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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nat gas inventories were bearish..and its down 2% right now.

Nothing much has happened so far this week to change the uptrend that has been in place since the 2008 bottom. The weekly chart is clearly bullish while the daily chart is always subject to the day to day nonsense that occurs. Still with today being the last day of the quarter we have the end of quarter noise going on. Rates are holding around 4.50% on the 30 year and 3.45% on the 10 year.Crude and nat gas prices remain relatively firm, or in the case for nat gas it has at least stopped making new lows. MLPS are up this morning with the index adding another 2 1/2 points to yesterday's 3 point gain. So unless the market falls apart we could see a new all time high close or close to it this afternoon. Most mlps are fractionally higher led by Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) which is up 75 cents as of this post.

Nat gas inventories are due out in a few minutes. The dow is up 25 points as of this post.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The action so far this week in mlps has been a bit underwhelming but one has to be careful drawing any conclusions from this. The move from the 355 bottom 2 weeks ago seems to have co-incided with a 10% move up in the price of nat gas. Still we should keep our eyes open for any sign that the mlps are topping out short term. Support level still sits at 350 and the top at 380. Maybe we're getting ready for a trading range? Still it appears the momentum has faded here in this rally attempt at a new high in the last few days.

Stock futures are higher ahead of the open. Rates are a little lower with the ADP number in line. Nat gas was higher earlier..then sold off around 8am..and now is up 1% as we head into the open at 9:30am. MLPS are pretty quiet this morning with no news and no upgrades or downgrades. Crude inventories are out at 10:30am which will be a crude market mover.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Two companies are selling stock this morning in the secondary market. We had a Seeking Alpha story last week about Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and its recent asset grab with Regency Partners (RGNC). The article suggested this was the game changer for Energy Transfer and that it could get it started growing payouts again. The piece also suggested that bulls should wait until after the secondary to initiate positions. Well if your waiting, the wait is over. 11 million plus shares are hitting the tape this morning. The stock is down 1.70 in the pre market. Alliance Holdings (AHGP) is taking advantage of a doubling in its stock price by selling units this morning and the stock is taking a hit of 2.60 in the pre market.

Yesterday we saw a few reversals in the late afternoon that were a little odd. The nat gas one comes to mind. Nat gas had reversed the morning sell off and was in rally mode until about 2:20pm.
Frankly im not sure why the sell off but its been down ever since and this morning nat gas is down a little under 1% in the pre market. It just never seems to get out of its own way no matter how bullish things may look. I guess the market understands that while the rest of the world will continue to use more and more nat gas, here in the US the official Washington policy is negative on natgas because..after all...its an energy source we actually have..and its far smarter to pay rouge nations run by despots through the nose for oil.

MLPS staged a rollover yesterday after being up most of the day and briefly over 380. Then the rally died and the index fell a point on the day. Nothing disastrous but the assault on the old high was unsucessful so we will have to see if this is just a temporary set back. Rates are key and we have a jobs report at the end of the week. And it appears that the Euorpean Central Bank is getting ready to raise rates at its meeting coming up. All of these things are going to play out as the quarter ends.

Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) is expanding its relationship with Anadarko and the stock is bid up a bit in the pre market. It is also expanding its NGL facility in Houston where we will be shipping out liquid natural gas since we are not using it here in the U.S. to the degree we should be. No other corporate news on the tape and nothing so far on the upgrade downgrade list. Stock futures are flat this morning. The dollar is lower. Oil is lower and bond rates are higher. The open looms straight ahead.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The last days of March and the end of Q1 approach and it has been a remarkable quarter with nice gains in the stock market. MLPS started the quarter with the index at 365 and there was a point 2 weeks ago where we were actually down for the quarter. But we have come off that pullback and we see the group is up 4% and one good up day away from an all time high. I mentioned last Friday about watching nat gas and interest rates and that we might be at the beginning of up moves in both those markets.

Late Friday both markets closed on firm notes especially nat gas which had a big rally last Friday. Rates also closed at the week's highs. The bullish arguments for both those markets hasn't changed much. We all know that rates are going higher because of inflationary fears (the bulls say) and the fed support for bonds will end with the end of QE2. The new support for nat gas is coming on the notion that thanks to the Japan earthquake, nuclear power is dead and nat gas is going to have to make up the difference. The logic behind both markets makes sense to me. Rates have corrected only slightly in the flight to quality trade. Nat gas is forever bottoming and we could see a rally up to the top of the range and still be nowhere in the longer term. Still those markets look like they will be getting attention. BTW as a reminder i use UNG as an illustration of nat gas and do not suggest that as a trading vehicle unless you are extremely nimble. It is not a long term hold because as it is contructed it is basically a wasting asset. UNL is a better vehicle and the best may just be nat gas stocks themselves.

