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  • TWM Today: Wall Street
    Jobless Claims Drop Only a Bit; Productivity Gets Slower ~ The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance fell slightly less than expected last week, while non-farm productivity growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, government data showed on Thursday.  Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 444,000 in the week ended May 1, the Labor Department said. (NASDAQ:CNBC)

    Expedition to Contain Oil Leak Begins in Gulf ~ A 100-ton concrete-and-steel contraption designed to siphon off the oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico was being hauled to the spot in the sea where a blown-out well is spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum a day. Engineers hope it will be the best short-term solution to controlling the leak that has only worsened since it began two weeks ago.A boat hauling the specially built containment box and dome structure pushed off Wednesday evening from the Louisiana coast and was expected to arrive at the site of the disaster sometime Thursday. The Joe Griffin will meet up with another BP-chartered boat, the Boa Sub C, a Norwegian vessel that will use a crane to lower the contraption to the seafloor to cover the gusher of oil spewing from the seabed — something that has never been tried before at such depths. BP spokesman Bill Salvin said the drop is expected at about noon on Thursday. (CNBC)

    Brazil Debt Offer ‘Safe Haven’ as Spread Below Russia  ~ Brazil’s benchmark borrowing costs slid below Russia's for the first time this year as investors bet the South American country is less at risk of contagion from the Greek debt crisis than Eastern European nations. Brazilian dollar bonds yielded 2.18 percentage points more than U.S. Treasuries yesterday, compared with 2.19 percentage points for Russia, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ index. Brazilian yields last were below those on Russian debt, which is rated one level higher by Standard & Poor’s and two by Moody’s Investors Service, on Dec. 21. “Brazil offers a safe haven for investors that are concerned about market volatility and contagion related to Greece,” said David Bessey, who helps manage more than $10 billion of emerging-market debt at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. “It’s not obvious to me that the distortion couldn’t last for a long time given what’s going on in Eastern Europe.”  (Bloomberg)

    E.C.B. Leaves Rates Unchanged ~ The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a historic low Thursday, as expected, as the crisis in Greece and nervousness about other overly indebted euro zone countries far overshadowed any worries about inflation. The bank, which sets monetary policy for the 16 countries in the euro zone, said its benchmark interest rate would stay at 1 percent, where it has been for a year. Most E.C.B. watchers don’t expect rates to rise until next year, and would have been shocked had the bank taken action Thursday. (NYSE:NYT)

    CAAS Q1 earnings of $.34/share, $0.15 better than consensus of $.19; revenues rose 88.4% year/year to $84.2 mln vs the $67 mln consensus.

    ANSS Q1 earnings of $.47/share, $.04 better than consensus of $.43; revenues rose 12.1% year/year to $136.1M vs the $130.1M consensus.

    Disclosure: CAAS, ANSS
    Tags: BP, CAAS, ANSS
    May 06 8:56 AM | Link | Comment!
  • TWM Today: Wall Street
    UBS Swings to a Profit as Restructuring Shows Results ~ Swiss bank UBS AG (UBSN) signaled that a sweeping restructuring is showing results, as it posted a net profit for the second straight quarter on a recovery of its investment bank and a slowdown in withdrawals from its beleaguered wealth-management division.  UBS posted a net profit of 2.2 billion Swiss francs ($2.03 billion) in the first quarter, compared to a year-earlier net loss of 1.98 billion francs. In the fourth quarter of 2009, UBS posted a net profit of 1.2 billion francs. (WSJ)

    UBS Plans ‘Hundreds’ of Hires at Securities Unit, Cryan Says ~ UBS (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, plans to hire “a handful of hundreds” of people in coming quarters to expand the investment bank after the unit boosted earnings to the highest level in almost three years.  “We still want to increase our sales and distribution force, both in fixed income and to a lesser degree in equities,” Chief Financial Officer John Cryan said in a Bloomberg TV interview today. In corporate finance, the bank plans to “selectively hire into certain key sectors.”  UBS hired a net 150 people at the investment bank in the first quarter and may add similar numbers for “another couple of quarters,” Cryan said.  Credit Suisse Group (CSGN), its largest Swiss competitor, said in March it plans to hire about 130 sales people for the securities business this year.  (Bloomberg)

    Merck Profit Falls After Schering-Plough Acquisition ~   Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK), the second-largest U.S. drugmaker, reported a 79 percent drop in first-quarter profit on acquisition costs and projected 2010 earnings below what some analysts were expecting. Net income fell to $298.8 million, or 9 cents a share, on charges from its $41 billion purchase of Schering-Plough last year, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck said today in a statement. Earnings excluding one-time items were 83 cents a share, exceeding by 8 cents the average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Merck forecast 2010 earnings of $3.27 to $3.41 a share, compared with the $3.40 average estimate of analysts. Sales for 2010 will be cut by $170 million from the health-care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama in March, Merck said. Eli Lilly & Co., Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson have said sales will be reduced by the new health law. Merck’s 2010 earnings will be reduced by generic competition to its blood pressure drugs Cozaar and Hyzaar, which had 2009 sales of $3.6 billion and lost patent protection in April. (Bloomberg)

