The Daily Dose: What I'm Learning Now

 | Apr 01, 2014 | 1:30 PM EDT
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What am I learning right now? All sorts of amazingness. Take the knowledge amassed in the past five days alone:

  1. If a eurozone inflation report is released at 4 a.m., there will be at least 105 tweets on the topic within two minutes. Half of those tweets will contain a shout out to a person called "Super Mario," a financial cool-club reference to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's financial system superpowers.
  2. Anything on Tesla (TSLA), even if it's not new news, will get spun as new news to soothe the bulls long the stock and crush the shorts betting against global innovation. But Tesla was dumped following Musk's "60 Minutes" interview, nonetheless.
  3. Go ahead and just analyze Twitter feeds, forget combing Securities and Exchange Commission documents and doing corporate outreach. Speaking of old-school corporate outreach, I am jacked up for my call with J.C. Penney (JCP) today.
  4. Yes, Michael Lewis, the stock market is rigged, but not in the way you described to sell paperbacks at the dying Barnes & Noble (BKS). Rather, the stock market is rigged because the common investor doesn't have access to execs sitting atop of their investments. I believe companies should be required to hold quarterly Q&A sessions with well-sourced retail investors to improve transparency. Hey, did you know that in 2011 I received all sorts of fun information from Lowe's (LOW) while attending a steak lunch at Ruth's Chris in New York City with 15 other sell-side analysts?

You really want to know what I learned? Very few people do intense research anymore. The quality is subpar, too, looking at a few charts and recent digital news clippings. Sad. Flash: If you are long or short J.C. Penney, will its pension expense rise substantially in 2014 or fall substantially? (It's in the fresh 10-K).

Here are tidbits to chew on after Fed chief Janet Yellen restored confidence in her leadership:

  • Chipotle (CMG) is fundamentally fine, despite the implication of a 7.2% decline in its stock price last week. I love everything I see in the restaurant and from consumers on Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB).
  • The S&P 500 financial sector yields 2% vs. the 10-year note at 2.7%. You might want to dive into the merits of a pre-earnings position in JPMorgan (JPM) or Wells Fargo (WFC), two of the banks giving away cash after the stress tests. Further, PNC (PNC) caught my attention Monday on the trading screen.
  • Pickup truck sales have softened; you want to see the start of a revival in the data being released today from automakers (it would help to offset concerns on housing's weakness).
  • Smart dashboards by Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) are near, and I believe they are extremely hazardous to road safety -- you can Google the topic.

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volatility is quite low here, and we could see some downsides here in the short term. ...



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