By the Numbers


  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
  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
  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
  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
  Wednesday, 13 Feb 2008 | 4:42 PM ET

Fund Managers "Carrying" A Lot Of Cash

Posted By: Patti Domm

Merrill Lynch sees a dramatic rise in the number of fund managers who are overweighting cash in its monthly global fund managers survey, but it also shows that 82 percent of the managers see global stock markets as fairly valued or under valued.

In a survey taken in the early days of February, Merrill found that the nearly 200 fund managers and asset allocators are the most risk averse they've been in seven years. Forty percent of the respondents also say they have a shorter than normal time horizon. That number was 33 percent in January.

Merrill also says a net 41 percent of the fund managers say they are overweight cash, a level last seen right after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. They also see investment time horizons "shrunk back to extremes" last seen in 2003. In January, a net 31 percent were overweight cash.

Merrill says the managers pared back their overweight in emerging markets. They are also less favorable toward "Eurozone" stocks and they continue to "shun" Japanese and U.K. equities. "So the winner from the current crisis appears to be the US stock market - supported by a widespread belief that the USD is undervalued," according to Merrill's report.

In the next 12 months, the managers see the emerging markets (35 percent) and the U.S.(31 percent) as the regions they would most like to overweight. The areas they want to underweight are Eurozone (22 percent), the U.S. and Japan (each 20 percent), then emerging markets (18 percent).

Bullish sign?
The managers' answers on global stock values had an interesting 50/50 split. Forty-one percent say global equities are fairly valued, and another 41 percent say they are undervalued. That compares to 32 percent who saw stocks as undervalued in January, while 49 percent saw them as fairly valued at that time. In December, the difference was even greater. The percent who thought they were overvalued was relatively consistent at 16 percent in February; 17 percent in January and 16 percent in December.

The number of managers expecting a global recession in the next 12 months increased to 28 percent who see it as likely or fairly likely. That number was 19 percent last month. The number saying a recession is fairly unlikely dipped to 55 percent from 59 percent.

I picked further through the report and found something else interesting. When asked to rate liquidity conditions, 38 percent say they are "good." That compares to 36 percent in January and 34 percent in December who said conditions were good. The percent who say conditions are "poor" is at the same time declining and getting to be near equal to the "good" camp. In February, the level of poor answers was 42 percent. In January, 45 percent thought it was poor and in December 44 percent thought it was poor. Back in November, 35 percent were finding conditions "poor" and 48 percent said conditions were "good."

Not surprising, just 2 percent saw conditions as very good in February, and 7 percent said they were "very poor."

The attitudes of big money managers are of course interesting. But there is also a view that when a big percentage of investors begin to think one way, it's a contrarian sign. For that reason, I will also mention that the latest Investor's Intelligence poll shows bullish sentiment declining to 36.7 percent form 41.6 percent--its lowest reading since June, 2006. Bearishness, meanwhile, rose to 35.6 percent from 32.5 percent.

Questions? Comments? marketinsider@cnbc.com

»Read more
  Wednesday, 13 Feb 2008 | 1:04 PM ET

Pfizer and High Yielding Healthcare

Posted By: Ariel Nelson
With a 5.6% dividend yield, Pfizer is currently the highest yielding stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and ranks 20th in yield on the S&P 500.  As a point of comparison, 30 Yr treasuries and the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index are yielding about 4.5%.  The Lehman Corporate Bond Index is yielding 5.55%. So is it the time to buy PFE? »Read more
  Tuesday, 12 Feb 2008 | 2:33 PM ET

SI Swimsuit Issue - Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

On a whim and based on Darren Rovell's interview with Sports Illustrated Covergirl

»Read more

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