The S&P 500 is on track for its best weekly gain since July, but if history is any indication, those gains may evaporate on Monday.» Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
The Best Valentine's Days:
Worst Valentine's Days:
Last year's biggest Valentine's day gainers in the S&P were:
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).
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.
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