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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Zero Hedge

Netflix Prices $2BN Junk Bond Offering, Forced To Offer Higher Yield As Some Investors Get Cold Feet

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

When we reported yesterday that Netflix is looking to prefund two more quarters of cash burn - which hit $860BN in Q3 - by issuing another $2 billion in junk bonds, just six months after the company issued an upsized $1.9 billion in 5.875% bonds in April, we expected that the bond market may demand a pound a flesh and Netflix would be forced to pay as much as a 7% coupon on the new issue.

...



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Phil's Favorites

"We Can't Believe We Are Writing This": Citron Reverses On Tesla, Goes Long Ahead Of Earnings

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

One day ahead of Tesla's Q3 earnings which overnight were unexpectedly pulled forward to Wednesday, Oct 24 and shortly after Elon Musk's twitter account was temporarily locked amid speculation it had been hacked, a bigger surprise hit on Tuesday morning when noted short seller Andrew Leff's Citron Research reversed its multi-year bearish call on Tesla (and as a reminder, Citron recently joined a class action lawsuit against Tesla) saying "as much as you can’t believe you are reading this, we can’t believe we are writing this!" and explaining that "Citron is now long Tesla",...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Short the S&P 500 and Go Long Gold Miners Time?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The precious metals sector continues to be a “grind”, offering a few trades but mostly sideways to lower action. Gold prices have slogged along and this had held the Gold Miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) back… until recently.  The Gold Miners (GDX) and the broader Gold & Silver Miners Index (XAU) came to life in September and October.

The miners are in a multi-year down trend, however there is a potential bullish setup in place. See the chart below where we highlight the ratio of the Mining Index (XAU) to the S&P 500 (SPY). The ratio, which Gold Bugs want to see rising, looks to have created a bullish reversal last month at the 2016 lows at point (1).

And October is seeing a follow-through move...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Oct 21, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

After the heavy selling the week prior there was sure to be an oversold bounce and indeed last Tuesday brought much of that.  It is always interesting to see what happens after that bounce – often in this bull market, once the indexes turn back up they move like a freight train.  This time – thus far at least – the action has been less aggressive.  Selling on Thursday took the S&P 500 right back down to the 200 day moving average and rally attempts Friday were fruitless.  In whole the S&P 500 barely budged for the week.

Yields on the 10 year have thus far held their own “breakout” level:

The Chinese market had an interesting Friday with an “...



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Insider Scoop

Morgan Stanley Downgrades A Fleet Of Freight Stocks

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related UNP 8 Biggest Price Target Changes For Monday Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For October 22, 2018 ...

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Digital Currencies

Grocers: Get ready to join the blockchain party

 

Grocers: Get ready to join the blockchain party

Five people died and more than 200 got sick during a 2018 E. coli outbreak, the largest in more than a decade. The bacteria was traced to contaminated romaine lettuce. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Sylvain Charlebois, Dalhousie University

In the wake of this year’s large E. coli outbreak, Walmart notified its leafy green suppliers that they must be using blockchain technology to trace their products before the end of 2019.

Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers, has be...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Members' Corner

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

 

This is very good; it's about "firehosing", a type of propaganda, and how it works.

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

A 2016 report described Russian propaganda as:
• high in volume
• rapid, continuous and repetitive
• having no commitment to objective reality
• lacking consistency

...

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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

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

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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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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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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About Phil:

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

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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