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Union Pacific sets accelerated share repurchase programs for $2B of common stock

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Category: blogSource: theflyonthewallMay 25th, 2021

Webco Industries, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter And Year End Results

SAND SPRINGS, Okla., Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Webco Industries, Inc. (OTC:WEBC) today reported our fourth quarter and year-end results for fiscal year 2021, which ended July 31, 2021. For our fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, we had a net income of $13.4 million, or $15.41 per diluted share, while in our fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, we generated a net loss of $1.1 million, or a loss of $1.35 per diluted share.  Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 were $145.5 million, a 63.3  percent increase from the $89.1 million of net sales in last year's fourth quarter.  For fiscal year 2021, we generated net income of $19.7 million, or $22.38 per diluted share, compared to net income of $4.2 million, or $4.74 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal year 2020.  Net sales for the current fiscal year amounted to $466.6 million, an 8.8 percent increase from the $428.8 million in sales for the prior fiscal year. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, we had income from operations of $17.1 million after depreciation of $3.4 million.  The fourth fiscal quarter of the prior year generated a loss from operations of $1.9 million after depreciation of $3.5 million.  Gross profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 was $28.6 million, or 19.6 percent of net sales, compared to $2.8 million, or 3.2 percent of net sales, for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020.   Our income from operations for fiscal year 2021 was $26.0 million, after depreciation expense of $13.7 million.  Income from operations in fiscal year 2020 was $6.8 million, after depreciation expense of $13.8 million.   Gross profit for fiscal 2021 was $61.8 million, or 13.2 percent of net sales, compared to $38.0 million, or 8.9  percent of net sales for the same period in fiscal year 2020. Dana S. Weber, Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair, stated, "Over the course of fiscal year 2021, the cost of our raw materials increased substantially, and its availability became very limited.  Where possible, we increased our sales prices in response to raw material cost increases.  In addition, non-steel supplies and operating costs, as well as freight services, have increased in cost and decreased in availability.  The business environment of the current fiscal quarter compares favorably to the challenges we faced in our fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, during which the pandemic was affecting almost all lines of business and crude oil prices remained low.  Our strong balance sheet and liquidity position have positioned us well to successfully navigate and gain strength since the onset of those unforeseen global events.  We remain focused on financial strength and flexibility.  Our total cash and available credit on our revolver is $70.7 million, which we believe to be a competitive advantage." Selling, general and administrative expenses were $11.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and $4.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. SG&A expenses in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 reflect an increase in costs associated with increased profitability, such as company-wide incentive compensation and variable pay programs.  In addition, insurance proceeds from the May 2019 Oklahoma flood were collected in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, which reduced SG&A expenses for that period by $1.1 million.  SG&A expenses were $35.8 million in fiscal year 2021 and $31.1 million for fiscal year 2020.  Increases in costs associated with higher levels of profitability also increased SG&A expenses for fiscal year 2021.  Interest expense was $0.4 million in the fourth quarters of both fiscal years 2021 and 2020.  Interest expense was $1.3 million in the current fiscal year and $2.9 million in the prior fiscal year.  The change in interest expense between the periods is mostly because of lower debt levels.  Capital expenditures incurred amounted to $6.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 and $16.8 million for fiscal year 2021.  Our capital investments were largely focused on improving our efficiencies, yields, quality, and capabilities.  As of July 31, 2021, we had $8.4 million in cash, in addition to $62.3 million of available borrowing under our $160 million senior revolving credit facility.  Availability on the revolver, which had $59.1 million drawn at July 31, 2021, is subject to advance rates on eligible accounts receivable and inventories.  Our term and revolver, due to a June 2021 refinancing, mature in June 2025.  Accounting rules require asset-based debt agreements like our revolver to be classified as a current liability, despite its June 2025 maturity. Webco's stock repurchase program authorizes the purchase of up to $20 million of our outstanding common stock, in private or open market transactions.  During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, we repurchased 51,000 shares of the company's stock, the only shares purchased during the fiscal year.  The repurchase plan may be extended, suspended, or discontinued at any time, without notice, at the Board's discretion.  Webco's mission is to continuously build on our strengths as we create a vibrant company for the ages.  We leverage on our core values of trust and teamwork, continuously building strength, agility, and innovation.  We focus on practices that support our brand, such that we are 100% engaged every day to build a forever kind of company for our Trusted Teammates, customers, business partners, investors, and community.  We provide high-quality carbon steel, stainless steel and other metal specialty tubing products designed to industry and customer specifications.  We have five tube production facilities in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania and eight value-added facilities in Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas, serving customers globally. Forward-looking statements: Certain statements in this release, including, but not limited to, those preceded by or predicated upon the words "anticipates," "appears," "available," "believe," "can," "consider," "expects," "forever," "hopes," "intends," "plans," "projects," "pursue,"  "should," "wishes," "would," or similar words may constitute "forward-looking statements." Such forward-looking statements involve known and ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 23rd, 2021

AutoZone 4th Quarter Same Store Sales Increase 4.3%; 4th Quarter EPS Increases to $35.72; Annual Sales of $14.6 Billion

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) today reported net sales of $4.9 billion for its fourth quarter (16 weeks) ended August 28, 2021, an increase of 8.1% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 (16 weeks). Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 4.3% for the quarter. "Our strong sales and earnings this quarter are a testament to our AutoZoners' ongoing commitment to going the extra mile for our customers. Our retail business performed very well this quarter ending with virtually flat same store sales on top of last year's historic growth of over 20%.  And, our commercial business growth continues to be exceptionally strong at 21.2%. The investments we are making continue to strengthen our competitive positioning in all the sectors and markets we compete. We are optimistic about our growth prospects heading into our new fiscal year," said Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52.3%, a decrease of 82 basis points versus the prior year. The decrease in gross margin was primarily driven by the initiatives to accelerate growth in our Commercial business. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, was 31.0% versus 30.7% last year. Our expense growth was primarily driven by higher payroll to support our sales and customer service initiatives, partially offset by a decrease in pandemic related expenses. In addition, we are investing in   technology to underpin our growth initiatives and we are seeing higher wage costs in our stores and distribution centers. Operating profit increased 2.6% to $1.0 billion. Net income for the quarter increased 6.1% over the same period last year to $785.8 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 15.5% to $35.72 from $30.93 in the year-ago quarter. For the fiscal year ended August 28, 2021, sales were $14.6 billion, an increase of 15.8% from the prior year, while domestic same store sales were up 13.6%. Gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52.8% versus 53.6%. The decrease in gross margin was primarily attributable to the initiatives to accelerate growth in our Commercial business. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 32.6% versus 34.5%. The reduction in operating expenses as a percent of sales was driven by strong sales growth and a decrease in pandemic related expenses. For fiscal 2021, net income increased 25.2% to $2.2 billion and diluted earnings per share increased 32.3% to $95.19 from $71.93. Return on invested capital finished at 41.0%. Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 592 thousand shares of its common stock for $900 million during the fourth quarter, at an average price of $1,519 per share. For the fiscal year, the Company repurchased 2.6 million shares of its common stock for $3.4 billion, at an average price of $1,303 per share. At year end, the Company had $417.6 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization. The Company's inventory increased 3.7% over the same period last year, driven by new stores and improved product assortment. Inventory per store was $686 thousand versus $683 thousand last year and $701 thousand last quarter. Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, on a per store basis, was negative $203 thousand versus negative $104 thousand last year and negative $167 thousand last quarter."While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our customers' and AutoZoners' lives, our primary focus remains everyone's health and well-being. We will continue to help wherever we can to make our stores the best and safest place to shop for everyone's automotive needs. We remain committed to helping our AutoZoners during these difficult times. As always, we will take nothing for granted while striving for continued sales growth in fiscal 2022. As we continue to prudently invest capital in our business, we remain committed to our long-term, disciplined, approach of increasing operating earnings and cash flow while utilizing our balance sheet effectively," said Rhodes. During the quarter ended August 28, 2021, AutoZone opened 76 new stores in the U.S., 29 stores in Mexico and five stores in Brazil. At our fiscal year end, the Company had 6,051 stores in the U.S., 664 in Mexico and 52 in Brazil for a total store count of 6,767. AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the Americas. Each AutoZone store carries an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products. Many stores also have a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations and public sector accounts. We also have commercial programs in all stores in Mexico and Brazil. AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software through www.alldata.com. Additionally, we sell automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products through www.autozone.com and our commercial customers can make purchases through www.autozonepro.com. We also provide product information on our Duralast branded products through www.duralastparts.com. AutoZone does not derive revenue from automotive repair or installation. AutoZone will host a conference call this morning, Tuesday, September 21, 2021, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) to discuss its fourth quarter results. This call is being web cast and can be accessed, along with supporting slides, at AutoZone's website at www.autozone.com and clicking on Investor Relations. Investors may also listen to the call by dialing (877) 407-8031. In addition, a telephone replay will be available by dialing (877) 481-4010 through October 19, 2021,11:59 pm (EDT). This release includes certain financial information not derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). These non-GAAP measures include adjustments to reflect return on invested capital, adjusted debt and adjusted debt to EBITDAR. The Company believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP measures provides information that is useful to investors as it indicates more clearly the Company's comparative year-to-year operating results, but this information should not be considered a substitute for any measures derived in accordance with GAAP. Management targets the Company's capital structure in order to maintain its investment grade credit ratings. The Company believes this is important information for the management of its debt levels and share repurchases. We have included a reconciliation of this additional information to the most comparable GAAP measures in the accompanying reconciliation tables. Certain statements contained in this press release constitute forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements typically use words such as "believe," "anticipate," "should," "intend," "plan," "will," "expect," "estimate," "project," "positioned," "strategy," "seek," "may," "could," and similar expressions. These are based on assumptions and assessments made by our management in light of experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors that we believe to be appropriate. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including without limitation: product demand; energy prices; weather; competition; credit market conditions; cash flows; access to available and feasible financing; future stock repurchases; the impact of recessionary conditions; consumer debt levels; changes in laws or regulations; risks associated with self-insurance; war and the prospect of war, including terrorist activity; the impact of public health issues, such as the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic; inflation; the ability to hire, train and retain qualified employees; construction delays; the compromising of confidentiality, availability or integrity of information, including cyber-attacks; historic growth rate sustainability; downgrade of our credit ratings; damages to our reputation; challenges in international markets; failure or interruption of our information technology systems; origin and raw material costs of suppliers; disruption in our supply chain; impact of tariffs; anticipated impact of new accounting standards; and business interruptions. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are discussed in more detail in the "Risk Factors" section contained in Item 1A under Part 1 of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended August 29, 2020, and these Risk Factors should be read carefully. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results, developments and business decisions may differ from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements, and events described above and in the "Risk Factors" could materially and adversely affect our business. However, it should be understood that it is not possible to identify or predict all such risks and other factors that could affect these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. Except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Contact Information:Financial: Brian Campbell at (901) 495-7005, brian.campbell@autozone.comMedia: David McKinney at (901) 495-7951, david.mckinney@autozone.com     AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2021   Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations 4th Quarter, FY2021 (in thousands, except per share data)     GAAP Results     16 Weeks Ended   16 Weeks Ended     August 28, 2021   August 29, 2020(2)           Net sales   $ 4,913,484     $ 4,545,968   Cost of sales     2,345,646       2,132,993   Gross profit     2,567,838       2,412,975   Operating, SG&A expenses     1,523,808       1,394,930   Operating profit (EBIT)     1,044,030       1,018,045   Interest expense, net     58,119       65,638   Income before taxes     985,911       952,407   Income taxes(1)     200,140       211,950   Net income   $ 785,771     $ 740,457   Net income per share:           Basic   $ 36.72     $ 31.67     Diluted   $ 35.72     $ 30.93   Weighted average shares outstanding:           Basic     21,400       23,383     Diluted     22,000       23,942                 (1)The sixteen weeks ended August 28, 2021 and the comparable prior year period include $21.2M and $3.3M in tax benefits from stock option exercises, respectively (2)The sixteen weeks ended August 29, 2020 was negatively impacted by pandemic related expenses, including Emergency Time-Off of approximately $10.7M (pre-tax)     Fiscal Year 2021         (in thousands, except per share data)                 GAAP Results         52 Weeks Ended   52 Weeks Ended         August 28, 2021(2)   August 29, 2020(2)               Net sales   $ 14,629,585     $ 12,631,967   Cost of sales     6,911,800       5,861,214   Gross profit     7,717,785       6,770,753   Operating, SG&A expenses     4,773,258       4,353,074   Operating profit (EBIT)     2,944,527       2,417,679   Interest expense, net     195,337       201,165   Income before taxes     2,749,190       2,216,514   Income taxes(1)     578,876       483,542   Net income   $ 2,170,314     $ 1,732,972   Net income per share:           Basic   $ 97.60     $ 73.62     Diluted   $ 95.19     $ 71.93   Weighted average shares outstanding:           Basic     22,237       23,540     Diluted     22,799       24,093      (1)The 52 weeks ended August 28, 2021 and the comparable prior year period include $56.4M and $20.9M in tax benefits from stock option exercises, respectively (2)The 52 weeks ended August 28, 2021 and the comparable prior year period were negatively impacted by pandemic related expenses, including Emergency Time-Off of approximately $43.0M (pre-tax) and $83.9M (pre-tax), respectively     Selected Balance Sheet Information         (in thousands)                 August 28, 2021   August 29, 2020               Cash and cash equivalents   $ 1,171,335     $ 1,750,815   Merchandise inventories     4,639,813       4,473,282   Current assets     6,415,303       6,811,872   Property and equipment, net     4,856,891       4,509,221   Operating lease right-of-use assets     2,718,712       2,581,677   Total assets     14,516,199       14,423,872   Accounts payable     6,013,924       5,156,324   Current liabilities     7,369,754       6,283,091   Operating lease liabilities, less current portion     2,632,842       2,501,560   Total debt     5,269,820       5,513,371   Stockholders' deficit     (1,797,536 )     (877,977 ) Working capital     (954,451 )     528,781                 AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2021                                     Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations                                         Adjusted Debt / EBITDAR                 (in thousands, except adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio)   Trailing 4 Quarters                   August 28, 2021   August 29, 2020         Net income    $ 2,170,314     $ 1,732,972           Add:  Interest expense     195,337       201,165                     Income tax expense     578,876       483,542           EBIT       2,944,527       2,417,679                             .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 21st, 2021

