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Gasoline Price Update: Unchanged After Eight Weeks of Decline

Courtesy of Doug Short.

It’s time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, Regular and Premium were unchanged after eighth week of price declines. Regular is up 27 cents and Premium 25 cents from their interim lows during the second week of last November.

According to, only one state (Hawaii) has Regular above $4.00 per gallon, down from two last week, and one state (Alaska) is averaging above $3.90. South Carolina has the cheapest Regular at $3.15.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here’s a visual answer.

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The next chart is a weekly chart overlay of West Texas Intermediate Crude, Brent Crude and unleaded gasoline end-of-day spot prices (GASO). WTIC closed today at 93.25, down from 93.34 this time last week and the lowest since January.

The volatility in crude oil and gasoline prices has been clearly reflected in recent years in both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the CPI, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.

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Click for a larger image

The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).

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Click for a larger image

Here are some additional commentaries related to gasoline prices:

Apple Electronic Payments Entry Called A ‘Game Changer’

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is poised to launch an electronic payments mobile payment platform as part of its latest iPhone expected September 9, an analyst said Thursday.

Deutsche Bank's Brian Keane called the move "a potential game changer" that could put the squeeze on eBay's (NASDAQ: EBAY) PayPal as well as Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) service called Pay with Amazon.

Keane thinks Apple's system will rely on app software and obviate the need for near-field communication chips that are included in most Android-based smart phones but have so far generally gone unused.

The chips are intended to communicate with merchant devices in a function similar to a card swipe.

"It could eliminate traditional point-of-sale terminals," many of which are manufactured by VeriFone Systems (NYSE: PAY), Keane said.

It could also reduce the role of so-called acquirers — who serve as middle-men between merchants and credit card issuers — to a "commodity service," Keane said, suggesting that Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) could see business at risk.

Issuers like Mastercard (NYSE: MA) and Visa (NYSE: V) may benefit as Apple may not pursue "direct connectivity" to consumers' bank accounts given hurdles of customer acceptance and risks of fraud and bad credit.

Posted-In: Brian Keane Deutsche BankAnalyst Color News Rumors Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga

UPDATE: Big Lots Posts Upbeat Q2 Profit, Lifts FY14 Forecast

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Big Lots Soars After 1Q Beat (Fox Business)

Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings and raised its FY14 earnings forecast.

Big Lots now projects FY14 profit from continuing operations of $2.40 to $2.50 per share, versus its earlier forecast of $2.35 to $2.50 per share. The company also affirmed comparable store sales growth forecast of 1% to 2% for the year.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company posted quarterly earnings of $19.9 million, or $0.36 per share, compared to $18.1 million, or $0.31 per share, in the year-ago period. Its profit from continuing operations came in at $0.31 per share. The company had projected earnings of $0.24 to $0.30 per share.

Its net sales gained 1.2% to $1.2 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.30 per share on revenue of $1.2 billion.

The company’s same-store sales gained 1.7% in the quarter.

Big Lots announced a new $125 million share-repurchase program.

Inventory at the end of the second quarter was $799 million, versus $914 million for the year-ago quarter. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the second quarter was $62 million.

David Campisi, Chief Executive Officer and President of Big Lots, stated, “I’m very pleased with the results we reported today. For the second consecutive quarter, our comps were positive and comfortably within the guidance range we provided, and our earnings were above the high end of our range. We believe this is an indication that our core customer, Jennifer, is responding to our improved merchandising strategies and marketing execution.”

Big Lots shares gained 0.64% to $47.50 in pre-market trading.

Posted-In: profitEarnings News Guidance

UPDATE: SeaWorld Entertainment Posts Downbeat Q2 Results, Lowers FY14 Outlook

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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SeaWorld Drops Osha Appeal (Fox Business)

Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) dipped more than 10% in pre-market trading after the company reported downbeat second-quarter results and lowered its full-year forecast.

