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The Wall Street Greek blog is the sexy & syndicated financial securities markets publication of former Senior Equity Analyst Markos N. Kaminis. Our stock market blog reaches reputable publishers & private networks and is an unbiased, independent Wall Street research resource on the economy, stocks, gold & currency, energy & oil, real estate and more. Wall Street & Greece should be as honest, dependable and passionate as The Greek.

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Seeking Alpha

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stock Market Outlook 2015

The economy faces headwind next year due to the likelihood of Federal Reserve Fed Funds Rate hikes. However, the latest economic data has been super, and I’m not exaggerating in using that word. So will economic robustness be enough to stave off the weight of rate hikes then and allow stocks to march through 2015? I think that barring any unseen event burden, U.S. stocks might pull out an average or better performance of at least 10% thanks to our relative strength and special investment opportunity versus troubled markets overseas. See my entire Stock Market Outlook 2015 here.

Market Sector Security
SPDR Dow Jones (NYSE: DIA)
PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ)
iShares Russell 2000 (NYSE: IWM)
Vanguard Total Stock Market (NYSE: VTI)

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GDX – The Way to Play Gold in 2015

Gold’s great fall of the past two years has been well-documented, and many experts see good enough reason for it to continue a while longer. However, I see the dynamics around the price of gold shifting. Given the greater swing lower of gold miners versus the price of gold, they may be priced right to benefit in a greater way from a turn in trend. Many of the miners are small and some are over-levered and vulnerable to further decline in the price of the commodity. So for the wherewithal to survive any further downswing while still availing capital to benefit from an upward move in gold, I suggest investors consider the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) here. I think that it’s one of the best ways to play for a turn in gold. See the full report on the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF here. Also interests the Market Vectors Junior Miners (NYSE: GDXJ).

Tow Truck Queens NY

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Energy Sector Layoffs Could Alter Labor Data Trends

When Jobless Claims were reported down sharply last Wednesday, one might have felt compelled to attribute it to the season. However, there’s no arguing against the long-term trend for claims. It clearly shows tangible and impressive improvement in the labor market. However, recently halved oil prices have energy companies reducing their spending plans for 2015, and that means layoffs are coming. See our report on the energy sector impact on the labor market here. Interests SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY), SPDR Dow Jones (NYSE: DIA), PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ), Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLE), SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production (NYSE: XOP), Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX).

Wall Street

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Buy Gold in 2015

The dynamics around gold are changing here at the end of 2014, and I expect the factors that support gold to gain greater weight in 2015 against the factors that have driven it downward through 2013 and 2014. Risks remain for further downside, but they are less pronounced, so long-term investors should again consider buying and holding gold here. I have held a short opinion against gold since September 5 of this past year, but this report should serve as formal notice of a shift in my view. I see gold okay to hold here for the long-term, and see the precious metal carrying the potential to spike higher at any moment. See Gold Outlook for 2015 – Buy & Hold Here. SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD), Sprott Physical Gold Trust (NYSE: PHYS), Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull (NYSE: NUGT), Market Vectors Gold Miners (NYSE: GDX), iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV).

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Sell the OIL ETF - $50 Crude Soon

I anticipate crude oil prices could retest long-term support levels around $50 in the near-term. That is a bold forecast, but I see some clear near-term catalysts which could make it so. The first of those issues played out last Wednesday afternoon, the second came on last Thursday and the third hopefully will never come, but I suspect could impact oil prices at any moment. See our report on oil prices and the United States Oil ETF (NYSE: OIL) here.


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Bank of America & Oil Contagion Fear

A new fear is grabbing a hold of the financial sector. It’s forcing the sector to succumb to recent energy sector led market decline. It is behind the recent drop in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) shares, and it is opening up an opportunity in the stock. But don’t buy just yet, not until we see the whites of their eyes, likely after the holidays. See our report on Bank of America here.


