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Optical retailer Warby Parker soon opening in Ridgedale Center

Low-cost eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker is opening a new location at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka.  The new store will likely open in the spring on the ground floor of the mall, directly across from the Apple Store and near Nordstrom, a company spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. Warby Parker sells a variety of eyewear and contact lens brands, including its own brand of contacts, Scout by Warby Parker. The Ridgedale store doesn’t plan to offer eye exams, according to the company's website. New….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 24th, 2023

3 Top REITs to Buy From a Prospering Retail REIT Industry

Zacks REIT and Equity Trust - Retail industry stocks KIM, NNN and STOR are in focus amid pent-up consumer demand with waning of the pandemic impact and favorable job-and-wage growth environment, supporting consumer confidence. The Zacks REIT and Equity Trust - Retail industry constituents are poised to benefit from the favorable job-and-wage growth environment, which supports consumer confidence, and extra savings accumulated during the pandemic. Also, there is pent-up consumer demand as consumers look for an exclusive in-store shopping experience following the pandemic downtime.Focus on e-commerce resistant sectors, efforts to support omni-channel retailing, adaptive reuse capabilities and opportunities emanating from consolidations have poised Kimco Realty Corporation KIM, National Retail Properties, Inc. NNN and STORE Capital Corporation STOR well for growth. However, inflationary pressure and economic slowdown might cast a pall on recovery. Also, higher e-commerce adoption might continue to affect retail landlords’ cash flows.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks REIT and Equity Trust - Retail industry represents a group of REITs engaged in owning, developing, managing and renting space in a variety of retail real estates. Among these are regional malls, outlet centers, grocery-anchored shopping centers and power centers, including big-box retailers. Also, net lease REITs enjoy the ownership of freestanding properties, wherein both rent and the majority of operating expenses for the properties are borne by tenants. The overall health of the economy, job market and consumer spending are the main drivers of retail REITs. The location of properties and trade area demographics play key roles in determining the demand for spaces. Although dwindling footfall, store closures and retailer bankruptcies have been bothering this asset category, it is on its path to a rebound amid an improving economy and solid consumer spending.What's Shaping the Future of the REIT and Equity Trust - Retail Industry?Consumer Confidence, Pent-up Consumer Demand to Fuel Recovery: Consumers seem optimistic and their confidence gets a boost from a favorable job-and-wage growth environment. They are likely to continue enjoying their spending power with rising income backed by wage compensation and extra savings accumulated during the pandemic. Also, there are signs of peaking inflation as prices in July remained unchanged from June. Further, this industry is poised to benefit from the pent-up consumer demand as consumers look for exclusive in-store shopping experience following the pandemic downtime. Amid these, retailers’ focus has now shifted from the closing of stores to the revival of their growth plans, resulting in more demand for physical store spaces and paving the way for the retail REITs to experience gain in leasing activity, pricing power and flourish. Retailers are also focusing on investments in their stores because apart from serving as showrooms, physical stores offer a convenient location for pick-up or exchange of goods, helping retailers counter the increasing costs associated with last-mile delivery. Furthermore, amid limited availability and with the rapid formation of new businesses in the retail sector, lease signings, rent and occupancies in retail real estates are likely to get a boost.Omni-Channel Strategy, Structural Changes Remain Key Focus: Omni-channel is the focal point for retailers. Physical stores will be a vital sales channel over the long run because though there is convenience in online shopping, it cannot replace the benefits and satisfaction of visiting a brick-and-mortar store. This is quite evident from the recent foot traffic at retail destinations. Moreover, digitally-native brands are likely to keep boosting their physical presence in the days to come as part of the omni-channel strategy as the opening of stores helps them improve their connection with customers and drive expansion. In fact, for retailers, the focus now is not only on boosting their online presence but also on maintaining brick-and-mortar stores in the best locations, which in turn is raising hopes for retail REITs that focus on such locations. Also, with the waning impact of the pandemic, entertainment and dining concepts are seeing a revival, boosting retail REIT’s growth scopes.Repurposing and Conversions Pick Up Pace: Adaptive reuse as well as the conversion of malls into distribution hubs has accelerated as these distribution centers, being situated close to consumers of retailers, facilitate faster delivery of products and aid retailers in improving services, lower costs and make optimum asset utilization. Also, retail REITs are now focusing on adaptive reuse, which includes multifamily, hotel, office and medical components, resulting in the construction of mixed-use real estate destinations. Moreover, the open-air format and pick-up concepts have been helping the landlords to lure tenants. As the structural changes involve a huge outlay, the ones with solid balance-sheet strength are well poised to opt for such moves.Inflationary Pressure, Economic Slowdown Cast a Pall on Recovery: Higher material and operating costs remain a concern for the retailers and this, in turn, might cast a pall on their landlords’ cash flows. Moreover, a slowdown in the economy and the depletion of savings might temper consumers’ willingness to spend to some extent. Also, with office usage affected and international tourism yet to regain lost ground, certain submarkets remain choppy.Higher E-commerce Adoption to Remain a Concern: Consumers’ habits have transformed at a rapid pace over the past years and traffic at retail real estates has suffered, with e-commerce capturing market share from brick-and-mortar stores. Social distancing measures further aggravated this as even the reluctant ones, who once favored in-store purchases, started preferring online purchases to avoid physical contact. Though the preference for brick-and-mortar stores has again picked up pace now, the concern with higher e-commerce adoption is still there as more consumers have been learning about the convenience of online purchases.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks REIT and Equity Trust - Retail industry is housed within the broader Zacks Finance sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #57, which places it in the top 23% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of the positive funds from operations (FFO) per share outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate FFO per share estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s growth potential. Over the past year, the industry’s FFO per share estimate for 2022 moved 3.7% north.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Underperfoms Sector & S&P 500The REIT and Equity Trust - Retail Industry has underperformed the broader Zacks Finance sector as well as the S&P 500 composite over the past year.The industry has declined 22.1% during this period compared with the S&P 500’s fall of 14% and the broader Finance sector’s decline of 12.4%.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of forward 12-month price-to-FFO (funds from operations), which is a commonly used multiple for valuing Retail REITs, we see that the industry is currently trading at 13.84X compared with the S&P 500’s forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) of 17.07X. The industry is trading above the Finance sector’s forward 12-month P/E of 13.55X. This is shown in the chart below.Forward 12 Month Price-to-FFO (P/FFO) RatioOver the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 18.49X, as low as 10.20X, with a median of 15.39X.3 Retail REIT Stocks Worth Betting OnKimco Realty Corporation: Jericho, NY-based Kimco Realty is a leading publicly traded owner and operator of open-air, grocery-anchored shopping centers and mixed-use assets in the United States.The company’s acquisition of the grocery-anchored shopping center owner — Weingarten Realty Investors — in 2021 has been beneficial as the combined company is poised well to benefit from the increased scale, density in the key Sun Belt markets and a broader redevelopment pipeline.Kimco is expected to benefit from its presence in the drivable first-ring suburbs of its top major metropolitan Sunbelt and coastal markets, which offer several growth levers. Also, the conveniently located grocery-anchored properties and focus on last mile assets augur well. Kimco’s strong balance-sheet position helps it to sail through any mayhem and bank on growth opportunities.Currently, Kimco carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this year’s FFO per share has been revised marginally upward to $1.56 over the past month, indicating a year-on-year improvement of 13%. The stock has appreciated 7.7% so far in the quarter.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. National Retail Properties: This Orlando, FL -based retail REIT focuses on investing in high-grade retail properties usually subject to long-term, net leases. It is poised to gain from the selective acquisition of more than $150 million in new properties in the second quarter.With a portfolio of 3,305 properties in 48 states with a gross leasable area of approximately 33.8 million square feet and a weighted average remaining lease term of 10.6 years as of Jun 30, 2022, National Retail Properties is well poised to benefit from the industry’s rebound.Currently, NNN carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a long-term growth rate of 4%. Moreover, for 2022, the stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for FFO per share being revised marginally upward to $3.18 over the past month. This also suggests an increase of 3.9% year over year. The stock has also gained 4.4% quarter to date.STORE Capital Corporation: This Scottsdale, AZ-based STORE Capital is engaged in the acquisition, investment and management of Single Tenant Operational Real Estate. This REIT has emerged as one of the fastest-growing net-lease REITs. Its customers consist of regional and national companies with a strong track record of growth. STORE Capital has a diverse investment portfolio. Also, geographically, its investments are spread across 49 states.This diversification is likely to continue to aid STOR to enjoy steady rental revenues. The company is also active on the investment front and capital recycling. It is poised to benefit from an increase in the real estate investment portfolio size.Its direct origination model results in a healthy and active investment pipeline, and the company’s focus on service, manufacturing and service-oriented retail industries, which are essential, helps secure steady cash flows.STORE Capital holds a Zacks Rank of 2, at present. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the ongoing year’s FFO per share has been revised marginally upward over the past week to $2.26. The FFO per share figure for 2022 also indicates a projected increase of 20.2%, year on year. The stock has appreciated 3% so far in the quarter. Note: Funds from operations (FFO) is a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs rather than net income as it indicates cash flow from their operations. FFO is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization to earnings and subtracting the gains on sales. Want to Know the #1 Semiconductor Stock for 2022? Few people know how promising the semiconductor market is. Over the last couple of years, disruptions to the supply chain have caused shortages in several industries. The absence of one single semiconductor can stop all operations in certain industries. This year, companies that create and produce this essential material will have incredible pricing power. For a limited time, Zacks is revealing the top semiconductor stock for 2022. You'll find it in our new Special Report, One Semiconductor Stock Stands to Gain the Most. Today, it's yours free with no obligation.>>Give me access to my free special report.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Kimco Realty Corporation (KIM): Free Stock Analysis Report National Retail Properties (NNN): Free Stock Analysis Report STORE Capital Corporation (STOR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 2nd, 2022

Five Below (FIVE) Q2 Earnings & Sales Miss, Comps Decline Y/Y

Five Below's (FIVE) second-quarter results reflect a comparable sales decline of 5.8%. The company provides a soft fiscal 2022 view. Five Below, Inc. FIVE came up with second-quarter fiscal 2022 results, wherein the top and bottom lines missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. While net sales grew year over year, earnings declined sharply from the year-ago period. This extreme-value retailer for tweens, teens and beyond continued with its sluggish comparable sales performance. The soaring inflation is impacting consumers’ purchasing behavior. Five Below revisited its full-year outlook to reflect the year-to-date performance.Despite lower-than-expected results, shares of Five Below were up 5.1% during the after-market trading session on Aug 31. Management stated that the company remains focused on long-term growth opportunities and the Triple-Double vision. It is optimistic about opening 1,000 new stores in the coming years. The company also looks to expand the Five Beyond concept.Let’s IntrospectFive Below delivered second-quarter earnings of 74 cents a share, lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 77 cents. The bottom line fell significantly from the earnings of $1.15 reported in the year-ago period.Net sales of $668.9 million increased 3.5% year over year but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $679.8 million. Comparable sales for the quarter under discussion declined 5.8% against an increase of 39.2% registered in the year-ago period. While comp tickets decreased 4.3%, comp transactions fell 1.7% in the reported quarter.The gross profit slid 0.8% year over year to $228.5 million, while the gross margin contracted roughly 150 basis points to 34.2% due to occupancy deleverage and higher freight expenses.We note that SG&A expenses shot up 19.7% to $172.5 million, while as a percentage of net sales, the same deleveraged 350 basis points to 25.8%. The operating income was $56 million for the quarter under discussion, down from the $86.2 million reported in the year-ago period. Also, the operating margin shrunk approximately 500 basis points to 8.4% during the quarter due to a lower gross margin and SG&A expenses.Five Below, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Five Below, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Five Below, Inc. QuoteFinancialsFive Below ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $155.1 million and short-term investment securities of $117.3 million. Total shareholders’ equity was $1,162.6 million as of Jul 30, 2022. Year to date, Five Below repurchased 247,132 shares for approximately $40 million in the quarter.Five Below anticipates gross capital expenditures of approximately $235 million in fiscal 2022, excluding tenant allowances. This includes about 160 new store openings, more than 250 conversions to the Five Beyond format, the opening of a new distribution center in Indiana and investments in systems and infrastructure.Store UpdatesFive Below opened 27 new stores in the reported quarter. This took the total count to 1,252 stores in 40 states as of Jul 30, 2022, reflecting an increase of 11.7% from the year-ago count. The company plans to open about 45 new stores in the third quarter and 160 new stores in fiscal 2022. For the next fiscal year, it plans to open more than 200 stores.GuidanceFive Below envisions third-quarter fiscal 2022 net sales in the range of $600 million-$619 million compared with the $607.6 million reported in the year-ago period. We note that the company’s sales projection was shy of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $631.8 million.The company expects a 7% to 9% decline in comparable sales in the third quarter against an increase of 14.8% registered in the year-ago period. Management anticipates third-quarter earnings between 8 cents and 19 cents per share. This suggests a decline from the earnings of 43 cents reported in the prior-year period. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for third-quarter earnings per share currently stands at 28 cents.Five Below foresees a contraction of about 540 basis points in the third-quarter operating margin due to the deleverage of fixed expenses on the negative comp, higher store expenses and increased marketing expenses, partly offset by disciplined expense management.For the fourth quarter, management estimates a low-single-digit decline in comparable sales. However, it expects operating margin expansion in the final quarter versus last year.Management projected fiscal 2022 net sales in the band of $2.97 billion-$3.02 billion, lower than the consensus estimate of $3.06 billion. The current view is also lower than the prior forecast of $3.04 billion to $3.12 billion. The company reported net sales of $2.85 billion last fiscal.Five Below anticipates comparable sales to be down 3-5% against an increase of 30.3% recorded in the prior year. The company had earlier projected comparable sales to be flat to down 2%.Management guided earnings between $4.26 and $4.56 per share, falling short of the consensus mark of $4.81. The current view is also lower than the prior forecast of $4.85 to $5.24 per share. The company reported earnings of $4.95 in fiscal 2021.The company expects its operating margin to be approximately 11%, lower than the 13.3% reported last year, stemming from deleverage on fixed costs and higher SG&A expenses from more normalized marketing spend, partially offset by cost-containment efforts.Over the past six months, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have fallen 22.8% compared with the industry’s decline of 12.6%.3 Key PicksHere we have highlighted three better-ranked stocks, namely Dillard's DDS, Ulta Beauty ULTA and Costco COST.Dillard's, which operates retail department stores, sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of nearly 215%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Dillard's current financial-year sales suggests growth of nearly 6% from the year-ago period. DDS has an expected EPS growth rate of 14.6% for three to five years.Ulta Beauty, which operates as a retailer of beauty products, sports a Zacks Rank #1. Ulta Beauty has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 32.8%, on average. ULTA has an expected EPS growth rate of 11.9% for three to five years.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Ulta Beauty’s current financial-year sales suggests growth of 13.7% from the year-ago reported number.Costco, which operates membership warehouses, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). COST has an expected EPS growth rate of 9.2% for three to five years.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Costco’s current financial-year revenues suggests growth of 15.4% from the year-ago reported figure. COST has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 9.7%, on average. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Electric Vehicles Big money has already been made in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. But, the EV revolution has not hit full throttle yet. There is a lot of money to be made as the next push for future technologies ramps up. Zacks’ Special Report reveals 5 picks investorsSee 5 EV Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Dillard's, Inc. (DDS): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report Ulta Beauty Inc. (ULTA): Free Stock Analysis Report Five Below, Inc. (FIVE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 1st, 2022

