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Vault 7 - CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

Vault 7 - CIA Hacking Tools Revealed
March 07, 2017
from Wikileaks Website


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Press Release
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence (below image) in Langley, Virgina.
It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including,
  1. malware
  2. viruses
  3. trojans
  4. weaponized "zero day" exploits
  5. malware remote control systems

...and associated documentation.
This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.
The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include,

  1. Apple's iPhone
  2. Google's Android
  3. Microsoft's Windows
  4. Samsung TVs,

...which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers.
The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI - below image), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand,
hacking systems trojans viruses,
...and other "weaponized" malware.


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Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more codes than those used to run Facebook.
The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.
The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that,
"There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'.
Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.
But the significance of 'Year Zero' goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to Redact (see far below) and Anonymize some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout,
Latin America Europe the United States

While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one ("Year Zero") already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA's DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation).
The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see above image of the CIA for more details).
The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS.
After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
The CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone.
Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.
CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote "zero days" developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop.
The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.
A similar unit targets Google's Android which is used to run the majority of the world's smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year.
"Year Zero" shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 "weaponized" Android "zero days" which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.
These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of, WhatsApp
  1. Signal
  2. Telegram
  3. Wiebo
  4. Confide
  5. Cloackman
...by hacking the "smart" phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers
The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware.
This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ("Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.
Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA's Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as "Assassin" and "Medusa".
Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA's Network Devices Branch (NDB).
The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB's "HIVE" and the related "Cutthroat" and "Swindle" tools, which are described in the examples section far below.
CIA 'hoarded' vulnerabilities ("zero days")
In the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis - rather than hoard - serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or "zero days" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.
Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability.
If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.
The U.S. government's commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities.
The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.
"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts.
The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability.
As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers.
By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.
'Cyberwar' programs are a serious proliferation risk
Cyber 'weapons' are not possible to keep under effective control.
While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain.
Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.
Securing such 'weapons' is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces - sometimes by using the very same 'weapons' against the organizations that contain them.
There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global "vulnerability market" that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such 'weapons'.
Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such 'weapons' sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling 'hacking' services.
Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.
A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.
Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information.
The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base
In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ("Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.
The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: "Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport" Your Cover Story (for this trip) Q: Why are you here? A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate. Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.
Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area - including France, Italy and Switzerland.
A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity.
These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace.
The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media.
For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use.
To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos).
But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlying system is automatically infected and ransacked.
How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks
In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of "Vault 7", the CIA's, weaponized malware (implants + zero days) Listening Posts (LP) Command and Control (C2) systems, ...the agency has little legal recourse.
The CIA made these systems unclassified.
Why the CIA chose to make its cyber-arsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the 'battlefield' of cyber 'war'.
To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet.
If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet.
Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution.
This means that cyber 'arms' manufactures and computer hackers can freely "pirate" these 'weapons' if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.
Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e. into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts.
Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator's intent.
Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams.
For instance, attempted "malware injections" (commercial jargon) or "implant drops" (NSA jargon) are being called "fires" as if a weapon was being fired.
However the analogy is questionable.
Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its 'target'. CIA malware does not "explode on impact" but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target's device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target's devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target.
To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers.
But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.
A successful 'attack' on a target's computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization's leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system.
If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target's territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.
Evading forensics and anti-virus
A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as, Apple
  1. Microsoft
  2. Google
  3. Samsung
  4. Nokia
  5. Blackberry
  6. Siemens
  7. anti-virus companies,
...attribute and defend against attacks.
"Tradecraft DO's and DON'Ts" contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the "CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies" in "forensic review".
Similar secret standards cover the, use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf) describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) executing payloads (pdf) persisting (pdf), ...in the target's machines over time.
CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs.
These are documented in, AV defeats Personal Security Products Detecting and defeating PSPs PSP/DebuggeRE Avoidance For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window's "Recycle Bin". While Comodo 6.x has a "Gaping Hole of DOOM".
CIA hackers discussed what the NSA's "Equation Group" hackers did wrong and how the CIA's malware makers could avoid similar exposure.

Examples

The CIA's Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by "Year Zero") each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.
The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for,
penetration infestation ("implanting") control exfiltration
Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants.
Special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.
Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks' "Year Zero".
UMBRAGE
The CIA's hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency.
Each technique it has created forms a "fingerprint" that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.
This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible.
As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.
The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.
UMBRAGE components cover,
keyloggers
  1. password collection
  2. webcam capture
  3. data destruction
  4. persistence
  5. privilege escalation
  6. stealth
  7. anti-virus (PSP) avoidance
  8. survey techniques

Fine Dining
Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out.
The questionnaire is used by the agency's OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically "exfiltrating" information from computer systems) for specific operations.
The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff.
The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.
Among the list of possible targets of the collection are,
  • 'Asset'
  • 'Liason Asset'
  • 'System Administrator'
  • 'Foreign Information Operations'
  • 'Foreign Intelligence Agencies'
  • 'Foreign Government Entities'
Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The 'Case Officer' is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types.
The 'menu' also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained.
This information is used by the CIA's 'JQJIMPROVISE' software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.
Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)
  1. 'Improvise' is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector
  2. selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like,
  3. Windows (Bartender)
  4. MacOS (JukeBox)
  5. Linux (DanceFloor)
  6. Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools
based on requirements from 'Fine Dining' questionnaires.
HIVE
HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software.
The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.
The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.
Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider.
The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a 'Blot' server that handles actual connection requests from clients.
It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the 'Honeycomb' toolserver that communicates with the implant.
If a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.
The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.
Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.
See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now?
WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready. In February the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a "Cyberwar" review to be prepared within 30 days.
While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.
Redactions
Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, ...), are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
Attachments with other binary content, are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
Tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references, (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
Binary files of non-public origin, are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries.
Organizational Chart
The organizational chart (far above image) corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far.
Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG and its branches within the org chart of the agency is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far.
It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently.
Wiki pages
"Year Zero" contains 7818 web pages with 943 attachments from the internal development groupware. The software used for this purpose is called Confluence, a proprietary software from Atlassian.
Webpages in this system (like in Wikipedia) have a version history that can provide interesting insights on how a document evolved over time; the 7818 documents include these page histories for 1136 latest versions.
The order of named pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). Page content is not present if it was originally dynamically created by the Confluence software (as indicated on the re-constructed page).
What time period is covered?
The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).
WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA's creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order.
If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.
What is "Vault 7"
"Vault 7" is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.
When was each part of "Vault 7" obtained?
Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
Is each part of "Vault 7" from a different source?
Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
What is the total size of "Vault 7"?
The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.
How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of "Vault 7"?
Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.
Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?
No. That would be certainly counter-productive.
Has WikiLeaks already 'mined' all the best stories?
No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They're there.
Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.
Won't other journalists find all the best stories before me?
Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them.
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Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019

Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019.

The Fed and Apple earnings will make or break market’s return to record highs in the week ahead - (Source)

Stocks will try in the week ahead to break the all-time highs set earlier in the year as a slew of S&P 500 companies get set to report.
Stock prices are bumping up against their highs, but whether they can burst through and hold gains may, for the near term, depend on what investors hear from Jerome Powell in the week ahead.
In a week stacked with major events, the Fed’s two-day meeting is likely to be the high point. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to make its third quarter point interest rate cut Wednesday afternoon, followed by comments form Fed Chairman Powell. Those comments could be his most important message of the next few months, as investors watch to see whether he holds the door open to future rate cuts, or signals it’s time to pause, as some economists expect.
“Our view is they’ll be done after this. We’re not expecting a cut in December, and we’re not expecting cuts next year. The economy, in my mind, looks like it’s stabilizing, and there should be more evidence of that in the next couple of weeks. focusing on the labor market is the key thing,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management. If the labor market holds up, expectations for rate cuts should decline. “I do think the dissenters are arguing they shouldn’t be cutting at all.”
But Matus’ view is just one of many on Wall Street. Some economists expect another cut in December, while others expect one or more cuts next year, depending on how they view the economy. Goldman Sachs economists laid out a case where the Fed will clearly signal that it plans to pause after Wednesday.
All of this could make for volatility in stocks and bonds, depending on which market view prevails in Powell’s comments. “It’s going to be choppy going into the Fed,” said Andrew Brenner of National Alliance. In the past week, yields were higher with the 10-year Treasury yield touching 1.8% Friday.
The S&P 500 was up 1.2% for the week, ending at 3,022, just below its closing high. On Friday, it briefly traded above the July 26 high of 3,025. The Dow ended the week with a gain of 0.7%, at 26,956, and it remains about 1% below its closing high.
In addition, the earnings calendar remains heavy with about 145 S&P 500 companies releasing earnings, including Alphabet Monday and big oil Exxon Mobil and Chevron Friday. On Wednesday, earnings are expected from Apple, which is setting new highs of its own.

Big economic reports

On top of that, November kicks off Friday in what looks to be the most important day for economic data of the new month. Besides the critical monthly employment report, there is the key ISM manufacturing report, expected to show a contraction in manufacturing activity for a third month.
Both reports could be distorted by the GM strike, which is expected to result in an October employment report with fewer than 100,000 jobs. According to Refinitiv, total non farm payrolls are expected to be 90,000, while manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 50,000. That would include the impact of GM workers, but also the employees of the many suppliers and services that support the car company’s manufacturing operations.
“The jobs number will be big, but the ISM could be bigger. If that turns up, like Markit [PMI] suggested, that could be a big deal,” said Leuthold Group Chief Investment Strategist James Paulsen. On Thursday, Markit flash PMI manufacturing data for October was higher than expected, and still has not shown a contraction.
“If it turns up, I think that’s to affect a lot of people and how they feel about things. That could take on a whole new dimension of what happens to Wall Street earnings estimates,” he said.
Manufacturing data has dragged, due to the impact of tariffs and the trade war, and some big companies have taken a hit as a result, like Caterpillar which on Wednesday reported weaker than expected earnings and sales. Caterpillar also cut its outlook, in large part due to weakness in China. Caterpillar shares were slammed but on Friday, the stock was bouncing back by 3.5%.

