H&M's disaster: It bothers me when reading an analysis of why a company had a terrible quarter and it's not completely truthful. Take the case at fast fashion retailer H&M. Shares crashed as much as 16% on Friday, thesteepest intraday decline since March 2001, on the back of a completely dreadful quarter. Sales plunged 4% against analysts' estimates for a 2% increase. The retailer said it would move to close lagging stores and slow the pace of new openings. Yet, all I'm reading out there is that H&M is being pounded by online retailers such as Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report . Seeing as H&M was way late to online, the rationale makes sense at first blush. But here is the blunt reason why H&M is sucking wind: Its products are garbage and unable to survive one washing cycle. Consumers have become frustrated by this, and with their better financial health have begun to trade up the quality curve. Beneficiaries of this are seen in the mall via the comebacks at Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) - Get Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Class A Report and Tapestry (TPR) - Get Tapestry, Inc. Report (Coach, Kate Spade). These companies have made investments in quality and it has paid early dividends. Even Zara has taken up its quality a bit. Wake up H&M, put some more threads in your sweaters.
Remember bitcoin:The week started with bitcoin mania and it's ending with excitement over altcoins such as ripple, litecoin and ethereum. Each of those altcoins are having their moment in the sun as Bloomberg added their prices to the terminal on Thursday. Crazies in those markets surely are now imagining much higher prices (although litecoin has corrected over the last day on a warning from founder Charlie Lee) as bankers at Goldman Sachs check prices at lunch on their handheld terminals and buy. Amid all the focus on these names, good old bitcoin has started to come on strong ahead of futures trading kicking off on the CME Dec. 18. Bitcoin prices have popped 9% over the last 24 hours to $17,900.
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Social media battle: I awoke to seeing Snapchat still getting internet interest following the Thursday launch of Lens Studio. The app, which is designed for Apple's (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report Mac and Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report Windows desktops, lets people build augmented reality lenses for Snapchat. Obviously all the tech sites gushed over the product, quickly pointing to the growing interest in AR. Snap Inc. (SNAP) - Get Snap, Inc. Class A Report investors yawned. In fact, Snap's stock has largely remained stuck in the mud despite Tencent's (TCEHY) stake disclosure in early November. That's pretty telling as to the confidence Wall Street has in founder Evan Spiegel and his product's future. On the other hand, the market is showing more confidence in Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report . Shares of President Trump's social media platform of choice spiked as much as 7.3% on Thursday, the highest level since October 2016. Fueling the gains have been trader rumors of a possible deal for Twitter in light of Disney's (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report big Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) - Get Fox Corporation Class A Report transaction. A Twitter pic of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein hanging out with CEO Jack Dorsey at the company's HQ this week only tossed more gas on the fire. Goldman was rumored to be shopping Twitter late last year.
Not This Index
So much for that economic jolt in 2018 from the Trump tax plan, one area of the stock market has indicated.
The Russell 2000, a measure of domestic focused small-cap companies, has dropped every day but three in the last two weeks (arrow below). The index has fallen 1.3% over the past five sessions, lagging modest gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.
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