Archive for Energy

3 Charts for Navigating the Commodities Market

Investor sentiment toward commodities over recent weeks has been mixed due in part to heightened volatility and shifting fundamentals. In this article, we dig into the charts of key funds from different segments of the commodities market to determine the best trade setups heading into September. (For more, see: Commodities: The Portfolio Hedge.)

Commodities Market Performance

One of the most popular exchange-traded funds (ETFs) used by investors for gaining exposure to a diversified basket of commodities is the iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust . Fundamentally, the holdings span energy, agriculture and metals. Taking a look at the chart, you’ll notice that the 50-day moving average crossed below the 200-day moving average in April, which is known as a death cross (shown by the red circle). This common technical sell signal is usually used by active traders to mark the beginning of a long-term downtrend. This chart is also a textbook-style example of how the price of an asset generally behaves near a major level of resistance such as the 200-day moving average after a major sell signal has been triggered. Traders would expect this resistance to continue over the months ahead and will likely hold a bearish outlook on the general commodities market until the price rises above resistance. (For more, check out: Major Resistance Levels Suggest Commodities Are Headed Lower.)

Energy

With the fund’s overweight position in energy commodities, it is unsurprising that the pattern of GSG closely matches that of the PowerShares DB Energy Fund (DBE). As you can see below, the bearish crossover between the long-term moving averages signaled a significant move lower for those who utliize technical analysis. The bulls have been unable to reclaim the momentum since the retest of resistance in May, and the recent run back toward $12.40 has many technical traders eyeing another move lower. Traders will likely maintain a bearish outlook on energy until the price of the DBE ETF closes above the combined resistance of the descending trendline and the 200-day moving average. (For more, see: 3 Charts That Suggest Commodities Are Headed Lower.)

Gold

From the perspective of an active trader, the most bullish chart in the commodities markets at the moment belongs to gold and gold-related ETFs. Taking a look at the chart of the PowerShares DB Gold Fund (DGL), you can see that the price is trading within the confined range of a rectangle pattern. The defined levels of support and resistance create easy-to-identify levels for order placement. The break above the long-term averages and the subsequent run toward the upper trendline now suggests that the bulls are taking over. After a few more strong closes, it would not be surprising to see a significant move higher. (For further reading, check out: Active Traders Are Turning Bullish on These Commodities.)

 

Major resistance on broad commodities-related funds suggests remaining selective. We look at one commodity that could be worth buying. …read more

Read more here: 3 Charts for Navigating the Commodities Market

Category: GSG, DBE, DGL

The pay is too damn low: July Jobs Report Shows Growth, but Wages Stubbornly Stagnant

The July employment report was almost about as good as it gets. The U.S. economy generated 209,000 new jobs, well in excess of the anticipated 180,000. As expected, the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent, matching the May low for this cycle. Average hourly earnings have yet to accelerate, but the pace did increase modestly in the month, and the participation rate edged higher. If the Fed does, indeed, intend to shrink its balance sheet starting in September, there was likely nothing in this report that would dissuade it from doing so. And following the report, expectations for a December rate hike increased to 40 percent from the 37 percent the day prior.

The one missing ingredient at this level of unemployment remains the stubborn refusal of wages to increase in a meaningful way. The last time the unemployment rate was close to this low, in 2007, wages were growing between 3.0-3.5 percent on a twelve-month basis. It should be noted, however, that back then core inflation was running between 2.0-2.3 percent as measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) deflator, not the 1.5 percent pace of this past June.

We will see how consumer prices started out the third quarter on Friday with the July Consumer Price Index report. The twelve-month headline rate is expected to edge higher to 1.8 from 1.6 percent in June, while the core rate is expected to be unchanged at 1.7 percent.

As labor continues struggling to participate fully in this recovery, shareholders are the beneficiary. Profit margins remain high, and corporate earnings are exceeding expectations. Second quarter earnings season is now roughly 90 percent complete, and according to Factset, S&P 500 companies in the aggregate are reporting an increase in margins compared to last year.[i] And earnings are likely to grow by 10.1 percent when full second quarter results are in, well ahead of the expected 6.4 percent pace at quarter end. Only the consumer discretionary sector is expected to see a decline.

