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Citigroup downgrades Kohl’s, saying it has run too far, too fast

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Customers pull a dinnerware set from a shopping cart outside of a Kohl's store in Peru, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Customers pull a dinnerware set from a shopping cart outside of a Kohl’s store in Peru, Illinois.

Kohl’s stock has gotten ahead of itself, and it’s time to “step aside,” according to Citigroup, which downgraded the company to neutral from buy on lingering fears of weak traffic.

“Outside of a major announcement of their partnerships expanding (which could help traffic), Kohl’s still has a challenge to drive traffic on its own,” analyst Paul Lejuez said in a note to clients Thursday. “Overall traffic (measured by transactions) was down in the first quarter excluding the benefit of the shift in weeks. This was tolerable at $60 to $65. But with the stock at about $76, we believe the risk reward is balanced.”

In premarket trading Thursday after the report, the stock declined 1.5 percent, to $74.60.

Though the Wisconsin-based retailer posted same-store sales and earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations in late May, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Besanko revealed that the sheer number of transactions was relatively flat over the quarter.

Lejuez did acknowledge Kohl’s initiatives and partnerships in its efforts to retain customers, including its relationship with e-commerce giant Amazon. Such partnerships, he said, are likely responsible for a 23 percent rally in the company’s shares over the past month.

“To be clear, this is not a head for the exits call,” Lejuez said. “The company is in the process of testing partnerships with grocery stores with its standard to small initiative. It also has the ongoing partnership with Amazon in 86 stores. Both of these initiatives seem promising and we believe it is possible the Amazon partnership could be expanded.”

“But it also seems that the market may already be assuming the partnership grows, leaving more risk to the downside if it does not.”

Citigroup’s new price target of $75 implies nearly 1 percent downside over the next year.



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Nvidia spikes as it launches new GPUs for gaming

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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announces the GTX RTX 20-series of graphics cards at the Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, on Aug. 20, 2018.

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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announces the GTX RTX 20-series of graphics cards at the Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, on Aug. 20, 2018.

Nvidia shares rose Monday after CEO Jensen Huang revealed new graphics cards that will be used for more sophisticated video games, potentially boosting the company’s biggest business.

Huang said during a presentation at the Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, that the new graphics processing units (GPUs) have been “10 years in the making.” Gaming brings in the majority of Nvidia’s revenue, although the company also sells products for data centers, cars and visualizing projects like buildings.

Investor enthusiasm about the announcement lifted Nvidia shares more than 3 percent, making up for most of the losses on Friday after the company’s disappointing revenue forecast. Huang said the new cards will deliver considerable performance gains over the company’s Pascal generation of GPUs, which came out in 2016.

Nvidia’s new GPU, the GeForce RTX 2070, starts at $499, and the more powerful GeForce RTX 2080 Ti starts at $999. Preorders are available now, and the products will open to the public on Sept. 20, Huang said.

The launch comes a week after Nvidia introduced Turing, its eighth-generation chip design for GPUs. Turing follows the release last year of Volta, whose data center products face competition from Google’s cloud business. Nvidia said the first Turing-based GPUs for visualization will be available in the fourth quarter.

Intel has begun work on GPUs that will rival Nvidia’s, but they’re not expected until 2020. Nvidia shares have jumped nearly 30 percent this year, while Intel’s stock is up less than 1 percent.



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Three options strategies for the week: August 20

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The “Options Action” traders share three options trading strategies to kick off the week.

Dan Nathan recommends a call spread in Alibaba.

Mike Khouw recommends a put spread in the Energy ETF

Mike Khouw recommends an iron condor strategy in the Russell 2000 ETF

Trader disclosure: On July 17, 2018, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s “Options Action” were owned by the “Options Action” traders: Dan Nathan is long XLF Sept put spread. Dan is long CAT put spread. Dan is long QQQ Sept put spread. Dan is long SMH Oct put spread. Carter disclosures not available. Long S&P, HAL. Bearish on TSLA.



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cornhole wants to make it to the big leagues

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Ankit Mittal, of Ellicott City, Md., tosses a bean bag as his friend Shean Flynn, of Newport News, Va., waves his Terrible Towel as the two were playing Corn Hole while enjoying tailgating before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Ricky Carioti | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Ankit Mittal, of Ellicott City, Md., tosses a bean bag as his friend Shean Flynn, of Newport News, Va., waves his Terrible Towel as the two were playing Corn Hole while enjoying tailgating before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Every day after he leaves his job as a warehouse general manager, Cody Henderson runs up to three miles. Then, he sets up cornhole boards and practices throwing beanbags for a couple hours, focusing on timing, balance and precision.

“It helps a lot with the endurance and mental game,” Henderson, 27, told CNBC. “If you can sit there and not get bored in a quiet area for two or three hours, you are really going to set yourself up to succeed on the pro level.”

Succeed he has. Henderson, who lives in Jackson, Ohio, is the top-ranked player out of the 20,000 pros in the American Cornhole League (ACL). He says he earned between $20,000 and $25,000 in prize money last year. He’s peaking just as the sport is surging in popularity.

While cornhole is generally thought of as a beanbag tossing game played at family gatherings or tailgate parties, it’s gotten so big that players like Henderson are making their way to ESPN. During last year’s The Ocho, a one-day event for alternative sports on ESPN 2, the Championship of Bags was the most viewed competition.

In the 18 to 49 age group, more peopled watched cornhole on that day than the competing game coverage of Major League Baseball, the WNBA or the final stage of the Tour de France, according to Sports Media Watch.

For Henderson, cornhole requires 20 hours a week of training and tournaments on weekends. Still, he said most people don’t take him seriously when he says he plays professionally.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh yeah really?’ and just change the subject,” he said. “When people were seeing me on ESPN, everyone’s attitude changed.”



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