Retail sales rose to their highest level since December during July as positive growth was seen in grocery stores, health/personal care stores, general merchandise stores, auto dealers and the food services category. The nonstore retailers category led the way with 1.8% M/M and 11.5% Y/Y growth, likely influenced heavily by the Amazon Prime Day event.
Flying under the radar was a notable adjustment in June sales to a 0.3% M/M gain from a 0.2% drop that raised some eyebrows at the time.
Retail sales rose 4.2% in July on a year-over-year comparison.
Key events are scheduled for the companies listed below next week.
Notable earnings reports: Retailers dominate the list this week, led by Target (NYSE:TGT) on August 16 and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) on August 17. Also reporting are Coach (NYSE:COH), Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) on August 14; Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) on August 15; Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), L Brands (NYSE:LB) on August 16; Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Gap (NYSE:GPS) on August 17; Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), Deere (NYSE:DE) on August 18.
Go-shop expiration: Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ:FUEL) for the Vector deal.
IPO quiet period expirations: Calyxt (Pending:CLXT) on August 14, Kala Pharmaceuticals (Pending:KALA) on August 14; PetIQ (Pending:PETQ) on August 15.
Secondary offering lockup expirations: Bluebird Bio (NASDAQ:BLUE), Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:CRZO), Ziopharm Oncology (NASDAQ:ZIOP), Loco Oncology (NASDAQ:LOXO) on August 14; Five Oaks Investment (NYSE:OAKS), Alcentra Capital (NASDAQ:ABDC) on August 15; Advance Disposal Services (NYSE:ADSW) on August 16; Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO), Indentiv (NASDAQ:INVE), Harte Hanks (NYSE:HHS) on August 17.
Notable annual meeting: Pangaea Logistics (NASDAQ:PANL) on August 14, Canadian Goose (NYSE:GOOS) on August 15, J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM) on August 16.
Special shareholder meetings: Care Capital Properties (NYSE:CCP), FelCor Lodging (NYSE:FCH), RLJ Lodging (NYSE:RLJ) on August 15; Albany Molecular Research (NASDAQ:AMRI) on August 18.
Sales and revenue update: Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) on August 14.
Credit card charge-off reports: American Express (NYSE:AXP), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Capital One (NYSE:CO), Discover Financial (NYSE:DFS), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF).
Analyst/Investor day: Humana (NYSE:HUM) on August 14; Equifax (NYSE:EFX) on August 15; Progressive (NYSEARCA:PGF), Unisys (NYSE:UIS), IDEXX (NASDAQ:IDXX) on August 16; Rogers Corporation on August 17.
Media watch: A week after the Disney (NYSE:DIS)-Netflix bombshell, media heavyweights gather on August 15 at the Nomura Instinet Media & Telecom conference in NYC. Presenters include Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), AT&T (NYSE:T), CBS (NYSE:CBS), Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR), Lions Gate (LGF.A, LGF.B), Sprint (NYSE:S), Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ). Also of interest is a talk by NBA execs with sports a large streaming wildcard.
FDA watch: Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN) is expected to find out by August 20 if Adcetis has been accepted for review.
Hedge fund watch: Pershing Square will hold a webcast with investors on August 17. Expect ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) to be knocked around.
Barron's mentions: The cover story warns on a 50% drop for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), while 50% upside is seen for Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY) with breakup opportunities in the air. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) land very favorable write-ups. On the flip side, the huge drops from IPO duds Snap (NYSE:SNAP) and Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN) catch some attention.
Stephens thinks grocery rivals are playing catch-up to Wal-Mart (WMT) after the retail giant began cementing its price leadership position in late 2015. The firm sees Wal-Mart using its scale to improve operating margin and sees tech investments paying off. There's also an interesting take from Stephens on the impact of Amazon's attention-grabbing purchase of Whole Foods.
"While the recent AMZN/WFM acquisition creates questions for the food retailing industry, likely creates additional pricing pressure and accelerates the transition to online/omni-channel grocery shopping, we think Walmart is well positioned to compete on these fronts," writes analyst Ben Bienvenu.
A revealing data point highlighted by Stephens is that the crossover between Wal-Mart shoppers and Whole Foods shoppers is 9% vs. 45% for Trader Joe's, 23% for Safeway and 23% for Target. The Sam's Club crossover is only 15%.
