Posts by Pras Subramanian
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance8 hrs ago
From the very first draft of baseball players at La Rotisserie Francaise restaurant in New York in the late 70s, to a game that now counts millions of participants, fantasy sports has become big business.
But the biggest fantasy prizes come from America’s unofficial pastime, professional football. Forget $20 buy-ins and jelly beans, fantasy football is now paying out in the thousands. Fantasy sports guru Paul Charchian of LeagueSafe.com and president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association has seen it all, and the popularity of the sport is still growing.
“The growth’s been remarkable, just in the last year we moved from 37 million players in the U.S. and Canada, age 12 and up, to 41.5 million players. The rate of fantasy sports adoption has gone crazy, and there’s a lot of reasons,” he says in the attached video. “People love to play; people don’t stop playing, generally, once they start playing and it’s just plain fun. So we see this thing growing a lot. People love playing with their friends; it becomes embedded in their social network if you will, and it becomes part of your life.”
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance2 days ago
Earlier this week the commerce department reported soaring durable goods figures for the month of July, powered by Boeing (BA) plane orders. While great news for U.S. manufacturing, this growth could potentially come under threat if Congress can't pass reauthorization for something called the Export-Import bank.
The Export-Import Bank, or Ex-Im Bank, provides financing for foreign buyers of goods produced by U.S. companies. According to its website, the Ex-Im Bank “provides working capital guarantees (pre-export financing); export credit insurance; and loan guarantees and direct loans (buyer financing).” Aside from Boeing, blue chip companies like Caterpillar and General Electric use the bank’s services frequently.
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance2 days ago
The polar vortex definitely hurt many this winter, and its effects have seemingly continued, albeit in some odd ways. A cool, wet summer in the Midwest may have fueled record growth in corn and soybean plants, as government forecasts are predicting a massive bumper crop.
While a huge surplus of corn and soybeans would be expected to bring prices down, and thus be a boon to consumers, high yields are likely good for farmers too. Jeff Kilburg, head of KKM Financial and a born and bred Midwesterner, had his feet on the ground in Iowa just a couple weeks back.
“In Dickerson County they [crops] were tremendous,” he says in the attached video. “I was in the fields doing a little recon, and it’s one of the most favorable, best conditions they’ve seen in a long time.”
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance4 days ago
It’s a company that still mints $28 billion in worldwide revenue, and $5.6 billion in profits last year. The stock yields 3.4% and is a stalwart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI).
McDonald’s (MCD), the world’s largest restaurant chain operator, isn’t immune from competitive threats and changing consumer tastes. Great companies are nimble, no matter how large, and they change with the tides. While McDonald’s hasn’t been sitting pat, the larger issue is it could be facing something of an existential threat.
Younger customers, a key demographic for fast food operators, are staying away from the Golden Arches. The Wall Street journal reports the percentage of 19 to 21 year-olds who visit McDonald's monthly has plunged 13% since 2011. The journal also reports, according to data from Technomic, that customers in the 22 to 37 age range visiting monthly has been flat during the same period.
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance7 days ago
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered the keynote address this morning at the Kansas City Fed’s Jackson Hole conference. While noting that the discussion over when to raise interest rates is naturally shifting and dependent on data, Yellen noted "significant" under-use of labor resources. She also noted that the decline in the unemployment rate overstated the improvement in the overall labor market.
While Yellen’s comments were not much different than those released in the FOMC’s minutes earlier this week, stocks picked up a bit shortly after the speech was released as traders may have detected a more dovish tone.
Nick Colas of ConvergEx Group detected the same sentiment. “My general take is that it’s quite bullish for the stock market; she indicates that she’s looking at a whole range of factors to determine the labor market conditions in the U.S.,” he says in the attached video. “We shouldn’t be fearful of a quick raise in rates because she sees a lot of gray between all the black and white that we want to draw from it.”
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance7 days ago
Another closing high for the S&P 500 (^GSPC) on one of the last weeks of the summer is not what most investors had expected. While low volume is the theme of the late summer, a new high for stocks isn’t something to dismiss out of hand.
But as we approach Labor Day and the start of fall, with money managers and traders returning from their summer sojourns, there may be a couple warnings signs waiting for them upon arrival.
“The bond market is putting up a red flag,” he says in the attached video. “We’re seeing yields globally [fall]. Look the [German] Bund is under 1%, so I think that is telling us something – proceed with caution, yesterday was the 3 rd lowest volume day of the year, so I think it's two different markets yet it feels like the S&P 500 is destined to print 2,000.”
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance8 days ago
While most Americans either begin or end their August summer travel plans, many have had their plans take them abroad. Whether it’s Europe, South America, or even Asia, the desire to explore and visit new places in the summer is a strong one.
The same could be said for investors exploring for higher returns, and a big place for that are foreign markets. Chris Konstantinos, director of International Portfolio Management at RiverFront Group gives us his top international ETFs for investors looking to get in now.
For Konstantinos, Japan is a contrarian, deep value trade, which is a play on the recovery in the global economy and China’s economic stabilization. Japan is a volatile dark horse play with a lot of skeptics, he says, but also possesses the greatest potential upside over the next couple of years of any major market. Konstantinos notes the economic recovery there is stronger than many think and that the resolve of the Bank of Japan is stronger than many believe.
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance9 days ago
Another bad day for traders bullish on energy as WTI crude oil slid 2%, hitting its lowest level since January. Across the pond Brent crude traded at its .
From the heady days of mid-2008 when it traded at nearly $150 a barrel, crude oil has had quite a rocky ride. After sliding down to the $30s and rallying back around $120, crude has settled in around the $90 to $110 range for the past two years.
Commodity traders and analysts have wondered why oil hasn’t gone higher. Geopolitical tensions abound across the world; the Middle East seemingly hasn’t been this unstable in years.
In fact, some believe the commodity could actually go lower. Blake Morrow posits that with North American production rising, vehicles becoming more efficient, and crude oil’s inability to rally with global equities, all signs point to a bearish future for oil.
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance10 days ago
Back in 2006 you probably had a pair. Crocs (CROX), those resin-molded clog-looking shoes have been around since 2002, and believe it or not people are still buying them, more or less.
After hitting its peak in October of 2007, Crocs stock has shed over 75% of its value; however, in the past year the company is up 20%. Just last month the company’s Q2 earnings report beat Wall Street analyst estimates, and although profit was down year over year, the installation of a new CEO is bringing some hope for the future. In addition, in the past year the company expanded into new product offerings like boots, loafers, and sneakers.
Despite recent bullish movement in the stock, the question for investors is can the good vibes continue, or are the charts pointing to danger ahead. Brian Shannon of Alphatrends.com says new shoes aside, investors need to pay attention to the technicals here.
- Pras Subramanian at Yahoo Finance11 days ago
"Valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched—particularly those for smaller firms in the social media and biotechnology industries, despite a notable downturn in equity prices for such firms early in the year."
That was Fed Chair Janet Yellen during her most recent congressional testimonyin July, warning investors that valuations in certain sectors of the market appear “stretched.” While market pundits guffawed at taking investment advice from the head of the Fed, Brian Shannon of Alphatrends says the charts show a technical reason for investors to be skeptical of Yellen’s impressions as well.
Nasdaq Biotech ETF (IBB)
While Shannon believes Yellen may be correct about the fundamentals in biotech, the charts tell a different story. “When I look at price action we had a greater than 20% pullback in March and April [in the IBB], recovered very nicely from there, and we’re pretty close to those highs,” he says in the attached video.