French elections over, Macon wins, stocks say ‘Meh’

Macon win doesn’t result in a big Monday rally on Wall Street. At least not yet. Apple surges, most other stock sectors wander in uncertainty.

France's new President-elect Emmanuel Macron in his earlier incarnation as the French Minister for the Economy and Finance. (2014 image via Wikipedia entry on Macron, CC 3.0 share-alike license, France)

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2017 – Reports CNBC this Monday morning, “The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite notched new all-time highs on Monday despite a narrow trading range as investors digested Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election.”

Well, that exciting news tidbit must have occurred just prior to our logging on to our trading program this morning. It’s just after 12 noon now, and all three major averages have been pinned slightly in the red every since we got here. Time to revise that headline, CNBC. On the other hand, averages have been happily reversing field with increasing regularity in recent weeks, so who knows where things will end up by COB today.

We really don’t have a whole lot to say in today’s column, since so many things remain a mystery. The buzz last week that a Le Pen win in Sunday’s French elections would plunge us into the Mother of All Bear Markets. Conversely, happy days were supposed to be here again should the already heavily favored Macron run the electoral table.

Well, the latter happened, in a landslide no less, so where’s Monday’s big rally? That’s the way things have been going lately, however. Lots of hype, but action on the ground has been less than inspiring.

After a hiccup last week due to slightly “disappointing” earnings that were still way positive, shares of Apple (AAPL) have begun to climb once again, finally putting shares in record territory for the company after accounting for its previous stock split, after which its shares were listed on the Dow Jones Industrials. All eyes are on anticipated earnings for the upcoming 10th Anniversary iPhone models, expected (but maybe not) to go on sale in the September-October 2017 time frame.

Strategy here, all things considered equal, would be to hold the shares until some time just prior to the model announcement, at which point traders generally throw their AAPL positions over the side, even if earnings or a product announcement (or both) dazzle to the point where the company is regarded as the Second Coming. It’s always been so.

Yeah, maybe “this time it’s different.” But maybe not. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy as much of the ride as we can stand.

Ongoing in other sectors is the perpetual fake news on the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal and replace plan, which apparently is to undergo a top-down, bottom-up rewrite in the Senate. Sadly, as is so often the case, whatever we end up getting seems as if it will be geared more toward courting votes for incumbents in 2018, putting American taxpayers and insureds (not mutually inclusive) in second place over politics as usual.

Nonetheless, the GOP’s current offering is just part of the byzantine reconstruction effort, meant to correct and free up the market so badly damaged by the disastrous Obamacare legislation, which was merely another Democrat-led income redistribution plan, not a national health insurance policy.

We’ll just have to see where this goes. Meanwhile, stocks in health insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, hospital chains, and so forth will be tricky investments over the next two quarters at least. Buyers, beware.

Read also: Time for Democrats to become ‘rationally selfish’

We’ll conclude today’s column here. With no real clear path forward, but with the French elections settling the Eurosituation, at least for now, we’ll need other news, positive or negative, to drive this market one way or the other in the days and weeks ahead. But so far, we don’t have it.

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