The two main events in the coming week are the April FOMC meeting and the initial look at first-quarter GDP growth, although there is a smattering of other noteworthy economic releases also scheduled. Consumer confidence (Tuesday) and unit motor vehicle sales (Friday) should provide greater clarity on the extent to which consumer spending will build upon decent gains in March. The Employment Cost Index (Thursday) will provide a more comprehensive update on wage inflation at the start of the year. Finally, the Chicago PMI and the manufacturing ISM will be scrutinized for evidence as to whether the factory sector is being further depressed by strong-dollar headwinds.
Since his first homily in 2013,Pope Francis has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as part of a broad message on the environment. It has caused little controversy so far.
But now, as Francis prepares to deliver what is likely to be a highly influential encyclical this summer on environmental degradation and the effects of human-caused climate change on the poor, he is alarming some conservatives in the United States who are loath to see the Catholic Church reposition itself as a mighty voice in a cause they do not believe in.
This is surprising: Only 5% of the money managers polled by Barrons call themselves bearish. Implicit in the results is the general acceptance (80%) that the Fed's actions will determine which way the indexes move in the six months post-hike. ~ Ilene
Peter Boockvar shares an interesting insight from this weekend’s Barron’s Big Money Poll:
If you haven’t seen it yet, the past weekend’s Barron’s Magazine published its Big Money Poll of US money managers. Of those polled, 45% were bullish, 50% were neutral and just 5% were bearish…
One last data point that I found interesting in the poll was the question “Will the stock market rise or fall in the first 6 months after the Fed first raises rates?” Only 25% thought it would fall and a large 55% said it would rally. The balance of 20% thought the rate hike would have ‘no effect on stocks.’ Thus an amazing 75% of money managers aren’t bothered at all about a rate hike. Historically speaking the market does not get hurt in the early parts of a rate hike cycle so there is plenty of precedence for this thought but we’re not in your normal cycle so those surveyed are just guessing, as we all are to an extent.
Managing Director, Chief Market Analyst
The Lindsey Group LLC
Apple Inc.’s IPhone sales in China may have exceeded the U.S. for the first time in the latest quarter, thanks to brisk demand during the country’s New Year celebrations.
Apple will probably show on Monday that earnings jumped by more than 20 percent when it reports results for the second fiscal quarter, which ended in March. While Apple doesn’t break out shipments by country, the company may have sold 18 million to 20 million iPhones in greater China during the period, while U.S. deliveries were about 14 million to 15 million, according to Creative Strategies LLC.
While the USA is busy killing US civilians and terrorists with its drone program, Russia is set to deploy its own Orlan-10 drones in the oil- and gas-rich Arctic region (reportedly to monitor the climate situation). As SputnikNews reports, Colonel Aleksandr Gordeev stated "the drones' task is to maintain impartial control of the situation in the Russian sector of the Arctic, including the ecological and ice situation in the adjoining sea areas and along the Northern Sea Route." So, passive-agressive? However, Russia also chose this week to release rarely-seen images of a US intelligence satellite which as one analyst notes is provocative (but obscure in its intent other than the growing recognition of US space-based surveillance assets).
China Inc. is turning to the stock market for a cure to its unprecedented debt hangover.
As authorities show a newfound tolerance for defaults and debt levels at Shanghai Composite Index members climb to all-time highs, Chinese companies are increasingly tapping the equity market for funds to pay down liabilities and invest in growth. They’ve announced $82 billion of secondary stock offerings in 2015, a figure UBS Group AG predicts will increase to a record $161 billion by December. That comes on top of $10 billion already raised through IPOs.
A fresh 6.7 magnitude aftershock in Nepal on Sunday hampered efforts to find survivors of a more powerful earthquake the day before that killed more than 2,200 people.
The tremors prompted authorities to temporarily halt flights into Kathmandu, the capital, where thousands of people are camping outdoors. The 7.8-magnitude temblor that struck shortly before noon on Saturday triggered avalanches on Mount Everest, killing at least 19 foreign climbers including a Google Inc. product manager.
LONDON (Reuters) – Most central banks have been easing policy since the start of the year and are set to do more, but it still isn't clear whether that new activism, which has pushed stock markets to record highs, will help the global economy much.
Several meet this week to set policy, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and Sweden's Riksbank, which all have turned to government bond purchases as stimulus after running out of interest rates to cut.
Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and Norway are the world's happiest countries, according to the 2015 World Happiness Report, which is put out by some influential economists. Three of these European states are not members of the European Union. What are they doing right that the rest of the world is doing wrong?
Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, Richard Layard of the London School of Economics and John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia have been putting out these reports since 2012. They are intended to remind governments that success is about more than economic growth and other such statistics. Sure, people are happier when they're richer and healthier, as they tend to be in more developed countries, but there are other contributors to perceptions of well-being.
The past few years have been brutal for the gold miners, most of which brought it on themselves by starting new, high-cost mines just in time for the metal’s price to crater. The resulting write-downs and operating losses have made this without question the most unloved sector in the whole market.
The consensus among analysts has been that most miners’ costs are so structurally sticky that only slight reductions will be possible, making the industry a financial basket case until gold starts rising again.
Then Newmont, the second biggest gold miner, reported its first quarter earnings. Among other startling numbers, its all-in sustaining costs to produce one ounce of gold fell nearly 18 percent to $849 and its earnings rose by either 50% or 89% year-over-year, depending on the definition of profit being used (analysts were predicting a slight earnings decline). Free cash flow, meanwhile, soared to $344 million from the year-earlier $52 million.
Over the next week or two these results will get a thorough exam from analysts, and if they hold up they’ll change the game for miners. Specifically, if it’s possible to take this much out of costs without resorting to scams like high-grading (where the miner uses up the best ore to goose near-term results at the cost of future earnings) or fiddling with the timing of revenues and expenses, then other miners may be able to generate some pleasant surprises in coming quarters as well. And suddenly this is a happy, outperforming industry.
One indicator that this may be the case is insider buying: From Acting Man’s Pater Tenebrarum:
In spite of the gold price weakening once again this week and coming dangerously close to breaking an important support zone, gold investors have actually reason to take heart. Readers may recall what we wrote in our most recent update on gold about gold mining margins:
“The market has not yet really given any credit to the fact that mining margins are improving due to strength in the real price of gold. Management boards of gold companies may be coming around to a different view though – after all, they are
Banks Increasingly Refuse Cash Withdrawals – Switzerland Joins the Fun
The war on cash is proliferating globally. It appears that the private members of the world’s banking cartels are increasingly joining the fun, even if it means trampling on the rights of their customers.
Yesterday we came across an article at Zerohedge, in which Dr. Salerno of the Mises Institute notes that JP Morgan Chase has apparently joined the “war on cash”, by “restricting the use of cash in selected markets, restricting borrowers from making cash payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines and auto loans, as well as prohibiting storage of cash in safe deposit boxes”.
To be sure, we’ve had our share of laughs at the expense of China’s margin-fueled equity mania. First there was the realization that more than 4 million new stock trading accounts were created in China last month alone — the country is now adding nearly that many each week. Then we discovered that if statistics are to be trusted, around one in three of those millions of new accounts likely belongs to someone with an elementary school education or less. Finally, we learned that the rally has minted an army of day trading housewives, security guards, and most recently, banana salesmen who last Monday traded so much that they literally overwhelmed the Shanghai Exchange’s volume-tracking software.
In Shenzhen's famous Huaqiangbei electronics shopping district, you won't need to stand in any lines or make an appointment for these smartwatches.
At 299 yuan—that's less than $50—you can pick up a smartwatch that looks quite similar to Apple's own creation, complete with replica Digital Crown and touch screen. Like the Cupertino original that went on sale today for seven times the price, the generic offering spotted in this bustling Chinese city features an activity tracker, chat apps, Web browser, and Bluetooth connectivity. A brief demo unveiled shortcomings in the browser with only the text loading on screen.
Spurred by the advent of fracking and other high-tech ways of getting at North America’s fossil fuel reserves, the oil and gas industry has, for the past decade, been drilling at an astounding rate of 50,000 wells per year.
This may be a large continent, but their impact on the landscape is nonetheless enormous. The industry’s total operations, say researchers at the University of Montana, Missoula in a new study, occupy land area three times the size of Yellowstone National Park, “transforming millions of hectares of the Great Plains into industrialized landscapes” that are rarely converted back after the drillers have gone on.
Elaine Wynn lost her bid for re-election to the board of Wynn Resorts Ltd. after failing to win over enough shareholders to back her dissident campaign.
Wynn, 72, was asking investors to keep her on the board of the casino company co-founded by her ex-husband, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Wynn, after other directors declined to renominate her. They said a legal dispute between the two over her voting rights is influencing board decisions.
There’s a fascinating trend happening within the asset management industry where the public is using data and the information available online to make better investing decisions, slowly but surely. There is absolutely zero data that links high fund costs with outperformance over any relevant period of time and the “persistence” data from SPIVA has done a number on the idea that investors who overpay for active management get what they pay for.
Investors are leaving higher cost funds and gravitating toward lower cost funds. I would surmise that the education they are getting on financial blogs and from their advisors is helping to drive this trend.
