E Weekly Report: Alpha Generating Ideas


Intermodal continues to support rail carloads, offsetting 2013 weakness in coal and grain.  Total intermodal volume improved 4.6% in 2013 from 2012, helping total carloads increase 1.8%.  Petroleum saw carloads increase the most last year thanks to Bakken and Eagle Ford.  Post grain harvest export demand has been rebounding, suggesting rising exports may offer grain carload pricing power for rails.  Coal activity remains weak, however year-over-year declines have decelerated and comparisons are much easier than two years ago. 


Apparel stores also score high in services and offer strength through the Q4 EPS reporting season.  Retail sales for clothing stores in the 3-month period ending November were 3.5% higher than the comparable period in 2012.


Generics will re-exert in 2014 as the 'breather' in the patent cliff ends and high profile brands lose protection this year and next year.  Specialty drugs continue to drive profit growth across biotech thanks to pricing power and label expansion. Big pharma will continue to embrace partnerships and/or collaboration agreements with emerging biotech and industry pipelines will expand as more readily available financing helps push pre-clinical into trials.  The FDA approved 27 drugs in 2013, one third of which were orphan.  25 new drug applications are pending for 2014 and the total number of drug studies registered on the NIH's Clinical Trials climbed to 158.4k in 2013 from 138.9k in 2012.


Economic Data to Watch this Week: 


January 6th January 7th January 8th
ISM non-manuf.  54.5
Factory Orders  1.8
ICSC Chain Sales
Consumer Credit



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