Asia was higher
overnight with Hong Kong and Japan both up strongly and Europe
is also higher. Oil in NYC is up at $70.50 and Gold is also up at $634.
Jobless claims were up 2000 at
318,000 for the latest week and among economic numbers Personal Income for July was up 0.5% while Personal Spending was up
0.8%. The consumer lives. The PCE
Deflator (inflation) was 0.3% for July and the core rate was 0.1%. The year over year rate was 2.4%. Treasuries
are firm on the news.
Crude oil has turned negative in
the first hour of trading and is back below $70. Weak economic data overnight
from Japan is
also helping Treasuries which are strong with the two-year at 4.80%.
Factory Orders were down 0.6% in July. The Chicago Purchasing Mangers Index was 57.1.
We repurchased UPS and TLAB in our very large accounts.
It is slow our there kids and
trading will be even slower tomorrow.
Oil ended in NYC at $70.26 and Gold
was $632. Treasuries closed up in price
with the two-year at 4.78% and the ten-year at 4.69%.
The DJIA was unchanged at 11383
as was the S&P 500 at 1304
and the NAZZ was down 2 points to 2182.
Breadth was positive and volume
There were 265 new highs and 50 new
And tomorrow brings the Employment Report at and then a slow day of trading.
The casino will be open but short
staffed as folks head to the other casinos for the week-end.
30 August 2006 Daily Comment
Preliminary GDP was announced at
2.9%. That has placed a bid in Treasuries as the markets open.
Overnight Hong Kong
was up over 1% and the rest of Asian markets were mixed. European bourses are
fractionally higher at . Gold is
up a bit at $622 and Oil is also up at $69.96.
The WSJ has an interesting
article this morning on DellComputer and its failure to capture a
large share of the consumer market. Usually when the WSJ reports on a failure
to execute at a large dynamic company, the company executives are hard at work
on the problem. The story does make a good point and our guess is that Dell
will address it. The story has a bit of the Oh
Lord, what could they be thinking quality to it. We remember when the WSJ buried IBM back in the 1990s as
incapable of competing. They did the same
job on Apple. Kicking a stock when it is down is good fun and shareholders
are already upset so it makes for good buying opportunities. In fact the WSJ
did a good job kicking Hewlett Packard
a few years ago and now they are using
Hewlett Packard as the standard for Dell to match.
The interesting paragraphs that make
the point of the article are:
years, Dell -- famous for selling products directly over the phone and the Internet
-- was a dynamo thanks to bulk sales to corporations, mostly of desktop
computers. Its direct-sales business model made the Round Rock, Texas, company a widely admired paragon of
efficiency as it underpriced rivals such as H-P and
in the past few years, buying behavior in the PC world has changed. Much of the
growth has come from consumer demand rather than the business market on which
Dell focused. What's more, people looking for a new home computer are
increasingly turning to laptops. There Dell is particularly weak: Its models
lack the pizzazz and features of rivals. For laptops especially, consumers
prefer to hold and test models in a store, but Dells aren't sold there.
According to NPD Group, 56% of laptops sold to consumers in the first quarter
of this year were bought in a store, up from 50% two years ago.
has largely ignored the consumer boom although it says it still considers
consumers an important market. For a while it had part-time workers with an
annual turnover rate of 300% taking calls from customers who wanted to buy a
PC. The company has poured money into corporate products such as printers,
storage systems and computer servers. It nixed some overtures from retailers to
sell its wares in stores. At a conference in 2004, Dell Chief Executive Kevin
Rollins declared, "We have never focused on the consumer as a
the same time, rivals such as H-P, Gateway and Apple
Computer Inc., have charged ahead in the consumer PC market. In particular,
H-P cut costs to become competitive with Dell, began
working more closely with retailers and redoubled its marketing efforts. As
Dell cut prices, H-P invested in consumer-friendly features in its notebooks.
H-P computers, using a laser, can write a label on a specially coated music CD
with artist and title so users don't have to use a marker. And people can watch
movies on H-P laptops without booting up the computer, a feature that Dell now
From Reuters: Costco warned of lower-than-expected quarterly profit because of
disappointing gross margins and a tax reserve, sending its shares down nearly 5
percent. The warning from the largest U.S. warehouse club operator took analysts by surprise
because Costco's sales growth has been among the strongest in the retail
sector. Costco also reported a stronger-than-expected 7 percent gain in its
August sales at stores open at least a year on Wednesday. "This could be
an early sign that the higher-income consumer is finally starting to feel a bit
of a pinch," said Anthony Chukumba, an analyst with Morningstar. Those higher-income shoppers have proved
resilient in the face of steep energy prices over the past year, but as the housing
market slows, Wall Street has been worried that upscale retailers would start
to suffer. Chukumba noted that house wares retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. WSM,
which also caters to wealthier shoppers, cut its profit forecast last week.
Among the 8,778 FDIC-insured
institutions there are $859 billion in commercial real estate loans up 9.7%
year over year at the end of Q2 2006. Another category is commercial and
industrial loans, and they stand at $1.164 trillion, up 11.8%.
Crude Oil inventories were up when down was expected and Oil is
tanking on the news at $69.10.
$14 billion of new five-year
Treasury notes were sold at a high yield of 4.738 percent, below the
when-issued note's yield just before the sale. The bid-to-cover ratio, an
indication of overall demand, was 3.11 times the amount offered, well above the
average of 2.11 for these auctions this year to date.
Gold in NYC ended unchanged at $626 and Oil rallied back to close at $70.03. Treasuries were firm with the two-year at 4.82% and the ten-year at
The DJIA finished up 13 points at 11382. The S&P 500 was unchanged at 1304 and the NAZZ rose 14 points to 2185.
Breadth was 3/2 positive on the NYSE and 2/1 positive on the NAZZ
and volume was end of summer light.
New highs expanded to 330and new
lows contracted to 59.
And there are two more casino
days of summer left.
29 August 2006 Daily Comment
Asia was fractionally
higher overnight as are European bourses at .
Oil is under $70 and the hurricane is now a tropical storm and BP is producing
200,000 barrels a day at Prudhoe Bay. Gold is up a bit
at $625. Treasuries are weaker ahead of the FOMC minutes to be released at .
The median U.S.
family has about $3,800.00 in the bank, does not have a retirement account, and
has a home worth $160,000.00 with a mortgage of $95,000.00 (excluding MEW). No mutual
funds or stocks/bonds. They jointly make $43,000.00 and have $2,200.00 in
credit card debt.
The Conference Board’s Consumer
Confidence Index was 99.6 this month versus 107 last month.
The major measures have pulled back this morning and with
the pullback we are going to add or increase five stocks to our accounts. We
are buying J Crew at $25.20, Schering Plough at $20.65, Home Depot at $33.85, Dell Computer at $22.08, National City at $34.80
and Time Warner at $16.61.
Time Warner has most of the bad news out (we’ve said that before) and
is making a large push and receiving some nice reviews for expanding its
cable/phone/computer hook-up triple play package. Eventually these folks are going
to figure it out and we have been in and out of the shares for the past few
years while we have waited the turn around. We are back in in a small way again
with room to add.
Dell is on its low and has stabilized around this level for the past
few weeks. Again we have not taken a big position and as with all our stocks we have a lot of room to add.
Schering Plough has been lagging the up move in most of the drug
stocks and we are trying to catch a move higher with the idea that we can add
some at lower prices. Today they settled litigation that had been overhanging
the stock for some time and we think that is a big plus for price movement.
Schering-Plough said on Tuesday it will pay $435 million and plead
guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the government to
settle an investigation into its sales, marketing and clinical trial practices
and programs. Under the agreement, the U.S.
drug maker said it will pay a criminal fine of $180 million and an additional
$255 million to resolve civil aspects of the probe, which was being conducted
by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the
District of Massachusetts. The company's previously disclosed litigation
reserves will be sufficient to cover the settlement amount. The company said in
a news release that the issues being
resolved by the settlement predated the current management team.
