The succinct summation of the February 15, 2013 week’s events:

Positives:

1) M&A activity picking up: Berkshire bought H.J. Heinz Co. for $23B. American Airlines merged with  US Airways to create the world’s largest airline. Comcast bought the remaining portion of NBC.
2) Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment increased to a 3 month high, climbing to 76.3.
3) Retail sales grew 0.1% (0.2% excluding the auto sector) in January. Sales were up 4.7% from January 2012.
4) Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 27,000 to 341,000.
5) U.S equity markets continue their steady climb higher as large caps, small caps, transports and financials all make new highs.
6) NFIB‘s small-business optimism index rose 0.9 points to 88.9 in January.
7) February 2013 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved for the first time since the summer of last year, with the index at 10.04.
8) Capacity Utilization improved from 78.8% to 79.1% in January
9) Ackman/Icahn silliness continues, which means there is no sequestration talk to scare investors.
10) Former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner found and killed in a gun battle.

Negatives:

1) Currency markets remain in a frenzy as Japanese Yen freefalls. G7 statement Tuesday was vague and uncertain.
2) CBOE Market Volatility Index lowest level since 2007, showing market complacency.
3) China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation in 2012.
4) Confidence among small business owners remains close to record lows.
5) American Association of Individual Investors saw bullish sentiment fall to 42.25% from 42.77%.
6) Gas Prices increased 3 cents per gallon to $3.61 week. Price of oil has now increased 10% from December to January.
7) U.S. Industrial production fell 0.1% in January following biggest back-to-back gains in three decades.
8) AAII, bullish sentiment declined from 42.77% down to 42.25%, for the third straight weekly fall.
9) Over the last 13 trading days, the difference between the Dow’s intraday high and low has been just 1.35%. This phenomenon has not happened since 1986, suggesting the market is getting tired up here.
10) Walmart VP said February sales were worst in 7 years, blames payroll tax cut expiry.

Category: Markets

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5 Responses to “Succinct Summation of Week’s Events (February 15, 2013)”

  1. techy says:

    Regarding Ackman/Icahn, I am surprised that there is no massive short squeeze. Also surprised that Icahn did not go much bigger since it is so easy to make money doing short squeeze, since shorts have no option but to cover if stock price keeps going up and there is talk of privatization or some one keeps buying and locking shares??

    I feel that Ackman is in dangerous territory except that for his it is OPM.

    http://www.economist.com/node/12523898

  2. ConscienceofaConservative says:

    February 15th, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Walmart’s been struggling for a while. No longer the bell-weather. Internet sales stealing business. If you want to track retail look at Fed Ex & UPS

  3. RW says:

    The so-called currency wars are more positive than not but there seems to be an increasing inclination to replace the rhetoric of pessimism with that of warfare and apocalypse these days so I’m considering adjusting some of my sentiment indicators accordingly; e.g., instead of everyone hating stocks as my buy signal it will be everyone fearing a plutocrat/corporation/government is going to cornhole them while stealing their certificates and/or devaluing their savings …or something.

    Speaking of plutocrats, betting against Icahn can be profitable but it’s probably not smart to bait him, particularly if you are big enough for him to notice and target you.

    NB: I’m a small-time player who (very) successfully shorted one of Icahn’s plays, WCI Communities. I have no idea why Icahn was investing in a Florida condo developer even in the latter stages of the great RE meltdown, maybe he needed a tax write-off or leverage for something else (the rich are not like you and me), but I knew there was only one direction WCI equity could go and it went there (I covered before it hit zero though – things were dragging out and the carry was starting to eat into gains).

  4. eliz says:

    1) M&A activity picking up: Berkshire bought H.J. Heinz Co. for $23B. American Airlines merged with US Airways to create the world’s largest airline. Comcast bought the remaining portion of NBC.

    Positive?? Okay, perhaps for some share values.

    On the other hand this is a big Negative for workers, and a big Negative for Capitalism (highly concentrated markets are Capitalism’s demise, undermining competition – which is what creates value: the best and most diverse range of goods and services at the best prices). Ultimately, M&As at this scale are negative for the 99.9%.

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