#UK snap election, #Facebook’s second act, runaway llama

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Today we’re launching The Happiness Experiment, which uses economics, history, and evolutionary psychology to understand how our notions of happiness have changed over time.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The UK parliament votes on a June 8 snap election called by Theresa May. The prime minister wants to bolster her mandate to guide the country’s exit from the European Union. Lawmakers look set to pass the motion, paving the way for even more arguing about Brexit in the weeks ahead.

The US, Japan, and South Korea discuss North Korea. The Defense Trilateral Talks take place annually, but this year’s event, being held in Tokyo, is particularly timely amid growing tensions on the Korean peninsula. Pyongyang may test another missile or nuclear weapon to mark a key military anniversary on April 25.

India’s finance minister visits the United States. Arun Jaitley has a packed schedule: He’ll be attending the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, participating in the G-20 meeting on the financial sector, and sitting down with US investors. He’s also slated to meet with US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and the editorial board of the New York Times.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Donald Trump called for fewer visas for low-wage foreign workers. The US president’s new executive order (paywall) does not fulfill his campaign promise to end the H-1B visa program, but will make it more difficult to hire foreign workers who make below-median wages for their industry.

Chevron sold its Canadian gas stations and a refinery for $1.1 billion. The US oil giant found a buyer in Alberta-based Parkland Fuel, a marketer of petroleum products. Chevron, which last year suffered its first annual loss since 1987, is working to sell up to $10 billion in assets.

Mark Zuckerberg said augmented reality is Facebook’s “Act 2.” The CEO announced plans to use smartphone cameras to display virtual items in the real world. His company also unveiled a beta for tools allowing outside developers to build AR applications for the platform. Rival Snapchat meanwhile rolled out 3D artwork users can add to their snaps.

IBM reported its 20th consecutive quarter of revenue declines.The company’s “big bets”—notably in cloud computing, where Amazon dominates—are still not growing fast enough to offset declining sales in its older businesses. Revenue fell 2.8% in the first quarter. The company’s shares fell more than 5% in after-hours trading.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Akshat Rathi on the UK’s general election Brexit re-do: “May’s Conservative Party looks set to increase its majority in parliament—it currently holds 330 seats in the 650-member parliament, and poll projections imply that it could gain 50 more in the upcoming vote… In reality, nothing is certain in today’s volatile political environment.”Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Being grumpy at work is good for you. That’s why corporate strategies to maximize worker happiness can quickly backfire.

Justin Trudeau is a disaster for the environment. His advocacy for new pipelines in Canada’s oil sands is an act of stunning hypocrisy.

Introverts make better CEOs. Extroverted corporate leaders aren’t better performers—they’re just better at schmoozing corporate boards (paywall).

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Cologne is struggling to find a llama on the lam. It escaped with 13 other animals from a petting zoo.

United Airlines used to have men-only flights. They offered steaks, brandy, and cigars until 1970, when a lawsuit shut them down.

Collectively, humans have watched Adam Sandler on Netflix for longer than civilization has existed. Never mind that his recent projects have bombed in theaters and been torn apart by critics.

Almost all Americans use their phones while driving. It’s no wonder that traffic deaths are on the rise.

Disabled gamers are hacking their own custom joysticks. Their inventions include input devices controlled by the head and foot.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Adam Sandler faves, and grumpy colleagues tohi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

#Uber tipping option, #Netflix disappoints, #VR cocktails

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The IMF’s first post-Trump forecast. The International Monetary Fund will update its global growth forecast for the first time since US president Donald Trump moved into the White House. Last week, the fund warned that growing protectionism will pose a challenge for emerging economies.

Mike Pence visits Japan. The US vice president will discuss North Korea and trade with prime minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders in Tokyo. The visit follows Pence’s stop in South Korea, where he criticized a free-trade pact.

Goldman Sachs releases earnings. Following strong results from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup last week, Goldman Sachs is poised to beat expectations on the strength of its fixed income, currency, and commodity trading businesses.

