More Tech Fall Out, New Bearish Trades, and Retailers Up Next

For those of us who thought (hoped?) that the market would find solid footing with the turn of the calendar, we’ve been deeply disappointed. The S&P and Nasdaq continue to writhe, with a miniature bear market spinning from one sector to the next.

Last week the instigator of weakness was market darling Nvidia (NSDQ: NVDA). It reported a stinker of a quarter and warned sales will be dull until unused inventory is cleared from the channel. Analysts underappreciated the boost to profits from super high-priced crypto mining chips and as bitcoin tumbled, demand from this customer set dried up.

Luckily, we exited our two semiconductor-related stocks, Ichor Systems (NSDQ: ICHR) and Entegris (NSDQ: ENTG) in September. It pained me to sell two names that I thought had great potential. Alas, each is down 25% and 14% respectively from our sale price, a lesson in getting out of a bad sector despite an individual stock’s decent prospects.

I keep looking to this sector for potential long ideas but have so far, been quite happy that I’ve hesitated. I think it’s best to wait for some confirmation that fundamentals have turned the corner before issuing buys and trying to be a hero by bottom-ticking these names.

I thought that the retail group had indeed turned the corner but last week’s action in bellwether Walmart (NYSE: WMT) might prove me wrong. Walmart reported an all-around good quarter, but in a nervous market, investors are more critical of earnings.

A sales and earnings beat wasn’t enough to push the stock higher. Investors instead focused on management’s discussion that expenses integrating Indian e-commerce company Flipkart will remain high. As I describe below, I see these issues as being company specific and not an issue for the sector.

You’ve likely seen the bearish agriculture trade recommendation on Deere (NYSE: DE) and Lindsay (NYSE: LNN) issued this morning. In June we had a pretty successful bearish trade on Agco (NYSE: AGCO), Lindsay Corp and Titan Machinery (NSDQ: TITN).

I’ve kept Agco and Titan off this trade as each one noted a slight improvement in channel inventory last quarter. I’m not a big believer that these two are out of the woods but prefer to bet on names that are already showing degradation in trends.

Please note that Urban Outfitters (NSDQ: URBN) and Target (NYSE: TGT) report earnings today after the close.

As a reminder, the market is closed on Thanksgiving day and will be open for a truncated session on Friday. I wish all of you the comfort found in the company of friends and family during the break.

Around the Portfolio:

PayPal (NSDQ: PYPL), made a strategic investment in Arkose Labs, a provider of online fraud prevention technology. Arkose Labs’ software solutions help prevent and solve multimillion-dollar fraud problems with little to no friction to users. According to its website, its customer base includes Electronic Arts (NYSE: EA), Singapore Airlines and Kik messenger system.

Arkose Labs said in a statement that with this investment it plans to expand its product roadmap to include additional fraud prevention and digital identity capabilities. Neither company disclosed financial terms of the investment.

Tapestry (NYSE: TPR) sagged a bit as Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel re-launched coverage of it with an Outperform and a lowered price target of $50 from $65 previously. In a research note to investors, Nagel says the market is under-appreciating internal initiatives beginning to take hold, including acquisition integration, new product introductions, and digital enhancements. I am digging to find out why he lowered his price target as most of his comments seem quite bullish.

Target failed to rise despite a new Overweight rating at KeyBanc Capital Markets and a $110 target. Target, along with BJ’s (NYSE: BJ) fell in conjunction with Walmart. Despite beating earnings, Walmart fell 4% on fears of higher costs moving forward.

I found Walmart’s sales numbers quite impressive and don’t think the cost issues at that retailer apply to other mass marketers. Most of Walmart’s problems regarding increased expenses are due to its acquisition of Indian e-commerce company Flipkart and are unique to Walmart.

Stock Talk

Asjad Shamim

Asjad Shamim

Hi Linda, Thank you for the comprehensive summary.
Quick question on URBN… Currently its down >71% for me. My entry price was around ~$2.22/share.
– Do you see it limiting the loss or hoping to bounce back?

Recently had few big losses, so trying to see if we need to do anything wirh URBN.


Linda McDonough

Linda McDonough

I do expect URBN to have a good earnings report tonight, which is why I timed the call purchase when I did. It has been a very difficult time in the market with some stocks falling despite good numbers. This may be due to broad fund redemptions, which hit across the board. I’ll send an update tonight when I go through the numbers but am hoping for a bounce to get those calls back up.

Linda McDonough

Linda McDonough

So far, so good on URBN’s numbers. Beat e.p.s. by 7c with higher revenue, better gross margins, and in-line SGA expenses. Comps were positive in all brands and inventory is in good shape. No guidance yet, call happening now. We’ll see if it holds but the stock was trading up over $1.00 after the close.

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