Futures Bounce, Kashkari Unhappy As Post-Jackson Hole Rout Fizzles

Futures Bounce, Kashkari Unhappy As Post-Jackson Hole Rout Fizzles After revealing that he was so "happy" he danced a jig when stocks tumbled after Powell's J-Hole speech sparked a market rout on Friday, we can only imagine that Neel Kashkari's face looked like this when he saw the market update this morning... When he turned on his bbg this morning pic.twitter.com/h6QqIcfgSV — zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 30, 2022 ... because after two days of selling, risk assets are sharply higher this morning, with S&P futures rising 0.8% and Nasdaq 100 futs rising 1.1%, as investor sentiment stabilized, while 10Y Treasury yields slid 5bps, the BBG dollar index lost 0.3%, and oil tumbled, 4% reversing most of Monday's gains. In premarket trading, cryptocurrency-tied stocks climbed as Bitcoin rose: Marathon Digital and Coinbase lead cryptocurrency-exposed stocks higher in premarket trading as Bitcoin trades in a narrow band around $20,000 for the fifth consecutive session: Marathon Digital +5.7%, Coinbase +3.7%, Riot Blockchain +4.9%; Twitter slipped after Elon Musk cited recent accusations from a whistle-blower as a new reason to terminate the $44 billion takeover. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY US) shares jump as much as 16% in premarket trading, putting the home products retailer on track for a third session of straight gains after Monday’s 25% surge. Baidu (BIDU US) shares rise as much as 4.5% in premarket trading, leading China stocks higher, after the internet search company’s profit beat analyst estimates. Gran TierraEnergy (GTE US) shares jump as much as 8.7% in premarket trading, after the oil & gas company said it would buy back as many as 36m shares. Nikola stocks slumped after filing for At-the-Market stock offering With markets once again very volatile, Credit Suisse recommended investors go underweight global equities (or at least short Credit Suisse bank itself) following the Jackson Hole symposium, while JPMorgan Chase strategists say that a reading on the US labor market that spells bad news for the economy is actually a bullish signal for stocks. “The markets are spooked because they are afraid that the Fed could create a hard landing -- that they’ll raise rates into a recession and that will be really painful for the economy and for corporate profits,” Terri Spath, chief investment officer at Zuma Wealth LLC, said on Bloomberg Television Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said sharp stock-market losses show investors have got the message that the US central bank is determined to contain inflation. “People now understand the seriousness of our commitment to getting inflation back down to 2%,” he said; it wasn't clear what he said this morning when he saw futures sharply higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rallied 1.3%. DAX outperforms, adding 1.5%, FTSE 100 lags, adding 0.4%. Retailers, banks and tech are the strongest-performing sectors while energy companies underperformed as prices plunged on signs that the region is stepping up efforts to curb a crisis. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Banks and lenders lead a broader rebound in European stocks as yields rise in the UK, with banks in the country resuming trade following Monday’s holiday. Adevinta shares rise as much as 16%, with analysts noting a beat on earnings from the classified advertising firm, along with a strong performance in its Mobile arm and reassuring guidance. Aker Solutions shares rise as much as 17% after the Norwegian offshore firm said it would form a joint venture with Schlumberger and Subsea 7. Pareto notes “significant” cost synergies. Bango shares jump as much as 15% after Liberum increased their price target to a Street high. The broker said the acquisition of NTT DOCOMO’s payments business helps accelerate Bango’s growth strategy. Munters shares rise as much as 8.7% after the Swedish industrial cooling and climate solutions manufacturer said it had received its “largest order ever” for a data center in the US. Technoprobe shares gain as much as 2.5% in Milan as Mediobanca increased its PT on the stock to EU9.10 from EU8.6 ahead of what the broker expects to be “another robust release” on Sep. 27. Diurnal Group shares soar as much as 136%, the most since January 2019, after Neurocrine Biosciences agreed to buy the specialty pharmaceutical company for 27.5p in cash per share. Carrefour shares fall as much as 2.7%, after JPMorgan cut its recommendation on the French grocer to neutral, noting “lackluster” operating momentum and a “lack of short-term catalysts.” Bunzl shares fall as much as 8.1%, the most intraday since March 2020, after the supplies distributor reported 1H results that disappointed, according to Interactive Investor. European mining stocks underperforms all other European industry groups as the regional equity benchmark advances, after iron ore and base metals fell amid concerns over demand in China. Warsaw stocks are worst performers globally so far in August, down 8.2%, on the way to largest monthly drop since April as a domino effect from Europe’s gas crisis hits Polish companies. Asian equities rebounded from a post-Jackson Hole slide, with investors focusing on earnings on the region’s busiest day this season. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added as much as 1% following Monday’s 2.2% slump, lifted by technology and financial shares. Indian and Japanese shares were among the region’s best performers, while benchmarks in China and Hong Kong declined. Chinese search-engine operator Baidu Inc. and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s biggest bank by assets, were among the 110 MSCI Asia Pacific Index members to report results Tuesday. Investors had been bracing for a poor earnings season in a quarter marred by China’s lockdowns, but an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence shows the results have surprised to the upside so far. While Asian stocks are set for a 1.1% monthly slump in the wake of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish comments last week, there’s a possibility that the region’s valuations could attract investors, said Christina Woon, an Asian equities investment director at Abrdn in Singapore. Asia has “more of a relative buffer in valuations” given investors are already quite cautious toward the region, Woon said in a Bloomberg TV interview. Many of Asia’s quality companies are “producing earnings that are holding up well,” which may support stock performances, she added. China tech stocks in Hong Kong slid amid lingering uncertainties over discussions to avoid the delisting of companies from New York stock exchanges. Asian emerging market ex-China equities saw a small net outflow last week after five weeks of inflows.   Japanese equities also rebounded after heavy selling on Monday, as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s continued stance to keep up its hawkish monetary policies and the yen stayed near 140 per dollar.  The Topix rose 1.2% to 1,968.38 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.1% to 28,195.58. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.1%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 1,839 rose and 257 fell, while 73 were unchanged. “There may be a slight effect from the weak yen,” said Mamoru Shimode, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to close at 6,998.30, boosted by gains in banks and energy shares. All but one of the 11 sector gauge rallied, while mining shares edged lower as iron ore fell below $100 a ton for the first time in five weeks on signs a crisis in China’s steel industry is worsening.  Uranium shares including Paladin surged after Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said countries shouldn’t shut down existing nuclear power plants as Europe grapples with an energy crisis.  In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index falls 0.3%, its first drop in three days as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Swiss franc. The euro rose above parity against the dollar. European bonds advanced as month-on-month numbers for German state CPIs showed signs of slowing. A euro-area economic confidence gauge fell to 97.6 in August, its lowest level in 1 1/2 years, and down from 99 the previous month. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a decline to 98. The pound traded near a 2 1/2-year low versus the US dollar amid speculation the UK is headed for recession with further interest-rate hikes potentially deepening an economic downturn. Aussie eased after a sharp drop in building approvals, only to rebound in European trading. Meanwhile, China’s central bank set a stronger-than-expected yuan fixing for a fifth day, a sign it doesn’t want an excessively weak currency. The move highlights how greenback strength is a challenge for Asia as the region’s currencies slip. In rates, treasuries are near session highs as US trading gets under way Tuesday, holding most of gains that were paced by euro-zone bonds during European morning after release of German regional CPIs, with national gauge due out at 8am New York time.  US yields are lower by 2bp-5bp, 10-year TSY sliding by 5.8bp at 3.05%. Gilts curve bear-flattened with 2-year yield 12bps higher as money markets raise BOE tightening bets. Gilts slumped after yesterday’s English holiday as money markets cranked up BOE tightening bets. The UK 2-year yield briefly rose above 3% for the first time since October 2008. Peripheral spreads are mixed to Germany; Italy and Portugal widen, Spain tightens. Australian sovereign bonds extend an opening gain as iron ore slumped back under $100 for the first time this month. IG credit issuance lull expected to last through US Labor Day holiday Sept. 6. In commodities, WTI drifts 2.8% lower to trade near $94.32. Most base metals are in the red; LME copper falls 2.9%, underperforming peers. LME lead outperforms, adding 0.7%. Spot gold falls roughly $2 to trade near $1,735/oz. China was reported to provide Europe with an energy lifeline through the resale of surplus LNG, according to FT. UK PM candidate Truss is set to approve a series of oil and gas drilling licences in the North Sea in one of her first acts as PM, should she be elected, according to The Times. Canada said it is invoking the 1977 pipeline treaty with the US for the second time over Enbridge's (ENB) Line 5 (540k BPD) dispute. On the US calendar today, we get the August Conference Board consumer confidence, July JOLTS job openings, June FHFA house price index, Q2 house price purchase index; Bank of Montreal and Best Buy are among the companies expected to report results today. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.9% to 4,066.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 426.16 MXAP up 0.9% to 158.61 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 518.99 Nikkei up 1.1% to 28,195.58 Topix up 1.2% to 1,968.38 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 19,949.03 Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 3,227.22 Sensex up 2.1% to 59,168.51 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 6,998.33 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,450.93 Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,736.80 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.36% to 108.45 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.46% Euro up 0.3% to $1.0029 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Bonds are sliding toward the first bear market in a generation, burning investors who erred in bets that central banks would pivot away from rapid interest-rate hikes. The Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index, which tracks total returns from investment- grade government and corporate bonds, is within a percentage point of falling 20% from its peak after another bout of selling following the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole symposium The number of container ships headed for the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- a traffic jam that once symbolized American consumer vigor during the pandemic -- declined to the lowest level since the bottleneck started to build two years ago European energy prices plunged on signs that the region is stepping up efforts to curb a crisis that threatens to tip the region into recession with winter approaching The European Union is set to meet its gas storage filling goal two months ahead of target as the bloc braces for a tough winter with Russia limiting supplies and energy contracts trading at elevated levels throughout the continent China has rolled out “more forceful” economic policies this year than it did in 2020, Premier Li Keqiang said, as he warned the country faces an arduous task in ensuring its recovery China took the most aggressive step in its latest battle to bolster the yuan, setting its reference rate for the currency with the second strongest bias on record. The People’s Bank of China fixed the yuan at 6.8802 per dollar on Tuesday, 249 pips stronger than the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The bias was the second largest on the strong side since the survey of analysts and traders began in 2018 The slide in the yen back toward the key psychological 140 per-dollar level is reigniting chatter on the likelihood officials will intervene to support the Japanese currency A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were somewhat mixed as most of the regional bourses recouped some of the prior day’s losses but with gains capped amid a slew of earnings releases and as participants look towards month-end, as well as the upcoming risk events. ASX 200 was led higher by the energy sector after recent gains in oil prices which printed a fresh monthly high and with strong earnings from Woodside Energy. Nikkei 225 outperformed and reclaimed the psychologically key 28k level. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were negative with participants digesting earnings releases and amid further COVID-related disruptions as China's Dalian region limited movements for five days and Shenzhen ordered to close the Huaqiangbei subdistrict which is a global electronics sourcing centre. ICBC (1398 HK) - H2 2022 (CNY): net profit 171.51bln vs. Exp. 186.4bln, NII 351.4bln vs. Exp. 360.5bln. Baidu Inc (BIDU) Q2 2022 (CNY): EPS 15.79 (exp. 10.46), Revenue 29.6bln (exp. 29.31bln). Global funds invested into Evergrande's (3333 HK) bonds have determined their own debt restructuring plan, via FT sources; demands the chair repay liabilities with own funds. Top Asian News Chinese Finance Ministry said it will make good use of local government special bonds and strictly curb new local government hidden debt in H2, while it will strive to stabilise employment and prices. US President Biden's administration plans to ask Congress to approve an estimated USD 1.1bln arms sale to Taiwan, according to Politico. PBoC has issued draft rules to regulate related transactions of financial holding firms. All industrial and business power usage has resumed in Sichuan as of August 30th, according to CCTV. Pakistan to Import Onions, Tomatoes To Meet Shortage After Flood Asia Push for Winter LNG Sends Price to New Five-Month High European bourses are supported in tandem with pressure in European gas prices, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.7%, while the FTSE 100 lags somewhat after its Bank Holiday. Stateside, futures are firmer across the board, ES +0.9%, with the NQ +1.2% outperforming modestly as yields ease. Tesla (TSLA) CEO Musk has filed an SEC filing on Twitter (TWTR); on Aug 29th, sent a letter to Twitter notifying he is terminating merger agreement for additional bases separate from bases set forth in July 8th, according to a letter. Top European News Spain is to propose the EU mimics its gas price system, via El Pais. Germany said to be open to discussing an EU gas price cap at the September 9th summit, via Reuters citing an official. Britons Ditch Staycations for Cheaper All-Inclusive Trips Abroad Spanish Inflation Slows But Any Retreat Is Likely to be Gradual UK July Mortgage Approvals Rise to 63.8k vs. Est. 62k Austria Is Probing Trades Behind Wien Energie Margin Call Revolution Beauty Shares to Be Suspended One Year After Listing FX DXY dips under 108.50 after seeing a mild bid overnight to a high of 108.90. Antipodeans lead the gains whilst EUR feels a boost from receding European gas prices. Haven FX are mixed vs the USD with JPY firmer and the CHF in the red. Fixed Income EGBs are bid as the benchmarks recoup from yesterday’s pressure, fresh fundamentals limited though European gas pricing easing has likely assisted. Gilts remain subdued by over a full point, though off worst, as it catches up to the weekend's hawkish rhetoric. USTs are in-fitting with EZ peers and awaiting commentary from Fed's Williams; yields slightly flatter. Commodities WTI and Brent futures have pared back around half of the prior day's gains; relatively pronounced pressure once more in European gas benchmarks. Spot gold is modestly softer intraday and remains under its 21, 50, and 10 DMAs. LME copper has fallen back under USD 8,000/t as the exchange plays catch-up following the UK bank holiday. China was reported to provide Europe with an energy lifeline through the resale of surplus LNG, according to FT. UK PM candidate Truss is set to approve a series of oil and gas drilling licences in the North Sea in one of her first acts as PM, should she be elected, according to The Times Canada said it is invoking the 1977 pipeline treaty with the US for the second time over Enbridge's (ENB) Line 5 (540k BPD) dispute. Sadrist protesters in Iraq reportedly closed the oil production distribution company in Basra and there were explosions in Baghdad's Green Zone from mortars targeting the former PM's residential area, according to Iraqi Day. US Event Calendar 09:00: June S&P Case Shiller Composite-20 YoY, est. 19.20%, prior 20.50% 09:00: June S&P/Case-Shiller US HPI YoY, prior 19.75% 09:00: 2Q House Price Purchase Index QoQ, prior 4.6% 09:00: June S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 0.90%, prior 1.32% 09:00: June FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 0.8%, prior 1.4% 10:00: Aug. Conf. Board Consumer Confidence, est. 98.0, prior 95.7 Present Situation, prior 141.3 Expectations, prior 65.3 10:00: July JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.4m, prior 10.7m DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap For those also arriving back after the holiday weekend, markets have been playing a familiar tune for 2022, with risk assets losing ground as central banks underlined their determination to keep bearing down on inflation. Fed Chair Powell kicked off the latest selloff in his speech at Jackson Hole on Friday, where he said that getting back to price stability would “likely require maintaining a restrictive policy stance for some time.” He also went on to reiterate that hawkish message at multiple points, saying that “the employment costs of bringing down inflation are likely to increase with delay”, which favoured “acting with resolve now” to avoid a more costly outcome later. With Powell explicitly warning against repeating the mistakes of the 1970s, investors moved to price in a more hawkish response from the Fed over the next year. In fact over Friday and yesterday, the rate that Fed funds futures are pricing in for the December 2022 meeting went up a further +7.1bps to 3.70%. And with a more hawkish Fed being priced in, that’s having an impact on Treasury yields, with the 2yr yield reaching its highest intraday level since 2007 in trading yesterday, at 3.48%, although it’s since fallen back to 3.41% this morning. US equities have also taken a significant hit, with the S&P 500 seeing its worst daily performance in over two months on Friday, with a -3.37% decline, followed by a more modest -0.67% fall yesterday. Strikingly, Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari said that he was “happy to see how Chair Powell’s Jackson Hole speech was received” in markets, saying it reflected an understanding of their commitment to return inflation to 2%. That theme of investors adapting to more hawkish central banks has been seen on this side of the Atlantic as well, since a number of individuals at the ECB are now openly floating the idea of hiking by 75bps at a single meeting like the Fed. On Friday, Austria’s Holzmann said that a 75bps move “should be part of the debate”, and that a 50bps move was “the minimum for me”. Then in an interview on Sunday, Latvia’s Kazaks said that “at least 50 basis points would be appropriate” in September and said “at the current moment, I would say 50 or 75 basis points”. Those may be two of the most hawkish officials on the Governing Council, but the fact that a 75bps move is being openly discussed ahead of next week’s decision just shows how the direction of travel has shifted, and overnight index swaps are now pricing in a 75bps move as more likely than a 50bps one. Nevertheless, there was some pushback yesterday from Chief Economist Lane, who said that a “steady pace” was important when reaching the terminal rate. In light of these developments, our European economists have updated their ECB call (link here), where they bring forward their timing for the terminal rate to mid-2023 from mid-2024, and now see the terminal deposit rate reaching 2.5% (up from 2% previously). In terms of the specific moves to get there, they now expect 50bp hikes at the remaining 3 meetings this year, bringing the deposit rate up to 1.5% in December, before the ECB slows to a 25bp pace at the 4 meetings in H1 2023 that takes the deposit rate up to 2.5%. They are maintaining their call for a 50bp hike at the September meeting for now, but note there are still some key data and risks around energy that could change the September profile. With markets waking up to the prospect of more aggressive ECB hikes, sovereign bonds sold off significantly yesterday. Yields on 10yr bunds (+11.4bps), OATs (+10.6bps) and BTPs (+10.3bps) all moved sharply higher thanks to rises in real yields, whilst gilts were closed given the public holiday. European equities similarly lost ground as they caught up with the late US selloff from Friday, and the STOXX 600 (-0.81%) posted a decent decline, even as nearly a quarter of the index’s weighting didn’t trade given the London holiday. In the US, tech stocks bore the brunt of the decline given the higher yields, and the FANG+ index followed up its -4.26% loss on Friday with another -1.03% move lower yesterday. Overnight in Asia, equity markets have put in a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (+1.02%) and the Kospi (+0.54%) clawing back some of their heavy losses yesterday, whereas the Hang Seng (-1.32%), the Shanghai Composite (-0.68%) and the CSI 300 (-0.61%) are all trading in negative territory. That underperformance in Chinese equities follows the moves from the People’s Bank of China to push back against yuan weakness, with a fix at 6.8802 per US Dollar this morning, which is noticeably stronger than Bloomberg’s survey estimate of 6.9051. Indeed, it was the strongest fix relative to estimates since August 2019. Elsewhere overnight, there are also signs that the recent market selloff could take a breather today, with futures contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.27%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.3%) both pointing higher. Looking forward now, this week should illuminate plenty on the near-term policy trajectory as a number of important data releases come out. For the Euro Area, the main one will be tomorrow’s flash CPI reading for August, where our economists see year-on-year CPI ticking down from the record +8.9% in July to +8.8% in August. However, we haven’t reached the peak yet in their opinion, as they see CPI rebounding again in September up to +9.3%, so the ECB would still have a long way to go to get back to their target. On the question of core inflation, they see that moving up to +4.3% in August year-on-year, which would be the highest since the formation of the single currency. So an important release for the ECB just over a week before their decision. The other big release this week will be the US jobs report for August on Friday, which could go a long way to determining whether the Fed move by 50bps or 75bps. Our US economists expect that there’ll be another +300k increase in nonfarm payrolls, which would leave the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.5%. Markets are pricing in +69.1bps worth of hikes for September right now, so much closer to 75 than 50 still. But last month we saw how a strong jobs report jolted market expectations towards 75bps, so a surprise in either direction could well see that shift once again. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the July JOLTS data later today as well, which includes measures on job openings and hires. That’ll offer some further signals on whether labour demand is moving back in line with supply. Otherwise this week, a major theme will be the ongoing turmoil in European energy markets, where yesterday saw prices come down from their record highs of last Friday. For instance, natural gas futures were down -19.63% to €273 per megawatt-hour, whist German power prices for next year fell -22.84% to €760 per megawatt-hour, having traded above €1000 for the first time earlier in the day. European Commission President Von der Leyen said yesterday that the EU was “working on an emergency intervention and a structural reform of the electricity market.” Let’s see what happens there, but one piece of better news from Germany came over the weekend after Economy Minister Habeck said in a Sunday statement that the target to see gas storage 85% full by October should be reached by early September. In the meantime oil prices have got the week off to a strong start, with Brent crude advancing +4.06% yesterday to their highest finish so far this month at $105.09/bbl. They’ve maintained the bulk of those gains overnight too, with Brent crude only down -0.69% at $104.36/bbl. Tyler Durden Tue, 08/30/2022 - 08:09.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 30th, 2022

Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero"

Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero" One day after futures ramped overnight (if only to crater during the regular session) on hopes China was easing its highly politicized  Zero Covid policy after it cut the time of quarantine lockdowns, this morning futures slumped early on after China's President Xi Jinping made clear that Covid Zero isn't going anywhere and remains the most “economic and effective” policy for China during a symbolic visit to the virus ground zero in Wuhan, in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system. That coupled with renewed recession worries (market is again pricing in a rate cut in Q1 2023) even as monetary policy tightens in much of the world to fight supply-side inflation, sent US futures and global markets lower. S&P futures dropped 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.4% after the underlying index slumped on 3.1% on Tuesday. The dollar was steady after rising the most in over a week while WTI crude climbed above $112 a barrel, set for a fourth session of gains. In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin dipped below the closely watched $20,000 level on news crypto hedge fund 3 Arrows Capital was ordered to liquidate. The Nasdaq's Tuesday’s slump added to what was already one of the worst years in terms of big daily selloffs in US stocks. The S&P 500 Index has fallen 2% or more on 14 occasions, putting 2022 in the top 10 list, according to Bloomberg data. Not helping the tech sector, on Wednesday morning JPMorgan cut its earnings estimates across the sector, especially for companies exposed to online advertising, citing macroeconomic pressures, forex and company-specific dynamics. One of the chief drivers for overnight weakness, China's Xi said during a trip Tuesday to Wuhan where the virus first emerged in late 2019 that relaxing Covid controls would risk too many lives in the world’s most populous country. China would rather endure some temporary impact on economic development than let the virus hurt people’s safety and health, he said, in remarks reported Wednesday by state media. As a result, China’s CSI 300 Index extended loss to 1.4% after the headline, while the yuan drops as much as 0.2% to trade 6.7132 against the dollar in the offshore market. Among key premarket movers, Tesla slipped in US premarket trading. The electric-vehicle maker laid off hundreds of workers on its Autopilot team as it shuttered a California facility, according to people familiar with the matter. Carnival slumped as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the London and New York-listed cruise vacation company’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Pinterest gained 3.7% as the company’s co- founder and CEO Ben Silbermann quit and handed the reins to Google and PayPal veteran Bill Ready in a sign the social-media company will focus more on e-commerce. Also, despite the pervasive weakness, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (XLE) rebounded off key support (50% Fibonacci) relative to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). That said, energy was alone and most other notable movers were down in the premarket: Carnival (CCL US) shares fall 8% premarket as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Nio (NIO US) shares drop 8.2% after short-seller Grizzly Research published a report on Tuesday alleging that the electric carmaker used battery sales to a related party to inflate revenue and boost net income margins. The company rejected the claims. Upstart Holdings (UPST US) shares slump about 9% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the consumer finance company to underweight from equal-weight amid rising cyclical headwinds. Ormat Technologies (ORA US) rallies as much as 5% after the renewable energy company is set to be included in the S&P Midcap 400 Index. 2U (TWOU US) shares rise 16% premarket. Indian online-education provider Byju’s has offered to buy the company in a cash deal that values the US-listed edtech firm at more than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said. Watch Amazon (AMZN US) shares as Redburn initiated coverage of the stock with a buy recommendation and set a Street-high price target, saying “there is a clear path toward a $3 trillion value for AWS alone.” Shares in data center REITs could be active later in the trading session after short-seller Jim Chanos said in an FT interview that he’s betting against “legacy” data centers. Watch Digital Realty (DLR US) and Equinix (EQIX US), as well as data center operators Cyxtera Technologies (CYXT US) and Iron Mountain (IRM US) Investors are growing increasingly skeptical that the Fed can avoid a bruising economic downturn amid sharp interest-rate hikes. Evaporating consumer confidence is feeding into concerns that the US might tip into a recession. Naturally, Fed officials sought to play down recession risk. New York Fed President John Williams and San Francisco’s Mary Daly both acknowledged they had to cool inflation, but insisted that a soft landing was still possible. “It seems the market is in this tug of war between on the one hand the hope that we are close to the peak in inflation and rates, and on the other hand the challenge of a slowing economy and potential recession,” Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays Bank Plc, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Central banks are walking a very tight line and to a certain extent dictate the mood in the markets.” European equities snapped three days of gains, trading poorly but off worst levels with sentiment also hurt by China remaining committed to its zero-Covid approach. Spanish inflation unexpectedly surged to a record, dashing hopes that inflation in the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy had peaked, and emboldening European Central Bank policy makers pushing for big increases in interest rates. The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow. German benchmark bonds rose, while 10-year Treasury yields slipped to 3.16%. DAX lags, dropping as much as 1.8%. Real estate, autos and miners are the worst performing sectors. In notable moves in European stocks, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) gained after the Swedish low-cost retailer’s earnings beat analyst estimates. Just Eat Takeaway.com NV tumbled to a record low after Berenberg analysts rated the stock sell, saying the food delivery firm’s UK business will remain under pressure. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Just Eat Takeaway shares plunge as much as 21% after Berenberg initiated coverage with a sell rating, saying the firm’s UK business will remain under pressure and a sale of its Grubhub unit is unlikely to satisfy the bulls. Carnival stocks slumped over 12% in London as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Pearson drops as much as 6.1% after the education company was cut to sell at UBS, which reduced forecasts to reflect a weak outlook for 2022 college enrollments. Grifols shares plunge as much as 13% on a media report the Spanish plasma firm is weighing a capital raise of as much as EU2b to cut its debt. Diageo shares fall after downgrades for the spirits group from Deutsche Bank and Kepler Cheuvreux, while Pernod Ricard also dips on a rating cut from the latter. Diageo declines as much as 4.2%, Pernod Ricard -3.7% Fluidra shares fall as much as 8.4% after Santander cut its rating on the Spanish swimming pools company. The bank’s analyst Alejandro Conde cut the recommendation to neutral from outperform. H&M shares rise as much as 6.8% after the Swedish apparel retailer reported 2Q earnings that beat estimates. Jefferies said the margin beat in particular was reassuring, while Morgan Stanley said it was a “positive surprise” overall. Ipsen shares rise as much as 3.1% after UBS analyst Michael Leuchten said that accepting palovarotene refiling priority review should be a net present value and confidence boost. Asian stocks fell, halting a four-day gain, as renewed angst over the outlook for global economic growth and inflation help drive a selloff across most of the region’s equity markets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.5%, led by consumer discretionary and information sectors. Chinese equities in particular took a hit, as the CSI 300 Index fell 1.5% Wednesday after Xi Jinping reiterated his firm stance on Covid zero. Tech-heavy indexes in markets such as South Korea and Taiwan took the brunt of Wednesday’s drop amid lingering concerns that monetary tightening in much of the world to fight inflation will cause an economic slowdown. While Federal Reserve members have played down the risk of a US recession, gloomy data such as US consumer confidence have damped investor sentiment. “Volatility is going to be the enduring feature of the market, I suspect, for the next couple of quarters at least until we get a firm sense that peak inflation has passed,” John Woods, Credit Suisse Group AG’s Asia-Pacific chief investment officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Markets, I think, have aggressively priced in quite a serious or steep recession.”  China’s four-day winning streak came to a halt, putting its advance toward a bull market on hold.  “We will continue to see a risk of targeted lockdowns, and that spoils the initial euphoria seen in the markets from the announcement on relaxation of quarantine requirements,” said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “Still, economic growth will likely be prioritized as this is a politically important year for China.”  Japanese equities decline as investors digested data that showed a drop in US consumer confidence over inflation worries and increased concerns of an economic downturn.  The Topix Index fell 0.7% to 1,893.57 in Tokyo on Wednesday, while the Nikkei declined 0.9% to 26,804.60. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.8%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,114 fell, 984 rose and 72 were unchanged. “There are concerns about stagflation,” said Hideyuki Suzuki a general manager at SBI Securities. “The consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, which provides one of the fastest data points, has already shown poor figures.” Stocks in India tracked their Asian peers lower as brent rose to the highest level in two weeks, while high inflation and slowing global growth continued to dampen risk-appetite for global equities. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.3% to 53,026.97 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by an equal measure. Both gauges have lost more than 4% in June and are set for their third consecutive month of declines. The main indexes have dropped for all but one month this year. Twelve of the 19 sub-sector gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. eased, led by banking companies while power producers were the top performers.   Investors will also be watching the expiry of monthly derivative contracts on Thursday, which may lead to some volatility in the markets.  Hindustan Unilever was the biggest contributor to the Sensex’s decline, decreasing 3.5%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 10 rose and 20 fell. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched up modestly as the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; the Swiss franc led gains while Antipodean currencies were the worst performers and the euro traded in a narrow range around $1.05. The relative cost to own optionality in the euro heading into the July meetings of the ECB and the Federal Reserve was too low for investors to ignore and has become less and less underpriced. The yen strengthened and US and Japanese bond yields fell. In rates, fixed income has a choppy start. Bund futures initially surged just shy of 200 ticks on a soft regional German CPI print before fading the entire move over the course of the morning as Spanish data hit the tape, delivering a surprise record 10% reading for June and more hawkish ECB comments crossed the wires. Treasuries and gilts followed with curves eventually fading a bull-steepening move. Long-end gilts underperform, cheapening ~4bps near 2.75%. Peripheral spreads are tighter to core.  Treasuries are slightly higher as US trading day begins, off the session lows reached as bund futures jumped after the first monthly drop since November in a German regional CPI gauge. Yields are lower across the curve, by 1bp-2bp for tenors out to the 10-year with long-end yields little changed; 10-year declined as much as 5.3bp vs as much as 8.2bp for German 10- year, which remains lower by ~3bp. Focal points for the US session include a final revision of 1Q GDP, comments by Fed Chair Powell, and anticipation of quarter-end flows favoring bonds. Quarter-end is anticipated to cause rebalancing flows into bonds; Wells Fargo estimated that $5b will be added to bonds, with most of the flows occurring Wednesday and Thursday. In commodities, crude futures advance. WTI drifts 0.3% higher to trade near $112.13. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 5.6% while LME zinc gains 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $5 to trade near $1,815/oz Looking ahead, the highlight will be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,829.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 412.69 MXAP down 1.3% to 159.96 MXAPJ down 1.6% to 531.04 Nikkei down 0.9% to 26,804.60 Topix down 0.7% to 1,893.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.9% to 21,996.89 Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,361.52 Sensex little changed at 53,204.17 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 6,700.23 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,377.99 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.59% Euro little changed at $1.0510 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $117.46/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,816.09 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 104.55 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The Fed’s Loretta Mester said she wants to see the benchmark lending rate reach 3% to 3.5% this year and “a little bit above 4% next year” to rein in price pressures even if that tips the economy into a recession The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow ECB has “ample room” to hike in 25bps-50bps steps to “whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable,” Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said in interview with CNBC Swedish consumers are gloomier than they have been since the mid-1990s, as prices surge on everything from fuel to food and furniture China’s President Xi Jinping declared Covid Zero the most “economic and effective” policy for the nation, during a symbolic visit to Wuhan in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system NATO moved one step closer to bolstering its eastern front with Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to Swedish and Finnish bids to join the military alliance A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were pressured amid headwinds from the US where disappointing Consumer Confidence data added to the growth concerns. ASX 200 failed to benefit from better than expected Retail Sales and was dragged lower by weakness in miners and tech. Nikkei 225 fell beneath the 27,000 level as industries remained pressured by the ongoing power crunch. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the negative picture in the region although losses in the mainland were initially stemmed after China cut its quarantine requirements which the National Health Commission caveated was not a relaxation but an optimization to make it more scientific and precise. Top Asian News Chinese President Xi said China's COVID prevention control and strategy is correct and effective and must stick with it, via state media. Shanghai will gradually reopen museums and scenic sports from July 1st, state media reports. US Deputy Commerce Secretary Graves said the US will take a balanced approach on Chinese tariffs and that a clear response on China tariffs is coming soon, according to Bloomberg. China State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said it firmly opposes the US signing any agreement that has sovereign connotations with Taiwan, according to Global Times. BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japanese Core CPI reached 2.1% in April and May which is almost fully due to international energy prices and Japan's economy has not been affected much by the global inflationary trend so monetary policy will stay accommodative, according to Reuters. Japanese govt to issue power supply shortage warning for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday, according to a statement. European bourses are on the backfoot as the region plays catch-up to the losses on Wall Street yesterday. Sectors are mostly lower (ex-Energy) with a defensive tilt as Healthcare, Consumer Products, Food & Beverages, and Utilities are more cushioned than their cyclical peers. Stateside, US equity futures trade on either side of the unchanged mark with no stand-out performers thus far, with the contracts awaiting the next catalyst. Top European News UK expects defence spending to reach 2.3% of GDP and said PM Johnson will announce new military commitments to NATO, according to Reuters. UK Weighs Capping Maximum Stake in Online Casinos at £5 Europe Is the Only Region Where Earnings Estimates Are Rising European Gas Prices Rise as Supply Risks Add to Storage Concerns Gold Steady as Traders Weigh Fed Comments on US Recession Risks Choppy Start for Euro-Area Bonds on Mixed Inflation FX Dollar mostly bid otherwise as rebalancing demand underpins - DXY pivots 104.500 within 104.700-350 confines. Franc outperforms on rate and risk considerations - Usd/Chf breaches 0.9550 and Eur/Chf approaches parity. Euro erratic in line with conflicting inflation data - Eur/Usd rotates around 1.0500. Aussie and Kiwi undermined by downturn in sentiment - Aud/Usd loses 0.6900+ status, Nzd/Usd wanes from just over 0.6250. Yen rangy following firmer than forecast Japanese retail sales and BoJ Governor Kuroda reaffirming intent to remain accommodative - Usd/Jpy straddles 136.00. Nokkie welcomes oil worker wage agreement with unions to avert strike action, but Sekkie hampered by softer Swedish macro releases pre-Riksbank policy call tomorrow - Eur/Nok probes 10.3000, Eur/Sek hovers around 10.6800. Rand rattled by decline in Gold and ongoing SA power supply problems, but Rouble rallies irrespective of CBR and Russian Economy Ministry divergence over deflation. Central Banks ECB's Lane said there are two-way inflation risks: "on the one side, there could be forces that keep inflation higher than expected for longer. On the other side, we do have the risk of a slowdown in the economy, which would reduce inflationary pressure", via ECB. ECB's Holzmann said "We will have to make an assessment where the economic development is going and where inflation stands and afterwards there’s ample room to hike in 0.25 and 0.5 levels to whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable" via CNBC. ECB's Simkus said if data worsens, then he wants a 50bps July hike as an option, 50bps hike is very likely in September; ECB's fragmentation tool should serve as a deterrent, via Bloomberg. ECB's Herodotou said EZ inflation will peak this year, via CNBC. ECB's Wunsch said government aid may spell more rate hikes, via Bloomberg; 150bps of hikes by March 2023 is reasonable ECB is said to be weighting whether or not they should announce the size and duration of their upcoming bond-buying scheme, according to Reuters sources. Fed's Mester (2022, 2024 voter) said on a path towards restrictive interest rates; July debate between 50bps and 75bps hike, via CNBC. Mester said if inflation expectations become unanchored, monetary policy would have to act more forcefully; current inflation situation is a very challenging one, via Reuters. SARB Governor said a 50bps hike is "not off the table", Via Bloomberg CBR Governor said she does not see risks of deflation; sees room to cut rates; sticking to policy of floating RUB exchange rate. PBoC will step up implementation of prudent monetary policy, will keep liquidity reasonably ample. Fixed Income Bunds unwind all and a bit more of their hefty post-NRW CPI gains as other German states show smaller inflation slowdowns and Spanish HICP soars. Gilts suffer more pronounced fall from grace in relative terms and US Treasuries slip from overnight peaks in sympathy. UK debt and STIRs also await testimony from MPC member elect to see if newbie leans dovish, hawkish or middle of the road 10 year benchmarks settle off worst levels within 147.37-145.14, 112.66-11.85 and 117-12+/116-27 respective ranges awaiting comments from ECB, Fed and BoE heads at Sintra Forum. Commodities WTI and Brent front-month futures traded with no firm direction in early European hours before picking up modestly in recent trade. US Private Inventory (bbls): Crude -3.8mln (exp. -0.6mln), Cushing -0.7mln, Distillate +2.6mln (exp. -0.2mln) and Gasoline +2.9mln (exp. -0.1mln). Norway's Industri Energi and SAFE labour unions agreed a wage deal for oil drilling workers and will not go on strike, according to Reuters. OPEC to start today at 12:00BST/07:00EDT; JMMC on Thursday at 12:00BST/07:00EDT followed by OPEC+ at 12:30BST/07:30EDT, via EnergyIntel. Libya's NOC suspends oil exports from Es Sider port. Spot gold is under some mild pressure as the Buck and Bond yields picked up, with the yellow metal back to near-two-week lows Base metals are mixed but off best levels after President Xi reaffirmed China's COVID stance – LME copper fell back under USD 8,500/t US Event Calendar 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 4.2% 08:30: 1Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 5.1%, prior 5.1% 08:30: 1Q GDP Price Index, est. 8.1%, prior 8.1% 08:30: 1Q Personal Consumption, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1% 08:30: 1Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. -1.5%, prior -1.5% Central Banks 09:00: Powell Takes Part in Panel Discussion at ECB Forum in Sintra 09:00: Lagarde, Powell, Bailey, Carstens Speak in Sintra 11:30: Fed’s Mester Speaks on Panel at ECB Forum in Sintra 13:05: Fed’s Bullard Makes Introductory Remarks DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I'm finishing this off in a taxi on the way to the Eurostar this morning and I made the mistake of telling the driver I was slightly pressed for time. He seems to be taking the racing line everywhere and my motion sickness is kicking in. A little like this car journey, it's been another volatile 24 hours in markets, with a succession of weak data releases raising further questions about how close the US and Europe might be to a recession. That saw equities give up their initial gains to post a decent decline on the day, whilst there was little respite from central bankers either, with sovereign bonds selling off further as multiple speakers doubled down on their hawkish rhetoric. That comes ahead of another eventful day ahead on the calendar, with investors primarily focused on a panel featuring Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey, as well as the flash German CPI print for June, who are the first G7 economy to release their inflation print for the month, which will provide some further clues on how fast central banks will need to move on rate hikes. Just as we go to print the NRW region of Germany has seen CPI print at 7.5% YoY, way below last month's 8.1%. This region is around a quarter of GDP so it could imply the national numbers will be notably softer when we get them later. The energy tax cuts were always going to come through in June so some respite was always possible but at first glance this seems materially below what might have been expected. This comes after a significant sovereign bond selloff in Europe once again yesterday as President Lagarde reiterated the central bank’s determination to bring down inflation, and described inflation pressures that were “broadening and intensifying”. And although Lagarde stuck to the existing script about the ECB raising rates by 25bps at the next meeting, we also heard from Latvia’s Kazaks who said that “front-loading the increase would be a reasonable choice” in the event that the situation with inflation or inflation expectations deteriorates. Lagarde did nod to this in part, saying that if the ECB was “to see higher inflation threatening to de-anchor inflation expectations, or signs of a more permanent loss of economic potential that limits resources availability, we would need to withdraw accommodation more promptly to stamp out the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral.” Separately on fragmentation, Lagarde said that they could “use flexibility in reinvesting redemptions” from PEPP starting July 1 in order to deal with the issue. For now, overnight index swaps are only pricing in a +31.3bps move in July from the ECB, so still closer to 25 than 50 for the time being. Meanwhile the rate priced in by year-end rose also by +7.9bps as investors interpreted the comments in a hawkish light. That supported a further rise in yields, with those on 10yr bunds up another +8.1bps yesterday, following on from their +10.7bps move in the previous session. That’s now almost reversed the -21.9ps move over the previous week, which itself was the third-largest weekly decline in bund yields for a decade, and brought the 10yr yield back up to 1.63%, so not far off its multi-year high of 1.77% seen last week. A similar pattern was seen elsewhere, with 10yr yields on 10yr OATs (+9.6bps), BTPs (+4.2bps) and gilts (+7.2bps) all moving higher too. Things turned near the European close with some poor US data releases piling on to some lacklustre confidence figures in Europe. Earlier in the day the GfK consumer confidence reading from Germany fell to -27.4 (vs. -27.3 expected), taking it to another record low. Separately in France, consumer confidence fell to 82 on the INSEE’s measure (vs. 84 expected), which we haven’t seen since 2013. Then in the US, the Conference Board’s measure fell to 98.7 (vs. 100.0 expected), which is the lowest since February 2021. The Conference Board’s one-year ahead inflation expectations hit a record high of 8.0%, surpassing the June 2008 record of 7.7%, adding to the pessimism. Along with waning confidence, the Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Index registered a -19, its lowest since the peak onset of the pandemic, versus expectations of -7 and a prior of -9, showing that production data has weakened as well. This put a serious damper on risk sentiment which drove Treasury yields and equities lower intraday during the New York session. 10yr Treasury yields ended down -2.8bps after trading as much as +5.5bps higher during the European session. They are down another -4bps this morning. Concerningly as well, there was a fresh flattening in the Fed’s preferred yield curve indicator (which is 18m3m – 3m), which came down another -9.1bps to 165bps, which is the flattest its been since early March. With that succession of bad news helping to dampen risk appetite, US equities gave up their opening gains to leave the S&P 500 down -2.01% on the day. Tech stocks saw the worst losses, with the NASDAQ (-2.98%) and the FANG+ (-3.74%) seeing even larger declines. And whilst there was a stronger performance in Europe, the STOXX 600 ended the day up just +0.27%, having been as high as +0.95% in the couple of hours before the close. We didn’t hear so much from the Fed ahead of Chair Powell’s appearance today, although New York Fed President Williams said that at the upcoming July meeting “I think 50 to 75 is clearly going to be the debate”. Markets are continuing to price something in between the two, although since the last Fed meeting futures have been consistently closer to 75 than 50, with 69.0 bps right now. Those sharp losses in US equities are echoing across Asia this morning. The Hang Seng (-1.86%) is leading the losses followed by the Kospi (-1.82%), the Nikkei (-1.07%) and the ASX 200 (-1.06%). Over in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (-0.77%) and the CSI (-0.80%) are slightly out-performing after yesterday’s surprise move by China to slash the quarantine period for inbound travellers (more on this below). Looking ahead, US stock index futures point to a positive opening with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.18%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.19%) mildly higher. Earlier today, data released showed that Japan’s retail sales advanced for the third consecutive month in May (+3.6% y/y) but lower than the consensus of +4.0%, but with the previous month's data revised up to +3.1% (vs +2.9% preliminary). Meanwhile, South Korea’s consumer sentiment index (CSI) fell sharply to 96.4 in June (vs 102.6 in May), sliding below the long-term average of 100 for the first time since Feb 2021. Separately, Australia’s retail sales put in another strong performance as it climbed +0.9% m/m in May, surpassing analyst estimates of a +0.4% increase. Oil has fallen back slightly overnight after three sessions of gains with Brent futures down -0.84% at $116.99 and WTI futures (-0.64%) at $111.04/bbl as I type. Just after we went to press yesterday, it was also announced that China would be shortening the required quarantine period for inbound travellers to one week from two. So although China is still very-much committed to a Covid-zero strategy for the time being, this step towards loosening rather than tightening restrictions is an interesting development that helped support Chinese equities in yesterday’s session towards the close which filtered through into early northern hemisphere risk performance. In terms of other data yesterday, there were signs that US house price growth might finally be slowing somewhat, with the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index up by +20.4% in April, which is down slightly from the +20.6% gain in March. So still a long way from an absolute decline, but that marks a reversal in the trend after the previous 4 months of rises in the year-on-year measure. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will likely be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 08:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 29th, 2022

Sprouts Farmers (SFM) Boosts Customer Experience Via EBT SNAP

Sprouts Farmers (SFM) announces that it has started accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program for same-day delivery and curbside pickup for orders. Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. SFM is undertaking several initiatives focused on product innovation, customer experience and technology. In a latest move, SFM has announced that it has started accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (EBT SNAP) for same-day delivery and curbside pickup for orders through the Instacart website and mobile app. This facility is available at nearly 380 stores across the country.EBT SNAP acceptance on Instacart is powered by Carrot Payments, which is part of the Instacart Platform. To avail same-day grocery delivery or pickup online, consumers have to create a profile via Instacart’s website or mobile app, and can then enter their EBT food card information as part of the payment in their profile. They will also need a secondary form of payment for non-food items like taxes, tips and fees per the federal SNAP guidelines.EBT SNAP will be available on www.sprouts.com later in 2022. Sprouts Farmers, in collaboration with Instacart, will serve the mission of providing fresh food to the guests. Via this latest launch, customers can avail fresh, natural and organic food online conveniently. SFM is steadily expanding its presence in the organic space, given the huge demand in this segment. The company has been providing hassle-free shopping through Sprouts.com website and its mobile app.What Else?Sprouts Farmers has been undertaking initiatives to boost customer experience. SFM has rolled out grocery pickup service at all of its stores. The home delivery business is also available at its stores. The company is trying all means to provide ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat, and ready-to-cook items to customers. Apart from these, the company is trying to expand private-label offerings in departments under the Sprouts Market Corner Deli, The Butcher Shop at Sprouts and Sprouts Fish Market brands. Product innovation continues to drive sales in private label items.Additionally, Sprouts Farmers is focused on creating a robust omni-channel experience for customers. During first-quarter 2022, e-commerce accounted for 11.5% of total sales. Management remains excited about the opening of the company’s fresh distribution center in Aurora, CO. Through this, the company is currently supplying all stores in the Colorado, Utah and New Mexico region. This, coupled with the Florida distribution center, is helping SFM build a faster supply chain and effectively cater to consumers. It is also on track to develop a new format store, which has a smaller footprint with higher selling space per square foot, and costs 20% less to build.Management continues with its investment to improve operational efficiencies. In this regard, we note that the fresh item management technology has been successful. The company has been implementing the system in all of its departments to lower operational complexity, optimize production, improve in-stock position, lower down shrink and drive incremental sales.Over the past three months, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 9% against the industry’s 4.2% decline.Solid Picks in RetailSome stocks in the broader Retail sector that investors can consider are Boot Barn Holdings BOOT, Capri Holdings CPRI and Fastenal FAST.Boot Barn Holdings, a lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, presently has a Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy). BOOT has an expected EPS growth rate of 20% for three-five years. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Boot Barn Holdings’ current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 17% and 4.4%, respectively, from the year-ago corresponding figures. BOOT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 25.2%, on average.Capri Holdings, which offers accessories and footwear, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. CPRI has an expected EPS growth rate of 11.3% for three-five years.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Capri Holdings’ current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 5.3% and 10%, respectively, from the year-ago corresponding figures. CPRI has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 49.3%, on average.Fastenal, a national wholesale distributor of industrial and construction supplies, currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 5%, on average.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Fastenal's current financial-year sales and earnings per share suggests growth of 15.4% and 16.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period. FAST has an expected EPS growth rate of 9% for three-five years. Free: Top Stocks for the $30 Trillion Metaverse Boom The metaverse is a quantum leap for the internet as we currently know it - and it will make some investors rich. Just like the internet, the metaverse is expected to transform how we live, work and play. Zacks has put together a new special report to help readers like you target big profits. The Metaverse - What is it? And How to Profit with These 5 Pioneering Stocks reveals specific stocks set to skyrocket as this emerging technology develops and expands.Download Zacks’ Metaverse Report now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Fastenal Company (FAST): Free Stock Analysis Report Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT): Free Stock Analysis Report Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (SFM): Free Stock Analysis Report Capri Holdings Limited (CPRI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 17th, 2022

