Reading snippets of CEO comments after their earnings releases highlights the tug of war between the bulls and the bears over where this economy and stock market are going certainly relative to where it was just 5 weeks ago.

Are the shoots green or some other shade?

Here are some quotes: JCP, ‘sales slightly better, more predictable,’ NSC, ‘still seeing significant pressure on volumes but think things bottom out by June q,’ UTX, ‘seeing signs of stabilization in orders but don’t see significant change in environment,’ COF, ‘unemployment is sort of raging,’ R, ‘there’s no evidence economy is bottoming out and could get much worse,’ AMD, ‘it’s not possible to say demand has hit bottom,’ ETH, ‘Mar business showed improvements from Feb while significantly lower than Mar of last year.’

These comments are taken off Bloomberg so I can’t confirm the exact quote.

Category: Corporate Management, Earnings, Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

102 Responses to “Green or some other shade of shoots”

  1. franklin411 says:

    TXN: “Demand for our products has begun to stabilize after sharp drops in the past two quarters. Many customers have increased orders for TI products as they have begun to slow down their inventory reductions. However, we remain sensitive to continuing weakness in the global economy, and we have yet to see signs of a broad-based recovery in our business.”

  2. pgibbns says:

    These Green shoots are magic mushrooms. They are causing people to hallucinate and see a recovering economy. They are also causing a number of Senior Goverment officials and CEO/CFO’s to think that lying is okay.

  3. Mannwich says:

    Just a bunch of weeds. I spread some weed & feed fertilizer yesterday in my back yard. Those green shoots that Ben has been referring to won’t need any such thing to cause them to wilt and die.

  4. Super-Anon says:

    Looks like some of the economic indicators might have gotten a bump from an early Spring. But now some of the high frequency stuff that was looking up a bit like chain store sales and mortgage purchase apps seem to be weakening again. Jobless claims should be interesting…

  5. Super-Anon says:

    BTW, how about them long-bonds today.

  6. Bruce in Tn says:

    http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/04/california-foreclosures-jump-80-in-q1.html

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009
    California Foreclosures Jump 80% In Q1 From Q4

    Posted by Tyler Durden at 1:32 PM
    “Data out of dataquick indicates that the housing market in California is about to take second major leg down. In line with Zero Hedge expectations upon the expiration of the foreclosure moratorium….”

  7. EAR says:

    Green shoots?

    Shoot, more like the average consumer that still has a J-O-B not properly comprehending the near future. There will be fewer of those as the year moves along.

    If this country needs an optimistic, semi-solvent consumer and an increase in exports they should reach out to the people who live in the country that holds most of our debt and give them some spendin’ money.

    Palates of cash to the Gen-Xers in China, like the ones that went AWOL in Iraq.

    Judging from my close friends, who are a bright gang, and the skewed popular reaction to the economy the only thing keeping optimism alive is the fact that many have no idea how bad it can get. They’ve read about it in history class, seen the grainy film, watched “The Sting,” visited less developed nations but it’s still beyond their imagination.

    Wait! AAPL crushed it!

  8. wally says:

    Glimmers of hope, glimmers of nope, glimmers of dope.

  9. EAR says:

    The palates of cash went AOWL in Iraq, not the Chinese Gen-Xers, BTW.

    Q1 09 California default notices up 80% to 135,431… I wonder how many of them have IPhones?

  10. EAR says:

    Ahhh! The palates went AWOL!

    Ok, I’m done.

  11. franklin411 says:

    @Ear
    IPhones do matter–they cost $200 each and you’re also required to sign up for a voice/data package commitment of at least $79.99/mo plus tax. Not exactly the kind of thing you do if you’re quaking in your boots about making the rent this month.

  12. dasht says:

    Orders aren’t “stabalizing” – that’s a misapprehension, imo.

    When big crashes occur in markets: first they start to happen; then people panic and stop spending much at all; then the crashes really take off; and then…. and this is where we are:

    Then there is a little bit of an up-tick in spending but it is “hunker down” spending: it is people trying to lock in tangibles and such in anticipation of an even worse down-turn.

    And next will be that that (quickly) exhausts itself and everyone will be shocked – shocked I say – to discover that things are about to get much worse. This establishment is hereby ordered closed until further notice.

