The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Explaining the Inexplicable: Doug Kass' Views

Doug Kass shares his views every day on RealMoneyPro. Click here for a real-time look at his insights and musings.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Another Boring Edition)

Originally published May 24 at 3:18 p.m. EST

"If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?"

-- Tuco, the Ugly: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=AFa1-kciCb4


No "Takeaways" today as the action was another painfully boring, uneventful and with little individual stock price movements!

It was also another day dominated by strategies that respond to patterns and correlations and not to a sense of value.

So let's move to the abbreviated Monarch Notes form of "Takeaways," with "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

The Good
 
* Markets continued higher.
* Our "Trade of the Week" (long Allergan  ( AGN) ) prospered (+$4.25).
* Bonds rallied.
* Brokerages firmed (especially of a Goldman Sachs (GS) -- kind).
* (T)FAANG moves higher (what else is new?).
* New highs in junk bonds.
* McDonald's  ( MCD) , Coca- Cola  ( KO) , DuPont  ( DD) , Visa  ( V) , Boeing  ( BA) , Intuit  ( INTU) , NRG  ( NRG) , Mattel  ( MAT) , Hasbro  ( HAS) .
 
The Bad
 
* Crude oil suffered small and so did Energy Select Sector SPDR (ETF) ( XLE) .
* Twitter  ( TWTR) looks like it may be rolling over.
 
The Ugly
 
* The U.S. dollar was lower, again.
* Tiffany  ( TIF) , Signet Jewelers  ( SIG) , Advance Auto Parts  ( AAP) , T. Rowe Price  ( TROW) , Ulta Beauty  ( ULTA) , GE  ( GE) , Cisco  ( CSCO) , Alexion  ( ALXN) , Tractor Supply Co. ( TSCO) .
 
Position: Long AGN large DD small Short KO small.
 

Trying to Explain the Unexplainable

Originally published May 24 at 7:33 a.m. EST

"The tape reflects an urge to keep things cool and looking good. I don't think that comes for nowhere. You can't hire Goldman Sachs to do that, you need taxpayer money." --Asher Edelman (on "Fast Money," May 23)
 
I have been harping on the narrowing market, and that, over history, this typically presages a mature and ultimately weaker broader market.
 
Volume, too, is an important factor in ascertaining technical strength of a market. Lighter volume on rallies, for example, is an "orange light," or potential warning sign.
 
This morning Divine Ms. M addresses the tapering off of volume on the Nasdaq in a period where the market selectivity--into (T)FAANG particularly--is most conspicuous. And so is the contraction in Nasdaq new highs into the post-April rally a worrisome sign.
 
So, how do we explain the consistency of dip buying and low volatility in the face of some persistent technical warnings and in light of numerous political and fundamental economic outcomes, many of them adverse?
 
On that confusing subject, a legendary takeover player, Asher Edelman (an old acquaintance) was on CNBC's " Fast Money" last night. Asher was one of the models for the Gordon Gekko character in the movie " Wall Street."
 
His explanation for the consistent market strength in the face of uncertainty of outcomes is that the plunge protection group is supporting the market.
 
Though this explanation seems far-fetched to me, please spend a few minutes listening to Asher's interview.
 
Regardless of one's explanation, Asher does underscore that we are in a strange period of dip buying and lack of volatility that is difficult to explain. (Again, Asher calls it " odd action," possibly controlled by the plunge protection group).
 
Position: Long SQQQ large.

Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer manages as a charitable trust, is long CSCO, GE and AGN.

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