One Little Secret for Big Results by Kevin Matras – 09/20/2014

I’m going to share with you one of the most powerful things I have ever read. It made me believe that anything was possible. And that whatever success I wanted to achieve, I indeed could achieve it.

It would not be without hard work. But the concept was simple. And I instantly knew it to be true.

They called it a secret. In fact, it was literally called “the greatest secret in the world”. And that secret was this: the key to success was that you only needed to be a small, measurable amount better than mediocrity to succeed.

Is that really true? In its simplest form it is. The
book went on to tell of why this was true. And in short, they described how most people give up on the meaningful things they hope to accomplish.


I, of course, knew that true greatness would take a lot more than being just a few steps ahead of the pack. And that if you wanted to be the Michael Jordan of your profession, it would take a lifetime of dedication and being born with the right genes.

But most people don’t need to be the Michael Jordan of anything in their life to have life changing success.

They only need to be a small, measurable amount better in the important things in their life.

Want to pass that test that will get you that promotion? Stick to your study times and don’t blow them off for some silly TV show and you’ll be better prepared to pass that test.

Want to lose weight? Have one less can of pop each day or one less sugary snack and watch how that can set in motion a metamorphosis.

Want to make more money in the stock market? If all you did was have one less loser each month, and replace it with one more winner, that could transform your portfolio.

You don’t need to be as good as Warren Buffett to achieve your investment goals. By simply making a few changes in how you pick stocks, the extra results can quickly add up.

But you have to know where to begin.

One Less Loser

Setting a goal to have one less loser may not sound exciting, but the results can be dramatic.

There are over 10,000 stocks out there. So be choosey. One of the best ways to put the odds of success in your favor is to focus on the top industries. Why? Because roughly 50% of a stock’s price movement can be attributed to the group that it’s in.

That’s why, oftentimes, even a mediocre stock in a top industry can outperform the strongest stock in a weak industry. In fact, in my testing I have found that the top 50% of Zacks Ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

If your last loser was in an underperforming industry, you were betting against the odds.

Instead, stick with the best performing industries and put the odds of success in your favor.

And when you do find yourself in a losing trade, get out sooner.

Nobody likes to take a loss. But don’t let your unwillingness to do so ruin your portfolio. Smaller losses are easy to overcome. But big losses, like -30%, -40%, and -50% losers can devastate your portfolio, not to mention your confidence.

If you found yourself driving the wrong way on a one way street, you wouldn’t keep driving the wrong way or speed up, you’d turn around and get off. Same thing with stocks. If you bought a stock expecting it to go up, and it’s now doing the exact opposite, get out before you crash your portfolio.

One less loser, or even just deciding to take smaller losses, will immediately set you apart from the typical mediocre investor.

One More Winner

Now if you can replace that one less loser with one more winner, you’ll compound your success even more.

First, stick with the investing style that’s right for you. There are many different investing styles out there. The four main fundamental styles are Momentum, Aggressive Growth, Value, and Growth and Income. You can also apply Technical Analysis to any of these styles, and others as well.

But make sure you employ proven techniques to get the most out of each style. For example, if you’re an Aggressive Growth investor; did you know that stocks with the highest growth rates perform almost as poorly as those with the lowest growth rates? It’s true.

This is because the companies with the highest growth rates are often unsustainable. And once those sky-high growth rates start to come down, even though they may still be spectacular, the price of the stock will fall back down to earth as well.

Stick with companies that have growth rates above the median for their industry, but less than 50%. That range has produced some of the best results.

If you’re a Value investor; do you know which valuation metrics produce the best results? Better yet, do you know what valuation ranges have the highest probability of success?

In my testing, I have found that the Price to Sales ratio (P/S) is one of the best valuation metrics out there. And that stocks with a P/S ratio of less than 1, by far, produce the highest returns. Between 1-2 still produce stellar results. And between 2-3 outperform the market. But once you get over 4, there is a higher probability of losing on that stock than winning.

That, of course, does not mean all stocks with a P/S ratio above 4 will go down. But if the odds of winning are greater below 1 (or at least below 3) and worse above 4, then by simply focusing on stocks in the optimum valuation range, you are now one step closer to having one more winner.

Don’t worry whether you’ve picked the best stock on the planet. In fact, the best stock on the planet today may not be the best stock on the planet tomorrow. But it doesn’t matter.

