Showing posts from October, 2010

Quantitative Easin' - A Barry White Style Ballad

This a great song for anybody with a sense of humor and a economic interest. Or somebody that wants a basic understanding of Quantitative Easing, but would rather not read an article from Bill Gross or watch CNBC. "Quantitative Easin, the time has come to relever. Lending short-term, baby that's just teasin' - I want to lend forever. Now the credit markets are misbehavin', I think they need a spanking. That's why I'm ready to show them, some very special central bankin'."...... "baby I want to buy the long bond".... "one part pleasin', five parts act of desperation".... "we're going to have to quantitate" Had to delete the embed as it was causing issues with the blog formatting. See the song on 

Vale Proposes Doubling Capital Spending in 2011

Incredible news from Vale (VALE) the leading iron ore producer in the world located in Brazil. VALE plans to double capital  spending int 2011 to $24B in order to diversify away from iron ore and into pricier metals and fertilizers. This is nearly a doubling from the $12.9B planned for 2010. Who will benefit from the increased spending? Naturally companies like Joy Global (JOYG), Bucyrus (BUCY), and Caterpillar (CAT) could see improved orders. Terex (TEX) could see some orders for its new port crane business as well. What's interesting is that a large portion of the increase will go towards logistics building of expanding rail capacity and ports. Maybe that explains why CAT recently expanded its rail engine exposure. One of the major focuses of the spending will be on fertilizers. Goals include doubling phosphate rock output and quadrupling potash production by 2015. Coal production will also nearly quadruple with just about every area nearly doubling. As far as VALE, its n

November Investment Report

October was another strong month with the SP500 up over 3% and the Opportunistic Model up almost 10%. Combined with a strong September, the market has had an incredible run during what is typically the worst 2 month period in the stock markets. Whether this rise has been due to better economic news, strong earnings reports, speculations on quantitative easing, or the likelihood of Republicans retaking Congress, these events have helped lift the moods of the markets catching most experts off guard. Now these same experts provide constant analysis of how the market typically has the best 6 month period of a presidential cycle during the November to April period following the midterm election. Will they be correct this time? Elections With the likelihood of the Republicans retaking the House virtually certain this has had a huge impact on the bullish market performance over the last 2 months. The markets like that the new Congress will be less punitive to business. Unfortunately thoug

Stat of the Day: Chicago PMI Unexpectedly Rises

The Chicago PMI came in at a surprisingly strong 60.6 in October well above the 57.6 expected by economists. While this was only slightly higher then the 60.4 in September, it showed a strong jump in new orders to 65. Production was off the chart at 69.8 showing deep strength in the report. Market initially snapped back, but some slightly weak Michigan consumer sentiment data has weakened the market. Considering a strong September and October it wouldn't be surprising to see a sell the news scenario at the beginning of November. Though I'm slightly concerned that too many pundits are suggesting such a result. Looks like 1180 in the SP500 is crucial. Any breakdown would likely signal short term selling. Long term though, any selloff in November will be a huge buying opportunity. The Nov - Apr period of a mid term election is historically off the chart bullish. Only concern is that it usually comes after a weak Sept - Oct period setting up the rally after the elections. H

Cephalon Raises Estimates for 2010, 2011 Again

Cephalon (CEPH) again raised estimates for 2010 to $8.3 and provided guidance for 2011 of $8.55. Typically though, don't expect much action in the stock tomorrow. Although the stock remains incredibly cheap at a sub 8 PE, the market is concerned about drugs coming off patent and a slowing of growth. Its interesting listening to conference calls as analysts dig down into minute details. They seem to over analyze every bit of data and seem to miss the big picture that this biotech company has a great management team that continues to under promise and over deliver. CEPH now has $1.2B in cash and annual cash flow of around $1B though they do have $1B in debt. At a market cap of $5B the company could theoretically buyback 20% of the company just using the annual cash flow. That of course wouldn't be the best use of cash as I'd rather see them continue to buy up small biotechs with promising drugs that they can use their expertise to help bring to market. It is a great indic

Cramer on The Jones Group

More on The Jones Group. The stock likely sold off way too much, but I don't have a comfortable feeling on this sector and we're already invested in Liz Claiborne (LIZ). Amazing that Cramer is always portrayed as the 'Crazy One' but he seems to have a calming effect on some of the stocks he brings onto his show. JNY CEO on Mad Money tonight. As I said earlier, bad companies make excuses. Sure they may have a higher mix of shoes, but they clearly didn't position themselves correctly coming into the Q. Though Wall St tends to over react so don't join them.

