Displaying items by tag: Amazon
Retail stocks have had a very good run over the last year. The first half of 2017 was about as bleak as it could get for retail, which is in the midst of a major disruption caused by ecommerce. However, stocks posed a big rebound over the last twelve months on the back of consumer spending and tightened business models. However, the sector might be set for more trouble as Wall Street analysts have just downgraded about 60% of the S&P’s retail index, giving profit warnings despite good consumer spending. One analyst summed it up this way, saying “The pendulum swung too far: retail never died, but it’s likely not as healthy as people think, either … After a very strong first half, it would seem management teams feel the need to reset the bar, to bring hype back to reality”.
FINSUM: The truth is that the disruption of the industry is far from over and there is likely to be a lot more turmoil, perhaps especially in the next recession, when price competition gets even more fierce.
Investors in tech have reason to worry. Not only is Trump saying that they should possibly be subjected to anti-trust regulation, but the tech sector is heading to Washington today to meet with the Senate. Top executives at Facebook, Google, and Twitter, are set to face questions and scrutiny about their practices, including on trust concerns, political content, and consumer privacy. The tide of public opinion has turned against tech over the last year, and congress has followed suit, with Senate GOP leader Orrin Hatch calling Google’s anti-trust behavior “disquieting” despite the fact that he used to staunchly defend the sector.
FINSUM: The big problem for tech is that a regulatory crackdown now seems to have bipartisan support. We think there will be some regulations imposed on tech, but the depth of the forthcoming rules will be the deciding factor. In other words, will it be something along the lines of GDPR (relatively light) or more like Glass-Steagal?
The long-awaited (long-feared?) shake up of the S&P 500’s sectors will occur soon, and there is a lot of focus on how the tech sector, as traditionally defined, will change. Google and Facebook will be making the switch out of tech and into the new communications services sector. Netflix, as well as Walt Disney, Ford, and Nike will be joining them. There is some fear about the volatility that will be caused as big index trackers have to change their holdings on September 21st. Overall though, it seems like tech stocks (as traditionally thought of) will be winners, as having them distributed across multiple sectors will avoid the sector-weight limits many asset managers face.
FINSUM: Tech stocks will likely do well, but so will the companies getting grouped with them. As one analyst pointed out, AT&T and Verizon joining Google and Facebook is kind of liking outsiders getting invited to the cool kids’ party, which may help their share prices.
Faangs and the tech sector more generally have had a tumultuous year. There have been a lot of fears over regulation, valuation, and data breaches. Yet, on the whole, the performance has been strong. However, many investors are now turning against the faangs in a big way, as short bets against it have soared recently. There is now a $37 bn short position against the group of companies, up 40% in the past year. Amazon is the most shorted single stock, with around $10 bn of short interest against it. Faangs have accounted for almost half of the Nasdaq’s rally above 8,000.
FINSUM: The short interest is understandable given the lofty valuations, but the issue is that the underlying businesses look quite strong, which makes us doubtful there is going to be a coordinated faang crash of any grave magnitude.
For a long time, Walmart was one of the greatest growth stocks in history, growing from a small regional company to the largest retail chain in the nation. However, growth has evaded it for some time, and its quick expansion ended about 20 years ago. That may all be about to change, however. Walmart’s ecommerce operation is really taking off, growing at a 40% clip, at the same time as its in-store sales are rising at their fastest pace in a decade. Walmart is already the fourth largest online retailer in the US, but the stock has not given full credit to how well the company is doing, creating an opportunity for investors.
FINSUM: Walmart’s acquisition of Jet in 2016 was a smart one, and it has shown good leadership in ecommerce. We suspect the stock has a few years of good growth coming.