The already-struggling shares of Noranda Aluminum Holding were being crushed Monday after a Citi analyst cut his rating and price target on the stock and investors took down most things related to commodities on fears that global growth is again slowing. Citi analyst Brian Yu lowered his opinion of Noranda to 'neutral' from 'buy' and now has a price target of $4.50, down from $7. At about 2:20 p.m., Noranda shares (Ticker: NOR) were off more than 8 percent to about $3.60.
On a related note, Delek US Holdings (Ticker: DK) were down 7 percent as investors also sold off oil refiners, many of which have run up big time so far this year.
Louisiana-Pacific shares also were giving up a significant ground Monday after a National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index showed that home builders' optimism fell this month to its lowest level since October. In addition to complaints about material costs and getting the loans they need to build, builders are now showing some concern about consumer demand, the report said. That stung LP (Ticker: LPX) to the tune of almost 9 percent on volume that will more than triple the stock's daily average.
The latest SurePayroll numbers on hiring and wages at the nation's small businesses show that the upcoming presidential election is wearing down confidence across the board. Only 45 percent of those surveyed said they were optimistic, down from 60 percent in June. SurePayroll says 20 of the country's largest cities saw small-biz hiring fall last month — Nashville was one of them — while only 11 posted gains. Here's a full city-by-city rundown.
The National Federation of Independent Business says only five percent of the members it surveyed last month think now is a good time to expand. The association's index has averaged a score of 90 since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. That's 10 points below its 1973-2008 average and the lowest ever coming out of a downturn.
Small businesses sentiment continues to be a very mixed indicator for the overall economy. The July survey of employment and compensation trends by SurePayroll shows Nashville's entrepreneurs cutting back 0.2 percent rom June on hiring this month but paying their people a bit more. That puts us pretty squarely in the middle of SurePayroll's city-by-city listing.
The latest Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business doesn't make for joyous reading. Small firm owners are growing more negative about most parts of their businesses and NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg says they don't see D.C. helping at all. In an interview with Bloomberg Radio, he says the recovery is as shaky as ever: "When you're riding really slowly on a bicycle, it's easy to fall over."
Still waiting for America's small businesses to charge their way out of recession and drive strong GDP growth? Don't hold your breath, says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg, whose team's monthly sentiment survey showed only the slightest of gains and are below year-ago levels.
The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a negative 3 percent, 5 points better than December but still 13 percentage points below last year’s reading. Not seasonally adjusted, 18 percent expect deterioration (down 4 points), and 22 percent expect improvement (up 7 points). A net 10 percent of all owners expect improved real sales volumes.
U.S. businesses have become too reliant on credit and too puzzled by the effect of all the stimulus programs and political uncertainty, writes former banker and professor John Mason. To clear the deck and prime the pump for classic capital investment, we need more mergers and acquisitions — even if that means job losses in the short term.
There may still be many conflicting signals about the state of the American consumer, but sentiment from the restaurant sector is turning firmly upward. The National Restaurant Association says the respondents to its November sentiment index reported the strongest sales growth since August of 2007 and that their outlook for the coming six months is at its highest since this past spring.
Capital spending activity among restaurant operators trended upward in recent months. Forty-sixpercent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, the highest level in five months.
Things are beginning to look up among the nation's entrepreneurs, according to the latest National Federation of Independent Business sentiment survey. Led primarily by rises in sales expectations and the overall business outlook, the index climbed almost two points to 92.0. The improvement was the index's third straight and has NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg speaking of things feeling like spring again.
The small-business hiring and compensation index run by Paychex division SurePayroll puts Nashville in some good company when it comes to 2011 paycheck growth. Only seven of the nation's largest cities have seen small-business salaries rise faster year to date than Nashville's 3.8 percent. Music City also is one of just nine markets where both paychecks and employment levels have grown in 2011.
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