Higher Costs at The Jones Group Hits Retail Sector

The Jones Group (JNY) reported higher costs today causing them to miss earnings estimates by a little over 10%. Consequently the stock has slumped over 20%. Considering the stock trades at a remarkably low 10x estimates the reaction in the market has been harsh. JNY blamed higher commodity costs such as cotton, wages from employees in Asia, and transportation costs from having to ship goods via air which naturally costs a lot more. The first 2 costs should have been built into analysts models and impact most of the industry. The higher transportation costs could very well be a JNY specific issue of not ordering enough inventory early.  The news has caused a huge drop in the stock of Liz Claiborne (LIZ) seen as a major competitor to JNY and other retailers owned in our portfolios including Sears Holdings (SHLD) and Dicks Sporting Goods (DKS).  It's too early to tell whether this is an industry issue or just bad management and modeling with JNY. Yesterday, Coach (COH) reported f

Sammy Ponzi Scheme

Interesting Investment Outlook from Bill Gross today. Bill is a Managing Director at PIMCO and commonly known as a leading expert on the fixed income market. Today Bill published a report titled Run Turkey, Run . Basically a slam on the QE2 plans and the end of the 30 year bull market in bonds (finally!). Not to mention a slam on the 2 party political system that leaves the American people high and dry. The bondholders remaining after QE2 will be like the turkey waiting on Thanksgiving Day. They might receive some immediate fat gains from bond yields being pushed lower for the last time, but ultimately they'll be served up on the platter of rates that can't go lower.  Rates ultimately will begin creeping higher. Bill basically outlines why a thesis of investing in companies that prosper abroad has been very rewarding over the last 10 years. The political system in the US has become as corrupt as ever and void of a fiduciary responsibility to the American people. He suggests

F5 Networks Announces $200M Stock Buyback Plan

Did I read that correctly? Leading highflying networking stock F5 Networks (FFIV) just announced a $200M buyback while reporting Q3 earnings. Wow! FFIV has a forward PE of 30+ so its almost arrogant for management to presume the best use of cash is by buying back stock. Also, with a market cap over $8B this buyback won't provide much of a dent into outstanding shares. The company continues to blow out numbers similar to favorite Riverbed Tech (RVBD) owned in our portfolios so it could be an indication of the 5-10 year growth plan they can envision. Still its a head scratcher unless they are just hoping to buy the next time the market corrects 20% on this stock. And it will happen. Definitely something to watch! Details below from 4:11PM F5 Networks beats by $0.07, beats on revs; guides Q1 EPS above consensus, revs above consensus; announces $200 mln share repurchase program ( FFIV )   102.54 +1.71 : Reports Q4 (Sep) earnings of $0.79 per share, excluding non-r

Savient Pharma KRYSTEXXA Launch Conference Call

Company refused to provide information on the failed buyout process so investors are left guessing the interest level. On one hand, its understandable that management doesn't want to discuss details in order to not hurt their hand in future discussions. On the other hand though, they need to do something better to support the stock price and shareholders. They should provide some expectations on sales price since they apparently aren't willing to sale to the highest bidder. They're leaving too much open for interpretation and the market has spoken that its not acceptable. Having said that, I was pleased to hear the company has made a lot of progress towards the launch of KRYSTEXXA. They already have the initial product labeled and ready. Marketing materials are waiting for approval from the FDA. One of the largest private payers has already agreed to include it as a reimbursable cost without knowing price. They also expect limited costs to develop the infrastructure neede

Massey Energy Worth $60+ in a Buyout?

