China Calm Shattered: Probe Sparks Selloff in Stocks

  • Citic Securities leads losses after revealing investigation
  • Industrial profits drop 4.6% in October as slowdown deepens


  • China’s stocks tumbled the most since the depths of a $5 trillion plunge in August as some of the nation’s largest brokerages disclosed regulatory probes, industrial profits fell and two more companies said they’re struggling to repay bonds.

    The Shanghai Composite Index sank 5.5 percent, with a gauge of volatility surging from the lowest level since March. Citic Securities Co. and Guosen Securities Co. plunged by the daily limit in Shanghai after saying they were under investigation for alleged rule violations. Haitong Securities Co., whose shares were suspended from trading, is also being probed. Industrial profits slid 4.6 percent last month, data showed Friday, compared with a 0.1 percent drop in September.

The probe into the finance industry comes as the government widens an anti-corruption campaign and seeks to assign blame for the selloff earlier this year. Authorities are testing the strength of a nascent bull market by lifting a freeze on initial public offerings and scrapping a rule requiring brokerages to hold net-long positions, just as the earliest indicators for November signal a deterioration in economic growth. A Chinese fertilizer maker and a pig iron producer became the latest companies to flag debt troubles after at least six defaults this year.

Brokerages Plunge

“The sharp decline will raise questions whether the authorities’ confidence that we are seeing stability in the Chinese markets may be a tad premature,” said Bernard Aw, a strategist at IG Asia Pte. in Singapore. “The rally since the August collapse was not fundamentally supported. The removal of restrictions for large brokers to sell and the IPO resumptions may not have been announced at an opportune time.”

Friday’s losses pared the Shanghai Composite’s gain since its Aug. 26 low to 17 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slid 2.5 percent in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng Index retreated 1.9 percent.

A gauge of financial shares on the CSI 300 slumped 5 percent. Citic Securities and Guosen Securities both dropped 10 percent. Haitong International Securities Group Ltd. slid 7.5 percent for the biggest decline since Aug. 24 in Hong Kong.

The finance crackdown has intensified in recent weeks and ensnared a prominent hedge-fund manager and a CSRC vice chairman. Citic Securities President Cheng Boming is among seven of the company’s executives named by Xinhua News Agency as being under investigation. Brokerage Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. said Monday it had lost contact with its chairman, spurring a 12 percent slump in the firm’s shares.

An industrial explosives maker will become the first IPO to be priced since the regulator lifted a five-month freeze on new share sales imposed during the height of the rout. Ten companies will market new shares next week. The final 28 IPOs under the existing online lottery system will probably tie up 3.4 trillion yuan ($532 billion), according to the median of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.



JB offshore.mp4  The First Rule Is Safety

The Bear Market Has Just Begun


Today the narrow-minded canyons of Wall Street are littered almost entirely of trend-following bulls and cheerleaders who don’t realize how little there is to actually cheer about. Stock values are far less attractive than they were on that day back in 2009 and this selloff has a lot longer to run. There are hordes of perma-bulls calling for a V-shaped recovery in stocks, even after multiple years of nary a downtick.

Here are six reasons why I believe the bear market in the major averages has only just begun:

1) Stocks are overvalued by almost every metric.One of my favorite metrics is the price-to-sales ratio, which shows stock prices in relation to the company’s revenue per share and omits the financial engineering associated with borrowing money to buy back shares for the purpose of boosting EPS growth. For the S&P 500 (INDEX: .SPX), this ratio is currently 1.7, which is far above the mean value of 1.4. The benchmark index is also near record high valuations when measured as a percentage of GDP and in relation to the replacement costs of its companies.


2) There is currently a lack of revenue and earnings growth for S&P 500 companies. Second-quarter earnings shrank 0.7 percent, while revenues declined by 3.4 percent from a year earlier, according to FactSet. The Q2 revenue contraction marks the first time the benchmark index’s revenue shrank two quarters in a row since 2009.

S&P 500
  • Virtually the entire global economy is either in, or teetering on, a recession. In 2009, China stepped further into a huge stimulus cycle that would eventually lead to the largest misallocation of capital in the history of the modern world. Empty cities don’t build themselves: They require enormous spurious demand of natural resources, which, in turn, leads to excess capacity from resource-producing countries such as Brazil, Australia, Russia, Canada, et al. Now those economies are in recession because China has become debt disabled and is painfully working down that misallocation of capital. And now Japan and the entire European Union appear poised to follow the same fate.

This is causing the rate of inflation to fall according to the Core PCE index. And the CRB Index, which is at the panic lows of early 2009, is corroborating the decreasing rate of inflation.


