Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Posted by Christopher F. at 11:42 AM
Monday, February 17, 2014
Apple Inc.’s AAPL merger and acquisitions chief, Adrian Perica, met with Tesla Motors Inc.’s TSLA chief executive, Elon Musk, in Cupertino, Calif., last year when speculation abounded that the iPhone maker could make bid for the electric car maker, The San Francisco Chronicle reported in its online edition Sunday, citing an anonymous source. The report suggested that a high-level meeting between two major Silicon Valley players is a sign that Apple was very interested in Tesla. The Chronicle also reported that Apple is looking at the medical devices business, specifically technology that can predict heart attacks. Apple’s interest in electric cars and medical devices, areas far afield from its core business, is a clear signal that the tech giant is looking to take risks and expand beyond iPhones and iPads, the newspaper said. Wall Street analysts have speculated about a potential Apple-Tesla marriage from time to time as part of an emerging consensus that Apple needs to explore new ventures. Adnaan Ahmad, an analyst at the investment bank Berenberg, went as far as to write an open letter in October to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, calling on him to buy Tesla at a time when Apple was coming under intense pressure to put its billions of cash to better use.
Posted by Christopher F. at 9:15 AM
Soros Fund Management has doubled up a bet that the S&P 500 SPX is headed for a fall. Within Friday’s 13F filings news was the revelation that the firm, founded by legendary investor George Soros, increased a put position on the S&P 500 ETF SPY-0.04% by a whopping 154% in the fourth quarter, compared with the third. (A put or short position basically gives the owner the right to sell a security at a set price for a limited time, and in making such a bet, an investor generally believes the security is going to decline.) The value of that holding, the biggest position in the fund, has risen to $1.3 billion from around $470 million. It now makes up a 11.13% chunk of all reported holdings. It had been cut to 5.14% in the third quarter, from 13.54% in the second quarter, which itself marked another dramatic lift on the bearish call. The numbers can be found at Whalewisdom.com, which makes them slightly easier to digest than the actual SEC filing. Writing on the Bullion Baron blog, Joseph has been quick to alert readers to the hedge fund’s bets on the S&P 500, offering up a summary of changes to that call from mid-2011 onward. For the four quarters of 2013, that short has followed a pattern of big highs and big lows. Of course, Joseph said, the bearish S&P call could be a hedge and, as it’s six weeks into the next reporting period, it may have already been reduced or increased. But he said it could also be indicative of jitters: In January, Soros highlighted risks coming out of China and drew a comparison with the lead-up to the crash of 2008. The second- and third-biggest positions in the 13F were a fresh put on the Energy Select Sector SPDR fund and a big jump in holds of Israeli pharmaceutical maker Teva TEVA. Read about more changes in Soros’s quarterly holdings here. Soros and his hedge fund aren’t alone if they’re feeling unease at the bull run for markets. It’s been roughly 28 months since a substantial correction for the S&P 500, which is down 0.5% for the year after having endured a pullback earlier this month, triggered in part by jitters over emerging markets. Strategists have been debating about when and how the correction is going to happen. As for whether investors should ape the 13F followings of others, MarketWatch’s Bill Watts pointed out last week that the 45-day lag in the holdings is particularly tricky when it comes to calls like a huge bearish bet on the S&P 500. And he found that while hedge funds outperform on the upside, they do far worse on the downside. It was Soros himself who famously once said: “I rely a great deal on animal instincts.” And as we all know, George’s made some big, crazy, winning bets in the past.
Posted by Christopher F. at 9:09 AM
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Investors this week will divide their time watching for dividend hikes that are popular in February while taking the pulse of the U.S. consumer from companies such as Coca-Cola Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Priceline.com, Inc. Stocks finished higher across the board Friday, notching their best week of the year after consumer sentiment topped expectations by coming in unchanged for February, and industrial production in January declined on account of bad weather. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA+0.79% and the S&P 500 Index SPX+0.48% both gained 2.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP+0.08% advanced 2.9%. With about four-fifths of the S&P 500 having reported earnings this season, attention in the President’s Day-shortened week will shift to how companies are translating increased earnings into higher dividends, which are on track to beat 2013’s record cash payout, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “There were 78 dividend increases in the S&P 500 in February of last year,” said Silverblatt. “We have 28 so far this February, so I bet we beat that as it’s only going to get busier and busier.” Late Thursday saw a jump in dividend hikes and buyback authorization increases, while earlier in the day, PepsiCo. PEP-2.01% also hiked its dividend and said it expects to increase buybacks. Even with weak demand seen in emerging markets, Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO+1.30% hiked its dividend last week. In fact, Silverblatt said he sees a record dividend payout in 2014 of $339 billion from S&P 500 companies, topping 2013’s $312 billion, a far cry from when cash paid out totalled $196 billion in 2009. But while the total amount paid out is on the increase, the percentage of earnings going into dividends is