Quartz Weekend Brief—The Dress, the Great Firewall, political assassinations, desert jeep rallies

Good morning, Quartz readers!

“You guys,” a friend tweeted on Thursday, “today was what the Internet used to be like ALL THE TIME.”

He was talking, of course, about “the dress“—the image of a garment that looked white and gold to some people and blue and black to others, or even looked different to the same people at different times of day, and drove what seemed like the entire internet crazy. BuzzFeed said its coverage of the dress garnered 41 million views in less than a day.

But the tweet might as well have been talking about that day’s decision by the US Federal Communications Commission to adopt strict “net neutrality” rules that treat the internet as a public utility. Both were expressions of the internet in its purest, most democratic form—the way its idealistic pioneers imagined.

Net neutrality, in plain English, means that internet service providers (ISPs) can’t censor stuff and can’t give preferential treatment (e.g., faster data speeds) to some stuff over other stuff. Without it, the power of governments and large companies to control what people see online,already considerable, would grow even stronger.

The dress was just an optical illusion. It became #TheDress becauseeveryone could see it, and wanted to know what other people were seeing, and could find out, and tell each other, instantly. While websites vied to profit from their curiosity (and some succeeded hugely), they were just riding the wave. The wave itself was hundreds of millions of moments of direct, unmediated communication, the raw collective power of a society talking to itself—the internet as the ultimate public square.

This is the internet that net neutrality is designed to protect. It would, of course, be wonderful if as many people used it to try to solve poverty or global warming as went apeshit over a dress. But we’re glad we have it, all the same.—Gideon Lichfield

Five things on Quartz we especially liked

Greece’s bailout deal in plain English. Tim Fernholz and Jason Karaian translate blunt messages from bureaucratic jargon: “Thanks for ruining our weekend,” and other things the leaders of the troika of Greece’s lenders meant to say in their letters affirming the bailout extension this week.

An ugly side-effect of China’s Great Firewall. Chinese internet users who try to reach banned websites are supposed to be re-directed to non-existent IP addresses. Lately, what appears to be a glitch is sending all those web requests to real, random sites, which are instantly crushed by the traffic influx. Unwittingly or not, writes Adam Pasick, the Chinese government has weaponized every computer in the country.

The Ukrainian city that’s become a haven for Jews fleeing another European war. Misha Friedman’s photographs document the lives that refugees from the fighting in the east are building in Dnipropetrovsk—a city with a dark history of persecution that’s now the unlikely home of what may be the world’s largest Jewish community center.

That part of the India-Pakistan border that’s all beer and gunshots of joy. The Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally is a sandy two-day festival of machismo that drew over 100,000 people this year. But the flaunting of booze, cars, and money did little to distract Saim Saeed, writing for Quartz India, from the grim shadow of border politics.

Alberto Nisman’s death isn’t the Hollywood thriller it’s been made out to be. The Argentinian prosecutor who turned up dead after accusing his country’s president of a cover-up for a terrorist plot was not a hero “fighting for truth and justice against villainous conspirators.”Those kinds of prosecutors don’t exist—at least not in Argentina, writes Gabriel Pasquini, who has covered the case for years.

Five things elsewhere that made us smarter

What if a nuclear warhead detonated above New York City? A mile-wide fireball would vaporize most of Manhattan and ignite fires across a 100-square-mile area, above which a “hurricane of fire” would form. And Steven Starr, Lynn Eden, and Theodore Postol in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists don’t even begin to explain what comes after the radioactive fallout arrives.

One of Wall Street’s brightest prospects was also an undocumented immigrant. Bloomberg’s Max Abelson profiles the accomplishments and burdens of Julissa Arce, who spent seven years rising in the ranks at Goldman Sachs and other banks while keeping her immigration status secret.

Meet the man who could buy out his insurer with its own money.A young Frenchman (well, his dad) bought a life-insurance policy in 1997 that lets him invest with hindsight and make a guaranteed profit. It’ll soon be worth more than the insurance company that issued it. Itmade sense at the time, explains Dan McCrum at FT Alphaville.

Why Boris Nemtsov was a threat to the Russian regime. One of Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, Nemtsov was gunned down early Saturday morning in Moscow. Michael Weiss and Olga Khvostunovainterviewed him in 2013 for the Atlantic about his detailed allegations of corruption around the Sochi Winter Olympics, involving friends of the Russian president.

The clash of civilizations becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS really wants” in the Atlantic last week reignited a debate about whether the Islamic State is really “Islamic.” In the New Yorker, Robert Wright argues that the question itself only contributes to the climate of fear on which Islamic extremism feeds.

Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, political conspiracy theories, and too-good-to-be-true insurance policies to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter herefor updates throughout the day.

You’re getting the Europe and Africa edition of the Quartz Daily Brief. To change your region, click here. We’d also love it if you shared this email with your friends. They can sign up for free here.


