What a Truce on Tariffs Might Mean, Carbonite Firms Up Deal with Iron Mountain and More…

We finally got some bullish trade news over the weekend. However, the fade in the S&P 500 from up 40 in the futures before market open to up 21 as of this writing shows how gun-shy investors are of putting too much weight in a temporary truce between the U.S. and China over tariffs.

I’m with them. I have several long trade ideas I’m working on and knowing how important the timing of trades can be when we are amidst such volatility; I’m watching and waiting to issue the alerts.

As always, I’m looking for ideas that have a unique catalyst outside of a general bull market. That quality should help us navigate the choppy waters but is no guarantee.

I issued a sell alert this morning of the Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM) puts. The buy alert on these puts arrived on September 26 along with put recommendations on MGP Ingredients (NSDQ: MGPI) and Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP). The MGPI and TAP trades delivered terrific gains but SAM seemed to trade in its own orbit, rising when the others fell despite little news.

The SAM puts only hit my purchase limit price briefly, so I never included the trade in our official portfolio. Only after several subs alerted me they had been filled did I know to continue to cover it. It’s always helpful to see if you’ve been filled on a trade. I will issue a notice if I do not believe anyone was filled so that we can all be on the same page.

Autos and technology stocks should celebrate any more permanent tariff relief, especially regarding the 40% retaliatory tariff China placed on U.S. autos. We’ve seen Carbonite (NYSE: CC) and NXP Semiconductor (NSDQ: NXPI) decline due to their auto exposure. I’ve noted before that I think this selling is more of an emotional reaction as neither company is overexposed to the auto industry.

Please note that year-end selling, which typically impacts a small portion of the market, might be more aggressive this year. This selling involves funds locking in losses to offset their taxable gains. I’ll be looking for bargains in this group because this selling is more mechanical than based on company fundamentals.

Around the Portfolio:

Carbonite, Inc. (NSDQ: CARB) and Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), announced the expansion of their strategic partnership. Iron Mountain will integrate the Carbonite Data Protection Platform into its Iron Cloud platform, enabling businesses to safeguard and improve recoverability of their mission-critical data across all IT environments in the event of data loss, disaster or cyber-attack.

The partnership looks to be an extension of a prior agreement. Iron Mountain will now host the Carbonite Data Protection Platform in its enterprise-class Iron Cloud within its data centers for its Iron Cloud product.  With Iron Cloud, organizations can deploy a hybrid data management strategy for their multi-cloud environments with the appropriate cost, performance and security for each storage tier.

“Our customers trust us to keep their information safe, secure and available, regardless of what it is or where it is stored,” said Ray Aschenbach, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Solutions, Iron Mountain. “We deliver on that trust through a combination of innovative solutions and strategic relationships with leaders like Carbonite. Combining the power of Carbonite’s comprehensive data protection platform with Iron Cloud and our secure data centers, we can offer enhanced protection to our customers across their critical systems.”

Website Politico noted that congressional discussion on the Farm bill, which includes requirements for SNAP (food stamp) recipients, is not expected to add work requirements for food stamps. Growth in the aid distributed via food stamps has boosted revenue at stores like Target (NYSE: TGT), Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) who increased their food selection to woo these customers. The elimination of possible job requirements should ease any fears that these retailers would see less demand from this demographic.

PayPal (NSDQ: PYPL) wrestled with a fraud issue with its Venmo product according to an article in the Wall Street Journal last week. The issue looks to be under control given that the article indicates fraud rates have been coming down. The problem occurred in the first quarter, where we’ve already seen results. Better than expected profits in other areas compensated for any additional charges needed in that quarter. A Stephens analyst reiterated an Overweight rating and $108 price target the shares.

Analysts weighed in on Black Friday results. Portfolio names Target, and Urban (NSDQ: URBN) were included in the winners. Wedbush analyst Jen Redding notes that the U.S. holiday selling season started off strong, with integrated e-commerce selling surging past expectations. The analyst examined his Campaign Tracker to study key marketing and performance indicators across retailers in the peak holiday selling period. Zara, Free People, and Anthropologie, Lululemon (NSDQ: LULU), aerie (NYSE: AEO), Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS), Macy’s (NYSE: M), and Target saw strong engagement for the critical holiday period with engagement trends well-above respective sector averages.

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