Posts Tagged ‘cash flow’

Only $4.2 Billion To Buy This Election?

Only $4.2 Billion To Buy This Election?

Courtesy of Robert Reich

This, from the Washington Post’s conservative pundit George Will:

Total spending by parties, campaigns and issue-advocacy groups concerning every office from county clerks to U.S. senators may reach a record $4.2 billion in this two-year cycle. That is about what Americans spend in one year on yogurt, but less than they spend on candy in two Halloween seasons. Proctor & Gamble spent $8.6 billion on advertising in its last fiscal year.

Those who are determined to reduce the quantity of political speech to what they consider the proper amount are the sort of people who know exactly how much water should come through our shower heads — no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, as stipulated by a 1992 law. Is it, however, worrisome that Americans spend on political advocacy — determining who should make and administer the laws — much less than they spend on potato chips, $7.1 billion a year?

In a word, Mr. Will, yes.

The number of dollars spent isn’t the issue; it’s the lopsidedness of where the dollars come from. Even if the total were only $1000, democracy would be endangered if $980 came from large corporations and wealthy individuals. The trend is clear and worrisome: The great bulk of campaign money is coming from a narrower and narrower circle of moneyed interests.

Anyone who doubts the corrupting effect has not been paying attention. Our elected representatives have been acutely sensitive to the needs of Wall Street bankers, hedge-fund managers, and the executives of big pharma, big oil, and the largest health insurance companies. This is not because these individuals and interests are particularly worthy or specially deserving. It is because they are effectively bribing elected officials with their donations. Such donations are not made out of charitable impulse. They are calculated investments no less carefully considered than investments in particular shares of stock. They are shares in our democracy.

Why $4.2 billion and not ten times that amount? Because the high-rolling political investors don’t need to spend a dollar more in order to exert overwhelming influence.

This figure, by the way, leaves out the tens of billions of dollars dedicated to lobbying, lawyering, and public relations — all of which deliver specific legislative outcomes the campaign money fuels. The economy of Washington, D.C. depends on this gigantic flow of funds (supporting…
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There’s No Deflation In Coffee

More bad news for coffee drinkers and people using the local starbucks as offices. Starbucks will be raising prices and now that intoxicated feeling is going to cost a lot more. – Ilene 

There’s No Deflation In Coffee

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

F**k. The one thing that I actually care about (I was tripping about something going wrong in coffee in February of 2009… seriously… you guys can f**k with bacon but please leave my coffee alone) is now getting messed with too. Bad move, Starbucks. My dirty Fed money and I are headed to the warehouse store for some Costco sh*t. Remember image doesn’t count in the "new normal", you can’t convince me that I’m any less cool if I’m shmobbing around with a mug of my own sh*t made at home.

USA Today:

Starbucks customers will soon get a jolt before any caffeine touches their lips. The world’s biggest cafe chain is raising prices.

Raw coffee prices have been rising. Starbucks (SBUX) said on Wednesday that it has absorbed the higher prices until now, but no more. It said the price increases will be focused on big and labor-intensive drinks. It didn’t say which drinks, or how much.

Most of its basic coffee and espresso drink prices will stay the same or even drop in some cases, including its $1.50 tall brewed coffee.

I hate to break this to Starbucks but now is not the time to start overcharging for their already overpriced coffee. A quadruple black eye costs me nearly $5 now but I’m addicted to the substance itself, not the particular "brand" of Starbucks. If anything I drink it to get some f**king air with my liquid crack before I go squirrel myself back into my office under the florescent lights. There’s a certain price point and frankly Starbucks reached it long ago.

My local work hood Starbucks is smart and offers me great discounts on drinks. They make it up by pawning off mediocre coffee on European tourists confused by our money that all looks the same. So it’s a win-win.

