So far so good.
All things being considered, to not see global stocks fall off a cliff on Monday in the wake of the U.S./U.K./France missile strikes on Syria is a short-term bullish sign. It's the clearest indication that at least for now (and this could change very quickly) that investors understand they have mis-priced stocks to the downside ahead of what will be a strong first-quarter earnings season. Might as well get in now before shares of top names such as Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple (AAPL) , Boeing (BA) and Home Depot (HD) pop 5% or more on their respective earnings days, right?
The move higher is even more impressive considering former FBI Director James Comey called President Trump "morally unfit" to hold his position during a prime-time TV interview on Sunday. Sure, many in the market probably already have that view and have still watched their equity holdings soar since Trump took office. But to hear it on live TV is something else entirely. Perhaps if Comey said Trump was "mentally unfit" to be president stocks would have acted differently.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Forever in Hot Water
Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk looked dead tired and in need of a sandwich in a new CBS interview that filled up Twitter feeds over the weekend. It's great to see Musk allegedly sleeping in an office on the production floor - not many CEOs of companies with a market cap of more than $50 billion would do the same in an effort to drive desired performance.
But the theater Musk put on during the interview was easily overshadowed by more details on a class action securities lawsuit originally filed in October 2017 against Tesla, Musk, current Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja and former Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler. The suit alleged the parties misled investors about Model 3 production. As a result, the two plaintiffs -- Kurt Friedman and Uppili Srinivasan -- had their investments in Tesla hurt by the negative market reaction to Tesla's missed Model 3 production goals.
This was one of many damning allegations against Musk and team Tesla:
"Serious supply chain and production problems existed by the beginning of the Class Period, including incomplete and/or non-existent automated production lines, causing unresolved bottlenecks at both the Company's Fremont, California assembly line and at Tesla's Gigafactory, its purportedly state of the art, Nevada battery manufacturing facility. These issues rendered mass producing the Model 3 in 2017 impossible. Defendants knowingly or recklessly misrepresented the then-existing facts on the ground, and misrepresented the Company's ability to mass produce the Model 3 by the end of 2017. All of Defendants statements regarding progress that the Company had achieved in both Fremont and at the Gigafactory, and the statements they based on these affirmative declarations of actual progress in Model 3 mass production, were false." Tesla's stock has fallen 22% since hitting an intra-day record of $385 in June 2017.
Around the Horn
(1) The new wall of worry for stocks to climb is one marked with questions about how long the U.S. expansion will last. Said Goldman Sachs (GS) , "Recent weakening in some indicators have prompted clients to question how long the current expansion will last. GS economists forecast US GDP of 2.8%, 2.2%, and 1.5% in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Consensus outlook is similar. Nevertheless, a skeptical buy-side community focuses on downside risks." Perfect skeptical backdrop for stocks to rally during earnings season amid good reports and outlooks.
(2) Positive market signs via Jefferies: market breadth began to improve last week; the retreat in the number of stocks trading above their 260-day moving average halted last week; the ratio of new highs vs. new lows improved;
(3) Relatively clean quarter from Bank of America (BAC) on Monday. Weak spot was investment banking, with sales down 15% from the prior year. TheStreet's Bradley Keoun takes you inside bank earnings season now that it's just about concluded.
Hopefully Tesla has found buyers for all these Model 3s (and they haven't canceled after waiting forever for a car) parked in a random parking lot in Fremont, CA.
Whatever protein Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is on, I would be willing to buy some off the internet beast's site.
You must attend TheStreet's May 5 investor conference. It will be awesome.