Two Ways To Play: AIG Drops The Ball
Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.
American International Group (AIG) is weighing on the markets today. The world's largest insurer by assets reported weaker than expected results with a first quarter loss of $7.81 billion. This time last year the company earned $4.13 billion. AIG also reported nearly $15 billion in its credit and investment portfolios. Looking forward, the company said losses may reach $2.4 billion and will need to raise $12.5 billion to shore up its balance sheet. Revisit Mr. Practical's U.S. Banking System on the Fritz.
From the Bull Pen: Bulls are eyeing the $180 level for Goldman Sachs (GS) and may attempt an upside play if the stock gets there. Sell-stops can be set below the 50-day ($175).
From the Bear Cave: This confirms the bear's belief that the financial markets are still severely stressed. Bears might play the Ultrashort Financial (SKF) which tracks twice the inverse of the DJ Financial Index; sell-stops near $100.
Retails Shine in April
According to the WSJ, retailers rang up higher sales in April posting their best results in months. Leading the charge was Aeropostale (ARO) blowing out the month with a 25% gain in same-store sales. Other companies with double-digit gains included BJ's (BJ) and Children's Place (PLCE) with an 18% and 15% gain respectively. Even Saks (SKS), which has seen its shares beaten up by nearly 40% YTD, surged 24%. On the lower end Gap (GPS) continued to decline with sales dropping 6. Sales were flat in the Gap and Banana Republic brands but fell 12% at Old Navy and 7% on the international level.
For more, see Professor Jeff Macke's Retail Round-Up.
From the Bull Pen: Bulls are looking at Wal-Mart (WMT); entry may be near $55 should the stock pull back and sell-stops can be set below $53.
From the Bear Cave: Bears can play the downside in Kohl's (KSS); buy-stops can be set above $50.
For more ideas, check out Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.
Quick Check Around the World
Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -1.52%, Nikkei -2.06%, Sensex -2.01%, Taiwan -0.84% and Shanghai -1.19%.
A quick check of Europe finds the CAC -2.25%, DAX -1.34%, FTSE -1.34%.
As of 8:45 AM EST, S&P Futures are lower -7 points to 1385, and Nasdaq Futures are down -9 points to 1956
A Look At Commodities
Commodities are higher. Crude oil is trading +1.46 to 125.13. Gold is higher +5.0 to 887.10. Silver is up +0.166 to 16.960, and copper is lower -2.55 to 379.50.
The dollar index is lower -0.339 to 73.139.
On the Radar
Trade Balance: -$58.2 bln vs. -$61.0 bln cons.
Happy Friday! Good luck!
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