While D.C. Goes Crazy, Wall Street Focuses

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Posted: Jan 08, 2021 11:08 AM
While D.C. Goes Crazy, Wall Street Focuses

Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

It was one of those sessions on Thursday where the rally was on autopilot, taking off at the gate, as major indices reached a certain altitude and descended in cruise control.

Constitutional crisis?  No, the scene on Wednesday was horrific. However, the 25th Amendment chatter is just that, and not helpful for a nation that desperately needs to move toward any semblance of unity.  At the very least, an effort and acknowledgment that we need to put guardrails on the political discourse.

The stock market is looking past all of the D.C. drama and focusing instead on growth. Another reason the market isn’t stumbling from the new reality of Democratic control of the White House – both the Senate and the House. There are still a lot of ambitious goals that will not happen.

In addition to the needed 60 Senate votes for many key proposals, it would be tough to make changes during the pandemic, which requires trillions more in the stimulus. That includes extraordinary tax hikes.

A Reminder of President-elect Joe Biden's policy proposals and what they require to pass:

Policy Proposal

Required for Approval

Repeal Tax Cuts Act & increase capital gains taxes

Congress/51 Senate votes

Provide additional fiscal stimulus & $2K checks.

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Expand ACA and create public option

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices

Congress/60 Senate Votes

New Carbon tax, ban offshore drilling, but not fracking

Congress/60 Senate votes and some exec authority

Climate Change Plan

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Increased banking regulation

Executive Authority/Court Challenges

Abolish private prisons

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Infrastructure

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Increased technology regulation

Executive Authority/Court Challenges

Marijuana decriminalization, but not legalization

Congress/60 Senate votes

Two years of free college & expand debt relief

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Raise minimum wage to $15/hour

Congress/60 Senate Votes

Increase defense spending

Congress/60 Senate Votes

To crack down on China reevaluate tariffs.

Executive Authority

Increased gun safety regulation

Congress/60 Senate Votes/Court Challenges

Source: Briefing.com

Message of the Market

Market breadth was extraordinarily powerful, as the NASDAQ saw 537 new 52-week highs and only 6 new lows. In addition, the up volume was 600% higher than the down volume.

Market Breadth

NYSE

NASDAQ

Advancing

1,925

2,831

Declining

1,222

941

52 Week High

375

537

52 Week Low

5

6

Up Volume

3.54B

5.81B

Down Volume

1.56B

924.06M

 

The Meek Shall Carry the Market

What makes the first week of 2021 so impressive is it’s happening with the two largest components dragging, while smaller sectors with tiny influence are up so much that it’s carrying the entire index. 

To see the chart, click here.

Stacking Chips

After the close, Micron Technology (MU) posted financial results, which beat Wall Street’s consensus on revenue and earnings. Moreover, management hiked its guidance, which gave the stock a slight lift.

Even with the Technology (XLK) sector spinning its wheels, semiconductor names just keep rocketing higher. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) is in the midst of a multi-year monster rally that gained strength after breaking out on July 18, 2016. It’s up 300% since then.

The moral of the story is to ride these waves, rather than overthinking them and missing out on generational periods to change your life. It’s how very wealthy investors approach the market- they are not buying a bunch of diversified mutual funds.

Portfolio Approach

We closed a position to ring the register and free up cash this morning and added to Technology. It worked like a charm on Wednesday when we closed out a position, so we could put Fuelcell (FCEL) in the model portfolio.

Today’s Session

The futures are pointing to a positive across the board despite the miss in the job’s number.  December nonfarm payroll decreased by 140,000 with the unemployment rate remaining the same at 6.7%. Labor Force Participation also was flat at 61.5%. Average hourly earnings increased to $29.81, up 23 cents, and the average workweek decreased to 34.7, down 0.1 hour.

As the pandemic and Covid cases increased, leisure and hospitality lost almost a half million jobs in December,  of which 75% were in food services and drinking places (-372,000). Private education was also down. These reductions were offset in part by increases in professional and business services, retail trade and construction.

Goods Producing +93,000

Service Providing -188,000

Mining +4,000

Retail Trade +120,500

Construction +51,000

Wholesale +25,100

Manufacturing +38,000

Transportation & Warehousing +46,600

 

Utilities -400

 

Information -1,000

 

Financial Activities +12,000

 

Professional & Business +161,000

 

Education  & Health -31,000

 

Leisure & Hospitality -498,000

 

Other -22,000