Though biotech is the most fertile area to find cash-strapped short candidates, you can find them in almost any industry. Take retailer Sears Holdings (SHLD) as an example. While other department store chains such as Macy's (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP) have made major investments to keep their stores fresh, Sears' management has been on the sidelines giving the stores a fairly dowdy feel.
Consumers have noticed and are starting to shop elsewhere. Same-store sales fell 5% this past month, which is really bad when you consider that retailers count on the holiday season for so much of their profits. The long-term decline for this storied retailer can be seen in the numbers. Net income before taxes peaked at $2.5 billion back in fiscal (January) 2007 and fell more than 90% to $1186 million in fiscal 2011.The current year should be even worse. Sears Holdings looks set to lose around $500 million this year, and Goldman Sachs suggests losses will stay that high in the fiscal year that begins in February as well fiscal 2014. Can Sears afford to lose all that money? Well, heading into the fiscal fourth quarter (that began in November), Sears had around $600 million in gross cash. That number likely grew thanks to seasonal positive cash flow, so let's assume it will be $900 million at the end of the February quarter. Well, Sears' burn rate from there is unsustainable, and barring a big turnaround, the retailer would run out of money by the end of calendar 2013. Want to know how a "death spiral" plays out? Sears will need to come up with around $2.2 billion to address debts coming due in the next 12 months. To come up with that money, management will seek to sell-off inventories, perhaps at heavily discounted prices. Forget about store upgrades or a replenishment of that sold off inventory. Sears' resonance with shoppers will grow even weaker in 2012, and analysts will eventually talk of an end game where the retailer sells off real estate to stay afloat. Sears, which TheStreet Ratings rates D+ sell, was also featured recently in "7 Hot Stocks On Traders' Radars" and "5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV