Report (Premium Edition) 12-28-2020

Trading volume will remain thin this week with many markets closed for holidays. Stocks rallied into Christmas as positive vaccine news and a Brexit deal helped underpin a bullish outlook into 2021. And President Trump signed the long awaited relief package to further support investor sentiment.

The S&P 500 rallied 0.35% to close at 3703 on Thursday, while the Dow and NASDAQ were up just over 0.2%. Futures are up about 0.45% to 0.65% in overseas action. We believe that we are seeing a price consolidation with equities with the potential to jump up after the signing the of the second stimulus deal.

The S&P 500 chart above shows a clear bullish trend that is in consolidation phase. As long as it does not break support (which we think is unlikely), it should climb to new highs. The primary bear drivers were the bad data reports last week. (see inter week’s reports) which could signal a cooling of the equities market. We will continue monitoring and alert our readers if the S&P 500 breaks key support levels.

European markets have climbed after some “sell the fact” trades after the Brexit deal. The German DAX is 1.4% higher, making up for the Thursday, Friday closures last week. UK markets are closed today to observe Boxing Day holidays. Treasury yields are higher on the stimulus deal and ahead of a record auctions this week. The wi 2-year is flat at 0.125%, with the wi 5-year 1 bp higher at 0.390%. The 10- and 30-year yields are over 2 bps cheaper at 0.951% and 1.688%, respectively. 

Today’s data calendar has the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing index. We’re projecting an unchanged 12.0 print for December after falling 7.8 points to 12.0 in November. This would be a 5th month above zero. The Treasury auctions a record $176 bln in shorter coupons this week, starting with today’s $58 bln in 2-year notes and $59 bln in 5-year paper.

Key Drivers for the Week of Dec 28

TIP – This is a 1 minute brief bullet-point summary as a tool that gives them a fast and simple list of what to watch for and talking points.

  • Santa Claus rally sees equities rally into Christmas
  • Holidays will quiet global markets into New Years
  • Outlook brightens into 2021 with vaccines, Brexit deal
  • Brexit compromise secures tariff-free trade on most goods
  • U.S. calendar has Dallas, Chicago PMIs, jobless claims, trade report
  • Treasury auctions record $176 bln in 2-, 5-, 7-year notes
  • Japan production; China manufacturing PMI; Korea consumer sentiment

Tip: Use this as a quick guide on the direction of key markets. I once had a client that would call me nearly every day asking the direction of the markets. This is a quick cheat sheet to know the trend and help understand what is happening with the markets.

S&P 5003703.070.35%13.053703.823689.32Bull
Crude (WTI)48.410.25%0.12148.9447.49Bull
10 Year0.9512.51%0.0230.9630.931Bull
US Dollar Index90.111−0.12%−0.11290.36989.98Bear
REIT Index2067.030.90%18.352067.342049.74Bull

S&P 500 Sectors

Tip: Use this section to know the performance of various sectors, weight portfolios, or look for trades. Modern portfolio theory stresses the importance of diversification, but recently several sectors like technology have out-performed others like unities. This is also a way to narrow the sectors to find investment opportunities.

Sector Name5-Day Return1Month 6 MonthsYTD Return1YR vs S&P 5003YR ReturnTrend
 Basic Materials-0.10%2.00%32.90%18.20%1.60%21.10%Bull
 Communication Services-0.40%3.00%26.80%27.30%10.10%35.50%Bull
 Consumer Cyclical0.00%3.70%40.70%46.80%30.60%82.10%Bull
 Consumer Defensive-0.60%1.00%17.60%9.80%-7.20%27.60%Bear
 Financial Services1.90%2.40%25.00%-3.60%-20.30%9.10%Bull
 Real Estate0.40%0.00%10.60%-5.80%-21.30%15.70%Bear

Week Ahead: Reason to Cheer After a Tough Year

On December 28, 2020

It was a Santa Clause rally into Christmas and the markets now enter the final days of 2020 in a cheerful mood. Hopes for an end to the pandemic were a shot in the arm and allowed investors to look past the emergence of a more contagious virus variant in the UK, surging case counts around the world, and President Trump’s unexpected resistance to the stimulus bill. Vaccine roll outs continue to provide equity markets with a reason to be optimistic about 2021. And importantly, the December 24 Brexit compromise at least eliminates a hostile split and establishes grounds on which both sides of the channel can more confidently plan for the future, which should help to bolster confidence. Holidays across the globe will thin calendars and the data on tap won’t provide any reason to change the broader outlook for growth in the new year.