3 Traps to Avoid in this Market – 02/27/2015

Since breaking out above 2100 on February 20th stocks have really just gone sideways for the next four sessions. This is a case of a stock market that just refuses to go down and every dip is being bid back up. That typically says more upside will soon be delivered.

The next hurdle for investors is the first revision to Q4-14 GDP on Friday morning. As you might remember, the original estimate stood at +3.2%. Unfortunately +2.6% was the first print and now it seems that economists are predicting a further decline to +2.1%.

There is nothing wrong with +2.1% growth by itself. It’s just typically better for investors’ psyches to go up to 2.1%…then falling to that level.

I wanted to bring a fresh article to your attention which is perfect for today’s market environment. Be sure to read it now:

3 Traps to Avoid in this Market



aka Steve Reitmeister, Executive Vice President

MONETARIO – Cosa succede oggi venerdì 27 febbraio 27/02/2015 – RSF

DATI ITALIA – Da Istat alle 10 la prima lettura sui prezzi al consumo di febbraio, con un tasso tendenziale previsto ancora in negativo sia per l’indice Nic sia per l’armonizzato, per quanto a una velocità di caduta lievemente inferiore rispetto a gennaio. La mediana delle attese raccolte da Reuters scommette su un tasso annuo in frenata di 0,5% a livello di indice nazionale e 0,3% a perimetro armonizzato mentre, rispetto a gennaio, il consensus è di una variazione nulla del Nic e di una caduta di 0,2% dell’armonizzato. (news) Un’ora prima della stima flash italiana l’analoga spagnola, per cui si prevede un rallentamento tendenziale di 1,3% dopo il -1,5% del mese scorso.

ITALIA/UE – In un’intervista a ‘La Stampa’ ilcommisssario per gli Affari economici e monetari commenta il giudizio Ue degli ultimi due giorni, con cui Bruxelles ha deciso di non avviare alcuna procedura disciplinare sui conti pubblici nei confronti dell’Italia senza però mancare di sottolinearne le criticità. Pierre Moscovici lo definisce un “semaforo giallo, perché con il verde si passa mentre con il giallo serve l’acceleratore, altrimenti scatta il rosso”. La Commissione, spiega, ha scelto la strada del dialogo in luogo della rigida applicazione delle norme. Il giudizio positivo non è però “un regalo”, poiché esistono scadenze precise da rispettare e le riforme messe in campo sono sì ambiziose ma vanno realizzate.

MERCATI – Nuovo round di minimi storici per i rendimenti dei benchmark Btp, per nulla appesantiti dal collocamento a medio-lungo che ha visto assegnare ieri mattina l’importo massimo di 8,75 miliardi di euro tra benchmark a cinque anni, nuovo decennale 2025 e Ccteu. Sul tratto a dieci anni la forbice Italia/Germania riparte da 105 punti base, ennesimo minimo da maggio 2010, e il rendimento del titolo di riferimento dicembre 2024 da 1,347%. Nel pomeriggio la riapertura riservata agli operatori specialisti dell’asta di ieri per un totale di pochissimo inferiore a due miliardi. <BITY>

GRECIA – All’esame del Bundestag tedesco l’estensione di quattro mesi del programma degli aiuti ad Atene che, dopo un percorso assai accidentato, ha già ricevuto il via libera di Eurogruppo eCommissione europea. A dispetto della linea particolarmente inflessibile finora tenuta da Wolfgang Schaeuble, non dovrebbero esserci ostacoli a un voto di sostegno “a schiacciante maggioranza” da parte del parlamento federale. (news) Sempredi ieri, intanto, i dati Bce relativi a gennaio fotografano una fuga dei depositi bancari greci nell’ordine di grandezza di 12,2 miliardi di euro. (news) Negli ultimi giorni, dopo il sudato via libera all’estensione del ‘bailout’internazionale, i correntisti ellenici avrebbero tuttavia fatto rientrare oltre 850 milioni. (news)

DATI GIAPPONE – Nel mese di gennaio la spesa dei consumatori mostra una flessione di 0,3% su mese e 5,1% su anno contro aspettative pari rispettivamente a +0,4% e -4,1%; il tasso di disoccupazione si attesta a 3,6% (3,4% le attese e l’indice di dicembre) e l’inflazione ‘core’ si porta al tasso annuo di 2,2% (2,3% il consensus e 2,5% a dicembre). Per la sola area di Tokyo, intanto, sempre al netto di alimentari ed energia l’indice annuo cresce di 2,3% (2,2% le attese e il mese precedente). Tornando a gennaio, infine, la stima sulla produzione industriale mostra un incremento mensile di 4% (2,7% il consensus dopo0,8% a dicembre) e le vendite al dettaglio una flessione annua di 2% da -1,3% delle aspettative dei mercati dopo il +0,2% del mese precedente.

