Last week, at the end of its regularly scheduled meeting, the Federal Reserve said:
1) It would continue to reduce the amount of money it creates each month. The Fed said it will be out of the money printing business by the end of this year. By that time, the Federal Reserve will have created more than $4.0 trillion new American dollars (out of thin air).
2) And when the Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities the Fed has bought mature, they will roll them over—which means they will just continue collecting interest on the securities they bought as opposed to taking the cash when they mature. (Source: “Press Release,” Federal Reserve, September 17, 2014.) I doubt the Fed has any choice on this. If the Fed doesn’t roll over the Treasuries it has bought, who would buy them when they hit the market?
The Federal Reserve also provided its economic projection on where it expects the federal funds rate, the key U.S. interest rate, to be down the road:
1) The central bank believes the U.S. economy will grow between two percent and 2.2% in 2014, then grow in the range of 2.6% to three percent in 2015. From there, it goes downhill. In 2016, the Federal Reserve projects more of the same—U.S. economic growth of between 2.6% and 2.9%. In 2017, the U.S. growth rate is projected to be sluggish and in the range of 2.3% to 2.5%. (Source: “Economic Projections,” Federal Reserve, September 17, 2014.) Hence, we are looking at four more years of slow growth.
2) A majority of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) believe the federal funds rate should move into the one percent to two percent range in 2015 from its current 0.25%. Then in 2016, rates should increase to between two percent and three percent. In 2017, the range would be three percent to four percent. (Source: Ibid.)
If the Federal Reserve goes ahead with this, th… Read More
FedEx Corporation (FDX) just bounced off a new record-high on the stock market and is an important component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
In its fiscal first quarter of 2015 (ended August 31, 2014), the company’s sales and earnings surged. It was a great quarter and a strong indicator for the rest of the market.
Total revenues grew six percent to $11.7 billion. This may not sound like a lot of growth, but it is for such a mature enterprise in a very competitive industry.
But the big news was the company’s strong earnings growth. Net income grew 24% over the same quarter last year to $606 million. Diluted earnings per share grew 37% to $2.10, of which $0.15 per share of the total was due to share repurchases during the quarter. The company bought back 5.3 million of its own common shares in its fiscal first quarter and no shares remain now under existing repurchase authorization.
Each of the company’s three main operating divisions posted solid gains in revenues and operating earnings.
Higher rates are not affecting demand. In fact, FedEx is experiencing higher revenue per package including increases in residential and fuel surcharges, and this is going right to the bottom-line. And rates are going up by an average of 4.9% at the beginning of 2015 for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight, which cover most of North America, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What the company didn’t do in its latest earnings report was increase its existing financial guidance for fiscal 2015. But this isn’t unusual for management to underplay their expectations only to “outperform” with future quarterly results.
After the company’s great first quarter of 2015, Wall Street analysts boosted earnings expectations across the board for upcoming quarters and the next fiscal year.
What FedEx reports about its business conditions is material to the stock ma… Read More
The Boeing Company (NYSE/BA) is going to space and its stock price is following. The top company in the airline sector just won a joint $6.8-billion contract along with SpaceX to build “space taxis” to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
For Boeing, it’s just more evidence of why it is the “Best of Breed” in the airline sector and a valid component in anyone’s long-term core holdings.
SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, is a project of Elon Musk’s, the man who is also the brains behind the creation and success of Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ/TSLA). Musk apparently wants to eventually offer space travel for commercial use, so this deal from NASA is moving him in the right direction.
The airline sector is hot and will continue to expand as the wealth creation around the world grows, especially in the emerging markets, such as China, Asia, and India. When income levels rise, people want to travel, and this has clearly been reflected in the superlative demand for airplanes out of China. Boeing believes China is the top aviation growth area worldwide.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that North America will continue to be the largest airline sector market with profits of about $8.6 billion this year. The Asia-Pacific airline sector is predicted to be the second biggest with about $3.7 billion in earnings this year. Europe comes in third with an estimated $3.1 billion. (Source: “Industry on Track for Second Year of Improving Profits – Rising Fuel Costs Largely Offset by Increased Demand,” International Air Transport Association web site, March 12, 2014.)
And whether you own Boeing, Embraer S.A. (NYSE/ERJ), or another of the numerous aerospace parts and services stocks, there is money to be made in the airline sector, and I expect this trend to continue.
The chart of the Dow Jones U.S. A… Read More
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