Stocks at ‘inflection point’

Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial’s chief market strategist, said the fact Caterpillar was able to come back at the end of the week was a positive for the market, which she says is now entering the late year seasonal period where stocks typically do well. At the same time, she said news for the market looks like it’s about to get “less bad.”
″″Less bad’ is not a full fledged agreement with China. Less bad is a truce. It means that Dec. 15 extension in tariffs does not happen,” she said, adding the market appears to be at an inflection point with investors expecting an agreement of some type between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping when they meet in November.
″‘I’m not bullish. I’m not bearish. I’m optimistic. This market has been led by the defensive sectors. You’re starting to see that move into consumer discretionary. It’s telling you the market is seeing growth, albeit it not stellar growth, but when it gets ‘less bad’ you’re going to see that it’s being reflected in this inflection point in the market,” said said. “We’re seeing a move more and more into the cyclical and growth sectors, and by the way, we’re seeing a steepening of the yield curve.”
The yield curve represents the difference between the yields of two different duration Treasury securities. When the curve inverts, the yield on the shorter duration security, in this case the 2-year has become higher than that of say, the 10-year. That is one part of the curve that was temporarily inverted, and if it stayed inverted it would be a recession warning.
The 10-year has been moving higher, and the 1.80% level will be important if the yield can stay above it.
“If it pushes through 1.80, you’re going to take the inversion out, by the bond market, not the Fed,” Paulsen said. Paulsen said it would be a sign of confidence in the economy if yields can push higher.
The Fed taking a pause may add to that sense. “I think most people think one more cut and done,” he said. “The bigger news will be what [Powell] says in that press conference. He can go pretty off script sometimes.”

‘Greater optimsim’ in market

Paulsen said stocks could be in a good period, and earnings news seems to be already priced in. “The data by and large has been okay. You have earnings that are okay, and there’s no sense of imminent recession. It just seems there’s greater optimism,” he said.
Of the approximately 200 S&P companies that reported by Friday morning, more than 78% have beaten on earnings per share, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv. Earnings are expected to decline by 2% for the third quarter, based on estimates and results from companies that already reported.
Paulsen said there’s some sense in the market that Brexit will not end in a worst case scenario, but it is something to watch in the week ahead as British lawmakers decide whether to hold an election.
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer with Cresset Wealth Advisors, said he thinks Brexit would be a bigger deal than the trade agreement for the world economy, if it goes poorly, with the U.K. leaving the European Union with no deal. “A no deal Brexit is likely to take 2 percentage points off of British growth...It would take 1% off European growth...I think that’s significant,” Ablin said. “I think investors are underplaying it because it’s so binary. It’s hard to position for a binary outcome. If we get some resolution there, to me, that has the biggest impact for the markets.”

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE WEEK-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE MONTH-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-MONTH PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 52-WEEK PERFORMANCE!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #4!)

Bullish Halloween Trading Strategy Treat Next Week

Next week provides a special short-term seasonal opportunity, one of the most consistent of the year. The last 4 trading days of October and the first 3 trading days of November have a stellar record the last 25 years. From the tables below: * Dow up 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.4%. * S&P up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.5%. * NASDAQ up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.7%, median gain 2.3%. * Russell 2000 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.2%, median gain 2.5%.
Many refer to our Best Six Months Tactical Seasonal Switching Strategy as the Halloween Indicator or Halloween Strategy and of course “Sell in May”. These catch phrases highlight our discovery that was first published in 1986 in the 1987 Stock Trader’s Almanac that most of the market’s gains are made from October 31 to April 30, while the market goes sideways to down from May through October.
Since 1950 DJIA is up 7.5% November-April and up only 0.6% May-October. We encouraged folks not to fear Octoberphobia early this month and wait for our MACD Buy Signal which came on October 11. We have been positioning more bullishly since in sector and major U.S. market ETFs and with a new basket of stocks. But the next seven days have been a historically bullish trade.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Normally a top month, November has been lackluster in Pre-Election Years

November maintains its status among the top performing months as fourth-quarter cash inflows from institutions drive November to lead the best consecutive three-month span November-January. However, the month has taken hits during bear markets and November 2000, down –22.9% (undecided election and a nascent bear), was NASDAQ’s second worst month on record—only October 1987 was worse.
November begins the “Best Six Months” for the DJIA and S&P 500, and the “Best Eight Months” for NASDAQ. Small caps come into favor during November, but don’t really take off until the last two weeks of the year. November is the number-two DJIA (since 1950), NASDAQ (since 1971) and Russell 2000 (since 1979) month. November is best for S&P 500 (since 1950) and Russell 1000’s (since 1979).
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
In pre-election years, November’s performance is noticeably weaker. DJIA has advanced in nine of the last 17 pre-election years since 1950 with an average gain of 0.3%. S&P 500 has been up in 10 of the past 17 pre-election years, also gaining on average a rather paltry 0.3%. Small-caps and techs perform better with Russell 2000 climbing in 6 of the past 10 pre-election years, averaging 1.2%. NASDAQ has been up in 7 of the last 12 pre-election year Novembers with an average 0.9% gain. Contributing to pre-election year November’s weaker performance are nasty declines in 1987, 1991 and 2007.

Q4 Rally Is Real. Don’t Let 2018 Spook You

Understandably folks are apprehensive about the perennial fourth quarter rally this year after the debacle that culminated in the Christmas Eve Crumble in 2018. But the history is clear. The fourth quarter is the best quarter of the year going back to 1949, except for NASDAQ where Q1 leads Q4 by 4.5% to 4.0%, since 1971.
Historically, the “Sweet Spot” of the 4-Year Election Cycle is the three-quarter span from Q4 Midterm Year through Q2 Pre-Election Year, averaging a gain of 19.3% for DJIA and 20.0% for S&P 500 since 1949 and 29.3% for NASDAQ since 1971. Conversely the weakest two-quarter span is Q2-Q3 of the Midterm Year, averaging a loss of -1.2% for DJIA and -1.5% for S&P 500 since 1949 and -5.0% for NASDAQ since 1971.
Market action was impacted by some more powerful forces in 2018 that trumped (no pun intended) seasonality. Q2-Q3 was up 9.8% for DJIA, 10.3% for S&P and 13.9% for NASDAQ. Q4 was horrible, down -11.8% for DJIA, -14.0% for S&P and -17.5% for NASDAQ.Q1-Q2 of pre-election year, especially Q1 gained all that back.
Pre-Election year Q4 is still one of the best quarters of the 4-Year Cycle, ranked 5th, for average gains of 2.6% for DJIA and 3.2% for S&P since 1949 and 5.4% for NASDAQ. Additionally, from the Pre-Election Seasonal Pattern we updated in last Friday’s post, you can see how the market tends to make a high near yearend in the Pre-Election Year. So, save some new unexpected outside event, Q4 Market Magic is expected to impress once again this year.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

2019 May Be One of the Best Years Ever

“Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream.” The Lego Movie
As the S&P 500 Index continues to flirt with new record highs, something under the surface is taking place that is making 2019 extremely special. Or dare we say, “awesome”.
First, let’s look back at last year. 2018 was the first year since 1969 in which both the S&P 500 (stocks) and the 10-year Treasury bond (bonds) both finished the year with a negative return. Toss in the fact that gold and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil were both down last year, and it was one of the worst years ever for a diversified portfolio.
“As bad as last year was for investors, 2019 is a mirror image, with stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil all potentially finishing the year up double digits for the first time in history,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.
As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, it has been a great year for stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil. Of course, there are still more than two months to go in 2019, but this year is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for these four important assets.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

An Early Look at Earnings

We're now in the thick of the Q3 earnings reporting period with 130 companies reporting since just the close last night. As shown in our Earnings Explorer snapshot below, earnings will be in overdrive for the next two weeks before dying down in mid-November.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Through yesterday's close, 248 companies had reported so far this season, and 75% of them had beaten consensus bottom-line EPS estimates. However, just 63% of stocks have beaten sales estimates, and more companies have lowered guidance than raised guidance. In terms of stock price reaction to reports this season, so far investors have seen earnings as relatively bullish as the average stock that has reported has gained 0.60% on its earnings reaction day. Below we show another snapshot from our Earnings Explorer featuring the aggregate results of this season's reports and a list of the stocks that have reacted the most positively to earnings. Four stocks so far have gained more than 20% on their earnings reaction days -- PETS, BIIB, APHA, and LLNW.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We provide clients with a beat-rate monitor on our Earnings Explorer page as well. Below is a chart showing the rolling 3-month EPS and sales beat rates for US companies over the last 5 years. After a dip in the EPS beat rate earlier in the year, we've seen it steadily increase over the last few months up to its current level of 64.46%. That's more than five percentage points above the historical average of 59.37%.
In terms of sales, 57.87% of companies have beaten top-line estimates over the last 3 months, which is much closer to the historical average than the bottom-line beat rate.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Banks - On To The Next Test

It has been a pretty monumental two weeks for the KBW Bank index. Since the close on 10/8, the index has rallied just under 9% as earnings reports from some of the largest US banks received a warm welcome from Wall Street. The index is now once again testing the top-end of its range, one which it has unsuccessfully tested multiple times in the last year. If you think the repeated tests of 3,000 for the S&P 500 over the last 18 months have been dramatic, the current go around with 103 for the KBW Bank Index has been the sixth such test in the last year! We would also note that prior to last year's fourth quarter downturn, the same level that has been acting as resistance for the KBW Bank index was previously providing support.
In the case of each prior failed break above 103 for the KBW Bank index, sell-offs of at least 5% (and usually 10%+) followed, but one thing the index has going for it even if the sixth time isn't the charm is that just yesterday it broke above its downtrend that has been in place since early 2018. The group has passed one test at least! From here, if we do see a pullback, that former downtrend line should provide support.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Turning to the KBW Index's individual components, the table below lists each of the 24 stocks in the index along with how each one has performed since the index's recent low on 10/8 and on a YTD basis (sorted by performance since 10/8). In the slightly more than two weeks since the index's short-term low, every stock in the index is up and up by at least 4%. That's a pretty broad rally!
Leading the way to the upside, State Street (STT) has rallied nearly 20%, while First Republic (FRC), Northern Trust (NTRS), and Bank of America (BAC) have jumped more than 13%. In the case of STT, the rally of the last two-weeks has also moved the stock into the green on a YTD basis.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending October 25th, 2019

