Kellogg Shares Soar on Q1 Earnings Beat and Raised Outlook

Kellogg shares rose over 8% on Thursday after the leading worldwide manufacturer and marketer of ready-to-eat cereals, reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue in the first quarter and lifted the fiscal year 2021 guidance.

The U.S. second-largest biscuit maker reported net sales rose over 5% to $3.58 billion in the quarter ended April 3, up from $3.41 billion seen in the same period a year ago. That was higher than the Wall Street consensus estimates of $3.38 billion.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company said its diluted earnings per share rose over 12% to $1.11, beating analysts’ expectations of $0.95 per share.

Kellogg forecasts sales growth to finish 2021 nearly flat year-on-year, an improvement from the previous expectations of about a 1% decline. Adjusted earnings per share is expected to increase by nearly 1% to 2%, up from the previous forecast of a 1% rise.

Following the upbeat results, Kellogg shares rose as high as 8% to $68.14 on Thursday. The stock rose over 8% so far this year.

Analyst Comments

“We expect a positive stock reaction to Kellogg’s large Q1 topline/profit/EPS beat, despite the cycling of solid topline growth in 1Q20, along with slightly raised FY21 guidance. While the magnitude of the FY21 raise was small (organic sales +100 bps, OP/EPS growth +50 bps), it was unexpected as there were concerns about lower or lower-quality FY guidance with commodity pressure,” noted Dara Mohsenian, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Kellogg Stock Price Forecast

Five analysts who offered stock ratings for Kellogg in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $66.00 with a high forecast of $72.00 and a low forecast of $60.00.

The average price target represents a -2.73% decrease from the last price of $67.85. Of those five analysts, two rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price to $60 with a high of $71 under a bull scenario and $43 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the food manufacturing company’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Kellogg had its price target cut by Deutsche Bank to $70 from $75. They currently have a buy rating on the stock. Citigroup reduced their price objective to $72 from $75. Jefferies Financial Group dropped their target price to $65 from $69 and set a hold rating. Piper Sandler lowered Kellogg from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and dropped their target price to $66 from $76.

Upside and Downside Risks

Risks to Upside: Higher US snacks growth on reinvestment/innovation, stabilized US cereal business with innovation and higher ad spend, higher-margin expansion on greater cost savings and moderate commodities – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Risks to Downside: Pricing pressure in the US (65% of sales) with retailer friction, COVID-related supply chain disruptions in 2020, lower operating profit growth on higher reinvestment needs and cost pressure.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

S&P 500 Price Forecast – Stock Market Continues Sideways Behavior

The S&P 500 initially tried to rally during the course of the trading session on Thursday but then gave back the gains to start falling again. Quite frankly, there are lot of mixed messages out there when it comes to the economy in the stock market went forward, but at the end of the day we are still very much in an uptrend and it is worth paying attention to. The 4100 level underneath should offer support, as it has over the last couple weeks. That being said, there is even more support underneath at the 50 day EMA and of course the 4000 level. With that being said, I think that if we get some type of selling pressure, then we will get long again based upon some type of bounce.

S&P 500 Video 07.05.21

To the upside, I see the 4200 level as a major barrier that needs to be overcome with some type of catalyst. We are in the midst of earnings season and it has gone fairly well but quite frankly the market had already priced all that in. Because of this, I think that we will continue to see a “buy on the dips” type of mentality, as we continue to find plenty of narratives out there to push this market higher. Central banks around the world will continue to flood the markets with liquidity, thereby having people push money into stock markets yet again. I see no scenario in which a willing to start shorting this market anytime soon.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

American Indices Moving in Opposite Directions

American Indices are currently moving in opposite directions. The tech-heavy NASDAQ index is going down, aiming for the long-term up trendline while the old-school Dow Jones flirts with all-time highs after the price escaped from the pennant formation.

The German Dax is trading inside a flag formation, which is promoting a long-term breakout to the upside.

Gold is aiming higher after a successful bounce from the 1760 USD/oz support.

The USDCAD broke the lower line of the channel down formation, which should be considered an extreme weakness.

The AUDCHF tested the lower line of the symmetric triangle pattern. A breakout to the downside is very probable.

The ZARJPY shot higher after a false bearish breakout from the Head and Shoulders formation.

The EURPLN is aiming higher after a very handsome bullish engulfing pattern on the daily chart.

The USDHUF dropped like a rock after the price created a shooting star on the daily chart, which bounced from a combination of dynamic and horizontal resistances.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

 

Divergences Could Sink McDonald’s Uptrend

Dow component McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) posted an all-time high above 238 this week, adding to a modest uptick after the company beat Q1 2021 top and bottom line estimates, earning $1.92 per-share on 8.7% revenue growth to $5.12 billion. Global comparative sales rose a healthy 7.5%, underpinned by a 13.6% surge in the United States. Foreign venues reported positive but less impressive growth, highlighting continued restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

Winning the Chicken Wars

The fast food giant noted continued expansion of digital order and delivery segments, even though seating restrictions have been eased or removed in many states. It’s looking for pent-up demand to drive positive net 2021 growth, although it hasn’t been too hard to buy a Big Mac since April 2020. The company also noted victories in the chicken sandwich wars breaking out across the nation, noting their applicants “have exceeded projections especially after 4pm”.

