Financial Review

Monday, June 02, 2014 – Clean Power Plan

Clean Power Plan by Sinclair Noe DOW + 26 = 16,743 SPX + 1 = 1924 NAS – 5 = 4237 10 YR YLD + .07 = 2.53% OIL – .31 = 102.40 GOLD – 7.80 = 1244.50 SILV – .05 = 18.86   The ISM got it wrong this morning. The Institute for Supply Management reported its May manufacturing index came in at a weaker than expected 53.2, but there was a software problem that didn’t properly reflect season adjustments; the ISM issued a revision; the May index was 56.0; but for some reason, that wasn’t correct, so they issued another revision. The May manufacturing index was 55.4; that’s the number and they’re sticking with it. Embarrassing? Yes.   Meanwhile, stocks and bonds were all over the board. Stocks fell into negative territory early on, but bounced back as revisions were issued. Bonds are hyper sensitive to economic growth, and the yield on the 10 year note moved higher and stayed higher, despite the initial numbers and the revisions. And if you look past the revisions, and you should, because it appears to be nothing more than an honest mistake, caught quick and corrected; the bottom line is a pretty strong number for manufacturing, more or less in line with the idea of a second quarter bounce in the economy.   The bigger story this week will be the jobs report on Friday. It is widely expected the economy added about 200,000 to 215,000 jobs in May, which would …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Friday, May 30, 2014 – Record Highs, Bonds, Coal Mines

Record Highs, Bonds, Coal Mines by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 18 = 16,717 SPX + 3 = 1923 (another record) NAS – 5 = 4242 (not a record) 10 YR YLD + .01 = 2.45% OIL – .71 =  102.87 GOLD – 4.60 = 1252.30 SILV – .23 = 18.91   For the week, the Dow rose 0.7%, the S&P 500 gained 1.2% and the Nasdaq added 1.4%. For the month of May, the Dow gained 0.8%, the S&P 500 rose 2.1% and the Nasdaq climbed 3.1%. Meanwhile, if you are looking for action, the bond market is the place; the yield on the 10 year note has dropped from 2.65% to 2.45% this month.   Nearly everyone is looking for an explanation as to why longer-term interest rates continue to fall in the face of reduced Fed support and what is being hyped as better economic data. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The Federal Reserve has been propping up Treasury bond prices, and suppressing yields, for the past several years by buying large quantities of bonds each month in an effort to increase investment and consumption, and force investors into riskier assets. To some extent, the Fed’s QE purchases have worked; ultra-low interest rates have supported housing price increases and have led to skyrocketing stock prices.  Household net worth has increased by $25 trillion from the financial-crisis lows in the first quarter of 2009.  However, these gains in net worth have overwhelmingly accrued to the well-to-do while low- …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Thursday, May 29, 2014 – First Quarter GDP and Extreme Weather

First Quarter GDP and Extreme Weather by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 65 = 16,698 SPX + 10 = 1920 NAS + 22 = 4247 10 YR YLD + .01 = 2.44% OIL + .79 = 103.51 GOLD – 2.70 = 1256.90 SILV + .02 = 19.14 The economy was worse than expected in the first quarter. The first estimate of first quarter gross domestic product showed 0.1% growth. Today, we got the second estimate and it showed 1.0% contraction. We figured the second estimate would show contraction but most estimates were calling for just 0.1% to 0.6% contraction. The newly revised estimate incorporates additional economic data released in recent weeks. Higher-than-expected imports and slower-than-expected inventory growth dragged the economy into negative territory.   US based corporations posted slightly lower, after tax, seasonally adjusted, first quarter profits of $1.88 trillion for the quarter, down from $1.905 trillion in the fourth quarter; but those numbers were not adjusted for inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments; we know corporations are still holding bloated inventories. A big buildup in private inventories boosted economic growth in the third quarter of 2013, but left a hangover that weighed on growth in the first quarter of 2014. Inventories subtracted 1.62 percentage points from GDP growth, compared with an initial estimate of 0.57 percentage point subtracted from growth.   Business investment declined at a 1.6% pace, revised from an initially estimated decline at a 2.1% pace. Spending on structures fell at a 7.5% pace and spending on …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 – Reflecting the Economy

