July 31, 2013
If historical trading patterns hold true, stock prices may fluctuate a bit today, but come in pretty close to unchanged by the 2 o’clock hour. That’s when we’ll hear from lame-duck Bernanke after the Fed concludes its latest two-day chat-fest. All bets are off at that point.
In the meantime, the earnings surge continues and this morning’s announcements are pretty good, overall. Humana reported better than expected profit of $2.63 per share and raised full-year guidance. Humana shares are already higher by more than 30% this year. Comcast, ADT and Garmin all beat estimates. Garmin shares are looking to open about 6 percent higher, even though they warned that sales are getting tougher in the mobile GPS business.
Overnight, we learned that a weaker yen helped Panasonic increase profits eight-fold from a year ago.
At 8:30, the Government’s first guess at second quarter Gross Domestic Product is expected to limp in at 1.1 percent as the overall economy limps along. We’ll also find out if the July Chicago PMI recovers from June’s surprisingly weak 51.6.
It’s one of those funny mornings when the futures look lower on their >July 30, 2013
Another late-day rally almost brought stocks all the way back yesterday. But, what we lost yesterday will likely be back at the open this morning.
A bunch of good earnings reports are helping. Last night, Herbalife, which has been described by some as a giant Ponzi scheme, continues to barrel right along nonetheless, beating estimates by 23 cents. Herbalife stock looks to open nearly 8 percent higher.
If you’re taking medications made by either Pfizer or Merck, I hope you’re feeling a little better than expected. Both Pfizer and Merck reported a penny per share more than expected. Pfizer also announced that it will be splitting the company into three separate divisions.
Coach and Office Depot both matched the estimated operating numbers, but both stocks are looking to open lower this morning.
The Open Market Committee starts another two day meeting today, and at 10 o’clock, we’ll get the July Consumer Confidence results from the Conference Board. Expect a drop to 81 from June’s 81.4.
Overseas markets are mixed, but we’re looking to open a little higher this morning. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 6 points, Dow futures are up 52, and the NASDAQ futures are almost 13 points above fair value.
July 29, 2013
No big economic reports are scheduled for release today. But that’s okay – there’s plenty of other stuff going on.
A number of companies found partners over the weekend. In the pharmacuetical industry, Perrigo is buying Elan for 8.6 billion dollars. Elan is higher by about 7 percent pre-market. Hudson Bay is picking Saks off the bargain rack for 16 dollars per share.
In the big deal of the weekend, two giant advertising firms, Omnicom and Publicis agreed to a 35 billion dollar merger of equals. If approved, this would create an 800 pound gorilla in the advertising world. However, this is a deal that will need approval from regulators in nearly 50 different countries. The good news is that they’ve agreed to name the combined company – are you ready for this? --The Publicis-Omnicom Group. I was afraid that they’d hire some crazy advertising firm to come up with some goofy-sounding 21stcentury type name.
Car rental firm Hertz met estimates this morning on a 31 percent rise in profit. Earnings reports are on the way from Simon Properties, Franklin Resources and Express Scripts.
The Fed’s Open Market Committee starts a two-day meeting tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ll start on the weak side this morning, but not by much.
Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are lower by about 4 points, Dow futures are down 25, and the NASDAQ futures are almost 5 points below fair value.
July 26, 2013
We’re wrapping up a big week of earnings reports with a downward bias this morning. Of course, yesterday we started the same way until the buyers showed up late in the session.
One of technology’s high flyers, Amazon, reported a surprise loss last night and issued downward earnings guidance for the current quarter. The price of Amazon shares is being guided a couple percent lower pre-market.
Starbucks shares should have a good morning. They’re looking to open about six percent higher after a good report. Tyco’s overall profit dropped 45 percent from a year ago, but operating income beat estimates by a few cents per share. Tyco shares have given back just about all of their after-hours gain from last night.
The big winner of the morning may by Activision-Blizzard. The video game maker is looking to open nearly 20 percent after announcing that they’ll be buying back about 6 billion dollars of Vivendi’s investment in the company.
