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Tumultuous Tuesday – Russian Troops Enter Ukraine – Oil and Gas Prices Soar

Russian Troops Enter Breakaway Ukrainian Region as Germany Halts Gas PipelinePolitics is no joke.  

That is why, perhaps, electing a comedian to run your country may not turn out to be the best idea.  Ukraine's comic-turned-president got tangled up in the impeachment of Donald Trump, then he had to deal with the Covid pandemic and now he’s facing the prospect of a full-scale invasion by Russia since taking office in May of 2019. 

Zelensky's lack of real experience has not been helping and now the wolves are at his doorstep as Russia has, like Crimea, endorsed the breakaway Donbas Region and sent in troops "to support their independence from Ukraine."  This is much like the way America elected a TV President and he too, ineptly destroyed America's reputation in the World and destroyed America's Economy at home – that show is still running with a brief Biden intermission.  And it's a LOT of support Russia is offering with 190,000 Russian Troops on the border – as opposed to the "removal" of troops the market rallied on last week.  

Speaking of last week – for all the gyrations we've been having, the S&P is only down 50 points since Valentine's Day and 225 points (5%) off our Feb 9th high – no big deal.   The Nasdaq, however, is hitting our 13,500 correction goal.  That's still the only red on the 20% Bounce Chart (where we project the correction will take us) but the S&P is on the cusp of turning red – so we'll be watching that closely this week:

  • Dow 36,000 to 28,800 would be a 7,200-point drop with 1,440 bounces to 30,240 (weak) and 31,680 (strong).   
  • S&P 4,800 is 20% above 4,000 and that makes it an 800-point drop with 160-point bounces so 4,160 (weak) and 4,320 (strong) is where we are this morning (again).
  • Nasdaq is using 13,500 as the base and we bottomed yesterday at 13,580.  14,100 is the weak bounce and 14,700 is strong.  
  • Russell 1,600, would be about an 800-point drop with 160-point bounces to 1,780 (weak) and 1,960 (strong).

You don't want to see ANY red on a chart which confirms our predicted 20% correction zone but this is the Nasdaq's second visit to the land down under and, if it breaks – it's taking everyone with it (which makes them good hedging bets, by the way).  The Russell, don't forget, already made a 20% correction from 2,400 back to 1,920 – 1,600 is the worst-case scenario for the small-caps and we REALLY don't want to see any redness there at all.

Amazingly, February ends next Monday already and then it's March and then it's time for Q1 earnings.  Things are just happening too fast this year and we have a fairly busy data week after yeasterday's holiday – peppered with Fed Speak:

And earnings don't end – they don't even fade away at this pace:


We are certainly not going to be bored as 2022 races along on us.  Over in Hong Kong Chinese Overlord, Carri Lam, has ordered all residents to have 3 Covid tests in March so, if you are wondering why you can't find one in CVS – that's why.  They are having a major Covid outbreak despite an over 80% vaccination rate and it's freaking China out – so they want to get to the bottom of it right away and the "independent" territory of Hong Kong is fully cooperating with Lam's bosses.  

Queen Elizabeth, who gave up Hong Kong in 1997 on the condition it remain autonomous until 2047 (oh well), also has Covid and, at 95.  Both Charles and Cimilla had it recently as well – as have much of the staff.  It is thought they all caught Covid on Feb 8th, the first time the Queen had been out in 3 months for her 70th anniversary on the throne celebration.  Meanwhile, despite this demonstration of Covid spreading at mass gathering – Prime Minister BoJo is lifting all restricions – including requiring people who have Covid to self-isolate.  Maybe I'm missing something but shouldn't that ALWAYS be a rule in ANY rational civilization?  

Not America, of course, you can get right on a plane with Covid – as long as you wear your mask.


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  1. Good Morning!

  2. Rational? That's hilarious. 

  3. Putin Chooses a Forever War

  4. Amazon’s Growth In Healthcare Is Unparalleled

  5. good morning

    there was an insider buy in CROX

  6. All new channels in Europe are commenting over the last check move of Putin. They all talking about restriction, however it seems they have not found yet, that they cutting them self in their own fingers.

  7. Good morning!

    Running quickly back to green so at least our 20% off line is holding on /NQ and /RTY is also staying over 1,920 so all is well(ish) for now.  

    CROX/Stock – Insider buying doesn't matter unless it's significant.  You have to look at how many shares someone already has and see if they are adding or subtracting more than 10% of their holdings.  Even then it could be just normal diversification if that's a significan chunk of their wealth in one place.  Most insider buying is theatrical, although sometime a stock is just stupidly cheap but if they "know something" then it's illegal to buy ahead of the public.  That's why Buffett announces his support prices at each meeting – no surprises. 

    We decided CROX was too cheap.

    February 16th, 2022 at 1:54 pm | (Unlocked) | Permalink

    CROX/8800 – Been a while since we played them.  They are a $6Bn company now – that's crazy!  Making about $550M a year so $6Bn is very fair but they sold off anyway.  I think they gave too good guidance and expectations were too high but nothing wrong with them.  Still, I'd let them find a bottom but this is a good entry point.


    At the moment, we can:

    • Sell 10 CROX 2024 $65 puts for $12 ($12,000) to net in for $53 – about half the current price.  
    • Buy 10 2024 $75 calls for $40 ($40,000) 
    • Sell 10 2024 $125 calls for $21 ($21,000) 

    That would be net $7,000 on the $50,000 spread that's $20,000 in the money – so a good place to start.  Let's add that to the Earnings Portfolio, which has plenty of cash.

    Also, in the LTP, let's sell 10 of those 2024 $65 puts for $12 – because who doesn't like $12,000?  

    February 17th, 2022 at 11:55 am | (Unlocked) | Permalink 

    CROX/8800 – I feel more comfortable at $65.  When something changes and a large investor decides to get out – it can take them a while to unwind and pressure stays on the stock.  CROX turns 2M shares a day, so $200M and they have a $5.2Bn valuation so, if 10% of the people want out, it will take them a week to unwind, at least.  That's part of the logic of the 5% Rule – it let's us see when that pressure is rising or falling. 

    February 18th, 2022 at 1:52 pm | (Unlocked) | Permalink

    CROX/8800 – So far, it looks like someone huge is dumping until -$20, then pausing…  May not stop here.  

    So now we check the 2024 $75 calls and they are $30 and the $65 calls are $34 and we're not going to regret that so, in the Earnings Portfolio, let's roll the 10 CROX 2024 $75 calls down to the $65 calls for net $4 ($4,000) and that puts us in for $11,000 and we're $17,500 in the money on what is now a $60,000 spread.  

    Usually $3.50 is about as low as the $10 rolls get so $4 is great.  The $55s are currently $39 and we have no need to make that but, if they drop down to $34, then we could do the roll ($4,000) and double down on the $55s ($34,000) and sell 10 of the 2024 $80 calls, which are now $29, maybe for $24 ($24,000) and we would have spent net +$9,000 to be in 20 of the 2024 $55 calls covered by 10 of the $80s and 10 of the $125s – all in for $20,000 with $50,000 paid at $80 – still not bad, right?  

    Of course when we initiate a bet – we try to get away with spending no money and making a fortune and, sometimes, that works out but, when it doesn't – we can't be afraid to make a proper investment.  

