Friday, February 02, 2007

Sell on News

CLRK has had nothing but good news recently. Yesterday was no exception. Forbes placed it on their 25 fastest growing companies list for the second year in a row. Initially up the stock then tanked by three dollars into the $17 range and subsequently managed to recover some ground to finish down only $1.46. We’ll jut have to wait and see what happens with its earnings next week.

The January jobs report came out this morning and was weaker than expected. The report showed that 111,000 jobs were added to the US economy versus a forecast of 150,000. This caused both futures and bond prices to rise. Now, normally a weaker jobs report would be a bad thing. So why is Wall Street so happy? Well since the economy is strong, the Feds biggest concern has been inflation. If the Fed thinks there is inflation then they will be looking to raise rates. However if the economy shows signs of slowing or weakening, the inflation fears subside and the Fed must now look to an appropriate time to start gradually lowering rates to try for Greenspan’s famous soft landing. So today, the market looks poised to charge ahead on a weaker jobs report.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

All Signs Look Up

The day after the Fed held rates steady the market look like they could be in for a good day. Google posted earning three times greater than a year ago beating forecasts. Dell announced that Michael Dell would be back in the CEO post. Dell said his company needed to execute better. Starbucks and Royal Dutch Shell both posted improved earnings.

Oil is hovering around the $58 per barrel range after recent comments from OPEC.

In economic news, incomes rose 0.5 percent in December and spending by individuals rose 0.7 percent, both in line with economist’s forecasts.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today's the Day

U.S. GDP numbers came out this morning and showed that growth picked up to 3.5% annually from 2% annually in the previous quarter. That helped picked the futures up off their lows. Oil prices jumped yesterday as the Saudi’s caught everyone off guard by saying they that they would further reduce production after saying the day before that they were fine with prices and production levels.

Time Warner, Flextronics, and Alcan all met or exceeded forecasts while Allstate posted weaker earnings. But the major news today is the Fed’s decision on interest rates. It looks like nothing much will happen until the rate is released at 2:15pm. As I said yesterday, the Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged and the market will be focusing on the accompanying statement for any clues as to where the fed thinks rates will be going in the future.

Here’s hoping for Good News.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Waiting for the Fed

Some good news for the markets as both 3M and Proctor and Gamble posted good earnings. Will this be enough to drive the markets higher? I think today will be a somewhat flat day as everyone waits to see what the Fed is going to do with interest rates tomorrow. The current thinking is that the Fed will hold the line on rates.

The Fed has, in the past, talked of the economy being stronger than they thought so there is a slight danger that they may do something stupid an raise. Actually the chance is probably a little larger because you can always count on senile old men to do something stupid, especially on the highways. But I think that they should lower by a ¼ point as there have already been a number of companies forecasting weaker growth for the next few quarters. Too bad that the Fed would rather push the US into a recession rather than have a vibrant economy with 4 or 5% inflation. For some strange reason the Fed would rather see people unemployed and no inflation. I don’t understand why since they make so much money that 4 or 5% inflation really wouldn’t be a problem for them.

Oh well, the bottom line on today is to expect a flat day as the market waits for the Fed rate announcement tomorrow at 2:15pm.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hold On. It's Gonna be an Interesting Week

This week promises to be an interesting week with a number of major earnings and economic reports due out and another Fed meeting. There were also a number of deals announced this morning that will hopefully get the markets moving in an upward direction. Among them:

Merrill Lynch is buying First Republic Bank for $1.8 Billion.

Abitibi Consolidated is combining with Bowater in a merger of equals.

And US Airways is willing to increase its takeover offer for Delta Airlines by $1 billion.

Looks like the tone has been set for an interesting week. I’ll keep you posted throughout the week.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anyone's Guess

It seems as though earnings reports are alternating between beating, hitting and missing forecasts. Yesterday Microsoft beat forecast (although those were lower than last year) and guided higher. Also beating forecasts was Dow component Honeywell. The other Dow component that reported results yesterday was Caterpillar and they missed their forecasts. Finally Amgen also missed its forecast yesterday. So far this earnings season 69% of companies reporting beat forecasts while 15% matched forecasts. Only 16% of companies missed their forecasts but you would never know it by the way the market has performed over the last few days.

Oil seems to be creeping back up to the $55/barrel range which isn’t very good. I know all the gas stations have been only to happy to raise their prices over the last week. Well here’s hoping for some milder weather and lower prices. My wallet is enjoying the break and looking for more.

What’s going on today in the markets is anyone’s guess. Where they start may not be where they finish. All I can say is that today will certainly be interesting.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ford

More good news from the tech sector as Ebay, Qualcomm and Nokia all posted better than forecast earnings. Ebay even raised their outlook for the next quarter and the full year. They also announced the buyback of $1- billion in stock. Chip maker Qualcomm also posted better than expected earnings and raised their guidance. Expect Nasdaq to do well today.

The blue chippers may not fair as well on the NYSE as Ford reported a record loss of $12.7 Billion, that’s right BILLION loss for the quarter. Boy if I lost even half that my bank would have me shot. Ford got stuck with a high reliance on trucks when high gas prices hit and sent consumers running to buy smaller cars. Although the margins are high on trucks, you can’t realize the profits unless you sell the trucks. It will be interesting to see what Wall Street thinks of all this.