Inflation Data and Fed Speakers This Week

Friday gave us another gap higher to start the day.  SPY gapped up 0.30%, DIA gapped up 0.32%, and QQQ gapped up 0.36% at the open.  Then, after about 20 minutes of follow-through to the upside, all three major index ETFs sold off.  The SPY and QQQ recrossed their opening gaps at 10:55 a.m. while DIA sold more slowly and did not recross the opening gap until 11:45 a.m.  After their recross of the gap, all three traded sideways inside the gap for the rest of the day.  This action gave us a gap-up, indecisive candles in all three major index ETFs.   The DIA and QQQ printed Black Doji type candles while the SPY printed more of a black-bodied Spinning Top candle.  All three remain well above their T-line (8ema) and the SPY and DIA are both less than 1% below their all-time high (not all-time high close). 

On the day, five of the 10 sectors were in the green with Communications Services (+0.46%) and Consumer Defensive (+0.40%) leading the gainers higher while Energy (-0.65%) was by far the laggard sector.  Meanwhile, SPY gained 0.13%, DIA gained 0.30%, and QQQ gained 0.24%.  VXX fell another 1.39% to close at 12.06 and T2122 fell but remains just inside the lower edge of its overbought territory to close at 80.47. At the same time, 10-year bond yields rose to 4.500% and Oil (WTI) fell another 1.14% to close at $78.36 per barrel. So, Friday was another bullish day where the gains again came from the opening gap and the rest of the day was meandering back inside that gap area.  This all happened on just-below average volume in the DIA and far-less-than-average volume in the SPY and QQQ.

The major economic news scheduled for Friday included May Preliminary Michigan Consumer Sentiment, which came in lower than expected at 67.4 (compared to a forecast of 76.0 and an April reading of 77.2).  At the same time, May Preliminary Michigan Consumer Expectations were also lower than predicted at 66.5 (versus a 75.0 forecast and the April value of 76.0).  Meanwhile, the May Preliminary Michigan 1-Year Inflation Expectations were higher that anticipated at +3.5% (compared to a +3.2% forecast and a previous reading of +3.2%).  At the same time, May Preliminary Michigan 5-Year Inflation Expectations also rose a tick to +3.1% (versus a forecast and previous value of +3.0%).  Finally, the April Federal Budget Balance came in positive but weaker than expected at a surplus of $210.0 billion (compared to a forecast of +$244.5 billion but far better than the prior month’s -$236.0 billion).

In Fed speak news, there were a raft of FOMC speakers Friday.  Atlanta Fed President Bostic said the FOMC is likely to cut rates this year as the economy slows.  Bostic said, “I still have that belief” (that interest rates can be lowered this year).  He continued, “There is an expectation for most of the employers I talk to that they will get back to pre-pandemic wage growth, and we’re hearing from pretty much everyone that their pricing power is pretty much at its limit.”   In terms of timing, Bostic only said, “I don’t think we’re going to know that for at least a couple of months.”  Later, Dallas Fed President Logan was less optimistic about a rate cut.  In fact, Logan said it was not clear to her that monetary policy was tight enough to bring inflation down to 2%.  Logan commented, “There are also important upside risks to inflation that are on my mind, and also uncertainties about how restrictive policy is and whether it’s sufficiently restrictive to keep us on this path.”  She continued, “As I think about appropriate policy, I think it’s just too early to think about cutting rates.” 

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Goolsbee said he thinks US monetary policy is “relatively restrictive” (meaning that borrowing costs are putting downward pressure on inflation).  He continued, “There isn’t at this time much evidence in my view that inflation is stalling out at 3%.”  However, he continues to worry about housing inflation, saying “We’ve been saying for some significant time now, ‘oh, housing inflation is about to come down.’ If that happens at the rate at which we think, I think we will start to see overall improvement, and it will be fairly clear that there’s an optimistic lane that we could ride overall inflation back toward 2%…If it doesn’t happen, then we’ve got problems.”  Elsewhere, Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari told CNBC that there is “a high bar” for any consideration of another rate hike.  He continued, saying there was no hurry, saying “I’m in a wait and see mode.”

