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Top thoughts on stocks and the markets from TheStreet's Doug Kass. 
Nordstrom: My Favorite Retail Stock
In a sea of retail red ink, Nordstrom ( JWN - Get Report) recorded an excellent second quarter and raised the low end of its earnings estimate for this year slightly.

The shares responded well after hours last night, providing some hope for investors in the retail sector, which was taken to the woodshed this week. (My only other retail holding is Dillard's (DDS - Get Report) , which I re-established in yesterday's schemeissing.)

I plan to add to JWN today.

Sales expanded by 3.3%, which represented an acceleration -- albeit slight -- from the first quarter.

Nordstrom has been investing heavily in online and now seems to be growing faster than Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) . Online grew 20% in the mainline channel and over 25% in the off-price channel.

EBITD declined slightly (2.3%) as investment spending pressured margins. Interest expense also declined slightly (3%) as JWN was able to finance its activities within its cash flow. The earnings decline was 3%.

The retailer raised its earnings forecast for 2017 by 10 cents a share at the low end to $2.85.

Importantly, JWN has a key Anniversary Sale that straddles the second and third quarters. It is an important barometer of business and was apparently very good (no numbers).

At yesterday's close, equity value is $7.8 billion with debt at $1.8 billion.

Twelve-month trailing EBITD is $1.5 billion.

Management views the 6.5 times 12-month trailing multiple as attractive and has hired bankers to explore going private.

JWN is my favorite retail stock and I remain a buyer of JWN, along with the company's management!

Position: Long JWN, DDS; short AMZN.
Originally published Aug. 11 at 9:17 a.m. EST

The Long and Short of My Amazon Call

It's been about 10 days since CNBC's Joe Kernen launched an ad hominem attack on me during Squawk Box -- when, among other things, he was very critical of my short of Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) .

At that time, I thought my Amazon call and analysis represented a ballsy, contrarian and well-documented short idea that warranted further discussion, not repudiation and denunciation.

Well, Amazon was down another 2.2% today at last check following days of weak performance.

Amazon remains on my "Best Short Ideas" list, reflecting the existential threat that political and antitrust concerns pose to the company.

Position: Short AMZN.
Originally published Aug. 10 at 1:51 p.m. EST
Doug Kass fills his blog on RealMoney every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on:
  • How Nordstrom is Kass' retail stock.
  • How to look at the long and short of Kass' Amazon call.

Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Doug Kass'--and reader comments--in real time.

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