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Timing Price Moves – My First Vid!

Given the volatility of mortgage rates in recent weeks, time is of the essence for those looking to secure cheap home financing.

JPMorgan Fires Credit Trader and Cuts Staff Bonuses for WhatsApp Use

(Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. punished more than a dozen traders for using WhatsApp at work, firing one and cutting bonus payments for the rest.Edward Koo, who had spent almost 20 years at the firm and was put on leave in January, was formally dismissed after JPMorgan concluded he broke company rules by creating a WhatsApp group and using it to discuss market chatter with other trading employees, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Koo traded corporate bonds and credit derivatives. The cut to bonuses sparked outrage among subordinates who followed Koo’s lead in using the channel, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment. Koo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Messages on the WhatsApp service are encrypted from start to finish, and can’t easily be monitored by Wall Street firms’ compliance departments, a problem for companies that need to make sure their employees aren’t engaging in illegal activity such as fraud or insider trading.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Americans could start receiving stimulus checks starting on April 9

Stimulus checks to arrive by April 15 for millions of taxpayers. A new portal where some can supply direct deposit information could be out next week.

U.S. senator to liquidate individual stock shares after coronavirus flap

U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler said on Wednesday she would liquidate her individual stock share positions after the wealthy Republican and her husband were criticized over sales of millions of dollars in stock during the coronavirus outbreak. Loeffler, who was appointed to her Senate seat in January by Georgia’s governor, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. In a Wall Street Journal opinion column on Wednesday, Loeffler said she was not changing her investment strategy because she has to.

These bargain bank stocks may emerge from the coronavirus crisis as big winners

With the U.S. economy set to contract severely this quarter amid the COVID-19 lockdown, bank stocks as a group have fallen much more than the broader market. On April 7, David Konrad, a managing director and analyst at D.A. Davidson, and Ian Lapey, a portfolio manager at Gabelli, discussed in interviews seven bank stocks that may turn out to be good investments. It sounds simple, but human nature makes it difficult for most investors to consider buying stocks during a time of panic.

Occidental Seeking Federal Lifeline For U.S. Oil Industry

(Bloomberg) — Occidental Petroleum Corp. wants U.S. government financial aid for the oil industry even as the biggest producer of Permian Basin crude urges Texas regulators not to interfere with market forces.In a sign of how important the appeal is to Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub, employees are being urged to send a pre-written wish list to Congress members. Among other things, the company wants the government to “provide liquidity to the energy industry through this period of unprecedented demand destruction and unsustainable pricing until normal economic conditions return.”The letter, linked in an internal email dated April 7 and seen by Bloomberg News, also encourages the Trump administration to negotiate with Saudi Arabia and end the kingdom’s price war with Russia. Lawmakers are asked to advocate for fair access for U.S. crude to Asian markets and to support buying oil for the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.A representative for Occidental declined to comment.See also: Fracking Decline May Be Worst Ever Because There’s Too Much OilThe email was sent the same day that Occidental appealed to the Texas Railroad Commission to reject mandated production cuts. Occidental said output caps, which have been strongly supported by some of the company’s smaller Permian rivals, would be “extremely short-sighted” and would interfere with contractual obligations.‘Resolve Itself’“It is Occidental’s position that the surge in the supply of oil coupled with the decline in oil demand will resolve itself without state regulatory interference,” the company told the Railroad Commission, the state’s primary oil regulator.The commission is set to hold a meeting next week to consider what would be the first production curtailments in almost half a century.Occidental’s stock has been hit especially hard in the wake of crude’s historic meltdown as the coronavirus outbreak crushes demand and Saudi Arabia floods crude markets as part of a market-share battle with Russia.Hollub has faced criticism over her decision last year to amass debt in order to beat Chevron Corp. in a bidding war for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Occidental has seen its bonds fall to junk and has recently replaced its chief financial officer.She joined other oil executives in a meeting last week with President Donald Trump. Prior to the gathering, there had been some expectation that Trump could bolster the chances of a deal between OPEC and its allies by committing the U.S. to some sort of supply curtailments. But the meeting ended without any public declaration of a plan to cut domestic output, with Trump saying it’s a free market and up to Saudi Arabia and Russia to solve their dispute.“This letter lists the steps our government needs to take immediately,” Hollub said in the email to employees. “Now more than ever, we all need to inform our elected officials that inaction could result in long-lasting harm to the U.S. economy.”(Updates with Railroad Commission letter in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Saudi Arabia buys stakes in four big European oil firms – source

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has accumulated stakes in four major European oil companies, a source familiar with the transaction said. The four are Royal Dutch Shell , France’s Total , Norway’s Equinor and Italy’s Eni , the source said, confirming a Wall Street Journal report. The source did not confirm the combined value of the stakes, which the WSJ reported were worth $1 billion.

