Tuesday, December 24, 2013

US Companies Are Showering Cash On Shareholders -- Obamanomics?

Active rigs: 189

RBN Energy: Part 5 in the series. It certainly does not seem that operator are concerned about all the obstacles that seem to be placed in their way.
Hardisty is the largest oil storage hub in Canada with over 21 MMBbl of tank capacity owned by seven companies. The largest player Enbridge has more than 12 MMBbl of storage with the majority being leased to third parties including a sizeable chunk to investment bankers JP Morgan. Western Canadian Select (WCS) the benchmark Canadian heavy crude is blended at Husky’s Hardisty terminal. Today we detail these two companies’ operations at Hardisty.
n July of this year (2013) Husky broke ground on a project to add two 300 MBbl storage tanks at the Hardisty terminal to provide additional access to the Enbridge Mainline in anticipation of new crude production flows from their Sunrise oil sands plant in northeast Fort McMurray. 
The Wall Street Journal

Front page: health-insurance deadline extended in late push to boost numbers.   No one should complain. The industry needs at many folks paying premiums as possible. Unfortunately, folks are tracking the wrong metrics. No one will know the demographics of the newly insured until July, 2014, or thereabouts.
The deadline was originally set for midnight on Monday, but changes made over the weekend to the federal HealthCare.gov website will allow users to sign up for the first wave of coverage through Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said. Insurers said they received no warning about the deadline change and hadn't prepared for it.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina wasn't informed of the delay until Monday, and had already planned to close its offices and call centers Tuesday, said Michelle Douglas, a company spokeswoman. Federal officials on Monday confirmed the move. The site had a surge of more than 850,000 visits by midafternoon, federal officials said. Continued bottlenecks in the federal website serving customers in 36 states prompted officials to delay the deadline, the people familiar with the matter said.
The change, made with no official announcement, is the latest in a string of policy shifts meant to help consumers who were stymied by website glitches or whose existing plans were canceled because they didn't comply with the law. But the changes also have led to confusion among consumers, taken insurers off-guard and compressed an already-tight timeline for the industry to put coverage in place by Jan. 1.
So much for folks at BCBS getting Christmas Eve off or going home early.

Bloomberg is also weighing in on this story:
U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged the industry on Dec. 12 to be lenient with Obamacare customers who miss today’s deadline for enrolling in the program or are late with their initial payment. The request included honoring late sign-ups with retroactive coverage, letting people pay only part of their premiums and covering treatments for patients who go to out-of-network doctors and pharmacies.  
I know the IRS is very lenient when people are late with their payments. LOL.


More positive economic news. Consumers stepped up spending in November -- up 0.5%.

Wind farms in Maine stir a power struggle. A little bit of NIMBY?
The recent appetite for wind power comes largely from Massachusetts and Connecticut, where laws require rising use of renewable power. The two states combined have 70% of New England's population but little available open space on land to build wind farms.
Developers have turned to Maine, where they say land is expansive and strong winds are more abundant. Maine already leads the region with more than 400 megawatts of wind power installed, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which said 1 megawatt of wind power can cover about 290 homes. Recently signed long-term contracts with utilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut could more than double that output in the next few years if the projects all come to fruition.
Plenty of locals welcome the development, helped by financial rewards tied to the projects, and the wind industry counted strong Maine support in a recent poll. Governors in Massachusetts and Connecticut said the recent deals will add clean energy to the grid at cost-effective rates.
But the situation has prompted some soul-searching as a number of residents worry more wind turbines will turn the woodsy state into New England's utility closet. Vocal opponents also question wind power's environmental merits and say turbines aren't worth spoiled views or noise. 

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. 
U.S. companies are showering cash on shareholders, powering the stock market's record-breaking rally. Share buybacks and dividends are reaching levels unseen since before the financial crisis, as persistent economic uncertainty prompts cash-rich companies to reward shareholders rather than invest in other activities. U.S. companies in the S&P 500-stock index bought back $128.2 billion of their own shares in the third quarter, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. That is the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007.
Someday, we will refer to this period as Obamanomics, where the gap continues to increase between the "haves" and the "have-nots." This was not supposed to happen. 

Reported previously: natural gas prices climb to almost 2 1/2 year high. Didn't Buffett just make a big purchase in a large natural gas company called XOM?

A problem for the Fed: low inflation. When you read this story, recall that gold has plummeted in price over past month or so.
That inflation has been so low this year is a surprise. The economy has expanded about as fast as economists polled by The Wall Street Journal near the beginning of the year had forecast. Job growth has been stronger, and the unemployment rate lower, than anticipated. So, if anything, inflation ought to be higher than was expected.
Instead, it has been lower. The Commerce Department reported Monday that its index of consumer prices excluding food and energy, the "core" measure that the Fed prefers, was up just 1.1% in November from a year earlier. The headline index was up an even scantier 0.9%, as energy prices drifted down. Back toward the start of the year, economists forecast that core inflation would be up 1.8% in the fourth quarter, with the headline up 1.9%. 
This news makes the market look even better. Especially with companies like ATT paying 5%.

Despite low inflation, federal workers, active duty military and retirees will see a 1.5% increase in their pay or COLA, it appears. I could be wrong on that; I don't follow it very closely.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on anything you read here or think you may have read here. 

Catty: I don't think I've ever seen so many typographical errors in an on-line story as this one by Bloomberg at Yahoo!Finance. Perhaps it will be cleaned up, but I am appalled that Bloomberg would let this get posted; it's worse than my blog. LOL.

No comments:

Post a Comment