Reflecting the Economy by Sinclair Noe   DOW – 42 = 16,633 SPX – 2 = 1909 NAS – 11 = 4225 10 YR YLD – .08 = 2.43% OIL – 1.03 = 103.08 GOLD = 4.70 = 1259.60 SILV – .01 = 19.13   The major stock market indices were lower, but it wasn’t a big move, and we’ve been 4 up days, so today’s pullback was nothing but a pause. What was interesting today was the move in the bond market. The yield on the 10 year treasury dropped all the way to 2.43%; that’s the lowest rate in almost a year. The 10 year treasury has dropped 22 basis points this month, meaning treasuries are on track for the best month since January. Now, remember that the Federal Reserve is supposed to be tapering, cutting back on large scale purchases of treasury bonds.   What’s fueling the move? It’s hard to pinpoint one thing. Europe is facing some sort of monetary stimulus package from the ECB next week; meanwhile, a report showed German unemployment rose and that pushed yields on the 10 year bund to 1.28%; that trade then spilled over to the US markets, toss in end of month window dressing and there was likely a short squeeze. There are some big short positions on treasuries right now; more shorts than longs.   At the end of the day, the bond market is supposed to reflect the economy; not an exact image but rather a mirror …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – Currently Trending Here

Currently Trending Here by Sinclair Noe DOW + 69 = 16,675 SPX + 11 = 1911 NAS + 51 = 4237 10 YR YLD – .02 = 2.52% OIL – .24 – 104.11 GOLD – 29.20 = 1264.30 SILV – .40 = 19.14   The S&P 500 Index closed at another record high. The Dow Industrial Average is just a little below the May 13 record of 16,715. The Russell 2000 index of small and mid-caps confirmed the uptrend. The Russell had been lagging and there was a concern that small caps might drag the blue chips lower. While the Russell is still down about 2% year to date, on Friday it moved above its 200 day moving average.   Any time the market is trending, it makes sense to look for divergences, or any indicator that might signal a change in trend, but the most important thing to watch is still the trend itself; in other words the market scorecard is measured in price. And right now the trend is up.   Let’s start with some economic news. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices continued to show gains in prices for existing home sales; the 10-city composite was up 0.8% and the 20-city composite was up 0.9% month over month; and respective year over year gains of 12.6% and 12.4%. Nineteen of the 20 cities showed positive returns in March; New York was the only city to decline. As of March 2014, average home prices across the United States are …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Friday, May 23, 2014 – Always Check Your Spreadsheets

Always Double Check Your Spreadsheets by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 63 = 16,606 SPX + 8 = 1900 NAS + 31 = 4185 10 YR YLD – .02 = 2.54% OIL + .67 = 104.41 GOLD – .80 = 1293.90 SILV – .01 = 19.58   The S&P 500 Index closed at a record high of 1900.53. It was a record high close but not a record high considering intraday pricing. The S&P hit an intraday high of 1902 on May 13, however it closed on that day at 1897. Today, the intraday high was 1901, but I’ve always considered the close to be a more significant number than the intraday high. Since the start of the year we’ve been on a roller coaster ride in the markets, but as of today the Dow is up 0.2% year to date, the Nasdaq is up 0.2% for the year, and the S&P is up 2.8% since the start of the year.   If you are a regular, you might wonder why we aren’t celebrating a record high. The first answer is that 1900 is just a number with no special significance; the second answer is that we only celebrate when the Dow Industrial Average hits a record high, and the last record high close on the Dow was May 13 at 16,715. We don’t celebrate S&P records, and like so many things, the reasoning is entrenched in archaic traditional dogma.   An example would be Memorial Day, which started after …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Thursday, May 22, 2014 – A Heckuva Business Model

A Heckuva Business Model by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 10 = 16,543 SPX + 4 = 1892 NAS + 22 = 4154 10 YR YLD + .02 = 2.55% OIL – .31 = 103.76 GOLD + 1.80 = 1294.70 SILV + .10 = 19.59   Yesterday we told you Russia and China had signed a 30 year, $400 billion dollar deal for Russia to deliver natural gas to China. Today, both countries vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution seeking to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes. In the short-term, the Russia-China gas deal won’t have a big impact. The deal will not be in place until 2018 and even then will only see Russia selling a fraction of its gas exports to China every year, exports to the EU could still well be two to four times the size.   The economic links between Russia and Europe will continue to be significant and they will continue to be reliant on each other when it comes to energy; the former to sell the latter to buy, but this link gives an advantage to Russia, especially when the weather turns cold. At least symbolically the deal highlights Russia’s desire to move away from links with Europe. Combine this with Europe’s desire to increase energy security and the relations between the two sides could become increasingly cold and distant. Although, some countries due to geographical proximity, such as Bulgaria or Hungary; or due to long standing …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – Congratulations Graduates, Yada, Yada, Yada

