Financial Review

A Boatload of Economic News and Earnings Reports

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW + 216 = 16,677 SPX + 23 = 1950 NAS + 69 = 4452 10 YR YLD + .05 = 2.28% OIL + 1.33 = 81.85 GOLD – 9.10 = 1232.90 SILV + .02 = 17.30 The S&P 500 has risen five times in the past six days, pushing the gauge up 4.9 percent since Oct. 15 and recouping about half the losses from a selloff that began in mid-September; the S&P is still down about 3 percent from a record. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which tracks deals involving mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said home prices in August were up 4.8% from the year-earlier period; and up a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in August from July. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.92 percent, down from 3.97 percent last week. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.08 percent from 3.18 percent. Mortgage rates are now at the lowest levels since the summer of 2013. Refinancing applications jumped 23 percent in the week ended Oct. 17 to an 11-month high. The number of people who applied for US unemployment benefits rose by 17,000 last week to 283,000, but initial claims remained below the key 300,000 level for the sixth straight week. The Conference Board’s leading economic index rose 0.8% in September, after no change in August. The index points toward improving employment and income growth which are expected to support …

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Financial Review

Inflation or the Lack Thereof

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:21 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW – 153 = 16,461 SPX – 14 = 1927 NAS – 36 = 4382 10 YR YLD + .02 = 2.23% OIL – 2.06 = 80.43 GOLD – 8.40 = 1242.00 SILV – .34 = 17.27 The major stock indices were higher this morning, then they dropped about the time were heard reports of a shooting in Ottawa Canada, near the parliament building. The shooting in the Canadian capital left a soldier dead and the city on lockdown. The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1% last month. In the 12 months through September, the CPI rose 1.7%. The core CPI, which strips out food and energy prices, ticked up 0.1% last month, while the year-on-year change held steady at 1.7%. Energy prices fell for a third straight month in September, with gasoline costs slipping 1.0% after dropping 4.1% in August. Food prices gained 0.3% in September and were up 3.0% from a year ago, the largest gain in nearly 2-1/2 years. Shelter costs increased 0.3% in September after rising 0.2% in August. The medical care index increased 0.2%, with prices for nonprescription drugs posting a record increase. Airline fares declined for a third straight month, while prices for new motor vehicles and apparel were unchanged. Prices for used cars and trucks fell for the fifth straight month. Wages remain stagnant. Average hourly earnings adjusted for inflation fell 0.2% in September and were …

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Financial Review

Financial Engineers at the Gate

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW + 215 = 16,614 SPX + 37 = 1941 NAS + 103 = 4419 10 YR YLD + .03 = 2.21% OIL + .64 = 82.55 GOLD + 2.50 = 1250.40 SILV + .09 = 17.62 In economic news, the National Association of Realtors reports sales of existing homes rose 2.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million, hitting the fastest pace in one year and rebounding from an unexpected drop in August. However, September’s pace of sales was down 1.7% from a year earlier. So, the housing market isn’t roaring, but lower interest rates managed to pull some buyers off the sidelines last month. Low interest rates are just part of the equation in the housing market; buyers also need to be employed. The Labor Department today released state unemployment numbers, and in 15 states, the unemployment rate is now under 5%; that list includes: North Dakota at 2.8%, South Dakota at 3.4%, Utah 3.5%, and Nebraska, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Dolorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Kansas. Georgia has the highest unemployment rate at 7.9%. Arizona made the bottom 10 with a 6.9% unemployment rate, a full percentage point higher than the national average. Reuters reported the European Central Bank was looking at buying corporate bonds as soon as December in its efforts to revive the Eurozone economy. The move to buy corporate debt reinforced the idea that …