    -t

  13. call me ahab says:

    EAR

    AAPL crushed- however is issuing guidance substantially lower- understand that they always lowball- however it will depend on how the market reacts to the guidance- excerpt below:

    “Co issues downside guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $0.95-1.00 vs. $1.12 consensus; sees Q3 revs of $7.7-7.9 bln vs. $8.28 bln consensus.”

  14. dead hobo says:

    I don’t know.

    Is a polished turn less of a turd? Would you mind less if you found it on your shoe? If the green comes from mold, is it still all-natural and if it is all-natural does that mean it is good? Or is it just fresh looking toxin.

    I’m happy we’re not falling at an increasing rate. Screw the 2nd derivative.

    I’ll be happy when I read that people who build things in a variety of industries are doing better somewhere. And almost everyone else is holding on OK. And the financial markets have been re-regulated so that the scammers have to work a lot harder to pump and dump.

  15. dead hobo says:

    You are attempting to log out of The Big Picture

    Please try again.

    Aghhh: I’m trapped.

  16. DL says:

    dead hobo @ 5:05

    In the event that you can’t make it as an investor, I’m sure you would do well as a poet.

  17. dead hobo says:

    You are attempting to log out of The Big Picture

    Please try again.
    ——————————————–
    This means you have to feed me.

  18. dead hobo says:

    DL,

    Do you know anyone from Nantucket?

  19. ben22 says:

    I would not own aapl here, if you bought at 80, take your profits.

    it was enough for me to get bearish when I saw that idiot Jim Goldman just now on CNBC, blogging away with the child like grin on his face while he types ; no recession in these numbers.

    What a fool this guy is, you’d think after aapl played him last year over the Jobs stuff and he got called out for it he’d be a little less likely to do this after better than expected numbers.

    it’s all about the mac sales, and they just happened to miss sales estimates by roughly 200k, it’s where a big part of the margins are, if they have to make a cheaper model in order to survive the economic backdrop the margin will lower and the p/e is going to have to come down on the stock.

    All that said, a 36% profit margin was pretty impressive considering the conditions they are operating in.

  20. leftback says:

    DL:

    Dead hobo is a poet.
    But he doesn’t know it.
    Yet.

  21. DL says:

    DH @ 5:10

    I don’t want to step in something by answering that.

  22. EAR says:

    franklin…

    I am happy when I my half empty hears from the half full perspective.

    ahab…

    Thanks for the depth, if I get it here it means I can hang out longer. The AAPL crushed thing was half of a swipe at the fickle nature of the human perspective and half hoping that AAPL’s results, when examined, would reveal some sort of positive trend and not the current “it’s a historic mess, time to get creative or die” reporting.

  23. greg says:

    Ben22

    Apple missed sales estimates for Macs. Would these be the estimates of the Wall Street analysts who got every other number wrong?
    Why would they make a cheaper model? That’s the business plan reserved for auto companies. Doesn’t seem to work out very well in the long run. I think they just proved, once again, they don’t have to do anything to survive the economic backdrop. As I said in reply to Mannwich on a previous thread, analysts have to realize that Apple is recession proof, until they do they will always be wrong.

  24. patfla says:

    ‘palate’ makes no sense to me.

    I can only guess you meant palette(s).

    pat

  25. leftback says:

    AAPL is in a class of its own.
    But there are a whole lot of earnings coming in now, and they ain’t good.

    Brown shoots.

  26. Mannwich says:

    @greg: Nothing is completely “recession proof”, at least not this recession. Recession resistant would be a better term, I think. I have much respect for AAPL. I really do.

  27. patfla says:

    I think what’s going on with this latest rally is ‘bad news fatigue’.

    “hey, let’s feel happy for a while”.

    And it was made so.

  28. greg says:

    Mannwich

    I’ll concede that to you, “recession resistant” will do just fine.

  29. Mannwich says:

    I think the next leg down AAPL eventually takes a hit, although if they continue to make great products they’ll be fine in the long run. Think much is priced into the stock with them but maybe I’m wrong. I just think eventually when we see the next nosedive, they’ll feel some of the effects too. These things take time. Not all companies are created equally.

  30. ben22 says:

    @greg,

    I love apple products, obviously you do too, and you like the stock, I saw your comments on the other thread.

    however,

    can you explain to me how any stock is anything proof if deflation sets in? Further, that stock was once around 200 was it not? Say what you will about the sales but if you bought it, like almost anything else equity in late 07, you just got killed.

