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Groupthink Or Black Swan Rising? Not A Single ‘Economist’ Expects An Economic Downturn

Courtesy of Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man

A 100% Consensus

This doesn't happen very often. Marketwatch reports that Jim Bianco points out in a recent market comment that the 67 economists taking part in a regular Bloomberg survey have a unanimous forecast regarding treasury bond yields: they will be higher 6 months from now. This is a truly striking result, and given the well-known propensity of mainstream economists to guess wrong (their forecasts largely consist of extrapolating the most recent short term trend), it may provide us with a few insights.

In fact, considering that there have been only a handful of instances since 2009 when a majority of the economists surveyed predicted a decline in yields, we can already state that their forecasts regarding treasuries are quite often (though obviously not always) wide of the mark. In fact, so far this year they are already wrong again – and so are fund managers, as they hold their lowest exposure to treasuries in seven years.

This is not the only thing there is complete unanimity about. Not a single economist taking part in a separate survey believes an economic downturn is possible.

“Economists are unwavering in their assessment of where yields are headed in the next half year.

Jim Bianco, of Bianco Research, points out in a market comment Tuesday that a survey of 67 economists this month shows every single one of them expects the 10-year Treasury yield to rise in the next six months.

The survey, which is done each month by Bloomberg, has been notably bearish for some time now, with nearly everyone expecting rising rates. In March, 97% expected rising rates. In February, 95% expected yields to climb. And in January, 97% held that expectation. Since the beginning of 2009, there have only been a handful of instances where less than 50% expected rates to rise.

Still, the fact that every single survey participant is bearish is striking. The last time the survey had that result was in May 2012, when benchmark yields were well below 2%.

“Literally there is maybe one economist in the United States straddling the bullish/bearish divide on interest rates. The rest are bearish,”


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French Telecom Company Does Biggest Junk Bond Sale Ever; Bidding Wars for Junk; AOL Flashback

Courtesy of Mish.

With central bankers globally suppressing interest rates, the such for yield elsewhere is on. One of the places investors have turned is speculative junk bond offerings.

Please consider French Company Does Biggest Junk Bond Sale Ever.

Numericable (NUM), which provides cable and internet service in France and other European markets, sold a record amount of high-yield bonds Wednesday with some priced in dollars and others in euros.

It’s sold $7.78 billion and €2.25 billion in notes that yield 5% or more, according to a statement from Altice, the multinational telecom group that owns Numericable. Altice issued $2.9 billion and €2.1 billion in bonds that yield more than 7%.

Numericable will use the proceeds to finance its acquisition of rival cable company SFR.

Overall, the deal represents the largest sale of high-yield debt on record, according to Dealogic. It surpassed Sprint’s $6.5 billion debt sale in September.

Dollar Equivalent Junk

All told Attice issued 10.68  billion in dollar denominated bonds and 4.35 billion in euro denominated bonds. The grand total in dollar equivalent junk is an amazing $16.69 billion.

Bidding Wars for Junk

$10.89 billion of that went to buy out a rival company at an undoubtedly absurd price due to bidding wars.

The New York Times has some bidding war info in Numericable Raises $10.9 Billion in Junk Bond Offering.

The battle for SFR pitted two French billionaires against each other: Martin Bouygues, who runs the diversified industrial group that bears his name, and the French entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, who since 2002 has built Altice into a global operation with cable and cellphone assets in Europe and the Caribbean.

Bruno Lasserre, the president of the Autorité de la Concurrence, has said that the French competition watchdog would conduct a “thorough review” of the Numericable-SFR combination, but that review is not expected to preclude the deal.



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The Middle Class In Canada Is Now Doing Better Than The Middle Class In America

Courtesy of Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse

For most of Canada's existence, it has been regarded as the weak neighbor to the north by most Americans.  That has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. Back in the year 2000, middle class Canadians were earning much less than middle class Americans, but since then there has been a dramatic shift.  At this point, middle class Canadians are actually earning more than middle class Americans are. 

The Canadian economy has been booming thanks to a rapidly growing oil industry, and meanwhile the U.S. middle class has been steadily shrinking. If current trends continue, a whole bunch of other countries are going to start passing us too. The era of the "great U.S. middle class" is rapidly coming to a bitter end.

In recent years, I have been up to Canada frequently and am always amazed at how much nicer things are up there.  The stores and streets are cleaner, the people are more polite and it seems like almost everyone that wants to work has a job.

But despite knowing all this, I was still surprised when the New York Times reported this week that middle class incomes in Canada have now surpassed middle class incomes in the United States…

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

And things are particularly dire for those in the U.S. on the low end of the scale…

The struggles of the poor in the United States are even starker than those of the middle class. A family at the 20th percentile of the income distribution in this country makes significantly less money than a similar family in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands. Thirty-five years ago, the reverse was true.