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Financial Review

A Tale of Three Stocks

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW + 19 = 16,339 SPX + 17 = 1904 NAS + 57 = 4316 10 YR YLD – .02 = 2.18% OIL – .21 = 81.85 GOLD + 8.70 = 1247.90 SILV + .16 = 17.53 A nice bounce in the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite. For most of the session, the Dow was in negative territory, clawing its way to positive, barely. There are 3 stocks that had a compelling story today. We start with IBM, which reported its third-quarter results; a 10th consecutive period of falling sales, marked by weaker performance in growth markets. IBM said its long-standing forecast of earnings per share of $20 for 2015 is no longer achievable. IBM lowered its forecast for free cash flow. The company said it was selling its money-losing chip-making business to GlobalFoundries, a move to further cut costs and focus on its more profitable, faster-growing businesses. Once upon a time, IBM was a pioneer in advancing semiconductor technology, its manufacturing capability fell behind others that produced chips in large volume, but now they will have to pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take the chip division, while taking a $4.7 billion charge. IBM has been divesting slower-growing and unprofitable businesses, but like many older tech companies, it is caught in the middle; sloughing off the old and expensive without yet having a foothold in the new. Some customers are trying to move more of …

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Author Interviews

Tom Sturges

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:50 — 9.1MB) Listen to the author interview. Click the banner to buy the book. Every Idea Is a Good Idea: Be Creative Anytime, Anywhere by Tom Sturges. Access a level of creativity you never thought possible, using techniques Tom Sturges—former head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group—learned in his 25-plus years in the music industry. Everyone is innately creative. But many of us—especially those trying to develop careers in music and the arts—wish we knew how to better tap into our creative potential. Is there a way to more easily connect with the part of our minds that knows how to complete a song, finish a poem, or solve a problem? Music industry veteran Tom Sturges argues that there is. Sturges—who, in his 25-plus-year career, has worked with artists including Carole King, Paul Simon, Elton John, Neil Young, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins and Outkast—has developed dependable techniques to help you recognize and harness your own creative power, whenever and wherever you need it Get insight and knowledge of the creative process from Sir Paul McCartney and other. . Every Idea Is a Good Idea invites readers to find the pathway to their own creative endeavors.

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Author Interviews

Erin Arvedlund

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:50 — 9.1MB) Listen to the author interview. Click the banner to buy the book. Open Secret: The Global Banking Conspiracy That Swindled Investors Out of Billions by Erin Arvedlund “Gaming the LIBOR—that is, fixing the price of money—had become just that: a game. Playing it was the price of admission to a club of men who socialized together, skied in Europe courtesy of brokers and expense accounts, and reaped million-dollar bonuses.” In the midst of the financial crisis of 2008, rumors swirled that a sinister scandal was brewing deep in the heart of London. Some suspected that behind closed doors, a group of chummy young bankers had been cheating the system through interest rate machinations. But with most eyes focused on the crisis rippling through Wall Street and the rest of the world, the story remained an “open secret” among competitors. Soon enough, the scandal became public and dozens of bankers and their bosses were caught red-handed. Several major banks and hedge funds were manipulating and misreporting their daily submission of the London Interbank Offered Rate, better known as the LIBOR. As the main interest rate that pulses through the banking community, the LIBOR was supposed to represent the average rate banks charge each other for loans, effectively setting short-term interest rates around the world for trillions of dollars in financial contracts. But the LIBOR wasn’t an average; it was a combination of guesswork and outright lies told by scheming bankers …

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Financial Review

Floors and Ceilings

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:15 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW + 263 = 16,380 SPX + 24 = 1886 NAS + 41 = 4258 10 YR YLD + .05 = 2.20% OIL + .27 = 82.97 GOLD – .70 = 1239.20 SILV – .10 = 17.37 The markets were down for the week, even with the bounce today. For the week, the Dow and the S&P each dropped about 1%; the Dow was down 164 points on the week, and the S&P was down 20 points. The S&P is now down for 4 consecutive weeks. Let’s take a look at the charts. Earlier in the week I talked about support and resistance. Someone mentioned to me that they weren’t quite clear on the concept. So, here is a good way to look at these topics. Support is the floor and resistance is the ceiling. Think of a chart as a staircase under construction. The stairs are being built, hopefully higher and higher, and to prop up the stairs, you have to have a structure, or floors and ceilings. When you break through the ceiling to a new higher level, that ceiling then becomes the floor for the next level up. In other words, resistance becomes support. If the staircase of price falls, the last floor will catch you, or provide support. Then to go higher yet again, you will have to punch through that ceiling, or resistance, again. So, let’s look at support and resistance for …

