By the Numbers


  Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 | 4:36 PM ET

Philly Feed vs. Philly Fed

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

This week the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported contraction in its business activity index, hitting a minus 24 for the month and down further from the minus 20.9 reading in January. This is the lowest index level since the 2001 recession.

»Read more
  Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 | 2:43 PM ET

Airlines: A Tale of Mergers and Bankruptcy

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines are approaching a merger agreement that would create the largest airline by traffic, according to the WSJ. Both emerged from bankruptcy in the spring of 2007.

Bankruptcy which can allow reductions in labor costs, pensions, and the shedding of costly assets, such as planes and redundant routes, often helps potential partners realign their operations. Mergers can yield many of the same benefits but are often viewed as expensive and sloppy, especially if cultures differ. The Delta and Northwest deal is currently being held up as pilot unions debate seniority integration.

Here is a table of how fleet sizes have changed since airlines have merged. On an annualized basis, most fleets have grown less than 1% per year. Only low cost players Southwest and AirTran have significantly grown their fleets.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 | 1:46 PM ET

Political Futures: Texas and Ohio Primaries

Posted By: Gina Francolla

Now that Obama has won his 9th and 10th consecutive primaries in Wisconsin and Hawaii, will Texas be Hillary Clinton's Alamo? It is critical for the Clinton campaign to win both Ohio and Texas on March 4th.

The Intrade prediction markets \(www.intrade.com \) are showing an erosion of support for Clinton in both Texas and Ohio, and positive momentum for Obama to win the overall Democratic nomination. 2,025 delegates are needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

According to the WSJ article on 2/13,"Intrade says it correctly call the 2004 presidential election in 49 states -- it got only Alaska wrong. And Iowa Electronic Markets says that it has been more accurate than 75% of almost a thousand political opinion polls over the past 16 years." Both Iowa and Intrade have been forecasting Obama will get the Democratic nomination since the results of Super Tuesday.

The Obama contract for the Democratic nomination \(OBAMA08\) has been showing gains since Super Tuesday, and is currently predicting an 81.50%probability that Obama will get the nomination vs. a 18.6% probability for Clinton \(CLINTON08\).
-Clinton has lost 33.6% over the last 7 days, while Obama has gained 7.5%, in the Intrade markets.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 | 1:59 PM ET

Coal on Fire

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano

With oil prices touching $100 a barrel again and the ongoing drive to develop affordable alternative fuels, coal has reemerged as a major opportunity area in the energy sector. Coal futures, for instance, have soared 83% in the past six months.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 | 2:15 PM ET

Hewlett-Packard: Show Us The Growth

Posted By: Juan Aruego


Leading builder of computers and printers for both businesses and consumers. Dow component.

Reports Q1 earnings Tuesday 2/19 at approx. 405p ET. Conference call at 5p ET.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 | 12:18 PM ET

Cuba Investment Opportunities

Posted By: Gina Francolla

As Castro Announces his Retirement at 81, the stocks that could benefit.

The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (CUBA)http://www.herzfeld.com/cuba.htm invests in companies that are likely to benefit from the economic, political, structural and technological developments in the countries within the Caribbean Basin including Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Aruba, Haiti, the Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and the U.S.

Today, the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (CUBA) is up over 20%, and over 10% in 2008. The fund began trading in 1994.
*Note that the fund's performance longer term has been somewhat below average, but if sanctions are lifted analysts have always thought it could prosper.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 | 2:03 PM ET

Dow, S&P and NASDAQ Turn in a Positive Weekly Performance Despite Negative News

Posted By: Gina Francolla

For the week ending Friday, February 15, 2008 the major US Indexes ended the week slightly positve. The markets began the week with a rally on better than expected retail sales, but glum remarks by Bernanke on the economic outlook, weak manufacturing data, consumer confidence at a 16-yr low, and rising oil prices contributed to the week ending on a sour note.
-Volatility still ruled the markets, as the Dow swung more than 350 points from Wed to Thursday. Wednesday’s 178.83 point rally driven by retail sales 0.3% increase, and was the highest point & percentage gain for the month of February. Thursday’s –175.26 point loss was fueled by Bernanke's testimony and comments on "sluggish growth" fueling recession fears. Thursday Greenspan also stated that the economy is "clearly on the edge" of a recession.
*The VIX hit a high for the week of almost 30 on Monday, and values above 30 usually correspond with a high degree of volatility.
-All S&P Sectors ended the week in positive territory, led by the energy sector up 4.71%, except for Financials which fell -1.05% on more subprime write-downs. UBS reported $18 billion in write-downs.
-Merger News: Yahoo rejects Microsoft's bid, as Northwest and Delta hammer out their merger agreement and news of talks between Continental and AMR help lift the sector.
-Platinum for April delivery set a new record high in the electronic session of $2089.5 on Friday, and also closed at a new record of $2063.7 for the 12th day in a row, up 9.54% for the week impacted by continuing electrical-supply problems in South Africa and slow mining operations.
-Central Appalachian Coal that trades on the NYMEX is up 50% in 2008.
*Coal producers fell today on the Goldman downgrades due to historic multiples and the run up in commodity prices that are most likely at a top. Foundation Coal is trading at a P/E of 72.1.
-Soy for July delivery hit a record surpassing $14 per bushel as China's worst winter storm in 50 years damaged 40% of the rapeseed crop so experts feel China will increase its imports of soybeans to compensate
**According to Reuters, China imported 3.44 million tonnes of soybeans in January, a 41.5% increase from last year.
-Oil jumped up 4.06% for the week, closing at $95.50 per barrel.
*Crude Oil is off –4.14% from its record close of $99.62 per barrel hit on January 2nd.
-Dollar: The dollar fell against most major currencies this week on a gloomy U.S. economy, poor consumer confidence and the possibility of future rate cuts.
*Year-to-date the dollar is up 1.72% against the pound and 0.16% vs. the euro. However, many experts feel that the dollar will not hold on to any strength against the euro, and the dollar suffered its worst weekly performance against the euro in 2008, down 1.2% and topping $1.47 per euro for the first time since 2/5.
*YTD the dollar has fallen almost 4% against the yen.
Market Stats:
The Dow ended up 166.08 or 1.36% for the week, though it closed down for the day on Friday
-The Dow is Negative YTD down -6.91%
-The Dow is off by -1,816.32 or -12.82% from the market peak on October 9th of 14,164.53