FOREX – Si ferma a riprendere fiato il biglietto verde negli ultimi scambi sulla piazza asiaticadopo il rally di ieri che ne ha portato l’indice sulle principali controparti al record da un mese. Gli ultimi numeri macro, insieme ai commenti di Janet Yellen, portano gli investitori nuovamente a scommettere su un ritocco verso l’alto deitassi di riferimento Usa. Poco dopo le 7,30 euro/dollaro <EUR=> a 1,1212/13 da 1,1196 ieri sera in chiusura, dollaro/yen <JPY=> 119,22/26 da 119,41 ed euro/yen <EURJPY=> 133,67/76 da 133,65.

GREGGIO – Derivati sul greggio ampiamentepositivi sul finale della piazza asiatica, con i contratti sul Brent in prossimità di 61 dollari, avviandosi a chiudere la miglior performance mensile da maggio 2009. A monte del recupero delle quotazioni problemi dal lato dell’offerta sul Mare delNord e timori sulle forniture di gas all’Europa. Il futures Brent ad aprile <LCOc1> guadagna 84 centesimi a 60,89 dollari il barile, mentre l’analoga scadenza Nyemx <CLC1> viaggia a 49 dollari, in rialzo di 83 cent.

TREASURIES – Ilbenchmark a dieci anni si muove in recupero di 5/32 e rende 2,012%.

Istat pubblica nota mensile.

Istat, stima prezzi al consumo febbraio (11,00) – attesa dato Nic 0,0% m/m; -0,5% a/a; datoIpca -0,2% m/m; -0,3% a/a.

Spese consumatori gennaio (8,45) – attesa -0,5% m/m.

Prezzi alla produzione gennaio (8,45).

Prezzi import gennaio (8,00) – attesa -1,0% m/m; -4,6% a/a.

Stima prezziconsumo febbraio (14,00) – attesa dato nazionale 0,7% m/m; -0,2% a/a; dato armonizzato 0,7% m/m; -0,4% a/a.

Indice Gfk fiducia consumatori febbraio – attesa 2.

Revisione Pil trim4 (11,00).

Prezzi produzione gennaio (11,00).

Vendite dettaglio dicembre (11,00).

Vendite dettaglio gennaio (12,00).

Pil finale trim4.

Stima prezzi al consumo febbraio (9,00) – attesa dato armonizzato -1,3% su anno.

Partite correnti dicembre (10,00).

Stima Pil, indice pce ‘core’ trim4 – attesa 2,1% per Pil, 1,1% pce.

Indice Pmi Chicago febbraio (15,45) – attesa 58,0.

Indice finale fiducia consumatoriUniversità Michigan febbraio (16,00) – attesa 94,0.

Vendite immobiliari in corso gennaio (16,00) – attesa 2,0% su mese.

Zona euro, a New York intervento Constancio, vice-presidente Bce (19,30).

New York, interventi Mester (Fed Cleveland) alle 16,15; Dudley (Fed New York) e Fisher (vice-governatore Fed) alle 19,30 a convegno annuale “U.S. Monetary Policy Forum 2015”.

Giappone, intervento governatore Kuroda(4,30).

Roma, Istat presenta “Rapporto sulla competitività dei settori produttivi”, introduce Alleva (11,00).

Milano, Reuters pubblica asset allocation febbraio (13,00).

Milano, conferenza stampa su dati economici 2014 e ‘New Mido’, interviene Calenda (11,30).

Berlino, voto parlamento su estensione aiuti a Grecia.

Bruxelles, Timmermans riceve Moavero.

Budapest, intervento annuale primo ministro Viktor Orban.

Vienna, ministro Finanze francese Sapin incontra governatore banca centrale Austria Nowotny.

Austria, Moody’s si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Germania, Moody’s si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Lussemburgo, Moody’s si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Malta, Fitch si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Romania, Fitch si pronuncia su rating sovrano.

Sul sitowww.reuters.it altre notizie Reuters in italiano. Le top news anche su http://www.twitter.com/reuters_italia

Websim Focus sui Mercati finanziari 27/02/2015 – WS

Chiusura poco mossa per Wall Street, in attesa del dato definitivo di oggi pomeriggio sul PIL del quarto trimestre. Dow Jones -0,06%, S&P500 -0,15%, Nasdaq +0,42%.

Asia. Stamattina Tokio chiude con un +0,06% che porta a +2,5% il bilancio della settimana. In Giappone la produzione industriale è salita in gennaio del 4%, una crescita che non si vedeva da tre anni.

Le Borse cinesi sono in rialzo, mentre lo yuan scende sui minimi degli ultimi due anni dopo che la Banca del Popolo della Cina ha tagliato il tasso di

riferimento dello 0,16% a 6,147 su dollaro. La valuta cinese si è indebolita fino a 6,269 su dollaro nel corso della notte, minimo da ottobre del 2012.

I future sulle borse europee si apprestano ad aprire poco sotto la parità.

