Day: June 13, 2017

Stocks bounce back to record highs as tech companies rise – Los Angeles Times

Technology

Stocks bounce back to record highs as tech companies rise – Los Angeles Times

U.S. stocks bounced back to record highs Tuesday as investors put an end to a two-day drop for technology companies. Energy and consumer-focused companies also made outsize gains.

In a reversal from the two previous days, investors put money into companies that stand to benefit from faster economic growth, including retailers; makers of basic materials such as paints and chemicals; energy companies; and banks. Big-dividend companies, which are usually considered safer investments, did not do as well as the rest of the market.

Tech companies reversed their losses from Monday, although they remain well below their peak from last week.

“There’s no question that the rally in that sector can continue as long as investors’ sentiment remains positive,” said Brian Rehling, co-head of global fixed income strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. Rehling said he believes tech stocks are too high, but not by a huge amount.

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The EU's Desire To Control Euroclearing Is Politics about Brexit, Nothing More – Forbes

Politics

The EU's Desire To Control Euroclearing Is Politics about Brexit, Nothing More – Forbes

GOP Lawmakers: Don't Fire Robert Mueller – U.S. News & World Report

Politics

GOP Lawmakers: Don't Fire Robert Mueller – U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report
GOP Lawmakers: Don't Fire Robert Mueller
U.S. News & World Report
Senior Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine also have pushed back against such a move. "It would be a disaster," said Graham, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice …

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Tim Cook says Apple is working on self-driving car technology – Mashable

Technology

Tim Cook says Apple is working on self-driving car technology – Mashable

Tim Cook
Tim Cook
Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Apple is working on something related to self-driving cars, but don’t expect an iCar to pick you up from work any time soon. 

In a June 5 interview with Bloomberg Television, Apple CEO Tim Cook elaborated a bit on the company’s involvement in “autonomous systems.” He doesn’t go into detail and he does point out that Apple isn’t ready to announce a self-driving car product just yet. However, Cook does admit that Apple is doing something in the space. 

“What we’re focusing on, what we’ve talked about focusing on publicly, we’re focusing on autonomous systems. And clearly one purpose of autonomous systems is self-driving cars, there are others. And we sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects, actually, to work on,” Cook said. “And so autonomy is something that’s incredibly exciting for us, and…we’ll see where it takes us. We’re not really saying from a product point of view what we will do, but we are being straightforward that it’s a core technology that we view is very important.”

There’s everything and nothing to be learned from this quote. Apple could be working on self-driving tech, but it could also be something completely different. Apple may offer an autonomous car-related product in the future, but it could also just be technology that’s merged with other products, like CarPlay. 

Numerous reports offer a bit more insight, though. Apple was long rumored to be looking to build a car — according to one account, Steve Jobs expressed interest in such a project back in 2008. Apple’s ambition in the space, according to reports, shrunk, and the company narrowed its focus to developing self-driving software.

A self-driving car, probably belonging to Apple, was recently spotted in California, but it was a Lexus car with Velodyne sensors, which reinforced the notion that Apple’s focus is self-driving software. Business-wise, Apple is already involved in the space, having invested $1 billion in China’s ride-sharing service, Didi Chuxing, which reportedly opened a self-driving lab in Mountain View, California. 

While Cook’s statements don’t bring anything new to the table, the fact that he considers autonomous systems to be a “core technology” is exciting — provided it’s not hyperbole. 

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Charles Schwab Will Go Up With Higher Interest Rates – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/12/17)

Finances

Charles Schwab Will Go Up With Higher Interest Rates – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/12/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Monday, June 12.

Bullish Calls

Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW): Higher interest rates are good for them.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT): Mortgage insurance is a good business.

Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CARA): “Unfortunately, the stock has done absolutely nothing, but I do believe in them and I think the drug is a good one – the anti-itch part especially. So I’m sticking with it.”

MGM Growth Properties (NYSE:MGP): Cramer is a fan. He believes in Chairman Jim Murren.

Bearish Call

Chemours (NYSE:CC): It has moved up a lot. Don’t buy at current level.

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3 Reasons For Market Selloff – Cramer's Mad Money (6/12/17)

Finances

3 Reasons For Market Selloff – Cramer's Mad Money (6/12/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Monday, June 12.

“I like stock more when they’re coming down than when they’re flying high,” said Cramer. He added that the pullback is like a markdown which means that investors should not run away from the sale but run towards it.

The decline started with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) which had run up a lot and there was profit taking. “He wasn’t saying that it had done anything wrong or made any mistakes. The stock had accumulated, after going up, up, up, a lot of weaker hands who may not even know all that much about Nvidia and these tourists were easily panicked,” said Cramer referring to analyst downgrade.

The second reason for pullback is Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) downgrade. “For starters, the report talks about the valuation being too high. In reality, this stock is cheap relative to most fast-growing tech stocks, particularly the ones that sold off, and all of the consumer products companies, which I think are the most apt comparisons,” said Cramer. He’s not giving up on the stock yet as it is the strongest consumer brand in the world.

The third reason for decline was the dip on growth stocks like FANG. There was profit taking and rotation into bank, retail, oil and health care which can soon reverse. Cramer added that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) are still cheaper based on next year’s estimates.

“The bottom line is that all that cuts for an orderly decline that gives you a chance to buy stocks for well below where they were selling last Thursday. In other words, the sale’s still on and that’s not something to freak out about. It’s something to embrace,” he concluded.

General Electric (NYSE:GE)

There is a management shakeup at GE and CEO Jeff Immelt will be replaced by John Flannery. What does this mean for the stock? Cramer said his trust hold the stock he thinks investors should buy it too. GE has been the worst performing Dow stock since Jeff Immelt became CEO. “Much has been made of the fact that Immelt became CEO just a few days before 9/11, an unlucky break given all of the exposure that GE has to the aircraft business,” said Cramer.

He added that this reason is not good enough as Boeing (NYSE:BA) is exposed to aircraft business as well as it has returned 289% in the same time. People also consider it unfair to compare Immelt with former CEO Jack Welch who increased the company’s value by 4,000% in his tenure. “First, I could argue that Welch is mortal, and it’s not like there was no way for anyone to overtake the man’s record. Second, Immelt’s had 16 years to try to get the stock back to $40, where it was before he took over on September 7, 2001,” said Cramer.

When Nelson Peltz took a position in the stock, there was renewed up. But Immelt was unable to deliver on the cost cuts that Trian Partners wanted which led to the CEO switch. “We have been telling people that it’s worth holding on to for any change, and now that we’re getting one, it makes no sense to sell. I think there will be some pain here, as Flannery probably has to guide down the Street’s expectations, but there’s plenty of value too and I’d hold on for that,” said Cramer.

Cramer said that Immelt is a solid and honest man but his execution wasn’t crisp enough. He advised holding the stock to see what happens next.

Pool Corp (NASDAQ:POOL)

The summer is hotter than even and this means that Pool Corp will be benefited. “When we get an especially cold winter, we use more energy heating our homes and the natural gas stocks rally. When we have a particularly mild winter, people buy less cold weather apparel and companies which makes North Face, tend to suffer. Likewise, when summer gets hot, people dive into the pool,” said Cramer.

The company not only benefits from building new pools as home prices rebound, they also get money from maintenance and upkeep of those pools which is growing thanks to the bigger pool season. The drought in California has ended which is good news for Pool Corp as that will mean more business going forward.

The company is shareholder friendly with 1.2% dividend yield and a buyback of $1.2B. The company has delivered 26% CAGR since coming public in 1995. “I like companies that prosper thanks to big-picture themes, and that’s exactly what Pool Corp is doing. Plus, shorter-term, the end of the drought in California coupled with the beginning of what could be a very long, hot summer make this stock very attractive right here, right now,” concluded Cramer.

CEO interview – Ollie’s Bargain Outlet (NASDAQ:OLLI)

The stock of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is up 160% since its IPO in 2015. The discount retailer is expanding and Cramer interviewed chairman, president and CEO Mark Butler to know what lies ahead.

Butler said that nothing impresses buyers like a good deal. “That is retailing – the right item at the right time, but for Ollie’s, it’s at the right price. And that’s what turns on the American consumer. Give them a bargain. It will never go out of style,” he added.

The company’s loyalty program has 8M members and this helps the management track the buying pattern across all its 247 locations. They are expanding and Cramer saw a bullish growth pattern in the company. “I can tell you I’ve never had a store lose money. It doesn’t matter where we go, it doesn’t matter who we’re next to, it doesn’t matter what shopping center we’re in, each store stands on its own. We’ve committed to a mid-teen store count growth year-over-year, and we’ve been able to open up these stores at or above our expectations,” said Butler.

Their two distribution centers in Pennsylvania and Georgia have the capacity to support 400 stores. They may start looking for additional distribution centers in 2019.

“In our business, the complexity is in the simplicity. We buy cheap and we sell cheap. That’s what we do, and we pass the savings right to the consumer and give them a bargain. And you know what? Then we say ‘Thanks,’ and they come back in. So it’s a pretty cool concept,” added Butler.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Sell into the tender.

Snap (NYSE:SNAP): Wait until their lock up expires in August which will give a better entry point.

Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW): They had a good quarter. But half now and half after their merger performance can be seen.

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Why 'Julius Caesar' Speaks to Politics Today – New York Times

Politics

Why 'Julius Caesar' Speaks to Politics Today – New York Times

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” has always been about more than killing Julius Caesar.

On the eve of World War II, Orson Welles staged a landmark anti-Fascist production with a Mussolini-like Caesar. The Royal Shakespeare Company recently set the play in Africa, powerfully evoking the continent’s dictators and civil wars. Five years ago, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis staged a production featuring the assassination of an Obama-esque Caesar by a group of right-wing conspirators.

But it’s the Public Theater in New York that finds itself in the middle of a pitched controversy, for its new staging of the play at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Oskar Eustis, the director, chose to make his Caesar decidedly Trumpian, giving him a shock of hair, an overlong red tie and a wife with a recognizably Slovenian accent. As all Caesars are, he’s killed in the middle of the play — bloodily — by Brutus and his band of co-conspirators.

That killing has driven Delta Air Lines and Bank of America to pull all or part of their sponsorship of the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park program, and thrust the theater into a maelstrom of criticism from President Trump’s supporters.

“Julius Caesar,” with assassination at its core, is politically fraught, and subject to multiple interpretations. The play was written during a tense moment when Elizabethan England seethed with political plots. In Catherine the Great’s Russia, copies of the play were removed from bookstores. Over the years, totalitarian regimes have banned or bowdlerized it. And audiences and scholars have long debated the play’s meaning, and the extent to which Shakespeare was sympathizing with the conspirators or condemning them.

“One thing about Shakespeare’s plays that makes them so alive is that they are extremely labile,” said Stephen Greenblatt, a Shakespeare scholar. “They go in a lot of different directions, and ‘Julius Caesar’ is a strong, extreme case of this.”

Not that the play, in which the increasingly powerful Caesar is killed in the name of saving the republic, is pro-assassination. On this, most Shakespeare scholars agree.

“I think the general drift of it is: Be careful, you might get what you want,” Mr. Greenblatt said, noting the chaos and bloodshed the assassination unleashes. “The very thing that you think you’re doing to protect the republic can lead to the end of the republic.”

Leaders have been fascinated by the work. George Washington saw a production of the drama in 1790. Nelson Mandela annotated a copy when he was imprisoned on Robben Island for fighting apartheid in South Africa.

And the play became a staple of American public school reading lists, in part because it allowed teachers to discuss republicanism, said Brett Gamboa, an assistant professor of English at Dartmouth.

But like any work, the play, and the history it is based on, can be interpreted in different ways, and it has at times inspired violence. John Wilkes Booth acted in a production of “Julius Caesar” in New York City not long before he killed Lincoln, and complained after the assassination that he was being hunted “for doing what Brutus was honored for.” And Claus von Stauffenberg, a leader of a failed attempt on Hitler’s life, reportedly kept a marked-up copy of “Julius Caesar” on his desk.

Stanley Wells, a prominent British Shakespeare scholar, said that Shakespeare seemed to anticipate the play’s long afterlife when he has Cassius, one of the conspirators, exclaim to Brutus: “How many ages hence/Shall this our lofty scene be acted over/In states unborn and accents yet unknown!”

“Within the play itself,” Professor Wells said, “Shakespeare is looking forward to times when people will also see this historic event as relevant to their own times.”

Mr. Eustis, who is also the artistic director of the Public, includes the Cassius quote in his program note, in which he adds his own gloss: “Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means,” he writes. “To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him.”

The anti-fascist production that Orson Welles staged in 1937, with the Mercury Theater, was a revelation. The critic Brooks Atkinson wrote in The New York Times that it was “the most exciting and terrifying drama of the season” and added that “the grim march of military feet through the ominous shadows of the stage is the doom song heard round the world today.”

“It was like nothing anybody had ever seen,” Professor Gamboa said, adding that the production went on to influence a host of other Caesars, portrayed as a recognizable political figure from more recent times.

“When everyone’s in white togas, there’s just not a lot of context there,” said Rob Melrose, who staged the 2012 Obama-inspired production at the Guthrie by the Acting Company — which was supported by a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. “Making those choices to have it in contemporary clothes, I think, illuminates Shakespeare’s play. What kind of person was Caesar? What kind of person was Brutus? But it also illuminates our time.”

Mr. Melrose said that the act of violence at the play’s center should always be appalling. “When Caesar is killed, it’s horrifying, it’s awful — whether it’s Obama or Trump,” he said. “Trump, Republicans and Democrats should all take heart that what this play says is that killing a political leader, no matter how righteous your views are, is a bad idea — a terrible idea.”

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