Ep. 95: Short Selling Anyone

Ep. 95: Short Selling Anyone

 

Stocks pop in January, but earnings continue to come down

On this episode of the Cocktail Investing Podcast, we close the books on one of the best Januaries in years for the stock market and trace back the reasons for its inflection point from a painful year-end 2018 for investors. While some issues that plagued the market have rolled back, one, in particular, hasn’t and it’s one investors use to not only value stocks but determine which ones they are willing to pay up for. That includes a brief discussion on earnings from Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and others, but also prompts a conversation on short-selling.

We round out the podcast with a few Thematic Signals that confirm why Netflix (NFLX) is right to be worried about Fortnite; how consumer products companies like PepsiCo (PEP), Hershey (HSY), and Proctor & Gamble (PG) are embracing our Clean Living Investing theme; and why China is poised to become the largest retail market on the planet as our Living the Life, New Global Middle-Class and Middle-Class Squeeze investing themes intersect.

Have a topic we should tackle on the podcast, email me at cversace@tematicaresearch.com

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Cocktail Investing Podcast on iTunes!

Resources for this podcast:

 

India’s Mobile Monsoon

India’s Mobile Monsoon

 

An article in this week’s Economist points out some phenomenal data that speaks to our Global Rise of the Middle Class investing theme. While the Middle Class in many developed nations is under pressure, part of our Middle-Class Squeeze investing theme, we are seeing technology help leapfrog infrastructure needs in many emerging markets. In India, mobile data is giving people access to the global economy in ways that was utterly impossible just a few years ago.

Just three years ago there were only about 125m broadband internet connections in India; by last November the number had reached 512m. New connections are growing at a rate of 16m per month, almost all on mobile phones. The average Indian phone user now consumes more mobile data than most Europeans.

Incredible economies of scale possible in the most populous nation on earth make for business models that are not feasible elsewhere.

So as not to limit the market to people who can afford smartphones, Jio also launched its own 4g feature-phone, the JioPhone, which it says is “effectively free”. Customers pay only a refundable deposit of 1,500 rupees ($21) for the device, with which they can use WhatsApp, watch YouTube and take pictures. As Mr Ambani said last year, for most users their Jio connection “is not only their pehla [first] phone but also their pehla radio and music player, pehla tv, pehla camera and pehla Internet”.

Which has lead to incredible adoption rates.

Data in India now cost less than in any other country. On average Jio’s users each download 11 gigabytes each month.

The opportunities here are staggering, but as we’ve seen pushback on globalization in much of the developed world, so too is India looking to protect is domestic companies from foreign competition. Draft rules revealed last July would require internet firms to store data exclusively in India. Another set of rules that went live last October require financial firms to store data locally, too. On December 26th India passed rules that hit hard at Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT), which dominate e-commerce there, preventing them from owning inventory in an attempt to protect local digital and traditional retailers.

Investors are well served to look beyond just the U.S. economy which is facing growth headwinds from slowing population growth, aging demographics and enormous debt loads with a mountain of unfunded liabilities across pensions and Social Security. In India, a country with a massive population that is relatively young and with productivity levels well below those of developed economies, small improvements can generate enormous returns for both its citizens and investors.

Source: Mukesh Ambani wants to be India’s first internet tycoon – India’s new Jiography

Retirement Plans Disappear When Parents And The Kids Return Home

Retirement Plans Disappear When Parents And The Kids Return Home

A recent Wall Street Journal article points out that the American dream is further out of reach for a growing number as plans for retirement go up in smoke thanks to the needs of aging parents and their adult children.

A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found 52% of U.S. residents in their 60s—17.4 million people—are financially supporting either a parent or an adult child, up from 45% in 2005. Among them, about 1.2 million support both a parent and a child, more than double the number a decade earlier, according to an analysis of the Pew findings and census data.

Rather than enjoying the fruits of their decades of labor, many are finding that their household burdens are growing as they enter their sunset years.

More Americans find themselves housing two generations simultaneously, just when they thought they could kick back and retire. Instead, they face the strain of added expenses, constant caregiving and derailed dreams.

This pressure is coming as our Aging of the Population investment theme sees more senior citizens with inadequate savings and a healthcare system that is unable to provide the care they need at a price they can afford. On the other end of the spectrum, adult children are struggling with student debt levels the likes of which this country has never before seen and years of lackluster wage growth.

The squeeze is coming from both ends. With lifespans growing longer, the number of 60-somethings with living parents has more than doubled since 1998, to about 10 million, according to an Urban Institute analysis of University of Michigan data, and they are increasingly expensive to care for. At the same time, many boomers are helping their children deal with career or health problems, or are sharing the heavy burden of student loans.

