Market Recon Thursday

Good Morning,
                        Life never ceases to amaze.  In my wildest thoughts, though in some aspects…I remain permanently….a twelve year old boy, I never thought that an unknown “Neptune” sized planet would be discovered in our solar system.  That’s very cool.  What’s much less cool, but just as bazaar, and unlikely an idea is that we might witness a day where there were margin calls at the day’s lows, followed by a short squeeze for certain stocks at the highs, which would in turn be followed by a sharp sell-off into the closing bell.  Can’t make this stuff up, kids.
                       Rumors swirled throughout yesterday’s mid-day rally of a large stimulus program to be released by the PBOC.  Doubt this was it, but the PBOC did offer $60 billion worth of reverse repurchase agreements to commercial lenders this morning.  For what it’s worth, the Shanghai Composite, the planet’s weakest major stock market index so far today sold off to the tune of 3.5% in response.  That injection of cash was apparently less than Chinese investors were hoping for in the way of easy monetary policy, and once it was determined that state-owned enterprises were not going to support stocks late in the day, the selling mounted.  The Shanghai is now in “double bear market territory”.
                      Just when you thought WTI Crude could only go down another 26 clams, the attention turns from the February contract to the March contract.  Huzzah !!  Now we can still go down 28 bucks before oil is free.
                       I know this  year is tough so far, gang.  Heck, a lot of things in life are tough.  Some kid somewhere, maybe in your own neighborhood is freezing this morning, or has no access to clean water.  So, that said, let’s quit our namby pamby little ways.  Let’s kiss our spouses & kids on their foreheads.  Then let’s buckle our chinstraps, let’s tie our boots as tight as they go, and let’s work our little tails off.  Nobody else is going to save you, so draw that line in the sand.  Who do you want in charge when mayhem tries to rule the day ????  You better say yourself.  Now, do this.
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Macro
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08:30 ET
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Initial Jobless Claims (Weekly): This is one item that although printing at what is generally considered to be very good levels, has been inching higher for two to three months.  Today, consensus expectations are for something like 278K, which would be an improvement from last week’s sort of lofty 284K.  There is a slight bias in the skew to the low side of the range, which spans from 265K to 285K.  Let’s hope.
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Philly Fed Manufacturing Index (January):  Let’s also hope Philly puts in a better performance this month than did New York.  If you recall, the Empire State printed at a disastrous -19 and change last Friday.  Throughout the utter, and complete collapse of the manufacturing business in this country over the past year or so, it has been Philadelphia that has remained the most resilient of the regional Fed districts.  Today, we look for the pace of decay for this district to slow from December’s -5.9 to something in the neighborhood of -4.9.  There is even at least one outlier economist predicting a positive number for this item…. but, before you go all warm and fuzzy on me, we also have folks at -10.
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10:30 ET
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Natural Gas Inventories (Weekly): Unlike their friends down the hall at the EIA, those who release this weekly report have actually seen reductions in supply for seven consecutive weeks, and the size of the draw seems to grow every week too.  This week is no different, with expectations for -180 billion cubic feet of the stuff.
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11:00 ET
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Oil Inventories (Weekly):  The good news ????  Well, we already know that WTI Crude can only go down 28 clams from here.  The bad news ??  My little birdie who is by no means infallible is looking for a pop in supply of more than three million barrels today.  For joy. For joy.
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Thursday’s Earnings Highlights
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Before the Open: BK (.64), CP (2.77), KEY (.28), LUV (.89), TRV (2.66), UNP (1.42), UAL (2.59), VZ (.88)
After the Close: AXP (1.13), ETFC (.30), SLB (.63), SBUX (.45)