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Flooding Thursday – New York Hit Hard by Hurricane Ida

NYC looks like Venice!

Untold Billions of Dollars of property damage is piling up in the Northeast and New York and New Jersey have declared states of emergency while New Orleans still has no power.  Thank goodness we didn't spend any money to fight global warming, right?  You can get an idea, from this video, how people end up dying in storms like this.

With parts, supplies and labor already short from 2 years of Covid (another thing we chose to ignore), it's going to be a long, slow recovery along the hurricane's path of devastation and this is only an "I" storm – Rita was an "R" on September 18th, 2005 and Maria was an "M" on September 27th, 2017.  

Floodwater rushed into the basement of a fast-food restaurant in the Bronx on Wednesday.Global warming heats up the sea and gives hurricanes more energy, that's basic science.  More powerful storms more frequently lie in our future so maybe rething buying homes in low-lying areas. Unfortuntately, in Northeastern Cities, stores and restaurants tend to store their goods in the basement and the economic damage from a storm like this can be devastating. 

Central Park experienced 3.15 inches of rain in one hour Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service said, the highest amount on record. The service urged people to move to higher ground in light of the “extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation.”

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency effective immediately and called on people to stay off the roads. Newark Liberty International Airport said it had suspended flights and diverted passengers from ground-level flooded areas.

It's a big data day but not many people will be on Wall Street to trade it.  We have Motor Vehicle sales, which are likely to show a slowdown in August, Jobless Claims, Productivity (and Costs) and Factory Orders ahead of tomorrow's Non-Farm Payroll Report.  That should give us plenty to chew on into the weekend as we survey the damage from the storm (Ida is over Boston this morning).  

None of this will stop the markets from going higher, especially if it's going to be a low-volume day.  The money will still pour in and, if there's no particular reason to sell – up we go.   

Productivity came in a little low at 2.1% vs 2.4% expected and 2.3% in the prior report.  Unit Labor Costs were 30% higher than expected at 1.3%.  The way Unit Labor Costs work is that they reflect a 3.4% increase in the cost of Labor and a 2.1% increase in Productivity (what that labor produces).  It's a quick indicator that margins are tightening in Corporate America and not very "transitory".  

Hours worked went up 6% and that indicates a persistent labor shortage, which is likely to put more upward pressure on wages.  Also consider all the non-productive training time as companies scramble to hire new workers.  Even finding employees incurs a cost.  

Still, nothing seems to stop the market and we'll be looking for more defensive long positions – just in case we never pull back.  It's been an epic rally so far but it simply isn't matching the underlying economy, is it?  

  • Ford Motor (F -0.5%) reports U.S. sales down 33.1% Y/Y to 124,176 vehicles in August.
  • Truck sales fell 29.4% Y/Y to 73,610 units, Car sales squeezed 86% Y/Y to 2,369 units, and SUVs -25.3% Y/Y to 48,197 units.
  • Total retail sales -39.6%: Truck -35.7%, Cars -84.6% and SUV -30.4%.
  • Ford’s production output expanded 79.8% relative to July, while inventory was up 34.4%.
  • Ford’s electrified vehicle sales were up 67.3% on sales of 8,756 vehicles.
  • F-150 Lightning reservations exceeded 130,000 mark.
  • "Retail sales increased 6.5 percent in August relative to July, as production and dealer inventories showed monthly gains. Nearly a third of our retail sales came from presold orders last month, while adding an additional 41,000 new orders for the month. With improved availability, F-Series retail sales expanded 11 percent relative to July giving Ford its best F-Series sales month since the chip shortage began, and F-150 Lightning has now surpassed 130,000 reservations", says Andrew Frick, vice president, Ford Sales U.S. and Canada.
  • Last week, the company announced that it would be extending downtime for F-150 pickup, and scaling back production of some of its largest, most-profitable models because of the ongoing semiconductor shortage.

Move along folks, nothing to see here….

 


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  1. Good Morning.