A couple of analysts have come with targets in the $60+ range for Massey Energy (MEE) based on a report that the company is up for sale. Recall that MEE suffered the mine explosion at Upper Big Branch (UBB) that killed 29 miners. Naturally MEE has suffered under tighter regulatory scrutiny and a management team that has been focused on the tragedy. Results have suffered, but back in May we suggested that investors focus on the assets particularly the met coal reserves [ Buy the Other Disaster Stock ]. The WSJ broke news last Wednesday that MEE was seeking a sale. Today we've seen estimates from a couple of analysts that MEE would be worth north of $60 in a buyout. That number seems high, but the stock has been highly depressed due to the accident hence the signal to buy the stock over the summer in the first place. MEE just didn't face the long term issues of a continuous leak so it seemed absurd for the stock should suffer so much. Stock dropped from a high near $55 on April

Savient Pharma: Today's Market Gift

Savinet Pharma (SVNT) might be one of today's biggest losers, but it could be tomorrow's biggest gainer. SVNT announced that they have been unable to find a buyer at a suitable price for the company. The stock initially dropped over 50% to a 52 week low on the announcement. Was the move warranted? Regardless of whether SVNT is bought out, the company still owns an orphan drug, KRYSTEXXA, recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe gout cases where no other option exists. The intrinsic value of the company hasn't changed because they couldn't find a deal for an agreeable price. The only change is the value an investor can expect to receive in the short term. With the drop in price, I'm sure a significant amount of companies have called seeing if management would drop there price to a level likely very attractive with the stock currently trading in the $12s around midday. SVNT could be tomorrow's biggest gainer. While the news is disappointing t

Trade: Bought MedcoHealth Solutions

On Thursday, purchases MedcoHealth Solutions (MHS) for the Net Payout Yield Portfolio. As mentioned back on Aug 23rd [ MedcoHealth Solutions: Ultimate Net Payout Yield ], MHS was on the radar for addition to this portfolio. It almost ran away from us after hitting bottom just one week after writing that post, but this recent pullback touch the 50ema and gave us an entry point. MHS is on a massive stock buyback spree signaling not only a financially strong company, but also a cheap stock. Just bought a half position at this point as typical for this portfolio size. Note: This portfolio will be available soon at under Mark Holder. It will be the 2nd model I offer after the successful Opportunistic model that currently has 16 subscribers. This portfolio has consistently beat the SP500 by 6% since being tracked first by hand since the start of 2007 and then the last 27 months at . The important key to this portfolio is that it has a Beta of 1 and involves

Terex Continues to Make Progress But Cranes Struggle

After the bell on the 20th, Terex (TEX) reported earnings that showed an improvement in all divisions except for Cranes. Unfortunately for TEX, Cranes is the largest and most important division though it's impact has been significantly reduced this year as sales bounce back in Aeriel Work Platforms (AWP), Materials Processing (MP), and Construction . The results were a slight disappointment mainly due to unexpected order cancellations and pushouts in Europe. Based on the results from Manitowoc (MTW) reported earlier this month, it wasn't too surprising that Crane sales were weak. TEX saw a nice improvement in backlog even including a 2% sequential increase in Cranes. All in all with rental companies such as United Rentals (URI) reporting high utilization rates and the ABI turning positive it appears that the weak division in the TEX portfolio will finally turn around in 2011. Another positive sign is that TEX is finally moving aggressively into developing markets. They are

Trade: Sold Caterpillar

Catching up on trading from yesterday. Trimmed half our position in Caterpillar (CAT) in the Net Payout Yield Portfolio after a weak reaction to a positive earnings report. Also after the huge run and the lack of a buyback implemented by CAT leaves the NPY at only 2.4%. This is not significant enough for this portfolio so discipline requires us to sell. CAT has been a long term holding of the portfolio, but the gains in the stock and the limited payouts suggest the stock may be topping. Not to mention the negative action in the stock from bullish earnings. From the chart, its apparent that at least the short term action is negative.

Riverbed Tech Crushes Q3 Earnings

Wow! Wow! Wow! While expecting huge results from Riverbed Tech (RVBD), the actual numbers were beyond any expectations. RVBD reported Q3 earnings of $.34 versus $.27 estimates. Revenue increased 17% sequentially to $148M vs $135M estimates. Not often that a company reports a revenue beat of 10%. In fact both numbers easily exceed the Q4 estimates. Very impressive! These numbers had to be impressive to justify the 35x forward PE. Hence, Stone Fox unfortunately trimmed a third of our remaining shares in the Growth and Opportunistic Portfolios leaving roughly 50% of the original investment. Considering the stock was up over 100% in both portfolios it was just time to take more profits considering the wide swings in stock trading. Equinix (EQIX) dropped 30% after missing earnings and VMWare (VMW) dropped 7%. Guidance was for $155-158M with earnings of $.35. Appears they sandbagged on earnings especially considering the crushing numbers in Q3.Operating margins are expected to be flat, b