    I’m not sure what you are getting at exactly with the auto company comparison. Last I checked Hyundai had been selling lots of cheap cars in the US for a few years now. I’m merely speculating that if the recession continues longer than expected (which is that everyone is still calling for second half recovery) then aapl might not have another choice. I paid cash for a macbook pro in November, but I’m still working and I save most of what I make.

    The mac sales number dropping is important b/c they make the most money there, I don’t care who made the call on the numbers, did aapl meet the sales numbers they had estimated on the mac? I didn’t see.

    You must subscribe to the Cramer ideas on AAPL which is that it’s a fashion company, you have an ipod but you need a new one because they just came out in pink.

    Not everyone is franklin, and what I mean by that is when people got that small raise in the paycheck, they didn’t immediately find a way to spend like our boy franklin did on a blackberry. Instead, they are afraid so thrift is in and for aapl I’d think higher unemployment would indeed become a leading indicator for the stock. Further, you’ve got to be joking if you don’t think a stronger dollar could hurt that stock.

    GM just announced they will shut down plants for up to 9 weeks this summer. Think any of those households who go out of work will be purchasing an aapl products over the summer? Maybe the nano eh?

    I hope you are right and I’m wrong b/c it will mean things are probably not so bad or are getting a little better you’d never talk me into buying that stock right here, so again, I’d repeat what I said above, if you bought in at 80, take your gains and get out.

  31. MRegan says:

    For those having trouble logging out, an option might be to check on your username and in your profile page, click on the logout option there.

  32. Mannwich says:

    @ben22: We agree on this one. I’ll use myself as an example – my wife and I both can more than afford an I-Phone (and kind of want one) and a MAC with cash (not on credit, like many are most likely doing) but we’re just not going there right now. Doesn’t seem wise in this environment. My blackberry is almost 2 years old and I’d love an I-Phone but am holding off until my blackberry craps out. Why spend the extra money now? I know that’s not how most of our culture thinks today and hasn’t for quite some time now, but me-thinks that most will eventually come to the realization that it’s just plain stupid to buy high-priced toys one cannot afford on credit (thus paying more in the end when you include interest) just to get a thrill out of being in the “cool” crowd.

  33. ben22 says:

    Mannwich,

    I agree, I work with enough average households that I feel confident in talking about the average household budget right now. Lots of people have changed spending habits in the last 6 months. Sure, there are some people that are just oblivious and they are still spending everything they’ve got, but what you and your wife are doing has become far more common.

    Don’t think those new PC ads where they challenge people to find a computer under $x and they always show mac first and joke about how expensive they are, then the customer walks out with a brand new HP for $700 or something.

    I have everything aapl but the phone, and just like you, I’m waiting for bberry to crap out before I switch to an I-phone.

    last, if you are an almanac buyer like me, you know the tech cycle is almost over. If you have profits in aapl take em, you’ll be able to buy the stock again lower.

  34. DL says:

    Ben22 @ 5:40

    I’d rather be short AAPL than long, with a 1-3 month time frame.

    A lot of good news is priced into that stock.

    (According to shortsqueeze.com, the short interest ratio is less than a day).

  35. ben22 says:

    where is Steve Barry to back me up on this one?

  36. ben22 says:

    Mannwich,

    You know, I just re-read your post and I felt like I was in a meeting with a client. I’ve been hearing stuff like that over and over again since Jan. 2. Take out iphone or apple in your statement and insert Macy’s.

    I still think that’s a good stock to short. M.

  37. DL says:

    ben22 @ 5:56

    The recent rally has made him a bit more gun shy than usual.

  38. Mannwich says:

    @ben22: I’ve been looking at shorting M and agree with you. That one’s ripe for the picking. Have you jumped on it yet?

  39. EAR says:

    Pat…

    Thanks for pointing that out. When I think about the whole episode I start to taste vomit in my mouth which leads me to the “palate.” Now, are you going to thank me for providing you the opportunity to correct someone in a snarky tone?

    Truth be told, I’ve had more of an issue with homophones since my Mac crashed (for the second time) and I lost access to my dictionary widgets. There’s that AAPL again.

