Posts Tagged ‘Corporate margins’

WELCOME TO RICHARD FISHER’S “DARKEST MOMENTS”

WELCOME TO RICHARD FISHER’S “DARKEST MOMENTS”

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

I wish I could say that I am surprised that Ben Bernanke’s policies are failing, but quite frankly nothing this Fed does ceases to amaze me any longer.  His latest folly of QE2 is having profound effects already and it hasn’t even started yet!  Unfortunately, it is having its impacts in all the wrong places.  The other day, Richard Fisher remarked:

“In my darkest moments, I have begun to wonder if the monetary accommodation we have already engineered might even be working in the wrong places.”

Welcome to your darkest moments Mr. Fisher. The one thing we can positively confirm about QE2 is that it has not created one single job. But what has it done?  It has caused commodities and input prices to skyrocket in recent months.  Reference these 10 week moves that have resulted in the Fed already causing “mini bubbles” in various markets:

  • Cotton +48%
  • Sugar +48%
  • Soybeans +20%
  • Rice +27%
  • Coffee +18%
  • Oats +22%
  • Copper +17%

Of course, these are all inputs costs for the corporations that have desperately cut costs to try to maintain their margins.   With very weak end demand the likelihood that these costs will be passed along to the consumer is extremely low.  What does this mean?  It means the Fed is unintentionally hurting corporate margins.  And that means the Fed is unintentionally hurting the likelihood of a recovery in the labor market.


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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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IS THE MARKET FAIRLY VALUED?

Pragcap shares a tool he uses to answer the question, 

IS THE MARKET FAIRLY VALUED?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Maria Shriver's 2008 Women's Conference

I’ve long argued that most valuation metrics are fraught with pitfalls that the average investor too often falls for.  What is often described as “value” is too often a bloated price divided by some analyst’s guesstimate.  The myth of “value” and the dream of becoming the next Warren Buffett (see the many myths of Warren Buffett here) has resulted in untold stock market losses over the decades and/or misconceptions of adding “value” to a portfolio that most likely doesn’t outperform a correlating index fund after taxes and fees. Nonetheless, the PE ratio and other faulty valuation metrics remain one of the primary sources of investment strategists, stock pickers and market researchers.

While I am no fan of valuation metrics, I do happen to be a student and believer of mean reversion.  In an effort to attach a “value” to this market I’ve used an old Jeremy Grantham tool to see where we are today.  Grantham is a big believer in the cycle of corporate profits and specifically profit margins.  As regular readers know, one of the primary reasons why we have been bullish ahead of the past 5 earnings seasons was due to the expansion in corporate margins and very low analyst expectations.  Analysts became extremely negative in Q4 2008 and severely underestimated the pace at which companies were able to cut costs and support the bottom line.  This stabilization in corporate margins set the table for the massive rally in stocks as profits continued to expand at a far faster pace than anyone expected.

Corporate margins are extremely cyclical.  As companies expand their businesses and revenues grow they are able to better manage their costs, hire personnel, etc.  But if the economy weakens for any number of reasons revenues will contract, costs will remain high and margins will ultimately contract.  Businesses are then forced to cut costs in order to salvage profits.  In other words, margins are constantly expanding and contracting with the business cycle around the mean.

Over the last 50 years corporate profit margins (corporate profits/GDP) have averaged 9.5%.  If we multiply GDP by the average margin growth we can create a long-term trend of what corporate profits should look like.  We can then compare actual corporate profits to this result in an effort to see whether…
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Phil's Favorites

March Madness: With gambling legal in eight states, who really wins?

 

March Madness: With gambling legal in eight states, who really wins?

The odds of more legal betting are good. AP Photo/John Locher

Courtesy of John Affleck, Pennsylvania State University

March means springtime, but also breathless headlines of Cinderellas, busted brackets and buzzer beaters.

This year, it’ll also include talk of “sharps,” “handles” and “point spreads,” as millions more Americans are able to openly wager for the first time on March Madness – the NCAA men’s...



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Zero Hedge

Enron 2.0? Jeff Skilling And Lou Pai Are Back With A "New Energy Venture"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling is out of prison after 12 years. And he’s getting the old gang back together again.

Just when you thought the world of business couldn’t get more ethically sound, and just when you thought you weren't going to get any more surefire signs of a market top, Jeff Skilling is recruiting his old friends and colleagues and "looking to get back in the energy business", according to a WSJ report.

But that isn’t even the best part - according to the report, Skilling has already landed an investment from former Enron executive and...



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ValueWalk

Tax Receipts Decline As Budget Deficit Reaches Record

By Gary St. Fleur. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The U.S budget deficit has widened as the corporate and individual tax receipts and other revenue declines in the face of federal spending reaching new heights.

geralt / Pixabay

Last year’s fiscal gap for February was $215.2 billion. It has now grown to $234 billion. This is larger than the last budget deficit record set in 2012. This increase is due to declines in tax receipts for October-February. The period saw a decline of 1 percent (1.3 trillion ) from the prior year while growth in federal spending rose upwards of 9 percent to 1.8 t...



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Chart School

Palladium Action Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Palladium is near its peak, or at least a consolidation. Russia and South Africa are the producers of palladium, and it looks like Putin has been able to play US Futures market for a lot of Russia gain! Which metal is next?


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Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at readtheticker.com we believe a combination of ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

NYSE Index Suggesting The Top Is In, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is a very broad stock index suggesting that a top is in play? What this index does to close this week should go a long way to answering that question!

This chart looks at the NYSE Index on a weekly basis over the past 4-years. Over the past 15-months, it has created a series of lower highs and lower lows inside of the shaded falling channel. It hit strong support around Christmas at (1) and a counter-trend rally started. The rally now has it testing the top of the falling channel at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- The NYSE index could be cre...



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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Buckingham cut the price target for Trinity Industries Inc (NYSE: TRN) from $32 to $26. Trinity Industries shares closed at $22.96 on Thursday.
  • Canaccord Genuity lowered the price target for Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) from $396 to $275. Biogen shares closed at $226.88 on Thursday.
  • H.C. Wainwright cut the price target on Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CNAT) from $8 to $1.50. Conatus Pharmaceuticals shares closed at $2.91 on Thursday.
  • Wedb...


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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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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

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

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

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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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