All Eyes On The September Jobs Report

All Eyes On The September Jobs Report

Today’s Big Picture

US market futures point to a modestly lower open Friday morning. After the disappointing manufacturing and services data this week, all eyes will be on today’s Nonfarm Payrolls report, which is expected to see 145,000 jobs added in September, up from 130,000 in August with the unemployment rate holding at 3.7% and wages gaining +0.2%. Keep in mind that the General Motors (GM) strike will add some confusion to the data as striking workers aren’t counted in payrolls.

We’ll also be looking for any updates on the previous downward revisions to payrolls. In August the BLS cut job gain estimates for 2018 and early 2019 by about 500,000, the largest such downward revision in the past decade. Overall we’ve seen downward revisions for around 17 months – a sure sign that labor market dynamics ...

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Reasons To Be Cautious Ahead of Trump’s Feb. 28 Speech?

Reasons To Be Cautious Ahead of Trump’s Feb. 28 Speech?

Subscribers to Tematica Investing received this commentary on Monday, Feb. 27 with specific instructions pertaining the Tematica Select List.

If you’ve missed our weekly Monday missive that is the Monday Morning Kickoff, we’d encourage you to pursue it later today as it offers both context and perspective on last week, including much talk about the Fed, and sets the stage for this week. We’ve got a lot of data coming at us, more corporate earnings that prominently feature our Cash-strapped Consumer and Fattening of the Population investing themes. There are a number of events and conferences as well, and before too long we’ll have some thoughts on this week’s Mobile World Congress, an event that meshes very well with our Connected Society, Disruptive Technology and Cashless Consumption investing themes. We expect to see a number of announcements ranging from new smartphone models, connected as well as autonomous vehicle developments, voice digital assistant initiatives, drones, and payment systems to name a few. We’ll be watching these with regard to a number of positions on the Tematica Select List,

As Mobile World Congress gets underway, however, we have another event that should capture investor attention. After presenting what’s called a “skinny budget” today, (which we view as the “opening bid budget”) tomorrow night, President Trump will be speaking to a joint session of Congress. Typically this is referred to as the State of the Union Address, but it’s not called that for a newly elected president. Trump has already shared that he will be talking about health care reform – “We’re going to be speaking very specifically about a very complicated subject…I think we have something that is really going to be excellent.”

As we’ve said before, we’re optimistic and hopeful, but thus far it seems Republicans have yet to find common ground on which to move forward on this. In addition to healthcare reform, investors, including us, will be listening for more details on Trump’s fiscal policies. The issue is speeches such as this tend to be lacking in specifics, and we would be rather surprised to see Trump deviate from that tradition.  Moreover, we’ve already seen the Treasury Secretary push out the timetable for a tax report to late summer, and Trump himself suggested that we are not likely to see his tax reform proposal until after the healthcare reform has been addressed.

As we shared in this morning’s Monday Morning Kickoff, with the S&P 500 trading at 18x expected earnings, it looks like the stock market is out over its ski tips. Two drivers of the market rally over the coming months have been the improving, but not stellar economic data and the hope that President Trump’s policies will jumpstart the economy. We’ve been saying for some time that the soonest we’d likely get any meaningful impact from Trump’s policies would be the back half of 2017. That’s been our perspective, but as we know from time to time, the stock market can get ahead of itself, and we see this as one of those times. The stock market’s move reflects expectations for an accelerating economy – it’s the only way to get the “E” that is earnings growing enough to make the market’s current valuation more palatable.

One of the common mistakes we see with investors is they almost always only focus on the upside to be had, without keeping an eye on the downside risks. If Trump is successful when it comes to the domestic economy, and we’d love nothing more than to see acceleration here, earnings will likely grow materially.

One of the potential risks we see this week is the market being disappointed by the lack of details that Trump will share tomorrow night, which might be read as a push out in timing relative to what the stock market expects. As we said on last week’s Cocktail Investing podcast, resetting expectations is a lot like children that open presents on Christmas morning to find something other than what they expected — it’s far from a harmonious event and more like one that is met with mental daggers, confusion, and second guessing. In short, not a fun time at all.