Even while our politicians and the media continue to proclaim that everything is "just fine", the U.S. middle class continues to slide toward oblivion.

The biggest reason for this is the lack of middle class jobs. Millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions…
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APPLE BEATS ON EARNINGS, ANNOUNCES STOCK SPLIT, STOCK EXPLODES HIGHER

APPLE BEATS ON EARNINGS, ANNOUNCES STOCK SPLIT, STOCK EXPLODES HIGHER

Courtesy of Jay Yarow at Business Insider

Apple earnings are out!

The stock is up ~8% in immediate reaction to the news.

Apple shipped 43.7 million iPhone, up 17% year-over-year, blowing away expectations.

Revenue was $45.6 billion, growing 4% year-over-year, also beating expectations. 

The iPad number was a giant miss, though. Apple sold 16.35 million, which is a 16% drop on a year-over-year basis. 

In the release, CEO Tim Cook said, "We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services … We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market."

Apple also announced a 7-for-1 stock split, and an increase in its buyback program and dividend.

Here are the big numbers:

  • Revenue: $45.6 billion versus $43.6 billion expected
  • EPS: $11.62 versus $10.16 expected
  • iPhones: 43.7 million versus 37.7 million expected
  • iPhone ASP: $596 versus $610 expected
  • iPads: 16.35 million versus 19.7 million units expected
  • iPad ASP: $465 v $430
  • Macs: 4.1 million versus 4.03 million expected
  • iPods: 2.76 million versus 2.99 million expected
  • Gross Margin: 39.3% versus 37.7% expected
  • Q3 Revenue: $36-38 billion versus $38.1 billion expected

This post is being updated as we go, so hit refresh for the latest, or just click here

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Apple Announces Stunning 7-1 Stock Split And Another Big Increase In Its Buyback Program

Apple Announces Stunning 7-1 Stock Split And Another Big Increase In Its Buyback Program

Courtesy of  of Business Insider

Apple's board just approved a big stock split, a $30 billion boost to its share-buyback plan, and an 8% increase to its quarterly cash dividend.

"The Company expects to utilize a total of over $130 billion of cash under the expanded program by the end of calendar 2015," said management.

The stock will undergo a 7-to-1 split. Each shareholder as of June 2, 2014 will receive six additional shares for every share held. And the stock will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis on June 9.

Apple closed at $524.75 today, or $74.96 on a split-adjusted basis.

And the share repurchase authorization has been increased to $90 billion from $60 billion.

The board also approved an 8% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $3.29 per share, up from $3.05.

"We are announcing a significant increase to our capital return program," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "We’re confident in Apple’s future and see tremendous value in Apple’s stock, so we’re continuing to allocate the majority of our program to share repurchases. We’re also happy to be increasing our dividend for the second time in less than two years."

"Agree completely with AAPL's increased buyback and extremely pleased with results," tweeted investor Carl Icahn. "Believe we’ll also be happy when we see new products."





Hoisington Investment Management Quarterly Review and Outlook

Outside the Box: Hoisington Investment Management Quarterly Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2014

By John Mauldin

In today’s Outside the Box, Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington of Hoisington Investment have the temerity to point out that since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has been consistently overoptimistic in its projections of US growth. They simply expected QE to be more stimulative than it has been, to the tune of about 6% over the past four years – a total of about $1 trillion that never materialized.

Given that dismal track record, our authors ask why we should believe the Fed’s prediction of 2.9% real GDP growth for 2014 and 3.4% for 2015 – particularly with QE being tapered into nonexistence.

A big part of the reason the Fed has been so steadily wrong, say Lacy and Van, is its overreliance on the so-called “wealth effect,” which posits that an increase in consumer wealth – through higher stock prices or home values, for instance – will lead to increased consumer spending.

The wealth effect has been both a justification for quantitative easing and a root cause of consistent overly optimistic growth expectations by the FOMC. The research cited below suggests that the concept of a wealth effect is in fact deeply flawed. It is unfortunate that the FOMC has relied on this flawed concept to experiment with over $3 trillion in asset purchases and continues to use it as the basis for what we believe are overly optimistic growth expectations.

The effect isn’t completely absent, say the authors, but their research suggests that it may five to ten times weaker than the Fed assumes. Go figure.

Hoisington Investment Management Company (www.Hoisingtonmgt.com) is a registered investment advisor specializing in fixed-income portfolios for large institutional clients. Located in Austin, Texas, the firm has over $5 billion under management and is the sub-adviser of the Wasatch-Hoisington US Treasury Fund (WHOSX).

