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Nordstrom’s post-earnings sell-off was ‘overdone,’ buy for its digital strategy, Deutsche Bank says

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People walk by the newly opened Nordstrom menÕs store, the companyÕs first-ever Manhattan location in midtown at 57th and Broadway on April 12, 2018 in New York City.

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People walk by the newly opened Nordstrom menÕs store, the companyÕs first-ever Manhattan location in midtown at 57th and Broadway on April 12, 2018 in New York City.

Nordstrom’s recent earnings sell-off presents a compelling buying opportunity, according to Deutsche Bank, which upgraded the stock to a buy rating and called the drop in share price “overdone.”

“We believe Nordstrom has the best developed digital strategy within our department store coverage, with 29 percent of sales now digitally enabled,” analyst Paul Trussell wrote Wednesday. This, “combined with a relatively small store network and increasing penetration of
exclusive/limited distribution brands, positions the company well in the long run
for market share gains.”

Though the company missed first-quarter earnings in March, the analyst argued that the fact it raised the lower end of its earnings per share estimates for fiscal year 2018 was encouraging.

The analyst estimates the retailer will generate fiscal 2018 earnings per share of $3.55 versus the Wall Street consensus of $3.46, according to FactSet data.

“We see modest upside to estimates as a number of initiatives gain traction throughout the year, including the focus on the addition of new, differentiated and exclusive brands, combined with lean inventory positions at both Nordstrom and department store peers and improving macro data points,” he said.

Trussell revised his price target on shares of Nordstrom higher to $55 from $52, implying more than 20 percent upside from Tuesday’s close. The stock, however, has underperformed in 2018; shares are down 3.4 percent since January against the S&P 500’s 1.9 percent climb.

Nordstrom shares rose 1.3 percent in premarket trading following the bullish Deutsche Bank note.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.



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Soybean prices drop to nine-year low on US-China trade war fears

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Truck driver Marion Howard watches soy beans load into his truck on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at Chris Crosskno's farm near Denton, Mo.

J.B. Forbes | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | TNS | Getty Images

Truck driver Marion Howard watches soy beans load into his truck on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at Chris Crosskno’s farm near Denton, Mo.

Soybean futures plunged Tuesday to their lowest in more than nine years following renewed concerns about a U.S.-China trade war.

A war of words between the two countries picked up overnight, following announcements of tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports late last week. In retaliation against planned U.S. duties, Beijing intends to impose a 25 percent tariff on 545 U.S. goods, including soybeans.

Soybean futures for July delivery dropped more than 7 percent to a low of $8.415 a bushel, their lowest since March 2009, according to Thomson Reuters. They were trading near $8.64 a bushel as of 11 a.m. ET.

There are a lot of “unknowns and no confidence,” said Rich Nelson, director of research at Allendale, an agricultural market research and trading firm. He added that prices could reverse just as quickly if headlines on trade changed.

With Tuesday’s late morning sell-off, soybean prices are now more than 17 percent lower for the quarter and down more than 10 percent for the year.

Corn futures tumbled to their lowest price in more than six months. Wheat and oat futures fell roughly 1.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, while rough rice futures were mildly lower.

“The dramatic drop today is soybeans because soybeans is first and foremost what the Chinese like to buy from us,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group.

More than half of U.S. soybeans go to China, the world’s largest consumer of the beans.

If Beijing imposed a 10 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, total American soybean exports could drop by 18 percent, according to a study for the U.S. Soybean Export Council by Purdue University agricultural economists Wally Tyner and Farzad Taheripour.

If China implemented a 30 percent tariff, total U.S. soybean exports could fall 40 percent, according to the study, released in late March. Prices would fall 2 or 5 percent over a few years, respectively, under the two different scenarios, the analysis said.

In addition to negative sentiment around the trade dispute, Flynn attributed the drop in soybean prices to dollar strength, which makes U.S. goods relatively more expensive overseas. The U.S. dollar index rose about 0.3 percent Tuesday and is up 5.5 percent this quarter.

“I think ultimately the world is going to buy our beans,” Flynn said. “The demand is there. People have to eat. The decrease in price may offset the fact there might be a tariff.”



