There will not be a lot of news due out today, but we do have a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico to watch which appears will push up oil and natural gas prices. Oil should head above $100/barrel on the news and we should see most of the Mississippi, Alabama and the Louisiana coasts evacuate and/or board up as there is fear that Isaac could cause some serious damage, although nothing like the now infamous Hurricane Katrina. This story could dominate headlines especially if the storm continues on the projected path towards New Orleans this week. As we look at them now, US futures are mixed.
We have no economic news out today but will have some more housing numbers out tomorrow and a get a glimpse into how the US consumer is faring. Both of those numbers should carry some weight and could very well move sectors which have been key to the market's recent strength (homebuilders and retailers).
Looking at Asian markets we see markets are mostly lower:
All Ordinaries - down 0.08%
Shanghai Composite - down 1.74%
Nikkei 225 - up 0.16%
NZSE 50 - up 0.02%
Seoul Composite - down 0.10%
In Europe markets are mixed:
CAC 40 - down 0.21%
DAX - down 0.23%
FTSE 100 - CLOSED
OSE - up 0.53%
We have made no secret of our disdain for some of the retailers who are underperforming and have been for years. SUPERVALU (SVU) rose $0.23 (10.85%) to close at $2.35/share on volume of 8.5 million after Bloomberg reported that the company has asked the bidders for the various parts of the company to place new bids for the entire entity. Since the plan was announced we have been skeptical, urging shareholders to sell and walk away because it is hard to turn around an underperforming retail unit and even harder to monetize one. This news almost makes it seem as if management is asking to be put out of their misery, but for those still holding onto shares we hope that it is at a decent price and not just a fire sale in order to be done with it all. Once again we would suggest selling on the move higher and use the capital to invest in a retailer which is actually performing.
And that would not include the supposed turnaround project at Best Buy (BBY) which saw shares fall another $0.70 (3.89%) and closing at $17.31/share on Friday. The company's new CEO may not even get to take the job as he is not a citizen of the US and could be denied a visa. The founder's bid for the company appears to have been a pipe dream that he could not sell to the private equity crowd and the shares reflect that belief. We said when his rumored bid was announced that the market's action was indicating that the bid was dead before it was even being assembled and that appears to be the case. As a retailer you cannot take a declining business and scale back your product offerings, categories and inventory and expect your customers to stick around. We have seen this story before, and history appears to be repeating itself - any remember Circuit City? The money to be made here is via being anything but long this stock.
In Friday's article we discussed Rosetta Genomics (ROSG) and how we would be trading it. That advice would have had people in and out hopefully before the thing turned red, but that is the risk of trading these days. The run may not be over as volume was still quite high, and at 10.5 million shares it will take a while for the computers to unload everything that they have accumulated the past few days. If you had losses, remember to not make this a long-term loses and tie up valuable capital in it under the guise that you will eventually make that back or get back to even. In the end you may, but what opportunities will you be sacrificing in order to pull that off?
One of our favorite banking stocks hit a new 52-week high on Friday. Regions Financial (RF) closed at $7.18/share after rising $0.17 (2.43%) on volume of 11.5 million shares. This puts us in a good position to see shares finish at the $8/share level we have previously discussed over the past few months by year-end. Interest rates have been rising over the past few days, so that may be a headwind in an area we figured could provided added earnings power. Of course that is assuming that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke does not say anything 'dovish' at the gathering in Jackson Hole. He will be dovish as he risks spooking the market and killing whatever momentum we have going for us if he does not so Regions should be fine for the next two quarters.
Investors have seen shares in Michael Kors (KORS) remain strong after their blowout earnings and strong outlook. In Friday's trading session shares hit a new 52-week high intraday and closed at $53.92/share after rising $2.25 (4.35%). We know that the company expects business to be good through the year-end, and if we can see Europe's economy pick up or America's gain strength then we could see the stock catch fire. This one could move on the consumer numbers, but looking out mid-term we think that this could be a decent play on the health of consumer spending.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.