Waiting for Bernanke & Co.: Dave's Daily



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The Fed will make its policy announcement Wednesday and this should keep volume light and markets tense until then. They'll make their announcement, hold a press conference and then various Fed Governors will be out on the hustings to "sell it".

Apple's earnings are front and center after the bell and came in up 118% blowing away estimates. There must have been an iPhone, Macbook Pro and an iPad under many Christmas trees this year. The stock is up over 8% in late trading as this is written. McDonalds (MCD), and a heavy weight in the price-weighted DJIA, continued to produce good results ($1.33 vs $.30 expected) especially from overseas sales. Unless eaters get carried away you can buy enough food (50 piece Chicken MeNugget for $10) for the family for less than you can make yourself. With two income earners (at least when they're both employed) convenience has its importance. I'm still trying to imagine families eating their McNuggets in a designer kitchen.

An interesting story from Stratfor caught my attention today as they dissected and estimated the outcome of the current Iranian tension and stand-off. The line that caught my attention was this:

  "Iran's ultimate interest is security against the United States and the ability to sell oil at a more substantial profit. (This would entail an easing of sanctions and a redefinition of how oil revenues in the region are distributed.) The United States' ultimate interest is access to oil and manageable prices that do not require American military intervention. On that basis, Iranian and American interests are not that far apart."

 

What's amazing about this is the U.S. refusal to have any coherent energy policy over the last few decades despite oil embargos and a new Department of Energy. Staffed with thousands of bureaucrats they still can't produce a kilowatt of any energy. Why is this? Because of intense partisanship, NIMBY concerns and unrealistic environmental rigidity. As a consequence we have outsourced our energy needs to unstable areas like the Gulf. Then because our presence upsets those there we are attacked, fight wars, spend trillions and most importantly lose thousands of American young men and women. Why can't any of the current candidates or administration connect the dots? Why are we so self-destructive? The answer is fairly simple: a lack of political courage to be straight with the American people.

And speaking of energy and perhaps more Crony Capitalism we learn today perhaps Obama's decision not allowing the Keystone pipeline project to move forward may have more to do with Warren Buffett than any environmental concerns. It took some time for someone to discover this as we all must be a little naïve.

Elsewhere Germany seems to have capitulated to more bailouts and a willingness for larger monetary expansion (um, money printing) noted here yesterday. The expansion will buy more time into 2013 for now. As J.P. Morgan CIO Michael Cembalest notes :

" The positive market reaction is understandable, given the reduction in Armageddon risk, and how cheap (and under-owned) European equities had become. The latest steps give Europe more time to try and sort through all of its structural problems (e.g., why is the level of German manufacturers reporting labor shortages close to the highest on record while unemployment in Spain is 23%?). I am still a considerable skeptic on this front, for reasons we have written about often, and I would be surprised if Italy or Spain grew at all over the next couple of years. I'm also not sure how many obligations Germany and France can really take on, given sovereign debt ratios above 80%. And of course, if the current strategy doesn't work, the EU will simply have made the problem bigger for the ECB and EU banks."

So buying time until after elections everywhere remains job one. At some point as they say, the jig is up.

Gold prices retreated Tuesday as did crude oil and bonds. The dollar was relatively unchanged versus the euro.

Stock prices rallied off their lows as the euro recovered from early losses. This is the previous tango markets have been in--weak dollar, strong stocks. There are many reasons why this is bullish--better earnings for multinational companies and more, um, reflation.

Volume remains low ahead of the Fed report while breadth per the WSJ remained positive overall.

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SPY - The SPDR® S&P 500® ETF is a fund that, before expenses, generally corresponds to the price and yield performance of the S&P 500 Index. Our approach is designed to provide portfolios with low portfolio turnover, accurate tracking, and lower costs.
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IWM - The iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the small capitalization sector of the U.S. equity market as represented by the Russell 2000 Index. The index represents the approximately 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index.
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QQQ - PowerShares Capital Management LLC is passionate about our goal of delivering the highest quality investment management available through one of the more benefit-rich investment vehicles ever created, the exchange-traded fund.PowerShares QQQ¿, formerly known as "QQQ" or the "NASDAQ- 100 Index Tracking Stock®", is an exchange-traded fund based on the Nasdaq-100 Index®. The Fund will, under most circumstances, consists of all of stocks in the Index. The Index includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market based on market capitalization. The portfolio is rebalanced quarterly and reconstituted annually.
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Continue to U.S. Sector, Stocks & Bond ETFs

