Posts Tagged ‘bull market’
If there ever was an equity security epitomizing the notion that the stock market is a leading indicator, Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) would fit the bill.
This manufacturer is in slow-growth mode, but it’s been going up on the stock market as institutional investors bet on a global resurgence for the demand of construction and other heavy equipment and engines.
And the betting’s been pretty fierce. Caterpillar was priced at $90.00 a share at the beginning of the year. Now, it’s $110.00, which is a substantial move for such a mature large-cap. (See “Rising Earnings Estimates the New Catalyst for Stocks?”)
The stock actually offers a pretty decent dividend. It’s currently around 2.6%.
While sales and earnings in its upcoming quarter (due out July 24, 2014) are expected to be very flat, Street analysts are putting their focus on 2015. Sales and earnings estimates for next year are accelerating, and it’s fuel for institutional investors with money to invest.
The notion that the stock market leads actual economic performance is very real. Just like there are cycles in the economy, the stock market itself is highly cyclical. And while every secular bull market occurs for different reasons, there are commonalities in the price action.
Caterpillar’s share price is going up on the expectation that its sales and earnings (on a global basis) will accelerate next year.
Transportation stocks, as evidenced by the Dow Jones Transportation Average, are the classic bull market leaders.
Transportation, whether it’s trucking, railroads, airlines, or package delivery services, is as good a call on general economic activity as any. The Dow Jones Transportation Average was … Read More
Oracle Corporation (ORCL) announced a quarterly revenue gain of three percent, but Wall Street was looking for more and the company’s share price retreated on its earnings results.
If it weren’t for the Federal Reserve, we probably would be in a correction, if not a consolidation, which has been the broader market’s go-to trend when it should have retreated further.
It’s such a mixed bag out there both in terms of economic news and corporate reporting.
While I think dividend-paying blue chips have the advantage going into the second-quarter earnings season, if the Federal Reserve wasn’t so extremely sensitive to Wall Street, this market would probably be a lot lower.
Even the Fed’s recent language is assuaging. If this market had to operate on its own (with free market interest rates and liquidity), things would be a lot different.
But this isn’t the environment we live in. Economic history clearly supports the scenario that it doesn’t pay to fight the Fed and that Wall Street will move mountains when it has Fed certainty.
Lots of investors bemoan the quarterly earnings cycle or game, but I don’t. I want to know a public company’s up-to-date financial results as frequently as possible.
While earnings are managed, over time, a business can’t manufacture success unless it’s a fraud (which, sadly, does happen).
Big companies have the operational leverage and the cash to keep boosting their earnings per share. Oracle’s latest financial results were uninspiring, and while recognizing that this is a very mature business with growing competition in the cloud, the position advanced a material 10 points since last June—this seems so overdone…. Read More
The Dow Jones Transportation Average keeps powering ahead, and the rest of the stock market is very close behind it.
The strong performance of this index is confirmation of further Dow theory gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been fighting its way higher since May 20.
Some of the performances of transportation stocks have been truly spectacular and very much a reflection of a bull market.
Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK) just bounced off $100.00 a share. It was $50.00 a share late June last year.
Union Pacific Corporation (UNP), which has been one of my favorite benchmark stocks for gauging industrial economic activity and the stock market, is right around $200.00 a share. (See “Buybacks, Dividends, Stock Splits: Business Is Getting Better for This Must-Watch Stock.”)
It was $150.00 a year ago, which is a very good capital gain for such a mature large-cap enterprise.
And Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) just hit an all-time record-high, about double what it was trading at this time last year.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average is old economy, but it is a very meaningful gauge for the rest of the stock market. I advise all investors to follow the index on a frequent basis. The broader market is highly unlikely to break down without a commensurate move in transportation stocks.
The NASDAQ Composite and Russell 2000 can certainly be more volatile, but generally speaking, so long as the Dow Jones Transportation Average is holding up, so will the rest of the market.
Since the financial crisis, big corporations have been very unwilling to invest in new operations. But in what … Read More
The spot price of oil has been eerily steady for quite some time; this is quite unusual for the world’s most traded commodity.
It’s been a peculiar year in capital markets, and there’s definitely an uncertainty in sentiment, especially in the equity market with no real trend for investors to latch onto. It makes me think that equity investors should be proactive now and take a hard look at their portfolios for investment risk.