    Cutting/Yodi – Yes, enjoy those gas bills!  

  8. Comment content omitted because it is too long.

  9. KBWB -0.24%Feb. 22, 2022 11:02 AM ET1 Comment

    As the yield curve continues to flatten, pressure mounts for banking and financial exchange traded funds. Tighter spreads are not supportive of bank stocks' bottom lines, leading to three banking ETFs that investors may want to keep on their radar.

    The First Trust Nasdaq Bank ETF (NASDAQ:FTXO), Invesco KBW Bank ETF (NASDAQ:KBWB), and the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEARCA:KBE) will be in the crosshairs as the curve flattens. This is because banks traditionally perform worse in situations where shorter-term rates and longer-term rates become more level.

    Financial institutions generate a spread on lending loans, which is a large portion of how they earn revenues. Therefore, if the difference between short- and long-term rates is narrower, it equates to less profit for the banks.

    Below is a chart of the U.S. 2 Year and 10 Year Treasury yields over the past year.

    Investors can see the narrowing between the two as the 2-Year has taken off since mid-November. There is currently a 42 basis point spread between the two instruments, much lower than the 129-basis point spread back in October and nearly 150 basis point spread one year ago.

    Along with the three banking ETFs, two broad-spectrum finance ETFs that should be kept in mind as well. This includes the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLF) and the Vanguard Financials ETF (NYSEARCA:VFH).

    Year-to-date price action: FTXO +5.2%, KBWB +3.2%, KBE +2.8%, XLF -0.2%, and VFH -1.1%.

    RTX +0.37%Feb. 22, 2022 10:57 AM ET35 Comments

    China's government said it will impose new sanctions on defense contractors Raytheon Technologies (RTX +1.2%) and Lockheed Martin (LMT +0.7%), in response to $100M in sales the U.S. approved earlier this month for the maintenance of Taiwan's missile defense systems by the two companies.

    Beijing had announced sanctions against Raytheon and other defense firms in 2020 following a planned $2.3B sale of Harpoon attack missiles to Taiwan; the U.S. does not sell arms to China, so the effects of the sanctions may be largely symbolic.

    China maintains that U.S. arms sale to Taiwan violates its "one-China principle" and provisions of agreements between the two governments.

    Raytheon's Q4 results showed that its aerospace segments continued to benefit from the recovery in air travel, while its defense segments stayed solid, Librarian Capital writes in a bullish analysis posted on Seeking Alpha.

    BTC-USD -0.13%Feb. 22, 2022 10:57 AM ET8 Comments

    Bitcoin (BTC-USD -2.7%) on Tuesday fell to as low as $36.3K per token, as tensions between Russia and Ukraine weigh on a broad spectrum of risk assets. The world's largest digital coin has since edged higher to $37.9K.

    The global crypto market is down 3.4% in the past 24 hours. All three major U.S. indices slide, with the Nasdaq (COMP.IND) -0.3% and S&P 500 (SP500) -0.3% erasing gains from earlier, and Dow Jones (DJI) -0.7% falling below 34K.

    Moreover, “Bitcoin’s inability to hold $40,000 amid heightened Ukraine tensions means $30,000 is back in play,” Nexo Co-Founder and Managing Partner Antoni Trenchev told Bloomberg via email. “Geopolitics has, for now, replaced inflation as the primary driver of both traditional and crypto markets,” he added.

    Gold (XAUUSD:CUR), which has jumped over 6% month-to-date, is flirting with $1,900 per ounce. Amid political uncertainty and tighter financial conditions, the bitcoin-to-gold ratio is closing in on the lowest level since mid-2021, implying gold is acting as a better safe haven asset than bitcoin, Bloomberg pointed out.

    Cryptos: ethereum (ETH-USD -3.5%), binance coin (BNB-USD -3.2%), ripple (XRP-USD -9.9%), cardano (ADA-USD -7.3%), solana (SOL-USD -4.2%), litecoin (LTC-USD -5.0%) terra (LUNA-USD +2.5%), avalanche (AVAX-USD -6.5%), dogecoin (DOGE-USD -5.5%), shiba inu (SHIB-USD -6.8%), polygon (MATIC-USD -6.2%) and wrapped bitcoin (WBTC-USD -2.7%).

    With accelerating efforts to develop a regulatory framework for digital assets, the DOJ appointed the first director of its new crypto enforcement team.

    M -3.05%Feb. 22, 2022 10:43 AM ET4 Comments

    Macy's (NYSE:M) gained 5.37% after the department store operator's holiday-quarter earnings report sparked enthusiasm.

    Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink said Macy's (M) looks even more intriguing after earnings day due to the outperformance potential for the high end business. A Buy rating was reiterated by the firm following the results.

    Telsey Advisory Group's Dana Telsey also checked in: "M closed out FY21 with another strong beat, driven by across the board upside relative to expectations. Digital sales increased 12% compared to last year and 36% vs. 4Q19 while 7.2MM new customers shopped the Macy's brand during the quarter as the execution of the company's Polaris strategy delivers improved financial health. Despite concerns over longer-term structural traffic trends for the category, Macy's operational improvements put the company in a position to capitalize on consumer macro tailwinds over the past year. On the stronger base of business than previously expected, the FY22 outlook is also not worse than feared, in our view (high end of FY22 EPS guide is a 14.9% decline vs. prior consensus for a 16.4% decrease). However, against difficult compares and challenges to operational visibility for the upcoming year, we maintain our Market Perform rating."

    Macy's (M) traded at a 2022 high of $28.21 earlier in Tuesday's session.

    The Seeking Alpha Quant Rating on Macy's flipped to Strong Buy on January 10.

    Remember when I used to have to argue with people who thought they were going BK? 

  10. PFE -1.50%Feb. 22, 2022 10:24 AM ET115 Comments

    • The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a case from a group of Maine healthcare workers who oppose the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds.
    • The justices let stand a federal appellate court decision allowing Maine to require all employees of health care facilities be vaccinated except for medical reasons.
    • In October, the High Court rejected the challenge on an emergency basis, Bloomberg reported.
    • Besides Maine, New York and Rhode Island require that health care personnel be vaccinated with only medical exemptions.
    • Vaccine makers: Pfizer (PFE -1.1%), BioNTech (BNTX -2.8%), Moderna (MRNA +3.3%), AstraZeneca (AZN +2.5%), and Novavax (NVAX +0.1%).
    • Last month, the Supreme Court let stand a Biden Administration order that employees at facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients be vaccinated.

    ET -2.59%Feb. 22, 2022 10:19 AM ET115 Comments

    The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by Energy Transfer's (ET +0.1%) Dakota Access Pipeline, letting stand without comment a federal appeals court ruling that required a new federal environmental impact statement before granting the pipeline the right to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

    Dakota Access, which opened in 2017, will continue to operate as the review is carried out, but the Supreme Court move leaves the pipeline vulnerable to an eventual shutdown.

    The Biden administration and five Sioux tribes which had opposed the DAPL project urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal.

    The 1,200-mile pipeline carries 200M bbl/year of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to the Patoka oil terminal in Illinois; Continental Resources (CLR +0.4%) is among the producers that rely on the pipeline.