Global Payments enters into $500 million accelerated share-repurchase program

Global Payments Inc. said in a Wednesday morning filing that it has entered into an accelerated share-repurchase program aimed at buying back $500 million of its common stock. The .....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchFeb 10th, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Add Omnicell (OMCL) to Your Portfolio

Investors continue to be optimistic about Omnicell (OMCL) on its strategic acquisitions and partnerships supporting each of the three legs of its strategy. Omnicell, Inc. OMCL is well poised for growth backed by its strategic acquisitions and partnerships. The raised guidance for 2021 buoys optimism as well. The 2025 roadmap looks encouraging along with the good solvency position.Over the past year, the Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock has gained 119.1% against the 17.9% fall of the industry and 35.1% rise of the S&P 500.The renowned medical device solutions provider has a market capitalization of $6.79 billion. Its second-quarter 2021 earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 21.3%. The company projects 16% growth for the next five years. Further, the company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 17.74%.Let’s delve deeper.Strategic Imperatives to Drive Growth: Omnicell is progressing well with its three-legged strategy that covers market expansion through the delivery of differentiated, innovative solutions; expansion into new markets, primarily outside the United States; and expansion through strategic tie-ups and acquisition of new technologies.In line with this, the company has accelerated a shift to cloud-based solutions and tech-enabled services through the launches of Omnicell One and Central Pharmacy Dispensing Services. In 2021, the company has seen rapid growth in SaaS, subscription software and tech-enabled services bookings. At the end of the second quarter of 2021, the company has increased the number of long-term sole-source contracts. A top 10 U.S. health system has chosen Omnicell to help it design and implement complex pharmacy workload, and support its journey toward the autonomous pharmacy.2025 Roadmap Looks Impressive: In terms of its 2025 financial roadmap, Omnicell is targeting a 14% to 15% compounded total annual revenue growth rate from 2021 to 2025. Over the same period, it is targeting an expansion of non-GAAP EBITDA margin from 21% in 2021 to 25% by 2025, representing a margin expansion of approximately 400 basis points (bps). According to the company, its strong position in the market, growing customer base and strategic focus on innovation will help it achieve these goals.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchRaised Guidance: For 2021, Omnicell now expects revenues in the range of $1.10 billion and $1.11 billion, suggesting an improvement from the previously-estimated $1.08-$1.10 billion. Full-year adjusted earnings per share are expected between $3.65 and $3.75 (an improvement from the earlier-provided view of $3.50-$3.70).However, Omnicell continues to battle escalating costs that are exerting pressure on the company’s bottom line. In the second quarter, cost of product revenues increased 16.8%, while cost of services and other revenues rose 18.3%. Selling, general, and administrative expenses escalated 28.5% year over year.Moreover, Omnicell faces stiff competition in the medication management and supply chain space from MedTech bigwigs like Becton, Dickinson and Company BDX. Major direct competitors in the medication packaging solutions market like Drug Package, Inc., AutoMed Technologies, Inc. (a subsidiary of ARxIUM), among others, still pose a threat as they spearhead several expansion programs.Estimate TrendOmnicell has been witnessing a positive estimate revision trend for 2021. Over the past 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its earnings has moved 4.2% north to $3.71.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its third-quarter 2021 revenues is pegged at $283.8 million, suggesting a 32.81% rise from the year-ago reported number.Other Key PicksA few other top-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Envista Holdings Corporation NVST and Biolase, Inc. BIOL, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Envista Holdings has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 27%.Biolase has a projected long-term earnings growth rate of 15%. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX): Free Stock Analysis Report Omnicell, Inc. (OMCL): Free Stock Analysis Report Biolase, Inc. (BIOL): Free Stock Analysis Report Envista Holdings Corporation (NVST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Why Is Dick"s (DKS) Up 0.2% Since Last Earnings Report?

Dick's (DKS) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues. A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS). Shares have added about 0.2% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Dick's due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts. DICK'S Sporting Tops on Q2 Earnings & Sales, Ups ViewDICK'S Sporting posted better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2021 results, wherein both top and bottom lines improved year over year. Results gained from customer demand across all categories and enhanced omni-channel capabilities. Management raised its fiscal 2021 view.Q2 in DetailIn the fiscal second quarter, adjusted earnings were $5.08 per share, up 58% from the prior-year quarter figure of $3.21. The figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.80 per share. The uptick can be attributable to solid sales and improved gross margins in the reported quarter. Adjusted earnings also skyrocketed 303% from second-quarter fiscal 2019.Net sales of $3,275 million grew 21% year over year and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,834 million. The uptick can be attributable to improved store sales and a robust online show. Net sales rose 45% from second-quarter fiscal 2019.Consolidated same-store sales (comps) advanced 19.2% compared with comps growth of 20.7% and 3.2% in second-quarter fiscal 2020 and second-quarter fiscal 2019, respectively. This can be attributable to double-digit sales growth in its core categories — hardlines, apparel and footwear — along with higher average ticket and transactions.E-commerce sales surged 111% from second-quarter fiscal 2019, while it declined 28% year over year. E-commerce accounted for nearly 18% of net sales in the reported quarter, up from 12% in second-quarter fiscal 2019 but down roughly 30% from second-quarter fiscal 2020. The online unit benefitted from services like in-store and curbside pickup, reduced promotions, faster delivery and a better checkout experience. Its mobile platform also remains a key growth driver, accounting for more than 50% of online sales for the first half of 2021.Gross margin expanded 538 basis points (bps) year over year to 40%, driven by higher sales and improved merchandise margins. Adjusted EBT expanded 562 bps year over year to 20.28% in the reported quarter. SG&A expenses of 19.6%, as a percentage of sales, declined 46 bps year over year and 351 bps from second-quarter fiscal 2019. The company incurred nearly $15 million of COVID-related safety costs for the six months ended Jul 31, 2021.Financial AspectsDICK'S Sporting ended the reported quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $2,236.7 million, no borrowings under its $1.9-billion revolving credit facility, and total stockholders' equity of $3,005.4 million. Total inventory rose 7.2% year over year as of Jul 31, 2021. In the quarter under review, total capital expenditure amounted to $167.7 million. The company now projects capital expenditure of $370-$395 million, on a gross basis, for fiscal 2021.The company has hiked its quarterly dividend to 43.75 cents per share on common stock and Class B common stock, which is likely to be paid out on Sep 24 of shareholder record as of Sep 10. It repurchased 0.8 million shares worth $75.8 million. Following this, the company has roughly $879 million under its existing authorization, which is valid till June 2024. It also projects share repurchase of at least $400 million for fiscal 2021.FY21 GuidanceDriven by the impressive quarterly results along with a solid start to the fiscal third quarter and the back-to-school season, management raised its fiscal 2021 view. Fiscal 2021 sales are expected to be $11,520-$11,720 million, up from the previously mentioned $10,515-$10,806 million. Same-store sales are likely to grow 18-20%, up from the earlier stated 8-11%.Adjusted earnings are now envisioned to be $12.45-$12.95, which reflect a sharp improvement from $8-$8.70 per share mentioned earlier. Adjusted EBT is likely to be $1.61-$1.67, up from the previously stated $1.02-$1.11. Adjusted EBT margin is expected to be 14%. Gross margin is estimated to be higher than fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019 on the back of improved merchandise margins and lower fixed expenses. SG&A expenses are likely to decline from the figures reported in fiscal 2020 and 2019 due to higher expected sales. However, freight expenses are expected to persist through the rest of fiscal 2021.The company is on track with the plans to open six DICK'S Sporting Goods stores and eight specialty concept stores this year. It anticipates relocating 11 DICK'S Sporting Goods stores and converting two Field & Stream stores into Public Lands stores.Business DevelopmentsIn second-quarter fiscal 2021, the company converted around 25 additional DICK's stores to premium full-service footwear and added 50 elevated soccer shops. Its first two DICK's House of Sport stores in Rochester, NY, and Knoxville, TN, are performing well, with positive customer response.Management remains optimistic about the early performance of VRST, its new premium men's apparel brand. Being one of the leading premium golf retailers in the world, DICK’S Sporting has rolled out the TrackMan technology and revealed plans to expand this in all stores in the fiscal third quarter. The company is also set to launch its first Public Lands store in Pittsburgh and expects Public Lands to serve as a key growth driver in the near term.How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted 64.6% due to these changes.VGM ScoresAt this time, Dick's has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.OutlookEstimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Dick's has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 DICKS Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Is the Dividend Hike Enough to Help APA Turn Attractive?