3 High-Powered Dividends Stocks With Over 7% Dividend Yield

After weeks of historic uncertainty, global stock markets are quickly settling down from now what is now nearly a month of record share price volatility. It appears that social distancing is helping slow new cases of the coronavirus, and there is hope that the global economy will return back to normal. Many stocks have bounced significantly from their lows because of this hope, but there are still plenty of deals to be had.Some well capitalized energy firms, which are already operating in uncertain times as many economies around the world remain in standby mode from the social distancing required to keep covid-19 at bay, are also having to deal with a dramatic drop in oil prices. This was brought by production disagreements between major producing countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, and a major oversupply of oil. In many parts of the industry, the companies that generate strong cash flows also have generous dividend payouts.But not all energy companies are created equal. The below firms are not directly dependent on oil prices for their profits and cash flow that they use for dividend payments. The sudden (but temporary) drop demand is certainly a near-term concern, but should improve quickly as people return to work. A recent screen in TipRanks database helped uncover important details on these three high-powered dividend stocks. Let’s take a closer look.Valero Energy Corp (VLO)Valero is a pure play refiner. In its words, it has “premiere assets and low cost operations.” As one of the largest refiners out there, it’s hard to argue with them. Its 15 refineries support 3.2 million barrels per day (BPD) and its has over 3,000 miles of pipelines to market and distribute the fuel it makes. It’s a disciplined capital allocator, and though the current environment is adversely affecting demand, conditions should soon return back to more normal conditions.RBC Capital’s Brad Heffern has Valero on its “Global Energy Best Bets Ideas” list and believes that the firm is “positioned to take advantage of global crude oversupply and a low position on the cost curve.” It also cited the “high complexity” of Valero’s refining operations, which is a good thing as it allows it to tactically shift refining to areas seeing higher demand, and/or better margins.Speaking of the dividend, Heffern sees “less risk of a dividend cut” compared to the peer group. Indeed, in the previous three fiscal years Valero has generated average operating cash flow of around $5 billion. Subtracting out an average of $1.5 billion to grow and maintain its extensive refiner facilities has left about $3.5 billion annually to buy back stock and pay the dividend. The dividend requires $1.5 billion, which is right at its target to pay out 40% to 50% of that free cash flow. So, looking back there appears to be plenty of cushion to fund and support the dividend payout. Overall, annualized, Valero’s dividend comes out to $3.92, giving a yield of 8.5%.Unsurprisingly, Heffern rates Valero shares a Buy along with a $59.00 price target — 15% upside from current levels. (To watch Heffern’s track record, click here)Wolfe Research said it even more succinctly in a recent research note on Valero. Lead analyst Sam Margolin sees “ample liquidity, no [debt] maturities near term, and upside leverage with dividend growth.” We like the vote of confidence, and patience in the current environment that should only continue to settle down.All in all, among of the 10 analysts who’ve ventured an opinion on Valero in the last month, each and every one of them put a “buy” rating on the stock. The overwhelming consensus is that Valero shares should be worth $75.44 per share over the next 12 months. So, the message is clear: Valero is a Strong Buy. (See Marathon Petroleum stock analysis on TipRanks)Kinder Morgan (KMI)Oil and gas pipeline operator Kinder Morgan stresses that its business is driven by fee-based arrangements that are “entitled to payment regardless of throughput.” This implies its business is not driven by the swings in commodity prices and should insulate it from the current dramatic drop in oil prices.Also importantly, UBS analyst Shneur Gershuni detailed in a recent report that 80% of Kinder’s business is tied to natural gas and refined products, not crude oil. Gershuni also cited Kinder’s balance sheet strength, which was relayed in a discussion with Kinder CEO Steven Kean. He noted that Kinder still plans to boost its dividend another 25% this year, continuing a trend to boost its annual payout. The dividend is currently $1 per share and will go up to $1.25 for a current dividend yield of 7%, based off the current share price of $14.72.It’s not surprising, though, why Gershuni reiterated his Buy rating on KMI shares along with a $26 price target. Should the target be met, investors pockets will jingle with returns in the shape of 77%. (To watch Gershuni’s track record, click here)Turning to Kinder’s cash flow statement, its bias toward self-funding its operations is apparent. Operating cash flow production has average just below $5 billion over the past three annual periods. Capital expenditure, or the investment to grow and maintain its pipeline operations, was $2.3 billion, leaving $2.7 billion in free cash flow. That suggests there is ample room to continue and expand the payout to shareholders. Kinder is also paying down its debt over time. All good signs.When looking at Wall Street’s stance, Gershuni is not the only bull, as TipRanks analytics showcase KMI as a Buy. Out of 12 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 8 rate KMI a Buy, while 4 suggest Hold. Meanwhile, the 12-month average price target stands at $18.58 marking a 26% upside from where the stock is currently trading. (See Kinder Morgan stock analysis on TipRanks)Marathon Petroleum (MPC)Marathon Petroleum has some diversification that, despite the past saber rattlings by activist investors, is helping it through the current economic woes brought by fighting covid-19. It is an oil refiner, energy pipeline owner and facilitator, and, best know to most consumers, operates gas stations under the Marathon and Speedway brand names.Refining operations make money based off the price differentials, or spreads, of various types of oil. For instance, heavier, dirtier oil (think Canadian oil sands or Venezuelan oil) can trade at a higher price, which can make it more profitable for refiners to, well, refine, compared to lighter (and sweeter) grades. Gasoline margins at gas stations also oscillate based off of market demand and supply. Diesel and regular gasoline spreads also impact what Marathon chooses to refine. Its complicated stuff, but Marathon has its hands around how to navigate the spreads.Income was enough to raise the dividend to 58 cents. The annual payment, $2.32, gives the stock a yield of 10%, far higher than the 2% average dividend yield found on the broader markets. Marathon has a reliable dividend history, and adjusts the payment when needed to ensure that the company can afford the dividend.Marathon had been mulling over caving to activist investor demands, but for now it is not selling its gas stations and looks to be keeping the structure of its pipelines (midstream assets) intact. In a report on March 18, research firm Jefferies sees the decision to keep its relationships with its pipeline entities as a “positive”, and noted the hiring of a new CEO (Michal Hennigan) as the removal of another overhang.Lead analyst Christopher Sighinolfi ended his most recent report by suggesting MPC is a “deeply discounted security[y] and sees catalysts in the spin out of the gas stations and stock buybacks as catalysts to push the stock back toward recent highs.As a result, Sighinolfi reiterated a Buy rating on MPC shares alongside a $74 price target, which implies nearly 200% upside from current levels. (To watch Sighinolfi’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? As it turns out, other analysts are in agreement. 7 Buys and 3 Hold ratings add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $62.11 average price target puts the upside potential below Sighinolfi’s forecast at $62.11. (See Marathon Petroleum stock analysis on TipRanks)Disclosure: The author has a long position in MPC and KMI.To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