    Energy Transfer owns 75% of the Dakota Access Pipeline, while Phillips 66 Partners (PSXPSXP) owns 25%.

    Last week, Energy Transfer reported better than expected Q4 earnings and revenues while pledging that the restoration of its prior distribution its "top priority."

    AAPL -1.87%Feb. 22, 2022 10:03 AM ET83 Comments

    • Less than 48 hours after its release, former President Donald Trump's Truth Social app is already proving popular on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store.
    • According to research firm Apptopia, the Truth Social app has been downloaded 170,000 times since it debuted on the App Store Sunday evening. Reuters said that the Truth Social quickly became the most-downloaded app on the App Store after its release. No Android version of the app is currently available.
    • Trump, who has been banned from Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), is marketing Truth Social as an alternative outlet to those social-media giants.
    • Trump Media and Technology Group is planning to go public soon through a SPAC merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:DWAC).

    Feb. 22, 2022 10:01 AM ET

    • Conference Board February Consumer Confidence Index at 110.5 vs. 110.0 expected and 111.1 prior (revised from 113.8).
    • Present situation index improved to 145.1 vs. 144.5 prior.
    • Expectations index fell to 87.5 from 88.8 prior.
    • “Concerns about inflation rose again in February, after posting back-to-back declines. Despite this reversal, consumers remain relatively confident about short-term growth prospects. While they do not expect the economy to pick up steam in the near future, they also do not foresee conditions worsening. Nevertheless, confidence and consumer spending will continue to face headwinds from rising prices in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.
    • Last week, January's Leading indicator fell below consensus.

  11. Feb. 22, 2022 9:01 AM ET

    • December S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI:
    • HPI Composite: – 20 (S.A.) +1.5% M/M vs. +1.1% consensus, +1.2% prior.
    • The National Composite Index jumped 18.8% for the year, posting its biggest calendar year increase in 34 years of data and accelerating from 2020's 10.4% increase.
    • HPI Composite – 20 (N.S.A) +1.1% M/M vs. +0.8% consensus, % +1.0% prior.
    • HPI Composite – 20 (N.S.A.) +18.6% Y/Y vs. +18.0% consensus, +18.3% prior.
    • As in previous months, the Phoenix, Tampa, and Miami markets posted the biggest Y/Y gains among 20 cities in December, with Phoenix home prices soaring 32.5% Y/Y, Tampa rising 29.4%, and Miami up 27.3%.
    • Also see: FHFA house price index rises slightly above consensus in December

    MDT +2.81%Feb. 22, 2022 7:32 AM ET3 Comments

    Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is trading flat in the pre-market on Tuesday after the company reported lower-than-expected revenue for Q3 fiscal 2022 and set its guidance for the current quarter in line with the consensus.

    Despite ~2% YoY growth organically, the total quarterly revenue was flat at $7.8B on a reported basis. The COVID-19 and labor shortages on medical procedure volumes mainly in the U.S. adversely impacted the topline, Medtronic (MDT) said.

    “The impact of the COVID-19 resurgence on healthcare procedure volumes, particularly in the United States, peaked in the final weeks of our quarter in January, causing our revenue to fall short of our expectations," remarked Chief Executive Geoff Martha ahead of the conference call.

    The biggest revenue generator, the U.S. made up ~51% of the top line with flat revenue growth, while non-U.S. revenue reached ~$2.4B to contribute 31% with a decline of ~3% YoY on a reported basis.

    The medical-surgical portfolio brought ~$2.3B for the quarter, implying ~1% contraction, while the cardiovascular portfolio and neuroscience portfolio added $2.7B and $2.1B revenue, respectively, with both indicating ~1% growth on a reported basis.

    The diabetes segment posted $584M revenue with a decline of ~7% YoY even as mid-single-digit growth in overseas markets partially offset the high teens declines in the U.S.

    For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, Medtronic (MDT) projects organic revenue growth of ~5.5% and non-GAAP EPS in the range of $1.56 to $1.58.

    "Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, our teams executed and delivered adjusted EPS in-line with our guidance and a penny ahead of consensus," Karen Parkhill, Chief Financial Officer, said.

    Medtronic (MDT) is expected to report $1.57 earnings per share in the current quarter, according to Street forecasts on Seeking Alpha.

    AA -4.67%Feb. 22, 2022 7:27 AM ET5 Comments

    Prices for aluminum and nickel prices climb to multiyear highs in London, Reuters reports, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized breakaway regions in east Ukraine and sent troops into the area as "peacekeepers."

    Benchmark aluminum (LMAHDS03:COM) on the London Metal Exchange, already up nearly 20% YTD after surging 42% in 2021, recently traded +1.9% at $3,343/metric ton after reaching $3,380/ton, literally pennies short of 2008's record of $3,380.15/ton, while LME nickel (LN1:COM) was +1.7% at $24,760/ton after touching $24,925/ton, the highest since 2011; Russia produces 6% of the world's aluminum and 7% of its mined nickel.

    Alcoa (NYSE:AA) +2.9% pre-market; other potentially relevant tickers include CENXACHARNCCSTMKALUOTCPK:NILSYJJU

    Both aluminum and nickel already are undersupplied; shortages have cut inventories in LME-approved warehouses to 835K metric tons from nearly 2M in March 2021, and nickel stocks in LME-registered warehouses have dropped to 82K tons from more than 260K in April 2021.

    Citing fears that sanctions on Russia could curb the country's aluminum exports and rising energy prices which have idled some smelters, Goldman Sachs recently raised its forecast price for aluminum to $4,000/ton.

    HD -8.96%Feb. 22, 2022 7:11 AM ET39 Comments

    Home Depot (NYSE:HD) blasted past expectations with its Q4 report, headlined by a comparable sales gain of 8.1% vs +5.3% consensus.

    Customer transactions fell 3.4% during the quarter for the home improvement retailer, but average ticket was up 12.4% to $85.11. Sales per retail square foot rose 8.3% to $571.79. Comparable sales were up 7.6% in the U.S.

    Net income came in at $3.35B for Home Depot (HD) vs. $2.86B a year ago.

    Looking ahead, HD guided for sales growth and comparable sales growth to be slightly positive and operating margin approximately flat with fiscal 2021.

    CEO statement: "Our ability to grow the business by over $40 billion in the last two years is a testament to investments we have made in the business, our ability to execute with agility, and our associates' relentless focus on our customers."

    Shares of Home Depot (HD) rose 0.52% premarket to $348.68 following the earnings topper.



  12. MIDD +0.72%Feb. 22, 2022 7:07 AM ET

    • Middleby press release (NASDAQ:MIDD): Q4 Non-GAAP EPS of $2.11 beats by $0.08.
    • Revenue of $866.41M (+18.8% Y/Y) beats by $19M.

