Lessons Learned Looking At SPAM

Important lessons about today’s stock market can be learned from looking at SPAM. Not the mass messages that clutter your Inbox on a daily basis, but the meat product that comes in a can and is made from ham (mostly). Hormel Foods is the maker of this legendary food brand among others including Dinty Moore, Jennie-O, and Skippy. And despite the relatively staid nature of its business, the path of Hormel’s stock price over the past few years provides some important lessons about what might lie ahead for the broader market at some point in the near future.

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Have The Bulls Gone Soft?

I am concerned about the stock bulls. They have had a virtually uninterrupted eight and a half year run to the upside that has steadily lifted even the most unseaworthy of boats along the way, so they certainly have good reason for chest thumping swagger. But I’m starting to become more and more worried, as I’m increasingly seeing some of the behavioral softness that has left so many investors unwittingly exposed to eventual pain during past bull market cycles.

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Stocks: How Much Can They Disappoint?

The second quarter earnings season is largely in the books. With less than two weeks remaining and more than 98% of all companies in the S&P 500 Index having already reported, it is safe to say that 2017 Q2 earnings were generally solid. Certainly not as spectacular as 2017 Q1 earnings, but a respectable performance nonetheless that has the S&P 500 Index on track to post its second best reading of annualized as-reported earnings in its history just short of the all-time highs from 2014 Q3. Now that the second quarter earnings season is now in the books, it is worthwhile to look ahead to what we anticipate from the 2017 Q3 earnings season starting in the next few weeks.

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Oh Deere!

I love John Deere. When I first started investing more than two decades ago, Deere & Company was one of the first stocks that I purchased for my stock portfolio. I owned the stock for more than a decade up until the onset of the financial crisis, and I since owned it for a spell in the aftermath. It is a great company with a well-established identity of quality in the farm and heavy equipment marketplace. And I suspect that someday I will own the stock once again in the future before it’s all said and done. But just because Deere is a great company does not mean that it is a great stock to own at the present time.

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The Only Thing That Will End This Bull Market

No, not that bull market in stocks. This bull market that has been going on for roughly four times longer in bonds. Talk has picked up again recently by analysts casually talking about the various reasons why the bull market in bonds that started all the way back in the early 1980s is suddenly about to end. And while the logic behind these arguments certainly seems sound, the reality remains that there is only one thing and one thing only that will end the bull market in bonds. And this threat is nowhere to be found at the present time.

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