Analisi tecnica borse. Oggi è l’ultimo giorno di un mese molto ricco per quasi tutte le borse principali. L’S&P500 ha accumulato finora un +5,8%, il Nikkei +7,6%, il Dax di Francoforte +6%. Stando ai dati di ieri, l’indice FtseMib di Piazza Affari potrebbe chiudere febbraio con un guadagno complessivo intorno all’8% bissando l’esito molto positivo di gennaio (+7,84%). I progressi sono stati sostenuti dalle politiche superespansive delle banche centrali ma sicuramente anche dai dati macro, per esempio quelli che segnalano una sempre meno timida ripresa del Bel Paese.

FtseMib (22.165, +1,04%). Si è riportato sui massimi dallo scorso giugno. Ci potrebbe essere qualche presa di profitto tattica a ridosso dei top che risalgono al 2014 in area a 22.500 punti. Restiamo comunque ottimisti sul lungo periodo e sfruttiamo eventuali correzioni, meglio verso 21mila punti (sulla chiusura del gap di metà febbraio), per comprare. Lo sfondamento di area 22.500 proietta l’obiettivo a 24mila punti, massimo dal 2009.

Variabili macro

Petrolio. Le ultime sedute sono state piuttosto volatili, nella sostanza non è cambiato molto. Il Brent (oggi 60,80 usd) ha come punto di riferimento area 60 usd. Il Wti (oggi 49 usd) ha come punto di riferimento area 50 usd. Su questi presupposti, per trading, possiamo intervenire in acquisto verso 55 e 45 dollari rispettivamente.

Oro (oggi 1.211 usd). Tutto fermo e nessuna novità grafica. L’oro si è rimangiato tutti i guadagni da inizio 2015 dimostrando una deludente

sottoperformance rispetto a molti altri asset, non solo le borse. Sono ancora a rischio gli importanti sostegni a 1.200/1.150 usd sotto i quali la discesa potrebbe addirittura accelerare.


Euro/Dollaro (1,121). Brusca accelerazione del dollaro ieri sempre su attese di un imminente rialzo dei tassi. Vogliamo essere un po’ maligni e pensare che qualche acquisto sia motivato dalla volontà di abbellire i risultati di fine mese di qualche investitore istituzionale. Il trading ci consiglia di attendere nuovi segnali per comprare dollari: 1) in caso di pieno sfondamento di area 1,10 (sulla forza); 2) in caso di ritorno a 1,20 (sulla debolezza).


Altra fiammata di tutta la periferia, esclusa la Grecia che ancora viaggia un po’ per suo conto.

Lo spread decennale Btp/Bund è sceso a 104 punti base e il rendimento del Btp 10 anni è sceso sul nuovo minimo storico di 1,34%. Ormai da due anni i clienti ci chiedono se sia venuto il momento di vendere e noi rispondiamo sistematicamente di “no”. Consideriamo per esempio che il ritardo di 104 punti base nei confronti del bund tedesco non l’ha ordinato il dottore e che con un po’ di impegno (Renzi, Padoan e Draghi ci stanno provando in tutti i modi), il ritardo si può restringere ulteriormente.


Guide to today’s vital data & events 27/02/2015

Today is the last trading day of the month and remains a day with medium event risk, nevertheless some dockets, especially from US could be market moving.

Data released so far –

  • Australia – Private sector credit data released showed growth of 6.2% YoY, whereas monthly increment remained stable at 0.5%.
  • New Zealand – Business confidence data grew to 34.4. It recovered well after its slump to 13 in September 2014.
  • Japan – Housing data released remained mixed, construction orders jumped by 27.5% compared to previous 7.5% but housing starts continue its fall since March 2014. It fell by another 13%.

Upcoming –

  • France – Consumer spending data to be released at 7:45 GMT. It’s a low key data but vital to gauge the mood of consumers. Could impact bond yield differential.
  • Switzerland – KOF indicator data to be released at 8:00 GMT will be vital to assess the fallout from stronger franc as it is a leading indicator showing business mood. Worsening will sour the mood for franc further.
  • Spain – HICP inflation data at 8:00 GMT & current account balance at 9:00 GMT. Inflation is expected to fall but current account would be very vital to assess how the reforms have progressed. Better data will affirm the recent progress and might send its bond yields lower.
  • Italy – Consumer inflation data to be published at 10:00 GMT. Not much impact is expected but will be vital to assess the deflationary situation across Europe.
  • Greece – GDP data to be released at 10:00 GMT along with PPI & retail sales. Very vital to assess, how economy performed under current turmoil & election. GDP prints have been positive since September 2014. A negative print would sour the mood for Greek bonds, stock market & Euro too. Positive print is not expected to impact Euro much but bonds & stocks, especially Greek banks will cheer. Retail sales would be vital to watch as data started to sour over the turmoil.
  • Portugal – GDP data to be released at sometime today would be vital to gauge the growth momentum. YoY prints have been positive since February 2014. Negative print will make the market worried over the progress.
  • Germany – Inflation data to be released at 13:00 GMT. A positive print will help the Euro to stand ground for now.
  • US – Very meaningful data to be released. GDP at 13:30 GMT along with personal consumption expenditure. A very good print might help the dollar in securing 8 months consecutive rise. Chicago PMI to be released at 14:45 GMT. Pending home sales to be released at 15:00 GMT. Michigan consumer sentiment index is the last data to be released at 15:00.
  • US – FED’s William Dudley to speak at 15:15 GMT, usually good at clues of the monetary policy path ahead. FED’s Stanley Fischer to speak at 16:30 GMT, very vital to assess what are the issues FED is worried about.

