This morning's media blitz by Carl iCahn - demanding that AAPL's Tim Cook, borrow money cheap, lever-up, and gift it all back to shareholders through buybacks - reminded us of our previous post on the record high levels of leverage in US corporations. To a point, firms can add debt as earnings and equity value increase - leaving leverage and credit risk somewhat constant. However, the last few years, in spite of Maria Bartiromo's constant drivel of cash on the balance sheets, companies have increased debt faster than EBITDA, leverage is at record levels, and credit markets appear to have peaked (as they did in 2007).
- Government Heads Toward Shutdown (WSJ), First U.S. Shutdown in 17 Years at Midnight Seen Probable (BBG), Congress in game of chicken (RTRS)
- Italian Premier Pursues Last-Ditch Rescue of Government (WSJ)
- Election risk rattles Italian government bonds (RTRS)
- Obama and Ryan Stay on Sidelines on Budget (WSJ)
- Volcker Rule Costs Tallied as U.S. Regulators Press Deadline (BBG)
- Faltering Chinese Factory Growth Adds to Rebound Fears (FT)
- Health Law Hits Late Snags as Rollout Approaches (WSJ)
- Apple Overtakes Coca-Cola as Most Valuable Brand, Study Finds (BBG)
- Euro-Area September Inflation Slows More Than Forecast on Energy (BBG) - Puting will fix that shortly
Every year there seems to be a few momentum stocks defying logic, reality while bleeding all shorts getting in the way. This year, Tesla Motor is one such stock.
It’s often argued that they don’t a bell at the top. I would argue that we numerous bells ringing in the financial markets today.
Being bullish on the market in the short term is fine... The expansion of the Fed's balance sheet will continue to push stocks higher as long as no other crisis presents itself. However, the problem is that a crisis, which is 'always' unexpected, inevitably will trigger a reversion back to the fundamentals. The market will eventually correct as it always does - it is part of the market cycle. The reality is that the stock market is extremely vulnerable to a sharp correction. Currently, complacency is near record levels and no one sees a severe market retracement as a possibility. The common belief is that there is 'no bubble' in assets and the Federal Reserve has everything under control.
With the entire Fairfax Financial LBO 'offer' premium now disappeared and then some, it seems the news for BlackBerry is going from bad to worse. As Reuters reports, in an announcement that highlighted the faded relevance of the company, T-Mobile US Inc said it was no longer efficient to keep BlackBerry devices in its stores. The 4th largest US wireless provider said it will ship them if people want them but they will no longer be stocked in stores.
- JPMorgan eyes $4bn ‘pay for peace’ deal (FT)
- Prosecutors Pursue Big SAC Settlement (WSJ) - in the US if you are rich enough, no crime is bad enough
- Cruz's Defiant Stand Is Also a Lonely One (WSJ); Texas senator speaks for more than 14 hours (FT)
- Iran Applies Brakes to U.S. Mideast Plans (WSJ)
- Americans in Poll Doubt Economy Rebound in Defiance of Forecasts (BBG)
- Big Banks Cut Basel III Shortfall by $112 Billion at End of 2012 (BBG) - the equivalent of 10 bridges to the Kalahari desert
- Obama’s Jabs at Russia on Syria Shows Diplomacy Tensions (BBG)
- ICAP Staff Face Criminal Charges Tied to Libor (WSJ)
- Alibaba Is Said to Shift Target for I.P.O. to U.S. From Hong Kong (NYT)
- Home gold rush is over (Reuters)
- Conoco in landmark Alaska drone flight (FT)
When it comes to the "fairness doctrine", there was always some confusion in the matter of work ethic: how was it fair that some should work under the socialism-endorsed confines of a 29.5 hour workweek, while being forced to suffer the indignity and moral denigration of watching others labor under the faux guise of capitalism, putting in 60, 80, even 100 or more hours per week in the pursuit of self-actualization, contentment and general happiness? Furthermore, as has been well documented, despite rumors the contrary, the biggest incubator of neosocialism the "fairness doctrine" is not the US, nor Leningrad (sic), but France.... Sephora's flagship Champs Élysées cosmetics store, one which attracts six million people a year or nearly as many as the Eiffel Tower, has been ordered by a French appeals court to close at 9 pm at the latest because it "breached work-time regulations by hosting customers until midnight on weekdays and 1 am on weekends."