OPEC+ to debate oil cuts as big as 20 million bpd – sources

OPEC and other oil producers will debate on Thursday oil cuts as big as 20 million barrels per day, equivalent to about 20% of global supplies, one OPEC source and a Russian source told Reuters. “That is a global deal,” the OPEC source said. Another OPEC source and a separate Russian source told Reuters that Russia and Saudi Arabia had managed to remove their main obstacles to agreeing a new deal on oil cuts.

Why Costco is the ultimate coronavirus pandemic stock to own

Costco’s stock looks ripe for further gains during the coronavirus pandemic, strategists say.

Cruise stocks rally to extend recent rocket ride; Instinet analyst sees ‘turning point’ in Q1 2021

Shares of cruise operators rallied again Wednesday, with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. leading the way higher in afternoon trading. Royal Caribbean’s stock ran up 10.4%, after rocketing 37.6% the over the previous two days; Carnival Corp. shares surged 5.0 after soaring 41.8% over the previous three sessions; and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s stock hiked up 4.6% after shooting 31.1% higher the previous three sessions. The gains comes as the S&P 500 rallies 3.0%. Instinet analyst Harry Curtis said based on his new cash burn and recovery forecasts for the cruise industry through 2023, he believes all three companies have enough liquidity and borrowing capacity to survive near-zero revenue through the first quarter of 2021. “Many times we’ve been asked about bankruptcy, and we believe it to be low,” Curtis wrote in a note to clients. He expects a “modest” recovery for the industry to begin in the second half of 2020, with the first quarter of 2021 the possible “turning point.” Curtis said there may be 70% to 90% upside in the stocks over the next three years.

Asset manager Unigestion warns of a huge selloff forecasting a global financial crisis-level recession

Unigestion told investors that, in a base-case scenario, the coronavirus crisis would cause a 3.6% economic contraction in the eurozone and a 2.9% contraction in the U.S. for the year 2020.

Plunging annuity rates: A strategy for new retirees

When she retired all those years ago, her income security needs were pretty simple. Such annuities continue to be offered by insurance companies, but the monthly payouts they generate has collapsed to the lowest levels on record, according to ImmediateAnnuities.com. In 2000, a 65-year old woman with $100,000 in savings could buy an annuity guaranteeing her income of $744 a month.

