I had a rather busy week. Much of it was retail / consumer themed. It started on Tuesday with an interview on NJTV. The subject was a recent NJ Business survey.
Then on Wednesday I spent a long yet exciting day on the Island of Manhattan. It all begin at Bloomberg Radio studios for a live segment with Pimm Fox and Lisa Abramowicz . We discussed Walmart (WMT) and the continuing problems at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Click on the link above for the full audio.
I then spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening walking around Manhattan (close to 9 miles), to and from meetings with colleagues and a PR firm before my final destination for the evening (more on that later). I have to say I observed a significant number of vacant storefronts along major streets and avenues.
This was more than I would have expected during a non-recessionary economy. Furthermore, this fits into my theme of disruptive changes in the retail industry. No matter where I went, high end retail was busy, again another part of my theory. Late Friday afternoon we did take a small position in Taubman Centers (TCO) for our Dividend Value portfolio, ahead of the REIT going ex-dividend on Tuesday.
After meeting with my old friend Scott from Morgan Stanley (MS) I managed to snap this picture of a favorite NYC Holiday scene at Rockefeller Center.
After that I walked downtown along 5th Avenue, passing Lord & Taylor along the way. I have to say that the annual holiday window display at L&T was a major disappointment, the worst I can ever remember. L&T is owned by retail giant Hudson’s Bay Company, which is likely feeling the need to save some money as they are feeling the pinch from retail disruption.
Finally, on Wednesday, I met up with some Pi Kappa Alpha brothers from the University of Pennsylvania. All told there were twenty-six of us but you might get a kick out of this picture of some of us (as Freshman at Penn’s 1979 Skimmer celebration on top and then below in 2016, though the brother on the left on top could not make it last week)
Thursday I was back in the media with another NJTV interview on the subject of a proposal to fund New Jersey’s transportation fund with a loan investment by the state’s pension fund. This might be a good idea to help jump start the under funded transportation fund and get a fixed return for a portion of the pension fund. However, it is a bandage on the pension fund which is hemorrhaging due to investments in non-traditional asset classes such as hedge funds and structured investments. The pension fund needs to resort to traditional asset classes such as stocks / bonds and likely index to several major stock indexes.
By the time the week ended, the overbought condition which existed when the week began was worked off allowing stocks to resume their historic post-election run.
The theme this week will be the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee interest rate decision and OPEC. I expect the former to hike rates by ¼% and the latter to cut production even further. As a result, I expect bonds and energy shares to rally.
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long TCO — although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort is the President & Founder of LakeView Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor specializing in high net worth private wealth management. For more information on investing with LakeView Asset Management, LLC call us at 888-9LAKEVIEW or request more information by clicking on the contact button on the top right hand corner of the website. LakeView Management, LLC is a Nevada LLC, with its principal office located in Henderson, NV and branch office located in Millburn, NJ
Scott Rothbort is also the publisher of the LakeView Restaurant & Food Chain Report, a newsletter focusing in on food, restaurant, beverage and agricultural stocks. An individual subscription to the newsletter can be ordered at www.restaurantstox.com Furthermore; Scott is also a professor at the Seton Hall Stillman School of Business in South Orange, NJ.
– Read Scott’s intra-day thoughts and comments on Scutify for which he is a co-founder of its parent company Wall Street All-Stars, LLC
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