If anyone is wondering why the darling stock of Bill Ackman and Whitney Tilson, for whom every collapse of JCP is a buying gift from god, namely JCPenney, is plunging after hours, it is because the company's president, Michael Francis, hired October 4, 2011, has just quit. To wit: "J. C. Penney Company, Inc. ("jcpenney") (JCP) today announced that Michael Francis will be leaving the Company, effective today. Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson will assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company's marketing and merchandising functions." And to think that just 9 months ago the company CEO Ron Johnson announced, that "I am thrilled to welcome Michael to our team... He is an extremely talented executive with the vision and courage to re-imagine the department store experience. His ability to innovate and deep understanding of the industry will be invaluable as we set out to transform J.C. Penney into America's favorite store." And while his ability to do anything else appears to have been a dud, his ability to read the fine print in his contract, especially where it talks about his perks, was second to none. Because despite leaving just 9 months after his hiring, Francis is entitled to collect a whopping $9 million in pro-rated signing bonus (alongside $100,000/month in salary): all in all - a tidy package of $10 million for shooting the breeze while observing a sinking retail ship. Not bad for a company whose stock has just plunged to September 2010 levels.
News & headlines from the day
... is the news (which is not news, because as we had explicitly stated early this morning, Spain admitting it needs a bailout absent a new bailout plan in place, launches the country's bond yields into hyperspace) that had it hit 30 minute ago would have sent everything red for the day:
- Spain Resisting Conditions On Bank Bailout - EU Official, BBG
But why would this news, coming at nearly 11pm Spanish tim, have to come before the market close, when all of the day's gains would have been undone. Why indeed.
First the ECB kicked the stimulus junkies in the crotch in the after hours session, now the PBOC is about to eat their faces for breakfast as both rumors causing overnight and intraday stock ramps are systematically denied. From Bloomberg: "China has no plan to introduce stimulus measures to support growth on the scale unleashed during the depths of the global credit crisis in 2008 according to the nation’s state-run Xinhua News Agency. “The Chinese government’s intention is very clear: It will not roll out another massive stimulus plan to seek high economic growth,” Xinhua said yesterday in the seventh paragraph of a Chinese-language article on economic policy, without attributing the information. “The current efforts for stabilizing growth will not repeat the old way of three years ago." And with that the rug is pulled out from below anyone praying for non-Fed stimulus.
Sometimes, when one desperately chases alpha at any cost, all one needs to see is a somewhat credible asset manager, in this case Bill Ackman's Pershing Square, invest a massive amount of cash in a given company, to decide to invest alongside. In this case the company is JCPenney, and the amount in question invested by Ackman being $1.3 billion (at last check his third biggest positions after GGP and CP). Usually this strategy, elsewhere known as herding, 13F chasing, or alphacloning, works, until it doesn't. In the case of JCPenney it just didn't, after the company just blew up in real time dropping a tape bomb, missing on the top and the bottom, cutting the forecast, and for good measure also eliminating the dividend. End result: Ackman just lost nearly $200 million after the stock imploded by nearly 15% after hours, and all those who blindly piggybacked along without doing their homework (such as Whtiney Tilson whose 4th largest cash position is JCP), went for the ride.
Just because it is never boring after hours:
- MOODY'S DOWNGRADES ITALIAN BANKS; OUTLOOKS REMAIN NEGATIVE
EURUSD sliding... even more. But that's ok: at some point tomorrow Europe will close and all shall be fixed, only to break shortly thereafter. And now.... Margin Stanley's $10 billion collateral-call inducing 3 notch downgrade is on deck.
We have presented our opinion on the JPM prop trading desk repeatedly, in fact starting about a month ago. Last night, Senator Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin also decided to join the fray, which is to be expected: the man needs air time. And now, in a surprising twist, competing banks, all of whom have more than enough skeletons in their own prop desk trading closet, are starting to speak up against the bank that should not be named. Enter Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid and his take on the Fail Whale.
