E Market Briefing For Friday, Feb. 8

Daily action - anticipated to be challenged after weeks of consistent calling for higher prices (since calling the down-up reversal in late December), has indeed run-into the down-up-down Thursday that we anticipated probable.  

 

Prices were lower on the German action against Facebook (FB); and another jab by Italy at France (Paris recalled their Ambassador after Rome met with as well as endorsed the 'Yellow Vest' leaders; something that's unprecedented in terms of electoral interference, beyond even the Russian meddling we've seen here in the U.S.).  

Combine that with worries about Brexit outflows (outlined one more time last night here and I mentioned the UBS 'shift of Billions' to Paris from London).. well you have a concern about European unity; not just clearly undiplomatic 'tact' taken by the EU leaders this week. It's a trend of instability.  

As the market was trying to stabilize Thursday morning, Larry Kudlow came out, and remarked that there was a lot of work still to be done with China; as things weren't going that great. Aside contradicting Wilbur Ross yesterday, a remark elicited from the President during the IMF Malpass appointment; this does bring to light my belief that the market still hinges on the China 'trade deal' (or lack) as a catalyst, and that it's not fully priced-in by prior rallying.   

 

  

 

Minor items: Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of 'blackmail'; and Facebook has opened a significant office in China; where they are 'banned'.  

And last, but not least: The New York Times just reported that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince privately threatened to use a 'bullet on Jamal Khashoggi, at least a year before the journalist and Saudi critic was murdered.   

Friday likely sees some follow-thru downside S&P behavior; with more focus on valuation levels. That's why the dearth of rising revenue for S&P issues, in a sense is warning that the rising multiples in a revenue growth vacuum, is not exactly how you get an advance. The political backdrop isn't a huge issue yet; but the potential is there. A deal with China would help lots of big companies become more transparent about their growth expansion plans; and less focused on artificial actions like buybacks, that can resume more as the 'earnings window' forbidding that is generally ending. However, as I forewarned of the buyback distortion early last year; most grasp that now; so I don't see investors fooled by that approach to enhancing earnings.  

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