With that issue settled now Merck can acquire them (Our guess
Home Depot is within a dollar of its yearly low. Its last quarterly
report had some good news in it and it is a big cap suffering because of the
housing miasma and its own missteps. But recent analysts’ comments have been
more positive and it’s a comfortable name to own and be able to add to.
National City Corp, the Cleveland based bank holding company, has
dropped several dollars in the last week on negativeindustry mortgage reports but with its yield
of 4.5% the stock is at a good level for a run to $37 into quarter or year end.
In our very large accounts we
initiated a small dollars position in Urban
Outfitters, the non trendy/trendy woman’s clothing and accessories retailer.
We have owned the stock over the years but missed the run up last year. The shares
price has fallen over 50% in the last 6 months on a fashion miss and we think URBN
is interesting at this level.
We are also beginning to acquire
shares in J Crew (JCG) which is run
by Mickey Drexel who made a ton of money for us in The Gap in the 1980s. With 55,000,000
shares outstanding but only 10 million in the float when the stock gets hot it
is going to sail. JCG is selling at 1.3 times sales. On the initial offering several months ago the
stock ran to $30 and now has settled back to the $25 level where it first
traded after coming public at $20. JCG’s
store base (200 stores), like URBN’s (175 stores), is relatively small and so
offers the opportunity to expand and grow sales and earnings. That is exactly
what Drexler did at The Gap. The shares are thinly traded and so we will be
Two year Treasury notes were auctioned at a 4.92% yield. Indirect
bidding was small.
Fed minutes said pause was
temporary and not permanent. They were still worried about inflation but voted
to pause for now. Members thought there was limited risk in deferring.
Gold closed at $619 and Oil
ended at $69.71 in NYC. Treasuriesrallied to positive after the Fed
minutes with the two-year at 4.87% and the ten-year at 4.78%. *****
The DJIA closed up 20 points at 11372. The S&P 500 gained 3 points to 1304 and the NAZZ rose 12 points to 2172.
Breadth was positive and volume
was last week of August light.
New highs were 225 and new
lows are 90.
The next big economic number is
Friday when the August Employment report is issued.
The casino will be open for the
next three days although many of the payers are at the beach. Maybe the
hurricane will force them inside.
28 August 2006 Daily Comment
is closed today. Japan,
Shanghai and Taiwan
were all down over 1% overnight and Hong Kong was fractionally
lower. European bourses are fractionally mixed at
and Gold is up pennies to $631 while Oil is lower at $71.10. The hurricane
Ernesto has weakened to a tropical storm and its path is towards Florida
and no production facilities in the Gulf.
This week promises to be light on
volume or at least on traders present, and we will be in and out as we try and
catch a few moments of vacation in the last week of summer.
On Friday we had a click throughto a New Yorker article about Dependency
ratios and their effect on pensions and health care costs for corporations. The
following actions are the first step by a major corporation to address that
problem since the new Pension bill was enacted. Others will follow suit. The
actions will help corporate profit statements. What the loss of pensions will
mean to future retirees and to the economy twenty years down the road is
Co. on Monday said it will
sharply cut its pension plan for U.S. employees, reducing the amount it will
contribute to workers' pensions after 2007 by two-thirds. The company said it
will enhance its savings and investment plan for employees, making a
contribution of 3 percent of each employee's pay beginning in January 2008 and
matching the first 6 percent of employees who contribute to the plan.
DuPont is among the
first major U.S. companies to cut pensions after President George W. Bush signed into
law new rules meant to overhaul the country's pension system earlier this
month. The move also follows an August ruling by a U.S.
court that found that IBM did not discriminate against older workers
when it shifted to a new pension plan. DuPont said its defined benefit pension
program for current
employees will continue, but after 2007 the pension calculation will be
reduced to one-third of its current level. It said that beginning in 2007, new
hires will not be eligible to
participate in the pension and retirement plan and will not receive a
company subsidy for retiree health care or retiree life insurance. The changes
do not affect DuPont's current U.S. retirees, former employees with vested
benefits or current employees who retire before Jan. 1, 2008, the company said. (We would venture that
the changes won’t hurt high echelon executives either who have their own
baskets of goodies and options to tide them over their difficult retirement
Oil in NYC is at $70.90 down over
$2 on news that Ernesto is now a tropical storm. The price drop in oil an
report that gasoline prices are down about 15 pennies a gallon around the
country have give a bit of a bid to stocks. At
the major measures are up about one half percent but trading is thin.
Freidman Billings upped Intel to outperform. Raymond James upped Williams Sonomato strong
Treasuries that we hold in accounts now have $854 in accrued interest per $100,000 par value. The accrued
interest is not included in the value of accounts on month end statements.
The 5% Treasuries
have $416. That will not show on
month end statements *****
Commodities are lower at led down by natural gas (-10%) and Oil
(-2%). The drop in commodities is helping stocks as the S&P 500 trades
though 1300 on the upside and breadths is almost 2/1 positive. Volume is light.
Wal-Mart is higher as the company
reported that same store sales for August are going to be up 2.7% which is near
the high end of the up 1% to up 3% range WMT had given at the beginning of the
month. A year ago up 2.7% would have been a downer. It is called managing
Home equity loans
fell $700 million in the latest week to about $430 billion. That is the lowest
level since May 2005 and $13 billion below the high mark of outstanding loans
made one year ago.
And a year ago
home equity loans were up $100 billion on a year over year basis versus August
The drop in home equity
loans is important because is suggests that at least a good chunk of money that
was being borrowed though this type of loan is no longer being borrowed and
spent. The interest rates charged on home equity loans have jumped substantially
and folks may be refinancing if they have large home equity loans. But most
probably a good number of folks are just not borrowing to spend any more. And that
news is bad news for the economy but good news for economic sanity.
32.6% of new mortgages and home-equity loans in 2005 were
interest only, up from 0.6% in 2000. 43% of first-time home buyers in 2005 put
no money down. 15.2% of 2005 buyers owe at least 10% more than their home is
worth. 10% of all home owners with mortgages have no equity in their homes.$2.7 trillion dollars in loans will adjust to
higher rates in 2006 and 2007. *****
Minutes from the
FOMC meeting when the Fed paused two weeks ago will be released at tomorrow.
Oil closed $2 lower in NYC at $70.50.Gold was also lower at $624. Treasuries were lighter with the
two-year at 4.88% and the ten-year at 4.80%.
The DJIA closed up 70 points at 11353.
The S&P 500 gained 7 points to
close at 1302 and the NAZZ tacked on 20
points to 2160.
Breadth was positive all day and closed
2/1 to the good. Volume was light.
New highs were 200 and new lows were 85.
And there are
four more casino days until the end of summer for the big boys and girls.
25 August 2006 Daily Comment
mixed overnight and so is Europe. Oil is up to $73.50 on
storms and the BP Prudhoe Bay new emergency cutoff of 90,000 barrels of oil. We
guess the oil companies couldn’t stand the $3 drop in the price of oil.
Treasuries are flat ahead of Chairman
Ben speaking at Jackson HoleWyoming
this morning at .
Former Treasury Secretary Rubin
who is Vice-Chairman of Citigroup resigned as a Director of Ford because of a
potential conflict of interest. Since there was no conflict until yesterday
when rumors of a family buyout began circulating the resignation has added fuel
to the rumor mill. Citigroup could also be advising on the buyout of the luxury
car group which Ford want to unload.
Prudential lowered hard goods retailers and so Williams Sonoma is
under pressure again today. Our next buy
point is around $26.
The stocks we are now buying are stocks we pan on holding until next
year and adding to if they go lower. Of course we may trade around a position
in the mean time if the opportunity presents.
We added DuPont, Dell (which has
had time to settle after last weeks stuff), Lowes, Home Depot and Intel to our very large accounts in relatively
small amounts to get our feet wet. We had traded out of the Intel in the
largest accounts and want to own it as we do and have on our smaller accounts.
The hurricane play is the only
play today as natural gas and oil are jumping in price on hopes that Ernesto
will disrupt production in the Gulf. What a great business. Buy tobacco stocks
that kill folks, and hope for hurricanes to destroy rigs and cities.
Uncle Ben didn’t say anything
about interest rates. He is learning.
