Archives for September 2012

September 2012 - Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From

There is Nothing the Shorts Can Do About Higher Oil Prices

After another pricing pull back of almost 10% earlier this week, crude oil prices rebounded on the back of an unlikely source.

A Spanish deputy prime minister presented a budget. The proposal was hardly earth shattering.

It detailed planned expenditure cuts but provided no details on the other shoe that has to fall – tax increases. Given that a main element in the Eurozone crisis continues to be on the fiscal side, tax increases will have to follow.

The difference cannot be made up only from program cuts. The budget announcement, therefore, appears simply to forestall the inevitable.

Nonetheless, a dry news conference in Madrid was the latest excuse for bulls to take over and drive the oil price (and the markets) higher.

This is merely the latest example of an immediate overreaction to developments.

Yes, it is important that Spain is positioning itself to benefit from the new paper buyout plans being orchestrated by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Unlike the basket case of Greece, the Spanish have made an effort to clean up their act prior to a bailout request.

Next up are the stress test results of Spanish banks. An independent audit show Spanish banks need $76.3 billion.

And while there is some question over whether the test is a valid indicator of overall banking sector weakness, there is no doubt what the government's objective is.

This will not be an across-the-board rescue of the banking sector because Madrid does not want a full-blown rescue from the EIB.

That would put the entire Spanish banking industry under pan-European oversight. Now it may ultimately come to that. But before officials capitulate, they will orchestrate a smaller number of comparatively healthier financial institutions (at least on paper).

This hardly ends the crisis.

But it does indicate that a strategy is taking shape. And that is all the bulls needed to charge forward.

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Usain Bolt Has Nothing on This Cutting-Edge New Robot

Usain Bolt, the world's fastest human, has nothing on the Cheetah.

No, not the animal.

I'm talking about the four-legged robot built by the research division of the Pentagon known as DARPA. Their Cheetah robot recently clocked in at 28.30 miles per hour.

To be sure, the bot had a slight edge – it ran on a treadmill. Bolt was running on a track when he set the speed record for man at 27.78 mph.

Still, researchers say the Cheetah's new speed record shows that robots are becoming ever more agile. DARPA wants to use the bots to traverse tough terrain, like debris, ditches, and rocks.

Meantime, remember how I told you back in July about the robofish that could help save the oceans?

Next up are "coralbots." These diving ocean bots are designed to work in "swarms," like bees or ants. They may sound menacing but are being put to good use – saving the coral reefs.

Reefs are underwater living organisms essential to healthy life in the oceans. They make up some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and do a lot to protect our shorelines. And they are in danger, not only from pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but from overfishing, disease, agricultural runoff, a rising sea temperature, and ocean acidification.

That's why researchers in the U.K. are programming the bots to work in swarms to find coral fragments and re-cement them to the reef, restoring the structures. They will start work in the cold, deep waters off Scotland – a stretch often too challenging for humans.

Of course, these weren't the only fascinating high-tech advance I came across this month.

Here are some others that will blow you away….

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Cummins Mining Solutions at MINExpo - Analyst Blog

Cummins Inc. (CMI) has announced the launch of three new innovations at MINExpo. The new innovations are dual-fuel engines, the next-generation QSK50 engine and increase of high-horsepower engine remanufacturing capacity. These new technologies will facilitate clean, powerful and reliable engines and related technology for the mining customers. The company will be developing dual-fuel engines for […]

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50 Billion "Connected" Devices

The United States has produced hands down the world's most powerful economic force. And most experts agree that three separate economic "revolutions" have been the catalysts for this success:

  1. The introduction of steam engines and railroads…
  2. The widespread use of electricity and the combustion engine… and more recently…
  3. The invention of the computer and the internet.

All three created massive opportunities for economic growth. Not just for the companies behind the innovations. But also for average Americans, whose wealth grew exponentially from the revved up economic conditions the new technologies spurred.

Today, a fourth revolution is underway. I'm talking about wireless communications. The interconnectivity of everybody. And everything.

We are still in the early stages. But make no mistake: This new revolution will prove to be every bit as powerful as the previous ones. Even more so. And it will soon re-establish America's role as the dominant global economic powerhouse.

The fact is it's already happening. As we speak profound changes are happening in the way people, businesses and, indeed our, our entire society interacts.

When you think of "connected" devices, you probably picture that new
smartphone you just bought, or maybe your Apple iPad.

But you're thinking too small – way too small, in fact.

Sure, these devices are essential to this new revolution. After all, they are breaking the new technology wide open, and bringing the wireless revolution to the masses. And they will continue to play a tremendous role in the future.

But what is happening – and what is about to happen – goes far beyond what you can hold in your hand today.

By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices in use worldwide.

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Gold Prices: Here's Why All the Hype Goes Beyond QE3

It was another bumpy week for gold prices that included two-week lows and a surge to seven-month highs.