Kroger Reports First Quarter 2022 Results and Raises Full-Year Guidance

First Quarter Highlights Identical Sales without fuel increased 4.1% Operating Profit of $1,505 million; Adjusted FIFO Operating Profit of $1,601 million EPS of $0.90; Adjusted EPS of $1.45 Company is widening its competitive moats to deliver value for customers Fresh Department identical sales increased 5.2% Our Brands identical sales increased 6.3% Digitally engaged households grew by more than half a million and digital coupon downloads increased 11% CINCINNATI, June 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) today reported its first quarter 2022 results and will update investors on how Leading with Fresh and Accelerating with Digital initiatives continue to position Kroger for long-term sustainable growth. Comments from Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen "Kroger achieved strong first quarter results as we successfully executed on our strategy of Leading with Fresh and Accelerating with Digital. We are incredibly proud of our associates who continue to put the customer at the center of everything we do. Our team is doing an outstanding job managing costs in an inflationary environment, which is allowing us to continue to invest in our associates while providing our customers the freshest food at affordable prices when and where they need it. We are delivering everyday value through personalized experiences, trusted Our Brands products, data-driven promotions, and seamless e-commerce solutions. Looking ahead, we are well positioned to continue delivering for our customers, investing in our associates, and driving sustainable returns for shareholders."  First Quarter Financial Results 1Q22 ($ in millions; except EPS) 1Q21 ($ in millions; except EPS) ID Sales* (Table 4) 4.1 % (4.1 %) EPS $0.90 $0.18 Adjusted EPS (Table 6) $1.45 $1.19 Operating Profit $1,505 $805 Adjusted FIFO Operating Profit (Table 7) $1,601 $1,375 FIFO Gross Margin Rate* Decreased 26 basis points OG&A Rate* Decreased 46 basis points *without fuel and adjustment items, if applicable Total company sales were $44.6 billion in the first quarter, compared to $41.3 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel, sales increased 3.8% compared to the same period last year. Gross margin was 21.6% of sales for the first quarter. The FIFO gross margin rate, excluding fuel, decreased 26 basis points compared to the same period last year. This decrease was primarily attributable to continued strategic price investments and higher supply chain costs offset by sourcing benefits and the cycling of a write-down related to a donation of personal protective equipment inventory from prior year. The LIFO charge for the quarter was $93 million, compared to a LIFO charge of $37 million for the same period last year driven by higher inflation. The Operating, General & Administrative rate decreased 46 basis points, excluding fuel and adjustment items, which reflects sales leverage, continued execution of cost savings initiatives, and lower contributions to multi-employer pension plans offset by investments in associates. The income tax rate for the first quarter was 18.0%, compared to 20.2% for the same period last year. This decrease was primarily attributable to higher tax deductions related to employee stock option exercises. Capital Allocation Strategy Kroger continues to generate strong free cash flow and remains committed to investing in the business to drive long-term sustainable net earnings growth, maintaining its current investment grade debt rating, and returning excess free cash flow to shareholders via share repurchases and a growing dividend over time. Kroger's net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio is 1.68, compared to 1.79 a year ago (Table 5). The company's net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio target range is 2.30 to 2.50. During the quarter, Kroger repurchased $665 million shares and as of the end of the first quarter, $301 million remains on the board authorization announced on December 30, 2021. 2022 Guidance Comments from CFO Gary Millerchip "Our relentless focus on executing our strategy and sustained food at home trends led to a strong first quarter. The Kroger team is effectively navigating a dynamic retail environment. Our diverse and resilient business model gives us confidence to raise our full-year guidance. We now expect identical sales without fuel to be in the range of 2.5% to 3.5%, adjusted FIFO operating profit of $4.3 billion to $4.4 billion, and adjusted net earnings per diluted share to be in the range of $3.85 to $3.95. We remain confident in our ability to deliver sustainable earnings growth and total shareholder returns of 8-11% over time."  Full-Year 2022 Guidance - Updated IDs (%) EPS ($) Operating Profit ($B) Tax Rate**  Cap Ex ($B) Free Cash Flow ($B)*** Adjusted* 2.5% - 3.5% $3.85 - $3.95 $4.3 - $4.4 22 % $3.8 - $4.0 $2.0 - $2.2 * Without adjusted items, if applicable; Identical sales is without fuel; Operating profit representsFIFO Operating Profit. Kroger is unable to provide a full reconciliation of the GAAP and non-GAAPmeasures used in 2022 guidance without unreasonable effort because it is not possible to predictcertain of our adjustment items with a reasonable degree of certainty. This information is dependentupon future events and may be outside of our control and its unavailability could have a significantimpact on 2022 GAAP financial results. ** This rate reflects typical tax adjustments and does not reflect changes to the rate from the completion of income tax audit examinations or changes in tax laws, which cannot be predicted. *** 2022 free cash flow guidance includes a $300M payment of deferred payroll taxes. This excludesplanned payments related to the restructuring of multi-employer pension plans. First Quarter 2022 Highlights Leading with Fresh   Achieved the two highest single-day floral sales in Kroger history, led by Valentine's Day and Mother's Day and solidified the company's place as the nation's largest floral retailer Accelerated End-to-End Fresh Produce initiative with 355 new stores certified, driving higher fresh sales during the quarter Launched 239 new, seasonal Our Brands items, including fresh products to elevate summer cooking Unveiled a study completed with the University of Cincinnati and Kroger Health to understand how Kroger's Food as Medicine platform and dietitians can support customers' goals to incorporate more fresh foods and live healthier lives by leveraging technology, health education, and the OptUP shopping tool Accelerating with Digital Opened two new Kroger Delivery facilities, powered by Ocado, in Dallas, Texas and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin allowing Kroger to serve fresh and affordable products directly to more households Expanded the Kroger Delivery network by opening three new spoke facilities, which serve as last-mile cross-dock locations, including Columbus and Louisville in existing geographies, as well as Miami, a new geography Introduced national e-commerce experience that expands Kroger's Home and Baby offerings by selling several thousand new products on Kroger's Ship Marketplace in collaboration with Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Associate Experience Held nationwide hybrid hiring event with opportunities in retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, supply chain, merchandising, logistics, corporate, pharmacy, and healthcare roles Launched Microsoft Teams Rooms in supermarket locations to improve collaboration and training capabilities for associates Celebrated 45 associates who were recognized by Progressive Grocer to represent the Top Women in Grocery across three categories including, Senior-Level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Leaders Continued Kroger's commitment to associate well-being by providing new training to more than 1,500 leaders to develop the skills needed to identify signs and symptoms of mental health problems, demonstrate support for associates experiencing a crisis, and guidance for self-care Live Our Purpose Directed $210 million of $350 million in annual charitable giving to end hunger in our communities and gave a record one-year total of 546 million meals to people across the country while achieving 79% waste diversion from landfills company-wide Reduced barriers to COVID-19 treatment options nationwide by supporting the "Test to Treat" initiative at The Little Clinic locations for patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 Announced new partnership with USO to bring mobile food programming to serve local military communities Ranked 25th on the 2022 Axios Harris Poll 100, an annual ranking of the reputations of the most visible U.S. companies About KrogerAt The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. We are, across our family of companies nearly half a million associates who serve over eleven million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,723 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site. Kroger's first quarter 2022 ended on May 21, 2022. Note: Fuel sales have historically had a low gross margin rate and operating expense rate as compared to corresponding rates on non-fuel sales. As a result, Kroger discusses the changes in these rates excluding the effect of fuel. Please refer to the supplemental information presented in the tables for reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures used in this press release to the most comparable GAAP financial measure and related disclosure. This press release contains certain statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" about the future performance of the company. These statements are based on management's assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. Such statements are indicated by words or phrases such as "achieve," "committed," "confident," "continue," "deliver," "driving," "expect," "future," "guidance," "strategy," "target," "trends," and "well-positioned." Various uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These include the specific risk factors identified in "Risk Factors" in our annual report on Form 10-K for our last fiscal year and any subsequent filings, as well as the following: Kroger's ability to achieve sales, earnings, incremental FIFO operating profit, and adjusted free cash flow goals may be affected by: COVID-19 pandemic related factors, risks and challenges, including among others, the length of time that the pandemic continues, future variants, mutations or related strains of the virus and the effectiveness of vaccines against variants, continued efficacy of vaccines over time and availability of vaccine boosters, the extent of vaccine refusal, and global access to vaccines, as well as the effect of  vaccine and/or testing mandates and related regulations, the potential for additional future spikes in infection and illness rates including breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated, and the corresponding potential for disruptions in workforce availability and customer shopping patterns, re-imposed restrictions as a result of resurgence and the corresponding future easing of restrictions, and interruptions in domestic and global supply chains or capacity constraints; whether and when the global pandemic will become endemic, the pace of recovery when the pandemic subsides or becomes endemic, which may vary materially over time and among the different regions we serve; labor negotiations; potential work stoppages; changes in the unemployment rate; pressures in the labor market; changes in government-funded benefit programs; changes in the types and numbers of businesses that compete with Kroger; pricing and promotional activities of existing and new competitors, including non-traditional competitors, and the aggressiveness of that competition; Kroger's response to these actions; the state of the economy, including interest rates, the current inflationary environment and future potential inflationary and/or deflationary trends and such trends in certain commodities, products and/or operating costs; the geopolitical environment including the war in Ukraine; unstable political situations and social unrest; changes in tariffs; the effect that fuel costs have on consumer spending; volatility of fuel margins; manufacturing commodity costs; diesel fuel costs related to Kroger's logistics operations; trends in consumer spending; the extent to which Kroger's customers exercise caution in their purchasing in response to economic conditions; the uncertainty of economic growth or recession; stock repurchases; changes in the regulatory environment in which Kroger operates; Kroger's ability to retain pharmacy sales from third party payors; consolidation in the healthcare industry, including pharmacy benefit managers; Kroger's ability to negotiate modifications to multi-employer pension plans; natural disasters or adverse weather conditions; the effect of public health crises or other significant catastrophic events; the potential costs and risks associated with potential cyber-attacks or data security breaches; the success of Kroger's future growth plans; the ability to execute our growth strategy and value creation model, including continued cost savings, growth of our alternative profit businesses, and our ability to better serve our customers and to generate customer loyalty and sustainable growth through our strategic moats of fresh, our brands, personalization, and seamless; and the successful integration of merged companies and new partnerships. Our ability to achieve these goals may also be affected by our ability to manage the factors identified above. Our ability to execute our financial strategy may be affected by our ability to generate cash flow. Kroger's effective tax rate may differ from the expected rate due to changes in tax laws, the status of pending items with various taxing authorities, and the deductibility of certain expenses. Kroger assumes no obligation to update the information contained herein unless required by applicable law. Please refer to Kroger's reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties. Note: Kroger's quarterly conference call with investors will broadcast live at 10 a.m. (ET) on June 16, 2022 at ir.kroger.com. An on-demand replay of the webcast will be available at approximately 1 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, June 16, 2022. 1st Quarter 2022 Tables Include: Consolidated Statements of Operations Consolidated Balance Sheets Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows Supplemental Sales Information Reconciliation of Net Total Debt and Net Earnings Attributable to The Kroger Co. to Adjusted EBITDA Net Earnings Per Diluted Share Excluding the Adjustment Items Operating Profit Excluding the Adjustment Items   Table 1. THE KROGER CO. CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (in millions, except per share amounts) (unaudited) FIRST QUARTER 2022 2021 SALES $    44,600 100.0 % $ 41,298 100.0 % OPERATING EXPENSES MERCHANDISE COSTS, INCLUDING ADVERTISING, WAREHOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION (a), AND LIFO CHARGE (b) 34,952 78.3 31,947 77.4 OPERATING, GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE (a) 6,997 15.7 7,424 18.0 RENT 256 0.6 261 0.6 DEPRECIATION AND AMORTIZATION 890 2.0 861 2.1 OPERATING PROFIT 1,505 3.4 805 2.0 OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE) INTEREST EXPENSE (177) (0.4) (165) (0.4) NON-SERVICE COMPONENT OF COMPANY-SPONSORED PENSION PLAN COSTS 16 - 18 - LOSS ON INVESTMENTS (532) (1.2) (479) (1.2) NET EARNINGS  BEFORE INCOME TAX EXPENSE 812 1.8 179 0.4 INCOME TAX EXPENSE  146 0.3 36 0.1 NET EARNINGS INCLUDING NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS 666 1.5 143 0.4 NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO       NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS 2 - 3 - NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.  $         664 1.5 % $       140 0.3 % NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.       PER BASIC COMMON SHARE $        0.91 $      0.18 AVERAGE NUMBER OF COMMON SHARES USED IN       BASIC CALCULATION 722 752 NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.       PER DILUTED COMMON SHARE $        0.90 $      0.18 AVERAGE NUMBER OF COMMON SHARES USED IN       DILUTED CALCULATION 733 760 DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE $        0.21 $      0.18 Note: Certain percentages may not sum due to rounding. Note: The Company defines First-In First-Out (FIFO) gross profit as sales minus merchandise costs, including advertising, warehousing and transportation, but excluding the Last-In First-Out (LIFO) charge. The Company defines FIFO gross margin as FIFO gross profit divided by sales. The Company defines FIFO operating profit as operating profit excluding the LIFO charge. The Company defines FIFO operating margin as FIFO operating profit divided by sales. The above FIFO financial metrics are important measures used by management to evaluate operational effectiveness.  Management believes these FIFO financial metrics are useful to investors and analysts because they measure our day-to-day operational effectiveness......»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJun 16th, 2022

5 Shoes & Retail Apparel Stocks to Eye in a Prospering Industry

The Shoes and Retail Apparel industry looks prim on gains from strong consumer demand, product innovation and digital growth. These aspects bode well for DECK, SKX, SHOO, CAL and RCKY. Companies in the Zacks Shoes and Retail Apparel industry have been benefiting from continued demand for activewear and footwear, given the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. The industry players focused on product innovation, store expansion, digital investments and omni-channel growth are poised to gain in the current market. This has compelled the activewear segment to resort to innovations to make their assortments more comfortable and fashionable. However, elevated costs related to supply-chain headwinds, as well as to support brand campaigns and digital investments have been deterrents.The industry participants have been consistently investing in product innovation based on customer feedback and requirements. Investments in products and e-commerce portals bode well for players like Deckers Outdoor DECK, Skechers U.S.A., Inc. SKX, Steven Madden SHOO, Caleres CAL and Rocky Brands RCKY.About the IndustryThe Zacks Shoes and Retail Apparel industry comprises companies that design, source and market clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children under various brand names. The product offerings of the companies mostly include athletic and casual footwear, fashion apparel and activewear, sports equipment, bags, balls, and other sports and fashion accessories. The companies showcase their products through their branded outlets and websites. However, some companies also distribute products via other retail stores such as national chains, online retailers, sporting goods stores, department stores, mass merchandisers, independent retailers and catalogs.A Look at What's Shaping Shoes and Retail Apparel Industry's FutureFitness Trends Aid Industry: Rising health consciousness and the willingness to live an active lifestyle and look fit have led consumers to incorporate sports and fitness routines into their daily lives. The demand for activewear/athleisure products has increased significantly over time, which is expected to accelerate in 2022. Athletic goods and apparel companies now offer everything from sweatshirts, leggings, pants, jackets and tops to yoga wear and running clothes for both men and women. People are clubbing athleisure styles like tops with blazers to give them a formal look at office meetings. The participants remain focused on product innovations, store expansion and enhancing e-commerce capabilities to gain market share. The companies continue to innovate styles, materials and colors and incorporate functional designs to grab a large share of the fast-growing market. The increased participation of women in sports and outdoor activities in recent years has been a boon for the industry.E-Commerce Investments: E-commerce has been playing a crucial role in the athleisure market’s growth. The companies in the segment are looking to build a customer base through websites, social media and other digital channels. As consumers continue to show interest in shopping from home, growth of athletic-inspired apparel and digital sales are likely to stay. Companies focused on expanding their athletic-based apparel lines and building on e-commerce capabilities are expected to witness growth in 2022. Efforts to accelerate deliveries through investments in supply chain and order fulfillment avenues are likely to provide an edge in the market. Simultaneously, companies are investing in renovations and improved checkouts as well as mobile point-of-sale capabilities to make stores attractive. The efforts to enhance the guest experience through multiple channels are likely to contribute significantly to improving traffic and transactions both in stores and online.Cost Headwinds: Companies are witnessing elevated costs due to factors like commodity cost inflation, increase in freight costs and reinvestments and other impacts. A number of companies project increased freight and logistics costs to hurt margins in the near term. Elevated marketing expenses, higher operating overhead and demand-creating expenses, and increased investments toward enhancing store and digital operations have been pushing up SG&A costs. Also, the companies are witnessing higher costs to support brand campaigns and digital investments. The return of sporting activities and events has resulted in higher costs compared with the last year’s COVID-related closure. Additionally, a tough and competitive labor market remains a concern. These factors pose a threat to industry players’ margins.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Shoes and Retail Apparel Industry is a 12-stock group within the broader Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #96, which places it in the top 38% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates continued outperformance in the near term. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and the valuation picture.Industry Vs. the SectorThe Zacks Shoes and Retail Apparel industry has outperformed its sector but underperformed the S&P 500 in the past year.While stocks in the industry have collectively declined 13.7%, the Zacks S&P 500 composite has dropped 12%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector has declined 39.4%.One-Year Price PerformanceShoes and Retail Apparel Industry's ValuationOn the basis of forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E), which is commonly used for valuing Consumer Discretionary stocks, the industry is currently trading at 22.07X compared with the S&P 500’s 16.65X and the sector’s 17.52X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 36.79X and as low as 19.59X, with the median being at 25.81X, as the chart below shows.Price-to-Earnings Ratio (Past 5 Years)5 Shoes & Retail Apparel Stocks to WatchCaleres: Caleres is a leading footwear retailer and wholesaler in the United States, China, Canada, China, and Guam. It operates through Famous Footwear and Brand Portfolio segments. The stock of this Saint Louis, MO-based company has been benefiting from positive consumer demand trends and accelerated recovery in the footwear marketplace, which have been aiding its sales. The momentum in the Famous Footwear brand is expected to contribute meaningfully to sales growth. Strong performances of CAL’s emerging brands, including Vionic, Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds and Blowfish Malibu, are expected to be drivers.Management anticipates strong performance at the Famous Footwear brand and gains in Brand Portfolio, leveraging of diversified brand model and the continued execution of ongoing strategic priorities to aid CAL’s performance. Caleres's focus on the consumer's evolving preferences and efforts to drive growth across its omni-channel ecosystem bode well. The consensus estimate for CAL’s fiscal 2022 EPS has moved up 11.3% in the past 30 days. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 62.9%, on average. Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company rose 0.1% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. .Price and Consensus: CALRocky Brands: Rocky Brands is a leading footwear and accessories company that designs, manufactures and markets premium quality footwear and apparel under a portfolio of well-recognized brand names. The company’s notable brands portfolio includes Rocky, Georgia Boot, Durango, Lehigh, The Original Muck Boot Company, XTRATUF, Servus, NEOS and Ranger. RCKY is benefiting from the flexibility and ability to innovate quickly, given its small size of business.Rocky Brands has been witnessing robust demand for its portfolio of leading brands, which has been aiding performance. The company is making strong progress in regaining the full efficiency of its Ohio distribution center, which along with the new distribution center in Reno, NV, is likely to have improved shipping capacity. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2022 earnings has been unchanged in the past 30 days. It has a trailing four-quarter negative earnings surprise of 2.3%, on average. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has declined 32.6% in the past year.Price and Consensus: RCKYSteven Madden: Steven Madden designs, sources, markets and sells fashion-forward name brand and private label footwear for women, men, and children and private label fashion handbags and accessories globally. SHOO has been gaining from a robust e-commerce momentum, product assortments and accelerated business recovery. The company’s focus on creating trend-right merchandise assortment, deepening relations with customers via marketing, enhancing the digital commerce agenda, expanding international markets and efficiently controlling expenses bodes well. This has been boosting consumer demand, thereby contributing to the overall performance for a while now.Strength in SHOO’s digital and brick-and-mortar channels bodes well. Management is on track to expand the international business. The company’s e-commerce wing continues to gain from prudent investments in digital marketing as well as efforts to optimize the features and functionality of its website. Steven Madden has also been significantly accelerating its digital commerce initiatives with respect to distribution. SHOO has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 44%, on average. The consensus estimate for the company’s 2022 EPS has moved down by a penny in the past seven days. Shares of the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) footwear company have declined 18.2% in the past year.Price and Consensus: SHOOSkechers: Skechers is a leading manufacturer and seller of footwear for men, women and children in the United States and overseas. SKX has been gaining from the continued demand for comfort products and momentum in the direct-to-consumer business. Skechers remains focused on developing comfort footwear, expanding apparel offerings, advancing e-commerce capabilities and tapping opportunities to drive overall sales. Growth across the domestic and international channels, driven by wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales, bodes well. The company remains committed to directing resources to enhance its digital capabilities, which include augmenting website features, mobile applications and loyalty programs. Investments made to integrate store and digital ecosystems for developing a seamless omnichannel experience are likely to drive greater sales.Skechers’ investments in long-term growth strategies, including brands and infrastructural capabilities, have been yielding results. Management is optimistic regarding the strength of its brands and the relevance of its products in the forthcoming periods. Shares of the Manhattan Beach, CA-based company have declined 19.5% in the past year. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 23.6%, on average. The consensus estimate for SKX’s 2022 EPS has been unchanged in the past 30 days. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Price and Consensus: SKXDeckers: This Goleta, CA-based company is a leading designer, producer, and brand manager of innovative, niche footwear and accessories developed for outdoor sports, and other lifestyle-related activities. The company sells products primarily under five proprietary brands — UGG, HOKA, Teva, Sanuk, and Koolaburra. Strength in HOKA ONE ONE and UGG brands as well as growth in direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels has been aiding DECK’s performance. Deckers is targeting profitable and underpenetrated markets, and remains focused on product innovations, store expansion and enhancing e-commerce capabilities. The company’s focus on expanding its brand assortments, bringing a more innovative line of products, targeting consumers digitally and optimizing omni-channel distribution bode well.In keeping with the changing trends, Deckers has been constantly developing its e-commerce portal to capture incremental sales. DECK has made substantial investments to strengthen its online presence and improve shopping experience for its customers. The company’s focus on opening smaller concept omni-channel outlets and expanding programs such as Retail Inventory Online; Infinite UGG; Buy Online, Return In Store; and Click and Collect to enhance customers’ shopping experience is likely to boost the top line in the quarters ahead. DECK has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 1,115%, on average. Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 company have declined 19.3% in the past year. The consensus estimate for its fiscal 2023 EPS has moved up 3.4% in the past 30 days.Price and Consensus: DECK 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Deckers Outdoor Corporation (DECK): Free Stock Analysis Report Skechers U.S.A., Inc. (SKX): Free Stock Analysis Report Steven Madden, Ltd. (SHOO): Free Stock Analysis Report Rocky Brands, Inc. (RCKY): Free Stock Analysis Report Caleres, Inc. (CAL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 13th, 2022

