Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick Overview

  • The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of single-family home prices in 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.7 %, a bigger drop than the 0.5% expected. The decrease added on to the 0.7% decline seen in October from September. Home prices in Atlanta dropped 12% last year -- the most in 20 metro areas. Detroit saw the biggest gains, at 4%.

  • The Conference Board said consumer attitudes fell to 61.1 in January from a revised 64.8 the month before, as Americans turned gloomy about the job market and their income prospects.

  • (Bloomberg) Imagine an industry on a roll. Its income surpassed the $100 billion mark last year for the first time. On top of these riches, those in the business got an additional $25 billion or so in federal handouts. The 1 percenters of Wall Street? Not even close. The beneficiaries are America’s farmers, or to be more accurate, the wealthy owners of very big farms.

  • ARM Holdings (ARMH) reported quarterly sales of $217.41million up 21% YoY.

  • Joblessness in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 10.4%

  • Biogen said its Q4 earnings rose 25%

  • China Manufacturing PMI 50.5 vs 49.8 expected.

  • Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) net income fell to $177 million, or 38 cents a share, from $416 million, or 91 cents, a year earlier.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- Russia has exported close to 20 million metric tons of wheat in the 2011-2012 marketing year and has “very little grain left,” K.C. Suresh, head of grains at Olam International, told analysts.

  • At MF Global, officials hunting for an estimated $1.2 billion in missing customer money increasingly believe that much of it might never be recovered. The findings so far suggest that the money "vaporized" as a result of chaotic trading at MF Global.
  • Investors and traders reduced commodity trading by 19% in 2011. The flight was the biggest in at least 12 years, outpacing the departure seen in 2008 during the financial crisis.

  • The December U.S consumer savings rate rose to 4% from 3.5% in November

  • GDP of the Philippines grew by only 3.75 in 2011 or less than one-half of its 2010 growth of 7.6%.

  • Standard and Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of 13 major Italian local governments, including the cities of Rome, Milan, Florence, Bologna and Genoa, from A to BBB+.

  • The BDI (Baltic Dry Index), is at 702 points, down by 24 on the day. It’s been the worst start of the year for years. This January is proving to be a very difficult month for ship owners, as a result of newbuilding deliveries, especially in the Capesize sector. Stocks of shipping Companies however are performing quite a bit better.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick Overview

  • Brazil’s cuts benchmark interest rate to 10.5%
  • Brazil's unemployment rate fell to a record-low 4.7% in December from the 5.3% in the same period in 2010

  • French consumers' sentiment improved to minus 57 this month from minus 61 in December but "remains notably below their long term average."

  • Korea’s business survey index , which gauges local manufacturers' assessment of current business conditions, fell 2 points MoM to 78 in January.

  • Netflix, shares rose 21% to $115.14 on the back of strong fourth-quarter results

  • Japanese retail sales rose 2.5%
  • YoY Japan's consumer price index fell 0.1% in December

  • Starbucks Q1 profit rose 10% to $382.1 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $346.6 million, or 45 cents a share, in the same 2011 period. Revenue rose 16% to a record $3.4 billion. Comparable store sales worldwide were up 9%.

  • 3M reported net earnings of $954 million, or $1.35 per share, compared with $928 million, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier.

  • Nokia sold well over 1 million Windows Phone units in Q4 of 2011. That may have nearly doubled Microsoft's smartphone market share. Nokia said it lost almost $1.4 billion in Q4, compared with a profit of 745 million Euros a year earlier. Sales at Nokia fell 21% to 10 billion Euros from 12.65 billion Euros a year earlier. Operating profit fell by more than half during the period to 478 million Euros, from 1.1 billion Euros a year earlier.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. economy has been "expanding moderately", so the Fed's expects to keep rates low through "late 2014"

  • The Department of Energy said: crude oil stocks rose by 3.6 million barrels in the week ending January 20. Gasoline stocks fell by 0.4 million. Distillate stocks fell by 2.5 million barrels.

  • Britain's economy grew 0.9% during 2011.