A report this morning says that hedge funds may be on their way to underperforming the S&P 500 for the 5thyear in a row. So, congratulations on paying 2 percent and 20 percent of profits. But it sure makes good conversation at your next cocktail party.
Just before 10 this morning the University of Michigan’s final reading on July Consumer Confidence. Expect little change from the first reading of 84.1.
Overseas markets are mixed, but we’ll start the morning in a bit of a hole once again. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are lower by almost 8 points, Dow futures are down 59, and the NASDAQ futures are about 12 points below fair value.
July 25, 2013
Lots of local news in the mix this morning, and some of it does not include the word “bankrupt.” Dow Chemical earned a penny more than expected last quarter. And on the heels of a great earnings report from Ford yesterday, General Motors told us this morning that they earned 84 cents per share last quarter. Although profit was lower by 24 percent year on year the earnings beat estimates by 9 cents per share and GM looks to open at a 52 week high.
Last night, Google introduce a new tablet, and maybe more importantly in the long run, their TV product. But the big news after the close last night was Facebook’s profit of 19 cents per share. That was a nickel better than expected. More importantly, 41 percent of revenue came from mobile advertising sales (up from 30 %) which is squarely the company’s focus for the future.
Most other earnings reports were better than expected this morning. Expect the June Durable Goods Report to report only a one percent improvement at 8:30, compared with the May increase of 3.7%, as the economy continues to sputter along.
Recently, it seems that every time the current bull market in stocks tires, a little surge of bargain hunters steps in to prop prices up. We seem to be seeing a little of that this morning, although the futures still have a ways to go to dig out of an early hole. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are lower by about 3 points, Dow futures are down 51, but the NASDAQ futures, boosted higher by the Facebook results, are about 16 points above fair value.
July 24, 2013
Today is no slouch in this earnings-laden week. Front and center as far as the locals are concerned is the news from Ford Motor. Operating earnings of 45 cents per share compared with 26 cents from the year ago quarter. The 45 cents is 8 cents better than expected. Ford reaffirmed full-year guidance, expecting 10 percent margins for the remainder of the year. Ford shares are more than 3 percent higher pre-market.
Boeing beat estimates and raised guidance. Last night Apple reported profits that were 22 percent lower than last year, but higher than analysts expected. Strong iphone sales saved the day and Apple shares are looking 4 to 5 percent higher pre-market.
Last week Coca-Cola blamed the weather for lousy results. Well evidently, people can drink Pepsi come rain or shine. Pepsico reported $1.24 in profit ex-items, which was 7 cents above estimates. AT&T missed by a penny. Caterpillar is in with the big miss of the morning, earnings $1.45, which is a 25 cent miss.
A gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity slumped to an eleven month low overnight. We’ll get the June New Home Sales report at 10 o’clock, and let’s hope it’s better than Monday’s existing home sales report.
Nevertheless, the earnings news will have stock prices on the rise at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 7 points, Dow futures are up 43, and the NASDAQ futures, boosted higher by the Apple report, are about 32 points above fair value.
July 23, 2013
Nothing much on the economic docket today, and that’s just fine, because earnings reports are running in high gear.
We’ll have to wait for Apple’s quarterly earnings report until after 4 o’clock this afternoon, but in the meantime, there are plenty of numbers to examine.
Last night, Netflix reported better than expected earnings on a 20 percent rise in revenue. However, when your stock nearly triples in just seven months, good reports are sometimes not good enough. Netflix shares are looking 2 to 3 percent lower pre-market.
Travelers posted the most impressive profit report of the morning so far. Dupont, United Technologies, and Lockheed Martin all beat estimates. Lockheed also raised their earnings guidance. United Parcel matched the $1.13 cent target.
Outside of Ireland and Switzerland, all overseas markets are seeing higher stock prices today, and we should get off to a good start as well. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 3 points, Dow futures are up 53, and the NASDAQ futures are about 5½ points above fair value.