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 10.27.19

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)
Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $AAPL
  • $AMD
  • $FB
  • $T
  • $SHOP
  • $HEXO
  • $BYND
  • $SPOT
  • $GOOGL
  • $MA
  • $BABA
  • $WBA
  • $GE
  • $SBUX
  • $TWLO
  • $MRK
  • $GRUB
  • $ABBV
  • $ON
  • $PFE
  • $ENPH
  • $QSR
  • $GM
  • $MO
  • $AWI
  • $L
  • $TEX
  • $AMG
  • $BMY
  • $XOM
  • $CHKP
  • $AKAM
  • $CTB
  • $PINS
  • $EXAS
  • $EPD
  • $KHC
  • $ELY
  • $AMGN
  • $CI
  • $X
  • $GLW
  • $LYFT
  • $MCY
  • $DO
  • $AYX
  • $YUM
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S HIGHEST VOLATILITY EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MOST ANTICIPATED EARNINGS RELEASES FOR THE NEXT 5 WEEKS!)
Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 10.28.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Monday 10.28.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Tuesday 10.29.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Tuesday 10.29.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Wednesday 10.30.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Wednesday 10.30.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #4!)

Thursday 10.31.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #3!)

Thursday 10.31.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Friday 11.1.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 11.1.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Apple, Inc. $246.58

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:30 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.84 per share on revenue of $62.57 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.93 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 72% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $2.59 to $2.93 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 2.41% with revenue decreasing by 0.52%. Short interest has increased by 13.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 13.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 25.3% above its 200 day moving average of $196.73. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, October 14, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,061 contracts of the $220.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. $32.71

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:20 PM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.18 per share on revenue of $1.80 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.18 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 64% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 80.00% with revenue increasing by 8.89%. Short interest has increased by 21.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.4% above its 200 day moving average of $28.35. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 17, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,665 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 12.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Facebook Inc. $187.89

Facebook Inc. (FB) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.90 per share on revenue of $17.33 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.02 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 79% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 7.95% with revenue increasing by 26.25%. Short interest has decreased by 0.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 9.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% above its 200 day moving average of $178.54. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 20,043 contracts of the $325.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 5.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

AT&T Corp. $36.91

AT&T Corp. (T) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:20 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.93 per share on revenue of $45.52 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 3.33% with revenue decreasing by 0.48%. The stock has drifted higher by 14.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.1% above its 200 day moving average of $33.21. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 there was some notable buying of 308,450 contracts of the $30.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Shopify Inc. $317.45

Shopify Inc. (SHOP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.11 per share on revenue of $381.46 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.16 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 74% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $377.00 million to $382.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 41.25%. Short interest has decreased by 19.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 5.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 17.7% above its 200 day moving average of $269.78. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,505 contracts of the $360.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.6% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

HEXO Corp. $2.38

HEXO Corp. (HEXO) is confirmed to report earnings after the market closes on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.05 per share on revenue of $19.30 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 49% expecting an earnings beat. Short interest has increased by 107.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 61.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 56.7% below its 200 day moving average of $5.50. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 10, 2019 there was some notable buying of 4,144 contracts of the $4.00 call expiring on Friday, February 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 23.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.5% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Beyond Meat, Inc. $100.81

Beyond Meat, Inc. (BYND) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $77.10 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 43% expecting an earnings beat. The stock has drifted lower by 45.9% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 25.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Spotify Technology S.A. $120.69

Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:00 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.92 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.36) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 51% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 186.49% with revenue increasing by 22.15%. Short interest has decreased by 13.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.7% below its 200 day moving average of $136.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 16, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,974 contracts of the $109.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 7.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Alphabet, Inc. -

Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $12.57 per share on revenue of $32.71 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $12.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 3.75% with revenue decreasing by 3.05%. Short interest has decreased by 4.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.3% above its 200 day moving average of $1,167.05. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, October 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,578 contracts of the $1,200.00 put expiring on Friday, November 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Mastercard Inc $270.19

Mastercard Inc (MA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:50 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.01 per share on revenue of $4.42 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 12.92% with revenue increasing by 13.39%. Short interest has increased by 11.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 3.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $250.57. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 there was some notable buying of 8,143 contracts of the $260.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead wallstreetbets.
submitted by bigbear0083 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019

Good Saturday morning to all of you here on StockMarket. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019.

The Fed and Apple earnings will make or break market’s return to record highs in the week ahead - (Source)

Stocks will try in the week ahead to break the all-time highs set earlier in the year as a slew of S&P 500 companies get set to report.
Stock prices are bumping up against their highs, but whether they can burst through and hold gains may, for the near term, depend on what investors hear from Jerome Powell in the week ahead.
In a week stacked with major events, the Fed’s two-day meeting is likely to be the high point. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to make its third quarter point interest rate cut Wednesday afternoon, followed by comments form Fed Chairman Powell. Those comments could be his most important message of the next few months, as investors watch to see whether he holds the door open to future rate cuts, or signals it’s time to pause, as some economists expect.
“Our view is they’ll be done after this. We’re not expecting a cut in December, and we’re not expecting cuts next year. The economy, in my mind, looks like it’s stabilizing, and there should be more evidence of that in the next couple of weeks. focusing on the labor market is the key thing,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management. If the labor market holds up, expectations for rate cuts should decline. “I do think the dissenters are arguing they shouldn’t be cutting at all.”
But Matus’ view is just one of many on Wall Street. Some economists expect another cut in December, while others expect one or more cuts next year, depending on how they view the economy. Goldman Sachs economists laid out a case where the Fed will clearly signal that it plans to pause after Wednesday.
All of this could make for volatility in stocks and bonds, depending on which market view prevails in Powell’s comments. “It’s going to be choppy going into the Fed,” said Andrew Brenner of National Alliance. In the past week, yields were higher with the 10-year Treasury yield touching 1.8% Friday.
The S&P 500 was up 1.2% for the week, ending at 3,022, just below its closing high. On Friday, it briefly traded above the July 26 high of 3,025. The Dow ended the week with a gain of 0.7%, at 26,956, and it remains about 1% below its closing high.
In addition, the earnings calendar remains heavy with about 145 S&P 500 companies releasing earnings, including Alphabet Monday and big oil Exxon Mobil and Chevron Friday. On Wednesday, earnings are expected from Apple, which is setting new highs of its own.

Big economic reports

On top of that, November kicks off Friday in what looks to be the most important day for economic data of the new month. Besides the critical monthly employment report, there is the key ISM manufacturing report, expected to show a contraction in manufacturing activity for a third month.
Both reports could be distorted by the GM strike, which is expected to result in an October employment report with fewer than 100,000 jobs. According to Refinitiv, total non farm payrolls are expected to be 90,000, while manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 50,000. That would include the impact of GM workers, but also the employees of the many suppliers and services that support the car company’s manufacturing operations.
“The jobs number will be big, but the ISM could be bigger. If that turns up, like Markit [PMI] suggested, that could be a big deal,” said Leuthold Group Chief Investment Strategist James Paulsen. On Thursday, Markit flash PMI manufacturing data for October was higher than expected, and still has not shown a contraction.
“If it turns up, I think that’s to affect a lot of people and how they feel about things. That could take on a whole new dimension of what happens to Wall Street earnings estimates,” he said.
Manufacturing data has dragged, due to the impact of tariffs and the trade war, and some big companies have taken a hit as a result, like Caterpillar which on Wednesday reported weaker than expected earnings and sales. Caterpillar also cut its outlook, in large part due to weakness in China. Caterpillar shares were slammed but on Friday, the stock was bouncing back by 3.5%.

Stocks at ‘inflection point’

Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial’s chief market strategist, said the fact Caterpillar was able to come back at the end of the week was a positive for the market, which she says is now entering the late year seasonal period where stocks typically do well. At the same time, she said news for the market looks like it’s about to get “less bad.”
″″Less bad’ is not a full fledged agreement with China. Less bad is a truce. It means that Dec. 15 extension in tariffs does not happen,” she said, adding the market appears to be at an inflection point with investors expecting an agreement of some type between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping when they meet in November.
″‘I’m not bullish. I’m not bearish. I’m optimistic. This market has been led by the defensive sectors. You’re starting to see that move into consumer discretionary. It’s telling you the market is seeing growth, albeit it not stellar growth, but when it gets ‘less bad’ you’re going to see that it’s being reflected in this inflection point in the market,” said said. “We’re seeing a move more and more into the cyclical and growth sectors, and by the way, we’re seeing a steepening of the yield curve.”
The yield curve represents the difference between the yields of two different duration Treasury securities. When the curve inverts, the yield on the shorter duration security, in this case the 2-year has become higher than that of say, the 10-year. That is one part of the curve that was temporarily inverted, and if it stayed inverted it would be a recession warning.
The 10-year has been moving higher, and the 1.80% level will be important if the yield can stay above it.
“If it pushes through 1.80, you’re going to take the inversion out, by the bond market, not the Fed,” Paulsen said. Paulsen said it would be a sign of confidence in the economy if yields can push higher.
The Fed taking a pause may add to that sense. “I think most people think one more cut and done,” he said. “The bigger news will be what [Powell] says in that press conference. He can go pretty off script sometimes.”