Stocks are just as expensive now as they were before the crash: Morning Brief

Top news and what to watch in the markets on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

Fed Is Seizing Control of the Entire U.S. Bond Market

(Bloomberg Opinion) — The Federal Reserve is not leaving any corner of the U.S. bond market behind in this crisis.There’s no other way to interpret the central bank’s sweeping measures announced Thursday, which together provide as much as $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. It will wade into the $3.9 trillion U.S. municipal-bond market to an unprecedented degree, can now purchase “fallen angel” bonds from companies that have recently lost their investment-grade ratings, and has expanded its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility to include top-rated commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralized loan obligations.The details matter. Here’s what’s new and significant for bond markets:Municipal Liquidity FacilityThis is new and close to what I’ve argued for over the past year. The Fed’s facility will buy muni debt directly from issuers that’s sold for cash-flow purposes and matures no later than 24 months from the date of issuance. I had figured that for simplicity the central bank would make this available only to states, but the Fed decided that in addition to states and Washington, D.C., it would also buy notes from cities with more than 1 million residents and counties with more than 2 million.The Treasury Department is making an initial $35 billion equity investment, and the vehicle can snap up as much as $500 billion of eligible debt.At first glance, this looks well done. The parameters are probably enough that it won’t break the muni market, while it should force down short-term borrowing costs and allow states and large localities to raise a lot of cash in a hurry. That’s what’s needed as much as anything during the coronavirus pandemic.Primary/Secondary Market Corporate Credit FacilitiesI said the Fed should never buy junk bonds. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Noah Smith said speculative-grade borrowers need a lifeline, too.The central bank split the difference. It changed the parameters of both of its corporate credit facilities to include fallen angels that were investment grade just a few weeks ago but lost those ratings because of the intentional economic shutdown. The specific wording is this: “Issuers that were rated at least BBB-/Baa3 as of March 22, 2020, but are subsequently downgraded, must be rated at least BB-/Ba3 at the time the Facility makes a purchase.”That’s a potential boon to the likes of Ford Motor Co., which became the largest fallen angel on March 25 after both Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global ratings dropped its $35.8 billion of debt into speculative grade. Overall, the yield difference between double-B and triple-B rated debt has ballooned to 290 basis points from as little as 38 basis points in December.That spread will likely tighten if high-yield investors need not fret about downgrades causing a supply glut. Indeed, the largest exchange-traded fund tracking the high-yield market surged by the most since January 2009 on Thursday. It didn’t hurt that the Fed also said it might buy a small amount of ETFs “whose primary investment objective is exposure to U.S. high-yield corporate bonds.”The two facilities combined could reach up to $750 billion in size — a huge bite out of the corporate-bond market. Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan FacilityThe Fed’s TALF has even more rigid parameters than the muni and corporate facilities. The most notable carve-out in Thursday’s announcement appears to be for commercial mortgage-backed securities.All the eligible securities for this vehicle must be rated triple-A and have been issued on or after March 23, with the one exception of CMBS. Rather, the Fed can buy only legacy CMBS issued before that date that are tied to real property in the U.S. or its territories. CMBS investors and even a group of bipartisan lawmakers have been pounding the table for inclusion in TALF after the commercial real-estate market was inundated with margin calls and forced selling late last month.The Fed can now also purchase top-rated tranches of new CLOs. That market was already showing signs of thawing, with Apollo Global Management Inc. marketing a $500 million CLO just this week. This announcement should further keep triple-A CLO spreads in check. TALF will initially make up to $100 billion of loans available, fully secured by eligible asset-backed securities. ***All this, of course, is in addition to the Fed’s relentless purchases of U.S. Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities. BlackRock Inc. said on Wednesday that the central bank’s balance sheet would most likely grow to more than $10 trillion in the coming year from $4.2 trillion at the start of 2020 and would potentially exceed 50% of nominal U.S. gross domestic product.“Our emergency measures are reserved for truly rare circumstances such as those we face today,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a webcast Thursday. “When the economy is well on its way back to recovery, and private markets and institutions are once again able to perform their vital functions of channeling credit and supporting economic growth, we will put these emergency tools away.”Calling the Fed’s actions “throwing the kitchen sink” at the bond markets seems like a huge understatement. It’s extending its reach into everything, which is probably fine for now. The tricky part will be knowing when and how to let go.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Costco’s March sales slow after social distancing measures put into place

Costco reported March same-store sales growth, but results were hampered by policies put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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