  40. call me ahab says:

    Doesn’t everyone understand- AAPL is “cool”- that’s why they can sell the same product at twice the price of a competitor- they also have the added advantage of having smaller market share so fewer viruses and malware are designed to attack their operating system- time will tell how long thay can keep the “hip” image- especially if Mac’s become ubiquitous- “less cool” then

  41. ben22 says:

    @DL,

    You think? I seem to think Steve is one of those guys not easily shaken when they really believe in something. Then again, I’m only judging by the short comments he puts on here. I don’t know him at all so maybe you are right. I have to say, I’d be a little pissed at myself for not taking a 77% gain off the table last year and instead stayed all in short but I’m sure he’s doing just fine.

    @Mannwich,

    Yes, I’m short M right now. I also bought a bunch of puts to protect some of the longs I bought in the last 5 months or so and don’t want to sell. I’ve got a 20+ year time frame with those investments so I’m just protecting with some puts and trying to find a few stocks like M that I think I can make some money on on the short side through the late summer early fall.

  42. call me ahab says:

    EAR- issue with homophobes- that’s bullshit – call the EEOC

  43. DL says:

    ben22

    It’s hard to be in this business and not feel compelled to kick oneself from time to time.

  44. ben22 says:

    ahab,

    If the aapl business model is working cause it’s cool and that’s why they are having success I’d dare say they are dead then. I actually believe they make a superior product and that has more to do with the success than the cool factor. I’ve owned notebooks from Dell, HP (2 of these), and IBM and my Mac puts them all to shame.

    nothing stays cool forever, lots of things come back in style eventually but I can’t think of anything that has always been cool and I’d never want to sit around in a stock waiting for something to come back in style.

  45. call me ahab says:

    Ben22- I am totally in agreement- my assessment is that much of the purchase of an Apple is status related- the “hip factor”- and we all know that doesn’t last

  46. ben22 says:

    On to the banks.

    Is it just me or did BAC seem to have the most criminal earnings out of all the banks? they seemed to do a little bit of it all in order to get that number. I prefer the GS approach where they just chop off the bad months and include the better ones. Great idea.

    How Ken Lewis is still alive in there I don’t know.

  47. EAR says:

    call me ahab Says:

    April 22nd, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    “EAR- issue with homophobes- that’s bullshit – call the EEOC”

    Sounds like the hazing I got from the dudes at Bucket Shop Financial I worked for in the ’90s.
    They all thought they were Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross. I wonder how that act worked in prison.

  48. call me ahab says:

    EAR

    i kid, i kid- great movie by the way- sure shows the sleazy side of sales- Alec Baldwin did a great job- nobody you would ever want to emulate though

  49. Steve Barry says:

    Here’s what insiders are doing with their wallets…scroll to the bottom

    http://online.barrons.com/public/page/9_0210-instrans.html

    (Someone please confirm that you can see the chart without a subscription)

  50. EAR says:

    One of the most quotable and one of my favorites.

    The leads, the leads. Alec was a prince compared to the d-bags I worked for. When they called you out at the “end” of the day, if you didn’t have numbers to go with the names they’d cut it off and feed it to you. No matter if some of the of the leads were dead people.

  51. Steve Barry says:

    @Ben:

    What do you need me to back you up on?…just have been very busy…one stop today was to Fortunoff to shop their liquidation and figure out how they can fill 180,000 sq ft…BTW, no bargains yet.

  52. call me ahab says:

    Saw the chart Barry- looks like the top management is getting out while the gettin’ is good- good information to have- thanks for sharing

  53. Bruce in Tn says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/pages/business/

    Japan Pays Foreign Workers to Go Home

    (Latin American workers at a town hall meeting in Hamamatsu, Japan, where officials laid out a plan to pay workers to return to their home countries.)

    …you know, I knew when they built that fence on the southern border of Japan, it wouldn’t keep illegal workers out……….. :)

  54. VennData says:

    Macs won’t become ubiquitous because they are expensive. Ask yourself: would it be as cool at a quarter the retail price?

    But more important, when will MS give back their TARP dough to the masterbakers in Treasury?

  55. ben22 says:

    @ Steve,

    See above, I rec’d selling aapl if you bought it and have a gain now. Greg, above, seems to think the stock is recession proof.

