April 28, 2008

Market Comments for April 28, 2008

1) Natural Gas jumps to a new post Katrina high of $11.40. Crude fell. The Atlantic hurricane season starts in four weeks. The stock market is dead, waiting for the Fed news. It was a good day for a multistrategy approach.

2) Continental Airlines pulled out of its merger with United (UAUA) three days before the announcement. After an exhaustive look at the books, Continental didn't like what it saw. United has accelerated its merger talks with US Air.

3) Mars and Wrigley are merging with a private equity participation by Warren Buffet. Just his kind of deal. Mars is one of the best managed food companies in the US with an international brand. This is fanning speculation of a takeover bid of Hershey by Cadbury Schweppes.

4) Fact of the day: If GDP growth is at 1% per capital GDP growth is falling because the population increases by 1% a year. That is why people may feel they are in a recession.

5) USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are the only two major newspapers that grew last year. This is a dying industry. Advertisers are decamping en masse to the internet. Buy Google (GOOG).

6) One of the sectors hardest hit by the recession has been casual dining. It could be a nice recovery play when the consumer comes out of his bomb shelter. Best of breed here is Darden Restaurants (DRI) with Olive Garden and Red Lobster, followed by Chuck E. Cheese (CEC), the Wolfgang Puck offshoot, California Pizza Kitchen (CKKI), Brinker International (EAT), and Chipotle (CMG).

7) Another Fact of the day: According to Freddie Mac, during 2002-2007, $51 billion was taken out in home equity loans to meet day to day living expenses. Not good. What are people going to live on, now that the equity is gone? Expect the food bank business to boom.

8) Here is a somewhat depressing stock play. Thanks to the war in Iraq, 5,000 people a year require artificial arms and legs. A leader in this field is Stryker (SYK), an innovative maker of high tech orthopedic devices. At $62 it is down from last year's high of $75.

April 28, 2008

Market Comments for April 28, 2008

1) Natural Gas jumps to a new post Katrina high of $11.40. Crude fell. The Atlantic hurricane season starts in four weeks. The stock market is dead, waiting for the Fed news. It was a good day for a multistrategy approach.

2) Continental Airlines pulled out of its merger with United (UAUA) three days before the announcement. After an exhaustive look at the books, Continental didn't like what it saw. United has accelerated its merger talks with US Air.

3) Mars and Wrigley are merging with a private equity participation by Warren Buffet. Just his kind of deal. Mars is one of the best managed food companies in the US with an international brand. This is fanning speculation of a takeover bid of Hershey by Cadbury Schweppes.

4) Fact of the day: If GDP growth is at 1% per capital GDP growth is falling because the population increases by 1% a year. That is why people may feel they are in a recession.

5) USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are the only two major newspapers that grew last year. This is a dying industry. Advertisers are decamping en masse to the internet. Buy Google (GOOG).

6) One of the sectors hardest hit by the recession has been casual dining. It could be a nice recovery play when the consumer comes out of his bomb shelter. Best of breed here is Darden Restaurants (DRI) with Olive Garden and Red Lobster, followed by Chuck E. Cheese (CEC), the Wolfgang Puck offshoot, California Pizza Kitchen (CKKI), Brinker International (EAT), and Chipotle (CMG).

7) Another Fact of the day: According to Freddie Mac, during 2002-2007, $51 billion was taken out in home equity loans to meet day to day living expenses. Not good. What are people going to live on, now that the equity is gone? Expect the food bank business to boom.

8) Here is a somewhat depressing stock play. Thanks to the war in Iraq, 5,000 people a year require artificial arms and legs. A leader in this field is Stryker (SYK), an innovative maker of high tech orthopedic devices. At $62 it is down from last year's high of $75.

April 25, 2008

Market Comments for April 25, 2008

1) There is a growing consensus that the euro has peaked for the year at $1.60. The currency ($XEU) is a strong short against the dollar at these levels. If the Fed doesn't cut interest rates next week you can expect the euro to collapse and stocks to soar. Commodities have started a major sell off with the exception of Natural Gas, which hit a new 2 ?? year high today of $11.15.

2) The sell off in the bond market is accelerating and is going global. There was a major crash in the Japanese government bond market last night. The selling was so aggressive that authorities halted the futures market for 15 minutes. Yields on the 10 year JGB have shot up from 1.35% to 1.70% this month. US 2 year Treasury notes are yielding 15 bp over Fed funds.

3) You're not drinking enough double shot frappocinos! Starbucks announced terrible earnings and the stock fell 12%. Howard Shultz says the economic environment is the worst in the company's history.

