Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
S&P 500: 2,682
Russell 2000: 1,543
Thursday , Dec. 28, 8:36 a.m.
REASONS WHY THE SIZE of the CORPORATE TAX CUT IS BAD FOR AMERICA (See below)
–Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In the interim, it is trying to discredit the FBI and Dept. of Justice, and even Michael Flynn. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia. Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
-All this will have a destabilizing effect on confidence in our nation’s future and the stock market, which is historically overvalued.
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks. Competing for attention will be entitlement reform.
OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE: The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade the 16 sectors of our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod. It cost the Democrats control of Congress, since the “perception” (not reality) would have been jobs were just around the corner.
The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation. It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready, and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 24. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum and drifted sideways-to-down. Many have already run up, but have room to move up more “IF” the administration opts for a big trillion dollar push over 10 years.
Potential beneficiaries: Martin Marietta (MLM), Chicago Bridge (CLF), Cliffs (CLF), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Caterpillar (CAT), Arcelor Mittal (MT), Nucor (NUE), Fluor (FLR), USG (USG), United Rentals (URI), CEMEX (CX), U.S. Concrete (USCR), Jacobs (JEC), AECOM (ACM), Emerson El (EMR), Manitowac (MTW),Tetra Tech (TTEK), KBR (KBR), McDermott (MDR), Quanta Services (PWR), EMCOR (EME), Mastec (MTZ), American Water (AWK), American Tower (AMT).
Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.
The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
UNFORTUNATELY, WELFARE REFORM MAY COME FIRST !
The Trump administration may decide to deform welfare. That sounds like a program you would expect billionaires to champion.
Now that federal government receipts have been slashed by tax cuts, Republicans want to plug the hole with slashes to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (for the 71th time).
These pompous asses need to deliver Meals on Wheels for a couple months.
If this was about the deficit, they would not have slashed corporate taxes by 40%. This is all about an extremist ideology with its primary seeds planted in the mid-1990s starting with Newt Gingrich.
Guess what ? 42% of Medicaid recipients work full time, most for small firms with limited benefits. 18% work part-time. Most of the 40% not working are children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
So, who are you going to force to get jobs, or relinquish benefits ?
Just another Republican war against “those people.”
NO ONE IS BEARISH ! That’s bearish !
This contrasts with March 10, 2009 when with the S&P 500 at 666, everyone was bearish, the day when investors first read.com issued its “BUY”
A surge into early January is likely to run into selling by investors opting to put profits into 2018. It could even start in the first week in January.
I can see two major corrections in 2018 (10% to 14%), the first starting in January, the second around mid-year. The upside of that is there will be opportunities to buy, for nimble traders capable of getting on the right side of the volatile market.
Most institutions were in a cruise-control buy mode for the 12 months before passage of the tax bill. Decisions were dictated by computer models (algorithms).
If these models are changed to a more cautious mode, worse yet a sell mode, a lot of sell orders will hit the Street at the same time, causing a steep drop in prices. I have warned of this possibility numerous times in the past, and it hasn’t happened. But, the risk is real, we have seen it in May 2010 (-17%), May 2011 (-17%) August 2015 (-12%), January 2016 (-14%).
Odds of a bull market top in 2018 are 50-50, assuming one more speculative surge. Otherwise, expect volatility as the Street scrambles to extend its highly leveraged 2017 gains in face of the risk that the Mueller probe will bring down the entire Trump administration, or a constitutional crisis as Trump fires Deputy Attorney General, then finds someone to fire Mueller. Or, he may simply pardon everyone in Mueller’s crosshairs. There is always the possibility of war with North Korea.
In short, 2018 stands to be a wild one. There will be big beneficiaries of tax cuts and big losers.
Everyone expects a huge surge in 2018. After a 25.4% surge since Nov 8, 2016 (election day), I expect profit taking. Whether new buying can offset it, is questionable.
SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,746; S&P 500:2,681; Nasdaq Comp.:6,931
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,821; S&P 500:2,687; Nasdaq Comp.:6,959
CORPORATE TAX CUT IRRESPONSIBLE
“It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised,” Bloomberg continued. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future”
Michael Bloomberg – billionaire business man former mayor NYC
I don’t doubt some corporations need, and deserve a tax cut, but to reduce the rate from 35% to 21% is inexcusable, reckless, unjustifiable, and outright subversive to the best interests of America.
Corporate income taxes comprise 9% of federal government receipts. If corporate taxes are slashed by 40% (from 35% to 21%), the government’s receipts from corporations are reduced by 3.6% from 9%.
Individual income tax payments comprise 47% of federal government receipts. At this point, I have no idea how much of an impact Congress’ tax cuts will have on this source of federal revenues, but it stands to be significant.