But the bulls on Wall Street would have you believe the cratering price of oil is a good thing because the “gas tax cut” will drive consumer spending – never mind the fact that energy prices are crashing due to crumbling global demand. Nevertheless, there will be no such boost to consumer spending from lower oil prices because consumers are being hurt by a lack of real income growth, huge health-care spending increases and soaring shelter costs.

4) U.S. manufacturing and GDP is headed south. The Dallas Fed’s manufacturing report showed its general activity index fell to -15.8 in August, from an already weak -4.6 reading in July. The oil-fracking industry had been one of the sole bright spots for the US economy since the Great Recession and has been the lead impetus of job creation. However, many Wall Street charlatans contend the United States is immune from deflation and a global slowdown and remain blindly optimistic about a strong second half.

Unfortunately, we are already two-thirds of the way into the third quarter and the Atlanta Fed is predicting GDP will grow at an unimpressive rate of 1.3 percent. Furthermore, the August ISM manufacturing index fell to 51.1, from 52.7, its weakest read in over two years. And while gross domestic product in the second quarter came in at a 3.7 percent annual rate, due in large part to a huge inventory build, gross domestic income increased at an annual rate of only 0.6 percent.

GDP tracks all expenditures on final goods and services produced in the United States and GDI tracks all income received by those who produced that output. These two metrics should be equal because every dollar spent on a good or service flows as income to a household, a firm, or the government. The two numbers will, at times, differ in practice due to measurement errors. However this is a fairly large measurement error and it leads one to wonder if that 0.6 percent GDI number should get a bit more attention.

5) Global trade is currently in freefall. Reuters reported that exports from South Korea dropped nearly 15 percent in August from a year earlier, with shipments to China, the United States and Europe all weaker. U.S. exports of goods and general merchandise are at the lowest level since September of 2011. The latest measurement of $370 billion is down from $408 billion, or -9.46 percent from Q4 2014. And CNBC reported this week that the volume of exports from the Port of Long Beach to China dropped by 10 percent YOY. The metastasizing global slowdown will only continue to exacerbate the plummeting value of U.S. trade.


6) The Fed is promising to no longer support the stock market. Back in 2009, our central bank was willing to provide all the wind for the market’s sail. And despite a lackluster 2 percent average annual GDP print since 2010, the stock market doubled in value on the back of zero interest rates and the Federal Reserve ‘s $3.7 trillion money-printing spree. Thus, for the past several years, there has been a huge disparity building between economic fundamentals and the value of stocks.

But now, the end of all monetary accommodations may soon occur, while markets have become massively over-leveraged and overvalued. The end of quantitative easing and a zero interest-rate policy will also coincide with slowing U.S. and global GDP, falling inflation and negative earnings growth. And the Fed will be raising rates and putting more upward pressure on the U.S. dollar while the manufacturing and export sectors are already rolling over.

I am glad Ms. Yellen and Co. appear to have finally assented to removing the safety net from underneath the stock market. Nevertheless, Wall Street may soon learn the baneful lesson that the artificial supports of QE and ZIRP were the only things preventing the unfolding of the greatest bear market in history.

Michael Pento produces the weekly podcast “The Mid-week Reality Check,” is the president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies and author of the book “The Coming Bond Market Collapse.”


Braggin’ Rights In Oil Sector Avoid Call : A Race To The Bottom


We received the most angry email at with our articles to sell the sector and in particular Chesapeake ( then at $22), Linn Energy and Chevron-now here are today’s’ results:

Brent oil dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time since January as Iran vowed to boost production immediately after sanctions are lifted and manufacturing in China slowed.

Futures in London fell as much as 5.2 percent, extending July’s 18 percent drop. Irancan raise output by 500,000 barrels a day within a week of sanctions ending, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. A Chinese private factory gauge released on Monday slipped to a two-year low in July, while an official index on Saturday dropped to a five-month low.

Crude slid into a bear market last month, joining a broader slide in commodities amid expanding supplies and signs of slower Chinese growth. Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers fueled speculation about when and by how much it will lift output. Sanctions against the nation should be lifted by late November, the Iranian Oil Ministry’s Shana news agency said.

“The quick recovery of the market is becoming more of a mirage,” Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital in New York, said by phone. “Right now we’re in a race to the bottom. Oil producers are pumping what they can in the hopes that someone else will cut first.”

Brent for September settlement dropped $2.23 to $49.98 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, at 12:48 p.m. in New York. The contract touched $49.52, the lowest level since Jan. 30. Prices are more than 20 percent below this year’s high on May 6, meeting a common definition of a bear market.