4) More info on Apple. Mac's global pc market share has risen to 3.8%, a new high. With its current leverage, each 0.25% increase in market share sends $700 million straight to the bottom line. There is an easy 50% move up in the stock to $250 in the next year. Lenovo is now looking at selling its laptops with the option of having Mac operating software. Another thing helping Apple is the fact that up to 40% of the Vista copies sold in Asia are pirated and that many companies are delaying the adoption of the Microsoft operating system until the bugs are worked out.

5) The spreads over Treasuries on every type of debt instrument are shrinking dramatically, including munis, sub prime loans, credit default swaps, commercial loans, and corporates from triple A's to junk. The appetite for risk is back, at least temporarily.

6) Consumer sentiment dropped to a 26 year low in March according to the University of Michigan. The Dow sold off 100 points.

7) The Shanghai market was up 9% yesterday, its biggest gain in 6 years. Olympics here we come!

8) Fact of the day: Click fraud accounts for 16% of all internet advertising.

9) The 2-10 year Treasury spread has dropped to 150 bp. I recommended a 10:1 leveraged short last month at 260 bp. The trade would have made 11%.

April 25, 2008

Market Comments for April 25, 2008

1) There is a growing consensus that the euro has peaked for the year at $1.60. The currency ($XEU) is a strong short against the dollar at these levels. If the Fed doesn't cut interest rates next week you can expect the euro to collapse and stocks to soar. Commodities have started a major sell off with the exception of Natural Gas, which hit a new 2 ?? year high today of $11.15.

2) The sell off in the bond market is accelerating and is going global. There was a major crash in the Japanese government bond market last night. The selling was so aggressive that authorities halted the futures market for 15 minutes. Yields on the 10 year JGB have shot up from 1.35% to 1.70% this month. US 2 year Treasury notes are yielding 15 bp over Fed funds.

3) You're not drinking enough double shot frappocinos! Starbucks announced terrible earnings and the stock fell 12%. Howard Shultz says the economic environment is the worst in the company's history.

4) More info on Apple. Mac's global pc market share has risen to 3.8%, a new high. With its current leverage, each 0.25% increase in market share sends $700 million straight to the bottom line. There is an easy 50% move up in the stock to $250 in the next year. Lenovo is now looking at selling its laptops with the option of having Mac operating software. Another thing helping Apple is the fact that up to 40% of the Vista copies sold in Asia are pirated and that many companies are delaying the adoption of the Microsoft operating system until the bugs are worked out.

5) The spreads over Treasuries on every type of debt instrument are shrinking dramatically, including munis, sub prime loans, credit default swaps, commercial loans, and corporates from triple A's to junk. The appetite for risk is back, at least temporarily.

6) Consumer sentiment dropped to a 26 year low in March according to the University of Michigan. The Dow sold off 100 points.

7) The Shanghai market was up 9% yesterday, its biggest gain in 6 years. Olympics here we come!

8) Fact of the day: Click fraud accounts for 16% of all internet advertising.

9) The 2-10 year Treasury spread has dropped to 150 bp. I recommended a 10:1 leveraged short last month at 260 bp. The trade would have made 11%.

April 24, 2008

Market Comments for April 24, 2008

1) Europe is seen as being 12-18 months behind the US economic cycle and they could well be cutting interest rates later this year. This will cause the euro, crude, gold, and Treasuries to fall sharply and the dollar, global stocks, junk bonds, munis, and sub prime loans to rise. Who knows, even real estate might start to recover. This is the call to make in financial markets this year.

2) The necessity to follow markets 24 hours a day couldn't be more evident with Apple shares last night. When the earnings came out after the close the stock trade from $160 to $170. When the guidance came out hours later the stock dropped from $170 to $155. It then rallied back to $170. This all happened overnight in OTC trade.

3) Arby's is buying Wendy's. I'm sure this will have a big impact on your dietary preferences. What is next? Chicken burgers?

4) New home sales for March came in at -8.5%. The inventory of unsold homes reached 11 months, the highest since 1981. Prices were down an average of 13% YOY, and that doesn't include generous buyer incentives.

5) The reason for the global food shortage is that the average farm size in Asia is 1-2 acres compared to 500 acres in the US. Farming benefits greatly from economies of scale.

6) The government has moved to criminalize rumors. The SEC charged an individual with market manipulation for spreading a false rumor about Blackrock's bid for Alliance Data Systems. The person first shorted the stock and made $26,000 on the trade after a 17% fall in the stock. Next they will criminalize thinking.

7) One of the few commodities that has gone down in the past year is lumber, which has been the obvious victim of the housing crisis. The futures contract has plummeted from $460 to $190, down 60%. Going long the commodity could be a nice recovery play. It is also a foreign demand play as the US is still a major exporter of wood. Alternatively, you could buy Weyerhaeuser (WY) which has dropped from $85 to $58, Temple Inland (TIN) $50 to $10, or Louisiana Pacific (LPX) $27 to $8. Another play is Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), an investor in forests.

