Bears Day, Big Oil Build, Good Earnings

The Bears were in control all day Tuesday.  Premarket was already pointing to a big gap lower and then CPI came in hot causing a double-down on the selling.  SPY gapped down 1.27%, DIA opened 0.80% lower, and QQQ gapped down a whopping 1.84%.  At that point, we saw a divergence with SPY and DIA following through to the downside until about 10:10 a.m. From there, SPY and DIA bounced with a modest but steady rally until 11:35 a.m.  Meanwhile, QQQ rallied back about halfway up its gap by 10:45 a.m.  Then, from those respective points, all three major index ETFs sold off steadily until 3:30 p.m.  However, all three also rallied the last 30 minutes of the day popping into the close.  This action gave us a black-body, long-legged Doji in the SPY, a white-body Spinning Top in the QQQ, and a black-bodied, large Hammer-type candle in the DIA.

On the day, all 10 sectors were in the red as Basic Materials (-2.78%) was out in front leading the way lower while Consumer Defensive (-1.30%) and Energy (-1.36%) held up better than the rest.  Meanwhile, the SPY lost 1.38%, the DIA lost 1.36%, and QQQ lost 1.56%.  VXX spiked 7.05% to close at 15.33 and T2122 plummeted all the way back into oversold territory at 11.76. 10-year bond yields spiked massively to 4.324% and Oil (WTI) gained 1.18% to close at $77.82 per barrel.  So, Tuesday was the most bearish day since the last day of January. With that said, both SPY and QQQ did close back up above their trendlines dating back to late-October lows.  All this happened on a little higher-than-normal volume in all three.

The major economic news released Tuesday was limited but included Jan. Core CPI, which came in hot at +0.4% (compared to a +0.3% forecast and the December +0.3% reading).  This amounted to +3.9% on a Year-on-Year basis (versus a +3.7% forecast and the December +3.9% value).  These led to a January CPI of +0.3% (compared to a +0.2% forecast and a +0.2% December reading).  Annualized, that meant a +3.1% CPI reading (versus a +2.9% forecast but still down from December’s +3.4% value).  Then, after the close, Weekly API Crude Oil Stocks showed a huge (much higher-than-expected) inventory build of 8.520 million barrels (compared to a forecast of +2.600 million barrels and the prior week’s +0.674 million barrels).

In Fed Futures news, after the CPI data, Fed Fund Futures showed a 91.5% probability of no rate change in March (3-20-24).  Meanwhile, 8.5% of rate bets are looking for a quarter-point cut at the March FOMC meeting.  However, for the May 1 meeting, only 28.6% expect rates to remain where they are now.  At the same time, 65.5% expect rates to fall a quarter-point and 5.8% expect rates to fall a full half percent by then.  For the mid-June FOMC meeting, 24.4% of futures traders expect Fed Funds Rates to remain at 5.25-5.50%.  However, 60.1% expect that rate to have fallen a quarter of a percent, 14.6% see rates down a half percent by that point, and just less than 1% expect that rates will have fallen three-quarters of a percent by June 12.  Finally, by the July 31 meeting, there are NO futures bets expecting rates to still be where they are now.  13.8% expect rates to have fallen a quarter percent, 44.6% predict a 0.50% reduction, 34.5% foresee three-quarters of a percent reduction at that point, 6.8% of the futures see a full percent reduction then, and 0.4% actually expect the Fed Funds rate to be down 1.25% by that point.

After the close, ABNB, ALSN, BFAM, DVA, WIRE, ENTG, EQT, GDDY, GXO, HE, IOSP, INVH, LYFT, MCY, MGM, REZI, HOOD, RUSHA, SEB, SSNC, MODG, WCN, and ZG all reported beats on both the revenue and earnings lines.  At the same time, AKAM, AIG, CART, MRC, and WELL all missed on revenue while beating on earnings.   On the other side, PRI beat on revenue but missed on earnings.  Unfortunately, QDEL and IAC missed on both the top and bottom lines.  It is worth noting that ALAM, ALSN, DVA, and WCN raised their forward guidance.  However, ENTG, QDEL, and MODG lowered their guidance.