    BP -2.09%Feb. 22, 2022 7:04 AM ET5 Comments

    US equity markets were closed Monday; however, commodity and global equity markets were open, with a series of important news releases impacting energy and natural resources prices over the long weekend:

    • Russia / Ukraine – the conflict between Russia and Ukraine captured headlines as Russia's Putin moved troops across the Ukrainian border (NYSE:BP).
    • OPEC – Aramco's (ARMCO) CEO said that energy prices are high, mainly because of the strategies and policies that curtailed investment in energy sources (NYSE:DVN) (NYSE:PXD); oil demand to hit a record high this year (NYSE:VLO) (NYSE:PSX).
    • LNG outlook – Shell (NYSE:SHEL) published a bullish LNG outlook, citing secular demand growth, against a backdrop of slowing supply additions (NYSE:XOM) (NYSE:CVX) (NYSE:LNG).
    • Galp – GALP (OTC:GLPEF), the Portuguese mini-major accounting for ~130kb/d of production, announced ~3yrs of zero upstream volume growth, as 50%+ of capex will pivot to low-carbon energy sources and away from upstream investments in Mozambique and Brazil (NYSE:PBR).
    • Norway production – Norway released hydrocarbon production figures for January, showing liquids volumes down ~123kb/d Mom and missing forecasts by 111kb/d (~5.3%); gas volumes exceeded Government forecasts by 7.5% (NYSE:EQNR) (NYSE:NRT) (NYSE:VET).
    • China coal – following the lunar new year holiday, Chinese coal production returned to record Q4 levels of ~12mt/d over the weekend (NYSE:BTU) (NYSE:CEIX).
    • US Weather – the NOAA released an updated weather forecast, showing below-average temperatures passing through the eastern half of the US this week (NYSE:EQT) (NASDAQ:CHK).
    • Nord Stream – early Tuesday, Germany halted the approval process for Nord Stream 2, according to Reuters.

    Brent oil prices (NYSEARCA:USO) for March delivery closed Friday at $93.65, rallied as high as $99.26 and currently sit at $97.74 (+4.4% from Friday's close). US natural gas prices for March delivery rose as much as 7% on colder weather forecasts, but currently trade ~3.5% higher versus Friday's close. Newcastle thermal coal prices for March delivery are up $15 or ~7.5% Tuesday. European natural gas prices are up ~13% Tuesday morning, ahead of the US market open.

    RSX -11.71%Feb. 22, 2022 6:25 AM ET8 Comments

    "They want to revise the post Cold War settlement, they want to talk about no more NATO expansion, they want to talk about no more NATO military, structural or institutional presence in countries like Ukraine," said Michael Kofman, Director of Russia Studies at research and analysis group CNA. "The Russian goal has always been to impose their will on Ukraine, to secure Ukraine's strategic orientation and the like, but without actually having to control the territory or pay for it."

    Snapshot: "Going to reiterate. Russia is not unilaterally giving away its main leverage over Ukraine, for nothing (plus getting sanctioned), or just introducing troops into occupied territories where it has already kept forces on rotation for 8 years. That's not what this is about," Kofman added in a tweet. "If you look at the evolution of this crisis, Putin's grievances, and the disposition of Russian forces, it suggests that this is a play for Ukraine, with maximalist aims. Recognition of DNR/LNR is just a significant political step in that rapidly unfolding scheme." Tensions over Ukraine hit stocks, energy, commodities and safe-havens.

    "For Putin, it's not just 30 years of historical wrong but centuries of injury inflicted on Russia, the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire," explained Fiona Hill, senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council during the Trump administration. "Russia wants to have coercive power. This is what this is about." U.S. unveils some sanctions against Russia, holds off on broad package.

    Go deeper: "Right now I have my doubts that the European political elite and diplomats understand the full complex of problems they will run into as Putin works to advance his agenda," said Aleksei Chesnakov, a former adviser to the Kremlin on foreign policy. "He wants more decisive steps militarily, politically and economically. He is ready." Russian ETFs plunge as Ukraine conflict looks poised to escalate.

    RUSL -22.25%Feb. 22, 2022 6:22 AM ET23 Comments

    Russia's standoff with the West continues to intensify as Vladimir Putin announced he would recognize two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine. The Russian president went on to sign aid and cooperation pacts with regional leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk (which include the right to build military bases), at a televised ceremony at the Kremlin that was condemned by the U.S. and European Union. "I consider it necessary to take the long overdue decision to recognize the independence and sovereignty," Putin declared. "Ukraine for us is not just a neighboring country, it is an integral part of our own history, culture and spiritual space."

    Response: Some sanctions were announced by the U.S. and its allies as Putin planned to send in peacekeeping forces, though Russia has continued to deny plans of an invasion. Ukraine said it will also stick to a peaceful path, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasizing that Putin merely "legalized" troops already present in self-proclaimed republics since 2014. "We're dedicated to diplomatic means of solving this issue. We're not reacting to any provocations. This is our choice. We are on our land. We're not afraid of anyone and everyone." Tensions over Ukraine hit stocks, energy, commodities and safe-havens.

    Following the news, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting, but with Russia being one of the five countries that hold veto power, measures like sanctions are non-starters. Russia also holds the rotating presidency this month, so it chairs and sets the agenda for council meetings, likely shield itself from further trouble. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department on Monday evening relocated its diplomatic staff in Lviv, Ukraine, to Poland, citing safety and security reasons.

    Next steps: President Biden "reiterated that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, in lockstep with its allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine." The developments may also torpedo a last-minute summit with Biden, which was arranged by French President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend. The White House said it was prepared to meet with Putin "in principle" – if Moscow refrained from further invading Ukraine – but U.S. officials said they can no longer commit to a meeting which has a "predicate that Russia won't take military action when it looks as imminently like it will." 

    RSX -11.66%Feb. 22, 2022 5:01 AM ET159 Comments

    Vladimir Putin's recognition of two breakaway regions of Ukraine, and his order to send in troops he called peacemakers, does not constitute a "further invasion" that would trigger a broader sanctions package since it's "territory that they've already occupied," a Biden administration official told Reuters. The U.S. will continue to pursue diplomacy with Russia until "tanks roll," which it believes could happen at any time. Putin's announcement will still prevent American investment, trade, and financing in Luhansk and Donetsk, while additional measures from the White House will be announced later today.

    (Update 7:05 am ET) What would a wider package look like? As the U.S., U.K. and EU discuss the details behind closed doors, Germany halted its approval of Nord Stream 2. The $11B gas pipeline was designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia to Germany, but things could get ugly quickly, with Moscow exporting nearly 40% of the EU's natural gas supply. The West may also sanction Russia's financial sector – as well as Vladimir Putin's inner circle – which would be more targeted than the latest round of sanctions. Tensions over Ukraine hit stocks, energy, commodities and safe-havens.

    With Putin's allies located across the highest levels of industry, the penalties could affect the business interests of oil majors operating in the country like BP (NYSE:BP), Shell (NYSE:SHEL) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), and commodity traders like Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF), Vitol, Trafigura and Gunvor. The last time around, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, sanctions worked a little differently. For example, the penalties leveled against Rosneft (OTCPK:RNFTF) didn't limit its supply or production, but rather restricted its ability to fund future growth by limiting its Western financing, while curbing access to certain technologies used in exploration activities. 

    Outlook: Reports suggest that the West is preparing a series of sanctions, which could be implemented in successive rounds depending on the degree of the invasion. There is also the risk that Russia may unveil its own counter-sanctions, like severing oil and gas supply completely, which would drive up the cost for consumers. At its worst, it could spark a sanctions war, that could cut Russia's banks off from the SWIFT international banking system or ban Western investment funds from holding Russian government bonds.