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Terrorism Event Likely to Spike Gold Prices Higher

Readers - This is the kind of bold content you will only find on an independent blog like ours. This article is critical for gold investors and yet it would never make the sites of major publishers because of its mere prediction of terrorism. Follow our blog using one of the methods available at our home page at WallStreetGreek.com to receive more fearless and relevant content like this.

crossing the line
Gold seems to have nowhere to go but downward now that stocks are again attracting capital investment. However, gold’s downward drift may be abruptly replaced by a spike higher at any moment over the next week or so due to a very relative “event risk.” I see this event risk as probable enough to suggest the closing of the short positions against gold that I’ve supported from September until now. Investors might even consider taking new long stakes in gold or to take stakes in volatility instruments to hedge against risk, at least for the next week or so, despite the heavy weight against gold if the “event” does not come into play.

gold blogger
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Christmas Terrorist Attack Could Spike Gold

GLD chart
Since my September 5th report, I have mostly discussed the downside likelihood for gold, and I have been correct, given the 7.8% decline in the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) from then through today’s close. Note also that the GLD was actually up approximately 5% on the year-to-date into September 5, a period in which I was often criticized for being bullish gold, especially on the early year capital flow catalyst I saw and the spring-time influence of Russia.

I would certainly continue to favor the downside for gold now given recent central bank actions both here in the U.S. and in Europe and Japan. However, my position is now disrupted by a near-term threat to the short bet against gold. There is a highly relative and significantly possible event risk that could cause a near-term spike in gold prices, and it’s not worth bearing for short investors. As a result, and despite the tendency for gold to otherwise drift further lower near-term, I am pulling my downside call here and my target for the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD), at $105, and suggesting investors close short positions for now.

The event risk I write of is that of terrorism potential this week, which I and relative geopolitical experts see as relative during the Christmas period. Over the past week or so, events have occurred in Australia, Pakistan, Nigeria and France, but those regions are not very relative to U.S. investors today. Neither have the attacks by individuals within the U.S. bothered gold or stocks much. However, historical precedence, heightened jihadism in Iraq and Syria, and fresh relevant threats make this worthy of investor attention and preparation, including within our portfolio of holdings today. The historical precedence is the foiled plot of the infamous “underwear bomber” to destroy a commercial passenger jet on Christmas Day 2009. The relevant threat is against airliners around Christmas in Europe and potentially in America. Of course, any terrorism, if Americans feel like it threatens them, would shake up capital markets and potentially disrupt the dollar’s rise against other currencies, and lift gold.

Precious Metals Security
SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD)
iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV)
Market Vectors Gold Miners (NYSE: GDX)
Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X (NYSE: NUGT)
Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X (NYSE: DUST)
Goldcorp (NYSE: GG)
Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM)

Gold relative securities have marked big losses for 2014, with just a week or so more to go for the year. In fact, they continued their slide Monday as stocks continue to rally and draw capital from other sectors of investment, which I suspected would happen and so held off on the writing of this article a day longer. I expect gold to continue to slide, unless and until the event risk of relevance here becomes reality. This is something gold investors both long and short should be aware of and prepared for. While I hope and pray the event risk of terrorism does not occur, I suggest investors currently short gold take off bets here and even consider long stakes, if not hedges in volatility instruments like the iPath S&P VIX ST Futures ETN (NYSE: VXX). I cover the market and gold regularly, so readers may find value in following our blog and my column.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Apple Pay is Catching On – Catalyst for P/E Expansion

Apple Store New York
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced last Tuesday that the list of companies working with Apple Pay has expanded to now cover a significant portion of the nation’s transaction volume. While it still has a ways to go to completely reach every possible transaction at every store, reports indicate that it is being adopted at a fast pace. In my opinion, Apple Pay is the main reason why Apple’s shares have recently run higher, and for good reason. I expect the business to make an important contribution to the company’s growing operational results. I also believe it is allowing the previously stale P/E ratio some room to grow, which means Apple shareholders are in for some special gains in the next few years.

Markos Kaminis New York
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Apple Pay just added several more financial institutions to its list of payments partners, including SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI) and others, according to one of my resources for this report. From the consumer perspective, Apple Pay now supports 90% of all potential credit card transactions in the United States. The company is also seeking arrangements with providers of debit cards, prepaid cards, co-branded cards, small business credit and debit cards and corporate cards.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) must also win the support of retailers and all companies that accept payments for goods and services. Early signees include McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) and recent signees include Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) and others. Given the degree of Apple iPhone penetration, it behooves retailers and restaurants to accept Apple Pay in order to best serve customers. So this is something retailers are likely asking Apple about in many instances before Apple even approaches them.

