WASHINGTON, February 15, 2017 – With New Year’s Day, the MLK Birthday and the Presidents’ Day holidays occurring over the generally frigid winter months of January and February, it’s easy to forget how front-end loaded with Federal days off we get as each new year begins.
As for now, it’s Presidents’ Day—formerly Washington’s Birthday—that’s on tap next week, the last Federal holiday until Memorial Day at the end of May. Like all Federal holidays, this means trading will revert to various altered states to accommodate the day off. As always, we’re happy to provide traders and investors with the particulars for Presidents’ Day 2017.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017
All U.S. markets (equity, option, and fixed income) will be closed Monday in observance of the Presidents’ Day holiday, including pre-market and after-hours trading activities. In addition, Canadian securities markets will also be closed Monday, February 20, 2017. That’s because our neighbors to the North will be celebrating their own Family Day holiday. Canadian equity orders placed after the U.S. Market close on Friday, February 17, 2017, will route to Canadian exchanges on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
Some details can vary by brokerage, so if you plan on deposits or withdrawals in or around Monday’s holiday, check with your broker to determine which day your trades will settle. As we’ve noted before, stock trades with regular-way settlement settle three business days after the trade—and February 21, 2017, being a holiday, is not a business day.
Comments and columns have been spare to nonexistent recently in this area. That’s because the Prudent Man thinks markets are getting just a bit toppy even though bullish action still seems to be the order of the day.
The problem is, there has been a good bit of selling into this rally, which, at some points, is being driven, more than short covering than by outright buying.
We’ve chucked a couple of small positions for small profits, notably positions in REIT Two Harbors (TWO) and CEF (closed-end fund) Alpine Global Premiere Properties (AWP).
In case we didn’t mention it, we also closed out our position in gold and copper miner Freeport McMoRan (FCX), a beaten down stock that has recently made us money primarily due to the resurgence of the international copper market and continuing strength in gold. This is the second time we made good money in this one (+10 percent this time around).
But, as is so often the case with this long-lived mining company, its major mining and associated facilities in Indonesia are shutting down due to another one of that country’s relatively frequent mining strikes as well as continually morphing, politically-motivated import/export rules that are interfering with FCX’s ability to sell copper abroad—a hideous problem for any international mining company.
For these reasons, we decided to take our profit and run, even though we’d have preferred to stay in this stock longer term. If FCX can resolve these issues with their workers and with the Indonesian government, we’ll take another look. On the other hand, the political an union nonsense will clearly have a negative impact on Freeport’s Q1 and possibly Q2 numbers at this point, so this stock’s promise for the fiscal year is fast receding.
Aside from tiny tweaks in our small stable of Schwab commission-free ETFs in various sectors, that’s all we’re doing now. We’d love to start buying again, but we can’t get past our sense that better prices will be forthcoming in the near future.
Meanwhile, with regard to those upcoming American and Canadian holidays, here’s wishing all our readers a happy and safe Presidents’ Day/Family Day.