Thursday, November 03, 2016

Time For Value?

The bottom 20% of the S&P500 ranked by P/E ratio is selling at 10.2 times earnings versus 52.2 times earnings for the top quintile. Is now the time to go for value? 

Here are the views of three value managers interviewed by Barrons

4 Deep Value Stocks to Buy Now 9/21/2016 7:00AM Fund manager Bill Smead says Bank of America shares are ready to soar along with three other underpriced companies.  
4 Undervalued Stocks from Scott Black 10/23/2016 8:19AM The Boston-based value investor makes the case for Shire, Carnival, Celestica, and Lionbridge.

Financial Stocks: Undervalued, Earnings Growing 12/9/2015 2:56PM With a Fed rate hike (possibly) around the corner, portfolio manager Chris Davis lists 3 favorite stocks and many reasons he thinks they can beat the market in coming years.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom Share the 2016 Nobel Price in Economics

The Nobel committee announced today that for their work in contract theory Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström won the 2016 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Science in Honor of Alfred Nobel. Charles Duxbury and Mike Bird report on it in the Wall Street Journal today. Moreover the Journal reported in a video:
Evan Peterson, "Why Bengt Holmström, is An Economist You Should Know," Open Markets, October 21, 201.

Monday, October 03, 2016

For the Record: Harris Commented on the Auto Bailout.

Alex Johnson,  "For Dealers, Auto bailout Can't Come Too Soon." NBC News 12/4/2008, quoted Malcolm Harris, an economics professor at Friends University in Wichita, said: “If you have a half a million or a million people out of work, with retail sales in real terms already down 5 percent over a year ago, you’re taking what’s becoming a significant recession and making it a lot nastier.”

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wells Fargo to Pay $185 Million Fine Over Illegal Account Openings

Even Homer Nods

Wells Fargo is generally considered one of the best run banks. It has a strong commercial banking franchise and its risk management and more limited exposure to investment banking caused it to come out on top in market value after the financial crisis.  It's chief risk officer is higher in its corporate hierarchy than any major bank's going into the financial crisis.  According to Tammy Norman of Emporia State University and Kurt Reding of Wichita State, this is a good indicator of how seriously an organization takes internal controls and risk management and has a long background in internal audit with Spirit aerospace and Boeing.  Tammy recently did a study of the relationship between organizational structure and internal controls.  Kurt is the author of the leading international textbook in the field.  So it is a surprise that Wells Fargo has had an  internal lapse in its commercial bank of all places.  The bank faces a $185 million fine illegal sales practices.  It found hundreds of employees tried to meet ambitious cross-selling goals by opening accounts without customers' permission or even their knowledge. following widespread  including opening accounts for customers without their knowledge. 

In this video, WSJ reporter Emily Glazer joins Lunch Break to discuss the story.  Photo: Getty

Friday, April 01, 2016

The Jobs Report: Solid Growth, But Does Little to Solve Our Economic Malaise

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the March jobs report.  It shows continued solid growth:  An increase of 215,000 new jobs.  The unemployment rate stayed at 5.0% as more people worked and more people reentered the labor force.  The labor force participation rate is now at 63%.  

The graph shows the percent of the adult population with jobs according to the household survey.  It shows the economic malaise the country has suffered these last seven years. Robert Bartlett tittled his history of the Reagan period The Seven Fat Years.  These have been the seven lean years.

The employment ratio plunged during the recession and continued to fall after its official end (June, 2009.) Jobs data,
revised after the NBER called the trough, show that jobs continued to fall into the first few months of 2010.  Jobs growth failed to keep pace with population growth on into 2011.  We really did not see job growth fast enough to outpace population until 2013.

Wichita's Chief Industry

On a less cheerful note, aircraft employment fell by 900.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why is Trump Triumphing In His Demographics Sweet Spot? Look at the Data

Two Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economists, Michael McCracken and Joseph McGillicuddy, provide this graph.  It shows the change in employment since the recession trough in June, 2009:

Bottom line: There are even fewer jobs for those without a college degree now than at the bottom of the recession.  Guess who is bearing the brunt of the weakest economic recovery in a century? 

With income inequality on everyone's mind these days, might a key cause be the administration's economic policies that are eviscerating the working class combined with the cultural elites' war on the family?  Or is that heresy?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Marvin Ellison CEO of JCPenny

How JCPenney CEO Ellison Plans to Turn Company Around March 15 -- JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison discusses the company's turnaround plans. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets." February 29, 2016, 3:53 P.M. ET JC Penney Scores Upgrade; Has ‘Pathway to $1B’ in Cash Flow

Saturday, February 06, 2016

This Morning's Employment Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that unemployment fell to 4.9 percent and wages rose. "In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents to $25.39. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent."  Jobs rose 151,000 according to the payroll survey and 496,000 according to the household survey. The unemployment drop was dispute a jump in the labor force of 433,000, admittedly amplified by new higher population estimates.   

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Making of the Big Short (the Movie That Is.)

Michael Lewis' book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine is one of the best on the financial crisis.  No one writes about finance like Lewis, the journalist who started as a bond trader with Salomon Brothers.   His book chronicles the outsiders who bet against the housing bubble. It short be read with Gillian Tett's book, Fools Gold, which follows the tribe of geeks who invented the credit default swaps in the first place. My favorite moment in the book is when Paulson's analysts are at a Deutsche Bank conference.  They are baffled at why the bankers are so ready to sell them credit default swaps after he had been pulling teeth to buy them months earlier. 

Adam McKay directed the movie based on the book.  Here is a Wall Street Journal Cafe interview with him: 

Oddly enough, John Paulson, who made the biggest killing–the biggest short–is not in the movie.  Richard Thaler is.  He is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  He presented a paper at the 1985 FMA meetings in New York which presented evidence against the efficient market hypothesis.  That was my first professional finance meeting and I had the pleasure of discussing the paper.  I sympathized with his difficulty at the time publishing such heresy.  Times change.  Now you can see he is at the pinnacle of the profession. Thomas Kuhn taught us that a scientific orthodoxy is finally finished only when the last member of that school dies.