Oil price: After a several-month-long drop in gasoline prices, the price of crude oil seems to have stabilized and has started to move higher over the last two weeks.
Federal budget deficit: A near-term improvement in the U.S. budget deficit could be bad news for the sequestration, as our leaders become less willing to negotiate anything in the budget, and that could portend a big debt-ceiling debate/fight.
Currencies: The profound weakness in the Japanese yen will temper the manufacturing export growth of some of our largest international corporations that importantly serve non-U.S. markets. This could stall jobs growth and capital spending expenditures and plans.
Quantitative easing: This morning, Appaloosa's David Tepper was optimistic based on the Fed's continued printing. The Fed has printed about $1 trillion, and this year, the U.S. exchange's market cap has risen by $2.5 trillion. That is quite a lot of bang for the Fed's buck! In other words, Tepper says that the Fed's printing press is going into stocks -- and will continue to do so. But the stock market wealth build already well exceeds the expected 2013 EPS growth -- plus the $1 trillion of fresh money printing. To me, The Wall Street Journal column on Friday night by Jon Hilsenrath was a shot across the bow to prepare investors for "halting steps" in printing. I expect that the Fed could pause/taper in the second half of 2013. If so, interest rates will rise, providing a headwind to interest-rate-sensitive domestic economic sectors and result in more competition to equities.