Telsey Advisory Group analyst Bob Derrington raised his target to $260 on Tuesday, noting the company “reported strong 1Q results which included adjusted EPS of $1.92 compared to our $1.76 estimates. McDonald’s global system sales benefited from the strategic embrace of its 3-Ds (Drive-thru, Digital, Delivery), its streamlined menu, quicker drive-thru service and the successful launch of new products across its system. That included the February launch of its new Crispy Chicken sandwich within its U.S. market, which has enjoyed robust sales”.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus now stands at an ‘Overweight’ rating based upon 25 ‘Buy’, 2 ‘Overweight’, and 9 ‘Hold’ recommendations. No analysts are recommending that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of $225 to a Street-high $282 while the stock is set to open Thursday’s session about $25 below the median $260 target. Additional upside appears likely, given this relatively humble configuration.

McDonald’s topped out above 220 in August 2019 and plunged to a multiyear low during 2020’s pandemic decline. A strong recovery wave reached the prior high in September, yielding a failed breakout, followed by a rounded correction that completed a cup and handle pattern in March. The breakout into May has started slowly, with the stock trading just three or four points above new support, but this classic pattern may support much higher prices in coming months.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication. 

Stocks Mixed After Better-Than-Expected Initial Jobless Claims Report

Stocks Lack Direction As Traders Wait For New Catalysts

S&P 500 futures are swinging between gains and losses in premarket trading as traders remain cautious while the market is trading near record highs.

The market faced some selling pressure at the beginning of May, but it should be noted that the recent attempt to move lower was quickly bought. Traders seem to be a bit worried about higher inflation which may force the Fed to raise rates sooner than expected, but such worries are not strong. The bond market stays calm, and the yield of 10-year Treasuries has recently failed to settle above the 20 EMA at 1.60%.

At this point, it looks that the market will need additional catalysts to gain momentum and move away from current levels.

Initial Jobless Claims Decline To 498,000

The U.S. has just released Initial Jobless Claims and Continuing Jobless Claims reports. Initial Jobless Claims report indicated that 498,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in a week. Analysts expected that Initial Jobless Claims would total 540,000.

Continuing Jobless Claims increased from 3.65 million (revised from 3.66 million) to 3.69 million compared to analyst consensus of 3.62 million.

Yesterday, ADP Employment Change report indicated that private businesses hired 742,000 workers compared to analyst consensus of 800,000. The employment picture will not be complete without Non Farm Payrolls and Unemployment Rate reports which will be published tomorrow. Non Farm Payrolls report is expected to show that the economy added 978,000 jobs in April. Unemployment Rate is projected to decline from 6% to 5.8%.

Oil Moves Lower As India Reports Record Number Of COVID-19 Cases

Yesterday, India reported more than 412,000 of new coronavirus cases, putting pressure on the oil market. While oil traders have mostly ignored negative developments in India, the country’s problems may ultimately have a notable impact on demand for oil.

Meanwhile, the recent EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report indicated that crude inventories declined by 8 million barrels compared to analyst consensus which called for a decline of 2.35 million barrels. The U.S. domestic production remained unchanged at 10.9 million barrels per day (bpd) which was bullish for oil.

The recent data suggests that oil demand is picking up, so oil will have good chances to continue its upside move when the situation in India shows signs of stabilization.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

MetLife Shares Hit New Record High After Strong Q1 Earnings; Target Price $72 in Best Case

MetLife, one of the largest life insurers in the world, reported better-than-expected earnings in the first quarter of 2021 and said the worst impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was behind, sending shares to a record high on Wednesday.

The New York-based insurer reported net income of $290 million, or $0.33 per share, compared to net income of $4.4 billion, or $4.75 per share, in the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted earnings rose to $2.0 billion, or $2.20 per share, up from adjusted earnings of $1.4 billion, or $1.58 per share, seen in the same period a year ago. That beat the Wall Street consensus estimates of $1.48 per share.

“In the quarter, we were very pleased to return approximately $1.4 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and common stock dividends. We believe the worst impact of the pandemic on our business performance is behind us, and we are well-positioned to create additional value for our stakeholders in the future,” said MetLife President and CEO Michel Khalaf.

The leader of life insurance company said its net investment income rose 74% to $5.3 billion, largely driven by increases in the estimated fair value of certain securities that do not qualify as separate accounts under GAAP and higher variable investment income primarily due to higher private equity returns.

Following the upbeat results, MetLife shares hit an all-time of $65.905 on Wednesday. The stock rose over 39% so far this year.

Analyst Comments

“This quarter’s results clearly received an outsized benefit from strong alternative results, but what impresses us more is the stability and growth in underlying earnings, which should help in our view to drive further upside in the stock,” noted Nigel Dally, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Operating EPS was $2.20, considerably above both our estimate and the consensus of $1.53. Favorable marks on alternative investments provided more of a boost than expected, contributing over $1 billion to pre-tax earnings above a normal level. Conversely, pandemic-related claims weighed on some divisions, most notably its domestic group insurance operations. Excluding these items, we view the core earnings run-rate potential of the company as being largely in-line with prior expectations.”

MetLife Stock Price Forecast

Nine analysts who offered stock ratings for MetLife in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $66.11 with a high forecast of $72.00 and a low forecast of $54.00.

The average price target represents a 1.07% increase from the last price of $65.41. Of those nine analysts, eight rated “Buy”, one rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley raised the base target price to $72 from $70 with a high of $83 under a bull scenario and $48 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Overweight” rating on the life insurer’s stock.

“Following its retail separation, the company is committed to profitable growth while also simplify its operations to reduce earnings volatility. The company also de-risked its investment portfolio somewhat. Given these moves, the investment thesis for MetLife now revolves around capital management and free cash flow generation, growth in international operations, and expense reduction initiatives,” Morgan Stanley’s Dally added.

“We believe MetLife has the ability to continue its solid execution in its various businesses. More importantly, the solid results over the past several quarters were not driven by a single division, with all segments contributing to earnings growth to a certain extent.”

