Engine Capital Urges Major Retailer Kohl’s to Sell Company

Kohl’s is a leading retailer in the United States, but it might be time the owners sell the company and consider other interests. This is according to one of the company’s leading investors.

Kohl’s Should Sell the Company

Activist investor Engine Capital has urged Kohl’s to consider either a sale of the company or separation of its e-commerce business. According to Engine Capital, the company has underperformed for the past three years, and it might be time to sell.

Engine Capital said Kohl’s has underperformed since CEO Michelle Gass took over in May 2018. According to the activist investor, the retail sector has recorded more than 8% growth since Gass became CEO, while Kohl’s stock price had dropped by 10.5% during that period.

Kohl’s has faced attacks from investors over the past few months for its underperformance. Earlier this year, Macellum Advisors attacked the retailer for its lagging fundamental and poor stock price performance over the past few years.

KSS has Performed Well this Year

The shares of Kohl’s are up by more than 25% since the start of the year. Despite the criticism by Engine Capital and Macellum Advisors, the value of KSS is up by 27% year-to-date. At press time, KSS is up, trading at $51.09, up by 5.4% over the past 24 hours.

KSS’s MACD line is now at the neutral zone. Source: FXEMPIRE

The MACD line is just close to the neutral zone, showing that the stock is coming out of a bearish trend. The RSI of 48 shows that KSS is no longer in oversold territory and is heading towards the neutral zone.

KSS’s technical indicators are positive at the moment, and the stock price could rally higher in the coming days if it maintains the current momentum. The stock is still down from the $64 yearly high it set earlier this year. It could look to reach that level before the end of the year or early next year.

What Fuels The Stock Market Now?

An outstanding earnings season and signs that economic activity are picking back up are clashing with unrelenting inflation, difficulty finding more labor, and continued supply chain logjams.

Inflation

Most insiders believe inflation has further to climb, though the consensus right now is calling for a peak around the beginning of Q2 next year. With big shopping holidays in the U.S. coming up, followed closely by Chinese New Year at the beginning of February 2022, shipping and transportation logjams aren’t expected to find much relief in the near-term.

Meaning inflation pressures will likely continue. How far inflation will climb as the severe supply chain dislocations drag on is a huge unknown. Some Wall street investors are concerned that the Fed might feel compelled to end its asset purchases and hike rates much sooner than expected if monthly inflation keeps accelerating.

What might be even more worrisome is the fear that some of these price increases could be more permanent in nature, so how much overall inflation will pull back in the long run is starting to become a bigger talking point.

Demand and supply chain

Supply chain insiders warn that many companies are front-loading inventories in an effort to avoid running out of critical materials, which could bite in the long run if demand suddenly drops off. A lot of manufacturers have also increased production capacity for products that currently face shortages. The risk is that once back orders are filled and demand retreats, stockpiling and excess production could result in an oversupply situation in some areas, along with much lower profits and total revenues.

Another worry right now is that demand starts to retreats due to the current inflationary environment especially with everyday items like food and gasoline costing substantially more. That has investors anxious to see the latest Consumer Sentiment read being released today which is expected to edge higher vs. last month.

Investors are closing tracking the inflation expectation gauges in the report as typically the higher those climb, the more consumers tend to pull back on spending.

Data to watch next week

Looking towards next week, the economic data flow picks up with key releases including Empire State Manufacturing on Monday; Retail Sales, Import/Export Prices, Industrial Production, Business Inventories, and the NAHB Housing Market Index on Tuesday; Housing Starts and Building Permits on Wednesday; and the Philadelphia Fed Index on Thursday.

On the earnings front, Q3 reporting is just about wrapped up with companies in the S&P 500 index reporting revenue growth of more than +17%, the second highest on record behind only Q2 2021’s growth of over +25%, according to FactSet. Earnings themselves are on track to exceed +40%. AstraZeneca is today’s earnings highlight. Earnings next week include several big retailers which will provide some more clues as to how consumer demand is trending as well as updates on supply chain struggles. Investors are also keen to hear how holiday hiring is going.

Key earnings reports next week will include Advanced Auto Parts, Lucid, Tyson, and Warner Music on Monday; Home Depot and Walmart on Tuesday; Bath & Body Works, Cisco, Lowe’s, NVIDIA, Target, TJX, and Victoria’s Secret on Wednesday; Alibaba, Applied Materials, Intuit, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Palo Alto Networks, Ross Stores, and Williams Sonoma on Thursday; and The Buckle and Foot Locker on Friday.

Checking in on the geopolitical front, the U.S. is warning that Russia may be planning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. U.S. officials say they’ve briefed their EU counterparts about concerns over a possible military operation, citing a buildup of Russian troops along the Ukraine border. Tensions are boiling still in Belarus and Russia is fanning the flames on that front as well.

SP500 commentary

ES ##-## (Daily) 2021_11_14 (1_49_54 AM)

The bearish accumulation divergence played very well last week. Moreover, the Advance Decline Line is weaker than the price is. It is also a negative factor in the short term. Potentially SP500 started the formation of the bull flag. Finding support at lower levels would be a great buying point with a target of 4800.

The major economic indicators are still bullish despite rising inflation. 4500 level is a psychological level bears will target if 4600 fails. Current levels can be considered only for intraday trading. At the same time, lower levels are needed to get a good risk/reward ratio for swing traders.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Earnings Week Ahead: Advance Auto Parts, Home Depot, Nvidia and Ross Stores in Focus

Earnings Calendar For The Week Of November 15

Monday (November 15)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ADVANCE AUTO PARTS

The leading automotive aftermarket parts retailer Advance Auto Parts is expected to report its third-quarter earnings of $2.87 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 2% from $2.81 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based company would post revenue growth of nearly 2% to $2.6 billion up from $2.54 billion registered a year earlier. The company has beaten earnings per share (EPS) estimates three times in the last four quarters.

