Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Financial Transaction Tax In Europe Bad Idea

Sorry for the delayed post this morning. It's already been a busy day of trading for us. We are continuing to do what I have talked about of late, and that is use rallies to lighten up on our equity exposure and get a bit more defensive. So we trimmed more positions while the market was up this morning.

Yesterday the market sold off after the news that one of the ideas out of the Sarkozy/Merkel meeting was to levy a financials transactions tax on EU members. This is a bad idea, and will not help the capital markets. Basically, the meeting produced little tangible ideas to soothe market concerns in Europe. Go figure.

This morning, our markets opened nicely higher, although the rally is fading as I write this post. Target (TGT) posted solid earnings and its stock is higher, while DELL was disappointing and is weighing on the tech sector.

Asian markets were mixed overnight, while Europe is lower this morning. The dollar is lower today, which is boosting commodities. Oil prices are up to $87.80, and gold prices were higher earlier, but have faded back near $1785 currently.

The 10-year yield was also higher before, but has now settled back to 2.17%. Ditto for the VIX, which was down 5% earlier but has climbed back into positive territory near the 33 level. That is still a very high level, as investors continue to worry about heightened volatility in the market. The put/call ratio has been extremely elevated today also.

Trading comment: There remain more reasons to be cautious right now vs. trying to time the next rally. The market has lifted nicely from last week's lows, but there is still a ton of overhead resistance to deal with. We have been refocusing some of our equity exposure out of cyclical stocks and into high dividend payers like REITs, MLPs, and utilities. At least in those areas investors get paid to ride things out.


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