Stocks are set to rally this morning, but history offers a warning to investors. That and more is what’s in market news Thursday
The Dow industrials (^DJI) lost 21 points Wednesday, and the S&P 500 (^GPSC) was virtually flat, but the Nasdaq (^IXIC) gained nearly 10 points.
All three major averages posted solid gains for all of July. For the Dow, it was the seventh increase in eight months. So what can we expect from August? Well, since 1987, it’s been the worst month of the year for the market.
In earnings news, Exxon Mobil’s (XOM) quarterly earnings appear to have badly missed Wall Street expectations.
Procter & Gamble’s (PG) net fell by nearly half from a year ago, but still edged past expectations.
Animated filmmaker DreamWorks Animation (DWA), biotech company Affymetrix (AFFX), and the online review company Yelp (YELP) are all set to rally on better-than-expected earnings news.
But Whole Foods Market (WFM) and Marriott International (MAR) both issue disappointing results.
Ford (F), General Motors (GM), Toyota (TM) and other carmakers report sales for last month. Industry watcher Edmunds.com forecasts a double-digit gain from a year ago.
The dispute between J.C. Penney and Macy’s (M) over the rights to sell Martha Stewart (MSO) branded products could come to an end today. The two department stores are set to deliver closing arguments in their long-running case, and the judge could issue an immediate ruling.
The International Trade Commission is expected to rule today on Apple’s (AAPL) patent-infringement case against Korean rival Samsung. The companies have filed suit and countersuit against each other, with both sides claiming some victories in court.
And Starbucks (SBUX) has enlisted Google (GOOG) to make the Internet connection at its coffee shops up to 10 times faster than it is now.
Some call them “junk” and others call them “high yield” but whatever you call them, corporate bonds deemed riskier than “investment grade” debt might just help many European companies get access to much-needed finance. …read more
PLANO, Texas — J.C. Penney says that CIT, the largest lender in the clothing industry, is still supporting deliveries from its suppliers. The department store operator also says it has ample liquidity to run its business.
Shares rose more than 7 percent in premarket trading Thursday.
On Wednesday, a New York Post report said that CIT Group Inc. (CIT) had stopped providing financial support to small and large suppliers selling to J.C. Penney stores — for now. The report said CIT made the decision after meeting with J.C. Penney officials to examine the company’s books.
J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) said Thursday that CIT assured it that the newspaper report is untrue.
CIT is what the industry calls a “factor,” which makes cash advances to suppliers based on the goods they sell to the merchant. If vendors and factors become wary of a store’s creditworthiness, the retailer may have to pay suppliers cash upfront for goods, which could be a huge drain on liquidity. If suppliers stop shipping goods, it can be a death knell for a retailer.
Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney said that merchandise from CIT-supported suppliers currently makes up less than 4 percent of its overall inventory for the year.
J.C. Penney said that it still has the support of all of its key vendors, which are continuing shipments to the company. The retailer, which has 1,100 stores, anticipates closing the second quarter with about $1.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet.
Shares climbed $1.09, or 7.5 percent, to $15.69 in premarket trading about two hours before the market open Thursday.
J.C. Penney is trying to reverse its fortunes after disastrous results under a failed transformation plan implemented by its former CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson was ousted in April after 17 months on the job. The board brought back former CEO Mike Ullman, who has reintroduced frequent sales and is bringing back key merchandise under store names like St. John’s Bay.
Analyst Deborah Weinswig of Citi Investment Research says J.C. Penney won’t see a recovery in its business until 2014. The analyst said in a client note that she’s been surprised that “quick fixes,” like bringing back coupons, hasn’t led to stronger sales and doesn’t think this will change in the near term. The analyst lowered the chain’s rating to “Sell” from “Neutral” and cut its price target to $11 from $20.
However, with more and more shoppers buying clothes from home, the Swedish firm is speeding up its online roll-out to capture a slice of the growing market.
H&M has grown fast in recent years in the U.S., its second-biggest market, but has twice pulled back from announced dates for the online launch, blaming unexpected complexities in setting up an operation well-integrated with its stores.
Meanwhile, its main rival Inditex and others such as online e-store ASOS have expanded in the market, while Amazon (AMZN) is pushing further into apparel after eBay (EBAY) prospered with its fashion offering.
“You don’t want to lose out on being the port of call for younger shoppers. So H&M should really get in there,” Planet Retail consultant Isabel Cavill said.
Apparel has become one of the fastest-growing online retail segments. H&M has e-stores in eight European countries and says they are now as profitable as its bricks-and-mortar shops.