April 24, 2008

Market Comments for April 24, 2008

1) Europe is seen as being 12-18 months behind the US economic cycle and they could well be cutting interest rates later this year. This will cause the euro, crude, gold, and Treasuries to fall sharply and the dollar, global stocks, junk bonds, munis, and sub prime loans to rise. Who knows, even real estate might start to recover. This is the call to make in financial markets this year.

2) The necessity to follow markets 24 hours a day couldn't be more evident with Apple shares last night. When the earnings came out after the close the stock trade from $160 to $170. When the guidance came out hours later the stock dropped from $170 to $155. It then rallied back to $170. This all happened overnight in OTC trade.

3) Arby's is buying Wendy's. I'm sure this will have a big impact on your dietary preferences. What is next? Chicken burgers?

4) New home sales for March came in at -8.5%. The inventory of unsold homes reached 11 months, the highest since 1981. Prices were down an average of 13% YOY, and that doesn't include generous buyer incentives.

5) The reason for the global food shortage is that the average farm size in Asia is 1-2 acres compared to 500 acres in the US. Farming benefits greatly from economies of scale.

6) The government has moved to criminalize rumors. The SEC charged an individual with market manipulation for spreading a false rumor about Blackrock's bid for Alliance Data Systems. The person first shorted the stock and made $26,000 on the trade after a 17% fall in the stock. Next they will criminalize thinking.

7) One of the few commodities that has gone down in the past year is lumber, which has been the obvious victim of the housing crisis. The futures contract has plummeted from $460 to $190, down 60%. Going long the commodity could be a nice recovery play. It is also a foreign demand play as the US is still a major exporter of wood. Alternatively, you could buy Weyerhaeuser (WY) which has dropped from $85 to $58, Temple Inland (TIN) $50 to $10, or Louisiana Pacific (LPX) $27 to $8. Another play is Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), an investor in forests.

April 23, 2008

Market Comments for April 23, 2008

1) In Q1 Toyota surpassed GM as the world's largest car maker for the first time. It sold 2.2 million units, 200,000 more than GM. Toyota has sold more than 1 million Priuses since its launch in 2002. In the meantime, GM leads in Hummer sales. GM stock has dropped from $42 to $18 since October.

2) Yahoo's (YHOO) Q1 earnings came in at $0.11/share on $1.25 billion in revenues, in line with expectations. The DOJ has said that it is concerned about a potential tie up between Yahoo and Google. ??Microsoft will probably raise its bid to cash by Saturday and bring an end to this sorry mess.

3) $150 billion in sub prime loans have been written off so far.

4) Apple (AAPL) earnings came in much better than expected. The company is seeing 55% earnings growth with only 30% revenue growth, producing great earnings leverage. Earnings are growing at 10 times those of the rest of its industry in the US and three times the global growth rate.?? It sold 10 million I phones in the last year which is less than 1% of the global cell phone market of 1.1 billion units. It sold 2.3 macs during the quarter. Apple also announced new software aimed at business users of I Phones. I recommended the stock as a strong buy in February at $120. It traded at $170 today, up 42%.

5) Rough rice hit a new all time high of $25 per hundred pounds, up from $10 last year. Walmart (WMT) has announced nationwide rationing of rice. The average American eats 20 pounds a year of rice compared to 150 pounds by the average Asian. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, shipping 9 million tons, or $4.5 billion worth last year.

6) Joke of the day: The credit crisis is now so severe that the only thing still holding a AAA is the Auto Club.

7) Pulte Homes announced dreadful Q1 earnings.

8) The two year Treasury note yield now is only 3 bp less than the Federal funds rate of 2.25%, an important indication that risk taking is returning to the market. A month ago it was yielding 100 bp less.

9) Vietnam is a country worth looking at. The Ho Chi Minh index has fallen from 1100 to 500 in the past year, despite the country bringing in an economic growth rate of 8%. It is one of the few early stage emerging markets with a tradable stock market.

April 23, 2008

Market Comments for April 23, 2008

1) In Q1 Toyota surpassed GM as the world's largest car maker for the first time. It sold 2.2 million units, 200,000 more than GM. Toyota has sold more than 1 million Priuses since its launch in 2002. In the meantime, GM leads in Hummer sales. GM stock has dropped from $42 to $18 since October.

2) Yahoo's (YHOO) Q1 earnings came in at $0.11/share on $1.25 billion in revenues, in line with expectations. The DOJ has said that it is concerned about a potential tie up between Yahoo and Google. ??Microsoft will probably raise its bid to cash by Saturday and bring an end to this sorry mess.