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. JP Morgan raised the stock price forecast to $66 from $64. UBS initiated with a buy rating and a $72 target price. KBW upped the price target to $68 from $64. Piper Sandler lifted the price objective to $68 from $58. Evercore ISI increased the price target to $65 from $52. RBC raised the target price to $66 from $57.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

E-mini S&P 500 Index (ES) Futures Technical Analysis – Strengthens Over 4165.75, Weakens Under 4160.75

June E-mini S&P 500 Index futures are trading slightly higher, well off its high and threatening to test its low for the day, late in the session on Wednesday.

Earlier in the session, the S&P 500 technology sector was up about 0.9%. Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sector rose in early afternoon trading, with commodity-sensitive sectors including energy and materials rising 3.5% and 1.3%, respectively.

Defensive utilities fell 2.2% and real estate dropped 1.3%, leading sectoral declines.

At 20:21 GMT, June E-mini S&P 500 Index futures are trading 4160.75, up 2.50 or +0.06%.

Daily June E-mini S&P 500 Index

Daily Swing Chart Technical Analysis

The main trend is up according to the daily swing chart, however, momentum is trending lower. A trade through 4211.00 will signal a resumption of the uptrend. A move through 4110.50 will change the main trend to down.

The minor trend is down. This is controlling the momentum. A trade through 4202.50 will change the minor trend to up. This will shift momentum to the upside.

The minor range is 4211.00 to 4120.50. The index straddled its pivot at 4165.75 throughout the session, suggesting a battle between bullish trend-traders and aggressive counter-trend traders.

The short-term range is 4110.50 to 4211.00. Its 50% level or pivot is 4160.75. This level was also straddled on Wednesday.

The main range is 3843.25 to 4211.00. If the main trend changes to down then look for the selling to possibly extend into its retracement zone at 4027.00 to 3983.75.

Short-Term Outlook

The minor direction of the index will be determined by trader reaction to the minor pivot at 4165.75.

The short-term direction of the index will be determined by trader reaction to the short-term pivot at 4160.75.

Look for an upside bias to develop on a sustained move over 4165.75 with 4120.50 and 4211.00 the next potential upside targets.

A downside bias is likely to develop on a sustained move under 4160.75. This could lead to a test of this week’s low at 4120.50, followed by the main bottom at 4110.50.

Side Notes

Trading between 4160.75 and 4165.75 for most of the session on Thursday will indicate investor indecision and impending volatility.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

S&P 500 Price Forecast – Stock Market Killing Time Before Jobs Number

The S&P 500 continues to go sideways, but at this point in time that has to be thought of as somewhat bullish after the massive recovery that we had seen late in the day on Tuesday. In other words, it suggests that we are looking at a market that is simply trying to hang on to the bullish trend, but in general this is a market that probably needs to sit still until we get the noise on Friday out of the way. After all, the Nine Farm Payroll announcement is one of the most disruptive announcement out there.

S&P 500 Video 06.05.21

To the downside, the 4100 level looks to be supportive, and most certainly the 50 day EMA will be down by the gap just above the 4000 handle. The 4000 handle of course is a large, round, psychologically significant figure, and between that and the gap, and of course the 200 day EMA, this is a market where there should be plenty of buyers underneath. If we did break down below all of that then we probably go looking towards the 3800 level.

In general, you can only buy the S&P 500 because it is far too manipulated via central bank liquidity measures. Furthermore, it is not an equal weighted index so there is no reason to short it if just a handful of the top stocks are rallying. With that being the case, I do think eventually we break above the 4200 level, then I think the market probably goes looking towards the 4400 level, and therefore I think what we are looking at is a scenario where we could see another 200 points to the upside, but we need to see an impulsive candlestick and a daily close above 4200 to make that move.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

U.S. Hotel Operator Hilton’s Shares Slump as Q1 Earnings Disappoint

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, one of the largest and fastest-growing hospitality companies in the world, reported lower-than-expected earnings in the first quarter of 2021 as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and tightening travel restrictions hurt bookings, sending its shares down about 4% on Wednesday.

The company, which has more than 4,000 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties comprising more than 650,000 rooms in 90 countries and territories, reported earnings per share, on an adjusted basis, of $0.02, missing the Wall Street’s consensus estimates of $0.05 per share.

Hilton said its net loss was $109 million for the first quarter and adjusted EBITDA was $198 million for the first quarter. System-wide comparable RevPAR fell 38.4% on a currency-neutral basis for the first quarter from the same period in 2020.

Following the disappointing results, Hilton shares fell about 4% to $124.54 on Wednesday. The stock rose over 12% so far this year.

Hilton Stock Price Forecast

Eight analysts who offered stock ratings for Hilton in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $120.75 with a high forecast of $145.00 and a low forecast of $104.00.

The average price target represents a -3.18% decrease from the last price of $124.71. Of those eight analysts, three rated “Buy”, five rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $101 with a high of $141 under a bull scenario and $56 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the hospitality company’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Hilton Worldwide had its price objective hoisted by Truist Securities to $114 from $106. Truist Securities currently has a hold rating on the stock. Raymond James raised their target price to $125 from $105 and gave the stock an outperform rating. Gordon Haskett upped their price target to $114 from $97 and gave the company a hold rating.

Analyst Comments

“The spread of coronavirus will pressure RevPAR growth, unit growth, and non-room fee growth. Strong mgmt team with a track record of creating value for owners. We see a wide risk-reward that will depend on the severity and speed of recovery from COVID-19,” noted Thomas Allen, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We think HLT is well placed from a liquidity standpoint, but its ability to repurchase stock medium-term may be impaired.”

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

NASDAQ: The Leaders Lead. Or Attempt to, and Fail.