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In stock news, on Friday, DELL reported its customer portal was hacked and the data of 49 million customers (including name, address dell equipment, and order information had been stolen).  Later, AAPL apologized for its latest ad, showing a hydraulic press crushing many different types of electronics saying that its new AI-enabled iPad Pro would crush all other forms of content creation.  (This apparently upset content creator customers.)  At the same time, TSLA CEO Musk said that after the recent layoffs and elimination of its “Supercharger” group, the company will spend well over $500 million on expanding its fast-charging network in 2024.  (This comes 1 day after media reports that BP is interested in acquiring the TSLA charging network.)  Later, Reuters reported that sources in MCD said the company is considering launching a cheaper “meal deal” to draw in more “inflation-hit” customers. 

Elsewhere, Reuters reported Friday that OpenAI will announce its own Google search engine competitor (based on its AI models) today.  After the news broke, OpenAI CEO Altman tweeted that this will not be a “gpt-5 (a new version of its AI model), not a search engine, but something that ‘feels like magic’.”  Then, on Saturday, unionized workers at an AAPL store in MD voted to authorize a strike.  However, no date for the work stoppage has been announced yet.  On Sunday, PFE and AZN announced new investments in France that combined will be worth $1 billion.  Then AMZN rounded out the nice Sunday for France by announcing its own new $1.3 billion investment in facilities in that country.

In stock legal and governmental news, on Friday, the NHTSA officially announced it has opened a investigation into 211k F trucks with fuel leaks from a secondary fuel filter that has been shown to have caused 12 fires among 27 complaints.  (This was separate from F’s recent recall of 42k SUVs with fuel leaks from injectors.)  At the same time, MRNA said it had been informed by the FDA that a decision on approval of its RSV vaccine has been delayed but a decision should be reached by the end of the month.  Later, Reuters reported that sources tell it the Biden Administration would implement new tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles, solar products, and medical devices (such as syringes and protective equipment) this week.  At the same time, the CFTC proposed a rule Friday that would ban derivatives used to bet on US elections, natural disasters, and other major real-world events.  Later, a federal appeals (two GOP-appointed and one Dem-appointed judge) court panel dismissed a lawsuit brought by Republican-led states that sought to block the SEC rule requiring investment funds to categorize and disclose proxy votes on ESG matters.  (The panel ruled the states had no standing to sue the SEC.) 

Elsewhere, MSFT was hit with a $242 million ruling by a federal jury in DE in a patent infringement case brought by IPA Technologies.  The case was related to MSFT’s Cortana virtual assistant software.  At the same time, the Treasury Dept. announced Friday that it will hold an auction the week of June 3, to sell the stock warrants the government was given by airlines (AAL, DAL, UAL, and LUV) in exchange for $54 billion in financial assistance during the COVID pandemic.  Later, the USPS said it will seek a 25% rate increase for high-volume package shippers wanting last-mile regional delivery as of July 14.  At the same time, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule that capped credit card late fees at $8.  (US consumers pay $800 million per month in card late fees.)  This ruling was expected since the American Banker’s Assn. and Chamber of Commerce chose that district to file the suit based on the business-friendliness of judges there.  The next step is likely appeal to the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (also very conservative).

Overnight, Asian markets were mixed but leaned toward the green side in modest trading.  Hong Kong (+0.80%) and Taiwan (+0.72%) led the seven gaining exchanges higher.  Meanwhile, New Zealand (-0.88%) and Shenzhen (-0.60%) led the five losers lower.  In Europe, things are more on the red side of flat at midday with only five of the 15 bourses in the green so far.  The CAC (-0.23%), DAX (-0.20%), and FTSE (-0.17%) lead the region lower in early afternoon trade.  In the US, as of 7:30 a.m., Futures are pointing toward a modestly green start to the day.  DIA implies a +0.09% open, the SPY is implying a +0.19% open, and the QQQ implies a +0.30% open at this hour.  At the same time, 10-year bond yields are down to 4.485% and Oil (WTI) is up another half percent to $78.70 per barrel in early trading.