The Orlando, Florida-based company posted a quarterly profit of $37.3 million, or $0.43 per share, versus a year-ago loss of $15.9 million, or $0.18 per share. Excluding non-recurring items, the company earned $0.43 per share.

Its sales slipped 1% to $405.2 million from $411.3 million. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.60 per share on revenue of $448.37 million.

Its revenue per capita fell 1.8% in the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA fell to $126.1 million from $127.0 million. Attendance rose 0.3% to 6.6 million.

For 2014, SeaWorld now projects sales to drop 6% to 7% versus $1.46 billion in 2013.

SeaWorld also announced a $250 million share repurchase program effective January 1, 2015.

“We were pleased to report attendance growth in the quarter despite a challenging industry and competitive environment and a tough comparison to the prior year quarter, which included the attendance benefit from opening our largest expansion ever at SeaWorld Orlando. The increase in attendance results from the shift in the timing of Easter and favorable weather, partially offset by lower attendance at our destination parks,” Jim Atchison, CEO and President of SeaWorld Entertainment said.

SeaWorld shares tumbled 10.12% to $25.30 in pre-market trading.

Posted-In: profitEarnings News Guidance Buybacks

Report: DirecTV Deal Gets DOJ Clearance; FCC Timeline Continues

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) shares spiked Monday on a report that an agreement with antitrust regulators paved the way for its $4.85 billion acquisition by AT&T (NYSE: T).

The New York Post reported the deal will obtain clearance in October from the Department of Justice, which administers the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust act.

The report didn't address separate approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. DirectTV has said it expects FCC clearance around February 3, given that agency's typical 180-day review period.

Public comments on the merger are due to FCC September 16 with responses required by November 5.

Brazilian regulators approved the merger July 21 and the company said it has obtained approvals from all required state Public Utilities Control authorities.

AT&T wants to obtain DirecTV's 20 million subscribers, adding them to its 5.7 million U-Verse TV service subscribers.

DirecTV holders are to receive about $95 per share in cash and AT&T stock in the merger. DirecTV traded recently at $85.23, up nearly one percent.

Posted-In: News Rumors Legal M&A Intraday Update

SunTrust Sees Further Pfizer Inc. Bid For AstraZeneca PLC ‘Highly Likely’

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Treasury Develolping Options to Curb Inversions (Fox Business)

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is likely to boost its offer for British drug maker AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) to $96.28 a share, an analyst said Tuesday.

SunTrust's John Boris said a deal would cut Pfizer's tax rate to 20 percent and said potential Treasury inversion action blocking such action is merely “election year rhetoric.”

The $127 billion offer envisioned by Boris would tack on 6.3 percent to its earlier bid of $120 billion, which AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) rejected back in mid-May

AstraZeneca's American Depositary Receipts were recently down two percent at $74.62 from Friday's high, but were still up nearly 26 percent for the year.

Under British rules, AstraZeneca can, starting Tuesday, invite it back for talks or Pfizer can make a single "knock-out" bid which it believes would be accepted. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) can also start a more conventional bidding process over again, beginning in November.

Posted-In: John Boris SunTrustAnalyst Color News Rumors M&A

Darden Pre-Announces Earnings, Unveils Slate For Board

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) pre-announced fiscal first-quarter adjusted earnings Tuesday of $0.31 to $0.33 a share while same-store sales at its Olive Garden restaurants fell 1.3 percent. Comparable sales at its LongHorn Steakhouse chain grew 2.8 percent.

Those results are roughly in line with expectations yet shares of Darden fell about 0.9 percent on light volume in pre-market activity, but were last up 2.2 percent at $48.40.

The company, which faces a proxy battle with activist investor Starboard Value, also unveiled its 12-person slate of directors which as expected, included four Starboard representatives. Starboard seeks to replace the entire Darden board, and filed proxy materials to that effect on Thursday.

Darden last week rescheduled its annual shareholders' meeting to October 10 from September 30, saying that shareholders needed more time to study competing proxy materials.