Orbital ATK launches a cargo vessel to the International Space Station. Also aboard the company’s unmanned Cygnus spacecraft: a fire experiment. After the resupply, materials will be set alight, with sensors recording how the fire spreads. The test will suggest which flame-resistant materials work best in space. Meanwhile NASA will provide a 360-degree video of the rocket launch.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The maker of Fruity Pebbles will swallow up Weetabix. Post Holdings will buy the UK breakfast brand for $1.76 billion, according to the Financial Times (paywall), in a deal that could be announced today. The US cereal maker has been on an acquisition spree to offset slow growth in packaged foods. Meanwhile foreign takeovers of UK companies are rising due to a Brexit-induced drop in valuations.

New York City might require an option to tip Uber drivers. Its taxi commission announced a proposal requiring car services that accept only credit cards to let passengers tip drivers using their cards. Other cities could follow suit, leading to a change in how the company operates in the US market. The lack of such an option has long been a sort point for drivers.

Donald Trump congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The US president’s Turkish counterpart is celebrating after voters narrowly passed a contested referendum that will grant him sweeping new powers. Trump’s call contrasted with the US State Department, which urged Erdoğan to respect his citizens’ fundamental rights and noted “irregularities on voting day.”

Netflix’s first quarter disappointed. The streaming giant’s earnings were better than anticipated but it fell short on subscriber growth and expected profits, causing its stock to fall about 4% in after-hours trading.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Peter D’Auria on the South American protesters who took Europe’s space program hostage: “For more than three weeks, French Guiana has been effectively shut down by protests and a general strike… Despite its crumbling infrastructure, the territory is home to some of the world’s most advanced technology. Last year, the Guiana Space Center was the second-busiest spaceport in the world.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

United’s earnings / are up. Hard to change much if / you’re making money.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

North Korea is like “a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” But the Trump administration’s aggressive policies may be speeding things up (paywall).

Philosophers are the original tech bros. From antiquity to the modern day, they are the archetypal “brilliant jerks.”

Losers are the new winners in China. More than 500 million people self-identify as diaosi (屌丝), which was originally used as an online insult.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Plants use good vibrations to find water. They listen for acoustic signatures that signal moisture, even if there is no trace of water in the soil.

A top Indian engineering school will teach an 8,000-year-old architectural science. Students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur will be taught vastu shashtra, somewhat similar to feng shui.

CRISPR could fight bacteria, too. Researchers are using the versatile gene-editing technique as an antibiotic.

A London bar’s latest cocktail comes with a VR headset.Patrons can experience the Scottish Highlands as they sip 12-year-old whisky.

A Canadian river vanished in four days as a glacier receded.It’s the first known case of “river piracy” due to global warming.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, plant vibes, and vanished rivers to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

The “mother of all bombs”, #Turkey’s referendum, sonic shrimp blasts

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND

North Korea may test another nuclear bomb. The US hasdeployed a radiation-sniffing aircraft to Okinawa, after satellite images showed a launch site “primed and ready” for the country’s sixth nuclear weapons test. North Korea’s vice foreign minister, meanwhile, told AP that the situation in the Korean peninsula remains stuck in a “vicious cycle,” and he criticized Trump for “making trouble” on Twitter.

Mike Pence heads east. Starting Saturday, the US vice president will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia, as part of atour to discuss economic policies. Tensions may be high in Indonesia due to US assertions about trade abuses as well as Trump’s immigration policies.

Turkey decides whether to give Erdogan more power. A pivotal referendum will decide whether the country will end its parliamentary system in favor of an executive presidency. If president Recep Tayyip Erdogan succeeds, he will wield near-absolute power.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The US dropped a massive bomb in Afghanistan. The 21,600-pound, non-nuclear MOAB is the biggest ordnance used in combat since the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan during World War II. It was dropped on an ISIL tunnel complex.

Russia withdrew from Eurovision. Moscow-based television station Channel One announced it would not broadcast the annual pop competition in response to Russian contestant Julia Samoylova’s ban from Ukraine, where the event takes place this year. The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said Russia declined offers to let Samoylova perform via remote satellite.

The new CIA director blasted WikiLeaks in his first public address. Scott Pompeo, who president Trump picked to lead the agency soon after his electoral victory, described the organization as “a hostile intelligence service” and called its founder Julian Assange a “narcissist.” Pompeo added that his team has a “fantastic” relationship with Trump, who had long been a proponent of WikiLeaks—and a vocal critic of the CIA.

