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Stocks Pop, But Crude Not The Catalyst


Financial media gets it wrong.


Sometimes I wonder if the headline writers for financial media even watch the market. I saw half a dozen headlines yesterday that read along the lines of: "Stocks up on a drop in oil prices."

Is that right? Oil gyrated for most of the session and was down for a few minutes, but is that why stocks moved higher?

Also, crude was higher at the close of the session, so factually those headlines are wrong. But let's say for argument's sake crude was down, stocks would have still been higher and one thing would have nothing to do with the other. Here's what's going on in the stock market:

  • Stocks are still oversold; the S&P 500 was down more than 9.0% in the first quarter.

  • Stocks are still cheap; a five year rally in corporate earnings was never adequately reflected in share prices, even when the market was higher.

  • Stocks are the most attractive game in town.

  • U.S. stocks are the most attractive game in the universe.

  • Shorts are wavering and there could be the largest mass covering ever.

  • Stock indices and key names are all on the cusp of significant technical break outs.

  • The economy isn't as awful as advertised.

  • The dollar has found a bottom (even though it's not a big deal it is a good excuse for some to make the plunge).

  • Strong currencies make U.S. investments very attractive.

The aforementioned headlines must be made so far in advance and made ambiguous enough to be used for a variety of circumstances. If the market was down yesterday the headlines would have read: "Stocks down on stubborn crude prices." I go over all this stuff in my book Be Smart, Act Fast, Get Rich.

I think some of this is stubborn and some of its laziness and some of it's just not having a clue. Still, it really bugs me to no end because people regurgitate this stuff, word for word and think they sound intelligent. I stopped by the Money Show in Las Vegas earlier this week and shook hands with so many people I lost count. I tried to chat with everyone and what I heard over and over again sounded like the headlines of financial websites. People that aren't paying attention believe nobody is making money. They believe buying stocks with crude above $100.00 is dumb as the opportunities to make money are limited.

Stubborn Kind of Fellows

I guess I'm just a stubborn kind of fellow
Got my mind made up to love you
Ah say yeah yeah yeah, say yeah yeah yeah

- Marvin Gaye

On the topic of stubborn the world's greatest investor's holdings have just been revealed. Warren Buffett, who says he isn't "bothered" if a stock is down 50%, was bothered enough by the goings on in Ameriprise (AMP) that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) no longer has a stake. On the other hand he raised the stakes in the following:

  • Kraft (KFT) now has 138.8 million shares
  • Ingersol Rand (IR) now has 936,600
  • Burlington Northern (BNI) now has 63.8 million shares

Mr. Buffett also owns stakes in Wells Fargo (WFC), CarMax (KMX) and United Health Group (UNH).

Another stubborn kind of fellow is Carl Icahn, who now has an ally with more muscle in the form of John Paulson, who made between $3.0 and $4.0 billion last year, for himself. The hedge fund manager has matched Icahn by accumulating 50,000,000 shares of Yahoo (YHOO).

By the way, the folks at Yahoo have responded and in a nutshell, they're stubborn kind of fellows, too.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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