The tech stocks were the strongest part of the stock market in the previous year or so, and for a good reason. Due to the lockdown-induced surge in remote work, the need for all sorts of tech improvements (in both: software and hardware) soared. So, it’s no wonder that the NASDAQ was the strongest part of the market. It was the sole leader.

Now, there’s a rule in every market that leaders… Well, lead. This makes perfect sense, no surprise yet. But, there’s a point after which the leaders stop leading and stocks that are relatively weak or have less favorable fundamentals are catching up, eventually rallying more than the leaders. Why would this be the case? Because those who understand the markets and what’s going on are already invested, and those who are neither as knowledgeable nor experienced – the investment public – enter the market.

The investment public makes purchases often without any regard to fundamentals (or technicals) – they buy because a given asset seems cheap compared to other assets. And what would be cheap in the final part of the upswing – after the market professionals have already established their positions in well-positioned assets? The poorly positioned assets. The stocks/markets that were – for a good reason – neglected previously. So, they start buying those, and the laggards become the new leaders.

The NASDAQ was the leader that started to underperform while other stocks soared. The last few months were as clear as it gets in terms of emphasizing that. While the S&P 500 Index soared to new all-time highs, the only thing that the tech stocks managed to do was to attempt to break to new highs.

Attempt.

And fail.

Last week’s shooting-star-shaped weekly reversal was bearish on its own, but considering that it was also a failure to break to new highs, the bearish fire got gasoline poured over it.

Now, this could have been accidental, and it was prudent to wait for another decline before stating that the top in the stock market is most likely in…

Until we saw yesterday’s slide. The NASDAQ is already over 2% lower this week, and it’s only after two sessions.

Why is this important? Because if we have indeed seen a major top on the stock market , then it tells us a lot about the next moves on the precious metals market. And – in particular – about mining stocks.

The history might not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, and those who insist on ignoring it are doomed to repeat it.

And there’s practically only one situation from more than the past four decades that is similar to what we see right now.

It’s the early 2000s when the tech stock bubble burst. It’s practically the only time when the tech stocks were after a similarly huge rally. It’s also the only time when the weekly MACD soared to so high levels (we already saw the critical sell signal from it). It’s also the only comparable case with regard to the breakout above the rising blue trend channel. The previous move above it was immediately followed by a pullback to the 200-week moving average, and then the final – most volatile – part of the rally started. It ended on significant volume when the MACD flashed the sell signal. Again, we’re already after this point.

The recent attempt to break to new highs that failed seems to have been the final cherry on the bearish cake.

Why should I – the precious metals investor, care?

Because of what happened in the XAU Index (a proxy for gold stocks and silver stocks ) shortly after the tech stock bubble burst last time.

What happened was that the mining stocks declined for about three months after the NASDAQ topped, and then they formed their final bottom that started the truly epic rally. And just like it was the case over 20 years ago, mining stocks topped several months before the tech stocks.

Mistaking the current situation for the true bottom is something that is likely to make a huge difference in one’s bottom line. After all, the ability to buy something about twice as cheap is practically equal to selling the same thing at twice the price. Or it’s like making money on the same epic upswing twice instead of “just” once.

And why am I writing about “half” and “twice”? Because… I’m being slightly conservative, and I assume that the history is about to rhyme once again as it very often does (despite seemingly different circumstances in the world). The XAU Index declined from its 1999 high of 92.72 to 41.61 – it erased 55.12% of its price.

The most recent medium-term high in the GDX ETF (another proxy for mining stocks) was at about $45. Half of that is $22.5, so a move to this level would be quite in tune with what we saw recently.

And the thing is that based on this week’s slide in the NASDAQ that followed the weekly reversal and the invalidation, it seems that this slide lower has already begun.

Wait, you said something about three months?

Yes, that’s approximately how long we had to wait for the final buying opportunity in the mining stocks to present itself based on the stock market top.

The reason is that after the 1929 top, gold miners declined for about three months after the general stock market started to slide. We also saw some confirmations of this theory based on the analogy to 2008.

All in all, the precious metals sector would be likely to bottom about three months after the general stock market tops. If the last week’s highs in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ were the final highs, then we might expect the precious metals sector to bottom in the middle of the year – in late July or in August.

Thank you for reading our free analysis today. Please note that the above is just a small fraction of today’s all-encompassing Gold & Silver Trading Alert. The latter includes multiple premium details such as the targets for gold and mining stocks that could be reached in the next few weeks. If you’d like to read those premium details, we have good news for you. As soon as you sign up for our free gold newsletter, you’ll get a free 7-day no-obligation trial access to our premium Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. It’s really free – sign up today.

Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
Founder, Editor-in-chief
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

* * * * *

All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses are based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are deemed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski’s, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

 

Stocks Move Higher As Traders Shrug Off Inflation Worries

Stocks Set To Open Higher After Yesterday’s Sell-Off

S&P 500 futures are moving higher in premarket trading as traders look ready to buy stocks after yesterday’s pullback.

Yesterday’s sell-off in the tech space was caused by comments of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen which stated that interest rates may have to move higher to ensure that the economy did not overheat. These comments put immediate pressure on the tech-heavy Nasdaq which finished the day down by almost 2%.

Yellen later added that she was not predicting or recommending the move, and it looks that this was sufficient enough to calm traders. Interestingly, the bond market did not show a strong reaction. Currently, the yield of 10-year Treasuries is trying to settle above the 20 EMA at 1.61% which served as resistance for several trading sessions.

ADP Employment Change Report Misses Analyst Consensus

The U.S. has just released ADP Employment Change report for April. The report indicated that private businesses hired 742,000 workers compared to analyst consensus of 800,000.