    SPY -1.20%Feb. 22, 2022 4:18 AM ET141 Comments

    U.S. markets were closed for Presidents' Day on Monday, but intensifying tensions between the West and Russia was on full display in the global markets. Russia's benchmark stock index, the MOEX, plunged 10.5% for its largest daily percentage decline since the invasion of Crimea in 2014, while the pan-continental STOXX Europe 600 slid 1.3%. Jitters are also showing up in America, with futures contracts tied to the Dow and S&P 500 slipping 1.3% and 1.5% early on Tuesday, while the Nasdaq fell back 2.2%Russian ETFs plunge as Ukraine conflict looks poised to escalate.

    Analyst commentary: "A limited invasion of Donbas would be a temporary headwind on risk assets, but we would not view that as a bearish gamechanger unless it spiraled into a broader conflict between Russia and the NATO [which again is unlikely at this point]," Kinsale Trading wrote in a research note. In Goldman Sachs' worst case scenario, a 10% decline in the Russian ruble would push the S&P 500 down another 6% compared to Friday's close, with several more percentage points of weakness seen in Europe. Deutsche Bank also pointed out that typical geopolitical selloffs are usually around 6%-8% on average, taking three weeks for stocks to bottom and another three for them to recover. U.S. unveils some sanctions against Russia, holds off on broad package.

    Elsewhere, the energy sector is on watch, with Russia supplying about 40% of the EU's natural gas supplies via pipeline. Dutch gas futures, a European benchmark, surged as much as 13% to €82 a megawatt-hour, while natural gas futures (NG1:COM) in the U.S. traded up 6% at $4.72/mmbtu. Moscow is also a key oil player, producing roughly 11% of the world's supply (or 10.5M barrels per day), sending WTI crude futures (CL1:COM) up 3.7% to $94.46/bbl in response to the developments. "We could see prices surpass the $100-a-barrel mark very quickly and it even has an upside of $10 a barrel if we start seeing most sanctions being placed on Russian oil exports," said Sri Paravaikkarasu, Asia oil lead at FGE.

    Other commodities were also impacted, with Russia (and Ukraine) being a major supplier of metal and grain. Aluminum closed in on an all-time record, rising as much as 1.9% to $3,342 a ton on the London Metal Exchange, while Chicago wheat futures (W_1:COM) jumped to a near one-month high as trading resumed after Presidents' Day. Together, Russia and Ukraine account for a quarter of global trade in the grain, and concerns about Black Sea shipment disruptions could send soaring food costs even higher. Explainer: What does Russia's Vladimir Putin want in Ukraine?

    Eye on safe-havens: The uncertainty led investors to seek the relative safety of sovereign bonds, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury sliding as much as 7 basis points to 1.846%. Bullion also caught a bid as gold touched an eight-month high at $1914.40 an ounce. Interestingly enough, cryptocurrencies (the new age safe-haven touted by crypto believers) took a hit on the news, suggesting it is still trading in line with the riskiest of assets. At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) – referred to by some as digital gold - slumped 6.6% to $36,808.

  13. SPY -1.26%Feb. 21, 2022 3:10 PM ET27 Comments

    • BofA Securities says recent cash flows raise the odds of the current rates shock the market is experiencing turns into a recession shock in the next six months.
    • Last week saw the "largest inflow to Treasuries (NYSEARCA:TBT) (NASDAQ:TLT) (NASDAQ:SHY) since Mar’20 ($7.4bn) vs big outflow TIPS (NYSEARCA:TIP) & credit … recession risks rising," strategist Michael Hartnett and team wrote in the "Flow Show" note.
    • Credit "spreads widening (IG >110bps, widest since Nov’20, HYG (NYSEARCA:HYG) approaching $81 pre Covid high); note credit weakness in cyclical sectors feeding into stocks (e.g. homebuilding); YTD $54bn redemptions from corporate bonds vs $85bn inflow in '21; contrast with stocks where ’22 inflows ($155bn YTD) pacing 2021."
    • They "remain bearish tech (NYSEARCA:XLK)/stocks/credit, long vol, cash, defensive assets," and "will pivot from US$/commodities to GT30/EM in Q2," Hartnett said.
    • BofA private clients have a 64.5% allocation to stocks (NYSEARCA:SPY).
    • Fund managers surveyed by BofA recently called the level where the Fed put comes into play.

    JLL +0.72%Feb. 21, 2022 2:55 PM ET5 Comments

    In this holiday-shortened week, more data will show just how hot the residential real estate market is. The S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller home price index for December comes out on Tuesday and January new home sales will be released on Thursday.

    The ever-rising home prices, though, aren't helping residential real estate brokerages as real estate agents compete for a dwindling supply of homes for sale. In addition, mortgage rates are creeping up, making a home purchase less affordable, especially for first-time buyers.

    Where are the opportunities in real estate? Look to commercial real estate firms and related companies. Screening a list of 14 real estate-related companies, commercial real estate services firms Newmark Group (NASDAQ:NMRK), CBRE (NYSE:CBRE), and Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) rank the highest by Seeking Alpha's Quant rating.

    Don't count residential out completely. Realogy (NYSE:RLGY), which owns the Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brands, puts in a respectable fourth-place showing on the list.

    That's followed by commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE:CWK) at No. 5.

    Wall Street analysts come up with a different ranking, putting Walker & Dunlop (NYSE:WD), which arranges and finances real estate deals, at the top, followed by residential brokerage firm eXp World Holdings (NASDAQ:EXPI) at second, and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) at third.

    Note that Opendoor Technologies (NASDAQ:OPEN) gets a Strong Sell by the Quant rating, while the average Wall Street analyst rating stands at Buy. Redfin (NASDAQ:RDFN) also screens poorly by Quant rating and gets a Neutral rating by Street analysts.

    In the past year, commercial real estate-related stocks have been outperforming the residential real estate brokerage stocks. In this graph, Newmark (NMRK), Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), and CBRE (CBRE) all outperformed the S&P 500 index, while Re/Max (NYSE:RMAX) and Realogy (RLGY) lagged the broader indes.

    Earlier in February, Redfin's forecast sees home price growth slowing from a double-digit rates since the summer of 2020 to an annual rate of 7% this year.

    General Electric

    General Electric dropped on Friday after warning that supply chain issues would continue to weigh on its results at least through the first half of the year. As a result, GE dropped 6% during the session, keeping to a range that has held it for the last couple of months.

    The setback may have encouraged SA readers to step away from the conglomerate. They walked away from GE at a rate of about 1.3:1 during the week.

    Late last year, GE announced a plan to split into three separate companies. This will include splitting off its healthcare segment, as well as spinning off another company consisting of its renewable energy, power and digital assets. Once completed, GE will remain as an aviation-focused company.

    Goodyear Tire & Rubber

    Earlier this month, Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) suffered an enormous post-earnings sell-off. The company beat expectations with its Q4 results but warned that inflationary pressures will remain "over the next several quarters."

    In response to the report, shares plunged more than 27% on Feb. 11. In the aftermath, SA readers sensed a buying opportunity, spending last week grabbing the stock for their portfolios. They added the stock at a rate of nearly 5:1 compared to removals.

