Outside of the Japanese markets (more on this below), it was a fairly sideways tape for most of the other global markets we were watching today.
Looking at today’s action here in the U.S., Chevron (CVX) shares gained following the company’s optimistic update about its recent quarter. American Express (AXP) also rallied, despite news the company will be firing over 5K employees in 2013. Wall Street tends to see layoffs as a streamlining event and not so much a negative for the company. Don’t expect the same love for those employees being shown the door!
American Express marks yet another recent example of a company trading at all-time highs, but not looking to grow its workforce. I have been beating the drum about the corporate America mantra of “doing more with less” for years now. We’ve see no letup in this process whatsoever. Anyone in the workforce today should prepare accordingly and position themselves with as many skills as possible to thrive in today’s difficult work environment.
Elsewhere, Phillip Morris (PM) gained nicely on positive analyst chatter. With not much enthusiasm in today’s action, cautionary Wall Street calls had stocks like J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM), General Mills (GIS), and BHP Billiton (BHP) drifting lower for much of the trading session.
Enjoying the Party While it Lasts
It’s been amazing to watch the Japanese markets in the last couple of months as the powers-that-be have decided they will mimic the U.S. “printing your way out of debt” style. The impact has lifted the main Japanese index, the Nikkei 225, nearly 25%. Meanwhile, Japan’s currency (yen) has been crushed vs. the dollar, great helping Japanese companies who rely on exports.
Reckless fiscal policy is becoming the norm worldwide. As indices rise, all will be calm until they stop going up. Measuring one’s bullishness in this sort of environment can be quite interesting. We certainly don’t want to miss some of the upside while the action is giddy, but we are aware of the bigger picture and will continue to make our conservative calls accordingly.
For dividend investors, it’s not about trying to time the markets. Still, we know investors can sometimes stray a but beyond the realm of income investing, especially when the business media is locked in on the trade of the day and short-term price action. Earnings season is approaching, so we will soon get a good look at what is happening beyond the latest macroeconomic headlines. Stay tuned!
Looking Toward Next Week
Looking ahead to the next week for stocks, we will get a bunch of earnings from the financial space, including the likes of Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC), and Citigroup (C), just to name a few.
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