Meanwhile, Phil’s Stock World reminds us that caffeine intoxication is a legitimate mental disorder therefore I am never responsible for anything that I do from here on out. Starbucks is merely cutting themselves off from my cash flow, I’ll get my fix out of the coffeemaker for way less and stick my…
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The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

Courtesy of Michael Pettis 

A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai

It has not been a good year for the Shanghai stock market.  Since its closing peak at 6092 in October 2007, the closing high in the past year or so on Shanghai’s SSE composite was 3471, on August 4 last year.  Since then the market has been pretty bleak.  The SSE Composite finished 2009 by dropping nearly 6% from that high, to close at 3277.

This year things got only worse.  By May 20 the market had dropped a further 22% to close at 2556, and then bounced around for the past ten days closing yesterday at 2568.  In my May 12 blog entry, I finished the piece by saying “Last Friday the SSE Composite closed at 2688.  I bet it is much higher by the end of the summer.” 

Obviously my timing was off.  Within a week of my prediction the market had managed to lose another 132 points.  I still believe that the market will be higher by the end of this summer, and that within weeks we will see moves by the regulators to prop it up.  With all the liquidity sloshing around, all we need is a reasonable period off stability before the market comes roaring back, I suspect.

So am I predicting a strong economy?  Not really.  It is tempting to read falling stock prices as an indication that Chinese investors believe that the economy is poised to slow dramatically, and if the market surges, that Chinese growth is back, but we should be very cautious about how we interpret the meaning of the gyrations in Chinese stocks. 

We’re used to thinking about stock markets as expected-cash-flow discounting machines, and we assume that stock price levels generally represent the market’s best estimate of future growth prospects, but this is not always the case, and it is certainly not the case in China.  I am often asked to comment on big price moves on the Chinese stock markets and what they mean about growth expectations, but I usually try to caution people from reading too much meaning into the market.

Three investment strategies

To see why, it is probably useful to understand how investors make trading decisions.  This blog entry is going to be a pretty abstract piece on how I think about the underlying dynamics of a well-functioning capital market, and how these…
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Analyzing Corporate Margins As S&P500 Free Cash Flows Hits Record

Pragcap examined the same phenomenon this morning from a different perspective, that of earnings season surprises. – Ilene 

Analyzing Corporate Margins As S&P500 Free Cash Flows Hits Record 

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

In the recent multiple expansion run up, one of the largely ignored factors has been the dramatic rise in corporate margins, be they Gross Profit, EBITDA, Net Income or unlevered Free Cash Flow. Of course, all this has been a function of massive cuts in corporate overhead as most companies have laid off the bulk of their workers, resulting in a seemingly stronger bottom line. In the meantime, assorted stimulus programs by the government have prevented revenues from crashing, thus boosting EPS, on both a historical and a projected basis.

We demonstrate the dramatic surge in margins by scouring through the S&P 500 companies over the past 3 years, and question just how sustainable this margin pick up is. As more and more analysts predict that future margin expansion is sure to drive the market higher, we can’t help but wonder 1) with stimulus benefits expiring and excess liquidity approaching an inflection point (especially in China) who will keep the top line strong, 2) as companies are forced, as a result, to hire more workers in order to drive sales, how will operating margins maintain their stellar performance, and 3) how will a decline in margins be justified from a multiple expansion standpoint. Lastly, we parse through the thoughts of William Hester of Hussman funds, who has some very critical observations on this very relevant topic.

As the chart below demonstrates, virtually every margin metric is now trading at or above its 3 year average.

One notable observation is the unlevered Free Cash Flow margin, which at 12.6% is now at a recent record. We have preciously discussed how companies have extracted major cash concession by squeezing net working capital, which is likely a factor in the disproportionate rise in FCF margins relative to all other metrics. The immediate result of this cash conservation has been of course the dramatic increase in corporate cash balances, which some have speculated is merely in anticipation of much higher corporate tax rates down the line, as well as general austerity as the reality of America’s insolvency trickes down to individual corporations.