MLPS may have been getting some tailwind support last week with the moves in nat gas. As we said earlier we are just a few points away from all time highs.

End of quarter may provide upside pressure as everyone may want to show stocks on the books especially the top performers. This morning we have no news in the group. Barclay's is raising its target price on Kinder Morgan (KMP) to 77 from 75. I wouldn't expect that to move the stock very much if at all.

Stock futures and rates are a little higher pre open. Nat gas was up but it always seems to sell off around this time of the morning and is now down 1% as of this post. Crude is down 1.5% ahead of the open.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Motley Fool is doing a cash flow analysis on Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) and how it compares to some other MLPS. I sometimes think that they don't have a clear understanding on what mlps are and how they work but the piece is worth a read through..just in case they wind up being on to something.

MLPS are doing well today as most are up and the index is up just shy of 2 points today. The market is up again with the dow up 85 points. Some end of month pressures and end of quarter pressures are being to show up as no one is going to want to be caught short going into quarter end in my view. Cheinere LP (CQP) Alliance Resource (ARLP) and Markwest (MWE) are up major fractions and lead the winners list today. Nothing notable among the few losers today which are down just pennies.

Keep a watchful eye on natgas and yields on the longer maturities today. If they close firm it could be a very good sign that rallies in those markets are getting ready to take hold in the next
few weeks

Nat gas may be up to another one of its rocky/bullwinkle tricks of trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat but the trick never works. But we're always trying here!!!
The yield chart on the 30 year looks more interesting here as with all the reasons for flight to quaility, the correction from the 4.80% high has been relatively shallow. The yield is trading on support both in the daily and weekly chart so we could be at an important point here. The longer term trend for rates is higher so that's the way to bet it in my view.

Seeking Alpha has a very interesting piece on Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and its recent purchase in conjuction with Regency Partners (RGNC). Could this be a game changer for Energy Transfer Partners?

The piece argues that the recent asset purchase may be the catylist that gets this mlp growing its distributions again and as we know with MLPS everything is about growing distribution. If you can't grow the payout, your stock price goes nowhere. And if you cut the payout you can say goodbye to your stock price in a big hurry. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has been a chronic underperformer relative to other mlps.

Energy Transfer Partners has pretty much performed in line with Nustar (NS) which is another MLP that has not been doing much thanks to a relatively stagnant payout. They have both underperformed thee S&P 500 for the last 2 years. Plains All American (PAA) is an example of a big mlp which has grown its payout and you can see that while it has underperformed the MLP index to some degree it has clearly outperformed the S&P 500, Nustar, and Energy Transfer. If the Seeking Alpha piece is right, then Energy Transfer Partners has a lot of grown to make up and could be a strong performer going foward. Note the piece is bullish (but a little less so ) on Regency (RGNC) as they are the smaller owner and have not been growing the payout . Those interested might wait for whatever equity offering is coming with the asset purchase as an entry point as the Seeking Alpha piece suggests.

Looks like we have firm futures ahead of the Friday open. Interest rates are slightly lower as is nat gas which sold off on inventory numbers yesterday. Crude is flat. No corporate news to speak of this morning and nothing that i can see so far on the upgrade downgrade list. The MLP index closed up 3 points yesterday and is one or 2 up days away from the top of the range. The overall market is pretty much in the same boat so we will see what happens soon as the markets approach their recent highs. Bulls continue to have the upper hand.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Another up close yesterday and this morning MLPS are sitting poised to make all time highs with one good push from the market tailwinds. Stock futures are following through this morning from yesterday's up close. And while there are no particular corporate news drivers in the group this morning there are a couple of things i picked up last night. Leon Cooperman, better known to most as Mrs Mary Hart, has always been big on mlps. On CNBC he came up his 17 (why 17 why not 18?) of his favorite picks. What stood out me was the fact that there were no mlps on the list.

Is he keeping the fact that he likes MLPS a secret, or he is telling us that MLPS are overvalued here. You decide whether what he picked or didn't pick is relevant. Then there was this piece regarding treasuries where it is suggested that instead of bonds, one should perhaps look at mlps!

Now i just wonder if yields begin to really spike higher that you can justify shrinking the yield spread between mlps and treasuries to lower and lower levels. Granted the spread is still at the top of what used to be the normal range of 2 to 3%. I just wonder whether all the attention MLPS are getting is going to become problematic before too long. Meanwhile the tailwinds are blowing. And we can add nat gas prices to those tailwinds as we have been rallying pretty nicely. Nat gas numbers are due out at 10:30am.

