Rob Black's "Winners & Losers" February 21 (show notes)

By: Rob Black - Tue, 21 Feb 2012 16:40:27 -0800

Loser: Wall Street Can’t Hold Dow 13,000

Stocks erased gains, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index failed to hold above its highest close since 2008, as approval of Greece’s bailout was offset by economic concern with crude oil jumping to a nine-month high.

Airlines were a big loser on the oil news.

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, fell 3.9 percent as low prices hurt margins.

Energy shares had the biggest gain in the S&P 500 among 10 industries as Chevron rallied 1.6 percent.
Stocks are still the only game in town, but when you reach a headline level, there’s always some fallback.

The S&P 500 has added 8.3 percent this year. Reported 12-month earnings for its companies increased 9.4 percent to $96.58 a share, the highest level ever. The index is trading for 14.1 times reported earnings, compared with the average since 1954 of 16.4 times.

The S&P 500 is approaching the cheapest level  ever compared with bonds as zero-percent interest rates drive investors and companies from cash.

Profits that doubled since 2009 pushed the index’s so-called earnings yield to 7.1 percent, close to the highest on record when compared with the 10-year Treasury rate,

Loser:  Airlines Suffer As Oil Hits 9-Month High

Oil increased to a nine-month high after Greece won a second bailout and Iran said it stopped selling crude to France and Britain.

Crude oil gained $2.60 to $105.84 a barrel.   Jet Fuel rose 1.4 percent to $3.29 a gallon

United Continental shares fell 9.1% and US Airways shares tumbled 11 percent and Delta Air lines dropped 7.2 percent, dragging an industry index lower  as jet-fuel prices jumped.

All 11 passenger carriers declined today.

Jet fuel is approaching last year’s high of $3.42 a gallon, the most since 2008, when the price reached a record $4.36. Fuel accounted for 36 percent of United’s operating expenses last year, and 27 percent of those costs at US Airways.
Winner:  Comcast Introduces Streaming Video

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, will debut a service streaming television shows and movies to current customers that competes with Internet and video rivals.

Xfinity Streampix, available Feb. 23, complements the 75,000 shows and films Comcast already offers consumers that subscribe to both TV and Internet service through Xfinity On Demand.

 For some users, including those that don’t purchase broadband from Comcast, the package will cost an additional $4.99 per month.

There are no plans to offer the service to non-customers.

The cable provider has licensing agreements with companies including Walt Disney, Sony, and Warner Brothers to offer the new service.

This is a negative for Netflix.

Winner: Munch’s ‘Scream’ May Fetch $80M

One of the best-known images in the history of art,Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” is being sold in May.
The 1895 work by the Norwegian artist, one of four versions of the screaming figure, will be included in Sotheby’s May 2 sale of Impressionist and modern works.

It carries a value of at least $80 million.

Masterpieces by big-name Impressionist and modern artists have been fetching exceptional prices in recent years. Sotheby’s“Scream” is the only one left in private hands.

It is being offered by the Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend and patron of the artist. The pastel-on-board composition has been in the Olsen family for more than 70 years.

The image, evoking a moment when the artist was seized with anxiety while walking along a road near Oslo.

 “I was walking along the road with two friends, the sun was setting,” reads the frame. “The sky turned a bloody red and I felt a whiff of melancholy. I stood still, deathly tired -- over the blue-black fjord and city hung blood and tongues of fire. My friends walked on -- I remained behind. Shivering with anxiety, I felt the great scream in nature.”


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