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Buzz Bits: Dow, Nasdaq Close Ahead


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

  • Allstate (ALL) reports 4Q EPS of $1.78 vs. $1.84 cons.
  • AFLAC (AFL) reported 4Q EPS of $0.66 vs $0.67 cons on revs of $3.69 bln vs $3.68 bln cons.
  • Chubb (CB) reported 4Q EPS of $1.46 vs $1.35 cons.
  • SanDisk (SNDK) reported 4Q EPS of $0.87 vs $0.72 cons on revs of $1.16 bln vs $1.02 bln cons.

Bell Buzz- Todd Harrison - 3:52 PM

  • Did you read the latest missive from Mr. Practical? He's one of the smartest fellas I've ever had the good fortune of knowing.

  • Models and Bottles? Nah, not really my speed anymore. Largely because models don't find me attractive. Even so, I will be attending the affair tomorrow night for two primary reasons. First, Mrs. Television's JeffMacke® asked me to come (in a non Nicky Santoro sorta way). And second, I plan on asking Elmer to sing Tiny Bubbles in his best Don Ho voice.

  • If the market closed lower today, dollars to donuts the "reason" for the rhyme would be the uptick in energy. It isn't, so it won't. Why am I harping on "non-correlation" between crude and equities? Because the sooner we learn NOT to believe everything we read, hear and watch, the quicker we'll arrive at a place of financial independence.

  • And just like that, another day--and almost another month--is in the rear-view mirror. I don't know about you but it sure feels like time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future. 2007? Man, that sounded so Buck Rogers when I was a kid.

  • Fare ye well into the bell and I'll see YOU on the foothills of the Hump.


Position in energy

Randoms - Fil Zucchi - 2:25 PM

  • This is as stark a "Money Flow" divergence as I have seen in a while. Georgia Gulf (GGC) reports on Feb 7. I know little about the fundies except that the company generates significant cash flow, and has relatively very little debt. What got me into the long side was the MF divergence at the double bottom. With the price building value above the 50 DMA I am tempted to add to the position. Could it disappoint and gap down? Certainly, but with 18% of the float short, those folks are likely to be buyers.

  • Amgen (AMGN) has turned into the ugly stepchild. I had mentioned as another large cap that I thought would crawl its way higher through the year, but the way it's been acting post-earnings has put a major dent in my theory. It's not so much how much it has come down, but how it has dropped, with a steady amount of selling and little respite. The flip side? How many companies of AMGN quality can you buy at a 1 PEG and end up regretting it? Perhaps my views are skewed by the fact that I am long only out of the money LEAP's and hence the pain has been you can tell my thinking on this one is less than lucid.

  • Zimmer (ZMH) delivered the goods last night and is being rewarded for it. My thinking getting into this stock was all about free cash flow, and I am sticking with it. There is technical resistance from the '05 highs right around here; beyond that it's Hoofy's game to lose. I have rolled my insurance up to the Jan 80's, and plan to let this puppy run.

  • If you felt like you had missed the acne in General Electric (GE) it has slithered back down to break-out support.

  • I chatted with Prof. Dingmann yesterday about long time fave Mitcham Inds. (MIND) and he suggested that I keep my eyes open for some meaningful contracts in the next few weeks. It does not mean they'll happen, but if they do they could be material.

  • The new forming consensus amidst the traders I chat with? The market is rolling over. How many times have heard this? Boo, sit down and get busy 'cause you got a lot of 'splaining to do of late.

Positions in GGC, AMGN, ZMH, GE, MIND

Bennet Sedacca - GE versus Mexico/Brazil part II - 12:38 PM

I have to admit it when I make a mistake. I hate it, but I do it.

I participated in the General Electric (GE) preferred deal yesterday (6.05% at par) as I thought the deal was priced right compared to a couple of other preferreds I was holding. But lo and behold, the underwriter 'up sized' the deal to fill all orders. The problem with that of course, is it left no 'follow through' demand.

So when it started trading in the 'gray market,' a market that exists before it officially breaks syndicate or is 'free to trade,' it opened at 24.65 bid 24.70 offered. I will admit here and now I was less than over-joyed by that opening market. I did take advantage of it, however, and added another 'six figure block' to my position.

Why? I usually don't like to buy after making a mistake, but I feel like if they were a good value at 6.05, they are just fine at 6.13.

So with Treasuries in 'dead cat bounce' mode as Jess Thompson correctly pointed out earlier, I think these are OK for a trade.

Personally, I find GE's balance sheet better than the U.S. government's, let alone Mexico and Brazil as I've mentioned before...

Position in GE 6.05 preferred hybrid.

William Fleckenstein - Meet My Sexy Sista Vista - 9:50 AM

Around lunchtime yesterday, the Nasdaq led a flurry to the upside, thanks to the Microsoft (MSFT) Vista hype that hit the tape. Specifically, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins was quoted on Dow Jones as saying that Dell had sold thousands of PCs with Vista over the weekend. ("Tens of thousands" was how Bloomberg quoted him.)

Either way, it doesn't matter much. I say that because a Dell press release noted that the company has "trained thousands of contact-center representatives on Windows Vista." So, either Dell sold around one for each employee, or a few for each employee. When you do the math, that doesn't amount to much in a worldwide PC market which, on average, sees three million PCs bought per week. Besides, as I've cited a couple times, and as we recently learned from CDW Computer, the business market has not gone and will not go for an early adoption of Vista.

To step back a second, I note that when Windows 95 was released, the huge enthusiasm that it had generated was not to last, as all tech-related shares experienced a rather large selloff shortly after the launch. In any case, given the (a) "airball-ness" of Vista for consumers, (b) the amount of piled-up inventory, and (c) the stall that Vista has produced in the business market thus far, I can only imagine that the post-consumer-Vista-launch period will lead to quite an air pocket for many tech stocks.

What You Need To Know - Jon "Dr. J" Najarian - 8:21 AM

Saudi Cutting Output Feb 1 -
Desperation may be starting to effect OPEC decision making as the largest member, Saudi Arabia, announced it will be tightening its spigots this week. A senior Saudi oil official said the kingdom had advised its customers of the impending 158,000 barrel-a-day cut, which takes effect Feb. 1.

3M (MMM) Profits Up, But Misses Estimates – MMM's 4Q profit got a boost from the sale of its branded pharmaceuticals businesses, but despite that windfall, the diversified conglomerate misses estimates by $0.04 per share as net income rose 58 percent to $1.2 billion.

Record Profits At Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings said quarterly profit jumped 33 percent on strong derivatives volume and a dramatic rise in electronic trading. 4Q net income rose to $102.6 million, or $2.91 per share but that was shy of the $2.98 a share the Street was anticipating.

US Steel (X) Profits Nearly Triple – On the one-two punch of higher metal prices and robust sales in Europe, United States Steel more than doubled its fourth-quarter profit, but the steel maker did warn of a downturn in coming months.

Positions in X

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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