How to Escape a Market Head-Lock (AMZN)

How to Escape a Market Head-Lock (AMZN)   There are folks in the investment world, many of whom get a lot of airtime, who’ve been down on the equity market for years.  Their claims that stocks are over-bought and wildly expensive according to every traditional historical marker are absolutely right, and in that regard no one can gainsay their research or their understanding of how the markets have worked for the last 60 or 70 years.   But sorry for them, something changed.   In the last two decades, governments the world over have begun to involve themselves in the market’s workings to a degree that’s not only unprecedented but alarming.   The bank of Japan, for instance, now owns at least 75% of all that country’s listed ETFs, making it a top-ten shareholder in 40% of the nation’s equities! It also holds a full 42% of the country’s bond market, a sum equivalent to Japan’s entire annual economic output. Staggering.   Japan has been in an economic funk for decades, and this, apparently, was their best thinking on how to break out of it.   Plainly, it hasn’t worked. But that didn’t stop other nations from following the same…

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Finding Greatness in Junk (HYG,AMZN,XRT)

Finding Greatness in Junk (HYG,AMZN,XRT)   You don’t find too many great men these days.  Our guess is that there were a lot more at one time.   That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of rich men, or powerful or influential men.  There are plenty of those.  There are a great many intelligent men, too.  And a whole cadre of those who possess abundant stores of knowledge and know-how in this field or that…   But greatness?   To our mind, greatness doesn’t reside in amassing fortunes or achieving military victories in far-flung lands, or in getting re-elected for a thirty-third term.  There’s a great deal to be said, of course, for those who achieve these things.  One might point to their determination, their creativity or ability to think strategically.  And there’s a good deal to be said for honoring those who get the best out of themselves, or see the potential in others and help them to exploit it.   But greatness, to our mind, resides elsewhere.   True greatness is a function of wisdom, and wisdom is an ethical matter.   By ‘ethical’, we don’t mean well-behaved, though it’s nice to see that quality in…

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Pin the Retail Donkey (AMZN,XRT,HD)

Pin the Retail Donkey (AMZN,XRT,HD)   We’re going to step out on a limb today and encourage you to consider the retail sales trade that we’re proffering hereunder.   It’s not an easy thing to buck the trend at a time when big name sellers are closing at their fastest pace ever all across this land, when companies like JC Penney and Macy’s and Sears are facing what could be their final breaths, and when traffic at malls across America appears to be drying up like a pack of seals stuck in a Saharan sirocco. Whither the American Shopper…?   There’s no question that online sales are taking a bite out of the bricks and mortar retail group, with companies like Amazon obviously reaping the lion’s share of the new business.   In fact, e-retailing as a whole is looking to expand by some 14% this year, according to most estimates (compared to 13.1% in 2016), while traditional ‘in-store’ sales are figured to grow at the same 1.5% rate they did last year.  Department stores, alluded to above, appear to be moving in static fashion, looking for a break wherever they can find one.   But it’s less than likely…

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Living on Reds, Vitamin C and Cocaine… (UHAL,FAS,IDU,DIA,AAPL,AMZN)

We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll do it again, because there’s no getting around it.   Most folks are going to be moving in the next few years.   Some by choice.  Some not.   The name we’ve chosen for the phenomenon is ‘The Great Migration’.  Maybe others have used the term, too.  If so, we haven’t seen it.  Either way, it’s coming.   Like all the global upheavals of the last few centuries, including two World Wars and a number of revolutions that spurred massive population transfers from Moscow to Lesotho to Dakkar to Timbuktu, what’s coming will be equally epic.   And don’t believe for a moment that wealth or status is going to save you from it. The pot is already being stirred.  Millions have taken to the roads and high seas in search of a haven from persecution – or to spread their particular brand of it.  Millions more are looking for an easy life where the streets are paved with gold, and (they believe) fast cars and women are available for the taking.   Throw in withering dose of economic upheaval, a break in the traditional geopolitical order, an increasingly aggressive and anti-American diplomatic bloc…

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Better than the Rest (AMZN)

The setup is literally outstanding.   Despite what you may hear in the media and read from Wall Street’s in-house research set, the market is now poised for a tremendous break higher. Well, Quentin, it goes like this…   First off, the headlines would have you believe that the world has reached a tipping point, and no sane individual should ever again consider investing in this casino market of ours.  It’s a refrain we hear over and over.   But what if the odds in the casino are overwhelmingly in your favor?   What if the prospects are bullish?   What do you do then?   Rigged?   There are those who say the current investment game is rigged to the hilt, and that no one can win.   We don’t agree.  There are new winners in the market every day.  Just like there have been for the last century.  And we want you to be the next one.   As for the alleged ‘riggedness’ of the market, we have the following brief statement to submit. The markets were always rigged to some extent, insofar as there were always those who played it to tremendous advantage, either because of their…

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U.S. new home sales hit six-year high, Amazon (AMZN) expanding hardware lab and Walmart (WMT) opening mobile checking