Barclay's this morning is starting coverage on Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) at an overweight. The stock is sitting at a 52 week high this morning. Not much else on the tape. Bonds are a touch lower and crude oil is higher which reminds me to call my heating oil man to top my tank. We had another 2 inches of snow overnight which makes for a nice look outside. Its spring. We've had 60 inches of snow this season which double the normal. Enough already!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The morning began with long rates getting back down to the flight to quality lows last week and we are now seeing yields rally back to unchanged on the day. MLPS are a bit lower after an up day yesterday. It continues to look as if we are heading back for a challenge of all time highs which is just 2 percent above current levels. Nat gas continues its rally and is up 1% on the day so far. The dow is down just 3 points as of this post.

There isn't much on the news front this morning. Regency Partners (RGNC) is raising money through an equity offering involving Kayne Anderson (KYN). The money is going toward a new purchase of assets between Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Regency. Regency is down fractionally while Energy Transfer is down 1.25 as of this post.

Markets look to be marking time. Crude is holding higher into lunchtime. Bulls continue to have the upper hand.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The daily adventures in the market are never easy and predicting where we are going is at best a humbling experience and sometimes a humiliating and costly one. But we come back daily to try yet again to figure things out. Yesterday was a strong day for the markets and for MLPS which soared up more than 6 points on the MLP index with lots of one point plus winners. Judging by the chart we are above support and it looks like it wants to try to get back to all time highs. If that happens then the question becomes whether its a new up leg or the beginnings of a double top formation but we will leave that for later. It has to get there first.
I should probably put this up more often. The AMZ weekly chart just continues on an uninterrupted uptrend and except for last weeks 's pullback into the support zone, the rise shows no signs of topping out on a longer term basis. The bull market bottom at 145 intraday in December of 2008 seems like a million years ago. Who here would not want to have that opportunity back.

Markwest (MWE) and Sunoco Logistics have been working together in Marcellus and this morning comes news that they are expanding that relationship. Both stocks are just off all time highs. Not much else newswise in MLP land this morning. No upgrades or downgrades so far.

Nat gas was all over the place in a very volatile day. It wound up basically flat after being up 1% then down 1%..then up 1%..then down 1%...and then unchanged. This morning pre open it is higher by over 1% but nat gas has a habit of selling off between 9am and 9:30am for some strange reason. Still it looks like it wants to go higher in here as oil continues to hover around 100 bucks. We all know the arguments for and against nat gas so i won't repeat them . Its not for the faint of heart. Stock futures are flat ahead of the open and interest rates are a shade higher.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Its not often i post outside the world of MLPS but this was such an interesting piece about the Soviet Union space program i just had to post this. Thanks to Althouse for this and it really is interesting. Warning....this is a picture of the cosmonaut in a casket and it ain't pretty.

Stocks are soaring with the dow up 200 points and MLPS are soaring as well up over 4 points. Alliance Resource Partners (ARPL) is up 3 and over 82 dollars as today's big winner. Lots of 1 point plus gains across the mlp space. And nat gas has reversed the reversal up now 1%.
And as predictable as the sunrise..Nat gas which was nearly 2% higher pre open is now down almost 1%.

Market opens up shortly.

Took a breather Friday and we wake up Monday morning to rally time with the dow up well over 100 points so its an up open to start with. The mlp index came down to just above the important 350 level and held and now we start the day at 366 which is halfway to 380. News this morning on Buckeye Partners (BPL) which has shut down a pipeline in Pennsylvania due to a release. Not much as far as details go so far.

No other coporate developements this morning so far and nothing on the upgrade downgrade list so far either. Meanwhile the Dow Industrials look like they have held (at least so far) the uptrend line that you can draw on this chart, although it depends on how you draw it. But its been wise to give the bulls the benefit of the doubt in this rally. Also 1275 on the S&P has been made the make or break level and we are opening clearly above that this morning. So we can see moves above 12k on the dow and 1300 on the S&P on the open this morning and then we will re-evalute. Up opens are great but closing on the highs of the day or at least near the highs of the day is even better.

Meanwhile in long term rate land we have been going sideways pretty much bounded by 4.40% on the downside and 4.75%ish on the upside. The recent flight to quality move was nothing to write home about in the scope of things. If markets are righting themselves and the correction is over, we can look for rates to begin to move to the top of the range. In the end i'm looking for an upside breakout and maybe that comes with the end of QE2 or at least the market will soon start the process of pricing that in. The buying of the bonds by the fed was completely discounted before the announcement and i suspect we may see rates rise before the operation comes to an end on June 30th. And this assumes that we don't see QE3.

And no Monday morning would be complete without me saying something about Nat Gas which "appears" to have once again put in a meaningful bottom (among so many meaningful bottoms). The latest moves seems to be on the idea that oil prices are getting so high that there will be a wholesale market migration to nat gas in the long term.

We are are not particularly impressed with the notion that one wakes up one morning and decides " oh yes everyone move to natgas" but that seems to be the driving force in the markets for now. The chart appears to be putting in a rounding bottom out of what could be a long inverse head and shoulders pattern. But as has been the case for months now, rallies have met with sellers at the trading top around 12.75 and that needs to be taken out decisively before we can say anything positive on the long term trend.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nat gas is taking off after the inventory numbers which were taken bullish. Its up 3.5% and over 4 bucks again. Looks like a rounding bottom here which appears tradeable but as always with nat gas, one should trade cautiously.

MLPS at the highs of the day up over 3 points which pretty much wipes out the 7 point loss from 2 days ago. Alliance Resource (ARLP) is up 2 points plus. Atlas Pipeline (APL) is up 1.55 and nearing 34 and EV Partners (EVEP) is up over 1 as the groups biggest winners today. Nothing noteable on the downside except for Natural Resource Partners (NRP) which is down 2 and change on its stock offering.

The celebration appears to have started early with markets very strong this morning as trading begins. Yesterday it seems was a day fed by rumor after rumor over the Japan nuclear situation. MLPS completely bucked the trend and looked like they benefited from the fight to quality that we saw in the yield market. Its not too many times when the dow is down 240 and the mlp index closed up over 3 points. But the gains are getting extended today and the mlp index is up almost 3 points in the early going.

News items include Natural Resource Partners (NRP) doing a secondary and the stock is down 2 points. Morgan Keegan upgrades Copano this morning to outperform. The stock is up a dollar. Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) just continues to move foward up another dollar and up to 33 and change. Most mlps showing solid fractional gains in the very early going.

So now that the opening bounce has worked its way through the markets we will be looking to see whether this is a dead cat bounce, or whether buyers will push this higher as the day goes on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MLPS have taken off right out of the gate up nearly 5 points on the mlp index which gets back most of yesterday's loss. The overall market is lower but off the lows. The Dow is down 70 points but much of that is IBM being down over 3 points on a downgrade. Most mlps are up major fractions to around a point in some cases. Atlas Pipeline (APL) and Markwest (MWE) are the big winners today as both stocks are up over a dollar.

Getting messages about Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) being halted but i can tell everyone that there is no news that i could find. The stock right now is bid at 39.42 so if it opens at the bid the stock would be flat. I also do not show any trading halt. All the action the last 2 days could be because: 1. The market and 2. a rebalancing of the MLP index. My guess is its 2 and since we have now all these etf's and etn's in the group, rebalancing becomes a short term distortion, especially if your stock is the one with the heaviest weighting. Exterran Partners (EXLP) was added into the index effective 3/11/2011.

MLPS lost 7 points yesterday and got down to 353 on the index at the days lows. We have barely holding minor support at 360 so. 350 is important and the 200 day moving average is at 345. So these are all levels we have to watch here. Stock futures are pointing to a flat open. Crude oil is up and nat gas is up nicely this morning pre open. We're still all focused on Japan and the nuclear reactors.

Here is the latest video report on the reactor situation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Off the lows of the day which were down around minus 13 or so after the open. The bounce took us back to minus 6 and now minus 7. Large losses in the all the big cap names like Enterprise (EPD) down 1.63 and the biggest weight in the mlp index. Suburban Propane (SPH) is down 2 and change and Ferrellgas(FGP) is down 2 on its stock offering. Both Holly Partners (HEP) and Buckeye (BPL) are down 1.75 apiece. The mlp index is being rebalanced and that could be causing a few distortions but for the most part its all down.

The fed has come and gone and done nothing. Stocks and yields are coming off their lows.
Mlps down 11 on the index. Watch the 350 level carefully. Could get there in a hurry if we get a spike down on breaking news.
I found this link to World Nuclear News which is all nuclear all the time. Note that traffic there must be pretty heavy because it is taking a lot of time to load up. And we have extensive viewpoints and comentary on news via Memeorandum.

Some reports that radiation levels may be dropping isn't doing anything to rally markets before the open.
Seeking Alpha has a piece breaking down the top holdings in the MLP index. Some of them are better investments than others and its worth the read.

Just off the lows of the morning. Fasten seatbelts people.

