Is the Federal Reserve Adding to Market Confusion?

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee has taken the relative small (and symbolically huge) step of raising the target Fed Funds rate by one-quarter point. But its decision-making process and communications to financial markets both before and after the move have been somewhat puzzling. Continue reading

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Stocks Take A Tumble Again

Stocks got off to a terrible start in its first week of 2016 – the worst start to a year ever, according to Barron’s.  The S&P 500 closed the week down 6%.  Most major averages posted similar declines.  The S&P 400 Mid-Cap Index fell 6.4%.  The S&P 600 Small Cap Index fell 7.2%. Continue reading

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Notes from General Electric’s Annual Outlook Meeting

This has been an eventful year for General Electric (GE), one that brought about the most significant changes that the company has seen in its 127 year history.  The company has repositioned its business mix, drastically reducing its profile in financial services and emphasizing its industrial core.  It has also stepped up its drive to infuse its products with sophisticated technology (e.g. internet of things (IoT), additive manufacturing and advanced software) that can help its products run harder and longer and give customers greater insight into their utilization efficiency. Continue reading

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American Water Works (AWK) Update

2015 has been another strong year for the stock of American Water Works (AWK).  Year-to-date (through Dec. 18), it is up 11.7% on price and has delivered a 14.5% total return.  By comparison, the S&P 500 is down 2.6% on price and down 0.6% on total return.  Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Utility Average, of which AWK is now a member, is down 8.1% on price. Continue reading

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Investing in Greece: Notes from the 2015 Capital Link Conference

Although the recovery in the Eurozone is underway, Greece has so far been left behind.  Europe is growing now at an overall rate of 2% per year.  Even the other peripheral countries that had been experiencing difficulties– Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain – are now showing positive growth.  Greece, meanwhile, will likely report that its economy contracted again in 2015, but probably only slightly.  It is expected to return to growth in the second half of 2016. Continue reading

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Despite Oil Plunge, Energy Stocks Still Above August Lows

Last week was a tough one for the stock market, the worst since the August mini-meltdown.  Most major averages fell more than 3.5%.  The S&P 500 was down 3.8%.  The NASDAQ Composite dropped 4.1%.  The Russell 2000 lost 5.1%. Continue reading

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Notes from the 2015 Massachusetts Investor Conference

Author’s Note:  Municipal bonds have been on my radar for some time, even though my focus has been on stocks and corporate bonds.  I have attended the Massachusetts  Investor Conference for the past four years, as a way to learn about state government, including financial reporting practices and recent financial performance. Continue reading

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Campbell Fiscal 2016 First Quarter Update

Campbell Soup (CPB) reported fiscal 2016 first quarter GAAP earnings of $0.62 per diluted share, compared with $0.78 in the comparable prior year period.  Excluding special items, the company’s non-GAAP earnings were $0.95, compared with $0.78 last year. Continue reading

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Market Teleconference, Sunday Nov. 22

This coming weekend, I will host a Market Outlook Conference, which will provide a brief review of recent trends in and the outlook for the economy and financial markets.  I also plan to discuss one or more investment ideas or themes.  This teleconference is available at no charge.  Details are provided below: Continue reading

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Reframing the Picture

Economic data and securities prices always provide a picture of investor sentiment regarding the outlook for the economy and financial markets.  That picture is never static, of course, and it often is wrong.  It changes in response to new developments and data points.  Previous obsessions with key variables eventually fade away.  New ones take their place.  In just the past few weeks, that picture appears to be reframing once again.  Our job as analysts and investors is to determine whether and where we agree and to position our portfolios to reap the benefits (assuming that we are right). Continue reading

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