The flurry of U.S. reports and events last week were disappointing overall. The mix of weaker income, consumption and home sales, though with a robust inventory path, prompted downward revisions in our GDP forecasts to 5.5% (was 6.0%) in Q4 and 3.4% (was 3.6%) in Q1. The lack of a relief bill this year remains a major drag for hard hit industries, stimulus is still expected in early 2021. And though global conditions are still fragile, we see little risk of a double dip recession. A lean docket this week won’t alter the outlook.

Initial claims (Thursday) highlight, and are expected to rise 37k to 840k in the December 26 week, trimming the outsized -89k drop in the prior week. The advance trade report should show a slight widening in the deficit to -$81.0 bln in November from -$80.4 bln in October. The Dallas Fed index (Monday) is seen steady at 12.0 in December after falling 7.8 points to 12.0 in November. This would be a 5th month above zero. The Chicago PMI (Wednesday) is projected dipping to 57.0 in December after sliding -2.9 points to 58.2 in November. The economy’s already slowing trajectory is at risk of further slippage near term. However, ongoing Fed accommodation, vaccines, and widespread expectations for more Federal stimulus near term have turned the markets’ attention to the 2021 recovery.

Treasury supply is heavy with a record $176 bln package of 2-, 5-, and 7-year auctions. The volume was increased by $7 bln from $169 bln last month with $2 bln increases in the 2- and 5-year volumes and a $3 bln boost to the 7-year. The auctions will be on Monday for the two shorter notes and Tuesday for the 7-year given the condensed calendar with the New Year’s holiday on Friday. The debt managers also announced a $34 bln 52-week bill for Tuesday, along with $105 bln in 3- and 6-month bills for Monday. The auction times will be 11:30 ET for the 2-year and 6-month offerings, and 13 ET for the 3-month and the 5-year. On Tuesday the auction times will be 13:00 ET for the 52-week bill and the 7-year note. Yields richened slightly on Wednesday, with the wi 2-year closing at 0.130%, with the wi 5-year at 0.380%, and the 7-year at 0.660%. Thin volumes could make for poor auctions.

A holiday shortened week awaits in Canada, with markets closed Monday for Boxing Day and Friday for the New Year’s holiday. There is nothing of note on the docket this week. The BoC’s next meeting is on January 20. No change is expected to the 0.25% rate setting until 2023.


Calendars will be light in Asia through the last week of the year with many countries on holiday. Japan is closed Thursday and Friday, along with Korea, Philippines, and Thailand. Friday’s closures include, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. For data, Japan has the preliminary November industrial production report. In China, the December official CFLP manufacturing PMI is due. Elsewhere, a few rounds of production, trade and prices are on tap in the smaller economies. Japan is on holiday Thursday and Friday.

In Japan, November preliminary industrial production (Monday) is seen slowing to a 1.0% y/y clip from the prior 4.0% increase. The China December official CFLP manufacturing PMI (Thursday) is expected to improve to 52.5 from 52.1 in October. It’s been in expansionary territory since March and continues to reflect the strength of the recovery. South Korea has December consumer sentiment on Tuesday. November industrial production (Wednesday) should improve to a -0.5% y/y rate from -2.2%. December CPI (Thursday) is penciled in little changed at 0.5% y/y from 0.6% in October. The November trade report is due Friday, with the surplus expected to widen slightly to $6.0 bln from $5.9 bln. Hong Kong November trade (Monday) is expected to see the deficit narrow to HKD 26.0 bln from HKD 36.8 bln. Taiwan November leading indicators are due Monday. Thailand November manufacturing production (Tuesday) likely improved to -0.3% y/y from -0.5%. November trade and current account figures are due Wednesday.

