Two more weak "housing" numbers today-housing starts at 880,000 vs expectations of 963,000 and the Mortgage Bankers Association survey.
Every Wednesday the MBA does comes out with their survey of mortgage applications. For the week end 2/14, application to buy were down 6.3% from the week before and a low since Sept 2011. Also were down 17% year over year. Application to buy have been down greater than 10% for weeks now. Mathematically, there is no way housing can turn up if mortgage apps to buy continue down y/y.
Also, today Germany failed to sell all the 10 year bonds they put up for auction-wanted to sell 5 billion Euro worth, but sold only 3.8 billion worth. First failed auction since Sept/ 2012. Conclusion: Germany is not bad credit, but interest rates are way to low in the Euro zone overall. Continued FED taper and/or failure to meet deficit targets will induce selling of Euro zone bonds.
I'm holding ECA as a longer term core holding as its asset base, worth north of $30+/share, is not reflected in its price. Because they have sold forward 3/4 of 2014's production at $4.17, they are currently not participating as much as UPL in the NG price rise. If they had done what UPL did, the stock would be in the mid $20s. That is why I bought UPL and DVN to balance out the risk that ECA would not move if NG moved higher.
I'm not a seller of any "trading" shares of ECA until it get more that $25.
NG hitting $5.90 as I type this. My UPL reacting nicely. commandor, are you looking at ECA as a longer-term core holding or a trading position upon achievement of a certain NG price mark? For my part I sold 1/3 of my UPL last week near $24.50.
A number of warnings and or misses after the close:PNRA, GPI, CYH, LZB and MFRM
Two, in the housing sector indirectly, MFRM and LZB, show the consumer, other that the top 1%, and housing are rolling over.
Why stocks continue to resist falling consensus estimates (S&P 500 and the Dow 30) for 2014 is beyond being prudent. For those long, other than gold and NG, I suggest to continue to harvest gains when you have them-expect more warnings and/or soft guidance for the 1st Q in the coming weeks.
Thanks for the kinds words, BB06. I have not been very accurate on my broader market calls-as the market stays consistently way over valued-but still have a very high batting average, when it comes to the stuff I do buy.. Glad you made money on your gold plays.
Yes, still have legacy shares and quit a bit more bought in the low $8s after the reverse split. Would like to buy more closer to $10-$10.30.
They mention GDX year to date gain of 25%...of coarse Commandor was all over the Gold trade before year end, He's the best IMHO.
My company pays a flat $ amount per employee...my individual rates stayed the same while the family rate doubled pushing them off the company plan and onto Obamacare.
"other factors increasing costs will be Obamacare"...my company just pushed families off their insurance plan on to Obamacare thus saving them money.
Looking at RR coal loadings, they continue to be down y/y-which suggests that the high price of NG, relative to coal, have not lead to much switching of NG to coal. In addition, the rig count for NG hit near a 12 year low. This is probably NG drillers following through with there projections to reduce capX for NG in favor of oil.
With NG inventories at all-time lows vs the 5 yr averages, the above dynamics suggest that shortages will continue throughout the year. Builds, after March, will have to ramp very strongly to get inventories back to comfortable tables before next year's winter. Chances are, there will be periods, this spring/summer, where the "markets" will doubt such productions increases will be met.
NG to hit $5.80-$6.00 later this year-with chance to spike to $8.00.
Loans, as measured by the FED have turned up about $135 billion since early Nov-a pretty good increase since most of 2013 they were flat. M2 is up $81 billion in the last 4 weeks vs being flat the prior 10 weeks. M1 velocity, has stopped going down to new lows, and was up a decent % vs the prior measurement.
So, despite Fed tapering, liquidity is looking better, very helpful towards the recent rally since 2/4-despite soft macro-econ news and weak guidance by many companies.
Should the current trends continue, coupled with punkish capX spending for the last few years, and wage pressures-both political and shortages of skilled workers-(there is still alot of surplus labor that don't bring enough skills to the market) I'm expecting inflation pressures to show up soon in the official stats. This inflation won't come from strong demand, but will come from cost-push pressures as companies have to increase prices to maintain margins. Other factors increasing costs will be Obamacare and other costs of government as regulations and interferences increase the cost of doing business.
