Stocks are once again nearing all-time highs, which is understandably making investors nervous about a repeat of the fourth quarter occurring. While that fear is healthy, the reality is that the underlying conditions of the market are a world different now. Not only are valuations lower, but the economy is looking robust, and perhaps most importantly of all, the Fed has let off the gas pedal with hikes, which puts recession risk much lower. All of these factors seem to conspire to make a perfect environment for stock price appreciation.
FINSUM: Anyone who reads FINSUM knows we lean towards bearish news, but the truth is that our better judgment is telling us that now is probably a time to be optimistic, as the trifecta of reasonable valuations, a solid/strong economy, and a dovish Fed, are in place.
Kohl’s did something we think is really brilliant. The company announced yesterday that it has entered an agreement with Amazon to accept all the online retailer’s returns. Kohls’ shares soared on the news. The program is an expansion of a pilot it started in 100 stores, but will now offer the service in all 1,150 stores. Kohl’s will also be selling Amazon merchandise.
FINSUM: We know from in-depth retailing experience that returns are a huge driver of foot traffic and extra sales. This is a very smart way to bring new customers into the store. Kohl’s revenue will rise materially from doing this. Brilliant strategy and very synergistic for both sides.
The reality of the political environment in the US is making one thing very clear: it is a tentative time to buy or own healthcare stocks. While healthcare companies are currently performing well, the market is growing increasingly bearish about them, and with good reason. Democratic candidates have proposed an array of new national healthcare plans that all have degrees of disruption, some of them massive, to the status quo. That means the healthcare industry is facing a problem that is very hard to control and could cause extensive changes to their current operating paradigm.
FINSUM: Unless healthcare gets so beat up that it is worth taking a risk on the stocks just as a bet that the Democrats don’t win the election, it seems like there is asymmetric risk reward in the sector right now.
The car industry has a big problem on its hands, and it is not something that can necessarily be solved with new technologies or better mpg. The problem is not even that that young people don’t want to buy new cars, it is that they don’t want cars at all. In fact, they don’t even care to have driver’s licenses. In 1983, half of all 16-year olds had licenses. In 2017, it was down to a quarter. Gen Z, those born after 1997, aren’t ageing into licenses and ownership either, as the rates of those who have licenses by 24 is falling. 16-year olds reportedly don’t care about the freedom of getting their own car anymore, as they have Uber and Lyft and increasingly just move from urban area to urban area as they age, where car ownership isn’t as ideal.
FINSUM: Not wanting your own car at 16 sounds almost unfathomable to older generations (including us), but it is a reality that is emerging.
Goldman Sachs put out a bearish article today that is calling for the tail end of this bull market. The bank thinks the rest of this year is going to be a dud and that PE multiples will not rise above 17. Therefore, they are suggesting a group of stocks that can thrive in such an environment. Here is a selection of 10 of their 20 choices: Texas Instruments, VeriSign, Gilead Sciences, Abbvie, Amgen, Starbucks, Lam Research, AT&T, Foot Locker, HanesBrands.
FINSUM: Appears like there are a lot of defensive stocks in this basket, which seems like a good plan for a sideways or bearish market.