Johnson Controls [JCI] heads for Ireland, US stocks cool off

Snowmageddon 2016 slows Monday trading action, as broad markets back off Friday highs and oil takes back a chunk of Friday’s big rally.

Good news! America's mid-Atlantic region still remains "shovel-ready." (Cartoon by Branco. See link below*)

WASHINGTON, January 25, 2016 – America’s East Coast, and most particularly its mid-Atlantic region is still digging out from this past weekend’s Snowmageddon 2016, slowing down trading action. All widely followed broad market averages are down about 0.5 percent, reverting back to their usual Monday habit of sinking after a weekend’s rest. Perhaps last week’s latest market warming trend is proving just as fake as global warming climate change.

It’s all a little disappointing after the exciting, two-day short-squeeze relief rally that dominated trading action late last week, but that’s the way it goes, given the usual pattern and adding in the fact that most of America’s trade-happy East Bank is still trying to conclude this weekend’s Big Dig and get back into the swing of things.

Speaking of swinging things, electronic control and home heating and cooling powerhouse Johnson Controls (symbol: JCI) has just announced it’s leaving the country—sort of—having just reached a merger agreement with Tyco International Plc. (TYC), a similarly oriented company whose main areas of emphasis are in the fire protection and security arenas.

In addition to obvious corporate synergies, there’s another big advantage to this proposed transaction. While JCI’s corporate HQ is located in not-so-sunny Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tyco International has its HQ in slightly sunnier Cork, Ireland, that nation’s “second city.”

Sound familiar? Yes indeed. It’s yet another “inversion” transaction, meaning that the Obama Administration’s consistent tax hostility to American business has lost yet another huge tranche of tax dollars to the Oulde Sod, where the corporate tax climate is vastly friendlier. The Administration has attempted over the last year or two to make this kind of corporate maneuver more difficult, but clearly, given the huge disparity in American vs. Irish corporate tax rates, ObamaNation has lost another big fish.

As we’ve been writing this, the markets have chosen to fall out of bed. Oil futures have dropped further and are now off roughly 6 percent at $30.21 bbl. for WTI, shifting those shifty HFT supercomputers into heavy-sell mode.

Currently, as of 3:30 p.m. EST, the Dow is off 153.24 (nearly -1 percent), the S&P 500 is down over 23.5 percent (-1.25 percent) and the NASDAQ is off nearly 55 points, a negative 1.2 percent.

Yeah, it’s just another bummer trading day in what’s likely to be a bummer year for bulls. Earlier today, Vanguard Group CEO Bill McNabb told CNBC’s Eric Rosenbaum that he’s expecting a lot less from stocks for a decade. Sadly, we think he’s about right. That doesn’t mean that no money will be made in stocks and bonds. But what profits investors do manage to extract in this dodgy environment won’t likely be anything to brag about.

Stay tuned. We’ll figure something out.


*Cartoon by Branco, reproduced by arrangement and with permission via ComicallyIncorrect.

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