  2. oil sure popped up.70


  3. Good morning!

    Oil/Tommy – Well, this is what we've been waiting for and now we have to have the guts to stand by our convictions.  We expected $70 into the holiday weekend but then a nice crash.  That WAS our premise but now we have to check the news to see if anything changed:  This is where NewsWatch is so handy:

    OPEC just had a meeting but no changes there.  

     0856 ET – US benchmark oil prices rise a moderate 0.8% to $69.12 a barrel
    and are slightly higher for the week as crude markets take some potentially
    price-disruptive events in stride. "Oil [is] negotiating its way through
    hurricane Ida, weekly EIA and an OPEC-plus meeting absent any significant
    price pressures," say analysts at Ritterbusch & Associates. Part of the
    reason is Ida wasn't quite as disruptive as feared, OPEC stuck to its plan
    on output increases and the EIA reported an as-expected decline in US oil
    inventories and data was mixed on fuels. WTI oil's steadiness this week
    follows a huge 11% gain last week and a 9% plunge the week before.
    (dan.molinski@wsj.com)

     

    Refineries Potentially Face Weekslong Outages

      Ida has left fuel makers in Louisiana struggling to restart after damage to
    the power grid.

    Hurricane Ida Leaves Residents Without Power Amid Punishing Heat

      Schools are closed indefinitely. Officials say power will be out for up to a
    month. Cell service is spotty, and hospitals already burdened by Covid-19
    are relying on generators and water reserves.

     

     Factory activity faltered across Asia in August, with a resurgence in
    Covid-19 infections adding to global supply-chain disruptions and confirming
    fears of a slowdown in the region's economic recovery . Gauges of
    manufacturing activity plummeted across major Asian economies, in large part
    because virus lockdowns, port congestion and higher input costs hampered
    production. There were also signs that global demand for some Asian goods
    has been leveling off, as consumers rein in spending in the West. Factories
    in Vietnam have been forced to shut or reduce their workforces during the
    country's deadliest Covid-19 wave. In Malaysia, most manufacturers have been
    told to reduce capacity unless they have vaccinated at least 80% of factory
    workers. China partly shut down the world's third-busiest port last month,
    though it has since reopened. The struggles could signal more problems ahead
    for buyers of Asian products that remain in high demand, such as toys and
    semiconductors, Stella Yifan Xie and Jon Emont report.

     

    Refineries that were caught in the path of Hurricane Ida could take weeks to
    resume operations because of widespread power outages. Oil refiners along
    the banks of the Mississippi River near New Orleans are still assessing
    damages and trying to figure out when they can come back online. The impact
    on oil and fuel markets will likely remain muted, though. Gasoline
    inventories are ample ahead of Labor Day weekend, the start of a seasonal
    drop in fuel demand. Many motorists are still working from home because of
    the pandemic. The East Coast was expected by U.S. traders to draw higher
    imports from Europe in coming weeks. Average U.S. gasoline prices edged up
    less than 1 cent Tuesday to about $3.16 a gallon, while gasoline futures
    were essentially flat, Collin Eaton reports.

     