The third quarter looks less promising. Estimates have been lowered since the end of the second quarter, as expectations for the energy sector in particular have been reduced along with the price of oil. Earnings in the third quarter are now expected to grow by 5.6 percent, down from 7.1 percent on June 30. But it should be noted that third quarter estimates are now lower for all but technology and telecom, which is still expected to suffer a decline, just of somewhat lesser magnitude. Nevertheless, current estimates of 9.5 percent for the full year have remained relatively steady.

Despite the robust July jobs report, bond yields fell for the week. The ten-year note closed at 2.26 percent, down from 2.29 the prior week, although it did bounce off its lows following the jobs report on Friday. The two-year note rose just one basis point on the week to 1.36 percent. The dollar rebounded sharply after the jobs report as well, arresting for the time being its year-long decline. Stocks edged higher, with the S&P 500 adding just 0.2 percent to close just one point shy of the record set the week before. The Dow Jones Industrial Average did manage to set another new record high at week’s end, its eighth consecutive record close.

Congress is in recess until after Labor Day, and with earnings season winding down, equity investors will be grasping about for something to fill the void as we get into the historically-weak months of August and September.

 

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Read more here: July Jobs Report Shows Growth, but Wages Stubbornly Stagnant

The Spend-Free Weekend Challenge

 

Meet Jonesy and Brittany, a young Californian couple. This adventure-seeking twosome is planning to embark on the ultimate trip — a two-month backpacking sojourn through South America — next year, but there’s one significant hitch. Thanks to their penchant for pricey weekend getaways, they can’t seem to save up the $8,000 they estimate they’ll need to make their dream vacation a reality.

That is, until The Savings Experiment team proposes a potential fix: spend-free weekends. Can Jonesy and Brittany enjoy time off without paying a single dollar? Check out the video above to find out!

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Read more here: The Spend-Free Weekend Challenge — Savings Experiment

Category: savings experiment, spend-free weekend, weekend getaways

Adobe Systems Well Positioned For All-time Highs (ADBE, AAPL)

Adobe Systems may offer a buying opportunity in the upper 80s, ahead of a strong rally into triple digits.

Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) has provided quiet Nasdaq-100 and big tech leadership for more than four years and is currently one of its hottest performers, trading near an all-time high. The stock transacts just 3.6-million shares per day on average, near the midpoint of index activity, while a $47-billion market capitalization takes the 26th spot among the 104 current components.

It’s now achieved the status of the must-own position in tech and growth portfolios, posting stronger gains than widely held Apple Inc. (AAPL) since 2011, rising more than 400% compared to AAPL’s 207%. It’s also better positioned to resume its strong uptrend after a volatile first quarter dropped the iPhone maker into the midpoint of a massive 22-month trading range.

Is now a good time to buy ADBE, given its lofty position, or should market players wait for aselloff that offers a more advantageous reward: risk ratio? Fortunately, first quarter earnings won’t impact that decision because the company already reported on March 17, with the next confessional scheduled for June. Given this beneficial timing, charting technicals should take precedence in determining the best time and price to add this winner to your portfolio.

The stock entered a powerful uptrend in 1998, rising from 2.95 (post three stock splits) to 43.65 in just two years. It topped out in November 2000 and joined the rest of the tech universe in a severe bear market, spiraling lower in three selling waves that relinquished more than 80% of the prior rally. It finally bottomed out in single digits in the summer of 2002.

The subsequent recovery reached to the prior high in 2006, but the rally momentum fizzled out, yielding sideways action into a minor 2007 breakout that added just 5 points. It turned lower in a failed breakout just one month later, entering a downtrend that coincided with the 2008 to 2009 bear market. The decline ended at a 5-year low near 16 in March 2009, giving wave to a renewed uptrend that remains in force, more than seven years later.

It took four years for the stock to reach horizontal resistance generated by the 2000 and 2007 highs. A 5-month basing pattern yielded a 2013 breakout that attracted widespread buying interest, lifting price into a series of all-time highs. The last rally wave peaked at 96 in December 2016, setting up major resistance in triple digits.

 

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Read more here: Adobe Systems Well Positioned For All-time Highs (ADBE, AAPL)

Category: ADBE, AAPL

7 Spending Trends That Speak Volumes About U.S. Consumers

By Money Talks News
How we spend our hard-earned money can be quite revealing.

“To some extent, we are what we buy,” explains Money.

Some products experience surging sales after a strong marketing campaign, a dramatic shift in price or the endorsement of a popular celebrity – have you heard of the “Oprah Effect”? But often the rush to buy is the result of shifting U.S. demographics.

