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WJR September 2016 Reports

September 30, 2016 Rule number one – if you drive costs lower, you’re likely to drive profits higher. That’s the case with Costco this morning. $1.77 per share of profit beat estimates by four cents. Although personnel costs were higher due to pay raises to their workers, the switch from American Express credit cards to VISA cards lowered costs enough to give rise to the earnings surprise. Costco shares, which have not had a banner year, are about 2 percent higher pre-market. The Deutsche Bank turmoil continues to upset traders around the world. Many remember the failure of Lehman Brothers as the tipping point of the 2008 bear market. However, while history may be rhyming here – it’s not likely to be repeating. There are huge differences in the two situations. Personal Income and Spending numbers are on the way this morning as well as the University of Michigan’s final verdict on the September mood of the...
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WJR August 2016 Reports

August 31, 2016 As we slide into the last few days before Labor Day, trading volume should continue to fade as many traders will give summer an extended goodbye from the beach rather than the office. However, for better or worse, and usually worse, nothing seems to keep Federal Reserve Regional Presidents off the rubber chicken circuit. Neel Kashkari is giving a speech right now, while Charles Evans threatens to disrupt the status quo at 3:30 this afternoon. Two other Fed heads spoke in China last night. One suggested that low rates will be here for a long while. The other suggested it was time to hike rates. Go figure. Bob Evans reported better than expected results. Palo Alto Networks and H&R Block are both out with disappointing reports. The ADP Employment Report, a survey of their 400,000 business clients comes in 5 minutes and is expected to estimate that 175,000 new jobs were born in...
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WJR July 2016 Reports

July 29, 2016 We know that the domestic economy grew at a paltry 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016. The Government’s first guess at the second quarter’s Gross Domestic Product comes at 8:30 this morning. Expect a bit of a pick-up to 2.6 percent. We’ll also hear from the University of Michigan and their final reading on July Consumer Sentiment, which is expected to tick higher to a reading of 90.6 from 89.5. The corporate earnings season is starting to thin out, but there are still a number of numbers to consider this morning. CBS and Newell Brands beat top and bottom line estimates. Drug-maker Merck’s 93 cents in profit was 2 cents ahead. Last night, Amazon and Alphabet trounced the estimated earnings numbers. Alphabet share are looking to open about 4 percent higher. The misses of the morning are insurer Cigna and oil company Exxon Mobil. Cigna checked in with $1.98 missing the $2.39...
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WJR June 2016 Reports

  June 30, 2016  Welcome to the last trading day of the first half of 2016 and quite possibly the next day of the post-Brexit vote rally. Last month, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index actually reflected economic contraction in the Midwest Region for the first month in three. At quarter to ten this morning, the June number is expected to climb back into expansionary territory – but just barely – at a reading of 50.5. Ahead of that we’ll get the weekly Unemployment Claims number, which is expected to tick up to 266,000. The monthly Employment Report from the Labor Department will NOT be available on the first Friday of the month (which is tomorrow) apparently because the Labor Department has granted themselves a long Holiday Weekend. Just kidding about that – kind of. Darden Restaurants beat estimates by a penny and is hiking its dividend by 12 percent. A lot of big banks...
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WJR May 2016 Reports

  May 31, 2016 It’s the last trading day of what is likely to become the fourth consecutive month of gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the third for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ. But before we can put this month in the books, we have a gamut of economic data to run. At 8:30, April Personal Income is expected to have risen by four-tenths of a percent, with personal spending rising seven-tenths. At 9 o’clock, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index likely also rose by seven-tenths of a percent. At 9:45, look for the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index to rise to 50.7 and then at 10 o’clock, the University of Michigan’s final verdict on May Consumer Confidence could rise all the way to a reading of 97.  Medical equipment provider Medtronic beat the $1.26 earnings estimate by a penny per share this morning. You probably haven’t heard of a...
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WJR April 2016 Reports

April 29, 2016 There was a time – in fact it was a LONG time – when it looked like Amazon was built as a company designed to never ever make a profit. Well, those days may be gone, friends. Last night, Amazon reported $1.07 per share of quarterly profit. That was nearly double the 58 cent estimate. Amazon shares are looking to open about 12 percent higher this morning. Facebook shares, which also surprise to the upside this week, is looking to rise a bit more this morning. Yesterday, in a television interview, Carl Icahn, who some regard as an investing icon, disclosed that he had sold all of his Apple shares and warned of an upcoming “day of reckoning” for stocks. Apple shares promptly sold off on the news, and it could be that his comment added fuel to the overall market decline yesterday afternoon.   Just keep in mind that even major religions warn...
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WJR March 2016 Reports

March 31, 2016 It’s the last trading day of what’s been a remarkably good month for stock prices. The S&P 500 Index (not even counting dividends) is almost 7 percent higher for the month and closed yesterday at its high point of 2016. It should be a good morning for shares of MetLife. MetLife went to court, arguing that they’re not really as systemically important to the financial system as the Government had claimed. The judge agreed that they aren’t too big to fail and shouldn’t be subject to so much Government oversight. Expect that a number of other big insurers will be sending their lawyers to court, also hoping to be declared systemically insignificant. Weekly Jobless Claims came in at 276,000 for last week. That’s a bit higher than expected, but perhaps more importantly at 9:45 the March Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is expected to recover to a positive reading above 50 from February’s...
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WJR February 2016 Reports

February 29, 2016 What started as a horrible day for Chinese stocks moderated a bit by the close of trading there, and a post-market cut in the reserve requirement by China’s Central Bank may steady the ship tomorrow. But in the meantime, keep an eye once again on the price of oil. Our futures have improved a good bit from lower levels as West Texas Intermediate has recovered its earlier losses. At 9:45 we’ll hear about the February Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. The January number surged very unexpectedly to a reading of 55.6.  Most expect a much more subdued reading of 52.9 this time around. Anything above 50 indicates economic expansion, and the higher the number the better. By 10:30, we’ll also get the Pending Home Sales Index and the Dallas Fed survey.  One stock on the move this morning is Federal-Mogul. Carl Icahn who effectively owns 82 percent of the company already, has offered...
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WJR January 2016 Reports

Ron will be away due to a death in the family.  He'll be back on Tuesday, February 2nd.January 22, 2016 The logical construct was that better than expected corporate earnings reports would help support higher stock prices. So much for logic. Earnings reports have generally been better than the lowered consensus estimates. However, whether it’s the algorithms that drive high frequency trading machines or the hedge funds or something else, stock prices continue to be driven almost exclusively by monetary policy and the price of oil. Yesterday’s dovish monetary comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi rescued our market from another leg lower. This morning, oil futures are pricing the stuff at more than 31 bucks per barrel. That’s higher by more than 5 percent, and that has the stock futures off on another tear. This morning, shares of Starbucks, American Express and General Electric are all lower, in spite of the uptick in...
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WJR December 2015 Reports

December 2, 2015 - Ron's away at a seminar. See you Thursday! December 1, 2015 The S&P 500 held on to a slim gain for the month of November, even after sliding yesterday on some lousy regional economic data. But, it’s a new day and a new month and we’ll look at a new set of manufacturing industry reports this morning. From those who manufacture automobiles, the November auto sales numbers will be rolling off the line today, and the consensus estimate calls for an annual run rate of over 18 million units. Shortly after the market opens, the PMI Manufacturing Index is expected to dip a bit to a reading of 52.6, which would be a couple of points lower than the October reading. Then at 10 o’clock, the ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to rise a bit, but only to a relatively anemic 50.5. Thor Industries shares are...
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