All you need to focus on are good stocks. Or just slightly better stocks than you’re picking now to start seeing the kind of success you’ve always wanted.
And one small better decision will set in motion other better decisions. And before you know it, you’ll be achieving your goals.

Thanks and good trading,


Zacks VP Kevin Matras is our chart patterns and stock screening expert. He developed many of Zacks’ most powerful market-beating strategies and directs the Zacks Method for Trading: Home Study Course.

Quartz Weekend Brief—#Scotland’s consolation, atheist spiritualism, #Alibaba’s Achilles heel, #Syria’s good guys

Quartz -
Good morning, Quartz readers!

“This has been a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics.” Praising the record-setting 85% turnout in Scotland’s referendum on independence was bittersweet for Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party. After all, his side lost, and he quit his job, ending 20 years at the helm of the pro-independence party.

Still, the “Yes” camp shouldn’t feel bad. The claim that countries are predisposed to secede when offered the choice is spurious. Sure, you can point to the landslide victories of independence votes in restive regions of Ukraine, or Transnistria, South Ossetia, and any number of other places. But if you exclude distant colonies, former constituents of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and the break-ups of recent forced marriages by colonial powers (as with East Timor-Indonesia, or Eritrea-Ethiopia), the list of genuine, successful secessions through a clean democratic process is exceedingly short. Given a free and fair vote on their status, peaceful unions with long histories—like Scotland’s 307-year-old merger with England—have tended to vote against independence. Quebec twice voted against seceding from Canada, in 1980 and 1995.

Still, some 1.6 million Scots, or 45% of the electorate, voted for independence. What they’ll get instead, it seems, are even greater powers to determine their own affairs, in hopes of avoiding another brush with divorce in the future. The devolution of powers to other parts of the UK is now also likely, making it a “looser and messier” state. A similar solution might satisfy Catalan separatists in Spain.

Whatever the passions of the day, centuries-old borders are not redrawn lightly. Even the staunchest pro-independence Scots wanted to keep the Queen, use the pound, and belong to the EU, as they did before the vote. When pressed, Catalans might also admit, grudgingly, that membership in the Kingdom of Spain has its merits. And within these long-lived, and not always happy, unions there remains scope for change.

The nation-state is dead. Long live the nation-state.—Jason Karaian

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Big data have never looked so small. Mobile data traffic is expected to grow 18x by 2016. How can your business advantageously adapt to an increasingly connected world? Hear from the innovators planning for the next billion people to come online at The Next Billion on 11/5 in NYC.

Five things on Quartz we especially liked

Atheists can be spiritual, too. Mysticism and spirituality have long been the domain of the religious, scorned and ridiculed by outspoken atheists. Tom Roston, himself the author of a book on atheism, profiles Sam Harris, a neuroscientist and atheist whose book moves to end religion’s monopoly on the mystical.

Charting fashion’s movers and shakers through Instagram. The fashion industry is crazy about Instagram. In the midst of Fashion Month, Jenni Avins and David Yanofsky ran the numbers on 1.8 million accounts to create an interactive that shows who’s mainstream and who flies under the radar outside the industry.

Why Germans pay in cash. Germans keep their wallets twice as thick as Americans and pay cash in 80% of transactions. Matt Phillips delves into the country’s turbulent economic history to uncover the roots of German aversion to credit.

The weird world of American college football. It’s a multibillion dollar business that relies on unpaid labor. John McDuling investigates how the money-printing machine that runs on nostalgia and traditional rivalries explains US culture—but is at risk of unraveling as it moves away from its roots.

A flat quarter-century for the US middle class. Median household income in the US is lower than it was in 1989, while upper-bracket income has surged. Matt Phillips, again, examines what rising inequality means for the middle class and the businesses that depend on them.

Five things elsewhere that made us smarter

Alibaba’s Achilles heel. In this insightful piece from last November, the New America Foundation’s Hao Wu, a former “Aliren” (Alibaba employee), explains that CEO Jack Ma runs Alibaba—which went public this week—as a charismatic, Mao-like figure, with a culture of control and obedience that, while very Chinese, is increasingly ill-suited to a new, younger generation of workers.

These are the good guys in Syria. Aleppo’s civil defense brigades are a young, tight-knit band of brothers who risk their lives every day to rescue people from the aftermath of regime airstrikes. Matthieu Aikins and Sebastiano Tomada spent a harrowing week with them, and their story and photographs on Medium are beautiful and haunting.