NASA found preconditions for life on one of Saturn’s icy moons. Data from the Cassini probe showed Enceladus has thecrucial elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The discovery pushes the moon to the top of the list of places most worth searching for life on beyond Earth.

Nintendo rocked its most recent console launch. The Japanese gaming giant announced it sold 906,000 units of the Nintendo Switch in North America—more than any other Nintendo device in the company’s history. The strong start could mark a broader revival for Nintendo, which has recently suffered sinking sales and profits as consumers ditch home consoles for smartphone games.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Leah Fessler on the common thread between scandals at United and Thinx: “Each of these scandals arises from the same predicament: When companies place material success and self-interest over the essential values distinguishing them from competitors, things tend to head south. Fast.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

Bombs fall, chaos reigns / But fear not: We can all move / to Saturn’s ice moon.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Myanmar’s human rights abuses aren’t all on Aung San Suu Kyi. The military deserves much of the blame.

Donald Trump always believes the last person he’s spoken with. It’s a trait that explains his recent policy reversals.

North Korea wants violence but not war. Historical documents suggest the regime views minimal military conflict as a deterrent to all-out war.

QUARTZ ANNOUNCEMENT

Vote for Quartz in the Webby Awards. You can vote today for Quartz as the Best News Website and Best News App for the 21st annual People’s Voice Awards.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Scientists found a shrimp that kills fish with a sonic blast.Synalpheus pinkfloydi, named after the classic rock band, can create a sound louder than a rock show.

Instagram’s clone of Snapchat is now more popular than Snapchat. Instagram Stories has amassed 200 million daily users in eight months.

Women are leading Sunday mass in Portugal. A shortage of priests in the countryside requires volunteers, both male and female, to set up services.

Researchers have created an AI lounge singer. The nameless bot is no Mel Tormé, but it was trained on only 35 minutes of audio.

United’s newest headache: scorpions on a plane. A passenger was stung after the arachnid fell out of an overhead bin.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, re-accommodated scorpions, and AI crooners tohi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

CWS Market Review – April 14, 2017

CWS Market Review

April 14, 2017

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” – Plato

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 closed below its 50-day moving average for the first time since Election Day. We had a pretty good run. This was the third-longest streak of trading above the 50-DMA in the last 20 years.

What does it mean? Falling below your 50-DMA is a nice shortcut way of saying that the stock market is losing momentum. That’s not exactly a newsflash because we’ve seen this coming for a few weeks, but breaking below a 50-DMA is often a key technical indicator.

The bears were clearly paying attention because on Thursday, the S&P 500 dropped to a two-month low. We’re in this weird pattern of fading momentum combined with extremely low volatility. Consider that the market just snapped a 10-day streak of closing up or down by less than 0.35%. That’s a market with barely a pulse! We haven’t done that since 1968. Overall, the market is still just 2.8% below its all-time high set at the beginning of March.

We may see some action soon. Next week, we’ll get our first five Buy List earnings reports. Another nine come the week after that. In this week’s CWS Market Review, I’ll preview next week’s reports. I’ll also bring you up-to-speed on the latest on our Buy List stocks. But first, let’s get ready for next week’s earnings parade.

Earnings Season Is About to Start

In last week’s issue, I mentioned how this earnings season may be one of the best in the last few years. For one, the U.S. dollar won’t be such a negative presence on income statements. Also, the energy sector will show some signs of life. Additionally, we’ll probably see decent revenue growth from companies. Lastly, earnings estimates haven’t fallen as much as they have in previous quarters.

Bank stocks did poorly on Thursday in the wake of results from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The big banks are usually the first major companies to report. Next week, 68 stocks in the S&P 500 are due to report earnings. As of now, Wall Street expects earnings growth for the quarter of 10.4% which would be the best since 2011.

Over the next few weeks, 20 of our 25 Buy List will report earnings. Here’s an earnings calendar I made. I’ve included each stock’s ticker symbol, reporting date and Wall Street’s consensus estimate.

