There were no black cats or broken mirrors on Friday but several of the major indexes broke out to new highs. Investors were not walking under ladders but using them to climb the wall of worry to those new heights.
Hopefulness over a potential resolution in Greece, a possible cease fire in the Ukraine and stronger economic data out of Germany seemed to energize investors and the major indexes crept slowly higher to historic levels. The S&P-400 Midcap, S&P-500, Russell 1000, 2000 and 3000 and the Semiconductor Index closed at historic highs and the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 closed at new 15-year highs. The Dow was the laggard after American Express (AXP) lost -$8 over the last two days to knock more than 50 points off the Dow and held the index to only modest gains.
Only one economic report generated any interest on Friday. The Consumer Sentiment headline number for February fell from 98.1 to 93.6 and giving back all of January's gains. The prior month number was an 11-year high and analysts had it expected February to be flat. The decline from expectations of 98.1 to 93.6 was the biggest estimate miss on record. Both components declined. The present conditions component declined from 109.3 to 103.1. The expectations component declined from 91.0 to 87.5.
Respondents were less comfortable with their finances in February than January. This is probably due to the holiday credit card bills coming due. Forty-four percent said finances were better than a year ago, down -4% from January, and 29% said their finances were worse, up +2% from January. Another 29% believed business conditions will improve in 2015 and 50% said the country was headed for good times in 2015, down from 61% in January.
Consumers have noticed that gasoline prices began to rebound at the end of January with a +30 cent spike at the wholesale level since January 27th. After paying a low of $1.57 several weeks ago the listed prices at my local station are now $1.97. Gas prices are still cheap but the panic lows quickly evaporated. Rising gas prices quickly put a crimp in investor sentiment.
Consumers are not spending money. On Thursday we saw the retail sales for January decline -0.8% after a -0.9% decline in December. Consumers are saving their windfall from fuel prices rather than rushing to the malls. Healthcare prices are rising and a lot of people are unsure how this will impact their income tax and worry they might be forced to refund some of the subsidies. More than 80% of Obamacare users receive subsidies. Five of the eleven categories in the retail sales report declined sharply and the others posted only minor gains.
The economic calendar for next week is also light with the exception of the Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey on Thursday. That is the economic highlight of the week and it is expected to rise and that would be the first gain in three months.
The FOMC minutes on Wednesday will be a potential trouble spot because of their bearing on future Fed policy.
The big news event will be the Yellen testimony to congress the following Tuesday. With all the uncertainty about the Fed her testimony in front of the newly constituted congress will be critical. With a republican faction wanting to audit the Fed the questions may be a little more hostile this time around.
No changes to the spilt calendar this week.
Friday was a slow news day with the Greek debacle the main headline. Greece and its creditors are extending talks over the weekend in hopes of reaching a deal before the Monday meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels. The new prime minister Alexis Tsipras has promised to exit the current bailout program, which he blames for the slide in the Greek economy. He is trying to negotiate a bridge financing deal to make payments while allowing the various parties another 90 days to come up with an acceptable solution. Tsipras wants to raise wages and reinstate government workers but the Troika is against those actions because it would increase the deficit for Greece.
The current head of the EU finance minister meetings is the Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. He said on Friday, "You can only spend money when you have it. Greece wants a lot but has very little money to cover those desires." If the troika gives in to the Greek demands then other countries would want a new deal on their indebtedness. Spain and Italy would be at the top of the list.
Tsipras campaigned on ending austerity, getting the troika to write down the balances on the Greek debt and to end audits of the Greek books by the troika. He has since cut back on his demands once he found out that actually governing was a lot tougher than talking about governing. The bailout loans made by the troika initially went to cover existing Greek debt and to pay various amounts of past due bills. The Troika audits routinely discovered fraudulent bookkeeping by Greece and every discovery led to more loans. The troika will not want to give up their audits for obvious reasons. For the last two years the majority of the loan payments from the troika actually went to pay interest on the loan balance. Essentially the troika was loaning Greece money to pay the interest on the earlier loans. This increased the loan balances significantly. Now Tsipras wants the banks that profited from those loans and payments to refund those payments so Greece can use the money to pay down the debt rather than make payments on the debt. I seriously doubt this will fly. It would be the equivalent of going to your mortgage company and demanding they refund the last three years of interest so you can use the money to pay principal instead.
