Markets were up slightly after Thanksgiving weekend. Many stores were open on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in history and it seems like consumers enjoyed it. Several firms reported that between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, sales were estimated at $12.3 billion. Traffic on Thanksgiving Day was up 27%; this is nearly one-third of the holiday weekend shoppers, according to the National Retail Federation. Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, said, “Probably the most interesting is the amount of energy the consumer put into Thursday shopping. The retailers did a good job getting them up from the dinner table and into stores.” Analysts expect sales for the entire weekend to come in around $57.4 billion, with the average shopper spending roughly $407.02. This is down from last year’s $59.1 billion. The National Retail Federation said that there were more than 141 million shoppers throughout the course of the entire weekend. This estimate is higher than last year’s 139 million shoppers.
Online retail sales were up for the weekend as well. The Retail Federation said that there were 92 million people that shopped during the weekend. This was up from last year’s 89 million. ComScore, an analytics firm, said that online sales were up 17.3% over last year on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Popular online purchases were tablets and big-screen TVs. Vice president of Offers.com, Howard Schaffer, said, “Tablets were super-hot this year, which is really no surprise to anybody. Obviously the iPad did extremely well.
Bank of America (BAC) announced that they have reached an agreement to settle all outstanding claims with Freddie Mac. This will cover all of the mortgages that were sold to Freddie Mac through the end of 2009. The settlement amount? A grand total of $404 million. This agreement will cover all past losses and future losses connected to the loans. The company already has reserve money on hand to cover this amount. In November, the government urged Bank of America to pay nearly $863.6 million in damages once the federal court found them at fault for fraud over faulty mortgages sold by their Countrywide unit. In September of this year, Freddie Mac was awarded funds from Wells Fargo, $780 million, and Citigroup, $395 million, to settle repurchase claims. Freddie Mac’s Chief Executive, Donald Layton, said, “We continue to make very good progress in recovering funds that are due to the American taxpayer, as well as resolving Freddie Mac’s legacy repurchase issues.”
That’s all for the day.
All the best,
Jack Aubrey, Oakshire Financial…
Markets were relatively flat on Wednesday as the demand for mortgage’s fell for the fourth straight week. The Mortgage Bankers Association announced that mortgage applications fell 0.3%. Over the last four weeks the index has sank nearly 7%. This data not only includes mortgages for new homes but also refinancing applications. The declines have slightly coincided with the news that the Federal Reserve is contemplating pulling in the spending on their monthly $85 billion in Treasuries and mortgage backed securities. Mortgage rates have also been creeping up. The 30-year rate was up 2 bases point in the most recent weeks to 4.48%. The purchase index was down 0.2%. The purchase index was is a leading indicator of home sales.
There was a decline in the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week. The Labor Department announced that there was a drop of 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 316,000 jobless claims. The four-week moving average, which is a more accurate gauge of the data, was down 7,500 to a total of 331,750. This was the first time that weekly jobless claims and the four-week average were below the pre-recession levels. The government said there were no significant driving factors behind the positive data. They did say that it can be hard to seasonally adjust data so late in November due to the Thanksgiving holiday landing on different times every year.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) were up significantly as the company beat out fiscal fourth-quarter revenue forecasts. The company has been taking steps to turn around their ailing computer sales and tried to boost personal computer sales, which were up 2% in the recent quarter. They also had a 10% rise in server sales along with a 3% boost in growth of their networking business. Chief Executive Meg Whitman has been leading the turn around efforts of the company since a little over a year ago and the recent data seems to be showing significant improvement. Bill Kreher, a technology analyst with Edward Jones, said, “I saw better than expected performance out of the enterprise group, which we expected to be weak given the results from peers such as IBM and Cisco. There is some hope given that the company was able to jump over what was admittedly a pretty low hurdle.” Revenue was down across most of HP’s business division, minus the enterprise group. Sales were up to $7.5 billion there. Overall the company posted revenue of $29.1 billion, surpassing analysts’ expectations of $27.9 billion. Whitman said, “We have more to do on the margins but we are happy. We had a good quarter in networking, particularly in China and in Europe.”
That’s all for the day. Happy Thanksgiving, loyal readers; we’ll be back Monday!
All the best,
Jack Aubrey, Oakshire Financial…
Whaddaya think? Did the pilgrims believe in gold? When they came to these shores nearly four hundred years ago in search of religious freedom, did they also dig about Plymouth looking for metallurgically assayable ore bodies?
Are you still on the hunt for that junior gold company trading on Vancouver that’s about to bag you a fortune?
Here at Bourbon and Bayonets, we were the first to call the top in the precious metals over two and a half years ago, and despite the maggots we’ve become in the eyes of the goldphiles, we’ve stuck to our guns and prospered. We’ve played a few upside retracements successfully, too. But we remain bears.
At this time of year it’s become our custom to rub the belly of the glorious golden turkey in order to better discern in which direction the pernicious metals are next headed.
Here’s a recent shot of the old gal. Isn’t she a doll?
Little Wendy (as she prefers to be called) took to the rubbing immediately and raised a warning flag to let us know there were more losses in store for gold and silver and that we should avoid contemplating new purchases at the moment.
“But how do you know that,” I asked her. “You’re just a pint-sized, rotting fowl that my brother-in-law spray painted.”
She looked right through me –
“The miners,” she whispered. “The miners…”
Ah, well, we know a heaven-sent message when we get one, so we wasted no time at all. Directly to the charts of the miners we went, and sure enough, there we found all the proof in the Thanksgiving pudding anyone could ever want.
Have a look here –
No mysteries here, friends. As far as the technicals go on the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX), we’ve got a snowstorm’s worth of bad news to report.
First, both RSI and MACD are sub-waterline, indicating we remain in the grip of a particularly cruel bear move (in blue, at bottom). But more importantly, trading in GDX moved below a key support line to open the week (black box, at top), and this, we contend, is outright ominous. [Cue the screeching violins!]
True, we haven’t seen a great deal of volume associated with the selling yet, but that, we believe, will pick up as price action separates from the former support line and moves into freefall, a condition that could materialize as early as today.
Finally, we note that all moving averages are trending lower and price is situated under them all – not a set-up that makes for successful long-side trading.
But what does GDX technicals have to do with gold, pray tell?
Patience, Winston. And finish your bird.
As we’ve pointed out several times over the course of the current gold bear, it has consistently been the miners who’ve led the metal lower. Intuitively, we would have expected the opposite, but it hasn’t been the case. …