STOCKS TO WATCH-Venerdì 27 febbraio, 27/02/2015 – RSF

******* INDICI 26 FEBBRAIO *****
FTSE Mib 22.165,13 +1,04%
FTSEurofirst 300 1.556,53 +0,96%
Euro STOXX 50 3.574,94 +0,94%
Dow Jones 18.214,42 -0,06%
S&P 2.110,74 -0,15%

I mercati azionari europei sono attesi stabili in apertura.

Di seguito, i titoli in evidenza a Piazza Affari nella seduta del 27 febbraio.

Contrassegnate con (*) le integrazioni.

(*) RAI WAY (RWAY.MI), EI TOWERS (EIT.MI) – Il presidente del consiglio Matteo Renzi ha detto che il governo non intende rinunciare al controllo pubblico di Rai Way, dopo che EiTowers, società al 40% controllata da MEDIASET (MS.MI), ha annunciato martedì sera un’Opas sulla società.(news)
Il Cda di Rai Way si è riunito ieri per un’informativa ai consiglieri, senza prendere alcuna decisione sull’offerta. (news)
I quotidiani sottolineano l’ipotesi di un ritocco dei termini dell’offerta, possibilità peraltro prevista dalla stessa Ei Towers, con quest’ultima che potrebbe rimanere in minoranza o in coabitazione paritetica con Rai. Il Corriere della Sera delinea uno scenario di ridisegno complessivo delle infrastrutture tlc con il coinvolgimento di Telecom Italia (TIT.MI) per creare un polo delle torri con tre soggetti.

Per La Repubblica in una lettera di risposta alla Consob la Raiha bocciato come “irricevibile” l’offerta di Mediaset.

MF, citando fonti vicine al dossier, cita la possibilità di conivolgere i grandi fondi infrastrutturali internazionali nel progetto di creazione di un campione nazionale delle torri di trasmissione.

TELECOM ITALIA (TIT.MI) – Gaetano Micciché, AD di Banca Imi, ha detto che Telecom proseguirà con il piano per l’Ipo della società delle torri di trasmissione, Inwit, che dovrebbe approdare in borsa entro il primo semestredel 2015. (news)

MPS (BMPS.MI) – L’AD di Mps, Fabrizio Viola, ha detto che l’aumento di capitale da 3 miliardi dell’istituto senese dovrebbe avvenire nel periodo compreso tra fine maggio e giugno. (news)
UNICREDIT (UCG.MI) – L’istituto sottolinea di essere ‘ben al di sopra’ dei requisiti patrimoniali fissati dalla Bce che, su base consolidata, individuano un CET1 ‘transitional’ al 9,5% e un Total capital ratio, sempre transitorio, al 13%. (news)

INTESA SANPAOLO (ISP.MI) – Il presidente di Banca Intesa Russia, Antonio Fallico, ha detto che la Russia è un paese strategico per il gruppo.(news)

MEDIOBANCA (MB.MI) – Il Cda che scaturirà dallemodifiche statutarie in ottemperanza alle indicazioni di Bankitalia avrà 15 membri, di cui tre manager, mentre potrebbe essere aumentato da 1 a 2 posti lo spazio per le liste di minoranza. Lo hanno riferito due fonti vicine ai soci e al Cda.(news)
Secondo una fonte, il patto di sindacato di Mediobanca potrebbe sciogliersi in occasione della sua scadenza naturale di fine 2015. (news)

(*) BANCO POPOLARE (BP.MI) – Il livello minimo di CET1 richiesto dallaBce è pari al 9,4% e si confronta con l’11,9% risultante a fine 2014.(news)
Il presidente della Fondazione Cariverona, citato da alcuni quitidiani, si è detto pronto a valutare una crescita nel capitale delle banca che si prepara adiventare Spa.

POPOLARE MILANO (PMI.MI) – La Bce ha fissato un livello minimo del 9% per il CET1 e dell’11% per il Total capital ratio, sotto i livelli che la banca ha raggiunto al 2014, rispettivamente 11,58% e 15,35%. (news),

POPOLARE EMILIA (BPE.MI) – La Bce ha fissato un livello minimo del 9% per il CET1 e dell’11% per il Total capital ratio che si confronta con l’11,26% e 12,24% che la banca ha raggiunto a fine dicembre. (news)

(*) POPOLARI – Sono stati presentati circa 650 emendamenti al decreto sulle banche popolari, secondo i quotidiani. Tra questi un pacchetto per prevedere un tetto al diritto di voto del 3-5% o per alzare la soglia dell’attivo bancario oltre la quale scatta l’obbligo di trasformazione in Spa.

