Markets imitated a Seattle Aquarium sea anemone today as the Dow ducked into its shell with a 40 point heavy volume drop to close at 18,162. Microsoft (aka “Micropoopee”) announced earnings after the bell and apparently they were well received sending shares up 4% in after-hours trading. Microsoft is gearing up for its annual celebration marking the departure of former CEO Steve Ballmer. Just kidding!
BTS Capital issued a report on the high yield junk bond market saying that forward prospects look good heading into 2017 as default rates are dropping and higher oil prices are supporting bond prices.
Shares of Seattle based Alaska Air were higher after the company posted better than expected sales and profits. The gurus were expecting a 3% drop in the bottom line but “Alakba” instead came in with a 2% increase. Revenue was also higher by 3%. Besides benefitting from its association with CFO (Chief Football Officer) Russell Wilson, Alaska Air had tailwinds from a strong economy in Seattle coupled with forward expansion plans as it works to complete its acquisition of Virgin Airlines. The company was also able to avoid any negative events from exploding galaxy 7 “smart” phones.
The largest US natural gas pipeline company, Kinder Morgan, reported a 10% drop in revenue and a 6% increase in net bottom line profits. The company continues to pay down debt and strengthen its balance sheet while investing in future growth initiatives like LNG. Natural gas prices over the past six months have risen from $2.40 per MMBTUs to its current level of approx. $3.12. The company’s surprise revenue drop was due to lower CO2 commodity (oil) prices. Natural gas volumes to electric power plants rose 9% as utilities in the US continue to gravitate away from coal (or is that spelled ….Coale?).
WTI crude was off over 2% to $50.31 per barrel and gold finished lower by $3.60 an ounce to $1,266.