Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, February 27, 2015

  • 6:14 AM
    • Germany's parliament approved an extension of Greece's bailout today after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble spoke in favor of the deal, telling parliament: "We Germans should do everything possible to keep Europe together as much as we can."
    • The Bundestag vote was the only major parliamentary hurdle for the four-month extension to the bailout program, as other EU countries are expected to vote in favor of the deal, approved by eurozone finance ministers earlier this week.
    • ETFs: GREK -4% premarket
    | Comment!
  • 4:40 AM
    • India’s Finance Ministry has projected the country's economic growth to accelerate to a four-year high of between 8.1%-8.5% in the fiscal year starting April, making the South Asian nation one of the fastest-growing economies.
    • The latest projection is much higher than the 7.4% growth the ministry forecast for this fiscal year, as falling oil prices and the government’s commitment to implementing economic reforms have improved the country's outlook.
    • Sensex +1.3% to 29,129.
    • ETFs: EPI, INDY, SCIF, PIN, INDL, INP, INXX, INDA, SCIN, SMIN, INCO
    | Comment!
  • 3:53 AM
    • Crude oil futures rebounded today, with Brent heading for its biggest monthly gain since May 2009, as a reduction in rig counts and healthy growth in Chinese demand this year supported prices.
    • China's implied oil demand is set to grow 3% in 2015, announced China National Petroleum this morning, surpassing the International Energy Agency's forecast of 2.5%.
    • Brent prices have risen by around 15% so far this month from January's close of $52.99.
    • Crude futures +2.3%, after dropping 5.5% yesterday.
    • ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, BNO, DTO, DBO, UWTI, USL, DWTI, DNO, SZO, OLO, TWTI, OLEM
    | 4 Comments
  • 2:05 AM
    • Upbeat Japanese industrial output data led the Nikkei to hit fresh 15-year highs today, while retail sales slid and inflation slowed, underscoring strength in export industries and weak domestic demand.
    • Production jumped 4% in January from the previous month, exceeding forecasts with the biggest gain since June 2011, while retail sales fell 1.3% and household spending dropped, highlighting the uneven nature of the country's economic recovery.
    • ETFs: DXJ, EWJ, DFJ, NKY, DBJP, EZJ, EWV, JPNL, DXJS, SCJ, JSC, ITF, JPP, HEWJ, FJP, QJPN, JPMV, DXJT, DXJR, DXJH, DXJC, DXJF
    | 2 Comments
  • Thursday, February 26, 2015

  • 6:38 PM
    • Credit Suisse says the recent rally in oil prices and in oilfield services stocks (NYSEARCA:OIH) is a classic dead cat bounce, and that as soon as U.S. storage gets full - and it is close - crude prices will fall, bringing expectations and stocks down with it.
    • The firm says its sector outlook is increasingly negative as companies report increased pricing pressure, a record drop in the activity barometer of the rig count, and offshore rigs and projects confronting headwinds that could take a couple of years to fix.
    • Relevant stocks: SLB, HAL, BHI, CAM, HLX, SPN, NOV, FET, DRQ, FTI, OIS
    | 21 Comments
  • 5:27 PM
    • U.S. steelmakers are slashing prices to cope with a flood of imports juiced by the strong dollar, a move that will pressure their profit margins and reduce costs for buyers of steel, WSJ reports.
    • Imports rose 33% Y/Y in January, according to new figures from the American Iron and Steel Institute, reaching 3.85M tons vs. 2.9M a year earlier; to stem the tide, steelmakers with major U.S. operations such as ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT), U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) and Nucor (NYSE:NUE) have cut prices in recent weeks, according to steel distributors who buy from them.
    • The benchmark hot-rolled coil index is down 17% YTD to ~$500/ton, its lowest level since August 2009.
    • The lower steel prices are good news for makers of cars and car parts, construction companies and other major buyers of steel (NYSEARCA:SLX).
    | Comment!
  • 2:48 PM
    | 12 Comments
  • 2:45 PM
    • J.P. Morgan analysts see some encouraging signs for coal (NYSEARCA:KOL), which would be good news for companies such as Peabody Energy (BTU -5.7%), Cloud Peak Energy (CLD -5%), Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP +0.9%) and Foresight Energy (FELP -1.2%).
    • Coal equities have bounced off lows, the JPM crew says, which meshes with its belief that the greater financial challenges faced by oil and gas E&Ps should reduce natural gas supply and help coal prices later this year and into 2016.
