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.
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The Alamo
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08:15 ET
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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.
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08:30 ET
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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.
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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.
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09:45 ET
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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.
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10:30 ET
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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.
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11:00 ET
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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.
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Thursday’s Earnings Highlights
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Before the Open: SIG (1.95), WGO (.34)
After the Close: GME (2.25)
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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.