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My Gut Feeling for Today, April 30, 2013

The markets in what was an uncharacteristic Monday rose early and held those gains for the day. When the bell range, the S&P 500 (SPX) closed at an all-time high.

Three-twenty-nine. I am not referring to a time of day. I am not referring to a date. I am not referring to an address. Nor am I referring to an apartment number. Rather, that is the price of gas now selling for in Essex county, New Jersey. Just a few weeks ago, the media was digging up the old stories of gasoline going to $4 or $5 per gallon. That is always the signal to sell oil futures. Understandably, gasoline prices vary from state to state because of taxes. However, changes in prices at the pump are more relative than absolute. According to the EIA the average price of gasoline declined 31 cents for the entire nation versus the same period a year ago. Some regions declined as much as 40 cents. Versus two years ago, the average gasoline price is lower by 36 cents. What is the savings? An average car driving 10,000 miles per year with an average 20 mpg efficiency would save its owner $150/year. That’s a conservative number since most people don’t get 20 mpg and drive more than 10,000 miles per year. To a some extent, this offsets the increase in payroll tax.

Of interest today is the Case-Shiller Index for February. There are a few interesting earnings such as Pfizer (PFE), 3D Systems (DDD), Cummins (CMI) and Domino’s  Pizza (DPZ). We own PFE in our High Dividend /Low Volatility portfolio.

Also of interest is the Apple (AAPL) debt offering. The company only received a AA+ rating but the yield talk is quite low. As part of the issuance, the company is pushing out 30 year paper which is certain to be a great source of cheap capital for the company. While Steve Jobs was a technological genius, Tim Cook is trying to prove his leadership from a financial perspective. The dividend / buyback / debt issuance program will be looked at as a stroke of genius in the fullness of time and will be mimicked by other mega cap companies in the future.

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Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long AAPL, DDD and PFE stock— although positions can change at any time.                                                                                       

Scott Rothbort is also the publisher of the LakeView Restaurant & Food Chain Report, a newsletter focusing in on food, restaurant and agricultural stocks. You can subscribe at www.restaurantstox.com 

You can email Scott at scottallstars@gmail.com

 

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