Both Asian and European markets are trading lower this Monday morning and it has been announced that U.S. markets will be closed due to the weather, marking the first time this has happened since 1985. Depending on the severity of the storm's impact upon New York City and its infrastructure, we could be looking at markets being closed on Tuesday as well. However, if that is the case, we must point out that markets would be required to be open on Wednesday as they are not allowed to be closed three trading days in a row. For those who trade bonds, it is our understanding that the market will be open until noon today.
Hurricanes are a way of life down in the South where we live and we know how dangerous both hurricanes and tropical storms can be. We hope our readers will stay safe. For those inland, please remember that you need to be aware of falling trees and rising waters which can quickly flood small streams and creeks when the storms drop water as quickly as they do.
We have economic news due out today, and it is as follows:
Personal Income - 0.6%
Personal Spending - 0.4%
PCE Prices - Core - 0.1%
Asian markets are lower:
All Ordinaries - up 0.07%
Shanghai Composite - down 0.35%
Nikkei 225 - down 0.04%
NZSE 50 - down 0.82%
Seoul Composite - UNCH
In Europe markets are trading lower this morning:
CAC 40 - down 0.84%
DAX - down 0.64%
FTSE 100 - down 0.49%
OSE - down 0.01%
Constant Contact (CTCT) saw shares get hammered on Friday as the company announced guidance for earnings to be higher than previously announced but for revenues to be lower. This continues the trend among companies this earnings season and investors acted accordingly pushing shares lower by $5.10 (29.95%) to close at $11.93/share. Volume rose to 8 million shares on the news and analysts lowered their ratings on the stock. Much of the issues result from the company seeing lower conversion rates among its trial users than in prior quarters. This situation seemed pretty bad, but there were still worse situations out there.
Like the situation at VeriSign (VRSN) and its application with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Justice, it seems that there has been some delay with the company's application to extend its registry agreement. This may turn out to be a situation where the government dropped the ball. However, as analysts were keen to point out, it does add considerable uncertainty where there previously was none. Investors pushed shares down $7.21 (15.47%) to close at $39.39/share and we feel that ultimately this will all be solved. So buying on this weakness might very well be the play for long-term investors. The shares are still well above their 52-week low and trading between their low and high for the year, so things are not as bad as they appear. The quarterly results were not bad, but the news of the delay is what spooked investors, so we are basing our thinking that results will continue and the government comes around to fixing this mix-up. That is our take, anyways.
There appears to be a trend developing among the casual footwear companies out there, and it is a trend which is not friendly to longs. Deckers Outdoor (DECK) saw shares fall $6.01 (16.93%) to close at $29.48/share after the company's latest quarterly results. DECK saw revenue decline about 10% this quarter with earnings falling by roughly 33% as margins shrank and input costs continued to rise. It is a tough market out there and when it comes to retail and apparel, we want to stick to names which do not have these headwinds to go against.
Among those this would include is one of our favorite plays in the retail sector, Gap, Inc (GPS). The company reports earnings in about two weeks, and we believe that the winning streak will continue. So far this year, we have seen improved results at the company's flagship stores and strong results at the Banana Republic and Old Navy stores as well. As we have previously discussed though, we are quite interested in any news we can get on the yoga lifestyle stores (Athleta) the company has been rolling out across the country and think that those stores will provide the next era of growth for the company. Shares are still close to their 52-week highs, and with another solid quarter we think new highs will be on the way.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber (GT) saw sales decrease across the board in all geographic operating areas. The weakest area was Europe, and to be honest there is no surprise there as auto sales have been weak there for some time now. The company stated that it does not see results improving in Europe in the near-term. However, it does see strong results in North America, at least tempering the declines from across the Atlantic. To meet numbers in 2013, it appears that the company is going to have to cut capital expenditures to meet its numbers, which investors have seen across a number of industries over the past year or two. In the short-term it will help the company meet its numbers. But long-term, when one adds up all of this, we think there will be slowing economic growth as everyone has pared back their spending.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.