Doug Kass fills his blog on RealMoney every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on:
- How auto-sales data confirms "Peak Autos" notion.
- How the August jobs report means very little to his investment strategy.
Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Doug Kass'--and reader comments--in real time.
Ford (F - Get Report) , General Motors (GM - Get Report) , Honda (HMC - Get Report) , Nissan (NSANY) and Toyota (TM - Get Report) all saw broad year-over-year declines, while Volkswagen (VLKAY) turned in the month's worst performance.
The German auto giant--which continues to suffer from its diesel-emissions scandal--saw August sales fall 9%. By contrast, Fiat Chrysler (FCAU - Get Report) showed a small gain thanks to strong fleet sales.
Personally, I remain short on both F and GM. Here are detailed results for automakers' August sales in the the U.S. market, as per Bloomberg:
- Ford. U.S. sales fell 8.4% year over year to 214,482 units, although that beat expectations of a 9.8% drop. Retail sales totaled 168,543 vehicles for the month--an 8% decrease. Fleet sales totaled 45,939 vehicles, down 10%.
- General Motors. The U.S. auto giant reported that its American sales dropped 5.2% to 256,429 units--better than the 5.7% decline that analysts had expected. GM's retail sales have also risen 1% year to date, the best showing for any full-line automaker.
- Honda. American Honda reported a 3.8% sales decline to 149,571 units. Of particular note, Honda's Acura division saw U.S. sales fall 7%, to 14,246 units.
- Nissan. The Japanese automaker said U.S. sales fell 6.5%, to 124,638 units. However, sales of crossovers, trucks and SUVs soared 19% to set an August record.
- Toyota. The Japanese auto giant said U.S. sales fell 5%, to 213,125 units, worse than the -2% expected.
Right or wrong, it should be pretty obvious by now that I've positioned myself for a correction or a bear market--and one month's employment data won't impact the factors that have contributed to this investment mindset.
In fact, I can't think of anything more idiotic than making jobs-release-related trades on the Friday before Labor Day. After all, the day's small cadre of actual market participants (computer and human) seems likely to disproportionately impact the markets in an exaggerated and possibly wrong-footed manner.
Personally, I plan to spend most of this morning doing family errands and preparing for the long holiday weekend, returning to the markets only at midday. (As a result, my posts this morning will be limited.)
Now, today's jobs data will no doubt have some impact on Federal Reserve policy. But the business TV "talking heads" who are calling this "the most important data point of the year" are lame--and merely filling up time on their networks.
Moreover, the jobs report's margin of error and seasonal-adjustment factors are so large that policymakers recognize that the indicator represents just part of a broader mosaic of economic determinants and shouldn't be read in isolation.
The futures market's odds of a September rate hike have declined over the past week to 34% from a previous 42%. And personally, I continue to believe that there will be no Fed hikes over the next four months, as I originally forecast in my 15 Surprises for 2016 back in December.
But frankly, whether the Fed raises rates or not--at either its September or December meeting or both--won't impact my overall negative market view.