I will start posting more news topics of interest and welcome readers to forward research and investment ideas at will. Here is the crop from last week. I will post topics from the weekend later on today, and as usual will randomly comment on daily news events.

From Alliance Bernstein:

  • Core Intermediate Producer Prices have taken 6 months to rise 5.2% annualized, recession of 2002 took 2 years to reach same level
  • Operating Rate hit low of 65.4% last year and has only risen to 69.4%, still short of historical threshold causing rise in raw material prices (74%)
  • Increases in foreign operating rates have started to indicate US may now be a price follower instead of price leader
  • The Fed cited lack of resource utilization as reasoning for maintaining record low rates, as these concerns begin to wane Alliance Bernstein sees easing of emergency Fed policy


  • Christina Romer, Peter Orszag, and Tim Geithner have predicted unemployment will settle in 2010 at around 9.7%, citing poor job conditions
  • Federal deficit projections for 2011 & 2015 are $1.5 trillion & $751 billion respectively, White House officials cite Bush's medicare and income tax cuts for allowing deficit insanity
Published in BoomBustBlog
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 00:00

Newscan from the Weekend Past

Comments on global news from the weekend past...


  • $7.88 billion of slices underwritten by Deutsche Bank under downgrade review since underlying CMBS have been downgraded (CDOs are MAX CMBS I Ltd. Series 2007-1 and Series 2008-1), S&P has already downgraded 2007-1 to BB+
  • A BlackRock presentation stated that Deutsche Bank's CDO portfolio does not forecast for tranche losses
  • The MAX CDOs are among the Federal Reserve's holdings in Maiden Lane III
  • AIG provided Deutsche Bank with $5.61 billion in collateral before the Maiden Lane III transfer

FT Article: Merkel v. Greece Round 239,084.67 (Ding, ding) @ http://www.ft.com

  • Merkel insists Greece has not asked for money, and Greece does not need any [Let's permanently attached this to Merkel's credibility rating]
  • European Commission and IMF officials are far from same page as Merkel
  • The article wasn't dense with info, which is not unusual considering the subject matter, but what is clear is that the bazooka everyone was talking about has no trigger, and probably loaded with more baby powder than gunpowder!
  • That is going to be a big issue with Greek debt maturing in April if they have no revenue to pay it off

FT Article @ http://www.ft.com

  • British Airway strikes did nothing to dampen travel plans over the weekend
  • Examples like this are calling the union's bluff, they are not stopping society, potentially leaving room for union break ups by private companies, sovereigns and municipalities if they choose so, this could be a blip on the radar or an emerging trend, so something to continue to watch
Published in BoomBustBlog
Saturday, 27 February 2010 23:00

Part 2 of the Mechel Overview is Available

I would like professional and institutional subscribers to know that they can always submit research requests. If we feel that there is some potential to the requests, we will follow up with custom research.

This idea, submitted by shaunsnoll, is developing into something worth looking into. See this asset manager's opinion at Seeking Alpha (http://seekingalpha.com/article/190073-high-conviction-a-russian-miner-leveraging-massive-china-demand) then download part one and part of our cursory overview and analysis. All may feel free to discuss this in the comments section below.

  • File Icon Mechel (MTLR) Overview, pt2 (NEW)

  • Published in BoomBustBlog

    I urge all interested to download the Mechel (MTLR) overview. You can feel free to discuss it in the comment section of this thread if you desire. If anything of interest is brought up I will have the team dig in a little further.

    pdf Mechel (MTLR) 2010-02-26 03:49:25

    Published in BoomBustBlog
    Sunday, 24 January 2010 23:00

    Right on Point Regarding Caterpillar

    My suspicions regarding CAT were right on point last year. Unfortunately, the suspiciously engineered "feeling" bear market rally made it very difficult to profit from being right. I still have an OTM position on them. Let's see what comes of it.

    From CNBC:

    Caterpillar Fourth Quarter Revenue Falls Short

    Caterpillar reported fourth quarter earnings that beat Street estimates on Tuesday, but fell short on revenue, sending shares lower in pre-market trading.

    Sales reached $7.90 billion, below expectations of $8.11 billion and down from $12.92 billion a year ago.

    Caterpillar expects 2010 sales and revenues to be up 10 to 25 percent from 2009, and profit is expected to be about $2.50 per share at the midpoint of the sales and revenues range.

