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Chris Versace
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Chris Versace is the editor of PowerTrend Profits, a monthly investment newsletter that uses PowerTrends to select those companies best positioned to benefit from the shifting landscape of economics, demographics, psychographics and more. Mr. Versace also edits ETF PowerTrader that also uses... More
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Eagle Publishing
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PowerTrend Profits
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  • PowerTalk: Wrapping The Week & Looking Ahead, March 8, 2013 -- CATO, FRED, LEN, SHW, BKE, RYL, TOL, USG, RAD, ROST, ZUMZ

    Fellow investors,

    Thanks for joining on this edition of PowerTalk, where I, Chris Versace - editor of the PowerTrend Profits investing newsletter, dish with good friend Keith Bliss of Cuttone & Co. from the floor of the NYSE. Each week we'll be breaking down the latest goings on in the market and talking about what's moving it. We also share what data and events we'll be keeping our eyes on next week.

    This past week was an interesting one to say the least. From the start of the sequester and the would be snow-quester on the east coast to the latest economic data that points to a firmer domestic economy. Despite a better than expected February Employment Report, there are reasons to be think that this could be an outlier rather than the real thing. Not only did the Challenger Grey Job Cuts report point to a 37% increase in job cuts during February, but sifting through this week's Fed Beige Book reveals restrained hiring given the implications of the Affordable Care Act. Factor in the expected impact of the sequester on defense companies and related contractors and odds are job creation in March will abate.

    That's not to say the February Employment Report was all bad. The pick up in construction jobs boosts the case for homebuilders, like Toll Brothers (TOL), Ryland Group (RYL) and Lennar Corp. (LEN) among others as well as homebuilding materials companies like USG (USG) and Sherwin Williams (SHW).

    Amidst all of this, the stock market continued to grind its way higher this week with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at a new high and the S&P 500 not far behind. One concerning point in this move higher is that the leaders have not been the usual suspects. That is, it's not tech, financials or consumer discretionary that are leading the way, but rather defensive sectors like consumer staples, utilities and the like.

    On our radar next week is the February economic data that will start to reflect the jump in gas prices. More specifically that's inflation figures a la the consumer and producer price indices as well as retail sales figures. Already a number of companies including Rite Aid Corp. (RAD), Ross Stores (ROST), Zumiez (ZUMZ), The Buckle (BKE), Fred's (FRED) and Cato Corp. (CATO) have announced negative February same store comparisons. With gas prices up 11% on average for the month and a hefty 14% year to date, odds are there will be more disappointing retail figures to be had.

    Listen to Keith and I break all this and more down

    Be sure to come back next week, when Keith and I will be break it all down again as we wrap the week and look ahead.

    Disclosure: Subscribers to PowerTrend Profits were alerted to add shares of USG (USG) at $29.19.

    Mar 08 4:36 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Wrapping The Week & Looking Ahead -- March 1, 2013

    Fellow investors,

    Thanks for joining on this edition of PowerTalk, where I, Chris Versace - editor of the PowerTrend Profits investing newsletter, dish with good friend Keith Bliss of Cuttone & Co. from the floor of the NYSE. Each week we'll be breaking down the latest goings on in the market and talking about what's moving it. We also share what data and events we'll be keeping our eyes on next week.

    This past week was an interesting one to say the least. From the Italian elections and sequester to the essentially flat 4Q 2012 GDP revision, it paints a picture of increasing risk. Yet, the major indices continued to move higher and in some cases closing in on all time highs. As we saw with today's Personal Income and Spending data, however, we are only beginning to see the impact of the payroll tax exemption expiration and higher gas prices. With gas prices continuing to climb, it's a pretty good bet that the consumer and retailers like J.C. Penny (JCP) and casual dining restaurants like Red Robin Gourmet (RRGB) and others will feel it on the chin in the coming weeks.

    For the stock market, while most pros expect a pullback in the coming weeks, don't expect a massive correction as the Fed has overtly stated that they will keep the 'punch bowl' filled for as long as it takes to get unemployment down below 6.5% (February employment situation will be reported on March 8th); which has the effect of keeping asset markets frothy. But beware, at some point weak economic data will begin to trump fed action. A weaker consumer may just be the first indication that there is danger ahead for the U.S. economy…and the U.S. equity market.