It is been a busy day for me here in Dallas. Besides nonstop meetings and conversations and my usual reading, I had the privilege of going to the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve and watching President Richard Fisher make loans to a group


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Ahead of FB’s earning announcement, new research shows just how addicted we’re getting

Ahead of FB’s earning announcement, new research shows just how addicted we’re getting

By  

Facebook’s first-quarter announcement this evening promises a small moment of reflection following a frenetic few months for the company. Philosophical mysteries abound. We don’t know yet if Facebook will turn Oculus Rift into a tacky branded headset or if it will subsume WhatsApp into some evil plan to own the world. Will Facebook Paper end up on the same dust heap as its Home operating system? Is forcing Facebook users to download a separate Messenger app madness?

What we do know, is that outside of all long term pontifications and protestations of doom, the money-making engine at Facebook is purring smoother than ever. Released today, Adobe’s Q1 2014 Social Intelligence Report gives us a peek under the hood in time for tonight’s announcement, capturing a sample of 260 billion ad impressions and 226 billion post impressions to gauge how we’re using the site.

Keep reading Ahead of FB’s earning announcement, new research shows just how addicted we’re getting | PandoDaily.





Bernanke Talks Up the Bankers’ Balance Sheet Boogie Woogie – The Truman Sparks Award

Bernanke Talks Up the Bankers' Balance Sheet Boogie Woogie – The Truman Sparks Award

Courtesy of Jesse's Cafe Americain 

Sometimes when I just don't have the words someone more articulate than me on the subject says it all.

Confounded Interest
Bernanke: QE Was For “The Man On The Street” 
(Wall Street, That Is!) and Their Electrical Parade
By Anthony B. Sanders

Zero Hedge has an amusing story today based on former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech to the Economic Club of Canada (for a cool $250,000). 

*BERNANKE: FED ACTIONS DIDN’T FAVOR WALL STREET OVER MAIN STREET (QE Was For “The Man On The Street”)
* Bernanke Says US Economy Is Heading Towards Complete Recovery

Huh?  The lime colored box shows the rewards of Quantitative Easing to the Man on the Street. In Kingman Kansas, perhaps. Stagnant real household income, employment to population ratio and YoY growth in hourly wage income. And flat-lined mortgage purchase applications.

mainstreetberanke


But for Wall Street, it has been roses, cigars and snifters of cognac.
 

wallstreetbef


Of course, retirement funds for workers and investors in the stock market do benefit from The Fed’s quantitative easing. Yet, the jobs market remains stalled while creating low-paying and part-time jobs.

Perhaps Bernanke wants Disney World to rename the Main Street Electrical Parade as the Wall Street Electrical Parade! 

fedwselecprar

Fed policy under Greenspan and Bernanke in two and one half minutes. 

Presenting the 'Truman Sparks Award' for Orthogonal Banking Regulation and Obtuse Monetary Policy. – Jesse


 





“Cool Kid” Stocks

“Cool Kid” Stocks

Courtesy of 

I totally agree with David Einhorn’s assessment that we are witnessing “our second tech bubble in 15 years.” I agree mainly because of how nuanced his analysis is – he’s not calling the whole market a bubble or even the entire tech sector – he’s speaking about a select group of popular momentum names that had been deified over the course of 2013 but are now starting to look shakier.

From the Greenlight Capital Q1 investor letter:

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.48.22 AM

David’s right. But if you’re not riding these highfliers in a race against your fellow investors for short-term gain supremacy, you don’t have much reason for concern, in my opinion. It’s probably their problem, not yours.

Most large cap tech stocks are selling at market multiples or below. But there are several large and mid-cap tech stocks (mostly tech and biotech) trading as though the laws of physics and finance simply do not apply. I talked about the new bubbles in January of this year – they are everywhere – but there is not a wholesale participation in them across the nation. Only hedge funds and the very wealthy seem to be playing along this time. Which means they will be less societally painful as they pop or deflate.

Hopefully.





New Home Sales Plunge 14.5%; It’s Not the Weather; Steen Jakobsen on Consensus vs. Reality

Courtesy of Mish.

The Census Bureau report New Residential Sales Report shows sales of new single-family houses in March 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000.

  • Sales are 14.5 percent below the revised February rate of 449,000
  • Sales are 13.3 percent below the March 2013 estimate of 443,000
  • Median sales price was $290,000 vs. $260,900 in February, $257,500 in March of 2013
  • Average sales price was $334,200 vs. $318,900 in February, $300,200 in March of 2013
  • Median sales price was up 11.5% from last month, 12.6% from year ago
  • Average sales price was up 4.8% from last month, 11.3% from year ago
  • New houses for sale was 193,000
  • Supply is 6.0 months at the current sales rate

Sales by Region (Month-Over-Month, Year-Over-Year)

Northeast +12.5% MOM, -22.9% YOY
Midwest    -21.5% MOM, -17.7% YOY
South        -14.4% MOM, -03.8% YOY
West         -17.7% MOM, -27.9% YOY
Total         -14.5% MOM, -13.3% YOY

It’s Not the Weather

USA Today noted “Harsh winter weather helped hold down sales in February and may have in March as well.”

