After opening up about a 1% lower stocks have been pretty much trending water–folks don’t know whether they should be buying or selling. I am just watching–haven’t bought or sold today. Of course the 1st time unemployment claims were terrible–but we all knew that would be the case. I will really be interested in the April employment numbers to be released late next week–they will be terrible–we all know–just how terrible is the question.
I have been watching the investment grade Utility/CEF spreadsheet just in case a bargain springs up–but no such luck–not really much available in the investment grade area that anyone could call a ‘bargain’.
I did take a look at some pretty respectable earnings from Site Centers (SITC)–an open air mall company. There earnings were above last years 1st quarter and they had sold a their holdings in a joint venture and banked a nice $141 million in net proceeds. The company has over $500 million in cool, hard cash in the bank. Additionally they suspended their common dividend–a smart move I think as this quarter will not be so impressive–it is nice to see someone with that much cash move to preserve assets during a period of uncertainty–obviously the common holders are less impressed than I am.
SITC has a couple perpetual preferreds outstanding with current yields in the 8% area–trading around $20/share. The preferred shares are rated Ba1 and S&P at BB–so NOT investment grade by any means, but maybe on the watch list, but only at much lower prices. $500 million in the bank will go a long way toward getting them through the storm.
Heading toward the close I suspect we might see a larger market move–whether it is higher or lower is anyone’s guess.