July 22, 2013
Just about one-third of the companies included in the S&P 500 Index will be reporting earnings this week. This morning, Halliburton kicked the week off by reporting 73 cents of operating profits. That was lower than the year-ago profit of 79 cents, but was a penny per share better than analysts expected. Halliburton shares are higher by a couple percent pre-market.
McDonald’s is out with a rare miss. McDonald’s earned $1.38 last quarter, that was two cents short, as same store sales were up only one percent, which was also less than expected. McDonald’s shares are about 2 percent lower pre-market.
And there is apparent trouble in toy-land. Last week, Mattel turned in a lousy report. This morning, Hasbro reported 29 cents per share, which was a nickel short of estimates.
At 10 o’clock, expect that June Existing Home Sales perked up to a 5.26 million annualized pace. And don’t look now, but gold prices have moved back above the $1,300 level, up 24 bucks this morning alone.
Our futures weakened quite a bit after that report from McDonald’s about 15 minutes ago, but we’re still looking for very slightly higher prices at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 2 points, Dow futures are up only 6, but the NASDAQ futures are about 4 points above fair value.July 19, 2013
We’re ending the week with a mixed bag of earnings reports, and we got off on the wrong foot last night with twin misses form Google and Microsoft. Google expanded their mobile revenue, but those margins are on the skinny side. As a result, although revenues rose, profit missed the mark and Google shares are looking to shed about 3 percent at the open.
Those results, however, look terrific compared to what happened at Microsoft. We all know that PC sales are in a slow death spiral, and so does Microsoft. That’s why they’re trying to become a services and devices provider. Well, when your big device is the Sur>
General Electric beat estimates by a penny. Also out with better than expected numbers were Schlumberger, Whirlpool and Honeywell.
China announced some bank reforms with the past hour, which boosted the futures a bit, but they need a bigger boost than that to look good.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down almost 4 points, Dow futures are down 24, but the NASDAQ futures, reflecting the bad news from Google and Microsoft, are about 25 points below fair value.
July 18, 2013
Busy, busy, busy today as traders have lots of earnings, lots of economic reports and another day of Mr. Bernanke goes to Washington.
On the earnings front, last night IBM beat the earnings estimate and raised guidance for the year, with revenue that was just a slight bit lower than expected. Ebay, on the famous other hand, had earnings in line with expectations, but guided lower. Ebay shares are looking to open about 7 percent lower this morning.
Philip Morris is the other miss of the morning, earning $1.30, 11 cents lower than expected. Among the many companies reporting higher than expected earnings were Morgan Stanley, United Health, Blackrock and Verizon.
At 8:30, the weekly jobless claims are expected to improve to the 344,000 level. Then at 10 o’clock, the Philadelphia Fed Survey is expected to decline from last month’s surprisingly strong 12.5 to a reading around 9 and the Leading Economic Indicators are expected to show slight improvement to read a positive 0.3 percent.
China and Korea were lower overnight, but most other foreign markets are higher.
We’re looking toward a pretty quiet open for the major indexes. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by a point, Dow futures are up 36, mainly on strength in IBM, but the NASDAQ futures, reflecting the downtick in eBay, are about 3 points below fair value.
July 17, 2013
Ben Bernanke climbs Capitol Hill one more time this week. Today it’s a little chit-chat with the House Financial Services Committee. Mr. Bernanke’s prepared comments will be released to the media at 8:30 this morning. That, of course, is before the market opens, supposedly heading off any kind of computer-driven volatility sparked by every word he might utter after 10 o’clock.
In the meantime, the earnings reports continue to flow. And so far, so good. Last night, railroader CSX reported 52 cents, which was a nickel ahead of estimates. Yahoo’s profit was higher by 46 percent at 35 cents per share. That beat estimates by a nickel. However, revenue missed on a decline in display advertising. This morning, Bank of America came in 7 cents ahead, reporting 32 cents per share.
