Posts Tagged ‘retailers’

Commercial Real Estate (CRE): The Slow-Mo Cliff-Dive Gathers Speed

Commercial Real Estate (CRE): The Slow-Mo Cliff-Dive Gathers Speed

cre marketCourtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Commercial real estate is in a structural cliff-dive, currently in slow-motion but soon to gather momentum.

With all the hub-bub about the foreclosure crisis in residential real estate, commercial real estate (CRE) has fallen off the radar screen of crises. Don’t worry, it’s still careening off the cliff; the fall is just in slow motion.

No need for a fancy report to see the signs of decay in CRE. Signs of the ongoing CRE meltdown are everywhere--empty storefronts, mall shops and vacant office complexes abound.

The causes are all too familiar: lending standards went out the window, banks loaned too much, buyers paid too much, lousy deals were avidly securitized, cash flow projections entered Fantasyland and unhealthy speculation fed widespread fraud.

Since boom-and-bust cycles of overbuilding and retrenchment are endemic to commercial real estate, it’s tempting to view this as just another post-expansion trough. Since prices have already slipped a staggering 40% from the 2006 peak, those calling this the bottom of the current cycle have some history on their side.

But beneath what appears to be a standard-issue retrenchment--a glut of inventory to work through, lenders avoiding risk instead of embracing it, and so on--structural changes in the U.S. economy are changing the CRE landscape for good--and not in a positive direction.

A long-term structural decline in CRE is not just a real estate industry concern. With some $1.7 trillion in CRE loans needing to be refinanced in the next few years, a continuing decline in CRE values could push the still-fragile banking system into a new crisis and the economy back into recession as early as next year.

The extremes reached in the boom were certainly epic: investors paid $800,000 per resort hotel room and over $500 per square foot for Class A office space, numbers which no terrestrial cash flow could possibly justify. Retail centers sprouted alongside every new exurb subdivision.

cre - commercial real estate

By this logic, an unprecedented boom requires an equally unprecedented bust to work through the excesses in price, debt and risk. So far so good, but there is an anecdotal body of evidence which suggests that profound systemic changes are taking place in the U.S. economy which will structurally reduce the demand for commercial real estate--not for a few years, but permanently.

1. A significant portion of CRE
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Frugality the New Reality in Australia; Predatory Customers Addicted to Discounts

Frugality the New Reality in Australia; Predatory Customers Addicted to Discounts

Courtesy of Mish 

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  A man views the discounted items for sale in a branch of Books Etc which has gone into administration on November 27, 2009 in London, England. The nationwide book chain, along with its sister brand 'Borders', is seeking a buyer for all of its 45 stores. Increased competition from supermarkets and online bookstores are being blamed for the chain's decline. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

I have commented many times on US Consumer and Corporate Frugality but inquiring minds might be interested in happenings down under. Frugality has gone global.

Predatory Customers Addicted to Discounts 

The Herald Sun reports Retailers could take years to recover because customers addicted to discounts.

A bargain frenzy since the global financial crisis has led consumers to expect and accept only slashed prices.

The dire forecast, from market research company TNS director Chris Kirby, comes as bored staff in some stores are put to work cleaning, tidying and changing window displays because of a lack of customers.

At some sites, especially fashion outlets, stock is discounted by up to 70 per cent as soon as it hits shelves to attract shopper interest.

"Consumers are no longer willing to accept the first price they find. They know there’s a good chance of finding it cheaper somewhere else," Mr Kirby said. "In essence the industry is training us to become professional, if not predatory, consumers."

The caution came as a Commonwealth Bank economic index that tracks credit and debit card transaction value trends across a wide range of industries reported the weakest spending since the height of the global financial crisis in early 2008.

Desperate Retailers Slashing Prices by 75 Percent 

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 12: A '75% Off' sign is seen February 12, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rebounded 1.0 percent in January after dropping for six months in a row, according to the Commerce Department.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Please consider Retailers slashing prices by 75% as Queensland sales slow

One retail organisation, the United Retail Federation, said the slump was at its worst in Queensland, where small retailers were struggling to move stock, even after heavily discounting items.

The bleak picture is at odds with scenes of hundreds of shoppers queuing at lay-by counters to take advantage of major toy sales.

Thousands of bargain hunters queued at Big W stores for the start of its two-week toy sale, which ended last week.

One Gold Coast shopper complained of a four-hour wait at her local Big W store, and of being hit in the ankles with shopping trolleys in the stampede.