actually on the decline, Silverblatt notes. Dividend payments are about 36% of earnings right now, down from a 78-year average of 52%, and that’s expected to fall to 34% by the end of 2014, according to Silverblatt. Stock buybacks for the fourth quarter, while running flat from the third quarter’s $128.2 billion, are still on track to be significantly up on the year-ago quarter’s $99.2 billion, he noted. Then again, given the S&P 500’s 30% rise in 2013, that appears to be just keeping up with valuations. Meanwhile, U.S. corporations are still sitting on a record amount of cash, an estimated $1.25 trillion on the books at the end of the third quarter. Even with cash payouts and buybacks on the rise, Silverblatt expects that to increase by 3.7% for the fourth quarter. Consumer-driven earnings ahead About 40 S&P 500 companies report quarterly results this week, with a quarter representing consumer discretionary and consumer staples stocks. So far this year, excluding energy and telecom, the consumer discretionary and consumer staples sectors have performed the worst with declines of 2.5% and 3%, respectively. The S&P 500, in contrast, is down 0.5% year-to-date. As to whether the consumer contribution to the economic recovery is slipping, much of the recent data shows conflicts, and investors will have to keep an eye on what pans out in the next month or two. Consumer discretionary and consumer staples companies are some of the hardest pressed to top Wall Street expectations for earnings. Only 55% of consumer staples companies reporting and 62% of consumer discretionary companies have topped earnings estimates, compared with the 66% average for the S&P 500, according to Thomson Reuters data. It gets worse on the revenue side of things. With an average 64% of companies on the S&P 500 topping Wall Street revenue expectations, 51% of consumer discretionary companies have topped estimates and only 33% of consumer staples companies have beat on top-line forecasts. Two Dow industrial components report this week with Coca-Cola KO+0.72% on Tuesday, and Wal-Mart WMT+0.57% — which recently warned on profits , blaming weather and food-stamp reductions — reporting on Thursday. Other notable earnings reports include Medtronic Inc. MDT+0.49% and Herbalife Ltd. HLF-0.76% on Tuesday; Marriott International Inc. MAR+2.81% , Safeway Inc. SWY+1.78% , and Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA-0.70% on Wednesday; and Hewlett-Packard Co. HPQ+0.64% , Groupon Inc. GRPN-2.32% , Nordstrom Inc. JWN-0.15% , Priceline.com Inc. PCLN+0.31% , and Express Scripts Holding Co. ESRX+0.20% on Thursday. Economic data in the holiday-shortened week that may lend some insight into consumer health includes the home builder’s index on Tuesday, housing starts on Wednesday, the consumer price index on Thursday, and existing home sales on Friday. Also, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release minutes of its recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting, where the central bank reduced asset purchases by another $10 billion a month, on Wednesday.
Posted by Christopher F. at 4:22 PM
Several Reasons why, mostly because it has real drugs with real potential AND existing revenue! I hold no position but it is enticing
Posted by Christopher F. at 3:42 PM
Let me start off immediately by saying that I hold no position in Galena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GALE) and have no plans to invest in the name. I just don’t have the stomach for the volatility. I tell you this because there has been a lot of drama surrounding Galena Pharmaceuticals in the last two weeks, and a full disclosure is warrented. There have been a number of negative ‘hit’ pieces published of late in response to an alleged stock promotion scam involving the company in addition to criticisms over its growth potential. I believe for the long-term speculative investor, Galena actually presents a high risk, but a very high reward play should the company meet its goals. Let me start by recapping the timeline for February. Galena had risen through 2013 after promising data was released, in addition to positive analyst coverage as well as positive blog commentary. On February 1, an article was published suggesting the stock was overvalued. At the time, Galena was trading at $5.27 a share. Issues raised in the article — which I believe we overblown — included Galena’s potentially blockbuster cancer vaccine, Neuvax, as being unable to generate revenues for the company. It also slammed Galena for being unable to enjoy exclusivity and was facing patent expiration. The latter is true. The author went on to argue that Galena’s pipeline and partnerships were essentially a façade and would.......READ MORE
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), perhaps the greatest wealth-creating stock in history, has now become a huge battleground stock. Whether you believe the company has lost its ability to innovate since the passing of Steve Jobs is irrelevant. What I wish to discuss in this article is what is happening financially with the company. That is, sales, buybacks, and dividends. As most of us know, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, made clear in a recent interview that the company bought back $14 billion in Apple stock since Apple reported its results at the end of January. Apple chose to use its hoard of cash to be aggressive in buying back shares. Why did the company do this? Well, management realized that the share price was far too low after dropping more than 50 points following the quarterly report. However, one downside about spending all this cash on the buyback is that...READ MORE
Look, its a conviction buy. Its had its troubles. But the stock IS REBOUNDING. It will fly higher BECAUSE of its news driven events and bitcoin revenue!
Posted by Christopher F. at 2:26 PM
Actually hoping it comes down so I can buy but it it breaks $6.00 it will be at $7.00 in less than a month! HUGE deal with Warner Bros and the Godzilla Movie signed!