APA's dividend hike comes after the upstream operator repurchased $1.7 billion in debt via an upsized tender offer in August, which allowed it to considerably lower its annual interest expense. APA Corporation APA recently got approval from the board of directors to increase the quarterly dividend by 3.75 cents to 6.25 cents per share. The new payout will be made on Nov 22 to its common shareholders of record on Oct 22.APA management sees the dividend hike as the beginning of its path to return ‘a higher percentage of cash flow’ to its investors. This comes after the upstream operator opportunistically brought back its debt to improve its financial position. In August, APA repurchased $1.7 billion in debt via an upsized tender offer, which allowed the company to reduce its annual interest expense by 20%, or approximately $78 million — more than enough to take care of its annual dividend obligation of $57 million.At its September investor update earlier in the month, APA said that it is on track to generate $1.6-$1.7 billion in upstream free cash flow for the full year, assuming the current strip prices for the second half of 2021. This, together with the company’s aggressive cost management initiatives, should help in its debt reduction goal and achieve its leverage target of less than 1.5 times debt-to-EBITDA. Meanwhile, APA’s annual investment requirement will be some $1.2 billion.APA’s Suriname portfolio is particularly exciting, where it continues to achieve significant drilling success with four discoveries since January 2020. The company has partnered with TotalEnergies TTE in this region, which lies off the north coast of South America. Over time, Suriname is expected to become one of APA’s major assets with significant cash flow potential.All of this sets it up well for the long-term sustainability of APA’s free cash flow generating capacity and future increases in dividend. But one thing that may concern potential investors is that even with the 150% hike this quarter, APA’s annual dividend of 25 cents per share yields 1.16%, which is still low.It compares unfavorably to the 1.57% and1.34% yields offered by peers Marathon Oil MRO and Hess HES, respectively. Meanwhile, the S&P’s dividend yield is around 1.3% and therefore APA’s payout is not enough to attract dividend-oriented investors. This is probably the primary reason behind the company’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and its relative underperformance to the industry year to date (+51.8% versus +78.9%).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWe believe that sustained periods of higher oil and gas prices might help APA to achieve its long-term target of increasing its base dividend yield to a level in line with or above the S&P 500. That in turn might help the stock to catch up. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO): Free Stock Analysis Report APA Corporation (APA): Free Stock Analysis Report Hess Corporation (HES): Free Stock Analysis Report TotalEnergies SE Sponsored ADR (TTE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Vail Resorts Reports Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results, Provides Fiscal 2022 Outlook, Announces Transformational Capital Plan and Declares Dividend

