Market Avoids Big Selloff This Week (so far)
Morning News of Note:
- MO: Heard on the Street... Altria Soars, Doubters Say: 'D'oh!' Litigation Scared Some Investors But Shares Are Up 32% This Year; Not a Stock for the Fainthearted Woulda, shoulda, coulda. On the heels of yesterday's rise of almost 4% in the share price of Altria Group Inc., after the Illinois Supreme Court threw out an earlier $10 billion class-action lawsuit against the company's Philip Morris USA division, the sound heard on many of Wall Street's most successful trading floors was that of gnashing teeth. With yesterday's gains, shares of Altria, one of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, have soared 32% in the past year even as the market has stagnated. (Full Story) WSJ
- WMT TGT: Wal-Mart Throws an Undercut at Target Chain-Store Strategy Changes for the Christmas Blitz Sales tags touting deep price cuts were flying like battle flags this week in the electronics department of Wal-Mart in Manassas. Twice each week, about a dozen employees sneak into enemy territory -- Target is just two miles away -- to scope out prices. When they return, the store starts discounting, undercutting the competition by 5 percent or more, manager Beth Melson said. "We can stay the lowest price in the market to draw shoppers into our store," she said. "They know they can come here and get the lowest price." (Full Story) Washington Post
- YHOO: Yahoo to Track Impact of Internet Ads As the Internet increasingly draws away advertising dollars from television and print outlets, Web portals are facing a challenge which has long bedeviled traditional media: how to show that ads on their sites work. To help answer that question, Yahoo will soon offer advertisers on its Web sites the opportunity to get detailed research indicating whether their ads are affecting sales. (Full Story) WSJ
- ELSR SPWR: Public Utilities Com. gets serious about solar power with 11-year $3.2B program. The PUC program, if approved in mid-January, would be the first of its kind designed to make solar power mainstream and affordable without the aid of subsides within a decade. The program calls for the installation of 3000 mega watts of solar on a million homes, businesses, farms, schools, and municipal buildings. For the full story read http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/newsroom/energy
- Mad Money Summary: Cramer was positive on shares of Sara Lee (SLE) last night on his show as he believes shares have bottomed and that now is the time to buy. Responding to a question, Cramer said that he is not a fan of Dillard's (DDS) as it is "not a high quality situation." Cramer added Cummins (CMI) to his "Dirty Dozen" and believes shares could go to $100 once the Fed stops tightening but it could take 6 months. Cramer has heard plenty of chatter over the strength in Holiday sales and that is why he is bullish on shares of Blue Nile (NILE). Cramer said that Blue Nile has averaged 50% annual earnings growth which is "better than Google (GOOG) for heaven's sake!" Joe Nocera, a columnist from the New York Times (NYT) joined Cramer on his show last night by telephone to talk about Comcast (CMCSA). Nocera favors Comcast and believes the company can survive the phone companies' push if it can figure out what consumers want and when they want it. Cramer said he would buy shares of SunPower (SPWR) and Evergreen Solar (ESLR) after the California Public Utility Commission approved a measure to give 10-year incentives for the home installation of solar panels. Cramer said "those stocks are gonna fly further. Buy Evergreen Solar. Buy SunPower."
Market Comments: It looks like the usual pattern of a big down day during expiration week may not have surfaced this week. Unless I just jinxed the market and it sells off today. Retail stocks have pulled back quite a bit (I added URBN yesterday), but most of the market has held onto gains this week.
Bond yields are lower again, with the 10-year around 4.43%. Oil is back below $60, on a wave of mild weather in the northeast. This is pressuring energy stocks, which have bounced back nicely recently, especially the drillers and oil service stocks.
The Nazz has lagged the SPX and Dow this week, but I think it could just be resting before another push higher into year-end.