Alibaba reportedly plans to stop taking orders for its IPO early, an indication of sizzling demand.» Read More
The U.S. economy expanded by 4 percent in the second quarter? Whoa!
That balances the anemic first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) of –2.1 percent. So what are we left with for the second half of the year? Roughly 2.5 percent growth, or perhaps a bit higher? That would average perhaps 2 percent growth for the entire year.
The problem for traders is that we are back to a choppy market. You get a down day like yesterday and an up day, and you can't stay hedged. Investors are looking for trends: for example, you're looking for 5 down days in a row. That's how you make a lot of money...when you get zigzag pattern, it eats your hedges away and the value drops materially.
Stocks go up, but your hedge gets much less valuable. The bottom line: you can't stay heavily hedged.
Still, big GDP numbers on a Federal Reserve decision day! The market needs to hold its early gains.
Earnings and revenue misses: Is this the start of a trend? It was not a great morning for earnings.
Consider: New York Times (NYT) missed as ad revenues dropped; UPS (UPS) missed on earnings and lowered 2014 guidance; Eaton (ETN) missed and lowered the high end of its 2014 guidance; Corning (GLW) missed; and Eastman Chemical (EMN) missed on revenues.
All are trading down notably mid-afternoon.
Is this the start of a trend? I don't think so. True, there have been a few other high-profile misses, notably Whirlpool (WHR), Amazon (AMZN), Mattell (MAT), and DR Horton (DHI), but they are outliers.
With 262 companies reporting (52 percent of the S&P 500), 68 percent of those reporting are beating expectations (above the long-term average of 64 percent), and both earnings and revenues have been improving since the beginning of the quarter:
Source: S&P Capital IQ
8.4 percent earnings growth is the highest since Q3 2011!
What matters most to the stock market, however, is not reported earnings, it's guidance. And it's been better! 55 companies in the S&P 500 have provided guidance for Q3: 29 are negative, 14 positive and 12 in line. That is a ratio of 2-to-1 negative-to-positive announcements, a significant improvement of the Q2 guidance of 8-to-1 negative-to-positive announcements.
Don't look now, but European bond investors are sending yields to lows unseen in at least 200 years. Yes, you read that right. Spanish 10 year debt now yields about 2.45 percent. That is below U.S. 10-year Treasury rates, which is at 2.46 percent.
That's right: the price of Spanish bonds are now more expensive than their U.S. counterparts.
The dragon is roaring again! China's Shanghai Index rallied another 2.4 percent overnight; the market is in the midst of a 4-day upswing that has seen the index rise 6 percent to close at the highest levels this year.
Chinese economic data have been improving recently, fueling the rally and spilling over into Hong Kong's market. The Hang Seng is now at the highest level since 2011.
Rep. Scott Garrett, chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (which oversees the SEC), is holding a roundtable Monday in Washington on what, if anything, should be done about the way stocks are traded in this country.
I know, you've heard this before. In the wake of Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys", there have been several hearings in Washington. This one is a little different, though. Here's why:
1) The 19 people attending are the cream of Wall Street's trading community. The heads of all the exchanges will be there, including many of the biggest market makers/brokers and key industry representatives. Everyone who knows anything about market structure will be part of the parade. You will probably never get all these people in the same room again.
2) The man putting on the event, Garrett, R-N.J., is well-regarded by the Street as a thoughtful lawmaker. What does he want to accomplish? He says his goal is to "produce more efficient markets, less investor confusion, better competition, and increased job creation."
Fair enough. Last year he held a similarly well-attended roundtable from academics; this time he wants the Wall Street community to weigh in. What he seeks is to forge a consensus on what, if anything, should be done. So what should we expect (or not expect)?
Over the last two days, initial public offerings (IPOs) have hit a speed bump--again. The market has absorbed more disappointing pricings ahead of what promises to be a huge week.
Pipe maker Advanced Drainage Systems priced 14.5 million shares at $16.00, well below the price talk of $17—$19; biotech firm Ocular Therapeutics priced 5.0 million share at $13.00, well below the price talk of $14—$16. Orion Engineered Carbons (OEC), a maker of carbon black, priced 19.5 million shares at $18, way below the price talk of $21—$24.
However, El Pollo Loco priced 7.1 million shares at $15.00, the high end of the price talk of $13—$15. This is in the hot fast-casual restaurant space, a space Chipotle has inhabited successfully.
Of the 8 IPOs that have priced in the past 36 hours, 6 have priced below the price talk, 1 at the low end of the price talk, and 1 at the high end. That is a disappointment.
Meanwhile, U.S. markets were modestly supported by MMM, which reported in-line earnings. Operating income rose across all divisions, with sales climbing 4.9 percent. MMM is a truly global company: only 36 percent of revenues are in the U.S., while 29 percent are from Asia/Pacific and 23 percent from EMEA. Additionally, 12 percent in Latin America/Canada.
They are far more than just Post It Notes and Scotch tape—they make literally thousands of products and work in automotive, marine and aircraft. They make coated materials, filtration products, and adhesives, among other things.
The company also boasts a Health Care division that services hospitals and dental offices, and a Safety, Security and Protection Services division makes locks and other security products.
The earnings reports of Microsoft and Apple were not big market movers, but most of the large companies beat expectations, including big industrial and material names like Boeing , Dow Chemical, General Dynamics, Norfolk Southern, and Ryder.
But what about Whirlpool? They not only missed profit and revenue expectations by a wide margin, they also cut their full year forecast (they said it was partly due to customer inventory transitions in China) to levels below Wall Street's current estimates. Gross margins were also below expectations.
Why? Because they are multi-industry companies: they operate across dozens of countries (40 percent of revenues outside the U.S.) and provide products that sell to many different customers.
This week, a mother lode of second quarter earnings are due. Early results are giving Wall Street reasons to be encouraged.
Thus far, 89 companies have reported for the quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ. Earnings growth stands at 6.9 percent, an increase since the beginning of the season. Revenues have come down one-tenth of a percent since last week, now at 3.8 percent for the quarter.
Blackstone is aiming to raise about $16 billion for its latest buyout fund, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Investors are "little behind the curve" on interest rates, Wharton's Jeremy Siegel tells CNBC.
Art Cashin of UBS says investors are repositioning themselves ahead of Alibaba's IPO.