In 2015, online apparel sales took the number one spot in total online sales from the computer hardware sector (personal computers and tablets), which had been the undisputed online sales leader for a decade.
With the growth of online shopping and increasing online apparel sales starting to explode, it’s no wonder America’s bricks-and-mortar apparel retailers are closing stores across the country.
If these trends continue, and researchers expect them to, Wall Street analysts say we could see 50 retail bankruptcies in the next 12 to 24 months.
I first heard the phrase ‘retail ice age’ on Fox Business News’ Varney & Co. I don’t know if anchor Stuart Varney coined it, but it’s a pretty good assessment of the condition of bricks-and-mortar retail in America.
Sure, some down in the dumps retail stocks will bounce if the market keeps on rallying.
But beware – these stocks aren’t being bought because they’re value stocks. They aren’t even good bargains.
There’s a reason some of them are moving up, and it’s scary.
As banks report earnings this quarter, investors and the media seem anxious about their prospects.
They should be.
Even though JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo beat analysts’ consensus estimates when they all reported yesterday, the headline numbers don’t tell the real story.
Banks themselves had steadily walked down analysts’ expectations for almost three weeks leading up to the start of earnings releases, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that they magically beat forecasts.
Still, all the bank’s stocks got hit while the market slump put pressure on them yesterday
This past Wednesday, in a closed-door meeting between the director of President Trump’s National Economic Council and the Senate Banking Committee, the NEC’s Gary Cohn and Senator Elizabeth Warren apparently cozied up on the idea of separating commercial banking from investment banking.
Talk about strange bedfellows.
Gary Cohn, immediately prior to joining the Trump Administration, was president and COO of Goldman Sachs, one of the most powerful and profitable investment banks in history. He was, essentially, a general in the mega-bank oligarchy that many Americans believe directs the U.S. government.
Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, was a Harvard Law professor who served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama, was elected Senator of Massachusetts in 2012. She has arguably been the most vocal Big Bank basher in the past decade.
These polar opposites joining forces to dismantle the engine room of crony capitalism seems impossible.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been focusing on the growing issue between passive investing and bloated ETFs… and I’ve gotten some great questions from readers who want to know more.
When this crash comes, whether it’s a ‘flash crash’ or far more serious, I want my readers to be prepared to rake in serious profits while everyone else is in freefall. And I’m happy to take the time to address your specific questions if that means you will all be ready.
The marriage of ETFs and passive investing, the current hot trend everyone’s talking about, isn’t a match made in heaven.
In fact, friction between the two is so huge, a divorce could crash markets irreparably.
On their own, both buying into ETFs and investing passively make sense. But loading up passive investing portfolios with ETFs – especially benchmark and market index following ETFs, which are precisely what passive investing calls for – is the equivalent of rubbing two sticks together over a mountain of dry kindling.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are all about relationships, so the marriage of ETFs and passive investing looks perfectly fine on the surface. But frighteningly, the basis of their relationship and the reason they look like they pair well will actually be their downfall.
There’s the one thing you need to know about ETFs that you probably have no idea about.
I’m going to use a scary word to describe ETFs, although you won’t hear the word used when it comes to ETFs anywhere else. That’s because not many people understand that the word absolutely applies.
The people who know it’s the truth – the sponsors of ETFs, brokers, and regulators – don’t want you to ever think of “that” word when you think about ETFs.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are great. They’re packaged investment products that trade all day like stocks.
You can buy, sell and short ETFs that track:
all the major stock market indexes
any and every industry group
different investing styles
commodities like oil, gas, gold and silver
Just about any asset class or portfolio product Wall Street thinks you want to trade or leverage your bets with – even inverse ETFs that go up when their underlying market indexes go down – they are all here.
Over the past two years we’ve talked a lot here about the burgeoning industry known as “Fintech,” a portmanteau of “financial technology,” or how financial transactions are moving to digital platforms.
While Fintech began as a way to describe how technology is being used to improve behind-the-scenes workings of financial institutions, this disruptive force is now changing everything from how we shop and how we bank to how we apply for credit – anything to do with money is ripe for Fintech disruption.
It’s even changing how we pay for dinner…
We’ve all been there – that awkward dance that occurs when the check comes. There are either too many credit cards, or not enough people with enough cash, or the restaurant refuses to split the bill, or no one can agree how to split it evenly…
In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion of smartphone apps that involve what’s known as peer-to-peer (or P2P) payments. These allow anyone to connect a card or a bank account to the app, and send payments instantaneously to anyone else on the app.
All of a sudden that awkward dinner bill – and thousands of situations just like it – get a whole lot easier.
Even social media giants have incorporated P2P payments into their interfaces. Any smartphone user with a credit card has at least five options to get a small sum to a peer almost instantly.
As of right now, none of these innovators have figured out how to monetize P2P payments. That’s going to become increasingly important as the marketplace grows – and as investors line up to profit from one of the market’s hottest trends.