Thursday, February 28, 2019

Explain this market?

First, is it possible that a major U.S. based company with $51 billion of shareholders equity versus $31 billion of long term debt could see its share price drop by 30% in one day due to a $10 billion writedown of intangible assets, meaning accounting but not cash items?  That's a stock price drop from $48 to $34.  Two, is it also possible that the Oracle of Omaha owns 26% of this in Berkshire Hathaway?  Three, is it also possible that this company owns many revered American and, yes, global brands like Jello, Cheez Whiz, Kool Aid, Velveeta, A-1 Steak Sauce, Oscar Mayer wieners, Grey Poupon, Tang, Clausen Pickles, all of those delicacies and many more, plus Heinz Ketchup?  The company obviously is KHC, the food conglomerate Kraft Heinz.

Almost unbelievable for those first two questions, but maybe not on that last one.  One could wonder how much more it would have collapsed without the always necessary ketchup.  There must have been those in the market who knew enough about this company's issues, but real securities analysts are hard to find these days.  At least a few who had done some old style research, like check the stores?  Guess not, and certainly the company must be credited for knowing how to keep a secret, although that's a double edged sword.

It has been a remarkably complacent market recently, but this was quite a rumble under the surface.  Why does the phrase "canary in a coal mine" come to mind?

Also in the day's market news, Square's earnings announcement this morning was met with derision and head shaking by pundits and news readers on CNBC, and traders(not investors) jumped on board.  The stock fell from its Wednesday close of $79.30 to $74.50 in the first half hour today.  After smarter folks studied and digested the numbers, the price rose to $82.70, and closed by the end of the day at $81.42.  That's an almost 10% trading range for the day, a big range especially when it's not one directional.

Complacent market?  One could wonder.


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