The Stocks Investors Are Putting Under the Tree
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,627,086 (-0.52%)       Melbourne $991,016 (+0.02%)       Brisbane $1,008,247 (+0.57%)       Adelaide $881,757 (-1.94%)       Perth $857,431 (+0.47%)       Hobart $728,683 (+0.15%)       Darwin $650,080 (-2.29%)       Canberra $1,042,488 (+1.17%)       National $1,052,954 (-0.17%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,033 (-0.54%)       Melbourne $493,897 (-0.18%)       Brisbane $575,927 (+2.34%)       Adelaide $460,725 (+2.82%)       Perth $451,917 (+0.14%)       Hobart $507,207 (+0.52%)       Darwin $359,807 (+0.61%)       Canberra $486,447 (-2.01%)       National $534,000 (+0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,472 (+43)       Melbourne 14,783 (-132)       Brisbane 7,948 (+15)       Adelaide 2,170 (+81)       Perth 5,836 (+49)       Hobart 1,243 (+2)       Darwin 251 (+7)       Canberra 967 (-21)       National 43,670 (+44)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,699 (+113)       Melbourne 8,259 (+38)       Brisbane 1,637 (+2)       Adelaide 386 (+14)       Perth 1,480 (-37)       Hobart 204 (+6)       Darwin 409 (+5)       Canberra 1,034 (+6)       National 22,108 (+147)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 ($0)       Melbourne $600 ($0)       Brisbane $640 (-$10)       Adelaide $610 (+$10)       Perth $680 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $740 (-$10)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $675 (-$2)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $760 ($0)       Melbourne $595 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$10)       Adelaide $500 ($0)       Perth $625 (+$5)       Hobart $460 (+$10)       Darwin $535 (-$5)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $595 (-$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,053 (+221)       Melbourne 6,376 (+263)       Brisbane 4,431 (+5)       Adelaide 1,566 (+60)       Perth 2,666 (-61)       Hobart 431 (0)       Darwin 102 (+7)       Canberra 621 (+19)       National 22,246 (+514)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,306 (+260)       Melbourne 6,173 (+102)       Brisbane 2,248 (-24)       Adelaide 399 (+26)       Perth 754 (+14)       Hobart 148 (+5)       Darwin 145 (+9)       Canberra 785 (+39)       National 20,958 (+431)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.62% (↑)        Melbourne 3.15% (↓)       Brisbane 3.30% (↓)     Adelaide 3.60% (↑)        Perth 4.12% (↓)       Hobart 3.92% (↓)     Darwin 5.92% (↑)        Canberra 3.39% (↓)       National 3.33% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.24% (↑)      Melbourne 6.26% (↑)        Brisbane 5.69% (↓)       Adelaide 5.64% (↓)     Perth 7.19% (↑)      Hobart 4.72% (↑)        Darwin 7.73% (↓)     Canberra 5.88% (↑)        National 5.79% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 30.7 (↓)     Adelaide 25.9 (↑)        Perth 35.8 (↓)       Hobart 37.6 (↓)     Darwin 37.0 (↑)      Canberra 28.5 (↑)      National 31.8 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.2 (↓)     Melbourne 30.4 (↑)        Brisbane 29.5 (↓)     Adelaide 26.3 (↑)        Perth 36.6 (↓)       Hobart 29.7 (↓)       Darwin 45.0 (↓)     Canberra 39.6 (↑)        National 33.3 (↓)           
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The Stocks Investors Are Putting Under the Tree

Shares of retailers including Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker are surging despite mixed holiday updates

By HARDIKA SINGH
Mon, Dec 4, 2023 10:11amGrey Clock 4 min

Retailers are making modest predictions about the holiday shopping season—and their stocks are going gangbusters in response.

Victoria’s Secret, Foot Locker, Ulta Beauty and Dollar Tree are among the companies that offered somewhat mixed assessments of the state of the shopper last week. Yet each received an ovation from investors.

Traders have piled into stocks en masse since a softer-than-expected inflation reading on Nov. 14 bolstered wagers that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and is poised to cool the economy without tipping it into a recession. Treasury yields have sharply declined as well, giving equities a second wind.