    While the sequester is on investor minds this week -- and it should be given that those automatic cuts are set to take effect at 11:59 PM tonight -- there is another shoe to drop. That is the March 27th deadline to raise the country's debt ceiling. Put it all together and March is shaping up to be a far more volatile month than January or February combined.

    Listen to Chris Versace and Keith Bliss break all this and more down - http://traffic.libsyn.com/powertalk/Versace_Bliss_03012013.mp3

    Other notable events this week include:

    • A number of companies announced higher dividends this week, like The TJX Companies (TJX), and that follows big dividend increases from the likes of Wal-Mart (WMT) and Coca-Cola (KO) last week.
    • The 2013 Mobile World Congress was held and a number of new mobile products and services were announced. One of the most interesting ones to me was Qualcomm's (QCOM) Wi-Fi enabled coffee pot. Talk about a compelling set up for the connected home.
    • This morning we learned that factory activity in China slowed during February as the official PMI reading slipped to 50.1 from 50.4 in January.
    • Apple (AAPL) held its annual shareholder meeting and to much chagrin the company did not announce any new initiatives to use is $137 billion cash war chest.
    • Struggling daily deal company Groupon (GRPN) announced the departure of CEO Andrew Mason. Even though the shares rallied after the announcement, Keith and I both agree this was a decision that was long-time coming.
    • There were some bright spots in the domestic economic data this week. There was strength in housing and below the durable goods headline -- machine tool orders up 13.5% in January. That means good things for homebuilders like Toll Brothers (TOL), Ryland Group (RYL) and others as well as key suppliers, such as USG (USG), Sherwin Willliams (SHW), and service providers like ADT Corp. (ADT).

    Be sure to come back next week, when Keith and I will be break it all down again as we wrap the week and look ahead.

    Disclosure: Subscribers to PowerTrend Profits were alerted to add shares of USG (USG) and ADT Corp. (ADT) at $29.19 and $46.54, respectively.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Additional disclosure: Subscribers to PowerTrend Profits were alerted to add shares of USG (USG) and ADT Corp. (ADT) at $29.19 and $46.54, respectively.

    Mar 01 10:25 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Wrapping The Week & Looking Ahead -- Feb. 22, 2013

    3We've been busy here at PowerTalk, sharing my conversations with key players at public and private companies as well as other institutions of influence. I started PowerTalk to share with you the kinds of conversations that mutual fund and hedge fund players are having with the same kinds of people.

    In other words, I wanted to bring you behind the scenes and in the know on some of the key topics of the day that investors and traders are facing. Those are the same conversations I utilize when use selecting investments for new newsletter PowerTrend Profits.

    It's been so successful that listeners have been asking for more. And that's what we're about to do.

    Starting today, I'm adding a second weekly installment to PowerTalk that will share my conversations about the latest happenings over the last several days that are driving the stock market. Be it economic data, politics, or specific company news that is driving the stock market higher or pushing it lower, I'll be talking about it each week with Keith Bliss, Senior Vice President of Cuttone & Company, right from the floor of the New York Stock Exchanges

    This week Keith and I dish on the rise in both gas prices and taxes and what it means for the consumer following Walmart's (WMT) weak start in February; the most recent Federal Reserve minutes that hint at a back peddling in QE3; the pick up in M&A activity; and of course what the sequestration could mean for the economy and investors.

    I also touch on what I'm expecting out of Apple's (AAPL) annual shareholder meeting set for Feb. 27 as well as the plethora of news from 2013 Mobile World Congress. The latter means many announcements from the likes of Qualcomm (QCOM), Nokia (NOK), Motorola (GOOG), Sony (SNE) and others including carriers like AT&T (T) and Vodafone (VOD).

    As tends to be the case with PowerTalk, there's a lot of ground to cover so let's get to it.

    CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO
    WRAPPING THE WEEK & LOOKING AHEAD -- FEB. 22, 2013.

    Feb 24 7:42 PM | Link | Comment!
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