Mid-Day Thoughts

Good Afternoon,

Wow….talk about stagnant.  Equity markets are simply treading water as we approach what should be a high volume, potentially highly volatile closing bell.  Then, before the open, we’ll do “Jobs Day”….. so we don have a few nuts to crack.  Closing out the quarter in positive territory for equities (If we hang on) will be a remarkably emotional positive for market participants.  For those in other industries who might participate only from a distance, the seemingly mild quarter over quarter moves could mask the dangers behind, and the possible detours ahead.  That is a double edged sword that I’m afraid is unpreventable.  Some will not act who probably should act, while others probably avoided knee-jerk mistakes by not reacting.

1) Energy is your leading sector today, boosted by WTI Crude that is only mildly higher.  The swinging door that is the $39 level has not yet been regained and held.  Held being the key word.

2) My S&P 500 trading levels in this neighborhood are 2061, and 2069.  The index is yet to test either one.

3) The US dollar is again weaker, which is helping Gold overcome yesterday’s spate of profit taking.  Our mental stop orders remain 1210, and 1275.

4) Interestingly, along with Gold, the VIX, the Utility sector, and US Treasuries are slightly stronger.  Is this something of a safety play ahead of quarterly re-balances, and jobs data ??  Nothing earth shattering here, but I will be watching this.

5) All that said…. I don’t smell any fear yet.  William Dudley does speak after the close of business today.

Market Recon Thursday

Good Morning,
                        End of the month.  End of the quarter.  Surely you will see better than recent trading volumes (we can only hope), and larger than usual closing imbalances as there will be some rebalancing to do.  What you’ll see is some funds forced either by circumstance, or the calendar to do what they do daily, but in concentrated manner….. manage risk, and try to enhance performance.  Earnings releases are a quarterly game, and thus…for many, end of quarter seems to be the time to figure out what went right, what did not go so right, and whether or not your prior thoughts…. that may not have worked out just need more time, or need to change.  There are also funds that have mandates that force them to act at times like this in order to remain in line with their stated intentions.
                        Given the recent run in equities, and the wobbliness seen in Treasuries, and given the way that many pension funds (about half) rebalance (either quarterly or monthly) based on relative performance (equities versus fixed income), it stands to reason that tonight’s close could be more negative than it would have been just a couple of weeks ago.  Certainly more so than a month ago.  Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have a big minus tick to hang on the closing bell.  These things do pair off.  The public has been there, over the last few days, every time the markets have tried to come in, but this time…the public can ring the cash register (They have profits), so their collective reaction is somewhat unknown.  Brain food.  Could get hairy.
.
The Path You’re On
.
08:30 ET
.
Initial Jobless Claims (Weekly):  The four week moving average for this one is down to just a hair less than 260K, which even for a doomsayer like myself is a positive stat.  Last week’s number came in at 265K, which is basically what we are looking for today, maybe up small from there.  The range is tight, spanning just 260K to 275K, so it would not take much to surprise, but this item has not been very volatile for quite some time.  Traders are paying less attention to it than they used to.
.
Gallup Unemployment & Underemployment Rates (February):  Yes, I know I’m the only one watching this release.  True, that given it’s small sample size, and the fact that this is not seasonally adjusted (meaning, that this is an honest number), means that this item is not fully comparable to the BLS numbers that you’ll see tomorrow.  However, I want folks to realize that there are other voices out there, and you do not have to buy exactly what big brother wants to sell you.  For February, the Gallup Unemployment Rate printed at 6.2%, and the Gallup Underemployment Rate printed at 14.7%.  Good thing that they’re not comparable.
.
09:30 ET
.
Fed Speaker:  Chicago Fed Pres. Charles Evans, who spoke from New York City yesterday will do so again today.  He is still not a voting member of the FOMC.  Just yesterday, it sounded as if Evans was being quite dovish as that is how he is known.  He indicated a rate hike was possible in June, but cautioned on everything that Madame Chair cautioned on during her Tuesday speech.  Then Evans also said that two rate hikes were still on the table for the year.  Well, if we have a presidential election in November, and you start in June at the earliest…. then that’s kind of hawkish, isn’t it?  Seems kind of sloppy.
.
09:45 ET
.
Chicago PMI (March): Now, before looking at this one, you must understand that consensus expectations have been so wildly off of the mark for this item (missing by at least 4.5 in every month since August) of late, that they no longer are considered to be expectations.  That said, this item is seeing trader interest well above what it used to, if only because of it’s intense volatility.  Kind of a sleeper here, could move the market.
.
10:30 ET
.
Natural Gas Inventories (Weekly):  We finally did see an increase in supplies last week (15 billion cubic feet), after having had this data-point print in contraction for 16 consecutive weeks.  This week will likely be a squeaker, as consensus view is right around flat from that print.
.
17:00 ET
.
Fed Speaker: NY Fed Pres. William Dudley, obviously a voting member of the FOMC speaks to a room full of economists from Lexington, Virginia.  A Q&A session is expected.  Thought of as dovish, Dudley has stayed well below the radar over the last two weeks while everyone else was out making noise.  This will be interesting.