‘Greater optimsim’ in market

Paulsen said stocks could be in a good period, and earnings news seems to be already priced in. “The data by and large has been okay. You have earnings that are okay, and there’s no sense of imminent recession. It just seems there’s greater optimism,” he said.
Of the approximately 200 S&P companies that reported by Friday morning, more than 78% have beaten on earnings per share, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv. Earnings are expected to decline by 2% for the third quarter, based on estimates and results from companies that already reported.
Paulsen said there’s some sense in the market that Brexit will not end in a worst case scenario, but it is something to watch in the week ahead as British lawmakers decide whether to hold an election.
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer with Cresset Wealth Advisors, said he thinks Brexit would be a bigger deal than the trade agreement for the world economy, if it goes poorly, with the U.K. leaving the European Union with no deal. “A no deal Brexit is likely to take 2 percentage points off of British growth...It would take 1% off European growth...I think that’s significant,” Ablin said. “I think investors are underplaying it because it’s so binary. It’s hard to position for a binary outcome. If we get some resolution there, to me, that has the biggest impact for the markets.”

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE WEEK-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE MONTH-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-MONTH PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 52-WEEK PERFORMANCE!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #4!)

Bullish Halloween Trading Strategy Treat Next Week

Next week provides a special short-term seasonal opportunity, one of the most consistent of the year. The last 4 trading days of October and the first 3 trading days of November have a stellar record the last 25 years. From the tables below: * Dow up 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.4%. * S&P up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.5%. * NASDAQ up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.7%, median gain 2.3%. * Russell 2000 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.2%, median gain 2.5%.
Many refer to our Best Six Months Tactical Seasonal Switching Strategy as the Halloween Indicator or Halloween Strategy and of course “Sell in May”. These catch phrases highlight our discovery that was first published in 1986 in the 1987 Stock Trader’s Almanac that most of the market’s gains are made from October 31 to April 30, while the market goes sideways to down from May through October.
Since 1950 DJIA is up 7.5% November-April and up only 0.6% May-October. We encouraged folks not to fear Octoberphobia early this month and wait for our MACD Buy Signal which came on October 11. We have been positioning more bullishly since in sector and major U.S. market ETFs and with a new basket of stocks. But the next seven days have been a historically bullish trade.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Normally a top month, November has been lackluster in Pre-Election Years

November maintains its status among the top performing months as fourth-quarter cash inflows from institutions drive November to lead the best consecutive three-month span November-January. However, the month has taken hits during bear markets and November 2000, down –22.9% (undecided election and a nascent bear), was NASDAQ’s second worst month on record—only October 1987 was worse.
November begins the “Best Six Months” for the DJIA and S&P 500, and the “Best Eight Months” for NASDAQ. Small caps come into favor during November, but don’t really take off until the last two weeks of the year. November is the number-two DJIA (since 1950), NASDAQ (since 1971) and Russell 2000 (since 1979) month. November is best for S&P 500 (since 1950) and Russell 1000’s (since 1979).
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
In pre-election years, November’s performance is noticeably weaker. DJIA has advanced in nine of the last 17 pre-election years since 1950 with an average gain of 0.3%. S&P 500 has been up in 10 of the past 17 pre-election years, also gaining on average a rather paltry 0.3%. Small-caps and techs perform better with Russell 2000 climbing in 6 of the past 10 pre-election years, averaging 1.2%. NASDAQ has been up in 7 of the last 12 pre-election year Novembers with an average 0.9% gain. Contributing to pre-election year November’s weaker performance are nasty declines in 1987, 1991 and 2007.

Q4 Rally Is Real. Don’t Let 2018 Spook You

Understandably folks are apprehensive about the perennial fourth quarter rally this year after the debacle that culminated in the Christmas Eve Crumble in 2018. But the history is clear. The fourth quarter is the best quarter of the year going back to 1949, except for NASDAQ where Q1 leads Q4 by 4.5% to 4.0%, since 1971.
Historically, the “Sweet Spot” of the 4-Year Election Cycle is the three-quarter span from Q4 Midterm Year through Q2 Pre-Election Year, averaging a gain of 19.3% for DJIA and 20.0% for S&P 500 since 1949 and 29.3% for NASDAQ since 1971. Conversely the weakest two-quarter span is Q2-Q3 of the Midterm Year, averaging a loss of -1.2% for DJIA and -1.5% for S&P 500 since 1949 and -5.0% for NASDAQ since 1971.
Market action was impacted by some more powerful forces in 2018 that trumped (no pun intended) seasonality. Q2-Q3 was up 9.8% for DJIA, 10.3% for S&P and 13.9% for NASDAQ. Q4 was horrible, down -11.8% for DJIA, -14.0% for S&P and -17.5% for NASDAQ.Q1-Q2 of pre-election year, especially Q1 gained all that back.
Pre-Election year Q4 is still one of the best quarters of the 4-Year Cycle, ranked 5th, for average gains of 2.6% for DJIA and 3.2% for S&P since 1949 and 5.4% for NASDAQ. Additionally, from the Pre-Election Seasonal Pattern we updated in last Friday’s post, you can see how the market tends to make a high near yearend in the Pre-Election Year. So, save some new unexpected outside event, Q4 Market Magic is expected to impress once again this year.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

2019 May Be One of the Best Years Ever

“Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream.” The Lego Movie
As the S&P 500 Index continues to flirt with new record highs, something under the surface is taking place that is making 2019 extremely special. Or dare we say, “awesome”.
First, let’s look back at last year. 2018 was the first year since 1969 in which both the S&P 500 (stocks) and the 10-year Treasury bond (bonds) both finished the year with a negative return. Toss in the fact that gold and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil were both down last year, and it was one of the worst years ever for a diversified portfolio.
“As bad as last year was for investors, 2019 is a mirror image, with stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil all potentially finishing the year up double digits for the first time in history,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.
As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, it has been a great year for stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil. Of course, there are still more than two months to go in 2019, but this year is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for these four important assets.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

An Early Look at Earnings

We're now in the thick of the Q3 earnings reporting period with 130 companies reporting since just the close last night. As shown in our Earnings Explorer snapshot below, earnings will be in overdrive for the next two weeks before dying down in mid-November.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Through yesterday's close, 248 companies had reported so far this season, and 75% of them had beaten consensus bottom-line EPS estimates. However, just 63% of stocks have beaten sales estimates, and more companies have lowered guidance than raised guidance. In terms of stock price reaction to reports this season, so far investors have seen earnings as relatively bullish as the average stock that has reported has gained 0.60% on its earnings reaction day. Below we show another snapshot from our Earnings Explorer featuring the aggregate results of this season's reports and a list of the stocks that have reacted the most positively to earnings. Four stocks so far have gained more than 20% on their earnings reaction days -- PETS, BIIB, APHA, and LLNW.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We provide clients with a beat-rate monitor on our Earnings Explorer page as well. Below is a chart showing the rolling 3-month EPS and sales beat rates for US companies over the last 5 years. After a dip in the EPS beat rate earlier in the year, we've seen it steadily increase over the last few months up to its current level of 64.46%. That's more than five percentage points above the historical average of 59.37%.
In terms of sales, 57.87% of companies have beaten top-line estimates over the last 3 months, which is much closer to the historical average than the bottom-line beat rate.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Banks - On To The Next Test

It has been a pretty monumental two weeks for the KBW Bank index. Since the close on 10/8, the index has rallied just under 9% as earnings reports from some of the largest US banks received a warm welcome from Wall Street. The index is now once again testing the top-end of its range, one which it has unsuccessfully tested multiple times in the last year. If you think the repeated tests of 3,000 for the S&P 500 over the last 18 months have been dramatic, the current go around with 103 for the KBW Bank Index has been the sixth such test in the last year! We would also note that prior to last year's fourth quarter downturn, the same level that has been acting as resistance for the KBW Bank index was previously providing support.
In the case of each prior failed break above 103 for the KBW Bank index, sell-offs of at least 5% (and usually 10%+) followed, but one thing the index has going for it even if the sixth time isn't the charm is that just yesterday it broke above its downtrend that has been in place since early 2018. The group has passed one test at least! From here, if we do see a pullback, that former downtrend line should provide support.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Turning to the KBW Index's individual components, the table below lists each of the 24 stocks in the index along with how each one has performed since the index's recent low on 10/8 and on a YTD basis (sorted by performance since 10/8). In the slightly more than two weeks since the index's short-term low, every stock in the index is up and up by at least 4%. That's a pretty broad rally!
Leading the way to the upside, State Street (STT) has rallied nearly 20%, while First Republic (FRC), Northern Trust (NTRS), and Bank of America (BAC) have jumped more than 13%. In the case of STT, the rally of the last two-weeks has also moved the stock into the green on a YTD basis.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending October 25th, 2019

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 10.27.19

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)
Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $AAPL
  • $AMD
  • $FB
  • $T
  • $SHOP
  • $HEXO
  • $BYND
  • $SPOT
  • $GOOGL
  • $MA
  • $BABA
  • $WBA
  • $GE
  • $SBUX
  • $TWLO
  • $MRK
  • $GRUB
  • $ABBV
  • $ON
  • $PFE
  • $ENPH
  • $QSR
  • $GM
  • $MO
  • $AWI
  • $L
  • $TEX
  • $AMG
  • $BMY
  • $XOM
  • $CHKP
  • $AKAM
  • $CTB
  • $PINS
  • $EXAS
  • $EPD
  • $KHC
  • $ELY
  • $AMGN
  • $CI
  • $X
  • $GLW
  • $LYFT
  • $MCY
  • $DO
  • $AYX
  • $YUM
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S HIGHEST VOLATILITY EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MOST ANTICIPATED EARNINGS RELEASES FOR THE NEXT 5 WEEKS!)
Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 10.28.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Monday 10.28.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Tuesday 10.29.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Tuesday 10.29.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Wednesday 10.30.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Wednesday 10.30.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #4!)

Thursday 10.31.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #3!)

