With the introduction of monetary stimulus by many central banks around the world, a common question asked is: what’s a unique investment opportunity in a market sector that is not immediately obvious to the average investor?
If the global stimulus really begins to work, it should result in higher demand for commodities. If this occurs, an interesting market sector that might be an above-average long-term investment opportunity is the shipping industry.
Information just released shows that Greek shipping firms have recently ordered the most iron ore carriers since 2008. Greek shippers own a large number of vessels internationally. (Source: Sheridan, R., “Greeks Bet Ship Rout Ending With Most Orders Since 2008: Freight,” Bloomberg, April 30, 2013.)
While the average earnings per day for a Capesize ship (a type of cargo ship used to transport raw commodities) is only $4,900—a massive drop from the peak in 2008 of $229,000—many analysts are expecting this current level to be a bottom and are expecting earnings to increase to $17,500 per day next year.
Clearly, the Greek shipping market sector sees an investment opportunity over the next few years. From the time of ordering to delivery, the process of obtaining a carrier takes approximately two years. However, because of the economic slowdown, the costs of construction and secondhand sale prices have dropped precipitously.
As an example, a new ship that used to cost approximately $100 million to build in 2008, now costs only $47.0 million. Prices are even lower on the secondhand market sector for large ships, and some shipping firms see this time as an investment opportunity and are using the low prices … Read More
The recent pullback in many commodities has caused most investors to worry that perhaps the boom in commodities is over. Because of austerity and fiscal tightening around the world, countries and companies are reducing the amount of money they’re spending, which is much like the behavior of a consumer who has run out of credit and is consequently reducing his or her spending.
This will certainly have a negative impact on the commodities super cycle we’ve seen over the past decade. However, there is an investment opportunity that can benefit both the U.S. and Canada, and that opportunity is in the natural gas market sector.
Remember, when making an investment, one must understand what the advantage is for a market sector. Both the U.S. and Canada have a massive amount of natural gas in comparison to the rest of the world—that is our competitive edge.
This is providing a huge investment opportunity over the long term for the natural gas market sector. Both the potential to export natural gas and the ability of companies to use natural gas as an input will create a massive investment opportunity relative to other markets in the world.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Spot prices for natural gas have certainly rebounded from the lows of 2012, yet the commodity trades at a fraction of the price on the international market. Spot markets for natural gas in Asia can be four to five times higher than those in America.
Additionally, over the next decade, there will be increased demand for natural gas globally, as it is a cleaner fuel alternative to other possibilities, such as coal. … Read More
With capital shifting into the perceived safety of blue chips and large-cap stocks, small-caps and technology stocks have been declining on the charts.
Given the advance so far this year in the equities market, it’s understandable to expect some hesitancy.
The Dow is up 13.4% as of April 12, and it’s on pace for a gain of 47% on an annualized basis.
I doubt this will happen and expect market adjustments in the equities market along the way. The same goes for the S&P 500 and the other key market indices.
Small-caps in the equities market have also fallen off since the end of the first quarter.
At the back of the pack is the technology sector; but there has been a lack of strong leadership from any sector, including the semiconductor, Internet, and technology sectors, in general.
The following chart shows the recent movement of the three sectors (semiconductor, Internet, and technology) since March and their sideways direction.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Without any leadership in the equities market, the NASDAQ and technology stocks will continue to drift. However, there are some opportunities for speculators searching for contrarian situations.
The Internet sector is flat and lacking a clear direction.
In the stock chart below, the First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index (NYSEArca/FDN) fund shows the sideways channel that has been in place since late January.
Extrapolating on this data, I don’t see any strong and clear signs of a breakout at the top channel line, but if you think longer-term, there are opportunities in the equities market.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
The “Best of Breed” in the Internet sector … Read More
One way to look for an investment opportunity, finding companies that will grow their corporate earnings over the long term, is to look for situations in which there is an unmet demand.
Recently, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) conducted a survey; the results were a shock to me. Approximately one in 12 U.S. households currently has no bank account—that’s roughly 17 million adults. A further 20% of U.S. households are currently under-banked, meaning they have a bank account, but they also use check cashing services and other alternatives. (Source: “Margin Calls: Life on the edges of America’s financial mainstream,” The Economist February 16, 2013.)