Mid-Day Thoughts

Good Afternoon,

                       Just what the heck is at play here ?? Let’s look into this a little bit.  I’m not going to say that there’s any skulduggery afoot, but …… maybe it’s just tomfoolery.
.
1)  Has anyone stopped and asked… Are Janet Yellen, and her henchmen just massaging the US dollar to an already agreed upon global point of compromise ??  I mean the DXY gets strong, up somewhere in the 98 to 100 range.  Poof, US multi-nationals get hurt, and the Chinese get upset about capital outflows.  The DXY gets softish…say down around 93…  The ECB, and BOJ phone in their complaints.  So, the big hammer swings when she has to ease the DXY lower, and she let’s the dogs out when it gets too weak.  Food for thought.  Are they all full of it ??  Are their opinions their own ??
.
2)  The euphoria of this morning seems to have worn off for equities.  Mid-day support has been found at $SPX 2062, which is our level in this neighborhood.  If that should crack, the ball rolls as far as 2055 before it hits something.  I believe there will be resistance at 2069 should the index make another run this afternoon.
.
3) Tech is again the market leader, while the pop in Crude prices after this morning’s number that led Energy, and financial stocks higher has clearly abated.
.
4) There is some short term profit taking in Gold, and there is an easily identifiable steepening of the yield curve today.  The 30 year has taken it on the chin along with the 10 year, while everything from the five year down has held firm.
.
5) Are we at the highs of the year ??  Yes.  Are we anywhere near the highs of last year? No.

Market Recon Wednesday

Good Morning,
                        Global equities have hopped into the HOV lane this morning, cruising their collective way to higher prices.  Global equities that is, with a painful exception for Japan.  Japanese Industrial Production for February was hit with the ugly stick last night, just in case any of you have lives, and don’t follow global macro as if it were a sport.  Yup, yup, yup.  Maybe they should try easing monetary policy.
.
Clarity
.
                         When you think of clarity…. who doesn’t think of Janet Yellen ???  Janet Yellen was very clear yesterday about her concerns over inter-galactic economic weakness…..and who could blame her ??  Clearly, external threats abound.  A lot of other things are also very clear this morning.  The Fed is very clearly NOT data dependent.  That rascally gang of Fed speakers that James Bullard led into the wilderness last week either were sent out there to temporarily stabilize the US dollar (at the request of the ECB, BOJ, etc.), or in their defense…. maybe they just thought that the Fed WAS data dependent.  On that, I am unclear.  (Think I just stuck up for James Bullard, may have to recant).  Oh, and our highly touted dot plots ARE clearly no indication of future price points for the Fed Funds Rate.  (You already knew that)  The futures market is clearly a far more accurate indicator of the path that will likely be taken.  Do I make myself clear?
.
Lonesome Dove
.
08:15 ET
.
ADP Employment Report (March): This item has been running, for the most part, anywhere from the 190k’s into the lower 200k’s for sometime now.  This data-point has also been semi-regularly printing well below the official BLS Non-Farm Payroll number that it is meant to predict.  For February, this one hit the tape at 214K, which was up from the month prior, and beat expectations.  Today, consensus is for just under 200K, with a fairly wide range.  Basically anything between 160K, and 230K will be taken in stride by the marketplace.  I’ve said it before, you will likely get a reaction in the futures market at the time of this release, but by Friday, this one will be log forgotten.
.
10:30 ET
.
Oil Inventories (Weekly): You all saw what happened last week.  With the experts looking for a “lofty” three million barrel increase in supply, the Tuesday night API (American Petroleum Institute print showed an increase of a mind blowing 8.8 million barrels.  Well, what do you know, the Wednesday EIA (Energy Information Administration) number sported an even higher increase of an incredible 9.4 million barrels.  Today, the experts look for 3 million barrels again.  Last night, the API number came in at far more “in line” growth number of 2.6 million barrels.  What do you think happens in this space today?
.
13:00 ET
.
Fed Speaker:  Chicago Fed Pres. Charles Evans speaks in New York City.  Evans is not a voting member of the FOMC this year, and will likely telegraph his speech in a TV interview at 08:30 ET.  Evans, well known as a dove, was already well entrenched in that camp last week, while everyone else was playing the hawkish role.  Evans is on record indicating that he’s okay letting inflation run a little hot…. so if you liked Janet Yellen yesterday, you’ll probably like this guy today.  See, I did it.  I wrote a paragraph about a Fed official without bashing anyone.  I feel like I could do anything right now.
.
Wednesday’s Earnings Highlights
.
Before the Open: CCL (.32), LULU (.80), PAYX (.50)
After the Close: MU (-.08)