Thursday 10.31.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Friday 11.1.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 11.1.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Apple, Inc. $246.58

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:30 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.84 per share on revenue of $62.57 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.93 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 72% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $2.59 to $2.93 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 2.41% with revenue decreasing by 0.52%. Short interest has increased by 13.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 13.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 25.3% above its 200 day moving average of $196.73. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, October 14, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,061 contracts of the $220.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. $32.71

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:20 PM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.18 per share on revenue of $1.80 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.18 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 64% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 80.00% with revenue increasing by 8.89%. Short interest has increased by 21.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.4% above its 200 day moving average of $28.35. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 17, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,665 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 12.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Facebook Inc. $187.89

Facebook Inc. (FB) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.90 per share on revenue of $17.33 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.02 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 79% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 7.95% with revenue increasing by 26.25%. Short interest has decreased by 0.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 9.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% above its 200 day moving average of $178.54. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 20,043 contracts of the $325.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 5.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

AT&T Corp. $36.91

AT&T Corp. (T) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:20 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.93 per share on revenue of $45.52 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 3.33% with revenue decreasing by 0.48%. The stock has drifted higher by 14.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.1% above its 200 day moving average of $33.21. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 there was some notable buying of 308,450 contracts of the $30.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Shopify Inc. $317.45

Shopify Inc. (SHOP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.11 per share on revenue of $381.46 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.16 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 74% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $377.00 million to $382.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 41.25%. Short interest has decreased by 19.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 5.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 17.7% above its 200 day moving average of $269.78. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,505 contracts of the $360.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.6% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

HEXO Corp. $2.38

HEXO Corp. (HEXO) is confirmed to report earnings after the market closes on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.05 per share on revenue of $19.30 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 49% expecting an earnings beat. Short interest has increased by 107.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 61.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 56.7% below its 200 day moving average of $5.50. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 10, 2019 there was some notable buying of 4,144 contracts of the $4.00 call expiring on Friday, February 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 23.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.5% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Beyond Meat, Inc. $100.81

Beyond Meat, Inc. (BYND) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $77.10 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 43% expecting an earnings beat. The stock has drifted lower by 45.9% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 25.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Spotify Technology S.A. $120.69

Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:00 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.92 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.36) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 51% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 186.49% with revenue increasing by 22.15%. Short interest has decreased by 13.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.7% below its 200 day moving average of $136.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 16, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,974 contracts of the $109.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 7.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Alphabet, Inc. -

Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $12.57 per share on revenue of $32.71 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $12.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 3.75% with revenue decreasing by 3.05%. Short interest has decreased by 4.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.3% above its 200 day moving average of $1,167.05. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, October 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,578 contracts of the $1,200.00 put expiring on Friday, November 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Mastercard Inc $270.19

Mastercard Inc (MA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:50 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.01 per share on revenue of $4.42 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 12.92% with revenue increasing by 13.39%. Short interest has increased by 11.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 3.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $250.57. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 there was some notable buying of 8,143 contracts of the $260.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead StockMarket.
submitted by bigbear0083 to StockMarket [link] [comments]

[JVerse] Rebirth Chapter 12, A Flash of Green

So to update you all on things, my hernia surgery went well and my intestines are back where they belong. Sadly I didn't have as much time to write as I would have liked, (pain meds will do that), but I managed to finally get chapter twelve done in time to give you all an extra dose of JVerse once you have finished our lord and savior's most recent chapter.

