Wednesday Worries – Traders Finally Notice Things are not Perfect
The ISM Report was, I would say, NOT good.
We knew that was going to happen on Monday, when I warned you not to be taken in by the window-dressing that was ending the quarter on a false high and we knew that two weeks ago when we cashed in our Member Portfolios at the top of the market so now we're pretty much sitting on the sidelines and laughing at all this BS – which is kind of fun, actually…
I also noted on Monday that we have two Fed speakers today: Harker at 9am and Williams at 10:50, right after the Oil Inventories. Tomorrow there are 2 more Fed speakers along with PMI and ISM Services but, if they are bad, I can't imagine what Evans and Quarles can do to cheer us up. Friday is Non-Farm Payroll so major disaster if that goes south and that's why we have 5 speakers after that report – including Jerry Powell at 2pm – so lots of way to prop things up – even if the data continues to suck.
We have Auto Sales today, coming in all day long but, so far, they have sucked in Europe and Asia, with double-digit declines for many companies – that hasn't been helping and the Futures are off another half a point this morning. Over in Japan Toyota, Honda and Nissan all reported double-digit declines for the US Market in September but the month began and ended on a Sunday and Labor Day was early so it's not really as bad as it seems – just tough comps to last year. Still, the money won't be there for the end of Q3 – that's what matters.
That's going to matter a lot to Tesla (TSLA) – so let's keep a close eye on their report too.
U.S. vehicle sales this year are projected to be around 17.1 million, according to Edmunds, slightly lower than the past few years. Rising car prices and higher interest rates dulled demand in the first six months of 2019. Detroit auto makers GM and Ford, as well as Fiat/Chrysler recently ended their long-term practice of reporting monthly U.S. sales numbers, although most major car companies still disclose the results each month. The companies now report their U.S. sales quarterly.
Speaking of Tesla, they've been releasing a lot of reports on advances in self-driving tech and also making a big deal about the Mars rocket though I can't, for the life of me, see where the profit is in that for the next 3-4 decades so it's kind of tough to reconcile as a use of Musk's time (it's not, technically, TSLA's money though it does detract from people who might have given them some). Tesla rolled out their "Smart Summon" feature this week and already their guinnea pig customers are crashing in the mazes.
Rumors are TSLA missed their delivery goal of 100,000 cars for the quarter but by how much is the question? At $244, we are neither long or short Tesla in our Hedge Fund, just looking for it not to move up or down more than 20% on earnings (sold puts and calls) so we are hoping for something in the 90s on the production side without too much loss bleeding. Overall though, I'm still looking for $150 on TSLA next year as their story begins to unravel – the way NFLX already has…
We're also still waiting for Chipotle (CMG) to bite the burrito but it's still stubbornly over $800 and they are expected to earn $3.17 per share when they announe on the 22nd – that one we are more short on as I don't see how that's sustainable with the stock at $8.50. Even if you double earnings to $6 for 4 quarers, that's only $24 and that would still be 35 TIMES earnings at $850 – for a fast food restaurant! IF THEY DOUBLED EARNINGS!
So yes, CMG annoys me but reality usually wins in the end though, as Keynes said: "The market can remain irrational longer than you or I can remain solvent". We're not there yet but another year like this one and CMG $1,700 might test that theory…