This helps explain why discount retailers are expecting their customer base to continue to expand. Those companies that are able to help consumers push their dollars further [such as Amazon (AMZN), Costco (COST), Walmart (WMT)] have a growing set of tailwinds supporting them.

Source: ‘I Was Hoping to Be Retired’: The Cost of Supporting Parents and Adult Children – WSJ

EP 88 – Digital Shopping Reigns Supreme While Powell Fools the Market

EP 88 – Digital Shopping Reigns Supreme While Powell Fools the Market

 

 

On this week’s Cocktail Investing Podcast, Tematica’s Lenore Hawkins and Chris Versace center not only on the rash of holiday shopping data coming out of the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday period but also discuss Fed Chairman Powell’s “near neutral” comment on interest rates. That comment led the stock market to rip higher, offering relief to beleaguered investors that saw the majority of 2018 gains for the domestic stock market wiped out in recent weeks. But… you knew there was a but coming… the reasons behind that shift in tone as well as other risks mean we are not out of the woods just yet.

On the podcast, Lenore and Chris explain all of this in further detail and share the confirming data points from the holiday shopping weekend that point to an acceleration in digital shopping that is a cornerstone of our Digital Lifestyle investing theme. It’s not just online shopping as mobile shopping scored big this year, smashing records in the process, with the two contributing meaningfully to brick and mortar retail traffic pressures. Who benefits and why brick & mortar retailers are likely to be worried about profitless sales this holiday season are shared on the podcast. Chris and Lenore also share the most popular shopping apps, some of which like eBates are in keeping with Tematica’s Middle-class Squeeze investing theme.

 

Companies mentioned in this podcast

  • Adobe (ADBE)
  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Ebay (EBAY)
  • Kohl’s (KSS)
  • Macy’s (M)
  • National Retail Federation (NRF)
  • RetailNext
  • Target (TGT)
  • TJX Companies (TJX)
  • Walmart (WMT)

 

Have a topic we should tackle on the podcast, email me at cversace@tematicaresearch.com

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Cocktail Investing Podcast on iTunes!

Resources for this podcast:

 

Is that a Robot on Isle 9?

Is that a Robot on Isle 9?

We’ve all heard endlessly about the death of brick and mortar, (we discuss how that death is overstated in our podcast with Katherine Cullen of the National Retail Federation next week) as online retailing continues to gain market share and is nearly equal that of brick and mortar as a percent of consumers’ spending. While online retailing has made enormous gains, brick and mortar is far from dead, but rather is evolving and disruptive technologies are part of that evolution, even in your local grocery store. A recent Wall Street Journal article revealed that an enormous amount of capital is being invested in improving the way the grocery industry operated, (emphasis mine).

Grocers are stocking their warehouses with robots and artificial intelligence to increase efficiency as competition for consumer spending on food picks up. Robots are relatively new to the food industry, where customer interaction is common and many goods like fruit are fragile and perishable. Startups are vying to sell supermarkets an array of robots that perform different tasks. Venture-capital firms have invested more than $1.2 billion in grocery technology this year, according to PitchBook, a financial-market data provider, double the total for 2017.

Online groceries retailing has been a relatively weak area for growth in online retail, despite the early efforts of now-defunct Webvan and HomeGrocer. But that looks like it will be changing as investments in disruptive technologies are increasing.

Altogether, spending on technology by many of the biggest U.S. food retailers could accelerate the adoption of online ordering for groceries. Deutsche Bank expects online orders to represent roughly 10% of the $800 billion grocery market by 2023, up from 3% today.

Learning from those who tried in the early dotcom era and failed, the WSJ article reports that according to Narayan Iyengar, senior vice president at Albertsons Cos., the second-biggest U.S. supermarket chain,

“We have to find a model where we can deliver groceries to customers’ homes and do it in a more profitable way,”

Beyond robotics, companies like Kroger are also getting into delivery.

Kroger also is testing a driverless grocery van with autonomous vehicle company Nuro Inc., and it entered the crowded meal-kit distribution market through a $700 million deal with startup Home Chef. The deals are expected to advance Kroger’s online prowess, but have hurt the company’s profits and weighed on recent earnings.

The bottom line is those disruptive technologies can and have upended all aspects of our lives. Our Disruptive Technology investing theme focuses on those companies providing the technologies that completely change the way we communicate, shop, eat, work, exercise and even play.

Source: Grocers Enlist Robots to Chase E-Commerce – WSJ

Ep 69: Trump, Putin, Amazon Prime Day and the importance of 2Q 2018 earnings season

Ep 69: Trump, Putin, Amazon Prime Day and the importance of 2Q 2018 earnings season

 

 

 

Before the 2Q 2018 earnings season kicks into high gear this week, Tematica mixologists Lenore Hawkins and Chris Versace talked about one of the largest self-created holidays known to man – Amazon’s Prime Day — as well as the competitive response that has emerged during this seasonally slow time of the year for retailers. On the global stage, Lenore takes us through the geo-political and trade happenings over the last few weeks and explains how this along with fresh data pointing to a global slowdown has ratcheted up uncertainty risk even as the US stock market continues to march higher.

