- the weaker-than-expected March employment report; and
- a company and CEO worth emulating.
What a Horrendous Number Posted at 10:14 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 6. We'll certainly have enough time to think and reflect on how horrible that report was, and Holy Cow, was it horrible. Might as well just own up that while we may have strong retail sales and strong auto sales and maybe even stronger housing sales, we are not putting as many new people to work as we thought. So what happens? Energy gets slaughtered. These stocks have been going down, and they have hideous charts and they are the natural sales. Is it right? > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll Someone asked me about Schlumberger ( SLB) last night, and I said it is having an amazing quarter and year and it can't be bought yet because it is probably going to $63. I use that one as the example because it is the best. Of course, I want to own it at $63, but that's irrelevant if you already own it. I spoke to Devon ( DVN) yesterday, and that company's doing terrifically, and again, that won't matter. I know it sounds callous to say it doesn't matter. I am simply giving you what "they" will "sell" Monday morning. Mining and resources-related stocks will get hammered, too, unless China cuts Sunday. These stocks are likely to be killed anyway after Alcoa ( AA) reports, so the propensity will be to dump them. Retail's tougher? Many might say that the employment report is backward-looking and that we just found out about monthly sales and for many retailers they were great. But the nitpickers will hark back to "weather abetted" as a reason to sell them. Which leaves health care and consumer products companies with good yield. Those should hold up, but they probably won't stabilize until midmorning.
A Company That's Doing It Right Posted at 11:16 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 5. Lots of people get mystified when I say that a company is a poor executor of its operations. I have been critical of so many management teams. I blasted SanDisk ( SNDK) management yesterday for being inconsistent. I've been overtly critical of the Avon Products ( AVN) team for not being able to deliver on behalf of shareholders. And despite the rise in Bank of America's ( BAC) stock this year, I am deeply perturbed at the execution of that bank's plan to return to health after the hideous Countrywide acquisition and the horrid lending standards of both the original Bank of America and its successor, which includes Countrywide. The pushback I have been getting on these judgments isn't critical about the managements that I have selected to be harsh on -- most agree with my choices. It is much more a sense of, OK, what does it mean to execute, and who is executing well? First, execution means having a strategy, being strategic in large-scale decisions and then prosecuting the tactics that make the strategy pan out. Who's performing both tasks perfectly? How about Chuck Bunch, a frequent guest of "Mad Money," who is CEO of PPG Industries ( PPG), the old Pittsburgh Plate Glass. There was a time, at my hedge fund, when on every tick down in housing or autos I would buy puts on this company. I knew that the glass in the cars would be backed up and that the paint division alone could bring down earnings.