    SHEL -1.26%Feb. 21, 2022 11:18 AM ET80 Comments

    Following Shell's (NYSE:SHEL) acquisition of BG in 2016, the world's largest LNG supplier has hosted an annual LNG outlook day. Monday, Management shared their view on the current market, and outlook through 2040, making the case for LNG as a transition fuel while the world attempts to move towards net-zero emissions.

    At the heart of Shell's bullish view on LNG, is their call for demand to nearly doubles by 2040. The ~380mtpa market in 2021 is expected to grow to ~700mtpa over the next two decades. Meanwhile Shell identifies less than ~500mtpa of supply in the forecast period, driving an historic deficit market by the middle of this decade:

    On the demand side, Shell flags growing absolute energy demand, falling pipe gas supply in Europe and Asia, and coal-to-gas substitution as the secular trends driving demand higher. Although Management also makes the case for gas as a necessary complement to renewables in the power sector:

    Importantly, the demand side of the gas equation is unlikely to be a smooth ramp from ~400mtpa to ~700mtpa, as evidenced by Chinese imports in 2021. At the end of 2020, forecasting specialists Poten, Wood Mac, China GAC, IHS, and GasTank estimated Chinese LNG demand would grow by 4mtpa in 2021 (~6%). Despite record Chinese coal production, LNG demand grew by 12mtpa (~18%). With hard-to-forecast, policy-led decarbonization efforts largely absent in 2021, market forecasters under-estimated demand from the world's largest consumer by ~300%.

    The supply side of the LNG equation is similarly bullish, in Shell's view. The world added ~30mtpa to supplies annually between 2017 and 2019. If all goes to plan, the world will add 12mtpa on average between 2020 and 2025. LNG supply growth through 2025 is heavily dependent on growth from the US and Canada, where recent pipeline-related policy decisions further risk delays and cancellations (NYSE:LNG) (NYSE:TELL). But setting policy aside, there's simply less capital being invested following the pandemic:

    Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has effectively sworn off new mega-projects while pivoting to short-cycle production in the Permian. Exxon (NYSE:XOM) has yet to FID LNG expansion in Papua New Guinea following nearly a decade of negotiation delays. Total (NYSE:TTE) cancelled plans to build a plant in Mozambique following FID, as the security situation became unmanageable.

    Shell has long pointed towards the secular trends of primary energy demand growth and decarbonization driving LNG demand higher. In 2021, the fragility of the global energy system put a spotlight on the flexible, low-carbon fuel, as LNG prices reached record levels. With cracks in the supply narrative beginning to show, Shell sees a continued tight market and high prices for years to come.

  14. FU Children of all ages:

    DIS -1.58%Feb. 21, 2022 6:28 AM ET83 Comments

    In the first major price increase since before the pandemic, Walt Disney World (NYSE:DIS) is officially raising its prices for multi-day and Park Hopper tickets (which allow visitors to move between the theme parks in the same day). Most of the prices between four and 10 days were increased between 2% and 6%, though ticket costs for 1-3 days were largely unchanged.

    Per WDW News Today, a website that closely tracks news related to Disney's theme parks:

    Base tickets

    • 4 days were $434.83 – $596.74, now $447.70 – $596.74
    • 5 days were $463.56 – $630.85, now $484.52 – $646.87
    • 6 days were $477.79 – $645.91, now $496.43 – $672.25
    • 7 days were $492.06 – $661.56, now $511.10 – $694.96
    • 8 days were $518.17 – $678.83, now $545.19 – $716.20
    • 9 days were $536.00 – $691.93, now $563.46 – $738.66
    • 10 days were $553.69 – $703.65, now $582.09 – $752.40

    Park Hopper

    • 4 days were $525.35 – $687.27, now $540.89 – $687.27
    • 5 days were $554.09 – $721.38, now $572.47 – $739.92
    • 6 days were $568.32 – $736.44, now $586.96 – $762.77
    • 7 days were $582.59 – $752.08, now $601.63 – $785.48
    • 8 days were $608.69 – $769.36, now $628.04 – $810.55
    • 9 days were $626.53 – $782.46, now $649.96 – $827.00
    • 10 days were $644.22 – $794.17, now $671.55 – $841.86

    Park Hopper Plus

    • 4 days were $546.65 – $708.57, now $559.53 – $708.57
    • 5 days were $575.39 – $742.68, now $593.53 – $761.22
    • 6 days were $589.62 – $757.74, now $612.02 – $784.07
    • 7 days were $603.89 – $773.38, now $622.98 – $806.78
    • 8 days were $629.99 – $790.66, now $653.57 – $828.03
    • 9 days were $647.83 – $803.76, now $678.94 – $844.66
    • 10 days were $665.52 – $815.47, now $698.43 – $863.16

    From Disney's recent earnings (on Feb 9): The company saw all-time-high revenue at its "theme parks, experiences and consumer products" division, which doubled over the prior year to reach $7.2B and exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Visitors flocked to its attractions across the U.S., Europe and Asia, while profit margins in part rose because of lower spending on labor due to two new park navigation apps: Genie+ and Lightning Lane. Attendance trends were also up double digits (vs. Q4) at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and per-capita spending was up 40% Y/Y, amid higher outlays on food, beverages and merchandise.

    REMX -2.61%Feb. 18, 2022 6:08 PM ET180 Comments

    The U.S. Department of Defense plans to increase the stockpile of rare earth minerals, cobalt and lithium it manages, in an effort to reduce the country's long-term dependence on China, Reuters reports.

    The new stockpile guidance reportedly could be announced as soon as next week, nearly a year after President Biden issued an executive order to study U.S. supply chain resiliency.

    Lithium, used to make electric vehicle batteries, will be vital to the Pentagon's goal of shifting its fleet of 170K non-tactical vehicles to zero emissions, according to the report.

    The U.S. currently has only one rare earths mine – the Mountain Pass mine in California – and no capability to process rare earth minerals.

    Potentially relevant tickers include MPTROXALBLACSLILTHM

    Seeking Alpha contributor Michael A. Gayed is bullish on the VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSEARCA:REMX), calling it a "solid long-term growth story."

    AAL -2.13%Feb. 18, 2022 3:19 PM ET13 Comments

    American Airlines (AAL -1.5%) is further reducing its summer international flying schedule due to Boeing's (BA -1.6%) continuing delays in delivering new 787 Dreamliner jets, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    American plans to temporarily suspend routes including those between Seattle and London, Los Angeles and Sydney, and Dallas and Santiago, Chile, and may delay the launch of service between Dallas and Tel Aviv, and reduce frequencies between Miami and São Paulo, Brazil, according to the report.

    The carrier already had trimmed its original plan to fly 13 new Dreamliners for this summer's schedule down to four new planes, but it is reportedly removing those four.

    Boeing has largely stopped handing over Dreamliners to its customers since last October as it addresses a series of manufacturing flaws.

    FB -2.16%Feb. 18, 2022 3:00 PM ET22 Comments

    Welcome to Seeking Alpha's Catalyst Watch – a breakdown of some of next week's actionable events that stand out. Check out Saturday morning's regular Stocks to Watch article for a full list of events planned for the week or the Seeking Alpha earnings calendar for companies due to report.