  56. call me ahab says:

    EAR- sounds like you worked at a class place-

    Glengarry Glen Ross- great movie- almost painful to watch- one of the best lines:

    “We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? [Holds up prize] Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. “

  57. moneyneversleepsblog says:

    Nice quarter from Apple, not a huge gain after hours. Curious to see if it can open up and stay up. A pullback would be nice.. and plenty of dip buyers are probably ready and waiting! From a product perspective people LOVE all of it and are pretty passionate..

    Interesting quarter from Morgan, they made December disappear like Goldman but they were slightly more transparent with it.. still had losses.. always interesting.

    More on the Morgan thing here if you are interested:
    http://moneyneversleepsblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/morgan-stanley-reports-results.html

  58. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Apple products are functionally hip – always have been, and probably always will be. Kind of like a pair of fine Italian loafers – sure, there are cheaper shoes that look better, will function as well, and last as long, but nothing else feels quite as good. You pay for it. Hip, but not trendy.

    Sorry if this posts twice – didn’t show up the first time.

  59. ben22 says:

    Is there a way to short gold?

    I think gold will now correct down to 680.

  60. ben22 says:

    @ Steve,

    That was a good idea to go there, I was able to pick up some good stuff at C. City that was close to my office about three weeks before they boarded it up.

    You really have to time them right, if you go too early there aren’t deals, if you go to late, there isn’t anything left that you really want.

  61. greg says:

    Ben22 and Mannwich

    Ben, my comparison with the auto companies was an attempt to illustrate what I have been reading for the past year and that is, that Apple should come out with a cheap computer in order to compete and increase market share. Now while that may in fact have a short term benefit, why would Apple want to do that. It is entirely against anything Steve Jobs seems to stand for in his vision of the company. I’m convinced that he wants to make the best computer/ipod/phone that he and his company is capable of making and selling it for a price he feels is competitive for what the product delivers, Further my comparison was meant to illustrate what has been wrong with the auto companies for at least 15 years. I worked in the auto industry for some 12 years and I can tell you that GM and Chrysler and Ford to some degree came to the conclusion they could not compete with the imports in quality or style, so their strategy became discounts and 0% financing. GM I would venture to say has not sold a vehicle anywhere close to list price in the last 15 years. Toyota and Honda have. Their strategy was to tell the public their vehicles were similarily priced to Toyota and Honda, but with rebates were selling for $4-$5,000 cheaper. How is that even possible. I think we’ve now seen, it isn’t. Sadly I must say, I see Toyota and Honda are to some degree, now adopting this same strategy, which I think is a huge mistake.
    Secondly I have since agreed with Mannwich to use the term recession resistant rather than recession proof, but again my point is that analysts and pundits have been calling for Apples demise in sales for the last year, based on the recession argument. My argument is, I don’t think that Apples demographic is as susceptible to economic downturns as other similar companies are. I think their recent quarter would lend some credence to that.
    Who made the call on Mac numbers is important. As Apple doesn’t provide guidance on this, my point was the number was originated by analysts who manage to get every other number wrong on a consistent basis. So did they miss the number or not? No, as their never was a proper number to miss.
    I do not subscribe to Cramers theory that Apple is a fashion company. I do subscribe to the theory that Apple makes the best products in their space, and that they refuse to follow trends of discounting or making products of inferior quality in an effort to possibly increase market share. Make a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.
    I don’t believe Apple will continue straight up from here, there will be pullbacks, and they are all playable. But I do believe in the long run, Apple will continue to outperform expectations, they will continue to ignore Wall Street analysts, they will continue to give the guidance they deem appropriate, and they will continue to be the subject of inaccurate press by those who can’t stand it that a public company refuses to play by the rules that has served Wall Street so well, especially in the past year.

  62. gloppie says:

    44 6f 77 20 33 30 30 30 20 21

    That is Dow 3000 ! in base 16, aka Hex

  63. call me ahab says:

    @ VennData-

    good point-

    however, don’t you think that there may be a possibilty that if numbers start to fade a bit, there may be an intro Mac- $500 range-

    the new netbooks they have out are $300 to $500 range and do almost everything that most people do on a computer, such as web based searching- and with more and more software available online such as google spreadsheets and word processing- that is always available from anywhere on any computer- no flash drive or hard drive needed- why shell out the extra dough.

