Monday, December 15, 2008

Inventory Writedowns

It will be very interesting to see how many companies take write-down on their inventories this quarter. Especially intermediate companies, such as oil refiners, should take big hits. Even if some companies don't take hits because of effective hedging programs, it will be difficult for companies to maintain margins in an environment where prices are falling. Besides, who cares about margins - companies can have higher margins but lower EPS if their product prices fall less than raw material prices. I think EPS for this quarter will be the first reality check as to how low earnings can be in times of distress.

Dollar is falling again. This sets up an interesting paradox for the US indices, especially Nasdaq, for whom a major chunk of the earnings is international.

Somehow there is a consensus that US treasuries are in bubble zone because yields have reached multi-decades low. It might be true, or it might not be true (look at Japan with 1% yields for multiple years). Besides, the mere existence of a bubble doesn't imply it is ready to pop. I think USD depreciation will precede a major treasury sell off. Now USD has started weakening since equity markets rallied. But is this the start of a full blown sell off? I don't know. Neither does anyone else. The way things evolve will determine what actually evolves.

1 comment:


Sounds like a very bad situation at the company.