Not only is the service becoming available though; it is being used by Americans. McDonalds indicated that 50% of its tap-to-pay transactions were through Apple Pay in November. It is being adopted because it simplifies the transaction process for customers and is a value-add for Apple’s partners. According to the New York Times, the NBA’s Orlando Magic basketball franchise expects it to speed service at its concession stands. Since lines at ballparks and stadiums are limiting to sales, as many fans hate missing the action, if Apple Pay can speed transactions it will help these partners sell more food and beverages and other goods. That is a value-add to sales and earnings, and all the more reason for companies to partner with Apple on this.

In the past, similar services provided by Google (Nasdaq: GOOGL) and others have failed where Apple seems to be succeeding. I think that is because of Apple’s broad iPhone penetration; big PR voice that got the message across clearly to a broad swath of America when it introduced the service; and because of today’s tech savvy population, which has gotten much better at picking up new technology. People want to try it out and are willing to spend some time to learn how to use it.

Some retailers are making their own app, including a consortium headed up by Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), but I’m not sure people are going to want to join up for more than one payment app. I suppose the consortium may be able to better compete with Google’s Android platform, but Google (Nasdaq: GOOGL) is likely stepping up its game to help support its platform partners.

While Apple has not offered much information on how successful Apple Pay has been, its partners have been talking. On CNBC Tuesday, I watched a SunTrust representative as he said the service was showing good progress. Obviously, as a newly won business partner, this SunTrust representative was supplied with the figures we have not yet seen. We do know that over 1 million cards were registered with Apple Pay within the first 72 hours of operation, according to Tim Cook.

But there is also circumstantial evidence. This weekend (12-20-14), I saw evidence that banks are using Apple Pay as a draw for their businesses, with commercials for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) both flashing partnerships with Apple Pay. They would not be doing this if they did not see strong penetration and consumer interest in the application. Basically, the banks are riding the coattails of the highly popular Apple brand and its newest and greatest thing.

Over the last few years, I’ve often proposed that Apple’s low PEG ratio was reflecting investor concern that Apple could not keep growing and might even see some erosion of market share. We have been looking for the company to expand its efforts into television sets and other gear, and it has entered the wearables market with its Apple Watch. But I think it is Apple Pay that is most exciting investors today, and the reason for the stock’s gains since its introduction.

Apple’s P/E ratio is now 13.8X the analysts’ consensus EPS estimate for FY 15 (Sep). The company’s valuation metrics have been expanding, but the forward P/E ratio here still shows room for further expansion in my opinion. I expect that as the data is reported and investors begin to better see the potential for Apple Pay and Apple Watch, the P/E and PEG ratios will expand further. Given analysts’ expectations for 20% growth in FY 15, the current PEG on these figures is 0.7x. That’s cheap. Looking at the long-term growth estimate, I expect it will be revised upward from the current 11.5% estimate once data for Apple Pay and Apple Watch start rolling in. But even so, the company’s PEG ratio using this figure is a still modest 1.2X, and fails to incorporate the dividend yield Apple offers of 1.7% today. Reiterating and concluding, as data comes in and estimates are revised, I expect we’ll also see P/E expansion, so shareholders of AAPL will get extra lift to their investment return. Thus, I still love AAPL here. I cover AAPL semi-regularly, so readers may want to follow my blog and my column at SA.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

celebrity fashion designer New York

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gold is About to Collapse but Also Mark Bottom

I see the price of gold dropping sharply this week, but then marking a bottom within a matter of days. The dollar strength which has impacted gold’s decline most over the last several years should be refueled this week by two important central bank events. But within days of these events, I expect gold to mark an important bottom and to drive higher on a new concern I expect will be raised about the dollar’s safe haven status. See more about this gold report here.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) - December Seasonal Swing Offers Opportunity

Apple store
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares have sold off in concert with the market to start December, but don’t throw your Apple shares out with the bathwater now. Apple shares have exaggerated the market’s decline, and I find it ironic considering the value proposition Apple’s shares still offer versus the market. I believe the selloff is due to seasonal factors that are about to shift in our favor. So, I suggest investors not rush to sell in panic, but rather consider the decline a new opportunity to add Apple shares to holdings.