West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell $1.72, or 3.7 percent, to $45.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It reached $45.11, the lowest intraday price since March 20. The U.S. benchmark crude traded at a $4.58 discount to Brent.

“We’re in a commodity downdraft and it’s spreading to other asset classes,” Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York, said by phone. “China, Iran and Greece were the triggers for the move down. We’re not paying much attention to Greece anymore but China and Iran are still in the forefront.”

Iran plans to double exports, IRNA reported, citing Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in an interview with state TV. The Islamic Republic produced an average of 2.85 million barrels a day last month, compared with 3.6 million at the end of 2011, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Iranian Payoff

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are among the energy companies that have expressed interest in developing Iran’s reserves, the world’s fourth-biggest, once sanctions are removed. Iran had the second-biggest output in OPEC before U.S.- led sanctions banned the purchase, transport, finance and insuring of its crude began July 2012.

“The biggest winner in OPEC over the past year is Iran,” Croft said. “‘They are getting a financial payoff as a result of the deal.’’

A China factory index for July released Monday by Caixin Media and Markit Economics came in at 47.8, a decline from 49.4 in June, indicating the effects of easier monetary policy have yet to kick in. The country’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50 in July, down from 50.2 in the previous month. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

‘‘The Chinese data continues to look grim, which with the Iran headlines makes for a one-two punch for the oil market,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund, said by phone.

Hedge funds reduced bullish bets on WTI to the lowest level in five years. The net-long position in WTI contracted 7 percent in the week ended July 28, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Money managers cut their bullish stance on Brent during the same period by 37,527 contracts, the most in a year, according to data on Monday from ICE.

Portfolio Management : Engagement Process for Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

Portfolio  Management : Engagement Process for Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

The Engagement Agreement authorizes us to officially act on your  behalf and also provides for protection of confidentiality in regards to the dissemination and distribution of your sensitive financial information.Generally you will name Jack A. Bass as a person allowed to trade your portfolio – BUT without any authority to remove funds from your account.

Due Diligence. Once our company is engaged, we undertake the required due diligence to confirm and verify the necessary information required to execute your request.

Evaluation. After due diligence we evaluate your / your  company’s current value and estimate future value based on recent market and other comparable data.

3 Stocks That Big Investors Like /Are Buying

When investment pros such as Warren Buffett, George Soros and Leon Coopermanput their money behind a company, it’s worth noting — especially when they do it together.

Of course, Wall Street’s best and brightest aren’t always in agreement, and when they’re not, things can get pretty heated. Take, for example, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn‘s epic showdown overHerbalife (HLF) or Dan Loeb’s sharp criticism of Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett picked up a stake in 21st Century Fox (FOXA) in late 2014, and in 2015, he has continued to increase his position and now owns over 6.2 million shares.

During the first quarter of the year, Leon Cooperman joined the Oracle of Omaha in betting on FOXA with the purchase of 2.6 million shares, and Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global maintained its position of 16.8 million shares.

On June 11, news broke that Rupert Murdoch is preparing to step down as CEO of 21st Century Fox and hand over the reins to his sons, James and Lachlan. The company confirmed Tuesday that James will succeed his father as chief executive.

One interesting fact about how Murdoch’s exit will affect Buffett: Once Murdoch steps down, Buffett will increase his lead as the oldest CEO in the S&P 500

Adreas Halvorsen’s biggest new buy of the first quarter of 2015 was AIG (AIG – Get Report), of which he picked up 8.4 million shares valued at upwards of $460 million. Fellow hedge funder John Paulson picked up an even bigger stake in the insurance company, purchasing 14.6 million shares. Larry Robbins increased his position to 6.5 million shares, and Dan Loeb left his holdings untouched at 3.5 million shares.

In other words, AIG is pretty popular among Wall Street pros.
AIG made headlines Monday when a federal judge ruled that the U.S. acted beyond the bounds of its authority in its 2008 bailout of the company; however, the judge did not award any damages to former AIG chief executive, Hank Greenberg, who sought to win at least $25 billion for shareholders.

Through market close Wednesday, AIG’s stock has climbed more than 10% year-to-date.

The cheaper Chesapeake Energy (CHKGet Report) becomes, the more Carl Icahn buys — or that’s at least how it seems. The vociferous billionaire investor raised eyebrows in March when a regulatory filing revealed he had increased his stake in the energy company. He owns more than 73 million CHK shares, giving him an 11% stake.

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates also upped the ante in Chesapeake Energy this year. In the first quarter, the fund nearly doubled its position. It owns about 450,000 of the company’s shares.