A new Morningstar study released today shows that the asset-weighted expense ratio across all funds (including mutual funds and exchange-traded products, or ETPs, but excluding money market funds and funds of funds) was 0.64% in 2014, down from 0.65% in 2013 and 0.76% five years ago. The trend is being driven more by investors seeking low-cost funds than it is by fund companies cutting fees.
The data is undeniable: the investor class is learning:
Mutual funds and ETPs with expense ratios ranking in the least-expensive quintile of all funds attracted an aggregate $3.03 trillion of estimated net inflows during the past 10 years, compared with just $160 billion for funds in the remaining four quintiles. That is to say that 95% of all flows have gone into funds in the lowest-cost quintile.
There is an implied link to the fact that service models among financial advisors have shifted dramatically in recent years. There are many more clients now being served by fee-based financial advisors than pure transactional brokers – a trend I have documented laboriously on this site and in my book.
With less brokers, there is the commensurate decline in the type of funds brokers favor (the ones that pay them most). Broker-sold or “load” funds are going the way of the dodo in place of ETFs in wrap accounts or institutional share class mutual funds. Morningstar notes that “Load shares, which charged an asset-weighted expense ratio of 1.02% in 2014, held just 20% of assets as of
I can sense a growing unease as I talk with investors and other friends, from professional market watchers and traders to casual observers. What in the Wide World of Sports is going on? It is not just that markets are behaving in an unusual and volatile manner (see chart below showing multiple double-digit moves in the last few months); it’s that the data seems to be so conflicting. One day we get data that shows the economies of the developed world to be slowing, and the next day we get positive numbers. The ship of the economy seems to be drifting rudderless.
My dad used to say about a situation that just didn’t seem quite right that things were “about a half a bubble off dead center.” (This was back in the days when we used bubble levels to determine whether something was level or plumb – before today’s fancy digital gadgets.)
There is a reason, I think, that everything seems just a little out of kilter. I believe that central banks, in their valiant, unceasing efforts to restore liquidity and growth, have unleashed numerous unintended consequences that are beginning to show up in earnest. Today we are going to review the well-meaning behavior of central banks for clues about our near future.
But first, let me take one final opportunity to invite you to come to the 2015 Strategic Investment Conference. We’ve assembled an amazing cast of speakers who will delve deeply into what is really driving the world’s economy. I have some of the finest experts on China from around the world, central bankers, some very powerful analysts whose work commands the attention of the biggest institutions and hedge funds in the world (and whose work costs 20 times or more the price of my conference). Market analysts, geopolitical wizards, and futurists will be on hand, too. This is really the finest gathering of minds I have been pleased to assemble for a Strategic Investment Conference. Click on the link above and peruse the lineup and schedule. The conference starts in a little over a week, on the evening of April 29, and lasts through…
Sales dropped 9.7 percent from a year earlier, when there was a run-up in purchases ahead of an April sales-tax increase, according to trade ministry data released Tuesday. Sales sank 1.9 percent from the previous month, compared with a gain of 0.6 percent for...
The collapse of Q1 GDP has been placed squarely on the shoulders of weather (too hot, too cold, and definitely not just right) and the dockworkers strike which shut 29 seaports. As Q1 GDP plunged, so Q2 was lifted hockey-stick-like to keep the growth dream alive but so far in Q2, data has not shown the bounce expected... so we are going to need a bigger excuse.
It was day sellers had control over not long after the cash open. The Russell 2000 broke from the channel in a clean slice which left the index just above the 50-day MA. The index had already suffered a relative loss to the Nasdaq and S&P, and today's decline just accelerated this decline. The S&P attempted a breakout but it was quickly rebuffed. However, losses weren't enough to take it anywhere near support. It will take another 2-3 days of losses to see a test of the trendline, which is the most likely area for a bounce. A close above 2120 would confirm a breakout. ...
Last week, stocks cycled bullish yet again. In fact, the S&P 500, NYSE Composite, and NASDAQ each closed at record highs as investors positioned for the heart of earnings season in the wake of strong reports from some of the Tech giants. Notably, Utilities stocks got some renewed traction as yield-starved investors returned to the sector. Although our trend-following sector rotation model remains bullish, strong overhead technical resistance and neutral rankings in our SectorCast quant model indicate that caution is in order, and this might not be the moment for a major upside breakout, particularly given the expected softne...
Apple closed last week at an all-time weekly closing high at (1) in the chart above. Apple recently broke above its 4-year rising channel, came back to test old resistance and pushed higher, setting this new record high.
In November of last year, when Apple was trading below $110 per share, the Power of the Pattern shared that Apple’s upside target stood at $150.(See post here)
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Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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