     Labor Day weekend traditionally signals the conclusion of the U.S. summer
    driving season, but it may not mark the end of the peak period for gasoline
    prices, which stand near their highest since 2014.
         Atlantic storm Ida, which hit the U.S. Gulf Coast as a Category 4
    hurricane on Aug. 29, led to the shutdown of some key Gulf Coast refinery
    operations, and it's still not clear when those may fully resume.
         On Wednesday, Entergy (ticker: ETR), which provides power for states
    including Louisiana and Mississippi, said it would take time to fully
    restore power given significant damage across the region. The Wall Street
    Journal reported it could take weeks to resume refinery operations due to
    widespread power outages.
         The disruption comes at a time of increased travel, and as gasoline
    consumption continues to recover from the effects of Covid restrictions on
    the economy.
         Gasoline demand has been strong over this summer, at around 3.5% below
    2019 levels, says Ken Robinson, market research manager at workforce
    management and reimbursement platform Motus. Travel volume data suggest that
    people "remain more comfortable driving than flying."
         U.S. motor gasoline supplied, a proxy for demand, was at 9.5 million
    barrels per day on average over the four weeks ended Aug. 27, up from 8.9
    million barrels per day the same period a year earlier, according to the
    Energy Information Administration. For roughly the same period in 2019,
    implied demand was at 9.7 million barrels per day.
         Gasoline may still have room to rise as Robinson expects Ida, which
    affected offshore wells, ports, refineries and pipelines, to "drive gas
    prices to their 2021 peak." He estimates a potential, but temporary, five-
    to nine-cent increase in prices due to the storm that would likely ease off
    by early October "at the latest."
         Retail gasoline prices have already inched higher following the storm,
    with the average national price at $3.174 a gallon on Sept. 1, up from the
    week-earlier average of $3.147, according to AAA. Reformulated gasoline
    futures haven't climbed over the past seven days but at $2.11, gained nearly
    76% from 52 weeks ago.
         Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at travel and navigation app
    GasBuddy, predicts an even larger price impact from the storm. Ida may lead
    to a five- to 15-cent per gallon rise in retail gasoline prices, he says,
    and a rise at the top end of that range would mark a new peak for prices
    this year. The worst-case scenario would be several weeks of power outages
    at refineries that lead to a retail gasoline price spike of more than 15
    cents, he says.
         Either way, the potential for more disruptions remains since Atlantic
    hurricane season remains far from over. The season officially ends on Nov.
    30 and the National Hurricane Center shows three more weather systems
    brewing in the Atlantic basin.
         Gasoline demand traditionally slows down after Labor Day, and prices for
    the fuel typically start to decline, says Andrew Gross, a spokesman for AAA.
    With the increasing Covid case numbers, he said AAA would expect prices to
    decrease.
         However, the hurricane season stands as an important "caveat that could
    spike gas prices," he says. The impact of a significant storm like Ida could
    be "felt for weeks in terms of regional spikes in gas prices due to demand,
    infrastructure damage, and transportation issues," says Gross.
         With prices so close to the year's high, it wouldn't take much to reach a
    new peak. In early August, gasoline prices reached $3.19 a gallon, the
    highest in seven years, according to Gross.
         It's likely that while gasoline prices may ease in the post-Ida period,
    they will probably remain above $3 a gallon through early fall, he says.

     

    Of course less refining means less oil used but any excuse to raise prices and they take it.  The wildcard is Biden asked OPEC to raise output and they refused and now he has a great excuse to release oil from the SPR and reduce prices.  

    I'm going to short one /CL contract at $70.13 (now) but I'm keeping in mind that spike to $76 and that would be down $6,000 and I'll probably DD at $74 (avg $72) and again at $76 (avg $74) which I would hold with some conviction at an $8,000 loss.  So that's the trading plan.

    As an alternative, SCO is down at $17.15 and the Jan $15 ($3.60)/$17 ($2.75) bull call spread is net $0.85 on the $2 spread that's 100% in the money – that's a fun way to bet oil will be under $70 in January. 


  4. Someone has to go out and fix those storm-damaged rigs and that's HAL, who make 50% of their money from North American Rig Services.  $20.47 is a $17.8Bn market cap and HAL should make $1Bn this year and $1.5Bn next year so a nice value and they are nowhere near back to their low $20Bn sales figures yet (we need another war!).  

    In the LTP, we sold 20 HAL 2023 $20 puts for $3 back on June 17th and now they are $3.75 so we're not selling more puts in the LTP, this is just how I like the trade from scratch.  In the LTP, we're going to just add the bull call spread.  

    • Sell 20 HAL 2023 $20 puts for $3.75 ($7,500) 
    • Buy 40 HAL 2023 $15 calls for $7 ($28,000) 
    • Sell 40 HAL 2023 $20 calls for $4.25 ($17,000) 

    As a new trade we're spending net $3,500 on the $20,000 spread that's 100% in the money to start.  All we need is for HAL not to go lower and we make $16,500 (471%) – aren't options fun?   We're aggressive with the puts but the worst case is owning 2,000 shares at net $21.75, which is 5% above the current price but, of course, we can always roll to lower strikes in 2024 when they come out.  