Net Payout Yield Focus: Boeing

Boeing (BA) reported solid Q3 results and upped guidance. Unfortunately though Boeing has done nothing to improve its Net Payout Yield. The dividend yield has now slumped to 2.4% which isn't shabby but by no means impressive considering they lack a buyback component. For now, BA is a core holding of the Net Payout Yield Portfolio (coming to Covestor soon). Without a higher yield though, we'll likely trim the position on any advances in the stock price. Management did pay down $500M in debt during the quarter which is positive, but without any moves on the stock it suggests they are complacent with the current price. At a current price of $72, BA trades at roughly 17x the high end of the 2010 guidance of around $3.80 to $4 making the stock on the expensive side. Analysts place the 5 year growth rate around 10% so BA clearly trades expensive compared to growth potential as well. While the airplane industry is on the verge of a multi year cycle, BA management hasn't made an

Architecture Billings Highest Since January 2008

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has been one of the weakest indexes to recover from the recession. The index measures the work of architects on non-residential construction projects and usually signals work in the next 9 to 12 months. The September Architecture Billings Index was up 2.2 points to 50.4, marking the fourth consecutive month of increases, the American Institute of Architects said. Finally suggesting a recovery in the very weak construction area. Also encouraging was that the project inquiries index hit 62.3, the highest level since 2007.  Apparently the US finally sees a recovery in construction activity early next year. This will help companies like Terex (TEX), Manitowoc (MTW), and Ingersoll-Rand (IR) which haven't benefited as much from the gains in industrial spending.  From Reuters : "The strong upturn in design activity in the commercial and industrial sector certainly suggests that this upturn can possibly be sustained," said Kermit Ba

Lihua International Signs Major Supply Contract for Copper Anode

Today Lihua International (LIWA) announced a major supply contract for copper anode equivalent to nearly 40% of their expected 2011 production. Even more incredibly is the announcement of more then 80,000 metric tons is potential contracts which alone exceed the production expectations for 2011 even after building another facility. Guess this explains why the stock soared over 11% yesterday. Guess this news wasn't that guarded. LIWA along with several other Chinese reverse merger small caps continue to be the cheapest investments into the China economy. Yet most investors continue to avoid these stocks due to fraud scares as if the US market is that safe. LIWA also confirmed guidance for 2010 and expansion plans are expected to begin soon. This remains one of the best ways to play the expected copper shortage beginning in 2011 and the huge demand from Asia. Anybody concerned about fraud can limit the position to less then 5% or diversify among other China plays like LLEN, PUDA,

Profit Taking on Apple

After the close, Apple (AAPL) reported earnings that blew away analyst estimates by some $2B with earnings at $4.64 vs $4.06. The stock sold off some 6% though due to various 'concerns' such as weaker margins and iPad sales. Typical Wall Street action. Take astonishing bullish numbers and focus like a laser beam on a few minor concerns. Instead of explaining how revenue could beat estimates so badly with iPad sales some 600K weaker then expected. Or explaining how supply constraints due to the overly successful launch of the iPad likely lead to the weakness and how it might be overcome in the coming months. Or figure out how iPhone sales coming in at a strong 14M+ will lead to future iPad sales that could someday surpass the iPhone numbers. All in all, the stock reaction in after hours is nothing more then profit taking. Clearly the numbers were blowout and signal the trend higher continues. The $500 target just reported on last week remains intact and even solidified with

Terex Upgraded to $40 By Buckingham Research

Terex (TEX) got a $40 target from Buckingham Research today suggesting as much as a 65% gain from these levels. TEX is a leading construction equipment company specializing in AWPs and Cranes. TEX will benefit from the recovery from the global recession and the return to infrastructure building around the world. Can't find any specifics on the upgrade other the headline details of the $40 target. The target while aggressive should be in line with expectations considering that management has a viable plan for $6 in earnings in the next few years and global growth should oblige. The next potential catalyst will be earnings on Wednesday after the close. Analysts expect a $.16 loss and based on recent history and the crane number out of competitor Manitowoc (MTW) numbers should be relatively in line depending on cost cutting efforts. As the economy continues to turn though, margins will quickly become more favorable and additional revenue will flow to the bottom line. Load up on TE

Apple Zooming to $500?