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In stock news, just two days after they broadcasted the most widely-watched Super Bowl of all time, (and the company announced record ad revenue) PARA announced it was laying off 800 employees (3% of workforce).  At the same time, ACN announced an agreement to acquire Insight Sourcing (supply chain consultancy) for an undisclosed sum.  Later, BA said its January delivery was only 27 jets (down 29% from January 2023).  BA also said orders were down, booking just three orders (the least since 2019) and they had order cancellations.  This comes amidst the company’s massive quality/production problems.  At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that MSFT’s AI copilot is getting mixed reviews from users.  Some of the complaints included mistaken of completely fabricated results in Excel and Word.  Later, flight attendants at ALK authorized a strike with union members already picketing at airports in the US, UK, and Guam.  Elsewhere, DIS subsidiary ESPN reportedly has agreed to a six-year extension of their College Football Playoff exclusive broadcast rights valued at $7.8 billion ($1.3 bill per year).  At the same time, AMZN filed a report with the SEC announcing that founder Bezos had concluded another $2.08 billion sale of AMZN stock.  After the close, WELL said it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 25 properties for a total of $969 million.  (The projects total 3,900 housing units.)  At the same time, TSLA’s Chinese competitor BYD announced it is opening a factory in Mexico to better serve US markets with lower-priced electric vehicles compared to TSLA and US competitors.  Also after the close, the Wall Street Journal reported that WMT is in talks to buy VZIO (display screen and TV maker).  Reportedly, WMT would use the acquisition to greatly expand in-store display screens to bolster its ad sales to brands like KHC, PG, and many, many others.  Reportedly, WMT’s offer is 30% higher than VZIO’s Monday close.

In stock legal, governmental, and regulatory news, a German court found that TSLA violated German union leadership election rules.  The only immediate sanction is that TSLA can’t hold an election for “work council” leadership immediately (when mostly just management employees have been hired).  Later, the FDA warned of two online vendors selling unapproved and misbranded versions of the active ingredients in NVO’s and LLY’s blockbuster weight loss drugs.  (LLY recently sued medical spas and clinics for selling drugs purported to be the same as the prescription versions.)  At the same time, AAPL (iMessage) and MSFT (Bing search engine) won exclusion from EU Tech rules covering “gatekeeper” platforms.  This gives those products cost and distribution advantages over competing products from GOOGL, META, and others.  Later, Mexican antitrust regulators said an investigation has preliminarily determined that AMZN and MELI (which together control more than 85% of online transactions in the country) are violating antitrust regulations.  The report said the two present “practically insurmountable barriers” to competitors.  At the same time, CPB moved closer to approval of its acquisition of SOVO by certifying FTC compliance requests for the deal.  This leads to a 30-day waiting period (ending March 11), after which the deal can be finalized.  Later, Reuters reported that the CA Air Resources Board had rejected an STLA bid to have rival’s emissions deals with the state voided.  (The rivals involved, whose emissions deals with the state will stand are HMC, VLKAF, VLVLY, and F.)  At the same time, Reuters reported that a US federal judge set an October 2026 trial date for the FTC (and 17 states) antitrust lawsuit against AMZN.

Note that the Chinese markets were closed for Lunar New Year and will stay closed all week as well.  The rest of Asia was mixed but leaned to the red side,  South Korea (-1.10%), Australia (-0.74%), and Japan (-0.69%) led the region lower.  In Europe, we see a completely different story with green across the board at midday.  (This was likely helped by the release of UK inflation data showing prices holding in place in January.)  The CAC (+0.63%), DAX (+0.40%), and FTSE (+0.93%) lead the region higher in early afternoon trade.  In the US, as of 7:30 a.m., Futures are pointing toward a gap higher to start the day.  DIA implies a +0.25% open, the SPY is implying a +0.49% open, and the QQQ implies a +0.65% open as of this hour.  At the same time, 10-year bond yields are down to 4.304% and Oil (WTI) is up a quarter percent to $78.07 per barrel in early trading.

The major economic news scheduled for Wednesday is limited to EIA Crude Oil Inventories (10:30 a.m.).  The major earnings reports scheduled for before the open include AVTR, AVNT, GOLD, BGC, CAE, CRL, CHEF, CME, CNHI, DBD, ES, GNRC, GPN, IQV, KHC, LAD, LPX, MLM, NHYDY, OC, PSN, R, SITE, SAH, SUN, TMHC, WAB, and WMB.  Then, after the close, ALB, ATUS, AWK, AR, APP, ACGL, CF, CC, CSCO, CW, ET, EQIX, HLF, HUBS, KGC, MTW, MFC, OXY, PTEN, CNXN, ROL, SON, SUM, TWLO, TYL, VTR, and WFG report.

In economic news later this week, on Wednesday EIA Crude Oil Inventories are reported.  On Thursday, we get Initial Weekly Jobless Claims, Weekly Continuing Jobless Claims, Jan. Core Retail Sales, Jan. Retail Sales, Jan. Import Price Index, Jan. Export Price Index, NY Empire State Mfg. Index, Jan. Industrial Production, Dec. Business Inventories, Dec. Retail Inventories, the Fed Balance Sheet, and Fed member Bostic speaks.  Finally, on Friday, Jan. Building Permits, Jan. Housing Starts, Jan. Core PPI, Jan. PPI, Michigan Consumer Sentiment, Michigan Consumer Expectations, Michigan 1-Year Inflation Expectations, Michigan 5-Year Inflation Expectations, and Fed member Daly speaks.

