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July 31, 2008 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: GE , NOV , RIG

Well, my stay-cation is over starting tomorrow morning.  My e-mail inbox is bursting at the seams with amazing articles that I have sent myself over the past week.  Here are some of the best pieces that I have come across:

World Record Quick Hits:

The Economy 

Garage sale indicator:  The number of garage sales being advertised on Craig's List has increased by 100% year-over-year.  Some take this as a sign that strapped consumers are selling anything that they can to make ends meet at a time when their expenses are rising and their income is falling.

 

- Jobless claims hit 2003 high, linked to outreach:  Man, the weekly jobless claims were a mess this morning, soaring to 448,000.  I find it strange that the stock market sold off on this news though.  How can this be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to all of the lay-off announcements that companies have been making.  If anything, I think that this read is low or that it will accelerate from here.  P.S. As I have said in the past, The ADP Employment Report is a joke.

- A Hidden Toll on Employment: Cut to Part Time:  Jobless claims are rising, and they don't even tell the half of it.  "The number of Americans who have seen their full-time jobs chopped to part time because of weak business has swelled to more than 3.7 million — the largest figure since the government began tracking such data more than half a century ago...the unemployment rate is a relatively modest 5.5 percent. But that figure masks the strains of those who are losing hours or working part time because they cannot find full-time work — a stealth force that is eroding American spending power."

- S&P: Home prices drop by record 15.8 pct. in May:  Case-Shiller's 20-city home price index reported its steepest drop ever (since 2000), down 15.8% in May,  Similarly, the Case-Shiller 10-city index reported its largest decline ever (21 years), down 16.9 percent.  Need I say more?  Anyone who thinks that housing, the economy, or the stock market have hit bottom (cough Cramer cough) is nuts.

Worried Banks Sharply Reduce Business Loans:  Despite what you may have heard, a year later the credit crunch is still alive and well.

The Fed's rate dilemma:  "Interest rates likely on hold for a while as worries about economic weakness and inflation leave central bank with few good options."  I told you that the Fed isn't raising interest rates in 2008.  I can't believe so many people thought that they would.  Low interest rates are not good news for the U.S. dollar.

 
Companies that I own

- GE Energy wins $500 million Abu Dhabi contract: Another big contract win for GE Energy.  The good parts of GE, Energy and Infrastructure, are so good that they almost make me forget how bad GE Capital is.  If it wasn'tfor GE Capital, I would have a much larger position in GE.  I suppose that I wouldn't have been able to get such a good deal on it if part of it wan't messed up though.

 

- National Oilwell 2nd-qtr profit rises 32 percent:  Crushed it. Picks and shovels baby, picks and shovels.

 

- A Victory for German Smokers:  Good news for Philip Morris International (PM).

 

Buy Transocean (RIG):  One of my favorite reporters / stock pickers Jim Jubak recently bought a company that I am very long, RIG, stating "Buy Transocean: I'm going to take advantage of the sell-off in the energy sector to add Transocean to Jubak's Picks. The November merger of Transocean and its chief rival, GlobalSantaFe, combined the world's No. 1 and No. 2 offshore drilling companies.  The combined company owns 138 offshore rigs, twice the number of its nearest competitor, and 39 of those rigs are for deep water. Deep-water offshore drilling is where the action is in the oil and natural-gas industry for the foreseeable future." 

 

 
Companies that I find interesting 

IAC Reports Q2 Results:  Man, I love spin-offs.  When I first heard that IAC Interactive was going to split into five separate public companies I started to drool, but then I looked into what the businesses were and I started to throw-up.  Lending Tree, blech.  Time shares in the current economic environment, blech.  Home Shopping Network, blech.  The only one that I liked the idea of is Ticketmaster.  Those guys have been screwing me for years, so there has to be good money in ticket sales, right?  The only problem is again the recent and I expect continued slowdown in consumer spending.  Ticketmaster's recent quarterly results were less than impressive, but if it can cut costs like it claims it will be able to and we ever hit bottom in this mess we call an economy I might be interested in at least adding it to CAPS (when the spin-off is complete). 

 

Bennigan's, Steak & Ale file for bankruptcy:  Damn, I used to love Steak and Ale when I was little (my tastes have improved since then).  Oh well.  I told you that pain was coming for restaurants.  This is nothing.  Eventually chicken producers are going to get sick of losing money on every bird that they process and meat prices will increase.  Then it's going to get really messy.

 

Mmmmmmmmmmm 

GMAC reports $2.48B quarterly loss:  Another sweet acquisition by Cerberus Capital Management.  Between GMAC and Chrysler, It's a wonder they have any money left.  Remind me not to give them any.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 

- Marathon may split into 2 companies:  Marathon made my list of amazingly cheap companies a few days ago.  If it should shed its refining operations, I would be really interested.

 

Deej 

Long GE, NOV, RIG, & PM

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