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Spending slowdown

Shares of Disney (NYSE:DIS) are climbing in premarket trading after its subscriber numbers topped Wall Street expectations. On its earnings call, the company also highlighted a comeback in the consumer as COVID restrictions ease. Parks were profitable for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy noted that per capita spending was up "significantly" vs. 2019 numbers, at both Disney World and Disneyland. And reservations remain strong at both domestic resorts, she said, but a recent credit card survey from BofA Securities indicates that spending is already slowing.

"With the full month of July data, we calculate the seasonally adjusted change from June to July. Total card spending was down 1.3% on a month-over-month seasonally adjusted basis (mom sa)," BofA Economist Michelle Meyer writes in a note. "Slicing the data further, retail sales ex-autos were down a more notable 2.4% mom sa."

There are two main reasons for the decline, Meyer says: A decline in online retail sales due to the timing of Prime Day promotions, which are usually in mid-July. The increase in services spending moderated and was unable to offset the weakening in goods spending.

Higher cases and higher prices: While U.S. shoppers have savings to deploy following the pandemic and little place to find yield, caution in going out and spending the cash remains.

"The biggest deceleration continues to be in spending on airfare which we think reflects concerns over the Delta variant. At the same time, durable goods spending (electronics + furniture + home improvement) weakened, with 2-year growth of 24%," Meyer says. "What’s left? A combination of other services which tend to be less cyclical and nondurable goods spending which continues to run at a trend pace."

“The urban cities, like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, aren’t feeling the same recovery as the Sunbelt states and less populated areas,” Naveen Jaggi, president of retail advisory firm JLL told Forbes. “Combine this with many corporate offices slowing their return to the office. We are going to have a very uneven return to work and we are going to have an even longer return to the shopping habits of yesterday.”

Rising prices in services could add to the reluctance. Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) recently warned that it is racing to pass on the rise on its higher costs to customers, which indicates higher restaurant checks ahead. The July PPI came in hotter than expected, underscoring input cost concerns.

Disney streaming

Walt Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) fiscal third-quarter earnings topped expectations on top and bottom lines and exceeded forecasts for its subscribers to streaming service Disney+. Those subscribers hit 116 million, vs. an expected 112.8 million. Across its streaming services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, the company is near 174 million subscribers.

Revenues grew 45% to $17 billion, and the company swung back to a $995 million profit from last year's $4.84 billion loss. Earnings from continuing operations swung to a gain of 50 cents a share from a year-ago loss of $2.61 a share. Adjusted earnings jumped to 80 cents a share from 8 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. (28 comments)

ARK on robots

Cathie Wood's ARK Invest said in a new report that robotics use in the manufacturing industry is in its infancy, and wider adoption could help S&P Industrials stocks.

ARK wrote in the report that machines have altered the agriculture business over the past century, enhancing its profitability and offering a hint at what could be an impending, similar manufacturing revolution. The firm said that while robot usage in overall manufacturing is already six times higher than in all other industries, it's still one-sixth that of the auto industry and one-fifteenth that of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). (14 comments)

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Airbnb bookings rebound

Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB) reported gross booking value of $13.4B in Q2 vs. the consensus mark of $11.2B and $10.3B in Q1. Revenue for the quarter was up 299% Y/Y against the soft pandemic comparable and the company's loss narrowed to $68M. Nights and experiences booked rose 197% during the quarter to 83.1M.

ABNB's demand update: "We expect Q3 2021 to be our strongest quarterly revenue on record, finishing well above Q3 2019 levels. Our Q3 revenue as a percentage of GBV will increase substantially from Q2 due to the high concentration of check-ins expected in Q3." Looking ahead, Airbnb expects adjusted EBITDA margins to be higher in the second half than in the first half. (36 comments)

Chip slip

Semiconductor stocks underperformed the broader market after a cautious note from Morgan Stanley forecast the coming end to the memory cycle and downgraded Micron (NASDAQ:MU) to the sidelines. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (NASDAQ:SOXX) fell 1.1% compared to a 0.6% rise in the broader tech sector (NYSEARCA:XLK).

Micron's NAND memory peer Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) also traded down despite Morgan Stanley's more positive view on NAND versus DRAM. Late last year, Intel announced plans to sell its NAND memory and storage business to SK hynix for $9 billion, but the deal isn't expected to close until later this year. (41 comments)

Bitcoin bandwagon

Valkyrie is the latest issuer looking to launch a Bitcoin (BTC-USD)-themed ETF. The company wrote in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it plans to soon launch the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF, an actively managed fund that has not been given a formal ticker symbol yet.

The fund “seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing all or substantially all of its assets in exchange-traded futures contracts on Bitcoin.” As with other Bitcoin strategy funds, the new Valkyrie ETF won't directly hold Bitcoin, as that's not yet allowed by the SEC. Instead, it will use Bitcoin futures to give investors exposure to the popular cryptocurrency.

ETF issuers have been piling into this new approach ever since ProFunds recently launched the first Bitcoin mutual fund, which also uses crypto futures to get around SEC rules banning outright Bitcoin holding by funds. Since then, Invesco, ProShares, VanEck and other firms have all filed plans to launch Bitcoin Strategy ETFs. (1 comment)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan -0.14%. Hong Kong -0.5%. China -0.2%. India +1.1%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.36%. Paris +0.34%. Frankfurt +0.37%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.16%. S&P +0.08%. Nasdaq +0.02%. Crude -0.2% at $68.97. Gold +0.53% at $1760.95. Bitcoin +2.3% to $46412.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2.1 bps to 1.346%.

Today's Economic Calendar

8:30 Import/Export Prices
10:00 Consumer Sentiment
1:00 PM Baker-Hughes Rig Count

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

Meme stock action could shift the market back to 1999.

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNAsays COVID-19 shot retains antibody levels for six months against variants.

SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFIstock dips after soft Q3 guidance.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOMgets mild lift as Canaccord raises target to $225 a share.

FTC chief's comments send Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE:AJRD) reeling.

Sports betting is legal in 32 states with another 4 on the way.

Wish parent company ContextLogic (NASDAQ:WISHslumps as quarterly results disappoint.

Boeing (NYSE:BAStarliner launch could face several months' delay

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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