Why are there so many smart, wealthy “anti-vaxxers”? In the New Republic, Gary Baum examines the confluence of superstition, politics, and pop culture that’s driving vaccination levels in affluent west Los Angeles below the minimum needed to ensure “herd immunity” and prevent widespread contagion. Also worth reading: Adam Kucharski in Aeon on the mathematics behind herd immunity.

Domestic violence is not a new problem in the NFL. The scandal currently engulfing America’s most lucrative sports league is the culmination of a long history of turning the other cheek, as Louisa Thomas documents in Grantland.

Chess’s new prodigy. A year ago Magnus Carlsen was the game’s golden boy. But earlier this month 22-year-old Fabiano Caruana turned in the best tournament score of all time. Seth Stevenson in Slate nicely contextualizes the stunning magnitude of his achievement, little-noticed outside the world of chess.

Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, Jack Ma anecdotes, and chess strategies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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#Stocks Ready to Breakout? – 09/19/2014

The previous high for the S&P was 2011.17. So does Thursday’s intraday peak of 2012 represent a breakout above?


Granted, I think that stocks should be making their way to 2100 by year’s end. And this could be the start of that move. It just seems to have the earmarks of pressing the upper end of the recent trading range and nothing more.

For those looking for a catalyst, they may have found one in the latest weekly Jobless Claims report. This came in at a shockingly low 280K versus 316K last week. If there are more announcements at this level, it should correlate to future monthly job additions back above 200,000. This is important given how weak (or misstated) the August report was showing only 142K additions.


Steve Reitmeister ( aka Reity…pronounced “Righty” )

Executive Vice President

CWS Market Review – September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014

“The market is fond of making mountains out of molehills and exaggerating
ordinary vicissitudes into major setbacks.” – Benjamin Graham

Is it ever! We all know how the market likes to be a major drama queen, and frankly, that’s what makes investing so much fun. This week, for example, was an exciting week for Wall Street. On Wednesday, Janet Yellen and her buddies on the Federal Open Market Committee decided to taper the Fed’s bond purchases by another $10 billion. Starting in October, the central bank will buy $10 billion in Treasuries and $5 million in mortgage-backed securities. What this means is that the Fed will almost certainly wrap up Quantitative Easing once and for all at their next meeting in late October.In addition to their regular policy statement, the Fed threw another statement our way –
A Declaration of Normalization Principles, which describes how the Fed will depart from (as they prefer to phrase it) “monetary accommodation.” I’ll explain what it all means in bit, but skipping all the econo-jargon, it means that we can expect low interest rates to stick around a while longer.

That’s good news for investors, and the stock market approved of the Fed’s move. On Thursday, the S&P 500 galloped to 2,011.36, which is the index’s 34th record close of the year. There also some relief that the “no” side appears to have won in Scotland’s independence referendum.

Later on in this issue, we’ll look at the recent earnings report from Oracle (ORCL). The enterprise-software king missed earnings yet again, but the really big news is that Larry Ellison is stepping down as CEO! I’ll tell you what it all means. We also got an 11% dividend increase from Microsoft (MSFT), which is exactly what I predicted in last week’s CWS Market Review. I’ll also preview the upcoming earnings report from Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY). But first, let’s look at why the Fed isn’t going to raise rates anytime soon.

Expect Rates to Stay Low for a Long Time

On Wednesday, the investing world came to a halt to hear what the Federal Open Market Committee had decided. Since there has been some noticeable improvement in the economy, some investors were speculating that the Fed might ditch its key phrase “considerable time” as it pertains to the period between the end of Quantitative Easing and I-Day, the date of the first interest-rate increase. Previously, Janet Yellen described that period as lasting “around six months,” which was a big-time rookie mistake.

As it turns out, the Fed decided to keep its “considerable time” proviso. They also kept the affirmation that “there remains significant underutilization of labor resources,” which is a fancy way of saying there’s still a lot of folks out of work. And that’s certainly true.

As I mentioned before, the Fed decided to taper its bond purchases, and the next meeting should be the final taper. So that leads us to wonder: How much longer do we have to wait for rates to rise? We got a hint of that as the Fed also released its projections for the economy and interest rates. The Fed includes a scatter plot of blue dots for each of the 17 FOMC members (not all of whom vote). The most important chart shows where the 17 members of the FOMC see interest rates at year’s end for the next few years, as well as the forecast for the long run.