Yellen Speaks

Janet Yellen Speaks
.
                      The Yellen speech at the Economic club of New York is out, and the immediate reaction by market participants was to “take ’em”.  The S&P 500 jack-knifed from the established 2035 level straight to the next technical level (2042), and then beyond.  On top of equities, investors also gave Gold, and Treasuries a lift.  Crude remained lower but did come off of it’s lows.
                      What the good doctor did was sound cautious about moving toward the next increase for the Fed Funds Rate.  That. my friends… is the bottom line.  She seemed to acknowledge that economic conditions are somewhat sloppier than she thought just a few months ago (duh), and also cited global economic worries as a headwind.  Dr. Yellen indicated that the Fed can only add modest additional monetary stimulus.  No kidding.  Thanks for coming in.  Negative interest rates ?? Not a mention.  Hooray.
                     Stocks are being led higher by Tech, and Small Caps, while Energy shares are being dragged down by lower Crude prices.  This, and not Janet Yellen’s dovish stance are at this point, having an adverse impact on the Financial sector.
                    There are obviously two ways that we can go from here.  Does a dovish Fed Chair confirming her own dovish preferences push stocks even higher ??  Does her lack of confidence in the US economy, something she clearly has had a hand in…. cause a later risk-off move ??  These are questions that, as a trader type… you have to answer in the short term… with numbers.  To the up, the S&P 500 hits roadblocks at 2053, and if you’re really lucky…2062.  If we do a swan dive off of the high-board, we would have to re-test both 2035, and 2028.
                      Ok, gang, you ready ??  Buckle those chinstraps, and let’s go.

