t afford to be so gullible if you have your scarce dollars invested in the stock market.

Here’s a reality check chart that shows, everytime, that rising rates are more indicative of a falling GDP than of a rising GDP.

Saturday Night Show: Janet Yellen Rate Hike While Pension Plans Going Broke

Help us spread the word about the growing conservative America first movement. We’re reaching thousands, help us reach millions by sharing this show with your family and friends.

A weekly Saturday financial show that attempts to predict market direction for the week ahead by looking at a variety of fundamental and technical charts. This week’s show features commentary on Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve’s strange timing of a rate hike, how Obama Administration diverted FNMA money and investors dividends into Affordable Care Act to keep it solvent, and the collapsing pension funds across America.

Stock Market at All time Highs! Are We In a Giant BUBBLE?

With the stock market hitting all-time highs, everybody wants to know if we are in a giant bubble.

You can’t trade and make money if you’re not in the market. If the fear that we are in a bubble is keeping you out, then you’re not making money.

The honey badger doesn’t care. The honey badger loves to climb walls of worry.

You can get an early read on which way the market is headed by tracking transports. Fedex is a bellwether stock in the transports industry.

The chart of FedEx just did a breakout above 180 and hit a new high. The rising Twiggs Money Flow shows FedEx is under heavy accumulation.

Remember folks, bull markets don’t die of old age, they are murdered by the Fed.

The chart below shows profit margins [blue] are falling as employee compensation [brown] rises.

Since 2015, employee compensation has started to recover as the labor market tightens and corporate earnings are falling (as a % of Net Value Added).

If you look back to the 1960s, you can see that when the labor market reaches capacity, profits fall as labor costs rise. The Federal Reserve intervenes to battle inflation from rising wages which will cause the next recession. The Fed does not usually intervene in a meaningful way until wages rise above 74% of corporate profits. In other words, we have a long way to go regarding rising wages before the Fed is going to hike rates so high that it causes the next recession.

Financial Education posted this video on if we are in a giant bubble. While I don’t agree with everything he says, he does make some good points IMO.

Don’t Double Down On Wrong Prediction, Just Move On

Whether we are talking about individual stocks, the stock market, or the economy, when you’re wrong just admit it and then move on. The goal is to make money, not to be right 100% of the time so you can stroke your ego.

AM TV and Peter Schiff predicted that the Federal Reserve could not stop their monthly QE injections into the economy. Even though the Fed kept cutting the monthly injection all the way down to zero, alternative media outlets AM TV and Peter Schiff kept saying the Fed wouldn’t stop the monthly infusions because they couldn’t as the patient (the economy) would die. Peter Schiff then went on to say that the Fed was not going to hike rates in December 2015 but instead actually cut rates. The Fed increased rates a quarter point right on schedule. For all of 2016, Peter Schiff has been saying that the Fed isn’t going to hike rates again but instead reverse course and lower rates. In December of 2016, the Fed will likely increase rates another quarter point.

Most alternative media outfits think they have to be crazed perma-bears to get viewers. Maybe they do. Rather than AM TV and Peter Schiff admitting they were wrong about the Federal Reserve, they double down on their wrong predictions and do another “interview” together, check it out.

There are some really good points in this interview, don’t get me wrong. However, to be a successful traders and investor, you can never be a perma-bear. You can never be a perma-bull. You have to adapt and respond to market conditions. That adaptation means you have to be willing to admit when you’re wrong and then to just move on.

Folks, watch out for fear mongering. Fear drives viewership and video view counts on YouTube but being forever fearful is a great way to lose all your money at trading. Some parts of the economy will no doubt suffer under a Trump Administration and higher interest rates; however, higher rates will be good for other parts of the economy like Banking. A Trump Administration will be bad for multinationals and the Dow and parts of the S&P 500; however, Trump will be great for domestic businesses and the Russell 2000.