The Automakers released their March total vehicle sales numbers on Monday and they disappointed. Total Vehicle Auto Sales were down 1.6%, where Ford was down 7.2% and Fiat-Chrysler was down 4.6%. GM bucked the trend and was up slightly compated to last March at 1.6%. Separately, Tesla on late Sunday night announced that they have beat their Q1 delivery expectations, forcing a short squeeze where the stock went up 10% and surpassed Ford in terms of market capitalization. [more]
The franchised dealer network is an old and antiquated model for selling cars that has been around for 100 years. The dealer buying experience is not pleasant for any consumers, as many hate the haggling aspect of having to try to get the best price possible. Younger generations such as the Millennials are used to ordering their “stuff” on the computer or smartphone and prefer the Amazon or Zappos online ordering system, while eschewing malls and big box stores. [more]
Harley Davidson executives met with Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Wilbur Ross amid much fanfare on February 2nd. Instead of rolling into 1600 Pennsylvania in limos or black suburban taxis, the Harley Davidson executives were allowed to drive onto White House property on their Harley’s. Trump met with Harley Executives, as well as union executives from the United Steelworkers (USW) and the International Association of Machinists(IAM). CNBC contributor Ylan Mui, used the backdrop of this meeting to bring up a sensitive subject of mainly Technology companies, which also affects all large companies with heavy IT staffing and spending. [more]
One of my favorite magazines that I have recently picked up reading is Success Magazine. The magazine's mission is to provide entrepreneurs, workers, students, and any hard working individual with advice, tricks, and inspiration for every day work or every day living.
I found one particular article from its August 2016 issue, titled "How to Avoid Loneliness and Stay Smiling When You Work from Home", authored by Patty Onderko. The article touches the growing trend in the new work place; businesses shifting to a home based workforce saving money on office space. Also, more folks are finding new ways to make a living, while never getting in your car and parking in traffic.
Here are sme highlights from the article, and a nice list to help you "stay sane, productive, and happy" working from your living room.
SET A ROUTINE
- Set Specific Hours for Work: Say, "8:30 to 4" giving you the time to drop off and pickup the kids.
- Schedule Lunch and Breaks: Gotta make a Sandwich and check out the Price is Right!
- Schedule an END TIME: This insures that you finish your day and that it doesn't drag on and on and on...
- A popular technique called the Pomodoro Technique encourages people to work in 25 minute chunks with 5 minute breaks in between. Just enough time to take deep breaths or eat a donut!
GO TO THE GYM
- Working out keeps the brain fit, fending off anxiety and depression
- Additionally, exercise leads to a sharpening of concentration and a boost in creativity
PLUG IN AT YOUR LOCAL COFFEE SHOP
(Wait, aren't we talking about working at home? Well, a coffee shop isn't as stiff as the office!)
- Interactions on the periphery of your social network can have a positive effect on your emotional well-being.
- So, drink some coffee, catch up with friends, and finish those reports.
PLAY HOOKY(Just don't Tweet about it or mention it on Facebook!)
- If you have completed all of your tasks for the day or week then go to a museum or a long bike ride. This will emphasize one of the reasons that that you work from home - Flexibility and Quality of Life.
Working from home has its pros and cons. Take advantage of your situation and make it as efficient as possible. Life is too short to be a working stiff. [more]
The Hawkish Talking Fed, but Timid Acting Dove
The August Fed Meeting in Jackson Hole brought some volatility, as Fed speakers hawkishly chirped in public that the September meeting is definitely on the table for a possible rate hike. Fast forward to the September 21st meeting, and alas, the Yellen didn't budge as uncertainty remained, and that there were concerns in the data. But, the November meeting is still "live". Like last year in December, the Fed has painted themselves in a corner with all of its hawkish talk and the need to raise rates, so they may be forced to show some credibility and pull the trigger on a rate hike. Will the Doves finally do it in 2016? (After promising 4 hikes in 2016)
Hillary Versus the Donald: Debate I
The market actually got a bit nervous going into the debate as Trump has seized some momentum due to Clinton's scandals(Email Deletions, Email Leaks) and health issues. I didn't watch the debate, as I watched Monday Night Football, but I did watch the Futures markets and the S&P Futures were up overnight. From there I knew that Hillary won the debate. Today, the market gave some of it back, but a Hillary win in November is now expected. This will actually calm the markets as the status quo, while not necessarily attractive, is much more stable than an uncertain Trump presidency. So, where do we go from here?
Melt it Up
Until the next Fed Meeting, the market should grind steadily up until the SPX hits 2,200. Expectations for companies earnings expectations are low, so the market will probably go up instead of down and several companies will beat the low expectations keeping the market propped up. The next big catalyst will be the Fed December meeting, and Yellen's speech afterwards.
What to Do in a Market Like This?
The way that I have been playing this market has been using an options strategy called the Broken Wing Butterfly. I have been trading them on the SPX, RUT, and AMZN for short term(8 to 16 Days to Expiration) theta decay positions. I do not make a lot of money on them, but it keeps me engaged in the market and I place these positions far enough away that they can expire worthless or I can exit the positions for small profits. I also have some crash ready Put Ratio Backspread positions on the QQQ and the SPY, just in case the markets want to crash and burn. Of course, Janet Yellen will never let that happen. Not on her watch. [more]