What I found truly surprising is how hawkish the projections are. Most Committee members see interest rates hitting 1% before the end of next year, and 2.5% before the end of 2016. That’s well ahead of the futures market. I’m surprised to see such a divergence between the Fed and the markets. In fact, it’s a divergence between the Fed and what the Fed has previously said. What’s going on? I noticed that there were two dissenters on the Committee this time, so we may see a growing divide at the Fed. The projections could be an indication that the inflation hawks are growing.

My view is that there’s no need to raise rates anytime soon. I think mid-2015 would be the earliest possible date. As the policy statement made clear, there’s still a lot of slack in the labor market, and inflation is dead as a doornail. This week, we got more evidence of how tame inflation has been. We actually had deflation last month. The government said that consumer prices fell 0.2% in August. Wall Street had been expecting no change.

Don’t think the low inflation was solely due to lower energy prices, however. The “core rate,” which excludes goods and energy price, was flat last month. Economists had been expecting an increase of 0.2%. This was the lowest core inflation report in more than four years. Remember that with 0% interest rates and deflation, real rates are positive!

There are also plenty of signs that the economy isn’t completely well. Last Friday, the government reported that Industrial Production fell 0.1% last month. This was the first decrease since January. This data series can be a bit bumpy, so it’s too early to say that this could be a sign of trouble. Interestingly, in the Fed’s economic projections this week, the central bank lowered its growth forecasts for next year.

I should also point out an important fact that’s often overlooked. The debate on Wall Street concerns when the Fed will start raising rates. But even when it does, real rates will still be negative, and they’ll probably stay that way for two more years, give or take. Consider that the yield on the five-year TIPs only recently crossed into positive territory.

On Thursday, we got some good news for the labor market. First-time jobless claims dropped to 280,000. That’s one of the lowest reports in the last 40 years. This report, however, can be very noisy, so economists prefer to focus on the four-week moving average. The last jobs report wasn’t very good, so this may be an omen of more strength down the road. As always, it’s important to look at the trend, not just one or two data points. (Naturally we don’t want to exaggerate any ordinary vicissitudes.)

What Does This Mean for Investors?

The market has had an interesting reaction to the Fed this week. In short, what’s been happening has continued to happen, only more so. But I think the market read too much into the Fed’s hawkish projections and assumes higher rates are on the way. Much of the action this week has been the strong-dollar trade (lower gold, lower bonds, higher stocks, large-caps beating small-caps).

The overall stock market responded to the Fed by rallying, but it’s an uneven rally, as we would expect. The spread between large- and small-caps has grown even larger, which is a natural reaction to a stronger dollar. The big boys are leading this rally by a good margin, and the Russell 2000 is actually down for the year. Here’s a remarkable stat: Nearly half of the stocks on the Nasdaq are down by 20% or more. In other words, there’s a stealth bear market going on, even as the broader rally continues.

As I mentioned last week, the U.S. dollar is strong, and it’s getting stronger. The dollar rallied to a six-year high against the Japanese yen. That helped push shares of AFLAC (AFL) to a new 52-week low on Wednesday. The euro fell to a 14-month low against the dollar.

The same forces are at work in the gold pits. On Thursday, gold fell below $1,220 an ounce for the first time since January. Gold looks ugly, and I think it will get uglier. The Fed’s most important audience, the bond market, responded by selling off. On Thursday, the two-, three- and five-year Treasuries all closed at the highest yield in over three years. But any maturity less than that barely moved. While long-term yields fell for much of this year, they’ve started to rise over the past three weeks. One of the best economic indicators is the spread between the two- and ten-year Treasuries, and that’s increased a bit recently.

What to do now: Investors should continue to focus on high-quality stocks like those on our Buy List. I would pay particular attention to stocks with above-average dividend yields like Ford (F), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Microsoft (MSFT). Now let’s look at one of my favorite tech stocks.

Larry Ellison Steps Down as Oracle’s CEO

After the closing bell on Thursday, Larry Ellison shocked Wall Street by announcing that he’s stepping down as CEO of Oracle (ORCL). In his place, Mark Hurd and Safra Catz will both become CEO. Interestingly, Oracle’s statement has never referred to them as co-CEOs, which is a concept with a troubled history. Ellison will become Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of the dual-CEO concept, and it rarely works. On top of that, no one is truly CEO as long as Larry Ellison is Chairman of the Board. I don’t mean that disrespectfully; I’m a big Larry fan. I like anybody who owns their own MIG-29 or Hawaiian island, but let’s remember that he owns 25% of the shares. I doubt this two-CEO configuration will last more than two years, but I’ll give it a fair shake.