Apple blogger
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)

As I showed in my report about December seasonality, the month has historically outperformed all others. Since 1950, stocks have averaged a 1.6% gain in December; that is the best monthly performance. Yet, the first half of the month has produced less predictable and somewhat conflicted results. Over the last 10 years, the S&P 500 Index has only risen 0.2% on average from December 1st through the 15th of the month. It seems much of its gains come in the second half of the period. The traditional Santa Claus Rally does not run until the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

A few months back, I said Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares would prove to be a good flight to quality destination. In the months that followed and through October when the market swooned, Apple remained a stalwart stock. However, the same reliability is not reflected in this month’s price action. The S&P 500 Index was off about 1.4% month-to-date through early AM trading on December 9th, yet Apple shares were down 6.5% for the month at that point. Interestingly enough, both Apple and the market on the whole seemed to be already turning around into the late afternoon trade. At some point before long this month, I expect Apple should resume its impressive trend line higher with conviction.

The S&P 500 Index (NYSE: SPY) trades at 19.9X trailing twelve month earnings, versus Apple’s relative P/E discount of 17.5X. Apple today is still a value at just 14.6X the analysts’ EPS consensus estimate of $7.76 for fiscal 2015 (Sept.). Apple pays a dividend yield of 1.6% here, and analysts estimate earnings growth of 20% this year. The five-year estimate for EPS growth is likely understated, as analysts are still unable to make sense of the company’s opportunity with Apple Pay and other efforts. Analysts see long-term growth at 11.5%, giving the company a PEG ratio of approximately 1.26X. When incorporating the dividend yield, I come up with a KPEG of 1.1X. That’s a value opportunity for the growth and dividend being offered, especially considering I think growth is understated.

The December seasonal selloff will soon turn to rally in my view, so I would use this opportunity to buy Apple shares on sale. Apple’s shares are up 44% year-to-date after adjusting for dividends and splits. That is significant appreciation since I recommended the shares at the start of the year. On January 2nd, I said Apple could unlock 68% upside value nearly overnight if it were to present new innovation, which it clearly has this year. The stock trades a little higher now than the average low point of its historical P/E range, but it has a long way to go to get to its recent history’s average high P/E ratio in the mid-20s. I talk about this in this 2012 report answering the question, Should I Buy Apple. Apple has clearly been a buy idea for me for years, and it is ever more appealing now that it is on sale. As I follow Apple somewhat regularly, readers may have interest in following my column.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Greek Church Candles

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Week Ahead – Jolly Good Times?

Santa Claus
All the news is good, and yet stocks have opened the week lower Monday. Eyes are still focused eastward at Europe and China as international economic data continues to weigh somehow here at home despite strong domestic data. The week is light of U.S. economic indicators, but retail sales data is due. Investors and analysts will be busy enough with festive investor conferences and analyst days and those are always filled with jolly good news no matter the corporate presenters.

Santa Claus Rally

5-Day SPY Chart at Seeking Alpha
Stocks rallied through the first week of what is historically speaking the best performing month of the year. There was some volatility to work through on Thursday, but after Friday’s confirmation about the good health of the U.S. economy in the monthly jobs report, we should be ready to roar higher now.

SPDR Dow Jones (NYSE: DIA)
PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ)
iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures (NYSE: VXX)
PowerShares DB US Dollar Bullish (NYSE: UUP)
SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD)
iPath S&P Crude Oil (NYSE: OIL)

The dollar also found support again thanks to the economic confirmation, and that put pressure on commodities priced in dollar terms, including gold and energy. It still looks like the ECB will grow increasingly likely to go to extraordinary lengths to support the euro zone given that economic growth expectations continue to be adjusted lower. However, there is also some risk to the dollar posed by the potential for terrorism this month as we approach Hanukah and Christmas. In 2009, the “underwear bomber” attempted to blow up an aircraft on Christmas Day, and this past week a report surfaced about terrorist hopes to destroy several aircraft around Christmas this year. Thus, investors should probably have hedges in place on the week of Christmas and also for New Year’s Eve.