  • S. Korea’s GDP expanded 0.4 % in Q4, slower than a revised on-quarter growth rate of 0. 8% in Q3.

  • New Zealand's central bank left the interest rate unchanged at 2.5 percent.

  • Singapore's CPI eased slightly to 5.5 % in December from 5.7 percent in the previous month.

  • "To infinity and beyond!" is the theme of Gingrich's latest campaign pitch: a lunar colony within eight years.

  • Africa and Asia are moving ahead of Europe in the development of their digital infrastructure according to the head of France's largest telecommunications equipment supplier.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Corporate profitability is at an all time high. Nearly 60% of S&P listed companies have so far beaten earnings estimates for the last quarter. However P/E ratios are at 1990 lows.
  • The US Supreme Court overturned a California law that set strict standards for slaughtering and selling the meat of sick and injured animals.

  • Apple reported record quarterly net profits of $13.06bn, or $13.87 per share, well ahead of analyst expectations of $10.07 per share

  • Romney, and his wife Ann paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 % in 2010 on an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million.

  • The Richmond Fed said manufacturing activity in its six-state region increased in January, mirroring improvements seen in similar regional indexes. The bank said its current-activity index rose to 12 from 3.

  • Verizon (VZ) reported adjusted earnings of 52 cents a share -- a penny below the consensus forecast.

  • Sales of homes in the UK fell by 11% last year.

  • (Spiegel) The EU has banned oil imports from Iran to try and pressure the regime into making concessions over its controversial nuclear program. But even though the Iranian economy is suffering, Tehran is refusing to give ground. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards are profiting from the sanctions.

  • Johnson & Johnson Q4 profit was barely a tenth what it made a year ago as a slew of charges for recalls, litigation and an acquisition dragged down income. But the health care giant's revenue jumped last year, ending an unprecedented two-year decline.

  • Unemployment dropped in 37 U.S. states in December, indicating the improvement in the job market is broad based as the economy picks up.

  • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the country's per capita GDP is expected to reach 1,000 U.S. dollars in 2013 from merely 830 U.S. dollars at the end of 2010.

  • Argentina denies rumors of corn and soy export bans.

  • U.S.A. Today: Newt Gingrich claims that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history." He's wrong. More were added under Bush than under Obama, according to the most recent figures.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quick Overview

  • According to Bloomberg, the average prediction by analysts of the number of Nokia Lumia smartphones believed to be sold so far is 1.3 million. (Numbers on Thursday)

  • Recently-launched ETFs are struggling to attract investors. Of the 308 ETFs launched last year, 86% of them failed to draw in at least $30 million in assets under management.

  • (Bloomberg) U.S. farmers, poised to ship record beef cargoes for a second straight year, may get a further boost as Japan, once their biggest overseas customer, considers easing trade curbs imposed after an outbreak of mad-cow disease.

  • Orange juice futures rose to a record due to speculation the United States might ban Brazilian juice imports for using a fungicide that US regulations prohibit.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Some See Two New Gilded Ages, Raising Global Tensions
But there is another force that is reshaping the global economy today, and the Goldman executives who toasted Mr. O’Neill are a reflection of that: the rise, in the developed Western economies, of the “1 percent” and the creation of what many are calling a new gilded age. In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and the opening of the American frontier created the Gilded Age and the robber barons who ruled it. Today, as the world economy is being reshaped by the technology revolution and globalization, the resulting economic transformation is creating a new gilded age and a new plutocracy.

Quick Overview

  • Microsoft (MSFT) posted Q4 income of $6.62 billion, or 78 cents a share - beating the 76-cent average estimate.

  • Citrus-greening disease is threatening OJ crops in Texas.

  • The National Association of Realtors said December RE sales rose 5% to 4.61 million. For all of 2011, sales rose 1.7% to 4.26 million - compared to the 2005 peak of 7.08 million. YoY The Median sales prices in December fell 2.5% to $164,500. Inventories fell 9.2% to 2.38 million, which represents 6.2 months of supply.