Hudson Squares Boosting of it's Apple (AAPL) price target to $500 this morning is all the rage. Clearly nobody was paying attention during the financial crisis when we reported back in 2009 a article that predicted AAPL would hit $1,000 [ Apple to $1,000? ]. High price targets were ignored back then but now they are all the rage. AAPL clearly remains cheap and getting to $500 doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility especially in a strong market. As Barron's points out, at $500 AAPL becomes a $450B company. It will be difficult to grow from there, but history has shown that you should stay with companies until the momentum runs out not when they hit magical market caps. Like Microsoft (MSFT) in 2000. When the music stopped back then, it was time to abandon Mr. Softee. It's almost impossible to turn momentum once it stops mainly because the markets they dominate hit saturation points. Then once growth slows, multiples compress. Oddly though, AAPL h

More Competition for Indian Banks

Interesting Bloomberg report on increasing competition for Indian banks not only for employees, but also the potential for new licenses to be issued by the government. The main thrust of the article is the potential implementation of 'gardening leave' which bans employees from working for a competitor for 6 months unless they pay a fine, but the more important aspect for the 2 Indian banks trading in the US, ICICI Bank (IBN) and HDFC Bank (HDB), are the new bank licenses to be issued by the Indian central bank. Portfolio holding IBN is the main private bank in India and hence the market appears to follow their moves. They appear to already be facing high turnover with 15% of junior staff leaving last year. Not sure that's high enough to be overly disruptive, but the number could rise if more competition is let into the market. Those new banks will want the experience of the employees at IBN. From a business perspective, they'll likely focus efforts on attacking the 7

Stat of the Day: Empire Manufacturing Jumps

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions improved in October for New York State manufacturers. The general business conditions index rose 12 points, to 15.7. New orders jumped to 13 suggesting the index will remain strong the rest of the year. Especially considering that inventories plunged to -11.7 suggesting that corporations were caught off guard with a rebound in the economy during September. The increase in employment coincides with the better employment numbers seen since the beginning of September as well.  All in all a very solid report that suggests the economy is pulling out of the fog from the summer. The index is now signaling strong growth in manufacturing has returned. The only question is whether profit margins are beginning to be squeezed with employment hitting 21 and now above the general conditions. If employment continues hotter then general business conditions, corporations might face costs growing faster then revenue. Something to watch

CRB Index Components

As the CRB Index grabs more and more headlines attention, an investor needs to understand the commodities that make up the index. For more then 50 years, the CRB Index as served as the most widely recognized measure of the commodities markets. The index is comprised of 19 commodities with agriculture comprising 41% of the index followed by energy at 39%. Crude oil is by far the largest individual component at 23% followed by numerous commodities at 6% such as Copper, Corn, and Live Cattle. Yes, that's correct. Live Cattle ties for the 2nd biggest component in the index. The index likely does an exceptional job of capturing the cost changes to the market. Crude oil is by far the largest commodity used and hence the largest expense to the US economy. For investors though, this index doesn't exactly capture the investment environment. Precious metals such as Gold make up only 7% of the index. From an investment standpoint, most of the commodities offer equal opportunities for in

China's Effect on Copper

Great summary information from the CEO of US Global Investors on the impact of China on Copper supplies. Copper is expected to be in shortage in 2011 due to the return of growth in the US and Europe plus the unsatiable demand in the emerging world. Amount of copper used in common household items: Average single family house - 439 pounds Air conditioner -52 Refrigirator - 5 Automobile - 50 As can be seen, growing domestic demand in emerging markets for homes, air conditioners, and automobiles will strain the supply of copper. Supplies are already dropping even though home building in the US is near historical low levels. Imagine when the US begins even normal levels of construction come 2011 or 2012.  Below is a chart from BMO Capital on the imports of copper from China. The numbers continue to surge making China by far the dominant influence on demand. Lihua International (LIWA) remains incredibly placed to take advantage of the looming shortage of copper and