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Small company stocks less sensitive to trade wars

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Despite the dominance of large technology companies in the stock market’s gains over the last year, small company stocks are forecast to do better if trade war fears come to pass.

Small company stocks have already been outperforming the broad market because of tax cuts and regulatory reform. The iShares ETF tracking the Russell 2000 small-cap index is up 9.3 percent this year compared to the 2.8 percent gain for the S&P 500 and the 0.3 percent drop in the large-cap Dow Jones industrial average.

In a note on Tuesday, J. P. Morgan analysts recommended investors continue to overweight small-cap stocks, seeing them as shielded from the escalating risk of a trade war and U.S. dollar volatility, both of which affect revenue and profit at larger companies with multinational operations.

“We continue to recommend Small-caps as a ‘catch-all trade’ for its high cyclical, reflation and tax policy exposures, as well as lower sensitivity to ongoing trade risk,” Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, J. P. Morgan’s equity strategist, wrote in the note.

Among the iShares small-cap IWM ETF top holdings are GrubHub, an internet food ordering service, which is up 59 percent this year, Exact Sciences Corp., a cancer diagnostics company, up 31 percent, and Aspen Technology, a software maker, up 44.7 percent. These stocks were not mentioned in the J. P. Morgan note.

Small cap stocks benefit because they are more exposed exclusively to the still-growing U.S. economy, show stronger growth trends and have the potential for M&A activity. Large global companies have exposure to Europe and emerging markets, where economic forecasts are being revised lower and financial conditions are tightening.

Small companies are also seen benefiting from tax reform and deregulation, the effects of which haven’t been completely reflected in their stocks. They got almost twice the benefit as large companies from the tax cut in the first quarter, the analysts noted. And domestic companies could get a bigger share of the windfall from individual tax cuts, averaging around $1,500 a household.

But merger activity could also boost small-cap stocks. Large companies brought a lot of cash back to the U.S. after the tax cuts, and that cash is expected to be used in part for deals. Small and mid-sized companies are the potential targets, given new growth opportunities and reduced concern about regulatory issues preventing deals from going through.

Small-caps stocks would be risky if interest rates spiked sharply higher or if there was significantly higher wage growth, because they are more sensitive to labor costs, J. P. Morgan said. A weaker U.S. dollar could also hit small caps, as could declining support for a pro-growth agenda in Washington.



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Fyre Festival promoter is a ‘danger’ to the community, says judge

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Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.

Mark Lennihan | AP

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.

Billy McFarland, who got in trouble last year for duping people into buying tickets to a fake concert in the Bahamas, is in trouble again.

And this time, a judge is keeping a close eye on him.

McFarland, a New Jersey native, was arrested last week and charged with earning $100,000 by selling fake tickets to exclusive fashion, music and sporting events such as the Met Gala, Grammys, Burning Man and Coachella.

Manhattan federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ordered McFarland be detained after prosecutors said they have evidence that he may have also committed bank fraud and identity theft while out on bail.

Buchwald also said the additional charges make him a flight risk.

“I do think that with the new charges combined with the forthcoming sentencing, there’s a serious risk of flight as well as a danger in a non-violent sense to the community,” said Buchwald (h/t The New York Post).

The judge also asked McFarland to remove his eyeglasses during a Monday court appearance over fears that he was trying to sneak something into the court room.

McFarland, 26, has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. He faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.

McFarland’s Fyre Festival LLC was busted for charging guests as much as $250,000 per ticket and not delivering on any of the amenities it promised, including working bathrooms.

His other venture, Magnises, was touted as a “black-card membership” service for millennials. According to Fortune and Bloomberg, the so-called elite membership community collapsed following the Fyre fiasco.

The service cost $250 per year, required members to carry black cards, and promised entry to exclusive celebrity events, concerts and swanky clubs. The company, based in Manhattan’s West Village, raised more than $3 million in venture capital.

More from New York Business Journal:
Fyre Festival founder arrested (again) on fraud charges
Fyre Festival founder’s legal woes cause his N.Y.C. startup to collapse
Organizer of Brooklyn Pizza fest pledges to refund money after investigation



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