Once word got out that the Japanese nuclear plants were exploding one by one last night, markets in Japan imploded and everything else followed. The threat of a nuclear meltdown plus fresh Middle East turmoil has everyone selling everything except bonds this morning as they rally in a flight to safety.

Markets are probably going to be reacting to every piece of news that comes out from Japan and the nuclear reactors. Stock futures are 250 dow points lower ahead of the open this morning. MLPS will follow the lead of energy stocks which are going to lead the way lower at the open. Crude is taking a big hit down $3.50 and solidly below 100.

News in mlp land this morning is another stock offering. This one is by Ferrellgas (FGP) and the stock is down the predictable point and change.There are some pre market trades in a few mlps and they are showing 1 point plus losses which is not a surprise but the volume is very small so the quotes are not that reliable. Nothing of significance on the upgrade/downgrade list except for UBS which is upgrading K-SEA to a buy with a target price of $8.15 which by some strange coincidence, is the same price its receiving in its buyout offer!!! How enchanting and clever of UBS!

CNBC has of course been providing coverage on the meltdown and what it means for the economy and markets. And then there is the feeling from Chicago on where we are going with all this

This may be one of those days where you might want to turn the tv off for a little while and do something constructive. After the initial selling at the open, my suspicion is to look for at least several attempts to rally them back.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Coming off a weekend where Japan and the earthquake have been the focus, we see that influence strongly affecting trading this morning with stock futures down ahead of the open.

Both charts dont look very good this morning as the dow looks like it wants to break below support the first chance it gets. MLPs are trying to hold minor support at 360-65. Its 350 to me that is the place where we really have got to pay attention to. One thing we can say for sure is that the unrelenting march to 400 on the MLP index looks overwith for time being. I have argued for a long time that the breakdown in MLPs would come with a breakout higher in yields. So far that idea hasn't worked very well as yields have moved up with MLPS squeezing the yield spread down to levels we have not seen since early 2008. Such is the normalization process. However looking at the yield chart of the 30 year, it looks like we may be ready to start another upleg higher, or at least to the top of the recent trading range which is between 4.50 and 4.80%

Of course with everything going on with the world there are no guarantees. Considering how much has happened in the last few weeks its a small miracle that markets have held up as well as they have. How much longer they can keep this going remains to be seen.

Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) is getting a boost this morning as Citigroup upgrades it to buy from hold. And Steifel Nicholas is starting Linn Energy (LINE) at a buy and a $43 price target. Also this morning we have some pre market action in K-SEA (KSP) which is bidding 8.00 and thats up 1.50 from the Friday close. Kirby Corporation(KEX) is buying K-SEA for either $8.15 in cash or a cash/stock combination worth about the same. K-SEA will become a wholly owned subsidary of Kirby.

Elsewhere this morning we have lower stock and crude oil and higher nat gas and interest rates. In fact nat gas has suddenly shot up 4% on Barclay's saying it would take 1.2 b units of nat gas a day to replace the nuclear plant power in Japan. No news or important reads from over the weekend. So we shift our attention to the open.

Some of the video no doubt has been shocking from Japan and we have more here courtesy of the BBC which has them all on one page.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 » *Live Stream* Continuing Coverage of Japan Earthquake » *Live Stream* Continuing Coverage of Japan Earthquake

Some of the pictures and video are unbelievable. Here is a link to the Daily Mail with pics and video. Tokyo traded down 11% at the open but has come back to being down 4% in mid morning trading. A 6.2 quake just hit Tokyo as i type. Also check out this NY Times piece. Slide the slider back and forth across the satellite pics to see the impact.

U.S. stock futures are modestly lower at this point. Crude is down under 100 dollars right now and nat gas is up 1% in overnight trade.

Here is some video of the Tsunami.

Friday, March 11, 2011

While the index is still down by a little less than a point it is way off the days lows of minus 4 and there have been some nice reversals since the open. EV Partners (EVEP) was down 1 is now up nearly 2 points as the days big winner. Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) is also up 1 and change. Still much of the list is either flat or showing minus signs as we enter the afternoon round of trading. Energy stocks as a hole have reversed and are now solidly higher after a lower open. And word that Japan might need lots of nat gas has the nat gas market up by about 2%.
First ticks show the mlp index down over 4 points to 362. Sunoco Logistics (SXL), Penn Virginia Resources (PVR), Alliance Resource (ARLP) and Markwest (MWE) all down 1 or more. With one or two exceptions the entire mlp group is lower. » *Live Stream* 8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Japan » *Live Stream* 8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Japan

Sure seems like a short term top is in and we are in at least pullback mode. MLPS saw some rather indiscriminate selling across the group yesterday and while it finished off its 8 point plus lows, mlps did show a sizeable loss of 6 points. Based on the chart we are holding that 89 day moving average which is still in the context of the uptrend. Its 350 for me that would be the point where we start to ask ourselves whether a complete change in the longer term trend has taken place. Typically in the case of mlps, the climbs take a few days to achieve while the sells can undo prices in a matter of hours. Some pre market trading this morning is occuring as EV Partners is down 95 cents at 41. Kinder Morgan (KMP) is down 34 cents at 72. Nothing on the upgrade downgrade list causing the move and their are no corporate developements that i can see. Crude is down back to under 100 bucks and energy stocks are down in the pre market so some of the selling could be coming from pressure there.

