Sunday, April 22, 2012

Unfair Review of Barron’s -- Dated 23 April

Blogger has just changed everything re publishing pieces, I am not sure how this is going to appear, so we will just have to see how this goes...

This review will be shorter than normal, because we were very busy this weekend, I am trying to figure out HOW to publish & edit pieces and because Barron’s was a little disappointing.


The Cover Story (“Outlook: Mostly Sunny”) is this spring’s Big Money Poll, in which Barron’s asks portfolio managers what their views are on various asset classes for the next year.

54% of the respondents are bullish or very bullish.  This number is in line with with the last two times they ran their Big Money Poll.  After American stocks, they (on the average) wre most bullish on Latin AMerican stocks (53%), Asian stocks (50%), the US Dollar (43% and real estate (41%).  They were most bearish on U.S. Treasuries (81%), Cash (44%) and gold (39%).  Re gold, 30% were bullish and 31% neutral.  So slightly negative on gold.

Favorite stock to buy among the Big Money guys?  AAPL

“Most Overvalued” stock among the Big Money guys?  AAPL  Go figure.


Alan Abelson had some fun with the Bare Secret Service escapade down in Cartagena, Colombia recently.  He suggests that Party Animals might feel at home on Wall St. if they get fired...

He then goes on to write sentiment has changed in some investor polls, becoming a bit more bearish, which might mean that the market is going to keep going up.

Abelson finishes with some observations on how speculators are jacking up the price of oil and gasoline, estimates vary (15% - 50% -- the latter seems very high to me).  But, he (and all of us) can be sure that the Congress will sic the CFTC on those speculators...


Michael Santoli (“Streetwise”) says that “your grandmother’s stocks” have been among the best performers lately:

Colgate-Palmolive (CL)
Walt Disney (DIS)
Kimberly-Clark (KMB)
McDonald’s (MCD)
Nike (NKE)


There is a small article (by William Waitzman) on silver.  There has been less demand for Silver Eagles, but more demand by China on silver itself, along with the silver ETFs having more buyers.


Debbie Carlson writes (“Down - but Far From Out - on the Farm”) that farm land prices in the Corn Belt have been moving up around a 25% average over the last year.  Could be a bubble.  And, as most farmers are older than the average US citizens, this could mean more farmland lands on the market in coming years driving prices down.  But, lower prices would then perhaps bring investors back to farmland...


Kopin Tan writes a piece (“Devon Energy: Undervalued, Underrated”) that is bullish.  DVN has very low debt,lots of cash and is drilling in all kinds of places.  Might be a good bet. 1.2% dividend yield.


Tiernan Ray writes of the great prospects for MSFT at “Technology Week”.  It’s not just Windows 8 but other products on the way.


Gene Epstein interviews John Taylor, Professor of Economics at Stanford University.  Short version: Prof. Taylor thinks that short term stimulus spending is no good.  Permanent tax cuts are.  Taylor does not like QE either.


“D. C. Current” author Jim McTague writes about the growing anger (and court cases) about high fees charged by banks, credit card companies and their intermediaries to retailers, who are very upset.  This one is an issue to keep an eye on, especially if you own bank stocks.


Editor Thomas Donlan argues that even if “automatic cuts” wre to happen late this year, that it would not be a big deal our maintaining military superiority (and hence security).  I agree.


In the Market Week section, Vito Racanelli argues that although natural gas prices will likely stay down for a while (way too much supply), eventually this will turn around and prices will go up.  He thinks 2 - 3 years.  Drilling rig counts are already down.  He notes that Cheniere Energy (LNG) just got permission to build a BIG LNG export facility at Sabine Pass, LA.  This will likely take some 3 years to build before any gas gets exported.  But, LNG outside the USA is pricers MUCH HIGHER than in the USA.

Jonathan Buck (“European Trader”) says that the pain in Spain will increase.  But, he thinks it will likely escape from a Greece-style future dependent on outsiders.  But, if they DO go down, everyone will be betting next against Italy and, yes, France...

“Commodities Corner” author Simon Constable writes that anhydrous ammonia (one of the nitrogen based fertilizers) price is very high despite low NatGas prices (its main feedstock). being priced so low.  Nitrogen fertilizer prices are more tracking the demand and high price of corn vs. the low feedstock prices.  Meaning that some fertilizer companies are making LOTS of money.  But, that may not continue forever, especially if NatGas prices go up or farmers switch over to soybeans (which do not need nitrogen fertilizers).

The Mighty Peruvian Sol storms higher, more than overcoming its slight dip last week.  It rose 0.4% vs. the US$.  Take that!

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