• NFP report is hot, but not hot enough.

  • New virus cases causing renewed concerns for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

  • The Dollar Index continues to advance putting pressure on the commodity complex – gold, oil, and the broad commodity index -BCOM all lower.

  • No eco data today, but later in the week, we will get both the CPI and PPI.

  • Try the Scallops with Tomato Bruschetta.

Non-Farm Payroll – comes in a bit ‘hotter ‘than expected but not ‘hot’ enough to create panic at the FED…..the report was expected to show a gain of 870k new jobs in July and we got 943k…on top of that they revised UP June’s report from 850k to 938k – so it’s all good….we are creating jobs at the fastest pace since July 2020 and as such the unemployment rate is declining…Friday unemployment rate dropped 3/10th of 1 percent – going from 5.7% to 5.4%.....manufacturing, education, professional and business services, arts, entertainment and recreation all gained….and while leisure and hospitality gained as well (+380k jobs) that sector is still off by 1.7 million jobs from February of 2020 – in the weeks before the crisis began….Avg hourly earnings m/m and y/y are up, and the underemployment rate dropped a bit more as well, going from 9.8% to 9.2%....in the end, the takeaway is that cities are opening back up, offices are opening back up and the growth in service sector jobs suggests that the consumer and by default consumer spending is returning.   So that’s all good….

Investors celebrated – taking the Dow, S&P, Russell, and Transports all higher all while the better report raises fresh questions about what’s next at the FED.  Not surprisingly, the Nasdaq (and by default tech names) got slapped as investors once again toy with the idea that a tapering and rising rate will not be good for that sector…… Now in any event – while the US labor market charges ahead – accentuating the robust recovery, the delta variant continues to spread – like wildfire in some parts of the country (and the world)  among everyone….vaxxed or not and that is beginning to cause a new set of concerns, concerns over the efficacy of the vaccines and concerns over possible new lockdowns that will once again disrupt the supply chain – a chain that has YET to recover fully from the initial shock of the global lockdown. 

Life is returning to normal (or is it?)  and that forces us to ask – Ok, now what?  Are the better macro data points of late pointing to a more hawkish FED or not? And that my friends is the million-dollar question…..there are some who think yes, while there are others that believe we are not there yet and that the FED will need to see even more and better data points before they begin the process especially in the face of rising virus cases around the country and the world never mind the rising rate of inflation in this country that they still tell us is transitory. 

 In addition, we always have the latest regulatory assault coming out of Beijing on big tech and that will remain an issue for months to come, with or without the virus.   Stocks continue to struggle – at the highs – as investors consider the better-than-expected earnings reports and macro data all while feeling a bit fragile and stretched.  Additionally, we have now entered the seasonally weak period of the year and that will remain a concern for investors as we make our way thru Halloween…..Recall, we have the big Kansas City Fed boondoggle  - Jackson Hole on August 26th – 28th and it is there that many expect Fed Chair Jay Powell to suggest the start of the tapering process in late 2021/early 2022 while others say ‘no deal’, ‘not happening’….and so, we shall see…

This morning – US futures are lower…. Dow futures - 82 pts, S&P’s -7 pts, Nasdaq +3 pts and the Russell is -12 pts.  Over the weekend – many analysts, strategists and investors had the opportunity to consider the latest NFP report and the sense is that IF we continue to get robust job growth, better macro data, and continued rising inflation - then the FED will have to do something. 

In addition – over the weekend – the Senate worked hard on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, and it looks like it has the bi-partisan support to pass (68/32) and that should become clear either today or tomorrow.  Now to be clear – once this part of the infrastructure bill is passed, expect Chucky Schumer to offer up a budget resolution that will set the stage for democrats (alone) to pass the $3.5 trillion in additional spending that they want.  But here is the issue – there are a handful of Republican senators that are still holding out to stall the process so that the democrats will not be able to pass the additional bill and that is causing a new level of frustration on Capitol Hill. Tennessee senator Billy Hagerty saying that.

“Democrats' true intention is to rush this bill through so that they can hurry up and light the fuse on their $3.5 trillion spending spree, a socialist debt bomb, then leave town on vacation.” 

So, expect to hear more about this, this week….and next and then the week after that.

The 10 yr. Treasury yield rose to 1.28% on Friday and the dollar index continues to advance (on bets that the FED will announce tapering in August)  – testing the most recent highs of 93.60 back in July and that is helping to put pressure on the commodity complex – remember that commodities are priced in dollars, so as the dollar gets stronger, commodity prices get weaker and vis versa…..Gold (commodity) is now trading at $1,744/oz down 9% since mid-July and that goes hand in hand with the stronger dollar.  The Bloomberg commodity index – BCOM is also down about 3.5% since late July as well. 