Target will follow with its toy sale from July 22 to August 4, having already released its 72-page catalogue offering 120 half-price bargains.

But Australian Retailers Association director Russell Zimmerman said retailers generally were finding it difficult to clear stock, even at hefty discounts. "It’s tough out there and retailers are finding it harder

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Neon sign for caf? and market at dusk

Retail stocks continue to hit new 52 week highs just about every day.  As we noted last week, the discrepancy between the retail stocks and reality appears to be growing with every uptick.  Citi recently issued a note expressing the same belief:

“The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary sector’s Retailing industry group looks worrisome. While retailing stocks have been very powerful performers this year, up almost 2x the S&P 500’s gain year to date, there are several reasons to become concerned about the group’s potential trading trends in the next year, ranging from fundamentals, to earnings revision momentum and to valuation. Moreover, potential equity market weakness mid-year could generate meaningful near-term profit-taking as portfolio manager conviction seems shallow. Therefore, a “downgrade watch” alert from Market Weight is appropriate.”

Source: Citi Research

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Rosenberg: The Truth About Retail Sales Is That They Still Stink

If anyone can explain why the retail sales weren’t really that good, it would be David Rosenberg, over breakfast.  - Ilene 

Rosenberg: The Truth About Retail Sales Is That They Still Stink

Glass of milk with fruits

Courtesy of Vince Veneziani at Clusterstock 

In this morning’s Breakfast With Dave newsletter, analyst David Rosenberg talks last week’s retail sales report.

Don’t believe everything that you read, says Rosie. According to "raw data," retail sales actually FELL1.6% month-over-month in February, and you can’t just blame seasonality for this.

Breakfast With Dave: “It’s always best to look at what consumers do rather than what they think or say. They’re spending — that’s the main thing”. That goes down as the glib remark of the weekend — front page of the Investors Business Daily (Shoppers Perk Up, Lifting Retail Sales, By A Surprise 0.3%). Another pundit said pretty well the same thing in Barron’s and following the data on Friday there was an economist on CNBC who said that you never win by betting against the U.S. consumer.

What a load of you-know-what.

Let’s more closely examine that retail sales report.

First, the raw data actually showed that sales fell 1.6% MoM in February. Now it would be meaningful if February was usually a weak month for sales compared to January so that it would make perfect sense for the seasonal adjustment factor to give the raw data an upward skew. But in fact, retail sales rise over half the time in February. And while, on average, the not seasonally adjusted retail sales data are down 0.4% in each February over the past decade, the reality is that this past February was four times as bad as the norm — not to mention tied for the third worst February since 1998. Really good result, eh?

Second, here we have the greatest stimulus experience in seven decades and retail sales are still down 5% from the pre-recession peak and on a per capital basis are down 8%. Sales are actually lower today than they were in January 2006 — four years ago — even though the population has risen 4.3% over this time. And on a per capita basis, retail sales are no…
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Credit Card Charge-Offs Rise In November, Breaking Two-Month Streak

Credit Card Charge-Offs Rise In November, Breaking Two-Month Streak

Courtesy of Vince Veneziani at The Business Insider/Clusterstock

credit card sticker amex visa discoverDisappointing news on the consumer front, courtesy of the latest charge-off numbers:

WSJ: The rate of charge-offs on U.S. credit cards rose more than a half-percentage point in November, snapping a two-month run of drops from an all-time high in August, and delinquencies rose for the fourth consecutive month, Moody’s Investors Service said.

Charge-offs, which are those loans a credit-card company doesn’t think it will be able to collect, were 10.6% for November, compared with 10% in October. The ratings firm also said the delinquency rate, which gives a glimpse of issuers’ potential losses and how much they may need to set aside in reserves, rose to 6.2% in November.

Read the whole story — >

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Small Business Bankruptcies Shoot Up 81% In California

Continued divergence in the two different worlds, the stock market world and the other one that most people live in… Ilene

Small Business Bankruptcies Shoot Up 81% In California

arnold schwarzenegger knifeCourtesy of Vince Veneziani at The Business Insider

Owning a small business in this economy is tough, but it’s a whole different ballgame in California:

LA Times: As credit lines have shrunk and consumers have cut back on spending, thousands of small businesses have closed their doors over the last year. The plight of struggling firms has been aggravated by the reluctance of banks to lend money, said Brian Headd, an economist at the Small Business Administration’s office of advocacy.

California has been particularly hard hit. The latest data show small-business bankruptcies up 81% in the state for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year. Filings nationwide were up 44%, according to the credit analysis firm Equifax Inc.

