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Economic Data Saps Sentiment

Economic Data1

      Despite another slew of mostly positive reports from the earnings front, some disappointing economic reports domestically and from China put a wrench in the bulls' plans to extend the recent rally. New home sales fell well short of expectations, manufacturing activity surprisingly slowed, and mortgage applications declined. Moreover, a preliminary read on manufacturing activity in China showed continued contraction, overshadowing a near three-year high in eurozone business activity. Treasuries finished higher following the lackluster data and crude oil prices were … [Read more...]

Golden Parachute

Golden Parachute

      by Larry Levin   With a veritable snooze fest in the markets Monday after the holiday weekend, I thought I’d turn my focus to the private sector and discuss their current shenanigans. While there’s been plenty of well-publicized corporate blunders (From General Mills attempting to use their website as a gatepost against arbitration to General Motors having yet another massive recall), my favorite comes from the folks at Yahoo, specifically Marissa Meyer. It turns out that Yahoo told Chief Operating Officer Henrique De Castro to pack his bags … [Read more...]

M&A and Earnings Keep Winning Streak Alive


    The S&P 500 is poised for a sixth-straight session of gains with stocks finding support from some massive M&A announcements in the pharmaceuticals sector, as well as a plethora of mostly better-than-expected earnings reports. Novartis AG, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and Eli Lilly and Co announced a series of deals for a total of $28.5 billion, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals International announced a proposed merger with Allergan valued at over $45.0 billion. Meanwhile, Netflix, and Dow members Travelers Companies and United Technologies all topped the Street's profit … [Read more...]

Markets Notch Gains as Earnings Continue to Roll In


    U.S. equities finished modestly higher to start the week following the long Easter holiday weekend, but action was somewhat subdued with markets in Europe, Hong Kong, and Australia remaining closed. Meanwhile, 1Q earnings season continued in earnest with stronger-than-expected profits from Sun Trust Banks, Hasbro, and Advanced Micro Devices. In other equity news, shares of Sarepta Therapeutics jumped after it announced that it will submit a new FDA application for its experimental muscular dystrophy treatment, Ford will reportedly name a new chief soon, while Britain's Sunday … [Read more...]

Pony Up


      by Larry Levin   When the lunatics are running the financial asylum, I will celebrate the small victories. Yesterday we learned the eight biggest U.S. banks must boost capital levels by a total of about $68 billion under new rules. The new rules are attempting to limit the big banksters reliance on debt. By 2018, banks must rely more on funding sources such as shareholder equity, rather than borrowing money. According to Bloomberg: Banks' insured subsidiaries face tougher limits and must boost capital holdings by a total of about $95 billion, … [Read more...]

Modest Bounce for Stocks Continues


    The domestic equity markets are gaining ground for a second-straight session, continuing to rebound from the recent rout in momentum stocks, aided by stronger-than-expected profits from Alcoa, which unofficially kicked off 1Q earnings season. Meanwhile, in afternoon action, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its March meeting, which caused some consternation on the Street regarding the outlook for interest rates. Treasuries are lower ahead of the report, and following other U.S. data showing wholesale inventories rose, while mortgage applications declined … [Read more...]

Jobs Data


        by Larry Levin   Even though the talking heads and the politicos tried to spin last Friday’s jobs data in countless different ways, the number was really pretty awful and the Fed isn’t coming to an immediate rescue. The hope-driven hyper-growth stocks got slammed as the Nasdaq had its worst swing since December 2011. You don’t need to be a data sleuth to realize that despite the reported “milestone” hiring figure, the labor market hasn’t fully healed and remains systemically broken. Even though the nonfarm payrolls eclipsed … [Read more...]

Momentum Malaise Manhandling Markets

Stocks Mixed3

    The U.S. equity markets are lower in afternoon action as traders continue to exit momentum stocks, ahead of 1Q earnings season, which will unofficially start with tomorrow's report from Alcoa after the closing bell. Meanwhile, the weakness in momentum stocks, especially technology issues, carried overseas, with Asian and European markets posting red figures. Treasuries are higher, with the U.S. economic calendar relatively quiet today, as a final hour report on consumer credit is the lone release on today's docket. In equity news, Dow member Procter & Gamble announced a … [Read more...]

Markets Register Steep Losses


      In a volatile trading session, the U.S. equity markets gave up early gains and closed the day sharply lower, with the Nasdaq falling hardest and momentum stocks coming under heavy pressure. Early support may have arisen from the release of the March labor report, which was mostly inline with economists' forecasts. Treasuries were nicely higher following the domestic employment data. On the equity front, Micron Technology reported quarterly earnings results that beat analysts' estimates, however, the memory chip maker offered disappointing 3Q guidance. Elsewhere, … [Read more...]

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages

      by Larry Levin   Last night I was watching TV and Henry Winkler came on talking about reverse mortgages. My first thought was, wow, the Fonz is doing commercials, how bizarre. But my second thought was more foreboding and that was if something is being pitched as a sound financial strategy late at night on cable, well then things may not be what they seem. So what exactly is a reverse mortgage? In a nutshell, it’s a specific type of home equity loan available only to people aged 62 and over, which has the added benefit of not carrying any … [Read more...]