Something just occurred that has not happened since 1997: the U.S. produced more oil domestically than we imported. Just a few years ago, people would’ve viewed that statement as simply a fantasy.
This is a perfect example of what happens when business owners see an investment opportunity that will help create corporate earnings. The escalating price of oil and the growing dependence on imports led to the creation of new technologies, which has now resulted in a massive increase in oil production.
The U.S. has imported on average 60% more crude oil than domestic production over the past 16 years. Because of the development of new technologies, shale-oil production in areas such as North Dakota has exploded. (Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration web site, June 5, 2013, accessed June 7, 2013.)
This has created a massive investment opportunity to generate corporate earnings for a very long period of time. The level of oil and natural gas that the U.S. has available is immense.
However, even though there is an investment opportunity to generate corporate earnings, one must be careful in choosing which stocks to invest in. This is because the push into this sector has led many firms to expand production, as they, too, sense an investment opportunity to increase their own corporate earnings.
This has led to a massive increase of supply, which is set to continue. I think that simply buying any company in this sector is not the right approach. While we are all aware of the significant investment opportunity, not all companies will share in the growth for their corporate earnings evenly.
Obviously, each company’s merits … Read More
We all know that the stock market has moved up significantly over the past few months. The real question is: is the move up based on the belief that there is enough economic growth available for corporate earnings to continue rising, or is it simply due to a flow of funds?
Let’s analyze this question by taking a look at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE/WMT). Wal-Mart just released its forecast for second-quarter corporate earnings, which was less than most analysts had expected. The company now forecasts corporate earnings on a per-share basis for the second quarter to be $1.22–$1.27, lower than the average estimate by analysts of $1.29. (Source: “Walmart reports a 4.6 percent increase for Q1 EPS of $1.14; U.S. businesses forecast positive comp sales for Q2,” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. web site, May 16, 2013, accessed May 16, 2013.)
As a sign of the health of America’s economic growth level, Wal-Mart reported that comparable same-store sales dropped by 1.4% between January 26, 2013 and April 26, 2013. Internationally, Wal-Mart is doing better, with sales up 2.9% during the first quarter.
However, corporate earnings suffered during the first quarter due to several reasons, including very cold weather, continuing weak employment levels, and the payroll tax hike. Many businesses that cater to the lower- to mid-level consumer will most likely encounter similar problems due to these issues and general sluggish economic growth.
Recent data have been relatively mixed regarding the potential for economic growth to begin moving upward. However, for Wal-Mart’s corporate earnings, there is the potential for a slightly stronger second half because some of the company’s initial hurdles have been … Read More
If you invested all of your money in the stock market, you would be exposed to extraordinary risk of a market retrenchment.
Of course, you could also make a lot of money, especially with how well things are going in the current bullish stock market that continues to somewhat defy gravity.
Yet this is also the time you need to take some extra precaution and think about where you are at and what your end goal is in the stock market.
You don’t want to risk your entire investing capital on the stock market, in spite of any temptation to do so. This is when you have to fight against the greed that might be in you—the greed that’s in most of us—and it won’t be easy.
Remember what happened after each of the multiyear peaks in the stock market over the past decades, when the stocks retrenched. I’m not saying the stock market is at a peak. In fact, the bulls look like they are in full control and heading higher on the chart.
You just need to be on top of things, and don’t let greed ravage your sensibility toward the stock market.
Chasing dreams is one thing, but being prudent is another.
I’m not going to say you should run for the exit, but you need to be aware of where your capital is being invested and understand the associated risk factors.
The reality is that a sound investment strategy means understanding asset allocation and diversification to increase the risk and return of your portfolio.
By asset allocation, I refer to the asset mix of your portfolio … Read More
One of the biggest worries for investors is the anemic economic growth globally. This has made it extremely difficult to generate corporate earnings going forward. As investors, we are constantly looking for signs that a firm has the ability to increase corporate earnings substantially for the near future.
Ultimately, for corporate earnings to move upward, revenues need to increase as well. With the lack of economic growth internationally, this is becoming a serious problem.
As an example of the extent of weak economic growth internationally, McDonalds Corporation (NYSE/MCD) posted a drop of 0.6% for comparable same-store sales in April. (Source: “McDonald’s global comparable sales decreased 0.6% in April,” McDonalds Corporation web site, May 8 2013, accessed May 13, 2013.)
The company saw its comparable same-store sales in Europe decrease by 2.4%, and the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and African (APMEA) regions reported a 2.9% drop in same-store sales. Most analysts were expecting a drop of only one percent in Europe and a 1.4% drop for the APMEA region.
A positive note showing the disparity in economic growth was that same-store sales for the U.S. increased 0.7%, versus expectations of a slight decline. As weak as the U.S. is regarding economic growth, much of the rest of the world is in worse shape.
One worry for investors looking at the potential for corporate earnings growth is that much of the sales push by McDonalds has been in lower-priced items. This means that, while revenues might be running at a similar pace, margins will drop.
The chart for McDonalds is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
McDonalds’ stock has performed quite well over … Read More