Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Week Ahead: Ed’s Daily Notes for September 2nd   Leave a comment

Welcome back! Time to look at what lies ahead for this week.

The earnings are almost non-existent this week, with PVH Corp. (PVH) being the largest company reporting (on Wednesday).

But we do have some big U.S. economic reports due this week:

TUESDAY: ISM Manufacturing Index
WEDNESDAY: ADP Employment Report
THURSDAY: International Trade Gap Report
FRIDAY: August Employment Report


Posted September 2, 2014 by edmcgon in Economy, News

August 29th: Ed’s Daily Notes and Traders Corner   34 comments

The S&P 500 levels to watch today:

UPSIDE: 2001-2002 (2 data points), 2005 (August 26th’s high and the all-time high), and 2020 (top of the Bollinger Bands).
LAST CLOSE: 1996, inside the 1993-1998 (5 data points) range.
DOWNSIDE: 1982-1990 (July’s high and 5 data points), 1977 (August 20th’s low), 1971-1972 (2 data points), 1968 (June’s high), 1965 (50 day moving average), 1964 (August 15th’s high), 1959 (20 day moving average), 1958 (August 18th’s low), 1955 (August 14th’s high), 1947-1948 (2 data points), 1944 (August 11th’s high), 1941 (August 15th’s low), 1927-1939 (July’s low and 9 data points and the 100 day moving average), 1924 (May’s high), 1921 (August 4th’s low), 1916 (August 1st’s low), 1909-1913 (3 data points), 1904 (August 7th’s low), and 1898 (bottom of the Bollinger Bands).

S&P 500 Daily Momentum: Bullish (weakening)
S&P 500 Daily Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Weekly Momentum: Bearish (weakening)
S&P 500 Weekly Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Futures: Positive
Overall: Light volume with only small movement has left the technicals almost stalled this week. Momentum indicators for the S&P 500 seem headed to neutral, while overbought/oversold indicators still read about the same as they did at the beginning of the week.

And now for the news…

The Daily Beast: Why Obama Backed off More ISIS Strikes: His Own Team Couldn’t Agree on a Syria Strategy

After lots of bluster about striking ISIS on Syria, President Obama threw cold water on the idea Thursday, disappointing those who wanted him to take the fight to ISIS in Syria.
After a week of talk of eliminating the “cancer” of ISIS, President Obama said Thursday that he was not planning to significantly expand the war against the Islamic extremist movement anytime soon.

His remarks came after days of heated debate inside the top levels of his own national security bureaucracy about how, where, and whether to strike ISIS in Syria. But those deliberations – which included a bleak intelligence assessment of America’s potential allies in Syria — failed to produce a consensus battle plan. And so Obama, who has long been reluctant to enter into the Syrian conflict, told reporters Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for confronting ISIS on a regional level.

Only 875 more days of the lamest presidential administration ever…

Yahoo News: Nokia will have its revenge on the smartphone industry

Bobb posted this article yesterday in the comments:

Business Korea has just published a very provocative piece that depicts a monstrous troll attacking its home country’s pride and joy, Samsung. That troll, you’ll be surprised to learn, is Nokia.

The reason for this is easy to understand: Samsung may be forced to pay one of the history’s biggest patent royalty sums to Nokia, and fellow Korean electronics titan LG is not scot free, either.

What unleashed the beast in the Finnish company was its decision to sell its handset division to Microsoft a while back. As long as Nokia was a phone company, it was bound by a web of cross-licensing deals limiting how much it can charge for its thousands of handset-related patents. Nokia needed to use both essential and non-essential patents held by Samsung, Apple, Motorola and other industry giants, which put a rather severe cap on how much it could charge other phone vendors.

But when Nokia got out of handset business, the need for those cross-licensing deals vanished and Nokia emerged as a Non-Practicing Entity (NPE). Or as Business Korea defines the term, a patent troll.

This means the already competitive smartphone business just got a little more expensive.

Posted August 29, 2014 by edmcgon in News, Politics, Stocks, Technology

Ed’s Daily Notes for August 28th   3 comments

Bloomberg: Gold-Price Indicator Fading as ETPs Tumble by $71 Billion

Gold-backed funds that heralded record prices in 2011 and last year’s biggest sell-off in three decades are becoming less useful as market predictors.

After a decade of changing mostly in tandem, gold prices and holdings in exchange-traded products backed by bullion have the most-negative correlation since 2004. Investment in ETPs are headed for a fifth straight week of moving in the opposite direction of New York futures, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That would be the longest stretch since 2012, before investors began dumping gold.

Global ETPs that accumulated more bullion than France’s central bank in 2012 saw their influence wane as equities surged and the Federal Reserve took steps to ease economic stimulus, signaling higher interest rates that erode the appeal of gold as an alternative asset. As investors exited the funds, erasing about $71 billion of value, unrest from Ukraine to Gaza this year revived demand for the precious metal as a haven, boosting prices that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says aren’t sustainable.