(Story is continued in the comments)
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Date Point: 3 months, 2 weeks, 5 days A.V.
Unnamed system
Planet 4 ring system
Requiem
Michael Kepler
"God damn I missed this," Michael said, flipping the Requiem around another asteroid, testing the limits of the inertial compensators.
They had gotten lucky and found the perfect system to test out the newly retrofitted Requiem. The system in question turned out to be a binary system with some rocky bodies and a truly gorgeous blue gas giant that sported a system of ice rings that were just perfect for running the old girl through her paces.
Michael gave the main thrusters all they could take, slipping through two asteroids seconds before they collided. There was a muffled cheer through the comms from the rest of the crew back onboard the Dawn. He had set up cameras all over the Requiem so his crew could watch. Right now only himself and Hephaestus were crazy enough to fly a ship built from scrap through one of the densest ring systems on record. Even Ralthin wasn't that crazy, having said that he'd rather shoot the rocks instead.
They dodged, dived, and weaved their way through the belt for another half an hour before Michael got a comms ping. He angled the ship "up" and rocketed out of the belt so he could answer without having to dodge rocks.
"What's up," Michael asked, angling the ship so he was cruising parallel to the rings.
Goralin's face showed up on the screen, "We just synced with Haven's network, and you've got a message from Gabby."
Before they had left Haven Michael had signed them up as Gabby's new security force. To keep in touch in case of an emergency Michael had purchased an FTL comms array and had set it up to sync with the local network on Haven every week. Of course, if there was an actual emergency he had spent a small fortune on a pair of quantum entangled arrays for instantaneous recall. The fact that Goralin's ears had a mischievous tilt meant that this wasn't an emergency. Meaning that it was probably the favor he had asked before they left.
"Alright, prep the hangar bay. I'm gonna test the emergency recall drive," Michael said, cutting the thrusters and letting the ship coast.
"Copy that Michael. Wait to jump until we give you the signal," Goralin said, closing the channel.
Michael switched over to the intercom, "Sorry Hephaestus, looks like we're gonna have to cut this short."
"It isss fine," Hephaestus said with the barest hint of a chuckle, "If the messsage isss from Gabby I can only think of one reassson. We are going hunting!"
"Cool your jets, we still haven't heard it yet," Michael said, running the ship through the pre-jump sequence, "All set to jump?"
One other little upgrade they did was to configure a jump drive onboard the Requiem so they could get back to the Dawn in a hurry. The only downside was that the hangar bay had to be depressurized so the sudden appearance of the Requiem didn't create a hull rupturing pressure wave.
"All sssyssstemsss are green," Hephaestus said back through the comms, "Ready for jump."
It was only a few more seconds until Michael got the comms ping signaling that the hangar bay was ready.
Michael's finger hovered over the button, "Jumping in three...two...one."
He pushed the button and the ship was inside the Dawn, perfectly centered in the hangar bay. The docking clamps engaged and the bay was pressurized in minutes. Michael ran through the shutdown sequence, unstrapped himself from the pilot seat and met Hephaestus in the airlock. They double-checked the atmospheric readout on the panel before opening the outer door. Even though Michael was wearing his armor and had no fear of stepping into hard vacuum, Hephaestus was basically naked, so it paid to be careful. They made their way up to the bridge, stopping by the mess to apologize for cutting the show short and so Michael could grab a quick snack. One downside of his new armor was that he burned a lot more calories than he ever did wearing his old suit. He walked the rest of the way up to the bridge with Hephaestus in tow.
When he opened the door to the bridge Goralin turned around in the copilot's seat, "You enjoy yourselves," he asked with a slightly mischievous tilt to his ears.
"Yeah!" Michael said enthusiastically, "and I gotta say, yinz missed a hell of a ride."
"I'll have to take your word on that one," Goralin said with a chitter, "Anyway, while we were waiting, I went through the files that were attached to the message and it looks like she sent us a good one."
"Oh," Michael asked, interested, "she send anything else?"
"Just a few video files," Goralin trailed off.
Michael looked around to see the rest of the bridge crew barely able to hold back their chittering.
So they were those kinds of videos…
Michael sighed, "Put the important one up on the main screen. I'll take a look at the rest later."
Goralin flicked his ears in amusement and brought up the message file.
Gabby appeared on the main screen, thankfully wearing her work outfit, with a cqcq cigarette in her hand, "Long time no see," she said, taking a hit and blowing the smoke off-screen, "I had my contacts do some digging and they found a good one. There's no bounty, sadly, but I don't think you'll have a problem with that. Everything you'll need should be in the files I sent along with some...other things I know you'll like," she winked at the camera, "Hoping to hear back from you soon."
"Did she send a location," Michael asked, turning toward Goralin.
"Already punched in," Goralin said with a pant-grin.
"Good man," Michael said with a gentle clap on Goralin's shoulder, "Prep the ship for warp, I'm gonna head to my quarters to uhh…review the other files she sent and get a reply together to send over during the next sync."
Michael left the bridge to sound of barely contained chittering from the crew and made his way back to his quarters. When he reached the mess heard raised voices coming from inside. So he stopped to eavesdrop just outside the door.
"For the last time Jilink," Guln said, "I have absolutely no interest in your insane delusions. No matter how...impressive you may find the humans in their mating practices!"
"Oh come now," Jilink said dismissively, "You seriously cannot believe that the way our species handles reproduction is good for our long term survival can you?"
"What other choice do we have," Guln asked, "we have long since passed the point of being biologically able to reproduce, but that is beside the point," he lowered his voice, "it was simply proposing the idea of reverting back to biological reproduction that made you one of the few Corti that had their banner status stripped all the way down to yellow."
"That was just because those in the Directorate are too narrow-minded to see past their own hubris," Jilink said angrily, "it was only when I started unlocking and splicing genes that had been previously bred out that I started to question their rhetoric. If you would just let me-"
"No! I will not hear of it. Mess with your own genetic code all you want, but I will not have you turning myself and Kilnq into genetic freaks," Guln said, moments before storming out of the mess. He ignored Michael and headed off toward the med bay.
Michael poked his head into the mess and saw Jilink sitting alone, forlornly picking at a plate of steamed mushrooms and cqcq.
She looked up as he walked over, "If you are going to play at eavesdropping you might want to consider that we can feel your every step through the deck plating," she said with a shrewd look.
"So what was your banner status," Michael asked bringing over a chair that could support the weight of himself and his armor. He sat down and took off his helmet, placing it on the table in front of him.
"No remorse and straight to the point I see," she let out a deep sigh, "Before I began...experimenting...on myself, I was a silver banner."
From what Michael knew about Corti social structure, Jilink had been next to royalty. To give all that up...
"Fuck," Michael said, recovering from his jaw practically denting the table, "Why the hell did you give that up?"
"To advance my species of course," she said, her eyes boring into Michael's, "we may be the most technologically advanced in the galaxy, but as a species we Corti have fallen behind tremendously. I may be too brazen in saying this, but we are on the brink."
"On the brink," Michael asked, "the brink of what?"
Jilink's expression hardened, "The brink of terminal decline, and unless something is done my species will fade into obscurity."
"And that something was playing with your own genetics," Michael asked, confused.
"Not playing," Jilink said, waving one finger back and forth, "Improving. As we are, the Corti are far from ideal. Intelligent and quick-witted yes, but we lack the physicality to endure as a species for much longer."
"And that has to do with what Guln said about the way yinz reproduce," Michael asked, even more confused, "you mean yinz don't have kids naturally?"
"As a matter of fact, we do not. Every Corti is grown in a birthing tank," Jilink said matter of factly, "there hasn't been a natural birth for millennia."
"Well that's all kinds of fucked up," Michael said, shaking his head, "and they kicked you out for wanting to go back to the way things are supposed to be?"
"Precisely. You see, reverting back to biological reproduction would necessitate drastic changes to our biology. It is also the reason why I am so fascinated with how other species reproduce. I have been able to get a wealth of medical data on the subject, but the one thing that most species lack is information on how to make the act more enjoyable. Your species, however," she pointed at Michael's chest, "seems to excel in that regard."
"I can see your point," Michael said with a chuckle.
"Needless to say there are some practices that simply watching recordings cannot fully explain. You do not mind answering some questions do you," Jilink asked excitedly.
Michael shrugged, "I got time. Ask away."
Jilink pulled a small tablet from her set of pouches and tapped in a few commands, "I'll start with something that has perplexed me for some time now. Tell me, what is the exact purpose of a bukkake?"
----------
Ten thousand kilometers astern of the Radiant Dawn
Whispering Breeze
Agent One Six Two
Something was wrong.
He had been trying to link to the infrared module that was hidden next to the engine cluster on that accursed human's ship for over [an hour] only to receive no response. He double and triple checked that his ship was aligned correctly and found not the barest hint of any discrepancy. This left two possibilities, either the module had malfunctioned, or it had been taken offline. Given the extremely stable nature of current solid-state electronics, the latter of the two options seemed the most probable.
He was now forced to consider alternative plans to get the information he needed. One option was to take over one of the human's crew, but the chances of finding one of them alone long enough for him to adjust to the new sensory input were astronomical at best. There was always the option of simply biodroning all the implanted crew, but with the proven combat capabilities of the human and his pet abomination, there was no guarantee of successfully taking over the ship. That left only one option that had any probability of success.
Once the human's ship was out of the system and had no hope of detecting him, One Six Two punched in the codes for the only jump beacon that the human had deployed.
----------
Date point: 4 months, 2 weeks, 5 days AV
Sol system
Earth
Allegheny National Park
Daniel Mackovich
After the Vancouver incident life had gone on pretty much the same as always. As much as he hated to admit it, Daniel wished the aliens had caused more damage. As it was now, people had already moved on. Of course, every news outlet on the planet had milked the story dry within a week, but since nobody other than the aliens had died the story that humanity was no longer alone in the universe had been replaced by the same old shit. Shootings, trouble in the Middle East, China violating human rights, the usual stuff.
Both he and David were sick of it. So they had planned a little something to get away. That little something happened to be a camping trip out in Allegheny National Park. Not the biggest excursion by a long shot, but it seemed a couple of days out in the woods was just what the doctor ordered.
The first night was just perfect. No rain or swarms of mosquitos, just hours of watching caveman TV with a good meal cooked over the fire to finish out the night. They had been watching the weather and had made sure that there wasn't the barest hint of rain, but it looked like the curse of his old Boy Scout troop had followed him. It had started raining shortly after lunch on the second day. Thanks to a few tricks he'd learned in said cursed Boy Scout troop, Daniel was able to get the fire going, even though all their wood was soaked, so they were at least able to cook their dinner under the tarp David had rigged up over the fire pit.
"Well, it wasn't what we were expecting," David said, looking out of the tent, "but I can think of worse ways to spend the evening."
"My old scout troop was called the Rain Makers after all," Daniel said with a chuckle, snuggling a little closer to David, "At least the company's better this time around."
They sat and watched for a while, listening to the gentle sound of the rain on their tent.
David turned around and rummaged around in his bag for a few moments before turning back and locking eyes with Daniel.
"Well...I was hoping for a better opportunity but," David trailed off.
Daniel looked down at what David was holding in his hand and his breath caught in his throat.
"Daniel, will you marry me?"
----------
Date point: 9 months, 1 week, 2 days AV
Far Reaches
Cimbrean
Radiant Dawn
Michael Kepler
They had made the trip out in astonishingly good time thanks to the black box drive on the Radiant Dawn. Fast as their ship was it had still taken them around six months to reach this little speck of nowhere. However, the extra time gave Michael the chance to work out some armor for his Gaoian crewmates. They had to stop and resupply before they could manufacture any of it though. It seemed that they had burned through most of their supplies for the nanofac with the Requiem's retrofit.
The armor they had worked out was much like Hephaestus' in the way that it relied heavily on lightweight composite plates instead of heavy alloys like Michael's. The plus side was that Hephaestus had worked out a composite that could take multiple hits from a heavy pulse cannon before failing. Not that the Gaoians would be taking much fire though, each one had a portable cloaking generator to make the best use of their natural talent for sneaking. There was one problem with the suits though, they had to be kept loose to accommodate the Gaoians' fur. Which meant that they would have to rely on shield harnesses for protection against the vacuum of space. Not the best prospect in Michael's mind, but they didn't seem to have the aversion to relying on forcefield tch like he did.