We sold our TLAB trading position for a scalping profit. It has
popped up the last two Fridays and then sold off early in the next week. We are
playing that card since we haven’t heard dandy takeover rumors although a
takeover wouldn’t surprise us. It would disappoint us if it occurred this
week-end for obvious reasons.
Citigroup cut its 2006 earnings
estimates for Chico's to $1.12 a share from $1.21 and 2007
earnings estimates to $1.32 a share from $1.55 earlier.The brokerage said it was maintaining its
"buy" rating on the stock based on improving products at the women's
apparel retailer. C also dropped its price target from $39 to $33. That is a
fine price for us.
We read this
article http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060828fa_factfrom the current New Yorker issue
after we had repurchased Ford. The article made sense to us and we decided we
didn’t want to trade Ford anymore. F is higher today on all sorts of rumors
which may be true or not but we are going to use the jump in the price to exit
and not look back. *****
Oilgave back some of its
early gains but closed higher in NYC at $72.51. Goldwas higher going
out at $630. Treasuries closed better
on the theory that no news from Uncle Ben
is good news. The two-year closed at 4.86% and the ten-year at 4.78%.
The DJIA closed down 20 points at 11285. The S&P 500 was unchanged at 1295 and the NAZZ was up 4 points at 2140.
Breadth was 5/4 to the good and volume was light.
New highs were 120 and new
lows were 90.
The casino is closed for the
The following is
an interlude from market talk.
Beloit, Wis. - A rite of autumn is under way with the
arrival of first-year students at thousands of colleges and universities for
registration. Most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall
were born in 1988. They grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen
as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the internet as they learned
to read. While they were still in their cribs, the 20th century started to
close as the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet bloc disintegrated, and frequent
traditional wars in Latin America gave way to the uncontrolled terrors of the
Each August since 1998, as faculty prepare for the academic year, Beloit
College in Wisconsin has released the Beloit College Mindset List. A creation
of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs
Director Ron Nief, it looks at the cultural
touchstones that have shaped the lives of today’s first-year students.
According to McBride, this year’s entering students form “a generation that has
always been ‘connected’ and is used to things happening in ‘real time,’ like
live satellite coverage of revolutions and wars, instant messaging and movies
on demand. They expect solutions for every problem, from baldness to diseased
organs. To the chagrin of teachers and parents, they’ve developed their own
generational means of communication.”
The Beloit College Mindset List is used by educators and clergy and by the
military and business in their efforts to connect with the new generation.
Beloit creates the list to share with its faculty in anticipation of the
first-year seminars and orientation. “It is an important reminder to faculty,
some of whom are only a Ph.D. older than their students, that what we call
‘hardening of the references’ can set in quickly,” according to Nief. "It is meant to be thought-provoking and fun,
yet accurate. It often provides the base for good opening seminar discussions
as faculty and students address the challenges of examining important issues
from differing perspectives."
BELOIT COLLEGE'S MINDSET LIST®
FOR THE CLASS OF 2010
Members of the class of 2010, entering college this fall, were mostly born in
1988. For them: Billy Carter, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner,
Billy Martin, Andy Gibb, and Secretariat have always been dead.
The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
They have known only two presidents.
For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
They have grown up getting lost in "big boxes."
There has always been only one Germany.
They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
They are wireless, yet always connected.
A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
"Google" has always been a verb.
Text messaging is their email.
Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach.
Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
Boogers candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
There has never been a "skyhook" in the NBA.
Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.
They grew up in mini-vans.
Reality shows have always been on television.
They have no idea why we needed to ask "...can we all get along?"
They have always known that "In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups."
Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
"So" as in " Sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else
Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
They are not aware that "flock of seagulls hair" has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
They have always been searching for "Waldo."
The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
There have always been live organ donors.
They have always had access to their own credit cards.
They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."
Sara Lee has always made underwear.
Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
"Outing" has always been a threat.
Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
They have always " dissed " what they don't like.
The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
24 August 2006 Daily Comment
We need to correct an assertion
we made a few days ago that Mohammed went to heaven on August 22. The actual
facts are that:
22, they calculated, was the anniversary of the date in the year 620 when,
according to the Koran, the Prophet Mohammed made his famous night journey from
the Kaaba in Mecca to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and back. In fact, on Islam's lunar calendar, the
anniversary actually fell on Aug. 21 -- Monday -- but let's not split hairs.
Either way Tuesday came and went without any apocalyptic incidents. *****
Supposedly there are rumors
floating around that Iran
has the big bomb. I hope folks didn’t get that one from our website.
Overnight Hong Kong
and Japan both
were down over 1% while European bourses are mixed in trading.
Oil is off pennies at $71.65 and
Gold is unchanged at $634.
Treasuries are firm as the
Durable Goods number for July was down 2.4% which was greater than expected
from this volatile number. Initial claims for unemployment were 313,000 which
were in line with expectations.
From far out land USA Today has this: The Ford family
that controls about 40% of the company is studying, among other options,
whether to take it private.
Rite Aid is buying Eckerd
for $3.2 billion. The buy will give RAD 5,000 drug stores and also debt on the
order of $6 billion.
William Sonoma, the Pottery Barn Company, is off $2.50 this morning
at $29.70 and down $16 from its high this year on warnings going forward. We are interested. This company said it
now sees full-year revenue of $3.75 billion to $3.80 billion and earnings per
share of $1.87 to $1.94. It had earlier forecast revenue of $3.83 billion to $3.90
billion and earnings per share of $1.97 to $2.01.
At $29 the shares are priced at
15 times earnings and the company is priced at one times sales.
We’ll see how it trades this
morning and await new home sales at .
New home sales were down 4.3% in July and inventory rose to 6.5
months which is the highest inventory level since 1995. And the inventory of
new homes for sale is up 54% form July 2005. Median house prices are now 10%
below last April.
Wal-Mart is expected to do over $100 billion in sales in the fourth quarter that ends in January
2007. In 1997 Wal-Mart’s total yearly sales exceeded $100 billion for the first
We sold AMAT in our trading accounts for a scratch loss after JP Morgan
went to neutral on the shares and because we had purchased TLAB at $9.82 in those same accounts. We are changing tech exposure
from chip equipment to telecom equipment where we are more comfortable.
TLAB is down from a high of $17 and earnings were up 15% in the
latest quarter. The share price is down because it warned going forward but we think
the shares have value at this level and lower. TLAB has been rebuilding and refocusing
for 6 years and finally may be turning the corner. Sales exceed $2 billion and
the company is priced at $4 billion with about $1.4 billion in cash. And earnings
are going to be about $0.50 this year and $.60 next year.
We are taking a relatively small position
in Williams Sonoma at $29.75.
Chico’s Fas is trading at $18.20 today. CHS is
down $6 today and is down from $48 in March of this year and we are taking
a position in it identical to our new position in WSM.
Chico’s Fas is a women’s clothing store that caters to the over 35
crowd. It has been a hot item for a number of years but this month its same
store sales numbers are not going to be higher for the first time in 110
months. The company has no debt and is selling at 2 times sales. It is going to
earn about $1.10 this year. This is a volatile stock but a lot of the excess has
been wrung out of the price in the last few months and finally today. All the
analysts are rushing to downgrade it today so it will be out of favor for a
while but we would guess that when management turns it around all the lemmings
will come back. It may go lower and that is why we are initiating holdings in a
In NYC Oil closed up at $72.36. Gold went out down at $628 and Treasuries
were flat with the two-year at 4.88% and the ten-year at 4.80%.
The DJIA closed up 5 points at 11303. The S&P 500 gained 3 points to 1296 and the NAZZ was up 2points to 1236.
Breadth was flat. Volume
was summer light.
New highs were 110 and new
lows were 110.
And there is one more quiet day
at the casino this week.
23 August 2006 Daily Comment
closed fractionally lower overnight and European bourses are slightly red this morning.
Gold is up to $638 and Oil is down at $72.50. There is some profit taking in
National Semiconductor warned as did Medtronic.
Stocks opened higher but after an
hour of trading the major measures are slightly red in slow trading.
The passage below is from
Reuters. We are again in that kind of market.
