Thoughts from Joe - August 16, 2013August 16, 2013 Posted by: Joe Morgan, CFA
The Jiffy Pop Economy Part II: Foil Issues
Top EightRetail sales rose solidly in July, continuing the growth trend that began in 2009.
The 0.5 percent monthly increase brings the year-on-year rate to 5.2 percent and includes only one negative month in the last 12. The consumer has weathered the recession, fiscal cliff scares, sequester, and payroll tax restatement quite well. Now, if we can just take care of the "foil," our Jiffy Pop economy will come to life!
Carl Icahn raises Apple's value by $17 billion with a couple tweets.
Icahn revealed his "large position" in Apple and indicated he's had a conversation with Tim Cook about returning cash to shareholders. Carl Icahn made a name for himself by investing in undervalued companies, squeezing the value out, and then returning the companies to public ownership. The fact Apple's stock leapt 10 percent on the news that an old-time corporate raider has shown interest raises the question "Is Apple still an innovator that needs large cash balances to execute coming great ideas or is Apple now simply ripe for picking?" The markets, in the end, will decide.
Home Builder confidence index rises to 8-year high.
The National Association of Home Builders index rose to 59 this month, its fourth consecutive monthly increase. Many housing indexes are "at their highest level since 2008" and such headlines should be discounted as that means they've only recovered what was lost in the recession. But an 8-year high is a different story and shows just how confident home builders are these days. Unfortunately, the stock market disagrees as shown in the graph below plotting a group of home builder stocks vs. the confidence index. If today's confidence is borne out in home building activity, stocks will catch up. But for right now, they are trading at "show me" levels.
Source: Bloomberg, SVB Asset Management
Earnings in the second quarter for large public companies disappoints, again.
Earnings growth for the S&P 500 sits at 2.2 percent from a year ago, the second-lowest growth rate since the depths of the recession. Further, estimates for company...Read More