Finimize - 🎯 Target missed the mark

Target’s scrawny earnings scared off investors | Rising UK prices aren’t losing velocity |

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Today's big stories

  1. Target’s third-quarter earnings were well off the mark, sending its shares into a tailspin
  2. Here are four ways you could invest for the next ten years – Read Now
  3. Inflation in the UK was still rising in October, but markets kept their cool



What’s Going On Here?

Target announced results on Wednesday that were miles off a bullseye.

What Does This Mean?

Walmart’s results on Tuesday made one thing clear: shoppers with less cash to splash want everyday groceries at bargain prices. That meant Walmart’s staple items like cheap food and drink – which make up over half of its total wares – were in high demand last quarter. But the same can’t be said for poor Target: the department store chain mainly sells nice-to-haves like clothing and electronics, and savvy shoppers often hold off on buying that stuff till seasonal discounts kick in. That difference showed in the books: Walmart made expectation-beating profit, while Target’s was much lower than investors expected.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: Line your pockets.
It wasn't all bad for Target: the firm’s third-quarter sales at stores open for at least a year were up a better-than-expected 2.7% from the same time last year. Problem is, Target had to slap massive discount signs across the aisles to get folk to the checkouts. Those discounts squeeze the life out of a firm’s profit margins, which – along with the promise of future clearances – pushed Target to admit it’ll fall well short of its profit promises made earlier this year. On top of that, the retailer said it’ll lose nearly $400 million – worth 5% of last year’s profit – at the hands of shoplifters (tweet this). Now that’s a scapegoat you won't hear often...

Zooming out: Nobody knows nuthin’.
You’ll often hear that it’s best to take the long-term view when it comes to stock picking, and that's partly because markets usually do a good job at predicting and “pricing in” short-term changes. But in times of high uncertainty, the market’s close-range antenna can falter and investors end up caught unawares, causing shock price movements. Your common sense can help you rise above the rest, mind you: it’s hardly surprising that Target would lose customers to cheaper rivals during tougher times, after all.

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Analyst Take

Forget The Straight-Up S&P 500. Here Are Four Ways To Invest For The Next Decade.

Forget The Straight-Up S&P 500. Here Are Four Ways To Invest For The Next Decade.
Photo of Stéphane Renevier

Stéphane Renevier, Analyst

Many retail investors are now opting for a purely passive approach and going all in on the S&P 500 for their stock exposure. 

It’s easy to understand why: the go-to US index has done exceptionally well over the past ten years. 

But the economic backdrop is different now, and in a world of higher inflation and towering interest rates, its returns are likely to be a lot less impressive.

So if you’re looking to invest in stocks over the next ten years, you may want to find a new set of winners

So that’s today’s Insight: here are four alternatives to the straight-up S&P 500 for the next decade.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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Runaway Prices

Runaway Prices

What’s Going On Here?

Inflation in the UK hit a fresh 41-year high in October as prices leapt over 11%, according to data out on Wednesday.

What Does This Mean?

You’d have to go all the way back to 1981 – year of the first-ever London Marathon – to see British prices running at the speed they hit last month. That’s actually pretty fitting: prices in October were a worse-than-expected 11.1% higher than the same time last year, turning this year’s inflation battle into less of a sprint and more of an endurance test. A big part of that price pop was down to food prices that were up 16.5%, but even after stripping out food and energy prices, core inflation still sat at a disappointing 6.5%. So while some pundits reckon US inflation might be on the home stretch, Britain’s prices are still running up a steep hill for now.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming out: Mono-tasking.
Britain’s not the only major nation trying to steady a swaying economic ship right now, but it might just be the only one with a single viable escape route. See, markets panicked when the last government suggested a tax-cutting bonanza, fearing that flooding the economy with cash would further swell inflation – and that sent the pound plummeting. But it looks like this government’s learned a lesson, as the new UK finance chief seems to have his sights set on just one task: tackling inflation.

The bigger picture: Same time, same place.
Financial markets were predicting that interest rates would peak at around 4.5% toward the end of next summer, after about six more hikes. And while Wednesday’s worse-than-expected data is good fodder for attention-grabbing headlines, it’s barely affected markets’ predictions for rates. That’s a relief for now, but another one or two bad inflation reports is all it would take to change things.

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💬 Quote of the day

“If all the world’s a stage, I want to operate the trap door.”

– Paul Beatty (an American author)
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