Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wal-Mart: Outlier or Cautionary Sign?

Wal-Mart's stock appears to be in the process of breaking down.

The question: Is Wal-Mart's stock an outlier (representing "old" retail), or do Wal-Mart's weakening shares foreshadow a drop in retail as a whole.

Yahoo! on the Cheap

Cheap spec idea: Yahoo! February 17 calls at $0.67.
Defined risk, a lot of potential upside.

Don't believe for a moment the rise in home prices reported this morning as the Northeast region's prices increased by over 2% month over month and greater than 9% year over year.

This is likely the byproduct of the foreclosure moratoriums during the last month, not a function of a healthy real estate market.

These home prices will turn down on a cessation of the moratoriums.

A large drop in crude oil inventories is spurring a further rise in the price of crude.

Crude is now trading near $91, close to the high last reach 26 months ago.

Existing-home sales a tad weaker than consensus.

House price index was +0.7% vs. expectations of -0.2%.

Applications for new mortgages dropped by 2.5% last week and refinancing applications declined by a whopping 25%.

But markets are ignoring the speed of the mortgage rate rise and its impact on housing turnover and refinancings.

Should interest rates continue their ascent, focus will shift to the moribund state of the U.S. housing market.

It is interesting to note in a Wall Street Journal report how concentrated the ownership of commodities is, as this usually ends badly.

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