Now on to earnings. For fiscal Q1, Oracle earned 62 cents per share, which was two cents below Wall Street’s estimate. In June, Oracle had given us an earnings range for Q1 of 62 to 66 cents per share. This is the third quarter in a row where Oracle has missed consensus. Quarterly revenues rose 3% to $8.6 billion, which was below the Street’s consensus of $8.78 billion. Oracle had been expecting growth of 4% to 6%.

Hardware continues to be a trouble spot for Oracle. For Q1, hardware sales dropped 8% to $1.2 billion. But there are some bright spots as well. Oracle’s cloud revenue rose more than 30% to $475 million. The company’s cash flow rose 7% to $6.7 billion, which is an all-time record. Oracle also said that it will repurchase $13 billion in shares.

On to guidance. For Q2, which ends in November, Oracle expects earnings to range between 66 and 70 cents per share. Wall Street had been expecting 74 cents per share. Oracle expects top-line growth between 0% and 4%. Frankly, this is a so-so earnings report. It’s not terrible, but it tells me Oracle is still having trouble in key markets. However, I’m not about to abandon them. Oracle remains a buy up to $44 per share.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s Earnings Preview

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is due to report fiscal Q2 earnings on Tuesday, September 23. This certainly has a lot of shareholders nervous because the shares have been slammed by the market for the last three earnings reports. It’s clear that the market went overboard last time (down to $55?), and shares of BBBY have slowly inched their way back.

In June, the home-furnishings store told us to expect Q2 earnings to range between $1.08 and $1.16 per share. My numbers say that earnings will come in on the high-end of that range. For all the trouble BBBY has gotten from the market, the company has been consistent with its full-year earnings estimate. It expects earnings growth in the “mid single digits.” If we take that to mean 4% to 6% and apply it to last year’s earnings of $4.79 per share, it gives us a range of $4.98 to $5.08 per share for this year. That means the stock is going for less than 13 times earnings, which is quite reasonable. The company also floated its first bond deal in 20 years to fund $1.1 billion in share buybacks. I can’t say I’m a big fan of that move, but I understand the company’s impatience with the market. Bed Bath & Beyond remains a buy up to $70 per share.

Microsoft Raises Its Dividend By 11%

In last week’s CWS Market Review, I wrote:

Be on the lookout for a dividend increase soon from Microsoft (MSFT). The software giant isn’t normally thought of as a dividend stock, but they’ve been working to change that. In the last four years, Microsoft has increased its dividend by 115%. The quarterly payout is currently 28 cents per share. I think MSFT will raise it to 31 cents per share.

I was right! After the closing bell on Tuesday, Microsoft (MSFT) raised its quarterly dividend to 31 cents per share. That’s an increase of 11%. Over the last five years, MSFT has raised its dividend by 138%. The new dividend works out to $1.24 for the year. Going by Thursday’s close and the new dividend, Microsoft now yields 2.66%. Fiscal Q1 earnings are due out in another month. Last Friday, the shares broke above $47 for the first time since Bill Clinton was president. Microsoft remains a very good buy up to $48 per share.

That’s all for now. Next week is the last full week of trading before the end of the third quarter. We’ll get key reports and new and existing home sales. On Thursday, we’ll get the latest report on Durable Goods. Last month’s report was very strong thanks to a surge in aircraft orders. On Friday, the government will update the numbers for Q2 GDP growth. Goldman Sachs said it will be 4.7%, which would make Q2 the best quarter in more than eight years. Be sure to keep checking the blog for daily updates. I’ll have more market analysis for you in the next issue of CWS Market Review!

- Eddy

Named by CNN/Money as the best buy-and-hold blogger, Eddy Elfenbein is the editor of Crossing Wall Street. His free Buy List has beaten the S&P 500 for the last seven years in a row. This email was sent by Eddy Elfenbein through Crossing Wall Street.
2223 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA

Websim Focus sui Mercati finanziari 19/09/2014 – WS

Le Borse europee sono indirizzate verso un avvio in rialzo dopo la vittoria dei No al referendum sull’indipendenza della Scozia. I future sugli indici di Londra, Parigi e Francoforte salgono di oltre l’1%.