Speculative fervor has been reduced and while small-cap stocks, initial public offerings (IPOs), biotechnology stocks, and super-high-valued stocks have taken it on the chin, this is not unreasonable for the longer-run trend in equities.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average just hit another record-high and its long-term chart, while impressive, actually looks kind of scary. The capital gains are tremendous since the March 2009 low, which begs the question as to when it’s going to reverse.
Historically, most of the average’s declines have come in the form of short bursts of downside, peppered by several multiyear periods of non-performance.
The stock market is highly unlikely to break down without a commensurate move in transportation stocks. But there is clearly room for downside in these share prices. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL) has doubled in value since just last September.
Caution. Caution. Caution. If you eliminate the bubble capital gains produced by stocks comprising the S&P 500 index during the late 1990s and their price recovery during the mid-2000s, the long-term chart still reveals an incredible performance. The crash of 1987 now looks like a blip. The 100-year chart of the S&P 500 is featured below:
Chart … Read More
There still is no real trend in the equity market. One day, stocks sell off big-time; the next, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hit new record-highs.
This is a very tough market to figure; anything can happen when monetary policy is highly accommodative.
A lagging NASDAQ Composite isn’t a worry. Neither is the Russell 2000 index. Stocks won’t come apart so long as so many large-caps are pushing their highs.
And not all technology stocks are retrenching, either. Some of the old technology bellwethers are actually doing quite well these days. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) is trading right at a multiyear high, with a 2.8% dividend yield and a forward price-to-earnings ratio of approximately 14.
Even Intel Corporation (INTC), which is having a pretty tough time generating much in the way of top-line growth, is recovering on the stock market and is very close to breaking out of a multiyear price consolidation. Intel currently offers a 3.4% dividend yield and is not expensively priced.
One day, stocks are reacting to geopolitical events in Ukraine; the next, it’s Chinese economic data, then it’s mergers and acquisitions…
If anything, the reaction to first-quarter earnings was pretty muted. But even though the beginning of the year started out with considerable downside, stocks recovered strongly after policy reassurance from the Federal Reserve. While the action’s still choppy, underlying investor sentiment is holding up.
This is a market that continues to favor existing winners, but not necessarily at the speculative end. (See “Risk vs. Reward: Is It Time to Cash Out of This Bull Market?”) The reticence that launched blue chip … Read More
A lot of stocks are rolling over, breaking their 50- and 200-day simple moving averages (MAs). This is a tired market that could very well consolidate or correct right into the fourth quarter.
And the economic data has been softer, as well. Throw in geopolitical tensions with Russia and we have the makings of a material price retrenchment.
There’s still resilience, however, in some of the most important stock market indices. Stocks composing the Dow Jones Transportation Average are holding up extremely well, especially compared to the Russell 2000, the NASDAQ Biotechnology index, and the NASDAQ Composite index itself.
While the main market indices are mostly flat on the year, I don’t think investors can expect any capital gains until perhaps the fourth quarter.
From my perspective, relative price strength in the Dow Jones industrials, transportation stocks, and most of the S&P 500 index means that the longer-run uptrend remains intact.
With speculative fervor still coming out of initial public offerings (IPOs) and select biotechnology stocks, this action is an indicator of a tired market that’s long in the tooth, as investors are clearly less willing to speculate on those stocks that don’t offer income or relative safety in their earnings.
Risk aversion won’t kill a secular bull market. But it does mean that risk-capital opportunities are a lot less plentiful. Currently, among speculative stocks, one of the only sectors still experiencing decent price action is oil and gas drilling and exploration.
This is still a market that I think favors existing winners—blue chips, in particular. (See “Top Stocks for the Coming Correction.”)
These are the stocks to … Read More
Lots of companies have broken out of their previous long-term trends on the stock market, and it’s a positive, contributing signal to a secular bull market.
One company that recently beat Wall Street consensus and just broke out of its previous price trend is A. Schulman, Inc. (SHLM) out of Akron, Ohio.
This business deals with resins and plastic compounds. It’s not very exciting, but the company is growing, it pays a dividend, and its corporate guidance is rising.
A. Schulman is one of the few companies that actually file their SEC Form 10-Q commensurate with their earnings press releases. It’s something that’s very much appreciated because this information is typically more in-depth than a plain earnings report. Even if you aren’t interested in the resins and plastics business, what a company like A. Schulman says about its business conditions is helpful in shaping your own market view.