Market Recon Tuesday

Good Morning,
                        Yesterday’s equity markets closed unchanged on no volume, and there was an incident in our nation’s capitol that those same markets never really reacted to.  Other than that, Wall Street was pretty quiet on Monday.  Oh, there was that revision to January Personal Spending that knocked the tar out of first quarter GDP expectations.  Then again…all things considered, the Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now forecast of 0.6% for the quarter would make 2016 the best Q1 since 2013, so ….. party on, dudes !!!
                       Global equities seem to be edging sideways to lower in very general terms, as Europe awakens from a very long holiday weekend, and China holds their collective breath until they put their PMI data to the tape on Thursday night.  You may have noticed that Crude is starting to act heavy again.  Short coverings can only take you so far.  Rig counts, at least in North America have stopped shrinking to the degree seen earlier this year.  OPEC hasn’t done anything, and supplies continue to grow.  Then again, trading on fundamentals is just kooky nowadays.
                       OK, gang… this is really Janet’s show today.  There’s plenty to look at, and listen to, but she is the one who will move the marketplace.  Think she’ll clear things up ??  Maybe enough for the algos to pick a direction for the afternoon.  Not long or even medium term though.  No, that’s just silly talk.
.
Allocation
.
                        Tweaking our allocation for the second quarter looked a whole lot easier a couple of days ago, when we thought that consumer spending was stronger than it actually was in the first quarter.  We knew that the strong dollar had presented a roadblock for multinationals, but we now know that domestic demand has remained weak as well.  Guess that’s why the Russell 2000 has not performed as one might expect.
                        We played it pretty safe (defense wins championships) in that first quarter, and I think that strategy served us rather well.  So what to do now ??  Our cash level was a very high 35% going into the new year.  It got even higher than that in mid-February, and that wasn’t because we had more cash on hand.  Eeek..Chutes and Ladders.  Still standing.  What I’m thinking of now, is taking Cash down to 27.5%, and moving that 7.5% into Equities, to bring Equities up to 47.5%.  Our concentration in Q1 was in Staples, and in Dividend names.  Despite the recent poor performance in consumer spending, the extra 7.5% will go mostly toward Discretionary names.  We still want some exposure to Energy (Only Production), Airlines, and Health Care (Providers).  No Bio-Tech. Never.  Figure on playing into multi-nationals while the dollar is weaker, and adjust if the DXY strengthens back to previous levels.  We currently have Gold at 7.5%.  That remains the level as long as the physical commodity remains above $1210 an ounce.  That is your mental stop order.  Below that, we puke a third of the position (2.5%), and move it into equities, jacking that number to 50%.  We do not go below 5%.  If Gold should rip through $1300, you can go to 9% for a trade.  That can come out of cash.  As for bonds, I have maintained a 17.5% allocation…well, basically since the cows came home.  I expect to loosen the concentration in Treasuries somewhat, and increase Corporate.  Getting help in this space is advised if you are not comfortable.  Okay to do certain municipals, and we are not touching Junk… no matter how tempting.  Avoiding Bio-Tech, and Junk bonds will keep your personal beta in check.  We are not trying to be Babe Ruth here.  We are very happy to be Rod Carew, or Wade Boggs.
.
Important Note:  As always, remember gang, I’m just a guy thinking out loud.  I tell you what I’m doing, or what I’m thinking of doing.  Your trades are yours, and yours alone.
.
Dazed and Confused
.
Bright and Early
.
Fed Speaker: San Francisco Fed Pres. John Williams spoke on monetary policy, and global economics just a few minutes ago from Singapore.  Formerly a perma-dove, Williams has recently been advocating for an April increase in the Fed Funds Rate, after having not dissented less than two weeks ago.  Such a hero.  On top of that, this is the guy who just yesterday, said the US economy was doing “quite well” as his colleagues at the Atlanta Fed were lowering their Q1 GDP forecast from 1.4% to 0.6%.  Nice job, sparky.  Maybe….don’t read the comics on the way to work tomorrow.
.
08:55 ET
.
Redbook (Weekly):  This item seems to have held at this level without yet going into contraction.  Last week’s print cam in at growth of 0.8% y/y, and as long as we see something above 0.5% today, I think this one gets overlooked.
.
09:00 ET
.
Case-Shiller HPI (January):  Remember, January was a pretty decent month for housing.  This one is coming off of a 5.7% y/y non-seasonally adjusted release for December.  Expectations for today are for a 5.8% y/y number, but the range is seriously skewed higher.  No promise, but a surprise with a six handle is not a crazy thought here today.
.
10:00 ET
.
Consumer Confidence (March): This item, not to be confused with the twice a month, University of Michigan number, missed very badly last month, hitting the tape at 92.2, it’s second lowest showing since the start of 2015.  We very sheepishly look for a rebound to something close to 94 today, but if the Consumer Spending data that we saw yesterday is any indication, US consumers do not feel so confident.
.
11:30 ET
.
Fed Speaker:  Fed Chair Janet Yellen will talk about economic conditions, and monetary policy in New York City.  It was less than two weeks ago, that the Fed Chair doved it up at her press conference despite Fed mandates, and targets having apparently at the time been met.  Then she let the dogs out to talk the dollar back up (global cooperation ??), and reign in markets a bit.  Now that Core PCE disappointed, and Consumer Spending has grown far less than previously thought causing massive reductions in first quarter GDP forecasts, well you get the picture.  She now has the flexibility to do whatever she wants, or needs to do.  This speech is the most important thing you will tackle today.  My best guess is that she will as unclear as possible regarding both economic conditions, and monetary policy.
.
13:00, and 16:00 ET
.
Fed Speaker:  Dallas Fed Pres. Rob Kaplan, not a voting member of the FOMC…will speak twice today from Austin, Texas.  He will even open himself up to questions, which is the right thing to do….but, not a soul will notice, because the Fed Chair will have already stolen the show.
.
Tuesday’s Earnings Highlights
.
Before the Open: LEN (.52), MKC (.69)
After the Close: SONC (.16)