Later, traders will take a look at the final reading of Services PMI report for April. Analysts expect that Services PMI increased from 60.4 in March to 63.1 in April as the economy continue to rebound at a robust pace.

WTI Oil Tests The $66 Level As Rally Continues

WTI oil is currently trying to settle above the $66 level as traders continue to bet on the strong recovery of oil demand. Yesterday, API Crude Oil Stock Change report indicated that crude inventories declined by 7.7 million barrels compared to analyst consensus which called for a decline of 2.19 million barrels.

Today, the market’s focus will shift to EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report which usually has a bigger impact on the market compared to API Crude Oil Stock Change report. If EIA numbers confirm that crude inventories declined at a robust pace, the oil market may get additional support.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Hyatt Hotels Post Deeper Loss in Q1, Shares Fall

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a leading global hospitality company, reported a bigger-than-expected loss for the fifth consecutive time in the first quarter of this year, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide travel restrictions.

The U.S. hotel operator said its net loss attributable was $304 million, or $2.99 per diluted share, in the quarter ended March 31, 2021, compared to a net loss attributable to Hyatt of $103 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020.

Adjusted net loss attributable was $363 million, or $3.57 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2021, compared to Adjusted net loss attributable to Hyatt of $35 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020. That was worse than Wall Street’s consensus estimates of -$1.33 per share.

The Chicago-based company said its comparable owned and leased hotels RevPAR decreased 64.4% compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Following the disappointing results, Hyatt shares fell 1.56% to $80.68 on Tuesday. The stock rose over 8% so far this year.

Analyst Comments

“Expect a positive reaction to Hyatt’s (H) 1Q21 beat. Rising trends in the United States and the greater China region, which drove outperformance, are likely to accelerate through 2022 while Europe has been a laggard on vaccine distribution. What remains is an acceleration in urban, business transient and group business, which could provide another phase of the recovery,” noted David Katz, equity analyst at Jefferies.

Hyatt Stock Price Forecast

Eleven analysts who offered stock ratings for Hyatt in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $60.00 with a high forecast of $71.00 and a low forecast of $52.00.

The average price target represents a 7.50% increase from the last price of $55.82. Of those 11 analysts, eight rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $61 with a high of $107 under a bull scenario and $31 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the hospitality company’s stock.

“Higher owned exposure suggests risk given the spread of COVID-19 and greater operating leverage. However, Hyatt has lower financial leverage than peers. Higher exposure to increasing new supply and alternative accommodations given more gateway city exposure than peers (e.g., 8% NYC exposure vs. MAR 4% and HLT 3%) puts RevPAR growth at risk,” noted Thomas Allen, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Potential ability to monetize assets at attractive multiples could create value. Limited float / large insider ownership means constant discount, despite attractive M+F business.”

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. BofA Global Research raised the price objective to $85 from $80. Evercore ISI lifted the target price to $95 from $90. Citigroup increased the price target to $90 from $80. Baird upped the target price to $72 from $63. Jefferies raised the target price to $85 from $75.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

Investment Firm KKR Tops Earnings Estimates; Target Price $60

U.S.-based investment firm KKR & Co reported better-than-expected earnings in the first quarter of 2021, largely driven by a higher level of carried interest and an increase in transaction and management fees.

The company that manages multiple alternative asset classes said its after-tax distributable earnings rose 63% year-over-year to $660 million, or adjusted $0.75 per share, up from $406.3 million seen in the same period a year ago. That was higher than Wall Street’s expectations of $0.62 per share.

The company, which was formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, said its Assets Under Management (AUM) increased to $367 billion, up 77% year-over-year, with $15 billion of organic new capital raised in the quarter and $51 billion for the LTM period. The acquisition of Global Atlantic contributed $98 billion in 1Q’21.

KKR shares surged more than 38% so far this year. At the time of writing, the stock traded nearly flat at $56.09.

Analyst Comments

“Fee-related earnings of $364M compared to 1Q20 of $258M with transaction fees of $166M vs $98M y/y. The performance fee business recorded +$61M net of compensation which compared to +$138M in the prior-year period. Investment income, which reflects the balance sheet activities, totaled $392M vs. $128M in 1Q20. Ultimately, KKR generated +$660M of after-tax distributable earnings ($0.75/share) and declared a $0.145 dividend in the quarter,” noted Gerald E. O’Hara, equity analyst at Jefferies.

KKR Stock Price Forecast

Eleven analysts who offered stock ratings for KKR in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $60.00 with a high forecast of $71.00 and a low forecast of $52.00.

The average price target represents a 7.50% increase from the last price of $55.82. Of those 11 analysts, eight rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $60 with a high of $92 under a bull scenario and $22 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the investment firm’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. KKR & Co. Inc. had its price objective lifted by Deutsche Bank to $52 from $47. They currently have a hold rating on the asset manager’s stock. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price to $71 from $69. Credit Suisse Group boosted their target price to $60 from $53 and gave the company a neutral rating.

Analyst Comments

“Strong near-term growth with fundraising supercycle and GA accretion coming into earnings, but we see this reflected in the price at the current valuation for a more capital-intensive business model,” noted Michael Cyprys, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“While strong investment performance could drive upward estimate revisions, we have less visibility on more episodic investment income gains. Mgmt’s increased focus on expanding the platform with adjacent strategies and scaling successor funds should drive higher fee-related earnings (FRE).”