Five Below (FIVE) Q1 Earnings Beat, Sales Miss, Comps Decline

Five Below's (FIVE) first-quarter results reflect a comparable sales decline of 3.6%. The company's muted view for fiscal 2022 hurts the stock. Shares of Five Below, Inc. FIVE fell 8.3% during the after-market trading hours on Jun 8, following the company’s first-quarter fiscal 2022 results. The investors fretted over lower-than-expected sales and a muted view for the fiscal year. Although disciplined expense management helped post better-than-expected bottom-line results, the same declined sharply from the year-ago period.Let’s IntrospectFive Below delivered first-quarter earnings of 59 cents a share that came a penny ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, the bottom line fell significantly from earnings of 88 cents reported in the year-ago period.Net sales of $639.6 million increased 7% year over year but came below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $653.2 million. Comparable sales for the quarter under discussion declined 3.6% against an increase of 162% registered in the year-ago period. While comp tickets decreased 1.9%, comp transactions fell 1.7% in the reported quarter.Gross profit climbed 2.9% year over year to $206.8 million; however, the gross margin contracted 130 basis points to 32.3%, owing to fixed cost deleverage.We note that SG&A expenses shot up 19.9% to $164.4 million, while as a percentage of net sales, the same deleveraged 280 basis points to 25.7%. Operating income was $42.3 million for the quarter under discussion, down from $63.7 million reported in the year-ago period. Also, operating margin shrunk 410 basis points to 6.6% during the quarter due to lower gross margin and SG&A expenses.Five Below, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Five Below, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Five Below, Inc. QuoteFinancialsThis presently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) player ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $120.5 million and short-term investment securities of $189.1 million. Total shareholders’ equity was $1,114.9 million as of Apr 30, 2022. Five Below repurchased 247,132 shares for approximately $40 million in the quarter.Five Below anticipates gross capital expenditures of approximately $225 million in fiscal 2022, excluding tenant allowances. This includes about 160 new store openings, more than 200 conversions to the Five Beyond format, the opening of a new distribution center in Indiana, and investing in systems and infrastructure.Store UpdatesFive Below opened 35 new stores in the reported quarter. This took the total count to 1,225 stores as of Apr 30, 2022, reflecting an increase of 12.7% from the year-ago count. The company plans to open roughly 30 new stores in the second quarter and 160 new stores in fiscal 2022. For the next fiscal year, it plans to open more than 200 stores.GuidanceFive Below envisions second-quarter fiscal 2022 net sales in the range of $675 million to $695 million compared with $646.6 million reported in the year-ago period. We note the company’s sales projection was shy of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $733 million.The company expects a 2% to 5% decline in comparable sales in the second quarter against an increase of 39.2% registered in the year-ago period. Management anticipates second-quarter earnings between 74 cents and 86 cents per share. This suggests a decline from earnings of $1.15 reported in the prior-year period. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second-quarter earnings per share currently stands at $1.22.Five Below foresees a contraction of about 450 basis points in second-quarter operating margin, driven by deleverage in both gross profit and SG&A expenses.Management projected fiscal 2022 net sales in the band of $3.04 billion to $3.12 billion, below the consensus estimate of $3.22 billion. The current view is also lower than the earlier forecast of $3.16-$3.26 billion. The company had reported net sales of $2.85 billion last fiscal.Five Below anticipates comparable sales to be flat to down 2% against an increase of 30.3% recorded in the prior year. Management guided earnings between $4.85 and $5.24 per share, falling short of the consensus mark of $5.49. The company had reported earnings of $4.95 in fiscal 2021.The company expects its operating margin to be approximately 12.2%, lower than 13.3% reported last year, stemming from deleverage in both gross profit and SG&A expenses.Over the past six months, shares of Five Below have fallen 32.8% compared with the industry’s decline of 28.4%.Key Picks in RetailHere we have highlighted three better-ranked stocks, namely, Steven Madden SHOO, Boot Barn Holdings BOOT and G-III Apparel GIII.Steven Madden is a leading designer and marketer of fashion-forward footwear, accessories and apparel for women, men and children. The stock currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Steven Madden’s current financial year revenues and EPS suggests growth of 15.2% and 19.6%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figure. SHOO has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 44%, on average.Boot Barn Holdings, a lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. BOOT has an expected EPS growth rate of 20% for three-five years.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Boot Barn Holdings’ current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 17% and 4.4%, respectively, from the year-ago period.G-III Apparel designs, sources and markets apparel and accessories under owned, licensed and private label brands. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).The Zacks Consensus Estimate for G-III Apparel’s current financial year revenues and EPS suggests growth of 8.8% and 7.2%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figure. G-III Apparel has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 97.5%, on average. Profiting from the Metaverse, The 3rd Internet Boom (Free Report): Get Zacks' special report revealing top profit plays for the internet's next evolution. Early investors still have time to get in near the "ground floor" of this $30 trillion opportunity. You'll discover 5 surprising stocks to help you cash in.Download the report FREE today >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT): Free Stock Analysis Report GIII Apparel Group, LTD. (GIII): Free Stock Analysis Report Steven Madden, Ltd. (SHOO): Free Stock Analysis Report Five Below, Inc. (FIVE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 9th, 2022

Walmart unveils plans for highly automated, speedier fulfillment centers in the retail giant"s latest bid to take on Amazon

Walmart's first ever "next generation" fulfillment center will open up in Joliet, Illinois later this summer. A Walmart employee works in a next-generation fulfillment center.Courtesy of Walmart Walmart is establishing four new "next generation" fulfillment centers. The first one will open this summer in Joliet, Illinois. An executive said the new additions will allow the retailer to provide fast shipping for 75% of the US. Walmart is slated to unveil four "next generation" fulfillment centers, with the first opening this summer in Joliet, Illinois.   In a blog post, David Guggina, Walmart's senior vice president of automation and innovation, wrote that the "FCs will be the first of their kind for Walmart, using the powerful combination of people, robotics, and machine learning to set an entirely new precedent for us on the speed of fulfillment while continuing to create a positive work environment for our associates."The new fulfillment centers will employ over 4,000 workers, including "brand new tech-focused" employees "like control technicians, quality audit analysts and flow managers."Walmart has 31 established e-commerce fulfillment centers. The new fulfillment centers will feature technology from intelligent-fulfillment firm Knapp. Knapp utilizes robotics and artificial intelligence in a logistical setting. Guggina wrote that the company is employing only four new fulfillment centers because it  believes the new additions "alone could provide 75% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping on millions of items." The retailer has not disclosed the remaining three locations.These fulfillment centers will employ a patent-pending process for receiving and unloading cases of merchandise from sellers and suppliers. Once the cases are opened, workers will fill totes with individual items. A shuttle transports the totes to a massive, automated storage system, where they're placed in one of millions of designated locations.The process is highly automated compared with the operations of Walmart's current fulfillment centers. These new centers are also designed to maximize use of the fulfillment-center space for more storage. Whenever a customer purchases an individual item, the system will set about "retrieving their items and shuttling the needed totes to an associate at a picking station." Workers will pack the orders into boxes, and then set them up for shipping.Walmart has long touted its massive footprint as a boon to its online fulfillment strategy. But the new slate of fulfillment centers could also be seen as an answer to Amazon's e-commerce domination. Back in 2021, Amazon overtook Walmart as the largest retailer in the US. By doubling down on its fulfillment strategy with new technology, Walmart may be taking a step to push back at its Seattle-based rival.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 3rd, 2022

Is The Bottom In Or Is It Just Another Dead Cat Bounce?

The market is priced for the worst-case scenario as bears continue to control the narrative but was last week's capitulation from retailer traders enough to conclude the 2022 correction. Fed Chair Powell called a bottom in 2022’s multiple-compression correction at a WSJ conference on Tuesday (5/17) when he suggested that the public equity markets had already been priced for the aggressive monetary tightening measures the Fed is preparing for.A stronger than expected retail sales report from April before the opening bell provided Jay Powell’s “soft-landing” monetary narrative (claiming that the healthy US economy can easily manage 2 additional 50-bps rate hikes) with ancillary support. April’s pricing pressures were easily brushed off by euphoric consumers who are thrilled for the first COVID-free summer since 2019 as the Roaring 20s we’ve all been waiting for officially kicks off.Stagflation fears have been temporarily abated after Tuesday morning’s retail sales report revealed that excessive demand continues to be a significant price driver, with real retail sales (adjusted for inflation) growing by 0.6% in April (compared to the month prior).Retail Sales April’s retail sales report provided us with a clearer picture of how the US consumer responds to the Fed’s initial monetary tightening measures, showing us that consumers are less worried about prices today than ever before.Growing demand continues to be the primary inflationary driver, which reinforces the Fed’s increasingly hawkish positioning.If inflation were occurring in the absence of demand, this would be a clear indicator of potential stagflation (low/negative GDP growth while inflation runs wild). However, April’s hotter than expected consumer spending (excluding volatile vehicles) illustrates just how healthy our flourishing economy continues to be.The bulk of the consumer spending growth came from the rapidly reviving service spending with restaurants and bars now fully open, as well as new clothes to impress an open world like we haven’t seen in almost 3 years now, and of course, electronics continued to see outsized demand (which I expect to be a secular driver of consumer spending in the years to come).This level of sustained economic growth gives me and the rest of the market a bit more faith in the Fed’s “soft-landing” target, demonstrating the continued health of the underlying consumer.Real GDP growth for Q2 is now on track to come in positive, nullifying many of the market’s recessionary outlooks (2 quarters of negative real GDP growth, after the US economy’s -1.4% real contraction in Q1).The Capitulation We’ve Been Waiting For?The Nasdaq 100 plunged to its lowest level in 18-months in last Thursday’s intra-day action, but the clearly exhausted selling from already capitulated retail investors, drove the smart money back onto the bid in the final hours of Thursday trading, which ended pouring into Friday’s high-growth rocket-ship session.High-growth innovators have been the public market’s punching bag since the year began, with short-sellers driving the most speculative equities (negative earnings & rich valuations) to the core of the earth.Cathie Wood’s popularized Ark Innovation ETF ARKK, a favorite among this young new class of market participants, perfectly depicts the indiscriminate nature of 2022’s high-growth drop-off. ARKK plunged an unprecedented -65% year-to-date at the over 2-year lows it reached on Thursday (5/12), which ended up being this “innovation-benchmark’s” highest volume day in its almost 8-year history, as savvy short-sellers double-bought the bottom to not just cover their negative position but go long (bought twice as much as they had shorted).ARKK shot over 11.8% out of the egregiously oversold RSI levels it reached Thursday afternoon, in the week’s final trading session, which may just be this actively traded ETF’s best 1-day return ever. This is not surprising considering ARKK’s unprecedented valuation compression from a 55x price-to-sales multiple to less than 12x (its lowest aggregate P/S in over 2 years) in the 4.5 months since 2022, which is unheard of (typically, this type of share price decline would coincide with a big drop in sales estimates).Deep-pocketed institutional players – who are privy to unique real-time market data and employ smart algorithmic/computer-programmed trading strategies to leverage it – have been utilizing behavioral trading techniques to take advantage of the emotion-driven retail trading community, positioning the recently democratized US market’s unparalleled tidal wave of new investors at the center of the action once more.The Individual Investor Remains on The Wrong Side of Wall StreetThe mass-market exodus from surrendering retail traders on Tuesday (5/10) and Wednesday (5/11) of this past week ($1.9 billion in net outflows over this 2-day panic dumping spree) signaled the capitulation that strategic short-sellers had been waiting for to reverse their market narratives (market capitulation from emotion-driven amateurs typically indicates exhausted selling pressures).This occurred just one week after this novice group of market participants poured a record $2.6 billion (the largest 1-day inflow from retail investors ever) into the market last Thursday (5/5) following Fed Chair Powell’s market soothing words of economic resilience amid this period of aggressive monetary tightening. However, Wednesday (5/11) morning’s “hotter than expected” CPI growth depicting prolonged inflation had these already nervous “bag holders” running for the hills.There was nothing coincidental about this counterintuitive action, as Wall Street’s finest continues to drive the narrative on the accurate predication that individual investors will continue to make emotion-fueled trading decisions (which unfortunately causes many to buy peaks and sell troughs).Individual traders/investors had been attempting to call a bottom in this market for weeks now, as patient dip-buyers flooded into the market after each of the 3 dead cat bounces (false bottoms indicated in the chart below) 2022 has tempted investors with, which inevitably led to last Thursday’s market surrender and subsequent whiplash reversal.Image Source: Trading ViewIndividual market participants account for a larger share of the market’s action than at any prior point in history. However, retail investors are still at the mercy of Wall Street’s biggest and baddest trading groups, which are not only better informed but less emotionally driven than their retail counterparts.The best (and really only) investing strategy that you can employ to avoid significant losses on these market fake-outs is by price averaging lower at each of the respective “false bottoms,” scaling into your favorite long-term positions at predetermined buy levels to ensure that you achieve the best longer-run returns.The CPI ReportThe market’s preferred inflation gauge came in fiercer than expected this past Wednesday (5/11), with core CPI jumping 0.6% in April, which was more inflamed than economists’ 0.4% estimate. The 3-month inflation deceleration trend confirmation that investors were hoping for didn’t show up, and sellers once again took control of this increasingly illiquid market.The headline CPI figure for April showed an 8.3% increase from last April, which was slightly lower than March’s 8.5% year-over-year increase as a result of marginally easing pressures at the pump, but there remains little evidence that core inflation has cooled.Airfares saw an unprecedented 18.6% jump last month, marking its largest 1-month surge on record (dating back to 1963), as eager vacationers rushed to book their summer holidays the momentum of the federal mask mandate in the back half of April. This uptick in vacations may not last long though, as the market is now priced for a prolonged economic downturn.The ARKK ComplexCathie Wood and her now infamous Ark Innovation ETF ARKK have experienced a level of value decaying multiple compression as I’ve never seen before. ARKK, which had been hailed as the market’s innovation benchmark, after rallying nearly 400% in the 11-month bull run out of its pandemic slump, nearly retested its March 2020 lows last week, having lost over 75% of its value in the past 14 months.Increasingly hawkish sentiment can be attributed to a large portion of Cathie Wood’s massive 2022 losses due to these holdings’ ultra-high-growth profile (value being driven by cash-flows that are years out), which makes them highly sensitive to interest rate moves. Not to mention the basketing effect that this fund’s popularity created, exemplified by Tuttle Capital’s perfectly timed Short ARKK ETF (ARKK), which is up 125% swelling daily volumes since it launched last November (compared to the 65% decline ARKK saw over that timeframe).Despite the massive losses ARKK has sustained in 2022, retail investors have been flooding into this ETF with vigor, as $1.3 billion in net inflows pours into this ETF year-to-date with hopes of seeing some of Cathie’s long-term predictions (5 to 10 years out) come to fruition.Cathie’s claim to fame was built on her longer-term innovation calls, namely her $4,000 per share Tesla TSLA prediction back in April 2019 ($800 per share post-split), which represented a 1,500% upside at the time and miraculously came to fruition less than 2 years after she made her claim. The pandemic’s interest rate obliterating effect is why Cathie Wood has been estimated as an investment guru, but I am beginning to lose faith in her approach.I had an enormous amount of confidence in the ETF prior to the pandemic, as it was full of exciting next-generation holdings that were still incredibly nascent and below most institutional investors’ radar. Unfortunately, the tidal wave of cash she had to deploy following the pandemic-powered retail investor revolution (who have a clear penchant for stocks of the future) has limited her investment scope to larger-cap equities due to an implicit ownership cap of around 10% (the insignificance of investments in any company worth less than $5 billion is clearly depicted in her portfolio).The fund is almost certainly undervalued today (showed by the record 11.8% daily pump on Friday), but I am losing faith in her longer-term ability to uncover those hidden “market disruptors” with Tesla TSLA, Zoom ZM, and Roku ROKU, now the 3 largest holdings. ARKK's biggest drivers no longer carry the “under-the-radar” growth-fueled value qualities that I had esteemed Wood for prior to the pandemic.Final ThoughtsThe best inflation protection and all-around best place to invest in this environment is the recently compressed innovation space (looking for companies driving secular positive free cash flow narratives). Wall Street’s leading digitizers will grow in the face of any economic climate as these market disruptors prove to be an indispensable competitive necessity as the Roaring 20s commence. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through 2021, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolios gained an impressive +1,001.2% versus the S&P 500’s +348.7%. Now our Director of Research has combed through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank and has handpicked the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in…because the sooner you do, the more upside you stand to grab.See Stocks Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK): ETF Research Reports Roku, Inc. (ROKU): Free Stock Analysis Report Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 18th, 2022

Ikea is making it easier to buy its famous budget-friendly furniture online

Ikea is spending over $3 billion to turn stores into delivery hubs, while opening smaller locations inside cities. An IKEA employee.Andreas Rentz / Getty Ikea is spending over $3 billion to turn stores into delivery hubs. The chain is also planning more stores inside major cities.  Ikea's online sales grew over 73% during 2021 as e-commerce exploded. Ikea will spend $3 billion to open new downtown locations in cities across North America and Europe and retrofit existing stores to fulfill online ordersThe furniture retailer is best known for massive stores in suburbs and outside cities, where customers can find products to outfit an entire house. Now, Ikea is adapting to the changing retail landscape, the chain said in a press release. Ikea will focus on opening new stores and revamping existing ones to give customers a more immersive experience and to meet home-delivery demand, said owner and operator Ingka Group.In the coming months, openings are planned for Nice, France, and for "bustling downtown locations" in Stockholm and Toronto, where customers can purchase smaller items and order larger furniture for delivery. "We see many of our stores playing a dual role, giving our customers the best of both physical and online retailing, and the investment will support not only an inspiring in-store IKEA experience but also a faster and more affordable shipping of online orders directly from our stores," Tolga Öncü, retail operations manager at Ingka Group, said in a statement.This is a continuation of  Ikea's ongoing experiment with alternative store formats. In March, Insider visited one of the chain's new micro stores in London and found a location that was designed to be more convenient and attractive for urban customers. It was about a quarter of the size of a typical Ikea, and the chain says it has plans to open at least 50 others like it.Ikea invested over $1.2 billion into the London market, which includes the micro store and creating a new distribution center. It says 30% to 40% of existing stores will be modified to facilitate online orders.Ikea's online sales increased 73% in 2021, and the chain says more-efficient online orders can help grow the e-commerce business even further, with customers in major cities like London receiving online orders in as little as 24 hours. Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 9th, 2022

Can AutoNation (AN) Post 8th Straight Earnings Record in Q1?