Congratulations Graduates, Yada, Yada, Yada by Sinclair Noe   DOW + 158 = 16,533 SPX + 15 = 1888 NAS + 34 = 4131 10 YR + .02 = 2.53% OIL – 33 = 103.74 GOLD – 2.40 = 1292.90 SIL  un = 19.49   Earnings season is winding down; about 96% of S&P 500 companies have reported results, with profit growth this quarter of 5.5% and revenue up 2.8%. While more companies have topped earnings expectations than usual, fewer have beat on the revenue side. This has been an ongoing theme for corporate profits; bottom line growth without corresponding sales. If this formula sounds unsustainable, it is, unless there is some other factor pumping up the markets.   Follow-up from yesterday: China has signed a 30-year deal to buy Russian natural gas worth about $400 billion. The gas deal gives Moscow an economic boost at a time when Washington and the European Union have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on dozens of Russian officials and several companies over Ukraine. It allows Russia to diversify its markets for gas, which now goes mostly to Europe; essentially opening the door to Asia’s gas market and potentially closing the door on the petro-dollar.   The Federal Reserve today released the minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting. Fed policymakers considered several approaches to tightening monetary policy, but decided to remain flexible; which is another way of saying QE is a big experiment and they are just hoping nothing explodes in their …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Monday, May 19, 2014 – Still Too Big to Jail

Still Too Big to Jail by Sinclair Noe DOW + 20 = 16511 SPX + 7 = 1885 NAS + 35 = 4125 10 YR YLD + .02 = 2.54% OIL + .58 = 102.16 GOLD – .10 = 1293.60 SILV – .01 = 19.44   Merger Mania Monday. Late yesterday, AT&T announced an offer to buy DirecTV for $48 billion, or $95 per share. The combined AT&T-DirecTV would serve 26 million customers; that would make it the second-largest pay TV operator behind a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable, which would serve 30 million under a $45 billion merger proposed in February. The Comcast deal still faces regulatory hurdles.   AT&T and DirecTV promised consumer benefits like more economical bundles that tie mobile phone, pay TV and Internet service together on a single bill. The deal could face regulatory scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice. Unlike the cable company tie-up, the AT&T-DirecTV merger would effectively cut the number of video providers from four to three for about 25% of US households. That’s a situation that could result in higher prices for consumers and usually gives regulators cause for concern.   The value that DirecTV offers that no other national TV provider offers is a special deal for football fans; for $240 to $330 you can buy a special package that gets you all the NFL football games, including your hometown favorite no matter where you live. That’s why DirecTV paid an estimated $4 billion to the NFL …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Friday, May 16, 2014 – Nervous About Recovering in the Recovery

Nervous About Recovering in the Recovery by Sinclair Noe DOW + 44 = 16491 SPX + 7 = 1877 NAS + 21 = 4090 10 YR YLD + .02 =  2.52% OIL + .68 = 102.18 GOLD – 4.10 = 1293.70 SILV – .11 = 19.45   Stocks were all over the place this week; we had record highs for the Dow Industrial Average and the S&P 5oo Index, topping 1900 for the first time, even as small caps slipped and internet stocks tumbled. For the week, the Dow slipped 0.6 % and the S&P 500 dipped 0.03 %, while the Nasdaq gained 0.5 %. Bonds enjoyed a very nice week indeed, with the yield on the 10 year Treasury note moving from a high for the week of 2.66% to a low of 2.47%. Isn’t it awesome when the Dow hits a record high but everything else flatlines or shrinks? Maybe we are in a recovery, but maybe we need to recover from the recovery. Recent economic data has been mixed, and reports released Friday added to concerns about the lackluster recovery. The preliminary Reuters / University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May was at 81.8, down from 84.1 in April. Housing starts increased in April at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,072,000. This is 13.2 % above the revised March estimate of 947,000 and is 26.4 % above the April 2013 rate of 848,000. Earlier in the week we got the PPI and CPI inflation numbers. …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Financial Review for Friday, May 02, 2014 – April Jobs Report