The miss of the morning is toy-marker Mattel. 21 cents of earnings was 11 cents below estimates. Mattel blamed a focus on “strategic investments” for the shortfall, which somehow must prevent people from buying toys. I don’t get it, but at least they didn’t blame the weather.
China was lower overnight, but most other markets overseas are a little higher. Once again this morning, our futures have hit the snooze button repeatedly. In front of the release of Mr. Bernanke’s comments at 8:30, the S&P, Dow and NASDAQ futures are all within a few points of fair value.
July 16, 2013
Starting tomorrow, Ben Bernanke will be subjected to another (and probably his last) two-day stint as Congressional baby-sitter. However, as he rests up for one more test of his patience, earnings reports go front and center today.
So far, it’s two good reports, and one not-so-much this morning. Johnson & Johnson reported earnings of $1.48 per share last quarter, which was 9 cents better than expected. Revenues also beat estimates and J&J guided slightly higher for the full year.
Goldman Sachs with the big beat of the morning so far. $3.70 per share was a full 88 cents better than expected, on very strong revenue.
The miss of the morning, and the one that has been pulling the Dow futures lower is Coca-Cola. Blaming the weather (because I guess that people don’t drink soft drinks in the rain) Coke reported 63 cents of operating profit. That met estimates, but revenue missed and Coca-Cola shares are almost 3 percent lower pre-market.
June Consumer Inflation is expected to be reported at a three-tenths of a percent increase at 8:30. Asian markets were mixed but mostly higher overnight. Europe is mixed, but mostly lower. Our futures are doing a whole lot of nothing so far.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P, Dow futures and NASDAQ futures are within a couple of points of fair value.
July 15, 2013
Last week was the second best week of the year for stock prices. This week, the focus turns in large part to earnings reports. Citigroup just reported in about 15 minutes ago and reported $1.25 in operating earnings. That was 8 cents better than expected. Revenue of 20 billion dollars was about 300 million higher than expected and Citi stock is looking to open about one percent higher.
The winner of the morning will no doubt be shares of Leap Wireless. AT&T will reportedly pick up additional and valuable spectrum by buying Leap Wireless for 15 dollars per share. That’s an 88 percent premium to Friday’s closing price. Traders are bidding the stock up even higher this morning. The last price I saw was about $17.44 per share. That’s about a 118 percent premium to last Friday’s close.
At 8:30, June Retail Sales are expected to have increased by eight-tenths of a percent, following a seven-tenths of a percent increase in May.
GDP in China reportedly rose 7½ percent last quarter. That was a little slower than the first quarter, but in line with estimates.
Most overseas markets are a little higher. Our futures have been hovering at slightly lower levels all morning, but have been drifting back toward no change. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are lower by about a point, the Dow futures are up 5, but the NASDAQ futures are more than 5 points below fair value.
A couple of big banks are out with earnings this morning. JP Morgan Chase reported $1.60 in quarterly profit. That was 16 cents better than expected on its >
Wells Fargo reported 93 cents, of operating earnings, in line with estimates.
By the way, a bill is being introduced in the Senate today which would bring back the Glass-Steagall Rule, which was (many would say unfortunately) abolished in the late 1990’s. The change would break up the big bank conglomerates and will be an interesting bill to keep an eye on.
Although no one seems concerned about inflation nowadays, at 8:30 the June Producer Price Index which is expected to rise a half-percent. And just before 10 o’clock, we’ll get the University of Michigan’s first look at July Consumer Sentiment. And this time, Reuters promises not to leak the information early to the highest bidder.
Stocks in China puller back overnight after a massive rally on Thursday, but most other overseas markets are following on to our rally of yesterday. We may be starting another rally today, but so far it’s a really, really small one.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by a little less than a point, the Dow futures are up 12, and the NASDAQ futures are nearly 5 points above fair value.
There were no big surprises in the meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee yesterday. Then, just after the market closed, Ben Bernanke went out of his way to assure everyone that the Fed is in no hurry to raise interest rates. In fact, he even left the door open to NOT raising interest rates when the Unemployment Rate declines to 6½ percent. That, of course, assumes that someday the unemployment rate WILL decline to 6½ percent. No matter, traders are excited that the end of the free-money world is not right around the corner, and we’ll have a rally on our hands at 9:30.
