Here's another stat that was interesting: the worst two quarters of the four-year presidential cycle are the ones we have just left—the second and third quarter of the midterm year. The Dow was up 1.2 percent in the second quarter compared to the first. It was up 2.2 percent in the third quarter compared to Q2.
Historically, those are the worst two quarters.
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Wait, it gets even weirder. 2015 is the fifth year of the decade, obviously. The fifth year is the best year of the decennial period by a long shot. The Dow and its predecessors are up an average of 28.3 percent in decennial years in the past 130 years. There has only been one losing year ending in "5" in 13 decades.
There are of course economic issues, and for the United States, it's still relative, Goldilocks. Things are good, not great. Earnings in the third quarter will likely be up 10 percent, just like in Q2. The early signs are decent for the fourth quarter, though there are issues with lower earnings in the Energy sector—and energy is about 12 percent of the weighting in the S&P 500.
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1) Much attention will turn to the European Central Bank meeting today and tomorrow. The big issue is whether the ECB will try to keep up with the Japanese.
Japan's dramatic effort to cheapen the yen is designed to benefit their biggest export businesses: machinery and automotive.
Who is Japan's biggest competitor in those fields? Germany. That's why there is so much pressure on the ECB to do something, particularly with ultra-low inflation providing cover.
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That's why a simple Reuters article yesterday questioning how much support ECB head Mario Draghi has for implementing aggressive bond-buying could cause the markets to come off their highs.
2) What? Cut in oil production? Not us! Exploration and production giant EOG not only reported a beat on earnings and a big beat on revenues for the third quarter, it raised its estimates for full-year oil production, now expected to be up 31 percent year over year, versus prior guidance of a 29-percent increase.
The story is similar with Pioneer Natural Resources, which also said production would grow 18 to 19 percent in 2014, the upper end of its guidance range. Not only that, they can grow production 16 to 21 percent through 2016, even with oil at $70 to $80.
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It's a bit different when you look outside the United States. Rowan is one of the biggest oil drillers in the world, and it is truly international. It generates 85 percent of revenues outside the United States. We are not talking U.S. shale drilling. We are talking deepwater drilling in Saudi Arabia, the UK, and other parts of the world.
Rowan reported a strong beat, but here's what CEO Tom Burke said this morning: "We are seeing softness in jack-up and deepwater markets worldwide." There's your capital expenditure warning.
3) Master limited partnerships continue to bounce back. One week after the largest MLP offering this year, another deal has claimed the top spot. Antero priced 40 million shares at $25, above the initial share offering of 37.5 million and the price talk of $19 to $21. Antero owns pipelines in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and Ohio and the Utica shale in West Virginia. The company has a 2.7 percent dividend yield.
This is an eerie parallel to the former MLP IPO record-holder, Shell Midstream, which just last week priced at $23, well above the price talk of $19 to $21, and raised the offering from 37.5 million to 40 million shares. That's 23 percent more money raised than the midpoint pricing expected. At $920 million, this is the largest MLP IPO of 2014, according to Renaissance Capital.