The seven hot-selling items in a list compiled by Money reflect the latter. Check out where U.S. consumer dollars are flowing and what that reveals about Americans today:

Legal weed: With more states legalizing marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, the cannabis industry has experienced explosive growth. Legal pot sales reached $5.4 billion in the United States in 2015, a 17.4 percent spike over 2014. Pot sales are expected to hit $6.7 billion this year – in turn generating healthy tax revenues in states that allow it.

Canadian goods: When the value of the U.S. dollar rises compared with the Canadian currency as it has recently (the current rate is US$1 = C$1.32) many Americans flock across the northern border to shop. Money said the number of U.S. visitors to Canada shot up by 1.6 million during the first 11 months of 2015, and that number is expected to keep climbing this year.

Guns: Anxiety caused by mass shootings and fears that they will lead to more restrictive gun laws have sparked record-breaking gun sales in the United States in recent years. Check out “Gun-Buying Rush Swamps FBI Background Checkers.”

Anything that can be bought on a phone (or tablet): Mobile shopping and spending soared 60 percent from 2014 to 2015. With retailers shifting more of their focus to mobile consumers, it’s likely that number will only continue to increase in 2016.

Streaming service subscription: Regardless of whether they stream video or music, streaming service subscriptions are on the rise. Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and Amazon Prime, just to name a few, are continually increasing their customer base.

Bowls: That’s right. “Bowls are the new plates,” the The Wall Street Journal recently announced, noting that moving from plates to bowls signals a shift to a more casual lifestyle. Money noted that many health-conscious trendsetters are trading in their plates for bowls while restaurants are also moving towards bowl-friendly entrees. Money said bowl sales from dish companies like Fiesta increased by 17 percent last year.

Adult diapers: With Americans living longer these days and many seniors struggling with incontinence problems, it’s really no surprise that adult diapers are flying off the shelves. Money said adult diaper sales are expected to grow by 48 percent globally by 2020. Compare that with baby diaper sales, which are expected to experience a much more modest growth of 2.6 percent in the next four years.

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Read more here: 7 Spending Trends That Speak Volumes About U.S. Consumers

Category: bonds, cloud, computers, data, dell, earnings, earnings season, healthcare, nasdaq, nyse, oil prices, stock market, stocks, utilities, wall street, csx, nj, jnj, tast, intc, jpm, fast, gs, bac, ge, lly, wfc, c, unh, emc, tri

3 Hacks to Make Managing Your Money a Breeze

By SmartAsset.By Rebecca Lake ..

Keeping your financial house in order isn’t a Herculean task, but it does require some time and effort. If your schedule is so jam-packed that you can’t spare a few minutes a week to review your budget, check your credit health or track your progress on saving or paying down debt, you could be letting money slip through your fingers without even realizing it. When you’re crunched for time, here are three things you can do to keep your finances on the right track.

1. Automate Your Finances

If paying bills is taking up a good chunk of your day, consider putting your payments on autopilot. When you set up automatic payments for credit cards or other debts, you won’t have to worry about paying late and damaging your credit score.

Most banks offer bill payment services at no charge, so it might be a good idea for you to take advantage of these features. Remember, your bills aren’t the only thing you can automate. If you’re trying to build your emergency fund or pad your IRA and your 401(k), setting up recurring transfers to those accounts is a stress-free way to work towards meeting your savings goals.

Just make sure you’re evaluating your accounts regularly to see how much progress you’re making and how fees are detracting from your bottom line. If you’re auto-saving in an IRA, for example, you’ll want to check in periodically to see how your investments are performing and swap out ones that are costing you more than they’re earning.

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2. Streamline How You Manage Your Accounts

When you’ve got two checking accounts, a saving account, a retirement account, two or three credit cards and a mortgage, staying on top of them all can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of apps that make it easy to manage your finances.

With Personal Capital, for instance, you can link your checking account, savings account, IRA, 401(k) and investment accounts. The app analyzes your accounts to see what you’re paying in fees and recommends ways to improve your investment performance.

Mint is a budgeting app that links your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, mortgage and investment accounts. You can set up a budget, create goals for debt repayment or savings and get a quick snapshot of your net worth straight from your phone.

3. Consolidate and Increase Your Savings

Using apps like Mint or Personal Capital to manage your accounts can relieve some of your financial stress. But you can take it a step further by reducing the number of accounts you have. If you’ve got balances on five or six credit cards, for example, transferring them to a single card with a zero percent rate means you’ll only have one payment to keep up with and you’ll pay less in interest (at least temporarily).