And since Michael wanted some semblance of a uniform for his new band of mercs, the chest plate and helmet had kept as much of the standard Mandalorian looks as possible. The helmet was kinda tricky, considering that the Gaoians had much longer noses than humans, as well as ears that came out of the top of their heads.
In the end, Gaoians had to deal with the minor discomfort of having their ears squished down, but it was worth it if they wanted to have their heads protected. As for the stereotypical "T" shaped visor, Michael settled on a shortened version, ending just above the Gaoians' snouts with a protrusion to cover their nose and mouth. It also had the benefit of allowing the Gaoians to personalize the lower portion, and once one of them had painted fangs on his, the rest had followed suit. Michael had to admit, it looked totally badass.
The extra time also gave them the chance to develop their arsenal. The standard pulse guns were ditched in favor of coilguns. Most of the Gaoians went with something like an AR-15. They were lightweight, with a variable power setting so they didn't over-penetrate their targets if they were inside a ship or station. The real treat was what the brownies came up with though. The crazy fuckers had amped up their coilguns to a heavy machine gun type thing that could send a withering hailstorm of slugs at whatever unfortunate thing that happened to be on the receiving end. However, it seemed that all of the Gaoians took a liking to Hephaestus' fusion claws and had added their own to finish out their already terrifying array of weapons.
They had spent three of the local days cloaked in a high polar orbit mapping the planet and trying to find the location of the palace that was supposed to be here. The only reason it took that long was that they were using passive scans to prevent the discovery of their ship. Since they were stuck in orbit Michael had left it up to the bridge crew to notify him when they found anything. To pass the time and get a better feel on things he had been going through the files on their target. After cross-referencing them with the data from the Twisted Suns it seemed that this particular fucknut had an affinity for ordering Rickytics and Vizkiticks among a smattering of a dozen other species.
It couldn't be...could it?
Michael dug deeper into the records until he found the right entry. Shit.
"Ship," Michael said as he got up from his desk and stretched, still marveling at just how flexible his new armor was.
He got a response ping.
"Where is Irk?"
"Irk is in hydroponics," the ship said through his room's intercom in a perfect replica of Cortana’s voice. Michael didn't know why, but using Cortana's voice for the ship just felt right.
Michael grabbed his helmet and locked it in place.
"Send him a message that I'm on my way. There's something I need to talk to him about."
Michael went to hydroponics and found Irk in his personal corner behind their crop of cqcq minding his bonsai garden. He had originally got the idea from watching Karate Kid of all things. When they had stopped at Haven Irk had purchased a bunch of seedlings from all over the galaxy. As it turned out most of them had the same reaction as Earth trees when they were root-bound inside a small pot. With a little help from some space magic in the form of time acceleration fields, he had more than a dozen perfectly healthy miniature trees. With careful management, Irk had produced some truly fantastical shapes. Hell, he even had one "pot" that was levitating with trees growing out of both the top and bottom.
When Michael walked over Irk turned around, "Ah, Michael. You have something you wanted to speak to me about?"
"Yeah," Michael said, taking off his helmet and setting it down on the table next to the levitating bonsai trees, "It's about our target."
Irk gave him a quizzical look, tilting his head slightly to the side.
Michael took a deep breath, "There was a bit of a mix up on the part of the Twisted Suns. Your lifemate and child were actually supposed to be shipped here."
"But...the Hunters," Irk trailed off.
"That's not all," Michael said, shaking his head, "I really don't have a good way to say this...but it looks like the scumbag we're after wanted you and your family specifically."
Irk slumped to the deck, lost for words.
"I did some digging into the data we got from the Twisted Suns," Michael said, bringing up the file and sending it to Irk's tablet.
It pinged and Irk pulled it out of its pouch with shaking hands. He hesitated for a moment before opening it. Delicately, he tapped the icon and read the file. Irk put the tablet back into its pouch and was silent for a few moments before he gathered his legs under himself and stood up to his full height.
He looked directly at Michael, "I have only one request."
"Name it," Michael said, locking eyes with Irk.
"Bring the bastard to me alive," Irk said with enough bile dripping off the borrowed human curse word to make Michael flinch.
No sooner had Irk walked out of hydroponics did Michael receive a notification from the bridge crew. He put his helmet back on and answered the comms.
"Yinz found something," he asked, exiting hydroponics and making his way up to the bridge.
"Yeah," Goralin said through the comms, "and you're gonna want to see this."
"On my way," Michael said, breaking into a run for the hundred-ish meters to the bridge.
He exploded into the bridge and skidded to a halt right next to Goralin. Michael was a little out of breath, but it wasn't too bad considering the weight of his armor. Practically living in the suit had its benefits sometimes.
Goralin eyed Michael with a hint of amusement "Excited?"
"Damn right," Michael said with a chuckle, "we've only been orbiting this dirtball for three days. What'd you find?"
"See for yourself," Goralin said with a pant-grin, bringing up what looked like a palace on the main screen.
Michael let out a long whistle, "Damn that had to cost a pretty penny."
What was on screen was possibly the most egregious display of wealth that Michael had ever seen, aside from his own ship of course. Camera tech was really something else out here, they had to be at least a hundred and fifty kilometers up, but the pictures were clear enough that Michael could see the contents of the gardens surrounding the enormous palace complex. He'd read the specs when he had the sensor suite overhauled, but the fact that their ground facing camera was in the hundred gigapixel range never quite hit home until he had actually used it.
"Cost a what," Goralin asked, tilting his head slightly.
"Oh, sorry," Michael said, a little embarrassed, "it's an expression for a fuckton of money."
Goralin chittered, "Well the palace isn't the only thing that cost a pretty penny. We found something else too."
The next thing that came up on the screen left Michael totally speechless. Not too far off the coast was a yacht so big it was practically a floating island. Hell, it even had football-field sized space in the middle that was containing a miniature forest.
"Well if they're anywhere, our target's probably on that yacht," Michael said, gesturing to the screen.
Goralin zoomed in on it, "It looks like there's a landing pad big enough to land the Requiem near the back."
"Well, it's our lucky day then," Michael said, turning back toward the door, "get an assault team ready. We're dropping in an hour."
"An assault team," Goralin asked, his ears going slightly back.
Michael stopped and turned back around, "Rich fucker like that's gotta be able to afford some really good security, and not the average Chennash mercs either."
"Right," Goralin said, "I know Ralthin's gonna be damn happy to finally get a good fight for once," he finished with a slight chitter.
The next hour flew by in a flurry of activity as the assault team got the message and scrambled to get into their armor. Thankfully they didn't need to load any cargo into the Requiem, and they already had all their extra weapons stored onboard. Michael made a stop by his quarters to grab his coilgun and its barrel attachments. On a whim, he dug out his antique revolver and strapped it to his hip. He had to stop and laugh at the absurdity of carrying a black powder revolver that was made in eighteen seventy-six, but something just felt right about bringing the old girl along.
He made it to the hangar bay just as everyone was getting situated. Hephaestus was already onboard the Requiem running through the preflight checks from his station near the quantum stacks so all Michael had to do was wait for the rest of the assault team to show up. When everyone was strapped in and had their gear stowed for the drop he stepped out to the open space in the middle of the Requiem's cargo area.
"Alright," Michael said, running his eyes over the seated Gaoians, "it's our first mission and from the looks of things, it's not gonna be an easy one. We're going in blind and this fucker's probably paranoid enough to have hired some decent security. They won't be like the pirate scum yinz are probably used to. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a company of Allebenellin mercs waiting for us."
Michael paused and let that sink in for a moment, "The main problem is that the yacht we're gonna be landing on is fucking huge. So the plan's pretty simple myself, Hephaestus, Ralthin, and the brownies are gonna raise hell so all the rest of yinz can use your cloaking fields to the best advantage. Sweeping the ship for any other hostiles while looking for our target."
That got some chittering out of them.
"As for our target," Michael said, starting to pace back and forth in front of the seated Gaoians, "he's a Robalin with some… strong opinions on other sentient life. Apparently, this guy acquired his fortune thanks to some kind of breakthrough in medical tech and bought the palace at an auction when the previous owner's trading company went under thanks to some very poor business deals and Hunter raids on their ships. Ever since, he's lived a comfortable life on Cimbrean buying slaves from the Twisted Suns for God knows what reason," Michael let out a long sigh, "And as much as I'd like to end this guy the second we find him, Irk wants him alive. It seems that this fucker is the one that got Irk's family captured by the Twisted Suns."
"An that's why we're not just gonna blast the boat," Yeg asked.
"Exactly," Michael said, pausing to congratulate him, "there also might be slaves still on board, so any we find get to come back with us. Any questions?"
"Yeah," one of the other brownies spoke up, "when are ya gonna quit talkin' so we can have some fun?"
Michael laughed, "Alright alright, I get it," he said, vaulting up the ramp to the cockpit, "hold on to your tails, it's gonna be a bumpy ride."
Michael entered the cockpit and closed the door behind him, and once he was in the pilot seat he opened the intercom, "We ready to go?"
"The ssship isss ready to depart Michael," Hephaestus said back eagerly.
Michael gave the signal to the hangar crew and waited while they depressurized the hangar bay and opened the outer door.
Michael opened a channel to the bridge, "Yinz keep an eye out while we're planetside, we might need to come back in a hurry."
"Just make sure you don't die down there," Goralin said with a slight chitter, "We'll be waiting for you."
"We'll make sure to come back in one piece," Michael said with a chuckle, quickly running through the preflight checks. Hephaestus had already done them so all he had to do was to glance at the display and be sure that all systems were green, "but if yinz are that worried, I'll broadcast the view from my helmet cam."
"You know," Goralin said, "I was gonna suggest the same thing. It'll make for good entertainment."
"You got that right," Michael said entering the command to release the docking clamps, "Undocking now," Michael said closing the channel and backing the ship out of the hangar bay.
Once he was clear of the ship Michael angled the Requiem toward the planet and threw the throttle all the way forward.
"Uunngfhhh...Fyu's balls," Ralthin growled through the comms, "I forgot about that."
"Yinz okay back there," Michael asked, pulling the throttle slightly back.
"Other than bein' crushed inta our seats we're fine," Ralthin said back with a forced chitter.
"Hey, I said it was gonna bumpy ride," Michael said with a smirk.
They made the rest of the trip down in silence and before long they were punching a hole through the atmosphere leaving a flaming trail of plasma behind them. The yacht appeared on the radar when they were still twenty kilometers up, not that Michael needed sensors to find the thing, he could already see it. Floating island was right, the damned thing had to be nearly as big as the Dawn.
When they were about ten kilometers out the comms panel lit up. Out of curiosity, Michael opened the channel.
"Unidentified vessel you are appro-"
Michael closed the channel, his curiosity stated for the moment. No use talking with them anyway. He closed the rest of the distance gradually slowing down so they wouldn't overshoot.
When they got within a kilometer Michael had to admit that the yacht was a truly beautiful ship. It had three hulls connected together by an expansive main deck that swept into a sharp point at the bow where the main hull was cutting through the waves. The most prominent feature being the forest in the middle of the ship protected from the elements by the telltale shimmer of a forcefield.
The landing pad near the stern was suspiciously empty, but when Michael brought the Requiem closer he noticed that it had some kind of door in the middle. No doubt it was used for bringing whatever landed down into some kind of hangar. There was no way the Requiem would fit into said hangar, but it looked like the pad was just large enough to set the ship down. Strangely, the yacht seemed to be holding course, almost inviting him to land.
He activated the inter-ship comms, "Looks like they're actually gonna let us land. The second we touch down I want the brownies out first. Shoot first, ask questions later."
Michael flipped the ship around so she was hovering just above the deck and matched speed with the yacht. He lined it up using the docking camera and set her down with a gentle thump. The very next thing he did was take control of the nose turrets, aiming them at the only door in the aft section of the yacht.
He set the ship in low power mode instead of completely shutting down just in case they needed to make a quick getaway, and watched through the turret camera feed as the brownies stormed out of the ship and took their positions. Sloppy by any kind of military standards, but it didn't seem like there was anyone to greet them.
Michael unstrapped himself and grabbed his coilgun from the rack next to the door. Walking down the ramp was always tricky thanks to the gravity weirdness, but thankfully he didn't stumble when he stepped off into the planet's own gravity.
"No one to meet us," he said, stepping out into the sunlight.
Ralthin glanced back at Michael over his shoulder, "I don't like this at all. Even through this helmet, it smells all kindsa wrong."
Hephaestus came up behind Michael, "Thisss feelsss like a trap."
"Couldn't agree with you more buddy," Michael said, walking forward to the door.
"What'd ya wanna do," Ralthin said following close behind.
Michael glanced at Ralthinand smirked, "Spring the trap."
submitted by Asikar_Tehjan to HFY [link] [comments]