XLK - The Technology Select Sector SPDR® Fund, before expenses, seeks to closely match the returns and characteristics of the Technology Select Sector Index (ticker: IXT). Our approach is designed to provide portfolios with low portfolio turnover, accurate tracking, and lower costs.
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SOXX - The iShares PHLX SOX Semiconductor Sector Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of U.S.-listed semiconductor stocks as represented by the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index ("the Index").
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FDN -  The First Trust Dow Jones Internet IndexSM Fund is an exchange-traded index fund. The investment objective of the fund is to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield of the Dow Jones Internet IndexSM. For a stock to be included in the selection universe for the index, a company must generate at least 50% of its annual sales/revenues from the Internet.
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XLF - The Financial Select Sector SPDR® Fund, before expenses, seeks to closely match the returns and characteristics of the Financial Select Sector Index. Our approach is designed to provide portfolios with low portfolio turnover, accurate tracking, and lower costs.
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XLY - The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR® Fund, before expenses, seeks to closely match the returns and characteristics of the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Index. Our approach is designed to provide portfolios with low portfolio turnover, accurate tracking, and lower costs.
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IYT - The iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of Dow Jones Transportation Average Index.
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IEF - The iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund seeks to approximate the total rate of return of the intermediate-term sector of the United States Treasury market as defined by the Barclays Capital U.S. 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Index.
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BUNL - The PowerShares DB German Bund Futures Exchange Traded Notes (BUNL) (collectively, the "PowerShares DB German Bund Futures ETNs," or the "ETNs") are the first exchange-traded products to provide investors with leveraged or unleveraged exposure to the U.S. dollar value of the returns of a German bond futures index.
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Continue to Currency & Commodity Market ETFs

UUP - The PowerShares DB US Dollar Bullish Fund (Symbol: UUP) is based on the Deutsche Bank Long US Dollar Index (USDX®) Futures Index¿ (DB Long USD Futures Index). The Index, which is managed by DB Commodity Services LLC, is a rules-based index composed solely of long USDX® futures contracts. The USDX® futures contract is designed to replicate the performance of being long the US Dollar against the following currencies: Euro, Japanese Yen, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Swedish Krona and Swiss Franc.
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FXE - CurrencyShares Euro Trust is designed to track the price of the euro net of Trust expenses, which are expected to be paid from interest earned on the deposited euros.
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FXB - CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust is designed to track the price of the British Pound Sterling net of Trust expenses, which are expected to be paid from interest earned on the deposited British Pound Sterlings.
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GLD - The objective of the SPDR® Gold Trust¿ is for the Shares to reflect the performance of the price of gold bullion, less the Trust's expenses.
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GDX - The Gold Miners ETF seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index. The Index provides exposure to publicly traded companies worldwide involved primarily in the mining for gold, representing a diversified blend of small-, mid- and large- capitalization stocks. As such, the Fund is subject to the risks of investing in this sector.
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SLV - The objective of the iShares Silver Trust is for the value of the shares of the iShares Silver Trust to reflect, at any given time, the price of silver owned by the iShares Silver Trust at that time, less the iShares Silver Trust's expenses and liabilities.
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JJC - The Dow Jones-UBS Copper Subindex Total ReturnService Mark is a sub-index of the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnService Mark and reflects the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the futures contracts on physical commodities comprising the index plus the rate of interest that could be earned on cash collateral invested in specified Treasury Bills.
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DJP - The iPath® Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnService Mark ETN is linked to the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnService Mark and reflects the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the futures contracts on physical commodities comprising the index plus the rate of interest that could be earned on cash collateral invested in specified Treasury Bills. The commodities represented in the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnService Mark are rebalanced annually; however, the weightings fluctuate between rebalancings due to changes in market prices.
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USO - The United States Oil Fund, LP ("USO") is a domestic exchange traded security designed to track the movements of light, sweet crude oil ("West Texas Intermediate").
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UGA - The United States Gasoline Fund LP (UGA) is an exchange traded security that is designed to track in percentage terms the movements of gasoline prices.
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UNG - The United States Natural Gas Fund LP (UNG) is an exchange traded security that is designed to track in percentage terms the movements of natural gas prices.
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XLE - The Energy Select Sector SPDR® Fund, before expenses, seeks to closely match the returns and characteristics of the Energy Select Sector Index. Our approach is designed to provide portfolios with low portfolio turnover, accurate tracking, and lower costs.
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DBA - The PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund is based on the Deutsche Bank Liquid Commodity Index Diversified Agriculture Excess Return¿ and managed by DB Commodity Services LLC. The Index is a rules-based index composed of futures contracts on some of the most liquid and widely traded agricultural commodities. The Index is intended to reflect the performance of the agricultural sector. You cannot invest directly in the Index. Ordinary brokerage commissions apply.
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JJG - The Dow Jones-UBS Grains Subindex Total ReturnService Mark is a sub-index of the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnService Mark and reflects the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the futures contracts on physical commodities comprising the Index plus the rate of interest that could be earned on cash collateral invested in specified Treasury Bills. The Index is currently composed of three futures contracts on grains traded on U.S. exchanges.
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MOO - The Agribusiness ETF seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the DAXglobal® Agribusiness Index. The Index provides exposure to publicly traded companies worldwide that derive at least 50% of their revenues from the business of agriculture. As such, the Fund is subject to the risks of investing in this sector.
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Continue to Overseas Sectors & ETFs