Speaking of unemployment, the weekly Jobless Claims number is expected to check in at 337,000, which would be a slight improvement from last week.
Yum Brands is apparently recovering from a case of the bird flu in Asia. Although profits were lower than last year, Yum reported 56 cents per share of operating profit. That was 2 cents better than expected. Costco’s June sales were higher by 6 percent, which was better than expected, due to rising gas prices and more visits by Paul w. Smith.
There’s a big reorganization announcement expected at Microsoft today. And there’s a rather significant global stock rally in progress. Chinese stocks rose 4 percent. Europe is higher by one percent or so. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by almost 19 points, the Dow futures are up 157, and the NASDAQ futures are about 31 points above fair value.
July 10, 2013
Some bad economic news out of China is giving traders some pause this morning. Chinese imports fell seven-tenths of a percent in June, but Chinese exports fared even worse, falling more than 3 percent. However, we’ve seen bad news interpreted as good news – and that can be true overseas as well. Stocks in China actually rose almost 3 percent overnight, on the belief that economic weakness might lead the Chinese Government into a more stimulative economic policy.
The price of oil does not appear to need any more stimulation. This morning light sweet crude broke over $105 per barrel, which is a price we haven’t seen in well over a year. And speaking of 105, Family Dollar reported $1.05 in quarterly operating earnings this morning, which was 2 cents better than expected.
Mortgage rates rose last week for the ninth straight week and the rate on the 30 year mortgage is now higher than it’s been in two years. Mortgage applications were, not surprisingly down 4 percent last week.
The big event of the trading day will be the release of the latest meeting minutes of the Fed’s Open Market Committee. That comes at 2 o’clock, and could change the direction of stock and bond prices quite a bit. Mr. Bernanke will give a speech that begins just after open market trading closes at 4 o’clock.
In front of that, there’s not a whole lot of shakin’ going on At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down 2 points, the Dow futures are down 4, and the NASDAQ futures are about 3½ points below fair value.
July 9, 2013
Earnings season kicked off last night with Alcoa reporting a GAAP loss, but an operating profit of 7 cents per share. That beat estimates by a penny. Revenue fell in line with expectations and Alcoa reaffirmed guidance. Alcoa shares are looking to open between 1 and 2 percent higher.
WD-40 beat earnings estimates handily, earnings 66 cents versus the 56 cent estimate. WD-40 shares are nearly 15% higher pre-market.
The loser of the pre-market appears to be Intuitive Surgical. After losing almost 4 percent of its value yesterday, Intuitive Surgical looks to open another 15 percent lower this morning. They warned that hospitals have pulled back on purchases which will hit current and future earnings.
Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of IBM this morning, and auto-maker Tesla will join the NASDAQ 100 Index on July 15th, replacing Oracle, which is going over to the New York Stock Exchange.
Barnes & Noble shares are looking 2 percent lower on the resignation of their CEO, who is looking for another “nook,” and hopefully a more profitable one.
Most overseas markets are higher, led by Japan’s 2½ percent increase and we should again look at higher prices at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by 7 points, the Dow futures are up 48, and the NASDAQ futures are about 9½ points above fair value.
July 8, 2013
As we all know, stock prices are one part supply and demand, one part interest rates and one part earnings. That earnings part comes into focus later today as the second quarter earnings reporting season begins. As usual, Alcoa will lead the parade. Expect operating earnings for the quarter of six cents per share, which would be on a par with quarterly earnings of a year ago.
Almost forgotten in all the hub-bub over whether the Federal Reserve will taper their monetary stimulus program is the Greek debt crisis. You may remember that a couple of years ago, the financial world was shaken with the prospect of a Greek default. Well, the Greek restructuring plan has been lagging behind the schedule that their lenders would like to see, and there was word that without some improvement, the plug might get pulled on financial aid to Greece. Well, fear not, word is that the Greeks have agreed to do enough to keep the band aid in place, at least subject to approval by their Parliament.
