Major equity benchmarks continue to rise into uncharted territory as optimism levels remain elevated following the latest “No Taper” decision from the Fed coupled with expectations that monetary policy will remain accommodative for the foreseeable future. Developments in the Middle East have further helped to bolster stocks higher, and crude oil lower, as investors expressed optimism following overnight news of the deal between the United States and five other superpowers that would freeze advancement of Iran’s nuclear program [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
2013′s third quarter earnings season was perhaps not what many analysts had expected, as companies across all sectors reported both hits and misses. In the commodity space, Alcoa had set the tone for the start of the season, beating earnings and revenue estimates and posting a profit of $24 million. And while other commodity stocks also managed to post better-than-expected results, some showed signs of weakness from this year’s commodity slump [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Since the unprecedented crash of 2008, U.S. markets have struggled to make up lost ground. After five years, the economy has finally started to pick up steam – slowly, but surely. And as the economy continues to pick up its pace, many investors are returning to the corner of the market that was one of the primary sources of the 2008 financial crisis: housing. Across the board, housing stats have been on the rise in recent years, including home prices, housing starts, building permits, and construction. A closer look at the industry in recent months, however, reveals several red flags [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
On Wednesday, Caterpillar (CAT)–one of the biggest manufacturers of construction and mining equipment–posted lower-than-expected quarterly results and cut its full year forecast. The bellwether cited weak demand from its mining customers, its most profitable product category, as the primary source of Caterpillar’s sour quarter. In 2014, Caterpillar estimates revenue will be essentially flat to +/-5% compared to 2013. For the year, the company now expects revenues to come in around $55 billion versus the previously forecasted $58 billion figure [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The ongoing government shutdown continues to eat away at investors’ confidence, even though major equity indexes are undeniably pricing in a resolution, as evidenced by the S&P 500′s ability to keep afloat while the debate in Congress rages on. Given the degree of optimism that has permeated Wall Street, it’s likely that a lack of resolution among politicians will lead to a nasty sell-off, as always, catching retail investors off guard [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]. Given the recent “hope rally” and looming debt-ceiling deadline, many remain hesitant to jump in long. As such, below we highlight two commodity stocks that may offer an attractive short selling opportunity for those looking to bet against some of the stellar run-ups already seen across Wall Street.
With Alcoa (AA) kicking off earnings season this week, investors will be keeping a close eye on the results of their favorite commodity stocks. On Tuesday, the largest U.S. aluminum producer reported a profit of $24 million in the third quarter – a significant uptick from the $143 million loss reported a year ago. Revenues for the company came in at $5.765 billion, beating analyst estimates of $5.66 billion; Alcoa’s Q3 EPS of $0.11 also beat estimates by $0.06. In the coming week, investors will once again comb through a slew of earnings reports, but what is perhaps more important than the reports themselves is the particular outlook that each company provides [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Week two of the government shutdown is here and politicians have offered little to no hope that a prompt resolution will be enacted prior to the much-feared October 17th debt-ceiling deadline. Although many speculate that the U.S. will avoid default even if the deadline is missed, it’s undeniable that such an event has the potential to trigger a much steeper correction on Wall Street, especially since major stock indexes are still up double-digits YTD [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
In the commodity world, trade agreements and regulations can either make or break a particular market. Whether it be new alliances, tariffs, or taxes, each decision made by commodity producing countries can have a significant and material impact on the flow of goods and natural resources. Over recent years, one country has struggled to take a concrete stance on its trade agreements, going back and forth between new and forward-looking trade ventures to the West and its long and tangled ties with its neighbor (and once oppressor). This week, however, Ukraine finally took a stand against Russia, giving the formal go-ahead for its landmark trade deal with the European Union [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Domestic equities have managed to return to their bullish ways as easing concerns over U.S. military involvement in Syria have helped some of the uncertainty that’s been plaguing investors’ confidence on Wall Street. Furthermore, investors rejoiced after Larry Summers withdrew his bid for Fed chairman earlier this week, showcasing the market’s concerns over the abandonment of “ultra loose” monetary policy [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
An event several years in the making could be just days away. For some time now, the Fed has been debating whether or not it should limit big banks and their participation in the commodities markets. The debate stemmed from a number of accusations of market manipulation for profit, though most of the institutions on the chopping block have maintained their innocence. The decision is expected to fall sometime in the next month and could be a welcomed change for traders [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].