  • Vodafone (VOD) won its long-running battle with India's tax office over a $2.5bn.

  • Rains in Argentina this weekend appear a complete flop for prime production areas.
  • Reports have Rio Grande do Sul losing 60% of summer crops. Producers who harvested 162 bpa corn, now appear to be getting 76 bpa.

  • Britain's economy is in the grip of its first double-dip recession for 35 years, City forecasters believe.
How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work
When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.
But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?
Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.
Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick Overview

  • U.S. average hourly earnings rose 0.2% from November to December

  • GM is again the world's largest automaker. Boosted by its Chevrolet brand, sales rise 7.6% to 9 million two years after its emergence from bankruptcy.

  • (FT) A recent opinion poll conducted by GlobeScan indicated that support for the free enterprise system had fallen to about 60% in the US. Ten years ago it was at 80%.

  • SABMiller (SBMRY) said group revenue rose 7% in the quarter, boosted by strong performance in Asia, Africa and Latin America. (See How Beer Saved the World :)

  • MacauHub.com reports that Macau gaming and gambling revenues in 2011 were an almost five-fold increase on revenues in 2006.

  • Washington Post raised its annual dividend to $9.80 from $9.40

  • (T) BP is likely to agree a $25bn (£16bn) settlement with the US government over the Gulf of Mexico disaster, meaning the trial for civil claims against the oil giant will not proceed.

  • Revenue at Union Pacific rose 16 % to $5.11 billion in the quarter, compared with the analysts’ average estimate of $5.06 billion

  • Intel reported full-year revenue of $54 billion, operating income of $17.5 billion, net income of $12.9 billion and EPS of $2.39 -- all records. The company generated approximately $21 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $4.1 billion and used $14.1 billion to repurchase 642 million shares of stock.

  • IBM reported a Q4 profit of $5.5 billion, or $4.62 a share, compared with a profit of $5.3 billion, or $4.18 a share, for the year-earlier.

  • Google reported a 6% gain in Q4 earnings, missing Wall Street's expectations – stock is down 10%.
  • U.S. online advertising spending will surpass print ad spending for the first time in 2012, according to a forecast by media research firm eMarketer

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quick Overview

  • U.S. producer price index fell by 0.1% in December.
  • U.S. industrial production rose by 0.4% in December
  • The National Association of Home Builders reported that its housing confidence index rose 4 points to 25 in December, reaching its highest level in 4-1/2 years.

  • The unemployment rate in Greece is 19% and rising. GDP has contracted by 12.5% since 2008 and is expected to fall by another 3% this year.

  • PayPal added 1m new accounts per month in 2011, and closed Q4 with 106m registered accounts.

  • Goldman Sachs announced higher-than-expected Q4 profit of $978 million, or $1.84 per share, compared with a gain of $2.2 billion last year.

  • Australia's unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2% in December

  • Brazil cuts key rate to 10.5% as expected.

  • Chinas property prices fell 0.3% in December, and unsold inventories have reached the highest level in recent history, raising concerns monetary tightening may have gone too far.

  • The IMF attempts to increase bail out resources by 500bn to tackle Eurozone contagion that will see Britain stump up a further £15bn, while German finance minister doubts the US will support the plan.

  • Saturday marks the 2nd anniversary of the (U.S.) Citizens United ruling handed down by the Supreme Court. It gave corporations 1st amendment rights to spend unlimited money to support or defeat candidates for office.

  • Moody’s raised Indonesia’s rating to Baa3 from Ba1

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick Overview

  • China fourth-quarter GDP grows 8.9%
  • China’s Industrial output rose 12.8% YoY -- trade expected 12.2%

  • Annual inflation in the Eurozone went down to 2.7% in December

  • Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang resigns, stock up 5%

  • Moody's confirmed that it decided to maintain top triple-A credit rating for France

Sunday, January 15, 2012

US undermined by leaks

Quick Overview

  • Yields on German short-term debt fell below zero last week, meaning investors accept a negative return for debt from Deutschland, after S&P confirmed downgrades for France and Austria to double-A-plus. S&P also lowered Italy and Spain two notches, to triple-B-plus and single-A, respectively.
  • Could the euro zone’s bailout fund, EFSF, now lose its AAA rating, after France, the fund's second-largest guarantor, lost its top-notch rating.

