Share prices of US Steel plunged more than 25% after the release of its earnings report. The company reported a quarterly loss of $1.03 per share, where analysts were expecting a quarterly profit of 35 cents per share. The stock had experienced a strong climb after Donald Trump’s election. This case demonstrates in a nutshell the dilemma faced by investors: should they rely on the short-term gains accomplished by protectionist measures or should the negative future perspectives of the steel sector in the US be their guidance? The dilemma can be used to draw a demarcation line between speculators and investors.
U.S. stock indexes edged slightly higher yesterday, driven by gains in technology shares. The Dow gained 0.03%, while the S&P 500 added 0.06% and the NASDAQ 0.39%. Volatility eased, with the VIX reaching its lowest level for 2017: 10.36 (-4.52%). UVXY ETFs recorded another loss (-2.00%), while XIV ETNs reached an all-time high: 75.09 points (+0.98%).
Danny Daredevil saw his RSS slip to 312%. Adventurous Anny is still holding cash. Her RSS remained at 22%. Solid Suzy and Lazy Larry continued their climb and reached almost 13%.
None of our models gave a trading signal at the end of yesterday’s session.
RSS = Return Since Start | YTD = Year-To-Date | QTD = Quarter-To-Date | AAR = Average Annual Return
Meanwhile in Japan
René’s Reflections @ Friday: What am I doing here?
I am visiting Japan for the nth time now. The precise number I don’t know – I lost count a couple of years ago already. What I do know is, that the total distance of my Japan travels altogether, is at least ten times the circumference of our globe. (Note to the environmentalists: as soon as I can afford it, I will compensate for this environmental-unfriendly behavior by planting a forest.)
I was standing in the elevator this morning, going up to the highest floor of a huge department store. The elevator quickly filled up with people, as I noticed that I was still the tallest person, even when it reached its maximum capacity.
It was a typical Japanese elevator: fully packed with people, who were moving in and out quickly, silently, efficiently, without bumping into (or even touching) each other. Ultra high-tech to its core: while making you feel like you’re not moving at all, it catapults you from the ground floor to the top floor with an amazing speed. And it does so in total, utter silence. As silent as the people it carries: if you would close your eyes, you would bet that you were alone in there. No matter how many people there are in an elevator, you won’t hear anyone make a sound, not even their breathing is audible.
Japanese have their unique way of respecting the distances between people. What I would call ‘functional silence’, is part of this set of unwritten rules: your noises are of no importance in the public space, and you aren’t supposed to bother other people with them. “Silence is golden”, seems to be the credo. So silent, “you can hear a needle fall” (Dutch expression). This serenity in the public space certainly helps you to hear yourself think. Unlike many Western cultures, where silence in conversations is considered uncomfortable, uneasy, and has to be filled up by the spoken word – no matter what – the Japanese love silence.
Regardless of their short duration, rides in Japanese elevators lend themselves perfectly for those short moments of contemplation. So, on my way up to the top floor, I asked myself (in total silence, of course) what exactly it was, that makes me come back to this country time and again.
During the two or three weeks of cherry blossoming (sakura) every year, they celebrate the new Spring and the new life it brings (hanami).
In streetcars, subways and buses, they manage to squeeze out power naps in as little time as a minute if needed.
And even the tiniest spaces are turned into castles, as they put every available square inch to use, with a clever efficiency that is rarely seen elsewhere.
The Japanese excel in making the most out of almost anything. And they combine this with a long tradition of appreciation of the temporary.
I was planning to elaborate further on my affinity with Japan, but I think I just gave the answer already.
This country humbles me. I may be taller here, but most certainly smaller in many other respects. For the average Westerner, there’s a lot to be learned here.