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from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

The cage is full

The equity market stabilized on Tuesday but only just barely - a 0.16 percent gain on the S&P 500 is nothing to write home about - but that the market bounced off support levels around 1,876 was notable enough.

One thing for sure is that the short-sellers are finally having their day in the sun after many years of walking around with a cloud over their heads, a la Joe Btfsplk from the L'il Abner comic (yeah, we're busting out Depression-era references here), as Svea Herbst and Jenn Ablan reported in an overnight story.

One short bet the hedge funds have liked, but has yet confounded them, is Netflix, which reports results Wednesday and until recently had been resistant to any negative bets at all. That's despite a valuation that can generously be called, er, generous, but one that Starmine sees as among its most overvalued on an intrinsic valuation perspective; it sees the stock as worth about $99 a share based on expected growth rates over the next decade, even though it has been trading around $450 or so.

Of course, a stock like this remains one based almost solely on expected growth - it has an enterprise-value-to-sales ratio of about 4, highest in the stock's history and way ahead of its median 1.2 ratio in the last 10 years. Most of what's being built into the stock's valuation right now is the successful push it's made with delivering original content like "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," both of which were big presences at this year's Emmy Awards.

from Breakingviews:

Jamie Dimon returns to challenges old and new

By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingview columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Jamie Dimon is back in the saddle after battling cancer – just in time for the JPMorgan boss to face challenges old and new. Overall results in the third quarter released on Tuesday missed estimates thanks to rising costs. The group’s investment bank is punching below its weight. Cybersecurity is a growing worry. Even the timing of the bank’s earnings was off.

from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

Chips and dip

The focus as we head into this week is earnings, with about 10 percent of the S&P 500 set to report results. That represents about 19 percent of the market capitalization, with reports from Intel, Wells Fargo and several banks coming in the next few days.

But it's the chipmakers that have people excited; or rather, on heightened alert after Microchip Technology surprised investors last week with a warning that suggests a further slowing in chip demand worldwide.

from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

Simple Tricks and Nonsense

Heading into the end of a violent week and ahead of a slew of earnings reports, the market has swung from one extreme to another, as the average daily move in the S&P 500 rises dramatically, as futures promise another big drop at the open Friday, and as investors try to take stock of what's happening here in their beloved stock market.

The U.S. economic growth situation hasn't changed all that much - after all, jobless claims continue to fall and the expectation again is for another strong earnings season. And, as awful as Europe is right now, there's only so much damage its economy can do to the U.S. The extent of that should be known before long if recent German data is any guide.

from Breakingviews:

Traders need help to make Wall Street shine

By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Wall Street’s fixed income trading desks welcomed a rare return of volatility. It probably hasn’t been enough, though, to ensure decent profitability for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley in the quarter just ended. They’d need to generate up to $12 billion of extra revenue among them trading bonds, foreign exchange and commodities to achieve a return on equity of 15 percent.

from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

Dollar bulls, equity bears

The preparation for tighter U.S. monetary policy is showing up in markets in a number of areas, most notably through the appreciation of the dollar which has a greater affect on GDP growth than people sometimes realize. Rising strength in the greenback, which would be expected to continue given the dovish monetary policies being pursued in Europe and Japan, turns into notable weakness in a number of U.S. sectors tied to exports like autos and energy.

US assets 2014

Citigroup's William Lee dives into this by pointing out that substantial rallies in the dollar have the power to brake GDP in a way that Fed tightening even doesn't, saying GDP growth could decline by a percentage point if the rapid move in the dollar continues through early 2015.

from David Gaffen:

MORNING BID – For a few dollars more

The dollar is now running a 10-week streak of strengthening (using the dollar index, which is a basket of currencies but mostly the euro and yen), and while that streak will end at some point, the overall trend does not look likely to abate in the near-term. That presents some interesting opportunities in markets, trends that have already been playing out but are likely too to persist as investors concentrate more on companies less exposed to areas like Europe and more exposed to the United States.