Again, our thought is better to be safe than sorry given where the market currently sits. Some investors may want to utilize stop losses across positions like Universal Display (OLED), CSX Corp. (CSX), Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and others that have been robust performers thus far in 2017 in order to preserve gains should the stock market get its post-Trump speech jiggy on. More aggressive investors may wish to utilize inverse ETFs, such as ProShares Short S&P500 ETF (SH), ProShares Short Dow30 ETF (DOG), or ProShares Short QQQ (PSQ), while traders implement call options on those inverse ETFs or employ the use of select puts.



Smartphone data usage to climb to 8.9 GB per month by 2021, driving demand for Connected Society companies

Smartphone data usage to climb to 8.9 GB per month by 2021, driving demand for Connected Society companies

No slowdown expected in mobile data consumption as more smartphones are sold and carriers deploy faster mobile networks globally. A rather compelling view for our Connected Society and its going global. Implication for smartphone vendors, RF chip companies, mobile infrastructure equipment and many more as newer mobile technologies are deployed.

According to the recently published Ericsson Mobility Report, the average smartphone user in 2021 is projected to churn through 8.9 GB of data every single month. In contrast, the average smartphone user today uses about 1.4 GB of data every month. This increase, the report notes, will result from an increase in the number of smartphones in use along with a broader 4G LTE coverage. Also worth noting is that some carriers will begin rolling out support for 5G speeds by 2020.

Source: Smartphone data usage to climb to 8.9 GB per month by 2021 | BGR

Thematic tailwinds continue to be a guiding light in the market storm

Thematic tailwinds continue to be a guiding light in the market storm

Actions for this Week

The following are the changes in ratings or strategy we are making as of Friday February 26, 2016:

  • Use the recent market strength to capture profits by selling half your position in  Philip Morris International (PM), AT&T (T) and PayPal (PYPL) shares.
  • On the remaining PM position, suggest setting a stop loss at $87 and raise the recommended stop loss on PYPL shares to $33 from $31.
  • Maintain “Hold” rating Tematica Select List positions AGNC, DOC, PM, RGC, SH and T.
It’s been another up and down week for the stock market, once again shaped by the moves in oil prices. These movements can cause short-term disruptions in stock prices as evidenced by the gyrations of the last few weeks, but our thematic tailwinds continue to be a guiding light in the market storm.

Over the last few weeks we’ve recommended investors continue to sit on the sidelines preferring to keep our powder dry amid the market turbulence as we wait for more favorable risk to reward profiles in stock prices. On the dividend side of our holdings — which continues to outperform— as of the market’s close last night, our position in Philip Morris International ([stock_quote symbol=”PM”]) is up more than 15% from my initial recommendation and both AT&T ([stock_quote symbol=”T”]) and PayPal ([stock_quote symbol=”PYPL”]) shares are up more than 10% including dividends.

While the stock market has rebounded, there are still reasons to remain cautious. . . 
WTIC Light Crude Spot Prices

WTIC Light Crude Spot Prices

The recent rally in the stock market has been due in part to organizations like the OECD and others that are calling for more monetary stimulus. Let’s remember, we have yet to feel the full impact of the oil price drop, but the evidence is mounting:

  • Comments from the CEO of Devon Energy ([stock_quote symbol=”DVN”]) imply most US shale producers need $55-$60 oil to work
  • We’re beginning to hear about more oil related layoffs as Halliburton cut another 5,000 jobs following up on cuts of 4,000 jobs in the December quarter.
  • Wells Fargo ([stock_quote symbol=”WFC”]) has set aside $1.2 billion for potential oil and gas sector loan losses as different forecasts suggest up to 35% of public oil companies could face bankruptcy.
  • A report from Deloitte found 175 such companies are facing “a combination of high leverage and low debt service coverage ratios.” Odds are more financial institutions that just Wells Fargo will be hit should Deloitte be correct.
Meanwhile, the economy in China is expected to have contracted even further in February

February would mark the seventh consecutive monthly decline in China’s manufacturing sector. Per a poll conducted by Reuters based on 23 economists, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is expected to dip to 49.3 in February from 49.4 a month earlier. We’re already seen the ripple effect into the Eurozone, and that along with oil related loan losses helps explain why European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is ready to do “whatever it takes” come March.