China Roars For 6 Straight Days

The China stock markets have been on a major 6 day winning streak taking the Shanghai Index from 2,600 to nearly 2,900. Though the below chart doesn't capture the roughly 0.6% move overnight, this index has been on a major rally. Its likely to end soon as the RSI and CCI numbers already show overheating without the lastest results included. For the short term, the market could easily see a small correction but longer term this index is likely going back up to at least 3,100 which is where it was at back in April. The China domestic plays like LIWA and PUDA remain the best plays as they still haven't rallied much especially compared to their very strong fundamentals. US stocks that benefit from a stronger China have mostly rallied very strong such as FCX hitting 100 today. Met coal plays such as ANR and MEE haven't run as much so they might provide the best upside from a domestic play. Or possibly a company like TEX might provide the best upside as crane sales have remaine

Intrade.Com Shows Nearly 50% Chance of Republicans Controlling Senate

In a dramatic surge, now suggests that the Republicans might just get control of the Senate. The odds have been relatively low most of the year until recently. Intrade shows a nearly 46% chance of Republicans gaining control up from a lowly 30% chance back on October 1st. This dramatic change is clearly being seen in the stock price surge in October. Less power for Obama means higher stock prices for a market trading at low valuations.

Apple Clears $300.... Still Cheap!

All the news today is about Apple (AAPL) clearing $300. Ok, maybe just the financial news because of the heroic rescue of the trapped Chilean miners. Its amazing though that the financial media still becomes fascinated with these psychological numbers. What does $300 really mean? Does it tell an investor anything about value, market cap, or future gains? No, no, no. Typically it can be assumed that a stock with a price tag above say $100 and likely $300 has had huge gains in the past and AAPL clearly meets that criteria. More importantly though what is the PE, growth rate, and market cap? Two of the previous three items suggests that AAPL has plenty of growth ahead. The third questions that permise. First, AAPL only trades at a forward PE of 17 based on average earnings estimates, but when using the more likely high end numbers around $22/share the PE drops to below 14. Historically low for a stock with the growth rates of AAPL. Second, revenue is expected to grow some 30% next yea

Why is FASB Reconsidering Mark- to-Market?

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is looking into a possible reimplementation of the mark to market rules that just about destroyed the financial system in 2008. How is it possible that they would even reconsider this concept? Didn't the recent flash crash further remind us that markets can be very irrational short term? Markets can and will become disconnected from the financial benefits of the instruments they track. In some instances they can be an indicator of future cash flows of the fixed income instruments they track, but do we really want to use a system proven to be wildly inaccurate just because the other main option gives management leeway to manipulate data. Data manipulation falls into the category of fraud and hence the management team can be fired and prosecuted. All detriments to widespread adoption of false reporting. Why doesn't the FASB instead work on solutions that would reduce the ability to engage in fraudulent reporting? Instead they are

Goldman Sachs Triple Top Breakout?

Very interesting to see the stock of Goldman Sachs (GS) appear headed to a triple top breakout when just about every analyst has downgraded its earnings potential due to reduced trading profits and market activity. Not to mention that the stock is ramping prior to earnings just a week away on the 19th. Also, note the higher lows in the chart pattern suggesting further strength in the stock. The lower moving averages are about to cross the 200ema which is another very bullish sign. Though my portfolios have no position in GS, the stock is a leading indication of financials and the market in general. Right now the stock says the market is headed higher. Our favorites in this general area remain MF Global (MF) and International Assets (IAAC) both of which have been breaking out lately as well.

MF Global Looks to Take Advantage of Develeraging By Larger Financial Institutions

At least that's the goal that new CEO John Corzine has outlined for MF Global (MF). What exactly that entails it's probably much harder to grasp and understand. MF clearly wants to move into investment banking and money management sectors left dismantled by the financial regulations and credit crisis. It's also areas that Corzine and his new COO likely understand following their careers at Goldman Sachs (GS). Whether they can be successful pushing MF into these competitive areas seems up in the air. According to report and news from an investment conference last month, Corzine made the statement that MF hoped to double to 4,000 employees within a couple of years from an aggressive move into investment banking and money management. Now that's a very aggressive statement and very atypical in the financial sector these days where most institutions are expected to decrease in size. MF has the potential to skate under the radar and take share from bigger rivals tha