Whether or not AAPL's reported sales are accurate or merely the latest manifestation of channel stuffing is irrelevant: what matters to the sellside is that upside momentum, at least for a few days, seems to be back in the biggest tech stock and the immediate result is quite predictable - the sellside resumes piling in and selling their axed exposure to clients. In other words, they are coming out with increased price targets on the stock, most notable this morning from Goldman which just hiked its AAPL target from $530 to $560.
"As an anecdotal aside it was interesting that Apple yesterday reported above consensus iPhone sales on the first weekend of the new launches. When I upgraded in a phone shop on Friday there was no queue, a load left in stock and a number of extra staff put on who were standing around doing nothing. They said they all arrived early to handle the queues, only to find that their first customer didn't arrive until 30mins after opening. So my experience seemed to be different from the rest of the world as Apple climbed +4.97% yesterday after the impressive sales numbers and also guidance at the top of the range from the company on revenues and gross margins." - Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid
- Iran Icebreaker Set at U.N. (WSJ)
- Chrysler Feud Triggers IPO Filing (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Chase, 12 More Banks Said to Be Sued Over Libor (BBG)
- Regulator sues Morgan Stanley, eight others over faulty securities (Reuters)
- Monte Paschi Seen Boosting Cost Goals to Meet EU Demands (BBG)
- Here we go again - "not enough funds": CFTC chair Gary Gensler warns on fund cuts to police derivatives (FT)
- Congress Fuels Private Jails Detaining 34,000 Immigrants (BBG)
- KKR, Sycamore looking to buy Jones Group this week (NYPost) - take with lots of salt
- Fiat rethinks alliance with Chrysler after IPO filing (Reuters)
- Young Invincibles Caught in Crossfire Over Obamacare Cost (BBG)
- Mayfair Office Squeeze Spawns New London Real Estate Hubs (BBG)
Dubbed as a "game-changer" despite being around on devices for years (Motorola Atrix anyone); a 'paradigm' shift in mobile payment security; and a revolution in handheld devices by any and all investors bullish of the stocks; Appl's fingerprint-scanning TouchID is everything you want it to be - apart from secure. As Der Spiegel reports, the well-respected German hacker group Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has thrown a wrench in the works by bypassing the smartphone's much-heralded fingerprint scanner just two days after launch. The CCC, as the clip below illustrates, successfully bypassed the biometric security system, called TouchID, using "easy everyday means." A CCC spokesperson noted "It is plain stupid to use something that you can't change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token," So, the question now is - will the NYPD demand everyone downgrade their phones?
In case there was any concern that the umbilical cord between US corporations and government has never been thicker (especially in light of recent revelations that the NSA views the AAPL Borg Collective as useful "zombies", abusing their credit cards just so they can be spied upon in new and improved ways) the New York Police Department is here to remind everyone of just that.
New Revelations Are Breaking Every Day
UPDATE: AAPL +5.7% on revised guidance
Despite concerns about supply (and 'change') the lines we saw on Friday and the disappointments in the UK have been dismissed by the latest Apple press release as opening weekend iPhone sales top their record at 9 million sales (compared with the 5 million sold at iPhone 5 launch and 6-7mm units expectations).
APPLE SAYS OVER 200M IOS DEVICES RUNNING IOS 7
APPLE 9M NEW IPHONE 5S AND IPHONE 5C MODELS SOLD IN 3 DAYS
APPLE SAYS OVER 11M UNIQUE LISTENERS USED ITUNES RADIO
APPLE SEES 4Q REV. NEAR HIGH END OF $34B-$37B, EST. $36.11B
The share price was up over 4.5% from Friday's sub-50DMA close in pre-market trading; but is fading back now.