La sterlina si rafforza salendo al massimo di due anni sull’euro. L’euro vale 0,7848/52 sterline, da una chiusura ieri a 0,7881. Il cambio euro/dollaro è poco mosso a 1,290, da 1,292 della chiusura di ieri sera.
Il giudizio sui mercati finanziari è che la vittoria dei No al referendum scozzese aiuta la stabilità politica all’interno dell’Unione europea.

Riflessi positivi del voto scozzese anche sul mercato dei titoli di Stato: gli spread dei Paesi periferici sono in netto calo, quello dei Bono spagnoli scendono di 11 punti base, quelli dei nostri Btp si riducono di 8 punti base (rendimento al 2,38%).

Atteso a mercati chiusi il verdetto di Moody’s sul rating sovrano francese. L’agenzia di rating, secondo quanto riportato ieri da un giornale, avrebbe informato il governo francese che taglierà il rating del debito sovrano di un gradino ad AA2. Il governo francese ha però smentito la ricezione di notifiche dall’agenzia di rating.

Asia. Borse tutte in rialzo. Stamattina brilla la Borsa del Giappone, il Nikkei sale dell’1,5% e si spinge sui massimi da inizio anno grazie alla debolezza dello yen su dollaro. Hong Kong +0,5%, Shanghai +0,3%, Seul +0,3%, Mumbay +0,2%.

Analisi tecnica borse. La seduta di ieri ha irrobustito ulteriormente il quadro generale. L’S&P500 è salito dello 0,4% segnando il nuovo record assoluto (2.011). Il Nikkei (16.321) si è portato nella delicatissima area di resistenza a 16.300 punti, oltre cui il movimento potrebbe accelerare. Segnali di vitalità anche in Europa. Nessun motivo per vendere.

FtseMib (21.128, +0,08%). L’indice respinge sistematicamente gli assalti dei ribassisti, ma ha bisogno di superare area 21.500 punti per poter puntare con maggiore serenità ai top dell’anno verso 22.500. Restiamo ottimisti. Allerta sotto 20.200 punti.

Variabili macro.

Petrolio. Prezzi in assestamento stamattina con il Brent a 97,6 dollari al barile e il Wti a 92,9 dollari. Il quadro di fondo rimane negativo, malgrado le fisiologiche reazioni. Monitoriamo i supporti strategici rispettivamente a 90 e 80 usd.

Oro. Resta sui minimi dal gennaio 2013 a 1.224 usd, sempre per effetto indiretto della forza del dollaro. Quadro di fondo ancor più depresso. Attendiamo l’eventuale approdo verso i supporti strategici a 1.200/1.180 usd per attivare acquisti di trading.

Forex. Euro/Dollaro (1,290). anche se la Yellen non ha parlato chiaramente di rialzo dei tassi, il mercato si è convinto che non manca molto all’ora X per cui il dollaro ha accelerato il movimento. L’obiettivo di breve rimane nella parte bassa del range 1,30/1,27. Risalite verso 1,32/1,33 sarebbero nuove occasioni per comprare dollari.

Bond periferici. Grazie anche al referendum scozzese, il rendimento del Btp 10 anni riparte dal 2,38%, il minimo storico è di pochi giorni fa al 2,25%. Lo spread riparte da quota 127, nuoivo minimo dell’anno.

Quartz Daily Brief—#Scotland’s vote results, #Alibaba’s unveiling, Larry #Ellison out, airplane food delivered

Quartz -
Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Scotland gets real. Preliminary results suggest that the “No” vote against independence is receiving more support than anticipated. As of press time “No” is leading with 53.8%, ahead of “Yes” with 46.2%, with 21 of 32 councils reporting. Glasgow supported the “Yes” vote, 53.5%-46.5%.

Alibaba shares the love. The Chinese e-commerce giant will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BABA.” The company priced shares in its IPO at $68 after Thursday’s market close; it is expected to raise nearly $21.8 billion on a valuation of $168 billion.

All hail the new iPhone. Apple’s long-awaited iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are out today in Australia, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK. Customers bought 4 million phones on the first day pre-orders were available, setting a pace to best Apple’s record of 9 million iPhone sales in an opening weekend. Here’s how to decide which one to buy.

