🇺🇸 Nike bless America

Nike just does it | Ugh, you used to be cool, SPACs |

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Today's big stories

  1. Sportswear giant Nike reported a much stronger quarterly update than analysts expected
  2. Stocks are expensive, sure, but there are six good reasons their rally might be far from over – Read Now
  3. The latest rebalancing of the Russell 3000 index shows SPACs are legit

U-Nike-ted States Of America

U-Nike-ted States Of America

What’s Going On Here?

This is Nike’s country, we’re just living in it: the sportswear giant reported strong results on the back of resurgent American sales late last week, and its stock initially jumped 13%.

What Does This Mean?

Nike’s quarterly revenue and profit both came in ahead of forecasts, while its ecommerce sales kept doing their thing: they were up 41% versus the same time last year. But the real winners were its North American business – whose revenue more than doubled from this time last year to hit a record high – and its wholesale arm. That segment sells the company’s products to the likes of Foot Locker and Dick’s Sporting Goods, and it did well out of the fact that those retailers were actually, y’know, open.

Why Should I Care?

For markets: It’s about quality, not just quantity.
Nike’s Chinese business made up for a lot of lost growth during the pandemic, but political disruptions in the country can cause issues at a drop of a hat. Case in point: the company expressed concern last quarter about allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang, and consumers threatened to boycott the brand. Investors, then, will have been glad to see Nike’s all-important US market roar back to life – especially since it encouraged the company to up its earnings forecast for the rest of the year.

The bigger picture: Nike and FedEx go hand in hand.
Logistics giant FedEx has been benefiting from Nike and its rival retailers’ booming ecommerce sales, and that played a big part in the stronger-than-expected quarterly sales it shared on Friday. The company’s profit would’ve beaten expectations too, but pension-related costs got in the way. That ultimately deterred the company from making an earnings forecast for this year, which might be why – despite everything else going to plan – investors sent its stock down on the announcement.

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2. Analyst Take

Don’t Give Up On Stocks Just Yet

What’s Going On Here?

The dust has settled after last year’s ugly coronavirus-inspired crash, and global stocks have risen nearly 90% from last year’s lows.

Unsurprisingly, that’s brought out the naysayers who see a bubble that’s destined to burst before long.

And it’s true that stocks are unlikely to give blockbuster returns at current valuations – and it’d certainly be hard to argue that the market is anything approaching a bargain.

But actually there are a few very good reasons not just why stocks aren’t necessarily going to crash, but why their rally could have further to run.

So that’s today’s Insight: the six reasons stocks’ rally might be far from over.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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Eau De Stooge

Eau De Stooge

What’s Going On Here?

The Russell 3000 index underwent its annual rebalancing on Friday, and it’s clear that SPACs – once the outsiders of the investing world – are well and truly part of the corporate in-crowd.

What Does This Mean?

The Russell 3000 – which aims to be a benchmark of the entire US stock market – measures the performance of the 3,000 most valuable listed US companies and represents approximately 98% of the value of all American stocks. And once a year, it’s “rebalanced”: that is, the companies that are too small to qualify are removed, and those that have grown in value are added. So far, so normal. What’s unique about this rebalancing is that 20% of the newly added companies are firms that joined the stock market by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: There’s no escaping SPACs.
Some investors are still skeptical about SPACs, and with fair reason: the companies have to agree a merger within two years of listing or else return the cash they raised, which means they might strike deals for the sake of it. Regulatory issues surrounding Lordstown Motors and Nikola won’t have done much to change their minds either. Now, though, they’ll have no choice but to accept SPACs, which – as part of a major index – will be included in the passive funds some of them track.

For markets: Cue the upheaval.
A company’s stock price tends to get a lift when it joins the Russell 3000, as investment managers and passive funds – which have around $10.6 trillion tracking Russell’s US indexes collectively – rush to buy up its shares (tweet this). The reverse is true too: investors tend to ditch the shares of anything that leaves the index. So when you consider that more than 250 companies were estimated to be added on Friday, you can bet there’ll have been a lot of volatility for investors to contend with.

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💬 Quote of the day

“A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.”

– Sonia Sotomayor (an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States)
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