EFA - The iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in the European, Australasian and Far Eastern markets, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index.
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EEM - The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in emerging markets, as represented by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
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EWJ - The iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in the Japanese market, as measured by the MSCI Japan Index.
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EWA - The iShares MSCI Taiwan Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in the Taiwanese market, as measured by the MSCI Taiwan Index.
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EWY - The iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in the South Korean market, as measured by the MSCI Korea Index.
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EWG - The iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in the German market, as measured by the MSCI Germany Index.
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EWZ - The iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of publicly traded securities in the Brazilian market, as measured by the MSCI Brazil Index.
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RSX - The Russia ETF seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the DAXglobal® Russia+ Index. The Index provides exposure to publicly traded companies that are domiciled in Russia, and traded in Russia and/or on leading global exchanges. As such, the Fund is subject to the risks of investing in this country.
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RSX - The Russia ETF seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the DAXglobal® Russia+ Index. The Index provides exposure to publicly traded companies that are domiciled in Russia, and traded in Russia and/or on leading global exchanges. As such, the Fund is subject to the risks of investing in this country.
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FXI - The iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the FTSE China 25 Index.
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The NYMO is a market breadth indicator that is based on the difference between the number of advancing and declining issues on the NYSE. When readings are +60/-60 markets are extended short-term.

The McClellan Summation Index is a long-term version of the McClellan Oscillator. It is a market breadth indicator, and interpretation is similar to that of the McClellan Oscillator, except that it is more suited to major trends. I believe readings of +1000/-1000 reveal markets as much extended.

The VIX is a widely used measure of market risk and is often referred to as the "investor fear gauge". Our own interpretation is highlighted in the chart above. The VIX measures the level of put option activity over a 30-day period. Greater buying of put options (protection) causes the index to rise.

Continue to Concluding Remarks

Apple knocked the cover off the ball with its earnings report and the stock is responding positively after the close. There's no denying that Apple makes great products but sometimes it feels there's just a few companies doing great things.

Volume Tuesday was pathetically light. This is an ongoing issue as cash continues to pile up under mattresses. People have been burned and trusting markets is at a low. Nevertheless the animal spirits remain with us as do short memories.

Tomorrow it's the Bernank's turn to push markets higher if he can and since this has been his goal.

Let's see what happens.

Disclaimer: The ETF Digest maintains active ETF trading portfolio and a wide selection of ETFs away from portfolios in an independent listing. Current positions if any are embedded within charts. Active Portfolios: No Positions. Our Lazy & Hedged Lazy Portfolios maintain the follow positions: QQQ, XLK, XLY, VT, MGV, BND, BSV, VGT, VWO, VNO, IAU, DJCI, DJP, VMBS, VIG, ILF, EWA, IEV, EWC, EWJ, EWG, & EWU.

 

The charts and comments are only the author's view of market activity and aren't recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Market sectors and related ETFs are selected based on his opinion as to their importance in providing the viewer a comprehensive summary of market conditions for the featured period.  Chart annotations aren't predictive of any future market action rather they only demonstrate the author's opinion as to a range of possibilities going forward. More detailed information, including actionable alerts, are available to subscribers at www.etfdigest.com .

 
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

Dave Fry is founder and publisher of ETF Digest, Dave's Daily blog and the best-selling book author of Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund, A DIY Strategy for Private Wealth Management, published by Wiley Finance in 2008. A detailed bio is here: Dave Fry.

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