WASHINGTON, September 12, 2017 – We were so busy Monday fiddling with our portfolios in light of Wall Street’s impressive post-Irma rally that we didn’t get a chance to post timely columns. We’ll try to remedy that just a bit today with a pair of short articles that hopefully will bring you up to date.
Monday’s main event was a hugely surprising rally ignited by the stock sector collectively known as “The Financials,” one of several industry-centric sectors maintained by S&P and used these days to create ETFs that track these indexes. The S&P Financials include bank stocks, insurance companies of all kinds and those Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) primarily focused on lending activities.*
The Financials had been badly battered last week in anticipation of the horrendous property damages and losses that the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys and the entire Florida peninsula itself were likely to sustain.
In the cold world of stock trading and investing, individual lives and careers matter much less than profit and loss. As a result, investors in Financials were horrified at the potential losses for banks owning mortgages on homes and commercial buildings as well as property-casualty insurers covering the same.
As what’s left of Irma completes its March Through Georgia today and heads for Tennessee and wherever, it’s clear it most certainly did leave a fair measure of catastrophic damage behind, particularly in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the badly-mauled Florida Keys, and in various locations all over the Florida Peninsula.
But Irma’s wind velocity quickly lost power, first over Cuba and then over the West Coast of Florida, and its rains, while substantial, were not nearly as disastrous as those recently swamping Houston, courtesy of Hurricane Harvey.
Thus, aside from serious, but less-serious-than-anticipated tidal surges, primarily in the Tampa Bay and Jacksonville areas, initial damage assessment, while serious, apparently aren’t nearly as bad as banks, insurance companies and investors had been anticipating. Hence, Monday’s huge rally, ignited by that equally huge sigh of relief (and subsequent buying) in the Financials.
As we approach the noon hour today, all major averages are up modestly but not impressively in the typically weak “day after” follow-through action one expects after an impressive rally like the one we experienced Monday.
The Big News today hasn’t happened yet, but markets are eagerly anticipating today’s edition of Apple’s (stock symbol: AAPL) annual September new-and-improved product announcements. All eyes and ears will be on the new iPhone edition (presumably called the iPhone 8) around which wild rumors have abounded for months. The new phone’s price tag is expected to set records, although early adopters will likely refuse to be deterred.
Another persistent rumor is that the new iPhones might be running “late” due to delays in the product pipeline, given new technologies allegedly involved. We shall see.
If we find sufficient time, we’ll try to update our readers with details as they occur. Or, if you’re a DIY kind of guy or gal (can we use those words?), you can click this Apple link to watch the show in streaming video starting at 10 a.m. PACIFIC TIME (i.e., 1 p.m. ET).
But, according to CNBC, PLEASE NOTE:
“If you’re on a Mac you’ll need to be running either macOS v10.11 or later and using the Safari browser. If you’re on a PC, you’ll need to be running Windows 10 and the Microsoft Edge browser. Note: This isn’t Internet Explorer, but rather Microsoft’s newer Edge browser, so make sure you’re using that. Sorry, Chrome and Firefox aren’t supported by Apple’s stream.”
You have to love Apple’s consistency, ruthlessly favoring their own technologies over anyone else’s. Or did that idea originate at Microsoft?
That’s it for now, circa 11:15 a.m. ET.
*(Note: REITs that focus on actual property ownership and or rental activities were essentially carved out of this index in September 2016 and placed in their own index when S&P created a new “Real Estate” sector/index based on real estate ownership vs. financing.)