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AutoNation's (AN) Q1 earnings and revenues is pegged at $5.39 per share and $6.63 billion, respectively. AutoNation AN is slated to release first-quarter 2022 results on Apr 21, before the opening bell. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the to-be-reported quarter’s earnings and revenues is pegged at $5.39 per share and $6.63 billion, respectively.The auto retailer came up with better-than-expected results in the last reported quarter on higher-than-anticipated profits from new and used vehicle sales. In fact, AN posted the seventh consecutive all-time record EPS in fourth-quarter 2021. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, with the average being 39.3%. Investors expect AN to maintain its earnings beat streak for the first quarter of 2022 as well. Encouragingly, our model also predicts the same.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AutoNation’s first-quarter earnings per share has been revised upward by 7 cents in the past 30 days. The bottom-line projection implies a year-over-year jump of 93.2%. Also, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues suggests a year-over-year uptick of 12.3%.AutoNation, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise AutoNation, Inc. price-eps-surprise | AutoNation, Inc. QuoteEarnings WhispersOur proven model predicts an earnings beat for AutoNation for the to-be-reported quarter, as it has the right combination of the two key ingredients. A combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat.Earnings ESP: AutoNation has an Earnings ESP of +0.58%. This is because the Most Accurate Estimate is pegged 4 cents above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.Zacks Rank: AutoNation currently sports a Zacks Rank of 1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Factors to Influence the ResultsCourtesy of economic recovery from the pandemic lows and preference for personal mobility, demand for vehicles has been on the rise, which is likely to have aided sales of AutoNation. During the last reported quarter, AutoNation acquired 11 stores and a collision center from Peacock Automotive Group. The auto retailer also completed the acquisition of Priority 1 Automotive Group, which added nine Maryland dealerships to AutoNation’s portfolio. These buyouts are likely to have contributed to AutoNation’s first-quarter 2022 sales.Even though tight inventory may have played a spoilsport to some extent, the rising average selling price for new and used cars amid supply-demand mismatch is likely to have fueled first-quarter revenues.AN’s digital platform AutoNation Express stepped up its digitization game, which is expected to have aided sales in the quarter. Increased focus on cost discipline is anticipated to have aided first-quarter margins. Over the past few quarters, the firm’s adjusted selling, general & administrative expenses as a percentage of gross profit have been declining. The metric came in at 57.2% in the last reported quarter, representing a 710-basis point improvement year over year. The trend is expected to have continued in first-quarter 2022 as well.Key Segmental PredictionsBelow we have highlighted chief predictions for AutoNation’s segments. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for total retail vehicle sales for the quarter to be reported is pegged at 149,750 units, indicating an increase from 141,141 in the year-ago period, primarily led by used-vehicle sales growth.The consensus estimate for used vehicle retail sales stands at 74,078 units, implying an uptick from 71,780 units in first-quarter 2021. The consensus mark for revenues and gross profit from used-vehicle sales is pegged at $2,229 million and $170 million, suggesting growth from the year-ago levels of $1,749 million and $140 million, respectively.The consensus estimate for new vehicle retail sales stands at 75,672 units, implying an uptick from 69,361 units in first-quarter 2021. The consensus mark for revenues and gross profit from used-vehicle sales is pegged at $3,056 million and $389 million, suggesting growth from the year-ago levels of $2,982 million and $190 million, respectively.The consensus mark for revenues and gross profits from the Parts and Services segment is pegged at $959 million and $438 million, implying year-over-year growth of 12.7% and 12.6%, respectively. The same for revenues and gross profits from the Finance & Insurance unit stands at $366 million and $391 million, implying growth from 16.9% and 24.9% a year ago, respectively.Higher year-over-year projected gross profit across all business operations — new and vehicle sales, parts and services, and finance and insurance — is likely to aid the upcoming results.Other Stocks With Favorable CombinationHere are a few other stocks in the auto space, which, according to our model, also have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat for the quarter to be reported:Allison Transmission ALSN has an Earnings ESP of +10.35% and a Zacks Rank #3. The stock is set to report first-quarter 2022 earnings on Apr 27.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Allison’s to-be-reported quarter’s earnings and revenues is pegged at $1.16 per share and $642 million, respectively. Encouragingly, ALSN surpassed earnings estimates in the last four quarters, with an average of 13.4%.LKQ Corp LKQ has an Earnings ESP of +0.37% and a Zacks Rank #3. The stock is set to report first-quarter 2022 earnings on Apr 28.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for LKQ’s to-be-reported quarter’s earnings and revenues is pegged at 91 cents per share and $3.28 billion, respectively. Encouragingly, LKQ surpassed earnings estimates in the last four quarters, with an average of 33.9%.Cummins, Inc. CMI has an Earnings ESP of +1.68% and a Zacks Rank #3. The stock is set to report first-quarter 2022 earnings on May 3.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Cummins’ to-be-reported quarter’s earnings and revenues is pegged at $3.55 per share and $6.02 billion, respectively. Over the trailing four quarters, CMI surpassed earnings estimates twice for as many misses, with an average surprise of 0.5%.Stay on top of upcoming earnings announcements with the Zacks Earnings Calendar. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Cummins Inc. (CMI): Free Stock Analysis Report AutoNation, Inc. (AN): Free Stock Analysis Report Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (ALSN): Free Stock Analysis Report LKQ Corporation (LKQ): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 20th, 2022

Auto Roundup: Group 1 (GPI) & Sonic"s (SAH) Expansion Efforts and Other Updates

Sonic Automotive (SAH) and Group 1 Automotive (GPI) continue to strengthen their portfolio with the opening of a new EchoPark store and the acquisition of a Toyota Dealership, respectively. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) released March auto sales data for the world’s largest car market. Per CAAM, vehicle sales in the country declined 11.7% year over year to 2.23 million units amid COVID-related shutdowns, which resulted in manufacturing halts and a slowdown in consumer purchases. For the January-March period, the total vehicle sales in China inched up 0.2% aided by rising year-over-year vehicle sales for the first two months of 2022.While most of the auto biggies announced first-quarter U.S. vehicle sales data last to last week, U.S. auto giant Ford F posted the numbers early last week. Deliveries by Ford in March and the first quarter of 2022 declined year over year amid supply chain snafus. Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s DDAIF U.S. subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz USA, also reported sales data. Japanese auto biggie Toyota TM cut overall vehicle sales view in the United States for 2022 owing the chip dearth. Meanwhile, auto retailers Sonic Automotive SAH and Group 1 Automotive GPI continue to strengthen their portfolio with the opening of a new EchoPark store and the acquisition of a Toyota Dealership, respectively.Major News of the Week Gone ByFord announced first-quarter sales of 432,132 vehicles. Sales of the company’s new vehicles in the United States fell 17% for the quarter, led by the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips. Sales of Ford’s trucks were down 23% for the first quarter. Car sales declined 49%, while SUV sales were down 5.1% from the prior-year quarter.In March, Ford sold 159,328 units in March. The overall truck sales were down 34.4%. Sales of cars fell 67% and that of SUVs declined 9.4%. Ford’s most profitable F-Series pickups, including the F-150 and its larger versions, recorded a year-over-year sales plunge of 31% for the first quarter and 47% in March. Nonetheless, March sales jumped slightly from February as in-transit inventory improved 74%, positioning the auto biggie for sales growth in the spring season.Toyota slashed its outlook for overall new vehicle sales in the United States for 2022 amid exacerbated supply chain snarls due to the Russia-Ukraine war. The company now expects total U.S. sales of 15.5 million units this year, down from its prior view of 16.5 million. If the supply struggles worsen, Toyota expects total U.S. auto sales in the band of 14.9-15 million units. That’s the worse-case scenario. The executive vice president of sales for Toyota North America, Bob Carter, expects the company’s sales in the United States for Lexus and Namesake brands to be 2.35 million units in 2022.It is to be noted that Toyota sold 514,592 vehicles for the three months ended March 2022. While Toyota’s first-quarter sales fell roughly 15% on a year-over-year basis, electric vehicle (EV) sales witnessed a jump. Toyota’s first-quarter 2022 EV sales totaled 132,938, up 23% year over year. Electrified sales accounted for 25.8% of the total sales volume of the auto biggie. While near-term sales are under pressure, Toyota’s electrification push is a major tailwind for the long term.Mercedes-Benz U.S. subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz USA, came out with first-quarter 2022 sales report. It recorded sales of 62,251 vehicle models. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz vans garnered sales of 13,688 units, taking the total units sold from Mercedes-Benz USA to 75,939 vehicles for the quarter, reflecting a decline of 15.5% year over year. The company’s wide range of SUVs accounted for 75% of total sales volume for the first quarter. Mercedes-Benz volumes for the GLC, GLE and GLS model lines were 16,910 units, 15,990 units and 6,203 units, respectively.Sales for Mercedes-AMG high-performance models came in at 6,985 units, plunging 40.2% year over year. Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned models reported sales of 32,932 vehicles for the first quarter, down 5.9% year over year. Mercedes-Benz has been adversely impacted by the raging chip crisis and the Ukraine conflict.Sonic announced the opening of its newest retail hub in Raleigh, NC. This expanded its EchoPark Automotive brand. The new facility will be EchoPark's 37th location to date and third in the state, adding to the current Charlotte retail hub and Greensboro delivery center. North Carolina is a vital market for Sonic, and the Raleigh site will further cement its footprint in the state and allow it to cater to the growing demand for pre-owned vehicles across the nation.The EchoPark unit has been a major growth engine of the firm. The auto retailer witnessed record used vehicle unit sales of 77,835 in 2021, up 36.2% year over year. EchoPark revenues also hit a record high of $2.3 billion in 2021, up 65.3% year over year. Strong organic growth fueled by EchoPark expansion is likely to significantly boost Sonic’s prospects.Group 1 announced the buyout of Larry H. Miller Toyota dealership in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This dealership marks the 17th Toyota store in the auto retailer’s U.S. portfolio. Group 1 intends to rename the dealership to Sandia Toyota. The new store will add GPI’s existing New Mexico portfolio of 8 franchises including Lexus, BMW, MINI, Land Rover and Jaguar brands. The buyout is anticipated to add $115 million to GPI’s annualized revenues. So far in 2022, Group 1 completed transactions representing $550 billion of acquired revenues.Group 1 also provided an update on its share buyback activity. Year to date, the auto retailer repurchased 638,696 shares at an average price of $180.30 for $115.2 million, representing roughly 4% of Group 1's outstanding share count at the beginning of the year. Group 1 currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major auto players over the last week and six-month period.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Auto Space?Industry watchers will keep a tab on March passenger vehicle registrations, likely to be released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association soon. Further, stay tuned for how automakers make changes in operations in the light of increasing supply chain snarls. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report Toyota Motor Corporation (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report Daimler AG (DDAIF): Free Stock Analysis Report Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (GPI): Free Stock Analysis Report Sonic Automotive, Inc. (SAH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 11th, 2022

Sonic Automotive (SAH) Adds Raleigh to its EchoPark Footprint

Sonic (SAH) expands its popular EchoPark auto brand by adding a new facility in Raleigh, making it the 3rd unit in the state. It looks for long-run momentum through Echopark's expansion efforts. Sonic Automotive, Inc. SAH recently announced the opening of its newest retail hub in Raleigh, NC. This expands its EchoPark Automotive brand. The new facility will be EchoPark's 37th location to date and third in the state, and also add to the current Charlotte retail hub and Greensboro delivery center.Customers will now be able to shop in person or take delivery of their purchase at the new Raleigh location after browsing through and choosing products on the EchoPark website, which boasts a wide range of premium quality, one- to four-year-old pre-owned vehicles with clean CarFax reports. Its seamless and transparent online purchase experience that offers below-market, no-haggle pricing (including taxes and fees), a strong trade-in vehicle offer and a variety of options to select from make it popular among users. From booking an appointment to assisting in doorstep delivery, the website ensures it all.North Carolina is a vital market for Sonic, and the Raleigh site will further cement its footprint in the state and allow it to cater to the growing demand for pre-owned vehicles across the nation.EchoPark, after its launch in 2014, has rapidly climbed up the success ladder as one of the most prominent players in the pre-owned automotive retail industry. Sonic has set an ambitious goal of 90% population coverage by 2025, provisionally aiming at retailing 575,000 vehicles and generating $14 billion in annual EchoPark revenues by 2025 while targeting a 2 million vehicle annual sales opportunity at maturity.The EchoPark unit has been the major growth engine of the firm. The auto retailer witnessed record used vehicle unit sales of 77,835 in 2021, up 36.2% year over year. EchoPark revenues also hit a record high of $2.3 billion in 2021, up 65.3% year over year. Strong organic growth fueled by EchoPark expansion is likely to significantly boost Sonic’s prospects.Shares of Sonic have fallen 14.8% over the past year compared with its industry’s 6.3% decline.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Other Key PicksSAH currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Other top-ranked players in the auto space include Harley-Davidson, Inc. HOG, Tesla, Inc. TSLA and LCI Industries LCII, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Harley-Davidson has an expected earnings growth rate of 2.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised around 27% upward in the past 60 days.Harley-Davison’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. HOG pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 77.6%, on average. The stock has lost 10.1% over the past year.Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of 44% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised around 4.4% upward in the past 60 days.Tesla’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the trailing four quarters. TSLA pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 33.3%, on average. The stock has risen 55.9% over the past year.LCI Industries has an expected earnings growth rate of 26.7% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised around 15% upward in the past 60 days.LCI Industries’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the same in one. LCII pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 12.9%, on average. The stock has declined 24.8% over the past year. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report HarleyDavidson, Inc. (HOG): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Sonic Automotive, Inc. (SAH): Free Stock Analysis Report LCI Industries (LCII): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 7th, 2022

Macy"s (M) North Carolina"s Fulfillment Unit to Aid Supply Chain

Macy's (M) boosts its supply-chain operations. It plans to open a fulfillment center in China Grove, NC, to meet buoyant omni-channel demand. Macy's Inc. M continues to deepen its focus on growing as a digitally-led omnichannel retailer and executing its Polaris Strategy. The strategy mainly aims at strengthening customer relationships, expanding assortments, accelerating digital growth, optimizing store portfolio and reducing costs. In recent developments, management shared plans of opening a fulfillment center in China Grove, NC, in 2024 to cater efficiently to burgeoning omni-channel demand. Around $584 million is expected to be invested in the project.The latest fulfillment center launch is a key milestone for Macy’s and connects well with its Polaris strategy. After being fully functional, this fulfillment center will account for about 30% of M’s digital supply-chain capability, serving customers all across the nation. This 1.4-million-square-foot facility will offer jobs to approximately 2,800 workers on being completely operational.The facility, equipped with the direct-to-consumer automation technology, is expected to boost productivity to bolster digital sales. This latest automation feature will have an advanced goods-to-person and a pocket sorter system, which will modernize Macy’s supply chain by moving merchandise with higher speed and accuracy. Hence, this new facility will reinforce M’s omni-channel ecosystem and drive higher sales.Macy’s also invested in automated technology in the Portland, TN, and Martinsburg, WV, distribution centers. Management had earlier shared plans to expand operations from its present Houston, TX, distribution center into an advanced new facility in Tomball, TX, in sync with the Polaris strategy. Located at 14000 Boudreaux Road, this one-million-square-foot distribution facility is planned to be built into a new industrial development alongside Lovett Industrial and Clarion Partners. Expected to be completed in mid-2023, the facility will support stores in the region and offer online fulfillment in peak season for furniture, bedding and toys.More on StrategiesApart from enhancing its supply-chain operations and fulfillment centers, Macy’s has been undertaking various initiatives for a while to deliver customers a seamless shopping experience. M continued to enhance its digital offerings, including a redesigned mobile app, live shopping functionality and the addition of payment options, such as Apple Pay, Klarna Express Checkout, PayPal and Venmo.Additionally, Macy’s tie-up with DoorDash for expediting delivery service appears encouraging. M also announced the launch of a digital marketplace to strengthen its omni-channel retailing capabilities. To power the platform, M partnered with Mirakl, a leading enterprise marketplace technology company. The platform is expected to be launched in the second half of 2022.During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, digital sales increased 12% from the prior fiscal year’s quarterly level and 36% from fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 reading. Digital penetration was 39% of net sales in the quarter under review. M’s digital business is on track to generate $10 billion of sales by fiscal 2023, while the new digital marketplace platform is expected to produce incremental revenues on top of that target. This currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) player’s shares have increased 29.6% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s 5.6% growth.Key Picks in RetailSome better-ranked stocks are Capri Holdings CPRI, Boot Barn Holdings BOOT and Tapestry TPR.Capri Holdings, which offers accessories and footwear, has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. CPRI has an expected earnings per share (EPS) growth rate of 53.9% for three-five years. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Capri Holdings’ current financial-year EPS suggests growth of 215.8% from the year-ago corresponding figure. CPRI has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 1,018.2%, on average.Boot Barn Holdings, a lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, presently has a Zacks Rank of 2. BOOT has an expected EPS growth rate of 20% for three-five years.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Boot Barn Holdings’ current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 62.6% and 220.8%, respectively, from the year-ago corresponding figures. BOOT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 47.1%, on average.Tapestry, a renowned designer of fine accessories, presently carries a Zacks Rank #2. TPR has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 28.2%, on average.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Tapestry’s current-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 17.5% and 22.9%, respectively, from the corresponding year-ago levels. TPR has an expected EPS growth rate of 10% for three-five years. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Macy's, Inc. (M): Free Stock Analysis Report Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT): Free Stock Analysis Report Tapestry, Inc. (TPR): Free Stock Analysis Report Capri Holdings Limited (CPRI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 1st, 2022

Futures Flat On Last Day Of Dismal Quarter, Oil Tumbles As Biden Preps Massive SPR Release