The NASDAQ ended up 16.95 or 0.74% for the week, though it closed down for the day on Friday
-The NASDAQ is Negative YTD down -12.46%
-The NASDAQ is off by -537.32 or -18.79% from the market peak on October 31 of 2,859.12

The S&P 500 ended up 18.70 or 1.40% for the week
-The S&P is Negative YTD down -8.06%
-The S&P is off by -215.16 or -13.75% from the market peak on October 9th of 1,565.15

S&P Sector Performance for the week ending Friday, February 15, 2008:
S&P 500 Energy Sector Up 24.73 or 4.71%
S&P 500 Telecomm Services Sector Up 5.64 or 3.95%
S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Sector Up 4.99 or 2.01%
S&P 500 Materials Sector Up 4.44 or 1.80%
S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector Up 4.78 or 1.71%
S&P 500 Industrials Sector Up 5.09 or 1.55%
S&P 500 Utilities Sector Up 2.63 or 1.33%
S&P 500 Health Care Sector Up 3.10 or 0.81%
S&P 500 Information Technology Sector Up 2.73 or 0.79%
S&P 500 Financials Sector Down -3.83 or-1.05%

»Read more
  Friday, 15 Feb 2008 | 12:08 PM ET

Q1 Earnings Forecast Goes Negative

Posted By: Juan Aruego

Here we go again.

Analysts now expect earnings to decline in the first quarter of 2008.

Today, Thomson Financial's earnings growth consensus for the S&P 500 fell to -0.1 percent.

On Jan. 1, analysts expected growth of 5.7 percent On Oct. 1, it was 10.6 percent.

The main drag on earnings continues to be the financial sector.

Forecasts are for a 23 percent decline in financials' profits. On Jan. 1 consensus was an 11 percent decline and on Oct. 1 analysts called for a 5 percent increase.

Excluding financials, the growth forecast jumps to +9.0 percent.

However, other sectors are softening as well. Consumer discretionaries are also expected to decline 4 percent, a big drop from +8 percent consensus on Jan. 1 and a +18 percent forecast on Oct. 1.

Profits in the materials sector is also expected to fall by 3% versus a forecast of 7 percent increase on Jan.1 and 9 percent increase on Oct. 1.

Here's the sector-by-sector breakdown:

Source: Thomson Financial

The market has hit the Financial Sector the most in the past three months. Leading the Financials to the downside in the past 3 months are:

  • MBIA down 67%
  • Ambac Financial down 64%
  • Sallie Mae down 45%
  • MGIC Investment Corp down 44%
  • Countrywide Financial down 35%
»Read more
  Thursday, 14 Feb 2008 | 4:07 PM ET

Dow has 20th Triple Digit Move of the Year

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

The Dow closed with a triple digit loss today, the 20th plus/minus 100+ point move of the year.

20 triple digit moves of the DJIA in 31 sessions

  • 9 up
  • 11 down (counting today)
  • Biggest Gain +299 on Jan 23
  • Biggest Drop -370 on Feb 5

This is the most 100+ moves ever in the first month and a half of a year. The previous record for the same time period was 14 in 2000.

»Read more
  Thursday, 14 Feb 2008 | 8:46 AM ET

Will the Markets Show Some Love on Valentine's?

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

Historically, there has not been too much love on average from Wall Street on Valentine's Day. On average the major indices have been flat on Feb 14.

  • Avg Dow percent move of +.05%
  • Avg S&P percent move of -.08%
  • Avg Nasdaq percent move of +.07%

The Best Valentine's Days:

  • Dow:
    • Best point gain of 158.9 in 2003
    • Best % gain of 2.2% in 1920
  • S&P:
    • Best point gain of 17.5 in 2003
    • Best % gain of 2.1% also in 2003
    • Best point gain of 63.7 in 2001
    • Best % gain of 2.6% also in 2001

Worst Valentine's Days:

  • Dow:
    • Worst point loss of 107.9 in 2001 (when the NASDAQ had its best day)
    • Worst % loss of 4.3% in 1933
  • S&P:
    • Worst point loss of 23.9 in 1999
    • Worst % loss of 5.1% in 1933
    • Worst point loss of 83.7 in 1999
    • Worst % loss of 3.5% also in 1999

Last year's biggest Valentine's day gainers in the S&P were:

  • Deere & Co (DE) up 9.0%
  • CSX Corp. (CSX) up 6.9%
  • Affiliated Computer Svcs (ACS) up 5.9%
  • Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) up 5.1%
  • Ciena Corp (CIEN) up 4.8%
»Read more

About By the Numbers

  • Our market specialists dig deep into Wall Street’s daily metrics, crunching the numbers to help you become smarter about the market so that you can make better investment decisions. By The Numbers details the daily drama, the winners and losers, how the day stacks up historically, and how the numbers can offer a glimpse of the future.


Follow By the Numbers