Uncertainty over the fate of Greece has caused depositors to withdraw nearly 20 billion euros from Greek banks. Those banks have been supported by 65 billion euros of Emergency Liquidation Assistance (ELA) from the Bank of Greece, subject to approval by the ECB. If Greece can't strike a deal by Monday's meeting the ECB governing council would likely cut off or limit the amount of ELA cash available to the Bank of Greece. The council meets on February 18th. The EU and ECB don't want Greece to leave the eurozone because it would create a precedent that other nations could follow to further fracture the eurozone. They may not have any choice if Tsipras stands his ground and demands structural changes or Greece will exit.
I think the market has already factored in some kind of a deal. The market does not expect the worst but it does expect some kind of compromise. If it becomes clear over the next week that a compromise is not going to happen then the market could suffer. ANY actual compromise that leaves Greece in the eurozone should be market positive.
The other geopolitical headline supporting the market was the peace deal in the Ukraine. In theory France, Germany, Russia and the Ukraine agreed to a cease fire after "epic" 16-hour talks. The cease fire was due to start at midnight on Saturday. That left two days for forces to push for as much ground gains as they could muster. The cease fire line is whatever each side controls as of midnight Saturday. Journalists said the fighting has been fierce as each side tries to gain more ground. The fiercest fighting was for control of Debaltseve in an effort to keep it inside Ukraine control.
The $64 question here is whether or not Putin will respect the ceasefire. He has never respected any of the earlier agreements. Even by gaining control of a large portion of eastern Ukraine with part of Donetsk and Luhansk he has failed to secure a land bridge to Crimea, which would have required control of a portion of Zaporizah and Kherson as well. The Russian Black Sea fleet harbors at the ice free deepwater port of Sevastopol. Without a capturing a contiguous stretch of land from Russia across eastern Ukraine the fleet is cutoff with access either by plane or ferry. It is tough to move tanks and heavy equipment on a ferry across the 5 kilometer wide strait between Russia and Crimea. The odds are very good the ceasefire will not hold and Putin will continue to press for land access.
American Express (AXP) is finding that breaking up may be easy but it is still painful. Friday afternoon Bloomberg reported the company was breaking up with JetBlue (JBLU) and parting ways on their co-branded credit card. This came only one day after AXP said it was breaking up with CostCo (COST) and would no longer provide them with a cobranded card once the current agreement ends in March 2016. Costco accounts represent about 20% of AXP loans and about 8% or $80 billion of its billed business. AXP shares lost -6% on Thursday on the Costco news.
Bloomberg said JetBlue had reached an agreement with Barclays and MasterCard for a future branded card. JetBlue had been partners with American Express since 2005. AXP shares lost another -3% on Friday on the JetBlue news.
Apple (AAPL) rose to another new high at $127.08 on Friday after news broke that the company is working on building an electric car. Several hundred employees are working on creating an electric car in a project code-named "Titan." The early designs are said to resemble a minivan. There is no guarantee they will complete the project but with hundreds of engineers working on the project they are definitely serious. The leak came from the Wall Street Journal. The Financial Times also reported that Apple was hiring automotive experts to work in a secret research lab. They have a long way to go to catch up with Tesla but they have more than enough cash on hand at $178 billion to complete the task.
Apple is rumored to be planning a new product announcement for February 24th. It has not been publicly announced yet but several Apple insiders have confirmed it.
After the close Alibaba (BABA) said it had received a request for information from the SEC related to its dealings with a Chinese regulator. The SEC wants to know about dealings with China's State Administration and Commerce or SAIC regarding the issue of fake products being sold on the company's websites. The SAIC issued a white paper last month saying it had met with Alibaba before the IPO to discuss the problem of fake items sold on its platform. However, SAIC had withheld the report until after the IPO to not affect the public offering in September. The SAIC retracted the report a couple weeks after it was published. BABA shares fell -4.4% when the report was released. Now the SEC wants to know the details behind the investigation and why the SAIC backed off.
Alibaba's Chairman Jack Ma had some bad news for employees this year. Traditionally during the Chinese Lunar New Year the company handed out red envelopes stuffed with cash to employees as bonuses. The New Year is next Thursday and Ma said there will not be any red envelopes this year. He said Alibaba's performance in 2014 was not good enough to warrant handing out bonuses. The company said "Red envelopes are not guarantees. They are a discretionary part of a larger compensation package." Employees will still receive their year-end bonus this month, which is usually equivalent to one month's salary.