The calendars in Australia and New Zealand are empty this week. The next RBA meeting is on February 2. Earlier this month, RBA Governor Lowe said that the RBA doesn’t expect to lift the cash rate for at least three years. Meanwhile, the RBNZ does not meet again until February 24 of 2021. No change to the 0.25% rate setting is anticipated for quite some time. Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed Monday for Boxing Day and Friday for New Year’s day.


Eurozone: it should be a very quiet week, with no key data releases and virus developments keeping most people stuck at home. Businesses meanwhile have time to scrutinize the last minute trade agreement that the EU and U.K. managed to pull off on Christmas eve. The new agreement secures tariff-free trade on most goods, and will also help to ensure continued cooperation on crime-fighting, energy and data sharing. However, it doesn’t come close to replicating the U.K.’s existing relationship. Non-tariff trade barriers will go up as the U.K. leaves the customs union and the single market, so there will likely be some teething problems, especially at the beginning, but at least companies on both sides of the channel can start to plan for the future now and that together with the fact that a hostile split has been avoided should help to bolster confidence.

Data releases are extremely thin. Spain will be the first of the major Eurozone countries to release preliminary inflation reports for December on December 30. Markets are closed on Friday for the New Year’s holiday and German stocks will already be closed on December 31.

U.K.: the data calendar is quiet until the new year.

Switzerland: The Swiss slate is thin too with the KOF leading index (Wednesday).

Stocks & ETF Watch List

Tip: Use this section to find stocks and ETFs to add value to your portfolio by increasing the alpha (return) and decreasing beta (beta). Our list is updated weekly to help provide our readers with timely insights.

Solid Picks

This group of stock/ETF picks is likely to experience growth and perform well into the near future. The rank score of a stock, where a score of 1 is best. This algorithm compares a company to its peers and considers the consistency of key return metrics. The overall score, which 99 is the best) is computed from the percentile rank of valuation, growth, financial strength, efficiency, momentum, and dividends. The score also considers the past performance of a stock in each of the component areas relative to peers.

TickerRankCompanyDividend Beta 1 YR1YR vs S&P 5003YR vs S&P 5003R vs SectorOverall Score
HEAR1Turtle Beach– 0.75165.00%1066.30%992.60%100
BIO2Bio-Rad Laboratories– 0.7238.90%89.50%84.80%100
KGC4Kinross Gold1.60%0.4644.20%29.20%54.10%87
GOLD6Barrick Gold1.60%0.49.70%18.10%43.00%85
FN7Fabrinet– 0.890.30%114.00%40.30%99
TGT9Target1.60%0.6722.00%145.50%163.90%63– 0.8866.10%83.40%47.40%99
LOGI11Logitech International0.90%0.6684.10%141.50%67.80%99
CORT13Corcept Therapeutics– 0.7398.20%6.00%1.30%100
DG14Dollar General0.70%0.519.30%88.10%106.50%53
BAH16Booz Allen Hamilton1.40%0.687.60%90.50%110.90%75
LLY17Eli Lilly2.00%0.7412.60%63.50%58.80%73
TMO18Thermo Fisher Scientific0.20%0.7323.60%96.50%91.80%88
MTD20Mettler-Toledo Intl– 0.8727.20%39.50%34.80%87
HLI21Houlihan Lokey2.00%0.5223.90%11.10%48.10%94
ADUS23Addus HomeCare– 0.764.90%190.00%185.30%97
CTXS24Citrix Systems1.10%0.554.10%9.20%-64.50%76
AKAM25Akamai Technologies– 0.618.30%18.20%-55.50%92
COST27Costco Wholesale0.80%0.611.20%60.30%78.70%51
WPM29Wheaton Precious Metals1.10%0.3828.10%55.40%80.30%66
BR30Broadridge Financial Soln1.50%0.87.10%27.50%-46.20%95
HMSY32HMS Holdings– 0.454.80%67.10%62.40%94

Income Stock & ETFs Picks

This list of stocks and ETFs are selected for their ability to pay dividends. The dividend score of a stock, where a score of 99 is best. This algorithm compares a company to its peers and considers the consistency of key dividend metrics as well as their direction of change. The overall score, which 99 is the best) is computed from the percentile rank of valuation, growth, financial strength, efficiency, momentum, and dividends. The score also considers the past performance of a stock in each of the component areas relative to peers.