Hold onto your volatility hats. Four stock futures and options contracts expire today in a quarterly phenomenon called “quadruple witching,” which often leads to frantic trading and market gyrations. Add to that the market-moving Scottish election results, US stocks hitting all-time highs, and the Alibaba IPO, and the ride looks even rockier.

An independence bid in Barcelona. The Catalan parliament is expected to call for a Nov. 9 vote on independence from Spain. Madrid has said that the referendum is unconstitutional (paywall).

While you were sleeping

The UN Security Council sounded the alarm on Ebola. Ebola is a “threat to international peace and security,” the council said after its first-ever emergency meeting to deal with a public health issue. In Oxford, England, the first human subject began a trial of a GlaxoSmithKline vaccination against Ebola. Meanwhile, eight people, including three doctors and three journalists, were murdered in southeast Guinea near where the outbreak began.

The US Senate approved aid for Syrian rebels. President Obama has been given approval with a vote of 78-22 for his plan to train and arm rebels in their fight against the Islamic State, which just released a new video of a captive British journalist named John Cantlie.

A typhoon shut down Manila. The Philippine capital shuttered its government offices and financial markets as the storm known as “Mario” caused severe flooding.

Japan’s economic outlook got bleaker. The world’s third largest economy downgraded its forecast due to lower consumer consumption, caused by bad weather and a bigger-than-expected impact from a sales tax increase.

SAP buys into the cloud. The German business software giant acquired the online travel expenses company Concur (paywall) for $8.3 billion in an effort to expand its web services offerings to corporations. Seattle-based Concur is a rare survivor of the first dotcom boom.

Microsoft fired 2,100 employees in its second round of layoffs, part of a plan announced in July to cut 18,000 jobs, or 14% of the company’s total workforce. The housecleaning is an attempt to streamline operations after the acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services division, which added 25,000 employees to Microsoft’s payroll.

Larry Ellison is out as Oracle’s CEO. The surprise shift is effective immediately. Ellison becomes executive chairman of the board and chief technology officer. Longtime Oracle executives Safra Catz and Mark Hurd will become co-CEOs.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why Homer Simpson’s beer mantra is a lot like China’s approach to real estate. “[J]ust like alcohol, China’s property construction sector—which [the country] relies on to drive up to a fifth of its GDP—is at once “the cause of, and solution to” if not all, then many, of its economic problems. That’s because even though this over-reliance makes the country’s economy unusually vulnerable to home-sale slumps—and financial risks—the government has in the past rescued its swooning economy by—you guessed it—encouraging more real estate investment.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Vladimir Putin loves rumors. His comments about invading neighboring capitals were taken out of context, but the speculation helps him anyway.

Ken Burns doesn’t understand the Roosevelts. The documentarian’s latest is heavy on character but light on politics.

Midlife crises are biologically coded. We should acknowledge their existence and adjust accordingly.

Interning is the new volunteering. It looks good on a resume, and interns are less prone to flaking out.

Surprising discoveries

You can get airplane food delivered to your house, for some reason. German subscribers get a weekly business class meal—this week it’s “Arabic seafood” or panserotti with porcini mushrooms.

Wal-Mart Mexico is being investigated for holding a cockfight. A spokesman said the roosters were unarmed and uninjured.

South Koreans are splurging on job application mugshots. Some recruiters believe that photos trump other resume details.

Dogs can be pessimists. Though it’s unclear how common it is to see the water bowl as half-empty.

North Korea wrote a 50,000-page report on its human rights record. It concluded that things are going pretty well. The UN disagrees.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

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MONETARIO – Cosa succede oggi venerdì 19 settembre 19/09/2014 – RSF

REFERENDUM SCOZIA – La Scozia resta nel Regno Unito [ID:L6N0RK0F1] e si attende di vedere la reazione del mercato all”esito del referendum scozzese dopo che lo spettro del sì all”indipendenza nei giorni scorsi aveva pesato su mercati come la Spagnadove esiste la questione della Catalogna.

LAVORO – La commissione Lavoro del Senato ha dato ieri il via libera al ddl delega sul lavoro con il consenso unanime dei parlamentari Pd; tuttavia i malumori nel partito restano tanto che Orfini hachiesto correzioni al testo e Bersani parla di “intenzioni surreali”. La norma che vede spaccato il partito del premier Matteo Renzi è l’emendamento all’articolo 4 che introduce per i nuovi assunti il contratto a tempo indeterminato a tutelecrescenti, aprendo la strada al superamento dell’articolo 18 dello Statuto dei lavoratori che disciplina i licenziamenti senza giusta causa (news).

