Administration & Management

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Monthly Archives: July 2011

FEELING HEAT ON US DEBT : EARNINGS AND INDEX POISED TO EXHIBIT UNWANTED OSCILLATIONS

Wrangling over the US debt ceiling and questions marks over corporate earnings mean markets are unlikely to get a break any time soon.

Wall Street is set to close its worst three months in a year as July draws to a close next week after a roller coaster ride for markets. Whacked out fund managers hitting the beach in August may find themselves fiddling with their BlackBerrys more than the little umbrella in their cocktails.

“I need a vacation, man. After all the stuff that’s happened in the last three months I’m pretty much shot, I’m getting weird,” said one New Jersey-based fund manager, who was packing his bags for a destination in the Caribbean as temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City.

With euro zone leaders having reached a deal for yet another bailout for debt-laden Greece, investors will be free to chew over the rancor in Washington with even more attention.

Negotiations between President Barack Obama and the top Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, still looked far from a deal to avert a looming US default, lawmakers said on Friday, raising the likelihood of more volatility next week if no solution is reached over the weekend.

“It’s likely an agreement in any form will cause a relief rally for equities,” said global head of sales trading at Dahlman Rose in New York.

“Coming on the heels of overall pretty good earnings numbers and some sort of resolution in Greece and that could make for a rally in the market,” he said.

But on the other side of the coin, the prolonged and partisan dispute over solving the country’s debt crisis means there is still a big downside risk.

“Who knows where that is going to go,” as per an analyst at MF Global in Chicago. “We’re vulnerable to a buyers’ strike if we don’t get any news.”

In addition, the corporate earnings season suggests other risks could dog the market. Despite generally good results so far, there have been some worrisome signs. The S&P 500 rallied 6% in the run-up to reporting season, but earnings misses from big industrial names like Rockwell Collins and Caterpillar Inc weighed on the Dow and S&P 500 on Friday.

Earlier in the week several big consumer names such as Whirlpool and Pepsi warned about sluggishness in developed markets, sending their shares sharply lower.

“The market still has a high degree of skepticism in it,” said the analyst, summing up the earnings season so far.

As per him, he will be closely following earnings from sector and economic bellwethers next week. Those include the package delivery company UPS, chipmaker Texas Instruments, and online retailer Amazon.

Around 30 percent of the S&P 500’s USD 12.3 trillion market caps have reported earnings so far. They have outpaced consensus estimates by 3.8%, and only 7% have missed estimates, according to data from Morgan Stanley.

But share prices of those that have fallen short of estimates have taken a severe beating. Given the fragile sentiment a few more prominent misses could derail the market.

“The market is punishing these misses more than it is rewarding beats, an asymmetry we have been calling for and we forecast will continue,” wrote Morgan Stanley’s US equity strategist in a note to clients.

“Our view remains that first half of the year numbers are achievable but the second half of the year looks challenged,” he said.

Next week is also a big week for economic data. Fears of a slowdown in the economy have been a large driver of market volatility over the last few months, and the coming releases will be parsed very closely.

They include early regional manufacturing data from Chicago and New York, a reading of consumer sentiment, and a first reading of US growth for the second quarter, expected to show the economy grew just 1.9% in the period.

Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Blackrock, one of the world’s largest fund managers with around USD 1.6 trillion of equities under management, said this week that the US economy is at a critical juncture.

Doll points out that since 1960 every time year-on-year growth has fallen under 2% the US economy has gone into recession.

“Our bottom line view is that investors should maintain a reasonably constructive bias toward risk assets, but should also be prepared to scale back exposure if evidence of economic growth acceleration does not materialize.”

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

Note: Compiled from published News and Views

OIL POLITICS, SPECULATION, CHAIN REACTION AND MANAGEMENT

It requires quantum of intelligence, to infer from what is happening in the markets, or politico-socio-economic across the globe, to why it is happening. Things are never as simple as they seem to be. This would become comprehendible and evident as soon as one reads, relates and analyses the instances mentioned hereunder:

Crude oil prices peaked to US $ 100 – 115 a barrel in April and May 2011 and moved downwards after that to touch a rate of US $ 90 – 92 per barrel in June 2011. In such a scenario, price increase by the Union Government should have been announced in April – May 2011, but the same did not occur. The Government found June 2011 to be the auspicious time for announcing price hike when the prices had nearly normalized. What could have been the motive for doing so? Simple answer is that April – May 2011 was the time when five states were going to elect the assembly members. The states being, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.

If one goes by what the campaign managers of Congress had to say on the Rahul Gandhi’s much publicized kisan padyatra-(which as claimed was undertaken to champion the cause of the farmers of the region) –  was conceived to detract the public attention from the issue of hike in petroleum products and their possible spiraling effect on inflation. This yatra detracted the lot of electronic media attention from the campaign that opposition forces such as BJP and Left were seeking to build up on the oil price hike related issues.

Since the Oil shock of 1973, USA strategically took measures to control the oil market by keeping continued focus on West Asian Region. In 1980, Jimmy Carter, the then President of USA declared Persian Gulf an exclusive zone of American influence and created a rapid deployment of forces, which latter turned into what is known as US Central Command or CENTCOM. 

As is being believed by majority that skirmish in Libya is behind recent spurt in prices, should correct their facts. Libya produces less than 3 per cent of global petroleum output. Where as Saudi Arabia has already made up for the current shortfall and its excess stocks are more than that of Libya and Algeria put together. In fact in present situation too oil production at many of Libyan facilities continues even in civil war there.

The argument being forwarded by few is that rising demand from China and India has forced an upward trend in oil prices is also unjustified. Though these two countries do account for growing share of global demand, but then same is counterbalanced by slower demand from USA and Europe.

There is still a wide spread perception that cartel of Oil Exporting Countries can manipulate and influence the prices by changing the level of their supplies. Reality today is much different. The OPEC has turned from being a cartel to being a minor player today. Non OPEC countries now account for increasingly significant proportion of global supply. Russia has already snatched the title of being largest supplier of crude oil from Saudi Arabia since 2009. 

Many more such instances may be quoted. It’s not being quoted in anticipation that the variety of above instances is good enough to comprehend that nearly none of the factors assumed or arguments forwarded are capable of forcing any kind of hike in prices of the crude oil.

 

Then what is it, which is responsible for hike in crude oil price?

 

…….any guesses, if not, then storm your grey matter and keep visiting this place in hope of getting answer to this simple question.

 

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

 

 

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