Company Ticker Date Estimate
Signature Bank SBNY 19-Apr $2.10
Alliance Data Systems ADS 20-Apr $3.89
Danaher DHR 20-Apr $0.84
Sherwin-Williams SHW 20-Apr $2.05
Snap-On SNA 20-Apr $2.36
Express Scripts ESRX 24-Apr $1.32
Stryker SYK 25-Apr $1.42
Wabtec WAB 25-Apr $0.82
Axalta Coating Systems AXTA 26-Apr $0.25
CR Bard BCR 26-Apr $2.65
Fiserv FISV 26-Apr $1.19
AFLAC AFL 27-Apr $1.62
Cerner CERN 27-Apr $0.57
Microsoft MSFT 27-Apr $0.70
Intercontinental Exchange ICE 3-May $0.73
Cognizant Technology CTSH 5-May $0.83
Moody’s MCO 5-May $1.17
Cinemark CNK TBA $0.52
Continental Building Products CBPX TBA $0.26
Ingredion INGR TBA $1.76

Please note that these dates and numbers are subject to change. I did the best I could but some companies are, shall we say, less than forthcoming with their financial info.

Our Five Buy List Earnings Reports Next Week

We have five Buy List earnings reports next week. On Wednesday, April 19, Signature Bank (SBNY) is scheduled to report Q1 earnings. The stock jumped immediately after the election but has slowly lost ground over the last several weeks. Despite the pullback, the bank’s business has been basically sound. The consensus on Wall Street is for earnings of $2.10 per share. My numbers say Signature should be able to beat that.

Next Thursday will be an especially busy day for us. We have four earnings reports. Three months ago, Alliance Data Systems (ADS) beat earnings by a penny per share but the stock got knocked back due to poor top-line numbers. For the whole year, ADS expects earnings of $18.50 per share. For Q1, Wall Street’s consensus is for $3.89 per share. That seems doable. This week, Oppenheimer initiated coverage on ADS with an “underperform” rating. That helped ding the stock for a 3.8% loss on Tuesday. Don’t let that alarm you.

Danaher (DHR) gave us a good earnings report in January. For Q1, the company sees earnings ranging between 82 and 85 cents per share. For all of 2017, they forecast earnings of $3.85 to $3.95 per share. Wall Street is playing it safe. Their Q1 consensus is for 84 cents per share. I like Danaher a lot.

Sherwin-Williams (SHW) was the big star from last earnings season. The company earned $2.34 per share, which was 13 cents more than estimates. The stock jumped 7.6% the next day. For Q1, SHW sees earnings ranging between $2.03 and $2.13 per share and sales rising by mid-to-high single digits.

Sherwin has said that its merger with Valspar will take longer than expected. The company conceded that it will have to jettison some units in order to placate regulators. That’s often the case. This week, in fact, SHW announced they’re going to sell their wood coatings business for $420 million. And who’s the buyer? None other than our very own Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA). Our Buy List stocks are doing deals with each other! Wall Street is expecting Q1 earnings of $2.05 per share from Sherwin.

Snap-on (SNA) has been a fairly sluggish performer for us this year, but I still like this one a lot. The company had a good earnings report in January. They beat on both the top- and bottom-line. The results from the tool group, however, could have been better. For Q1, Wall Street expects earnings of $2.36 per share. Earlier this week, Oppenheimer initiated coverage on SNA with an outperform rating. (Is Oppenheimer secretly following us?)

Before I get to our Buy List updates, I wanted to add a brief word about Federal Reserve policy. The futures market currently thinks there’s a 57.3% chance the Fed will raise rates in June. If so, this will mark the first time I’ve broken sharply with what the Fed has done. In past instances, I may have leaned one way or another, but now I came saw that I’m flatly opposed to another rate increase. It would be a big mistake.

Of course, just because it’s wrong is certainly not a reason why the Fed won’t do it. As I see it, the economy is far from its potential. Wage growth has been modest, and inflation is still well behaved. On Thursday, we learned that wholesale prices actually fell last month.

We’re still two months away from the Fed’s June meeting, and I hope cooler heads prevail. I’ll have more on this in upcoming issues, but for now, I’m concerned that the Fed may make a big policy blunder.

