Stocks pulled back on heavier trading volume as concerns over Apple iPhone sales caused a tech retrenchment. The Dow closed down 83 at 24,664.
Natural gas pipeline giant Kinder Morgan reported better than expected results yesterday and followed through on its promise to increase the dividend by 60% from 50 cents per share to 80 cents per share. Natural gas volumes were up by 10% and while overall revenue for the quarter was flat the bottom line grew by 29%. While over 85% of Kinder’s pipelines are natural gas, with the remainder used for oil and refined products, the company noted that capacity utilization is up and that 90% of new capital improvements are directed at natural gas which is benefitting from both supply and demand growth in the US as well as exports to Mexico. The two fastest growing segments of the energy business are natural gas and renewables which includes hydro, wind and solar.
Umpqua Bank, an Oregon based community bank that expanded significantly on the west coast during the financial crisis, reported substantially higher earnings today. The bank was named after the Umpqua River which in turn was named after the Umpqua Indian tribe (apparently they were bankers instead of hunters) in southwestern Oregon. The company posted a 15% increase in revenue and a 67% jump in net income. Loan volume was good, deposits were up, net interest margins are higher and loan defaults were down. The bank also increased its dividend by 11.1% and expressed optimism going forward.
The benchmark 10 year treasury yield went above 2.9% thanks to strength in economic data. Manufacturing indicators are stronger than expected, material prices are higher and labor data is better than expected. On top of all this was an easing of geopolitical tensions as amazing things appear to be happening with North Korea signaling it wants peace and might be willing to exchange security guarantees for its nukes.
I am headed to Camp Korey tomorrow to help Jon Chambers with the Diagon Alley relocation/rebuild to help the “kids at Kamp Korey kontinue to find Komfort”. Check out the web link at Jon’s tweeter account. One of our Boy Scouts is also looking to help with this effort for his Eagle project.
John and Cleo will be in the office slaving away!