Tom Gresham

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Tom Gresham

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The S&P 500 was lower yesterday, as a bruising session for Apple set the tone on Wall Street.  But, with about 100 companies in the index reporting so far - results have actually been pretty good - 73% of companies have beat earnings estimates.  Top-line numbers are more of a mixed bag, with only about 55% of companies beating on revenue.  (FT)

Navient, the largest student loan servicing company in the US (spun off from Sallie Mae last year) reported a 40% drop in profits, giving a glimpse into worsening trends in the $1.2tn student loan market.  The student loan market is the largest source of consumer debt (behind mortgages), and 92% of the loans are underwritten by the US government.  Just over 11% of student loan payments are currently delinquent.  (FT)

Anthem is now imminently poised to buy Cigna, in a $48bn tie-up that will shrink the five largest US health insurers to just three.  The deal comes as health insurers continue to seek cost efficiency and scale as the healthcare landscape changes due to the Affordable Care Act.  The combined companies will have a projected revenue of $115bn this year.  (WSJ)
Diesel car and truck owners rejoice.  The world is awash in diesel, and prices have reached near parity with gasoline.  A gallon of diesel is now going for a nationwide average of $2.79, vs $2.75 for unleaded.  Look for prices to keep declining: sagging diesel prices suggest the world's glut of crude oil is now becoming a glut of refined products.  (WSJ)
 

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