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) today reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended July 31, 2021, which were negatively impacted by COVID-19 and related limitations and restrictions, and reported results of season-to-date season pass sales. Vail Resorts also provided its outlook for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2022, announced a one-time transformational capital plan for calendar year 2022, and declared a dividend payable in October 2021. Highlights Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $127.9 million for fiscal 2021, an increase of 29.4% compared to fiscal 2020. Fiscal 2021 was negatively impacted by COVID-19 and related limitations and restrictions, including the early closure of Whistler Blackcomb on March 30, 2021 and "stay at home" orders and periodic resort closures impacting our Australian ski areas. The prior year period was negatively impacted by the early closure of the Company's North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas on March 15, 2020 due to COVID-19 (the "Resort Closures"). Resort Reported EBITDA was $544.7 million for fiscal 2021, an increase of 8.2% compared to fiscal 2020. Fiscal 2021 was negatively impacted by COVID-19 and related limitations and restrictions. The prior year period was primarily impacted by the Resort Closures, which included the resulting deferral of approximately $120.9 million of pass product revenue and $2.9 million of related deferred costs from fiscal 2020 to fiscal 2021 as a result of pass holder credits offered to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders. Pass product sales through September 17, 2021 for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American ski season increased approximately 42% in units and approximately 17% in sales dollars as compared to the period in the prior year through September 18, 2020, without deducting for the value of any redeemed credits provided to certain North American pass product holders in the prior period. To provide a comparison to the season pass results released on June 7, 2021, pass product sales through September 17, 2021 increased approximately 67% in units and approximately 45% in sales dollars as compared to the period through September 20, 2019, with pass product sales adjusted to include Peak Resorts pass sales in both periods. Pass product sales are adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying an exchange rate of $0.79 between the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar in all periods for Whistler Blackcomb pass sales. The Company issued its fiscal 2022 guidance range and expects Resort Reported EBITDA to be between $785 million and $835 million. The guidance includes an expectation that Resort Reported EBITDA for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 will be between negative $118 million and negative $106 million, which includes the negative impact from COVID-19 resort closures in Australia. Fiscal 2022 guidance assumes, among other assumptions described below, no material impacts associated with COVID-19 for the 2021/2022 North American ski season or the 2022 Australian ski season, other than an expected slower recovery for international visitation and group/conference business. The Company continues to maintain significant liquidity with $1.2 billion of cash on hand as of July 31, 2021 and $613 million of availability under our U.S. and Whistler Blackcomb revolving credit facilities. The Company declared a cash dividend of $0.88 per share payable in October 2021 and plans to exit the temporary waiver period under the Vail Holdings, Inc. revolving credit facility ("VHI Credit Agreement") effective October 31, 2021. The Company announced a transformational $315 million to $325 million capital plan for calendar year 2022 focused on the addition and/or upgrade of 19 new chairlifts and other improvements to enhance the guest experience ahead of the 2022/2023 North American ski season. Commenting on the Company's fiscal 2021 results, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Given the continued challenges associated with COVID-19, we are pleased with our operating results for the year. Our results highlighted our data-driven marketing capabilities, the value of our pass products, the resiliency of demand for the experiences we offer throughout our network of world-class resorts and our disciplined cost controls. "Results continued to improve as the 2020/2021 North American ski season progressed, primarily as a result of stronger destination visitation at our Colorado and Utah resorts. Excluding Peak Resorts, total skier visitation at our U.S. destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas for fiscal 2021 was only down 6% compared to fiscal 2019. Whistler Blackcomb's performance was disproportionately negatively impacted due to the closure of the Canadian border to international guests, including guests from the U.S., and the resort closing earlier than expected on March 30, 2021 following a provincial health order issued by the government of British Columbia. Whistler Blackcomb's total skier visitation for fiscal 2021 declined 51% compared to fiscal 2019. Our ancillary lines of business were more significantly and negatively impacted by COVID-19 related capacity constraints and limitations throughout the 2020/2021 North American ski season. We generated Resort Reported EBITDA margin of 28.5% driven by our disciplined cost controls as well as a higher proportion of lift revenue relative to ancillary lines of business compared to prior periods." Regarding the Company's fiscal 2021 fourth quarter results, Katz said, "We are pleased with the strong demand across our North American summer operations during the fourth quarter, which exceeded our expectations and which we believe highlights our guests' continued affinity for outdoor experiences. In Australia, we experienced strong demand trends at the beginning of the 2021 Australian ski season. However, subsequent COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders and temporary resort closures negatively impacted financial results for the fourth quarter by approximately $8 million relative to our guidance expectations issued on June 7, 2021. Fourth quarter results were also negatively impacted relative to our June 7, 2021 guidance by a one-time $13.2 million charge for a contingent obligation with respect to certain litigation matters." Katz continued, "We remain focused on our disciplined approach to capital allocation, prioritizing our investments in our people, as well as high-return capital projects, strategic acquisition opportunities, and returning capital to shareholders. Our liquidity position remains strong, and we are confident in the free cash flow generation and stability of our business model. Our total cash and revolver availability as of July 31, 2021 was approximately $1.9 billion, with $1.2 billion of cash on hand, $418 million of revolver availability under the VHI Credit Agreement, and $195 million of revolver availability under the Whistler Blackcomb Credit Agreement. As of July 31, 2021, our Net Debt was 3.0 times trailing twelve months Total Reported EBITDA. Given our strong balance sheet and outlook, we are pleased to announce that the Company plans to exit the temporary waiver period under the VHI Credit Agreement effective October 31, 2021, declared a cash dividend of $0.88 per share payable in October 2021, and announced a transformational $315 million to $325 million capital plan for calendar year 2022 to add or upgrade 19 new chairlifts and make other investments to enhance the guest experience and are expected to generate strong returns for our shareholders." Operating Results A more complete discussion of our operating results can be found within the Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations section of the Company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2021, which was filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The discussion of operating results below compares the results for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2021 to the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020, unless otherwise noted. The following are segment highlights: Mountain Segment Total lift revenue increased $163.5 million, or 17.9%, to $1,076.6 million primarily due to strong North American pass sales growth for the 2020/2021 ski season, including the deferral impact of the pass holder credits offered to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders from fiscal 2020 to fiscal 2021 as a result of the Resort Closures, partially offset by a decrease in non-pass visitation due to limitations and restrictions on our North American operations due to the impacts of COVID-19, which disproportionately impacted Whistler Blackcomb. Ski school revenue decreased $44.9 million, or 23.7%, dining revenue decreased $70.4 million, or 43.8%, and retail/rental revenue decreased $42.3 million, or 15.7%, each primarily as a result of by COVID-19 related capacity limitations and restrictions in the current year, partially offset by the Company operating for the full U.S. ski season in the current year as compared to the impact of the Resort Closures in the prior year. Operating expense decreased $65.9 million, or 5.4%, which was primarily attributable to cost discipline efforts in the current year associated with lower levels of operations and limitations, restrictions and closures of resort operations resulting from COVID-19. Mountain Reported EBITDA increased $50.3 million, or 10.1%, which includes $20.3 million of stock-based compensation for fiscal 2021 compared to $17.4 million in the prior year. Lodging Segment Lodging segment net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements) decreased $26.4 million, or 11.1%, primarily due to operational restrictions and limitations of our North American lodging properties in the current year as a result of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, partially offset by stronger summer demand in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. Lodging Reported EBITDA decreased $9.0 million, which includes $3.8 million of stock-based compensation expense in fiscal 2021 compared to $3.4 million of stock-based compensation expense in fiscal 2020. Resort - Combination of Mountain and Lodging Segments Resort net revenue was $1,907.9 million for fiscal 2021, a decrease of $50.9 million, or 2.6%, compared to resort net revenue of $1,958.9 million for fiscal 2020. Fiscal 2021 revenue included approximately $12 million of favorability from currency translation, which the Company calculated on a constant currency basis by applying current period foreign exchange rates to the prior period results. Resort Reported EBITDA was $544.7 million for fiscal 2021, an increase of $41.3 million, or 8.2%, compared to fiscal 2020. Fiscal 2021 includes the impact from the deferral of $118 million of pass product revenue and related deferred costs from fiscal 2020 to fiscal 2021 as a result of credits offered to 2020/2021 North American pass product holders, a one-time $13.2 million charge for a contingent obligation with respect to certain litigation matters, and approximately $2 million of favorability from currency translation from Whistler Blackcomb, which the Company calculated on a constant currency basis by applying current period foreign exchange rates to prior period results. Total Performance Total net revenue decreased $54.0 million, or 2.7%, to $1,909.7 million. Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $127.9 million, or $3.13 per diluted share, for fiscal 2021 compared to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of $98.8 million, or $2.42 per diluted share, in fiscal 2020. Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. for fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020 included tax benefits of approximately $17.9 million and $8.0 million, respectively, related to employee exercises of equity awards (primarily related to the CEO's exercise of SARs). Additionally, fiscal 2021 net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. included approximately $3 million of unfavorability from currency translation, which the Company calculated by applying current period foreign exchange rates to the prior period results. Season Pass Sales Commenting on the Company's season pass sales for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American ski season, Katz said, "We are very pleased with the results of our season pass sales to date, which continue to demonstrate the strength of our data-driven marketing initiatives and the compelling value proposition of our pass products, driven in part by the 20% reduction in all pass prices for the upcoming season. Pass product sales through September 17, 2021 for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American ski season increased approximately 42% in units and approximately 17% in sales dollars as compared to the period in the prior year through September 18, 2020, without deducting for the value of any redeemed credits provided to certain North American pass holders in the prior period. To provide a comparison to the season pass results released on June 7, 2021, pass product sales through September 17, 2021 for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American ski season increased approximately 67% in units and approximately 45% in sales dollars as compared to sales for the 2019/2020 North American ski season through September 20, 2019, with pass product sales adjusted to include Peak Resorts pass sales in both periods. Pass product sales are adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying an exchange rate of $0.79 between the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar in all periods for Whistler Blackcomb pass sales." Katz continued, "We saw strong unit growth from renewing pass holders and significantly stronger unit growth from new pass holders, which include guests in our database who previously purchased lift tickets or passes but did not buy a pass in the previous season and guests who are completely new to our database. Our strongest unit growth was from our destination markets, including the Northeast, and we also had very strong growth across our local markets. The majority of our absolute unit growth came from our core Epic and Epic Local pass products and we also saw even higher percentage growth from our Epic Day Pass products. Compared to the period ended September 18, 2020, effective pass price decreased 17%, despite the 20% price decrease we implemented this year and the significant growth of our lower priced Epic Day Pass products, which continue to represent an increasing portion of our total advance commitment product sales. "We are very pleased with the performance of our pass product sales efforts to date, which exceeded our original expectations for the impact of the 20% price reduction, particularly in the growth of new pass holders and in the trade up we are seeing from pass holders into higher priced products. As we enter the final period for pass product sales, we feel good about the current trends we are seeing. However, it is important to point out that we know a portion of the growth we have seen to date represents certain pass product holders purchasing their pass earlier in the selling season than in the prior year period and we saw strong growth in the late fall in the prior year period due to concerns around COVID-19, including questions about resort access as a result of our mountain access reservation system. Given these factors and the other changing economic and COVID-related dynamics, it is difficult to provide specific guidance on our final growth rates, which may decline from the rates we reported today." Capital Investments Commenting on the Company's capital investments, Katz said, "As previously announced, we are on track to complete several signature investments in advance of the 2021/2022 North American ski season. In Colorado, we are completing a 250 acre lift-served terrain expansion in the signature McCoy Park area of Beaver Creek, further differentiating the resort's high-end, family focused experience. We are also adding a new four-person high speed lift at Breckenridge to serve the popular Peak 7, replacing the Peru lift at Keystone with a six-person high speed chairlift, and replacing the Peachtree lift at Crested Butte with a new three-person fixed-grip lift. At Okemo, we are completing a transformational investment including upgrading the Quantum lift to replace the Green Ridge three-person fixed-grip chairlift. In addition to the transformational investments that will greatly improve uplift capacity, we are continuing to invest in company-wide technology enhancements, including investing in a number of upgrades to bring a best-in-class approach to how we service our guests through these channels. "We are encouraged by the outlook for our long-term growth and the financial stability we have created. The success of our advance commitment strategy, the expansion of our network and our focus on creating an outstanding guest experience remain at the forefront of our efforts. Toward that end, we are launching an ambitious capital investment plan for calendar year 2022 across our resorts to significantly increase lift capacity and enhance the guest experience as we drive increased loyalty from our guests and continuously improve the value proposition of our advance commitment products. These investments are also expected to drive strong financial returns for our shareholders. The plan includes the installation of 19 new or replacement lifts across 14 of our resorts that collectively will increase lift capacity in those lift locations by more than 60% and a transformational lift-served terrain expansion at Keystone, as well as additional projects that will be announced in December 2021 and March 2022. All of the projects in the plan are subject to regulatory approvals. "We expect our capital plan for calendar year 2022 will be approximately $315 million to $325 million, excluding any real estate related capital or reimbursable investments. This is approximately $150 million above our typical annual capital plan, based on inflation and previous additions for acquisitions, and includes approximately $20 million of incremental spending to complete the one-time capital plans associated with the Peak Resorts and Triple Peaks acquisitions. Given our recent financings and strong liquidity, the outlook for our business driven by the growth of our advance commitment strategy, and the tax benefit in 2022 from additional accelerated depreciation on U.S. investments, we believe this is the right time for our Company to make a significant investment in the guest experience at our resorts and expect this one-time increase in discretionary investments will drive an attractive return for our shareholders. Additional details associated with our calendar year 2022 capital plan can be found in our capital press release issued on September 23, 2021. We also intend to return our capital spending to our typical long-term plan in our calendar year 2023 capital plan, with the potential for reduced spending given the number of projects we would complete in calendar year 2022. We will be providing further detail on our calendar year 2022 capital plan in December 2021." Return of Capital Commenting on the Company's return of capital, Katz said, "The Company plans to exit the waiver period under the VHI Credit Agreement effective October 31, 2021, reinstating the required quarterly compliance with our financial maintenance covenants beginning with the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. We are also pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has reinstated our quarterly dividend by declaring a cash dividend on Vail Resorts' common stock of $0.88 per share, payable on October 22, 2021 to shareholders of record on October 5, 2021. This dividend payment equates to 50% of pre-pandemic levels and reflects our continued confidence in the strong free cash flow generation and stability of our business model despite the ongoing risks associated with COVID-19. Our Board of Directors will continue to closely monitor the economic and public health outlook on a quarterly basis to assess the level of our quarterly dividend going forward." Guidance Commenting on guidance for fiscal 2022, Katz said, "As we head into fiscal 2022, we are encouraged by the robust demand from our guests, the strength of our advance commitment product sales and our continued focus on enhancing the guest experience while maintaining our cost discipline. Our guidance for net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. is estimated to be between $278 million and $349 million for fiscal 2022. We estimate Resort Reported EBITDA for fiscal 2022 will be between $785 million and $835 million. We estimate Resort EBITDA Margin for fiscal 2022 to be approximately 32.1%, using the midpoint of the guidance range, which is negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 impacts associated with Australia in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 and the anticipated slower recovery in international visitation and group/conference business. We estimate Real Estate Reported EBITDA for fiscal 2022 to be between negative $6 million and $0 million. The guidance assumes normal weather conditions, a continuation of the current economic environment and no material impacts associated with COVID-19 for the 2021/2022 North American ski season or the 2022 Australian ski season other than an expected slower recovery for international visitation, which is expected to have a disproportionate impact at Whistler Blackcomb, and group/conference business, which is expected to have a disproportionate impact in our Lodging segment. At Whistler Blackcomb, we estimate the upcoming winter season will generate approximately $27 million lower Resort Reported EBITDA relative to the comparable period in fiscal 2019, primarily driven by the anticipated reduction in international visitation. "Fiscal 2022 guidance includes an expectation that the first quarter of fiscal 2022 will generate net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. between $156 million and $136 million and Resort Reported EBITDA between negative $118 million and negative $106 million. We estimate the negative impacts of COVID-19 in Australia and the associated limitations and restrictions, including the current lockdowns, will have a negative Resort Reported EBITDA impact of approximately $41 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 as compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2020. "There continues to be uncertainty regarding the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on our business results in fiscal year 2022, including any response to changing COVID-19 guidance and regulations by the various governmental bodies that regulate our operations and resort communities, as well as changes in consumer behavior resulting from COVID-19, which are not factored into the guidance and could negatively impact it. The guidance assumes an exchange rate of $0.80 between the Canadian Dollar and U.S. Dollar related to the operations of Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and an exchange rate of $0.74 between the Australian Dollar and U.S. Dollar related to the operations of Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham in Australia." The following table reflects the forecasted guidance range for the Company's fiscal 2022 first quarter ending October 31, 2021 and full year ending July 31, 2022, for Reported EBITDA (after stock-based compensation expense) and reconciles net (loss) income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. guidance to such Reported EBITDA guidance. Fiscal 2022 Guidance Fiscal 2022 Guidance (In thousands) (In thousands) For the Three Months Ending For the Year Ending October 31, 2021 (6) July 31, 2022 (6) Low End High End Low End High End Range Range Range Range Net (loss) income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. $ (156,000) $ (136,000) $ 278,000 $ 349,000 Net (loss) income attributable to noncontrolling interests (3,000) (7,000) 24,000 18,000 Net (loss) income (159,000) (143,000) 302,000 367,000 (Benefit) provision for income taxes (1) (60,000) (54,000) 82,000 100,000 (Loss) income before income taxes (219,000) (197,000) 384,000 467,000 Depreciation and amortization 63,000 61,000 250,000 238,000 Interest expense, net 41,000 38,000 150,000 142,000 Other (2) (5,000) (8,000) (5,000) (12,000) Total Reported EBITDA $ (120,000) $ (106,000) $ 779,000 $ 835,000 Mountain Reported EBITDA (3) $ (122,000) $ (110,000) $ 766,000 $ 814,000 Lodging Reported EBITDA (4) 3,000 5,000 16,000 24,000 Resort Reported EBITDA (5) (118,000) (106,000) 785,000 835,000 Real Estate Reported EBITDA (2,000) — (6,000) — Total Reported EBITDA $ (120,000) $ (106,000) $ 779,000 $ 835,000 (1) The (benefit) provision for income taxes may be impacted by excess tax benefits primarily resulting from vesting and exercises of equity awards. Our estimated (benefit) provision for income taxes does not include the impact, if any, of unknown future exercises of employee equity awards, which could have a material impact given that a significant portion of our awards are in-the-money. (2) Our guidance includes certain known changes in the fair value of the contingent consideration based solely on the passage of time and resulting impact on present value. Guidance excludes any change based upon, among other things, financial projections including long-term growth rates for Park City, which such change may be material. Separately, the intercompany loan associated with the Whistler Blackcomb transaction requires foreign currency remeasurement to Canadian dollars, the functional currency of Whistler Blackcomb. Our guidance excludes any forward looking change related to foreign currency gains or losses on the intercompany loans, which such change may be material. (3) Mountain Reported EBITDA also includes approximately $5 million and $21 million of stock-based compensation for the three months ending October 31, 2021 and the year ending July 31, 2022, respectively. (4) Lodging Reported EBITDA also includes approximately $1 million and $4 million of stock-based compensation for the three months ending October 31, 2021 and the year ending July 31, 2022, respectively. (5) The Company provides Reported EBITDA ranges for the Mountain and Lodging segments, as well as for the two combined. The low and high of the expected ranges provided for the Mountain and Lodging segments, while possible, do not sum to the high or low end of the Resort Reported EBITDA range provided because we do not expect or assume that we will hit the low or high end of both ranges. (6) Guidance estimates are predicated on an exchange rate of $0.80 between the Canadian Dollar and U.S. Dollar, related to the operations of Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and an exchange rate of $0.74 between the Australian Dollar and U.S. Dollar, related to the operations of our Australian ski areas. Earnings Conference Call The Company will conduct a conference call today at 5:00 p.m. eastern time to discuss the financial results. The call will be webcast and can be accessed at www.vailresorts.com in the Investor Relations section, or dial (888) 204-4368 (U.S. and Canada) or (323) 994-2093 (international). A replay of the conference call will be available two hours following the conclusion of the conference call through October 7, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. To access the replay, dial (888) 203-1112 (U.S. and Canada) or (719) 457-0820 (international), pass code 8866986. The conference call will also be archived at www.vailresorts.com. About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. Vail Resorts' subsidiaries operate 37 destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham in Australia; Stowe, Mount Snow, and Okemo in Vermont; Hunter Mountain in New York; Mount Sunapee, Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania; Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine and Mad River in Ohio; Hidden Valley and Snow Creek in Missouri; Wilmot in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and Paoli Peaks in Indiana. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com. Forward-Looking Statements Certain statements discussed in this press release and on the conference call, other than statements of historical information, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including the statements regarding fiscal 2022 and the first quarter of fiscal 2022 performance (including the assumptions related thereto), including our expected net income and Resort Reported EBITDA; our expectations regarding our liquidity; the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on, among other things, our operations; expectations related to our season pass products; our expectations regarding our ancillary lines of business; the payment of dividends and our expectations regarding electing out of the temporary waiver period under the VHI Credit Agreement; and our calendar year 2022 and calendar year 2023 capital plan and expectations related thereto. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 23rd, 2021