JPM Crashing After It Convenes Emergency Call To Advise Of "Significant Mark-To-Market" Losses In Bruno Iksil/CIO GroupSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/10/2012 15:50 -0500
Out of nowehere, JPM announced 40 minutes ago that it would hold an unscheduled 5pm call to coincide with the release of its 10-Q. Rumors were swirling as to why. The reason is as follows:
- JPMORGAN SAYS CIO UNIT HAS SIGNIFICANT MARK-TO-MARKET LOSSES - "Fortress balance sheet" at least until Bruno Iskil gets done with it.
- JPMORGAN SAYS LOSSES ARE IN SYNTHETIC CREDIT PORTFOLIO - but, but, net is NEVER, EVER Gross.
- JPM WOULD NEED $971M ADDED COLLATERAL IF RATINGS CUT ONE-NOTCH
- JPM WOULD NEED $1.7B ADDED COLLATERAL IF RATINGS CUT 2 NOTCHES - how about three notches?
- JPMORGAN: MAY HOLD SOME SYNTHETIC CREDIT POSITIONS LONG TERM - "Level 3 CDS FTW"
- "As of March 31, 2012, the value of CIO's total AFS securities portfolio exceeded its cost by approximately $8 billion"
As a reminder, the CIO unit is where Bruno Iksil was making $200 billion-sized bets. Basically JPM has suffered massive losses at its CIO group most likely due to its IG/HY positions held by Iksil.
Equity markets did not disappoint today in their automaton pattern today with the 4th day in a row of buy the morning dip and sell the afternoon rip. Gold was stable (as was the USD) and the S&P 500 rotated back to their reality at the close. Treasuries were notable underperformers today. The Dow just inched into the green, breaking its 6-day losing streak.
Fidelity is happy to announce it has an opening for a new consumer discretionary analyst, because the current one, the one who recommended the firm's investment in Green Mountain, is now looking for a job. Fidelity's GMCR position , which as of 3:59 pm amounted to $1.13 billion, was minutes later trimmed by $445 million, after the company finally posted earnings (and we use the term loosely) which may have finally validated the David Einhorn (and every single skeptic's before) thesis on the name. Because while the earnings themselves came in line, it was the forecast that buried the company: specifically, its forecast of $885 million in Q2 revenue on expectations of $971.7 million, $3.92 -$4.05 billion in full year revenue on estimates of $4.32-$4.46 billion, as well as its 2012 EPS which were forecast to come at $2.40-$2.50 while the street was looking for 2.631 EPS. The result: the growth thesis is now over, and the growth premium has collapsed, with the stock plunging by 40% after hours.
Equity indices managed to close green on a generally lower-than-average volume day but while the morning was dominated by a 20pt rip post-ISM's 4.5-sigma surprise, the post-Europe-close afternoon session saw us give back over 60% of those gains on rising volume and average trade-size. As the day-session closed, ES (the S&P 500 e-mini futures) was right around yesterday's highs and today's VWAP in a relatively balanced manner but after-hours was leaking lower still. AAPL also had a big rotation day as it opened red, surged into the middle of the day then gave it all back to close within a few pennies of its 50DMA (and in fact is trading below it in after-hours trading). Stocks pushed well ahead of credit markets as they rallied and HYG was far less impressed. Sure enough by the close, equities had limped back in line with credit's reality but in the meantime, HYG was back down at last Wednesday's levels. The ISM caused the USD to pop, stocks to pop more, oil to pop about the same and gold/silver/Treasuries to drop. The post Europe-close action saw stocks give back most of those gains, the USD leak back lower (as CAD strengthened), Oil maintained it bid over $106 (month highs) and Gold/Silver pulled back up nicely. Treasuries remained under pressure though with only a very late-day dip lower in yields to show for the dips in stocks. As expected, Energy and Financials outperformed close-to-close on a rally-day but also retraced the most in the afternoon as Discretionary and Materials also joined the high-beta fray. The strength in oil and weakness in TSYs was enough to juice risk-assets in general and provided some support for the rally but stocks remain rich relative to risk in general and we wonder how the bulls have it both ways - rally on unsustainable good news (but no QE3) and on bad news (Ben's got yr back) as the first day of May (absent any European hedging) seemed a chaotic rush to buy this morning that may have been a short-term climax.
UPDATE: *S&P TO ASSESS EFFECTS OF SPAIN DOWNGRADE ON SPANISH ISSUERS
Adding insult to Bayern Munich injury, we just got S&P which did the impossible and cut Spain to BBB+ from A (outlook negative) not on Friday after hours. Kneejerk reaction is a 30 pip drop in EURUSD. Oh, and most amusing, those witches among men, Egan Jones, downgraded Spain from BBB to BBB-.... a week ago. Crush them, destroy them... How dare they be ahead of the pack as usual: after all their NRSRO application was missing a god damn comma.
Amazon Surges After Hours On After-Tax Accounting Gimmick, Cash Burn, Collapsing Margins, And Negative GuidanceSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/26/2012 15:54 -0500
Either the algos are getting really stupid, or nobody cares at all about the quality of earnings any more. Case in point - Amazon, which was expected to post revenues and EPS of $12.9 billion and $0.07 came up with a revenue of $13.18 billion, hardly breathtaking if this came entirely at the expense of margins as has been the case in the past year, yet the one item that is sending the stock surging after hours on yet another short covering squeeze in which people cover first and ask questions later, was the EPS which came at $0.28. Amazing. Only problem is that the EPS, which was $130 million equivalent, was based on $41 million in actual net income from continuing operations, or $0.09. Hardly the stuff sending stocks up 10% in after hours. What accounting for the balance? An after tax adjustment amounting to $89 million coming from Equity-method investment activity, or the oldest accounting trick in the book, which alone added $0.19 cents to the EPS number, or about 95% of the entire EPS beat. What is surely not driving the AH spurt is that company's guidance for Q2: "Net sales are expected to be between $11.9 billion and $13.3 billion, or to grow between 20% and 34% compared with second quarter 2011. Operating income (loss) is expected to be between $(260) million and $40 million, or between 229% decline and 80% decline compared with second quarter 2011." So... actual profit before after tax accounting gimmicks may be negative, but at least they will make up for it in volume, right? Or inverse cash: in Q1 the company burned $3 billion in cash, bringing its cash load down from $5.3 billion to $2.3 billion. One final thing that is not causing the10% spike after hours is the operating margin: the company made $192 million in income from operations on $13.2 billion in revenue, or 1.5% profit margin, compared to what was considered abysmal 3.2% last year.
As we said yesterday, traders could have just slept through the entire day, ignored headlines about mad cows, auctions of European bonds maturing in a few weeks, speculation of Europe's alleged falling out favor with austerity which is very much irrelevant as all that matters is what German taxpayers/voters say, and the SEC's latest laughable scapegoating attempts, and just woken to the 4:30 pm announcement of iPhone sales in China. As expected, the entire world is now reacting. Here is Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid with the global response to the world's ongoing fascination with aspirational cell phones.
And here they are:
APPLE 2Q REV. $39.19B, EST. $36.87B
APPLE 2Q EPS $12.30, EST. $10.02
APPLE SOLD 35.1 MILLION IPHONES IN QTR, EST. 31.2M
APPLE 2Q IPOD UNITS SOLD 7.7MLN , DOWN 15%
APPLE 2Q IPAD UNITS SOLD 11.8MLN
APPLE 2Q GROSS MARGIN 47.4%, EST. 42.8%
APPLE 2Q MACINTOSH UNITS SOLD 4MLN , UP 7%
- APPLE SEES 3Q REV. ABOUT $34B, EST. $37.49B
- APPLE SEES 3Q EPS ABOUT $8.68, EST. $9.96