April Jobs Report by Sinclair Noe DOW – 45 = 16,512SPX – 2 = 1881NAS – 3 = 412310 YR YLD – .01 = 2.59%OIL + .57 = 99.99GOLD + 15.70 = 1301.60SILV + .44 = 19.56 Today is another Jobs Report Friday. We will go into quite a bit of detail here because really, most everything we talk about in regard to economics begins with work and jobs. It is my hope that you will join us here on the first Friday of each month to get your comprehensive, fact based coverage of the jobs report. Last month the economy added 288,000 net new jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3%. April marked the biggest monthly gain in jobs since January 2012, when the economy added 360,000 jobs. Employment gains for February and March were revised higher by a combined 36,000; that raised the monthly average to 214,000 jobs a month since the start of the year. Through the first 4 months of 2014, the economy has added 857,000 payroll jobs, slightly better than the first 4 months of 2013, despite the harsh winter this year. In the current 58 month expansion, employers have added more than 200,000 jobs per month in 38% of the months. Current job creation performance is stronger than it was in the business-cycle expansion that occurred during the recovery in the early 2000s, even when a real estate construction bubble fueled growth.  Today’s job creation pace lags well behind previous recent economic recoveries, …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Financial Review for Thursday, May 01, 2014 – If the Cops Never Arrest the Killer, Nobody Really Died

If the Cops Never Arrest the Killer, Nobody Really Died by Sinclair Noe DOW – 21 = 16,558SPX – 0.27 = 1883NAS + 12 = 412710 YR YLD – .04 = 2.60%OIL – .39 = 99.35GOLD – 6.40 = 1285.90SILV – .13 = 19.12 No record high for the Dow today. The Industrial Average was up and down, up and down throughout the day, but couldn’t hold positive territory. Today’s economic reports showed consumer spending increased, as did manufacturing activity, and unemployment claims. Consumer spending increased 0.9 percent in March after rising by 0.5 percent in February, the largest gain in more than 4-1/2 years. The top 6 automakers backed up the spending report by reporting year over year gains in sales. The spending report supports the notion that cold weather just paused consumer activity and there is pent up demand that will lead to more economic activity in the second quarter. Income increased 0.5 percent in March, the biggest gain since last summer, but with spending outpacing income growth, the saving rate, which is the percentage of disposable income households are socking away, hit a 14-month low. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index of national factory activity rose to 54.9 last month, up from 53.7 in March. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the nation’s factories. Manufacturing activity has now accelerated for 3 consecutive months and last month’s gains were driven by a pickup in employment, export orders and inventories; although new orders were unchanged. …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Financial Review for Wednesday, April 30, 2014 – Record Highs in First Gear

Record Highs in First Gear by Sinclair Noe DOW + 45 = 16580.84 (record close)SPX + 5 = 1883 NAS + 11 = 411410 YR YLD – .04 = 2.65%OIL – 1.59 = 99.69GOLD – 4.60 = 1292.30SILV – .29 = 19.25 Back on December 31st, we finished the old year with a record high close on the Dow Industrial Average at 16,576; since then the index has bobbed up  and down, briefly hitting an intraday high of  16,631 on April 4th, but on that day we finished in negative territory. Today, a record high close. The S&P 500 is closing in on the record high close of 1890, but not today. Now, when you hear the Dow is breaking records, you might think the economy is roaring, cruising along the highway in fifth gear. You would be wrong; the economy is stuck in first gear and the clutch is slipping. The Commerce Department reports the economy expanded at a mere 0.1% annual pace in the first three months of the year, one of the weakest rates of growth in the nearly 5-year-old recovery. A slowdown had been expected due to the harsh winter weather that froze business activity across a large swath of the country, but this report was worse than expected. The gross domestic product had been expanding at a 3.4% pace in the second half of last year. No worries, the weather has warmed and everything is returning to normal. Yeah, not exactly. There has been a …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Financial Review for Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Lowering the Bar