Mid-Day Thoughts

Good Afternoon,

                       With European markets closed, and some American participants adding Monday to their long weekend, trading volume is very light.  Very, very light.  With that in mind, we’ve seen some development in our macro-economic snapshot (as have those rascally Fed Speakers), and now we move on to the meatier, almost surely far busier portion of our workweek.
.
1) For half of a day now, the S&P 500 has been unable to escape the gravitational pull of the key 2035 level.  For our retail traders out there, who prefer to play small ball, this is exactly how you like a pivot to perform.  We do not go very far in either direction without hitting some traffic.  There should be something at 2041 to the up, and 2030 on the way down, but they are both less significant than their bookends.  Consumer stocks lead, both Discretionary names, and Staples.  Transports, and Energy stocks are doing the electric slide.
.
2) Let’s do some macro.  The good.. Pending Home Sales actually roared, printing at a face-ripping 3.5% m/m.  The bad.. Personal Spending was revised significantly lower for January, that put the full smack-down on the Atlanta Fed’s Q1 GDPNow forecast.  Ouchies !!  On top of that, Core PCE did not support the recently hawkish Fed mantra….meaning nothing.  The Ugly…  The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index printed in contraction for 746th month in a row.  (Really, it’s 15)
.
3) Weakness in the mighty US dollar, isn’t doing much so far for Oil, and Gold prices…  unless it is.  Both are lower, but neither is scaring anyone.  Treasuries are firmer after having been lower.
.
4) Six days til baseball.
.
5) Don’t care about college basketball.