Chesapeake, a producer of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids, has been hit hard by falling oil prices. Through market close Wednesday, its stock has declined 60% over the past year, including about 38% in 2015 alone.

Analysts at Oppenheimer downgraded the stock to perform from outperform on June 11. “Based on the future strip benchmark oil and gas prices, we expect CHK to report losses of $544M this year and $833M next year, or $0.58 per share and $0.84 per share, respectively,” the firm said in an analyst note.

Stock Market Top ? : The Q Ratio Indicator Says Watch Out Below


If you sold every share of every company in the U.S. and used the money to buy up all the factories, machines and inventory, you’d have some cash left over. That, in a nutshell, is the math behind a bear case on equities that says prices have outrun reality.

The concept is embodied in a measure known as the Q ratio developed by James Tobin, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Yale University who died in 2002. According to Tobin’s Q, equities in the U.S. are valued about 10 percent above the cost of replacing their underlying assets — higher than any time other than the Internet bubble and the 1929 peak.

Valuation tools are being dusted off around Wall Street as investors assess the staying power of the bull market that is now the second longest in 60 years. To Andrew Smithers, the 77-year-old former head of SG Warburg’s investment arm, the Q ratio is an indicator whose time has come because it illuminates distortions caused by quantitative easing.

“QE is a very dangerous policy, in my view, because it has pushed asset prices up and high asset prices, we know from history, are very dangerous,” Smithers, founder of Smithers & Co. in London, said in a phone interview. “It is very strongly indicated by reliable measures that we’re looking at a stock market which is something like 80 percent over-priced.”

Dissenting Views

Acceptance of Tobin’s theory is at best uneven, with investors such as Laszlo Birinyi saying the ratio is useless as a signal because it would have kept you out of a bull market that has added $17 trillion to share values. Others see its meaning debased in an economy whose reliance on manufacturing is nothing like it used to be.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring next month slipped 0.1 percent at 9:36 a.m. in London.

To Smithers, the ratio’s doubling since 2009 to 1.10 is a symptom of companies diverting money from their businesses to the stock market, choosing buybacks over capital spending. Six years of zero-percent interest rates have similarly driven investors into riskier things like equities, elevating the paper value of assets over their tangible worth, he said.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index members last year spent about 95 percent of their profits on buybacks and dividends, with stock repurchases exceeding $2 trillion since 2009, data compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices show.

In the first four months of this year, almost $400 billion of buybacks were announced, with February, March and April ranking as three of the four busiest months ever, according to data compiled by Birinyi Associates Inc.

Slow Spending

Spending by companies on plants and equipment is lagging behind. While capital investment also rose to a record in 2014, its growth was 11 percent over the last two years, versus 45 percent in buybacks, data compiled by Barclays Plc show.

With equity prices surging and investment growth failing to keep pace, the Q ratio has risen to 58 percent above its average of 0.70 since 1900, according to data compiled by Birinyi and the Federal Reserve on market and asset values for non-financial companies. Readings above 1 are considered by some to be too high and the ratio has exceeded that threshold only 12 percent of the time, mostly between 1995 to 2001.

That’s nothing to be alarmed about because the American economy has become more oriented around services than manufacturing, according to George Pearkes, an analyst at Harrison, New York-based Bespoke Investment Group LLC. Nowadays, companies like Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. dominate growth, while decades ago, it was railroads and steelmakers, which rely heavily on capital.

Mean Reversion

“Does that necessarily mean that the Q ratio should be as high as it is right now? I don’t know,” Pearkes said by phone. “With those sorts of long-term indicators, they can sometimes mean that the market is overvalued. But the reversion to the mean on them is usually going to take a lot longer than most people’s time frame.”

Any investors who based their investment decisions on the Q ratio would have missed most of the rally since 2009, according to Jeffrey Yale Rubin, director of research at Birinyi’s firm. The measure rose above its historic mean three months into this bull market and since then, the S&P 500 has climbed 131 percent.

“The issue we have with Tobin Q is that it does a very poor job at timing the market,” Rubin said from Westport, Connecticut. “The followers of Tobin Q never told us to buy in 2009, yet now we are warned that we should sell. Our response is sell what? We were never told to buy.”

Bond Yields

Everyone from Janet Yellen to Warren Buffett has spoken cautiously on stock valuations in the past month. Both the Fed chair and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said prices are at risk of getting stretched should bond yields increase. The rate on 10-year Treasuries slipped last week to 2.14 percent while the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent.