Joe Walsh Will Not Save Us (G-File)

Dear Reader (including the poor Biden staffers who have to white-knuckle their armrests when not sucking down unfiltered Marlboros every time Joe Biden gives an interview),
If you’ve never heard the Milton Friedman shovels and spoons story, you will (and I don’t just mean here). Because everyone on the right tells some version of it at some point. The other Uncle Miltie (i.e., not the epically endowed comedic genius) goes to Asia or Africa or South America and is taken on a tour of some public works project in a developing country. Hundreds of laborers are digging with shovels. Milton asks the official in charge something like, “Why use shovels when earth moving equipment would be so much more efficient?”
The official replies that this is a jobs program and using shovels creates more jobs.
Friedman guffaws and asks, “In that case: Why not use spoons?”
The story might not be true, but the insight is timeless.
Here’s another story: When I was in college, we were debating in intro to philosophy the differences between treating men and women “equally” versus treating them the “same.” At first blush, the two things sound synonymous, but they’re not (indeed the difference illuminates the chasm of difference between classical liberalism and socialism, but that’s a topic for another day). I pointed out that there were some firefighter programs that had different physical requirements for male applicants and female ones (this was before it was particularly controversial—outside discussions of Foucault—to assume there were clear differences between sexes). Female applicants had to complete an obstacle course carrying a 100-pound dummy, but men had to carry a 200-pound dummy, or something like that. A puckish freshperson named Jonah Goldberg said: “I don’t really care if a firefighter is a man, a woman, or a gorilla, I’d just like them to be able to rescue me from a fire.”
A woman sitting in front of me wheeled around and womansplained to me that “you can always just hire two women.”
I shot back something like, “You could also hire 17 midgets, that’s not the point.”
(I apologize for using the word midget, which wasn’t on the proscribed terms list at the time.)
But here’s the thing: Sometimes it is the point. Whether you’re talking about spoons or little people, the case for efficiency is just one case among many. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an important one, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes older children are told to bring their little brothers or sisters along on some trip. They’ll complain, “But they’ll just slow us down!” or, “But they aren’t allowed on the big kid rides.” Parents understand the point, but they are not prioritizing efficiency over love. Or, they’re prioritizing a different efficiency: Not being stuck with a little kid who’s crying all day because he or she was left behind.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer is when the chess tutor Bruce Pandolfini, played by Ben Kingsley, tells the chess prodigy’s parents that they have to forbid their son from playing pickup chess in the park because he learns bad chess habits there. The mom says “Not playing in the park would kill him. He loves it.”
Kingsley replies, accurately, that it “just makes my job harder.”
And the mom says, “Then your job is harder.”
I love that. I love it precisely because it recognizes that good parents recognize that there are trade-offs in life and that the best option isn’t always the most efficient one.
This is one of those places where you can see how wisdom and expertise can diverge from one another.
The Unity of Goodness
Efficiency can mean different things in different contexts. In business, it means profit maximization (or cost reduction, which is often the same thing). In sports, it means winning. Always giving the ball to the best player annoys the other players who want their own shot at glory, but so long as he can be counted on to score, most coaches will err on the side of winning. Starting one-legged players will wildly improve a basketball team’s diversity score, but it’s unlikely to improve the score that matters to coaches—or fans.
I’ve long argued that there’s something in the progressive mind that dislikes this whole line of thinking. They often tend to find the idea of trade-offs to be immoral or offensive. I call it the “unity of goodness” worldview. Once you develop an ear for it, you can hear it everywhere. “I refuse to believe that economic growth has to come at the expense of the environment.” “There’s no downside to putting women in combat.” “I don’t want to live in a society where families have to choose between X and Y,” or “I for one reject the idea that we have to sacrifice security for freedom—or freedom for security.” Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were masters at declaring that all hard choices were “false choices”—as if only mean-spirited people would say you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Saint Greta
Nowhere is this mindset more on display in environmentalism. Everyone hawking the Green New Deal insists that it’s win-win all the way down. It’s Bastiat’s broken window parable on an industrialized scale. Spending trillions to switch to less efficient forms of energy will boost economic growth and create jobs, they insist. I’d have much more respect for these arguments if they simply acknowledged that doing a fraction of what they want will come at considerable cost.
Consider Greta Thunberg, the latest child redeemer of the climate change movement. She hates planes because they spew CO2. That’s why she sailed from Sweden to a conference in New York. As symbolism, it worked, at least for the people who already agree with her. But in economic terms, she might as well have raised the Spoon Banner off the main mast of her multi-million-dollar craft (that may have a minimal carbon footprint now, but required an enormous carbon down-payment to create). The organizers of this stunt had to fly two people to New York to bring the ship back across the Atlantic. And scores of reporters flew across the Atlantic to cover her heroic act of self-denial. Her nautical virtue signaling came at a price.
The organizers insist that they will buy carbon offsets to compensate for the damage done. But that’s just clever accounting. The cost is still real. And that’s not the only cost. It took her fifteen days to get to America. In other words, she actually proved the point of many of her critics. Fossil fuels come with costs all their own—geopolitical, environmental, etc.—but the upside of those downsides is far greater efficiency. If you want to get across the Atlantic in seven hours instead of two weeks, you need fossil fuels. The efficiency of modern technology reduces costs by giving human beings more time to do other stuff.
The Conservative Planners
The unity of goodness mindset has been spreading to the right these days as well. The new conservative critics of the free market see the efficiency of the market as a threat to other good things. And they’re right, as Joseph Schumpeter explained decades ago. For instance, just as earth-moving equipment replaces ditch-diggers in the name of efficiency, robots replace crane operators, and the communities that depended on those jobs often suffer as a result.
I have no quarrel with this observation. My problem is with the way they either sell their program as cost-free, or pretend that the right experts can run things better from Washington. They know which jobs or industries need the state to protect them from the market. They know how to run Facebook or Google to improve the Gross National Virtue Index. Many of the same people who once chuckled at the Spoons story now nod sagely. I don’t mean to say that there’s no room for government to regulate economic affairs. But I am at a loss as to why I should suspend my skepticism for right-wingers when they work from the same assumptions of the left-wingers I’ve been arguing with for decades.
Embracing Trumpism to Own Trump
Instead I want—or I guess need—to talk about another trade-off. I’ve been very reluctant to weigh in on the Joe Walsh project for a bunch of reasons. The biggest is that I am friends with some of the people cheering it on. But I think I have to offer my take.
I don’t get it.
Oh, I certainly understand the desire to see a primary challenger to Trump. I share that desire. And I understand the political calculation behind the effort. It’s like when one little league team brings in some dismayingly brawny and hirsute player from Costa Rica as a ringer. The other teams feel like they have to get their own 22-year-olds with photoshopped birth certificates in order to compete. My friend Bill Kristol is convinced that Trump must be defeated and that Walsh is just the mongoose to take on the Cobra-in-Chief.
I try not to recycle metaphors or analogies too much, but this seems like another example of a Col. Nicholson move. As I’ve written before, Col. Nicholson was the Alec Guinness character in The Bridge Over the River Kwai. The commanding officer of a contingent of mostly British POWs being held by the Japanese, Nicholson at first follows the rules and refuses to cooperate with his captors in their effort to use British captives as slave labor for a bridge project. But then his pride kicks in and he decides he will show the Japanese what real soldiering is like, agreeing to build the bridge as a demonstration of British superiority in civil engineering. [Spoiler alert] It’s only at the end of the film that he realizes that building the bridge may have been a kind of short-sighted moral victory, but in reality he was helping the Japanese kill allied troops because the bridge was going to be used for shipping Japanese troops and ammunition. When this realization finally arrives, he exclaims, “My God, what have I done?”
Walsh’s primary brief against Trump is that Trump is temperamentally unfit for office and a con man. Fair enough. But he has to focus his indictment on Trump’s erratic behavior. Why? Because he’s a terrible spokesman for much of the rest of the case against Trump. I may not call myself “Never Trump” any more, but I was in 2016. And back then, the argument against Trump wasn’t simply that he was erratic. It was also that he wasn’t a conservative, that he happily dabbled in racism and bigotry, and that he was crude, ill-informed, and narcissistically incapable of putting his personal interests and ego aside for the good of the country. I’m sure I’m leaving a few other things out. But you get the point.
Walsh may be sincere in his remorse over all the racist and incendiary things he said in the very recent past. He may regret supporting his anti-Semitic friend Paul Nehlen, though I haven’t found evidence of that. But none of that history should be seen as qualifications for the presidency, the Republican nomination, or support from conservatives.
And yet, it is precisely these things that make him attractive to his conservative supporters. Trump is an entertainer who trolls his enemies with offensive statements for attention, so let’s find someone who does the exact same thing!
Walsh may have been a one-term congressman, but his true vocation was as a shock-jock trolling provocateur. It’s ironic. As I’ve argued countless times, much of Trump’s bigotry in 2016 stemmed less from any core convictions than from a deep belief that the GOP’s base voters were bigoted and he needed to feed them red meat. Trump's reluctance to repudiate David Duke derived primarily from his ridiculous assumption that Duke had a large constituency he didn’t want to offend. He may have believed the Birther stuff, but he peddled it because that’s what his fans wanted. And Joe Walsh was one of those fans.
It may also be true that Walsh never really believed most of the bilge he was peddling and that he was doing the same thing Trump did—feeding the trolls—on a smaller scale. But if that’s the case, then he’s a con man, too.
I don’t want to beat up on Walsh too much because, again, his epiphany may be sincere. There are lots of people who pushed certain arguments too far only to recognize that the payoff was Trump and the transformation of conservatism into a form of right-wing identity politics. There are a lot of Col. Nicholsons out there. And I have too much respect for Bill Kristol to believe that he would lend his support to someone he believed to be as bigoted as the man Walsh seemed to be a few years ago.
But from where I sit, the prize we should keep our eyes on isn’t defeating Trump; it’s keeping conservatism from succumbing to Trumpism after he’s gone. This isn’t easy, and no tactic is guaranteed to be successful. We’ve never been here before. My own approach is to agree with Trump policies when I think they’re right—judges, buying Greenland, etc.—and disagreeing when they’re wrong. My own crutch is to simply tell the truth as I see it, regardless of whether it fits into some larger political agenda or strategy. Truth is always a legitimate defense of any statement.
But for those who see themselves as political players as well as public intellectuals, I think this is a terrible mistake. Intellectually and morally, the case for continued opposition to—or skepticism about, Trump cannot—or rather must not—be reduced to simple Trump hatred. But by rallying around Walsh—instead of, say, Mark Sanford, or Justin Amash, or, heh, General Mattis—that’s what it looks like. Because you can’t say, “I’m standing on principle in my opposition to a bigoted troll and con man as the leader of my party and my country and that’s why I am supporting a less successful bigoted troll and con man for president.” Walsh isn’t a conservative alternative to Trump; he’s an alternative version of Trump. And his candidacy only makes sense if you take the “binary choice” and “Flight 93” logic of 2016 and cast Trump in the role of Hillary.
Let’s imagine the Walsh gambit works beyond anyone’s dreams and Joe Walsh ends up getting the GOP nomination (a fairly ludicrous thought experiment, I know). If so, I have no doubt that my friend Bill Kristol will say, a la Col. Nicholson, “My God, what have I done.”
Various & Sundry
Canine Update: It’s good to be home. The beasts were delighted to see us. Everything is settling back to normal, except for one intriguing development. I think Zoë has finally had enough with Pippa’s tennis ball routine. The other day on the midday walk with the pack, Kirsten managed to film Zoë putting an end to the tennis ball shenanigans. She took the ball and buried it. It was, to use an inapt phrase, a baller move—and she was unapologetic about it. Maybe she just didn’t like all the commotion with the other dogs, because she’s tolerant of the tennis ball stuff again. Or maybe she was being protective of her sister given that many of the other dogs in the pack are known thieves. Regardless, they’re doing well and having fun.
If you haven’t tuned into The Remnant lately, please give it another try. The first episode of the week was with Niall Ferguson and the feedback has been great. The latest episode is with my friend and AEI colleague Adam White on all things constitutional. Word of mouth is really important in building up audiences, so if you can spread the word about The Remnant or this “news”letter, I’d be grateful.
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