In North America, a quarter of clothing sales will take place on the Internet in 2030, up from 7 percent in 2011, Goldman Sachs (GS) predicts. Researcher Euromonitor International sees the U.S. online apparel market more than doubling in a decade to $41 billion in 2017.
“Generations of shoppers are growing up for whom the multi-channel is a basic expectation,” said Kantar Retail consultant Bryan Roberts.
Mind the Returns
H&M has been struggling to work out a viable logistics model in the country, where many shoppers expect free deliveries.
“H&M is low-price, quite low-margin and makes it work by selling very high volumes. An issue with that is very high costs for shipping and, most significantly, returns. It’s a particular problem in the U.S.,” Conlumino consultant Neil Saunders said.
Up to half of fashion items sold online are returned. At H&M, a shopper may well buy up to three times as many items than at Zara or ASOS. Analysts place average prices at Zara at least 40 percent above H&M’s, with ASOS in between.
H&M’s U.S. online store offers free shipping but charges for returns. Items bought online cannot be returned in stores.
“I’m particularly surprised by the lack of multichannel. …read more
Sony’s first earnings report of the new financial year is in and it eked out a profit, albeit a small one. The $35 million net profit is an improvement from last year’s results for the same period, and the good news is most pronounced in its mobile products and communications department. Revenue grew 36 percent from last year, partially due to changes in the value of the yen, but also thanks to higher sales for smartphones — 9.6 million units — and a higher average selling price. The games division recorded an operating loss for the quarter, as sales of the PS3, PSP and PS2 dropped slightly while spending on research and development for the upcoming PlayStation 4 rose. Sony’s new TV strategy may have shown some results, with year-on-years sales up 18.2 percent and attributed to an “improved product mix in LCD TVs” and cost reductions.
Your donations help fund travel to developer meetings.
We’ve been asked many times how to contribute to Kubuntu financially so we are now open for donations. Your donations will help finance project expenses such as hardware, travel and cloud computing. …read more
Norma Yaeger, 83, of Encino, Calif., thought she was making a smart financial decision last fall, when, after pulling into a Ralph’s supermarket, she impulsively hired two men to fix her car.
“Two nice gentlemen came over to me and look at my fender, which was badly scratched. They said that they had a compound that will remove the scratches and restore the paint,” Yaeger says.
They would fix it, for just $50.
Yaeger isn’t a rube — she was, in fact, the first female stockbroker to work at the New York Stock Exchange (and recently wrote an autobiography, “Breaking Down the Walls”). She also served as president of two stock brokerage firms. The men who approached her seemed honest, and Yaeger was self-conscious about her fender. She paid the $50, a snap decision that seemed perfectly reasonable.
Instead — and you knew this was coming — when she returned from grocery shopping, her car fender hadn’t improved. In fact, it looked far worse. Yaeger drove to a mechanic and was told that it would take several days and $1,000 to fix her car.”The worst part was that I had to tell my husband about this embarrassing story,” Yaeger says.
Most people have made a financial mistake that seemed sensible at the time, but in hindsight turned out to be pretty stupid. With that in mind, here are some thoughts from a slew of personal finance experts on five financial decisions that sound smart but are likely a waste of money.
The Mistake: Buying something because it is interest-free for awhile.
Why It Can Seem Smart. It’s tempting to buy something with a zero-interest window, such as a “90-day, same-as-cash” offer, in which you’re charged no interest if you pay for the product within 90 days.
Why It May Be Stupid. Many people don’t end up saving the money or putting it aside when they get it, “and they end up paying accumulated interest at a high rate plus compounding interest on the balance going forward,” says Kelley Long, a Chicago-based certified public accountant.
She says consumers make such mistakes when they open a store credit card to get a 15 percent discount, for example, but then carry a 22 percent balance. Paying for things with a rewards credit card to earn frequent flier miles can also be a mistake if you’re not paying off the card in full each month. “The interest expenses end up far outweighing the price of an airline ticket,” Long says.
The Mistake: Buying long-term care insurance when you’re broke.
Why It Can Seem Smart. Who wouldn’t want long-term care insurance? It helps pay for basic activities that people need to do on a daily basis, …read more
Saving for your retirement is a big deal. Barring the income you might get from pensions (not what they once were) and Social Security (not likely to stay what it once was) all you’ll have is the money you save to last you the rest of your life. And it’s no secret that if your accounts run dry, it’s incredibly difficult for a retiree to rejoin the workforce a decade or more after leaving it.
Given all that, it’s understandable if you’re a bit worried about coming up with enough money that you’ll be able to retire comfortably on your terms. While building and maintaining that nest egg is a long-term commitment, it’s important to remember that you have the rest of your career to get there. With a solid plan and the flexibility to handle life’s curve balls, you can greatly improve your chances of retiring with a portfolio that can last as long as you do.