Markets were heading slightly higher on Wednesday after news was released that U.S. new home sales hit a six-year high in August. The Commerce Department announced that sales were up a surprising 18% to an annually adjusted rate of 504,000 units. A level this high has not been recorded since May of 2008. Last months data blew past economists’ projections of a 430,000 unit pace. The data for August was up a total of 33% over this time last year. The average price of new home sales came in at $275,600, which was up over 2% from July. New home sales account for 9.1% of the overall housing market. Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG brokerage, said, “All is not perfect in the housing market but things are certainly better today than they were about one year ago.” Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) were rising slightly higher after news was released that the company would be expanding their hardware lab. The online giant has plans to grow this sector at least 27% over the next five-years, which includes hiring more staff. One of the new focuses of the unit will be testing “smart” home gadgets. The company’s Lab126 sector has announced…

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Facebook (FB) announced new market base, General Electric (GE) selling appliance business and Amazon (AMZN) cuts fire price.

Markets were heading lower on Monday after Facebook (FB) announced that they would now begin targeting advertisers in Africa. The social media giant reported that they’ve had a surge of 100 million people accessing the site in Africa. Of that number, nearly 80% of them are logging on via mobile devices. The company recently announced that their advertising revenue was up 150% during the second-quarter, which was roughly 62% of their overall revenue. This new data presents the company with a new audience for advertisers. Nicole Mendelsohn, the company’s vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said, “There is a fantastic opportunity for business as well if you are local or a global business. Knowing that there is all these people now in Africa that you can connect with, that is exciting as well.” Shares of General Electric (GE) were rising slightly after it was announced that Electrolux would be paying $3.3 billion for their appliance business. This marks the largest deal on record for the Swedish company and underscores their plans to double U.S. sales. Electrolux is the world’s second-largest appliance maker according by sales. Chief Executive at Electrolux, Keith McLoughlin, said, “I think it’s a historic event for…

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U.S. retail sales flat, Macy’s (M) drops forecast and Amazon (AMZN) debuted mobile payment app

Markets were heading slightly higher on Wednesday morning after retail sales came in flat last month. The Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales came in a mere $161 million, statistically insignificant, higher in July from June’s $439.6 billion reading. There were declines in sales at auto dealerships and department stores, but gains were recorded at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and building supply stores. With the data coming in it leads some analysts to believe that despite the job market growing, Americans are still not willing to spend as much. Retail sales are a close figure watched by analyst as it accounts for nearly 70% of economic activity. Over the past year, retail sales have climbed 3.7%. Ian Shepherdson, chief analyst at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said, “Consumers just don’t have the cash flow to finance sustained gains above 4%.” Shares of Macy’s, Inc. (M) were falling down over 4% after the company cut same-store sales projection. The company lowered their forecast for same-store sales growth to come in between 1.5% to 2% from previous forecast of 2.5% to 3%. This was adjusted after the retail giant reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ expectations. Same-store sales were up 3.4% for the…

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Priceline (PCLN) posts higher profits, Amazon.com (AMZN) in another dispute and General Motors (GM) facing another lawsuit

Markets were heading slightly higher on Monday morning after Priceline Group (PCLN) announced a rise in profits. The online travel site said that they had higher than expected quarterly profits, which was partially attributed to a rise in hotel and airline bookings. Net profits were up to $576.5 million, or $10.89 per share during the second-quarter, which was up from the $437.3 million, or $8.39 per share at this time last year. Revenue was up 26% to $2.12 billion. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) shares were moving higher after the company was reportedly stopped certain Disney movie preorders while a dispute rises with Hachette. The company is, what appears to be, in another contract dispute with publisher Hachette Book Group. Physical copies of certain films were not available to pre-order yesterday on Amazon.com. Movies included were ones such as “Malificent” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The digital pre-orders were still available. The recent argument between the two companies has been over the price that Amazon can charge for e-books. Hachette is the fourth-largest U.S. book publisher. Hachette’s CEO Michael Pietsch, said, “Both Hachette and Amazon are big businesses and neither should claim a monopoly on enlightenment, but we do believe in…

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GDP in at 4% for the second-quarter, Twitter (TWTR) growth surprises and Amazon (AMZN) to invest $2 billion in India

Markets were heading higher on Wednesday morning as U.S. second-quarter GDP came in higher-than-expected. The Commerce Department said that the April through June quarter came in showing growth at a 4% annual rate. This followed the January-March’s 2.1% annualized drop. The second-quarter’s growth marks the highest on record since the third-quarter of 2013. Analysts are still projecting growth for the entire year to come in around 3%. Some analysts are expecting the economy to pick up steam going forward. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said that he believes growth could surpass 4% in 2015. “I think we are finally going to start seeing more wage growth and that should kick the economy into high gear by late 2015.” Shares of Twitter Inc (TWTR) had skyrocketed up over 35% after the company reported a strong user growth. The company said that the number of monthly active users surpassed expectations. This is important because many had concerns over whether or not the company had topped out their monthly user highs. Twitter’s engaged user base was up 24% during the second-quarter of the year. The leap in the stock price has added nearly $7 billion to their market value. There was…

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