U.S. Economy Archives - Page 73 of 107 - Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From
The Bull Market is Intact and On the Move
Bears have been scratching for a vulnerable spot in the bulls' narrative in the past few weeks, but have been coming up empty, as they logged a blistering March.
Sellers tried to sink the market back in February as the long-simmering Greek debt fiasco roared into the headlines, but that didn't work out so hot for them. And early last week they tried again by both highlighting new reports of discord between the European Monetary Union authorities and Greece, and by flogging the news of a Fitch Ratings Inc. downgrade of Portuguese debt.
At some point, portfolio managers outside of Europe may decide that they care about these matters but for now there has been what you might call a Gallic shrug. Tant pis, as the French say.
Obama Reveals $14 Billion Housing Program Aimed at Unemployed and Underwater Homeowners
The Obama administration on Friday announced a $14 billion program to shore up the housing market by giving lenders incentives to slash some mortgage debt and reduce mortgage payments for the unemployed. As the housing market struggles under the weight of an epidemic of foreclosures there was disturbing evidence last week that the malaise is […]
Money Morning Mailbag: The Capital Wave That Could Blunt the U.S. Recovery
Question: How can banks justify not giving out mortgage money in light of the fact that they can now qualify their applicants to a level not previously seen? I am talking about literally millions of people applying for loans with 800-plus FICO scores and Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratios that are better than ever before.
How can banks and lending institutions take our money and then turn around and shut nearly everyone out – which simply prolongs this recession? Can anyone explain why the present administration and regulatory bodies are not forcing the banks to loan monies to qualified applicants?
At this rate, we will be dead soon. Without borrowing, we will die.
• (Signed) Living in Costa Rica
JPMorgan Close to $1.4 Billion Tax Refund Deal, Joining Long List of Companies Cashing In
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JMP) is close to a deal that gives the financial giant a $1.4 billion tax refund, even though it received a $25 billion bailout in 2008. JPMorgan is the latest company to take advantage of the tax refund, which is giving billions to everyone from retailers and airlines to energy companies and homebuilders.
A little-known provision in a November addition to the 2009 stimulus bill allows companies to apply losses from 2008 and 2009 to taxes paid up to five years ago, expanding the usual two-year limit. The " net operating loss carryback" extends the timeframe into years when companies were profiting and had to pay in each tax season.
Although companies that received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) aid are not eligible for the tax break – and JPMorgan nabbed a hefty $25 million of those funds – JPMorgan is gunning for part of Washington Mutual Bank's $2.6 billion refund. JPMorgan bought the financial institution's banking operations for $1.9 billion in September 2008, after WaMu became the biggest bank failure in U.S. history and was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Drug Companies and Hospitals Get a Boost from Healthcare Reform
After months of trying to predict how the healthcare reform proposals would affect the respective futures of their industries, drug companies and hospitals are optimistic about the prospective long-term profits the final version of the health care reform bill could bring them.
President Barack Obama yesterday (Tuesday) signed the $940 billion health care reform bill with support from pharmaceutical companies and the hospital industry. Both will benefit from a sharp increase in the number of insured customers, as the bill expands healthcare to up to 32 million more people.
While the bill will cost tens of billions of dollars over the next 10 years, the planned reforms create something drug companies and hospitals can't live without: paying consumers.
Money Morning Mailbag: Capital Wave Investing Strategies Spotlight the World's Top Profit Plays
Question: Shah, your article on capital-wave investing was outstanding. In fact, I would love to see a follow-up piece for those of us who are not traders and who are not out and about following the current short-term market trends.
For example, when you talk about the Obama administration's determination to keep interest rates low – this has consequences. What will those rates be in, say, a three-year to five-year time frame? What if the European countries keep having implosions like Greece – meaning that countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy follow suit?
In your opinion, will that eventually sink the euro, or does the Eurozone have to bail out those countries with a plan that's similar to the one that it is developing for Greece? What happens to other currencies in either of these scenarios?
Finally, is it your opinion that China is trying to curtail its growth to keep itself from overheating? Can Beijing successfully continue to do this – or will this blow up in China's face? If you look down the road, say, three to five years, what do you believe the consequences, if any, will be?
Again, Shah, this was a really informative article. I would love to hear your views on what you actually see playing out in each of these areas during the next few years.
Answer: Thank you for your kind words about the article and for taking the time to pose your questions – which are excellent ones, by the way. Let's take a look at them, one at a time…
Fastest Recovery Ever Could Push Corporate Profits to Record Highs in 2010
Sometimes we get a little carried away talking about esoteric subjects like bulls, bears, supply, demand, moving averages and the like. But if you just want to focus on something real, then look at corporate profits. When they're rising from a low, that's good; when they're flat-lining or declining, that's bad. Pretty simple.
Much of the rally of the past year has been in anticipation of a profit recovery. And now that recovery is actually coming in a bit better than bulls expected, which is why they are able to elbow bears so effectively. ISI Group now figures that corporate profits will clock in at +38.8% for the first quarter (year over year) of 2010, then +42.4% in the second quarter, +36.8% in the third quarter and then +30% in the fourth quarter (against harder comparisons). That would put profits in 2010 up a record 36.1% overall.
To read more about how corporate earnings will shape the market click here.
Producer Price Index Drop Supports Fed's Position on Keeping Low Interest Rates
The Producer Price Index (PPI) saw its biggest drop in seven months in February, fueling the U.S. Federal Reserve's argument that interest rates can remain low "for an extended period" without yet facing dangerous inflationary pressures.
Wholesale prices were down a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in February, the Labor Department reported today (Wednesday), a day after the Fed's one-day policy meeting where it reiterated the need to encourage economic growth through low interest rates.
The central bank's position to keep the federal funds rate at a record low range of zero to 0.25% since December 2008 has sparked inflation concerns among many investors. However, proof of tame inflation buys the Fed more time in deciding when to continue with its "exit strategy" and pull the trigger on a rate hike. The Fed has remained firm on its stance that there is no evidence of rising inflation due to low interest rates.