This is an investment opportunity for firms willing and able to service this market. Companies should be able to increase their corporate earnings by widening their clientele, since the traditional market is becoming quite saturated.
The initial thought would be to look at payday lending firms as an investment opportunity in this market. While it is true that the annual interest rate can exceed 400%, providing ample corporate earnings, the long-term investment opportunity might not be there for payday lenders. The reason is that lawmakers are enacting tougher restrictions and standards, with the possibility of the federal government beginning to regulate this industry.
Many might believe banks can provide this service, creating an investment opportunity for higher corporate earnings. However, the truth is that due to new regulations and rules on interest rate increases and fees for credit cards, banks are actually not generating corporate earnings from the lower-end market sector.
According to consulting agency Oliver Wyman, following the financial crisis and new rules from … Read More
The Federal Reserve is intent on keeping this Fed-induced stock market rally intact for perhaps another few years.
At the Federal Reserve monthly meeting this past Wednesday, the Federal Reserve reconfirmed its program of maintaining near-zero interest rates and its $85.0 billion monthly bond-buying strategy. As I recently discussed, the environment of low rates will offer little choice for investors who have to weigh low-yielding fixed-income investments against stocks. In other words, the equities market will continue to be driven, at least in part, by the cheap money. This will be great for the people who have the funds, but it will be horrific for those with lower income and who may be dependent on income from their investments. But for the government it’s great news, especially when it’s carrying so much debt—well, the government can thank the Federal Reserve.
Faced with the uncertainties in the jobs market and job creation, the Federal Reserve suggested it would maintain its record-low interest rates until the country’s unemployment rate falls to 6.5%. The problem is that the Federal Reserve predicts this will not occur until sometime in 2015, so that’s another two years of easy money and the building up of massive national debt. Remember what I said about the sequestration cuts and how they are well below the interest paid on the debt? Imagine the payments when interest rates ratchet higher! It’s not going to be pretty. The Federal Reserve has created this situation, which could inevitably blow up.
In reality, achieving an unemployment rate of 6.5% may not happen until after 2015, based on current job generation. According to the … Read More
Sometimes the best investment opportunity arises when a situation looks the bleakest. When a firm’s earnings outlook is stable and there is little volatility in the stock, this makes it extremely difficult to identify an investment opportunity, since all the good news is usually priced into the stock.
An interesting situation is taking place now, and I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is taking the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (NYSE/MHP) to court, alleging that the ratings agency was involved in fraudulent activities.
From 2004 through 2007, according to the complaint, S&P allegedly issued credit ratings on approximately $1.2 trillion worth of collateralized debt obligations and $2.8 trillion of mortgage-backed securities. The government is seeking $5.0 billion from the firm for damages incurred, as they believe the ratings were fraudulently issued. (Source: Pettersson, E., “McGraw-Hill, S&P Sued by U.S. Over Mortgage-Bond Ratings,” Bloomberg, February 5, 2013.)
Initially, the government was seeking a fine of $1.0 billion in addition to an admission of guilt from the S&P unit. Failing to reach an agreement, the government is now escalating the case, along with the fine.
To begin with, I do not like the way rating agencies operate. For those who aren’t aware, a ratings agency is actually paid by the issuer to rate it before being sold to investors. This creates an obvious conflict of interest. For a rating agency that is interested in increasing its earnings outlook and creating a greater investment opportunity for the future, its best interest, in my opinion, is to issue favorable ratings that will … Read More
The “Boeing 787 Dreamliner” may be grounded for the time being, but the aerospace sector as a whole is delivering some excellent results.
We all know how significant the Chinese aerospace market is, given the superlative rise in air travel and tourism in and out of the country. I expect this to increase going forward.
The Boeing Company (NYSE/BA) estimates that China will require 5,000 aircrafts, valued at approximately $600 billion, over the next 20 years. The estimate may be conservative, especially if China can grow its income levels at a much higher pace. Boeing is looking at its new 787 Dreamliner as its big play on wide-body jet travel in spite of current issues.
Chief rival Embraer S.A. (NYSE/ERJ) estimates that the global demand will be around 28,000 new planes over the next two decades. According to Embraer, there will be over 32,550 planes in the sky by 2031, up from the current 15,500; the company also estimates that the Asia-Pacific region will account for 35% of all plane purchases. According to Embraer, the major airlines will operate in the U.S., China, intra-Western Europe, and India; and China will be the world’s largest domestic plane market in 20 years.