Ferrellgas (FGP) announces earnings this morning. Stock is looking a little lower based on pre market bid and ask. Earnings indicate some weakness coming from its agricultural business and warm weather distortions effected results. Nothing else on the corporate side this morning.

Stock futures are lower. We have the big news item of the morning which is the huge Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The financial impact is that central banks would be inclined to ease especially in Japan where deflation of the economy continues and has been pretty much uninterrupted for years. Bond yields which fell yesterday are flat this morning as they watch stocks and any possibility for a flight to quality. Nat gas is up a little in the premarket even though crude is taking a pretty solid hit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


MLPS were weak right out of the gate and then the selling accelerated. The index was down well over 8 points at the lows of the morning but its come back to minus 7 and change right now. Energy stocks are getting hammered as well. The mlps that have been leading the way higher are taking the biggest hits. Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) is down 3 and change along with Transmontaigne (TLP). Alliance Holdings (AHGP) and EV Partners (EVEP) are down 2 plus points along with TC Pipelines (TCLP) and Natural Resource (NRP). Lots of 1 point plus minus on the board in shares of Holly Partners (HEP) Sunoco Logistics (SXL), Nustar (NS), Oneok (OKS) and Markwest (MWE). The index is now testing the 89 day moving average. 350 for me is the make or break point and we are sitting about 14 points above that right now. Nothing on the winners list other than one or two that are flat.

Crude is taking a 3 dollar hit today and nat gas is down. None of this should be any surprise really considering how much upside we've seen in the last few months. BTW this past weekend Barrons had a piece on MLPS. Nothing new here but the timing could have been a little better.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

There is something in Breitburn (BBEP) earnings that the market doesn't like and the stock is down 1. 75 to 20. Meanwhile Cheniere (CQP) is re couping some of yesterday's devestation. CQP and LNG are both up about 1.60 but LNG has the larger percentage gaing. Alliance Resource (ARLP) and Alliance Holdings (AHGP) are down also 1 point plus. MLPS as a hold down 1.30 in the early going as markets tug back and forth. The dow is down 40 points right now. Crude inventory numbers are due out at 10:30am.

Back to the Cheniere issue. The stock was knocked down by a hedge fund letter claiming accounting issues. Would love to know if Centerbridge (the hedge fund in question) was short the stock. They did hold notes on the Sabine Pass unit. And it was Cheniere that brought attention to all this by filing the lawsuit. Here is a short news item from the Wall Street Journal.

I had to really dig around to find out why Cheniere Energy (CQP,LNG) took a huge hit yesterday on the order of 22 to 40 % respectively. The volume was enormous as well on both stocks here. Apparently Cheniere filed a lawsuit against Centerbridge Parnters. I got this from Galaxy

Cheniere Energy, Inc. (AMEX:LNG) ($6.25, -35.77%) has registered a lawsuit versus Centerbridge Partners LP, stating the distraught investment-focused hedge fund interrupted business of Cheniere with a letter claiming it had evaded on debt.

Cheniere charged that Centerbridge occupied in offense, business criticism and circuitous intrusion with business relationships versus it and its Sabine Pass unit, in a complaint in the Harris County, Texas, state district court, it stated recently in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Sabine Pass, which is almost 91% possessed by Cheniere, controls a liquefied natural gas terminal on Texas and Louisiana’s border.

Cheniere stated that Sabine Pass obtained a letter from Centerbridge saying it drifted from usually established accounting principles by recording associate expenses from Cheniere Energy Investments LLC as revenue. By itself, the letter disputed, Sabine Pass was in evasion under the terms of some of its notes, of which Centerbridge stated that it was a noteworthy holder.

Cheniere commented that it deems that all of the claims in the letter are lacking merit and that Sabine Pass is in complete fulfillment with its agreement.

Cheniere Energy traded with an immense volume of 17.23 million shares as compared to average volume of 3.37 million shares in last trading session.