Upside and Downside Risks

Risks to Upside: 1) Faster deployment with greater opportunity set. 2) Accelerated portfolio exit activity. 3) Stronger fundraising boosted by seeding of new strategies. 4) Large Insurance M&A – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Risks to Downside: 1) Volatile markets leading to weaker investment returns, balance sheet markdowns and delays harvesting of investments pressuring earnings. 2) Increased political and regulatory scrutiny of PE business model.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

S&P 500 Price Forecast – Stock Markets Pull Back

The S&P 500 has pulled back a bit during the course of the trading session on Tuesday as the 4200 level continues to be a massive resistance barrier. The 4200 level seems to be a bit of a brick wall at this point in time, but I do think that there will be an attempt to break above there. At this point in time, the market will more than likely continue to see a lot of buyers underneath based upon value, as we have been in a massive uptrend. That being said, the size of the candlestick does suggest that maybe we have a little further to go, and the 4100 level would make quite a bit of sense for a support level. If we break down below there, then we have the 50 day EMA which is sitting right at the gap near the 4000.

S&P 500 Video 05.05.21

If we can break above the 4200 level, the market is very likely to go looking towards the 4400 level as this market tends to move in 200 point increments. That of course is something that we have observed all the way up, and as we are in a massive uptrend there is no reason to think that we are going to change anytime soon. Liquidity continues to drive the market higher, and therefore it makes quite a bit of sense that we would see a continuation of what has been the case for so long. With this being the case, I like the idea of looking for value and it is possible that we will in fact see that continue to be the case. I have no interest in shorting this market.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Stocks Set To Open Lower As Traders Continue To Take Profits Near Record Highs

Stocks Move Lower As Traders Wait For Additional Upside Catalysts

S&P 500 futures are losing ground in premarket trading as traders remain cautious at a time when the stock market trades near record levels.

Yesterday, U.S. provided the final reading of Manufacturing PMI report for April which indicated that Manufacturing PMI increased from 59.1 to 60.5 compared to analyst consensus of 60.6. While the report was a bit worse than analyst expectations, it highlighted the strong growth of the U.S. manufacturing segment.

Today, traders will have a chance to take a look at Factory Orders data for March. Analysts expect that Factory Orders increased by 1.3% month-over-month after declining by 0.8% in February. It remains to be seen whether additional economic data will have a material impact on stocks as traders look increasingly focused on valuations as the market remains close to record levels.

WTI Oil Tries To Settle Above The $65 Level

WTI oil managed to get above the $65 level and made an attempt to get to the test of the $66 level as traders remained optimistic about the speed of oil demand recovery despite current problems with coronavirus in India.

Oil traders continue to bet that problems in India will remain an isolated case, and that the driving season will be strong, boosting demand for oil.

API Crude Oil Stock Change report, which is set to be published today, is expected to show that crude inventories declined by 2.19 million barrels. In case crude inventory draw is bigger than expected, oil may get additional support.

U.S. Dollar Rebounds, Putting Some Pressure On Precious Metals

The U.S. Dollar Index managed to settle back above the 91 level and is currently testing the resistance at the 20 EMA at 91.35. It looks that there is some demand for safe haven assets today, which is bullish for the American currency.

Stronger dollar puts pressure on gold and silver which are losing ground despite falling Treasury yields. Shares of miners enjoyed strong support during yesterday’s trading session, but they look ready for a pullback today.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Cirrus Logic Could Sell Off to 60

iPhone supplier Cirrus Logic Inc. (CRUS) is posting marginal gains in Tuesday’s pre-market following a tier one analyst upgrade. The Austin-based integrated circuits manufacturer fell 15% last week after missing Q4 2021 top and bottom line estimates, posting earnings-per-share (EPS) of $0.66 on a 5.1% revenue increase to $293.54 million. The company also issued downside guidance, blaming supply constraints that have caught the semiconductor industry off-guard.

Hurt By Supply Constraints

The company should benefit from US – China discussions intended to reduce export control-driven bottlenecks that have impacted dozens of industries dependent on the silicon chip. However, natural forces of supply and demand should eventually ease the crisis, with manufacturers now ramping up production. Meanwhile, Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) blowout iPhone sales this year raise odds that Cirrus Logic will recover lost ground once balance is returned.

Needham analyst Rajvindra Gill upgraded Cirrus Logic to ‘Buy’ with a $100 target this morning, noting “We’ve been on the sidelines owing to the high valuation and the concentration of revenues in Apple (70 to 80%+). The stock has fallen ~26% from its mid-January peak (underperforming the SOX by 29% over that period) and its P/E multiple has compressed 40%. While recent results/guidance was disappointing … new opportunities are emerging. Net, we expect revenue growth to accelerate in FY22 and believe stock is compelling here.”

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus has grown cautious so far in 2021 due to high valuation, yielding an ‘Overweight’ rating based upon 7 ‘Buy’ and 4 ‘Hold’ recommendations. Price targets currently range from a low of $80 to a Street-high $115 while the stock is set to open Tuesday’s session about $7 below the low target. While the upgrade should ease highly bearish sentiment, short-term technical damage will take time to overcome.

Cirrus Logic failed a breakout above the 2017 high at 71.97 in the first quarter of 2020, descending into the mid-40s. It bounced back to resistance in January 2021 and broke out but failed that advance as well. Price action is now caught between support in the 70s and resistance just above 100 while downside momentum after last week’s selloff favors a breakdown that could deep support near 60 before attracting committed buying interest.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

Stock Buybacks: Why Would a Company Reinvest in Themselves?

U.S. corporate buybacks are on the rise in 2021 lifting investor spirits after last year’s pandemic dampened activity. While most investors are eager to see how much buybacks may support their investments, some are confused over what they are and how they work, and whether they are actually good or bad for a company’s stock price.

Corporations often buy back large blocks of their stocks typically when share prices are low, but some may choose for other reasons to buy their company’s stock even when analysts believe company shares are overvalued. Whether they buy their shares at cheap or expensive levels, a stock buyback is not always beneficial for individual investors.

