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It was an uneventful day at 11 Wall St on Thursday. While stocks did end the day a bit higher, they are still down on the week, all as investors/traders/algos parse the headlines looking for some bit of info that may be the clue to what’s next. By the end of the day, the Dow added 28 points, the S&P was ahead by 4 points, the Nasdaq inched higher by 4 points, and the Russell added less than 1 point all in an attempt to remain calm in the face of the ongoing trade battles. Note the “s” indicating that there are multiple battles, or indications of multiple battles, that Donny is fighting.  

In addition to the trade news, the world is focused on what is happening in Vienna, Austria. Recall that OPEC was meeting yesterday to debate and decide what to do next in terms of oil production so that they can attempt to force the price of the “black gold” higher. Early indications are that they will extend the current production cuts through March 2020, while also trying to convince the other members and non-members to consider even more cuts. Word is that the Saudis are trying to convince the OPEC + members to ratify even deeper cuts, nearly 500k more barrels per day than the current 1.2 million barrels per day. 500k barrels would be much larger than what many analysts on the street have expected.  

Now we have been discussing this for a couple of weeks now and we have been watching oil inch higher as we moved closer and closer to this meeting. In the last week alone, WTI has rallied by 7% as the speculation builds and the XLE (Energy ETF) is ahead by 2.5% at $58.60 just below resistance at $59.34.  This morning WTI is flat as traders/investors await the formal announcement.  

[OPEC members include: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia (de facto leader), the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

OPEC + members include: Russia, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Oman, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Bahrain, and South Sudan]

Overnight global markets moved higher as the week comes to a close. The Chinese have extended an olive branch by eliminating (waiving) tariffs on US imports of pork and soybeans. Recall that the Chinese imposed 25% tariffs on both as a retaliatory measure to tariffs levied by DC.  

Now, while this sounds good, let’s be honest, they need these food products and they can’t get them from other parts of the world in the amount that they need. By eliminating the tariffs, they cut the price for their own people. And that is hopefully being seen as a way to get Trump to consider his next move.  

Asian markets ended higher – Japan +0.23%, Hong Kong +1.07%, China +0.59%, and ASX +0.36%.

European markets have begun the day in the green as well. The move by China being seen as a positive, the OPEC meeting seemingly complete. European (and US) investors are now waiting on today’s Non-Farm Payroll report. Economic data in Europe includes – German Industrial Output – which dropped by 1.7% versus the expected increase of 0.1%. In the UK, that country gets ready for the final televised debate between PM BoJo and his challenger, Jeremy Corbin, ahead of next week’s election. (BoJo is the favorite, so expect to hear more about BREXIT once this is over)

FTSE +0.85%, CAC 40 + 0.48%, DAX +0.28%, EUROSTOXX + 0.49%, SPAIN +0.75%, AND ITALY + 0.21%.  

US futures are UP! Dow futures + 75 pt, S&Ps +8, Nasdaq +33, and Russell +4. Today will bring the Non-Farm US payroll report – exp of +183k jobs…but remember – Wednesday’s ADP report missed badly – so do not be surprised if this one shows less than expected. Anything greater than 125K jobs would be viewed as good. Unemployment at 3.6%, Average hourly earnings of +0.3%. Away from that, I expect the day to be quiet. There’s nothing new on trade, although that can all change over the weekend, as Dec. 15 inches closer.

The S&P ended the day at 3117 and appears to be comfortable in the 3100/3125 range for now. The weekend could produce more news from the White House over trade. Next week will also bring the last FOMC meeting of 2019. Note that we are in “quiet mode – black out period” which is why we haven’t heard from any of the FED members. Now while no one expects any change at all, just be aware that it is coming.

Take good care.  Have a great weekend.    


Bay Scallops in Black Truffle Cream Sauce

For this you need: Bay scallops (the little ones), olive oil, butter, heavy cream, white wine, shallots, garlic, black truffle, white truffle oil, s&p, Brussels sprout leaves and fresh grated Parmegiana and Medium Shells (optional)

Ok – you can make this dish in 15 minutes… Put a pot of salted water to boil.

In a large sauté pan – begin with a half stick of butter and a splash of olive oil – turn up the heat to med. Now add in the sliced shallots and chopped garlic… sauté in the pan for 5 – 8 minutes. Now – turn up the heat and add in the rinsed bay scallops – you want to sear them quickly.

If you are serving over pasta – Add the pasta to the boiling water – stir.

Next – once the scallops are seared – turn the heat down to med and deglaze the pan with some white wine – allow it to steam off a bit – now add the heavy cream and shaved black truffle. Stir well. Now add in the white truffle oil – this is key – you DO NOT need much – it is very potent… add – mix, taste. If you need a bit more, then do so… but go easy – do not overpower.

Buon Appetito