So apparently the the story of the letter has everyone in a tizzy. Citigroup however this morning is upgrading Cheniere (CQP) to a hold from a sell. CQP is up 1 in the pre open and LNG is up .69. It was over 10 bucks and closed down around 6 yesterday. Cant be fun for shareholders here as this one went down before the 2008 meltdown and has been slowly getting its footing back.

El Paso Pipeline Partners (EPB) is moving its' public offering today and the stock is down just under a buck in the pre open. Breitburn (BBEP) put up earnings above expectations and announces guidance for 2011 which looks pretty strong and is based on an average price for oil at about 80 bucks going foward. The company is optimistic that it can continue to grow the distribtution which in the end is what matters to unit holders.

Stocks are flat to a little lower this morning after yesterday's nice up day. MLPS finished down but off the lows. Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) and Atlas Holdings (AHD) continue to lead the group as stock offerings continue to distort the index. Plains All American (PAA) did their offering yesterday. The whole group has pretty much gone to the well so maybe we'll get a breather for the next few months. Bond yields are a touch lower ahead of the 10 year auction. Crude and nat gas are a little higher this morning. Bring on the open!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Atlas LP (AHD) formerly Atlas Holdings (AHD) is roaring up 2.50 today and over 20 bucks as it continues to move on the selling of assets yesterday to James River. Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) is up just short of a point as it moves in sympathy. Otherwise MLPS are lower today by 2.50 points on the index led down by Plains All American (PAA) which is down 1.80 on its stock offering. Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP) is down just under a point. No news there. And most mlps are down fractionally today.

The market is doing quite well as energy gets sold off today and interest rates climb. The dow is up 140. And nat gas is up now as it reverses from being up pre open and then down at the open. Bottom?????? Or are we trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat?
Barclays just raised its price target on Linn Energy to 45 bucks from 36.

Im not sure if there are any mlps left out there (im sure there are but not many) that haven't done a public offering but this morning Plains All American (PAA) is doing one and the stock is down 1.80 in pre market trading.
The stock has been in a rather tight range in the last 6 months bounded by 58 and 65 so the offering will take us off the recent high. Companies with high stock currencies continue to take advantage by bringing shares to the table. Elsewhere on the news front this morning Ferrellgas (FGP) is buying Ram Propane which is an independent company in Wyoming. Terms were not disclosed.

Markets this morning are firm ahead of the open as crude is off a little. Nat gas made a nice run yesterday and is a little higher ahead of the open. If crude is headed to $150 to $200 bucks, even nat gas has to look attractive as a play to somebody...or for that matter anybody. Rates are a tick or 2 higher as the bond market looks like its ready to take another leg higher in rates. No upgrades or downgrades this morning in MLPS so far.

Yesterday Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) and Atlas LP (AHD) both closed up a dollar as the days best performers in the group. Those 2 continue to be the best performers in the group as APL has broken above 30 for the first time since the market meltdown. I mention Atlas because it was the first MLP i bought back in 2004 at a price of about 28 or so. Amazing that even with all its troubles, if i had put all my money in that mlp i would still be way ahead of the game when you add in distributions.

Monday, March 07, 2011


We started firm with the dow up 70 points but thats all gone now and the dow is now down 80. MLPS were up up about a point on the index to over 381 but now the index is down over 2 points as we head into midday. Crude was higher but is now flat and nat gas is doing a good impression of a rallying commodity for a change as it is up 1.5% right now. We have a deal in mlp land as James River (JRCC) is buying International Resource Partners LP from Atlas Energy LP (AHD). The stock is up nearly a buck at 17 and change. Atlas Pipeline Partenrs (APL) is up 1 and over 29. Much of the rest of the group is lower however. Amerigas (APU) is among the biggest losers down over 1 point. El Paso Partners (EPB) is increasing its stake in Southern Natural Gas which has EPB down 1.45 at this point. Most mlps are down solid fractions on the day.

Avi Morris has a really interesting piece on the tale of 2 strong..and one weak. Its a very good read as it outlines quite well how two companies went down 2 different roads in the last 3 years. Also on Seeking Alpha is this piece which has MLPS on "Dividend Champions Focus."

Markets are off the lows of the day right now. Bond yields are higher but off the days highs as a little flight to safety may be occuring as stocks drop.Looking at the dow chart this pullback into support sort of looks like the pullback we saw in November that lasted about 3 weeks and held at the 55 day moving average. Maybe we are seeing a repeat performance.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The dow is taking 160 points worth of gas but mlps are only off a point on the index. Energy is holding up a little better than other groups thanks to oil still higher on the day. Wondering whether some sort of short term top is in place. Except for EV Partners (EVEP) and DCP Midstream (DPM) as they are doing offerings, most mlps are mixed to a little lower and the moves are pretty small.
The latest opinion on Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and it suggests better value lies elsewhere. The bottom line is distribution growth and a low payout ratio so there is no room for error. Worth the read.

