Market Wrap-Up for Jan.9 (AA, STX, HLF, MA, V, more)

Market Wrap-Up for Jan.9 (AA, STX, HLF, MA, V, more)


The markets reversed yesterday’s downdraft with a rally on the back of solid performance in the overseas markets overnight. It will be interesting to see if there is a separation with global market performance, as currency battles begin to take shape. Japan’s decision to weaken the yen in a frantic way may not have been the reaction the U.S. was expecting, but what can you expect when other nations see the printing press approach our policymakers have put in place.

We had the first of the Dow components reporting earnings this morning, as Alcoa (AA) came out with cautiously optimistic guidance following its report. The stock was mostly flat on the day.

Meanwhile, Seagate Technology (STX) gained nicely on the company’s newly-raised guidance. Elsewhere, credit card processing plays Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) continue to get Wall Street love, even as valuations push past the top end of their historic levels. Much to the business media’s pleasure, news is out that well-known hedge fund manager Dan Loeb taking a decent-sized stake in Herbalife (HLF), a nutritional/supplement product marketing company that another legendary hedge fund manager, Bill Ackman, recently revealed a big short position in. Ackman noted he expects the stock to go to $0. There’s nothing like a battle of hedge fund managers to get the business media covering it as if it was a Ali-Frazier prize fight!

Out of Touch with Reality — and the Customer Base

Watching the New York Jets’ year-end press conference yesterday and hearing the nonsense uttered by the team’s head coach and owner once again convinced of a universal truth: just because someone has the ability to write a big check doesn’t necessarily qualify them to lead an organization to glory.

In the Jets’ case, management is basically granting head coach Rex Ryan a “do-over,” despite the coach admitting he was out of touch with several key facets of the team’s skill level. The strange part is the owner of the Jets, Woody Johnson, is from the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) family. You would think that he’d have the right pedigree to figure out when the coach was in over his head. Some are arguing that the giant circus and the attention surrounding the team is actually what Mr. Johnson enjoys. It’s certainly true the Jets have maintained their place in the news, despite not even being in the playoffs for the past two seasons. But it’s an easy tell to figure out when people are laughing at your organization and not enamored with it for any positive reasons.

If the team were a stock, we as investors would be running the other way. The way the team is run bears no resemblance to Mr. Johnson’s family business (Johnson & Johnson). If you see your own employer operating similarly to the Jets, I would suggest you freshen up your resume and look for new opportunities elsewhere. Unfortunately for Jet fans, it looks like the circus is in town for good.

Thanks for reading everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow!

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