The same goes for those of you with multiple student loans from different loan servicers. Consolidating …read more

Read more here: 3 Hacks to Make Managing Your Money a Breeze

Category: economy, hacks, money, money management, personal finance

6 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years Earlier

By Money Talks News

Chances are your home mortgage is the largest debt you’ll ever have. How would you like to pay it off and run your mortgage contract through the shredder a lot faster than the 30 years for which most homeowners sign up?

Let’s consider some ways to painlessly pay off your home loan sooner. You can choose to do it a little faster or a lot. In some cases, you’ll scarcely notice the added expense.

1. Make biweekly mortgage payments

Since there are 12 months in a year, homeowners make 12 monthly mortgage payments. But if you make half-sized payments every two weeks (biweekly), you’ll make 26 half-payments, the equivalent of 13 full payments.

Essentially, it is like making 13 monthly payments every year rather than the usual 12.

To go this route, call your lender and ask the best way to do it. Some lenders will set you up with biweekly payments. Or you might simply prefer to send in the extra payments by mail or electronically. Whenever you make any extra payment, however, be sure to designate it “apply to principal.” Otherwise, the lender may treat the extra as a prepayment of your next regular monthly payment.
Use a calculator like this one from the Mortgage Professor to see your savings. For example, according to this calculator, if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.8 percent, making biweekly payments would save $20,573 in interest over the life of the loan and pay off your mortgage four years earlier. That’s a big bang for not many extra bucks.

One thing to avoid: “mortgage acceleration” products and plans. Paying down your mortgage is an easy thing to do, and you shouldn’t have to pay anything to do it. No expertise or pipeline to a higher authority is required. When you see ads and pitches for mortgage “acceleration” plans, programs and products, run the other direction. (Learn more about these gimmicks here.)

2. Pour every bit of extra cash into your mortgage

Dedicate every windfall – a bonus, raise, or holiday or graduation gift – you receive toward paying down debt. Obviously, the highest-interest debt takes priority. But if you have an adequate emergency savings fund and your mortgage is your only debt, don’t even ask yourself what you’ll do with extra money when it falls into your hands: Add it to your mortgage payment, designating it as additional principal.
It’s possible you’ll find better uses for extra cash than paying down your mortgage. For example, if your mortgage rate is 3.8 percent, but you can earn 5 percent on your money elsewhere, you’re obviously going to be better off earning the 5 percent. Read Stacy’s discussion about the pros and cons of using extra cash to pay down your mortgage.

3. Round up your payments

The monthly payment on a $200,000 mortgage at 3.8 percent fixed over 30 years is about $932 a month. Get into the habit of rounding up that …read more

Read more here: 6 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years Earlier

Category: economy, money, mortgage, personal finance

25 Purchases You’ll Never Regret

By Marla Walters…

Over the years, I have made many a purchase. Some were big-ticket; some were under $15. Of course, there were occasions when buyer’s remorse soon followed my shopping trips, but there were several purchases that I still stand by.

Here are 25 purchases that I think you would never regret.

1. Houses

Home ownership is still a sound financial idea. You can build up equity, claim mortgage tax deductions, and build a good credit history. I was a renter before I was a homeowner, and would never go back, but that’s me. I like being able to put holes in walls where I want them, own pets, or dig up part of the yard for a garden. When you own a home, you are able to create the living environment you want – not your landlord’s.

2. Four-Wheel Drive Pickup Truck

Not too long after my husband and I became homeowners, we bought a truck. It is now 18 years old and still runs well. Need green waste hauled? Buying large stuff? Going somewhere adventurous, where you need four-wheel drive? A truck enables you to do a lot of things that are especially handy if you are a homeowner. Ours isn’t going to break any land-speed records, but we don’t care. It’s as handy as heck.

3. A Safe

There are paper records, and then there are really important records like birth certificates, marriage certificates, title to cars, valuables, etc. If it is important, it needs to be put somewhere secure. Sure, you could get a safe-deposit box, but it’s handier to have things around – where you can get them when needed – and not subject to a bank’s hours.

4. Fruit Trees

There is no instant gratification in planting fruit trees, but they are well worth the effort. Every time we pick avocados, oranges, bananas, or lemons, we are grateful we took the time to plant those trees. We cannot begin to eat all of what they produce, but part of the fun is to share the bounty.