The take home here is that margins have likely little room left to grow. This is especially true…
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SP 500 Volumes and Cash Flows Fading

SP 500 Volumes and Cash Flows Fading

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

They got the Dollar General IPO out the door and a few more deals were done so its "Mission Accomplished" for Wall Street. The SP 500 looks to be completing a hand off to the retail crowd of overpriced paper in this cycle of the price pump. Time to dump the bids and let it drop, with maybe one more push higher at most to suck in a little more money from the productive economy, or at least what is left of it.

Be aware. This rally is a ponzi scheme thinly disguised even by US Wall Street standards. But do not try and get in front of it, to short it prematurely.

The Obama administration is as asleep at the switch and coopted by its masters in New York as was the prior administration’s regulators under Chris Cox, and that is a real accomplishment in a failure to reform.

People forget what the markets were like in the late 1970′s when the pits were dead and the average person wanted nothing to do with the US equity markets. The creation of 401k’s and more gambling tables like the options exchanges helped to perk things up. This latest generation of jokers will not stop until they have trashed the markets once again.

Expect more token reforms like position limits out of this crew in key commodities, with loopholes big enough for a vampire squid to slip through without inconvenience like the other ‘reforms’ being crafted by Barney, Tim, Larry, and Chris.

America, what are you becoming?

"How are the mighty fallen, and their devices of empire perished…"

[click on charts for larger images]

 


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Phil's Favorites

How burnout is plaguing doctors and harming patients

 

How burnout is plaguing doctors and harming patients

Courtesy of Jay DesaiUniversity of Southern California

Exhaustion and burnout among physicians are growing problems. wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

The presidential symposium at this year’s Annual Meeting of the Child Neurology Society of America in early October in Kansas City raised many eyebrows. The first presentation of this symposium focused on burnout rates among neurologists around the country.

Many of my colleagues f...



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Zero Hedge

It's Official: Bitcoin Surpasses "Tulip Mania", Is Now The Biggest Bubble In World History

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One month ago, a chart from Convoy Investments went viral for showing that among all of the world's most famous asset bubbles, bitcoin was only lagging the infamous 17th century "Tulip Mania."

One month later, the price of bitcoin has exploded even higher, and so it is time to refresh where in the global bubble race bitcoin now stands, and also whether it has finally surpassed "Tulips."

Conveniently, overnight the former Bridgewater analysts Howard Wang and Robert Wu who make up C...



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Insider Scoop

7 Stocks To Watch For December 12, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

  • Casey's General Stores Inc (NASDAQ: CASY) reported weaker-than-expected earnings for its second quarter. Casey's shares dropped 3.62 percent to $116.86 in the after-hours trading session.
  • KMG Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: KMG) reported upbeat results for its first quarter on Monday. KMG Che...


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Digital Currencies

No, Bitcoin Won't Boil The Oceans

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Elaine Ou via Bloomberg.com,

Concerns about the cryptocurrency's energy use are overblown...

While much of the world marvels at bitcoin’s meteoric rise, another part is focused on an environmental byproduct:

The sheer amount of electricity that crypto-currencies use.

By some estimates, bitcoin’s consumption ...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Dec 10, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Before we talk about the stodgy ole stock market, anyone see that Bitcoin?  $11K last week – $16K this week…. and as I write this bitcoin futures are up over $18K. Just another week in the life…. (here is what you need to know about bitcoin futures)

Back to your regularly scheduled program… the S&P 500 rested a bit while a small correction rolled through the massive winners of 2017 in mega cap tech land, but in the end all was well again by Friday.

“The Nasdaq Composite Index was getting a little frothy, so it&...



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Biotech

DNA has gone digital - what could possibly go wrong?

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

 

DNA has gone digital – what could possibly go wrong?

Courtesy of Jenna E. GallegosColorado State University and Jean PeccoudColorado State University

Modern advances come with new liabilities. Sergey ...



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ValueWalk

Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

Courtesy of FinancialSense.com via ValueWalk.com

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.

It’s looking increasingl...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan 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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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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