Back on August 24 I wrote a post rating the snazz of the new Note 8, the top of the line smartphone that Samsung had just introduced. The Note 8, I wrote, set the bar for the high end of the smartphone market that Apple’s new phone would have to jump at its introduction this fall.
Now obviously we know a lot about the Note 8. The phone is in the hands of tech journalists (and soon consumers) who can try out and describe actual features of the phone. Nobody has put his or her hands on an iPhone 8 yet. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t know anything about that phone.
If President Donald Trump reappoints current Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen to a new term in February 2018, no one will be able to say truthfully that he didn’t know exactly what kind of chair he would be getting. Not after her speech today at the Kansas City Fed’s gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
These two risk indexes, the VIX and the SKEW, are showing very different views of the market with a SKEW that rose near record highs last week indicating fear of a low-probability event that would send the market down 10% or more. Meanwhile a low VIX is signaling complacency.
Times listed are when I wrote the specific post (New York time.)
10:20 a.m.: The worst storm to hit the oil refineries on the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Wilma in 2005 is on a track to come ashore near Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday. Hurricane Harvey with its 85 mile an hour winds and drenching rain is likely to disrupt gasoline production and curtail oil and natural gas demand. U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate closed down 1.63% today. Gasoline, on the other hand, rose 2.35% on anticipation that the storm will curtail supply. 10:40 a.m.: The usual reliable but unnamed sources have said that in September Apple (AAPL) will announce a new Apple TV set-top box that will include a faster processor capable of streaming higher-resolution 4K video. Apple is also said to be testing an updated version of its TV app that can aggregate programming from apps that already offer live streaming.
You wouldn’t know that there was anything to worry about from the U.S. stock market. So what that the President has threatened to shut down the government unless Congress funds The Wall. So what that the tax cuts so near and dear to CEOs won’t happen unless there is a budget or some stop gap funding measure by October 1. So what the Federal Reserve refuses to take another interest rate increase off the table. But if you look at the bond market, you will see signs of concern.
10:20 a.m.: Alphabet (GOOG) and Wal-Mart (WMT) are teaming up to fight Amazon (AMZN). Shoppers will be able buy Wal-Mart products on Google Express using, the partners hope, the voice-controlled Google Home and Google Assistant on Android smartphones. You can tell how deeply this partnership concerned the market: Shares of Amazon closed down 0.92% in the regular trading session and then climbed 0.23% in after hours action. 10:40 a.m.: The Brazilian government will sell a controlling stake in Latin America’s biggest electricity generator, Electrobras.
We all know that getting Congress to pass a debt ceiling increase by September 29 and also to pass a budget or at least a continuing resolution to fund operations of the government past September 30 is going to be one long, hard lift. But there’s nothing like a threat from the President to veto legislation to keep the government running if Congress doesn’t fund the construction of The Wall to focus attention on how hard that task is.