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Sunday November 18, 2018



Walmart's Online Sales Soar

Walmart Inc. (WMT) released its quarterly earnings report on Thursday, November 15. The world's largest retailer reported its 11th straight quarter of revenue growth, thanks in large part to its surging e-commerce business.

Walmart reported quarterly revenue of $124.89 billion. This is up from last year's third quarter revenue of $123.18 billion but less than the $125.55 billion that Wall Street predicted.

"We have momentum in the business as we execute our plan and benefit from a favorable economic environment in the U.S." said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. "With the holidays approaching, customers can count on Walmart to save them money, and we'll also provide busy families with another important gift — time back in their day."

The company announced earnings of $1.71 billion for the quarter, which is down from earnings of $1.75 billion one year ago. On an adjusted earnings per share basis, the company reported earnings of $1.08 per share, which was more than the $1.01 per share that analysts predicted.

Same-store sales in the third quarter were up 3.4%, exceeding the 3.1% increase analysts expected. Sales were boosted by the company's grocery segment. Walmart now offers grocery pickup at more than 2,000 of its stores and grocery delivery at approximately 600 locations. The big revenue driver for the quarter, however, came from the store's online sales. E-commerce sales in the third quarter surged 43% year-over-year, topping analysts' growth projections of 30% to 40%.

Walmart Inc. (WMT) shares ended the week at $97.70, down 7.4% for the week.

Home Depot Beats Earnings Estimates

The Home Depot, Inc. (HD) reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday, November 13. The world's largest home improvement retailer beat earnings and revenue expectations in the third quarter.

Home Depot announced revenue of $26.30 billion for the third quarter. This is up 5% from revenue of $25.03 billion reported in the same quarter last year and above the $26.26 billion in revenue that Wall Street expected.

"Our customers continue to respond to our expansive assortment and enhancements we are making to drive an interconnected shopping experience," said Home Depot CEO Craig Menear. "We saw continued strength across the store, as well as healthy growth in our digital business. We believe this is a testament to the overall strength of demand in the home improvement market."

The company reported earnings of $2.87 billion for the quarter, up from earnings of $2.17 billion one year ago. On an adjusted earnings per share basis, the company posted earnings of $2.51 per share, which was above analysts' estimate of $2.26 per share.

On Tuesday, Home Depot raised its full-year earnings guidance. It now expects sales to increase 7.2%, up from its previous estimate of 7.0%. The home retailer also raised its same-store sales guidance from an increase of 5.3% to 5.5%.

The Home Depot, Inc. (HD) shares ended the week at $177.11, down 4.4% for the week.

Macy's Reports Strong Earnings

Macy's, Inc. (M) announced quarterly earnings on Wednesday, November 14. The company reported earnings and revenue that surpassed analysts' predictions.

Revenue for the third quarter reached $5.40 billion. This was up from revenue of $5.28 billion reported during the same quarter last year and slightly below the $5.41 billion in revenue that analysts expected.

"We are pleased with Macy's, Inc. performance in the third quarter, marking our fourth consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth," said Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette. "Another double-digit quarter from our digital business and a strong store performance combined to help us exceed expectations. We continue to see an improved trend in brick and mortar across the fleet with particularly strong results from our Growth50 stores."

Macy's reported quarterly net earnings of $62 million, which exceeded last year's third quarter earnings of $30 million. On an adjusted earnings per share basis, the company posted earnings of $0.27 per share, surpassing the $0.14 per share that analysts predicted.

The retailer is drawing in customers with new and innovative technology in its brick and mortar stores, including virtual reality headsets that allow customers to design living spaces using 3D images and virtually move through the rooms. Customers can gaze into virtual mirrors to test the look of various makeup products without actually having to apply the products. Macy's is also planning to equip all of it stores with mobile checkout technology by the end of this year.

Macy's, Inc. (M) shares ended the week at $33.33, down 12.1% for the week.

The Dow started the week of 11/12 at 25,959 and closed at 25,413 on 11/16. The S&P 500 started the week at 2,774 and closed at 2,736. The NASDAQ started the week at 7,364 and closed at 7,248.

Treasury Yields Fall

Yields on U.S. Treasury bonds fell on Friday after a senior Federal Reserve official voiced concern over the growth trajectory of the global economy and its effect on interest rates in the upcoming year. Earlier in the week, yields dipped as U.S. stock indexes fell.

In an interview on Friday, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida explained that interest rates are "close to neutral range" and that there is "some evidence" that the global economy is slowing. The remarks caused analysts to speculate whether the Fed will continue its current pace of interest rate hikes in 2019.

"We're at a point where we need to be especially data dependent," said Clarida. "The economy is doing well and we're looking at signals from the labor market and inflation to get a sense of both the pace and destination of policy."

Following Clarida's interview, yields on U.S. Treasury bonds dipped to their lowest levels in two weeks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 3.5 basis points to 3.083% while the 30-year bond yield dipped 1.3 basis points to 3.353%.

Earlier in the week, yields on U.S. Treasury bonds were pressured lower after U.S. stock indexes fell. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index dipped for its fifth session in a row, causing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to drop from 3.145% to 3.117%.

"U.S. Treasury yields are finally breaking lower to reflect distress in other markets that started Monday," said Jim Vogel, interest rates strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond fell to 3.350% compared to 3.367% the previous day.

The 10-year Treasury note yield closed at 3.08% on 11/16, while the 30-year Treasury bond yield was 3.33%.

Mortgage Rates Remain Steady

Freddie Mac released its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) on Thursday, November 15. The report revealed that the rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage remained unchanged from last week while the rate on the 15-year fixed rate mortgage was slightly higher.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.94% this week, unchanged from last week. During this time last year, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.95%.

This week, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.36%, up from last week when it averaged 4.33%. Last year at this time, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.27%.

"Despite recent market volatility, mortgage rates remained steady this week," said Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. "The stability in mortgage rates reflects the moderation in inflationary pressures in the economy due to lower oil prices and subdued wage growth. On the margin, lower energy costs are a positive for the home sales market, particularly for lower-middle income suburban buyers who spend proportionately more income on transportation costs."

Based on published national averages, the money market account closed at 1.41% on 11/16. The one-year CD finished at 2.68%.

Published November 16, 2018
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