The Week Ahead 10-26-09


Earnings season hit its stride this week, although the effect on markets has been hardly salutary. Trading in US equities was highly volatile, with the leading indices whipsawing back and forth in the absence of any overall negative or positive theme. The DJIA spent most of the week above 10,000, but closed out on Friday below this key psychological level. Economic data played a minor role, with most attention paid to another brace of mixed housing numbers. September housing starts and building permits fell below August levels, while the September existing home sales data over 9% sequentially. With the holiday season imminent, a National Retail Federation poll showed that US consumers plan to spend 3.2% less on a y/y basis on holiday shopping in 2009, stating that “Americans are not ready to declare an end to the recession.” Meanwhile, third quarter GDP reports from China and the UK impacted FX and bond trading. China’s GDP growth was stronger than the prior two quarters at +8.9% (though slightly below consensus), while a dismal UK GDP data reading of -0.4% shocked investors and took the wind out of sterling. The Fed confirmed this week that it has been testing reverse repo operations for several months, calling it a critical part of its eventual exit strategy, although it declared that the tests do not signal any imminent policy shift. Note it was just last weekend that Barron’s implored Fed Chairman Bernanke to raise the Fed Funds Rate to 2%, and later in the week the FT speculated that Fed governors may soften their commitment to the zero rate policy via wording in the FOMC statement. For the week, the DJIA fell 0.2%, the S&P 500 declined 0.8% and the NASDAQ Comp slipped 0.1%.

Tougher government regulation of telecommunications and the financial industry occupied Washington this week. It was hard to avoid news of moves by the Treasury’s “pay czar” Feinberg to slash executive compensation at TARP recipients and examine even wider restrictions on pay at banks. The Fed began its own review of pay in the financial sector, noting that up to 28 large banks would face special “horizontal” compensation reviews. On the Hill, the House Financial Services Committee voted in favor to speed up implementation of elements of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The FCC moved closer to adopting “net neutrality” as official policy, with exceptions for “reasonable” network management needs.

On Wednesday Morgan Stanley was the final big banking firm to report earnings. Morgan blew out estimates and returned to profitability after three quarters of losses. Morgan Stanley’s CFO insisted that putting losses behind the bank is not a relief but an affirmation of its strategy. Leading regional banking name Wells Fargo also crushed expectations, although many commentators have expressed concern that the bank continues to rack up more non-performing assets and higher provisions for credit losses. Dick Bove spooked markets on Wednesday afternoon with a big reversal on Wells Fargo following the bank’s report. Bove, who had initially called Wells Fargo a big winner just after the earnings came out, seemed to change his mind by afternoon and downgraded the name to a sell upon closer examination of loan loss figures. The regional banks appear to be splitting into groups of winners and losers, with solid results from Bank of New York and US Bancorp, and more losses from Fifth Third, KeyCorp and SunTrust.

So where do we go from here? The S&P closed below 1080( by about .30 cents )hardly technically significant in my opinion but who knows? Be aware of a fun fact that no one is talking about, mutual funds end there fiscal year on October 31st. Does this mean there will be serious portfolio window dressing this week as they try and close them strong for performance reasons? Will funds that don’t have enough long exposure chase stocks higher? It will be an interesting week for sure, but hopefully one that will make us money.

Here is the weekly calendar

Date Symbol Long Price Short Price Stop Action Result P/(L) Triggered
MCO 23.00 22.00 Sold 1/3  sold 1/3 stopped 1/3 +2.00



MHP 26.19 26 Sold ½,stopped on balance flat +2.00 yes
NAV 40.31 39 Sold 1/3, Sold 1/3

Sold 1/3




QSFT 16.30 16 Sold ½, sold balance(10-13-9) +.80


SIGA 8.43 7.65 -.80 yes
MELA 10.50 9.50 -1.00 yes
9-28-09 COCO 17.29 18.25 Sold ½

Stopped 1/2



ZION 17.39 19.00 Stopped ½ flat yes
9-30-09 YGE 11.90 12.60 -.70 yes
VNO 63.00 65.50 flat yes
XCO 19.05 18.00 stopped -1.05 yes
MHGC 5.60 5.20 -.40 yes
10-1-09 CALI 6.35 5.50 no
CENX 8.97 9.60 stopped +.50 yes
BAC 16.02 16.80 stopped -.78 yes
AAP 37.70 39.40 stopped -1.70 yes
10-05-09 EXC 47.78 50 stopped -2..22 yes
JEF 27.60 27.90 Sold 100% (10-13-9) +1.60 yes
TSPT 14.35 13.70 yes
HIG 29.05 28.30 stopped -.75 yes
APT 6.25 6.00 -.25 yes
10-7-9 FCX 73.43 73.00 Sold half(10-13-9)

Sold balance10-14-9



10-10-9 PENN 25.67 26.20 stopped -.53 yes
NITE 23.00 22.40 stopped -.60 yes
O 22.85 24.60 no
STEC 25.51 25.80 Covered 1/3 +1.00 yes
ARST 23.59 24.00 Sold 1/3,sold 1/3 +1.20


FIRE 23.43 22.50 stopped -1.90 yes
10-14-9 HRBN 19.72 19.30 yes
UCTT 6.95 6.30 stopped -.65 yes
10-15-09 MS 33.35 33.00
10-16-9 QSII 65.76 64.00 stopped -1.76 no
ACI 24.22 23.20 yes
10-19-9 MEE 33.64 34.50 stopped -1.20 yes
BTU 42.35 42.50 yes
FSLR 146.80 152 stopped -5.00 no
ABAX 23.86 25.00 no
PPD 40.12 41.50 no
MCO 23.14 25.50 no
10-22-9 MCRS 27.40 28.40 yes
AMAG 35.10 36.00 no
10-26-9 QCOM 40.05 41.50 no
TNDM 22.92 23.70 no
BAC 16.05 16.60 no
VMI 75.70 77.20 no
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