    • JPM has Overweight ratings on the two MLP coal miners ARLP and FELP, which it expects to benefit as the gas market tightens in 2016 and with the added attraction of yield in a yield-starved world; BTU and CLD enjoy stronger balance sheets, which should see the companies through what could still be a sloppy coal market in 2015.
    • Alpha Natural Resources (ANR -6.9%) and Arch Coal (ACI -4.3%), however, acquired so much debt that their equity effectively has become primarily an “option" on fluctuations in the coal market, the analysts say.
    | 6 Comments
  • 2:37 PM
    • One month after ETF Securities moved into equity funds by launching two in partnership with Zacks, the firms joined to ring the opening bell on the NYSE this morning.
    • The ETFS Zacks Earnings Large-Cap U.S. Index Fund (NYSEARCA:ZLRG) and the ETFS Zacks Earnings Small-Cap U.S. Index Fund (NYSEARCA:ZSML) are both designed to capture Zacks' proprietary ranking strategy based on earnings estimate revisions and earnings quality.
    | Comment!
  • 1:51 PM
    • PowerShares (NYSE:IVZ) temporarily suspended creations yesterday while taking over full management of the funds from partner Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management.
    • With creations allowed again, the funds are no longer susceptible to big premiums such as those seen in closed-end funds, writes Chris Dietrich. Still watch closely, at least for today. PowerShares: "It is possible that the market value of the funds’ shares may be affected by the resumption of issuances of shares of the funds, and the market value may be higher or lower than the intraday indicative value of the shares.":
    • The funds: DBC, DBV, DBE, DBO, DBP, DGL, DBS, DBB, DBA, UUP, UDN.
    • Previously: PowerShares temporarily suspends creations on 11 ETFs (Feb. 25)
    | Comment!
  • 10:31 AM
    | 32 Comments
  • 9:00 AM
    • Core CPI gained 0.2% in January, double expectations, even as the oil-influenced headline number tumbled 0.7%.
    • The only thing barely holding back Fed rate increases at this point is too-low inflation, and if core CPI is going to start printing 0.2% on a monthly basis, markets probably ought to start pricing in at least a small series of rate boosts.
    • The dollar bull ETF (NYSEARCA:UUP) is up 0.6% premarket, with the greenback nicely in the green against the euro (NYSEARCA:FXE), yen (NYSEARCA:FXY), loonie (NYSEARCA:FXC), pound (NYSEARCA:FXB), swissie (NYSEARCA:FXF), and aussie (NYSEARCA:FXA).
    • ETFs: UUP, UDN, UUPT, FORX, UDNT, USDU
    • There were also a couple of not-so-hot economic numbers earlier: Durable goods ex-transport fell short of expectations, and jobless claims jumped well past consensus.
    | Comment!
  • 7:22 AM
    • He's a non-voter this year on the FOMC, but always available to the media for plenty of soundbites, and St. Louis Fed chief Jim Bullard is sure to have plenty of hawkish ones as he guest-hosts Squawk Box this morning.
    • Describing the labor market as rapidly improving, Bullard expects headline unemployment to fall below 5% in H2, and sees inflation as pretty stable once oil prices are stripped out.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is snoozing through his expected remarks, down one basis point at 1.96%. In case you haven't checked in awhile, the German 10-year Bund yield is off another four basis points today to 0.25% - that's a full nine basis points lower than Japan's 0.34%. Spanish 10-year yields are 1.26%, and Italy's 1.34%. U.S. paper at near-2% may be one of the globe's best bargains.
    • ETFs: TBT, TLT, TMV, TBF, EDV, TMF, TTT, ZROZ, SBND, TLH, VGLT, DLBS, UBT, TLO, TENZ, LBND, TYBS, DLBL
    | 8 Comments
  • 7:11 AM
    • Herbalife, J.C. Penney, and Kohl's results are among those the market can focus on today, and stock index futures are marginally in the green.
    • Europe's moderately higher at midday, and Shanghai led Asia higher overnight, gaining 2.15%.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is down one basis point at 1.96%, gold is up $15 per ounce to $1,217, and oil is down $0.77 per barrel to $50.24.