Darden (DRI) Stock Up on Q1 Earnings Beat & Upbeat View

Darden's (DRI) first-quarter fiscal 2022 results benefit from solid blended same-restaurant sales and new store openings. Darden Restaurants, Inc. DRI reported impressive first-quarter fiscal 2022 results, with earnings and revenues surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The bottom line beat the consensus mark for the 11th straight quarter and the top line outpaced the same for the third consecutive quarter. Moreover, the metrics increased on a year-over-year basis. The company also raised its 2022 outlook. Following the robust results and an upbeat view, the company’s shares moved up 3.8% in pre-market trading session.Earnings & RevenuesDuring the fiscal first quarter, the company reported adjusted earnings of $1.76 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings of $1.63 by 8%. In the prior-year quarter, the company had reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of 56 cents.Total sales during the quarter came in at $ 2,306 million, beating the consensus mark of $2,238 million by 3%. Moreover, sales increased 51% from the prior-year quarter’s level on solid blended same-restaurant sales of 47.5%. This along with the opening of 34 net new restaurants added to the positives.Darden Restaurants, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise  Darden Restaurants, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Darden Restaurants, Inc. Quote Sales by SegmentsDarden reports business under four segments — Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining that includes The Capital Grille and Eddie V's as well as Other Business.During the fiscal first quarter, sales at Olive Garden increased 38.3% year over year to $1,090.4 million. Comps in the segment rose 37.1% year over year compared with 61.9% growth reported in the previous quarter.Sales at Fine Dining increased 104.4% year over year to $168.8 million. Comps in the segment increased 84.6% year over year compared with 143.6% growth reported in the previous quarter.Sales at Other Business increased 71.4% year over year to $479.7 million. Moreover, comps in the Other Business increased 65.8% year over year compared with 160.7% growth reported in the previous quarter.At LongHorn Steakhouse, sales were up 50.5% year over year to $567.1 million. Comps in the segment surged 47% year over year compared with 107.5% growth reported in the previous quarter.Operating Highlights & Net IncomeIn the fiscal first quarter, total operating costs and expenses increased 37.7% year over year to $2,025.2 million. The upside was primarily driven by a rise in food and beverage costs, restaurant expenses and labor costs.Balance SheetAs of Aug 29, 2021, cash and cash equivalents came in at $947.8 million compared with $1,214.7 million as of May 30, 2021.Inventories during the fiscal first quarter came in at $210.9 million compared with $190.8 in the previous quarter. Long-term debt as of Aug 29, 2021, was $936.7 million compared with $929.8 million as of May 30, 2021.During the fiscal first quarter, Darden’s board of director repurchased approximately 1.3 million shares of its common stock worth approximately $186 million. At the end of first-quarter fiscal 2021, the company had approximately $277 million remaining under the $500-million repurchase authorization. Management sanctioned to repurchase an additional $750 million of its outstanding common stock, thereby bringing the total remaining repurchase authorization to approximately $1 billion.Meanwhile, the company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.10 per share. The dividend will be payable on Nov 1, 2021, to shareholders of record as of Oct 8, 2021.Updated Fiscal 2022 OutlookFor fiscal 2022, the company raised its sales expectations to approximately $9.4-$9.6 billion versus the previous forecast of approximately $9.2-$9.5 billion. The company expects total sales growth in the range of 7-9% from pre-COVID levels. Further, same-restaurant sales are expected to increase in the range of 27-30% on a year-over-year basis.EBITDA for fiscal 2022 is anticipated in the range of $1.54-$1.60 billion compared with the previous projection of $1.50-$1.59 billion. EPS from continuing operations are anticipated in the band of $7.25-$7.60 compared with the previous guidance of $7.00-$7.50. Meanwhile, effective tax rate for fiscal 2022 is anticipated in the range of 13-14%.The company expects to open 35-40 net new restaurants and projects total capital spending of $375-$425 million in fiscal 2022.Zacks Rank & Key PicksDarden currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some better-ranked stocks in the same space include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. CMG, Jack In The Box Inc. JACK and The Wendys Company WEN, each currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Chipotle’s 2021 earnings are expected to surge 137.5%.Jack in the Box has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 26.4%, on average.Wendys has a three-five-year EPS growth rate of 14%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>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 Jack In The Box Inc. (JACK): Free Stock Analysis Report Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG): Free Stock Analysis Report Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report The Wendys Company (WEN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) Down 0.5% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues. A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Advance Auto Parts (AAP). Shares have lost about 0.5% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Advance Auto Parts due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts. Advance Auto Parts’ Q2 Earnings TopAdvance Auto Parts reported adjusted earnings of $3.4 per share for second-quarter 2021 (ended Jul 17, 2021), jumping 15.3% from the prior-year figure. The reported figure also beat Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.95 on higher-than-expected comps growth. For the second quarter, comparable store sales witnessed 5.8% growth as against the consensus mark of a fall of 1.1%.Advance Auto Parts generated net revenues of $2,649.4 million, marginally topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,614 million. Moreover, the revenue figure increased 5.9% from the year-ago reported figure.Adjusted operating income went up 7% year over year to $302 million. Adjusted selling, general and administrative expenses totaled $926.4 million compared with the $817.7 million witnessed in the year-ago period.Financial PositionAdvance Auto Parts had cash and cash equivalents of $809.3 million as of Jul 17, 2021 compared with $834.9 million as of Jan 2, 2021. Total long-term debt was $1,033.7 million as of Jul 17, 2021, slightly up from the $1,033 million as of Jan 2, 2021.For the reported quarter, operating cash flow was $446.3 million compared with the year-ago quarter’s of $437.3 million. Free cash flow (FCF) for the second quarter came in at $387.6 million compared with the year-ago quarter’s FCF of $380.2 million.Dividend & Share RepurchaseOn Aug 10, Advance Auto Parts’ board approved a cash dividend of $1 per share. The dividend would be payable on Oct 1 to all common shareholders of record as of Sep 17, 2021. It also approved an additional buyback program of $1 billion. During the quarter, the company repurchased around 2 million shares for $393 million at an average price of $197.52 per share.Advance Auto Parts returned a record $457.9 million to shareholders through buybacks and dividend during the reported quarter. At the end of second-quarter 2021, the company had $868.8 million remaining under the share-repurchase program.Store UpdateAs of Jul 17, it operated 4,748 stores and 215 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. It also serves 1,306 independently-owned Carquest-branded stores across these locations, in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, and British Virgin Islands.Guidance for 2021Advance Auto Parts has updated the full-year 2021 view. It now projects full-year net sales of $10.6-$10.8 billion, up from the previous forecast of $10.4-$10.6 billion. Comparable store sales growth and adjusted operating income margin are now envisioned in the band of 6-8% and 9.2-9.4%, respectively, higher from the previous outlook of 4-6% and 9-9.2%, respectively.The company expects FCF of minimum $700 million, up from the previous forecast of minimum $575 million. However, it intends to open 80-120 stores this year, lower than the previous projection 100-150 stores.How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?It turns out, fresh estimates flatlined during the past month.VGM ScoresAt this time, Advance Auto Parts has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a C. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.OutlookAdvance Auto Parts has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>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 Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Urban Outfitters (URBN) Down 11.6% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

Urban Outfitters (URBN) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues. A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Urban Outfitters (URBN). Shares have lost about 11.6% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Urban Outfitters due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts. Urban Outfitters Q2 Earnings & Sales Beat, Rise Y/YUrban Outfitters reported sturdy second-quarter fiscal 2022 results wherein the top and the bottom line outshone the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved on a year-over-year basis. We note that sales across the company’s all brands and segments grew year over year.Deeper InsightThe company delivered earnings per share of $1.28 that beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 79 cents. The bottom line improved significantly from 35 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter and 61 cents earned in the quarter ended Jul 31, 2019.In the reported quarter, net sales of $1,157.7 million soared 44.1% year over year and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,080 million. Also, the metric grew 20.3% from the figure reported in the quarter ended Jul 31, 2019. Brandwise, net sales were up 36.3% year over year to $441.6 million at Urban Outfitters, 52.7% to $450.6 million at Anthropologie Group and 40.3% to $249.7 million at Free People. Menus & Venues’ net sales amounted to $5.9 million, significantly up from $1.6 million recorded in the prior-year quarter. Nuuly, the subscription-based rental service for women’s clothes contributed $9.9 million to net sales, reflecting an increase 110.6% from the year-ago period’s level.Segmentwise, net sales at the company’s Retail Segment surged 43.8% year over year to $1,089 million while the same at the Wholesale Segment climbed 43.1% to $58.8 million. Comparable Retail segment net sales rose 40% year over year and 22% from the same-quarter fiscal 2020 level on account of double-digit sales growth across the digital channel. Growth was partly offset by low single-digit negative retail store sales on lower store traffic. Robust consumer demand in majority of the product categories, mainly apparel, as well as solid execution drove double-digit retail segment comps across all brands. When compared to the quarter ended Jul 31, 2019, comparable Retail segment net sales jumped 53% at the Free People Group, 14% at the Anthropologie Group and 20% at Urban Outfitters.An Insight Into MarginsIn the quarter under review, gross profit soared 82.9% year over year to $435.3 million from the year-ago quarter’s level. Also, gross margin expanded 800 basis points (bps) year over year and 478 bps from the second-quarter fiscal 2020 tally to 37.6%. Record low merchandise markdown rates in the Retail segment coupled with leveraged store occupancy expenses on higher penetration of the digital channel in Retail segment net sales aided the gross margin.Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses shot up 59.8% year over year and 13.3% from the second-quarter fiscal 2020 level to $269.4 million. As a percentage of net sales, the metric increased 230 bps year over year while the same decreased 140 bps from the fiscal 2020 figure to 23.3%.The company recorded an operating income of $165.9 million, significantly up from $69.4 million recorded in the prior-year quarter and $78.1 million reported in second-quarter fiscal 2019. As a rate of sales, operating margin expanded 570 bps year over year and 620 bps from the quarter ended Jul 31, 2019 to 14.3%.Other Financial DetailsUrban Outfitters ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $464.8 million and total shareholders’ equity of $1,669.4 million. As of Jul 31, 2021, total inventory increased 37.3% year over year to $483.1 million.This Philadelphia, PA-based company generated net cash of $195.2 million from operating activities during the first half of fiscal 2022. For fiscal 2022, management projects capital expenditures of nearly $285 million, mainly related to expanded distribution and fulfillment capacity to boost digital growth and store launches.Urban Outfitters did not buy back shares in the first six months of fiscal 2022. It repurchased and subsequently retired 0.5 million shares for roughly $7 million in fiscal 2021. As of Jul 31, 2021, the company had 25.9 million shares remaining under its share repurchase programs.OutlookManagement highlighted that comp sales in August at the Free People and Anthropologie brands are almost in line with the reported quarter’s levels while Urban Outfitters’ brand comps slowed down in mid-July. The company expects retail segment comps for the Urban Outfitters’ brand in the fiscal third quarter to moderate by high single-digits. August to date, the overall Urban Outfitters retail segment comp sales are mid-teens positive.Urban Outfitters projects the fiscal third quarter to continue reflecting a healthy sales improvement in comparison to fiscal 2020. It believes that retail segment comp sales will grow in mid teens while the wholesale segment sales are likely to decline at a rate similar to that of the fiscal second quarter. These will result in the overall company sales in low double-digits.How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?It turns out, estimates review have trended upward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted 19.89% due to these changes.VGM ScoresAt this time, Urban Outfitters has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a D. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.OutlookEstimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Urban Outfitters has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>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 Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

