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OPINION

Market Stumbles Into May

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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The market has had an interesting two-day period that’s either adding confusion or a reflection of confusion.

April was on pace to be a huge month for the bulls until it stumbled and briefly moved into the red column on Friday before an impressive rally off the lows.

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So, what’s all the confusion about?

Main Street.

Why are consumers hoarding money?

Before the collapse of oil, gasoline prices were north of three dollars a gallon and the nation’s saving rate was 4.5%. Since then, wages have begun to edge higher as gasoline prices collapsed, hitting a national average low of $1.66 a gallon in February.

So, why has the saving rate soared!

More Money More Problems

Gasoline Price

Savings Rate

October 2014

$3.01

4.5%

March 2016

$1.90

5.4%

I think it’s a combination of things; including higher medical spending, a lack of confidence in the true health of the economy, and lack of leadership. I also think equally troubling is the fact that businesses remain reluctant to invest. As much as political candidates are complaining about plants being transferred aboard, the deeper problem is whether the plants are being built in the first place.

Of course, businesses have gone into this foxhole because of Obama’s War on Success, but I am not sure any will climb out with so many populist messages that essentially say there should be limits on what companies can earn. Against that backdrop, businesses will continue to sit on their cash.

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Earnings Parade

It’s still the same story of top-line misses and bottom line beats, although I think that guidance is better this earnings season. The biggest winners have been names that were written off for dead; as a result, I am hearing positive talk about coal making a run. The market is a little dicey at the moment, but I always say these periods are essential for longer-term bull markets.

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