  64. EAR says:

    ahab…

    If I gave you the name of the place and you googled it you would find an NASD press release containing words like fraud, fined, barred, censured and profits… after illicit.

  65. call me ahab says:

    Greg Says:

    “I do not subscribe to Cramers theory that Apple is a fashion company”

    I disagree- they are all about the “cool” factor- much like a Harley- you have to sell that “coolness”- people would switch to a Vepsa in a heartbeat if they had the same “hipness” here that they have in Italy

  66. call me ahab says:

    sorry that’s Vespa- duh

  67. call me ahab says:

    @ Ben22

    ProShares GLL- Ultrashort Gold ETF- not sure how heavily it’s traded however- so would check that before investing any $$$

  68. greg says:

    call me ahab

    There already is an intro Mac in the $500- range…..Mac Mini $599. If you think there will be an iMac in that range, Jobs already answered that when he said, “We don’t know how to make a $500 desktop that wouldn’t be a piece of crap”.
    Being cool doesn’t make them a fashion company. They are cool because of their design and the simple fact that they just work, out of the box, with no discs to insert, or spyware to install, or firewalls to install, or virus thingy’s to buy and update and pay for and install.

  69. TraderMark says:

    Took a look at Caterpillar, Dupont, United Tech & Nortfolk Southern here

    http://www.fundmymutualfund.com/2009/04/road-to-recovery-lets-see-what-old.html

    but really why bother? The Apple economy is roaring, and the flea market economy (Ebay) is showering us with semi yellow shoots.

    No worries.

  70. ben22 says:

    greg,

    you are def. jim goldman aren’t you??

    come on man, tell the truth.

    just playin…

  71. greg says:

    ben22

    I’m a little taller than him, plus I didn’t agree with his take on the Steve health thing. I think he just felt that Apple owed us an explanation for some reason, and he probably felt a little played. Seems to be over it now.

  72. Bruce in Tn says:

    Well, even if AAPL was ok, then why is Best Buy cutting salaries and positions?

    Hmmm….Maybe apple is not indicative of the rest of the consumer electronics market.

    http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2009/04/13/daily33.html?ana=yfcpc

    Best Buy demotes, cuts store staff

  73. call me ahab says:

    Bruce-

    AAPL devotees are relentless- it’s a cult I think

  74. moneyneversleepsblog says:

    @ben 22

    double short ETN = DZZ .. godspeed!

    http://moneyneversleepsblog.blogspot.com/

  75. Steve Barry says:

    Quote if the day is spot on…as for Apple, I think AT&T gave away the store a bit on the iPhone revenue sharing and subsidy…once the iPhone hype dies down the thing will come back to earth.

  76. greg says:

    ahab

    There is no cult. Repeat after me..there is no cult. Just because we sometimes refer to Steve Jobs as Dear Leader does not a cult make Sir.
    Your name has been submitted to all Apple stores, where you will be banned from entering, but it is not a cult.

  77. elsebo says:

    SB

    Well, I must disagree with your ‘hype’ observation, as iPhone is simply a clever tool for myriads of applications (App Store) – some idiotic, some very useful available to just two taps away, without having to seat in the room where your computer is located, looking for a mouse, adjusting to a most comfortable position, then finding the right application between thousands of others installed on your Pc/Mac, not to mention being reminded that you forgot to answer to some emails, make 2 new excel spreadsheets with your new strategy etc.

    It’s like you would say back in the beginning of 1980s: “once this personal computer hype dies down the thing will come to earth”

  78. franklin411 says:

    Green shoots, people.

    EARNINGS AND THE ECONOMY-CEOS see signs of stability
    Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:36pm EDT
    NEW YORK, April 21 (Reuters) – Some top executives said they saw signs of parts of the global economy stabilizing, when they reported their companies’ earnings on Tuesday, but they are mostly declining to predict a full-fledged recovery. Here is a compilation of comments:

    “Order trends were weak in the quarter, although we saw stabilization in the rate of year-over-year decline across most of our businesses in March.” — United Technologies Corp. (UTX.N) CEO Louis Chenevert in a statement.

    “We were pleased to generate top-line results that were essentially even with prior year and encouraged by the stabilization of our comparable store sales to pre-Christmas levels in North America.” — Lew Frankfort, CEO of luxury leather goods company Coach Inc (COH.N).