5. Leather Furniture

When we began buying furniture, I thought leather would be bad to have, with kids and pets, but I was so wrong. It is extremely durable, and with leather cleaner and a little elbow grease, it cleans right up. Ours has survived beautifully, and we’ll never go back to upholstered furniture. It is also easy to re-decorate with different throws or pillows.

6. Gas Stove

If you are interested in energy efficiency, gas is the way to go. It takes nearly three times as much energy to deliver electricity to your stove, according to the California Energy Commission. Savings aside, if you like to cook, it is so much easier to regulate stove temperatures with gas instead of electric. Plus, if the power goes out, you can still cook.

7. Outdoor Fire Pit

An outdoor fire pit was a bit of an impulse buy, but we have gotten so much use out of it. If you like to entertain, break out the marshmallows. Even …read more

Read more here: 25 Purchases You’ll Never Regret

Category: budgeting, money, personal finance, spending

10 Surprising Ways Spring Is Gonna Cost You

By Tim Lemke…

If you live in a colder part of the country, you probably can’t wait for this winter to end. The New York City area, for example, has experienced its second-coldest February in history. But before the warmer months hit, it’s important to understand how the change in seasons will impact your finances. While winter brings its own financial burdens, spring and summer can empty your pocketbook, as well.

Here’s how to stay within your budget as the temperatures warm up.

1. Go Green With Transportation

You’ll probably drive more when it gets warmer, and may even take long road trips. You can expect gas prices to rise as demand increases and fuel companies switch from winter to summer fuel blends. Gas prices will remain low by recent standards, but it might help to consider walking or biking to work, or using public transit.

2. Register Early for Summer Camp

Summer can be a challenge for working parents, as the kids are out of school and need someone to look after them during the day.This means that many families explore summer camps and other activities. A week of summer camp will set you back an average of $304, according to the American Camp Association, with some for-profit camps costing more than $500 weekly. It helps to register in the winter to take advantage of early bird registration deals, and you may get a discount by signing up for multiple weeks at the same location. There may also be discounts for families with multiple children at the same camp.

3. Start Saving for New Family Additions

If you or your partner are not pregnant already, you can probably disregard this one. But statistics show that more children are born during the spring and summer months than other times of the year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that August is the top month for new babies. New arrivals aren’t cheap, and you can definitely expect to spend some money in the months leading up to the delivery. Now is the time to start banking as much cash as you can.

4. Travel Within Your Means

With an improving economy, the American Automobile Association expects more people to take trips this summer. According to American Express, an average vacation will set you back $1,145 per person, or $4,580 for a family of four. The good news is that gas prices are lower than in years past, and a strong dollar means that it’s cheaper to travel overseas.

5. Budget Home Expenses

When it’s cold and snowy outside, there’s no lawn to mow (and you’re probably postponing the construction of that backyard patio until the thaw). Warmer weather is when you whip out the lawnmower and make the call to that contractor. It’s also when you might make any repairs necessitated by the snow, ice, and wind of winter. Various sources suggest that a homeowner will spend about 1% of their home’s value on maintenance each year. Much of this …read more

Read more here: 10 Surprising Ways Spring Is Gonna Cost You

Category: budgeting, money, personal finance, spending

3 Nasdaq-100 Stocks With Bullish Crossovers

50/200 moving average crossovers can detect trend changes before price action sets off broad based buy or sell signals.

50- and 200-day EMA crossovers can generate predictive patterns that tell observant traders when downtrends have ended, allowing them to open positions that take advantage of new uptrends, often before traditional buy signals attract the attention of the broad market. The trick is to enable price action to interact with the moving averages, highlighting the best entry prices.

These early signals have specific requirements. First, the 50-day EMA must penetrate the 200-day EMA, with both moving averages pointed lower. Then, the short-term average needs to turn higher and cross above the long-term average. The 200-day can turn higher before or after the crossover, but the trade entry doesn’t come until both slopes point higher while price pulls back to test new support. The strongest signals come when moving averages are tightly aligned, and price touches that alignment.

Let’s look at three Nasdaq-100 components that recently flashed buy signals with this technical methodology. Keep in mind; the best entry comes near the moving average convergence because that level allows placement of a relatively tight stop loss in case the trade fails to work as expected. Patience is a virtue with this process because pullbacks to new support can unfold many weeks after the initial signal requirements are met.…read more

Read more here: 3 Nasdaq-100 Stocks With Bullish Crossovers

Category: CHKP, INTU, ADP

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