Federal Open Market Committee minutes: What the FOMC communicated was that a bunch of voting VIP policymakers have no confidence that ongoing actions will spur sustainable economic growth or build on the recent jobs-data releases. The market cares less about the prospect of balance-sheet expansion, as it has a greater concern that stocks are giving a cold shoulder to the Fed's secret wealth-creation mandate. Read: The central is out of bullets, just when bullets and a prayer are needed.
John and Jane Doe consumer:
Hurricane Sandy or no, consumer spending has entered the fourth quarter on a sour note, and if that's not corrected, it has implications for capital investments and profit growth in the first half of 2013. Also, market players are dumping leading issues such as Williams-Sonoma (WSM)
-- names with a housing angle that strike the right earnings-season chords. The notion is that housing is no match for the mighty powers of the fiscal cliff. I'm not saying the fiscal cliff will destroy the housing recovery, but rather that the perception thereof is currently facilitating the action we're seeing in stocks.
Weak economy before the fiscal cliff:
I reiterate that I would love to see a whiff of inflation, so as to indicate a semblance of pricing power. Alas, no dice, as we are forced to look at a producer price index report that screams deflation. Keep in mind that the core PPI reading declined in October for the first time this year -- a "cliff dive," if I do say so myself.
Earnings, earnings, earnings:
Solid, late-in-the-season reports are not leading to positive sympathy-related advances in similar companies. The reports are being pinned down as one-offs inside a slower-growth environment, instead of serving as a "tell" on the entire market.
I remain pure in terms of a market call, and that call is a reiterated bearish opinion.
Texas Instruments' (TXN)
latest restructuring announcement reinforces my long-held view. When the fiscal cliff finally stuck in the rear view mirror, corporate America will have retained significant earnings power, and this should be reflected in stock prices following another year of productivity initiatives in 2012.
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