Lowering the Barby Sinclair Noe DOW + 86 = 16,535SPX + 8 = 1878NAS + 29 = 410310 YR YLD + .02 = 2.69%OIL – .12 = 100.72GOLD – .40 = 1296.90SILV – .13 = 19.54 The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for February showed prices up 12.9% from February a year ago, that’s down from the 12-month advance of 13.2% reported in January. The index tracks existing home sales in 20 major metropolitan areas, and this economic report tends to lag, plus it is a 3-month moving average of prices; so maybe we could be seeing one of the last reports to reflect bad winter weather. Home prices fell in 13 of the 20 cities in February compared with the previous month, and it wasn’t just cold weather cities; prices in Las Vegas dipped 0.1% in February from the previous month, the city’s first monthly decline in nearly two years; home prices fell 1.6% in Cleveland and 0.7% in Tampa, Florida. Las Vegas still posted the biggest 12-month gain, with an increase of 23.1%. The Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes dipped to 82.3 from an upwardly revised 83.9 in March; still, very near a 6-year high. A new report today from the National Employment Law Project finds that as the economy has inched toward recovery, low-wage jobs have returned far more quickly than middle- or high-income work. The report’s finding shows how the housing sector in particular is a key middle-income employer that has failed to rebound. …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Monday, April 28, 2014 – But Our Bankers Aren’t Oligarchs

But Our Bankers Aren’t Oligarchsby Sinclair Noe DOW + 87 = 16448SPX + 6 = 1869NAS – 1 = 407410 YR YLD + .01 = 2.67%OIL – .03 = 100.57GOLD – 7.50 = 1297.30SILV – .16 = 19.67 This should be an interesting week. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee, the FOMC, will meet to determine monetary policy; a statement will be issued Wednesday. On Friday, we’ll have the monthly jobs report. The market is jittery. The Dow fell 140 points on Friday, rose 139 on Monday morning, and gave it all back Monday afternoon, then recovered at little at the close. Investors are worried about the Ukraine crisis, the Fed’s tapering, peak earnings, high PEs, low GDP, inflation, deflation, and of course, their own shadows. So far, the stock market has merely been sluggish to start the year; no big crash, no big gains. Last week, the big 3 indices were down a little, while the indices are in negative territory year to date, that could change with one good week of trading. After doubling or tripling since 2009, stocks aren’t cheap any more. Companies, meanwhile, are finding it harder to keep raising earnings in a period of soft economic growth. This makes investors more cautious, but because speculative excess still hasn’t reached the extremes of past bubbles, and because the Federal Reserve is determined to sustain the recovery, there is less fear of a big decline. The Fed has started slowly rolling back its quantitative …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Friday, April 25, 2014 – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Don’t Hold your Breathby Sinclair Noe DOW – 140 = 16,361SPX – 15 = 1863NAS – 72 = 407510 YR YLD – .02 = 2.66%OIL – 1.25 = 100.69GOLD + 9.90 = 1304.80SILV + .07 = 19.83 Consumer sentiment rose in April to a nine-month high as views on current and near-term conditions surged. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final April reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment came in at 84.1, up from 80 the month before. Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll shows more Americans are optimistic about the job market this month than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis, with 30% saying now is a good time to find a quality job. That marks a significant improvement from the 8% who said they were optimistic about the job market in 2010, but it’s still a drop from the pre-2008 highs of almost 50%. And even though almost a third of Americans are optimistic, two-thirds still say the job market is lackluster; 66% of Americans say it’s not a good time to hunt for employment. Next week’s economic calendar includes a two day Federal Reserve FOMC meeting. Next Friday, we’ll have a monthly jobs report; the current estimates call for 215,000 net new jobs in April and the unemployment rate dipping to 6.6% from 6.7%. Also, the Commerce Department will release its first guess of first quarter GDP; the consensus estimate on the initial estimate is that the economy grew about 1%. The situation in Ukraine …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Thursday, April 24, 2014 – The Bridge From Bubbles to Prosperity

The Bridge From Bubbles to Prosperity by Sinclair Noe DOW unchanged 16,501SPX + 3 = 1878NAS + 21 = 414810 YR YLD unchanged 2.69%OIL + .46 = 101.90GOLD + 10.20 = 1294.90SILV + .20 = 19.75 The Dow closed unchanged. That is just one of those freaky things that happens every few years. I remember it happened in 2008, and 1998 and 1996. I’m fairly sure there were other days where the Dow closed unchanged. I don’t know if there is any particular significance. Orders to factories for durable goods rose 2.6%, adding to the 2.1% rise in February. The back-to-back gains followed two big declines in December and January, which had raised concerns about possible weakness in manufacturing. The earlier declines, however, were likely tied to bad winter weather. On the jobs front, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits jumped 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 last week. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased to 316,750, which puts us back to 2007 levels. The big earnings report today was Microsoft, which posted income of $5.6 billion, or 68 cents per share, compared with $6 billion, or 72 cents, in the year-ago quarter. They beat estimates of 63 cents per share, but take it with a grain of salt; the estimates started the quarter around 80 cents per share. Yesterday we talked about a tech bubble, and whether we were in one or not, and we looked at comments from Greenlight Capital manager David Einhorn; he says …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – A Brilliant Future From Cool Ideas

