Happy holidays: One thing is as sure as me already being four large coffees in to start the day: Despite what looks to be a solid holiday shopping season for the nation's retailers, the front part of 2018 will bring dour news of more mass store closures and bankruptcies. Consider this as your setup to the grim news that stands to crush the recent revival in retail stocks -- there have been 50 retail bankruptcies this year, more than all of 2016 and the highest number since 2011, according to a new report from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The report calls out Sun Pacific Holding, Sears Holdings (SHLD) (a personal favorite of mine) and Razer as three especially vulnerable retailers right now. Keep in mind these bankruptcies have happened in the face of improved consumer spending. Now get out there to support your local retailers this coming Super Saturday ... every buck matters in the battle with Amazon (AMZN) .
Here comes the auto sales boom: There is more to the auto sector than discussing what gadget Tesla's (TSLA) Elon Musk is working on. For instance, how about finding companies -- unlike Tesla -- actually making money that can be invested in? The auto research team at Jefferies appears to get have gotten the memo. Jefferies said Tuesday that 2018 will be a decent one for the auto sector, fueled in large part by U.S. tax reform serving as a stimulus to car sales. In this environment, auto stocks should do well, notably tire plays such as Goodyear (GT) , Jefferies said. Other bullish calls include Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) , which Jefferies said could double over the long-term. Given Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne being very focused on maximizing shareholder value through doing deals, it's hard to argue that call.
It's op-ed time: Well, here goes any chance of talking with the management team at Campbell Soup (CPB) . But this has to be said: If you are a Campbell Soup shareholder, you have to be fuming that the current management team is signing off on yet another massive acquisition in pretzel maker Snyders-Lance (LNCE) . Look what has happened under the more than six-year tenure of CEO Denise Morrison. Since Morrison was appointed CEO on Aug. 1, 2011, shares have gained 53% vs. a 137% gain for the S&P 500. The stock has barely outperformed shares of General Mills (GIS) . PepsiCo's (PEP) stock is up 90% during the same span despite its exposure to sluggish soda sales. Campbell Soup sales have fallen for three straight years, according to Bloomberg data, despite several big acquisitions in Plum Organics and Bolthouse Farms. Return on invested capital (ROIC) has gone from 19.64% in the fiscal year ended July 31, 2011, to 12.67% in the fiscal year ended July 30, 2017, Bloomberg said. Sure, you can say Campbell has been dealt a bad hand in challenging conditions in center aisle supermarket categories like soup. Thanks, millennials. Even still, with all these acquisitions shouldn't Campbell Soup be doing better? Since it's not, and acquisitions can't seem to solve the core issues plaguing the business, shouldn't the business be put up for sale to benefit shareholders (such as the family members that still have a sizable chunk of stock)?
Shares of the outdoor apparel maker have basically gone up in a straight line since the March 16, 2017 IPO. What a story. I am talking to Canada Goose (GOOS) CEO Dani Reiss later on today, so stay tuned for more. If you have questions in advance, fire them off on Twitter to @BrianSozzi.
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