Morning in Arizona

Morning in Arizona
Rainbows over Canyonlands - Dave Stoker

The Headline Animator

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Step 9

Financial Review

Step 9

DOW + 189 = 17,630
SPX + 25 =  2093
NAS + 49 = 5089
10 YR YLD + .02 = 2.25%
OIL + .59 = 47.98
GOLD + 1.00 = 1096.50
SILV + .14 = 14.79

The Federal Reserve FOMC met today. They will meet again tomorrow and then they will issue a statement.  Investors are not expecting any major decisions this week, but they will be looking for hints on the Fed’s timing for possible future movements. While consensus for a rate rise is leaning towards September, the wild card is now China.

growing number of market watchers are suggesting that, before the year is out, two interest rate hikes rather than just one could be on the cards. In the Treasury market, futures contracts suggested that investors were making the same mistake they made at the outset of the last three major tightening cycles, by underestimating the amount the federal funds rate will be raised. The implied rate on September 2016 contracts is 0.8 percent, while many forecasts are looking at 1.5 percent to 2 percent.

Chinese shares whip-sawed between gains and losses today, as Beijing renewed its pledge to prop up an equities market. The 144 Chinese companies with primary stock listings in the US have erased nearly $40 billion in paper wealth since the Shanghai Composite peaked in mid-June; a 30% drop. After a plunge of more than 8% on Monday, Chinese regulators said they were prepared to lend further support, while the central bank injected cash into money markets and hinted at further easing. And the Shanghai was only down 1.7% at 3663.

One report said traders saw stability in the Chinese markets and that helped rally stocks in other countries, including the US. Unfortunately, it may be little more than stability; market crashes don’t typically end with good news; they end with bad news that washes out all the remaining weak hands. Right now it looks like we’re seeing a dead cat bounce off the 200 day moving average, we’ll have to see if it holds. From there, the next levels of support are around 3370 and then around 3050.

A delegation from the so-called troika and Eurozone bailout fund are in Athens this morning to begin negotiations over an €86B bailout. The talks will start almost a week later than planned, raising pressure on Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, who is already struggling to keep his party from falling apart. A new bailout would have to be completed by mid-August if Athens is to secure billions of euros to repay ECB-held bonds that mature on August 20.

Puerto Rico owes $72 billion, a sum its governor has declared it can’t pay, but consultants in a hedge-fund-backed report issued Sunday insisted the island actually can come up with the cash. Hedge funds want their money and so they’re telling the debt-buried island to cut teachers, slash spending and collect more taxes to deal with its fiscal crisis. Instead of letting Puerto Rico restructure its debt, the hedge fund report says the government should cut spending by $2 billion a year; cutting the number of teachers at public schools, slashing subsidies to the University of Puerto Rico and reducing Medicaid and welfare benefits. The creditors also want Puerto Rico to sell off public properties and increase its collection of sales and property taxes to bring in $3 billion more a year. Seems we’ve heard this story somewhere else.

Consumer confidence fell sharply in July to a 10-month low. The consumer confidence index dropped to 90.9 from 99.8 in June.

Home prices rose steadily in May. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 4.9 percent in May from 12 months earlier, down slightly from a 5 percent pace in April. In Phoenix, home prices increased 0.8% from April to March, and prices are up 3.8% over the past 12 months.

The Census Bureau reports the home ownership rate was 63.4 percent in the second quarter, the lowest reading since 1967. The number of owner households decreased by 400,000, while the number of renter households increased by 2 million. While that is a good sign for the rental market, overall a lack of home buyers is likely a bad sign that incomes aren’t keeping pace with rising home prices, keeping young buyers out of the housing market.

Honeywell is buying Elster Group for $5.1 billion. Elster Group is a German-based energy and water business owned by the UK’s Melrose Industries.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay about $2.6 billion in cash and shares for generic drugmaker Roxane.

General Electric has offered to sell gas-turbine assets to an Italian rival in another attempt to win EU approval for its plan to buy most of Alstom’s energy business. On Monday, Alstom agreed to a €300 million-euro reduction in the price it would get for selling its power turbines unit to GE , to help the latter gain antitrust clearance.