Table of contents

Historic Background

Stock repurchases weren’t always legal per se. After the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, the U.S. government passed the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to try to prevent it from happening again.

The 1934 legislation didn’t bar stock buybacks, per se, but it barred companies from doing anything to manipulate their stock prices. Companies knew that if they did a stock buyback, it could open them up to accusations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of trying to manipulate their stock price, so most just didn’t.

Tax cuts during the Trump administration made stock repurchases very popular as corporations spent billions on their own stock to reward shareholders and investors. However, corporate executives and insiders have also been accused of taking advantage of the stock buyback boom to sell shares they own to the companies they work for, profiting handsomely. Companies are spending millions or billions of dollars to reward shareholders and prop up their stock prices with buybacks, even if that means laying off workers to do it.

Recently, the Biden Administration announced it was planning on reforming current tax laws. If corporations begin to fear that some of the tax advantages of a stock buyback may be reduced or eliminated then this may encourage companies to become more active in 2021 before the tax changes become law.

What is a Stock Buyback?

A stock buyback, also known as a share repurchase, takes place when a corporation buys its own outstanding shares in order to reduce the number of shares available on the open market.

In a stock buyback, a company repurchases its own shares from the broader marketplace, usually through the open market. That leaves the remaining shareholders with a bigger chunk of the company and increases the earnings they reap per share, on top of the regular dividend payments that companies make to shareholders out of their profits.

Why Companies Perform Buybacks

Corporations buy back shares for a number of reasons such as to increase the value of remaining shares available by reducing the supply of outstanding shares or to prevent other shareholders from taking a controlling stake, sometimes called a hostile takeover.

Another reason for a buyback is for compensation purposes. Companies often award their corporate employees with stock and stock options. This benefits the existing shareholders and board members who are usually paid in stock options.

Pros of Stock Buybacks for Investors

  1. Boost in share prices
  2. Rising dividends
  3. Better earnings per share
  4. Less excess cash
  5. Positive psychology

“With the market being as expensive as it seems, share repurchases could drive the market that much higher,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut.

“It adds to the Street’s belief that there’s an underlying bid, we’re not in this alone, and someone else is going to support the stock and that’s the company,” he said. “It turns out to be a good thing for share prices. But they run the risk of overvaluing stocks, and it speaks to the broader question about why companies are doing it.”

Cons of Stock Buybacks for Investors

  1. Poor predictions
  2. Sinking dividends
  3. Poor use of capital
  4. Management self-interest
  5. Cover for stock handouts

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, one of the largest investment companies in the world, in 2014 warned U.S. companies to slow down on buybacks and dividends.

“We certainly believe that returning cash to shareholders should be part of a balanced capital strategy; however, when done for the wrong reasons and at the expense of capital investment, it can jeopardize a company’s ability to generate sustainable long-term returns,” he wrote in a letter.

Recent Activity Indicates Companies Leaning to the Pro Side

The rapidly improving economy and stocks at record highs may be fueling a flurry of stock buyback activity in 2021.

Banks have improved their capital positions and should be allowed to continue to buy back their own shares, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in March.

Regulators restricted share repurchases in 2020 for the biggest institutions in the country as a precautionary measure after COVID-19 reached pandemic status. After those banks passed a pandemic-focused stress test in December, the Federal Reserve said it would allow buybacks to resume, though with some restrictions.

Yellen, speaking in March before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said she agreed with allowing the share buybacks.

“I have been opposed earlier when we were very concerned about the situation the banks would face about stock buybacks,” Yellen said. “But financial institutions look healthier now, and I believe they should have some of the liberty provided by the rules to make returns to shareholders.”

They are expected to do just that as the buyback restrictions eased during the first quarter of 2021.

While Yellen see no problem with financial institutions resuming buyback activity, Warren Buffett’s capital-deployment machine pulled back on several fronts at the start of the year as the billionaire took a more cautious stance on stocks.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc slowed its buyback pace, according to a regulatory filing Saturday. Buffett has struggled in recent years to keep up with Berkshire’s ever-gushing cash flow. That’s led him to repurchase significant amounts of Berkshire stock, pulling a lever for capital deployment that he had previously avoided in favor of big acquisitions or stock purchases. He set a record in the third quarter of last year, snapping up $9 billion of stocks, but slowed that pace during the first quarter with repurchases of $6.6 billion.

Berkshire repurchased more stock in January and February than the company did in March when the stock climbed 5.8% according to the filing. Buffett’s long been disciplined on the price of buybacks, noting in 2018 when the company loosened its repurchase policy that he and his longtime business partner and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger can repurchase shares when they’re below Berkshire’s intrinsic value.

Despite buybacks that fell short of Buffett’s quarterly record, the billionaire investor has continued to go after Berkshire’s own stock since the end of March, with at least $1.25 billion of repurchases through April 22, according to the filing. And given that Berkshire has no set amount allocated for buyback plans, sizable repurchases are still a nice bit of capital deployment, according to CFRA Research analyst Cathy Seifert.

“The fact that Berkshire allocated over $6 billion to buybacks this quarter is going to be positively received by investors” Seifert said.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

“The $6.6 billion 1Q buyback was an expected drop from 4Q, but still significant. Nearly all segments showed accelerated revenue and earnings.”

Share Buyback Plans are Booming

Corporate buyback announcements ‘exploded’ as trading in April wrapped up and that helped push stocks higher, said Vanda Research.

A jump in buybacks should help soften the blow in the U.S. equity market in the event of a drawdown.

“As net equity supply shrinks every dollar invested in the U.S. market will have a larger marginal impact,” said Vanda.

