“The massive facility for interconnecting key communications lines sustained heavy damage after planes struck the Twin Towers more than a decade ago. This time the enemy was water shoved ashore by Hurricane Sandy,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “The [Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)] building is one of the worst hit of a number of facilities that carriers were rushing to fix Wednesday.”
While area landline customers, cellphone users, and businesses such as the New York Stock Exchange are served by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)’s hubs downtown, the company had built in enough system redundancies to be able to provide service in at least a limited way, said Tony Melone, Verizon’s chief technology officer, enabling service to the stock exchange on Wednesday as cellphone service continued improving.
Some mobile carriers, like AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA, Inc., a private subsidiary of Germany-based Deutsche Telekom AG (PINK:DTEGY), “said they would switch each others’ customers between their networks depending on which was in better shape in a particular area,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “The steps came as cellphone users around the New York City area reported more trouble keeping and completing calls as businesses started to open back up and people tried to go about their workdays. The FCC said pockets of serious damage remain that will take a long time to repair.”
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)’s efforts seem to be working – the company hit a high of $45.25 yesterday and is currently trading at $45.28 – but AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is not faring nearly as well. Its bid to team up with T-Mobile is not translating well into share price. The stock is currently at $34.87 on a day range of $34.82 – 35.12 and a 52-week range of $27.41 – 38.58.
Rival Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is doing much better. The company has been rising from a low of $5.37 on Friday, on a 52-week range of $2.10 – 6.04, to hit a high today of $5.63. Sprint, which offers coverage in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.
Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) is performing similarly. Its headquarters are in Newbury, UK and, while it has a mounting presence in the US, the company’s business here still accounts for a relatively small percentage of its earnings. Vodafone is currently trading at $27.56 on a 52-week range of $25.63 – 30.07.
The writing was kind of on the wall at the end of March. S&P 500 Index was near the 4600 level whereas inflation rate was close to 8% and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 2.7%. The probability of further increases in interest rates and sharp declines in the stock market was much larger than the probability of further gains in stock prices. So, we started telling our premium subscribers to short the market at the end of March. Most hedge funds interpreted the macro developments the same way we did and reduced their exposure. The total value of stock holdings in hedge funds’ portfolios went down from $3.1 trillion at the end of December to $2.8 trillion at the end of March.
This isn’t a terribly large reduction in market exposure, but it is still a reduction. It still shows that hedge funds have a slight edge in market timing.
Insider Monkey has long been a believer of imitating the top stock picks of hedge funds, and this approach has helped us beat the market on average over the last several years.