Global M&A volumes this year are on track to pass $3 trillion for the first time since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Almost 20,000 deals worth a total of $2.1 trillion have been agreed this year. Goldman Sachs holds the top spot on M&A advisory league tables for 2015, advising on 156 deals worth a total of $578.5 billion since January 1 — about $100 billion more in value than the same period last year. Health care, including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, has been the most active industry with 1,441 deals in the first two quarters of 2015.

Earnings season is in high gear. BP announced a second-quarter net loss of $5.8 billion. For BP, it’s the biggest loss since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the second quarter of 2010. The most recent results included a $10.8 billion charge for liabilities related to the spill, bringing the total set aside to more than $54 billion. The company also warned that low oil prices are here to stay.

DuPont reported a 12 percent drop in quarterly profit, hurt by a fall in agriculture earnings and a stronger dollar.

Pfizer beat Wall Street expectations for the second quarter and raised its 2015 forecast.
Merck’s second-quarter profit plunged by two-thirds, but they still managed to beat estimates; Merck raised its full year forecast.

Twitter posted second-quarter earnings of 7 cents per share on $502 million in revenue, beating top line and bottom line estimates; but then on its conference, the company warned it would not see “sustained, meaningful” user growth for a “considerable period of time.”

Package delivery company UPS reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit on improved margins. UPS also said US economic growth appears to be slowing. They lowered their forecast for second half economic growth to 2.3% from 3.1%. They say retail has been weak and it got weaker in June. UPS is the biggest member of the Dow transports, measured by total sales and market valuation, so it serves as a link between the companies that make products and their consumers. When the Dow transports and UPS stock underperform the broader market, it could portend weakness in the broader market.

Ford posted net quarterly profit of $1.89 billion, or 47 cents per share; ten cents better than estimates. The company maintained its 2015 operating profit forecast of between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

The U.S. Marine Corps has finished tests and filled out the paperwork needed to turn the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet into an operational aircraft, a key milestone for the $391B program that has suffered years of delays and cost overruns. Once Marine Corps Commandant General Joe Dunford signs off on the filing, the F-35B fleet will have achieved initial operational capability, becoming the first model of the joint strike fighter that’s ready for combat.

New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, consistently ranked among the worst in the U.S. in cleanliness, design and delays, is now slated to be torn down and rebuilt. The $4 billion remodel of the 50-year-old Central Terminal, will break ground in early 2016 and take 39 months to complete.

PC sales are down over the last year or so. Many people believe this is because of the popularity of mobile devices but part of the blame must go to Windows 8. Microsoft is launching Windows 10, starting tomorrow. Microsoft is skipping from Windows 8 to Windows 10, and many people wonder what happened to number 9. I think I know; they replaced Windows 9 with Step 9, which requires them to make amends.

Millions of computer owners will be able to download Windows 10 for free after tomorrow, marking the first time Microsoft has given away its latest Windows version without a fee, and if you wisely never updated Windows 7 or you are desperately longing to update Windows 8 – do it; wait till the weekend, just in case there’s a problem, but do it. While many believe the push is to keep users on board, it may also highlight a shift in the overall strategy of Microsoft, which is looking to reverse a four-year slide in PC sales.

The software giant seems to now be moving away from making money just once – when it sells a fresh version of Windows – to generating long-term revenue by selling apps, Web-search ads and other add-ons. The new Windows 10 should make amends by including things a start button; splitting the screen between apps tiles and the old desktop; a new voice assistant called Cortana; and a new browser called Edge, which you might actually want to use.

There is a new Number One in global auto sales.  Volkswagen surpassed Toyota to become the biggest automaker by global vehicle sales for January-June, the first time the German automaker has come out on top in the intensely competitive tallies. Toyota said it sold 5.02 million vehicles in the first half, Volkswagen sold 5.04 million. General Motors, the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades until being surpassed by Toyota in 2008, is expected to report its figure on Thursday.

The Arizona Cardinals announced they have hired Jen Welter as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason to work with inside linebackers. Welter will be the first female coach in the NFL.

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