Fed Cuts, Jobs Report Dazzles, Heavy Earnings, and Baby Shark!
“An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.” — Winston Churchill
Tomorrow, we move the clocks back an hour to be consistent with local standard time. It represents a change from the end of the summer months and the beginning of the winter months. The practice originally sprang from the great one, Benjamin Franklin, and he wrote about it in a humorous letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784. When you reset the clock, it’s significance is the idea of a change of the season. Consistent with that idea of moving from one season to another, the investment world may be embarking on it’s own important idea of change as well. It seems those making the capital allocation decisions may have tired of the ephemeral idea of non stop growth. In place of the water fountain of growth (delusion?), the meat and potatoes concept of cash flow, earnings, and low and behold, value, may be regaining favor. Let’s take a look at some examples of why this may be this case.
Last week, a few high profile non earners reported their financial results. The market reaction was not pretty. The headline case of this is the funky food delivery service GrubHub. After missing it’s earning estimate, investors fled to the tune of a 43% drop. In one day. Next up, also in the food realm, albeit the plant based domain (with preservatives I might add), BeyondMeat (nicknamed Beyond Belief, for the stock price). Beyond Meat reported a nice quarter, but, alas, it was also taken to the woodshed, to the tune of losing 10 percent in one day, but over the last month, it has retreated from 140 down to 82, over 40%. Beyond belief still is suspended from reality, but markets have a way of correcting hallucinatory value. For our third entity, online home furnishings retailer Wayfair reported results and also saw a similar result, losing ten bucks in a day. It’s stock is down from 120 to a touch over 80, a loss of nearly a third of it’s value. Let’s see what is happening in the value sphere to see if there is more popularity among these kinds of companies.
Long shunned GE reported results this week and before it did, the stock sat at 8.50. It closed the week at a shade over ten bucks. GM, the large automaker, saw a similar pattern. It began the week with a stock price of nearly 37 smackers and it reported results that exceeded expectations and guided down for it’s full year profit outlook. The stock closed up for the week at just under $38. Elsewhere in value land, the king of the hill, Apple, reported an excellent quarter on stronger than expected Iphone 11 demand. It’s stock roared higher, closing the week up 7 points at a shade below $256. Do these examples mean that all is well in value land and investors will dump growth stocks? Probably not. Prime evidence of this resides in Facebook, which reported fabulous numbers on Wednesday. It, along with Google, dominate the online advertising market. Google’s numbers did not impress on Monday. Facebook closed on Friday at 193.63, up nearly ten bucks for the week. It was a massive week of earnings and each company and industry is different, but on the whole, the corporate sector continues to earn a whole lot of money. As such, those earnings provide the reason to continue to own equities.
In other areas of the business world, the Federal Reserve Board met and decided to lower interest rates by twenty five basis points on Wednesday. We got the September jobs report yesterday, and it impressed, as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% and the number of 136K was much better than many analysts forecasted. Louis Vuitton made a takeover offer of $120 per share for well known diamond seller Tiffany’s. Next week will also be a huge week for earnings. In addition, there is a proposal on Tuesday at the SEC for potentially new regulations on Proxy advisory entities, the large firms that recommend and vote proxies for institutional shareholders. The proposal centers around, you guessed it, conflict of interests by the recommending firms. It also has included a change to materiality levels for those proposing resolutions at annual meetings. I can recall being at one shareholder meeting where the animal rights activists proposed a resolution requiring cage free eggs. No seconds for that one and it didn’t pass. It was the one thing any investor has agreed with Siglar Biglari over the last three years.
Finally, the Washington Nationals won the World Series this year, beating the Houston Astros four games to three. Every game they won was in Houston. There will be a victory parade today in Washington. The baby shark song was helpful to the team in turning their season around, and the stadium would sing the cheer over and over late in the year and during the World Series run. (You can view a video of the cheer and its origination below) As a way to potentially unify our political parties, the proper response would be to have President Donald Trump lead the representatives of the country, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in a baby shark cheer at the parade.The only thing is, make sure there are no bats around during the festivities as you can only imagine who might pick it up and take a swing, and at whom.
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Yale Bock, Y H & C Investments, its clients, and the family of Yale Bock have positions in the securities mentioned in the blog, Investing in securities involves risk and the potential loss of ones principal. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investment decisions should be considered with respect to ones risk tolerance, return objectives, liquidity needs, tax considerations, and one’s overall financial situation. The fact that Yale Bock has earned the right to use the CFA designation does not mean Y H & C Investments will outperform broad market indexes.