Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dow rests after yesterday's new record

Dow inched up 1, advancers ahead of decliners 5-4 & NAZ added 10.  The MLP index rose 2+ to the 453s & the REIT index was up fractionally to almost 309.  Junk bond funds did little & Treasuries saw selling.  Oil rose after industry data showed that crude supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the contract, fell for a 2nd week.  Gold also found buyers today.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking)

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Treasury yields:

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CLM13.NYM...Crude Oil Jun 13...96.02 Up ......0.40 (0.4%)

GCK13.CMX...Gold May 13....1,466.10 Up ...17.10 (1.2%)

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

Photo:   Bloomberg

House Speaker John Boehner said he “probably” won’t support legislation to let states require out-of-state internet retailers to collect sales taxes, saying it would be too cumbersome to implement.  “Moving this bill where you’ve got 50 different sales tax codes, it’s a mess out there,” Boehner said.  “You’re going to make it much more difficult for online retailers to be able to comply.”  The Senate passed the bill in a bipartisan vote of 69-27, with support from 21 Reps.  Asked whether he could back the measure, Boehner said, “probably not.”  A lack of support from the speaker emphasizes the difficulty the measure will have winning House passage, especially in its current form.  The House Judiciary Committee will consider the Senate bill, Boehner said.  “We’ll see what they think,” he said.  “You’re putting in a big burden on some very small businesses.”

Boehner ‘Probably’ Won’t Back Internet Sales Tax Measure

McDonald’s Store Sales Drop 0.6% in April as Asia Demand Falls

Photo:   Bloomberg

McDonald's, a Dow stock & Dividend Aristocrat, says a key sales figure slipped again in Apr, citing fears over a new strain of avian flu for weakness in China.  The chain, which had warned of a decline last month, says the figure fell 0.6% globally.  That reflected an increase of 0.7% in the US, where it recently introduced its chicken McWraps to attract more customers in their 20s & 30s.  But it fell 2.4% in Europe, its biggest market by sales.  The company is working to improve results in the region by emphasizing "everyday affordability" & keeping stores open longer.  In the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East & Africa, it was down 2.9%.  The chain blamed the impact of the avian flu in China for the decline, as well as softness in Japan & Australia.  After years of outperforming rivals, MCD has been struggling to boost sales as it faces intensifying competition, changing eating habits & weak growth in the broader restaurant industry.  Late last year, the company reported a decline in its monthly sales figure for the first time in nearly a decade.  Soon after, the company ousted the head of its US division.  CEO Don Thompson, who took over the top spot, has said repeatedly that the company will focus on emphasizing value to capture market share in the tough environment.  But that the strategy could eat into profit margins.  The stock fell 37¢.

McDonald’s April Store Sales Drop 0.6% on Asia Slowdown

McDonald's (MCD)

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Disney, another Dow stock, fiscal Q2 profit rose 32%, beating estimates as guests splurged at theme parks.  EPS grew to 83¢ from 63¢ a year earlier.  Excluding items, EPS of 79¢ beat the 77¢ estimate.  New features at Disney parks, such as the Cars Land attraction based on Pixar movies, delivered 73% higher profit for the division & the fastest revenue growth for the company at 14%.  Higher attendance & guest spending, along with the addition of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, spurred the gains.  Operating profit at the namesake theme parks soared to $383M & revenue totaled $3.3B.  The company has spent $9.5B expanding & improving its parks, resorts & other properties over the past 3 years.  The film studio posted profit of $118M, compared with an $84M loss a year ago & revenue increased 13% to $1.34B.  The film unit led the industry with the top-grossing movie in Q1 with “Oz the Great and Powerful,” & is building momentum now with Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” already at the top of the worldwide box office after just days in theaters.  But good was not good enough & the stock fell 1.37.

Disney’s Second-Quarter Net Rises 32% as Park Guests Splurge

Walt Disney (DIS)

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Stocks are pausing to digest recent gains.  Dow has had a staggering gain in the last year & this will give a chance for everybody to rethink that advance.  The economic backdrop is nothing to write home about.  The Treasury says raising the debt ceiling can be pushed off for a few more months because of improved tax collections.  However that will be one ugly fight like it was 2 years ago which resulted in sequestration in effect now.

Dow Jones Industrials

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