“There is a disconnect” because “a lot of money has left,” said Mark Luschini, the chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. in Pittsburgh that oversees $65 billion. “For gold, this year has been all about the Federal Reserve and political tension, and at the moment, the rate-increase worries are overshadowing the safe-haven buying.”

The bloom is off the golden rose. That doesn’t make gold ETP’s a “sell”. It just means the actions of retail investors in equity markets is far less relevant to the price of gold now.

Business Insider (via Yahoo Finance): This Illustration Posted By Eric Schmidt Shows How Google Thinks About Innovation

Google is one of the largest, most influential technology companies in the world. But it didn’t start out that way, and it’s not easy to maintain that status. Google Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has shared some insight as to how Google views innovation and the competition.

Schmidt and Google’s former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg are publishing a book next month called “How Google Works.” The book dives into what Schmidt and Rosenberg learned as they helped build Google into what it is today.

Schmidt has been teasing the book by posting excerpts of illustrations and various tips from the book to his Google+ and Twitter page. His latest post emphasizes that tackling the market with different angles rather than simply trying to be better than your rival is crucial for success.

“It’s important to understand what’s going on around you, but the best way to stay ahead is a laser focus on building great products that people need,” Schmidt posted to Google+ along with the illustration.


Posted August 28, 2014 by edmcgon in News, Precious Metals, Stocks

Ed’s Daily Notes for August 27th   2 comments


Yahoo Finance: Rig company Seadrill hit by profit miss and cautious outlook

Seadrill, the world’s biggest offshore driller by market capitalisation, reported second-quarter earnings below forecasts on Wednesday and offered a cautious outlook for the rig market, sending its shares lower.

Seadrill, the crown jewel in shipping tycoon John Fredriksen’s business empire, has been hit like other rig firms by oil companies reining in spending to counter rising costs.

Seadrill’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the quarter came in at $641 million, below forecasts of $663 million in a Reuters poll of analysts and down from the $665 million it posted a year ago.

“The near-term market for ultra-deepwater drilling units continues to be challenging, partly driven by a reduction in exploration drilling that has led to a slower growth rate in overall upstream spending,” the company said in a statement.

…The company intends to prioritise returning cash to shareholders, it said, adding that it can maintain a quarterly dividend of 1 dollar per share well into 2016, even if the rig market fails to make a significant recovery.

While I have not had time to look over their latest financials, the last point is key, since the dividend is one of the top reasons I own SeaDrill shares. The other reason? They were dirt cheap when I bought them. If they drop back down to where I bought them, I might have to add some more. I will take a “wait and see” approach to it.

Posted August 27, 2014 by edmcgon in News, Stocks, Strategy, Uncategorized

Ed’s Daily Notes for August 26th   1 comment

Financial Times: François Hollande purges government after leftwing revolt

Plas brought this up yesterday:

François Hollande has purged his embattled Socialist government of leftwingers opposed to EU austerity after a revolt led by Arnaud Montebourg, the flamboyant economy minister.

Mr Montebourg quit the cabinet on Monday, delivering a blistering attack on what he called “absurd” austerity policies – supported by Mr Hollande – which had brought about “the most destructive crisis in Europe since 1929”.

The outspoken minister said in a televised statement that the eurozone’s fiscal stance was “the cause of the unnecessary prolongation of the economic crisis and the suffering of the European population”.

The cabinet crisis was triggered by figures this month showing there had been no growth in the French economy in the first half of the year, with unemployment continuing to rise.

The economic gloom alarmed the left, already worried by the deep unpopularity of the government. An Ifop poll at the weekend showed Mr Hollande’s approval rating at just 17 per cent, with prime minister Manuel Valls plunging nine points to 36 per cent.

This presents a unique market situation. On one hand, France moving farther away from Germany politically would destabilize the European Union. On the other hand:

Bloomberg: Draghi Pushes ECB Closer to QE as Deflation Risks Rise

Mario Draghi just pushed the European Central Bank closer to quantitative easing.

With euro-area data this week likely to show the weakest inflation since 2009, the ECB president used a high-powered central-banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to warn that investor bets on prices have “exhibited significant declines.”

Stocks rose, the euro fell and bond yields dropped to record lows today as the comments fanned speculation the ECB is finally heading for a form of monetary stimulus it has long avoided. Draghi previously said that a worsening of the medium-term inflation outlook would provide a reason for broad-based asset purchases.

The Aug. 22 speech “was a major event and marked a turning point in ECB rhetoric,” said Philippe Gudin, chief European economist at Barclays Plc in Paris. “We think the recent economic developments have increased the chance of outright QE as the next step.”

From a market perspective, central bank action always trumps politics (contrary to popular opinion). One can argue the ECB should have done this several years ago, although I don’t: As we have seen in the U.S., QE only creates economic window dressing by artificially pumping up markets and allowing banks to sell overpriced assets to the Fed (instead of lending money to truly help the economy). If Europe wants to pursue this, expect European markets to do well.

