OPEC Acts, Yellen Speaks and an Intoxicating IPO


Seems like the 1970s all over again.

OPEC ministers meeting in Algiers cut a deal to limit production starting in November. The last time OPEC showed this kind of discipline, Jimmy Carter was president and Donald Trump was still partying at Studio 54.

Crude oil prices rallied nearly 4% on the news, and the stock market responded mostly positively. Higher oil prices aren’t great for consumers, but they’re a boon to the ailing energy sector — including its many suppliers, who could use an earnings boost.

At least this time, we’re extremely unlikely to see cars lined up at gas stations. OPEC is dealing with a huge oil glut, not forcing a shortage.

But if OPEC’s newfound discipline continues, we could see higher gasoline prices in the year ahead – a problem potentially exacerbated by pipeline capacity issues, as Energy Strategist’s Robert Rapier recently discussed. We’ll be following up shortly with the impact of the deal on the industry and specific stocks. Stay tuned.

In other news, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen said that regulators are reacting to the Wells Fargo phony-account scandal with a review of practices at other major banks. Seems like a good idea, as is the Wells Fargo board’s orders for the CEO to forfeit $41 million, as the company launches a probe. Sweet justice is rare when it comes to banks, and millions of investors are still angry about bankers getting away scot free for their role in the 2008 crash.

On interest rates, Yellen said the Fed doesn’t have a timetable for the next rate hike – but she did nothing to dispel the idea that a rate hike is coming by years’ end.

On the other hand, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said, “we will likely be in a low interest rate environment for some time,” confirming that many Fed leaders remain skeptical about the threat of inflation. Evans is an influential voice on monetary policy even though he’s not currently on the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

Wonder if higher gasoline prices might change his mind?

And finally, it’s the perfect IPO for bartenders, bachelor parties and burrito lovers — not to mention fans of the Eagles and Steely Dan (two bands that, like OPEC, also peaked in the ‘70s).

Jose Cuervo, the world’s #1 tequila maker, announced that it’s going public. The IPO will raise $500 million to $1 billion for the family-owned company, which has been making the agave-based liquor since 1795. The company is raising money for a new phase in its development, including plans to turn the region around Tequila, Mexico, into a tourist destination similar to Northern California’s wine country.

Given the success of premium liquor brands in recent years, should investors give this deal a shot? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) It’s too early to say, but we’ll run the numbers and let you know.