TickerCompanyDividendBeta 1YR1YR  vs S&P3YR vs S&P3YR vs SectorDividends ScoreOverall Score
BIPBrookfield Infr Partners3.90%1.250.60%1.40%20.40%2010
BKHBlack Hills3.80%1.17-36.80%-34.30%-15.20%4979
BUDAnheuser-Busch InBev2.10%0.89-29.70%-78.20%-59.80%123
CBSHCommerce Bancshares1.60%1.03-12.70%-3.80%33.10%5446
CINFCincinnati Financial2.80%1.24-31.80%-20.80%16.20%9187
DDDuPont de Nemours1.70%1.17-5.50%-71.10%-46.20%1824
EMREmerson Electric2.50%1.19-8.70%-20.70%-0.30%7666
FRTFederal Realty Investment4.90%1.2-45.80%-72.10%-41.80%7631
GPCGenuine Parts3.20%1.13-19.60%-31.20%-67.30%6223
HDHome Depot2.20%1.098.60%8.80%-27.20%5369
HRLHormel Foods2.10%0.45-10.90%-9.60%8.80%5853
JNJJohnson & Johnson2.70%0.68-9.70%-28.00%-32.70%6275
LOWLowe’s Companies1.50%1.1821.30%42.70%6.60%5687
MOAltria Group8.30%0.74-26.30%-74.90%-56.50%8180
NFGNational Fuel Gas4.20%0.77-22.80%-60.40%26.50%6741
PGProcter & Gamble2.30%0.71-4.30%17.00%35.40%7186
PHParker Hannifin1.30%1.4415.90%-3.10%17.30%5082
SWKStanley Black & Decker1.60%1.46-6.00%-32.30%-11.90%8282

Dogs of the Dow

This list of DOW stocks based on H. G. Schneider’s Article in the Journal of Finance in 1951 that used price-earnings ratio. The general idea is that blue-chip companies that pay a dividend are more likely to withstand an economic downturn. The dividend score of a stock, where a score of 99 is best. This algorithm compares a company to its peers and considers the consistency of key dividend metrics as well as their direction of change. The overall score, which 99 is the best) is computed from the percentile rank of valuation, growth, financial strength, efficiency, momentum, and dividends. The score also considers the past performance of a stock in each of the component areas relative to peers.

TickerCompanyDividendBeta 1YR1YR  vs S&P3YR vs S&P3YR vs SectorDividends ScoreOverall Score
DOWDow5.10%1.33-12.40%– – 607
VZVerizon Communications4.10%0.52-15.00%-15.70%-5.50%8768
WBAWalgreens Boots Alliance4.50%0.82-44.00%-82.20%-84.70%7467
XOMExxon Mobil7.90%1.1-50.90%-84.10%-2.70%7361

Economic Data Calendar

We have a very light economic calendar for the final holiday-shortened week of the year. The only major report of the week will be the advance indicators report, where we expect a November widening in the goods trade balance, following an October pull-back from an all-time high in August. We also expect solid gains for both wholesale and retail inventories, as businesses continue to restock following a big four-quarter inventory liquidation. We also expect a 37k rise in initial jobless claims, alongside a -137k continuing claims drop to the 5,200k area.