Buy List Updates

On Tuesday, HEICO (HEI) will split 5-for-4. This means that shareholders will get 25% more shares, and the price will drop about 20%. Once the split takes effect, our Buy Below price will drop 20%, from $90 to $72 per share.

For track record purposes, I assume the Buy List starts the year as a $1 million portfolio that’s equally divided among the 25 stocks. For HEICO, that meant a position of 518.4705 shares at a starting price of $77.15 per share. After the split, that will become 648.0881 shares starting at $61.72 per share.

The retail sector has performed very poorly in recent months. A major Retail ETF (XRT) has badly lagged the overall market. This has also dragged down Ross Stores (ROST) down below $64 per share. I think the shares look particularly attractive at the moment. Ross is one of the best retailers out there. The next earnings report will be due out around mid-May.

This week, Morgan Stanley downgraded JM Sucker (SJM). They also lowered their price target to $132 per share. The stock has pulled back about 10% in the last seven weeks. If SJM drops below $120, then it’s an exceptional value. This is one to key an eye on.

That’s all for now. The stock market is closed for Good Friday. Next week will mostly be about earnings but there will be some important economic reports. On Tuesday, the industrial production report for March is due out. On Wednesday, the Fed’s Beige Book comes out. This report is usually a good distillation of the economy. 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

Image
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 eight times in the last ten years. This email was sent by Eddy Elfenbein through Crossing Wall Street.
2223 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA

CWS Market Review – April 7, 2017

CWS Market Review

April 7, 2017
“The stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient.”
– Warren Buffett

The stock market has apparently reverted to its tame ways. For the last eight days in a row, the S&P 500 has closed between 2,352 and 2,369. That’s a fairly narrow range. Last week, I thought we might see some action when the S&P 500 briefly dipped below its 50-day moving average. That hadn’t happened since November, but the index failed to close below this crucial technical support level.

So the boring market has continued.

Even though the stock market peaked over a month ago, there hasn’t been much momentum in either direction. But there was some interesting news from Washington this week. We learned that the Federal Reserve is finally considering ways to reduce its gargantuan balance sheet. This could be an important issue later this year. I’ll tell you what it means.

Now we’re in April and first-quarter earnings season is about to begin. This could be one of the better quarters in recent years. I’ll you what to expect. I’ll also discuss this week’s earnings report from RPM Inc., plus I have some other Buy List updates for you. But first, let’s look at what the Fed has planned in order to unwind its gigantic balance sheet.

Don’t Panic Over the Fed’s Balance Sheet

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from last month’s policy meeting. This is the one where the Fed decided once again to raise interest rates. This was a notable increase, because it wasn’t foreseen a month beforehand. By the time it happened, it wasn’t a surprise. But for those key weeks, the expectations completely changed. I think Wall Street was surprised by how forceful and direct the Yellen Fed could be.

The Fed has become pretty good at conveying its intentions to Wall Street. But that’s regarding interest rates. What about the Fed’s balance sheet? Before the world economy went kablooey nine years ago, the Fed’s balance was less than $1 trillion. Then the Fed got busy. Very, very busy. Today, the balance sheet is $4.5 trillion.

As you might expect, this is a wee bit disconcerting for investors and folks inside the government. The problem is that if the Fed moves too quickly and dumps its holdings, that could cause long-term interest rates to rise. The Fed has been reinvesting the proceeds of its securities, but that could end soon. According to the minutes from the March meeting, “Provided that the economy continued to perform about as expected, most participants anticipated that gradual increases in the federal funds rate would continue and judged that a change to the Committee’s reinvestment policy would likely be appropriate later this year.”

As always, I apologize for quoting Fed officials. Despite their dull writing, this is actually a big, honking deal. First off, let’s make the important point that the Fed will keep using interest-rate adjustments as its main policy tool. For its balance sheet, almost certainly, the plan will be to deflate it slowly and quietly. We don’t want a repeat of Wall Street’s “Taper Tantrum” in 2013. My guess is that the first step will be a decision to end reinvestment of agency debt, not Treasury debt.

As we know, the bond market is notoriously ornery. Yes, they’ll scream and holler every step of the way. But ultimately, I doubt the Fed’s plans will have a sizeable impact on long-term rates. There’s simply too much demand from investors all over the world to hold U.S. debt. Plus, there’s no hurry for the Fed to lower its holdings. If need be, they can wait out a storm.

Instead, my fear is that the Fed will raise rates too much too fast. Looking at the data, there’s not a great need for higher rates. Later today, we’ll get the jobs report for March. We’ll see more job gains. I hope we’ll see more improvement in wages, but we have a long way to go. Inflation is still not a problem. While oil has moved up recently, it’s down for the year.

Eric Rosengren, the top dog at the Boston Fed, recently said he thinks the Fed needs four hikes this year. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. Maybe one more raise this year. Outside chance of two more. The problem, of course, is just because it’s a bad idea doesn’t mean the Fed won’t do it.

In the last year, long-term rates have gapped up significantly, and I’m starting to question how much of that is truly justified. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the yield on the 10-year Treasury fall back below 2%. Of course, much of this outlook is dependent on where the economy goes from here. Very soon, we’re going to get a slew of earnings reports. Let’s take a closer look at what Q1 earnings season has in store.

Preview of Q1 Earnings Season

According to the latest estimates, Wall Street expects earnings growth of 9.1% for Q1. What helps that figure is the comparison against weak numbers from a year ago. Still, if the forecast is correct, that would be the fastest growth rate since Q4 of 2011. Bank of America Merrill Lynch noticed a fascinating factoid. In company earnings calls for Q4, 52% of companies used the word “optimistic.” That’s the highest ever in data going back to 2003.

Another welcome change is that earnings estimates haven’t been slashed as they’ve been in previous quarters. It’s the norm to expect Wall Street’s forecasts to be pared back as earnings season approaches, but it’s been far more muted this time.

This earnings season will also be different because we’ll see better results from energy companies. The downturn in oil was brutal for many earnings stocks, but prices have rebounded. Typically, the big banks report early on in the earnings season. That often sets the tone for the rest of the earnings. Our own Signature Bank (SBNY) is due to report on April 17.

We’re also seeing decent topline growth. The early part of the bull market was often criticized for being driven by cost-cutting. Companies were growing their profits but not growing their firms. They were just laying off people. At some point, we needed to see more customers come in and buy more things. We’re now seeing more jobs leading to more spending leading to higher revenue. Wall Street currently expects Q1 revenue growth of 7.1%. That will be a five-year high. Not surprisingly, we recently saw consumer confidence touch a 16-year high.

We’re also somewhat safer now from an issue in previous quarters, namely the strong U.S. dollar. The greenback soared after the election, but it has pulled back since the start of the year. Last year, you may recall how often companies stressed that their “currency-adjusted” profits were doing just fine.

I’m particularly looking forward to the earnings report from Microsoft (MSFT). Wall Street currently expects earnings of 70 cents per share from the software giant. They should have little trouble topping that. Now let’s look at the only Buy List earnings report we’ve had in five weeks.

RPM Inc. Is a Buy up to $55 Per Share

On Thursday, RPM Inc. (RPM) reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of nine cents per share. That result, however, includes five cents per share related to the company’s “Restore intangible impairment and the European facility closure.” Looking past that, RPM made 14 cents per share, which was three cents better than estimates.

I should explain that RPM is on the February/May/August/November reporting cycle. As such, they’re one of our few Buy List earnings reports over the last several weeks. Since most of our stocks (and most stocks in general) ended their last quarter in March, we’ll see a flurry of earnings reports soon.

RPM’s earnings report is a bit unusual because only a very small portion of its annual profit comes during their fiscal Q3. By my rough estimate, Q3 makes up about 5% to 7% of RPM’s full-year haul. The company expects full-year earnings to range between $2.57 and $2.67 per share. That’s a reduction of five cents per share from their previous forecast due to charges I mentioned before. Quarterly revenue rose to $1.02 billion, which was just shy of estimates of $1.04 billion.

“Our businesses serving the U.S. commercial construction market again experienced solid organic growth. Most businesses in Europe were up in the low- to mid-single-digit range in local currencies, and current-year acquisitions contributed nicely to the segment’s overall sales growth. We were very pleased with the strong EBIT leverage achieved on solid top-line sales,” stated Sullivan.

RPM is a good example of a solid company that’s having a sluggish year. The key takeaway is that profits will be about the same as last year. There’s no reason to run. The shares pulled back 3.6% on Thursday. This week, I’m dropping my Buy Below down to $55 per share.

Buy List Updates

I also want to change a few Buy Below prices. Shares of Cerner (CERN) have been doing quite well recently. I’m going to bump our Buy Below up to $62 per share. It’s our top-performing stock this year, and it was one of our worst last year.

Shares of JM Smucker (SJM) have been trending downward over the past month. I’m lowering my Buy Below to $138 per share. Fiscal Q4 earnings are due out in early June.

I’m also going to raise the Buy Below on HEICO (HEI) to $90 per share, ahead of the stock’s split later this month. HEICO will be split 5-for-4, which means shareholders will be getting 25% more shares but the share price will fall about 20%.

That’s all for now. The March jobs report will be out later this morning. I expect to see more gains in nonfarm payrolls, but I’m especially curious to see any gains in earnings. There’s been some improvement here. There will be a few early earnings reports next week, but none from our Buy List. The stock market will be closed next Friday for Good Friday. This is the one day of the year when the market is shuttered and most government offices are open. 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

Image
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 eight times in the last ten years. This email was sent by Eddy Elfenbein through Crossing Wall Street.
2223 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA

#US strike on #Syria, #Samsung crushing it, illegal clown meme

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND

Donald Trump holds a day of meetings with Xi Jinping. The US president and his Chinese counterpart are expected to discuss trade and foreign policy issues in detail today at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Both men need a big win: Trump to erase his health-care debacle and Xi to look good ahead of a crucial party conclave.

The US releases its March jobs report. Economists are eager to see if the labor market can maintain its momentum, with an average of 236,500 monthly jobs added in January and February. Hourly earnings and the number of people looking for work will also be closely watched.

Saudi Arabia starts its $10 billion sukuk roadshow. The oil-rich country has hired Citigroup, HSBC, and JP Morgan to coordinate its sharia-compliant bond offering, and will start meeting with potential investors on Sunday. The Saudis are raising funds to diversify their finances and plug a budget hole caused by low oil prices.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Trump ordered missile strikes on a Syrian airfield. The action, involving dozens of cruise missiles fired from two US warships in the Mediterranean, reduced the ability of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to order chemical-weapons attacks against civilians, as he allegedly did this week from the same airfield. Trump called that attack a “disgrace to humanity.”

Samsung Electronics forecast its best quarterly profit in over three years. It said its first-quarter operating profit was likely $8.8 billion—beating expectations—and that it’s on track for record annual earnings thanks to demand for memory chips. That will help the company get past last year’s product-recall debacle with the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

US Senate Republicans deployed “the nuclear option.” GOP lawmakers rewrote parliamentary rules to overcome a Democratic filibuster, which will enable them to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to a lifetime appointment. The change is seen as a symbol of increasing partisanship and rancor.

Twitter sued the US government. Citing the right to free speech, it said it cannot be compelled to reveal the identity of who’s behind the account @ALT_USCIS, which is purportedly controlled by current or former federal employees and has criticized the Trump administration. US officials sent a summons to the company last month demanding the information.

Lyft capitalized on Uber’s recent woes. The second-largest US ride-hailing company, which has gained new riders due to its rival’sPR disasters, raised at least $500 million in new funding at avaluation of $7.5 billion. That’s well above its previous round’s valuation, but below the $9 billion price tag it reportedly sought in buyout talks last summer.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Marc Bain on a new breed of even-faster fashion: “British fashion retailers ASOS and Boohoo are able to conceive, design, produce, and have clothing ready for shoppers on the sales floor quicker than Zara and H&M… and the two millennial-focused, social-media savvy brands are enjoying the rewards.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

A Cohn-Warren team?
There could be stranger pairings
But not too many.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Entrepreneurs love their companies like children—and not in a good way. Brain scans reveal a pervasive bias that discourages outside perspectives.

The world’s craving for chocolate and coffee is damaging Africa’s forests. Demand for the commodity crops is leading to more industrial plantations.

