More Raises for CEOs (brk-a, brk-b, lz, aig, gm)

Stocks look poised to push higher again this week.
The S&P 500 is on the cusp of a break above resistance at 1,335. And
that would likely set up a test of the post-crash highs at 1,344.

But as Jason Cimpl told his TradeMaster Daily
Stock Alerts
members this morning, earnings are coming
and stocks have been relentless since recent lows:

Although the market participants have
seemingly not cared about economic data for the past few weeks, the
market will not move higher if earnings disappoint. And earnings season
will officially begin next week. Even though the bulls look unstoppable
now, and to a large degree they have been over the past eight months, a
poor earnings season will awaken the bears.

Additionally, I would prefer the market fall
to 1301, which lets the bulls regroup before they take stocks to new
highs.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) starts earnings season next
Monday, April 11.

Is Ron Paul Right?

It’s the first day of the second quarter, and also April Fool’s day, so
be on your guard. The first day of the month has been an overwhelmingly
bullish day ever since the stock market bottomed in March 2009. And the
first day of a new quarter has also been bullish, as new money gets put
to work by mutual funds.

Today we also have a strong non-farm payroll number to propel stocks
higher.

The economy added 216,000 new jobs in March. This is a net number that
includes job losses at the government level. Private hiring has now
topped 200,000 jobs for two months running, for the first time since
2006.

The government published unemployment rate fell to 8.8%. And while that’s
still unacceptably high, it’s an improvement.

Whether or not we can give the Fed any credit for helping the jobs market
with QE2, today’s jobs number increases the odds that the Fed will stand
down in June, and not move directly into another round of stimulus QE3.

And while we’ve discussed the end of QE2 as a potentially bearish
catalyst for stocks, it could also be considered a sign of confidence in
the U.S. economy. I know that might seem like a stretch, and I still
expect there to be some kind of correction ahead of June (sell in May?).

Insider Trading at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway?

One of Warren Buffett’s top
executives at Berkshire Hathaway has resigned amidst a swirl of insider
trading controversy. Former MidAmerican CEO David Sokol bought $10 million
worth of Lubrizol (NYSE:LZ) before he suggested a Berkshire-Hathaway buyout
of the company to Buffett.

Lubrizol stock jumped nearly 30% on the news that Berkshire would acquire
the company. Sokol made nearly $3 million on the deal. And he is insisting
that he did nothing wrong.

Individual investors are up in arms about this case, as it appears
inappropriate, at best.

Throw the Crooks in Jail! (brk, aig, blk, gs, lz)

And speaking of Warren Buffett, one of his top
executives, David Sokol, has resigned on accusations of insider trading.
Apparently, Sokol bought $10 million worth of Lubrizol (NYSE:LZ) before he
suggested a Berkshire-Hathaway buyout of the company to Buffett.

Lubrizol stock jumped nearly 30% on the news
that
Berkshire would acquire the company. Sokol made nearly $3 million on the
deal. And he is insisting that he did nothing wrong.

What Gold and Oil are Saying (aig)

The Fed is set to release data about lending from its discount window
during the financial crisis some time this week. Conspiracy theorists often
point to the Fed’s overnight lending as a sure sign that the financial
markets are manipulated with cash infusions by the Fed. Really, in a
general sense, these open market operations are there to provide short-term
liquidity to qualified banks to help them settle daily transactions. This
lending is also used to manage monetary policy on a daily basis.

Japan Stock Market Rebound and the Apple Complex (aapl)

The Nikkei took back nearly 500 points in
Wednesday trading. That’s what happens a central bank pumps nearly $700
billion into the banking system, as the Bank of Japan has.

The rally for Japanese stocks is not an indication
that the situation there is improving, or even stabilizing. The danger of
radiation leaks has increased. Clouds of radioactive steam still rise
into the air as workers struggle to keep spent nuclear fuel rods
cool.

Radiation from Japan Leaks into Global Markets

The Wall Street Journal reported today that troubles in Japan
aren’t staying on the island nation. Instead, they’re spreading
throughout the world.

From the Journal’s article, “Global markets plunged as deepening worries
over the specter of a nuclear power crisis in Japan in the wake of last
week’s earthquake and its economic implications sent investors scurrying
again for safety.”

This piece begs the question: what’s safe these days? Is the U.S. Dollar
safe? Are U.S. Treasuries safe?

The Apple Complex

That was quite a rally yesterday. A big drop in
new unemployment claims, some pretty good retail numbers from February,
and some hope that the Libyan situation may be nearing an end, bolstered
the good vibes from Wednesday’s ADP private payroll report and sent stock
flying higher.

The entire “Apple Complex” of did pretty well,
too…

The “Apple Complex” is an
open-ended growth story. When you start to imagine the potential of
global penetration for this new generation of devices and services, you
can get some pretty staggering numbers. That means we can use these
stocks as bullish indicators.