The findings by Embraer are not a surprise, as they will be driven by higher average disposable incomes in the emerging global markets and by the more popular desire for travel. My feeling is that strong wealth generation in the world’s largest emerging markets, including China and India, will help to drive the demand for commercial and defense planes along with stocks in the equities market.
Air traffic in China … Read More
When it comes to looking for a long-term investment opportunity, sometimes it pays to look at a market sector that might not initially seem bullish. While I have pointed out several structural impediments to economic growth in America, there are a few areas that do provide a long-term investment opportunity.
One of the strengths in America is the growth in resurgence of the energy market sector. This is clearly not the result of any government initiative; rather it is due to private enterprises realizing the long-term investment opportunity in the energy market sector by creating revolutionary technologies in extracting natural gas.
New techniques for hydraulic fracturing have enabled the American energy market sector to become a global leader. This has sent prices plummeting when compared to not only domestic but also global history.
The investment opportunity for many firms is to use this abundance and cheap input for production, attracting numerous firms to set up facilities in America. While the U.S. economy is still sluggish, many might seem surprised to find such a strong investment opportunity that’s attracting firms worldwide to our shores.
There are copious areas of the economy that benefit from low natural gas prices, including the chemical market sector, the steel market sector, and the fertilizer market sector, just to name a few.
Companies see a long-term investment opportunity in building multi-million-dollar facilities to benefit from the comparative advantage of a low-priced input. As an example, Nucor Corporation (NYSE/NUE), a U.S.-based steelmaker, is about to construct a $750-million facility in America. Voestalpine AG, a steelmaker based in Austria, stated that it is looking at building a $661-million … Read More
What the heck is going on with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL)? The stock has corrected 26% since trading at a record high of $705.00 on September 21, and based on my stock analysis, Apple has made a chart reversal in a bear market.
While the price chart shows two major downward moves, don’t panic yet, but be careful.
I still consider Apple one of the best stocks in technology, but the company is clearly facing increased competition in the lucrative tablet, mini-tablet, and smartphone markets. The stock was recently downgraded, but sales in China are encouraging after Apple launched its “iPhone 5” and saw over two million units sold from December 14–17. (Source: “iPhone 5 First Weekend Sales in China Top Two Million,” Yahoo! Finance via Business Wire, December 16, 2012.) The iPhone 5 will be sold in over 100 countries by year-end.
Its valuation is attractive at 9.04X its estimated fiscal 2014 earnings per share (EPS) consensus estimate of $57.83 per diluted share, according to Thomson Financial. Its price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 0.5 is bargain-cheap, based on my stock analysis.
The chart is bearish, showing the stock’s recent break below the 50-day moving average (MA) of $578.67 and the move below the 200-day MA of $597.41, which represents a bearish “death cross,” based on my technical analysis.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
My stock analysis is that there are clearly some concerns that Apple may not be able to continue on its merry way. Chief rival Samsung sold a staggering 97 million mobile phones in the third quarter, well above the 23 million iPhones sold by Apple, according to Gartner. (Source: … Read More
When it comes to new regulations, many investors should rightfully worry about how this will affect them. At the same time, there might be an investment opportunity in the making. While some firms will certainly have lower corporate profits with increased regulation, there are some companies that can take this investment opportunity and generate greater returns over the long run.
New rules are being designed for the swaps market, to avoid a situation similar to what happened in 2008. Swaps are a huge market, and since the deals are conducted over-the-counter (OTC), the financial system had problems when a counter-party couldn’t pay for their trades. Having swaps trade on exchanges that are guaranteed by a central clearinghouse will eliminate this risk and lower the chances of any financial crisis erupting from counter-party risk in the future.
The problem is that, because margin requirements are tougher, corporate profits will be lower for some companies, as a firm can only take on lower levels of positions. Also, the banks were the main intermediaries for OTC trades and a center for large corporate profits for many years. These trades will now be transferred to the stock exchanges, giving them a great investment opportunity to generate higher corporate profits from additional products that are now traded on their venue.
One company that should benefit over the long run is CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ/CME). This group encompasses the widest range of futures and options traded in America and, as we see more products going through exchanges, we should see higher volume levels for this firm. The shifting of OTC trades from the banks to the … Read More