The S&P 500 has risen 4.1% since the report, extending its gains for the year to almost 20%.

Many depressed sectors of the market, such as retailers, have risen even faster. The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund—which includes 78 retailers, from department stores and other apparel companies, to automotive and drugstores—has jumped about 13%. Victoria’s Secret has soared 52%, Foot Locker is up 50%, Ulta has risen 21% and Dollar Tree has added 12%. (Three of the four stocks have suffered double-digit percentage declines this year.)

Americans slowed their spending in October, according to last week’s consumer-spending data from the Commerce Department. But the early readings from the holiday shopping season have been more encouraging. U.S. shoppers spent $38 billion during the five days from Thanksgiving through the following Monday, up 7.8% from the same period last year, according to Adobe Analytics.

Many investors closely watch consumer spending because it is a major driver of economic growth. If spending is too strong, the Fed could be forced to raise interest rates again. Whereas, if spending is too weak, it could be a sign that the economy is entering a recession.

In the coming days, investors will look at U.S. service-sector activity for November and Friday’s monthly jobs report as they try to assess the strength of the economy and the market’s trajectory.

“The consumer has been resilient throughout it all,” said Jay Woods, chief global strategist at Freedom Capital Markets. “The economic news is now starting to back that up, that, ‘OK, we aren’t going to be in a recession. Things are getting a little bit better.’ And these stocks that had been beaten-down are finally catching a bid.”

Victoria’s Secret posted its second consecutive quarterly loss Wednesday, with the lingerie retailer facing a continued slump in sales. But the company forecast higher sales in the current quarter, sending shares up 14% the next day, their largest one-day percentage gain in more than two years. The stock is down 20% in 2023.

Footwear retailer Foot Locker said Wednesday that Black Friday sales were strong and it forecast an upbeat holiday shopping period, while reporting lower sales and profit for the third quarter. Its shares rose 16% that day, their biggest gain in more than a year, trimming their 2023 decline to 21%.

Cosmetic retailer Ulta on Thursday posted stronger-than-expected sales in the third quarter and raised the lower end of its sales and profit outlook for the year. The shares rose 11% in the following session, their best day since May 2022. They are up 0.6% for the year.

Dollar Tree reported Wednesday that same-store sales growth was weaker than analysts expected, but investors appeared to be encouraged that the discount retailer is seeing increases in customer traffic, even if basket sizes are shrinking. Its shares rose 4.4% that day and are off 11% in 2023.

Another reason why retail stocks have rallied? Warehouses have reduced merchandise, and store shelves aren’t spilling over with discounted goods.

John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Private Bank, said higher interest rates and oil prices made him bearish on retail stocks over the summer. But with an easing macro environment, he believes retailers could be poised to do well.

“It seems like traffic is gonna be there for the holidays,” Augustine said. “Now can retailers make the same profit, earnings per share, with tighter inventory?”

Short sellers are licking their wounds after the recent rally. They lost about $120 million in November betting against the SPDR S&P Retail ETF, according to financial-analytics firm S3 Partners. That compares with a loss of $2.8 million through the first 10 months of the year. Short sellers borrow shares and sell them, expecting to repurchase them at lower prices and collect the difference as profit.

Many retail stocks still generally look cheap compared with the broader market. Victoria’s Secret is trading at 11.8 times its projected earnings over the next 12 months, while Foot Locker is at 16.2. The S&P 500’s multiple is 18.8.

Despite the recent excitement in markets, many investors caution that it is too soon to count on a soft landing for the economy. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, recently cautioned that inflation could rise further and a recession isn’t off the table.

In the past 11 Fed rate-hiking cycles, recessions have typically started around two years after the Fed begins raising interest rates, according to Deutsche Bank. This hiking cycle started last March.

“It’s not an all-clear resurgence trade that we’re in right now,” said Brock Campbell, head of global research at Newton Investment Management. “This is gonna be a much more idiosyncratic stock picker’s group for a while.”



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New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
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Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer BobsWatches.com, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.

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