    “A great deal of uncertainty exists in the global economy, making it extremely difficult to know how our customers will respond during the remainder of 2009.” — Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) CEO Jim Owens.

    “Anecdotally, we see the (China) pickup.” — Dave Burritt, Caterpillar’s Chief Financial Officer. “Some of our suppliers who were on three-day work weeks late in 2008 are now back to work five days and some are even working overtime.”

    “Industry fundamentals improved in the first quarter.” — Eli Harari, CEO of flash memory maker SanDisk Corp (SNDK.O), in a statement. “We are encouraged that industry supply and demand balance is becoming better aligned, resulting in higher flash pricing.”

    “Our outlook is cautiously optimistic for continued improvement in the second quarter.”

    “I don’t know how anybody can say that we hit bottom given the continued uncertainty that we have in the macroeconomic climate.” — Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.N) CEO Dirk Meyer on a conference call. “As a result of that, I would say that we are being cautious on our outlook.”

    “We are seeing signs of stability in a number of markets.” — Terry Leahy, CEO of UK-based supermarkets group Tesco Plc (TSCO.L), told reporters.

    “Maybe it’s a bottom.” — Jeff Joerres, CEO of employment services company Manpower Inc (MAN.N), on a conference call. “(But) we are very well prepared and cognizant of the fact that this may just be a shelf that we are on and there is more to come.”

    “Our first quarter results reflected significant pressures from the worsening economy.” — Capital One Financial Corp (COF.N) CEO Richard Fairbank in a statement.

    “While orders appear to have bottomed in the March quarter, future visibility remains limited.” — electronic connector maker Molex (MOLX.O) in a statement.

    There are “still very dark clouds on the (economy’s) horizon.” — Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen in an interview. “I’ll try to resist calling the bottom in any way.” (Reporting by Martin Howell; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Bernard Orr)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idAFN2147829820090422?rpc=44

  79. elsebo says:

    And I don’t even own an iPhone – it’s too big to fit in jeans pocket – I guess I’m old, but I do own several other Apple products – 2x MacMini which is best, smallest, most elegant and silent entertainment computer for hooking to large screen tv – not to mention, inexpensive; iPod nano which fits great in my car dashboard and provides me with lots of music (and I listen a lot, i have tens of thousands of CDs ripped, all songs hand selected).

    Again, these two products are great TOOLS (the same with iPhone), and I don’t mind paying 20-30% more for product that is smarter and looks better.

    And I was never a ‘follower’ of any cult, I’m just reasonable.

  80. call me ahab says:

    franklin- relax please

    greg- crack me up

    elsebo- although your comment wasn’t directed me- still funny- I think SB’s point however is the subsidies from ATT are helping AAPL’s bottom line

  81. KJ Foehr says:

    Apple without Jobs is like Florida without sunshine.

    It will be a long, slow, but inevitable decline from here. Cook will kill the culture, and Google will eventually surpass them in the cool tech gadget market. And RIMM is not going away either.

    Steve saved Apple from falling into irrelevancy once, but it appears that won’t happen next time: he is one of those few individuals who truly are irreplaceable. And If the development of MSDOS in the early 1980s had gone just the slightest bit differently than it did, Steve would be Bill Gates, and Bill would have been just a bit player. And Steve’s genius made him more deserving of that outcome than Bill.

    All IMHO, FWIW – probably not much.

    http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2009/04/22/apple-q2-call-margins-headed-down-iphone-deferred-revenue-continues-to-add-up-jobs-to-return-in-june/?mod=yahoobarrons

  82. elsebo says:

    CMA, I agree that subsidies play substantial part in iPhone success, but ALL phones are subsidized, so it’s not really relevant.

    The point is that the younger generation (<35) is massively switching to smart-phones, and the choices are Blackberry, Palm (just kidding), Nokia, Samsung (really bad designs, all copying iphone interface) and iPhone. The choice for average non-professional person is quite obvious, so i expect Apple to dominate the whole phone market wth release of next generation iPhones, especially that they provide content for the phones and other companies failed at that.

  83. elsebo says:

    Yeah, Transor Z, it’s a classic!

  84. Transor Z says:

    I just watched the new one about the video game where you shoot people in the face and I literally just cried laughing.