3) $150 billion in sub prime loans have been written off so far.

4) Apple (AAPL) earnings came in much better than expected. The company is seeing 55% earnings growth with only 30% revenue growth, producing great earnings leverage. Earnings are growing at 10 times those of the rest of its industry in the US and three times the global growth rate.?? It sold 10 million I phones in the last year which is less than 1% of the global cell phone market of 1.1 billion units. It sold 2.3 macs during the quarter. Apple also announced new software aimed at business users of I Phones. I recommended the stock as a strong buy in February at $120. It traded at $170 today, up 42%.

5) Rough rice hit a new all time high of $25 per hundred pounds, up from $10 last year. Walmart (WMT) has announced nationwide rationing of rice. The average American eats 20 pounds a year of rice compared to 150 pounds by the average Asian. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, shipping 9 million tons, or $4.5 billion worth last year.

6) Joke of the day: The credit crisis is now so severe that the only thing still holding a AAA is the Auto Club.

7) Pulte Homes announced dreadful Q1 earnings.

8) The two year Treasury note yield now is only 3 bp less than the Federal funds rate of 2.25%, an important indication that risk taking is returning to the market. A month ago it was yielding 100 bp less.

9) Vietnam is a country worth looking at. The Ho Chi Minh index has fallen from 1100 to 500 in the past year, despite the country bringing in an economic growth rate of 8%. It is one of the few early stage emerging markets with a tradable stock market.

April 21, 2008

Market Comments for April 21, 2008

1) Another bail out, this time for National City, for $6 billion, one of the many weak links in the banking system. The stock has fallen from $37 to $6. This is becoming a recurring Monday morning event. Bank of America (BAC) disappointed on earnings and the Dow fell an anemic 24 points on the news.

2) The Caterpillar (CAT) guidance says it all. The US sales forecast for 2008 is +3%. For Asia it is 37%. The chairman is talking about a 'crisis' of a global shortage of heavy equipment. I recommended a buy on March 20 at $73.80. It closed today at $82, up 15%.

3) Thanks to the strong performance of the financial markets last week the futures markets are no longer discounting a 50 bp cut in interest rate at the Fed May meeting. They are now predicting only a 25 bp cut and even that chance is declining.

4)?? A stock I like here at $65 is New York Stock Exchange Euronext (NYX). This is a play on the future volume of financial markets. They earn fixed fees on every transaction that goes through the stock market and is a license to print money. The stock fell from $100 on the threat of increased government regulation and the demise of the world financial system.

5) Another area ripe for recovery is the private equity and fund management area, many of which went public at the absolute top of the market a year ago. Buy Pzena Investment Management (PZN) at $10.50. This is a smaller hedge fund that went public at $20 in November. Once the debt markets free up these stocks will skyrocket.

6) The Hang Seng hit 25,000 last night. In February I gave you a chart showing you that it was a strong buy at 21,000. The Shanghai market has continued to go down and is now off 50% from its November high.

7) New highs for natural gas at $10.85 and crude at $117.60. Shell is claiming force majure on Nigerian deliveries.

April 21, 2008

Market Comments for April 21, 2008

1) Another bail out, this time for National City, for $6 billion, one of the many weak links in the banking system. The stock has fallen from $37 to $6. This is becoming a recurring Monday morning event. Bank of America (BAC) disappointed on earnings and the Dow fell an anemic 24 points on the news.

2) The Caterpillar (CAT) guidance says it all. The US sales forecast for 2008 is +3%. For Asia it is 37%. The chairman is talking about a 'crisis' of a global shortage of heavy equipment. I recommended a buy on March 20 at $73.80. It closed today at $82, up 15%.

3) Thanks to the strong performance of the financial markets last week the futures markets are no longer discounting a 50 bp cut in interest rate at the Fed May meeting. They are now predicting only a 25 bp cut and even that chance is declining.

4)?? A stock I like here at $65 is New York Stock Exchange Euronext (NYX). This is a play on the future volume of financial markets. They earn fixed fees on every transaction that goes through the stock market and is a license to print money. The stock fell from $100 on the threat of increased government regulation and the demise of the world financial system.

5) Another area ripe for recovery is the private equity and fund management area, many of which went public at the absolute top of the market a year ago. Buy Pzena Investment Management (PZN) at $10.50. This is a smaller hedge fund that went public at $20 in November. Once the debt markets free up these stocks will skyrocket.

6) The Hang Seng hit 25,000 last night. In February I gave you a chart showing you that it was a strong buy at 21,000. The Shanghai market has continued to go down and is now off 50% from its November high.

7) New highs for natural gas at $10.85 and crude at $117.60. Shell is claiming force majure on Nigerian deliveries.