In terms of earnings reports later this week, Thursday, HOUS, ARCH, CBRE, CVE, CRBG, CROX, DE, DNB, EPAM, GTX, GPC, GEO, HBI, H, NSIT, KELYA, KNF, LH, LECO, DNOW, OGN, PBF, PENN, RS, RPRX, SABR, SN, SO, SPTN, STLA, SLVM, TRGP, USFD, VNT, WEN, WST, YETI, ZBRA, AEM, AL, LNT, AMN, AMAT, BIO, BE, ED, DLR, DASH, DKNG, DBX, GLOB, IR, LBTYA, MERC, OPEN, ROKU, TXRH, TOST, TTD, and TROX report.  Finally, on Friday, we hear from ACDVF, AXL, CNK, POR, PPL, TRP, THS, and VMC.

In political news, the Senate passed the $95.3 billion foreign aid package (giving support to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan) after having removed the border/immigration provisions the GOP wanted and then decided needed to be removed to preserve the political issue. The bill passed in the Senate by a super-majority of 70-29.  However, Speaker of the House Johnson immediately said he won’t bring the measure to a vote (saying this is because it does not include the border provisions that he and his caucus refused just last week).  Analysts do say there are enough votes in the House to overrule the Speaker’s refusal to bring the bill to a vote, meant to preserve the US position in the world. However, timing will be an issue. Meanwhile, the House did vote to charge (impeach) DHS Sec. Mayorkas by a 214-213 vote. (Four members were out for medical reasons and the rest of the seats were vacant…one flipping toward Dems later Tuesday night.) This political stunt is very likely to be dismissed by a simple majority vote in the Senate.  (Even if a Senate trial were to take place, there is zero chance of the MAGA types gaining a two-thirds vote to actually impeach. However, again, that was never the idea (getting something done).  Instead, the GOP idea is just to have this impeachment as an issue to talk about for three weeks while the Senate is adjourned.)  Meanwhile, we have March 1 and March 8 deadlines for a government shutdown because the House has not found time to do their work from last September.

In stock wild ride news, LYFT had an incredible wild ride Tuesday. It reported after the bell and was up almost 64% in post-market trading on the news. It did settle back down to end up only gaining 13.39%. So, that was definitely a roller coaster. So far in pre-market, LYFT is up another 6.5%.

So far this morning, AVTR, AVNT, CRL, CME, CNHI, GPN, IQV, LPX, NATL, OC, PSN, R, SITE, SONY, TMHC, and WMB all reported beats on both the revenue and earnings lines.  At the same time, GOLD, KHC, LAD, and MLM missed on revenue while beating on earnings.  On the other side, SAH, SUN, and WAB all beat on revenue while missing on earnings. There are no reports of missed on both lines yet today.  It is worth noting that GPN, MLM, SONY, and WMB lowered guidance. However, PSN, raised its forward guidance.

With that background, it looks like the Bulls are trying to reclaim some ground at least in the premarket. All three major index ETFs opened the early session higher and are putting in white body and decisive (still inside day) candles compared to Tuesday’s action. The SPY and QQQ also have both climbed back above their respective T-lines (8ema) this morning. The trend still remains Bullish with only DIA have broken its uptrend (and that break was not yesterday). In terms of extension, none of the three is too far from their 8ema yet. However, T2122 is now well into the oversold area. So, at least a bounce is in order soon, but that does not have to mean today. In addition, there is enough slack for either the Bulls or Bears to push today of they find the energy. Once again, as I’ve been saying for months, keep an eye on those 10 huge tech stocks. If they walk in lock-step, whatever direction they decide to go is very likely to call the tune for the rest of the market. (On Tuesday they walked down and set the tone for everything else.) So far in this early session, they are green across the board.

As always, be deliberate and disciplined…but don’t be stubborn. If you have a loss, admit you were wrong and take that loss before it gets out of hand. And when the price does move in your direction, always move your stops in your favor and take a little profit off the table. You have to keep the “Legend of the Man in the Green Bathrobe” in mind. In a winning situation, it is NOT HOUSE MONEY you’re betting, it’s YOUR MONEY! There is no reason to keep raising your bet (risk) size just because you’ve had a win. Finally, remember that trading is not a hobby, it’s a job. The gains are real and so is the risk. So, treat it that way. Do the work and follow the process. Stick to your trading rules, trade with the trend, and take those profits when you have them. Do the work!

See you in the trading room.


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