Darden, slated to post first-quarter results September 12, said Tuesday that it expects a net loss for the recent period of $0.13 to $0.15, including charges for early retirement of debt, strategic improvements and restaurant impairment.

The company forecast fiscal 2015 same-store sales would be flat to up one percent at Olive Garden while growing one percent to two percent at LongHorn Steakhouse.

Darden re-affirmed its full-year 2015 earnings forecast of $1.81 to $1.90 a share, or adjusted earnings of of $2.22 to $2.30 a share. Analysts expect adjusted earnings of $2.22 a share.

Posted-In: Earnings News Guidance Management Events

NY Post Reports Sycamore Partners Considering Bid for Sears Canada

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Sycamore Partners, which acquired retailers Jones Group, Talbots and Hot Topic, is now considering a takeover bid for Sears Canada (OTC: SEARF), according to a report from the the NY Post. Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) Chairman Eddie Lampert has indicated he wants $2 billion for the 176 stores in Canada, but sources say he might consider a lower offer.

View full article

Posted-In: NY PostNews Rumors Asset Sales Management M&A

Google Making Delivery Drones, Reports Atlantic Monthly

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has been secretly developing delivery drones for the past two years, under the name “Project Wing”, according to Atlantic Monthly. The initial design is a hybrid of a plane and helicopter that can takes off vertically.

View full article…

Posted-In: News Rumors Tech

UPDATE: CPUC Release Confirms $1.4B Penalty to PG&E Related to San Bruno Rupture

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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The California Public
Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued four decisions by two
Administrative Law Judges in connection with its investigations
of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) operations and
practices related to gas transmission, including the pipeline
rupture in San Bruno, Calif., in 2010, penalizing PG&E $1.4
billion, the largest safety related penalty ever levied by the

The Administrative Law Judges issued three decisions
establishing the number of violations in connection with each
investigation. In the fourth decision, the Administrative Law
Judges impose a penalty based on the total number of violations.
The Administrative Law Judges found that in total, PG&E
committed 3,798 violations of state and federal laws, rules,
standards, or regulations in connection with the operations and
practices of its gas transmission system pipeline. Many of
these violations continued for several years, resulting in a
total of 18,447,803 days in violation.

The $1.4 billion penalty, when combined with the amount that the
CPUC previously ruled must come from shareholders for
expenditures to improve the safe operation of natural gas
pipelines (R.11-02-019), exceeds $2 billion. The penalty
consists of $950 million to be paid to California’s General
Fund, $400 million in pipeline improvements that cannot be
recovered from customers (called a disallowance), and
approximately $50 million to be used to implement more than 75
remedies to enhance pipeline safety, including $30 million for
the CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division to hire independent
auditors to audit PG&E’s Pressure Validation project and Project
Mariner implementation, training for emergencies (City of San
Bruno), establishing a centralized database to track location
and use of salvaged pipe in PG&E’s gas transmission pipeline
system, and to pay reasonably incurred litigation expenses of

The penalty breakdown ordered in today’s decisions is as

-Fine to the California General Fund: $950 million…
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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

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 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.

Thank you for you time!


Insider Scoop

Analysts See Big Buyback Potential At Microsoft

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related MSFT Benzinga's M&A Chatter for Thursday August 28, 2014 This Startup Is Eating Adobe And IBM's Lunch Tech Rewind: Apple's Cryptic Invite, Banks' Cyber Fight (Fox Business)

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) could be on the cusp of boosting its cash returns to shareholders in the wake of Steve Balmer... more from Insider

Chart School

Real Median Household Income Rose 0.20% in July

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Summary: The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for July. The nominal median household income was up $154 month-over-month and $1,945 year-over-year. Adjusted for inflation, it was up $105 MoM and only $905 YoY. The real numbers equate to a 0.20% MoM increase and a 1.70% YoY increase. July marks the third month of real increases following two months of declines.

In real dollar terms, the median annual income is 6.4% lower (about $3,700) than its interim high in January 2008.

Background on Sentier Research

The traditional source of household income data is the Census Bureau, which publishes annual household income data in mid-September for the previous year.

