Market Finds Support Amid Fed Taper Talk: Weekly Review

The stock market rally suffered losses in the latest week, amid Fed taper talk, some weak economic data and further China crackdowns on private enterprise. But the Dow Jones and S&P 500 index found support at their 50-day lines; the Nasdaq, after falling below the 50-day, regained that key level on Friday. Market breadth weakened further over the week. Nvidia (NVDA), Cisco (CSCO), Sea Ltd. (SE) and Macy’s (M) were earnings winners, but Home Depot (HD) and Target (TGT) sold off. At Tesla AI Day, Elon Musk said he’ll likely have a prototype humanoid robot by next year.


Stock Market Rally Finds Support

The stock market rally retreated this past week as the Fed signaled it could begin tapering bond buys this year. Some weak economic data in the U.S. and China also didn’t help. But the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and, ultimately, the Nasdaq found support around the 50-day line. Market breadth remains narrow. Crude oil prices fell sharply, with copper and industrial metals also down.

Fed Eyes Exit Amid Mixed Economic Data

The Federal Reserve is getting ready to start tapering bond buys before year-end, according to minutes from the July Fed meeting. That comes amid mixed economic data. July retail sales fell 1.1%, as Americans balked at soaring auto prices. Ex auto sales unexpectedly dipped 0.4%. Americans also are spending less on housing-related items and e-commerce sites. Restaurant revenue rose, though rising Covid cases could curb dining out again. Homebuilder confidence fell from very high levels, as high prices deter potential buyers. Jobless claims hit a post-pandemic low but regional factory gauges were weaker than expected. Chinese retail sales and industrial production growth slowed more than expected in July, as floods and Covid restrictions took their toll.

Nvidia Earnings Delight

Graphics-chip maker Nvidia (NVDA) reported an 89% EPS gain as sales climbed 68% to $6.51 billion amid strong gaming and data center chip sales. Nvidia also raised guidance. Shares rose on earnings, but were down for the week. Chip-equipment supplier Applied Materials (AMAT) and chipmaker Analog Devices (ADI) delivered beat-and-raise reports. However, shares of both companies wavered on the news.

Discount Giants Beat Views

Walmart (WMT) reported a 14% EPS gain while revenue edged up 2.4% to $141.05 billion. Target (TGT) EPS grew 8% as sales climbed 9.5% to $25.2 billion. E-commerce and other sales growth is slowing, in part due to tougher comparisons. Both companies gave a strong earnings outlook, and could benefit from President Biden’s big boost to food-stamp benefits. Walmart is the nation’s top seller of groceries and Target has expanded in this space. WMT stock was little changed while Target tumbled.

Tesla Hosts AI Event, Autopilot Crashes Probed

Tesla hosted AI Day on Thursday night to showcase its progress in the use of artificial intelligence. The event was ostensibly aimed at recruiting engineers, gave a complex presentation on self-driving. Elon Musk also said Tesla “probably” will release a prototype humanoid robot sometime next year. The event was held as the EV maker faces mounting scrutiny of its self-driving claims. U.S. senators called for an FTC probe just days after the NHTSA formally launched an investigation into several Tesla Autopilot crashes involving stationary vehicles at first responder sites. The NHTSA indicated a tougher standard for Autopilot than in previous probes.

Cisco Earnings Top

Cisco Systems (CSCO) reported fiscal Q4 EPS rose 5%, just beating. Revenue rose 8% to $13.1 billion, including acquisitions such as Acacia Communications. That slightly topped estimates. Software revenue climbed 9% to $4 billion, up 9% year-over-year. For the October quarter, Cisco guided slightly lower on EPS. But it guided up on fiscal Q1 and 2022 revenue targets. Shares rallied on earnings, moving higher in the buy zone.