A Brilliant Future From Cool Ideas by Sinclair Noe DOW – 12 = 16,501SPX – 4 = 1875NAS – 34 = 412610 YR YLD – .05 = 2.68%OIL – .2- = 101.55GOLD un 1284.70SILV + .06 = 19.55 It’s earnings season, and this is a chance to compare and contrast. This morning, Facebook posted earnings of $642 million in net income, or 25 cents a share, in the first quarter, versus $219 million, or 9 cents a share in the year ago period. Overall revenue grew 72% year-on-year to $2.5 billion in the first quarter, topping estimates. Facebook now has 1.28 billion active users, and more than 1 billion do their Facebook stuff on a mobile device. Then Facebook announced their Financial Director was resigning. Shares were up about 3%. Nobody puts on a better presentation than Apple, that’s how they grew to be the most valuable company in the world. Steve Jobs would walk out and announce Apple had created a new mp3 player, and also a new way to connect to the internet, and also a new camera. Wow, three new products, nope…, he would hold up the iPhone – just one very cool thing from Apple; tech geeks heads would explode. Today, Apple posted earnings of $10.2 billion or $11.62 a share, on revenue of $45.6 billion. Analysts expected the company to report earnings excluding items of $10.18 a share; Apple reported a 4.6% rise in March-quarter revenue to $45.6 billion; Apple sold 43.7 million iPhones in …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – Helicopter Drops Were Successful, and Other Revisions

Helicopter Drops Were Successful, and Other Revisions by Sinclair Noe DOW + 65 = 16,514SPX + 7 = 1879NAS + 39 = 416110 YR YLD + .01 = 2.73%OIL – 1.77 = 101.88GOLD – 6.60 = 1284.70SILV – .05 = 19.49 Sales of previously owned homes fell in March for a third consecutive month as rising prices and a lack of inventory discouraged would-be buyers. The National Association of Realtors reports closings, which usually take place a month or two after a contract is signed, fell 0.2% to a 4.59 million annual rate, the lowest level since July 2012. It was the seventh drop in the last 8 months pushing sales down 8.5% compared with the same month last year before adjusting for seasonal patterns. The drop in demand might not lead to a flat-line in home prices. That’s because one obstacle to lower sales is the low number of homes on the market. The number of houses for sale at the end of last month rose to 1.99 million compared with 1.93 million a year earlier. At the current pace, it would take 5.2 months to sell houses compared with 5 months at the end of February. There are some positives in the housing market: distressed sales are down; delinquencies are down; negative equity has declined; and even though inventory is up slightly, that is a positive because inventory had been too tight. The median price of an existing home climbed 7.9% from March 2013 to $198,500. The appreciation …

READ MORE →
Financial Review

Monday, April 21, 2014 – Why Stocks Continue Going Higher

Why Stocks Continue Going Higherby Sinclair Noe DOW + 40 = 16,449SPX + 7 = 1871NAS + 26 = 412110 YR YLD un 2.72%OIL – .01 = 103.64GOLD – 4.30 = 1291.30 SILV – .21 = 19.54 The S&P 500 has gained for five straight sessions, marking the longest winning streak since October. This has not been a pretty rally. Volume was light today; that has been part of the trend; light volume on up days and heavy volume on down days. We are smack dab in earnings reporting season, and 87 companies have posted results through this morning with 62% beating earnings expectations; that’s down from 66% beating earnings over the past 4 quarters, and those earnings expectations have been ratcheted lower and lower, so it should be an easy bar to cross. And still the markets have been moving higher. Dozens of S&P 500 components will report earnings this week, including Apple, Biogen, Facebook, McDonald’s, AT&T and Caterpillar. More than 30 companies in the Nasdaq 100 (NDX) are slated to report earnings. After the close of trade Netflix posted a first-quarter profit of $53 million, or 86 cents a share, up from $3 million, or five cents a share, a year ago. The company in January had projected a profit of 78 cents a share. The stock shot up about 7% to $372 in extended-hours trading. After a jump of 300% in 2013, Netflix had slumped recently. As part of the earnings announcement, Netflix announced a price hike, …

READ MORE →