  85. Steve Barry says:

    The iPhone subsidy…hurting AT&T…helping guess who. Apple deserves it though…AT&T could never produce an iPhone…a necessity in the upcoming worldwide Depression.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9963999-7.html

  86. Steve Barry says:

    @elsebo: Your comment “It’s like you would say back in the beginning of 1980s: “once this personal computer hype dies down the thing will come to earth”
    is filled with delicious irony. Wasn’t it Apple that popularized the PC and graphical interface (after buying it from Xerox)….only to be put on life support as Bill Gates licensed Windows to commodity box makers? I would hazard to guess the smart-phone cycle may be even more vicious.

  87. elsebo says:

    I agree, there were some twists of fate in Apple’s story, but when you are smart (and small) you are nimble.

    I think that the key to success and/or survival in phone game is being able to provide content, not devices (as this new generation of phones seems to be quite advanced), and in my opinion Google and Apple will battle for supremacy in next few years (although I think Google will need to focus a little bit on what’s important for them – nowadays it reminds me of GE or some korean chaebol),

    Apple may not be small now, but building iTunes store was definitely a smart move.

  88. Transor Z says:

    Steve, I just read that link. I have a Blackberry through Verizon and shopped the Storm before getting a new standard model late last year.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/rim-blackberry-storm-verizon/4505-6452_7-33311850.html

    Based on the merely “good” review I figured the Storm needs one or two cycles to work the bugs out. Interestingly, it was Verizon technology that improved the RIM plain vanilla product so there’s a very different dynamic than between Apple and AT&T. Should be interesting to see the two start to go head-to-head in the next year or so.

  89. Transor Z says:

    One last thought before calling it a night. Everyone got Barry’s question wrong.

    The correct answer is Bamboo Shoots.

    Later.

  90. constantnormal says:

    @SB — “(after buying it from Xerox)” … ummm, they paid nothing to Xerox, who didn’t see the value in the technology. Microsoft and IBM saw it also, and didn’t see the value — only Apple took it (and some Xerox PARC employees) and made it into a successful commercial implementation.

    There — my inner AAPL fanboy is sated. I’m waiting for AAPL to drop below 70 before I back up the truck and deploy what remains of my formerly-adequate financial empire. Then I can watch the stock either continue the drop or sit there like a rock for the two decades this depression will have to be endured before the next bull market begins in earnest.

  91. bman says:

    Well If you live in New York I suppose any green shoot is an amazing thing worth noting, Me I’m looking forward to the Dandelion Bloom, Any day now around here they’ll be all over. Riotous Yellow. You know you’ve got growth when that happens. No matter how much the weed and feed industry tries to stomp it out, it always happens up sharp, at the beginning of the season.

  92. karen says:

    Ben22, i can’t believe you would want to short gold here… look at a multi year chart and consider that gold could be putting in a right shoulder… left shoulder April ’08, head October ’08, right shoulder April ’09.

    The beautiful thing about gold’s move since 1999, is that it has had numerous consolidations and corrections… continually moving out of weak hands and into strong hands…

  93. ben22 says:

    Karen,

    I think I see what you are seeing on the chart but I don’t know. I’ve held gold a couple years now and I’ve never been a big time gold bug. I’m a little worried about the action in there since Feb, part of me thinks that yes, gold hasn’t gone down as much as some of the others (silver, oil, uranium) but then, it never went up as high as the others either.

    Could you also make the argument that gold just did a double top? May 08 then again Feb 20/09. I’m looking at a chart of GLD as that’s what I hold.

  94. karen says:

    Ben22, selling your gld is one thing, or taking a short position as a hedge is another… but shorting gold as a “bet” in this market is financial suicide, imo. pick a charity and donate the money before it’s lost :) just be glad you didn’t buy DZZ yesterday.

    I don’t think i posted this link at TBP; it is interactive and a lot of fun…

    http://hardassetsny.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/NY09_Commodity/NY09_CommGraphs.html

  95. Ben22,

    remember, w/ GLD, Paper is not Physical.

    also, heed karen’s adv., the powderkeg move in Gold would be Up, not DOWn..

  96. karen says:

    Mark, thank you for making my point better than I did…

  97. ben22 says:

    Mark,

    Did you see the RTN #’s?