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A holiday weekend is always a time to imagine. Not burdened with the rigors of the daily grind, the mind is free to roam like a gentle cow on a wide open pasture. I am proud to say that, for the first time in 10 years, I enjoyed a brief getaway on Labor Day weekend, a scenic camping trip tucked in a dirty Jersey wooded area.
Never truly unplugged, I was up at 6 a.m. on Saturday reading the chorus of negative market forecasts in Barron's and preparing for the week ahead. Here are some thoughts from the park bench.
Back to school: I have grown scared of making long recommendations in the retail sector over the last two years. There, I said it: A hot-shot stock analyst is afraid of suggesting that people buy consumer-discretionary names aside from Chipotle (CMG) and Starbucks (SBUX) -- and even J.C. Penney (JCP) ! It hasn't been without well-defined, wonderful reasons. I believe we are in the second inning of a seven-inning game of margin compression for a wide swath of retailers, caused by a wicked concoction of big-time investments in tech infrastructure, competitive pricing, shipping promotions and rising physical-store rents.
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