Showing posts with label X. Show all posts
Showing posts with label X. Show all posts

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stocks Flat As Consolidation Appears Likely

US stocks spent the majority of the session in negative territory, only to catch a bid late in the day and record modest gains. As there were few major companies reporting earnings, traders searched for signs of a recovering economy in new home sales data, which surged 11% from the previous month.

At this point, such news from the housing sector is extremely positive, though foreclosures continue to escalate in hardest-hit areas of the county, such as Michigan, California and the Southwest.

Dow 9,108.51, +15.27 (0.17%)
NASDAQ 1,967.89, +1.93 (0.10%)
S&P 500 982.18, +2.92 (0.30%)
NYSE Composite 6,364.66, +27.20 (0.43%)

Internals were in line with the headline numbers, though the trading range was extremely narrow (80 points on the Dow). Not to put too fine a point on it, but nothing much was moving in any direction following a week of relatively strong gains. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners, 3886-2522 and new highs continued their recent reign over new lows, 213-86. Volume was moderate, as traders change positions in what may be another consolidation phase.

NYSE Volume 1,045,247,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,159,129,000

The issue for markets is once again technical, as indices have surged again to positions indicating a recovering economy and possible renewed growth, though signs of such are remain few and far between. With many of the major companies already having reported, the market is likely to experience a bout of profit-taking near term, though many indicators are pointing towards a continuation of the rally.

It would be nice to be able to sound the "all clear" horn, but macro-economic forces, especially the solvency and liquidity issues in the banking fortress, are still in a state of virtual shutdown. Further out, the only geopolitical zone which shows any potential for long-term growth is the Pacific Rim, India and China. The US and Europe remain basket cases with far too much overhang in government deficits, an indirect result of last fall's near catastrophe. Money to lend remains on short leashes, with only the best credit-worthy of borrowers able to dip into the pool. Small business in the private sector offers great potential, but is being stifled without financing, causing a serious negative feedback loop into the general economy.

The US is being kept afloat by the patchwork done by the Fed, Treasury and the continued funding of the huge swath of entitlement programs. Payments to beneficiaries of Social Security, state and local pensions, disability, unemployment insurance and welfare are providing a floor upon which the broader economy will try to grow. It's a very bottom-up approach, and entirely built upon the generosity of Congress and borrowed funds from a variety of sources, a good deal of it in the quantitative easing being undertaken at the Fed.

While it is entirely possible that the Obama stimulus plan will provide enough of a boost to avoid a rerun of 2008, there are serious issues such as inflation, ballooning state government deficits and the unusually high rate of unemployment. Until there are actual jobs being created, it's more or less a slowly plodding domestically-based cash economy without real gains in either productivity and job creation. As such, it's difficult to recommend any long-term stock buying. The market remains a casino for quick returns or losses.

Commodity trading was also sluggish. September light crude rose 33 cents, to $68.38. Gold gained 40 cents, to $956.30, and silver was up 12 cents, to $13.99. Oil remains overpriced in consideration of demand, flat to declining even in the full bloom of summer.

More companies report on Tuesday. The ones which will be watched the closest are Deutsche Bank (DB), Hitachi (HIT), Universal Health Services (UHS), United States Steel (X) and Valero Energy (VLO).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rigged Rally

Any doubt that the US stock markets have been, are being or can be manipulated was put to rest today at precisely 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. It was at that moment that the Dow Jones Industrials climbed an extraordinary 50+ points in just over one minute. There was no news, no report issued that would move the market, only the covert actions by groping, free market fondlers. called the 3:00 jump a "technical trade," which is a good substitute for "we don't know," and the Fed's Beige Book was released at 2:00, not 3:00, but maybe it took a while to digest.

In any case, the final result was a healthy gain for the Dow, with the other indices tagging along.

Dow 13,784.50 +67.55; NASDAQ 2,648.17 +8.31; S&P 500 1,518.09 +7.05; NYSE Composite 9,930.36 +20.41

Other than the faux late-day rally, it was really a see-saw session with the markets initially buffeted by stellar earnings reports from Amazon (AMZN) and Boeing (BA), then battered by the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) existing Home Sales for June, which came in well below estimates, suggesting that, considering the current malaise in the housing market, those estimates might want to be a little less optimistic going forward.

It was the worst showing for housing in roughly 4 1/2 years, though that in itself should not have been much of a surprise.

Elsewhere, companies were churning out 2nd quarter earnings reports, and some actually weren't all bad.
  • Xerox (X) beat estimates by a penny, but was pounded lower by 1.10 (nearly 6%).

  • Colgate-Palmolive (CL): Excluding restructuring charges, net income in the most recent quarter was $457.5 million, or 84 cents per share. Analysts expected earnings per share of 84 cents.