Sentier Research, an organization that focuses on inco...

more from Chart School

Zero Hedge

China Services PMI Jumps Most On Record To 18-Month Highs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While Markit's Manufacturing PMI fell in August, the apparent demand for 'services' in China exploded. China Services PMI jumped from the worst on record 50.0 in July to 54.1 in August (18-month highs). This is the biggest MoM rise in the data on record... because they can. We have nothing to add because it's simply becoming too surreal and manipulated for rational explanation.



HSBC is quick to note that it's not all unicorns and ponies and that more stimulus sis till needed.

“The headline HSBC China Services PMI rebounde...

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Phil's Favorites

Charting the Average September Stock Market

Charting the Average September Stock Market Courtesy of 

Today you’re hearing a lot about how stocks act historically during the month of September. It’s considered to be the worst month of the year in terms of average annual returns and it usually leads to a pickup in seasonal volatility.

My pal Jon Krinsky CMT, technical analyst at MKM Partners in New York, put the below S&P 500 chart out last night…

While September is historically a negative month, it’s really the back half that tends to see the selling, which continues into October. Below is the average yearly chart for the SPX over the last 30 years. As we can see, there actually tends to b...

more from Ilene

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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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 2nd, 2013

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 the latest issue of Stock World Weekly. Click on this link and use your PSW user name and password to log in. Or take a free trial. 



more from SWW

Option Review

Puts Active On Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (Ticker: BWLD) shares are in positive territory in early-afternoon trading on Thursday, reversing earlier losses to stand up 0.50% on the session at $148.50 as of 12:15 pm ET. Options volume on the restaurant chain is running approximately three times the daily average level due to heavy put activity in the October expiry contracts. It looks like one or more traders are buying the Oct 140/145 put spread at a net premium of roughly $1.45 per contract. As of the time of this writing, the spread has traded approximately 3,000 times against very little open interest at either striking price. The put spread may be a hedge to protect a long stock position against a roughly 6% pullback in the price of the underlying through October expiration, or an outright bearish play anticipating a dip in BWLD shares in the next couple of months. The spread makes money at expiration if shares in BWLD decline 3.3% from the current price of $148.50 to breach the breakeven point...

more from Caitlin


Six Companies Push Tax Rules Most

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Gradient Senior Analyst Nicholas Yee reports on six companies that are using a variety of techniques to shift pretax profits to lower-tax areas. Featured in this USA Today, article, the companies include CELG, ALTR, VMW, NVDA, LRCX, and SNPS.

Six Companies Push Tax Rules Most


Nobody likes to pay taxes. But some companies are taking cutting their tax bil...

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Digital Currencies

Disgraced Mt Gox CEO Goes For Second Try With Web-Hosting Service (And No, Bitcoin Not Accepted)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Mt Gox may be long gone in the annals of bankruptcy, but its founder refuses to go gentle into that insolvent night. And, as CoinDesk reports, the disgraced former CEO of the one-time premier bitcoin trading platform has decided to give it a second try by launching new web hosting service called and is registered under both Karpeles’ name and that of Tibanne, the parent company of Mt Gox.

From the company profile:

“TIBANNE Co.Ltd. ...

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Market Shadows

Helen Davis Chaitman Reviews In Bed with Wall Street.

Author Helen Davis Chaitman is a nationally recognized litigator with a diverse trial practice in the areas of lender liability, bankruptcy, bank fraud, RICO, professional malpractice, trusts and estates, and white collar defense. In 1995, Ms. Chaitman was named one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal for a jury verdict she obtained in an accountants' malpractice case. Ms. Chaitman is the author of The Law of Lender Liability (Warren, Gorham & Lamont 1990)... Since early 2009, Ms. Chaitman has been an outspoken advocate for investors in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (more here).

Helen Davis Chaitman Reviews In Bed with Wall Street. 

By Helen Davis Chaitman   

I confess: Larry D...

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Biotechs & Bubbles

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

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...

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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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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites

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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