But what about the U.S.? With the Fed ending QE this Fall, around the same time we will possibly getting ECB action, the effect on the world economy should go like this: Dollar rises in value, euro falls, U.S. exports to Europe fall, European exports to the U.S. increase. However, because most European products tend to be high-end, unless the euro falls through the floor (which would require an exceedingly large QE from the ECB, which is not expected), European exports to the U.S. have limited upside. Overall, I would expect the U.S. exporters to be hurt by this news.

As an aside, I would also expect China to be hurt by this news, being effected in the same way as the U.S. If it hurts the Chinese economy severely enough, we might even see the Chinese de-pegging the yuan from the dollar. But this is speculation on activity at least a year away (more likely several years away). Honestly, it is hard to say what the Chinese may do.

Ed’s Daily Notes for August 25th   1 comment

For the week ahead, the big event will be the release of the second guess on 2nd Quarter U.S. GDP, coming Thursday at 8:30 am EST.

For earnings reports, I get Prospect Capital (PSEC) today, and SeaDrill (SDRL) on Wednesday. Both stocks are currently in my 401(k), which I use for long-term holdings.

Bloomberg: Jackson Hole Theme: Labor Markets Can’t Take Higher Rates

Global central bankers led by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said labor markets still have further to heal before their economies can weather higher interest rates.

Even as they signaled international monetary policies are set to diverge as economic recoveries increasingly differ, officials meeting over the weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, placed jobs at the center of their decision making by saying stronger hiring and wages are still needed to drive demand.

The focus on jobs suggests the Fed and Bank of England will tighten policy within a year as their economies show signs of strengthening. By contrast, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda acknowledged they may be forced to deploy fresh stimulus.

Making her debut as Fed chief at the annual central bankers’ conclave in the shadow of the Teton mountains, Yellen said while U.S. hiring has improved and the debate at the Fed is shifting toward when “we should begin dialing back our extraordinary accommodation,” there is still a “significant” underuse of the workforce, and the labor market has yet to fully recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Yellen can cry about “job market problems” all she wants, but she is facing an increasingly hawkish FOMC. As QE nears an end in October, those hawks will become louder.

Yahoo News: Iran says it downed Israeli drone over nuclear site

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard said it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.

This news is from Iran, so take it for what it is worth. And I would normally ignore it, except for the fact recent news stories have reasonably speculated at a potential Israeli strike in Iran. If you are dabbling in the oil markets, keep this in mind.

Posted August 25, 2014 by edmcgon in Economy, Federal Reserve, News, Stocks

August 22nd: Ed’s Daily Notes and Traders Corner   35 comments

The S&P 500 levels to watch today:

UPSIDE: 1994 (August 21st’s high and the all-time high), and 2001 (top of the Bollinger Bands).
DOWNSIDE: 1991 (July’s high), 1988 (August 20th’s high), 1986 (August 21st’s low), 1982 (August 19th’s high), 1977 (August 20th’s low), 1971-1972 (2 data points), 1968 (June’s high), 1964 (August 15th’s high), 1959 (50 day moving average), 1958 (August 18th’s low), 1955 (August 14th’s high), 1951 (20 day moving average), 1947-1948 (2 data points), 1944 (August 11th’s high), 1941 (August 15th’s low), 1927-1939 (July’s low and 9 data points), 1924 (May’s high), 1923 (100 day moving average), 1921 (August 4th’s low), 1916 (August 1st’s low), 1909-1913 (3 data points), 1904 (August 7th’s low), and 1902 (bottom of the Bollinger Bands).

S&P 500 Daily Momentum: Bullish
S&P 500 Daily Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Weekly Momentum: Bearish (weakening)
S&P 500 Weekly Overbought/oversold: Neutral (leaning overbought)
S&P 500 Futures: Slightly negative, almost neutral
Overall: With Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech today at 10 am EST, the markets are basically on the edge of their seats. But the S&P 500 has already had a big run-up this week, up 1.91%. What can Yellen say to push markets up further? Other than “QE forever!”, there isn’t much that she hasn’t already said. In addition, the technicals are getting dangerously close to overbought levels. One other thing: Have you noticed the Nasdaq hasn’t been participating as much in this week’s run-up? It is only up 1.5%. The Russell 2000, the small cap index, is only up 1.6%. On the other hand, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 2.26%. Overall, this tells me the big caps are moving up more than the small caps. A move into big caps is not a positive market sign folks. Be careful out there.

And now for the news…

Bloomberg: India to Unveil First Warship to Deter Chinese Submarines

India will unveil its first home-built anti-submarine warship tomorrow in a move to deter China from conducting underwater patrols near its shores.

Defense Minister Arun Jaitley will commission the 3,300-ton INS Kamorta at the southeastern Vishakapatnam port. The move comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the largest indigenously built guided-missile destroyer and vowed to bolster the country’s defenses so “no one dares to cast an evil glance at India.”

India is playing catch-up to China, which built 20 such warships in the past two years and sent a nuclear submarine to the Indian Ocean in December for a two-month anti-piracy patrol. The waters are home to shipping lanes carrying about 80 percent of the world’s seaborne oil, mostly headed to China and Japan.

Anybody get the feeling World War III might take place in Asia instead of Europe?