Monday, February 11, 2013

Alternative Energy Stock Outlook - Feb 2013: UNS , TOT , TAC , RDS.A , PIKE , ORA , HNP , GXP , EE , CVA , CNL , BP

Historically, the growth outlook of alternative energy companies has been directly related to the state of the economy and inversely related to the prices of petroleum products. While that relationship remains in place, other macroeconomic uncertainties are weighing on the sector’s fortunes.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. generated about 13% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in 2011. Globally, however, China leads the world in total electricity generation from renewable sources, helped by its increased allegiance in recent times to the alternative path. The dragon is followed closely by the U.S., Brazil and Canada.

The continuing financial strains in the Eurozone, slow recovery in the unemployment rate and capital goods orders, aftershocks of Hurricane Sandy and ongoing fiscal contraction continue to weigh on the recovery. This otherwise bleak picture is only partly offset by the steadily improving outlook for the U.S. housing sector and a stronger dollar. (more)

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Stock Index Futures And Rising Bond Yields

Although multi-year highs for most of the major stock indexes were registered last week, longer term, this market appears to be on a collision course with rising long term interest rates. The yield on the thirty year Treasury bond recently hit a nine month high. This took place even though the Federal Reserve is buying $85 billion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed debt every month. One reason could be due to the minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting that showed the Committee was approximately evenly divided between those that were in favor of ending the third quantitative easing program in the middle of this year and those that wanted to continue the program beyond that time, possibly ending it at the end of this year.  Some of these fears were allayed when the FOMC, at the conclusion of their January 29-30 meeting, provided an as expected to a slightly more accommodative policy statement. The Fed said they will continue their current economic stimulus program.

Sentiment Risks
"You can't get long enough" and "there is no stopping this market now" are comments that we have recently heard from stock market commentators. There appears to be a large and growing public participation on the long side.  The public appears to be abandoning the perceived relative safety of long Treasuries in order to buy the equity markets. In fact, there are reports that investors poured a record amount of cash into stock mutual funds and exchange traded funds in January. A recent Bloomberg poll showed international investors are more bullish on equity markets now than they have been  in approximately three and a half years, with almost two thirds of them planning to increase their holdings of equities over the next six months.   (more)

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50 Jaw-Dropping Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Life Science Statistics

Without question, I understand how intimidating the pharmaceutical, biotech, and life science sector can be for those without a background in science. If it's not the science and discovery process itself, or the cross-company collaborations, simply trying to accurately spell or pronounce experimental drug names will almost certainly send most investors running for the hills.

But, the pharmaceutical, biotech, and life science sectors are a booming industry rife with big investment dollars, a steady history of growth, and life-changing attributes. Too many investors keep health-care companies out of their portfolio because they're simply afraid of getting their feet wet in a sector that's proven time and again that it can deliver for shareholders in a big way.

With that in mind -- and with many of you aware that I love making lists -- I prepared a list of 50 jaw-dropping pharmaceutical, biotech, and life science statistics that I suspect will excite and amuse those of you who are borderline health-care investors and, if anything, should spur you to put at least a few health-care companies on your radar. (more)

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Americas Lost Decade : Lost Output

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Days After Freezing Prices, Argentina Bans All Advertising

"We are from the government and we are here to help you"
- Anonymous government worker
A week after Argentina resorted to every failing authoritarian government's last ditch measure to (briefly) control inflation before runaway prices flood the nation and result in political and social upheaval, namely freezing retail prices - a decision which never has a happy ending, the country is pressing on through the rabbit hole and in the latest stunner of a government decree (which like Venezuela yesterday is merely a harbinger of what is coming everywhere else), has banned advertising in the Argentina's newspapers in an attempt to weaken what's left of a private, independent media, and to punish those who don't comply with the government's propaganda.
From the WSJ:
Supermarkets and electronics retailers say Argentina's government has ordered them to stop advertising in the country's top newspapers, in a bid to weaken independent media companies as President Cristina Kirchner turns to increasingly unorthodox policies to prevent inflation from derailing an ailing economy.  (more)

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Can You Ever Afford to Retire?

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US Weekly Economic Calendar

time (et) report period Actual CONSENSUS
  None scheduled        
TUESDAY, Feb. 12
7:30 am NFIB small business index Jan.   -- 88.0
10 am Job openings Dec.   -- 3.7 mln
2 pm Federal budget Jan.   -- -$27 bln
8:30 am Retail sales Jan.   0.0% 0.5%
8:30 am Retail sales ex-autos Jan.   0.1% 0.3%
8:30 am Import price index Jan.   0.7% -0.1%
10 am Inventories Dec.   0.2% 0.3%
8:30 am  Weekly jobless claims  2/9
360,000 366,000
8:30 am Empire state index Feb.
-2.0 -7.8
9:15 am Industrial production Jan.   0.2% 0.3%
9:55 am UMich consumer sentiment Feb.   75.0 73.8

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