Stephen rates Wal-Mart at Overweight and sets a price target of $91 (19X the near-term EPS estimate).
Wal-Mart is due to report Q2 earnings on August 17.
JD.com's (NASDAQ:JD) partnership with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is proving successful, according to JD.com International President Winston Cheng.
"We're integrating with Wal-Mart in a much tighter partnership, which... potentially, Amazon might do with Whole Foods," he told CNBC. "But for us, we've already started on this strategy over a year ago."
Top 10 Holdings as of 6/30/2017: Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT): 4.80974%, Apple Inc (AAPL): 2.32633%, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTC:SSNLF): 2.21817%, Royal Dutch Shell PLC Class A (OTCPK:RYDAF): 1.41694%, Royal Dutch Shell PLC B (OTCPK:RYDBF): 1.2003%, BNP Paribas (OTCQX:BNPQF): 1.13396%, Boeing Co (BA): 1.12506%, The Home Depot Inc (HD): 1.04823%, Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 0.95395%, Siemens AG (OTCPK:SMAWF): 0.94216%
Retail chain stocks are riding high amid a strong day for the sector in general. Department store names and apparel sellers are leading the charge. The sentiment could be tied to a variety of factors-- including a strong read on consumer confidence, a wave of analysts and activist investors pointing to M&A potential and some solid earnings reports. In many cases, the retail stocks listed below are recovering from extended sell-offs.
Gainers include Dillard's (DDS +8%), Sears Holdings (SHLD +6.5%), J.C. Penney (JCP +4.9%), Macy's (M +3.7%), TJX Companies (TJX +3.3%), Kohl's (KSS +2.8%), Stein Mart (SMRT +8.7%), Tailored Brands (TLRD +9.3%), Tilly's (TLYS +6.8%), Urban Outfitters (URBN +5.4%), Chico's (FAS +2.7%), New York & Company (NWY +5.4%), Cherokee (CHKE +5.6%), American Eagle Outfitters (AEO +4.7%), Gap (GPS +4.2%), Tilly's (TLYS +6.8%), GNC Holdings (GNC +6.5%), Hibbett Sports (HIBB +8.4%), Signet Jewelers (SIG +4.1%), The Container Store (TCS +4.6%), Big Lots (BIG +4%), L Brands (LB +3.3%).
Wal-Mart (WMT +2.1%) and Target (TGT +2.1%) aren't missing the retail party, while the broad-based SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:XRT) is up 2.57%.
Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) announce that they are expanding their strategic cooperation to further integrate their platforms, supply chains and customer resources in China.
The expanded partnership includes cooperation in inventory integration, customer integration and store/platform integration.
"Since forming our strategic partnership with JD.com in June of last year, we have continued to expand our omni-channel strategy to better serve customers and grow our business in China," says Wal-Mart China e-commerce exec Ben Hassing.
Hedgeye isn't scared to make some calls in the retail sector, saying the consensus call of the 'Amazon'ism of the retail world is wrong.
The firm names Nike (NKE -1.7%), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS -4.3%), Coach (COH -0.3%), Wal-Mart (WMT +1.1%) and Restoration Hardware (RH +1.2%) as its best longs in the sector.
Short ideas from Hedgeye include Kohl's (KSS -2.1%), Hanesbrands (HBI -1.3%), Target (TGT -1.2%), Wayfair (W +0.5%), Ralph Lauren (RL -2.8%), Under Armour (UAA -2%), Carter's (CRI -1.3%), Williams-Sonoma (WSM -1.1%) and Party City (PRTY -2.4%).
The agreement calls for Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) to provide its GenKey hydrogen fuel station and fuel cells to up to 30 additional Wal-Marts (NYSE:WMT) in North America over the next three years. Ten sites are already under contract and set to be finished this year - the 2017 commitment value should be around $80M.
Alongside, Wal-Mart has been issued warrants for the purchase of up to 55.3M common shares of Plug. The first set of 5.8M vested on the inking this deal. Additional warrants will vest in installments tied to successive $50M payment thresholds, up to $600M in total.