Per MF il governo punta a ridurre i 18 mesi di tempo a disposizione per il passaggio in Spa.

(*) GENERALI (G.MI) – Secondo Mf il gruppo assicurativo avrebbe avviato colloqui con il Milan per verificare l’opportunità di avere un ruolo nel progetto del nuovo stadio.

FIAT CHRYSLER (FCA.MI) – Si è impegnata con i sindacati di categoria ad assumere allo stabilimento di Melfi circa 1.000 persone, 700 delle quali sono già inserite, da inquadrareprima con contratto interinale e al termine di questo, a tempo indeterminato. (news)

ATLANTIA (ATL.MI), MPS (BMPS.MI), SIAS (SIS.MI) – Autostrade per l’Italia ha sottoscritto accordi con Mps, Società Autostrada Ligure Toscana(gruppo Sias), Holcoa, Vianco (gruppo Vianini Lavori) per l’acquisto di un ulteriore 74,95% del capitale di Autostrada Tirrenica, portando la sua quota al 99,93%. Il controvalore dell’operazione è pari a circa 84 milioni di euro.(news)
ATLANTIA (ATL.MI) – La controllata Aeroporti di Roma prevede
investimenti nel 2015 pari a circa 350 milioni euro e un andamento del traffico passeggeri che potrebbe confermare il trend di crescita del 6,4% visto nel 2014. (news) Autostrade per l’Italia ha chiuso il 2014 ricavi in crescita del 4,1% a 4,288 miliardi, con un margine operativo lordo in progresso del 6,6% a 2,683 miliardi. (news)

ENI (ENI.MI) – Ha firmato due accordi strategici di collaborazione per promuovere lo sviluppo energetico in Congo e contribuire alla crescita locale. (news)

MONDADORI (MN.MI), RCS (RCS.MI) – Oggi per Mondadori sono i libri il business prioritario perché hanno una redditività superiore a quelladei periodici e in questo quadro si spiega l’offerta d’acquisto su Rcs Libri che serve a fronteggiare la costante contrazione del mercato. Lo dice l’AD Ernesto Mauri in un’intervista a Prima Comunicazione. (news)

(*) SNAM (SRG.MI) – Insieme a GIC ed EDF Invest ha completato l’operazione finalizzata all’ingresso di Crédit Agricole Assurances nel capitale di TIGF con la quota del 10%. (news)

IGD (IGD.MI) – L’AD Claudio Albertini è al lavoro su un nuovo pianoindustriale che sarà presentato entro il primo semestre e anticipa che, dopo il lavoro svolto nel 2014 anche sotto il profilo patrimoniale, è pronto a crescere ma mantenendo il loan to value (LTV) sotto il 50%. (news)
Ha chiuso il 2014con un utile netto di 7,3 milioni, in aumento del 46%. (news)

(*) PRELIOS (PRS.MI) – Secondo MF la proprietà del complesso immobiliare di Milano, denominato Porta Vittoria, avrebbe accettato l’offerta di acquisto condizionato diPrelios.

ZUCCHI (ZUC.MI) – Ha convocato per fine marzo l’assemblea per deliberare la riduzione del capitale per perdite, come previsto dalla legge e ritiene che per la continuità aziendale sia “irrinunciabile” l’accordo con gli istituti dicredito. (news)

IMA (IMA.MI) – Ha perfezionato il closing per l’acquisizione di una partecipazione in Teknoweb Converting per circa 6 milioni di euro, di cui 1,2 milioni versati al signing e circa 4,8 milioni al closing.(news)

PIERREL (PRL.MI) – Attraverso la controllata Pierrel Pharma ha sottoscritto con la società Safco DentalSupplyun un accordo quinquennale per la distribuzione dell’anestetico dentale Orabloc (Articaina Pierrel) in Usa. (news)

BANZAI (BANZ.MI) – I risultati preliminari 2014 vedono ricavi in crescita del 21% a 185 milioni e un Ebitda di3,8 mln (+53%).

(*) AS ROMA (ASR.MI) – Vince a Rotterdam contro il Feyenoord e passa agli ottavi di finale in Europa League.

Cda bilancio: Banco di Sardegna, Luxottica, Valsoia.


Sul sito http://www.reuters.it altre notizie Reuters in italiano. Le top news anche su http://www.twitter.com/reuters_italia

CWS Market Review – February 27, 2015

February 27, 2015
“A person who has not made peace with his losses is likely to accept gambles
that would be unacceptable to him otherwise.” – Daniel Kahneman

The author and investor James O’Shaughnessy tells the story of a study done by Fidelity Investments. The company wanted to find out what group of its clients did the best. As it turns out, the most successful group of Fidelity investors wasn’t men or women. It wasn’t young or old. It wasn’t big portfolios or small investors. No. It was people had forgotten they had Fidelity accounts.