Futures Flat On Last Day Of Dismal Quarter, Oil Tumbles As Biden Preps Massive SPR Release US equity futures were muted and flat on the last trading day of the month and quarter, fading a modest overnight gain as the underlying index headed for its first quarterly decline in two years on worries about surging inflation, hawkish monetary policy and an economic slowdown. Contracts on the S&P 500 were down 0.1% at 730 a.m. ET while Dow futures were little changed and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.2%, while European stocks fell, heading for the first quarterly decline since 2020. Asian equities retreated on lackluster Chinese PMI data and regulatory concerns. Treasuries held gains with the 10Y yield dropping to 2.31% (from 2.50% earlier this week when the 2s10s inverted) and the dollar ticked up against almost all G-10 peers. Fed watchers will be focused on the PCE deflator, which may have sped up in February. The big overnight action was in oil, which plunged following the news late on Wednesday that the White House was (again) mulling a plan to release roughly a million barrels a day from reserves to combat crashing Democrat approval rating ahead of the midterms as a result of soaring gasoline prices coupled with supply shortages in response to US sanctions of Russia. The proposal, which includes 180 million barrels being freed over several months, may help the market rebalance this year but won't solve a structural deficit, Goldman said. The reserve release news came just hours ahead of an OPEC+ supply meeting, where the cartel is expected to stick with its strategy of a modest output boost in May. Equities globally are poised for their worst quarter since the early days of the pandemic on concerns about tightening monetary policy, red-hot inflation and a looming recession. While stocks remained resilient to the historic rout in bond markets this month, some strategists see little room for them to rally this year, partly as high costs threaten corporate profits. French inflation accelerated more than expected to reach another record, following unexpectedly high readings on Wednesday from Germany and Spain. “Our base case now is for only modest upside for stocks,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, adding that he expects the S&P 500 to end the year at 4,700, about 2% higher than current levels. He also trimmed his estimate for global earnings growth to 8% from 10% for 2022. “Aside from quarter-end considerations, oil is very much the center of attention,” Simon Ballard, chief economist at First Abu Dhabi Bank, wrote in a note to investors. Still, “all the usual suspects are still in play, keeping the market in check, including the specter of the Fed pursuing an aggressive path of monetary policy normalization over the coming months.” Elsewhere, officials from Ukraine and Russia are set to resume talks via video conference on Friday, according to a Ukrainian negotiator, though there was no immediate confirmation from Moscow. Friday’s video discussions between Ukraine and Russia would follow in-person talks this week in Turkey that didn’t produce a short-term cease-fire or major progress toward a broader peace deal. Ukraine’s negotiator said the hope was to have enough agreed on paper in another week to be able to move toward a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Going back to the US market, shares in big U.S. energy companies slumped in premarket trading along with crude prices drop (Exxon Mobil -1.9% and Chevron -1.5% premarket, Occidental Petroleum -2.6%, Gran Tierra Energy -3.1%, Imperial Petroleum -3.8%, Camber Energy -4.3%). Bank stocks are also lower putting them on track to fall for a second straight day as the U.S. 10-year yield falls to 2.31%. Goldman Sachs warned that stagflation could make bank stocks less profitable. U.S.-listed Chinese stocks slipped in premarket trading as Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler dialed down prospects of an imminent deal to allow Chinese firms to keep trading on American exchanges. Russian equities advanced as the nation partly lifted the short-selling ban on local stocks on Thursday, removing one of the measures that helped limit the declines in the market after a record long shutdown. Other notable premarket movers include: Vipshop ADRs (VIPS US) rise 8.4% in premarket trading after the Chinese online retailer announces a $1b share buyback plan. Robinhood Markets (HOOD US) shares rise 1.4% in U.S. premarket trading, set to extend the previous day’s 24% gains after the online brokerage announced plans to expand the trading day by four hours, while Morgan Stanley begins coverage of the stock with an equal-weight rating. Energy companies decline in premarket trading as crude prices drop. The U.S. is considering tapping its reserves again in a potentially massive release aimed at managing inflation and supply shortages. Exxon Mobil (XOM US) -1.9%, Chevron -1.5% (CVX US). U.S.-listed Chinese stocks are heading for a lower open after Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler dialed down prospects of an imminent deal to allow Chinese firms to keep trading on American exchanges. Alibaba (BABA US) fell 1.7% in premarket, while its e-commerce rival JD.com (JD US) lost 2.8%. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD US) shares fall 1.3% in U.S. premarket trading, after the semiconductor maker is downgraded to equal- weight from overweight at Barclays, which says that the growth story “needs a pause.”. IZEA Worldwide (IZEA US) shares surge 27% in U.S. premarket trading after the influencer marketing company reported fourth-quarter earnings and saw total revenue increase 62% to a record of $10.3m. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 reversed initial gains and dropped 0.3%, the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.2%, and other major indexes trade flat to slightly lower with retailers, telecoms and energy the worst performing sectors. Retail and telecom stocks led declines while utilities and insurance sectors outperformed. Some notable premarket movers: Brewin Dolphin shares rise as much as 62% and trade slightly below the agreed bid for the firm from RBC Wealth Management. The transaction, being carried out at a high premium, highlights the attractiveness of the U.K. wealth sector, analysts say. Orpea shares climb to their highest level in almost 2 months after Societe Generale says that allegations of mistreatment at its facilities are likely to have “limited” financial impact. Fresenius SE shares rise as much as 3.3% on news that the company’s Kabi intravenous drug unit has bought a majority stake in mAbxience SL and acquired Ivenix. Pernod Ricard shares rise as much as 2.6% as Citi says 3Q sales are likely to beat expectations, also lifting its which lifts EPS estimates and PT, as well as opening a positive catalyst watch. Tate & Lyle shares gain as much as 3.7% after saying it would buy Quantum Hi-Tech, a prebiotic dietary fiber business in China. The deal enhances Tate & Lyle’s portfolio, Goodbody says. Pearson shares rise as much as 3.5%, rebounding from Wednesday’s losses after private equity firm Apollo Global Management said it won’t make an offer for the education publisher. Earlier in the session, Chinese data and regulatory concerns weighed on Asia stocks. China's NBS manufacturing PMI declined to 49.5 in March from 50.2 in February, missing estimates, likely due to Covid-related restrictions and geopolitical tensions. The output sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey fell by 0.9 points in March, and the new orders sub-index fell by 1.9 points. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI fell to 48.4 in March from 51.6 in February, also missing expectations, and entirely driven by the decline of services sector due to recent Covid outbreaks in multiple provinces. Separately, Bloomberg reported that Chinese authorities are considering a plan to raise several hundred billion yuan for a new fund to backstop troubled financial firms. Asian stocks retreated after a two-day advance, as the U.S. securities regulator’s tough stance on a potential delisting of Chinese firms and weak China manufacturing data worried investors.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.8%, and was poised to finish its worst quarterly performance in two years, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Tencent among the biggest drags. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and China underperformed regional peers. Japanese equities headed for a second day of declines while Australia stocks retreated after seven straight day of gains in response to a stimulatory federal budget.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief said Chinese firms need to fully comply with audit requirements in order to stay on American exchanges. Meantime, China’s manufacturing contracted in March, underscoring the growing toll of lockdowns. Investors are also watching how a tumble in oil prices can alleviate inflation risks and affect corporate earnings.  “If you look at the PMIs there’s an obvious explanation for why PMIs are weak, which is China pursuing zero-Covid strategy,” Kieran Calder, head of Asia Equity Research at Union Bancaire Privee, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The reality of Covid-19 versus the response in China, the mismatch is too strong right now and I think that’s the biggest worry for us.”  For the quarter, Asian stocks were poised for nearly a 7% loss, the worst performance since early 2020 when the emergence of the pandemic shocked investors. Investors had to grapple with a U.S. rate hike, a war in Ukraine and continued regulatory risks out of China, which caused huge volatility Japanese equities fell for a second day following a rally in the yen. Electronics makers and banks were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 1.1%. Recruit and SoftBank were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen was little changed after gaining 1.6% against the dollar over the previous two sessions. Both key gauges still capped their first monthly gains of the year. The Nikkei 225 rose 4.9% in March, the most since November 2020, while the Topix climbed 3.2% on the month. India’s benchmark equity index clocked its best monthly advance since August, as buying by local funds amid war-induced volatility supported sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.2% to 58,568.51 in Mumbai, trimming its gain for March to 4.1%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also slipped 0.2% on Thursday. Stocks swung between gains and losses several times during the day ahead of the expiry of monthly derivative contracts Thursday. Institutional investors in India have bought $5 billion worth of shares this month, while foreign investors are set to extend their selling to a sixth consecutive month. Reliance Industries Ltd. was the biggest drag on the 30-share Sensex, which saw an equal number of shares closing up and down. Twelve of the 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a gauge of telecom stocks. S&P BSE Healthcare Index was the worst performing sub-index.   “Markets took a breather on a monthly expiry day and ended the last day of the financial year on a flat note,” said Ajit Mishra, vice president of research at Religare Broking Ltd. “We reiterate our positive yet cautious stance citing lingering geopolitical tension between Russia-Ukraine and its impact on the global markets.” In rates, Treasuries extended this week’s rally with yields richer by up to 5bp across belly of the curve, which continues to outperform vs wings. Wider bull-steepening move grips bunds and gilts, as central-bank rate-hike premium is pared. Oil futures are sharply lower, weighing on energy stocks, following reports that Biden is considering a massive release of crude from U.S. reserves to fight inflation. The 10-year yield was around 2.31%, richer by ~4bp vs Wednesday’s close, underperforming bunds in the sector by ~4bp while keeping pace with gilts. Long-end swap spreads are sharply tighter, with 30- year dropping as low as -19.5bp. Euro-area, bonds extended their advance as money markets pare central bank tightening wagers. French bonds underperformed bunds as EU-harmonized CPI rose 5.1% from a year ago in March -- the most since the data series began in 1997 -- and above the 4.9% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.  The belly of the German curve richened 6-7bps, leading gains. Peripheral spreads are mixed: Italy tightens, Portugal and Spain widen to core. Money markets trim rate hike pricing. Japanese government bonds extended their advance as the central bank’s aggressive bond purchases this week reassured players that an excessive rise in yields won’t be tolerated. Yen was little changed in choppy trade. Bank of Japan’s offer to buy an unlimited amount of 10-year government bonds at fixed yields recorded no takeup, the central bank said. In FX, Bloomberg dollar spot index snapped two days of losses after rebounding in early European session; the dollar advanced versus all of its Group-of-10 peers and commodity currencies were the worst performers. The euro gave up earlier gains after earlier touching a four-week high versus the greenback. Norway’s krone slumped by as much as 1.6% versus the greenback after the central bank announced a ramp-up of FX purchases on behalf of the government. The pound declined for a third day against the euro, touching its weakest level versus the common currency since Dec. 23. A report from the British Retail Consortium gave another glimpse into the cost-of-living crisis, showing prices in U.K. shops rose in March at the fastest annual pace since September 2011. Japan’s factory output eked out its first gain in three months in February, offering only a tepid sign of resilience amid fears the economy has slipped back into reverse. Production inched up 0.1% from the previous month. The Australian dollar declined against most of its Group-of-10 peers as oil prices tumbled on news that the Biden administration is weighing a massive release of crude from U.S. reserves. Sales of Aussie back into euro have seen option-related Australian dollar bids attached to large option strikes get filled, according to Asia-based currency traders In commodities, crude futures hold Asia’s losses triggered by reports that the White House may make an announcement on the U.S. oil reserve release as soon as Thursday. WTI drops over $6.50 near $101.10. European natural gas faded an initial drop after Germany signaled Russia is softening its demand for ruble payments. Precious metals and much of the base metals complex traded heavy. Looking to the day ahead now, data releases include German retail sales for February and unemployment for March, French and Italian CPI for March, and the Euro Area unemployment rate for February. From the US, there’s also February’s personal income and personal spending, the weekly initial jobless claims, and the MNI Chicago PMI for March. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, Chief Economist Lane, and New York Fed President Williams. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,601.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 459.49 MXAP down 0.7% to 180.37 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 591.98 Nikkei down 0.7% to 27,821.43 Topix down 1.1% to 1,946.40 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 21,996.85 Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 3,252.20 Sensex down 0.2% to 58,590.32 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,499.59 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,757.65 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.62% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1130 Brent Futures down 3.6% to $109.40/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,924.94 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.24% to 98.03 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The Biden administration is weighing a plan to release roughly a million barrels of oil a day from U.S. reserves, for several months, to combat rising gasoline prices and supply shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is determined to stick with targeting long-term bond yields near zero, even as it leaves him increasingly at variance with global peers and propels a depreciating exchange rate The yen has taken a beating in recent weeks but technicals suggest that it may be on the road to a recovery. Japan’s currency may rebound to 116 per dollar in the coming months after sliding as low as 125.09 on Monday, the weakest in almost seven years, an analysis by Bloomberg shows Russian President Vladimir Putin said that European buyers could continue making gas payments in euros, according to a German readout of a call he had with Chancellor Olaf Scholz Russian government bondholders would be left with no viable path to recover their money if the country defaults, according to one of the top global lawyers in sovereign debt litigation Hungary kept its key interest rate unchanged after the forint staged the second-biggest emerging-market currency rally this week, relieving pressure on policy makers to deliver more monetary tightening China’s cabinet vowed to stabilize the economy and called on officials to avoid measures that harm market expectations as the government struggles to control Covid outbreaks across the country including in the financial center of Shanghai For the first time in more than a decade, China’s yield advantage over Treasuries may be erased. The yield spread between the benchmark bonds of the world’s two biggest debt markets has narrowed to around 40 basis points from 150 a year ago, well below the People’s Bank of China’s “comfortable” range Australia will invest more to find new buyers for its exports in an effort to ease trade dependence on China, its treasurer said, in the face of “economic coercion” from Beijing that shows little sign of abating A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia=Pac stocks traded cautiously at month-end following the weak lead from the US due to increased Russia-Ukraine scepticism and as the region digested disappointing Chinese PMI data. ASX 200 was kept afloat by outperformance in the mining and materials industries although upside was capped as the tech sector suffered from profit-taking and with energy hit by a drop in oil prices. Nikkei 225 traded indecisively amid a choppy currency and after Industrial Production data missed forecasts. Hang Seng and were subdued following the weak Chinese PMI data and with the mood inShanghai Comp. stocks not helped by the US SEC chief casting doubt regarding an imminent deal to avert a delisting of Chinese stocks. Top Asian News Thirteen-Hour Power Cuts Get Sri Lanka to Shorten Stock Trading Effissimo Would Tender Toshiba Shares in Event of Bain Bid BOJ Looks Ready for a Victory Lap With Yields on the Retreat BOJ Boosts Bond Buying in April-to-June Quarter European equities (Eurostoxx 50 -0.3%) kicked the final trading session of the month off on the front foot before drifting towards the unchanged mark. Sectors in Europe exhibit a mostly positive tilt with airline names cheering the declines in the energy space as the Energy sector suffers. The biggest laggard in the region is the retail section following a disappointing Q1 update from H&M (-8%). Futures in the US are modestly firmer as the NQ (+0.5%) marginally outpaces the ES (+0.1%) with inflation set to continue to remain in focus today, with the release of US PCE metrics for March; core PCE is seen rising to 5.5% Y/Y Top European News Iron Ore Futures Advance as Outlook for Demand Brightens Sorrell’s S4 Capital Audit Delay No Longer Down to Covid EU Commission Confirms Raids in Germany’s Natural Gas Sector Pearson Shares Rebound; Barclays Sees a ‘Resilient Business’ In FX, Dollar finds its feet as month, quarter and fiscal year end approach, albeit with a helping hand from others - DXY back on the 98.000 handle, narrowly. Commodity currencies reverse course alongside underlying prices, with crude crushed on reports of US SPR and IEA opening reserve taps - Usd-Cad rebounds through 1.2500 after sliding to new y-t-d low sub-1.2450 only yesterday. Yen choppy amidst residual repatriation flows and more BoJ action to cap JGB yields - Usd/Jpy circa 122.00 within a 122.45-121.35 range. Euro fades into 1.1200 vs Buck again as option expiries and tech resistance impinge, but Aussie  may derive traction from expiry interest at 0.7500 - EURUSD now eyeing support at 1.1100 after tripping stops. In commodities, WTI and Brent remain firmly on the backfoot in the wake of reports suggesting that the Biden administration is considering a 'massive' SPR release. The news has sent May’22 WTI and Jun’22 Brent to respective lows of USD 100.53/bbl and USD 107.39/bbl to leave them a few dollars above their weekly lows of USD 98.44/bbl and USD 102.19/bbl respectively. US President Biden's administration is considering a 'massive' release of oil to combat inflation and may release up to 1mln bpd for months from the strategic reserve in which the total release could be 180mln , according to Bloomberg.bbls Goldman Sachs says a potentially large SPR release would ease the situation but wouldn't resolve the structural deficit in the oil market. Says adjustments for SPR release, Iran supply delays would lower H2 22 Brent forecast by USD 15, to USD 120/bbl - still above market forwards. US President Biden will deliver remarks today at 13:30EDT/18:30BST regarding the administration's actions to reduce gas prices in the US, according to the White House. It was also reported that the US mulls permitting, according to Reuters sources.summertime sales of higher ethanol blends of gasoline to ease pump prices IEA called an emergency ministerial meeting for Friday, according to the Australian Energy Minister's office. It was later reported that , according to New Zealand'sIEA countries are to decide on a collective oil release Energy Minister's office OPEC+ JTC replaced IEA reports with Wood Mackenzie and Rystad Energy as secondary sources to assess crude oil output and conformity, according to sources cited by Reuters. In fixed income, bonds on track to see out extremely bearish month, quarter and end to FY on a firmer note. Curves more even after wild swings between flattening, inversion and steepening.BoJ ramps efforts to maintain YCC via a mostly larger JGB buying remit for Q2. US Event Calendar 08:30: March Initial Jobless Claims, est. 196,000, prior 187,000 08:30: Feb. Personal Income, est. 0.5%, prior 0% 08:30: Feb. Personal Spending, est. 0.5%, prior 2.1%; Real Personal Spending, est. -0.2%, prior 1.5% 08:30: Feb. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.6%; PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.4%, prior 6.1% 08:30: Feb. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.5%; YoY, est. 5.5%, prior 5.2% 09:45: March MNI Chicago PMI, est. 57.0, prior 56.3 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After a great deal of optimism in markets on Tuesday following the Russia-Ukraine negotiations in Turkey, the last 24 hours have proven to be much more negative as investor hopes for a de-escalation in Ukraine were dampened by more gloomy comments on the war from both sides. From Russia, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that they hadn’t seen a breakthrough in the talks, whilst Ukrainian President Zelensky said that “Russia is deploying new forces on our terrain to try to continue destroying us”, and NATO leaders continued to strike a sceptical tone. Indeed, it was reported by Dow Jones that the European Commission was considering new sanctions against additional Russian banks, and UK Prime Minister Johnson said that the UK was “looking at going up a gear” in its support to Ukraine. President Biden expressed similar sentiments, pledging $500 million of additional aid to Ukraine in a call with President Zelensky. Against this backdrop, oil prices rose again for the first time this week, with Brent Crude up +2.92% to $113.45/bbl, but there’s been a sharp turnaround overnight on the back of news that the US are planning a major release from their reserves, with Bloomberg reporting it would be a million barrels a day over several months. Biden is due to speak about efforts to lower prices at 1:30pm Eastern, so all eyes will be on that, and overnight we’ve seen Brent Crude prices come down by -4.54% to $108.30/bbl, more than reversing their gains from the previous session. However, European natural gas (+9.77%) rose for a third consecutive session to €118.97/MWh, which is its highest closing level in nearly 3 weeks. That occurred amidst a continued dispute about Russian gas payments, which President Putin wants paid for in rubles, but which multiple European countries have rejected as a breach of contract. In response, Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck activated the “early warning phase” of an emergency law, which could eventually lead to gas rationing if supplies fall short. With Russia’s invasion having lasted for over 5 weeks now, we’re increasingly seeing the impact reflected in the official inflation numbers, and yesterday’s releases out of Europe gave fresh life to the bond selloff. In terms of the numbers, German inflation rose to +7.6% in March on the EU-harmonised measure, which was up from +5.5% back in February and some way above the +6.8% reading expected by the consensus. It was the same story in Spain, where inflation rose to +9.8% (up from +7.6% in February), which will heighten interest in tomorrow’s flash release for the entire Euro Area. In turn, that’s led to growing expectations of ECB rate hikes this year, with a total of 63bps being priced in by the December meeting, which is the most we’ve seen to date. On top of that, more than 30bps are even being priced in by the September meeting, which surpasses their pre-invasion peak. Given the strong inflation numbers and the prospect of a more aggressive ECB, European bonds sold off across most of the continent, with yields on 10yr bunds (+1.3bps), OATs (+2.3bps) and BTPs (+1.3bps) all hitting fresh multi-year highs. Furthermore, the 2yr German yield (+5.6bps) closed in positive territory for the first time since 2014, having briefly got there on an intraday basis during the previous session. Unsurprisingly, the latest rise in yields was driven by higher inflation breakevens rather than real rates, and the 10yr German breakeven surged another +6.0bps to 2.71%, its highest level in data available back to 2009, whilst the Italian breakeven rose +4.0bps to 2.53%, its highest level since 2008. Even as European bonds were selling off once again, it was the reverse story in the United States, where Treasuries recovered somewhat yesterday as we come to the end of one of their worst quarterly performances in decades. Yields on 10yr Treasuries fell -4.6bps to 2.35%, whilst yield curves remained incredibly flat; the 2s10s curve steepened marginally by +1.3bps to 3.6bps, avoiding another inversion, and this morning is up another +0.3bps to 3.9bps. In terms of other developments this morning, Asian equity markets have followed Wall Street’s lead overnight with the Nikkei (-0.18%), Hang Seng (-0.59%), Shanghai Composite (-0.14%), CSI (-0.26%) all losing ground, though the Kospi (+0.54%) is the exception to this pattern. The weakness in Asian gauges has come amidst declines in the PMI data, with China’s manufacturing PMI down to 49.5, and the non-manufacturing PMI down to 48.4. For reference, that’s the first time that both readings have been below the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction since February 2020, and comes as multiple cities are undergoing further lockdowns in response to the current Covid outbreak. Additionally, a slide in Chinese tech stocks is weighing on sentiment after the US Securities and Exchange Commission added Hong Kong listed Baidu Inc. to its long list of companies potentially facing delisting from US exchanges. Outside of Asia, stock futures in the US and Europe are pointing to a more positive start, with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.28%), Nasdaq (+0.56%) and DAX (+0.59%) all trading higher. Those equity declines overnight in Asia follow a broader decline in risk appetite yesterday given the more negative geopolitical developments, and both the S&P 500 (-0.63%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (-0.41%) unwound some of their gains from the previous day. More cyclical industries underperformed in general, whilst the German DAX (-1.45%) also put in a weaker performance relative to the other main European indices. The VIX Index of volatility (+0.43pts) also ticked up to 19.33pts, after closing at to its lowest level since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday. In France, we’re now just 10 days away from the first round of the presidential election, and there are continued signs of a narrowing in the polls, albeit with President Macron still in the lead. In terms of yesterday’s polls (from Opinionway, Harris, Ipsos, Ifop and Elabe), all of them pointed to a repeat of the second-round contest from 2017, with the first-round polling putting President Macron in first place followed by Marine Le Pen in second. That said, they’re also implying a noticeably tighter result in the second round than Macron’s 66%-34% victory against Le Pen in 2017. Looking through the numbers, the second round estimates ranged from a 55%-45% Macron victory (from Opinionway and Ipsos), to a 52.5%-47.5% Macron victory (from Elabe). Finally on yesterday’s other data, the ADP’s report of private payrolls from the US showed growth of +455k in March (vs. +450k expected). That comes ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report, where our US economists are expecting nonfarm payrolls to have grown by +400k, with the unemployment rate ticking down to a post-pandemic low of 3.7%. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German retail sales for February and unemployment for March, French and Italian CPI for March, and the Euro Area unemployment rate for February. From the US, there’s also February’s personal income and personal spending, the weekly initial jobless claims, and the MNI Chicago PMI for March. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, Chief Economist Lane, and New York Fed President Williams. Tyler Durden Thu, 03/31/2022 - 07:56.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 31st, 2022