The major economic news scheduled for Monday is limited to NY Fed 1-Year Consumer Inflation Expectations (11 a.m.).  We also hear from Fed member Mester at 9 a.m.  The major earnings reports scheduled for before the open include CEPU, DDL, FTRE, HUYA, TME, and VTRU.  Then, after the close, AHR, PBR, STNE, and TLNE report. 

In economic news later this week, on Tuesday we get April Core PPI, April PPI, API Weekly Crude Stocks and we hear from Fed Chair Powell.  Then, on Wednesday, April Core CPI, April CPI, April Core Retail Sales, April Retail Sales, NY Empire State Mfg., March Business Inventories, March Retail Inventories, and EIA Weekly Crude Oil Inventory are reported.  We also hear from Fed member Bowman speaks.  On Thursday, we get April Building Permits, April Housing Starts, April Import Price Index, April Export Price Index, Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, Weekly Continuing Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Mfg. Index, April Industrial Production, Fed Balance Sheet and we hear from Fed members Vice Chair Barr, Mester, and Bostic.  Finally, on Friday, April US Leading Economic Indicators Index is reported and we hear from Fed member Waller.

In terms of earnings reports later this week, on Tuesday we hear from BABA, BKKT, CGAU, HD, IGT, ONON, SE, SONY, NXT, and NU.  Then on Wednesday, ARCO, DOLE, CSCO, CPA, GRAB, and ZTO repot.  On Thursday, we hear from BIDU, DE, IQ, JD, NICE, UA, UAA, WMT, AMAT, CPRT, DXC, FLO, GLOB, and TTWO.  Finally, on Friday, HTHT reports.

So far this morning, TME reported a beat on both the revenue and earnings lines.  At the same time, HUYA missed on revenue (huge miss) while beating on earnings.  However, DDL and FTRE missed on both the top and bottom lines. 

In miscellaneous news, Israel began the next phase of its ground offensive in Rafah with tanks after intense artillery and air attacks.  US Sec. of State Blinken reiterated Sunday that Israel has no credible plan to protect civilians during their invasion of the city where Israel has driven millions of refugees.  This comes after Friday afternoon’s vote where 143 UN-member nations voted to recognize Palestine as a member state.  (25 countries abstained and only 9 voted against, including Israel and the US.)  In other news, China is gearing up for the first of its $139 billion ultra-long bond sale on Friday.  (That will be only the fourth offering of 30-year bonds by China in the last 26 years.)  Finally, Meme Stocks are back in the news as the Reddit poster who started that craze under the pseudonym “Roaring Kitty” posted again for the first time in nearly three years.  GME (+32.70%) stock is soaring in premarket on that news.

With that background, it looks as if the Bulls are pushing to follow through on last week’s gains. All three major index ETFs opened not far from flat, but have printed white-body candles with almost no wick since that start to the early session. All three major index ETFs remain well above their T-line (8ema). So, the short-term trend remains bullish. Meanwhile, the mid-term is modestly bullish again now. The longer-term market remains very Bullish as all three major index ETFs have returned within a percent (give or take) of all-time highs. In terms of extension, the SPY, DIA, and QQQ are all getting a bit stretched above their T-lines. The T2122 indicator is also just at the edge of the overbought area. So, we should expect a pullback or at least a pause soon, to relieve the overextension if nothing else. (Just remember the market can remain extended longer than we can remain solvent predicting a turn that hasn’t come yet.) In terms of those 10 big dog tickers, eight of the 10 are in the green this morning with only GOOGL (-1.71%) really providing any drag on the market. Remember, we get more inflation data this week and have a number of Fed speakers. Any of that could potentially turn markets in at least he short-term.

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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