201407.29
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Margin Debt Returns

Margin debt again escalated in June, putting some emphasis back into the smaller caps and their high beta compatriots. After surpassing the dot-com bubble’s previous levels for both nominal margin usage and negative investor net worth in February, some caution was re-admitted if only briefly. There wasn’t much discernable impact on the broader market indices,…

201406.05
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Bubbles and Skepticism Split By Earnings and Sales

Nearly all (97.5%) of the S&P 500 companies have reported for the first quarter. EPS for the index companies stumbled rather spectacularly, though weather is being blamed for nearly all of it. Back on January 23, index EPS in Q1 was expected at around $29.40 (as reported). As of the latest update, EPS is only…

201405.06
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Margin Debt Matches Small Caps

We still may not know the difference between cause and effect, but margin debt balances dropped in March for the first time in ten months. The $14 billion decline in margin debt was also coincident to an increase of $6 billion in relative cash balances in equity accounts at FINRA dealers. That meant total investor…

201404.29
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But The PE Ex-Neg Earnings

If you go to the “fact sheet” for the Russell 2000 index trying to find the standard PE valuation metric, the only one provided by the index keepers is something called “P/E Ex-Neg Earnings.” The current valuation offered is 22.61, which sounds much more reasonable than the latest (April 25) raw PE estimate from the…

201404.22
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McDonald’s Again

McDonald’s latest results confirm that something is very much amiss on the consumer side. Total global revenue grew only 1% Y/Y, including new store launches and acquisitions. However, as has been the pattern since 2012, US comparable store sales lagged markedly. The rate of contraction in Q1 was actually the worst in more than a…

201403.25
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FOMO

In February 2013, more than a year ago, Jeremy Stein, Federal Reserve Board Member, openly expressed concern over behavior in certain sectors of the financial markets. He categorized this as “reaching for yield”, but there was more than a whiff of caution in his exposition of leveraged loans and junk debt. “The annualized rates of…

201402.03
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Corporate Revenues Back To Low Point

Going back to the snow debunking from earlier today, the primary impediment to wider economic expansion outside of bifurcation and artificial monetary channels is income and employment. Mainstream commentary aside, employment has been mostly atrocious for some time. The clear divergence between the Establishment Survey and the Household Survey, both from the BLS, establishes that…

201311.01
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The Market Isn’t The Market

With so much talk about bubbles resurfacing lately, it’s worth an attempt to try to draw out exactly what a stock bubble looks like. There is little dispute about the bubble nature of the dot-com era, but the market has drastically changed in its appearance and structure beyond just Greenspan’s exuberant creation. In this instance…

201310.02
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What A Market Top Might Look Like

Despite the title of this post, I won’t presume to call a market top for anything, particularly in an environment rife with artificiality. Asset bubbles include a regular feature of going a long way past any even semi-rational level of departure, before turning on some wholly unexpected event or parameter. However, if you were brave/foolish…

201308.26
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Earnings And Sales Continue To Run Below Great Recession

Last week it was Target’s turn to turn in a disappointing quarterly report. While being quite unique in blaming Canada, even the results in the US segment were lackluster, at best. Earnings expectations for the fiscal year were dimmed back in May, from a range of $4.85 to $5.05 down to $4.70 to $4.90. The…