Implications? Generally bullish for gold, but may force the FED to continue to taper, even while soft macro-econ news continues, and perhaps force the FED to raise the FF rate later in the year-quite a bit earlier than the current consensus. Stocks, in general are a good inflation hedge, at least until interest rates get too high. "Too high" is a relative term these days with rates so low vs historical norms. My guess, as of today, would be if the 10yr got above 3.30%, then that would be troublesome for stocks.
Earlier this year, considering the drought here in CA, I jokingly wrote that I should short Toro (TTC) thinking no one would need a new lawn mower. That might be a bad idea as it turns out because Toro makes irrigation equipment too and in a recent 'LA Times' article about the World Ag Expo in CA's Central Valley the headline read: 'Irrigation equipment suppliers see demand soar amid drought.' Most suppliers are small privately held outfits, but there are one or two big players with some exposure. TTC is up more than 50% in last year. Food for thought...
Gold has reached my short term target of $1320-$1330-so I took some trading share gains today.
In the immediate future, a spike to $1350 is possible, as shorts get squeezed, but after that I would expect profit taking by the "market". Going out into the 2nd Q, I do expect a "deflationary event" financial or otherwise that force investors/traders world wide into a massive grab for liquidity-so everything liquid gets sold off.
As a result of that "scare", central banks will be forced to ease to extinguish "deflationary fears"-that will be time to get back into gold/silver and other inflation hedged because after commodities, in general bottom, we are in for a cycle of higher inflation that could last 4 years.
This new round of inflation will have two catalysts-growth of money greater than the growth in goods and services and cost/push pressures.
Most everywhere is there is political pressure to rage wages-minimum wages is just one of them. Businesses are finding it hard to find qualified employees, so effective labor (there is a surplus of labor that bring little skills to the market) is getting short. Also, the cost of government and Obamacare will force businesses to raise prices to preserve margins.
The backdrop of excess money and cost/push inflation will be good for gold.
W/R to ECA, if I have read there 2014 guidance info correctly, they are assuming $3.75 for NG prices for 2014. If prices average $.50 higher then operating income will be $.19/share higher.
So, if mgt is being a little conservative, then I'll round up the $.19 to $.20 or $.05/Q. If prices average $1.00 higher or $4.75, then operating income will be $.40 for the year or $.10/share per Q.
Well, for the 1st Q, the average is near $4.75 Q to date. That means current consensus of $.20/share, for the 1st Q is about a dime low, as ECA should come in closer to $.30/share.
Bottom line, unless analysts increase their earnings estimates, from the current $.81 for the year 2014, to over $1.00/share, then ECA will consistently beat earnings estimates all year. I already own a lot, but am a buyer of more under $18.00.
It has been the recent "happy talk" that deflation will not be problem in the Euro-zone. Today, Germany's CPI was down .6% for Jan Y/Y. Germany's inflation was running, on average, quite a bit higher than the rest of the Euro-zone.
With the US, Brazil, China and India's economies slowing down, where will export growth come from for the Euro-zone? With the Euro still above $1.36, it is still way over-valued and hurting exports. Bottom line, the ECB will have to ease in March, at their next meeting-they have to get loan growth going and the Euro down to $1.20 in order to stave off deflation.
The longer the ECB dithers, the longer one of more of the weaker Euro-zone countries will cause a financial event as their solvency is 'tested" by the markets. I expect the ECB and the FED will wait until an "event" increases contagion risk, before the ECB does QE and the FED stops their taper or ups its QE.
Timing of "event' risk? Sometime in the 2nd Q.
Obviously very weak retails sales for Jan and Dec was revised much lower. This data confirms my view that the economy is much weaker than the consensus of late last year and early this year. Under that scenario earnings estimates for the S&P 500 have to come down. Whether stocks come down with it is another matter, but if data continues to be soft and/or there is some sort of "event" then an "air-pocket" for stocks will occur.