  • ConocoPhillips (COP) posted income, excluding extraordinary items, of $4.8 billion, or $2.90 a share, compared with $5.2 billion, or $3.09 a share, during the second quarter of 2006. The results were well above the $2.68 analyst expectations.

  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX): On the acquisition of rival Phelps Dodge in March and increased metal pricing, net income after paying preferred dividends rose to $1.10 billion, or $2.62 per share, from $367 million, or $1.74 per share, a year ago. Revenue surged to $5.81 billion from $1.43 billion last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for profit of $2.71 per share on revenue of $5.27 billion.
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): Pretax profit was flat at £1.896 billion -- compared with £1.897 billion a year earlier -- and was ahead of analysts' consensus expectations of £1.833 billion. Net profit rose to £1.36 billion from £1.34 billion a year earlier.

  • Apple (AAPL): (After the close) For fiscal 2007 third quarter ended June 30, 2007, posted revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million, or $.92 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $4.37 billion and net quarterly profit of $472 million, or $.54 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

The story beyond the headline numbers was in stark contrast. Decliners beat advancing issues by a 3-2 ration, and new lows swamped the market, beating new highs by 630-134 (no, that's not a misprint).

Oil posted huge gains on the NY Mercantile Exchange, with crude up a massive $2.32 to $75.88. So, square those facts and numbers with a nearly 70-point rise on the Dow... really, try it.

Gold was hammered down $11 to $673.80, with silver losing 29 cents to close at $13.15.

More hijinks are in store for certain tomorrow, as new home sales figures for June are released and another 400+ companies roll out earnings reports.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bear Claws

How bad was it?

It was in the top five worst performances for the combined indices this year, and likely the third worst showing (at least for the Dow it was). What triggered the Tuesday tempest was poor showings by a multitude of companies reporting second quarter earnings, most notably, McDonald's (MCD) huge miss and a miss by DuPont (DD) prior to the market open and Texas Instrument's (TI) poor showing announced Monday after the close.

Dow 13,716.95 -226.47; NASDAQ 2,639.86 -50.72; S&P 500 1,511.04 -30.53; NYSE Composite 9,909.95 -211.63

Here are just some of the early headlines, which seemed to get worse as the trading session wore on.

IN PLAY: Corn Products reports 2Q07 results; beats by $0.09
DuPont reports flat 2Q earnings
Kimberly-Clark 2Q Profit Beats Outlook
Legg Mason profit climbs 22 percent
Lexmark net profit slips 16 percent
Northrop 2Q profit rises 7%
PepsiCo 2Q Profit Rises 13 Percent

While there were a smattering of positives, they were overwhelmed by more than just a few companies not meeting 2nd quarter estimates.

Declining issues crushed advancers by a 5-1 margin and new lows swamped new highs, 642-162.

Not even bonds, tame, with the 10-year note yielding 4.92%, or oil, down $1.33 to $73.56, could pick up the spirits on Wall Street. The continual unwinding of the sub-prime mortgage blow-up (now spreading into other credit areas) combined with the spate of earnings disappointments led to an all-out rush for the exits.

For those with weak stomachs, stop here, because I'm going to tell you why it's going to get worse the rest of the week.

First, more companies will be releasing earnings reports and some are certain to miss estimates. Investors are in a sour mood already, and they simply don't need any more reasons to sell. Later in the day, US Steel (X) reported a 25% dip in profits from the year ago period. Net income fell to $302 million, or $2.54 per diluted share, for the quarter, from $404 million, or $3.22 per share, during the same period last year. Analysts were looking for earnings of $2.35 per share on $4.05 billion in sales and the stock ended the day up 42 cents at 106.41.

After the close, Amazon (AMZN) booked solid profits. Earnings climbed to $78 million, or 19 cents per share, from $22 million, or 5 cents per share during the same period last year, soundly beating expectations of 16 cents per share.

Eli Lily (LLY) also reported after the close. Excluding charges, adjusted earnings totaled $978.7 million, or 90 cents per share. Analysts had expected 82 cents per share on that basis.

Tomorrow, in addition to the more than 300 companies reporting 2nd quarter earnings, the following report prior to the open:
Colgate-Palmolive (CL), ConocoPhillips (COP), DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Xerox (XRX)

After the close:
Apple (AAPL), Pulte Homes (PHM), Symantec (SYMC), Boeing (BA).

Additionally, Existing Home Sales for June will be out at 10:00 am. On Thursday, New Home Sales figures for June and on Friday, the preliminary 2nd quarter GDP estimate.

With those economic reports on the way, traders may have taken an early hiatus, expecting the worse. It's likely to not be as bad as the worst skeptics suspect, but don't look for a quick turnaround - at least not this week.