Taken all together, these data points lead us to conclude that there is likely another shoe to drop, and that shoe will not only weigh on the market, but it will probably lead to job destruction along the way. Keep in mind, the jobs created in the oil and energy sector have been some of the better paying ones created over the last few years, compared to the those in the retail, hospitality and other sectors that have led recent job growth

All of this is likely to keep the Fed’s hand off the interest rate button in next few weeks.

$NYMOT: NYSE McClellan Oscillator

$NYMOT: NYSE McClellan Oscillator

Finally, we also have to acknowledge that short covering has helped propel the market higher over the last few days even though the fundamentals (economic growth, earnings expectations) have not changed much in the last few days. That short covering has led the NYSE McClellan Oscillator (an indicator or market breadth based on the number of advancing and declining issues on the NYSE) to rebound sharply over the last few days, past levels from which we’ve seen pullbacks in the market.

So this short selling activity is yet another reason to remain cautious near-term in my view, which means we are maintaining our “Hold” rating on ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF ([stock_quote symbol=”SH”]) shares.

Trimming back our PM, T and PYPL positions, and checking some stop losses

Rather than dawdle, we recommend using the recent strength in the market to trim back positions in Philip Morris International ([stock_quote symbol=”PM”]), AT&T ([stock_quote symbol=”T”]) and PayPal ([stock_quote symbol=”PYPL”]) by selling half of each. This move will lock in double-digit gains, while leaving some skin in the game should the market climb higher in the near-term. We are also recommending at this time that investors set a stop loss for PM shares at $87 and raising the stop loss on PYPL shares to $33 from $31.

Over the last few weeks a number of thematically well positioned companies have had their share prices retreat to more attractive levels. Examples include Netflix ([stock_quote symbol=”NFLX”]), Amazon ([stock_quote symbol=”AMZN”]), and Skyworks Solutions ([stock_quote symbol=”SWKS”]) to name a few. Should another pullback in the market come to pass as I expect, we’ll be watching these and other thematic contenders closely.

What’s playing at the box office?

Year to date the movie box office is up 1.6% year over year due to strong performances from “Deadpool”, “The Revenant”, “Kung Fu Panda 3”, and of course “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. In just under a month “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” will drop and soon after that “Captain America: Civil War” will hit in early May. Other tent pole films from Disney and other film companies have 2016 looking like a better year for bodies in seats, and we all know that drives sales of those high margin snacks and beverages.

This points to additional upside for Regal Entertainment ([stock_quote symbol=”RGC”]) shares, which closed last night up more than 6% including dividends since our initial “Buy” rating in mid-January recommendation. The next sign post for the shares will be on March 8th when the management team gives it presentation at the Raymond James Institutional Investors Conference in Orlando, FL. For investors who have already made a move on RGC shares, we recommend you continue to hold them; for those that haven’t jumped in yet you could still do so lest they pass $20, at which point we do not recommend committing fresh capital. Our RGC price target remains $24.

Coming up, earnings from Physicians Realty Trust

On Monday, our Aging of the Population play, Physician Realty Trust ([stock_quote symbol=”DOC”]), reports its quarterly earnings. Consensus expectations for the quarter are sitting at earnings per share of $0.26 on revenue of $39.2, up 18% and more than 100% year over year, respectively.  Remember, Physicians Realty has been upsizing and using its balance sheet to grow its leased property footprint to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare delivery systems. In late January the company completed a secondary offering that garnered it net proceeds of more than $320 million, and the company should shed more light on its plans to put that capital to work and grow its footprint in 2016.