Shares in independent power producer Dynegy Inc. DYN rose more than 4% to $6.09 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. CNBC "Mad
Money" Host Jim Cramer on Tuesday recommended the stocks saying it is
worth buying because there's been "massive" insider buying, a sign of
a possible future takeover.
Cramer reminds us of Dan Dorfman,
the WSJ columnist and pioneer television financial news tout who thrived in the
late 1980s and early 1990s.
We moved back into Ford this morning at $7.71 on news from the WSJ
that Bill Ford the CEO has contacted Renault and said Ford was interested in talking
about a combination if GM wasn’t. We don’t know whether anything will come of
it but it does suggest that Bill Ford is going to take any avenue to resurrect
Existing home sales were lower by
4% in July to lowest level since January 2004 and inventories of houses unsold
Oil ended at $71.76 and Gold
was $632.Treasuries were weaker but closed above their lows with the two-year
at 4.87% and the ten-year at 4.83%.
The DJIA lost 43 points to 11296. The S&P 500 dropped 7 points to 1292 and the NAZZ was off 16 points to 2133.
Breadth ended 2/1 negative and volume
New highs were 150 and new
lows were 115.
And there are seven slow business
days of summer left before the Labor Day week-end.
22 August 2006 Daily Comment
There has been no end of the
world yet, and no nuclear detonations by Iran
so our day is beginning on a positive note.
higher overnight with Japan
and Taiwan up
over 1% and Hong Kong fractionally higher. Europe
is mixed at and Gold is flat
at $635 with Oil a few pennies higher at $72.63. Treasuries are firm.
Toll Brothers beat reduced
estimates and is trading 1% higher.
Since 2000 residential real
estate values have risen $5.3 trillion while mortgage debt has risen $4.5
With the major stock measures
moving higher stock traders seem to be implying that the Fed has done its job
and that a soft and fuzzy and profitable landing is in store for stocks and
On the other side the rally in
the bond markets seems to be saying that recession is right around the corner
and that the Fed is going to have to begin lowering rates soon.
Both can’t be right for long.
Mother Merrill loved Sprint at $24 but now has had a change
of heart at $16 and has changed from buy to neutral on the stock.
We read last night that each
Sprint subscriber is valued in the marketplace at about $1500, while a Cingular
subscriber is valued at $1900 and a Verizon subscriber at $2000.
We think the undervaluation is
even greater. But trying times sometimes present good buying opportunities.
There is no rush to add to our
position and we are going to let the downdraft the stock is suffering continue
before we add. The selling pressure may continue until the end of October as
institutional folks abandon the shares. The share price is too low to sell and
try and get back in and so we will wait and see what occurs over the next two
Stocks opened lower and now an
hour and one half into the trading day the major measures have moved to the
plus side without any conviction. Breadth is positive and trading is summer
In the contra hour stocks have
now reversed and are lower. Trading is light.
Gold closed at $634 down a tad and Oil ended slightly higher at $72.80. The two-yearTreasury
ended at 4.87% and the ten-year was 4.82%.
European bourses closed fractionally better and Brazil was off over 1% while Mexico was unchanged.
The DJIA closed down 7 points at 11338. The S&P 500 gained 2 points to 1299 and the NAZZ rose 1 point to 2148.
It was a dull day. Volume was tepid and Breadth was 5/4 positive at the close.
New highs reached 160 while new
lows were 85.
And the Casino is open for three
more lackluster days this week.
21 August 2006 Daily Comment
There are reports that major terrorist attacks are scheduled
for tomorrow which is the day the Iranians are to give their answer to the
world about whether they will stop enrichment of uranium. Our guess is that they
will set off a nuclear device as their answer.
There is also talk that August 22 is the day Mohamed rose to
the heavens from Jerusalem although
we don’t think he used the Gregorian calendar.
Finally there are folks that think that tomorrow is the day of
the Rapture when Christ returns to earth for the Second Coming.
It is going to be a busy day if these events occur.
Asia was mixed but Hong
Kong was off 1.8%, Japan
down 0.8% and Taiwan
was down over 3% overnight. Europe is fractionally mixed
at . Stocks are going to pen
lower and then we shall see.
Treasuries are firm, Gold is up to $631 and Oil is also
higher at $71.49.
housing supply folks, disappointed and warned and is off 5% this morning. Williams Sonoma also warned that
Potterysales are not going well and it
is down $1.50. we are interested in WSM.
We sold MSFT, HSY and
WWY in our trading accounts for small profits.
Words from Bernard Baruch in his autobiography:
“. . . a remarkable
documentation of the unbelievable crazes that have swept mankind down through
the ages. No nation has been immune to these frenzies. The supposedly stolid
Dutch were overcome by the Tulip Craze, the volatile French had their Mississippi Bubble, while the
sturdy English had their SouthSea Bubble.
As I read the accounts of these madnesses, I was
tempted to shout, ‘This cannot have happened!’ Yet within my own lifetime I
have seen similar deliriums in the Florida land boom of the 1920’s
and the stock market speculation that led to the 1929 crash. Something of this
same crowd madness may have been at least partially responsible for Hitler’s
rise to power in Germany.
These crowd madnesses recur so frequently in
human history that they must reflect some deeply rooted trait of human nature.
Perhaps it is the same kind of force that motivates the migrations of birds or
the mass performance of a whole species of ocean eels. There seems to be a
cyclical rhythm in these movements. A bull market, for example, will be
sweeping along and then something will happen – trivial or important – and
first one man will sell and then others will sell and the continuity of thought
toward higher prices is broken.
‘Continuity of thought’ – what a wonderful
expression that is. It did not originate with me. The first time I heard it was
while I was operating in a steel stock which J.P. Morgan was trying to
accumulate. The general market was on the rise. Then, while these operations
were going on, the stock of Rock Island broke. At the time I
happened to be with Middleton Burrill, who remarked, ‘That collapse is going to
break the continuity of bullish thought.’ I had never heard the expression
before, but I saw at once that Burrill was right and even though Steel was
being supported by the Morgans, I sold and took my profits.” *****
Raymond James real estate team is reporting that: …during
the month of June, Florida
existing home sales fell 29% year-over year. Notable declines included Naples
(-48%), Sarasota-Bradenton (-40%), Daytona Beach
(-39%), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton (-39%), and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
(-34%). Further demonstrating the market’s weakness, the single-family
statewide median sales price of $257,800 exceeded the median price a year ago
by only 3%, with markets such as Fort Myers-Cape Coral (-5%), Panama City
(-10%), and Sarasota-Bradenton (-3%) showing year/year sales price declines.
Additionally, Florida condominium
sales declined 35% year/year to 5,241 units, with 12 of the 20 metro areas
posting double-digit declines. The weakest markets were Punta Gorda (-97%),
Fort Myers-Cape Coral (-66%), Naples
(-48%), Sarasota- Bradenton (-48%), and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (-47%).
Moreover, the median condominium price during the month was $212,500, a 1%
decline versus the period a year ago, although nine markets reported year/year
declines in median prices. Notable weakness was cited in Fort
Walton Beach (-42%), Daytona
Beach (-14%), Panama City
(-12%), Jacksonville (-9%), Fort
Myers-Cape Coral (-7%), and Orlando
European bourses closed lower except for London
which was a small fraction higher.
We and the markets are trying to stay awake as the afternoon
progresses. Breadth remains negative and trading is summer Monday slow. The
major measures have been negative all day and show no signs of improving.
Gold closed at
$635 which was higher on the day and Oil
was up over $1 at $72.45. Treasuries
were firm with the two-year at 4.86% and the ten-year at 4.82%.
The DJIA closed down
35 Points at 11345. The S&P 500 lost
4 points to 1298 and the NAZZ
dropped 16 points to 2147.
Breadth was 2/1
negative all day and volume was
New highs were
155 and new lows were 100.
The casino should institute summer hours for the next two
18 August 2006 Daily Comment
mixed overnight and so is Europe this morning. Both
areas are showing fractional changes of no import in their major stock market
measures. Treasuries are also flat and Gold is up to $629 while Oil is a few
pennies higher at $70.89. This is the second last Friday in August so as soon
as the big boys and girls place their bets for the day we would guess that
trading will slow.