We visited Victoria"s Secret stores in the US and the UK, and found an uneven, sprawling product selection as the lingerie brand struggles to transform

We shopped at locations in Leeds in the United Kingdom and Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States to compare the in-store experiences. Áine Cain/Insider Victoria's Secret is a global beauty and lingerie brand that operates around 1,400 stores globally. The company has struggled to adapt to shifting beauty standards and changing consumer demands. Insider visited two stores, one in the United Kingdom and the other in the United States. Victoria's Secret is a global beauty and lingerie brand that's long been synonymous with its now defunct "Angels" and extravagant fashion shows.The brand first came on the scene in 1977 and later became a staple in shopping malls. However in recent years, owing to internal struggles and changing beauty standards, the company has experienced a number of difficulties as its tried to shed its overtly sexy image.In 2020, the company shuttered 250 stores in the United States and Canada. A year later, Victoria's Secret's former parent company L Brands spun off the retailer. The newly-independent company now says it operates around 1,400 locations worldwide. Currently, the company is pushing to change its image to a more relaxed, accessible, and inclusive style. But not every location has made the shift yet.Insider recently visited two Victoria's Secret stores to check-in on the transformation. We visited a shop in the United Kingdom and a location in the United States. Here's what we saw:The Victoria's Secret in the UK that we visited was located in a city-center shopping mall in Leeds, northern England.Trinity Leeds, a large shopping mall.Grace Dean/InsiderThe Victoria's Secret store was easy to spot thanks to its signature bright pink exterior.The exterior of a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThere were a couple of small displays showing some of its products, but most of the wall space was taken up by the pink wall, and the displays didn't seem as festive compared to the other stores in the mall.A shopper walks past a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds.Grace Dean/InsiderThe central display focused on what Victoria's Secret is most famous for — lingerie.The entrance of a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds.Grace Dean/InsiderThe interior was very dark, with a lot of black furniture and dim lights.Displays in a Leeds Victoria's Secret store.Grace Dean/InsiderThe inside of the store seemed very carefully curated, like these digital screens on either side of the entrance, with the company's perfumes displayed underneath.A photo display in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderSections of the store were dedicated to sleepwear ...Clothing displayed on the wall in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds.Grace Dean/Insider... and perfume and beauty products ...Products on a shelf in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds.Grace Dean/Insider... though it mainly showcased Victoria's Secret's lingerie.The interior of a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThere was an area dedicated to Victoria's Secret's more sexy lingerie, too.Mannequins display different lingerie options in a Victoria's Secret in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderNot all the items were so sexy, though.White bras, shirts, and robes hang on the wall in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderUnder each display were rows of drawers ...Tables containing rows of large drawers in a Leeds Victoria's Secret.Grace Dean/Insider... which store products, sorted by size.A drawer of underwear in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderA lot of the drawers seemed mostly empty, though ...Two bras sit in trays in a Leeds Victoria's Secret.Grace Dean/Insider... like this paltry offering.A single corset sits in a tray at a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderMost of the store looked tidy, and staff on the store floor kept neatening up the stock ...Products from the "Dream Angels" collection hang on the wall of a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/Insider... though a couple of the displays needed some work.A bra hangs incorrectly on a mannequin in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds.Grace Dean/InsiderOne of the focal displays was dedicated to the brand's perfumes ...Perfumes sit on a table at a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/Insider... though other fragrance products were randomly dotted around the store, too.A table containing fragrances, clothing, and purses at a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderA couple of areas at the back of the store deviated from its dark color scheme and were instead bright pink.Mannequins display Victoria's Secret lingerie in a store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThere was a huge screen at the very far end of the store, too ...A table containing Victoria's Secret merchandise in a store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/Insider... that played videos showcasing the brand's products.A large screen playing videos of models in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderSigns dotted throughout the store advertised bra fittings.Robes, pajamas, and bras hanging on the wall at a Leeds Victoria's Secret.Grace Dean/InsiderAt one side of the store, next to a display of underwear ...Lingerie displayed in a Victoria's Secret store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/Insider... there was an opening into the Victoria's Secret Pink store next door.The door connecting Victoria's Secret store with a Victoria's Secret Pink location in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThe Pink store had a separate external entrance, too.The exterior of a Victoria's Secret Pink store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThe store was much more brightly lit, and its displays seemed tailored to younger shoppers. A lot of the customers appeared to be teens.The entrance way of a Victoria's Secret Pink store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThe displays were incredibly neat and colorful ...Inside a Leeds Victoria's Secret Pink store.Grace Dean/Insider... and the drawers largely seemed much better stocked than in the Victoria's Secret next door.A drawer of merchandise in a Victoria's Secret Pink store in Leeds.Grace Dean/InsiderThough most of the store contained clothes and gym gear.Sports bras are displayed on the wall of a Victoria's Secret Pink store in Leeds, northern England.Grace Dean/InsiderThere were QR codes you could scan to book a bra fitting ...A sign displays a photo of a model and a QR code in a Leeds Victoria's Secret.Grace Dean/Insider... as well as signs encouraging you to order online if you couldn't find what you wanted in store.A sign displayed in a Leeds Victoria's Secret.Grace Dean/InsiderWe also swung by a Victoria's Secret store located in a mall in Indianapolis, Indiana. Compared with the Leeds location, its entrance was a bit less flashy.The exterior of a Victoria's Secret store situated in mall in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/InsiderIn the United States, Victoria's Secret is, of course, best known for its lingerie products.Mannequins display different colored bras and panties in an Indianapolis Victoria's Secret.Áine Cain/InsiderThe store seemed to be divided into several distinct sections, including basic, everyday underwear ...Lingerie, panties, and bras hang on the wall in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/Insider... perfumes , makeup, and toiletries ...A table of Victoria's Secret perfumes and other products in a store based in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/Insider... and, of course, lingerie for special occasions.A grey piece of lingerie in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderThe store was well-lit with meticulously-organized displays and attended staff, on hand to answer questions and take bra measurements.A section of non-lingerie Victoria's Secret products in a store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderWe were struck by all the various displays touting different perfumes and fragrant lotions.A collection of "Velvet Petals" line products in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderThe air in the store was filled with sweet smells from those aromatic products, although we'll note that stores like this can be tricky for anyone susceptible to migraines.A row of lotions and creams in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderMost of those displays seemed to offer pretty pricey options, something you'd buy as a gift for a special occasion rather than an everyday purchase.A collection of "Heavenly" line products in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderIn general, the store was laid out like a fancy, highly feminine destination. That could be viewed as aspirational by prospective customers.A table of perfumes and lotions displayed in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderBut it could also be a little intimidating for anyone looking to buy a regular bra or extra underwear.A row of Victoria's Secret bras displayed in a store in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/InsiderAlthough the store did offer plenty of casual options ...Wireless push-up bras in a Victoria's Secret in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/Insider... and even pajama products that trended more towards "cozy" than outright "sexy."A table displaying flannel pajamas in a Victoria's Secret store in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderLike in the Leeds store, the shop was filled with drawers, each containing panties, bras, and other products sorted by size.Tables with drawers containing Victoria's Secret products in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/InsiderBut special offerings or new, seasonal lines seemed to each receive their own display.Bras and panties for the "Dream Angels" collection in Victoria's Secret in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/InsiderMany of the items we looked at had prices up-front and clearly labeled, unlike the displays in the UK store."Demi" bras and panties hung up on the wall of a Victoria's Secret store based in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/InsiderThe Indianapolis shop was by and large a clean, well-organized store that lent itself to a positive shopping experience for the customer.A table displaying products in a Victoria's Secret in Indianapolis.Áine Cain/InsiderAll in all, it will be interesting to watch Victoria's Secret pivot its brand in the coming years, as the company attempts to bounce back by selling a more inclusive vision.Bras and panties hung up on the wall of a Victoria's Secret in Indianapolis, Indiana.Áine Cain/InsiderSource: InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 20th, 2022

Walmart (WMT) Solidifies Supply Chain via New Baytown Facility

Walmart (WMT) unveils plans to expand its supply-chain campus in Baytown, TX through a new distribution center, which is scheduled to open in Fall 2022. Walmart Inc. WMT has been focused on strengthening its supply-chain network. To this end, the omnichannel retailer unveiled plans to expand its supply-chain campus in Baytown, TX through a new distribution center spanning more than 1,000,000 square feet. This will mark the company’s fourth facility in Baytown, TX, which is slated to open in Fall 2022.The new distribution center will create another 300 full-time job opportunities alongside solidifying the company’s supply-chain network in Texas. Walmart operates 19 distribution centers and 593 retail stores in Texas, employing more than 185,000 workers in the state.In connection with fortifying the supply chain, WMT also unveiled plans of opening a 1.8M plus-square-foot fulfillment center in southern Pennsylvania earlier this week. The facility, which is expected to begin operations in Spring 2022, will contribute to Walmart’s growing supply-chain network and e-commerce capabilities. This Shippensburg facility is likely to create up to 600 full-time, permanent job positions across the region. Currently, Walmart operates seven distribution centers and 160 retail outlets and employs 60,000+ associates in Pennsylvania.Fulfillment centers are a critical part of Walmart’s supply-chain network and e-commerce business. These fulfillment centers store various items that are picked, packed and shipped directly to customers. The centers allow increased access and quick shipping of everyday low-priced products to customers.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchE-Commerce Business GrowthWalmart’s e-commerce business and omnichannel penetration have been increasing all the more amid the pandemic. From fiscal 2021 beginning to fiscal 2022 end, WMT’s digital sales as a percentage of sales increased from 6% to 13%. Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sales rose 1% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 and soared 70% on a two-year stack basis. The company is witnessing rapid growth in advertising income. At Sam’s Club, e-commerce sales jumped 21% due to a robust direct-to-home show and a solid curbside performance. In the International segment, e-commerce sales advanced 21% on a constant-currency basis.The company has been taking several e-commerce initiatives, including buyouts, alliances and improved delivery and payment systems. The company is innovating the supply chain and adding capacity and building businesses, such as Walmart GoLocal, Walmart Connect, Walmart Luminate, Walmart+, Spark Delivery, Marketplace and Walmart Fulfillment Services.All said, the abovementioned expansion in Baytown, is likely to solidify this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s operations and fuel growth. Shares of Walmart have decreased 1.3% in the past six months compared with the industry’s drop of 0.9%.3 Retail Stocks to Bet onHere are three better-ranked stocks, including The Kroger Co. KR, Target Corporation TGT and Dillard's DDS.Kroger sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Kroger has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 22.1%, on average. Shares of KR have surged 33.1% in the past six months. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kroger’s current financial-year sales suggests growth of 2.4% from the year-ago period’s level.Target, a general merchandise retailer, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Shares of Target have decreased 11.7% in the past six months.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Target’s current financial-year sales and earnings per share suggests growth of 3.5% and 6.7%, respectively, from the year-ago period. TGT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 21.3%, on average.Dillard's, a retail department stores operator, currently has a Zacks Rank #2. Dillard's has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 8.8%, on average.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Dillard's current financial-year sales suggests growth of 4.7% from the year-ago period’s tally. Shares of DDS have rallied 36.5% in the past six months. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through 2021, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolios gained an impressive +1,001.2% versus the S&P 500’s +348.7%. Now our Director of Research has combed through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank and has handpicked the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in…because the sooner you do, the more upside you stand to grab.See Stocks Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Target Corporation (TGT): Free Stock Analysis Report Dillard's, Inc. (DDS): Free Stock Analysis Report Walmart Inc. (WMT): Free Stock Analysis Report The Kroger Co. (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMar 11th, 2022

Walmart"s (WMT) Utah Fulfillment Center to Aid E-commerce Wing

Walmart (WMT) announces opening of a new fulfillment center in Salt Lake City, UT to support its e-commerce operations. Walmart Inc. WMT remains committed to enriching its customers’ experience by enhancing its supply-chain network. In a latest development, management shared plans of developing its first fulfillment center in Salt Lake City, UT, to efficiently support the e-commerce business. The facility aims to effectively fulfill the online orders placed on WMT’s site.This 1,000,000+ square-feet facility will efficiently cater to customers’ requirements with quick shipping on everyday items they need every day. The latest state-of-the-art facility, which is situated at 990 N 6550 W, is slated to open doors in summer next year. We note that the fulfillment centers are integral to Walmart’s supply-chain network. These fulfillment centers store various items that are picked, packed and shipped directly to customers, serving them quickly and efficiently.Impressively, the facility is likely to create around 450 full-time, permanent job positions across the region. Walmart presently operates three distribution centers and 59 retail outlets plus employs 20,000+ associates in Utah.In third-quarter fiscal 2022, Walmart’s e-commerce sales surged 87% on a two-year stack basis, while Walmart Connect advertising sales soared roughly 240%. WMT’s e-commerce business and omni-channel penetration have been increasing for a while. WMT has been taking several e-commerce initiatives, including buyouts, alliances, and improved delivery and payment systems. Management is continuously boosting supply chain and adding capacity as well as building businesses, such as Walmart GoLocal, Walmart Connect, Walmart Luminate, Walmart+, Spark Delivery, Marketplace and Walmart Fulfillment Services.What’s More?Walmart took robust strides to strengthen its delivery arm, as evident from its investment in DroneUp, a pilot with HomeValet, introduction of Carrier Pickup by FedEx, launch of Walmart+ membership program, drone delivery pilots in the United States with Flytrex and Zipline, and a pilot with Cruise to test grocery delivery through self-driven all-electric cars.Walmart had also forged an alliance with DoorDash to deliver prescriptions from pharmacies of Sam’s Club alongside expanding Scan & Go to all fuel stations at U.S. Sam’s Clubs. WMT’s store and curbside pickup options further add to customers’ convenience. As of the third quarter of fiscal 2022, Walmart U.S. had 4,300 pickup locations and 3,300 same-day delivery stores.Aforesaid endeavors helped this currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) player’s shares to increase 19.3% in the past six months compared with the industry’s 5.6% growth.3 Picks You Can’t Miss outSome better-ranked stocks are Boot Barn Holdings BOOT, Tractor Supply Company TSCO and Target TGT.Boot Barn Holdings, a lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. The stock has jumped 187% in the year-to-date period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Boot Barn Holdings’ current financial-year sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 54.6% and 188%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s corresponding figures. BOOT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.3%, on average.Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, flaunts a Zacks Rank of 1, currently. TSCO has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 22.8%, on average. Shares of TSCO have surged 59.6% year to date.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Tractor Supply Company’s current-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 19% and 23.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s corresponding readings. TSCO has an expected EPS growth rate of 10.2% for three-five years.Target, a renowned omni-channel retailer, presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). TGT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 19.7%, on average. The stock has rallied 36.1% in the year-to-date period.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Target’s current-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 13.9% and 40.1%, respectively, from the corresponding year-ago period’s levels. TGT has an expected EPS growth rate of 14.4% for three-five years. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Target Corporation (TGT): Free Stock Analysis Report Walmart Inc. (WMT): Free Stock Analysis Report Tractor Supply Company (TSCO): Free Stock Analysis Report Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 16th, 2021

Penske (PAG) to Add $100M in Revenues With Erhard BMW Buyout

The Erhard BMW dealership buyout represents Penske's (PAG) 48th BMW dealership globally and the largest BMW dealership in Michigan. Penske Automotive Group PAG recently acquired Erhard BMW of Bloomfield, located in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The buyout represents the company's 48th BMW dealership globally and the largest BMW dealership in Michigan. The Erhard BMW store, founded in 1965 by Erhard Dahm, is located on Telegraph Road, north of Square Lake Road.Penske is ecstatic about the buyout. This dealership has a robust reputation for serving BMW loyal customers in the metropolitan Detroit market for more than 50 years. Moreover, the buyout seeks to scale up the company's relationship with the BMW brand.Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed but roughly $100 million in annualized revenues are expected to be generated from the acquisition.Headquartered in Michigan, Penske is a diversified international transportation services company that operates automotive and commercial truck dealerships primarily in the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Western Europe.The company has been on a buyout binge as it seeks to profitably consolidate retail automotive and commercial truck dealerships into its network.The firm has become one of the largest dealership groups for Freightliner in North America, with the acquisition of Warner Truck Centers, representing six dealership locations in Utah and Idaho, including a flagship operation in Salt Lake City. The acquisition of Warner Truck Centers nearly doubled its retail commercial truck dealership revenues and accelerated its diversification while opening up opportunities for growth and increased profitability. The buyout of Kansas City Freightliner expanded Penske’s Premier Truck Group (PTG) arm’s scale with the addition of five full-service dealerships, four parts and service centers as well as two collision centers. This acquisition is likely to generate $450 million in annualized revenues.This November, Penske acquired McCoy Freightliner, a retailer of medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks located in Oregon. The acquisition is projected to add $200 million in annualized revenues. The buyout of McCoy has added two full-service dealerships located in Portland and Salem, OR, and a remarketing center in Portland to Premier Group's existing operations.The spree of acquisitions has contributed approximately $1.2 billion to Penske’s year-to-date expected annualized revenues as the company thrives to achieve its target of reaching $1 billion in earnings before taxes in 2023.As part of the firm’s used-vehicle expansion, Penske’s U.S. supercenters have been rebranded as CarShop. Penske is on track to step up CarShop’s footprint from its current 22 locations to 40 by the end of 2023, thereby generating at least $150,000 in unit sales and $2.5-$3 billion in total revenues. Also, rising e-commerce initiatives are helping Penske boost sales. The firm’s move to enhance its digital performance rates and boost online sales through home delivery and clicks and collect initiatives have helped generate revenues.Penske currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Key Auto Companies to Tap OnOther top-ranked stocks in the auto space include Goodyear Tire GT, LCI Industries LCII and Harley-Davidson HOG, all of which flaunt a Zacks Rank of 1.Goodyear has an expected earnings growth rate of 196.86% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 80 cents over the last 60 days.Goodyear beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in the last four quarters. GT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 228.45%, on average. Its shares have rallied 88.1% over the past year.LCI Industries has an expected earnings growth rate of 67.95% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 45 cents over the last 60 days.LCI Industries beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. LCII has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 10.09%, on average. Its shares have rallied 18.5% over the past year.Harley-Davidson has an expected earnings growth rate of 34.92% for the current quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 32 cents over the last 60 days.Harley-Davidson beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. HOG has a trailing four-quarter negative earnings surprise of 138.45%, on average. Its shares have risen 2.3% over the past year. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report HarleyDavidson, Inc. (HOG): Free Stock Analysis Report Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (PAG): Free Stock Analysis Report The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (GT): Free Stock Analysis Report LCI Industries (LCII): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 15th, 2021