    • ETFs: SPY, QQQ, DIA, SH, SSO, SDS, VOO, PSQ, IVV, SPXU, UPRO, TQQQ, SPXL, RSP, QID, SQQQ, DOG, QLD, DXD, RWL, EPS, UDOW, SDOW, DDM, BXUB, QQEW, QQQE, SPLX, BXUC, SFLA, QQXT, SPUU
    | 3 Comments
  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015

  • 6:41 PM
    • The Tuttle Tactical Management U.S. Core ETF (NASDAQ:TUTT) is an active fund of funds which responds to market indicators rather than using them as predictors of market direction.
    • "TUTT gives investors the opportunity for capital appreciation over the long term, while offering safeguards striving to protect portfolios from downturns," said Matthew Tuttle, Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager at Tuttle Tactical Management, LLC in a press release.
    • Other broad asset allocation ETFs: GTAA, AOR, RLY, EPRO, GAL, DBIZ, MATH, GIVE, GAA
    | Comment!
  • 1:05 PM
    • Regional casino stocks are out ahead of market averages after Isle of Capri (ISLE +13.6%) shows strong revenue growth.
    • The company's results have some broad implications with its properties spread across Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.
    • Gainers: Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR+3.3%, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN+1.4%, Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD+2.2%, Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE:PNK+1.1%, Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment (NYSE:DDE+0.9%, Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN+1.0%.
    • Casino supplier Scientific Games (SGMS +1.4%) is also up on the day.
    • Previously: Isle of Capri beats by $0.11, beats on revenue
    • Previously: Isle of Capri shows strength across properties in Q4
    • Related ETF: BJK.
    | 2 Comments
  • 12:39 PM
    • The move comes as PowerShares (a unit of IVZ) takes over management of the funds from what had been a joint arrangement with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management.
    • PowerShares: "There may be increases in the spread they quote between offers to buy and sell shares ... In addition, there could be a significant variation between the market price at which shares are traded and the shares’ net asset value ... Invesco believes that any potential impact to the market in shares of the funds will not extend beyond the time of the suspension.”
    • Those affected: DBC, DBV, DBE, DBO, DBP, DGL, DBS, DBB, DBA, UUP, UDN.
    | 2 Comments
  • 11:51 AM
    • Undeployed capital, or dry powder at private-equity firms, hit a record $1.2T last year, according to Preqin, and since the investors who committed this money are already paying fees, the pressure is on invest it at a time of high prices. Global average exit multiples hit 12x EBITDA last year, the highest since 2008, according to Reuters.
    • "Prices are as high as they ever were," says Ralf Huep, General Manager at Advent. "There is ample capital to be invested and a lack of target companies. The dry powder is too much for what (the industry) gets going every year."
    • Funds need to be creative is the consensus at an industry conference in Berlin this week.
    • Previously: Blackstone eyes Buffett with envy, looks to move in on deals (Feb. 25)
    • ETFs: PSP, PEX
    | 1 Comment
  • 11:04 AM
    • WTI crude (NYSEARCA:USO) knee-jerked down to about $48.50 per barrel after the EIA reported a crude oil inventory build of 8.4M barrels vs. 4M consensus (and 7.7M last week), but the price has since recovered to where it stood prior to the print, -0.3% at $49.13.
    • Gasoline (NYSEARCA:UGA) stocks fell 3.1M barrels  vs. a 1.5M consensus drop and a 500K gain last week. Distillates (NYSEARCA:UHN) fell 2.7M barrels vs. a 3M barrel consensus drop, and a decline of 3.8M last week.
    • ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, BNO, DTO, DBO, UWTI, USL, DWTI, DNO, SZO, OLO, TWTI, OLEM
    | 42 Comments
  • 5:13 AM
    • The Dow and S&P 500 hit new records yesterday, closing at 18,209 and 2,115, respectively, as investors attempted to infer a subtle change in emphasis from Fed Chair Janet Yellen's testimony.
    • Taking the word "patient" out of the FOMC's policy statement, Yellen announced that the policymaking body would now decide on rates "on a meeting-by-meeting basis."
    • However, U.S. futures are now inching lower prior to Yellen's second day of semi-annual congressional testimony, where she will appear in front of the House Financial Services Committee.
    • U.S. stock index futures: Dow flat; S&P -0.1%; Nasdaq -0.2%.
    • ETFs: SPY, QQQ, DIA, SH, SSO, SDS, VOO, PSQ, IVV, SPXU, UPRO, TQQQ, SPXL, RSP, QID, SQQQ, DOG, QLD, DXD, RWL, EPS, UDOW, SDOW, DDM, BXUB, QQEW, QQQE, SPLX, BXUC, SFLA, QQXT, SPUU
    | 4 Comments
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