  5. Here's the clip of my Stock Picks from Wednesday's Money Talk Show:

     

  6. I guess Maddie won’t be heading home soon:


  7. Great interview Phil!


  8. Enjoyed the Interview also, Phil. I liked the part where her doorbell rang  .. you both relaxed and had fun   ;)


  9. I forgot I have a doorbell plug-in for my office since I can't hear it otherwise.  blush


  10. Phil,

    In the theoretically safer food staple space, which if any do you feel is the best short put play: TSN, GIS or MDLZ.

    Thanks


  11. Food/8800 – Well we've played GIS and MDLZ in the last couple of years, so we like both of them long-term.  I think GIS is still too cheap at $58, which is $35Bn and they are good for $2.3Bn to the bottom line so 15x earnings.  It's tricky with inflation, as their costs can go up faster than they can pass them along as the supermarkets have a lot of power over the suppliers.   There's no real sales growth to GIS, it's all about cost-control and I worry they'll lose that a bit with inflation.  The same goes for the others though, so I'd stay very conservative and sell $50 puts.  The 2023s are $3.40 so maybe you get $5 for the 2024s and that nets in for a very comfy $45 in the worst case – that's where I'd go.

    CAKE, on the other hand, has grown revenues 40% in 4 years but they got hit hard in 2019 and 2020 for $500M, so their expansion plans may slow.  Market cap is $2.4Bn and they should get back to making $150M this year so another 15x but hopefully growth once people start eating out again.  I always like CAKE when it's below $40 and $47.26 is not too terrible and I'd rather own CAKE, who take 30 cents worth of cereal out of a GIS box and sell it on the kids menu for $3.50.  

    As I noted yesterday, it's about picking a price you REALLY want to own something for and the 2023 $40 puts are $6.75 and I can't imagine any reason I don't want to own CAKE for $40 – let along $33.25 (25% off), so that's a better put sale to me.  In the LTP, let's:

    • Sell 10 CAKE 2023 $40 puts for $6.75 ($6,750)
    • Buy 20 CAKE 2023 $45 calls for $10.50 ($21,000)
    • Sell 20 CAKE 2023 $55 calls for $6.75 ($13,500) 

    That's net $750 on the $20,000 spread that's $4,500 in the money to start!   Upside potential is $19,250 but we will do better selling short-term $55 calls (probably 5/20) and the Jans are now $2.45 and the $50s are $4 so, if we can sell 5 Jan $55s for $4, that would be $2,000 using 141 of our 505 trading days.  A few sales like that is another $6,000 in our pockets – nothing to sneeze at.  


  12. Here is the link to the replay of this week's webinar.

    https://youtu.be/zAZ1JCGSQhs


  13. T is suddenly arousing from its sleep and is spiking.  I can't find any news.  Has anyone seen anything?


  14. Phil,

    Thanks for the food space commentary


    • A "payback from stimulus spending as well as continued supply chain bottlenecks" means the economic slowdown in the second half of the year will be concentrated in Q3, Morgan Stanley says.
    • It is cutting its Q3 GDP forecast to 2.9% from 6.5%. Its Q4 forecast remains at an annual rate of 6.7% and 5.7% for 2021 GDP, below consensus forecasts of 6.3%.
    • "The swing factor is largest in spending on big-ticket durable goods that benefited most from stimulus checks and is affected most by lack of inventory and price increases due to supply shortages, for example, motor vehicles," Morgan Stanley Chief Economist Ellen Zentner writes in a note today.
    • "Motor vehicles sales in August is the latest data point to miss to the downside, with a fourth consecutive decline in annualized unit sales following the stimulus-related surge in April (highest rate since 2005)," Zentner says.
    • That will have implications for consumer spending, equipment investment, inventories, and capital goods imports and exports, she adds.
    • Morgan Stanley is lowering its Q3 consumption forecast to 0.3% from 2.9%.
    • "Despite slower growth, the economy continues to expand, and at a faster pace than its potential, pulling up the labor force participation rate, driving down the unemployment rate, and sending wages higher," Zentner says. "In line with the path of LFPR we envision, average monthly job gains peak in 3Q around ~870k, remaining at robust levels thereafter."
    • Today, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow forecast sank to 3.7% from 5.4% today.
    • Bill Gross says bonds and cash are trash and equities might be next in the dumpster.