    February 21

    • All day - The U.S. stock market is closed for the President's Day holiday.

    Tuesday – February 22

    • Volatility watch - Options trading spiked higher again on HOOKIPA Pharma (NASDAQ:HOOK) and SOS Limited (NYSE:SOS). Stocks generating strong interest on Reddit's WallStreetBets include Ryder (NYSE:R) and Rocket Companies (NYSE:RKT). On Stocktwits, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) are buzzing following their earnings reports. Meanwhile, short interest positions as a percentage of total float moved higher again on Blink Charging (NASDAQ:BLNK) and Citi Trends (NASDAQ:CTRN) heading into the new week. Analyst also say Rocket Lab (NASDAQ:RKLB) should be watched with the expiration of the company's lock-up period a potential negative catalyst if a significant portion of shareholders decide to sell.
    • All week - Notable conferences in the week ahead include the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference, the Baird Sustainability Conference, the Citi Global Industrial Tech and Mobility Conference, the Aegis Virtual Conference, Barclays Industrial Select Conference and Citi's Virtual Healthcare Conference.
    • 9:10 a.m. Altria (NYSE:MO) CEO Billy Gifford and CFO Sal Mancuso are scheduled to present at the CAGNY Conference. The company recently initiated its 2022 EPS guidance range of $4.79 to $4.93 (+4 to +7% growth). Updates on volume trends, inflation implications and the buyback program could be part of the Altria presentation.

    Wednesday – February 23

    • All day - Cummins (NYSE:CMI) will hold its first investor day in several years. Bank of America is positive on Cummins ahead of the event, saying it expects more color on long-term targets and the new power segment to bring buyers into the stock.
    • All day - Merck (NYSE:MRK) execs are scheduled to discuss Environmental, Social & Governance priorities during a webcast. ESG profiles have added significance this year with institutional investors.
    • All day - Ford Motor (NYSE:F) CEO Jim Farley will participate in a virtual fireside chat with Wolfe Research as part of appearance at the firm's Global Auto, Auto Tech, and Mobility Conference. Farley is scheduled to discuss Ford's growth opportunities in 2022 and beyond, including optimizing the transition from internal-combustion to battery-electric vehicles, software and services and Ford Pro. The talk will be watched closely for any commentary on Friday's report that the automaker is weighing options to have the EV business be a standalone.
    • All day - Poseida Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PSTX) will host a virtual R&D Day with presentations focused on the company's differentiated genetic engineering platform technologies, novel approach to cell and gene therapy, and emerging discovery programs.
    • 9:00 a.m. Xerox (NASDAQ:XRX) will hold its Investor Day. The last time Xerox held an investor day event, the bright outlook set shares up for +20% 90-day rally.
    • 11:00 a.m. Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg will give a speech on AI in the Metaverse. The talk will cover Meta's current breakthrough research and future big bets that it says will lay the groundwork for a new class of creative and immersive experiences today and in the metaverse tomorrow.
    • 11:30 a.m. PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) CEO Ramon LaGuarta is scheduled to present at the CAGNY Conference. PEP is entering FY22 with significant momentum and brand support, capable of reaching the high end of its long-term financial outlook.
    • 3:00 p.m. Calix, Inc. (NYSE:CALX) will host its 2022 Investor Day.
    • Postmarket - Watch Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ), Hertz Global (NASDAQ:HTZ) and fuboTV (NYSE:FUBO) for volatility after their earnings reports are released. Options trading suggests double-digit moves for all three stocks after the reports drop. Skillz and fuboTV both traded sharply lower immediately following their last earnings report, while Hertz is going into the earnings confessional for the first time since going public again.

    Thursday – February 24

    • All day - Polaris (NYSE:PII) has an analyst meeting planned to outline revised long-term strategies for driving accelerated growth and profitability in an expanding powersports market. Morgan Stanley said the event will likely include details on the company's electrification strategy and long-term targets.
    • All day - Shareholders with East Stone Acquisition (NASDAQ:ESSC) meet to vote on extending the SPAC deal to take JHD Holdings public. JHD is a Chinese merchant enablement services provider. Shares of ESSC have been volatile amid an elevated level of social media mentions and a potential gamma squeeze.
    • All day - PDS Biotechnology Corporation (NASDAQ:PDSB) will present Phase 2 initial data at the three-day Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.
    • All day - The go-shop period on the acquisition deal between Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) expires.
    • Premarket - Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) will report earnings with options trading implying a swing up or down of 14%. Shares of Nikola rose more than 20% the last time the electric vehicle maker reported earnings.
    • 8:00 a.m. Hillstream BioPharma (NASDAQ:HILS) will hold a R&D Day event to highlight emerging pipeline assets and anticipated milestones.
    • 8:30 a.m. The second estimate for GDP will be released to expectations for an upward revision to the preliminary estimate of 6.9%. Bank of America thinks strong real consumption could take the GDP growth rate to 7.5%, which could create a ripple in the market. The core PCE number will also be closely watched for a revision from +4.9% Q/Q.
    • 9:10 a.m. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) CEO Jon Mueller is scheduled to present at the CAGNY Conference. Analysts will be watching closely the update on labor, freight and logistics costs, as well as overall inflation expectations for the back half of the year.
    • 11:10 a.m. Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic will discuss banking in a digital era in a scheduled speech. Bostic is on the hawkish side of the FOMC dove-hawk spectrum.
    • Postmarket - Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) will report earnings. Options trading suggests a swing up or down of 15% after the report drops. Shares of Beyond Meat (BYND) fell 13% after the last earnings report. Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:OXY) is also due to report earnings as investors look for a third consecutive double beat. Pioneer Natural (NYSE:PXD) trades in tandem with OXY on earnings day 88% of the time.

    Friday – February 25

    • All day - The shipping industry gets its day in the sun with the Capital Link's Jones Act & U.S. Flag Shipping Forum taking place. Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel will make a presentation and top execs from Seabulk Tankers, Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE:OSG), Matson (NYSE:MATX) and Maersk (OTCPK:AMKBY) will also be featured. The marine shipping stocks with the biggest YTD gainers so far this year are Danaos Corporation (NYSE:DAC) +32%, Golden Ocean Group Limited (NASDAQ:GOGL) +28%, Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM) +27%, Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHIP) +26% and Castor Maritime Inc. (NASDAQ:CTRM) +26%.
    • All day - R.R. Donnelley's (NYSE:RRD) sale to Chatham Asset Management could close. The company said in its Q4 earnings release that all regulatory approvals for its sale to Chatham have been received.
    • 10:00 a.m. Shareholders with Momentive Global (NASDAQ:MNTV) and Zendesk (NYSE:ZEN) will vote on the proposed merger between the two companies. The deal is seeing a lot of pushback from activist investors and some recommendations from proxy firms to vote against it.

  15. Changes to hedges prior to March meetings and current events…

  16. What do you mean by that, Pman?

    It's bad when the Dow bounces 300 points off the lows and it's still a bad day!


    Can't blame the Dollar:

    Good day for silver (/SI):



    That's the easiest way to play /SI or /RB – if the senior commodity takes off (/GC or /CL) then we can be the junior commodity will follow:

    February 17th, 2022 at 10:26 am | (Unlocked) | Permalink 

    /SI is lagging but shame on us for not going long at $22 (I think we did but only briefly).  If /GC does pop $1,900 then /SI can be played bullish above $24 with VERY TIGHT STOPS BELOW.