We are taking off at noon to drive around Iowa and Wisconsin with our daughter the PhD. *****
Dell met expectations but announced a SEC inquiry into its
accounting practices and is trading 8% lower. The Gap also disappointed and warned going forward and it is trading down
5%. Four brokers lowered ratings on the stock with Goldman putting a sell on it. The low for the past many years is
$16 right after 9/11 and so under $20 with the bad news in the stock we think
it is interesting. It is now selling at
one times sales which it hasn’t done in a long time.
China raised their lending rates by 25 basis
points overnight to 6.12% from 5.85%. The rate paid on deposits was raised to 2.52%
from 2.25%. That is a nice spread for the bank.
The University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index was 78 when 83 was
expected. This is one of the dumb numbers traders use for their daily fix
and bids evaporated with that news. The major measures are mixed an hour into
the day and with the week-end a few hours away only folks squaring options positions
are involved right now.
Microsoft has increased its share buyback to $40 billion and the
share price is higher because MSFT didn’t get all the shares it wanted in the
tender offer at $24.75 that just expired.
Ford is cutting 4th
quarter production by 20% and is going to fire 35,000 more folks.
As we head out the major measures
are mixed and trading is muted. Breadth is 2/1 negative and hew highs are twice
The casino will be open for fun
and games as usual on Monday.
17 August 2006 Daily Comment
Asian markets were fractionally
mixed overnight and so are European bourses at .
Gold is at $639 and Oil is $70.70 as the Lebanon
and BP crisis cooling cause traders to look elsewhere for action. Treasuries are
holding yesterday’s strong gains.
The rally continued for a second
day yesterday and with the S&P 500 at the 1290 level seems poised to break
out above 1300.
Jobless Claims for last week were
312,000 as was the four week average. Continuing Claims rose 24,000 and suggest
that while firings are not increasing hiring is slowing.
Leading Indicators for July were
negative 0.1% when positive 0.1% was expected. On a year over year basis that
0.2% times 12 equals 2.4% which is often the difference between slow growth and
recession, i.e. an economy growing at 1.4% or contracting by 1% (2.4%
In accounts that currently own Sprint we are taking a
position in EMC which dropped from
$14 in March to under $10 this month and is now trading at $10.92 on a BAC
Securities on Thursday said it replaced
Apple Computer Inc. AAPL, the maker of Macintosh computers and iPod music
players, with EMC Corp.
EMC, a data storage equipment maker, as one of its top two picks. In a
research note, Banc of America said EMC's mid-range business has improved significantly from a weak
June quarter, and the brokerage has modeled in a 15 percent year-on-year growth
for September quarter.
We traded EMC a few years ago for
a nice profit and then it moved up to the $14 range for several years and we ignored
it. At the $11 level it is on support/breakout and if the markets go higher
tech will go and with think EMC may develop some sponsorship as with the BAC
upgrade this morning. Analysts have had time to lick their wounds after being
blindsided last March.
In our largest accounts we bought a few stocks to
trade/own. The major stock measures are at inflection points where they
could break out into new territory and make new highs by the end of August. Or
they can do as they have done for the past few months and rollover.
We are not buying momentum
stocks. Rather we are taking small positions in stocks we are comfortable
owning through year end. If we get a good trade we will be happy to take the
profit. If not we will hold them since most are near at least their six month lows
and some are on multi-year lows. We are only buying them in our largest accounts
because those accounts have oversized Treasury holdings that are working well
for us now and we are comfortable taking the risk involved if the markets don’t
make it through resistance this time. In our other accounts we are awaiting a
rollover of the major measures and sell off in September/October.
To be clear, we are buying these stocks for a tradeon a move to new highs by the major measures in the next few weeks
but are willing to hold and add to them in the fall if we are wrong in our
guess. The exposure in the largest accounts amounts to at most 20% balanced by
a 60% two year Treasury position (invested at 5% plus) and a 20% cash position..
We continue to expect new lows in
the fall on the major measures after a quick run-up into the end of August and
that is why we are assuming a controlled risk in mostly quality stocks in only
our largest accounts.
We bought: Wrigley, Hershey, Applied Materials, New York Times, DreamWorks, Microsoft,
Estee Lauder, Schering Plough, NetFlix and Andrew Corp.
Of the stocks we purchased today high
Quality Wrigley, Hershey, and Estee
Lauder are down on quarterly earnings or sales that disappointed analysts.
Applied Materials has been trading in a range between $15 and $20
for the past few years. We are buying at the low end of that range.
DreamWorks is on a multi-year low. We think it will be acquired in
the next few years since Steven Spielberg et al sold their DreamWorks SKG movie
making business earlier this year. They control DWA.
New York Times is out of favor as are all newspaper stocks. We
owned last year around $38 and it is now $22. The bad news is in the share
price but that doesn’t mean it can’t move lower. This price level seems a good
place to begin purchase.
Andrew Corp just rejected a takeover bid and called off a takeover
to which it had agreed. Arbitrage traders must be pained by this situation but
that doesn’t mean another suitor won’t come along. We do think that arb selling
to take losses may dog the stock into year end unless another suitor willing to
pay a higher price surfaces.
Schering Plough is getting its hose in order after many years in
Microsoft share price has also gone nowhere for a few years and
earnings and sales have caught up to valuation.
Netflix is a speculative trade.
The Philadelphia Fed Index of
Business Conditions was 18.5 (9 was expected) and versus a reading of 6.0 in
July. The latest data was in contrast to other economic reports this week on
industrial production and housing that were below analysts' expectations. The
prices paid index fell to 45.3 in August from 50.3 in July. The Index number
has taken some wind out the Treasury rally sails.
Merck is dragging on the DJIA as it is off a few dollars on news
that it lost a Vioxx case in New Orleans
and that the verdict in another Vioxx case that it won last year had been
overturned by the judge because of new evidence.
Gold closed at $625 down $13 in NYC and Oil was down $1.83 at $70.06. Treasuries
were a tick weaker with the two-year at 4.89% and the ten-year at 4.86%.
Dell reports after the close. We took a position in it this morning
but closed it out this afternoon for a few pennies loss because we didn’t want
to hold the stock into earnings.
The DJIA closed up 8 points at 11335. The S&P 500 traded above 1300 but finished the day up 2 points at
1297. The NAZZ gained 8 points to 2143.
Breadth was 5/4 positive and volume
New highs were 225 and new
lows were 110.
And tomorrow options expire.
16 August 2006 Daily Comment
closed 1% higher in most countries while Europe is
fractionally lower on many bourses at .
Gold is up to $636 and Oil is t $72.95 as we begin the day. Treasuries are
unchanged awaiting the CPI data in a few minutes.
The Consumer Price Index for July
was up 0.4% month over month while the core
CPI was up 0.2%. Year over year for the last 12 months CPI is up 4.1% while
the core CPI is up 2.7%. *****
Housing Starts came in at 1,795,000 (minus 2.5%) which were less
than expected. Capacity Utilization
was 82.4% also as expected and Industrial
Production rose 0.4% when 0.6% was the guess.
On the news stock futures have
moved higher and Treasuries have a bid. The stock market needs to carry through
on yesterday’s strong showing and move decisively above the 1291 area on the
S&P 500 for the month end rally to continue.
Our tech guru thinks yesterday’s
rally was related to options expiration on Friday and that today is the real
Stocks opened higher out of the
gate and the S&P 500 is fixed on 1290. Breadth is strong two hours into the
day and Treasuries have rallied. Gold is lower as is oil at $72.40.
Some of the sold out blue chips
like UPS and MMM are catching a bid today while Hershey and Wrigley are two of
only a few of the blue chips that are in the red today.
Oil lost over $1 to close at $71.89 and Gold was up $6 in NYC to $639. Treasuries were strong into the
close with the two-year at 4.88% and the ten-year at 4.87%.
Stocks and Treasuries made it two
up days in row and the bulls are in control again.
At the bell the DJIA was up 96 points to 11327. The S&P 500 gained 10 points to 1295
and the NAZZ rose 35 points to 2150.
