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It’s Not Yet Halloween But Witching Could Scare Investors

It's not yet Halloween but witching could scare investors

9/27/2021 10:00:00 AM

It's not yet Halloween but witching could scare investors

Quadruple witching could put a scare in some investors, but retailers are finding ways to help consumers with their financing

Retail Moves from Layaway to Pay at a Later DayRetailers are getting creative when it comes to helping consumers find ways to pay for their products. It used to be your mom would put your husky jeans on layaway and the store would hold them until she could pay them off. But today there are various ways to “pay as you go” or “buy now and pay later” without using a credit card and these trends have led to several mergers.

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On Wednesday I noted that Goldman Sachs (GS) is acquiring GreenSky (GSKY) which offers pay as you go home improvement loans. In August, Square(SQ) agreed to buy installment-payment system Afterpay (APT).  Last week PayPal(PYPL) announced plans to buy Japanese installment-payment company Paidy.

These companies offer different and cheaper avenues for consumers which is why they’re becoming increasingly popular. In fact, Macy’s (M), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBY), and Amazon (AMZN) are all offering their own installment programs. These programs allow the consumer to take their jeans or other items home and pay when they can.

The trend in offering installment plans has grown and has the potential to help consumers get through the upcoming holiday shopping season. Affirm (AFRM) closed 7.13% higher on Thursday as Business Wire highlighted the company’s positioning to help holiday shoppers stay on budget.

The Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index ($DJUSRT—candlestick) has underperformed the S&P 500 (SPX) over the... [+]past year according to the relative strength indicator (RS). The RS (not to be confused with the RSI) compares the prices of the retail index to the price of the SPX. The downtrending nature of the RS line seems to indicate that the retail index is weaker or underperforming the SPX.

Data source: S&P Dow Jones Indices. Chart source: The thinkorswim® platform.Trapper Keepers:Despite the weak performance, back to school shopping appeared stronger than expected as indicated by the surprise in retail sales. Many schools and college campuses are opening which helped sales in the big-box stores like Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT). Back to school shopping is probably one of those tasks that help people regain some feelings of normalcy.

Many brick and mortar retailers have been hurt by the pandemic but appear to have been given a boost by Thursday’s report. Nordstrom (JWN), Dillard’s (DDS), Gap (GPS), and Kohl’s (KSS) all rallied on the news. However, until consumers no longer feel trapped in their homes, retailers will have to rely heavily on their ability to pull in online shoppers. But, even then, it may be difficult for retailers to get products to consumers because of the broken supply chain.

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Stranded at Sea:Speaking of the supply chain, Business Insider reported on Tuesday that a swell of cargo ships was stuck off the coast of California. The count of 56 ships set a record. Normally, zero to one ship is waiting to be unloaded.Consumers continue to focus on buying products over services which is doubling and tripling the load size of the ships—resulting in longer unloading times. Many forecasters were hoping that Covid policies would relax and consumers would turn their attention to services instead of products which could provide much needed supply chain relief.

Ocean shipping stocks like Textainer (TGH), Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK), and Danaos (DAC) have experienced tremendous demand for their products and services. It’s likely they’ll continue to garner attention until the supply chain is fixed.Ship Shape:Moving on from ocean ships to spaceships, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched four amateur astronauts into space on its Resilience space capsule. The Inspiration4 mission is scheduled to last three days and could be one giant leap for space tourism.

The successful launch appears to have helped competing space tourism rivalVirgin Galactic (SPCE) which rose more than 3.5% during the day. The Economic Times reported that SPCE already has hundreds of bookings at $200,000 to $250,000 per ticket. Other related stocks such as Astra (ASTR), EHang (EH), Innovative Solutions (ISSC), and Kaman (KAMN) were mixed on the news.

While space tourism is a service outside the reach of many consumers, the ability for these companies to scale in the future may be a big determinant of their success.TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC. Read more: Forbes »

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