The Republican administration expects economic growth will be triggered by a sudden change in heart by corporations to abandon stock buybacks and the repatriation of billions stashed abroad to plug the big hole left in federal receipts by tax cuts with a surge in hiring and capital expenditures.
That assumption is flawed. For one, why would a corporation go on a hiring and cap-ex spending spree with an economic expansion that is 8-1/2 years old, 3 years longer (73%) than the average over 65 years (1945 – 2009).
For another, are they naïve enough to assume there will be no recessions within the next 10 years ?
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a study on “Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies”: The report includes 258 corporations that were consistently profitable over an eight-year period between 2008 and 2015. Some conclusions:
-Of 258 Fortune 500companies studied, the effective federal income tax rate was 21.5%
–18 of the 258 paid no income tax and 48 paid an effective tax rate of 10%.
–83 companies (32%) paid a tax rate less than 17.5%
–109 companies (42%) paid a tax rate between 17.5% and 30%.
–66 companies (26%) paid a tax rate greater than 30%
Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq ?
STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine, Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).
So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ? Want to go it alone ? Careful what you wish for.
The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people.
The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.
This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News) They want total control. This is how democratic, representative republics perish.
America is the biggest enchilada on earth. Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ? Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party ? Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ? Do they want it all for themselves ? How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about it as a low-cost health insurance plan for children of low-income families, saying, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.” Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype. Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility. The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.” Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention. Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ? Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED: Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.” It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public. What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ? Americans ?? Or is this a bloodless coup ? NOT ON OUR WATCH !
Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank. Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
Mercer on the run ? Bannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”
IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin), are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid to get jobs or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children. Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ?
Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients don’t have jobs due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time. I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
TRUMP TO FIRE MUELLER ? If President Trump wants to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he would first have to fire Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General – but….
Obviously, firing Mueller would smack of “consciousness of guilt,” which could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign, but may be necessary. With Rosenstein out of the way, associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, a conservative nominated and confirmed by the Senate in February, would take over. If she refuses to fire Mueller, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would have taken over, but he has now announced plans to give up his position, which handles high-profile national security, espionage and leak cases. Upon confirmation he will be replaced by Boeing vice president and assistant general counsel, John Demers. Does this mean Rosenstein will be fired and Brand resign, because she won’t fire Mueller, but Trump nominee, Demers will ? While Brand is a highly competent conservative attorney who supported Sen. Cruz in 2016, firing Mueller may not be something she wants to be part of, and she may have let that be known. This case stands to eclipse Watergate where President Nixon tried to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox but Attorney General, Elliot Richardson and two top deputies refused to follow the directive, and were fired. Next in line was Robert Bork, a conservative who fired Cox, but it may have cost Bork a chance at appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court later in his career.
TRUMP’S PARDON POWER
The President has the power to grant conditional pardons; to commute sentences; remit fines and forfeitures; and grant amnesty. This power can be exercised at any time after the offense has been committed, before conviction of after. Pardons cannot be limited by or controlled by legislative action (US legal.com)
Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage. Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
The President cannot pardon people for “state” crimes, and it is doubtful he can pardon himself.
Can the Mueller investigation survive Mueller’s firing ?
Slate.com’s July 21 article, “Trump can’t Escape the States,” says “YES.”
1-A state [NY] could hire Mueller and team.
2-State attorneys general could use their quo warranto power to investigate Trump’s organization for fraud and money laundering from Russian sources.
3-A Congressional committee (Senate Intelligence Committee) could hire Mueller or create a Joint select Committee.
4-Congress could pass a new veto-proof independent counsel statute.
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGE: Not since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within. This administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering efforts over many years to ensure the safety and well being of “all” Americans.
The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand of a quasi-fascist state. Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government the Founding Fathers had given us. “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above. Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.” Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
WRECK NAFTA ? Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports. “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three countries.
WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?, coach ?, employer ?. IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019 (Investor’s first read: 3/21/2017)
Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone, Gorka’s exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another Breitfart grad, hopefully leading to the firing of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter cuddler.
TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ? Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.
TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself relating to Mueller’s investigation.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.
REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
“Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
Nigel Farage – President Trump- Hope Hicks, Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross – Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son) – JD Gordon – Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis – Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov – Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.
The Palmer Report.com recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.
Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if President Trump is impeached and convicted or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
According to CNN Politics, Marc Kasowitz represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney
REMOVING TRUMP FROM OFFICE
Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
It’s a stretch. The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Section 4 mentions nothing that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy, impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent
It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove him.
A Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.
The U.S. Constitution enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Initially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached. BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.
Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer. Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George Brooks is registered as an investment advisor. Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.