Market Recon Monday

Good Morning,
                        As slow as last week was, chances are that this week will offer opportunity.  The macro will be heavy, beginning with the PCE print today, running through Europe, and China, and then culminating in another US Jobs Friday.  The quarter will roll-over, with very smart people having clearly divergent ideas on market direction.  Then there’s the Fed speak, which, right or wrong, has been the equity market’s daily guide in recent weeks.  I don’t see any Fed speakers encroaching on our avenues of approach today, but I am, at this point… tracking eight speeches spanning from tomorrow through Friday, including the Fed Chair’s pit stop in New York.
                       As for today, there is some strength in Crude in early trading.  Not so much for gold, however as we see continued weakness.  Those of you in this trade who do not feel married to the commodity probably want to place a mental stop order in your head somewhere between 1205 and 1210.  This has been a great 2016 trade, and you don’t want to miss out on ringing the cash register when you can.  As for Asian equities. Shanghai is a touch lower this morning, while the Nikkei is in the green.  European markets are closed today for a holiday, while in Ireland the Monday after Easter (always significant) matters all the more as the Easter Monday Rebellion of 1916 is commemorated.
                     Fun fact, that you might find odd…. in sixth grade, I was a very good little student, and we were allowed by our teacher, to speak on two subjects of our choosing in history class.  So, the Easter Monday Rising ended up being the subject of my very first public speaking engagement.  In fact, in Irish-American homes, at Easter time, the events of 1916 never go completely unmentioned. US response to the Tet Offensive was my second, if you’re interested.
.
Macro
.
08:30 ET
.
PCE Price Index (February):  Here we are staring down the barrel of what is arguably (if all of these Fed talkers are to be believed), in early 2016…. the single most important macro-economic data-point that must be absorbed and interpreted by market participants.  With energy prices what they were in February, it is the Core print that will be focused on.  We look for a month over month increase of 0.2% today, on top of January’s 0.3% release.  The year over year item is the one that Fed watchers are waiting on.  Core PCE printed at 1.7% y/y in January in contrast to the Core CPI print of 2.2%.  For February, Core CPI inched up to 2.3%, and you can likely look for Core CPI to come within spitting distance of that 2.0% mark.
.
Personal Income & Consumer Spending (February):  Here’s another one of those “peanut and jelly” pairings that deserve to be discussed together.  Not only are these two engaged in an eternal tug of war between velocity of money and the savings rate, but they also can act as a proxy for measuring the ability of the individual to maintain or improve one’s own standard of living.  In January, they  both moved together, increasing 0.5% m/m from December.  We expect more like movement, or lack there of today as consensus is for a 0.1% m/m print for both of these items.  Velocity of money ?? No.  Savings Rate ?? No.  Maintain standard of living ??  ahhhhh, maybe.
.
Goods Trade Balance (January):  In December, we saw a $-62.2B number go by.  Projections are that the number inched up to $-62.4B in January.  More importantly as the headline number remains rather steady, both exports and imports of goods dropped by an alarming, let’s capitalize that…. ALARMING 2.9%, and 1.5% m/m respectively.  That’s nasty, and becomes by necessity… what you watch in this space today.  This will be overshadowed by the year over year Core PCE in this time slot, but decreasing international trade in both directions can not be tolerated for long.  It’s a global demand thing.
.
10:00 ET
.
Pending Home Sales (February):  February has brought us some sloppy housing data.  Existing Home Sales missed badly, New Home Sales were Okay, Starts beat, while Permits missed.  Think of this one as sort of a tie breaker.  This item did roll off of a table in January, but consensus is for something of a bounce-back today.  The range is all over the map on this one, but a m/m pop of 1.2% seems to be the center.  This will not be your market mover today.
.
10:30 ET
.
Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index (March):  Needless to say….we’re not going for any kind of sweep today in this space.  Yes, the Empire State, and Philly Fed escaped contraction, while Richmond popped nicely, but…. yes, but…. KC stayed in contraction this month, their fourth consecutive month wearing a minus sign.  Dallas has printed at levels worse than -30 (-30 !!!!!) in both January, and February.  Expectations are for a similarly horrendous release today.  The last month that Dallas printed above zero was December of 2014.

Mid-Day Thoughts

Awesome Readers,

                            Some negative overhang to the marketplace this morning, which is due in significant part to the early strength seen in the dollar, that was to a large degree manipulated by Fed officials.  Today’s action is not a fire sale.  There is no rout in progress, and trading volume is very light.
.
1) Technically, equity markets are coloring strictly within the lines.  Early support for the S&P 500 was found at 2022, which is precisely where it would be expected.  The index did hit 2030 ( I had 2029), a possible level, but the one to shoot for today is 2035.  For that level to be taken, and held would be very bullish going into next week.
.
2) There is no “Safety Dance” in play at this time.  they bought the VIX, and the long end of the Treasury yield curve early, but that has abated somewhat.  Gold is soft in the wake of yesterday’s sell-off, and the Utility sector is still in the red for the day.
.
3)  Weakness in Oil, has WTI trading below the psychological level of $39.  Regaining that level would go a long way toward shoring up the Energy sector, and the Transports.
.
4) Fed uncertainty has left the Financial sector in the dust.  James Bullard alone has done more to move markets this week than any actual fundamental element.