    • Kroger (KR +3.7%) jumps to an all-time high today after  Costco reported August sales above expectations.
    • Costco's sales mix shifted towards consumables with sundries and fresh food sales growing mid- to high-single digits from last year.
    • Albertson's Companies (ACI +7.0%) and BJ's Wholesale (BJ +3.5%) also reached stock price highs on the news, while Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM +2.8%) and Bunge Limited (BG +2.6%) are trading up.
    • Albertson's, in its latest earnings conference call at July-end, pointed to strong trends due to the Covid pandemic, noting that "we believe more remote work is here to stay. This means more meals at home, which will continue to benefit our business, particularly the demand for fresh ingredients and meals." Executives also flagged that they were "seeing continued strength in sales of items that were elevated throughout the pandemic such as meat, seafood, produce and high-end wines, providing evidence that some important food and beverage categories remain shifted to food at home."
    • Kroger will report its second quarter earnings on the morning of Friday, Sept 10.
    • Tom Forte, senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson, said Thursday that investors are "shrugging off" the risk that rising antitrust sentiment will stymie growth for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL).
    • Speaking to CNBC, Forte characterized the antitrust risk for the companies as "meaningful" and called it "something we are following closely."
    • Apple (AAPL) recently changed its App store policies under pressure from developers and amid growing regulatory scrutiny. Shares of the iPhone maker have advanced since that announcement was made last week, a fact Forte sees as "curious."
    • "I do think it's curious that investors are giving the stock a pass on that important development," he said.
    • "I think maybe the hope from some investors is that if Apple can make this adjustment on its own, it won't require the government to step in and maybe come up with a more onerous solution," he added.
    • In general, Forte thinks recent strength in AAPL has come from the anticipation of a strong upgrade cycle for the iPhone, which is set to take place later this year.
    • This analysis is supported by an upgrade earlier this week by Wolfe Research. Wolfe, which had previously been bearish on the company, raised its iPhone unit and average selling price estimates for 2022.
    • As to GOOG, Forte argued that its strength largely derives from YouTube, which he called "the most valuable video asset."
    • Both AAPL and GOOG have set new highs in recent days.
    • Over the past year, returns for GOOG have significantly outperformed the market as a whole, topping the return for the S&P 500 by about 2.5x. AAPL has lagged over that timeframe, though, with half the return of the broader index.

    • General Motors (GM +0.5%) will lower production at most of its North American plants this month due to the continued shortage of semiconductor chips.
    • The U.S. automaker will stop production of its profitable pickup trucks at its Fort Wayne, IN plant and Silao, Mexico plant in September, along with six other assembly plants involved in SUV and Cadillac manufacturing.
    • GM said it will repair and ship unfinished vehicles during the downtime at the plants.
    • Toyota (TM -0.1%) is trimming planned global production by 40% and Ford (F +0.5%) also announced production cuts to its F-150 production truck last week.
    • Today, Ford reported that retail sales fell nearly 40% in August while EV sales were up 67%.
    • While Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) made submissions to the FDA to support a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine at half the dosage of the first two shots, some in the government are said to be pushing for authorizing a 100-microgram dose, according to The Wall Street Journal.
    • While they contend that a lower dose might not offer a stronger immune response to fight fast-changing variants of the virus, the FDA is said to be weighing whether to authorize a lower dose, The Journal reported, citing people familiar with the process.
    • The data based on different doses of the vaccine are currently under FDA review and no final decision has been made yet. The ongoing deliberations have held back the final authorization on boosters, the people have said.
    • Moderna (MRNA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have evaluated both 50 mcg and 100 mcg doses as booster shots in clinical trials.
    • A lower dose will enable Moderna (MRNA) to manufacture an additional one billion booster shots next year.
    • While there is no debate surrounding the booster shots of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) vaccines, a decision on J&J booster could take longer.
    • Meanwhile, despite an initial reluctance, federal health officials are said to be supportive of booster shots given the rising case counts driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus.
    • An FDA expert panel is scheduled to meet on September 17 to decide on the Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTXbooster COVID-19 vaccine.