FMI SU ITALIA – Dopo Ocse, Confindustria e S&P, ieri anche il Fondo monetariointernazionale ha fornito una visione negativa per la congiuntura italiana. Con un documento uscito ieri, l’organizzazione basata a Washington ha portato a -0,1% da +0,3% di fine luglio la stima per il prodotto interno lordo nel 2014, pur confermandola proiezione di +1,1% per l”anno prossimo. Il deterioramento delle prospettive sul Pil ha ovviamente una ricaduta sui conti pubblici. Il Fondo corregge a 3,0% da 2,7% del ”Fiscal monitor” di aprile la proiezione sul disavanzo in percentuale del Pilnel 2014 e stima 2,1% da 1,8% per l’anno prossimo. Passa infine da 134,5% a 136,4% per quest’anno e da 133,1% a 135,4% per il 2015 la stima sul debito/Pil (news).

REAZIONE MERCATI TLTRO – Dopo una prima reazione negativa ai dati dellaBce sulla partecipazione degli istituti di credito al Tltro, i mercati del debito hanno abbracciato una lettura positiva della non altissima adesione, per poi tornare in calo. Gli operatori aspettano oggi di tastare l’andamento del giorno dopo. LaBanca centrale europea ieri ha assegnato 82,602 miliardi di euro di fondi a quattro anni nella prima operazione di finanziamento ‘Tltro’, finalizzata a rilanciare il flusso del credito all’economia reale <ECB25>. L’ultimo sondaggio condotto da Reuters tra gli operatori del mercato monetario indicava per l’operazione l’assegnazione di un importo di 133 miliardi di euro. Le richieste sono pervenute da 255 banche (news). Se da un lato l’idea che la Bce debba ricorrere ad altre misure come il ‘QE’ ha stimolato i titoli, dall’altra l’ipotesi di una più massiccia adesione a dicembre ha inibito una lettura definitiva del dato.

MOODY’S SU FRANCIA – Atteso a mercati chiusi il verdetto di Moody’s sul rating sovrano francese. L’agenzia dirating, secondo quanto riportato ieri da un giornale, avrebbe informato il governo francese che taglierà il rating del debito sovrano di un gradino ad ”Aa2” (news). Il ministero ha però smentito la ricezione di notifiche dall”agenzia dirating (news).

FOREX – La valuta britannica si rafforza sull’esito del referendum scozzese, salendo al massimo di ben due anni sull’euro a 0,7805 sterline per euro. Attorno alle 7,30 l’euro vale 0,7848/52 sterline <EURGBP=> da unachiusura ieri a 0,7881, 1,2919/15 dollari <EUR=> da una chiusura a 1,2922 e 140,90/95 yen <EURJPY=> da 140,43. Il dollaro/yen <JPY=> si attesta a 109,09/10 da una precedente chiusura a 108,69.

GREGGIO – Brent sotto i 98 dollari al barile maimpostato per mettere a segno il primo rialzo settimanale su tre sulla possibilità di una più bassa produzione Opec. Attorno alle 7,30 il future a novembre sul Brent <LCOc1> cede 6 centesimi a 97,64 dollari al barile, mentre la stessa scadenza sulgreggio lggero Usa <CLc1> arretra di 13 centesimi a 92,94 dollari al barile.

TREASURIES – Chiusura in calo ieri per i titoli del Tesoro Usa con i tassi su alcuni titoli a breve che si portano ai massimi dal 2011 su attese di un rialzo dei tassi da parte della Fed. Il decennale di riferimento <US10YT=RR> ha chiuso con un calo di 10/32 in termini di prezzo e un rendimento a 2,634%.

Prezzi alla produzione agosto (8,00) – attesa -0,1% m/m; -0,8% a/a.

Partite correnti luglio (10,00).

Flusso investimenti luglio (10,00).

Indice leading agosto (16,00) – attesa 0,4% m/m.

Riga, attesacomunicazione su budget da banca centrale Lettone.

Siena, convegno “Banche e attività bancaria nel Tub: qualche riflessione su un ventennio di regolamentazione” con Sabatini(11,30).

Belgio, DBRS si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Francia, Moody’s si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Gran Bretagna, Moody’s si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

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