Also note: “Economists had predicted an annual rate of 450,000 for March, according to the median forecast in Action Economics survey.”

My question: If sales decline was weather related, then why were sales up in the Northeast?

I suggest the Fed managed to blow another housing bubble, especially in California and the West where sales are down the most. With rising rates, people are priced out of the market.

Steen Jakobsen on Consensus vs. Reality



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Insider Scoop

Delhaize Group Announces Sale of Bosnian & Herzegovinian Stores

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DEG Why Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao (CBD) Has A Bright Short-Term Future? - Tale of the Tape The Fresh Market (TFM) in Focus: Stock Moves 6.7% Higher - Tale of the Tape

Delhaize Group (Euronext Brussels: DELB, NYSE: DEG), the Belgian international food retailer, announces that it has signed an agreement with Tropic Group B.V. on the sale of its Bosnian & Herzegovinian stores.

Delhaize Group has signed an agreement with Tropic Group B.V., to divest all of its 39 Bo...



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Phil's Favorites

Groupthink Or Black Swan Rising? Not A Single 'Economist' Expects An Economic Downturn

Courtesy of Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man

A 100% Consensus

This doesn't happen very often. Marketwatch reports that Jim Bianco points out in a recent market comment that the 67 economists taking part in a regular Bloomberg survey have a unanimous forecast regarding treasury bond yields: they will be higher 6 months from now. This is a truly striking result, and given the well-known propensity of mainstream economists to guess wrong (their forecasts largely consist of extrapolating the most recent short term trend), it may provide us with a few insights.

In fact, considering that there have been only a handful of instances since 2009 when a majority of the economists surveyed predicted a decline in yields, we can already state that their forecasts regarding tre...



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Zero Hedge

#MyNYPD...

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.

.

Actually, it is their NYPD, not ours.

...

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Chart School

STTG Market Recap April 23, 2014

Courtesy of Blain.

Indexes took a little rest today, which as we said yesterday was probably needed.   There was actually some bad economic news in housing and the market didn't react much at all which is something bulls will like.  After the close was a surprise stock split by Apple (AAPL) which will help the indexes tomorrow as the stock is up strongly in after hours.  The S&p 500 fell 0.22% and the NASDAQ 0.83%.  The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell 14.5 percent in March, the worst sales month since July.  Again it is not the news that matters to markets, but the reaction to the news and the market didn't really care.

Here are longer term charts of the two indexes. The S&P 500 hit the top trendline which connected the lows of summer 2012 yesterday and fell back after a furious week long rally.

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Market Shadows

Soy Numero Uno

Soy Numero Uno

By Paul Price of Market Shadows

Bunge Limited (BG) is the world’s largest processor of soybeans. It is also a major producer of vegetable oils, fertilizer, sugar and bioenergy.

When commodities got hot in 2007-08, Bunge’s EPS shot up and the stock followed, rising 185% in 19 months.

The Great Recession took its toll on operations, dropping EPS to a low of $2.22 in 2009.  Since then profits have recovered.  They ranged from $4.62 - $5.90 in the latest three years. 2014 appears poised for a large increase. Consensus views from multiple sources see BG earning $7.04 - $7.10 this year and then $7.83 - $7.94 in 2015.

...



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Option Review

Casino Stocks LVS, WYNN On The Run Ahead of Earnings

Shares in Las Vegas Sands Corp. (Ticker: LVS) are up sharply today, gaining as much as 5.7% to touch $80.12 and the highest level since April 4th, mirroring gains in shares of resort casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Ticker: WYNN). The move in Wynn shares appears, at least in part, to follow a big increase in target price from analysts at CLSA who upped their target on the ‘buy’ rated stock to $350 from $250 a share. CLSA also has a ‘buy’ rating on Las Vegas Sands with a $100 price target according to a note from reporter, Janet Freund, on Bloomberg. Both companies are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Thursday.

...

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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Market Poised to Head Higher: 3 Stocks to Consider

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yesterday, the market continued its winning ways for the fifth consecutive day.  The S&P 500 closed within 1% of its all-time high, and the DJI was even closer to its all-time high.  Healthcare, Energy and Technology led the sectors while Financials, Telecom, and Utilities finished slightly in the red.  All three sectors in the red are typically flight-to-safety stocks, so despite lower than average volume, the market appears poised to make new highs.

Mid-cap Growth led the style/caps last week, up 2.87%, and Small-cap Growth trailed, up 2.22%. This week will bring well over 100 S&P 500 stocks reporting their March quarter earn...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - Week of April 21st, 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly. Click here and sign in with your PSW user name and password, or sign up for a free trial.

...

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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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