The economic schedule hardly offers much of note this week. We will still need to pay attention to the Producer Price Index (PPI) indication about producer level inflation. The data should begin to reflect lower energy prices before long, and that expectation has this indicator somewhat muted this month. Retail sales data is due Thursday and expected to be relatively positive. The consumer economy of the U.S. is of utmost importance to the investment community. We must see consumer spending and confidence continue to improve, and it should thanks to lower levels of unemployment and sharply lower gasoline prices. Small businessmen will weigh in on Tuesday, but I’m expecting them to increasingly become more positive about the environment given political change they likely favor due to the increased costs they have born over recent years.

Economic Data Point




-Year-to-Year Pace



4.735 M

Wholesale Trade (Inventories)


-Crude Oil Inventory
-3.7 MB

-Gasoline Inventory
+2.1 MB

$-121.7 B
$-63.0 B


-Less Autos & Gas
-Import Prices

-22 bcf


-Core PPI

Earnings reports this week surprisingly still include some important names. An important homebuilder reports in Toll Brothers; an important measure of leisure spending in Vail Resorts; important retailers perhaps showing the state of discretionary spending and employment in Lululemon and Men’s Wearhouse. The entire list follows here.


ABM Industries
Central Garden & Pet
Nasdaq: CENT
Diamond Foods
Nasdaq: DMND
H&R Block
IDT Corp.
Ingles Markets
Nasdaq: IMKTA
KiOR Inc.
Nasdaq: KIORQ
Liberty Tax
Medley Capital
Nasdaq: PLAB
Triangle Petroleum
Nasdaq: TPLM
Vail Resorts

ADDvantage Technologies
Nasdaq: ALOG
Burlington Stores
Nasdaq: BURL
CHC Group
Nasdaq: HELI
Nasdaq: CONN
Enzo Biochem
Nasdaq: FRPT
HD Supply
Korn/Ferry Int’l
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Miller Energy Resources
Nasdaq: MILL
Mitcham Industries
Nasdaq: MIND
NCI Building Systems
Ossen Innovation
Pep Boys
Science Applications Int’l
Nasdaq: SAIC
The Pantry
Nasdaq: PTRY
UTi Worldwide
Nasdaq: UTIW

Aviat Networks
Nasdaq: AVNW
Cantel Medical
Casey’s General Stores
Nasdaq: CASY
Nasdaq: CHKE
Comtech Telecommunications
Nasdaq: CMTL
Nasdaq: CNSI
Costco Wholesale
Nasdaq: COST
Ferrellgas Partners
Fifth Street Senior Floating Rate
Nasdaq: FSFR
Francesca’s Holdings
Nasdaq: FRAN
Hovnanian Enterprises
Nasdaq: INTL
Investors Real Estate Trust
Nasdaq: IRET
KMG Chemicals
Lands End
Layne Christensen
Nasdaq: LAYN
Men’s Wearhouse
Monmouth Real Estate Inv.
Oxford Industries
Panhandle Oil & Gas
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals
Nasdaq: PPHM
Restoration Hardware
Sigma Designs
Nasdaq: SIGM
Star Gas Partners
Straight Path Communications
Nasdaq: STRP
Titan Machinery
Nasdaq: TITN
Toll Brothers
Vera Bradley
Wet Seal
Nasdaq: WTSL

Adobe Systems
Nasdaq: ADBE
Nasdaq: CIEN
DLH Holdings
Nasdaq: DLHC
Esterline Technologies
Lee Enterprises
Lululemon Athletica
Nasdaq: LULU
Methode Electronics
Nasdaq: NDSN

Exceed Company

Other reports you may enjoy:

Our Report on Gold
Our Report on GoPro (Nasdaq: GPRO)
Our Report on McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD)

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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