Week of December 28

The heavy docket of economic reports just before Christmas have largely confirmed that production continued to rise sharply through Q4 despite a mounting coronavirus headwind for retail activity into late-November and December, leaving hefty gains for inventories. The personal income report revealed a big Q4 pull-back in income subsidies, and weak spending prompted a mark-down in our Q4 real consumption growth forecast to 2.8% from 4.0%. The durable goods report supported our solid Q4 growth forecast of 14% for real fixed investment, while continued wide gyrations in the weekly claims data alongside a steady downtrend for continuing claims suggests that the labor market continued to expand despite new virus restrictions, albeit with considerable uncertainty about how the remaining December labor market data will fare with seasonal adjustment factors that likely bear little resemblance to this year’s holiday behaviors. We trimmed our GDP forecasts to 5.5% (was 6.0%) in Q4 and 3.4% (was 3.6%) in Q1, leaving estimates that still lie above most market forecasts.

The data also confirmed a rapid unwind of stimulus from the CARES Act, making a second round of stimulus more critical than we had previously assumed. Proprietors’ income fell by a whopping -8.5% in November with unwinding support from PPP loans and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, and current transfer receipts fell -3.3% with diminishing jobless benefits. Our current estimates incorporate the weekend stimulus package, and as such we expect income boosts of $165 bln for personal income and $120 bln for jobless benefits between now and March, with some checks presumably being distributed in the last week of December. The veto threat will hopefully translate into a later legislated amendment that boosts checks to families, rather than inaction. As it stands, our assumptions imply that personal income will contract at a -4% rate in Q4, but will surge at an 18% pace in Q1, with a spike in the savings rate to the 22% area in January and a 17% average in Q1.

Advance Indicators Goods Deficit: -$81.0 bln

We expect the advance indicators report to reveal a November widening in the goods trade balance to -$81.0 bln from -$80.4 bln in October and an -$83.1 bln all-time high in August. We expect exports to grow 2.5% to $129.4 bln, while imports grow 1.8% to $210.4 bln. A likely November petroleum price rebound will boost both exports and imports of petroleum. We expect further gains for trade in vehicles after huge increases over the summer, but large declines in each prior month since February. We expect a sustained high November bilateral goods deficit between the U.S. and China of about -$30 bln as businesses rebuilt inventories. The bilateral gap previously posted a pull-back between mid-2019 and March to an -$11.8 bln March deficit that marked the smallest gap since 2004. We saw a -$43.1 bln all-time wide bilateral gap in October of 2018. The advance report should also reveal November gains of 0.8% for wholesale inventories and 1.0% for retail inventories.

Initial Jobless Claims: 840k

Initial jobless claims for the week of December 26 should remain elevated, and we assume a 37k rise in the weekly pace to 840k, after an -89k drop to 803k from 892k. Seasonal adjustment for initial claims was switched to being additive from multiplicative in September, and the usual seasonal rise in NSA claims through the holidays may be lifting the reported SA data with the new seasonal factors given the unusually high level of claims. We are likely also seeing a lift from expanding coronavirus restrictions. Claims are expected to average 849k in December, following averages of 748k in November, 786k in October, and 855k in September. The 885k December BLS survey week reading overshot recent BLS survey week readings of 748k in November, 797k in October, and 866k in September. We assume a 100k December payroll rise, after gains of 245k in November, 610k in October, and 711k in September.

Continuing claims fell by 170k to 5,337k in the week of December 12, following a minor downward revision in the prior week’s reading that left a 5,507k figure. We expect continuing claims to fall -137k the 5,200k area for the week ending on December 19. Though rising coronavirus restrictions are likely prompting some stalling in the continuing claims downtrend, we expect resumed bigger declines into early-2021. Continuing claims fell by -752k between the November and December BLS survey weeks. We saw much larger prior declines of -1,734k in November, a hefty -4,924k in October BLS, -1,745k in September, -2,459k in August, -2,280k in July, and -1,610k in June.