That’s even lazier than buy-and-hold! It’s buy-and-forget-you-ever-bought. I can’t say I’m surprised. The reason is simple. To be a good investor, you have to counter many of your natural inclinations, like getting rattled in a bear market or finding comfort in following the crowd. I’m sure the people who watched their accounts every day were far more inclined to buy and sell at the wrong times, while the blissfully ignorant stayed wisely quiet.

We’re coming up on the sixth anniversary of this bull market, and it’s interesting to see how wrong people have been. Consider this headline from the day the bear market ended:

“Dow 5000? There’s a Case for It” – WSJ, March 9, 2009

There may have been a case for Dow 5,000, but it was fantastically wrong. The Dow closed that day at 6,547.05. A year later, the Dow had climbed more than 4,000 points to reach 10,564.38. Was that enough to silence the doubters? Not at all. Check out this headline from the Wall Street Journalexactly one year later:

“Worries Rebound on Bull’s Birthday” – WSJ, March 9, 2010

I’m sure people were worried, but as they say, the market climbs a wall of worry. The bull market wasn’t even close to its peak in 2010. On Wednesday of this week, the Dow closed at an all-time high of 18,224.57. That’s more than 72% higher than when people were “worried.” As well as the Dow has done, the S&P 500 has done even better, and our Buy List has done better than both. But I envy those folks at Fidelity. They don’t know what they don’t know they’re missing.

Ross Stores Creams Earnings and Raises Dividend

I was reminded of the Fidelity study when Ross Stores (ROST) released a blow-out earnings report on Thursday. For their fiscal Q4, Ross earned $1.20 per share, which beat estimates by nine cents per share. Previously, the company had given us guidance of $1.05 to $1.09 per share, so they’re crushing their own forecasts. Going into this earnings report, I was actually a bit worried that Ross had gotten ahead of itself. No need to worry. In the after-hours session, the shares jumped more than 4% to $103 per share. What surprises me most isn’t that optimistic reaction to Ross now, but how down everyone was on Ross last summer.

In May, Ross projected fiscal-year earnings between $4.09 and $4.21 per share. I kept saying I liked the stock (here’s one example), but it kept falling. By July, the stock dropped below $62 per share. That was cheap even if Ross’s guidance was accurate, and I knew they were low-balling us. Now here we are seven months later. The fiscal year is over, and Ross made $4.42 per share. The stock is up to $103 per share. And that’s not all. Ross just increased their quarterly dividend by 18% to 23.5 cents per share.


Last week, I asked for some feedback on the newsletter. The responses I got were great. A number of you wanted to see more details on why I decide to like a particular stock. So this week, let’s dig a little bit into the numbers at Ross, and I’ll show you why this is such a strong company. For the quarter, net sales rose by 11%. With retailers, the key metric to watch is same-store sales. For Q4, Ross’s same-store sales rose by 6%. That’s a very strong number, and it’s doubtful they’ll be able to maintain that pace. Lower gas prices probably helped. For the entire year, same-store sales were up 3%.

CEO Barbara Rentler said, “We are pleased with our fourth-quarter sales and earnings, both of which were well ahead of our expectations, as our value offering on a wide assortment of name-brand bargains and gifts resonated well with our customers. Our 2014 fourth-quarter operating margin grew 45 basis points to 13.1%, benefiting from slightly higher merchandise gross margin and leverage on expenses from our robust comparable-sales gain.”

She added, “For the 2014 fiscal year, our earnings per share rose a solid 14% on top of strong multi-year increases. In addition, our fiscal 2014 operating margin increased 35 basis points to 13.5%.”

For newer investors, it’s always good to see an increase in a company’s operating margin. That means that the company is being more efficient in running its business. It also suggests that the company is holding a stronger position in their market. You have to understand that margins are very tight in retail. It’s all about cost control and managing your inventory. Last year, Walmart’s (WMT) net profit margin was just 3.3%. Most people don’t realize how small it is. With economics like that, you have to watch every penny, and things can get even tighter at the at the deep-discount end where Ross lives. Their customers are very price conscious. They’re looking for a deal, and if they don’t find it at Ross, they’ll go somewhere else. It’s just that simple.

Last year, Ross’s net profit margin was 8.4%. That’s up from 8.2% in 2013. That may sound small, but it was enough to turn a 7.9% increase in sales into a 10.4% increase in net earnings. On top of that, the number of shares declined by 3.1%, so earnings-per-share rose by 13.9%. These are the factors that separate the outstanding companies from the also-rans.

Ross also said their board has approved a program to buy back $1.4 billion worth of stock over the next two years. At the current price, that’s about 7% of the outstanding shares. I’m not a big fan of share buybacks; I’d much rather have the cash as a dividend, but this shows you how profitable Ross is. This is a 27% increase over the previous repurchase program. I also like that Ross actually reduces share count, where many other companies use share buybacks to mask their executive compensation.

