Thursday, May 26, 2016

Contracts To Buy Existing Homes Surge Far More Than Expected -- May 26, 2016 -- Tea Leaves

The AP is reporting: Donald Trump has reached necessary number of delegates

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, travel, relationship, or job-related decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here. Having said that, things are starting to get interesting again. 

Housing market back Reuters is reporting:
Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes surged far more than expected in April to the highest level in more than a decade, another sign the economy has gained steam during the second quarter.
The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 5.1 percent to 116.3, a level not seen since February 2006.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast pending home sales rising 0.6 percent last month. Contracts usually become sales after a month or two.
The increase in pending home sales for March also was revised marginally upward. Overall pending home sales last month were up 4.6 percent from a year ago. 
Jobs: background noise. But not bad news.

Wall Street / oil and gas sector: seeing things we've haven't seen in awhile
Active rigs in the Bakken: 29, in a zone from 25 - 29 for the past several months, but "29" is at the high end. Anticipating 35 in latter half of 2016 if oil price holds. But the bigger story will be when fracking crews start to return. Bakken oil companies are going to jump at opportunity to get cash flow if oil stays at $50.

Target is struggling -- is it the transgender bathrooms? Who knows? Meanwhile Investor's Business Daily is reporting that Dollar Store, Dollar General "crushed" earnings forecasts. Dollar General’s first-quarter adjusted earnings climbed 23% to $1.03 a share, and revenue grew 7% to $5.27 billion. Wall Street expected 95 cents earnings per share and $5.28 billion revenue.

Wall Street moving toward businessman for president. Hillary at tipping point. 

Does Anyone Care?


June 1, 2016: fight's on.  

Original Post
I doubt anyone following the Bakken really cares about this, but the Russia-Saudi spat is important to follow. 

Russia's two big energy markets: eastern Europe and China. Recently, we talked about Russia-China relationship at Saudi's expense. 

Now a bit of swirling tea leaves with regard to Russia and the EU. 

Thirteen days before Poland’s general election, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz opened the nation’s first terminal to import liquefied natural gas and promised “full independence” from Russian gas supplies from next year.
The facility is ready for startup tests and will get a first shipment of LNG from Qatar between Dec. 11 and Dec. 17 to cool the plant, with commercial deliveries starting in 2016, two years later than initially planned.
Poland, a key transit country for Russian gas supplies to western Europe, has criticized plans by Gazprom PJSC to expand its undersea pipeline directly to Germany, which bypasses east European countries that rely on Russia for their energy.
“Next year, we’ll be fully independent from supplies from the east,” Kopacz told reporters at the terminal’s site in the Baltic port of Swinoujscie, near the German border.
Poland plans to expand its gas grid to enable the transport of fuel from Swinoujscie to its neighbors in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine and Lithuania. That would also allow it to boost the use of the terminal, which currently only has supply agreements for 30 percent of its capacity.
Fast forward, two days ago:
Poland's state-run gas firm PGNiG said on Tuesday it will receive its first spot delivery of liquefied natural gas from Norway's Statoil on June 25.
The shipment of around 140,000 tonnes of LNG will be delivered to Poland's first LNG terminal in Swinoujscie at the Baltic Sea, which is expected to start commercial operations next month.
On May 19 trade sources told Reuters that PGNiG had purchased at least one cargo of LNG from Statoil.
PGNiG also said that it will receive the first shipment of LNG from Qatargas on June 17 as part the long-term contract signed in 2009. Next delivery from Qatar is expected in mid July this year.
The main story is obvious. But there was another important story line: the country that has become the poster child for renewable energy in the EU (Germany) appears to be tying itself closer to Russia for natural gas. One would have thought -- with all the "green" press, Germany would have been self-sufficient in energy by now.

Could the US benefit? is pessimistic.

A Billion Here, A Billion There

Miscellaneous energy notes:
  • Chevron-led group will invest another $37 billion in the Tengiz oil field, previously posted.
  • Shell plans to cut another 2,200 jobs; this follows after the company's $50 billion takeover of BG Group and its 4,600 employees.
  • GE wins $3.5 billion South Korean contract for jet engines. 
The Apple Page

Another one bites the dust. From today's WSJ: Microsoft's decision to further dismantle its shrunken mobile phone operations leaves the software giant betting that it can revive its fortunes in a critical market by focusing on the one area it still may have strength: securing and managing mobile devices on corporate networks.

From Yahoo!Finance:
Microsoft has had a rocky few years as it tries to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone world. This week, it looks like the wheels are finally falling off.
The company announced Wednesday it’s cutting 1,850 jobs, with 1,350 coming from its Finnish operations, known as Microsoft Mobile Oy, and an additional 500 from other regions. The move also includes a $950 million restructuring charge for the company, with $200 million going to employee severance packages.
The news comes just a week after Microsoft confirmed it was selling its feature phone business to FIH Mobile and HMD Global for $350 million.
Microsoft’s smartphone struggles speak to a larger issue facing potential competitors to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android: With so many consumers already embedded in one operating system or the other, creating a viable third alternative is a virtually Sisyphean task.
In fact, according to comScore, Microsoft’s share of the US smartphone market is a paltry 2.7%. That’s virtually nonexistent next to Android’s 52.8% and Apple’s 43.6%.
Dante's Inferno

From today's WSJ: insurers seek big premium boots for ObamaCare. Large health plans in some states are seeking to raise rates by 20% or more. 
Big health plans stung by losses in the first few years of the U.S. health law’s implementation are seeking hefty premium increases for individual plans sold through insurance exchanges in more than a dozen states.
The insurers’ proposed rates for individual coverage in states that have made their 2017 requests public largely bear out health plans’ grim predictions about their challenges under the health-care overhaul.
According to the insurers’ filings with regulators, large plans in states including New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia are seeking to raise rates by 20% or more.
In states such as Florida and Maryland, insurers are seeking to raise premiums by percentage averages that are markedly above 10%. Among those that have published so far, only in Vermont do big insurers’ requests fall below 10%.
Just in time for the November election. I hope the folks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland are paying attention. The best thing for the GOP to do: run, don't walk, away from this issue. It's the gift that keeps on giving.


Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Willie Nelson

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