Diamondback Shares Gain as Q1 Profits Top Estimates; Target Price $96

Diamondback Energy shares rose about 3% on Monday after the oil and natural gas company reported better-than-expected profits in the first quarter of 2021 as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines fueled hopes of restrictions being eased, boosting fuel demand.

The Midland, Texas-based company said its net income was $220 million, or $1.33 per diluted share. The adjusted net income was $379 million, or $2.30 per diluted share. That was higher than the Wall Street consensus estimates of $1.89 per share.

The company said its first-quarter 2021 consolidated adjusted EBITDA was $845 million. Adjusted EBITDA net of non-controlling interest was $836 million. Diamondback also declared a cash dividend of $0.40 per common share.

Diamondback Energy shares rose about 3% to $83.92 on Monday. The stock surged more than 70% so far this year.

Analyst Comments

Diamondback Energy’s (FANG) 1Q was largely pre-released though 8% lower unit costs drove a 13% EBITDA beat and capex was in line. DCPS missed by -9% due to deriv proceeds that flowed through CFF and merger expenses. Notably, FANG sold QEP’s Bakken for $745m, 20% above our est and will accelerate debt paydown. FY21 production guidance was adjusted for asset sales but otherwise reiterated,” noted David Deckelbaum, equity analyst at Cowen.

Diamondback Stock Price Forecast

Eighteen analysts who offered stock ratings for Diamondback in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $96.47 with a high forecast of $115.00 and a low forecast of $82.00.

The average price target represents an 18.03% increase from the last price of $81.73. Of those 18 analysts, 14 rated “Buy”, four rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $107 with a high of $141 under a bull scenario and $61 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Overweight” rating on the oil and natural gas company’s stock.

“Low cost of supply relative to peers. Pre-dividend breakeven of $23/bbl WTI (pro-forma) is among the lowest in our coverage after 2020 well cost reductions of >20% with peer-leading operating costs. In a higher price environment FANG can deliver outsized cash returns, while at low oil prices downside is tempered by low breakevens,” noted Devin McDermott, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Line of sight to leverage reduction. We project net debt/EBITDA decreasing from 2.5x at the end of 2020 to 2.2x by the end of 2021 and 1.9x in 2022.  Recent acquisitions and reduced growth rate should address investors’ inventory concerns. Concerns around inventory should begin to subside after recent acquisitions assuming low single digits long-term growth rate.”

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Diamondback Energy had its price target upped by research analysts at Roth Capital to $115 from $84. The brokerage currently has a “buy” rating on the oil and natural gas company’s stock. Mizuho lifted their price target to $101 from $92 and gave the company a “buy” rating. Siebert Williams Shank reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued an $89 price target.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

S&P 500 Price Forecast – Stock Continues to Wait For Jobs Figures

The S&P 500 initially tried to rally during the course of the trading session on Monday but gave back the gains as we got close to the 4200 level. The 4200 level has been like a bit of a brick wall, but most importantly I think we are looking at the jobs number at the end of the week and simply waiting. There are a few other announcements along the way that could be important, but quite frankly were in the midst of earnings season as well, so there is going to be a lot of noise out there. Nonetheless, we are in an uptrend and therefore you should always keep that in the back of your head.

S&P 500 Video 04.05.21

If we can break above the 4200 level on a daily close, then it is obviously a very bullish sign for the overall trend, and we would go much higher. On the other hand, if we pull back a bit along the way, the 4100 level would then be the initial support level, followed by the 50 day EMA which is sitting right at the gap that is on top of the 4000 level. The 4000 level of course is a large, round, psychologically significant figure, and therefore you need to pay close attention to that because if we were to break down below that level that could kick off something rather ugly. Either way, you are more than likely going to be waiting for a break above the 4200 level on a daily close, or some type of pullback that shows signs of support in order to find value that you can take advantage of.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

General Motors Could Hit New All-Time High on Strong Q1 Earnings; Target Price $69

General Motors, the largest US-based automaker, is expected to report its first-quarter earnings of $1.02 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 64% from $0.62 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The Detroit, Michigan-based company would post revenue growth of about 2% to around $33.3 billion.

General Motors’s better-than-expected results, which will be announced on Wednesday, May 5, would help the stock hit new all-time highs. General Motors shares rose over 37% so far this year. The stock traded nearly flat at $57.35 on Monday.

General Motors Stock Price Forecast

Twelve analysts who offered stock ratings for General Motors in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $69.42 with a high forecast of $85.00 and a low forecast of $62.00.

The average price target represents a 20.81% increase from the last price of $57.46. Of those 12 analysts, 11 rated “Buy”, one rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $80 with a high of $120 under a bull scenario and $32 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Overweight” rating on the auto manufacturer’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Credit Suisse raised the target price to $72 from $68. BofA lifted the price objective to $80 from $72. UBS increased the target price to $75 from $50. Daiwa Capital Markets upped the price target to $67 from $60. Jefferies raised the target price to $62 from $50.

Analyst Comments

“We are OW based on General Motors’ (GM) diversified portfolio, with multiple ways for GM to enhance shareholder value, through: EVs, ICE and Autonomy. GM also has leading North American margins, generates strong cash flow, and has a robust balance sheet,” noted Adam Jonas, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We believe that the market is underestimating the SOTP of the GM enterprise via: 1) Legacy ICE, 2) GM EV, 3) GM’s Ultium Battery business, 4) China JVs, 5) GM Finco, 6) GM Cruise, 7) hidden franchise value in brands such as Corvette and 8) GM Connected Services. GM management has a proven track record to allocate capital away from structurally challenged areas towards re-positioning the business model.”

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar