Sears

Frontrunning: October 8

  • Turkey says Syria town about to fall as Islamic State advances (Reuters)
  • Only now? Growth worries grip stocks, oil (Reuters)
  • Hong Kong Protest Leaders ‘Furious’ at Agenda for Talks (BBG)
  • Earthquake Damages Thousands of Homes in Southern China (BBG)
  • Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama (BBG)
  • Where Is North Korea's 31-Year-Old Leader? (BusinessWeek)
  • Australia to Revise Employment Data (WSJ)
  • Americans Living Longer as Fewer Die From Heart Disease, Cancer (BBG)
  • A 401(k) Conundrum: Can You Make Cash Pile Last for Life?  (BBG)
  • China Services Sector Slows in September (WSJ)

"We Call It Democracy, But It's Not"

It is amazing how the government manages to continue selling Brooklyn Bridges to a gullible public. Americans buy wars they don’t need and economic recoveries that do not exist. Government in America is focused on something different from a healthy economy and the well being of citizens. We call it democracy, but it’s not.

Frontrunning: October 3

  • How you know it is all a lie: Pelosi Presses Obama to Talk Up Stronger U.S. Economy (BBG)
  • Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes Put Pressure on New York Fed (NYT), Uh, no they don't
  • Clashes Break Out at Hong Kong Protest Site (WSJ)
  • N.Y. Fed Lawyer Says AIG Got Billions Without Paperwork (BBG)
  • Ebola’s Disease Detectives Race to Track Others Exposed (BBG)
  • UPS, FedEx Want Retailers to Get Real on Holiday Shipping (WSJ)
  • No more mailman at the door under U.S. Postal Service plan (Reuters)

Frontrunning: September 26

  • Mystery Man Who Moves Japanese Markets Made More Than 1 Million Trades  (BBG)
  • Draghi’s Trillion-Euro Pump Finds Blockage in Spain: Euro Credit (BBG)
  • Apple plays defense on iPhone 6 bending, software concerns (Reuters)
  • U.S. to Shield Military From High-Interest Debt (WSJ)
  • U.S. Outgunned by Extremists on Social Media Battlefield (BBG)
  • Yen Weakens on Pension Fund Reform; Aussie Drops to 7-Month Low (BBG)
  • Secretive Russian oil giant has no fear of sanctions (Reuters)
  • Ride-Sharing Services Face Legal Threat From San Francisco, Los Angeles (WSJ)
  • Putin’s Sell-Treasuries-for-BRICS Bonds Plan Has Limits (BBG)

Frontrunning: September 16

  • Thank you market Chief Risk Officer Bernanke/Yellen: Calpers to Exit Hedge Funds, Divest $4 Billion Stake (BBG)
  • World stocks hit one-month low, caution ahead of Fed (Reuters)
  • U.S. Efforts to Build Coalition Against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria Are Hampered by Sectarian Divide (WSJ)
  • Time to throw away some more good money: Sears Borrows $400 Million From Lampert’s ESL Investments (BBG)
  • Wildfires rage in California drought, hundreds forced to flee (Reuters)
  • United Offers $100,000 Buyouts to Flight Attendants (BBG)
  • Biggest Banks Said to Overhaul FX Trading After Scandals (BBG)
  • You mean you have to pay? Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000 (The Hill)
  • RBS Said to Dismiss Most of Team Overseeing Central Europe Debt (BBG) they will be hired by the ECB

Kohl's And The Rest Of The Retailers Are In Deep Trouble

When you see the headlines touting strong retail sales, you need to consider what you are actually seeing in the real world. RadioShack will be filing for bankruptcy within months. Wet Seal will follow. Sears is about two years from a bankruptcy filing. JC Penney’s turnaround is a sham. They continue to lose hundreds of millions every quarter and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next couple years. Target and Wal-Mart continue to post awful sales results and have stopped expanding. And as you drive around in your leased BMW, you see more Space Available signs than operating outlets in every strip center in America.

Frontrunning: August 22

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border (Reuters)
  • Hunt for Foley’s Killer Spans Old Policing and Tech Tools (BBG)
  • U.S. Probe Examines GM Lawyers (WSJ)
  • Argentina accuses U.S. Judge Griesa of "imperialist" attitude (Reuters)
  • Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm (Reuters)
  • Geneva Banks Break 200-Year Silence to Unveil Earnings (BBG)
  • Richest Jailed Putin Foe Says Ukraine Fears Sparked Prosecution (BBG)
  • Disclosure of Failed Attempt to Rescue James Foley Is Criticized (WSJ)
  • Execution of U.S. journalist reveals the changing business of war coverage (Reuters)