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Financial Review

Behind the Curtain

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW – 24 = 16,117 SPX + 0.27 = 1862 NAS + 2 = 4217 10 YR YLD + .06 = 2.15% OIL + 1.16 = 82.94 GOLD – 2.20 = 1239.90 SILV – .08 = 17.47 The Dow is down for a sixth consecutive session. We started the morning down almost 200 points, so there is that. Part of yesterday’s volatility is being blamed on mini-flash crashes; 179 to be precise. Basically the high frequency traders yank their bids, as their algorithms try to catch up with big moves. It isn’t really a flash crash so much as a lack of liquidity. Take a deep breath. Think about how you are invested. Consider whether you are diversified across asset classes. The market has not collapsed. It has gone down in a fairly fast and furious manner, but it has not collapsed. What will happen next? Will the market bounce back? Will it go sideways? Will the pullback continue and become really painful? You don’t know; I don’t know; the market doesn’t know; nobody knows. Take a deep breath, consider where you are and where you want to be in the future. The stock market is always a gamble. Maybe you want to gamble with a part of your money, and that’s fine. Maybe you are tired of gambling and want to find something safer; that’s cool, too. Just understand what you’re doing. The volatility of the …

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Financial Review

Third World Stuff

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW – 173 = 16,141 SPX – 15 = 1862 NAS – 11 = 4215 10 YR YLD – .11 = 2.09% OIL – .13 = 81.71 GOLD + 8.90 = 1242.10 SILV + .05 = 17.55 Go back a mere 18 trading sessions and the market was at all-time highs. The Dow hit an intraday high of 17,350 and a closing high of 17,279, on September 19th; that was 18 trading sessions in the past. For the Nasdaq composite we have seen a 10% correction from recent highs. That means this drop happened fast, and it also means the bear may have more room to run; this move is not mature in terms of duration or magnitude. The major indices have dropped under the 200 day moving average; we were waiting for confirmation; we got it. The S&P looked to bounce off a different trendline. If you draw a straight line across the S&P lows beginning with the lows from 2011, which is where we saw support and a bounce today, at the 1820 level; it is also very close to the support levels from April at about 1815, which we talked about on Monday. That is an intermediate level of support, but it held today, and you have to respect the line, unless or until it breaks down. Once we hit certain levels, people start to feel the pain and they move to safety; it …

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Financial Review

Double Irish With a Side of Knowledge Box

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:17 — 6.1MB) Financial Review DOW – 5 = 16,315 SPX + 2 = 1877 NAS + 13 = 4227 10 YR YLD – .08 = 2.20% OIL – 3.76 = 81.98 GOLD – 4.90 = 1233.20 SILV – .11 = 17.49 The Dow was down slightly, while the S&P and Nasdaq snapped a 3 day slide, but this was almost a quiet day; call it neutral. A follow-up on yesterday’s discussion of the 200 day moving average. The S&P 500 dropped down to the 200 day moving average on Friday (right around 1905), and then fell right through the trend line yesterday. We talked about the possibility of a bounce; and I don’t think today’s minor move qualifies as a bounce, even though it was a positive move. So, we are still waiting for a possible bounce. The 200 day moving average is a lagging indicator, and so for now, the trend line is still moving higher; which increases the prospects for a bounce. When the price drops below a declining 200 day moving average, it is considered extremely bearish and the probability of a bounce is very low. So, we wait for confirmation. It is earnings reporting season, and today’s reports feature the banks. We start with JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank by assets, reporting third quarter net income of $5.6 billion, or $1.36 per share, a big improvement from the same period last year, when the bank’s legal …

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