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) operates in a defensive (recession-resistant) category and has one of the largest long-term EBIT margin expansion opportunities in our coverage (we estimate 300-400 bps over time). COVID-19 slowed parts of AAP’s transformation but gross and EBIT margin upside from internal initiatives is still expected beginning in 2021,” noted Simeon Gutman, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Significant and improving FCF generation plus share repurchases likely to enhance EPS growth. We think the combination of a defensive category, AAP’s progress generating stable top-line growth, and significant margin upside all make for an upside case. Slowing topline momentum and associated risk to margin trajectory balance the risk/reward skew.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE NOVEMBER 15

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
AAP Advance Auto Parts $2.87
JJSF J&J Snack Foods $1.28
CMP Compass Minerals International $0.62

Tuesday (November 16)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: HOME DEPOT

The largest home improvement retailer in the United States, Home Depot, is expected to report its third-quarter earnings of $3.39 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of about 7% from $3.18 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The home improvement retailer would post revenue growth of over 4% to $34.942 billion from $33.54 billion a year earlier. In the last two years, the company has beaten earnings per share (EPS) estimates in most of the quarters with a surprise of over 5%.

Home Depot shares have gained nearly 40% so far this year. The stock closed 1.36% higher at $372.63 on Friday. Home Depot’s better-than-expected results, which will be announced on Nov 16, could help the stock hit new all-time highs.

“Shares of Home Depot have risen and outpaced the industry year to date. The company boasts a robust surprise trend with the fifth straight quarter of earnings and sales beat in second-quarter fiscal 2021. Results gained from continued demand for home improvement projects, the robust housing market and ongoing investments. The company is effectively adapting to the demand for renovations and construction activities, driven by prudent investments,” noted analysts at ZACKS Research.

“It is gaining from growth in Pro and DIY customer categories as well as digital momentum. However, in the second quarter, the company witnessed year-over-year moderation in its comparable-store sales growth. This was due to the lapping of the high demand environment for home-improvement projects seen last year. Soft gross margin, stemming from increased penetration of lumber, has also been a drag.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE NOVEMBER 16

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
ICP Intermediate Capital £32.70
HSV Homeserve £6.60
ARMK Aramark $0.19
HD Home Depot $3.35
DLB Dolby Laboratories $0.35
LAND Land Securities £18.78
IMB Imperial Brands PLC £138.10

Wednesday (November 17)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NVIDIA

The Santa Clara, California- based multinational technology company, Nvidia, is expected to report its third-quarter earnings of $1.11 per share, which represents a year-over-year decline of over 60% from $2.91 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The company, which designs graphics processing units for the gaming and professional markets, as well as system on a chip unit for the mobile computing and automotive market would post year-over-year revenue growth of over 40% to $6.8 billion.

According to Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer, Nvidia will report above-consensus October quarter results, lifting its price target to $350 from $235 and rating the company “outperform”.

“Supply constraints continue to weigh on the group, though we see Nvidia (NVDA), a top semi-supplier, as better positioned to secure capacity. The company’s leading soup-to-nuts software/hardware platform solidifies its AI accelerator dominance,” Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer wrote in his report, reported by Reuters.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE NOVEMBER 17

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
BLND British Land Company £8.75
SGE The Sage Group £11.11
LOW Lowe’s Companies $2.33
CPRT Copart $0.99
NVDA Nvidia $1.11
CPA Copa -$0.19
KLIC Kulicke And Soffa Industries $2.07
TTEK Tetra Tech $1.00
HI Hillenbrand $0.91
SSE SSE £11.80

Thursday (November 18)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ROSS STORES

The second-largest off-price retailer in the U.S., Ross Stores, is expected to report its third-quarter earnings of $0.79 per share, which represents a year-over-year decline of over 24% from $1.02 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The U.S. home fashion chain would post year-over-year revenue growth of nearly 16% to $4.4 billion. The company has beaten earnings per share (EPS) estimates three times in the last four quarters.

“Market share capture from competitor bankruptcies & store closures, favourable customer fundamentals, and high exposure to Hispanics, the fastest-growing US population segment, support 6-8% long-term revenue growth and 10%+ annual EPS. Upward EPS revisions appear an ongoing positive share price catalyst. Profit flow-through is magnified when comps exceed the 1-2% plan in a typical year,” noted Kimberly Greenberger, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“The ‘everyday value’ proposition fosters comp outperformance, while recessions accelerate customer acquisition. Low average selling prices ($8-10/unit) and narrow gross margin render selling online unprofitable at this price point.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE NOVEMBER 18

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
NG National Grid £15.70
HLMA Halma £21.19
RMG Royal Mail -£6.30
NJR New Jersey Resources $0.08
KSS Kohl’s $0.69
HP Helmerich & Payne -$0.50
MMS Maximus $0.87
BJ BJs Wholesale Club Holdings Inc $0.79
M Macy’s $0.29
BERY Berry Plastics $1.53
NUAN Nuance Communications $0.20
BRC Brady $0.76
ROST Ross Stores $0.79
INTU Intuit $0.97
FTCH Farfetch -$0.24
ESE ESCO Technologies $0.78

Friday (November 19)

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
BKE Buckle $0.80
FL Foot Locker $1.34