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Buzz Bits: Dow, Nasdaq Gain Ground


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

  • Las Vegas Sands (LVS) reports 1Q EPS of $0.32 vs. $0.31 cons on revs of $628.2 mln vs. $619.6 mln cons.
  • UNUMProvident (UNM) reports 1Q EPS of $0.50 vs. $0.45 cons on revs of $2.6 bln.
  • VeriSign (VRSN) reports 1Q revs of $379 mln vs. $379.27 mln cons. VRSN does not reports EPS due to ongoing restatement.
  • Symantec (SYMC) reports 4Q EPS of $0.24 vs. $0.20 cons on revs of $1.36 bln vs. $1.27 bln cons.
  • AppleBee's (APPB) reports 1Q EPS of $0.36 vs. $0.33 cons on revs of $337.6 mln vs. $351.6 mln cons.
  • Prudential (PRU) reports 1Q EPS of $1.85 vs. $1.65 cons on revs of $6.71 bln vs. %6.57 bln cons.
  • JDS Uniphase (JDSU) reports 3Q EPS of $0.06 vs. $0.09 cons on revs of $361.8 mln vs. $346.2 mln cons.

Tidbits - Sally Limatour - 2:34 PM

  • "Watchdog acts on energy indices - McGraw-Hill ordered to disclose data - Fears of consumer price manipulation."

    "US congress worries that consumer energy prices may be manipulated because the vast over-the counter energy markets are regulated less strictly than other markets," according to a lead article in the Financial Times yesterday.

  • Moving onto another FT story, "The irony is we may have created a new set of risks - the world has changed but regulation has not." According to the BIS the total value of all derivatives contracts on and off exchanges recently reached $450,000 bln - a four fold increase since the start of the decade.

  • Barrick (ABX) has closed it hedge book entirely and took a loss of $557 mln for the first quarter as it unwound its hedges. The company now is officially placing its bets on spot gold.

  • Insiders are selling aggressively according to the latest numbers. The ratio of insider sales to insider buys has been going up. Barron's states that when the number of insiders selling stock is 12 times as many as those buying, this is bullish. When the ratio rises above 20:1 it is moderately bearish. The ratio now is almost 50:1. The last time it was at this level was Nov. 2006.

  • A Washington DC judge is suing a dry cleaner for $67 mln because it lost a pair of pants.

Giddyup! - Kevin Depew - 2:10 PM

  • Related to Jeff Cooper's buzz on commercial real estate, interesting article in the New York Times this morning on "Risk in Commercial Mortgages," noting some of the things we covered last month in Five Things.
  • Minyan Mark passed along the following about Fannie Mae:
    "Fannie Mae reported a sharp increase in fee and other income for 2005. It said this income totaled $1.5 billion for the year, up from $404 million in 2004. Fannie Mae attributed the large increase to exchange gains on the company's foreign-denominated debt related to the U.S. dollar's strength against the Japanese yen."
  • Good, so Fannie Mae is eschewing the hedging of currency risk for outright speculation.
  • Among the horses challenged by pedigree to get a mile and a quarter on Saturday? Cowtown Cat, Curlin, Liquidity, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Sam P., Scat Daddy, Stormello and Tiago.
  • On the other hand, how can a horse named Liquidity NOT win the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Brands this year?

Question and Answer Session - Jeff Macke - 1:23 PM

1. In an M&A Crazed World, is the scarcity of public plays on newspapers (DJ, NYT, GCI) and tires (Cooper Tire (CTB) up 12% today) the best thing those stocks have going for them?

2. Can you really buy a tire company's stock up over 10% when Toyota Motors (TM), the best auto company on earth by far, posts negative sales growth?

3. Can Oscar shock the world by out-jabbing Pretty Boy Floyd (the fastest boxer going)?

4. Is the day-trader volume Ameritrade (AMTD) discussed when it reported soft numbers last month being reversed as the market climbs higher every day?

5. Do you get the sense that folks at Dow Jones (DJ) are utterly horrified at the prospect of working for Rupert Murdoch and what should/will those same folks do when Rupert ups his bid?

Answers: 1. Scarcity may explain it but stocks are like golf scores; there's no room in the box to write down how you got there. 2. Apparently you can... and Cooper makes replacement tires. 3. Yes. Yes he can. 4. Almost certainly so but I'm still leery of the transaction-driven brokers. 5. Blue Bloods and "respectable" newsies loathe Rupert but I'd advise them to get over it or at least hedge their positions by purchasing a lot of "Best Boss in the World" mugs ahead of the transition.

Charge! - Jeff Macke - 9:11 AM

  • Jones Apparel (JNY) joins Liz Claiborne (LIZ) in: A) Missing by a huge margin; B) Getting squeezed by the department stores; C) Implying, through A and B, that the consumer isn't exactly "rocking."

  • In contrast, Mastercard (MA) simply rocked the house and forecast more rocking to come.

  • What can be concluded about the consumer from these data points? Not much, just yet, but we're starting to get a better picture. We're also getting a look at life for the domestic fashion companies... it looks a lot like Berkshire Hathaway (not the company it became, the now-defunct textile company Buffett bought in the early '60s). Tough business.

  • The Pet Food Recall Story continues to have legs... actually "wings" might be a better way to put it, at this point.

  • "Respect, but don't defer to the price action." From my viewpoint, yesterday's price action gave us plenty to respect, regardless of whether you thought it made much sense.
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