Posts Tagged ‘financial crisis’
Core retail sales declined 0.1% in April—and that’s after they already fell 0.4% in the previous month! (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, May 13, 2013.)
When compared to the first four months of 2012, consumer spending in the U.S. economy declined in the first four months of 2013 at electronics and appliance stores, health and personal care stores, gasoline stations, and general merchandise stores.
And looking forward, consumer spending in the U.S. economy doesn’t appear to look very promising either.
If companies don’t spend or create better-quality/better-paying jobs, can consumer spending really pick up? It’s well documented in these pages: the job creation we have seen since the financial crisis started has been in low-wage-paying sectors.
Keeping all this in mind, with consumer spending still bleak and core retail sales constantly declining, the retailer must be suffering.
But that’s not so!
When you look at the stock market and, more specifically, at the retailers, it appears that consumer spending in the U.S. economy is booming! Consider the chart below of the S&P Retail Index. This index tracks the performance of some of the most well-known retailers in the U.S. economy.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Dear reader, the stock market isn’t portraying the real picture of the U.S. economy. The retail sales number actually shows how consumer spending—the biggest contributor to our gross domestic product (GDP)—is fairing, and those numbers look terrible.
Even with the printing of trillions of dollars of new money via quantitative easing, the Federal … Read More
Something is starting to smell in the bond market…
Since their peak in July of 2012, 30-year U.S. bonds have declined in value—they are down almost six percent. Trading above $153.00 in mid-2012, 30-year U.S. bonds now hover around $144.00, as depicted in the chart below.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Keep in mind that bond investors use U.S. bonds as a benchmark to what kinds of rates other types of bonds, such as corporate bonds, municipal bonds, and junk bonds, should sell at.
For example, if U.S. bonds decline in value, chances are the other types of bonds in the bond market will follow in the same direction. So the yield on 30-year U.S. bonds really matters when it comes to looking at the direction of the overall bond market.
The bond market experienced a significant run-up as the 2008 financial crisis unfolded and investors sought safety. Now, investors have a different type of worry on their hands.
The Federal Reserve, which has become a major buyer of long-term U.S. bonds, buying up to $45.0 billion worth of them a month, is contemplating when it should stop reducing the amount of bonds it purchases each month.
According to data from Investment Company Institute, an association of U.S. investment companies, in the first three months of 2013, long-term bond mutual funds had inflows of $68.9 billion. This was 25% lower than the same period a year ago, when these funds had inflows of $92.08 billion. (Source: Investment Company Institute, May 8, 2013.)
As I have been harping on about in these pages for some time now, caution and capital … Read More
The company has doubled on the stock market since 2010, and it has more than tripled since 2006.
This kind of stock market performance really is amazing. In just three years, a $12.5-billion company has become a $25.0-billion company.
From Oregon, Bill Bowerman and Phil Night created Blue Ribbon Sports with $500.00 each and a handshake.
In January of 1964, Bowerman and Night ordered 300 pairs of Tiger brand shoes from Onitsuka Inc. of Kobe, Japan for distribution in the U.S. market. Night began selling the shoes out of his Plymouth “Reliant,” and Bowerman began tearing them apart.
Bowerman took an idea from his wife’s waffle iron and created a new running shoe.
Jeff Johnson (a friend and the company’s first employee) came up with the NIKE name in 1971. Shoes were successfully tested and Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, created the “swoosh” logo. The company’s first shoes were sold at the U.S. Track & Field Trials held in Eugene, Oregon. The rest, as they say, is history.
As a stock market investment, NIKE has mostly been excellent. The position was flat between 1997 and 2004. The company signed Eldrick “Tiger” Woods in 1996.
In its latest quarter (ended February 28), the company’s comparable sales grew nine percent to $6.2 billion, up solidly from $5.7 billion. Comparable earnings grew from $560 million to $866 million, for a gain of 55%, while earnings from continuing operations were $662 million, up 16% from $569 million.
Sales growth was strongest in North America (18%), followed by Central and … Read More
The key stock indices have been rising since the beginning of the year, and there is still room for them to rise even higher as optimism concerning stocks continues to grow. But the risks associated with the stock market are piling up very quickly—investors may be standing in front of a train wreck.
I continue to believe the key stock indices have been propped higher by unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve. I say this because the fundamental reasons behind the stock market rally are just not there.
Companies on the key stock indices are struggling to get sales going. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE/MCD), the fast food giant, reported that its global same restaurant sales fell 0.6% in April. In its Asia/Pacific territory, sales plummeted 2.9%; in Europe, they declined 2.4%; and sales only rose 0.7% in the United States. (Source: Reuters, May 8, 2013.)
The demand from consumers is anemic. Businesses are building up inventories. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that inventories at merchant wholesalers increased 0.4% in March compared to February, and they were up 4.7% from a year ago. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, May 9, 2013.)
As of May 3, the majority of the companies on the S&P 500 had issued their corporate earnings. Only 47% reported sales above earnings estimates—the average for beating sales estimates over the last four quarters was 52%. (Source: FactSet, May 3, 2013.)
And of the companies that have provided corporate earnings guidance for the second quarter of 2013, almost 79% of them issued a negative outlook; they expect their corporate earnings to be lower.
Meanwhile, investors are taking much … Read More
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