  • Fed: The decline in U.S. house prices has wiped out $7 trillion in home equity. 1 in 5 U.S. homeowners is still under water.

  • Alan Krueger: "The increase in the share of income going to the top one percent people from 1979 to 2007 exceeds the total amount received by the bottom 44 percent households," he noted, adding that "as the consequence of the shift, the middle class has shrunk".

  • Bloomberg: Companies in the S&P 500 will raise dividends by 11.5% on average this year.

  • Bloomberg: Earnings for the S&P 500 are forecast to climb 10.7% to 105 in 2012.

  • Ernst & Young slashed Britain’s 2012 GDP growth forecast from 1.5% to just 0.2%.

  • Spain’s Consumer prices rose by 2.4% YoY in December.

  • Mainland China imported almost 102.8 metric tons of Gold in November, valued at about $5.4 billion.
  • The opulent, gold-garnished menu concocted for guests at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in Beverly Hills today (NZT) has already prompted some observers to choke.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Perils of 2012Joseph E. Stiglitz
The good news is that addressing these long-term problems would actually help to solve the short-term problems. Increased investment to retrofit the economy for global warming would help to stimulate economic activity, growth, and job creation. More progressive taxation, in effect redistributing income from the top to the middle and bottom, would simultaneously reduce inequality and increase employment by boosting total demand. Higher taxes at the top could generate revenues to finance needed public investment, and to provide some social protection for those at the bottom, including the unemployed.

Quick Overview

  • The USDA put corn ending stocks at 846 million bushels, down 2 million from the month prior and 282 million under a year ago. U.S. corn stocks are very small at 24.4 days' supply. That's historically very, very low. Globally corn stocks are at 53.9-day supply, down 1.5 days from last year and a 38-year low. The U.S. stocks-to-use ratio remained unchanged from last month at 6.7% while global stocks-to-use ratio only increased slightly to 14.8%.
  • (Bloomberg) Corn crops in Brazil and Argentina, which produce 30 percent of the world’s exports, will lose 11 million metric tons of output after a drought caused “irreversible” damage, forecaster Agroconsult said.

  • Obama asked Congress Thursday to raise the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion.

  • California has slipped behind Brazil to become the ninth-largest economy in the world.

  • U.S. Retail sales increased a less-than-expected 0.1%, despite continued strength in autos.

  • French CPI rose 0.4 % in December

  • (Bloomberg) a proposed European Union embargo of Iranian oil imports was said likely to be delayed for six months

  • The dry bulk market has been in freefall, reminding ship owners just how fragile the market is.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quick Overview

  • La Nina, the weather event, that dried up crops in Argentina and Brazil and flooded plantations in Thailand and Malaysia may be weakening, said Telvent DTN Inc.

  • U.S. regulators have halted shipments of imported orange juice from all countries, and plan to destroy or ban products if tests find even low levels from a prohibited fungicide. Initial test results are due this week.

  • PG declared another quarterly dividend of $0.525 per share. P&G has been paying a dividend for 121 consecutive years since its incorporation in 1890 and has increased its dividend for 55 consecutive years at an annual compound average rate of approximately 9.5%.

  • An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a Tehran bomb explosion, in at least the third assassination targeting the nation’s atomic program that the U.S. and Israel have vowed to halt.

  • The Nevada November gambling revenue statewide rose 7.1% to $880.1 million. On the Las Vegas Strip, which accounts for more than half the total, the take was up 9% to $495.3 million. Tourist traffic rose 3.2% in November to 3.03 million visitors.

  • The DoE said that crude oil stocks rose by 5 million barrels, gasoline stocks increased by 3.6 million barrels, and distillate stocks, which includes diesel, increased by 4 million barrels.