3 Steps to Get From Here to Retired
The toughest part of investing for retirement is that you face so many unknowns. How long will you live? What will the market do? Will your Social Security benefits get cut? How tame (or wild) will inflation be? Will your mental and physical health hold out, or will you need the help of a caregiver?
Those are all wise questions to ask, but unfortunately, they can’t be answered with any certainty until it’s too late to do anything about it. The best any of us can really do is develop a reasonable plan based on decent assumptions, and then adjust as life happens. With that in mind, here is a three-step foundation for a solid plan:
1. Set a target. What sort of lifestyle do you want in your retirement? Are you the kind of person who’d be happy rocking away on the stoop, watching the world go by? Or do you picture a retirement filled with world travel, box seats at the symphony, and generous philanthropic gifts to your favorite charities?
Whatever your plans, start by estimating your anticipated monthly expenses. Subtract from that your anticipated net Social Security check and any monthly pension payments you may get, then multiply the remainder by 300. That’s about how large your total portfolio will need to be to cover your costs. At that size, your portfolio should generate enough growth and income that you can take advantage of the 4 percent rule, a solid (if rough) estimate that will help reduce the odds that you’ll outlive your money.
2. Take what help you can get, and ramp up when you can. While that 300-times-monthly-expenses estimate may seem daunting, there are a number programs available to help you build your nest egg faster. Qualified retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and the government’s Thrift Savings …read more
In the latest look at stocks ordered by largest market capitalization, Russell 3000 component Atwood Oceanics, Inc. (NYSE: ATW) was identified as having a larger market cap than the smaller end of the S&P 500, for example JDS Uniphase Corp (NASD: JDSU), according to The Online Investor. Click here to find out the top S&P 500 components ordered by average analyst rating » …read more
In the latest look at stocks ordered by largest market capitalization, Russell 3000 component WABCO Holdings Inc (NYSE: WBC) was identified as having a larger market cap than the smaller end of the S&P 500, for example Owens-Illinois, Inc. (NYSE: OI), according to The Online Investor. Click here to find out the top S&P 500 components ordered by average analyst rating » …read more
In the latest look at stocks ordered by largest market capitalization, Russell 3000 component Westlake Chemical Corp (NYSE: WLK) was identified as having a larger market cap than the smaller end of the S&P 500, for example Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (NYSE: IPG), according to The Online Investor. Click here to find out the top S&P 500 components ordered by average analyst rating » …read more
In the latest look at stocks ordered by largest market capitalization, Russell 3000 component MDU Resources Group Inc. (NYSE: MDU) was identified as having a larger market cap than the smaller end of the S&P 500, for example Joy Global Inc (NYSE: JOY), according to The Online Investor. Click here to find out the top S&P 500 components ordered by average analyst rating » …read more
In trading on Wednesday, shares of Nortek Inc (NASD: NTK) crossed above their 200 day moving average of $67.89, changing hands as high as $68.47 per share. Nortek Inc shares are currently trading up about 0.3% on the day. The chart below shows the one year performance of NTK shares, versus its 200 day moving average: …read more
In trading on Wednesday, shares of Cepheid (NASD: CPHD) crossed above their 200 day moving average of $35.07, changing hands as high as $35.17 per share. Cepheid shares are currently trading up about 0.7% on the day. The chart below shows the one year performance of CPHD shares, versus its 200 day moving average: …read more
In trading on Wednesday, shares of Hawkins Inc (NASD: HWKN) crossed below their 200 day moving average of $39.36, changing hands as low as $38.04 per share. Hawkins Inc shares are currently trading down about 10.3% on the day. The chart below shows the one year performance of HWKN shares, versus its 200 day moving average: …read more
Legendary investor Warren Buffett advises to be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. One way we can try to measure the level of fear in a given stock is through a technical analysis indicator called the Relative Strength Index, or RSI, which measures momentum on a scale of zero to 100. A stock is considered to be oversold if the RSI reading falls below 30. …read more
In trading on Wednesday, shares of Excel Trust Inc. (NYSE: EXL) crossed below their 200 day moving average of $13.14, changing hands as low as $13.01 per share. Excel Trust Inc. shares are currently trading down about 2.3% on the day. The chart below shows the one year performance of EXL shares, versus its 200 day moving average: …read more
In trading on Wednesday, shares of First Potomac Realty Trust (NYSE: FPO) crossed below their 200 day moving average of $13.58, changing hands as low as $13.49 per share. First Potomac Realty Trust shares are currently trading down about 2.6% on the day. The chart below shows the one year performance of FPO shares, versus its 200 day moving average: …read more