“It’s probably a sensible configuration for the stock market to be overvalued because competing investments are so poor,” Robert Brusca, president of Fact & Opinion Economics in New York, said by phone. “As an investor, you’re not just looking at the value of the firm, but the value of the firm relative to other things you can do with your money.”

At 2,260 days, the bull market that began in March 2009 this month exceeded the 1974-1980 rally as the second longest since 1956. While measures such as price-to-earnings ratios are holding just above historical averages, the bull market’s duration is sowing anxiety among professionals who watched the previous two end in catastrophe.

“We’re still close enough to that prior experience and that hold-over effect is still there,” Chris Bouffard, chief investment officer who oversees more than $10 billion at Mutual Fund Store in Overland Park, Kansas, said by phone. “When you start to see prior cycle peaks on the chart like Tobin Q and any other valuation metrics that people are putting up there, it looks dramatic, stark and scary.”

Protect your Portfolio :

Are You Really Going To Trust A Fund Manager – Again?

How will You Improve Your Portfolio Results In 2015 ?

This probably comes as no big surprise, but the average fund manager hasn’t beat the market indices during the last 10 years. Amazing isn’t it?
And for those managers who do, it usually only in a bull market.
In bear markets, the number of profitable funds drops to almost zero! With those kind of odds, do you really want turn your money over to managers who won’t even move you to cash when its time to protect you from severe market declines?
As you have no doubt discovered, the old “tried and true” rules of investing may are still tried, but they certainly aren’t true. In fact, if the “buy and hold” strategy were really the best way to profit, why would institutional traders – the largest daily volume traders in the markets – move their money in and out of stocks like clockwork.
The truth is, they are making profits by selling to you when they know it’s time to go!
Unsuspecting investors buy when institutions are ready to sell, and sell when big money is ready to buy. Retail investors are the perfect  shills because the little guy will always trade on emotion or bad advice, and end up putting their money right into the hands of the hedge fund traders wanting to unload positions!
Our ( Jack A. Bass)  Managed Accounts keeps you from falling into that trap! It shows in advance when institutional traders are about to make the switch, whether buying or selling, and you’ll be moving your money to keep one step ahead of them – with much less emotion.
Now, instead of market “head fakes” causing you to lose money, you’ll leverage minor turns as opportunities to add to positions you are already holding. We call it trading the short term cycle.
End Costly Investing Mistakes
Successful investing is can often be counter- intuitive to how most investors want to trade.

Proof of The Pudding:

Here is our recent letter:

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position
Gold and Precious MetalsThe largest gains for our clients came from the exit from the gold producers at $18oo an ounce and continuing until we hold no gold and no gold miners . This from the author of The Gold Investors Handbook.2015 – We continue to be on the sidelines for this sector – regardless of the gnomes of Switzerland . As a safe haven gold simply wasnot there for investors despite turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.How much more frightening can the prospect for peace be than to have wars in multiple locations? Secondly the spectre of inflation – on which I have given numerous talks – simply failed to materialize. In fact economists and portfolio managers such as myself are now more concerned about deflation – and the spectre is a Japanese style decades long slide in the world economy.
Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter at to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.
Oil/ EnergyI am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

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Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M


Contact information:

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Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

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Oracle and FedEx tipped for Wednesday releases

Wednesday – Oracle

Last quarter Oracle’s (ORCL) long serving frontman Larry Ellison stepped down from his role as CEO and appointed 2 co-CEO successors. Heading into Oracle’s first quarter in the post-Ellison era Estimize community members are expecting the technology company to continue growing steadily and slightly outperform Wall Street’s earnings expectations.


Wednesday Estimize contributors are looking for a 1 cent gain in earnings per share while year over year revenue rises 3%. These results would maintain Oracle’s rate of sales expansion over the past 5 quarters and represent a slowing of profit growth to a rate between 1% and 2%.

Wednesday – FedEx

At one point this summer crude oil was trading at over $100 per barrel. As we enter the final stretch of the year that price has collapsed to just $56. As a major player in logistics FedEx’s (FDX) financial performance is greatly impacted by the price of oil, falling gas prices throughout the fall could provide FedEx an opportunity to post gains to its bottom line.


Over the past 3 months EPS estimates and revenue projections from both Estimize and Wall Street have been rising. With the final picture clearing up the Estimize community’s EPS forecast is settling at $2.16 per share, 2 cents lower than the Wall Street consensus, but still an impressive 38% higher than the number FedEx reported in the same quarter of last year.

On the top line Estimize analysts are calling for $11.99 billion which is marginally higher than Wall Street’s prediction and would mark a 5% improvement from last year’s total.