Financial Review

May Day

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 183 = 18,024 SPX + 22 = 2108 NAS + 63 = 5005 10 YR YLD + .07 = 2.11% OIL – .29 = 59.34   For the week, the Dow dropped 0.3%, the S&P 500 fell 0.4% and the Nasdaq was down 1.7%. May kicks off what has been the worst six months for stocks historically which has brought rise to the old saying “sell in May and go away.” Sometimes it works but no guarantees.   The Detroit 3 automakers reported solid April sales as new models and cheap loans lured even more buyers into what’s already a brisk-moving new-vehicle market. Fiat Chrysler reported sales jumped 6% in April, GM gained 5.9% and Ford rose 5%. Still, their stocks were mixed. Ford and GM were higher, Fiat Chrysler was down.   Merchants displeased with the high fees American Express charges them are permitted to steer customers toward less expensive cards without fearing retaliation from the credit card company. A Judge in Brooklyn federal court has ruled that American Express is not allowed to stop stores from offering discounts, rebates or other incentives for using lower-fee cards – an activity known as steering.    Construction spending fell in March to a six-month low as outlays on private residential construction spending declined sharply. Construction spending slipped 0.6 percent to an annual rate of $966 billion, the lowest level since …

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Author Interviews

Laurence Kotlikoff

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:50 — 9.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Listen to the audio interview with Sinclair Noe and Laurence Kotlikoff, author of “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security”

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Financial Review

Month End Review

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 195 = 17,840 SPX – 21 = 2085 NAS – 82 = 4941 10 YR YLD + .01 = 2.05% OIL + 1.19 = 59.77 GOLD – 20.60 = 1185.00 SILV – .44 = 16.20   For the month, the Dow was up 0.4 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.8 percent. For the month of April, the dollar index fell about 3.7 percent. Some month end portfolio buying pushed yields on ten year notes to 2.05% after hitting a 7 week high of 2.11% earlier in the session. The big mover in April was in the energy market, where crude oil jumped more than 21%. S&P 500 earnings for the first quarter now are forecast to have increased 1.1 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed, while revenue is forecast to be down 3.2 percent.   The Commerce Department reports consumer spending rose 0.4% in March as households stepped up purchases of big-ticket items like automobiles; that follows a 0.2% gain in February. The savings rate fell for the first time in four months to 5.3% from 5.7%. A year earlier, Americans were saving at a 4.8% rate. Consumer spending rose 1.9% in the first quarter, down from 4.4% and 3.2% in the prior two quarters. That might indicate there is pent-up demand, but a rebound in economic activity could be …

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Financial Review

The Sun Might Come Out in 2Q

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 74 = 18,035 SPX – 7 = 2106 NAS – 31 = 5023 10 YR YLD + .06 = 2.04% OIL + 1.47 = 58.53 GOLD – 7.20 = 1205.60 SILV – .07 = 16.64   Economic growth slowed in the first quarter.  Gross domestic product expanded by 0.2%, down from 2.2% growth in the fourth quarter. The Commerce Department reports consumer spending rose by 1.9%, but economic activity was constrained by bad weather in many areas, the West Coast port closures, a drop in exports (in part due to a stronger dollar), and a big decline in business spending. It is widely expected that the economy will rebound in the second quarter, much like what happened in 2014, when first quarter GDP contracted by 2.1% only to bounce back with a second quarter gain of 4.6%. Exports sank 7.2% in the first quarter, while imports edged up 1.8%. The plunge in oil prices, meanwhile, forced a resurgent U.S. energy industry to retrench. Overall, business investment on “structures” sank 23.1% in the first quarter, the biggest drop in four years. Companies did boost investment on equipment, but just barely so. Equipment spending rose a scant 0.1%.   For all of last year the economy grew at a 3% pace and that dropped down to just 0.2% in the first quarter. We can break it down to three major …

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Financial Review

Trending

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 72 = 18,110 SPX + 5 = 2114 NAS – 4 = 5055 10 YR YLD + .05 = 1.97% OIL – .06 = 56.93 GOLD + 10.10 =  1212.80 SILV + .21 = 16.71   House prices picked up in February, rising 0.5%, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index. After seasonal adjustments, home prices rose 0.9% in February, matching January’s gain. Compared with February 2014, prices for the 20-city index were up 5%, the fastest growth in half a year. Home prices in Phoenix gained 0.3% for the month and 2.9% for the 12 month period.   The Commerce Department reports home ownership slipped to a 25 year low of 63.8% in the first quarter. The home ownership rate peaked at 69.4% in 2004. Household formation increased by 1.5 million in the first quarter. More people, starting more households, but they aren’t buying homes. With many Americans still showing an aversion to homeownership, the gains in household formation largely are being driven by renters.   Consumer confidence declined in April to a four-month low as Americans’ views of the labor market and the outlook on the economy deteriorated. The Conference Board’s index dropped to 95.2 from a revised 101.4 reading in March. The report showed fewer respondents said jobs were plentiful in April and income expectations cooled, signaling consumers will remain guarded about spending. The setback …