Frontrunning: August 21

  • FTW: Europe Stocks Rise as Data Signals Need for Stimulus (BBG)
  • More de-escalation: Dozens die in Ukraine in street battles, Donetsk shelling (Reuters)
  • Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation (Reuters)
  • Attorney General Eric Holder Vows Thorough Probe of Ferguson Shooting (WSJ)
  • World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Slows Emerging Market Investment (BBG)
  • Market Chilly to Argentine Debt Proposal (WSJ)
  • Israeli air strike kills three Hamas commanders in Gaza (Reuters)
  • Retooled Hamas Bloodies Israel With Help From Hezbollah (BBG)
  • Investors Pour Into Vanguard, Eschewing Stock Pickers (WSJ)
  • Fed Debates Early Rate Increases (WSJ)

Fed Fueled M&A Destroys Capital

The world’s central bankers have given companies the urge to merge. Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity has already reached $2.2 trillion this year according to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence, up 70% from this time a year ago. The deals are big, with eight acquisitions, each over $5 billion, being announced in just a single week in July. However CEO buying sprees do not create new jobs and new products that make our lives better, but are instead just wasteful malinvestments that destroy capital. The cost of capital is integral to making these assumptions. The lower the assumed interest rate or cost of capital, the higher the price for the acquisition that the models will justify. Once interest rates go up, these valuation models will be blown to pieces.

Canary In A Handbag: Why Coach Hit The Skids

For the last two decades Coach (COH) could do no wrong. Its aspirational handbags flew off the shelves at hefty prices, causing its sales to soar from $1.3 billion to $5.1 billion during the 10-years ending in fiscal 2013. Better still, its EPS soared by 6X, representing a 20% earnings growth rate over the same period. Greatest of all, its share price peaked at nearly $80 in 2012 after having opened the 21st century at $3 per share. Needless to say, the believers and speculators who got on board for the 27X gain in twelve years were fabulously rewarded, as was its founder and largest stockholder, Lew Frankfort, who became a billionaire along the way. So the capitalist dream is still working in America, right? Not exactly.

Feds Bust "One Of The Largest Food Stamp Frauds Ever"

With nicknames like "The Money Wizard" and "Gran Hustle," 88 people have been indicted in what the FBI calls "one of the largest federal food program frauds ever." Grocery stores were created for the express purpose of laundering WIC (Women, Infant & Children) and Food Stamp (EBT) funds from willing benefits-receivers who were given discounted cash for the "food" stamps canvassed from "low income neighborhoods" in Georgia. The government seeks the forfeiture of $20 million in bank accounts and assets, including two luxury vehicles, a 2008 Mercedes Benz and a 2008 Land Rover. Exceptional!

Has The Next Recession Already Begun For America's Middle Class?

Has the next major economic downturn already started? The way that you would answer that question would probably depend on where you live. If you live in New York City, or the suburbs of Washington D.C., or you work for one of the big tech firms in the San Francisco area, you would probably respond to such a question by saying of course not. In those areas, the economy is doing great and prices for high end homes are still booming. But in most of the rest of the nation, evidence continues to mount that the next recession has already begun for the poor and the middle class.

Frontrunning: May 27

  • Vietnam, China trade accusations after Vietnamese fishing boat sinks (Reuters)
  • SEC Set to Spur Exchange Trading (WSJ)
  • Bank of Japan quietly eyes stimulus exit (Reuters)
  • Japan Risks Low Growth Even as Easing Spurs Inflation (BBG)
  • Hello Japan: Bond Market Message to Fed: Your 4% Rate Outlook Is Too High (BBG)
  • Malaysia, UK firm release satellite data on missing MH370 flight (Reuters)
  • Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine city, dozens dead (Reuters)
  • Bad Credit No Problem as Balance-Sheet Bombs Rally 94%  (BBG)
  • Draghi’s Asset-Backed Drive Rouses Academic Skeptics (BBG)
  • For-Profit Colleges Face Test From State, Federal Officials (WSJ)

The Retail Death Rattle Grows Louder

The inevitable shuttering of at least 3 billion square feet of retail space is a certainty. The aging demographics of the U.S. population, dire economic situation of both young and old, and sheer lunacy of the retail expansion since 2000, guarantee a future of ghost malls, decaying weed infested empty parking lots, retailer bankruptcies, real estate developer bankruptcies, massive loan losses for the banking industry, and the loss of millions of retail jobs. Since we always look for a silver lining in a black cloud, we predict a bright future for the SPACE AVAILABLE and GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sign making companies.

Frontrunning: May 23

  • The Fed can't print trade? World Trade Flows Fall in First Quarter (WSJ)
  • PBOC’s Zhou Says China May Have Housing Bubble in ‘Some Cities’ (BBG)
  • ECB's Weidmann - Reviving ABS market not task for central bank (Reuters)
  • LOL: Fitch upgrades Greece by a notch to 'B'; outlook stable (Reuters)
  • LOL x2: Spain Sovereign Debt Rating Upgraded by S&P (BBG)
  • China Will Vet Tech Firms After Threatening U.S. Retaliation (BBG)
  • US to claim victory over China in WTO car dispute (BBG)
  • Obama urges Democrats to vote in midterms, attacks Republicans (Reuters)
  • U.S. Military Pushes for More Disclosure on Drone Strikes (WSJ)