    • Lands' End (NASDAQ:LE) is down 8% after the company tunes its guidance range below the market expectations.
    • For FY 2021, the retailer said revenue is expected to range between $1.67-$1.71B compared to the consensus of $1.69B; Net Income is expected to be $45.5-$51M or $1.35-$1.51 per share vs. consensus of $1.40 per share; Adjusted EBITDA of $136-$143M; and capex of $26M.
    • "Due to the significant industry-wide challenges in the supply chain, we expect our gross margin trends to moderate in the back half of fiscal 2021," says President and CFO Jim Gooch.
    • The company reported revenue of $384.1M (+23.1% Y/Y) for Q2, beating consensus by $1.17M.
    • By segment: Global eCommerce revenue, $285.4M (+7.7% Y/Y); Outfitters revenue, $65.6M (+75.4% Y/Y); and third party, $19.1M (+73.3% Y/Y) which is attributed to to the launch of Lands’ End product on Kohls.com and at 150 retail locations in Q3 2020. 
    • Gross margin was 46.3% (+290 bps).
    • Adjusted EBITDA of $41.4M compared to $23.9M a year ago.
    • GAAP EPS of $0.48 beats by $0.07
    • Net cash provided by operations was $30.5M; the company ended the quarter with $39.22M cash and cash equivalents. 
    • Q3 Guidance: Revenue of $390-$405M vs. consensus of $393.50M; Net income of $6.5-$9M or $0.19-$0.27 per share vs. consensus of $0.17 per share; and Adjusted EBITDA of $27-$30M.
    • Earlier, Lands' End EPS beats by $0.07, beats on revenue; issues Q3 and full year guidance
    • With eight ships already in guest operations and more restarting in September and October, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL +2.7%) unveiled the next round of details about additional ship sailing in November 2021 and beyond.
    • Carnival Valor will follow Carnival Glory in New Orleans with four- and five-night sailings starting on Nov. 1;Carnival Legend will restart Nov. 14 out of Baltimore, replacing Carnival Pride, which restarts guest operations from Baltimore Sept. 12; Carnival Radiance will have a new maiden voyage date of Dec. 13 out of Long Beach rescheduled from Nov. 5; Carnival Pride's new service from Tampa is scheduled to start on Nov. 14; Carnival Conquest's restart from Miami on Oct. 8 has been rescheduled to Dec. 13;Carnival Sensation's Oct. 21 restart from Mobile has been moved to Jan. 2022.
    • "We are very pleased with the progress of our restart which will grow to 15 ships sailing from seven U.S. homeports by mid-November," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
    • Guests will need to present proof of both vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test at check-in and will be asked to wear masks in most indoor venues of the ship where people congregate.
    • With the extension of Carnival Sensation's restart, five ships operating out of U.S. homeports will be moved to 2022:  Carnival Liberty (Port Canaveral), Carnival Sunshine (Charleston), Carnival Paradise (Tampa); Carnival Ecstasy (Jacksonville) and Carnival Sensation (Mobile).
    • The cruise liner has cancelled four additional sailings for both Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor out of Australia.  Cruises on both ships are now cancelled up to and including Dec. 16, 2021.

  15. Gosh, the quarter we're in now is going to be less than half of what Leading Economorons were forecasting – who could have predicted that?  

    The Unassuming Economist | First, let's shoot all the forecasters


  16. I mean, seriously, I just don't think people understand how the economy works.  It's hard to believe that NONE of these analysts understand what a GDP number is made up of because we SEE the reports that make up the components of the index and I've been saying all quarter that the data wasn't supporting 6.5% GDP growth (without another $1.1Tn in stimulus). 

    Market doesn't seem to care.  


  17. Greg Mankiw's Blog: On Economic Forecasting

    India Equity Research on Twitter: "86% lower EBITDA vs estimates Eicher  management must start reading Dilbert!… "