How Bizarre

“History never repeats itself, but it rhymes!” -Mark Twain Dear fellow investors, Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The group, OMC, made a very catchy song and video back in the 1990s called “How Bizarre.” It does a pretty good job of explaining today’s stock market. Brother Pele’s in the back, sweet Zina’s […] “History never repeats itself, but it rhymes!” -Mark Twain Dear fellow investors, if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The group, OMC, made a very catchy song and video back in the 1990s called “How Bizarre.” It does a pretty good job of explaining today’s stock market. Brother Pele’s in the back, sweet Zina’s in the front Cruisin’ down the freeway in the hot, hot sun Suddenly red-blue lights flash us from behind Loud voice booming, “Please step out onto the line” Pele preaches words of comfort, Zina just hides her eyes Policeman taps his shades, “Is that a Chevy ’69?” How bizarre How bizarre, how bizarre Let us share some of the “bizarre red-blue lights flashing” in the S&P 500 Index: Bank of America Merrill Lynch mathematical model predicts -.8% annual 10-year returns Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. mathematical model predicts -6% real seven-year annualized large cap stock losses S&P 500 Index price-to-sales ratio: S&P 500 weighting in 5x price-to-sales stocks: Amazon has 55 analysts and 55 buy recommendations: Ooh, baby (Ooh, baby) It’s making me crazy (It’s making me crazy) Everytime I look around Everytime I look around (Everytime I look around) Everytime I look around It’s in my face The Financial Euphoria Episode “Every time I look around” this financial euphoria episode is “making me crazy,” because of how long it has lasted, how much the math tied to its carnage makes sense and because the anecdotal evidence has been visible for some time. We are channeling our inner Alan Greenspan, who called the tech bubble “Irrational Exuberance” in late 1996, only to look foolish for nearly four more years. As Art Cashin said recently on CNBC, the Y2K technology spending explosion elongated the tech bubble for another two years. Is the COVID-19 pandemic any different in elongating this euphoria episode? However, back then you needed to be like Zina and “hide her eyes.” Everyone who has hid their eyes, plugged their nose and over-paid for glam tech and high price-to-sales stocks have been rewarded. The similarities or rhymes with 1999-2000 are “in my face.” The thing that protected the singer from getting a ticket was his super-hot red 1969 Chevy convertible. Today, reality is being pushed back by the historically low interest rates. Warren Buffett explained in his May annual meeting that low interest rates have eliminated the gravitational pull on price-to-earnings and price-to-sales ratios. The low rates make expensive stocks look like the red ‘69 Chevy convertible. Inflation is rearing its ugly head and it looks like a 1970s redo as the chart above shows. Ironically, this is not far from when OMC made “How Bizarre.” Overpricing Treasuries relative to inflation was a curse in the 1970s. What will stop it from being a curse this time? Ring master steps out and says “the elephants left town” People jump and jive, but the clowns have stuck around TV news and camera, there’s choppers in the sky Marines, police, reporters ask where, for and why The Bizarre Stock Market You see, the clowns who damaged investors in 1999 have “stuck around.” George Gilder had a huge newsletter following in the late 1990s and investors seemed to hang on every recommendation. Motley Fool (whose Coxcomb trademark is a clown hat) blasted away on radio and in their writing. Unmentioned tech stock research analysts substituted genuine research with investment banking customer recommendations. Gilder has been replaced in 2021 by Ark disruption selections. Motley Fool has been reborn and “marines, police (SEC), reporters ask, where, for and why!” These current “bizarre” sets of experts are bound and determined to do to millennials what the prior group did to boomers. They bludgeoned boomers in the 2000-2003 bear market with the AOL chat room darlings. The millennials have Reddit and Robinhood to thank this time for the chat rooms and future carnage. Jumped into the Chevy and headed for big lights Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights The nice thing about this episode of financial euphoria is that you can buy the rights to own common stocks which are outside this bizarre rhyme of the year 2000. Nobody wants oil stocks because of a big move toward ESG investing (which is also pumping up tech stock valuations). Oil prices have gone up and investors are still afraid to buy in. We view Continental Resources (CLR) like the ’69 Chevy. Folks don’t have the guts to bet on a rise in recurrent inflation and higher interest rates. Lastly, everyone forgets how much value stomped growth from 2000-2003 when these “bizarre” circumstances existed, and the “red-blue lights” were flashing. “Every time I (we) look around,” we see buyers of expensive stocks and, as always, fear stock market failure. Warm regards, William Smead The information contained in this missive represents Smead Capital Management’s opinions, and should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice and are subject to change. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Bill Smead, CIO, wrote this article. It should not be assumed that investing in any securities mentioned above will or will not be profitable. Portfolio composition is subject to change at any time and references to specific securities, industries and sectors in this letter are not recommendations to purchase or sell any particular security. Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risk. In preparing this document, SCM has relied upon and assumed, without independent verification, the accuracy and completeness of all information available from public sources. A list of all recommendations made by Smead Capital Management within the past twelve-month period is available upon request. ©2021 Smead Capital Management, Inc. All rights reserved. This Missive and others are available at www.smeadcap.com. Updated on Sep 22, 2021, 8:52 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 22nd, 2021

Weyerhaeuser to pay one-time special dividend, sets new $1 billion stock buyback program

Shares of Weyerhaeuser Co. tacked on 0.4% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the real estate investment trust focused on timberlands and the manufacture of forest products announced a one-time special dividend and a new $1 billion stock repurchase program. The interim supplemental dividend of 50 cents a share is payable to shareholders of record on Oct. 5 on Oct. 19. That's on top of the company's regular quarterly dividend of 17 cents a share. At Tuesday's stock closing price of $35.26, and including the special dividend, the new annual dividend rate would imply a dividend yield of 3.35%, which compares with the yield for the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF of 3.01% and the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.38%. The new stock buyback program represents about 3.8% of Weyerhaeuser's market capitalization of $26.44 billion as Tuesday's closing. Separately, the company said it will invest $1 billion to grow its timberlands portfolio by the end of 2025. The stock has edged up 5.2% year to date through Tuesday, while the REIT ETF has run up 26.6% and the S&P 500 has advanced 15.9%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchSep 22nd, 2021

Equity Bancshares (EQBK) Initiates Dividend: Is It Worth Buying?

Equity Bancshares (EQBK) announces a dividend of 8 cents per share for the first time in the company's history. Equity Bancshares, Inc. EQBK has announced a dividend for the first time. The company’s board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share. The dividend will be paid out on Oct 14 to shareholders of record as of Sep 30.The company’s chairman and CEO, Brad Elliott, stated, “We’re pleased to declare a dividend to our stockholders for the first time in our Company’s history. We have been evaluating this as our Company and profits have each continued to grow We appreciate the support of our stockholders and the ongoing efforts of our Equity Bank teams throughout our four-state footprint to continue to deliver expertise, innovation, and local service to our customer base.”In addition to the dividend announcement, the company announced that its board authorized a share repurchase program to buy back up to 1 million shares, beginning Oct 29, 2021, and concluding Oct 28, 2022.Notably, Equity Bancshares has delivered a solid performance in the first half of this year. Its revenues grew 8.1% year over year. Net income available to common shareholders at the end of the first six months of 2021 was $30.2 million, up from $2.9 million a year ago.Thus, supported by earnings strength, the company is expected to be able to enhance shareholder value in the future through sustained share buybacks and dividends.So far this year, shares of the company have gained 40.6%, outperforming the industry’s growth of 28.2%. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Currently, Equity Bancshares carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in this stock can have a look at its fundamentals and growth prospects mentioned below.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Revenues: Equity Bancshares’ revenues witnessed a six-year (2015-2020) compound annual growth rate of more than 20%. The upward trend is expected to continue in the near term. In 2021 and 2022, the company’s top line is projected to grow 7.8% and 9.3%, respectively.Earnings: Over the past three-five years, the company’s earnings witnessed growth of 8.2%. Its projected earnings growth of 167.4% for the current year (higher than the industry average of 41.6%) ensures rewards for investors in the near term.Equity Bancshares has an impressive earnings surprise history. Its earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 43.1%.Return on Equity (ROE): Equity Bancshares’ ROE currently stands at 11.86%, which compares slightly favorably with the industry average of 11.40%. This highlights that the company utilizes cash more efficiently than peers.Valuation: Equity Bancshares stock seems to be trading at a discount when compared with the broader industry. It currently has a price/earnings (F1) ratio of 8.99, which is below the industry average of 10.46. Also, its price/book ratio of 1.05 compares slightly favorably with the industry’s 1.09.Dividend Announcements by Other BanksLast month, several finance companies announced dividend hikes.TFS Financial Corporation’s TFSL board approved a 0.9% increase in the company’s quarterly dividend to 28.25 cents per share. Spirit of Texas Bancshares, Inc. STXB announced a 33.3% hike in dividend to 12 cents per share.Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. VRTS also increased its regular quarterly cash dividend. The company announced a dividend of $1.50 per share, representing an 83% hike from the prior payout. 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 Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. (VRTS): Free Stock Analysis Report TFS Financial Corporation (TFSL): Free Stock Analysis Report Equity Bancshares, Inc. (EQBK): Free Stock Analysis Report Spirit of Texas Bancshares, Inc. (STXB): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Veeva Systems" (VEEV) Cloud Applications Get Adopted by Emmes

Veeva Systems' (VEEV) Development Cloud applications to aid in connected drug development. Veeva Systems Inc. VEEV recently announced that Emmes is standardizing on Veeva Development Cloud applications throughout functional areas to drive better speed and compliance. Emmes is a global full service clinical research organization ("CRO") committed toward aiding private sector, government, non-profit and academic partners fulfill their biopharmaceutical development and human health goals.Emmes will utilize applications in Vault Clinical, Vault Quality, and Vault Safety suites to build a technology foundation to offer clinical research and pharmacovigilance services to its customers worldwide.This announcement is likely to provide a boost to Veeva Systems' Veeva Development Cloud products business. The Veeva Development Cloud product suite is a component of the broader unified suite of cloud-based enterprise content and data management applications — Veeva Vault.Significance of the AdoptionThis partnership will enable Emmes to simplify its work process, enhance visibility and oversight, and run quicker, more cost-effective research programs.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPer management at Veeva Systems, both the companies share the common vision of connected drug development. In fact, both the companies will aid in advancing the industry in terms of better partnership and speed throughout the product lifecycle.It is worth mentioning that Veeva Development Cloud eliminates system and process silos, thereby helping companies to focus on innovation and advance product delivery to patients.Market ProspectsPer a report by Emergen Research, the global healthcare cloud computing market was estimated to be $25.90 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to reach $90.46 billion by 2027 witnessing a CAGR of 17.9%. Factors like rising demand for cloud technology in healthcare facilities, increasing demand for cost-effective healthcare services and a shift toward value-based payments are expected to drive the market. Given the market potential, this announcement comes at an opportune time.Recent DevelopmentsThis month, the company announced that the Veeva Vault Clinical Operations Suite has been selected by B. Braun SE (B. Braun) with the aim of updating study management and payments to partner sites. Veeva MedTech’s industry expertise and clinical applications are likely to provide B. Braun the technology foundation to simplify studies throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.In August, Veeva Systems acquired a renowned provider of accredited GxP training for life sciences, Learnaboutgmp. The combination of Veeva Vault Training with Learnaboutgmp's robust content will provide companies with a more efficient end-to-end training solution to achieve complete GxP compliance.Price PerformanceShares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 9.2% on a year-to-date basis against the industry’s decline of 3.9%.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Henry Schein, Inc. HSIC, Envista Holdings Corporation NVST and Merit Medical Systems, Inc. MMSI, each currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Henry Schein’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 13.9%.Envista Holdings’ long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 27.4%.Merit Medical’s long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 13.6%. 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 Henry Schein, Inc. (HSIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (MMSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Veeva Systems Inc. (VEEV): Free Stock Analysis Report Envista Holdings Corporation (NVST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

The U.S. Is Losing the Global Race to Decide the Future of Money—and It Could Doom the Almighty Dollar

"I don’t think the U.S. is aware there is a race" In cities across China, the country’s central bank has begun rolling out the e-renminbi—an all-digital version of its paper currency that can be accessed and accepted by merchants and consumers without an internet connection, credit or even a bank account. Already having conducted more than $5 billion in e-renminbi transactions, China has opened its digital currency up to foreigners. Next year, when Beijing hosts the Winter Olympic Games, authorities are expecting to let the world test drive its technological achievement. The U.S., by contrast, is having trouble even concluding its multi-year exploration into the possibility of an e-dollar. In fact, an upcoming Federal Reserve paper on a potential U.S. digital currency won’t take a position on whether the central bank of the United States will, or even should, create one. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Instead, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in recent testimony to Congress, this paper will “begin a major public consultation on central bank digital currencies…” (Once planned for July, the paper’s release has since been moved to September.) Once the world leader in digital payments and technological innovation, the U.S. is being outpaced by its top global adversary as well as much of the industrialized and the developing world. The Bahamas recently announced the integration of its digital Sand Dollar into a stock exchange, while Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa are moving forward with the world’s first cross-border central bank digital currency exchange program led by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is known as the central bank of central banks. Such developments have been somewhat outshined by El Salvador’s recent decision to make bitcoin a legally accepted currency, which few expect to make significant impact in the payment space. But outside of the cryptocurrency space, nations around the globe are making significant strides in the development of the digital future of money — supported by governments and backed by powerful central banks. Leadership in this space will have implications for more than just payments: geopolitical ambitions, economic growth, financial inclusion and the very nature of money could all be dictated by who leads the charge and how. “I don’t think the U.S. is aware there is a race” Digital currencies are the next wave in the “evolution of the nature of money in the digital economy,” Hyun Song Shin, economic adviser and co-leader of the Monetary and Economic Department at the Bank for International Settlements, tells TIME. As more of our world migrates from physical brick-and-mortar to wireless and cloud-based, the way we pay for things is changing as well. A central bank digital currency would operate just like cash, but instead of having to carry it in a physical wallet or put it into a bank account, it would be stored and accessed digitally. Not only could U.S.-backed digital currency facilitate easier, modern banking, it could prove vital in protecting American international influence. Late to the party, the U.S. is “stepping up its research and public engagement” on digital currencies, the Federal Reserve says, including forming working groups on cryptocurrency and other kinds of digital money, and experimenting with technology that would be central to producing a digital dollar. The Fed’s regional Boston branch is overseeing these efforts with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on what’s known as Project Hamilton. But the path towards a digital U.S. dollar has met many challenges, skeptics and outright opponents. All while China, and other countries, push forward. Lagging behind the world Just how far behind is the U.S. in the development of a central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC)? According to global accounting firm PwC’s inaugural CBDC global index, which tracks various CBDCs’ project status from research to development and production, the U.S. ranks 18th in the world. America’s potential efforts trail countries like Sweden, South Korea and China but also countries like the Bahamas, Ecuador, Eastern Caribbean and Turkey. China, with its government’s hyperfocus on maintaining control and overseeing data, has been working to develop a CBDC for almost a decade. And the U.S. is probably not close to catching up. Analysts like Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff, who study monetary policy and digital currencies, estimate that the U.S. could be at least a decade away from issuing a digital dollar backed by the Fed. In that time, Rogoff argued in an op-ed earlier this year, the modernization of China’s financial markets and reduction or removal of its currency controls “could deal the dollar’s status a painful blow.” Read More: How China’s Digital Currency Could Challenge the Almighty Dollar China has already largely moved away from coin and paper currency; Chinese consumers have racked up more than $41 trillion in mobile transactions, according to a recent research paper from the Brookings Institution, with the lion’s share (92%) going through digital payment processors WeChat Pay and Alipay. “The reason you could say the U.S. is behind in the digital currency race is I don’t think the U.S. is aware there is a race,” Yaya Fanusie, an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and a former CIA analyst, tells TIME in an interview. “A lot of policymakers are looking at it and concerned…but even with that I just don’t think there’s this sense of urgency because the risk from China is not an immediate threat.” Not only is the U.S. running significantly behind in the development of a CBDC, we are trailing the rest of the world in digital payments broadly. Kenya, for example, has almost fully digitized its economy through its digital currency and payment system MPESA, making transactions free and almost instantaneous. India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) allows users to transfer money instantly between bank accounts with no cost. Brazil’s PIX facilitates the transfer of money between people and companies in up to 10 seconds. All of these programs work through and are overseen by the countries’ central banks rather than commercial banks or other private companies. What’s holding the U.S. back? Critics argue CBDCs are simply a solution in search of a problem and potentially harmful. Many see support from the banking sector as vital to the success of a digital U.S. dollar, however commercial banks in the U.S. have taken a largely adversarial stance. “The proposed benefits of CBDCs to international competitiveness and financial inclusion are theoretical, difficult to measure and may be elusive,” the American Bankers Association said in a statement at a recent congressional hearing on digital currencies. “While the negative consequences for monetary policy, financial stability, financial intermediation, the payments system, and the customers and communities that banks serve could be severe.” The Bank Policy Institute, which lobbies on behalf of the country’s largest banks, went so far as to argue that neither the Fed nor the U.S. Treasury even has the constitutional authority to issue a digital currency. Commercial banks dominate the U.S. financial system to such a degree that unraveling them would be ostensibly impossible, experts say, they also would be a powerful adversary. Former Goldman Sachs managing director Nomi Prins notes banks have clearly seen the writing on the wall. “Banks are centralized middlemen with respect to financial transactions,” Prins, author of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged The World, tells TIME. “The more popular cryptocurrency or digital currency becomes, the fewer profits the banking system can reap from traditional services and verification methods that allow them to hold, take or use their customers’ money, and the more financial power they stand to lose as a result.” Even disruptive financial technologies like PayPal, Venmo and Zelle work through the banking system, rather than around it, thanks in large part to the banks’ power. Central bankers also generally have concluded that commercial banks are a necessary piece of a potential CBDC ecosystem, thanks to their pre-existing regulatory guardrails and ability to move money. Read More: How Jay Powell’s Coronavirus Response Is Changing the Fed Forever Top policymakers at the Fed, including influential Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles, have joined the banking industry in arguing that a digital dollar “could pose significant and concrete risks” and that the potential benefits “are unclear.” Fed Governor Christopher Waller said in August he was “skeptical that a Federal Reserve CBDC would solve any major problem confronting the U.S. payment system,” in a recent speech he titled “CBDC: A Solution in Search of a Problem?” Further, there’s no central U.S. authority with direct oversight or responsibility for any of this. In addition to the Fed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Thrift Supervision, Financial Stability Oversight Council, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and the Office of Financial Research would all have some stake in the development of a digital currency backed by the central bank, to say nothing of state and regional authorities. “The U.S. has an active congressional debate, which is beneficial and very important,” Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard tells TIME in an interview. “But the U.S. also has a diffusion of regulatory responsibility with no single payments regulator at the federal level, which is not as helpful. That diffusion of responsibility is part of what creates the lags that our system is working through.” None of this exists in China where the Chinese Communist Party oversees the central bank, commercial banks and their regulators and is unconcerned with privacy. How a downgraded dollar could hamstring U.S. influence An American CBDC could have lasting geopolitical impact and curb a longstanding international effort to reduce reliance on the mighty U.S. dollar. “Why we should care about this is that the U.S. financial system is not intrinsically dominant,” Fanusie says. “Other countries, both allies and adversaries, are sincerely interested in finding ways to decrease their dependence on the dollar.” With the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve and primary funding currency, the U.S. can restrict access to funding from financial markets, limit countries’ ability to sell their natural resources and hinder or block individuals’ access to the banking sector. “Other countries, both allies and adversaries, are sincerely interested in finding ways to decrease their dependence on the dollar” While dollar dominance has rankled much of the world for decades, there has been no suitable replacement for the U.S., with its massive economy, sophisticated banking system and sprawling international presence. China is in the midst of a long-term push to simultaneously grow its financial markets and internationalize its currency. Both have the end goal of allowing China and its allies to limit the ability of the U.S. to enforce its will through economic actions like sanctions. Fanusie wrote in a January report that being the first major economy to roll out a digital currency is “part of China’s geopolitical ambitions.” However, the renminbi will not become the world’s reserve currency — at least, not any time soon. But what China has done by being in the forefront of CBDC development is put itself in position to take the lead on development and implementation of rules and regulations for digital currencies on a global scale. “While America led the global revolution in payments half a century ago with magnetic striped credit and debit cards, China is leading the new revolution in digital payments,” writes Brookings’ economic studies fellow Aaron Klein. Why should central banks offer digital currencies? Over the past decade, digital currencies, including cryptocurrency and “stablecoins,” have sprung up like weeds. Some purport to be just as safe as dollars, but are backed by questionable assets. In a crisis regulators worry they could fluctuate wildly in value or lose their value altogether. Having central banks, which are responsible for the printing and circulation of coins and paper money, issue digital currencies is in part a reaction to this private sector activity, Shin says, “accelerated by the potential encroachment of private digital currencies, and the need to preserve the role of money as a public good.” “The status quo is not an option” Notably, a U.S. digital currency could provide benefits to everyday people. It could increase financial inclusion and fix flaws in current payments systems, Shin adds, citing findings of a recent BIS study. For example, transferring money between U.S.-based bank accounts, even those held by the same person, can take days. The process can be even longer when crossing international borders. Credit and debit card transactions similarly don’t settle for days and come with significant fees for merchants, who sometimes pass them on to customers. CBDCs could grant universal access to the banking sector and quickly facilitate the distribution of paychecks and government funds, reducing the need for costly bank workarounds like check cashing and payday loans. Championing CBDCs Brainard has been pushing the Fed to move on a digital currency for years, but there was little urgency from others at the Fed or in Congress. Companies developing their own currencies, consumers investing in cryptocurrency and the COVID-19 pandemic making paper notes anathema to many Americans changed that. Before COVID-19, Facebook’s Libra project (now known as Diem) showed lawmakers and central bankers the potential for a private company to step in and fill the void by effectively minting its own currency that could be spent by users around the world. “The status quo is not an option,” Diem co-creator David Marcus said at the International Monetary Fund’s 2019 fall meeting. “Whether it’s Libra or something else, the world is going to change in a profound way.” Brainard, for one, has taken notice. “My own thinking is that stablecoins and related private sector initiatives are moving very rapidly, which makes it incumbent on us to move more rapidly,” she tells TIME. “That is why I have been pushing to advance outreach, cross-border engagement, and policy and technology research for several years now.” So-called stablecoins — unregulated digital currencies created by private companies that purport to represent dollars but are completely unregulated — have become a significant worry for lawmakers and shown the importance of considering tying currency to a central bank. “It’s getting harder and harder for community banks to compete for new customers when big tech companies can afford to spend billions on marketing and technology,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, tells TIME. “But many of these new ‘fintech’ products don’t come with the consumer protections, federal backing or customer service and relationships with the community that small banks and credit unions provide.” During a hearing on digital currencies in June, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, compared stablecoins to worthless “wildcat notes” that were issued by speculators in the 19th century. Her expert at that hearing, Lev Menand, an Academic Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, went further in his testimony, calling stablecoins “dangerous to both their users and … to the broader financial system.” With private companies pushing deeper into the digital currency space, rival countries seeking to seize leadership and a public that is moving further away from physical currency, the U.S. is facing a world in which it may not control or even lead the world’s payment systems. That would make the future of money look very different from the past......»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 21st, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Hold Onto Celanese (CE) Stock for Now

