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September 26, 2016
What a shock – the Fed didn't raise interest rates last week. Its next chance is in December – we'll see if it chickens out then, too.
You can count on markets to obsess over the possibility of a rate hike for the rest of the year. Anything to keep the free money hose on full blast.
But this obsession with rate hikes means the markets are missing a critical component of the big picture – corporate credit quality. It's really in horrible shape, but eight years of zero interest rates have helped to disguise that fact, and these companies aren't advertising it to shareholders.
Now that the Fed is contemplating raising interest rates, their disguise could be ripped off.
The truth is, "Corporate America" is far more leveraged now than it was on the cusp of the financial crisis.
June 30, 2016
Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) has a long and rich history, and its founders revolutionized the retail catalog.
But the only value Sears has left is in nostalgia, and you can't exactly put a price tag on that.
December 7, 2015
Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) reported disappointing Q3 2015 earnings on Dec. 3, dashing hopes for a rebound. Sears reported a 20% revenue decline and same-store sales fell by 9.6%. Sears has closed 11 of its stores this year, and it has also closed 27 Kmart stores, which it also owns.
December 4, 2015
The Sears Holdings stock price has come under pressure again amid a 20% revenue decline in the latest quarter.
Dwindling store traffic, heated competition, and heavy cash burn are among key concerns.
April 13, 2015
4/13/15: Shares of Sears Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) were up more than 2% this morning on news it signed a 50-50 joint venture with Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG). The deal will allow the retail giant to unlock the value of its real estate by placing at least 10 properties into the venture.
April 2, 2015
4/1/15: Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) jumped more than 3% this morning on news that the company will sell up to $2.5 billion in real estate to an investment trust. The announcement is the struggling retailer's latest attempt to raise capital as it undergoes a transition. SHLD stock ended the day down 0.12%, […]
February 27, 2015
Shares of J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) cratered more than 14% in pre-market hours after the company reported a surprise quarterly loss. Sears Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) dipped more than 5% Thursday after reporting its fourth-straight annual decline of revenue and profits, despite posting a narrower quarterly loss than Wall Street expected. Sears recounted a per-share […]
January 23, 2015
Most investors focus exclusively on buying stocks in an attempt to capture huge returns. That's too bad, because it means they restrict themselves to half the opportunities available to them.
I bring this up because markets move up AND down, which means there is plenty of profit potential to be had in both directions.
George Soros, for instance, is reported to have made $1 billion in a single trade that famously almost broke the Bank of England in 1992.
John Paulson made billions from the housing crisis when it hit by betting against the grain.
Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners is famous for bucking conventional wisdom on seemingly mighty companies and laughing all the way to the bank.
That's why shorting is one of the first tactics I shared with you in my Total Wealth publication.
Obviously, shorting stocks isn't for everybody – it takes a lot of guts and more than a little conviction to do it profitably. Not to mention a whole lot of discipline. But done right, it can really boost your profits.
December 12, 2014
Investors reacted with joy when Sears announced on November 6 that it would sell 200 to 300 of its stores
to a real estate investment trust (REIT) in 2015.
It was the "Big Bang" announcement investors had been waiting for since hedge fund billionaire Eddie Lampert combined Sears with the bankrupt retailer Kmart a decade ago.
But, after a quick share price pop, "be-careful-what-you-wish-for" investors have figured out that the REIT transaction will saddle the company with an additional $150 million in operating expenses and gut the company of its last remaining valuable assets.
November 12, 2014
As Alibaba enjoyed sales of over $7 billion on Monday, its iconic retail antithesis in the United States edged closer to its demise.
On Friday, November 7, Sears' stock jumped by 31% to $42.81 per share after the company announced that it was considering selling 200 to 300 of its 712 company-owned stores to a real estate investment trust (REIT).
Lest you think that's great news, consider that Sears is down nearly 50% over the past five years, and nearly 60% over the past ten years.
This was the Big Bank announcement many investors have been waiting for since hedge fund billionaire Edward Lampert took over the company a decade ago and combined it with another troubled retailer, Kmart.
As it became increasingly obvious that Sears' retail business was failing, supporters of the company assured doubters that its vast real estate holdings would vindicate Mr. Lampert. After all, he bought back huge amounts of stock at prices as high as $190 per share, a massive paper loss to this point.
But the REIT announcement should be seen as the death knell for the company. Sale of its last remaining valuable assets moves Sears one day closer to being put out of its misery.
It's a sad tale for what was once an iconic American retailer, and investors need to know how this endgame will play out.
September 18, 2014
A Credit Suisse analyst has called for Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD) to liquidate its assets, saying that recent events surrounding the struggling retailer have him singing "This is the end."
Sears stock fell 5.2 % Thursday, after falling 9.4% Tuesday and another 2.6% Wednesday on news that the company is borrowing $400 million from ESL Investments.
August 21, 2014
Hot stocks to watch, August 21, 2014: Thursday brings earnings from a dollar store company involved in a takeover battle, a growing branded meat processor, several key retailers, and a couple of tech players.
May 22, 2014
Sears stock (Nasdaq: SHLD) slumped 4% in premarket trading this morning (Thursday) before announcing financial results for its first quarter, which ended May 3. Overall, Sears posted a loss of $2.24 per share, vastly widening from Q1 2013's loss of $1.29 per share. The numbers were way off from analysts' more optimistic expectations of a projected loss of $1.91 per share. Revenue fell 6.8% to $7.88 billion.
Not much has changed in recent years for the retailer, which merged with Kmart in 2005.
You see, today's earnings are just another "nail in the coffin" in a long line of hits to SHLD stock – in fact, they mark 28 straight quarters of revenue drops for the retailer.
Stock market today, May 22, 2014: Yesterday (Wednesday), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a triple digit jump after no surprises emerged from the U.S. Federal Reserve's April meeting minutes.