    Oil patch crazy as usual:


  17. F -3.80%Feb. 22, 2022 3:42 PM ET

    Wells Fargo dug into the implications of Ford Motor Company (F -3.8%) potentially separating its battery electric vehicle business from the legacy ICE business.

    After looking at Ford's (NYSE:F) conflicting targets, Well Fargo noted that the automaker's ICE business could be focused on driving cash flow to fund the growing BEV business, while the BEV business would need to focus on growth to get needed scale and focus on getting vehicles to be incrementally profitable, not necessarily covering the high upfront R&D costs. The firm said it favored a partial spin of the battery electric business into a small tracking stock of which Ford maintained majority control.

    Analyst Colin Langan: "If the reporting BEV and ICE split does not compel a SOTPs upside, a tracking stock of the BEV business would lock in a clear value of BEV assets. A separate stock could help attract tech talent that is interested in stock options."

    Wells Fargo boosted its price target on Ford (F) to $26 off a new sum-of-the-parts valuation. The average analyst price target on Ford is $21.68.

    SP500 -1.21%Feb. 22, 2022 3:21 PM ET41 Comments

    Stocks rally off session lows in choppy trading Tuesday, with megacap names mixed.

    The Nasdaq (COMP.IND) -0.5%, S&P (SP500) -0.5% and Dow (DJI) -0.8% are down after making a run at positive territory in morning trading but up from earlier lows.

    President Joe Biden addressed the Russia Ukraine situation and said the U.S. will sanction Russia's financial institutions and sovereign debt. The U.S. has declared the Russian troop movement an invasion of Ukraine, according to the AP.

    Nine of the 11 S&P sectors are lower. Consumer Discretionary is the biggest decliner with Tesla and Amazon the weakest megacaps. Real Estate is faring the best.

    The Treasury yield curve is flattening. The 10-year yield is flat at 1.93% and the 2-year is up 8 basis points to 1.55%.

    From "a fundamental perspective we are in the same position since the hawkish pivot by Fed Chair Powell in mid-December," Cannacord's Tony Dwyer wrote.

    "The Fed remains in a box and is set to raise rates in March," he said. "There is no data between now and the March meeting that would postpone the end of asset purchases and initial rate hike. Current inflation is too high, and Unemployment is too low."

    "There has been a flight to safety into U.S. Treasuries given the Russia-Ukraine tensions, which has further muddied the water by significantly flattening the 2/10 year U.S. Treasury Yield Curve."

    Among active stocks, Home Depot is the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 after reporting results with margins a concern

    Feb. 22, 2022 2:58 PM ET50 Comments

    • U.S. equities on Tuesday are unwinding a large chunk of their intraday losses after President Biden said the U.S. will sanction Russia's financial institutions and sovereign debt.
    • Specifically, the administration is imposing sanctions on Russian elites and family members;
    • Working with Germany to halt Nord Stream 2 and;
    • Issuing full blocking sanctions on two Russian banks.
    • Earlier, Best and worst stocks sensitive to Russia and Ukraine from J.P. Morgan.

    DWAC +6.50%Feb. 22, 2022 2:12 PM ET121 Comments

    Former President Donald Trump appeared to hint at a 2024 presidential run in a radio interview earlier.

    When asked on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show if he will be running for president in 2024, Trump responded that he couldn't really answer due to campaign finance laws, though he added "But I think you'll be happy. I really do believe you will be happy."

    Trump's appearance on the radio show, which took Rush Limbaugh's time slot after the radio host's death, comes after his social media platform TRUTH Social launched Monday. Trump's media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, is going public through SPAC Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:DWAC). DWAC shares gained 7.6% and have now risen 77% this year.

    According to research firm Apptopia, the Truth Social app has been downloaded 170,000 times since it debuted on the App Store Sunday evening. Reuters said that the Truth Social quickly became the most-downloaded app on the App Store after its release. No Android version of the app is currently available.

    Trump's new social media platform comes at a time when AT&T's (NYSE:T) CNN has suffered in the ratings and recently its chief Jeff Zucker resigned.

    "They are broken," Trump said about CNN in the radio interview from his home in Mar-a-Lago. "I looked at their ratings the other day and they are in very very bad shape."

    JNJ -1.43%Feb. 22, 2022 1:53 PM ET4 Comments

    As a bankruptcy trial ended in New Jersey on Friday, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -1.4%) argued that plaintiffs' attorneys don't agree with the company's bankruptcy plan because there's more money to be had for them through jury trials than a settlement.

    J&J formed a subsidiary, LTL Management, to handle cases against it related to allegations its talc products caused cancer. The subsidiary has previously offered to set up a $2B trust to handle pending litigation regarding talc claims.

    "The only beneficiaries of dismissal are the plaintiffs' firms, which have the potential to hit a big time verdict," Greg Gordon, a partner at Jones Day, said in court on Friday, Bloomberg reported.

    Allison Brown, a Skadden Arps partner who is also representing J&J, told the court of the "perverse incentive in the mass tort system" where plaintiffs' attorneys can receive up to 40% of the amount paid out in fees.

    Plaintiffs' attorneys have been critical of J&J's legal strategy known as a "Texas Two-Step" that would delay cases that would normally go to a jury trial as well as lower potential damages.

    A ruling in the case is expected by the end of the month.

    Read why Seeking Alpha contributor Ben Clarence argues that J&J is a buy.

    FAT -25.19%Feb. 22, 2022 1:43 PM ET4 Comments

    FAT Brands (FAT -25.2%) fell sharply on Tuesday after the operator of Fatburger and Johnny Rockets restaurants disclosed in a SEC filing that CEO Andy Wiederhorn has been under investigation for several months.

    The government is seeking documents and materials related to FAT Brands' merger with Fog Cutter Capital Group in December 2020 and transactions between Wiederhorn and those entities

    The company stated that it is cooperating with the government and believes it is not currently a target of the U.S. Attorney’s investigation, although it is not able to reasonably estimate the outcome or duration of the government investigations.

    FAT Brands traded as low as $7.07 vs. the 52-week range of $6.60 to $14.38.

    HAL -2.20%Feb. 22, 2022 1:11 PM ET5 Comments

    Iraq's government is in talks with Halliburton (HAL -1.4%) and Saudi Aramco to carry out oil and gas developments in the western part of the country, Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told Bloomberg.

    The government is talking with Halliburton about a technical partnership to develop and operate oil and gas reserves in Anbar province near Iraq's borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia, and the ministry is finalizing the commercial terms and scope of work, the minister said.

    Meanwhile, Jabbar said the ministry is in talks with Aramco to fund and develop the nearby Akkas gas field, which has been idle for years due to internal strife before the government recaptured it back from Islamic State militants in 2017.

    Halliburton recently reported swinging to a Q4 profit of $824M vs. a year-earlier loss of $235M while raising its quarterly dividend.

    Oh yeah, Iraq – what ever happened to those guys?  

    See, you only have time to care about so many things and they dropped off the list.

  18. Good morning, everyone! Here is the link to today's webinar