Celanese (CE) benefits from productivity actions, investments in high-return organic projects and synergies of acquisitions. Celanese Corporation CE is gaining from its productivity measures, investments in organic projects and strategic acquisitions amid certain headwinds including raw material cost inflation.Shares of this leading chemical and specialty materials maker are up 11.8% year to date compared with the 0.6% rise of its industry.Let’s find out why this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock is worth retaining at the moment. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research What’s Going in CE’s Favor?Celanese is benefiting from its productivity actions, investments in high-return organic projects and synergies of acquisitions. The company is also gaining from improving demand in most of its end markets.The company also remains focused on executing its productivity programs that include the implementation of a number of cost reduction capital projects. It achieved gross savings of $214 million from its productivity actions in 2020. Productivity actions are also expected to support to its margins in 2021.Celanese also continues to actively pursue acquisitions, which are providing it opportunities for additional growth, investment and synergies. The acquisitions of SO.F.TER., Nilit and Omni Plastics are expected to contribute to earnings expansion in the company's Engineered Materials segment. The Elotex acquisition also strengthened the company’s position in the vinyl acetate ethylene emulsions space. The buyout is expected to contribute to volumes in the Acetyl Chain segment. The recently-announced purchase of Exxon Mobil's Santoprene Business will broaden the company’s portfolio of engineered solutions.The company also continues to generate strong cash flows and is focused on boosting shareholders’ value. It returned $326 million to shareholders through dividend payouts and share repurchases during second-quarter 2021. It completed $500 million in share buybacks in first-half 2021 and expects to repurchase another $500 million in the second half.A Few ConcernsThe company faces headwinds from elevated raw material costs due to supply constraints as witnessed in the last reported quarter. It is expected to face sustained inflation across many key raw materials as well as supply chain costs in third-quarter 2021. Tight availability of resins, including nylon and glass fiber is expected to hike raw material costs in the third quarter. As such, higher input costs are expected to hurt margins. Celanese also expects continued moderation in the Acetyl Chain industry pricing.The semiconductor shortage is also hurting automotive OEM production around the world. Weaker automotive production is likely to affect the company’s automotive order patterns in the third quarter. Celanese Corporation Price and Consensus  Celanese Corporation price-consensus-chart | Celanese Corporation Quote Stocks to ConsiderBetter-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include The Mosaic Company MOS, United States Steel Corporation X and Olympic Steel, Inc. ZEUS, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Mosaic has an expected earnings growth rate of 471.8% for the current year. The stock has also rallied around 78% over a year.U.S. Steel has a projected earnings growth rate of 368.9% for the current year. The company’s shares have shot up around 193% in a year.Olympic Steel has an expected earnings growth rate of 2,362.2% for the current year. The company’s shares have rallied around 90% in 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 United States Steel Corporation (X): Free Stock Analysis Report Celanese Corporation (CE): Free Stock Analysis Report The Mosaic Company (MOS): Free Stock Analysis Report Olympic Steel, Inc. (ZEUS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson: The Afghanistization Of America

Victor Davis Hanson: The Afghanistization Of America Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, The United States should be at its pinnacle of strength. It still produces more goods and services than any other nation—China included, which has a population over four times as large. Its fuel and food industries are globally preeminent, as are its graduate science, computer, engineering, medical, and technology university programs. Its constitution is the oldest of current free nations. And the U.S. military is by far the best funded in the world. And yet something has gone terribly wrong within America, from the southern border to Afghanistan.  The inexplicable in Afghanistan—surrendering Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, abandoning tens of billions of dollars of military equipment to the Taliban, and forsaking both trapped Americans and loyalist Afghans—has now become the new Biden model of inattention and incompetence.  Or to put it another way, when we seek to implant our culture abroad, do we instead come to emulate what we are trying to change? COVID Chaos Take COVID-19. Joe Biden in 2020 (along with Kamala Harris) trashed Trump’s impending Operation Warp Speed vaccinations. Then, after inauguration, Biden falsely claimed no one had been vaccinated until his ascension (in fact, 1million a day were being vaccinated before he assumed office). Then again, Biden claimed ad nauseam that he didn’t believe in mandates to force the new and largely experimental vaccinations on the public. Then, once more, he promised that they were so effective and so many Americans had received vaccines that by July 4 the country would return to a virtual pre-COVID normality.  Then came the delta variant and his self-created disaster in Afghanistan.  To divert his attention away from the Afghan morass, Biden weirdly focused on an equally confused new presidential COVID-19 mandate, seeking to subject federal employees, soldiers, and employees of larger firms to mandatory vaccinations—right as the contagious delta variant seemed to be slowly tapering off, given the millions who have either been vaxxed, have developed natural immunity, or both. Consider other paradoxes. American citizens must be vaccinated, but not the forecasted 2 million noncitizens expected to cross the southern border illegally into the United States over the current fiscal year. Soldiers who bravely helped more than 100,000 Afghan refugees escape must be vaccinated, but not the unvetted foreign nationals from a premodern country? Scientists now are convinced naturally acquired COVID-19 immunity from a previous infection likely provides longer and better protection than does any of the current vaccinations.  Yet those who suffered COVID-19, and now have antibodies and other natural defenses, must likewise be vaccinated. That anomaly raises the obvious logical absurdities: will those with vaccinations—in reciprocal fashion—be forced to be exposed to the virus to obtain additional and superior natural immunity, given the Biden logic of the need for both acquired and vaccinated immunity?  Tribal Lands  We have Afghanistanized the border as well, turning the United States into a pre-state whose badlands borders are absolutely porous and fluid. There is no audit of newcomers, no vaccinations required, no COVID-19 tests—none of the requirements that millions of citizens must meet either entering the United States or working at their jobs. Our Bagram abandonment is matched by abruptly abandoning the border wall in mid-course.  Yet where the barrier exists, there is some order; where Joe Biden abandoned the wall, there is a veritable stampede of illegal migration.  October 7, 2019. Mark Wilson/Getty Images Coups, Juntas and Such Third-World countries suffer military coups when unelected top brass and caudillos often insidiously take control of the country’s governance in slow-motion fashion. The latest Bob Woodward “I heard,” “they say,” and “sources reveal” mythography now claims that General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, discussed separating an elected commander-in-chief from control of the military. Woodward and co-author Robert Costa also assert that Milley promised his Chinese Communist military counterpart that he would tip off the People’s Liberation Army of any planned U.S. aggressive action—an odd paranoia when Donald Trump, of the last five presidents, has proved the most reluctant to send U.S. troops into harm’s way.  If that bizarre assertion is true, Milley himself might have essentially risked starting a war by eroding U.S. deterrence in apprising an enemy of perceived internal instability inside the executive branch, and the lack of a unified command. (So, Woodward wrote: “‘General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable, and everything is going to be okay,’ Milley said. ‘We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.’ Milley then added, ‘If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.’”) More germanely, when Milley called in senior officers and laid down his own operational directives concerning nuclear weapons, he was clearly violating the law as established and strengthened in 1947, 1953, and 1986 that clearly states the Joint Chiefs are advisors to the president and are not in the chain of command and are to be bypassed, at least operationally, by the president. The commander in chief sets policy. And if it requires the use of force, he directs the secretary of defense to relay presidential orders to the relevant theater commanders. Milley had no authority to discuss changing nuclear procedures, much less to convey a smear to an enemy that his commander in chief was non compos mentis. Milley has been reduced to a caricature of a caricature right out of “Dr. Strangelove”—and is himself a danger to national security. After Milley’s summer 2020 virtue-signaling “apology” for alleged presidential photo-op misbehavior (found to be completely false by the interior department’s inspector general); after leaked news reports that Milley considered resignation (promises, promises) to signal his anger at Trump in summer 2020; after his dismissal of the 120 days of rioting, 28 deaths, 14,000 arrests, and $2 billion in damage as mere “penny packet protests”; after his “white rage” blathering before Congress; after the collapse of the U.S. military command in Kabul; and after his premature and hasty assessment of a U.S. drone strike that killed 10 innocent civilians as “righteous,” Woodward’s sensationalism may not sound as impossible as his usual fare.  Milley should either deny the Woodward charges and demand a real apology or resign immediately. He has violated the law governing the chain of command, misused his office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs, politicized the military, proved inept in his military judgment and advice, and may well have committed a felony in revealing to a hostile military leader that the United States was, in his opinion, in a crisis mode.  Yet, Milley did not act in isolation. Where did this low-bar Pentagon coup talk originate? And who are those responsible for creating a culture in which unelected current and retired military officers, sworn to uphold the constitutional order and the law of civilian control of the military, believe that they can arbitrarily declare an elected president either incompetent or criminal—and thus subject to their own renegade sort of freelancing justice? As a footnote, remember that after little more than a week of the Trump presidency, Rosa Brooks, an Obama-era Pentagon appointee, published in Foreign Policy various ways to remove the newly inaugurated president. Among those mentioned was a military coup, in which top officers were to collude to obstruct a presidential order, on the basis of their own perceptions of a lack of presidential rectitude or competence.  We note additionally that over a dozen high-ranking retired generals and admirals have serially violated the uniform code of military justice in demonizing publicly their commander in chief with the worst sort of smears and slanders. And they have done so with complete exemption and in mockery of the very code they have sworn to abide.  Two retired army officers, colonels John Nagl and Paul Yingling, on the eve of the 2020 election, urged Milley to order U.S. army forces to remove Trump from office if in their opinion he obstructed the results of the election—superseding in effect a president’s elected powers as well as those constitutional checks and balances of the legislative and judicial branches upon him.  We know that these were all partisan and not principled concerns about an alleged non compos mentis president, because none of these same outspoken “Seven Days in May” generals have similarly violated the military code by negatively commenting publicly on the current dangerous cognitive decline of Joe Biden and the real national security dangers of his impairment, as evidenced by the disastrous skedaddle from Afghanistan and often inability to speak coherently or remember key names and places. In short, is our new freelancing and partisan military also in the process of becoming Afghanized—too many of its leadership electively appealing to pseudo-higher principles to contextualize violating the Constitution of the United States and, sadly, too many trying to reflect the general woke landscape of the corporate board to which so many have retired? Like tribal warlords, our top brass simply do as they please, and then message to us “so what are you going to do about it?” Achin, Afghanistan, 2011. John Moore/Getty Images The Constitution as Construct How paradoxical that the United States has sent teams of constitutional specialists to Iraq and Afghanistan to help tribal societies to draft legal, ordered, and sustainable Western consensual government charters that are not subject to the whims of particular tribes and parties. Yet America itself is descending in the exact opposite direction.  Suddenly in 2021 America, if ancient consensual rules, customs, and constitutional mandates do not facilitate and advance the progressive project, then by all means they must end—by a mere one vote in the Senate. It is as if the centuries of our history, the Constitution, and the logic of the founders were analogous to a shouting match among a squabbling Taliban tribal council of elders. Junk the 233-year-old Electoral College and the constitutional directive to the states to assume primary responsibilities in establishing voting procedures in national elections. End the 180-year-old Senate filibuster. Do away with the now bothersome 150-year nine-justice Supreme Court. And scrap the 60-year-old tradition of a 50-state union.   Impeachment was intended by the founders as a rare reset of the executive branch in extremis. Now it is to be a pro formaattack on the president in his first term by the opposite party as soon as it gains control of the House—without a special counsel, without witnesses and cross-examinations, without any specific high crimes and misdemeanors or bribery and treason charges. And why not from now on impeach a president twice within a year—or try him in the Senate when he is out of office as a private citizen?  When private citizen Joe Biden is retired from the presidency, will his political enemies dig up his sketchy IRS records alleging that he never paid income taxes on the “big guy’s” “10 percent” of the income from the Hunter Biden money machine? American Tribes  We may think virtue-signaling pride flags, gender studies, and George Floyd murals in Kabul remind the world of our postmodern sophistication. Yet, in truth, we are becoming far more like Afghanistan in the current tribalization of America—where tribal, racial, and ethnic loyalties are now essential to an American’s primary identity and loyalty—than we were ever able to make Afghanistan like us. When we read leftist heartthrob Ibram X. Kendi’s endorsement of overt racial discrimination or academic and media obsessions with a supposed near-satanic “whiteness,” or the current fixations on skin color and first loyalties to those who share superficial racial affinities, then we are not much different from the Afghan tribalists. We in America apparently have decided the warring badlands of the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks have their advantages over a racially blind, consensual republic. They are the model to us, not us of the now-discredited melting pot to them. How sad in our blinkered arrogance that we go across the globe to the tribal Third World to teach the impoverished a supposedly preferrable culture and politics, while at home we are doing our best to become a Third-World country of incompetency, constitutional erosion, a fractious and politicized military elite, and racially and ethnically obsessed warring tribes.  Tyler Durden Mon, 09/20/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

Rocky Brands board approves share repurchase of up to $7.5M of common stock

See the rest of the story here. Theflyonthewall.com provides the latest financial news as it breaks. Known as a leader in market intelligence, The Fl.....»»

Category: blogSource: theflyonthewallMar 8th, 2021

Global Payments sets $500 mln accelerated share repurchase program

This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchFeb 10th, 2021

Bank of America sets $2.9 billion stock buyback program through March, to pay regular dividend

Shares of Bank of America Corp. gained 1.2% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the bank said it authorized the repurchase of $2.9 billion worth of common shares through March 31. .....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 19th, 2021