Interest rates in the U.S. economy have been remarkably low since 2007. We’re now hearing many analysts and pundits suggesting they will rise sometime this year. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact time given, but when we look to the Federal Reserve, it seems very adamant about it, too.
Officials at the Federal Reserve are continuously warning that higher interest rates are coming. The most recent example would be the comment… Read More
Ask any professional involved in the real estate market and they will tell you that when interest rates are low, it’s a great time to buy. Lower interest rates mean higher affordability because mortgage payments are smaller.
In December of 2014, the 30-year mortgage rate tracked by Freddie Mac stood at 3.86%—the lowest since May of 2013. (Source: Freddie Mac, last accessed January 27, 2015.)
With mortgage rates in the… Read More
The amount of money investors are borrowing to buy stocks is skyrocketing.
In September of this year, margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stood at $483.87 billion—a new record-high. When the stock market was forming a top in 2007, margin debt was at a “then” record-high of $329.51 billion. Margin debt on the NYSE is now 47% higher than just before the previous big market sell-off. (Source:… Read More
In terms of stock market direction, the Dow Jones Transportation Average recently pushed through to another new record-high. The index retrenched along with the broader market in early October, but it fought back hard to just over 8,800.
Within the index, countless stocks have been doing well. Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK) slumped to $42.00 in the lead-up to its earnings report. Now, it’s almost $55.00 a share after reporting… Read More
According to research by UC Berkeley, in 2012, the top one percent of income earners in the U.S. earned 22.5% of all the income. The bottom 90%, on the other hand, earned less than 50% of all the income. (Source: Pew Research Center, January 7, 2014.) Income inequality in the U.S. economy is the highest it has been since 1928. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are seeing… Read More
Credit card companies are some of the best indicators in the global economy. Visa Inc. (V) just reported a pretty decent quarter. While earnings were down comparatively due to a one-time charge, adjusted earnings handily beat consensus.
The company’s fiscal fourth quarter came in solid, with growth of 10% on a constant dollar basis to $3.2 billion compared to the same quarter last year.
Recently, the company increased its quarterly… Read More
Now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 1,035 points (six percent) from its mid-September peak, the question investors are asking is “how far will she go?” For small-cap investors, the drama is greater, as the Russell 2000 Index has fallen 12.5% from its July peak.
Since 2009, every market pullback presented investors with an opportunity to get back into stocks at discounted prices. Even some editors here at… Read More
One large-cap that always reports early is Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST). The company’s numbers came in solid.
Costco hit a wall not too long ago and was hard pressed to produce growth. But the company’s latest quarter beat the Street with considerable sales strength in the month of September.
In its most recent quarter, there was considerable growth in the company’s cash position and shareholders’ equity improved significantly.
For the… Read More
More good numbers are coming down the earnings pipeline, and if the broader stock market is going to take a well-deserved rest, corporate results are a positive indicator going into 2015.
Global Payments Inc. (GPN) is a very good business in terms of its financial growth. The Atlanta-based company is one of the world’s largest processors of credit and debit card payments and business is growing by the double-digits.
The… Read More
According to the Investment Company Institute, assets in institutional money market funds increased $17.19 billion to $1.69 trillion for the week ended on September 24, 2014. This was the biggest weekly increase in these money market funds in the last five months. (Source: Investment Company Institute web site, last accessed October 1, 2014.)
This is critical: when institutional investors sense the risk of a stock market sell-off in key stock… Read More