Posted by Christopher F. at 2:11 PM
Jodie Gunzberg, vice president at S&P Dow Jones Indices, pointed out in a recent blog that coffee is actually the best performing commodity this year, but it’s destined for a price plunge over the next few years if history repeats itself. As one of the commodities in the S&P GSCI XX:SPGSCI and DJ-UBS Commodity Index XX:DJUBS, coffee has gained 23.9%, she said on Tuesday. Gunzberg attributed the rally in the commodity to expectations that consumption in China will grow by an annual rate of 9% for the next five years, as well as to dry weather in Brazil. Futures prices for coffee closed on Tuesday at their highest level since May. March Arabica coffee CH4 was last at $1.40 a pound, up nearly 2 cents, or 1.9%, on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange. But Gunzberg said that the roughly 30% increase in coffee prices since October of last year “could be a head fake.” “If the next drawdown looks like the past, it is possible to see a downward spiral for another 2.5-3 years with a loss of 58.6%,” she said. Here’s the explanation from her blog: “Historically, the major drawdowns have lasted on average about 5.5 years with a loss of 81.1%. The gains from trough to peak on average with the exception of the 2008 financial crisis period lasted 4.8 years with average gains of 387.1% — that includes the gain between 2001-2011. The last drawdown ending 10/31/2013 only lasted 2.5 years and was only down 64.8% before gaining 30.1% until now.”
Posted by Christopher F. at 2:10 PM
Here is the transcript: February 12, 2014 10:00 AM ET Operator Good morning, and welcome to Deere and Company’s first quarter earnings conference call. [Operator instructions.] I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Tony Huegel, Director of Investor Relations. Thank you. You may begin. Tony Huegel - Director of Investor Relations Thank you. Also on the call today are Raj Kalathur, our chief financial officer; and Susan Karlix, our manager of investor communications. Today we’ll take a closer look at Deere’s first quarter earnings, then spend some time talking about our markets and our outlook for fiscal 2014. After that, we will respond to your questions. Please note that slides are available to complement the call this morning. They can be accessed on our website at www.johndeere.com. First, a reminder. This call is being broadcast live on the internet and recorded for future transmission and use by Deere and NASDAQ OMX. Any other use, recording, or transmission of any portion of this copyrighted broadcast without the express written consent of Deere is strictly prohibited. Participants in the call, including the Q&A session, agree that their likeness and remarks in all media may be stored and used as part of the earnings call. This call includes forward-looking comments concerning the company’s plans and projections for the future that are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially is contained in the company’s most recent Form 8-K and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This call also may include financial measures that are not in conformance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or GAAP. Additional information concerning these measures, including reconciliations to comparable GAAP measures, is included in the release and posted on our website at www.johndeere.com/financialreports under Other Financial Information. Susan? Susan Karlix - Manager of Investor Communications Thank you, Tony. With this morning’s first quarter earnings…..READ MORE AT SEEKING ALPHA
Posted by Christopher F. at 2:04 PM
Two articles touting Galena Biopharma(GALE_) were removed from Seeking Alpha Monday because they were written by the same person using different aliases. This is the second time Seeking Alpha has been forced to take action against individuals using multiple aliases to tout Galena, a small drug developer with a breast cancer vaccine in a phase III study. In January 2013, the investor Web site removed five articles promoting Galena written by the same individual under three different pseudonyms. The most recent incident is more serious and potentially damaging because of evidence linking Galena to a stock-promotions firm which wrote and published the articles on Seeking Alpha. The articles were part of a broader, coordinated "brand awareness campaign" designed to boost Galena's stock price, according to a document obtained by TheStreet. Aided by this promotional campaign, Galena shares tripled in value from this summer. Coincidence or not, Galena insiders have made millions of dollars by selling company stock in January. Galena did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment. In July 2013, Galena paid $50,000 to a subsidiary of The DreamTeam Group for 240 days of "advertising, branding, marketing, investor relations and social media services," according to a disclaimer on The DreamTeam Group's Web site.
Posted by Christopher F. at 1:50 PM
Monday, February 10, 2014
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Ah the Golden Arches of McDonald's (MCD). Perhaps the most recognizable brand on the globe. And how could it not be? It is the world's largest chain of hamburger style fast food restaurants, serving around 70 million customers daily in 120 countries. We know the MCD primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers and french fries but also offers a wide variety of breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts. Some see the growth continuing organically. Responding to consumer demand for healthier options the company has expanded its menu to include salads, fish, wraps, smoothies, oatmeal and fruit. New menu items appear monthly it seems, as do varying combinations of value menus and deals. MCD continues to push to be the top dog in the fast food space, and has done an amazing job at that. The stock currently trades at $95.80 with a p/e of 17 and pays a juicy 3.4% dividend yield. Today we learned that the stock was upgraded by Morgan Stanley (MS) and in this article I want to address the upgrade and raise two concerns before investors pile into the stock on the upgrade. We learned today that........READ MORE
Posted by Christopher F. at 6:10 PM
Saturday, February 8, 2014
I am buying 10,000 Shares of WPCS International. WPCS International is RIPE for a trade
Posted by Christopher F. at 1:57 PM