The May Consumer Credit report comes at 3 o’clock, but that’s about it for economic reports for the day.
Chinese stocks were lower by 3 percent overnight, leading Asia lower. But Europe is mostly higher. The Dow futures were higher by more than a hundred points earlier this morning. Although the futures are off their highs, we’re still looking for a pretty good pop at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by 10 points, the Dow futures are up 87, and the NASDAQ futures are about 18 points above fair value.
July 5, 2013
It’s been rumored that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Economic policy, however, appears to rise in Washington and drift over to Europe after a year or two. Yesterday, the heads of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank each assured the markets that interest rates will be held very, very low for a very, very long time. Shades of Ben Bernanke of a couple of years ago, don’t you think? Anyway, that set off figurative fireworks in the European markets that matched any of the real fireworks we watched stateside yesterday. Our futures are playing a little catch up with that rally this morning.
At 8:30, the Monthly Employment Report comes from the Labor Department, Expect that the Unemployment Rate sticks at 7.6 percent and the 165,000 new non-farm jobs came into being in June.
Samsung reported earnings yesterday that were nearly 50% higher than a year ago, boosted by sales of the Galaxy S4 handset. However, those sales were a little less than analysts had expected. Because of that, and fears that the U.S. smartphone market may be approaching the saturation point, Samsung shares fell about 4 percent in overseas trading.
Overseas markets are mixed, but mostly higher this morning. Our trading volume will be light, but at the open there should be more up volume than down. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 13 points, the Dow futures are up 129, and the NASDAQ futures are about 23 points above fair value.
July 2, 2013
As the day rolls on, we’ll find out just how many cars rolled out of showrooms in May. For sales are expected to be about 11 percent higher, Chrysler up around 8 percent and General Motors up about one percent.
Constellation Brands is out with quarterly earnings of 38 cents. That was two cents short of expectations on sales that came in slightly higher than expected. Constellation Brands shares dipped earlier, but are now down only about a quarter of one percent.
Yesterday morning’s star, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, is still shining this morning. After rejecting Amgen’s buyout offer yesterday, word is that Pfizer and maybe other major drug makers are preparing to bid for the company. Onyx rose 51 percent yesterday, and is more than one percent higher pre-market today.
The May Factory Orders report at 10 is our only economic market this morning. Expect an increase of 2 percent, which would be an improvement from the April increase of 1.1 percent.
Japanese shares were substantially higher again overnight, as were shares in Australia. Chinese stocks rose fractionally, but that’s about it for green arrows in major overseas markets. Our futures started the morning higher, but have been losing steam quickly over the past half hour.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are now lower by a half-point, the Dow futures are down 4, but the NASDAQ futures are a little more than 2 points above fair value.
July 1, 2013
It’s a new month and a new quarter for the stock market. It should get off to a slow start volume-wise, in that we’ll have an early close on Wednesday, and off-day on Thursday and a might-as-well-be off-day on Friday. Nonetheless, it looks like we’ll get off to a positive start.
Onyx Pharmaceutical shares got a big shot in the arm this morning. Amgen offered $120 per share for Onyx, but Onyx refused the offer, saying that it was too low. That, in spite of the Friday closing price of less than 87 dollars. As traders anticipate a higher bid, Onyx shares are higher by more than 50% pre-market, at 131 dollars per share.
The ISM Manufacturing Survey at 10 o’clock is expected to reflect slight improvement from the May reading of 49. Anything under 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing activity. Also at 10 o’clock, look for May Construction spending to have risen six-tenths of one percent.
Overseas markets are mixed, but mostly higher. Japan was up more than one percent after a positive Tankan manufacturing sentiment survey. Our futures are just about in the middle of the range of this morning’s values but have been improving over the past fifteen minutes. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by 8 points, the Dow futures are up 81, and the NASDAQ futures are more than 22 points above fair value.
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