Rather than pick up where they left off and rise, stocks are trading with a bit of a holiday hangover today. Crude oil is higher, bonds are lower, and gold, silver, and the dollar are mixed.

On the news front…

Car buyers are keeping dealers busy this year, defying forecasts of a cooldown due to rising interest rates or higher costs. Analysts are expecting sales to have risen 12% to 14% in the first half of 2023 when all the data is in.

That puts 2023 sales on pace to hit 15 million, give or take, up nicely from 13.9 million in 2022. That would be well shy of the 17-million-plus pace often seen before the pandemic. But Investors in auto stocks don’t seem to be worried about caveats like that. Ford Motor (F) shares are up around 40% year-to-date, while General Motors (GM) is up 16%. Tesla (TSLA) has soared a remarkable 158%.

The riskier the debt, the...BETTER it’s performing? That’s what we’re seeing happen in the corporate bond market in 2023. Lower-rated CCC bonds have returned around 10% this year on average, far ahead of the sub-3% return generated by higher-rated AA bonds.

That’s what you typically see in an economic recovery or when worries about recession fade. And it underscores why I keep saying “Be Bold” is the better investment approach!

Finally, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Parcel Service (UPS) have been arguing over a contract for some time now. But negotiations broke down recently, increasing the chance more than 330,000 UPS drivers will walk off the job at the end of July. Drivers want higher wages and the elimination of a two-tier system they allege underpays workers.