Markets are lower as they sell off into the in line employment numbers. Dow is down 50 and the MLP index is down 1.33. Nothing extraordinary so far.

What to do when your stock price is at or near an all time high? Sell shares!! And we have seen mlps do that with force these last couple of months. In fact just about all of them have come to market with shares recently and thanks to the uptrend, if you buy shares on the day of the offering you will be in the money in short order. Today we have 2 more, DCP Midstream which priced a 3.2 million share offering this morning at 40.30 and the stock is down 1 and change. And E V Partners (EVEP) is doing 3 million shares this morning and the stock is down 2 dollars in the pre market.

Elsewhere in mlp land we have nothing on the news front which is a typical Friday. No upgrades or downgrades so far this morning. Markets are now chewing through an in line unemployment number and we have firm futures after yesterday's strong day in the overall market. ISM numbers are next at 10am for the bond market. MLPs closed up a point yesterday and the index is within ticks of new all time highs again. Crude is up this morning and continues to hold over 100 bucks. And nat gas...well ...its just the same old bearish story there.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


For all the action in the markets in the last 2 weeks we've really haven't seen much selling when you really look at it. In fact energy stocks have done quite well since oil broke out above 90 bucks. And its important to "read the tape" to get a feeling of what the market is telling us. Frankly its saying that at least for now 100 buck oil and 3.60 gasoline is not a problem for the economy. And if it were, the markets would been going down in anticipation for the last few months and not melting up.

MLPS have been just moving right along here and of course we could be at new all time highs pretty much on any trading day. There has really been no significant pullbacks other than to the rising supporting moving averages. MLPs have handled the rise in interest rates very well.
Of course there is a point where rising rates will be a problem for MLPS but we obviously aren't there yet. I have frankly given up on figuring out where that is. The obvious places are 4% on the 10 year and 5% on the 30 year, or perhaps if we get into some sort of situation where rates spike significantly higher over a very short period of time; perhaps enduced by bond market vigilantees who finally march to attack but so far they remain in their tents. Still you have to ask yourself whether the generals are massing the troops for an assault of some kind.

This morning is seeing some buying in a rally that began last night as oil has come off its highs and is down a dollar. Stock futures pointing to an 80 point up open on the dow industrials. Interest rates held 4.50% on the 30 year and we may be starting a ride up to 4.80% which is the recent high. Nat gas is just a complete waste of time even bothering with and with inventory numbers out at 10:30am; it might be the catylist for a major breakdown. The bear market there shows no signs of ending. Jobless claims dropped and stock futures have just gotten another goose higher. No news of consequence in MLP land this morning....whoops...we have something here.. earnings from Genesis Energy (GEL). Earnings usually don't move mlps much since they have a great way of pricing in performance. The 30 year is up to 4.60% as i type.

Looks like a good start to the day!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


It really is amazing to me that with $100.00 oil and all the pressures on crude, we watch nat gas continue to just implode

As always here we like to us UNG as a proxy (BUT WE DO NOT LIKE TO TRADE IT!!!!) for nat gas and you can see that this is one ugly chart. The only positive we can even draw from this mess is that maybe its in the process of building some sort of long term bottom that has months to go. And believe me im stretching it here. In the end we have so much nat gas and we have a government who doesn't understand that its a viable energy alternative to buying crude from the nuts in the middle east.

MLPS have pulled back from all time highs down 2.54 yesterday and back under 380. These pull backs have been one or 2 day affairs at most lately and the bulls still have the upper hand here. Exterran (EXLP) and Western Gas (WES) became the latest to come to market and sell shares. This morning we have all quiet on the MLP front with no corporate headlines of consequence so far and no upgrades or downgrades. Yesterday's market sell off is not seeing any huge followthrough this morning on pre opening futures. ADP numbers were positive and bond yields have held the 4.50 level on the 30 year. The dollar is down this morning against the major currencies.

There were some MLPS mentioned on Cramer's Mad Money on Monday. Jim Cramer speculates on Warren Buffett buying a pipeline and puts 2 mlps on the spotlight. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Enterprise (EPD) were put out there by Cramer as being "cheap" (whatever that means). The logic is that like a railroad Buffett likes things that move stuff from one place to another, like a railroad! Here is the video in case you missed it. Normally stocks do get a Cramer goose that doesn't last and the speculation did not set these stocks ablaze with attention.