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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
March 20, 2014
06:33 EDTWMT, LOW, HDWal-Mart to be aggressive in outdoor, garden business, NY Times says
Wal-Mart (WMT) for the first time will launch a major initiative to increase its outdoor and garden sales this spring, according to The New York Times. The giant retailer will offer major discounts on more than 60 items in those areas, the newspaper stated. Home Depot (HD) and Lowe's (LOW) also compete in those markets. Reference Link
News For WMT;HD;LOW From The Last 14 Days
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November 12, 2014
15:48 EDTWMTWal-Mart November weekly 79 straddle priced for 2% move into Q1
15:29 EDTWMTNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
Notable companies reporting before tomorrow's market open, with earnings consensus, include Wal-Mart (WMT), consensus $1.12; Viacom (VIAB), consensus $1.68; Tyco (TYC), consensus 56c; Kohl's (KSS), consensus 74c; Helmerich & Payne (HP), consensus $1.67; Sally Beauty (SBH), consensus 40c; Manulife Financial (MFC), consensus 40c; TransDigm (TDG), consensus $2.02; MAXIMUS (MMS), consensus 52c.
15:04 EDTWMTWal-Mart technical comments before earnings
The key technical feature on the chart is easily seen on a 5-year chart. Since early 2013 the shares have been trading in a sideways channel bound largely by $70 at the low and $80 at the high. Those bounds become the key levels to watch for post-earnings trading. A move above $80, and preferably above the life high at $81.37, would signal a new leg up had begun. It would in effect be a range breakout with the potential for a move to the $90 area over time based on the height of the channel. The stock is pushing up toward that level ahead of earnings. Equally, a major disappointment could send the shares to the low of the range at $70. That area would still need to be broken to the downside to break the range, with an eventual move to $65 possible if it was broken. If the news is insufficiently strong to push price out of the range, it will likely continue in this trading range for some time awaiting a new catalyst.
13:47 EDTWMTEarnings Preview: Wal-Mart sees FY15 net sales up 2%-3% vs. last year
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is scheduled to report third quarter earnings before the market open on Thursday, November 13, with a conference call scheduled for 7:00 am ET. Wal-Mart, a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, operates retail stores in various formats under 69 different banners in 27 countries with its "everyday low price" philosophy. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.12 on revenue of $118.35B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is $1.08-$1.17 on revenue of $115.17B-$119.67B. LAST QUARTER: Wal-Mart reported second quarter EPS of $1.21, in line with estimates, on revenue of $119.3B, against estimates of $119B. Walmart U.S. comp sales were flat for the 13-week period ended August 1, and U.S. net sales increased $1.9B, or 2.7%, to over $70B. Currency exchange rate fluctuations negatively impacted net sales by approximately $700M, the company said. Wal-Mart forecast Q3 EPS of $1.10-$1.20, with U.S. comp store sales relatively flat and Sam's Club comp sales, excluding fuel, slightly positive. and increased investments in Sam's Club membership programs. The company lowered its fiscal year 2015 EPS view to $4.90-$5.15 from $5.10-$5.45, against estimates at that time of $5.15. The new full year guidance reflects incremental investments in e-commerce and higher U.S. health-care costs than previously anticipated. The annual effective tax rate is projected to be between 32%-34%. NEWS: On its Q2 earnings conference call, Wal-Mart lowered its FY15 e-commerce sales growth forecast to 25%. In mid-October, Wal-Mart said that as a result of a tougher sales environment than it anticipated a year ago, it now expects to grow net sales for FY15 between 2%-3% on last year’s $473.1B. The company indicated in February that it expected net sales growth to be at the low end of its guidance provided last October of 3%-5%. The company sees fiscal year 2016 net sales growth of 2%-4%, or approximately $10B-$20B of net sales growth. The company said FY16 operating expenses will grow at a rate "somewhat faster" than sales growth and operating income will be flat to slightly down. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said the company will invest less in stores and more in e-commerce. Wal-Mart sees FY15 capital investments of $12.5B-$13B and FY16 capital investments $11.6B-$12.9B. Wal-Mart also sees FY16 e-commerce and digital spending of $1.2B-$1.5B. Ahead of a holiday shopping season that may be fiercely promotional, Wal-Mart is testing a program to match online prices from rivals including Amazon.com (AMZN), reported the Wall Street Journal. The company announced the "New Black Friday" will include five days of deals. STREET RESEARCH: Cleveland Research said Wal-Mart's trends softened in September and October following a strong August driven by soft traffic and less promotional activity. The firm believes Wal-Mart is positioned to maintain share during the holidays, but sees "growing caution" on the consumer spending outlook. Baird said expectations for Wal-Mart appear to be muted into the Q3 report. The firm believes sales may remain lackluster and margins may slip in the near-term, but sees international as an opportunity. During the quarter, shares were initiated with a Neutral rating at Sterne Agee. PRICE ACTION: Wal-Mart shares are up 6.9% over the last three months but are only up 0.8% year-to-date. In early afternoon trading, Wal-Mart shares are up 0.4% to $79.35.
13:32 EDTHDEarnings Preview: J.C. Penney lowered Q3 SSS view, affirms FY14 metrics in Q3
J.C. Penney (JCP) is scheduled to report third quarter earnings after the market close on Wednesday, November 12, with a conference call scheduled for 4:30 pm ET. J.C. Penney operates about 1,100 retail stores and jcp.com. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for a loss per share of (80c) on revenue of $2.81B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is (95c)-(54c) on revenue of $2.72B-$2.93B. LAST QUARTER: J.C. Penney reported second quarter adjusted EPS of (75c) against estimates for (93c), on revenue of $2.8B against estimates for $2.79B. Comparable store sales increased 6% for the quarter and online sales through jcp.com were up 16.7% from the year-ago period to $249M. On its Q2 earnings conference call, the company said that expected a "profitable" sales in the back-to-school season, adding that the company could see some "anomalies" in expense during Q3. NEWS: During the quarter, J.C. Penney announced the appointment of Marvin Ellison, EVP of stores at Home Depot (HD), as president and CEO-Designee, effective November 1. Ellison will also join the board, and succeed Myron E. Ullman, III as CEO of the company on August 1, 2015, at which time Ullman will become executive chairman of the board for a period of one year. At its analyst day in October, the retailer lowered its Q3 SSS view to low single digit growth from its previous view of mid single digit growth. J.C. Penney also warned investors that its September sales were weaker than expected. Despite lowering its SSS forecast, the retailer reaffirmed the rest of its quarterly guidance, including gross margins and SG&A expenses, and maintained all of its fiscal year 2014 guidance metrics, including mid-single digit SSS growth and positive free cash flow. STREET RESEARCH: Cleveland Research said J.C. Penney's challenging sales trends continued in October and is positioning to increase promotional activity during the holiday season. Wells Fargo, which has an Underperform rating on the stock, said that Ellison lacks expertise in apparel and accessories, where J.C. Penney is having a tough time. J.C. Penney shares could drop 35% if the company misses on sales growth estimates, Barron's said. PRICE ACTION: Over the last three months, J.C. Penney shares are down almost 20%. In morning trading today ahead of tonight's Q3 report, J. C. Penney's stock is up almost 6% to $7.61.
12:15 EDTWMTWal-Mart November weekly 79 straddle priced for 2% move into Q1
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11:58 EDTWMTWal-Mart weekly volatility elevated into Q3 and holiday outlook
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08:01 EDTHDHome Depot price target raised to $113 from $102 at Jefferies
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06:46 EDTWMTWal-Mart reminds stores to display fresh grocery products, NY Times says
Wal-Mart last month issued a memo to managers around the U.S., telling them to discount older meat and baked goods to ensure that they sell before they reach their expiration dates, according to The New York Times. The memo also reminds managers to remove expired dairy products and eggs, as well as moldy or rotting produce, from shelves, and reduce inventory, the newspaper stated. Reference Link
05:24 EDTWMTWal-Mart announces 'New Black Friday' event, holiday pay for associates
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November 11, 2014
12:37 EDTLOWLowe's November volatility elevated into Q3 and outlook
Lowe's November call option implied volatility is at 28, December is at 22, January and April is at 18; compared to its 26-week average of 22 according to Track Data, suggesting large near term price movement into the expected release of Q3 results on November 19.
07:09 EDTHDHome Depot November volatility elevated into Q3 and revenue outlook
Home Depot November call option implied volatility is at 24, December is at 20, January is at 18; compared to its 26-week average of 18 according to Track Data, suggesting large near term price movement into the expected release of Q3 results on November 18.
November 10, 2014
16:00 EDTWMTOptions Update; November 10, 2014
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12:36 EDTWMTAbercrombie, American Eagle sink after analyst downgrades
Shares of specialty teen apparel retailers Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) are falling after a number of analysts issued negative notes on the companies. WHAT'S NEW: Oppenheimer analyst Anna Andreeva downgraded Abercrombie & Fitch to Perform from Outperform. The company's earnings outlook has become less clear as its U.S. brand has not yet become popular, and retail brand turnarounds usually take awhile, Oppenheimer analyst Anna Andreeva wrote in a note to investors. Additionally, Abercrombie's international business, which has deteriorated further this year, faces "mounting uncertainty,” the analyst stated. The analyst slashed her price target on the name to $30 from $50. Meanwhile, Barclays analyst Matthew McClintock downgraded American Eagle Outfitters to Equal Weight from Overweight. McClintock has become more pessimistic about the outlook for American Eagle's comparative store sales in the second half of 2014, given recent data points from a number of retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Kohl's (KSS), Wal-Mart (WMT), J.C. Penney (JCP), and Ann Inc. (ANN). The analyst said he saw no reason why American Eagle should significantly outperform the overall apparel sector. McClintock cut his price target on the name to $11 from $15. Meanwhile, the analyst lowered his rating on the Softline Retail sector to Negative from Positive, as he believes that the sector, which includes companies that sell products like apparel, towels, and jewelry - is facing structural difficulties that are likely to persist for the next several years. Separately, research firm Janney Capital downgraded Abercrombie to Neutral from Buy in a note to investors today. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, Abercrombie & Fitch sank 3.5% to $28.50 and American Eagle dropped 4% to $12.40.
09:00 EDTWMTWal-Mart weekly volatility increases into Q3 and holiday outlook
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08:23 EDTWMTWal-Mart expectations appear muted heading into earnings, says RW Baird
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November 9, 2014
18:41 EDTWMTWal-Mart to focus on food safety in China, Reuters says
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16:55 EDTWMTWal-Mart China sales impacted by country's austerity program, WSJ says
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November 7, 2014
11:58 EDTWMTWal-Mart call activity attributed to activist investor speculation
Wal-Mart November 80 and 81 call active of total call volume of 25K contracts (1K puts) is attributed to activist investor speculation. November call option implied volatility is at 19, December and January is at 12; compared to its 26-week average of 14 according to Track Data. Active call volume suggests traders taking positions for upside price movement.
11:20 EDTWMTRumor: Wal-Mart strength attributed to activist investor speculation
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