For the new fiscal year, which ends in January 2016, Ross sees same-store sales rising by 1% to 2%. That’s a modest forecast, but it’s safe to be conservative. Ross sees full-year EPS ranging between $4.60 and $4.80. That’s up from $4.42 per share last year. For Q1, which ends on May 2, Ross sees same-store sales rising by 2% to 3% and earnings-per-share coming in between $1.21 and $1.26. That’s up from $1.15 for last year’s Q1. This week, I’m raising my Buy Below on Ross Stores by $11 to $107 per share.

Express Scripts Is a Buy up to $89 per Share

On Monday, Express Scripts (ESRX) reported Q4 earnings of $1.39 cents per share. That was one penny more than estimates. The pharmacy-benefits manager had given guidance of $1.36 to $1.40 per share. For the year, ESRX earned $4.88 per share. That wraps up another solid year for them.

For the year, they had net cash flow of $4.5 billion. Investors tend to fixate on earnings. While that’s important, you should also pay attention to a company’s operating cash flow. That’s the lifeblood of any enterprise.

CEO George Paz said, “We believe our growth- and focused-acquisition approach has positioned us uniquely in the healthcare services landscape to improve health outcomes and lower cost in an aligned model that keeps our clients and patients first, but also returns exceptional results to our shareholders.”

What’s always impressed me about Express Scripts is how they’ve been able to consistently grow their earnings. Since 2008, their EPS have been $1.55, $1.79, $2.50, $2.97, $3.74, and $4.33 to $4.88. As an investor, that’s exactly what I like to see: consistent increases. This is another reason why I like consumer -taples stocks and healthcare stocks. Even the best cyclical stocks will see some ups and downs to their earnings trend. After all, that’s why they’re called cyclicals.

In last week’s issue, I told you I was expecting Express Scripts to give 2015 earnings guidance of $5.35 per share, give or take. They were a little more optimistic. For 2015, ESRX said they expect earnings to range between $5.35 and $5.49 per share. That’s a 10% to 13% increase over last year’s earnings.

On Tuesday, the shares gapped up to $88.83, which is a new all-time high. But the shares pulled back later this week to close at $84.54 on Thursday. That means the shares are going for less than 16 times forward earnings. That’s a good deal. This week, I’m bumping up my Buy Below on Express Scripts to $89 per share.

The Market Wants Patience and They Want It Right Now

The earnings outlook has gotten much more subdued this year. The Q4 earnings season is just about over; 90% of the earnings reports are in. The S&P 500 grew its earnings by 4.3% last quarter. This quarter, however, analysts expect earnings to fall by 4.5%. A major reason for the earnings dip is the strong dollar, and we’ve seen that reflected in several of our earnings reports. Wall Street now expects 2015 earnings of $118.32 for the S&P 500. That’s less than a 5% increase over 2014’s earnings. Only five months ago, Wall Street was expecting 2015 earnings of $136.07.

This week, Janet Yellen testified on Capitol Hill about the Federal Reserve’s outlook for monetary policy. The Fed had already sent a reassuring message to investors, saying that the Fed will be “patient” in moving to raise interest rates. I think that helped spark the latest rally, as the S&P 500 just made another all-time high. The Nasdaq Composite rallied for 10 straight days, and it’s closing in on its all-time high from 15 years ago.

Yellen reaffirmed the Fed’s policy this week. In short, the markets want patience, and they want it right now. In my eyes, it’s hard for anyone to be worried about the Fed’s sparking inflation. Prices are falling. The latest CPI report showed that prices fell 0.7% in January. In the last three months, the seasonally adjusted CPI is down 1.3%.

Sure, a lot of that is energy, but the “core rate,” which excludes food and energy prices, rose by just 0.2% last month. As low as that was, it was higher than expectations of a 0.1% increase.

Despite the Fed’s rhetoric, I don’t see them raising rates soon. Even if they do raise rates, they’ll need to do it several times before it has an impact on the investing climate. The current low-rate climate is a boon for investors.

The Turnaround at Cognizant

Before I go, I want to raise my Buy Below for Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH). The story here is very similar to what we’ve seen at Ross Stores. A few months ago, Wall Street hated Cognizant. The shares got nailed for a 12.6% loss on August 6.


What was their crime? It wasn’t earnings. Those were actually quite good. Nor was it their earnings guidance. Instead, Wall Street didn’t like Cognizant’s sales guidance. Some people you just can’t reach. In the CWS Market Review from August 8, I stuck by CTSH and told folks not to panic. In the seven months since the plunge, CTSH is up 44%. In fact, it’s up more than 25% since the day before the plunge.

Cognizant is now our top performer this year. This week, I’m raising my Buy Below to $66 per share.

That’s all for now. Next week is the first trading week of March, and we’ll get those important turn-of-the-month econ reports. ISM and personal income come out on Monday. Tuesday is auto sales. Look for good numbers from Ford. Wednesday is the Fed’s Beige Book and the ADP jobs reports. Thursday is factory orders, and that leads us up to the big day, which is Jobs Day on Friday. The government will report on the labor market on Friday morning. 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 seven times in the last eight years. This email was sent by Eddy Elfenbein through Crossing Wall Street.
2223 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA