The Undecided Market (DIA,WMT,XRT)

It always used to puzzle us, how voters could be ‘undecided’ going into an election.  How they could say, ‘we’re going to wait and see how the debate turns out’, or ‘we’re not sure how our interests are going to be served under an enter name here presidency’.   What the sheet!?   How could someone be ‘undecided’?  For the last half century at least the policy differences between the two parties has been stark.  What the hell could a person want to wait for?  To see who dresses nicer?  Who has more wit or panache?  Whose stage manner is superior?  Again, what the freakin’ sheet!?   Undecided voters, we came to understand, were simply unprincipled people who blew with the wind and chose to vote according to the rules of Hollywood – who selected candidates according to star status, popularity levels, who their friends voted for, who the media admired, etc.   Until now. This election has seen such a firestorm of challenges to the status quo and to our traditional understandings of party platforms that if somehow Mr. Sanders were to take the Democratic nomination (yeah, yeah, we know, it’s a longshot – FBI indictment pending), we can’t…

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Who Woulda Figured? A Retail-Tech Connection (WMT,XRT)

Let’s take stock of the damage in equity markets thus far.   As we write, the S&P 500 is off its highs some 9%, the NASDAQ almost 12%, and the DOW is down 10%.   Those numbers aren’t encouraging, certainly, but when matched against the performance in China (– 40%) or the emerging markets overall (– 31%), they’re but spit on the sidewalk.   What’s worrisome, of course, is that globally the general trend of the markets is down. In what’s termed by technicians the ‘law of commonality’, we could shortly be witness to a pile-on effect, whereby everyone who hasn’t sold simply does because his neighbor has.   And if that, indeed, happens, we could also see continued, sustained selling for the intermediate term – call it anywhere between three and eighteen months. For the bulls, on the other hand, all the cards are on the table – they’re hoping that the current bounce will carry higher and farther than anyone thinks, set a few new highs hither and yon – in at least one or more important sectors – thereby signaling a break in the downtrend that has dominated equity markets for close to a year.   And…

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Wal-Mart (WMT) to increase minimum wage, Tesla (TSLA) will release new roadster and MasterCard (MA) released holiday spending report.

Markets closed higher on Friday amidst light Holiday trading. Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) ended their weekly trading on a higher note after the company announced that it would be raising minimum wage for it’s workers in the coming year. The rate increase will go into effect in 21 states on January 1, 2015 and will involve nearly 1,400 stores. The raise will also affect over 200 Sam’s Club stores. The pay increase is being implemented to comply with laws in those states where the minimum wage rate has been increased. The company plans on shrinking the gap between the minimum wage employees and those associates in higher skilled positions. A manager at Wal-Mart, said, “Essentially that wage compression at the upper level of the hourly associate is going to help absorb that cost of the wage increase at the lower level.” Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) closed up over 2.5% on Friday after the company announced that the new roadster is going to cover two-thirds more miles on a single charge. The electric car-maker will be launching a new model that will allow the car to travel over 400 miles on one charge. The company will be displaying the…

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Southbound Markets (DJIA, TYX, TSLA, WMT)

For the past few weeks we’ve been warning about a rollover top in the making in the stock market, and it appears that something’s now afoot. We don’t want to jump into alarm mode, of course – it’s too early for that. And it’s more than likely there won’t be any need for alarm bells at all. But a pullback of some brief duration and modest scope certainly looks to be upon us. Not to worry, by the way. When the time comes for panic, we’ll present you with a shrieking fit the likes of which you’ve never seen before. Know, too, that we’ve hedged ourselves against such an event. All three regular Normandy publications have offered some variety of bearish moneymaking initiatives over the last month, just as the ‘creeping interim rollover top’ – as we once designated it – began to reveal itself. Have a look now at two charts. The first is the Dow Jones Industrials for the last six months – We Call a Top   It’s clear from the action of the last few days that our prognosis of an interim top was correct. Remember, on November 20th in Put on Your Parkas, Gang, we…

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Private jobs miss, GlaxoSmithKline (GKO) cutting U.S. jobs and Wal-Mart (WMT) CEO says 3% gains perpetual