Against that backdrop, Chris shares his concerns for the upcoming earnings season and how earnings from truck logistics company JB Hunt and slowing loan volume growth at JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and PNC suggest a step down in the speed of the domestic economy is likely in the current quarter. It’s all about earnings reality matching up with earnings expectations, and if reality falls short it likely means a turbulent summer for stocks.

 

Companies mentioned on this podcast

  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Citigroup (C)
  • Netflix (NFLX)
  • JB Hunt (JBHT)
  • JPMorgan Chase (JPM)
  • Kohl’s (KSS)
  • PNC (PNC)
  • Target (TGT)
  • Walmart (WMT)
  • Wells Fargo (WFC)

 

Resources for this podcast:

 

 

Ep. 59: Exposing the Supply Chain Security Nightmare

Ep. 59: Exposing the Supply Chain Security Nightmare

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6465452/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/75a81f/” height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”top” theme=”custom”]

Download Episode

A Discussion with Interos Solutions CEO Jennifer Bisceglie

When most people think of the words “supply chain” they harken back to the class room definition — the sequence of steps and processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity or product in a factory. While that’s true, over the last several decades the move toward low cost outsourcing has dramatically changed where companies source their components and finished products as well as the multitude of players that supply them. Factor in the rise of software and networks, and the downside of this operational focus is it has kicked the door wide open for bad actors to exploit the supply chain in the form of cyber and other attacks.

In today’s podcast, Tematica’s Chris Versace discusses all of this with Interos Solutions CEO and President Jennifer Bisceglie, who recently testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing on “China, the United States, and Next Generation Connectivity.” As Chris and Tematica’s Chief Macro Strategist, Lenore Hawkins have shared before, the migration deeper into our Connected Society investing theme opens the door for pain points associated with our Safety & Security investing theme. Jennifer not only reaffirms that view, but reveals several aspects that few have likely considered despite how widespread cyberattacks on the supply chain have become.

As Jennifer points out, along with the growing incidents of attacks and notable high-profile ones at Merck & Co. (MRK), FedEx (FDX), Renault SA and others following the NotPetya destructive ransomware attack in 2017, supply chain security and vendor risk management is escalating across the corporate landscape, becoming a focal point in the Board room. Simply put, digital supply chain vulnerability is impacting the physical supply chain via a range of risks from intellectual property theft, to counterfeit components, and even human trafficking. Jennifer explains why with 5G and the Internet of Things soon to become reality, companies should brace themselves for another layer of concern when it comes to their supply chain security and vendors.

The implications are simply staggering, ranging from companies losing their strategic advantages and having investments stolen, to the need to ramp up security spending and added aspects to M&A due diligence that could alter the terms of a deal if not scuttle it all together. Recall how last year Verizon (VZ) renegotiated its deal to acquire Yahoo by $350 million following the revelation of security breaches with the Verizon network.

Jennifer and Chris also talk about Facebook’s (FB) current challenges, which could be viewed as a breakdown in its supply, and why it’s a situation that Jennifer is “surprised at how surprised everyone is that it happened.” And lastly, because it wouldn’t be a podcast without some discussion on Bitcoin or the Blockchain, Chris asks Jennifer for her view on the Blockchain and gains some insights into why it isn’t the likely cure-all for supply chain security.

 

Resources for this podcast:

 

 

Ep 58: Why Boxed is a Takeout Candidate

Ep 58: Why Boxed is a Takeout Candidate

 

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6448617/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/75a81f/” height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”top” theme=”custom”]

Download Episode

 

Amid the ups and downs of the stock market, it comes as little surprise to us here at Tematica that thematically well-positioned companies are M&A takeout candidates. We’ve seen it before, and odds are we will see it again. If you’ve been listening to CNBC or FOXBusiness, we are once again hearing that Boxed, a company that sits at the crosshairs of our Connected Society and Cash-Strapped Consumer investing themes, is once again in those crosshairs. Again, no surprise to us given we see Boxed as a cross between Amazon (AMZN) and Costco Wholesale (COST). With Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), Kroger (KR) and others looking to catch Amazon, we see the logic.

For more on Boxed, here’s the conversation between Tematica’s resident mixologists, Lenore Hawkins and Chris Versace with Boxed CEO Chieh Huang. It’s a conversation filled with confirming data points as well as some movie references to keep it fun and one that will leave you understanding why any of those companies we mentioned above could benefit from the addition of Boxed.

 

 

Resources for this podcast: