• Pivotfarm
    04/18/2014 - 12:44
    Peering in from the outside or through the looking glass at what’s going down on the other side is always a distortion of reality. We sit here in the west looking at the development, the changes and...

NRF

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Frontrunning: December 12





  • J.P. Morgan to Pay Over $1 Billion to Settle U.S. Criminal Probe Related to Madoff (WSJ)
  • Ford board aims to pin down CEO Mulally's plans (Reuters)
  • Raising Minimum Wage Is a Bad Way to Help People (BBG)
  • Japan Lawmakers Demand Speedy Pension Reform (WSJ)
  • EU reaches landmark deal on failed banks (FT)
  • In which Hilsenrath repeats what we said in August: Fed Moves Toward New Tool for Setting Rates (WSJ)
  • Senators Vow to Add to Iran Economic Sanctions in 2014 (BBG)
  • Centerbridge in $3.3bn LightSquared bid (FT)
  • Banks, Agencies Draw Battle Lines Over 'Volcker Rule' (WSJ)
 


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Frontrunning: December 11





  • Wall Street Exhales as Volcker Rule Seen Sparing Market-Making (Bloomberg)
  • GM to End Manufacturing Down Under, Citing Costs (WSJ)
  • U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Police Back Off After Failing to Stop Protest (WSJ)
  • First Walmart, now Costco misses (AP)
  • Dan Fuss Joins Bill Gross Shunning Long-Term Debt Before Taper (BBG)
  • China New Yuan Loans Higher Than Expected (WSJ)
  • China bitcoin arbitrage ends as traders work around capital controls (Reuters)
  • Blackstone’s Hilton Joins Ranks of Biggest Deal Paydays (BBG)
 


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Black Friday Sales Tumble 13% On Thanksgiving Thursday Opening Scramble





If somehow the scramble to open stores earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving day, until such time as the very Thanksgiving dinner had to be interrupted early for the annual rush out to the (un)friendly neighborhood Thug-Mart (Toys'R'Us opened at a ridiculous 5pm on Thanksgiving day) and punching people in the face just to get that 42 inch, 2010-model Plasma TV for $99, was supposed to boost overall sales instead of merely pulling them forward (see cash for clunkers), it didn't work. According to ShopperTrak, total Black Friday traffic plunged 11% and total sales fell 13.2%, the second consecutive year of declines following last year's 1.8%. The reason, as largely expected, is that a substantial portion of Friday shopping was pulled back to Thursday: as ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said, "if retailers continue to promote Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday buying season, he thinks the holiday will eventually surpass Black Friday in sales. "We're just taking Black Friday sales and spreading them across a larger number of days," Martin said."

 


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Holiday Sales Expected To Be Less Than Half Fed's "Wealth Effect" Hope





Based on the Fed's wealth effect creating surge in stock prices, Guggenheim's Scott Minerd believes retail sales should be up 5.8% in Q4 2013. However, as we noted before, expectations are for a dismal 1-2% holiday spending growth at best; as 2013 is set to be the worst holiday spending season since 2009. Stores from Tilly's to Abercrombie and Wal-Mart are warning, the NRF projects the first drop YoY since 2009, and gas prices are set to rise (further pressuring consumers' disposable incomes). The bottom line - as we already know - is that QE's effects on the real economy (if there were ever any?) are set to end in the 2013 holidays.

 


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10 Clues About 2013 Holiday Spending





From consumer and retailer surveys to quantitative data such as household spending and private jet bookings, ConvergEx's Nick Colas has amassed a collection of 10 clues about this year's holiday shopping season. On the plus side, disposable personal income and consumer spending on discretionary items are rising, and travel to Palm Beach via private jet is quite popular this Christmas season. However, consumer confidence surveys are particularly weak, and consumer debt has ballooned to a 5-year high. Roughly equal parts good and bad, Colas' collection of holiday spending indicators points to a mediocre (at best) 2013 shopping season (as we noted earlier).

 


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Frontrunning: September 18





  • Fed likely to reduce bond buying, pass policy milestone (Reuters)
  • Fall in Home Loans Pushing Fed Away From Taper in Mortgage Bonds (BBG)
  • Russia says U.N. report on Syria attack preconceived, political (Reuters)
  • China House Price Surge Raises Prospect of Steps to Cool Market (FT)
  • Cyprus Plans to Complete End of All Capital Controls... some time in 2014 (FT)
  • GOP Reworks Budget Terms (WSJ)
  • U.S. Navy was warned that Washington shooter 'heard voices' (Reuters)
  • Berlusconi Impeachment Vote Looms (WSJ)
  • Ageing could weaken central banks, spur rate volatility (Reuters)
 


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Frontrunning: August 12





  • Solyndra Cola: California aims to 'bottle sunlight' in energy storage push (Reuters)
  • Ackman may sues himself after all - Penney Board Assails Director William Ackman, Considered 'Rogue' After Releasing Deliberations (WSJ)
  • CFTC subpoenas metals warehousing firm as inquiry heats up (Reuters)
  • Obama Plan to Revamp NSA Faces Obstacles (WSJ)
  • Japan growth slows in second quarter, adds to sales tax uncertainty (Reuters)
  • China Urbanization to Hit Roadblocks Amid Local Opposition (BBG)
  • Parents Losing Jobs a Hidden Cost to U.S. Head Start Budget Cuts (BBG)
  • US seeks better access to Africa as part of trade pact review (FT)
  • Singapore Cuts Trade Outlook as China Slowdown Caps Recovery (BBG)
  • White House Sifts Fiscal Ideas With Band of Senators (WSJ)
  • Spain may ask United Nations for support over Gibraltar (Reuters)
  • Michigan Safety Net for Boomers Frays on Bankrupt Detroit (BBG)
 


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Frontrunning: August 6





  • Washington Post Company Chairman and CEO Donald Graham talks about the sale, what it means for the future of The Post (WaPo)
  • Private-equity firms are adding debt to companies they own to fund payouts to themselves at a record pace (WSJ)
  • U.S., U.K. Urge Citizens to Leave Yemen (WSJ)
  • India Names Rajan Central Bank Governor as Rupee Plunges (BBG)
  • Family Offices Chasing Wealthy’s $46 Trillion in Assets (BBG)
  • UK 'bad bank' repays $2.9 billion to taxpayers in first half (Reuters)
  • Sony rebuffs Daniel Loeb’s push for entertainment spin-off (FT)
  • Public Pensions Up 12% Get Most in 2 Years as Stocks Soar (BBG)
  • Hidden Billionaire Found With Food Fortune in California (BBG)
  • Fonterra under fire over milk scare; more product recalls (Reuters)
  • Crédit Agricole Profit Rises After Greek  (WSJ)
 


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Frontrunning: June 13





  • Global shares pummeled, dollar slumps as rout gathers pace (Reuters)
  • Hong Kong to Handle NSA Leaker Extradition Based on Law (BBG)
  • Lululemon chairman sold $50 million in stock before CEO's surprise departure (Reuters)
  • Companies scramble for consumer data (FT)
  • Traders Pay for an Early Peek at Key Data (WSJ)
  • When innovation dies: Apple looking at bigger iPhone screens, multiple colors (Reuters)
  • Washington pushed EU to dilute data protection (FT)
  • Japan-U.S. drill to retake remote island kicks off (Japan Times)
  • EM economies in danger of overheating, World Bank says (FT)
  • Don't forget the Indian crisis: Chidambaram seeks to quell concerns over rupee (FT)
 


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Frontrunning: February 20





  • Office Depot Agrees to Buy Officemax for $13.50/Shr in Stock
  • Bulgarian Government Resigns Amid Protests (WSJ)
  • Rome will burn, regardless of Italian election result (Reuters)
  • Abe Says No Need for Foreign Bond Buys Under New BOJ Chief (BBG)
  • Rhetoric Turns Harsh as Budget Cuts Loom (WSJ)
  • Muddy Waters Secret China Weapon Is on SEC Website (BBG)
  • Business Loans Flood the Market (WSJ)
  • Staples May Be Winner in Office Depot-OfficeMax Merger (BBG)
  • Fortescue Won't Pay Dividend, Profit Falls (WSJ)
  • Key Euribor rate on hold after rate cut talk tempered (Reuters)
  • FBI Probes Trading in Heinz Options  (WSJ)
  • Spain Said to Impose Yield Ceiling on Bond Sales by Regions (BBG)
  • BOK’s Kim Signals No Rate Cut Needed Now as Outlook Improves (BBG)
 