Department Stores More Upbeat

Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS) reported second-quarter results that beat estimates, and both raised their full-year financial forecasts. Macy’s also announced a buyback and revived a dividend. The department stores reported even as the pandemic still rages across much of the U.S. Macy’s stock surged to a 52-week high while Kohl’s popped. Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN), which in recent years has spurred retailers to adapt to digital shopping, is now planning to open its own large-format stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Home Depot, Lowe’s Earnings Beat

Home Depot (HD) reported EPS rose 13% on an 8% sales increase to $41.12 billion. Same-store sales rose 4.5%, with U.S. comps up 3.4%, missing some forecasts. The home improvement chain reported a 5.8% drop in customer transactions from a year earlier, but the average ticket was 11.3% larger, suggesting fewer DIY customers. Meanwhile, Lowe’s (LOW) said Q2 EPS grew 13%, while sales were up 1% at $27.6 billion, both above estimates. Same-store sales fell a less-than-expected 1.6%. HD stock fell solidly while Lowe’s jumped.

TJMaxx, Ross Earnings Rebound

Off-price retailer TJX (TJX), parent of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, earned 64 cents a share vs. an 18-cent loss a year earlier and above views for 59 cents. Sales shot up 81% to $12.1 billion, also above estimates. TJX open-only comps rose 20%, above estimates for 14.5%. Ross Stores (ROST) posted EPS of $1.39, rebounding from an 11-cent loss in the same period last year. Sales were up 79% to $4.8 billion. But Ross gave weak guidance. TJX stock jumped while Ross Stores fell.

Deere & Co. DE raised full-year guidance after third-quarter earnings rebounded 107% to $5.32 per share, with revenue jumping 29% to $11.527 billion, an overall beat. The Caterpillar CAT rival’s agriculture, construction, and turf equipment segments all posted robust gains, despite supply-chain challenges. Deere expects to keep benefiting from “favorable fundamentals” in its core farm and construction markets, which includes the planned $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Deere makes excavators, bulldozers, timber harvesters and dump trucks used in construction. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic especially hit shipments of Deere’s construction and forestry equipment, also forcing its factories to operate at reduced capacity.

Sea Ltd. Revenue Booms

Asian e-commerce and gaming company Sea Ltd. (SE) reported a 159% revenue gain to $2.28 billion, the third straight quarter of accelerating year-over-year growth. It also raised guidance. Shares rose to a new high.

China Earnings Mixed Amid Crackdown

Messaging and gaming giant Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) reported mixed results as Beijing cracks down vs. web platforms and many other private-sector sectors. Tencent Music (TME) beat Q2 EPS views, as its advertising business rebounded and more people subscribed to its music streaming platform. Vipshop (VIPS) and Weibo (WB) also reported mixed results. China stocks have been under heavy pressure, with valuations cut roughly in half this year due to an ongoing government crackdown. Tencent and for-profit school firms warned of regulatory impacts on operations.

Global-e Online (GLBE) beat revenue estimates and raised its outlook for the current quarter and full year when the e-commerce software maker reported quarterly results, its first as a public company.

Sonos (SONO) soared after a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled that Google (GOOGL) infringed on patents held by the maker of wireless audio technology.

T-Mobile (TMUS) fell nearly 3% on Monday after a hacker reportedly claimed to be selling personal data from more than 100 million customers.

BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ), a warehouse club retail chain, reported second-quarter results that topped expectations. The company said its “view of the future has improved from last quarter,” but didn’t offer formal guidance.

Roblox (RBLX) reported a wider-than-expected loss while bookings lagged views for the online gaming platform. Daily active users rose 29% year over year to 43.2 million, in line with estimates.

Synopsys (SNPS) bolted higher after the chip design software firm posted a beat-and-raise quarterly report. Q3 EPS rose 4% as revenue grew 10% to $1.06 billion.

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services (ZIM) crushed views on rising container volumes and guided high. EPS shot up to $7.38 from 23 cents a year ago. Revenue vaulted 199% to $2.38 billion.

Estee Lauder (EL): reported Q4 earnings of 78 cents a share, reversing a year-earlier loss. Sales jumped 62% to $3.94 billion. Both beat expectations. Looking ahead, the cosmetics company gave upbeat guidance. Shares jumped from key support.

Foot Locker (FL), the athletic gear retailer, reported second-quarter results that beat expectations. The company said it was “cautiously optimistic” about its outlook for the second half of the year.


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