Breadth was 3/1 to the good on the NYSE and 2/1 positive on the
NAZZ. Volume was active and new highs were 247 to 150 new lows.
And there are two more days left
at the casino this week and we’ll see tomorrow is folks want to play catch up.
15 August 2006 Daily Comment
July Producer Prices were up 0.1% and the core rates were down
0.3%. Year over year the PPI was up 4.2% for the last 12 months while the core
year over year rate was up 1.3%. The stock and bond markets have taken this as
a positive that inflation is not going to be a problem and both the major stock
measures and Treasuries are rallying.
The important number now becomes
the Consumer Price Index for July which
is reported tomorrow morning. CPI needs to confirm the PPI of today in
order for bond bulls to rest easily.
was mixed and so is Europe at . Gold is down a few dollars at $636 and Oil came
out of overnight trading at $73.09 down a few pennies.
Stocks are blazing higher out of
the gate on the tame PPI and the hopes of the pause in rate increases by the
Fed continuing and after 15 minutes of trading the major measures are over 0.75%
higher with breadth running 4/1 positive. The last time the S&P 500 opened
0.75% higher was May 23 and the rally fizzled with the major measures lower on
the day. The S&P 500 is right at 1280 resistance so time will tell.
Eventually talking heads are
going to move from no more rate increases
to the economy tanking and then the
markets will be tested again.
Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway
unloaded its 10 million share position in The
Gap between March 31 and June 30.
Ford was upgraded by Bear Stearns yesterday and GM was downgraded. We remain interested
in Ford although we sold it expecting a September downturn.
The talking heads are saying that
auto prices are only 5% of the CPI while auto prices are 10% of the PPI. The drop in auto prices was a large reason for
the negative core PPI number. Rents
are 40% of the core CPI and those numbers have been rising so the CPI tomorrow
could reverse the bullishness of today. Add in the fact that the new Treasury Secretary
is from Goldman Sachs and knows what markets want and the outlook for tomorrow’s
CPI number is mixed.
Friday brings options expiration.
According to the National
Association of Homebuilders sentiment is deteriorating. The reading of 32 down
from 39 was weaker than expected and the lowest since January 1991 when the
reading was 20. A reading below 50 is a negative. The Midwest
is the weakest area of the country by a significant amount with a reading of
just 15. The so-called bubble areas, the south and west are at 41 and 42, down
from 50 and 52 in July.
measures direction of change, not magnitude. The last time it was 32 was in
1991, when housing starts were less than half of today's levels. What is
happening is that a large number of builders are saying that sales are down,
hence driving the index lower. Nevertheless, the level of sales is substantially
higher than in 1992 as is the stock market and most other assets.
Talking heads keep saying that housing
prices won’t drop like the stock market. But a 5% or 10% drop (which is
considered a normal correction in stocks) in housing prices will wipe out the
equity of many recent home buyers. *****
Exchange Traded Funds which
supposedly mimic various market measures or industries like drug stocks, or
tech stocks, or energy stocks have attracted over $335 billion in capital
according to CNBC. That is a lot of money sloshing around and the buying and
selling of ETFs creates myriad other market activities in options, futures and
the underlying shares of common stock. We don’t know whether ETFs are good or
bad but they sure do keep markets busy and create a lot of noise that must be
filtered to understand if anything is really occurring.
Gold closed in NYC at $632.60 and Oil finished there at $73.05. Both were down on the day. Treasuriesrallied on the tame core PPI and the two-year closed at 4.94% as did
The major measures all closed on their highs for the day. The DJIA
ended up 125 points at 11225. The NAZZ
jumped 45 points to 2115 and the S&P
500 closed well above 1280 resistance up 17 points at 1284.
Breadth was 4/1 positive on the NYSE and was 3/1 better on the NAZZ. Volume
was good for a summer Tuesday.
New highs edged out new lows 185 to 165.
And tomorrow brings CPI to the Wheel of Fortune and the casino
players will be ready for action on that news.
14 August 2006 Daily Comment
Asian markets closed higher. European
markets are higher at midday and gold is down to $636 and Oil is off more than
a dollar at $73.04. Treasuries are weaker as the Fed must raise folks take center stage. It is summer and the big
boys and girls need a reason to trade.
We would think that the markets
will be range bound for the next few weeks as folks finish up their summer vacation
and investors sit on their hands awaiting the next Fed meeting and a resolution
of the Lebanon imbroglio.
The important level on the
S&P 500 for today is 1275 (closed at 1268). And the tech guru we follow
thinks that if the S&P 500 can move above 1284 this week that a two week
rally into month end could occur.
Crude oil fell and gasoline
touched the lowest price in almost two months after BP said it will keep half of the production flowing at the biggest U.S.
field. BP plans to pump 200,000 barrels a day from the Prudhoe Bay
field while the company replaces corroded pipelines, rather than shut the Alaska
site entirely as initially intended.
Stocks opened higher and have
held their gains through the first hour of the trading day. Breadth is 2/1 positive.
The Two-year Treasury is at 5% as traders begin the countdown to this week’s
inflation data and the next Fed meeting.
We need to go to Madison
to pick up Katie who helped drive the prince and princess back to Northern
Kentucky. We’ll be back at our post tomorrow morning.
11 August 2006 Daily Comment
Import prices were up 0.9% in
July which was a bit more than expected. Retail sales in July were up 1.4%, and
up 1% ex autos. Both those numbers were more than the bond boys and girls wanted
and so Treasuries are lower in price as the day begins.
mixed overnight and so is Europe with no large moves in
either area. Gold is lower at $641 and oil is higher at $74.64.
After an hour and one half of
tepid trading the major measures are lower with breadth negative. Gold has
rebounded and is now up at $661. Treasuries are better but still lower on the
We are sold our Ford today for a less than $1 but good
percentage gain. That is the stock we sold not our trusty Ford 150 truck.
increased 0.8% in June (consensus was for +0.5%) following a gain of 1.1% the
previous month (upwardly revised from 0.8%), which matched the largest gain
seen since May 1994.
Seven years ago the S&P 500
closed at 1301. Today it is 1264.
The DJIA closed at 10787 seven
years ago. Today it is 11068.
Seven year ago the Model
Portfolio was $310,000. Today it is $572,000.
Entering the final hour trading
continues at a slow pace. The major measures are lower. Treasuries are also
higher in yield lower in price because of the higher retail sales numbers this morning.
Traders are looking for any piece of news on which to trade.
The terrorist plot is now old
news to the markets. No harm no foul being the consensus view.
Gold closed lower at $644 and oil was $74.20. The Treasury two-year ended at 4.97% and
the ten-year was 4.97%.
The DJIA closed down 40 points at 11085. The S&P 500 lost 5 points to 1267 and the NAZZ was down 15 points to 1257.
Breadth was 2/1 negative and volume
New lows contracted to 225 and new
highs were 85.
The Casino is closed for the
10 August 2006 Daily Comment
Homeland Security Chief Chertoff
was color coordinated as he announced code alert RED. He was wearing a bright red
tie. That’s called reinforcing a point.
CNBC has breaking news that oil
is slumping on the foiling of the terror plot. The world is again safe for
trading at the great casino. What a great market. By the by, just like George
Bush, Tony Blair is on vacation
The plot had terrorists mixing
liquids on board aircraft (as other passengers watched we presume) to blow the
aircraft up. We envision an on board General Science Class like we had eons ago
in high school.
As a result of the now foiled
plot all liquids are banned from carried on luggage. No more shampoo, sun
screen, and coke will be allowed to be carried on. (Travelers with infants are
required to taste any baby milk in front of security officials.)
We wonder if the group is for
real is like the Florida morons
who were egged on by the FBI informant and accused of wanting the bomb the
Sears tower in Chicago which none
of them had ever seen.
We wondered why the DJIA sold off
yesterday in the last hour and why AMR was down over $1 and now those questions
have been answered. Some traders may have know what
Ah well, Asia was fractionally lower
overnight, while Europe is off over 1% butwell above worse levels as the terror news plot hit as those bourses
opened. U.S. futures were down over night but are coming back and Gold and Oil which
were both higher overnight are now are both lower with Treasuries unchanged.