    Published in BoomBustBlog

    Last year, as the debate between the inflationists and the
    deflationist was raging, I stepped in with a little empirical research.
    I try not to make predictions and prognostications, but rather stick to
    being prepared for the most likely events. I stated that if I had to
    pick a scenario, the most likely as I was would be stagflation wherein
    high input costs would co-exist with a deflationary drop in asset
    values, creating a "worst of both worlds" style environment. Well,
    Alcoa has given us some anecdotal evidence of the likelihood of such an
    occurrence approaching.

    Alcoa's Quarterly Profit Trails Estimates on Higher Energy, Currency Costs

    Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported fourth-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as the company faced higher energy and currency costs...

    Profit was hurt by higher energy prices and the dollar’s decline against the euro and the Brazilian real, Deutsche Bank AG analyst Jorge Beristain said...

    “This quarter was disappointing, especially with the energy costs, and having to buy primary aluminum on the open market,” said John Stephenson, who helps manage C$1.5 billion ($1.45 billion) including Alcoa shares at First Asset Investment Management in Toronto. The miss on earnings was “significant,” he said.

    Published in BoomBustBlog

    If the shipping and cargo business is a leading indicator, then we are not at the nadir of the downturn, by far... Note to readers: I haven't checked shipping rates recently nor verified the date of this video. It was forwarded to me, and the post date of the video was September of 09. We did predict the collapse shipping last year due to an imbalance of supply and demand, but I haven't revisited this sector recently. Being that exports from the leading export nations have stagnated significantly, I don't see a hardening of rates, but I do want to be clear that this has not been verified as being recent.

    This glut was forecasted by your's truly, and it is apparent that the market is definitely in bubble mode since the share prices of those companies affected are literally levitating. Imagine if your pricing softened to the tune of 90% and your share price went up. What would you do? Sell! Sell! Sell! There is no surprise that insider sells outweight buys by over 10 to 1 these days.

    Frontline Investment Summary - Retail

    Frontline investment highlights - Pro

    FRO Oil Price Arbitrage Addendum

    Published in BoomBustBlog

    This earnings season has shown this quarter's research to be quite accurate. I am still bearish on the market, and the weak earnings performance coupled with the still elevated equity prices and valuations make me even more suspect. The last time this happened to this extent (well, not quite to this extent) was right before the dot.com crash. As a quick recap for the past week.

    Wells Fargo, right on point, nearly to the "T":

    Caterpillar, very, very close to perfection. I also believe we have caught CAT in a shenanigan or two, which I will post on later:

    GS, results are on point, valuation is through the sky as I have anticipated.

    And just this morning, Starwoods, whose actionable intelligence item I posted very recently: Starwood Hotels (HOT) Intelligence Note_072009 - Starwood Hotels (HOT) Intelligence Note_072009 - 2009-07-22 03:45:18 927.84 Kb. From WSJ.com:

    Published in BoomBustBlog
    Wednesday, 22 July 2009 01:00

    CAT’s 2Q09 results analysis

    Worsening end market demand and continuous reduction in the dealer inventory have led a steeper than anticipated decline of 41% (y-o-y) in the CAT’s revenues to $7.98 bn in 2Q09 from $13.62 bn in 2Q08. Total machine sales and engine sales declined 49% and 32%, respectively, while the revenues from financial products declined 13%. Decline in machine and engine sales was primarily volume driven and was across all geographies. Machine sales in North America, EAME (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific and Latin America declined a significant 51%, 61%, 25% and 47%, respectively. Engine sales in North America, EAME, Asia Pacific and Latin America declined 30%, 36%, 26% and 31%, respectively. The weak demand scenario propelled by cut in residential and non-residential construction spending is reflected in the company’s recent financial results.

    The bottom line was severely hit by the sharp drop in the top line along with margin contraction. The increase in SG&A and R&D expenses as percentage of revenues offset the improvement in gross margin achieved through drastic workforce reduction. While the cost of goods sold (material and labor cost) as percentage of revenues declined to 72.1% in 2Q09 from 73.7% in 2Q08, the SG&A costs as percentage of revenues increased to 11.5% in 2Q09 from 7.9% in 2Q08 and the R&D costs as percentage of revenues increased to 4.4% in 2Q09 from 3.0% in 2Q08.

    Operating profit (excl redundancy costs of $85 mn) declined 71.7% to $401 mn in 2Q09 from $1,525 mn in 2Q08. However, the sharp decline in operating results was moderated by $93 mn of favorable currency impact included in other income (expense) and lower effective tax rate which was about 10.0% in 2Q09 against 28.2% in 2Q08. Consequently, net income declined 66.5% to $371 mn in 2Q09 from $1,106 in 2Q08. EPS was $0.60 in 2Q09 against $1.74 in 2Q08.

    Published in BoomBustBlog
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