Sunday, September 16, 2018

Barrons weekend summary

Barrons weekend summary: Positive feature on big insurance names; cautious on cement producers 
Cover story: “Debt held by the public, a conservative tally of what America owes, will swell from $15.7T at the end of September, or 78% of GDP, to $28.8T in a decade, or 95% of GDP”; The U.S. “is using the future for a fiscal dumping ground,” says Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition—and, says Barron’s, at some point the country may reach a point where it loses control of its finances. 

1) Positive on ALL, AIG, TRV: Shares of the insurance giants have declined as Hurricane Florence gains strength, but they are sitting on roughly half a trillion dollars in available capital, and should be able to ride out the storm; 
2) Cautious on CX, EXP, MLM, SUM, USCR, VMC: Bad weather and political gridlock have hit stocks of cement, concrete, asphalt, and aggregates producers, but the slump isn’t likely to last, absent a recession, as states shore up crumbling infrastructure; 
3) The SEC will end this month a government experiment called the Tick Size Pilot Program to help small-company stocks, because instead of delivering the promised benefits, it stunted trading volumes in the nearly 2,000 stocks involved. 

Tech Trader: Cautious on AAPL: Last week when Apple unveiled new iPhones, NVDA announced plans for bringing artificial intelligence to autonomous robots and healthcare, while HPQ announced a 3-D printer capable of mass-producing metal parts—upstaging Apple. 

Trader: In late September, industrials and companies that ship products should have a good idea if they will make their quarterly numbers—and investors should be ready for negative pre-announcements; Positive on MMM: Company seems priced right for patient income investors looking for steady growth from a diversified American giant with a track record of raising its dividend; Positive on OI: The largest glass-bottle and package maker in the world “is a steady but slow grower whose shares are at historic lows,” and have more upside than downside. 

1) In a Q&A, former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson says the financial crisis could have been much worse, and that the Bear Stearns rescue helped the U.S. dodge a bullet and avoid a devastating chain reaction; 
2) Former BCS chief Bob Diamond, who led the firm’s buyout of most of Lehman Brothers at the height of the financial crisis, talks about his current work at Atlas Merchant Capital. 

Advisor Rankings: Top Independents: Barron’s list of the Top 100 Independent Advisors is topped by Spuds Powell of Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, Greg Miller of Wellesley Asset Management, and Robert Skinner II of First Republic Investment Management; In a related story, top advisors talks about the challenges their firms face delivering results for clients. 

European Trader: Positive on OBSV: “Small Swiss biotech focused on women’s reproductive health has three promising treatments reaching key development stages in the next few months that could pay off for investors.” 

Emerging Markets: Cautious on BABA: The retirement of executive chairman and co-founder Jack Ma raises questions concerning timing and how well the collective governing structure is suited to the complex strategic choices facing the company. 

Commodities: Low silver prices have attracted investors seeking bargains, prompting a temporary sellout of the 2018 American Silver Eagle bullion coins at the U.S. Mint this month, a sign buyers may be seeking physical assets ahead of a recession. 

Streetwise: CBS may have seemed surprised when sexual harassment accusations against former chief Les Moonves became public, but inside the company concerns had been expressed much earlier—making CBS one of many companies whose directors are overmatched by executives.