Market Recon Thursday

Good Morning,
                        The story today is quite simply dollar strength…. yet again.  At least that’s how it looks from here.  The mighty greenback, after doing the Federal Reserve loop-dee-loop last week, now has a four game (going on five) winning streak going (also somewhat Fed inspired).  Strength in the dollar is doing something that an obvious, negative headline level catalyst could not do.  That is whack Europe, whack Asia, put the whammy on the oil trade ( Yes, that along with an inventory build that has the young ones searching Grandma’s cupboards not for opiates, but for unused Tupperware containers) ,. and even push some of the gold crowd into taking short-term profits.  I do get that.  As a (not so) secret hater of fiat currency, I think that you do probably always want a base percentage of your portfolio in the yellow stuff, but that extra 2.5% that we jacked into the allocation in January…. that was a swing trade.  You’re not married to that.  Gold gets near 1200, and you’ve got to protect what has been a very nice move.  More on allocation early next week.
                       Let’s throw some technical stuff at you.  We have two key numbers for you to keep an eye on in early Thursday trade.  The first one is $39 WTI Crude.  This price point has been pierced in the early going today, but has not yet broken.  Before the recent run up for Oil, WTI was in a 34-39 range, and that became 39-41 1/2.  The threat here is not a few pennies on either side of $39, but an open door to a lower range that could span five bucks.  The other number to watch is that 2035 level on the S&P 500, that showed up as if were a brick wall of support yesterday afternoon, but now with weakness in both Asia, and Europe appears to be a point of resistance… if we get lucky.
                      You guys watching the basketball tournament ??  Me neither.  I don’t gamble.
.
The Alamo
.
08:15 ET
.
Fed Speaker:  St. Louis Fed Pres. James Bullard speaks on the economy, and monetary policy from New York City.  This guy is like Santa Anna’s army at the Alamo.  We’re under attack from every direction…. and every direction is where he usually takes us.  Yesterday, he wanted to raise rates.  Today….. spin the wheel, win a prize.  Nobody leaves empty handed.
.
08:30 ET
.
Initial Jobless Claims (Weekly): Last week this remarkably consistent data-point came in at 265K, dragging the four week moving average down to 268K.  This is the one item that has been a regular positive.  The impact of the part-time economy on the Labor Market, and in essence the Phillips Curve regarding inflation expectations is a theme magically left unexplained by those in a position to attempt an explanation.  Doesn’t seem that complicated.
.
Durable Goods Orders (February):  Headline Durable Goods are expected to have crashed and burned in February, after rocking in January, after having crashed and burned in December.  The more important (unless you’re Boeing) ex-transportation print is usually far less volatile.  That one even ripped 1.8% m/m in January, it’s best monthly gain since July of 2014.  Today, look for a top number of -3.0% m/m, and for the Core to basically hold the line….maybe -0.2% m/m.  Given last month’s gain, a slight step backwards is quite acceptable.  The range for this one is really rather wide, almost anything from -1.0% to +1.0%, so truth is the pros just don’t know.
.
09:45 ET
.
Markit Services Flash PMI (March):  I think there’s a guy in the back of the room wearing a light blue jacket that’s watching this one.  Only kidding, even he’s not watching this one.  Expect something between 51, and 51.5.  Next.
.
10:30 ET
.
Natural Gas Inventories (Weekly):  Last week Nat Gas supplies contracted for the sixteenth consecutive week, but by only one billion cubic feet.  What does that mean ??  that means that all of the bungee jumpers, and tightrope walkers are looking for an increase this week.  Survey says ………. 30 B cf.  You heard it here.
.
11:00 ET
.
Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index (March):  Rise of the Phoenix !!!!  Ok, ok, maybe not so dramatic, but the manufacturing business is up off the canvas.  Can KC make four regional Fed districts in a row that print manufacturing data, doing so in a state of expansion for March.  (btw, Richmond printed at a face ripping 22 on Tuesday).  If KC pulls this off, Dallas… poster child for complete, and utter collapse….. goes for the clean sweep on Monday.  Whoa baby  !! No sleep Sunday night.
.
Thursday’s Earnings Highlights
.
Before the Open: SIG (1.95), WGO (.34)
After the Close: GME (2.25)
.
Warning…. Religious Note:  I am Irish-Catholic.  For those of you who share my Faith…. tonight through tomorrow afternoon is perhaps the most emotionally rigorous 15 to 20 hour period on our calendar, and at least for me…. pretty tough to get through.  May God bless you, and your families at this, our holiest time of the year…. and then Happy Easter to you all.