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Buzz Bits: Dow, Nasdaq Move Higher


Your daily Buzz & Banter highlights...


Editor's Note: This is a small sample of the content available on the Buzz and Banter.

Earnings Report - MV News

  • UnumProvident (UNM) reports 4Q EPS of $0.52 vs. $0.44 cons on revs inline of $2.7 bln. UNM reaffirms guidance for F '07 with EPS of $1.83-$1.87 vs. $1.85 cons.

Answers I Really Wanna Know... - Todd Harrison - 3:58 PM

  • Don't stock picking contests promote 'reward chasing' behavior rather than risk management skills?

  • Is ITT Corp (ITT) on your radar as it retests previous acne?

  • What does the continued slippage in the emerging markets portend?

  • I mean, you see Brazil (-2%), EEM (-1.5%), TRF (-2%) and Mexico (-1%), right?

  • What would happen if Gentle Ben ever said this?

  • Does Chicago deserve a win on Sunday?

  • Wouldn't it be nice if we knew which days were gonna be this meaningless?

  • When's the last time that you smiled so hard that your face hurt?


Position in ITT

Media & The Time Shift - Jeff Macke - 2:09 PM

There's an interesting article in this week's MediaWeek regarding the upcoming television advertising selling season ("Upfronts") and how the companies involved are going to deal with time-shifted viewing. In sum, the guys who broadcast television (General Electric (GE), CBS et al) want to count anyone who watches a program live or in the seven days following broadcast. The media companies who buy advertising (Omnicom (OMC), Interpublic Group (IPG) et al), insist that they are only paying for live viewers, arguing that time-shifters skip commercials.

Stuck in the middle is the Nielsen Group, on whose work rides scores of billions of dollars and, of course, the ultimate fate of shows including Fast Money. Nielsen has been willfully (?) slow providing their customers data on ratings for commercials. The given explanation is "technical challenges." The real explanation is likely more along the lines of "it's hard, technically, and we're not entirely sure that the networks who pay us are going to be all that fired up to have us tell media buyers that yes, in fact, people 'time shift' largely because they want to skip your horrific, intrusive commercials."

In an interesting side-note, the Nielsen Group also owns the MediaWeek magazine, which you can buy on newsstands or through subscriptions, assuming you don't want to read the entire thing HERE for free.

This internecine battle is going to impact just about every company you can think of, provided they advertise on, or broadcast, media. It's worth keeping at least half an eye on it as we approach the annual 5-Hour ad-fest known as the Super Bowl this Sunday.

A look at the 2's to 10's relationship... - Bennet Sedacca - 8:57 AM

The yield curve, as measured by the spread from 2-year Treasuries to 10-year Treasuries, has been inverted for quite some time. As you may know, my firm has been looking for a 'bear steepening trade'--one where 10-year Treasury yields rise faster than 2-year yields. We are now back to -10 basis points (in other words, 2-year Treasury yields are 10 basis points above 10-year yields). As a point of reference, the widest this spread was over the past year was minus 20 basis points.

But see the chart here, which includes the weekly MACD, a trailing technical indicator. The index is turning positive with a positive divergence to boot. The important spot on this chart, in my opinion, is the 50 week moving average, which resides at -3 basis points. I think that if we breach that level, the steepening trade will be on in a big way.

Is this a call on rate DIRECTION? Well, yes and no. I expect the aforementioned bear steepening trade, followed by rate cuts and a parallel shift down (all yields falling the same) and then finally a 'bull steepener'--where short rates fall faster than long rates.

A lot to digest on a Monday morning, I know, but I think useful and I hope you do.

Position in Treasuries

What you need to know... - Jon Doctor J Najarian - 8:29 AM

US Airways (LCC) To Up Bid? According to published reports, US Air is willing to throw another billion dollars at Delta and its creditors in a last-ditch effort to win support from Delta creditors. Presently LCC is bidding $9.8 billion cash-and-stock bid.

Verizon (VZ) Passed On iPhone – The No. 2 U.S. cellphone carrier took a pass on the chance to be the exclusive distributor of the iPhone almost two years ago. Apparently the asking price, which was rumored to include a percentage of the monthly cellphone fees, was just too much.

Citigroup (C) Buys Egg From Prudential (PRU) – In what may be the most expensive omelet ever, Citi has purchased the world's largest internet only bank, Egg Banking PLC, from British insurer Prudential for $1.13 billion. The move quadruples Citigroup's 800,000 credit card base.

Barbie Helps Boost Mattel (MAT) – Earnings at the world's largest toymaker were up 2.6% due to strong holiday sales.

Positions in VZ, C

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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