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In a 'Walking Dead' market, stocks ignore the zombie killers

Jeff Brown, Special to CNBC.com
Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 | 4:14 PM ET
Zombies from the AMC show "The Walking Dead"
Source: AMC
Zombies from the AMC show "The Walking Dead"

Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.

The 'Walking Dead' market presses on

Notes:

Pros often cite the "aging bull" to describe today's stock market. But, gee, that's so 20th century. How about something sexier, like "Zombie" Market or "Walking Dead" Market?

"Walking Dead" market, a takeoff of the popular AMC series, is the term favored by Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist for LPL Financial, to describe the U.S. market's upward march against all the forces trying to kill it.

There's negligible economic growth, recession in Europe, a slowdown in China, near-zero revenue growth and the Federal Reserve's plan to "taper" its economic stimulus plan. None of it seems to matter.

Of course not everyone sees such a rosy future. Though price-to-earnings ratios are reasonable compared with many hot markets of the past, some experts worry the market will stall unless corporate revenues grow.

But Kleintop is optimistic, expecting U.S. growth at a so-so 2 percent. The stock market may be volatile, but that will give investors chances to buy on the dips.

Quotes:

"This unkillable stock market rally seems to get no respect. U.S. stocks have been snubbed by investors this year. The S&P 500 has continued the strongest bull market since WWII despite all the shots fired at the market this year."—LPL Financial's Jeff Kleintop

"With limited top line growth globally, it's going to be tough to keep pushing multiples higher."—Tim Gramatovich, CIO of Peritus Asset Management

Netflix healthy despite disappointing subscriber numbers

Notes:

Remember when everyone hated Netflix for splitting its streaming and DVD services? Now that seems so long, long ago. Netflix is doing great.

Yes, new subscriber figures disappointed some when results were reported Monday, causing the stock to dip. But there was no big selloff Tuesday. The fact is, the stock has more than tripled in the past year, and earnings, at 49 cents a share, beat expectations by 9 cents. And just last week Netflix made history by becoming the first streaming service to win Emmy nominations for original content.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings brushes off doubts, noting the company had added more subscribers than in the year-earlier period, and had come in at the middle of its projected subscriber range, as it intended.

The company says it can continue to pay for its original content without raising prices.

Quote:

"Well, you're spending over $2 billion a year on content now, around the world. I mean, it's a really big number. And it's continuing to grow as we're able to get more and more content. How we pay it off is we have nearly 38 million members, paying about $8 per month. And that's enough money to pay for all that content."—Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Commodity price shenanigans?

Notes:

Commodity pricing ought to be a pretty simple matter of supply and demand, right? After all, 1 pound of aluminum or gold is just like any other.

But federal investigators are wondering if shenanigans have pushed up prices for businesses and consumers who depend on aluminum. Following a New York Times story over the weekend, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has taken a first step to examine a warehousing system controlled by Goldman Sachs and other firms.

The Times story said the system shuffled aluminum ingots from warehouse to warehouse in the Detroit area to extend the storage time, inflating storage fees and thus raising prices. Goldman said it complied with all laws and industry regulations.

The CFTC action, which starts with a notice to firms involved to preserve records, comes as a Senate committee starts looking at whether banks should be allowed to own warehousing, pipelines and other infrastructure.

Some conspiracy theorists have also been wondering about the price of gold. The chief concern involves uncertain accountability for gold in storage. If the numbers aren't right, the supply isn't what people think it is, and the price might not properly reflect supply and demand. The Times story on aluminum doesn't deal with gold, but investors were worried anyway, causing a short-covering spike in the gold price Monday.

Quote:

"I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I think that tends to be the guy who picks the gray horse, and when the gray horse loses thinks that the race was fixed."—CNBC's Art Cashin

A Bond buff's alternative Investment

Notes:

Got a spare million or two burning a hole in your pocket? Well, you could invest in some blue-chip stocks or a nice hedge fund. But how dull is that?

For a high-risk, high-profile investment, consider a "Bond" holding—the submarine Lotus sports car featured in the 1977 Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me." It will be auctioned in London in September.

And it comes with quite a story: The car was lost for years, then discovered by a Long Island man who bought the contents of a storage unit sight unseen for $100. Even after taxes, he's sure to realize a stupendous return.

Quote:

"It was one of Q's greatest creations. ... If it sells for $2 million, he comes away with a million or more."—CNBC's Robert Frank

By Jeff Brown, Special to CNBC.com

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