Read the rest of this story ->

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The Christmas Retail Rally Could Be Toast

The Christmas Retail Rally Could Be Toast (WMT, BBY, RTH)

Courtesy of Vincent Fernando at Clusterstock/business Insider

Shown below is a retail proxy, the Retail HLDRs Exchange Traded Fund (RTH). It’s outperformed the S&P500 on a three month basis. Yet Best Buy’s (BBY) warning today, that revenue will be driven by lower-ticket items in the fourth quarter, could mean that the pre-Christmas retail rally shown below is toast.

Note how Best Buy dropped a nasty 7% on just these decent earnings. A lot of holiday cheer is already priced-in.



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Gallup: Spending Down Across Incomes; WSJ: Stores Face Discount Dilemma

Gallup: Spending Down Across Incomes; WSJ: Stores Face Discount Dilemma

Sale tags attached to hanging clothes, close-up

Courtesy of Mish

Retailers hoping for strong sales after a rebound in the stock market and housing are out of luck according to the latest Gallup Poll on shopping habits. Please consider Upper-Income Spending Reverts to New Normal

In a sign that the new normal in consumer spending continues unabated, upper-income Americans’ self-reported average daily spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online fell 14% in November, reverting to its relatively tight ($107 to $121) pre-October 2009 average monthly range. Middle- and lower-income consumer discretionary spending increased by 7% last month but remained in its tight 2009 average monthly range of $52 to $61. Still, consumer spending by both income groups continues to trail year-ago levels by 20%, even as those comparables have gotten easier to match — possibly dashing hopes that upscale retailers and big-ticket-item sales will do better this year.
[click on charts to enlarge]

Spending By Income Level

Spending vs. Year Ago

The hope was that the surge on Wall Street and the seeming stabilization of housing values had encouraged some upper-income consumers to abandon the 2009 spending new normal. November’s results dashed these hopes, as upper-income consumers joined their middle- and lower-income counterparts in spending 20% less than they had during the financial crisis days of 2008 and returning to the relatively tight 2009 daily spending range for this group prior to October.

Spending New Normal

The year-over-year differences have declined somewhat during recent months, but much of this closure in the 2008-2009 spending gap is a result of the easier spending comparables from last year’s financial crisis.

On a national level, the spending new normal suggests slower economic growth than otherwise might be expected in the years ahead.

Supermarket shopping trolley piled high with bags of shopping

While the spending "new normal" may not be good for the larger economy in the short-term, it may be seen as a strong positive for individual consumer households. Consumers, like their business and banking counterparts, would be well-served to de-leverage by spending less, saving more, reducing their use of credit, and thereby strengthening their personal balance sheets. While this may not provide the immediate-term returns to the economy of the over-leveraging of recent years, a financially stronger U.S. consumer implies only good things for the longer-term

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Consumers Cherry Pick Black Friday Sales

Consumers Cherry Pick Black Friday Sales

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon

The good news, according to the National Retail Federation, is that 195 million U.S. shoppers visited stores and websites this past weekend, an impressive 13% jump over last year.

The bad news: average spending fell nearly 8% to $343.31 per person, the lowest level in four years, while overall sales were up only 0.5% versus last year’s total.

In sum, it looks like a lot more people came out to cherry pick the biggest bargains — but not much else. That doesn’t seem to be a particularly encouraging sign, especially for retailers’ margins.

Brown shoots, anyone?


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Early Reports Point Toward A Nationwide Black Friday Shopping Frenzy

Early Reports Point Toward A Nationwide Black Friday Shopping Frenzy

Courtesy of John Carney of Clusterstock

Black Friday Shopping Line Led By Guy In Cowboy HatIf local media reports are accurate, shoppers have turned out in huge numbers across the country for Black Friday.

We did a survey of local news sites to gather the latest Black Frdiay news. And it looks very good for retailers.

Cincinnati, Ohio: "A long line of shoppers looking for the best priced toys for Christmas waited outside a Western Hills Toys R’ Us store on Glenway Avenue, since late Thursday night to be among the first in line. After the doors opened at 12 a.m., there were some reports that Cincinnati police had to be called to bring order to a disorderly line of shoppers. Some of them said an argument between several groups of shoppers got out of hand and forced the police to called for help…At the new Wal-Mart superstore in Fairfax on Red Bank Road, over a thousand people came early Friday morning, to be in the right line to get some of the doorbuster sales the chain was offering…Many retailers warn that they have severely cut back on what they have ordered."

Weston, Wisconsin: "The line leading to Target in Weston stretched at least three blocks as people got ready for Black Friday shopping Friday."
Framingham, Massachusetts: "Dondrae May, a manager at Best Buy’s Framingham, Mass., store, said shoppers started lining up at 4 p.m. Thursday for the 5 a.m. opening for the limited early morning specials like the $299 32-inch Dynex flat-panel TV.

He noted that crowds were larger than last year and that shoppers were filling their basket with more items than a year ago, when they were shellshocked following the ballooning of the financial meltdown. The biggest draws were laptops, TVs and GPS systems, he said."

Aurora, Illinois: "Black Friday shoppers got an early start this year, causing a 2-mile traffic back-up near Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora…Starting about 11 p.m. Thursday, cars began lining up to get into the mall, according to Illinois State Police…The mall opened at midnight, and the heavy traffic remained for several hours, State Police said."

Somewhere In Middle Georgia: "400 early birds waited in the dark for Belk to open this morning at 4:00 am.


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Zero Hedge

Seeking A Savior

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Jeff Thomas via,

It’s an unfortunate truth that, when people are worried about the future, they often put their faith in politicians to somehow make everything better.

Politicians, of course, are famous for promising panaceas for whatever is troubling voters, and they even invent new troubles to worry about, presenting themselves as the only ones who can solve these woes.

Not surprising then, that, over time, any nation may slowly deteriorate into a population of nebbishes who turn to their government to do their thinking for them and take responsibility for their futures.


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Phil's Favorites

Fourth Turning - Our Rendezvous With Destiny

Courtesy of Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

In Part 1 of this article I discussed the catalyst spark which ignited this Fourth Turning and the seemingly delayed regeneracy. In Part 2 I pondered possible Grey Champion prophet generation leaders who could arise during the regeneracy. In Part 3 I focused on the economic channel of distres...

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Chart School

Semiconductor Index Breaks 200-day MA

Courtesy of Declan.

Today offered a heavier than expected volume day post-holiday. The majority of this action was to the downside, but the Semiconductor Index bucked the trend.  The latter index was able to push above its 200-day MA as it posted a relative advantage against the Nasdaq 100. While the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 suffered losses today, both will be helped by strength in the Semiconductor Index.  All technicals for the Semiconductor Index are in the green, with a return of the MACD to a 'buy' trigger (above the bullish zero line - a bullish development).

The Nasdaq suffered a minor loss. It wasn't able to challenge the recent high, but it's close enough ...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

World's Biggest Pension Fund Loses $64 Billion Amid Equity Rout (Bloomberg)

The worlds biggest pension fund posted its worst quarterly loss since at least 2008 after a global stock rout in August and September wiped $64 billion off the Japanese asset managers investments.

It's starting to look like negative interest rates might do the opposite of what they're supposed to (Business Insider)

The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates deeper into negative territory this week as it attempts to ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Market As Oversold As 1999 Lows

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Crude Oil is quite simply the most important commodity on the planet. But volatility with Crude Oil prices emerges every time there is conflict in oil producing nations or an economic slowdown.

And this has led to some pretty big swings in Crude Oil prices over the past several years.

But the latest swing lower is nearing a moment of truth. In fact, this decline may be the most important swing lower of the 2000’s.

Why?  Because oil prices are currently testing a key price support level comprised of the 2004 breakout level (above the 1990 highs) and the 2009 price lows – see red circles and line. In fact, this price support area also marks the 23.6 Fibonacci support level (from the 1999 lows to 2008 highs).  AND crude oil is as oversold as it was back at the 1999 price lows!

But that’s no...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 30th, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Insider Scoop

An Inexpensive Small-Cap ETF For December Gains

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related IJR Of Rate Hikes And Small-Cap ETFs Active Management Mediocrity Continues There's still time to go small (Seeking Alpha)

Tuesday marks the start of December, and with the arrival of the last month of the year imminent, there... more from Insider

Digital Currencies

The Bitcoin Universe Explained

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As evidenced by the Greek, Chinese, and now Argentine 'jumps', the world remains increasingly aware of the inevitable worth of fiat currencies and fears the desperate acts of governments as the react to that reality (and is looking for alternatives).

This infographic explains the wide ranges of the Bitcoin universe, accompanied with quotes from some of its best-known business leaders.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist ...

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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Baxter's Spinoff

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

Thank you for you time!

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