It’s OK to interrupt people as long as you’re listening to them.We all differ in how long we expect conversational pauses to be.

MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER

Win two tickets to The Next Web Conference, a tech festival in Amsterdam. Enter to win to win a package that includes roundtrip airfare and a three-night stay at a boutique hotel.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

It’s now illegal in Russia to share pictures of Putin as a gay clown. The popular meme was placed on a list of “extremist materials,” and violators could spend up to 15 days in prison.

Trump thinks he’s had “one of the most successful 13 weeksin the history of the presidency.” He has only been the US president for 11 weeks.

The paleo diet included eating other humans. But a new study concludes that they weren’t a very good source of cannibal calories.

Gig economy startups have a list of forbidden words.Mentioning “employees,” “uniforms,” or “hiring” could lead to legal problems.

“Young poo” may fight old age. Research shows that older fish live longer when they’re fed microbes from the feces of young fish.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, paleo recipes, and young poo to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

#Yahoo’s new name, South Africa downgrade, grammar vigilante

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The Dalai Lama begins a touchy visit in northeast India. China claims the Arunachal Pradesh state is part of “south Tibet,” and is likely to see the Tibetan Buddhist leader’s nine-day trip as a provocation.

Japan’s ambassador returns to South Korea… Yasumasa Nagamine was recalled in protest of a statue honoring South Korean women who were sexually assaulted in Japanese military brothels. Relations are on the mend with the prospect of a new South Korean president and renewed threats from North Korea.

…and South Korea’s centrist People’s Party picks a presidential candidate. Former party co-chairman Ahn Cheol-soowill almost certainly be chosen, following the Democratic Party’s selection of Moon Jae-in. The election will be held next month.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

S&P cut South Africa’s credit rating to junk. The downgrade, which came after president Jacob Zuma fired his finance minister, marks the first time the country has not had an investment grade rating since 2000. The rand, which plummeted after Pravin Gordhan was dismissed, fell an additional 2.3%.

Verizon revealed its strange new name for Yahoo and AOL.The combined companies will be called Oath, according to a tweet from AOL chief Tim Armstrong. The name was quickly panned on social media. Meanwhile, Recode reported, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won’t be part of the new company, which Armstrong will lead.

Justin Trudeau passed a test with voters. The Canadian prime minister’s party retained power in five by-elections around the nation. While the Liberals will continue to enjoy a majority in parliament, dissatisfaction with the economy and anger over illegal immigration will likely make the next election harder.

Ferdinand Piech cut ties with Volkswagen. The 80-year-old former chairman agreed to sell “a major part” of his controlling stake, worth about €1 billion ($1.1 billion), to the ruling Piech and Porsche families. The grandson of Ferdinand Porsche lost a corporate power struggle in 2015.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Tim Fernholz on the complex auto trade between the US and China: “Now that China is the largest car market on the globe, US firms are reluctant to complain too loudly about the lopsided rules for fear of being cut off completely—US firms and their joint ventures have a major share of the market.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

What could be less cool
Than Google telling us that
Teens think Google’s cool?

MATTERS OF DEBATE

“Leaning in” isn’t working. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg sayswomen are no better off, four years after her best seller was published.

It’s risky negotiating with China when you don’t know what you want. If the White House can’t set a coherent Asian policy, it may get suckered by Beijing.

Detroit is winning the race for autonomous cars. Google, Uber, and Tesla are ill-prepared to reach the masses.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

A “grammar vigilante” is fixing signs in Bristol. In the cover of darkness the hooded crusader uses a long stick—the “Apostrophiser”—to reach improperly punctuated signs in the English city.

Dolphins like to tenderize their octopus prey. It’s the only way toavoid choking on zombie tentacles.

Salted doorknobs could help fight superbugs. Simple table salt is much cheaper than antimicrobial copper, and may be even more effective.

A Turkish chocolate firm’s April Fools’ Day prank backfired spectacularly. Government supporters decided that it was a coded threat of a coup d’état.

Britain, Canada, and Italy have the whiniest babies. Their rates of colic are the highest in the industrialized world.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, colic cures, and octopus recipes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.