The fact that gold and oil are
lower and Treasuries are unchanged tells all about how seriously traders take
the news. The cable networks are all over this and will be tonight as no one
Our thoughts are that,
unfortunately, until an actual terrorist event occurs on U.S. soil that the
market and traders are going to quickly ignore the ‘breaking news’ events like
this morning. Even the London Subway bombings last year had little short and no
long term effect. We think is the “cry wolf” syndrome at work.
But the news
should have the effect of slowing down investors. Why buy today when one can
wait a few days to ascertain the severity of the threat and what the future
We aren’t going to buy or sell
the news. In fact we are going for a bike ride later if it doesn’t rain. We had
too much cake at Tyler Bud’s birthday party last night and we need to work it
Two hours into the trading day we
find the major measures higher but breadth slightly negative. Oil is down over
$1.50 in NYC and gold is $13 lower. It’s a strange world.
The DJIA closed up 49 points at 11125. The S&P 500 gained 6 points to 1271 and the NAZZ was up 12 points
Breadth was 5/4 positive and volume was moderate.
Gold closed lower at $646 and Oil
ended down at $74. Treasuries were
weaker with the two-year at 4.92% and the ten-year at 4.92%.
There were 350 new lows and 100
And the Casino will be open for
9 August 2006 Daily Comment
Stocks are going to open higher
today led by Cisco and Disney. Both had earnings and sales reports that wowed the street.
was better by 1% across the board and in
trading Europe is fractionally lower. Gold is unchanged
and oil is a few pennies higher in NYC at $76.60. Production on the North
Slope will be out until at least January.
Treasuries are flat.
Toll Bros the high end home builder said that forward orders are
down 45% from last year. The share price is at $25.20 down $1.50.
Wal-Mart will allow and deal with unions in China
but not the U.S. *****
After and hour and one half of
trading the major measures are fractionally higher in moderate trading. Breadth
is 5/4 positive and the S&P 500 is back under 1280 after briefly trading
above that number in the early going. The DJIA is up 25 points and Cisco is up $2.40 to $19.70.
Gasoline inventories fell 3.2 million barrels when a drop of about
1 million was expected. Oil is now above $77.
Stocks couldn’t hold their gains
and surrendered to the bears in the last hour. Cyclicals were especially hard
The DJIA closed down 97 points at 11076. The S&P 500 lost 5 points to end at 1265 and the NAZZ dropped 1 point to 1260 as Cisco
held its gains and traders decided that tech stocks may be recession resistant.
Gold ended at $661 and oil
closed at $76.35. Treasuries
eased with the two-year at 4.92% and the ten-year at 4.95%.
Breadth ended 5/4 negative and new
lows exceeded 330 while new highs
were about 160. Volume was brisk.
There are two more days at the
casino this week.
8 August 2006 Daily Comment
Overseas markets were higher
overnight with Japan
gaining back the 2% it lost the day before. The rest of Asia
was strong and European markets are fractionally higher.
Oil has backed down form its
highs of yesterday to $76.50 and Gold is lower at $654. Treasuries are giving
ground as the Fed announcement at
is just a few hours away.
Bristol Myers is opening down $2 today as the company
announced this morning that a generic version of Plavix will be shipped
shortly. And so the old saw of not
turning a trade into an investment when the trade shows a loss and pride
suggests holding for a hoped recovery worked in this case.
We sold our BSX trade because we don’t want to own it in front of the
Fed announcement and it doesn’t look like it will pop before then. Our trades
in our very large accounts over the last week were profitable overall on the
order of lunch money. But any profit is better than a loss.
We also reduced but did not eliminate our Intel holdings in a few accounts
for a scratch loss.
Labor Department reported that labor
costs as measured by unit of output rose
4.2% when 3.7% was expected. That's up from a 2.5% rate in the first
quarter and is the fastest gain for unit labor costs since a 5.1% rate of
increase in the fourth quarter of 2004. Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, slowed to 1.1% in the second quarter,
down from 4.3% in the first quarter.
In June revolving debt (aka credit cards) was up $6.6 billion in June to
Volume is light and the major
measures are all higher as nothing of import is occurring. Traders await the
Fed minutes which are to be released in an hour and then there will be a flurry
up, down and all around. Then our guess is that folks will go on vacation since
the Fed is going to mitigate any action or non action with the opposite
reaction in the statement. At least that is what the talking heads are opining.
We think the rise in oil price is
a real drag on the economy and is helping the Fed do its job too well. Higher
oil prices are inflationary but they also sop up a lot of cash. That is the
and the Fed declined to raise
rates and issued approximately the same policy statement as last time.
A more hawkish statement was expected. The Fed statement mentioned our comments
above about higher energy prices depressing the economy.
Treasuries are lower in yield and
higher in price on the news with the two-year at 4.92% and the ten-year at
4.91%. The major stock measures are treading water at slightly higher levels.
Gold ended up a bit in NYC at $658. Oil closed off a bit at $76.34. Treasuries finished better with the two-year at 4.90% and the
ten-year at 4.92%.
The DJIA closed down 45 points at 11173. The S&P 500 lost 4 points to end at 1271 and the NAZZ dropped 12 points to 2060.
Breadth turned negative after the Fed announcement and ended 5/4 to
the minus side. Volume was summer
New lows were 225 and new
highs were 140.
And the casino will be open for
business as usual tomorrow.
The following is a press release from Sprint about their new
Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S -
News) today announced its plans
to develop and deploy the first fourth generation (4G) nationwide broadband
mobile network. The 4G wireless broadband network will use the mobile WiMAX
(Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) IEEE 802.16e-2005 technology
Working together with Intel, Motorola and Samsung, Sprint Nextel will develop a
nationwide network infrastructure as well as mobile WiMAX-enabled chipsets that
will support advanced wireless broadband services for computing, portable
multimedia, interactive and other consumer electronic devices. These efforts
are intended to allow Sprint Nextel customers to experience a nationwide mobile
data network that is designed to offer faster speeds, lower cost, and greater
convenience and enhanced multimedia quality.
The Sprint Nextel 4G mobility network will use
the company's extensive 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which cover 85 percent of the
households in the top 100 U.S.
markets - the most of any wireless carrier in any single spectrum band. To
access that network, Sprint Nextel will work with Intel, Motorola and Samsung
to incorporate WiMAX technology for advanced wireless communications and help
make chipsets widely available for new consumer electronics devices, connecting
consumers to the Internet and to each other while providing them with the
flexibility to do what they want or need to do regardless of time or place.
"None of us today can envision our lives
without wireless connectivity or the Internet," explained Gary Forsee,
president and chief executive officer of Sprint Nextel. "Sprint Nextel is
taking a major step forward by linking the incredible potential of these two
cornerstones of daily communications. We'll give customers the power to harness
business information and personal entertainment easily and inexpensively -- and
in ways that they will one day wonder how they lived without.
"This announcement is another step in Sprint
Nextel's broadband mobility leadership, and we expect to establish a
first-to-market next generation network advantage. We will have a unique
broadband capability for meeting the growing access and mobile Internet needs
of businesses, governments and consumers when and where they want."
In working together with Intel, Motorola, and Samsung,
Sprint Nextel has the experience, network infrastructure, spectrum and
distribution channels to make 4G mobility services pervasive and indispensable
for customers. The company's deployment plans target a launch of the advanced
wireless broadband services in trial markets by the end of 2007 with plans to
deploy a network that reaches as many as 100 million people in 2008. Sprint
Nextel plans to expand mobile WiMAX network coverage thereafter.
The company will continue to invest in and offer
access to its current wireless and Sprint Power Vision(SM) mobile broadband
networks to serve customer communications needs today and into the future. As
evidenced by its strong data results and expanding 3G broadband network, Sprint
Nextel continues its innovation and leadership in driving mobile data.
New Business Model
Sprint Nextel has created a unique business model
designed to foster the rapid deployment and adoption of mobile WiMAX technology
in the United States
and abroad. Sprint Nextel is expecting to invest $1 billion in 2007 and between
$1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008 relating to the 4G mobile broadband
network. The WiMAX technology to be deployed in the network is expected to
offer a cost-per-megabit and performance advantage that reflects a substantial
improvement in the comparable costs for the current 3G mobile broadband
Commitments from Intel, Motorola and Samsung in
the areas of market development, mobile WiMAX devices and other contributions
to Sprint Nextel's core business are expected to accelerate Sprint Nextel's
goal of deploying services and market adoption. Motorola and Samsung will also
support Sprint's current and CDMA/EV-DO network technologies by creating
multimode devices that will support services on both the 4G network and the 3G
network in areas outside the planned 4G coverage, and will provide voice
service using the core 3G networks. The 4G broadband network will offer a
complementary, high-bandwidth service driven by data centric devices.
Intel, one of the early members of the WiMAX
Forum and one of the key contributors to the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard, will
deliver next generation WiMAX solutions for Centrino Mobile Technology and next
generation computing devices. Intel will bring its extensive history in
device-to-network verification as well as marketing expertise to expose
customers to the breadth of new WiMAX capabilities and services.
Motorola has been a long-standing proponent of
WiMAX and will offer Sprint Nextel both single- and multimode devices designed
to enable seamless mobility for users, while playing a major role in its WiMAX
infrastructure roll-out. Since Motorola is the exclusive supplier of iDEN
technology as well as a major supplier of CDMA and EV-DO Revision A technology,
it can offer a complete end-to-end solution (from radio access network
equipment to both single- and multimode mobile devices) and is uniquely
positioned to expand the seamless mobility experience into the wireless mobile
Samsung Telecommunications America will be a primary
Mobile WiMAX infrastructure supplier to Sprint Nextel and will also deliver
dual-mode devices supporting Mobile WiMAX and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, designed to
enable Sprint's Mobile WiMAX users to utilize Sprint Nextel's existing 3G
network resources. With its installation of networks in South
Korea and other markets, Samsung Electronics
is the first to commercially deploy Mobile WiMAX and with its alliance with
Sprint Nextel will bring this global expertise to North America.
Samsung is the global leader in delivering Mobile WiMAX technologies and offers
Sprint a total solution including chipsets, infrastructure, mobile devices and
consumer electronics focused on Mobile WiMAX and dual-mode WiMAX/CDMA services
Sprint Nextel's long-term goal is to have a broad
range of mobile WiMAX-enabled chipsets and modules and an array of portable
data and consumer electronics devices available from multiple vendors which
work seamlessly among Sprint's network offerings. To that end, Sprint Nextel
and other leading consumer electronic companies are planning to form a
strategic marketing and product alliance for the purpose of introducing
innovative consumer electronic devices and multimedia content solutions using
Sprint's 4G mobile WiMAX network.
7 August 2006 Daily Comment
Crude oil is trading $1.40 higher
at over $76 on news that BP Amoco is
in the process of closing down the Prudhoe Bay oilfield because
of oil leaks.
Last week was a draw with the
DJIA higher, the S&P 500 unchanged and the NAZZ lower. This week the focus is
on the Fed Meeting tomorrow and also on the Lebanon
imbroglio. Stocks are looking lower at the opening and Asian markets were
mostly lower with Japan
down over 2% but Hong Kong fractionally higher. European
markets are lower and gold is higher Treasuries are a tad weaker as the day
Late last week we tried a few
trades in our very large accounts with tepid results. The good employment news
on Friday was the stimulus for a strong rally which reversed and caused us to sell our trading positions.
We held on to Boston Scientific in the hopes of a rally to
rescue us and Bristol Myers. We now own BMY in most accounts. We purchased
BMY for smaller and less aggressive accounts a few days ago when it broke under
$23 on rumors that a generic form of Plavix will be available this year. Plavix
is a very profitable heart drug for BMY. The yield on BMY is now 5% and we are hoping
that the bad news is in the stock. We did not buy more BMY in accounts that already
owned it. BMY is a trade with us. We are holding Intel in all accounts and Ford
in our smaller accounts.
Three hours into the trading day
oil is at $76.40 and that is placing a damper on stocks. With the Prudhoe Bays
oil shutdown talking heads are
beginning to mention closing of the Straits of Hormuz and $100 oil.
The oil scare talk may cause the
Fed to be cautious on raising rates again.
Oil ended in NYC at $76.98. Gold
was $659.50. Treasuries were lower
in price with the two-year at 4.95% and the ten-year at 4.92%.
the BMY is our last few accounts this morning we decided this afternoon that we
don’t want to rely on hope in a dicey market to rescue a trading position where
there underlying premises for the trade have changed. Our initial purchase in
the stock was before the Plavix news broke and the uncertainty of that patent
has caused us to reevaluate our holding. We bought the shares for a trade which
didn’t work. If the shares went back to $24.50 we would sell and we think there
is a further downside risk of $4 in the stock from the current level if the
Plavix patent is broken. That is not a good risk reward ratio. And so we sold all
our shares.We have a $1.40 plus loss on
shares we bought early last week and a scratch loss on the shares we bought
today and a few days ago in our smaller accounts. In this market we don’t want
to go home with uncertainty. *****
We traded Sprint Nextel in our large accounts last week for small profit when
the shares tanked on what the street considered a bad earnings and revenue
Over the week-end we read S’s
latest financial report and decide we wanted to own the stock at these levels.
We have traded it over the years. The shares dropped $3 in price last week to
$17.50 when their customer growth was less than expected and their quit rate of
customers was over 2%.
Sprint has about 52 million
subscribers. Verizon has 55 million and AT&T
Cingular around 53 million. When the talking heads were theorizing about
Verizon buying out Vodaphone’s interest in VZ Wireless they placed a value of
$100 million on the total VZ Wireless business. SBC (now AT&T) paid over
$30 billion for 15 million AT&T Wireless subscribers several years ago.
Sprint’s equity is valued at $50
billion is the marketplace after this latest price drop. Sprint has debt of
about $20 billion while Verizon and AT&T both have about $40 billion in
debt. With all three having roughly 50 million plus subscribers we think S is undervalued in relation to the
other two wireless providers and that the next time S has a good quarter-or
maybe before-the marketplace will take notice.
Today we bought a
beginning position in the shares at $17.40 for accounts where we sold BMY. We are
buying to own for a while, not to trade. *****
The DJIA closed down 20 points at 11220. The S&P 500 lost 4 points to 1275 and the NAZZ dropped 13 points to 2072.
Breadth was 2/1 negative all day and volume was light.
New lows at 210 outdistanced new
highs at 110.
And tomorrow the casino will be
awaiting Uncle Ben’s words at .
2 August 2006 Daily Comment
We are back but
our computer guru who is also our brother is taking the rest of the week off to
journey to a wedding in RochesterNew York. And so we are posting this comment early today and then there will be
no comments until next Monday August 7 in time for the next Fed Meeting and the
attendant activity. *****
The markets survived our absence
and continued to trade. Stocks were lower both days while Gold rose to $659
this morning and Oil is back over $75. Treasuries remain firm with the two-year
at 4.95% and the ten-year at 4.98%. There are going to be some sad faces if the
Fed goes against perceived wisdom and raises one more time for good luck next
second place in auto sales in the U.S.
in July besting Ford for the honors
by about 3,000 more vehicles sold.
We are not going to trade the
markets in our larger accounts until or unless the S&P 500 revisits 1240. We
will maintain the few positions we have in our Model Portfolio and other
After three hours of trading the
major measures are strongly higher with the S&P 500 up 12 points at 1283.
Breadth is 3/1 positive. Volume is moderate.
The heat has tempered our
enthusiasm and we don’t have many bright ideas about which to write. With the
DJIA up 100 points we would guess that 1290 will be tested on the S&P 500
in the next two days. But after that we have no idea what will occur. We are
happy with our cash/bond positions and will hold these until we have a better
feel for the markets.
And with that comment we wish you
all a happy week. The casino is open tomorrow and Friday but we will be riding our
bike and moving wood for the winter. We are lucky enough have two strong bodies
in addition to our older one to do the work and so we are going to move wood
while the sun shines.
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