Disney Continues To Deliver

Disney continues to deliver at the box office and theme parks, yet its stock price has been stubbornly stuck in a tight trading range of $98-$110. The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) can’t seem to break out despite breaking record after record at the box office and throughout its theme parks thus far in 2018. Disney’s brands are ubiquitous and providing long-lasting, durable revenue streams that transcend theme parks, toys, merchandise, streaming initiatives and international reach. Disney’s Marvel franchise posted back-to-back record-shattering $200-plus million weekend openings at the box office for Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War became the third and fourth highest grossing movies of all-time domestically, respectively. Avengers: Infinity War broke through the $2 billion thresholds at the worldwide box office becoming the fourth movie to achieve that feat. If that wasn’t impressive enough, The Incredibles 2 shattered box office records during its opening weekend debut, not only shattering the previous opening weekend record for an animated film but finishing with one of the top ten openings of all-time for a film of any genre. Ant-Man and The Wasp hit theaters as the third Marvel movie thus far in 2018 and is expected to deliver very strong numbers as an ancillary Marvel film during its opening weekend.

Meanwhile Disney's Parks and Resorts are posting strong growth while shoring up its stalling Media Networks segment with a confluence of growth catalysts via streaming with Hulu (30% stake and will likely be expanded to a majority 60% stake after the Fox acquisition), BAMTech, Sling, ESPN streaming service and a Disney branded service coming in 2019 to directly compete with Netflix (NFLX). Disney is closing the gap in streaming as Hulu grows much more rapidly than Netflix and in the backdrop, ESPN and direct to consumer Disney branded streaming service comes to fruition. Disney recently reported Q2 FY2018 revenue growth across every business segment with an overall revenue growth of 9%. Disney offers a compelling long-term investment opportunity considering the growth, Fox acquisition, pipeline, Media Networks remediation plan, diversity of its portfolio, tax reform, share repurchase program and dividend growth. Continue reading "Disney Continues To Deliver"

Stress Test Success and Rising Interest Rates

For traders and investors, the political climate has been unlike anything we have ever seen in recent times!

There are plenty of opportunities if you know where to look. I will help to bridge the gap between Washington and Wall Street, finding you the best stock plays being driven by politics.

  • The Federal Reserve increased its short-term interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point and stated that economic growth has been “rising at a solid rate.”
  • The Federal Reserve indicated that two more rate hikes are likely in 2018 followed by three in 2019
  • A consortium of domestic banks passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test that was more rigorous than last year’s criteria
  • The banks are well capitalized and positioned to withstand severe economic conditions under high unemployment, housing depreciation, and credit defaults
  • Banks are in a position to release largess to shareholders via an increase in dividend payouts, share buybacks, and more unobstructed risk appropriate growth
  • Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) received approval for their capital return plans while Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) received conditional approval

Rising Interest Rates:

Back in March, the Federal Reserve expected the economy to continue to strengthen and inflation to rise shortly. The economic strength coupled with inflation telegraphed an environment that was ripe for more interest rate increases over the near term. This economic backdrop has gained momentum, and the Federal Reserve recently increased interest rates by a quarter percentage point and indicated that two more increases are highly likely in 2018 for a total of four this year. The consensus from the committee was perceived as very bullish on the domestic front and that the Federal Reserve will continue on its path of rising interest rates along with higher inflation expectations. In March, the committee stated that “tax changes enacted late last year and the recent federal budget agreement, taken together, were expected to provide a significant boost to output over the next few years” and more recently economic growth has been “rising at a solid rate,” unemployment has “declined” and household spending “has picked up.” The committee sees economic growth hitting 2.8 percent for the full year followed by 2.4 percent in 2019. The committee also indicated it continues to expect three more rate hikes in 2019. "The committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with the sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation near the committee's symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term." Provided this backdrop of positive economic commentary, financials such as Goldman Sachs (GS), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) are poised to benefit as a result. Continue reading "Stress Test Success and Rising Interest Rates"

Tariffs Inducing Market Headwinds and Risks

For traders and investors, the political climate has been unlike anything we have ever seen in recent times!

There are plenty of opportunities if you know where to look. I will help to bridge the gap between Washington and Wall Street, finding you the best stock plays being driven by politics.

  • Trump has been in a back and forth tariff battle with the Chinese for months and now has indicated that the EU may be subject to tariffs
  • This is creating a tit for tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China
  • As these trade war exchanges between the U.S. and China, in particular, unfold, world markets have experienced increased volatility
  • Multinational companies are starting to voice concern that these trade fears are becoming the most significant risk to their respective businesses
  • Multinationals just as 3M (MMM), DowDuPont (DWDP), United Technologies (UTX), General Electric (GE), Boeing (BA) and Caterpillar (CAT) have been under weakness as the tough trade rhetoric continues

Trade War Rhetoric Heats Up

Reports indicated that the Trump administration planned to block many Chinese companies from investing in domestic technology and block additional technology exports to China. It was reported that the administration was drafting rules that would apply to companies with at least 25% Chinese ownership from buying companies involved in "significant industrial technology." Despite these reports, Peter Navarro, a top trade advisor, said the market was overreacting to fears the administration would restrict foreign investment as part of its trade actions against China and other countries. "There are no plans to impose investment restrictions on any countries that are interfering in any way with our country. This is not the plan," he said. He insisted that markets were taking the wrong message from the reports, stating, "I would say more broadly I think today's market reaction is a very large overreaction," Navarro said. "What we have here with Trump trade policy is a tremendous success for this country and this market. It's very bullish." Going further, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that all of President Trump’s advisors were unanimous on the Chinese investment restrictions and that any mixed messages were unfortunate. Hence, part of the uncertainty that corporations and foreign governments are voicing concern. Continue reading "Tariffs Inducing Market Headwinds and Risks"

IBM – Blockchain Technology Becoming Ubiquitous

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech - Blockchain Technology

“What the internet did for communications, blockchain will do for trusted transactions.”
— Ginni Rometty, IBM Chief Executive Officer


I introduced International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) as a play on the emerging blockchain technology segment earlier this year to augment its transition away from its dependency on legacy businesses to the future of cloud, artificial intelligence, and analytics. IBM has struggled to restore growth, posting 20+ consecutive quarters of declining revenue however IBM has posted back-to-back quarters of revenue growth as of late. This growth has come on heels of its long-term imperatives beginning to bear fruit in emerging high-value segments that has fundamentally changed its business mix while evolving its offerings to align with new age information technology demands. A new frontier of growth lies in the nascent blockchain technology as IBM is a first mover in this promising, emerging technology. As IBM transitions to quarterly revenue growth, in the backdrop of its evolution to emerging high-value segments (i.e., blockchain) the company presents a compelling investment opportunity considering its suppressed valuation. In addition to the evolving business mix in strategic imperatives, IBM offers a great dividend, share buyback program while continuously acquiring companies to drive the business into the future. Continue reading "IBM – Blockchain Technology Becoming Ubiquitous"