    Pfizer Profit Beats, Forecast Unhurt by Reform ~ Drugmaker Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) on Tuesday reported a huge jump in its first-quarter revenue, thanks to its giant acquisition of Wyeth last October, but charges from the deal weighed down net income.  The maker of cholesterol fighter Lipitor and impotence pill Viagra earned $2.03 billion, or 25 cents per share, in the latest quarter, down 26 percent from $2.73 billion, or 40 cents per share. Adjusted income for the first three months totaled $4.88 billion, or 60 cents per share, rising 33 percent from $3.67 billion, or 54 cents a share, a year earlier. With the addition of Wyeth blockbusters such as antidepressant Effexor and children's vaccine Prevnar, Pfizer's revenue reached $16.75 million. That's up 54 percent from $10.87 billion a year earlier.  (NASDAQ:CNBC)

    Voting begins in Senate on Wall Street reform ~ The U.S. Senate will cast its first votes on Tuesday on a sweeping Wall Street reform bill, with passage of a handful of uncontroversial amendments expected and a key procedural question still unsettled.  Democratic leaders had not yet determined as of late Monday whether amendments will need 50 or 60 votes to pass. The difference is important because Democrats control 59 votes in the 100-member chamber, versus the Republicans' 41 votes.  A 60-vote rule would make winning passage for any amendment -- and there are more than 100 circulating -- more difficult, while a 50-vote rule would open the way to all sorts of proposals from both Democrats and Republicans.  A spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that no decision had been reached and that votes would be handled on a case-by-case basis for the time being.  "This is an issue for leadership to decide. ... A higher threshold will bring more order to the chaos of the amendment process," said Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Concept Capital.  When the process is over, likely in two to four weeks, final passage of the bill looks likely, given a surge in political momentum for it from the Goldman Sachs fraud case and the approach of November's elections, analysts said.  Wall Street reform is a top domestic policy objective of President Barack Obama, who laid the foundations for the Senate bill in mid-2009 with a raft of proposed reforms meant to prevent a recurrence of the severe 2008-2009 financial crisis.  While the economy was still deep in recession in December, the House of Representatives approved a bill that embraced many of the Obama administration's ideas for tougher oversight and stricter limits on banks and capital markets. The European Union is pursuing its own agenda for reform as well.  (Reuters)

    Disclosure: No Positions
    Tags: MRK, PFE
    May 04 10:01 AM | Link | Comment!
  • TWM Today: Wall Street
    United, Continental Agree to Combine ~ UAL Corp.'s United Airlines announced early Monday that it will merge with Continental Airlines Inc in a share swap valued at more than $3B, a deal that will create the world's largest airline. The boards of directors of both cos approved the merger Sunday afternoon. The agreement, which the companies described as a merger of equals, will be based on a stock swap with no premium.  The combined company would be nearly 8% larger than Delta Air Lines Inc in traffic, as measured by the number of miles flown by paying passengers world-wide, including commuter affiliates. (WSJ)

    Consumer Spending in U.S. Rose by Most in Five Months ~ Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in March by the most in 5 months, pointing to a recovery that may accelerate when the economy creates more jobs. The .6% increase in purchases matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a .5% gain in February, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes climbed for the first time this year. Growing demand at retailers such as Macy’s Inc. and Starbucks Corp. boost the odds hiring will accelerate, leading to a sustainable economic rebound. Household spending, which accounts for about 70% of the economy, may contribute more to the expansion in coming months as incomes rise. (Bloomberg)

    Good News Still Coming for the Car Biz ~ GMAC reports Q1 net income of $162 mln vs loss of $675 mln in 1Q09; first profitable qtr since 4Q08 & fifth consecutive profitable qtr from core auto biz. (Briefing)

    Newpark Res Target Raised to $12 at Wunderlich Following Earnings ~ Wunderlich raises their NR tgt to $12 from $8 based on a strong 1Q10 and expected gains in market share for Newpark from its proprietary water-based fluids. Newpark reported a nice 1Q10 that handily beat estimates, but more important, firm believes Newpark's water-based fluid product gains acceptance. (Briefing)

    Genco Shipping & Trading Announces Plan to Sign Time Charter for Supramax Vessel ~ Co announced it has agreed to sign a time charter for the Genco Predator, with Pacific Basin Chartering for between 11 to 13.5 months at a rate of $22,500 per day, less a 5% third-party brokerage commission. The charter is expected to commence on or about May 7, 2010 and is subject to the completion of definitive documentation. (Briefing)

    Disclosure: No Positions
    Tags: NROQ
    May 03 9:23 AM | Link | Comment!
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  • McDonald's $MCD reports Q4 earnings of $1.40/sh, $.01 better than estimate. Revs rose 2.0% yr/yr to $7.09 bln vs the $7.11 bln consensus.
    Jan 23, 2014
  • Norfolk Southern $NSC target raised to $110 from $98 at Cowen.
    Jan 23, 2014
  • Long hours & a fractious relationship with Pimco's founder prompted Mohamed El-Erian's resignation.
    Jan 23, 2014
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