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February 6, 2012

Factoids for the week of January 30th- February 3rd


Monday, January 30, 2012

Cushman & Wakefield reported that more than 306 million square feet of new industrial leases were completed in 2011, up 14% from 2010, and the highest level since 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times. Of the 33 U.S. industrial markets tracked by the brokerage, 22 reported increases in activity. Jim Dieter, head of U.S. Industrial Brokerage for Cushman & Wakefield, believes the recovery in industrials will gain momentum over the next 12-24 months.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Congressional Budget Office released a study that showed that the average federal worker takes home 16% more in total compensation (includes pension and health benefits) than do private sector workers in a comparable profession, according to MSN.com. The average federal worker earns close to 2% more if you only take income into account. There is a distinction between skilled workers and lower-skilled workers. Federal workers with a professional degree or doctorate earn, on average, 23% less than private sector employees. Lower-skilled workers with just a high school diploma or less earn 21% more in wages if they work for the government.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More investors are turning to social media for "real-time” information on publicly traded companies and the financial industry, according to Yahoo.com. StockTwits, an investment community that is built on the Twitter microblog platform, reported a 300% surge in traffic from the start of 2011 through Q3'11, when volatility in the stock market ramped up. The VIX Index level (S&P 500) rose from 17.75 to 42.96 in the period. A reading near 20 is about the historical norm.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In January, the dividend-payers (395) in the S&P 500 (equal weight) posted a total return of 4.89%, vs. 8.19% for the non-payers (105), according to Standard & Poor's. For the 12-month period ended January, payers were up 4.18%, vs. a loss of 2.09% for the non-payers. The number of dividend increases in January totaled 32, up from 29 increases a year ago. There were no decreases, which was the case a year ago. One company initiated a dividend, which matched the one initiated in 1/11.

Friday, February 3, 2012

As of the end of January, nearly 40% of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported their quarterly earnings for Q4'11, according to SmartMoney.com. One of the best performing sectors was technology, with 68% of companies topping analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters. The beat rate for the S&P 500 was 59%. The tech sector of the S&P 500 currently holds $380 billion in cash and equivalents (doesn't include long-term securities), which is equal to 15% of its market value and is more than any other sector, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P. With respect to volatility, S&P data indicates that share price fluctuations for tech stocks have been no more volatile over the past five years than the S&P 500, according to SmartMoney.com.