And this morning oil – the biggest commodity in the crowd for equity traders – is also getting slammed – down 4% or $2.75 at $65.54/barrel on both the stronger dollar and the continued hysteria over the delta variant story.  You see over the weekend – China reports a rise in new cases and China’s July oil imports are down 20% y/y….and so, many in the industry are using that data point to suggest a collapse in oil demand and thus in oil prices…I guess the real clue will be when our friends at Goldy come out and change their outlook for yearend….that will be after they get out of their oil positions just FYI….

The VIX is up 6% this morning at 17.21…. still below the trendline but attempting to pierce it…and anything that truly disrupts the equity markets will see the VIX soar, or if we see the VIX begin to surge, then we can expect stocks to take a hit – it’s the age-old question – Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?

Economic data this week includes the CPI on Wednesday and the PPI on Thursday, and both of those data points will be keenly watched as it speaks directly to the rate of ‘transitory’ inflation….

European markets are just a bit lower…. there is also no significant news out, so it’s more about the churn.  At 6:45 am – markets across the region are off about 0.20%. 

And cryptos?  They are advancing nicely…. Bitcoin is trading at $45k, up 12% since Friday while Ethereum is trading at $3,000 or up 7%.  All the recent news surrounding the SEC and new regulation along with some of the major banks launching crypto platforms and investment opportunities for clients only strengthen the crypto story and that speaks volumes about how investors feel about the future of this technology. Again – if you are in the market – this asset class should be some percentage of your portfolio – what that is, is your call, but it should be in there. 

The S&P closed at 4,436 – after testing as high as 4440……The trendline suggests that 4455 should be a level of resistance, but we are in unchartered territory, so everyone is flying by the seat of their pants.   There are no economic reports today to drive the action – so it will be all about interpretation of the most recent data. The weakness this morning is not suggesting a big pullback, just some churn.  There appears to be plenty of support down 1 or 2%, but that could change if investors expect the FED to change course.

In any event - stick to the plan…remember – investing is dynamic…keep some cash ready to deploy, but don’t be so quick on the trigger just yet…

Seared Sea Scallops w/Tomato Bruschetta 

Ingredients: Sea Scallops, Dried Porcini Powder, Butter, s&p,

For The Bruschetta: Ripe, Plum Tomatoes, Garlic, Peeled and Sliced, Olive Oil, s&p.

Make the bruschetta and let it sit. Dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Add the sliced garlic - maybe 2 cloves, olive oil, and then season with s&p. Mix well and set aside.

Rinse and pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  Now - sprinkle the scallops with the dried porcini powder on both sides.

In a heavy frying pan - heat the butter - add a drop of oil until it sizzles - do not let it burn!

Add the scallops - maybe 4 at a time - if you add to many - they will cool the pan and not sear properly.  Sear on med-high heat for about 3 minutes on each side. The scallops will have a light, crisp outer crust.  - Remove and place on a plate - (Cover with tin foil to keep warm) and repeat the process until finished - placing 4 scallops on each plate.  

Once you sear them all finish by spooning a bit of the bruschetta over the scallops and serve immediately.  Serve with your favorite white wine.   A simple - yet elegant dish.

General Disclosures

Information and commentary provided by ButcherJoseph Asset Management, LLC (“BJAM”), are opinions and should not be construed as facts. The market commentary is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed as a solicitation to invest or increase investments in BJAM products or the products of BJAM affiliates. The information contained herein constitutes general information and is not directed to, designed for, or individually tailored to, any particular investor or potential investor. This report is not intended to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell securities. Do not use this report as the sole basis for investment decisions. Do not select an asset class or investment product based on performance alone. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs and investment time horizon. There can be no guarantee that any of the described objectives can be achieved. BJAM does not undertake to advise you of any change in its opinions or the information contained in this report. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Information provided from third parties was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but no reservation or warranty is made as to its accuracy or completeness.

Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be profitable. The price of any investment may rise or fall due to changes in the broad markets or changes in a company’s financial condition and may do so unpredictably. BJAM does not make any representation that any strategy will or is likely to achieve returns similar to those shown in any performance results that may be illustrated in this presentation. There is no assurance that a portfolio will achieve its investment objective.

Definitions and Indices

The S&P 500 Index is a stock market index based on the market capitalization of 500 leading companies publicly traded in the U.S. stock market, as determined by Standard & Poor’s.

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, INDEX RETURNS REFLECT THE REINVESTMENT OF INCOME DIVIDENDS AND CAPITAL GAINS, IF ANY, BUT DO NOT REFLECT FEES, BROKERAGE COMMISSIONS OR OTHER EXPENSES OF INVESTING. INVESTORS CAN NOT MAKE DIRECT INVESTMENTS INTO ANY INDEX.

BJAM is an investment advisor registered in North Carolina and Arizona. Such registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. BJAM’s advisory fee and risks are fully detailed in Part 2 of its Form ADV, available upon request.

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