The weakness in the euro eventually is going to undermine sales there from U.S. companies - even though the euro is still on balance stronger than the greenback, it's threatening to continue to slip against the dollar, with Goldman Sachs strategists believing that it will eventually hit parity as the tendencies of the major central banks pass like ships in the night. For the year so far, Goldman's basket of S&P stocks that are mostly exposed to the U.S. economy is up 13 percent on the year, with a 3 percent gain in the last month; its basket of companies exposed most to Western Europe is up 6 percent on the year, and flat on the month. What's concerning is that the domestically-oriented names are sporting overall higher price-to-earnings ratios at 19 compared with 16 for the Europe group, and so these companies - the likes of Intuit, UnitedHealth and a few other major health insurers, a few brokerages, AT&T, and a bunch of others - could be overvalued. It's also possible that the dominance by the health companies in that growing area is overwhelming any weakness in any of the other sectors.

from Counterparties:

MORNING BID – Retail therapy

All that’s left for investors now when it comes to earnings season is the shouting, but if the rest of the retailers post results anything like Kate Spade did on Tuesday, the shouts will be screams of terror rather than anything that assuages investors over the state of the overall economy. Kate Spade’s executives went into some detail on its conference call as to the nature of its margins shortfall – which Belus Capital chief equity strategist and longtime retail analyst Brian Sozzi said are not likely to improve until the middle of 2015 – and the company then did itself no favors by declaring that it wouldn’t be discussing the margin issues any further on the call. (Craig Leavitt, the CEO, violated that rule to some degree, but basically, investors don’t like it when you tell them flat-out that you’re not going to talk about your problems, and when you’re a company with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 77.5 and a price-to-book value of 119, that’s going to be particularly true.)

Other luxury retailers have noted their own problems with attracting customers at this time, including Michael Kors Holdings, which saw its own shares stumble of late after also warning of margin pressures due to expansion in Europe, but at least Kors has a forward P/E ratio around 19, which puts it in line with peers like Coach and Ralph Lauren.

from Counterparties:

MORNING BID – Margins, China and whatever else

We’re deep into a period where the earnings calendar has basically dried up and the news flow overall is pretty slim, so the market will hang whatever gains it can on thin reeds – deals involving master-limited partnerships here, results from the likes of Sysco (the food services company there), and maybe Priceline.com in the mix too. The broader economic signals remain the more important ones for markets right now, and while they’re not uniformly outstanding, there are some hopeful signs for those finally looking for an acceleration in activity.

The earnings situation has been better than anticipated – Goldman Sachs notes that margins broke out of an 8.4-to-8.9 percent rate in the second quarter, ticking up to 9.1 percent, and the firm’s corporate “Beige Book” – a compendium of company comments – shows that the concerns the C suite has looks more like the concerns of those seeing accelerating demand and rising prices, and not slack demand and weak pricing power. They cited a strengthening corporate outlook, margin forecasts coming under pressure as a result of inflation expectations, and a combined focus on spending money on both buybacks and capital investment. Furthermore, companies have been less negative than in the recent past when it comes to revisions, and guidance for the fourth quarter of this year and first quarter 2015 was revised higher.

from Counterparties:

MORNING BID – Once Upon a Dream

Disney is expected to report third-quarter results after market close and is likely to beat average analyst estimates, according to StarMine. The media company's results could get a boost from "Maleficent", its revisionist take on "Sleeping Beauty" featuring Angelina Jolie, but the company’s prowess doesn’t end there, not with “Captain America: Winter Soldier” also a box-office champ in 2014 – which was also released during its most recent reporting period.

The studio budget for Maleficent was said to be somewhere around $180 million, so it’s not as if this was a cheap one, but consider that it posted worldwide grosses of $727 million, ranking it third for 2014, with the fourth-place film being Captain America (which cost $170 million), and also came through through Disney’s Buena Vista studios, per BoxOfficeMojo data.

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