Managing the Game

As we finally experience a nice weekend weather wise my attention naturally goes to baseball and other outside activities. As we work our way through April I thought a baseball hitting strategy that managers employ often fits with my current attitude toward the stock market and your portfolios. Considering all the political noise domestic and international along with interest rates sneaking higher once again and a full cadre of important earnings reports this week, I feel compelled to seek a single and doubles strategy in order to compete against traders and short term skeptics. This makes sense to me even though I believe earnings will be supportive of current stock prices and interest rates will not likely spike from current levels. A little hit and run mixed in with a few stolen bases should keep my attention on the game at hand and keep your portfolios in good shape.

Importantly, some key earnings reports will likely shape the week with Facebook, Visa, Raytheon, Microsoft, and Chevron all reporting. Even with the issues Facebook is facing I believe the core utilization and advertising data will remain supportive for the share price although I expect margins to dip with extra expenses to deal with improved security may affect future guidance. Consumer activity at Visa should remain strong based on the strong report just released from American Express last week. Anyone watching the news last week knows the recent Syrian retaliation attacks were orchestrated with Raytheon missiles. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the tension in the Middle East and other parts of the globe will reduce the demand for their products anytime soon. Microsoft will likely benefit from its growing cloud storage business along with new and improved business strategy. And finally, I believe Chevron will continue to exhibit strong cash flows supportive of increased dividends and capital allocation. These diverse reports should be a good test and example of why a diversified allocation strategy continues to make sense in managing the current environment.

Finally, I wish we could focus all of our attention on earnings but we all know the political atmosphere remains open for surprise tweets and announcements that can shake up weekly activity. As mentioned many times, this is just the atmosphere we will have to navigate in order to have a successful result given increased volatility. This again tells me loud and clear that managing for singles and doubles rather than the long ball makes sense for winning the game.

Have a great week,

Roger N. Steed

April 23, 2018

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