On Thursday, December gold futures increased $26.90 (1.5%) and settled at $1,780.50 an ounce on the COMEX.

This represented gold's highest close since the end of the February.

As the week comes to an end and traders waited for more news from Spain, December gold was down on Friday morning to $4.10 to $1,776.40 an ounce.

Gold's price moves came from a number of factors this week including bargain hunters and weak U.S. macroeconomic data.

The bottom line is that the QE3 rally might have fizzled, but the long-term gold outlook still shines brightly.

Here's why.

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If Romney Wins Election, Make Sure You Own These Six Stocks

With U.S. President Barack Obama holding a narrow lead in the polls over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, investors need to be prepared for a win by either candidate.

Strangely enough, history has shown that the stock market actually does much better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones – three times better since 1913, according to The New York Times, and more than five times better since 1960.

Of course, that doesn't mean there won't still be plenty of stock market opportunities if Romney wins the election. It just means investors must be a bit more selective, targeting leading stocks in industries that have a history of prospering under GOP policies, especially those directly affected by planks in the Republican platform.

Sectors that fall into this category include certain health insurers, medical device makers, energy companies, domestic oil exploration outfits, utilities, transportation firms (especially railroads), and defense contractors.

Let's take a look.

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Top Stock Picks of Billionaire Hedge Funds May Surprise You

Tracking the habits of rich and successful investors like Warren Buffett is typically a good idea because they clearly know how to make a lot of money in the markets.

But Buffett isn't the only successful billionaire investor. Dozens of billion-dollar hedge fund managers and other extremely wealthy investors also know how to pick winning stocks.

Fortunately for the retail investor, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that such heavy hitters file a report on their long positions every quarter.

While the reports (called a Form 13F) lag the actual holdings of the billionaire investors and hedge funds, they serve as a useful window into the thinking of the country's most highly rewarded investors.

Several Websites track the Form 13F filings and look for patterns that retail investors can use.

One such site, Insider Monkey, tracks the 13F filings from 400 top hedge funds and billionaire investors.

In addition to Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), Insider Monkey tracks such well-known hedge fund managers as Carl Icahn (Icahn Capital Lp), David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital), John Paulson (Paulson & Co.), and George Soros (Soros Fund Management).

Although hedge funds have had a difficult year overall, the stocks they buy and hold have generally outperformed the market, the site notes.

Earlier this year Insider Monkey filtered out the 30 most popular stocks among these high-octane investors, to create what it calls the Billionaire Hedge Fund Index. That index is up 25.3% for the year, besting the 18% gain of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Let's take a look at these winning top stock picks.

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Stock Market Today: 3Q Ends with Worst Business Activity in 3 Years

The major headlines in the stock market today include: The third quarter stumbles to a close as economic activity shrunk for the first time in three years, concerns over Spanish banks persist and personal income falls.

  • Third quarter ends with a dud– Stocks opened lower Friday as investors confront news that economic activity is shrinking for the first time in three years. Investors also remain worried over Spain's economic turmoil and are awaiting results from stress tests of Spanish banks. The market rallied yesterday after Spain's austerity budget was announced but uncertainty still outweighs any optimism concerning Europe. "The focus is back on Europe at this point," Walter Todd, who oversees about $940 million as chief investment officer of Greenwood Capital in Greenwood, South Carolina, told Bloomberg News. "It's this ebb and flow of crisis- response-complacency. You get everything fine for a while and then increase in stress."
  • Business activity contracts for first time in 3 years- The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index fell to 49.7 in September, its lowest level in three years. The reading measures manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity in the Chicago region and is considered a mirror of national activity. Any reading under 50 signals contraction and this was the first time activity shrank since September 2009. The sharp decline from last month's 53 was very unexpected and shows the economy has not improved over the past four years. Breaking down the report, the employment index came in at a two-and-a-half year low and new orders, backlogs and deliveries had their-three month moving averages at the lowest since the third quarter of 2009. "The chain that links all this stuff together is just a loss of confidence as we head toward the end of the year in fiscal policy," Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies & Co. Inc. in New York told Bloomberg. "Businesses have been cutting back on their investment spending."

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Accenture Matches EPS Est, Tops Rev - Analyst Blog

Accenture plc (ACN) reported fourth quarter fiscal 2012 earnings per share (EPS) of 88 cents, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings decreased 3.5% from the year-ago quarter due to a higher tax rate, lower non-operating income as well as foreign-exchange headwinds, partially offset by higher revenues and margins and lower share count. Revenues […]

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United Therapeutics Corp. (UTHR) - Bull of the Day

United Therapeutics Corp.'s (UTHR) second quarter earnings of $1.43 per share were well above the year-ago earnings of $1.19 and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.12. Higher revenues led to the improvement in earnings. The company maintained its guidance for 2012. We believe the company is well-positioned to gain share in the pulmonary arterial hypertension […]

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