Thursday, August 30, 2012

Markets fall on a worsening euro debt crisis

Dow droppesd 106, decliners led advancers 5-2 & NAZ was off 32.  The Financial Index slid 1 to the 202s.  The MLP & REIT indices were each off fractionally, junk bond funds inched higher (still near multi year highs) & Treasuries gained.  Oil fell on profit taking after there was less damage than feared done by the tropical storm.  Gold declined for a 3rd day as investors weighed whether the Federal Reserve will signal a new round of measures to boost the economy tomorrow & as Spain said it will delay a decision on seeking aid.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

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CLV12.NYMCrude Oil Oct 1294.46 Down 1.03 (1.1%)

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  • <p>               FILE- This Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 file photo shows the Kindle Fire  at a news conference in New York. Inc. quenched the Kindle Fire on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, saying its first tablet computer is now sold out. The Internet retailer has a major press conference scheduled for next Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif. It's widely expected to reveal a new model of the Fire there. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, FILE)
Photo:   Bloomberg

Amazon has sold out of its Kindle Fire tablet computer amid expectations of a new model for the holiday season.  AMZN has a major press conference scheduled for next Thurs & is widely expected to reveal a new model of the Fire, so the announcement that the first model is "sold out" suggests that AMZN halted production a while ago to retool for a new model.  The $199 tablet was launched last Nov & was the first Kindle with a color screen & the ability to run 3rd-party applications, placing it in competition with the iPad, at half the price of the cheapest model.  It is said that it captured 22% of US tablet sales over 9 months, making it the 2nd-most popular tablet (after the iPad).  But the Fire, about half the size of the iPad, could face a tougher challenge this holiday season when many expect Apple (AAPL) to introduce a smaller & cheaper iPad, aimed at reaching buyers who can't afford a full-sized iPad.  In addition, Google (GOOG) just launched its own Kindle-sized tablet, the Nexus 7, & it's selling for $199.  AMZN could update the rest of its Kindle line at next week's event, too.  The current models were launched a year ago.  The high priced stock fell $1.

Amazon Kindle Fire sold out as new model expected AP

Amazon (AMZN)

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US. mortgages rates fell for the first time in 5 weeks, lowering borrowing costs amid signs of a real estate recovery.  The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.59% last week from 3.66%, according to Freddie Mac.  The average 15-year rate was 2.86%, down from 2.89%.  Interest rates close to record lows are helping spur demand as buyers compete for a dwindling supply of properties.  Pending US home resales climbed 2.4% in Jul, more than double the forecast & the S&P/Case-Shiller index of prices in 20 cities climbed in Jun from a year earlier, the first such gain since Sep 2010.  The average rate for a 30-year loan reached a record-low of 3.49% a month ago.

Mortgage Rates in U.S. Decline for the First Time in Five Weeks

  • <p>               In this Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, photo, shoppers at a Target store in Chicago check the receipts of their purchases. Americans kept spending in August despite their escalating fears about the slow economic recovery and surging gas prices. A range of retailers from discounter Target to club-operator Costco on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012,  reported August sales that beat Wall Street estimates. The results seem to show that what Americans do and say are two different things: The strong sales reports come a day after a private research firm said consumer confidence in August fell to its lowest level since November 2011. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)
Photo:   Yahoo

This summer, Americans were walking contradictions as they opened wallets despite escalating fears about the slow economic recovery & surging gas prices.  A group of 18 retailers reported Aug sales that rose 6%, the industry best performance since Mar, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.  At the same time, the gov released numbers showing that Americans spent in Jul at the fastest clip in 5 months.  The news appears to show that what Americans say & do are 2 different things (in 2 different months).  The reports come shortly after a research firm said consumer confidence in Aug fell to its lowest level since Nov 2011 as Americans grew more concerned about the job market, business conditions & the overall economy.  That consumers are spending is an encouraging sign, but that they are doing so hesitantly is something retailers will be watching closely.  While this is only a small group of merchants representing 13% of the $2.4T industry, the Aug numbers still offer a glimpse on spending habits.  The revenue gains are better than the 4-5% increase predicted at the beginning of the month & was the industry's best performance since Mar, when stores collectively posted a gain of 6.8%.  Except for a lull in Jun, stores have seen a healthy pace of 4% to nearly 7% growth since this year.

Retailers report best sales growth since March A

There was some buying in the PM, but not enough to lift the averages into the black.  Volume was light.  In Europe, Mario Draghi seems to be more on defense after his recent comments about doing anything to save the €.  But in America eyes are looking west to Jackson Hole, hoping Big Ben will utter magical words tomorrow.  Many see no great urgency in an announcement which can be put on hold until the FOMC meeting in early Sep.  Dow was able to hold above 13K, just barely.

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