Thursday, March 5, 2015

Higher markets ahead of the February jobs report

Dow rose 38, advancers over decliners 5-4 & NAZ added 15.  The MLP index went up 1+ to the 444s & the REIT index rose 1 to the 334s.  Junk bond funds were mixed to higher & Treasuries also gained today.  Oil fell below 51 & gold is back under 1200.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

CLJ15.NYM....Crude Oil Apr 15....50.79 Down ....0.74  (1.4%)

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Apple is reportedly delaying the production of its larger screen iPad.  It has instructed suppliers in China to  push production of the larger iPad to later this year because of debates on its hardware features.  The company is reportedly considering adding a USB port with technology that would transfer data up to 10 times faster than traditional USB ports.  The ports could also connect a keyboard & mouse, making the device a viable laptop replacement.  Currently, the iPad & iPad Mini devices do not include USB ports.  The delay comes as iPad sales continue to slide.  In fiscal Q1-2015, the company sold 21.4M units, down 18% year over year.  The sales decline caused a 22% drop in revenue.  However, CEO Tim Cook said the iPad has a “bright future” in the long run because a large percentage of global iPad sales were to first-time buyers, which pointed to a lower saturation level in most countries.  Plus its enterprise partnership with IBM (IBM), a Dow stock, which has agreed to sell iPhones & iPads, could give the tablet segment a boost.  The stock fell 2+.  If you would like to learn more about AAPL, click on this link:

Delay for Larger iPad Could be Good for Growth

Apple (AAPL)

McDonald's, a Dow stock & Dividend Aristocrat, US restaurants will gradually stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics vital to fighting human infections.  Within 2 years, MCD USA will only buy chickens raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine.  The concern is that the overuse of antibiotics for poultry may diminish their effectiveness in fighting disease in humans.  This policy will begin at the hatchery, where chicks are sometimes injected with antibiotics while still in the shell.  "We're listening to our customers," Marion Gross, senior VP of MCD North American supply chain, said.  She said the company is working with its domestic chicken suppliers to make the transition.  As the rate of human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria increases, consumer advocates & public health experts have become more critical of the practice of routinely feeding antibiotics to chickens, cattle & pigs.  Scientists & public health experts say whenever an antibiotic is administered, it kills weaker bacteria and can enable the strongest to survive & multiply.  Frequent use of low-dose antibiotics, a practice used by some meat producers, can intensify that effect.  The risk, they say, is that so-called superbugs might develop cross-resistance to critical, medically important antibiotics.  Superbugs are linked to an estimated 23K human deaths & 2M illnesses every year in the US, & up to $20B in direct healthcare costs.  Gross said MCD expects its suppliers will treat any animals that become ill, using antibiotics when prescribed.  MCD, however, will not buy those treated chickens.  The stock fell 1.15.  If you would like to learn more about MCD, click on this link:

MCD USA to Phase Out Antibiotics from Chicken

McDonald's (MCD)

Smith & Wesson posted fiscal Q3 adjusted EPS of 20¢ on revenue of $131M.  Analysts had expected the company to report EPS of 11¢ on $123M in revenue.  The gunmaker also gave earnings guidance for Q4 above estimates.  "Our third quarter results reflect the successful navigation of a normalizing firearm market following an earlier consumer surge in firearm purchases, combined with the ongoing focused execution of our long-term strategy," CEO James Debney said.  "Sales in our firearm division exceeded our updated expectations, reflecting solid orders from distributors and key retailers at the start of our annual industry show season in January," he continued, adding that "our products remain popular with consumers and our internal data indicates that we remained the market leader in the handgun and the modern sporting rifle categories."  The stock crawled up pennies.  If you would like to learn more about SWHC, click on this link:

Smith & Wesson stock shoots up on earnings beat

Smith & Wesson (SWHC)

This was a quiet day as traders' attention is on the big jobs report tomorrow.  That should provide no big surprise although it may be a little soft, reflecting the bad weather in the northeast & how that slowed business activity.  The rising market today may have more to do with gov offices closed in DC caused by the snow storm.  Dow remains little changed in Mar.

Dow Jones Industrials

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