When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flu down; Profit Up at Aetna

On Tuesday Aetna Inc. lifted its 2010 earnings forecast a second time after the firm reported milder-than-expected flu season. The good news about flu this year tacked one more positive in an earnings season that has been dominated by profit results and increasingly positive projections.

The firm now projects that their operating earnings may reach $3.05 to $3.15 a share in the upcoming quarter. That’s significantly up from their earlier forecast of $2.75 to $2.85 in April.

In further positive economic stimulus, Aetna's Chief Financial Officer Joseph Zubretsky said that in addition to healthy profit for the firm in the second half of 2010, the company will also increase their spending to upgrade computer systems.

For the 2Q 2010, net income rose 42 percent to $491 million easily topping most medical market analyst expectations.

Source:  Aetna

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Investors Continue Focus On Earnings

U.S. stocks surged last week following yet another strong batch of earnings.

Earnings results from heavy weights such as Caterpillar (CAT), 3M (MMM), UPS (UPS) and AT&T (T) all topped earnings estimates and raised their outlooks.

Some economists pointed to data that seemed to show some weakness. Weekly jobless claims jumped, but it may have been due to seasonal factors.

The markets have been trying to sort out all the data and it seems that for now investors have decided that the positive corporate earnings from so many sectors do not indicate a slowdown in the economic recovery. And even if there is some weak elements, those are not affecting companies' profits in general.

For the week the S&P 500 index was up nearly 3%.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rates Continue Down; Loan Applications Up

For those folks looking to refinance or purchase, the news on Wednesday continues to be nothing but positive.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that their refinancing index jumped 8.6% in the July 16 week, making for a nearly 30% gain over the past four weeks. The average 30-year mortgage fell 10 basis points in the week to 4.59%, the lowest ever in the survey.

Low rates continue to be a consistant positive for home sales. The MBAs purchase index also rose -- up 3.4%. Much of the demand was driven by government loans which have low down-payments.

Wednesday's report, along with Tuesday's rise in applications for housing permits, are indisputable good news for the housing sector.

Friday, July 16, 2010

James Altucher versus Dr. Doom (Winner: James)

Many of you will remember last year when we ask Dr. Doom, Nouriel Roubini to take a seat already!  As most of you know Dr. Doom is just that -- a Doomster -- a perma-pessimist.  Sadly (and mistakenly), because he is always calling for the worst, he is credited with correctly calling the credit crisis and the ensuing recession.  (and will likely be given credit for any other downward trends in the future!)

Fortunately we do currently have more level heads among us. One of those level heads is James Altucher. Forget Dr. Doom and do your homework on James and his columns and interviews.

In this interview with Dow Jones, James gives 7 reasons why the S&P index is headed for 1500.

And in this one, James takes on Dr. Doom and scores knock-out, after knock-out punches.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Historic Financial Overhaul Begins Now

On Thursday, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to one of the most massive overhauls of country's financial regulation ever. The legislative action ended more than a year of political disagreements over the scope of the new regulations.

The new law establishes an independent consumer bureau within the Federal Reserve to monitor against abuses in mortgage, credit card and several other types of lending.

President Obama is scheduled to sign the legislation next week. On Thursday after Senate passage of the bill, he said that the bill will "protect consumers and lay the foundation for a stronger and safer financial system, one that is innovative, creative, competitive, and far less prone to panic and collapse."

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who was one of the Senate's driving forces behind the bill, said that "more than anything else, my goal was, from the very beginning, to create a structure and an architecture reflective of the 21st century in which we live, but also one that would rebuild that trust and confidence."

In addition to the Presidential and Senate praise Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner held a rare news conference lauding the bill.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Earnings For S&P 500 Firms Still Increasing

Earnings for members of the Standard & Poor's 500 are expected to increase another 27% from a year earlier and their associated revenues are seen to also rise -- perhaps another 9%, said Thomson Reuters last week. Actual earnings season for Q2, begins shortly...

In the first quarter of 2010, S&P 500 firms' earnings increased 57%. It was the second quarter in a row that the S&P 500 recorded earnings growth. If the predictions are correct, it will represent three quarters in a row of year over year increases. Those increases follow a record nine straight quarters of year-over-year declines prior to that.

Industry sectors like materials, energy, information technology and consumer discretionary segments are all predicted to have very healthy earnings growth rates.

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