Markets were heading slightly higher despite the private job sector missing its target for November. The payroll processing company APD, said there was an addition of 208,000 jobs added last month. This was slightly below the 220,000 jobs that economists were projecting. Despite the miss, this still notes the sixth-straight month of gains over the 200,000 mark. The service sector lead the gains with an addition of 176,0000 new jobs, the goods producing sector added 32,000, transportation and utilities added 49,000 new jobs. There were also 37,000 jobs added in the business and professional services. When broken down by business size, small businesses added 101,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses came in with 65,000 new jobs. Adrian Miller, director of fixed income strategy at GMP Securities, said, “The APD employment report delivered data that failed to live up to expectations.” Shares of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) were sinking after the company announced that they would be cutting U.S. jobs. The company said that they would be shedding several hundred jobs in their Research Triangle Park site, which is located in North Carolina. They will begin focusing on consolidating the research to two locations in Philadelphia and London. A spokesman for the company said, “This…

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Retail sales lower in September, American Express (AXP) posts rise in quarterly profits and Wal-Mart (WMT) cuts forecast

Markets closed lower on Wednesday after retail sales declined last month. The Commerce Department said there was a drop of 0.3% in consumer sales in September. The drop in sales followed a surge in sales of 10.4% in August. The decline in September was partially attributed to a 0.8% drop in auto sales and a 1.2% drop in clothing and accessories sales. There was growth of 3.4% in sales of electronics, which could have been boosted by sales of the Apple iPhone 6. In the past year, retail sales are up 4.3%. The next batch of reporting analysts are looking towards is the holiday shopping season. Chris Christopher, director of U.S. consumer economics at IHS Global Insight, says he believes that the holiday shopping season will be “consistent” with last year. “We think general merchandise (and) discount stores are going to do well this Christmas time and not discount as much as last year,” he added. Shares of American Express Company (AXP) closed lower after the company reported a rise in quarterly profits. The company showed an 8.1% rise in quarterly profits. This was partially attributed to U.S. customers spending more. There was an increase of 9% in sales amongst U.S. cardholders, which in turn…

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U.S. new home sales hit six-year high, Amazon (AMZN) expanding hardware lab and Walmart (WMT) opening mobile checking

Markets were heading slightly higher on Wednesday after news was released that U.S. new home sales hit a six-year high in August. The Commerce Department announced that sales were up a surprising 18% to an annually adjusted rate of 504,000 units. A level this high has not been recorded since May of 2008. Last months data blew past economists’ projections of a 430,000 unit pace. The data for August was up a total of 33% over this time last year. The average price of new home sales came in at $275,600, which was up over 2% from July. New home sales account for 9.1% of the overall housing market. Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG brokerage, said, “All is not perfect in the housing market but things are certainly better today than they were about one year ago.” Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) were rising slightly higher after news was released that the company would be expanding their hardware lab. The online giant has plans to grow this sector at least 27% over the next five-years, which includes hiring more staff. One of the new focuses of the unit will be testing “smart” home gadgets. The company’s Lab126 sector has announced…

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Michael Kors (KORS) reports stellar quarter, Wal-Mart (WMT) reworking site and Toyota focuses on green future.

Markets were heading higher on Monday morning after high-end designer Michael Kors (KORS) reported a strong quarter and raised their full-year revenue forecast. The company said that demand for the designer handbags and watches were an integral part in this increase. Revenue was up a staggering 43% to $919.2 million, while same-stor sales were up 24.2%. Growth in North America jumped up 18.7%. Net income came in at $187.7 million, or 91 cents per share, which was up from $124.9 million or 61 cents per share this time last year. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 81 cents per share on revenue of $851.7 million. Revenue in North America was up a surprising 30% to $718.0 million, which is also their biggest market. The company has surpassed their rival Coach Inc in market share. The company has previous full-year earnings expectations of $3.85 to $3.91 per share on revenue of $4 billion to $4.1 billion. They are now projection earnings of $4.00 to $4.05 per share on revenue of $4.25 billion to $4.35 billion. Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) were slightly on the rise after the company announced their plans to personalize customers web experience. The…

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