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Chart Of The Day: Retail Sales & Excuses





Not surprisingly when wages and salaries are growing at a slower rate there is a corresponding weakness in the level of retail sales.  The peak in wages and salaries occurred in early 2011 with the subsequent growth rate trending weaker.  This corresponds with the economy which has continued to muddle along at a very anemic pace.  While it may be likely that the damage from Hurricane Sandy may have soured some sales, particularly in the North East, it is unlikely to have had much of an effect on the retail sales nation wide.   For majority of America the "fiscal cliff" debate largely goes unnoticed as it remains a battle between the White House and the "rich" - for the rest the country it is more of a distraction from the things that matter like "Honey Boo Boo" and "Housewives Of Whereever".   What does matter though, as stated above, are incomes.  The decline in incomes, which can be seen in the roughly 1.2 million person increase in food stamp participation from June to September, is why retail "holiday" spending is weaker.  With credit limits reduced, incomes stagnant and real costs of living on the rise - it is not surprising that retail sales are far weaker than the NRF's holiday season predictions.

 


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Frontrunning: December 12





  • Here come the low margin products: Apple Tests Designs for TV (WSJ)
  • Obama and Republicans Trade Offers to Avert Fiscal Crisis (BBG)
  • Carney broaches dumping inflation target (FT)
  • Bernanke Critics Can’t Fight Bonds Showing No Inflation (BBG)
  • Corporate Taxes on Table in Cliff Talks (WSJ)
  • US business chiefs back tax rise (FT)
  • Greece Confident Bond Buyback Needed for Aid Succeeded (BBG)
  • New Faith in Europe's Banks (WSJ)
  • European Bank Sees Little Room for Rate Cuts (WSJ)
  • North Korea Claims Success in Rocket Launch (WSJ)
 


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Frontrunning: November 29





  • As this has been priced in since September 13, it should come as no surprise to anyone: Fed Stimulus Likely in 2013 (Hilsenrath)
  • Bowles Says Fiscal Cliff Deal Unlikely by End of Year (Bloomberg)
  • Argentina debt repayment order frozen (FT)
  • Obama Is Flexible on Highest Tax Rates (WSJ)... not really
  • Geithner deployed for fiscal cliff talks (FT)
  • Audit firms Deloitte and KPMG sued in HP's Autonomy acquisition (Reuters)
  • Euro-Zone Budget Proposal Is Unveiled (WSJ)
  • EU Nations Clash on Thresholds for Direct ECB Oversight (Bloomberg)
  • LDP leader Abe: BOJ must ease until inflation hits 3 percent (Reuters)
  • SNB’s Jordan Says High Swiss Franc Burdens Many Companies (Bloomberg)
  • EU to launch free trade negotiations with Japan: EU officials (Reuters)
 


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From Black Friday To White Noise: Why Thanksgiving Sales "Data" Is Biased And Irrelevant





While the common wisdom, espoused by any and all commission-taking wealth manager looking to up his AUM, is that Black Friday sales (and the anecdotal evidence from self-referential store-owners and CEOs) can tell us about the trend in the economy or they offer some divine extrapolated insight into the year's final sales number. The truth; you can't handle the truth.  As BofAML's Michelle Meyer notes, there is no correlation between total holiday sales and Black Friday sales over the past seven years. In fact, we believe that not only are the early estimates of Black Friday sales insignificant, they can send misleading signals. More fundamentally, Black Friday sales can either signal a healthy consumer or a desperate one, depending on the state of the economy. The bottom line is that we advise fading the Black Friday sales reports, but paying attention to the aggregate holiday sales reports.

 


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