The company just reported solid growth in its second fiscal quarter of 2014 (ended February 28, 2014). Management said that business in Europe is getting better, with noticeable sales gains in the automotive and electronics markets.
Most of the company’s sales come from Europe, the Middle East, and African regions, which is often described by the acronym EMEA. Sales to these countries gained 12% in the most recent quarter to $383 million.
Sales in the Americas grew nine percent to $157 million, but they would have been stronger if not for foreign currency impacts, particularly in Argentina. Management is also de-emphasizing commodity-related sales, which are less profitable. Asia Pacific (APAC) sales grew 67% to $48.4 million, mostly due to an acquisition.
Last … Read More
Going by the choppy trading action this year, investment risk with equities is going up.
Recent shocks to the system include events in Ukraine and Crimea, Chinese economic data, and Citigroup Inc.’s (C) failed stress test.
This is a very uneasy stock market, and because the main indices are right around their highs, any shock has the potential to deliver a serious haircut to asset prices. The choppy, trendless action combined with full valuations is the reason why I’ve been advocating taking profits from speculative positions. This stock market is just plain tired out.
First-quarter earnings season is just around the corner, and while it’s looking like we’ll get more of the same from corporations (a meet-or-beat on only one financial metric, revenues or earnings) the stock market needs more than dividends and share buybacks in order for share prices to keep appreciating.
Blue chips, especially, have been coasting along, providing single-digit earnings growth on modest sales. The icing on the cake has been the rising dividends and share repurchases, which the stock market has eaten up over the last two years.
But sentiment is slowly changing regarding share repurchases. Big investors want to see more than these financial tools in the businesses they own. Rising dividends are always great, but you need underlying revenue and earnings growth to sustain the case. And in order to do so, corporations have to make new investments. They’ve been very reticent to date.
Healthy balance sheets are always desirable, but new business investment and innovation is what creates wealth over the long-term. Everything’s been short-term thinking the last few years, and companies … Read More
If there’s one industry sector that’s volatile, cyclical, often unprofitable, and typically attracts poor consumer ratings, it’s the airline sector.
But this group of transportation stocks is a powerful indicator. Airline stocks move at the beginning of bull markets and new business cycles. The airline sector has been on fire lately.
A top performer and recent new listing is Spirit Airlines, Inc. (SAVE). Based out of Miramar, Florida, Spirit Airlines is a low-fare operator flying to 50 destinations in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean with some 250 flights per day. The stock was listed May 26, 2011.
This is a growth story that could not have been timed more perfectly. The stock is soaring based on strong growth in revenue passenger miles and improving load factors. It’s a momentum stock you should have on your radar now.
Airline stocks are very good at losing money, but not at the beginning of a new business cycle, which I believe is where we are at this time.
The fact that most airline stocks have been appreciating strongly on the stock market based on real, underlying economic growth is a big positive. If airlines are making money, the bears face another big obstacle.
As mentioned, Spirit Airlines is a growth story. The company is generating the kind of numbers you might associate with a fast-growing technology stock. This is a story of the right business in the right place at the right time. The company’s stock chart is featured below:
Spirit Airlines generated fourth-quarter 2013 revenues of $420 million, representing a gain of 28% over the same … Read More
This past Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 175,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in the month of February. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 7, 2014.)
The way the media reported it…
“Friday’s jobs market report caught the market by surprise,” was what most media outlets were telling us via their untrained reporters. The expectation was an increase of 149,000 jobs in February (after a dismal December and January jobs market report) and so the usual happened—stocks went up and gold went down on a jobs market report that was only slightly better than what was expected.
The consensus, from what I read, is that the jobs market in the U.S. economy is getting better. Of course, I think of this as hogwash. And as I’ll tell you in a moment, this is the kind of misinformation that is characteristic of what happens in a bear market in stocks, not a bull market.
Within February’s jobs market report, we find:
The long-term unemployed (those who have been out of work for six months or more) accounted for 37% of all the unemployed in the U.S. economy. The longer a person is unemployed—likely because that person has not been re-trained for the jobs market—the less likely it is that person will eventually find work.
Today, once a person becomes unemployed in the U.S. economy, that person remains unemployed for an average of 37 weeks! This number remains staggeringly high. Before the financial crisis, this number was below 15 weeks. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed March 7, 2014.)
When you have a … Read More
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