Friday, October 22, 2021
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Markets Close Flat, Await New Jobs Data

With no market news Wednesday — at least nothing that didn’t confirm what we already knew from previous data — market indexes were flat as a pancake this Hump Day: the Dow was +0.07%, the S&P 500 +0.15%, the Nasdaq +0.14% and the small-cap Russell 2000, the only major index to close in the red today, was -0.06%. The S&P 500 remains within 1% of its all-time closing high, the Dow is within 2%.

The Energy sector enjoyed growth of 1.8% on the day, bolstered by 2% gains in oil stocks and the highest read on WTI crude in 2 1/2 years — $68.83 per barrel. Marijuana stocks also saw strong growth, led by Tilray TLRY +11.4% and Cronos CRON +8.5%, on today’s announcement that Amazon AMZN will no longer drug test employees for being positive for cannabis.

Today’s Beige Book called economic growth from early April through late May to be at a “moderate pace.” Increasing Covid vaccinations has led to an easing of pandemic restrictions, allowing retailers to open their doors more freely and increase sales. But again, none of this came as a shock to anyone today.

It remains the “meme stocks” posting most of the gaudy headlines in the equities market, which is the apparent trading theme of this holiday-shortened week. AMC Entertainment AMC, which does expect a big return to movie theaters this summer, grew by a whopping 95% today. Bed Bath & Beyond BBY went up 62%, while specialty retailer PetMed Express PETS was up 54%. Short-squeezes and lack of near-term guidance; that’s what our early-summer marketplace is beginning to look like.

Tomorrow brings us our first steady diet of useful economic data of the week, with both normal Thursday Initial Jobless Claims and ADP ADP private-sector payrolls being released. New claims are expected to drop below the 400K floor for the first time since the pandemic struck, while private-sector jobs are anticipated to dip below the robust 700K+ we saw reported for April to around 680K. This is the same consensus estimate analysts see for May nonfarm payroll numbers, to be released Friday morning.

Apparel brand company PVH PVH — home to Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen and others — more than doubled earnings expectations for its Q1 results after the closing bell: $1.92 per share easily surpassed the 82 cents in the Zacks consensus, and is worlds ahead of the year-ago -$3.03 per share. Revenues of $2.08 billion in the quarter took out the $1.92 billion expected, representing 55% growth year over year.

While guidance for the full year was raised on both top and bottom lines, the raises look conservative relative to today’s big Q1 beat. Even still, Gross Margins reached 59%, and Digital Sales as Total was 25% in the quarter. Also, Mike Shaffer, the company’s COO and CFO, is stepping down this September after more than a quarter century with the retail conglomerate. Shares of PVH are up 3.5% in the late session.

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