SeaDrill (SDRL) shares fell -13% after the company reduced its order backlog by -$1.1 billion due to problems at Petrobras. The top management at Petrobras quit earlier this month in a widening corruption probe. The company said it may take until the end of May to account for the losses. SeaDrill had an order backlog of $20 billion at the end of Q3 and announced contract extensions in November. Day rates for the best rigs have fallen from $650,000 to $400,000 and may fall even further.
Heartland Payment Systems (HPY) reported earnings of 42 cents that missed estimates of 68 cents by a wide margin. Revenue of $604 million also missed estimates of 622 million. However, the company raised its quarterly dividend by 17% to 10 cents. The company also guided lower for 2015 to earnings in the $2.75-$2.85 range on revenue of $775 million. Analysts were looking for $3.00 and $782 million. Shares fell -10% on the news.
Assurant (AIZ) reported adjusted earnings of 87 cents that missed analyst estimates of $1.66. Revenue of $2.62 billion also missed estimates of $2.64 billion. Multiple segments posted lower results and they missed on full year earnings. The guided for 2015 for earnings to be in line with 2014. Some segment premiums were expected to decline in 2015. There was not much in the report that was positive.
Zillow (Z) reported earnings after the close on Friday of 24 cents that missed estimates by a penny. For the full year the company reported a loss of $1.09 on revenue of $326 million. The company said it would close the acquisition of Trulia as early as Tuesday after the FTC closed its investigation on Friday. The original $3.5 billion acquisition, now valued at $1.78 billion gives 0.444 of a Zillow share to Trulia shareholders. The decline in Zillow's share price impacted the value of the deal. The acquisition led to additional costs for Zillow in Q4 and that reduced their earnings. Shares of Zillow rose +$6 in afterhours.
Earnings are winding down pretty fast. The highlights for next week are Jack in the Box on Tuesday, Marriott and EOG on Wednesday, Walmart, Priceline and Nordstrom on Thursday followed by Deere on Friday. The lack of material earnings means the market will focus more on the earnings we do have. While 79% of companies have reported earnings that beat the street the earnings guidance has been especially bad. The ratio of negative to positive guidance is 5.6 to 1 and normal is 2:1.
Security firm, Kaspersky Lab, will publish a report on Monday showing that more than 100 banks in 30 countries have lost more than $300 million to hackers. It will go down as one of the biggest bank robberies ever and was perpetrated by a criminal group that included Russians, Chinese and Europeans. The hackers infiltrated the banks with malicious software that sat dormant for months monitoring bank processes and daily routines. When the software went active based on all the accumulated data hundreds of millions of dollars was transferred from banks in the U.S., Russia, Japan, Switzerland and the Netherlands into dummy accounts setup in other countries. While Kaspersky has evidence of at least $300 million in losses the company believes the actual loss could be triple that amount.
Kaspersky said because of nondisclosure agreements with the banks that called them in to analyze the attacks they can't identify the banks but the White House and the FBI have been briefed on the findings. The amounts transferred were kept under levels that would have triggered additional scrutiny but the largest transfers hit $10 million. The security company said the group "Carbanak cybergang" represented an increase in the sophistication of cyber attacks on financial firms. After gaining access to the bank systems they installed a Remote Access Tool or RAT that could capture videos and screenshots of computer screens and transactions on employee computers. The goal was to be able to mimic valid transactions so the transfers would go unnoticed.
The group setup fake accounts at JP Morgan Chase and the Agricultural Bank of China to receive the transferred funds. Neither bank would comment to the New York Times. When it came time to retrieve the funds the group sent commands to ATMs at numerous locations to dispense all its cash at a preset time when an accomplice would be waiting. In one such instance the accomplice did not appear and the ATM just started spewing cash for anyone nearby to grab. This alerted authorities to the scam. One bank lost $7.3 million through ATM withdrawals alone. Other methods included inflating the digital balance in a random individuals account by thousands of dollars then transferring the money away from the bank into other accounts then returning the digital balance to the original amount over a period of just a few minutes. The user was never the wiser that his account had been used. Link to full story
The increasing incidence of cyber attacks is going to increase the importance of security firms like FireEye (FEYE), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Symantec (SYMC), CheckPoint (CHKP) and others. These firms will become indispensible to corporations to not only prevent these kinds of attacks but track the intrusions and help identify the culprits when they do occur. These companies are investing heavily in research and technology and should be in your portfolio.
Crude oil only gained 61 cents for the week but it closed at a 6-week high at $52.65. It is pretty much a tie between those analysts that believe oil has bottomed and those that believe we will see lower lows. OPEC helped lift prices last week when they sharply upgraded their expectations for demand. They now expect demand for OPEC oil in 2015 to be 29.21 mbpd an increase of 430,000 bpd from their last forecast. They now expect non-OPEC supply to increase only 850,000 bpd in 2015 and -420,000 bpd less than their prior forecast. OPEC produced 30.15 mbpd in January, down -53,000 bpd from December.
OPEC officials said the sharp decline in capex spending and the rapid decline in active rigs in the U.S. would slow the growth in U.S. production. OPEC now believes U.S. production will be lower by -170,000 bpd. Global demand is expected to grow by 1.17 mbpd in 2016 to 92.32 mbpd.
U.S. crude inventories rose by another 4.9 million barrels to 417.9 million and an 80 year high. Beware the price when refiners and tank farms run out of storage capacity.
Active rigs in the U.S. declined last week by -98 to 1,358. Oil rigs declined -84 to 1,056 and gas rigs fell -14 to 300. That is an 18-year low for gas rigs. Active rigs have now declined -572 or -29.7% since the cycle high of 1,931 in September. This is the fastest decline on record.
Multiple indexes broke out to new highs on Friday. However, a breakout is not a one day event. The three day rule definitely applies. In this case we don't consider it an actual breakout unless the market remains over the old highs and adds to its gains for at least three days. The S&P only closed about 6 points over its old closing high of 2,090.57 and momentum was sluggish. In cases like these we have to be on watch for a double top to form at this level and for the index to roll over. While I am not expecting that it is always a caution when indexes return to prior highs.
I believe the Dec/Jan volatility was consolidation from the 2014 gains. Despite the number of days where the Dow lost triple digits the maximum declines were only about -4%. While some of them were scary there was no real danger since support always held.
We consolidated for about six weeks with three major attempts to sell off but none could break support. This gave the bulls confidence and now they are pressing the advantage. If the S&P can press on to psychological resistance at 2,100 and actually surpass it then investors should appear in volume and we will start a new leg higher.
The wall of worry is starting to crack. Q4 earnings dropped sharply in the early days of the cycle but have rebounded to +7.5% growth. Job growth appears to be strong and improving. However, earnings are expected to decline -1.9% for Q1 due mostly to the energy sector. Recent economic reports have been declining. Offsetting the economic worries is the hope that Russia will cease hostilities in the Ukraine, Greece will work out a deal and China will enact a new stimulus program. Also, German GDP actually rose in the last report.
While the economic and geopolitical fundamentals are actually in turmoil the Fed just keeps on repeating the party line that the economy is growing and apparently the investing public believes them.
The bulls are climbing the wall of worry and the positive data points are actually accelerating the climb.
Now that we have a tentative breakout it will be up to investors to either confirm it with further gains or quickly take profits now that we have returned to the December levels.
The S&P is facing psychological resistance at 2,100 and the first target level of analysts for the end of 2015. This fact will not be lost on the investing public. Once over that level the next resistance is in the range of 2,125.
The Dow benefitted from rising oil prices with CVX, XOM and CAT leading the gains on Friday. However, it was hardly a charge to new highs. The Dow only gained +46 points and did not reach a new high. American Express knocked off more than 50 Dow points over the last two days and was a weight on the index. There were quite a few names on the losing side of the ledger but all but two were only fractional losses. There was simply no excitement on the Dow stocks. In theory this is because of the negative impact of the strong dollar since all the companies operate internationally.
The Dow closing high in December was 18,053.71. The high on Friday was 18,037 so even the intraday high failed to reach the December levels. The intraday high in December was 18,103 so the Dow needs to add another 100 points to really threaten a breakout.
Support is now 17,800 and resistance those 18,053 and 18,103 levels.
The Dow also has some long term uptrend resistance in the 18,150-18,200 range.
The Nasdaq Composite has broken out. Unlike the wimpy +6 point breakout on the S&P the Nasdaq is in lift off mode. The strong resistance at 4,800 has been strongly broken by a two day ramp to 4,894 at Friday's close. This is a real breakout and shorts are running scared. In the table below there were quite a few big gainers on Friday with only seven stocks losing more than $2 on the Nasdaq. Market breadth was strongly positive with 1,629 advancers to 945 decliners. There were 130 new 52-week highs and the most since the day after Christmas when the index set the last 15-year high.
Apple has broken out with a $7 gain over the last material resistance at $120. This helped power the Nasdaq higher. Google is also at a post November high after a really ugly month. Amazon is at a 52-week high after surprising with strong earnings in late January.
The tech sector is on fire with the Semiconductor Index also in breakout mode. Biotechs have not been leading but the sector indexes are finally showing life again and they could lead the Nasdaq higher next week.
There is uptrend resistance at 4,925 and support is well back at 4,800 and 4,725.
The historic high close was 5,132 in March of 2000.
The Russell 2000 broke over strong resistance at 1,208 and the prior high close of 1,219 to close at 1,223 on Friday. This was another wimpy breakout that needs to be confirmed by several more days of gains. A new high by +4 points is barely a new high. In theory the small caps don't have the strong dollar exposure and should continue to rise as long as the U.S. economy remains in growth mode.
Resistance 1,225, support 1,208 and 1,200.
The Dow Transports did move higher by +1% last week but they are struggling. Oil prices have quit going down and fuel prices are rising. They should continue to be under pressure until the economic reports improve. Slowing economics and rising fuel prices are not a recipe for a transport breakout.
I believe the market is going to try and move higher. While U.S. investors have grown tired of the Greek headlines we still face a danger from that if no agreement is reached. The Ukraine annexation has reached the point where nobody on this side of the pond seems to care so that should have little impact on the U.S. markets. The FOMC minutes on Wednesday should be the next hurdle but without a significant change in tone they should just reinforce what traders already know.
I would watch for further upside confirmation by the S&P and Russell 2000 and without that I would be cautious about buying this rally. Any further gains would be a positive signal for investors so be prepared to climb aboard if the train leaves the station.
Winter storm Neptune is bearing down on the Northeast with some of the lowest temperatures in 20 years. The Weather Channel said wind chills in New York could be -30 below on Monday. Apparently the Polar Vortex has returned with a vengeance. Temperatures in Boston could dip below zero for the first time since 1994. The area has up to 5 feet of snow on the ground and more on the way. This is unprecedented in modern times.
Retail sales in January declined -0.8% after a -0.9% decline in December. If the port problems in California continue much longer the declines are going to get a lot worse. If a complete shutdown occurs the results could be catastrophic. Already the impact of the long running port slowdown will impact GDP and cause the loss of thousands of jobs. Without merchandise to sell the stores will lay off workers. Without parts to fuel the manufacturing process many factories will lay off workers. The transportation supply chain is grinding to a halt with goods to be imported into California still locked on more than 35 ships anchored offshore Los Angeles harbor and every port on the coast.
The labor problem is very unrealistic to people who don't live in California. A dock worker earns $147,000 a year, plus $35,000 in employer paid healthcare and an annual pension of $80,000 according to press releases. Add in overtime and the total wages and benefits balloons to more than $250,000 a year. They are negotiating to get a hefty raise above those numbers. Shipping companies announced on Thursday they were partially shutting down the docks for four days in the middle of the dispute. That is basically a lockout where the workers don't get paid. The shipping companies don't want to pay overtime because they claim the dock workers have slowed production to the point that it requires constant overtime to get any ships unloaded. "Slowing down production significantly represents a strike with pay." The vessel trade at West Coast ports represents 3.5% of GDP. A continued slowdown or eventual shutdown would be economic suicide.
Greece could win the debt argument. Greece owes the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) 315 billion euros. They can't afford to even pay the interest on the debt and will never be able to pay off the actual debt. The Eurozone is the bank and they have two choices. They can play hardball and kick Greece out of the Eurozone and forfeit the entire balance. There would be massive write downs and recapitalizations. It would be a horrendous problem for the eurozone.
The second option is to restructure the debt by writing off a large portion and extending the payment stream for decades into the future so the payment shrinks to the point where Greece can at least make the payments. Basically this is the equivalent of kicking the can way down the road. The banks realize they will never be repaid. However, with a 50 year repayment schedule they can write off the balance slowly over the next several decades so when Greece finally defaults it won't be such a catastrophe.
