Yesterday markets took a hit after Ben Bernanke testified that the US Federal Reserve would not be adding further liquidity to the economy, forcing markets down - and down hard. International markets are fairing not much better this morning, and it is possible that the correction we have been looking for has finally arrived.
Looking at Asian markets we see that most are down:
All Ordinaries - down 0.96%
Shanghai Composite - down 0.10%
Nikkei 225 - down 0.16%
NZSE 50 - up 0.25%
Seoul Composite - up 1.33%
In Europe we see a mixed bag:
CAC 40 - up 0.36%
DAX - up 0.50%
FTSE 100 - up 0.54%
American futures are pointing to a pretty even open as we write, but like we said, a correction is most certainly in the cards.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has surpassed the $500 billion market capitalization threshold, a milestone indeed. The company's stock continues to march onto new highs, and it continues to lead us to believe that we may be entering into a small boom in technology shares when Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) IPOs later this year. Apple is like a sponge right now, simply soaking up capital and it is coming from somewhere. That somewhere is the sidelines and from new investors, and as Apple rises they gain confidence, as they gain confidence they invest more and that is how bull markets are built initially. This is something we are watching closely, and will continue to monitor.
We are still impressed with the performance of ULTA Salons (NASDAQ:ULTA) which has remained near its 52-week highs. As we have stated previously, any pullbacks in the shares, especially on general market jitters should be bought on, not sold into. The company will continue its rollout across the nation, and every time we go into a store we are stunned to find the salon with a waiting line and lines at the register as well. ULTA could become the IKEA of salons, which we find quite appealing for portfolios.
US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) had a good day yesterday, closing near its 52-week high. The company is hitting on all cylinders, and housing recovery or not we think it will be a leader in the banking industry and turn in solid results. We also see room for the dividend to be raised, but that requires a serious ramp up in earnings we think.
We think investors should look at Deere (NYSE:DE) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) here. Caterpillar is more a play on mining and construction with Deere focusing more on the agricultural and consumer segments. Adding them both we think is a good hedge, but ultimately we think both will rise healthily. Deere we think was a bit too conservative during their earnings call and forecast on the low side because of this.
We believe that based on history they will beat earnings going forward, especially as the rest of the world ramps up spending on mechanized farming equipment. We find Caterpillar compelling based on construction appearing to be picking up in the US and with the recent measures in China a real possibility we could see an uptick there as well. The company also should be able to begin to reap the benefits of their mining acquisition over the next 12-18 months and we really like the synergy possibilities.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.