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

"The Central Banker Asked Me What It All Meant"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Eric Peters of One River Asset Management, authored by Lindsay Politi

Triumph of the Machines

We were his last stop. The central banker had toured NY area investment shops. He described a fascinating trip; so much happening in algorithmic trading. The only thing keeping it from completely revolutionizing investing is getting enough data.

“You say that like it’s a minor issue,” I countered, “but just about every financial crisis in my career was because something happened that wasn’t in the historical data set. The last was caused in no small pa...



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Phil's Favorites

Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?

 

Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Courtesy of Simran Jeet Singh, New York University

New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks recently. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh identity and repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.” When called out on the offensiveness of their comments, one of them stated, “Listen, and if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”

Listeners, ...



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Biotech

Approval of first 'RNA interference' drug - why the excitement?

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

 

Approval of first ‘RNA interference’ drug – why the excitement?

Single strands of ribonucleic acid (RNA) are now being used to treat disease. By nobeastsofierce / shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Thomas Schmittgen, University of Florida

Small interfering RNA sounds like something from a science fiction novel rather than a revolutionary type of medicine. But this odd-sounding new drug of...



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Chart School

The anatomy of the recent gold sell off

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

For the arrow to fly, the bow must be pulled back. Gold is in a pullback at the moment.


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Sure fundamentals do matter, and so does market timing (entry, stops and exit), here at readtheticker.com we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's rollercoaster ride reflects the biggest issue facing cryptocurrencies: regulation

 

Bitcoin's rollercoaster ride reflects the biggest issue facing cryptocurrencies: regulation

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Brian Lucey, Trinity College Dublin and Shaen Corbet, Dublin City University

The rollercoaster of cryptocurrency pricing is on the downward slope again. Bitcoin has fallen by a quarter in the past month, with other...



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ValueWalk

The Top 10 Wildest Campaigns Of 2018: Starboard's Stake In Symantec

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

This week’s column is a continuation of our 10 “wildest campaigns” of 2018. Find the first part here.

Q2 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Free-Photos / PixabayTop 10 Wildest Campaigns Of 2018

5. How often does an activist win a proxy contest without support from either of the two main proxy advisory firms? (...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Small Caps attempting 20-year breakout, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The Russell 2000 trend remains solidly higher, as it has created a series of higher lows and higher highs inside of rising channel (1) over the past 25-years.

Small caps have been an upside leader in 2018, as they are very near all-time highs.

We applied Fibonacci extension levels to the 2007 highs and 2009 lows at each (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- Small caps are attempting a dual breakout at (3). 

This is a price point that small-cap bulls would LOVE to see strength and a breakout take place, as monthly momentum is lofty.

...

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Insider Scoop

Walmart Posts Standout Quarter, But Raymond James Downgrades On Flipkart Costs

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related WMT 10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday Headlights On Deere: Mixed Results As Company Cites H...

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Members' Corner

There Are 3 Main Theories That Explain Trump's Approach to Putin and Russia-Which One Makes the Most Sense?

What do you think?

Thom Hartmann suggests that the "Manchurian Candidate theory" is the least likely explanation for Trump's pro-Russia behavior in "There Are 3 Main Theories That Explain Trump’s Approach to Putin and Russia—Which One Makes the Most Sense?" (below).  disagrees and suggests that Putin probably has "the goods" on Trump in "Trump’s Plot Against America". (To be fair, Hartmann acknowledges that his three theories are not mutually exclusive.) Jonathan Chait argues ...



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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:

 

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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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