 27 Dec 18:50 Industrial Production M/M SA (prelim)  NOV 1.0%  4.0%
 28 Dec  Boxing Day Observed – U.K. Markets Closed
 28 Dec  Boxing Day Observed – CAN Markets Closed
 28 Dec 03:00 Leading Economic Index M/M  NOV   1.6%
 28 Dec 03:30 Trade Balance HKD  NOV -26.0B  -36.8B
 28 Dec 10:30 Dallas Fed Index  DEC 12.0  12.0
 28 Dec 11:30 Treasury Auctions 2-Year Notes
 28 Dec 13:00 Treasury Auctions 5-Year Notes
 28 Dec 16:00 Consumer Sentiment NSA  DEC   97.9
 28 Dec 23:30 Manufacturing Production Y/Y  NOV -0.3%  -0.5%
 29 Dec 06:00 Unemployment Rate  OCT    14.6%
 29 Dec 08:55 Redbook 12/26    -0.9%
 29 Dec 09:00 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (nsa)  OCT 233.7  232.5
 29 Dec 13:00 Treasury Auctions 7-Year Notes
 29 Dec 18:00 Industrial Production Y/Y  NOV -0.5%  -2.2%
 30 Dec 02:30 Trade Balance-BOP USD  NOV   3.2B
 30 Dec 02:30 Exports-BOP USD Y/Y  NOV   -5.6%
 30 Dec 02:30 Imports-BOP USD Y/Y  NOV   -12.1%
 30 Dec 02:30 Current Account USD  NOV $0.5B  $1.0B
 30 Dec 03:00 CPI – EU Harmonized (Y/Y) Preliminary  DEC -0.7% -0.7% -0.8%
 30 Dec 03:00 KOF Leading Indicator  DEC   103.5
 30 Dec 07:00 MBA Mortgage Applications 12/25    0.8%
 30 Dec 08:30 Adv. Indicators: Goods Trade  NOV -$81.0B -$81.5B-$80.4B R
 30 Dec 08:30 Adv. Indicators: Goods Exports  NOV $129.4B $126.2B R
 30 Dec 08:30 Adv. Indicators: Goods Imports  NOV $210.4B $206.6B R
 30 Dec 08:30 Adv. Indicators: Wholesale Inventories  NOV $652.1B $649.0B R
 30 Dec 08:30 Adv. Indicators: Retail Inventories  NOV $615.7B  $612.2B
 30 Dec 09:45 Chicago PMI  DEC 57.0 57.0 58.2
 30 Dec 10:00 Pending Home Sales Index  NOV 128.9  128.9
 30 Dec 10:00 Unemployment Rate  NOV   14.7%
 30 Dec 10:30 EIA Crude Oil Stocks 12/25    -0.6M
 30 Dec 10:30 EIA Gasoline Stocks 12/25    -1.1M
 30 Dec 10:30 EIA Distillate Stocks 12/25    -2.3M
 30 Dec 15:00 Agriculture Prices  NOV 1.5%  0.9%
 30 Dec 18:00 CPI Y/Y  DEC 0.5%  0.6%
 30 Dec 20:00 PMI Manufacturing (CFLP)  DEC 52.5  52.1
 30 Dec 21:00 Bank Credit Y/Y  NOV   -2.0%
 31 Dec  Bank Holiday – JPN Markets Closed
 31 Dec  New Year’s Eve – GER Markets Closed
 31 Dec 03:00 Trade Balance USD  NOV   -2.4B
 31 Dec 07:00 Unemployment Rate  NOV   11.6%
 31 Dec 07:00 Industrial Production Y/Y  NOV   3.5%
 31 Dec 08:00 Consumer Price Index (Y/Y)  DEC   3.5%
 31 Dec 08:30 Initial Claims 12/26  840K 830K 803K
 31 Dec 08:30 Continuing Jobless Claims 12/19  5,200K  5,337K
 31 Dec 09:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index 12/27    47.0
 31 Dec 10:30 EIA Natural Gas Stocks 12/25    -152B
 31 Dec 16:30 M2 – Week Ended 12/21    N/A
 31 Dec 19:00 Exports-CC Y/Y  DEC   4.0%
 31 Dec 19:00 Imports-CC Y/Y  DEC   -2.1%
 31 Dec 19:00 Trade Balance-CC  DEC $6.0B  $5.9B
 01 Jan  New Year’s Day – All Markets Closed
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