  • Japan's current-account surplus shrank in November, falling 85.5% as exports dropped amid slowing global demand and energy imports rose.

  • The Fed Beige Book said U.S. economic activity increased "at a modest to moderate pace."

  • Texas, leadin U.S States, generated 294 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2010, followed by Pennsylvania, with 129 million metric tons emitted.

  • The German economy shrugged off the impact of Eurozone debt crisis and grew by 3% in 2011

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick Overview

  • Orange juice futures went limit up for a second day after a warning by food watchdogs of finding Carbendazimin in imports from Brazil. This is compounded by supply fears provoked by cold weather in Florida.

  • (FT)The central banks of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy between them hold 3,200 tonnes of gold

  • U.S. Insurance companies spent millions of dollars trying to defeat the U.S. health care overhaul, saying it would raise costs and disrupt coverage. Instead, profit margins at the companies widened to levels not seen since before the recession, a Bloomberg Government study shows.

  • The U.S. should declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until the health effects are better understood, doctors said.

  • France's industrial production rose by 1.1 percent in November.

  • China's online gaming market raked in $6.79 billion in 2011, up 32.4% YoY.

  • (Bloomberg) Rubber plantations from Indonesia to Ivory Coast will tap a global crop this year that will create the biggest glut since at least 2004, cutting costs for Bridgestone Corp., Michelin & Cie. and other tire makers.

  • Chinas December copper imports rose 47.7% YoY.

  • (Reuters) - Organized crime has tightened its grip on the Italian economy during the economic crisis, making the Mafia the country's biggest "bank" and squeezing the life out of thousands of small firms, according to a report on Tuesday.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. economy created 200,000 non-farm payroll jobs last month -- unemployment fell to 8.5%.

  • Central bankers and regulators in the EU, U.S and Japan have agreed to face 'detailed' peer reviews over how well they are implementing new international bank capital rules.

  • David Cameron suggested on Sunday that legislation to curb excessive executive pay, including giving shareholders new voting powers, could begin in the spring. The High Pay Commission conducted an inquiry that found that the pay of top executives at FTSE companies had risen by more than 4,000 per cent on average in the last 30 years.

  • Brazil's inflation rose to 6.5% in 2011, up from 5.91% in 2010

  • The unemployment rate in the Eurozone stayed at 10.3 % in November, unchanged from October.

  • Canada's unemployment rate rose to 7.5% in December

  • Swiss inflation rate fell to 0.2% in 2011.

  • Insurance companies in China collected $226.4 billion of premiums last year, up 10.4% YoY

  • David Cameron has said he would veto a European-wide financial transaction tax unless it was imposed globally, deepening a confrontation with France and Germany.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. ISM rose in December to 52.6% from November's 52.0%, a reading that nonetheless was below the 53.3% expected.

  • The DOE said in the week ended Dec. 30:
  • Oil supplies rose 2.2 million barrels
  • Gasoline inventories rose 2.5 million,
  • Distillates supplies rose 3.2 million barrels.

  • YoY BMW U.S. sales rose 17.9%

  • It is hot in Australia and they’re running low on soft-drinks (The decade to 2011 was the hottest on record)

  • The number of Americans claiming weekly unemployment benefits fell 15,000 to 372,000 last week, the lowest level since the summer of 2008.

  • Spanish banks will need to find an extra €50bn to cover potential losses from property loans, the Financial Times reported

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Quick Overview

  • "Trust me" is not enough of a safeguard, says Amnesty International, as Obama signs the NDAA into law.

  • Hot, dry weather in South America continues to raise concerns about potential yield losses.

  • US Manufacturing improves to 53.9 in December vs 52.7 in November.

  • The Chinese purchasing managers index (PMI), rose to 50.3 in December from 49 in November, indicating a slight expansion in business activity in China's vast factory sector.

  • New polling data from Lawrence Hamilton, of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, suggests that the “anti-science” epithet really does apply to many U.S. Republicans—at least on environmental issues.