The Eurozone would survive intact for a few more years and on the surface "face would be saved" and the status quo would continue. Greece wants the ECB to buy Greek bonds with a 5 year maturity, which would give Greece some money to pay the interest on the big debt. Everyone could go back to business as usual and the talks would restart five years from now. The Greek theory is that the ECB is ready to launch QE so launch some towards Greece and the short term problem is solved.
The eurozone has the biggest problem. While Greece was stupid enough to accept the bailout and 315 billion euros of debt the eurozone was even more stupid to lend it to them when they knew they had no chance of paying it back. Obviously the eurozone was the most stupid in this deal and now they are paying for their stupidity.
The indexes are breaking out to a new high so the bull market is alive and well. At least that is the conventional wisdom. However, Credit Suisse just lowered their S&P midyear target for 2015 from 2,250 to 2,100 only 3 points above Friday's close. His end of year target dropped from 2,200 to 2,150. Analyst Andrew Garthwaite said the gains from now until the end of the year to be just 5% and the lowest gains in five years. Previously Garthwaite had been expecting 2,250 at midyear and 2,200 at the end of December.
He said U.S. and global earnings revisions are at 6 and 3 year lows respectively and levels that have been associated with flat markets in the past. He said geopolitical headlines and economics are likely to be a headwind until summer. He still expects gains for the year but well below prior year gains.
UBS analysts Ramin Nakisa and Stephane Deo warned "the calm of the markets is not consistent with near-term risks." They recommend cutting exposure to stocks because of geopolitical and global economic risks. They said the market is "very sanguine" about the potential for a sell off and "We believe it is time to reduce equity exposure."
This comes at the same time that several SEC filings from various hedge funds show they are reducing their exposure to stocks. David Tepper's Appaloosa Management cut exposure to U.S. stocks by 40%. Appaloosa reduced equity exposure by -$2.74 billion to $4 billion by exiting positions in Citigroup, Halliburton, Facebook, Ford, Alibaba, CBS and Apple. The firm also sold almost all its shares in the SPY that tracks the S&P-500.
Technician Tom McClellan said he turned neutral on the market at Thursday's close. He believes the markets are putting in a short term top and are now due for two weeks of choppiness, followed by an upturn at the end of February. However, the lack of the classic signs of a major top makes him believe the market will move higher in March.
Putin won again. The Minsk Summit with Putin, Merkel and Hollande only had one possible outcome. Putin would agree to some concessions in order to avoid being the villain. Had he snubbed Merkel and Hollande he would have lost what little political credibility he has left and guaranteed a new round of tougher sanctions from Europe. Now that the agreement is in the books Putin is seen as the peacemaker for at least the next several days. When the agreement fails and fighting breaks out again he can blame it on Ukraine forces and launch a new wave of attacks to gain more ground.
Think about this. Putin has claimed for months that Russian troops are not in the Ukraine and he has no influence over the conflict. However, he is willing to negotiate terms like troop withdrawals, neutral zones and a halt to artillery fire. Obviously his tattered veil of denial is falling apart. There is almost no chance the Russian/rebel troops will honor the cease fire for more than a few days at most.
The $564.1 million Powerball jackpot was won by three people. One each in North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico. The North Carolina winner was a 26 yr old unemployed single mother of four. Since she will receive about $130 million in a cash payment she should not have to ever work again. Odds are good she will not remain single long given the vast army of suitors that will be calling soon. With odds of 1 in 175,000,000 you have a better chance of being killed by a falling asteroid (1 in 700,000) or many times more likely to be killed by lightning (1 in 136,000). Odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 12 million, killed in a plane crash 1 in 8,000 or play professional football 1 in 1 million.
The government has decided that cholesterol is no longer bad for you. The nation's top nutrition panel has decided to drop warnings about cholesterol laden food as a health risk. The panel has found that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a "nutrient of concern." This follows multiple studies in recent years that found cholesterol in your diet may not significantly affect the amount of cholesterol in your blood or increase the risk of heart disease. This reverses the panel's warnings for the last 40 years. Oops! How many egg white omelets have you endured over the last 40 years in an effort to eat healthy? Many will be celebrating this news this weekend with some barbecued ribs or a juicy rib-eye steak. I am sticking with my low fat vegan diet because the fat will kill you much faster than the cholesterol.
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"It was never my thinking that made the big money for me. It was always my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight!"