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Financial Review

Somewhere Between Extremes

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:15 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 42 = 18,037 SPX – 8 = 2108 NAS – 31 = 5060 10 YR YLD + .01 = 1.92% OIL – .16 = 56.99 GOLD + 21.30 = 1201.70 SILV + .65 = 16.50   We’ll get to the economic news in a minute, but the big market news today is Apple. Net income in the quarter that ended in March was $13.6 billion, or $2.33 a share, representing a 33% jump in profit from last quarter. Analysts on average had forecast second-quarter profit of $12.6 billion, or $2.16 a share. Revenue rose 27 percent to $58 billion, beating estimates of $56 billion. IPhone sales in greater China outpaced those in the U.S. for the first time. Total revenue from greater China surged 71 percent to $16.8 billion. IPhone unit sales jumped 40 percent to 61.2 million. That topped analysts’ average prediction for 58.1 million.   Apple forecast the momentum will continue in the third quarter, with revenue projected to rise to $46 billion to $48 billion from $37.4 billion a year ago. Apple has $193 billion in cash, with a capital return program, which now totals $200 billion. Apple will increase its share-buyback authorization by $50 billion to $140 billion, and increase the company’s dividend by 11 percent; to 52 cents from 47 cents.   To recap: Apple posted better than expected sales and profit; they will …

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Financial Review

Chips and Salsa Like 1999

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 21 = 18,080 SPX + 4 = 2117 NAS + 36 = 5092 10 YR YLD – .03 = 1.92% OIL – .58 = 57.16   Yesterday, the Nasdaq closed at 5,056, finally surpassing its tech-boom peak of 5,048 set in March 2000. It only took a little over 15 years to get back to those levels. Today the party continued. The S&P 500 hit a new record high close, but just barely; topping the March 2 record by a fraction. For the week, the Nasdaq surged 3.2% and the S&P 500 jumped 1.8%. The Dow added 1.4%.   WTI crude oil closed down 58 cents at $57.16 a barrel, retreating from Thursday’s 2015 high of $58.41. It rose for a sixth straight week, its longest such stretch since the first quarter of 2014. This week’s gain was 2.5 percent. After a sell-off between June and January driven by oversupply, oil prices seem to have found their footing in the last three months, gaining about 33 percent from a low in March.   In the past year, there’s been an inverse relationship between the price of crude oil and the relative performance of retail stocks. Also, most retailers aren’t hurt by a stronger dollar; rather, it helps because items imported to the US are cheaper. An almost 60 percent decline in oil between June 2014 and mid-March contributed partly …

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Financial Review

Chips and Salsa

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:15 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 20 = 18,058 SPX + 4 = 2112 NAS + 20 = 5056 10 YR YLD – .02 = 1.95% OIL + 1.32 = 57.48   Record highs on Wall Street today. On March 10, 2000 the Nasdaq Composite Index reached an intraday high of 5,132 and closed at 5,048. It only took a little over 15 years to get back to those levels. The Nasdaq is now up 6.8% for 2015. The Nasdaq Composite now trades at 30 times earnings, versus a multiple of 190 in March 2000; not exactly a value play, but not dot-com frothiness. The S&P 500 hit a new intraday high but could not take out the 2117 record close from early March.   The number of people who applied for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits ticked up 1,000 to 295,000 in the week that ended April 18. Also, the government said continuing claims, which show the number of people already receiving weekly unemployment checks, rose 50,000 to 2.33 million in the week that ended April 11.   Sales of new single-family homes dropped 11.4% to 481,000 in March, hitting the slowest pace since November.  Sales of new single-family homes increased about 19% over the past year. However, sales still remain almost 40% below a long-term pace set over 20 years.   Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index …

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Financial Review

The Moral and Economic Issue of Our Time

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW + 88 = 18,038 SPX + 10 = 2107 NAS + 21 = 5035 10 YR YLD + .06 = 1.98% OIL – .45 = 56.16 GOLD – 15.00 = 1187.80 SILV – .22 = 15.86   The National Association of Realtors reports existing home sales increased 6.1% in March, the fastest pace of sales in 18 months. The jump in March sales follows a couple of slow months due, at least in part, to bad winter weather. But the latest figures suggest the mix of low mortgage rates, steady job creation and pent-up demand could push full-year sales to prerecession levels. Mortgage rates also are still near their lows for the year. The average interest rate on a fixed, 30-year mortgage was 3.67% last week, down from 4.27% a year ago, according to Freddie Mac’s latest weekly survey.   Greece will not present a list of economic reforms to Eurozone finance ministers on Friday; the deadlines don’t really help and they might even hurt because they lead to brinksmanship in negotiations on what reforms the Syriza government in Greece needs to do to secure more funding. There are signs Greece’s creditors are curbing demands for far-reaching reforms as part of current talks, perhaps a realization that they can’t get blood from a turnip, but the softening stance comes on condition Greece stays co-operative on fiscal targets. The liquidity situation in …

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Financial Review

Jump Into Earnings

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:16 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Financial Review by Sinclair Noe DOW – 85 = 17,949 SPX – 3 = 2097 NAS + 19 = 5014 10 YR YLD + .02 = 1.92% OIL – 1.12 = 56.26 GOLD SILV This is one of the busiest weeks for earnings reports, so let’s jump in with both feet.   IBM delivered its 12th straight quarter of declining revenue, but they beat earnings expectations because they proved that even if they aren’t the masters of technology, they are masters of financial engineering; one way to boost earnings per share – reduce the shares outstanding with stock buybacks. At some point the strategy has a flaw, but that is for another day.   We’ve known that a stronger dollar would hurt US companies doing business overseas, but we rarely think about reversing that equation. The weaker euro boosted revenue at German business software maker SAP in the first three months of the year and drove operating profit up 15 percent. First-quarter revenue rose 22 percent to 4.5 billion euros, at the top of market forecasts. At constant exchange rates sales rose 10 percent.  First-quarter operating profit, excluding special items, rose to 1.06 billion euros ($1.13 billion), matching estimates. Excluding the effect of currencies, SAP’s operating profit dropped 2 percent.   Chip designer ARM Holdings supplies Apple’s iPhone. Arm said first quarter profits rose 24%, beating forecasts. Chief executive Simon Segars said: “As the world becomes more digital …

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