Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lower markets after sustantial gain for stocks in August

Dow dropped 30. decliners over advancers 5-4 & NAZ climbed 17.  The MLP index fell 2+ to the 537s & the REIT index was up pennies in the 311s.  Junk bond funds were mixed & Treasuries sold off.  Oil rebounded after recent selling while gold continued weak.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

CLV14.NYM....Crude Oil Oct 14....95.96 Up ....1.29 (1.4%)

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Apple said its iCloud service wasn’t breached by hackers who posted nude pictures of celebrities, as the company works to deflect questions about the security of its systems.  Photos from the celebrities were stolen individually, the company said.  The celebrity accounts were “compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that is all too common on the internet,” the company said.  It's working to quiet a firestorm about the hacked celebrity accounts, with nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence & others surfacing over the last few days on the internet, allegedly obtained by hackers who used the company’s iCloud service to illegally access files.  The reports threatened to mar Apple’s event next Tues, where the company is set to unveil new iPhones, a wearable device & a mobile-payments system.  The incidents spurred the FBI to release a statement yesterday saying the agency is aware of the allegations “concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals.”  The agency is “addressing the matter,” the FBI said.  The iCloud service is a key part of AAPL strategy to unite its iPhones, tablets & desktop computers, letting users store contacts, e-mails, photos & other personal information on external systems they can access.  The stock was up fractionally higher.  If you would like to learn more about AAPL, click on this link:
Apple Says ICloud Not Breached for Hacked Actors’ Photos

Apple (AAPL)

Home Depot, a Dow stock, said it was working with banks & law enforcement to investigate a possible data breach.  “We’re looking into some unusual activity,” a spokeswoman for company said.  “We are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers. If we confirm that a breach has occurred, we will make sure customers are notified immediately.”  There’s evidence that this problem is linked to the Target (TGT), a Dividend Aristocrat, breach last year.   At HD, the suspected breach may have occurred in late Apr or early May & could encompass all US stores.  Stolen cards were marketed on the web.  The stock dropped 1.88.  If you would like to learn more about HD, click on this link:

Home Depot Shares Drop After Retailer Investigates Data Breach

Home Depot (HD)

McDonald's, a Dow stock & Dividend Aristocrat, appointed a China food safety chief & is stepping up unannounced audits of suppliers after an expired meat scandal led it & other restaurant chains to pull products.  The newly created position has authority to veto food sourcing or production decisions upon any concerns.  It has also set up an anonymous hot-line for food suppliers & employees, raised frequency of third-party audits, & is requiring suppliers to install more cameras to monitor production facilities.  “McDonald’s expects all staff and suppliers to carry out these added measures to enhance their food safety and quality systems,” the China unit said.  “We have zero tolerance to non-compliance.”  The company was among companies sourcing meat & vegetables from OSI Group’s China unit, now under investigation for repackaging expired chicken & beef to sell.  Last month, OSI said 6 Shanghai Husi employees were arrested in relation to the investigation.  MCD China now has 5 existing meat suppliers ramping up production to meet its needs.  It also confirmed Creative Food Group as a new supplier for produce, & in the process of qualifying Golden State Foods as its new produce supplier.  Some of its restaurants will resume produce supply from early Sep, with full supply restarting across China from the 3rd week of Sep, adding it’s taken a longer time as new suppliers & their facilities have to go thru due diligence processes.  The stock fell 92¢.  If you would like to learn more about MCD, click on this link:

McDonald’s Steps Up Spot Checks to Win Back China Diners

McDonald's (MCD)

Stocks were hit with mild profit taking after the Aug rally.  In a little more than 3 weeks, Dow rose a surprising 700.  Economic news has been mixed & conflicts in the MidEast are getting less attention.  But the biggies are meeting in Europe this week where Obama will give some kind warning to the bad guys which won't mean much to them.  Economic data should be favorable, but the HD breach is a kick in the head that consumer spending does not need.  For what it's worth, Sep has the tradition of being the worst month for stocks.

Dow Jones Industrials

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