Holiday Online Shopping Leads to Big Wins

Chris Versace

Chris Versace is a financial columnist and equity analyst with more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry.
[family Christmas shopping]

Last week, we closed the books on November, and it was clearly a winning month for stocks, with all three of the major indices putting in mid-single-digit percentage gains — quite the reversal from the September-to-mid-October sell-off! Despite being a compressed week, all three major stock market indices continued their climb higher and closed the first 11 months up 7.5% (Dow Jones Industrial Average) to 14.7% (S&P 500).

While you and I were noshing on turkey, stuffing and pie this past Thanksgiving Thursday, the global economy continued to turn, and in some respects it wasn’t all that pretty. China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported net income for the top companies slowed to 6.7% in the January-October period, compared with a 7.9% rise in the first nine months. Sifting into that report, we found that China’s industrial profit fell 2.1% year over year. It’s not just China, as we continue to get data weakness in the euro zone, and the recent bout of winter weather in the United States is already causing economists to tweak their 4Q 2014 expectations lower.

You’ve probably been enjoying the near-steady move lower in gas prices during the last several weeks. The good news is with OPEC refraining from production cuts following its Thursday meeting last week as it looks to “defend its market share against other producers,” oil continued its plunge with West Texas Intermediate down 10% to $66.15 per barrel last Friday. The move is likely to drive gas-at-the-pump prices even lower than we saw last week — $2.79 per gallon nationally, marking the lowest Thanksgiving holiday price since 2009 — with Lipow Oil Associates calling for the national average to drop to between $2.55 and $2.60 a gallon by Christmas.

Exclusive  The Power And Glory Of The V-Shaped Rally 

The big question is whether or not consumers are “spending through” on those big gas savings or banking them.

According to research firm ShopperTrak, U.S. shoppers spent $9.1 billion at stores on Black Friday, a drop of 7% compared with the same day last year. But remember — a slew of stores were opening up on Thanksgiving, and it’s looking more like that pulled Black Friday sales downward — sales on Thanksgiving jumped 24% to $3.2 billion, and putting the data together shows overall sales for the two days likely slipped 0.5% to $12.29 billion.

That figure excludes online transactions, but over the weekend, IBM reported online sales for Black Friday climbed 9.5% over the same day last year. Even leading up to Thanksgiving, online sales have been taking share from brick-and-mortar spending, according to data from ComScore. The company, a leader in measuring the digital world, reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 23 days of the November-December 2014 holiday season rose to $17.5 billion, up 11% versus the corresponding days last year. Over the weekend, ComScore shared its Thanksgiving and Black Friday findings, and it more than confirmed IBM’s take. Per ComScore, Thanksgiving Day saw a 32% gain to $1.01 billion in online spending to surpass the billion-dollar threshold for the first time in its history and to mark the first day of the 2014 season to reach that level. Black Friday (Nov. 28) followed with an even stronger spending day, with $1.51 billion in desktop online sales, up 26% from Black Friday 2013.

Exclusive  High Dividend Stocks and Metrics to Consider When Picking Them

That data bodes very well for my subscribers that heeded my recommendation to buy what I call my online shopping trifecta — Amazon.com (AMZN), Visa (V) and United Parcel Service (UPS). While each of those shares has climbed nicely during the last several weeks, the real money to be made was in trading the respective call options. Subscribers to my PowerOptions Trader service had the opportunity to book gains of 228% on the recommended Visa calls, 248% on the respective United Parcel Service calls and we’re still holding Amazon.com calls. Thus far we’ve booked another triple-digit percentage win in one of the two recommended AMZN calls I shared with PowerOptions Trader subscribers, and with data like that from IBM and ComScore, it looks like more are on the way. If you’re new to trading options or not, combining my proprietary PowerTrend investing framework with options has resulted in ringing the register on 10 triple-digit percentage trades during the last two months. Of course, I only share them with my subscribers. To get on board, click here.

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about the investing opportunity provided by chilly winter weather. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.

Like This Article?
Now Get Mark's FREE Special Report:
3 Dividend Plays with Sky-High Returns

This newly-released report by a top-20 living economist details three investments that are your best bets for income and appreciation for the rest of the year and beyond.

Get Access to the Report, 100% FREE


img
previous article

U.S. markets paused for breath this past week, ending the week broadly flat. The Dow Jones rose 0.36%, S&P 500 fell 0.02% and NASDAQ fell 0.05%. The MCSI Emerging Markets Index was down 2.49%, continuing to weaken in what is often its strongest quarter. Big gainers in your Alpha Investor Letter portfolio included the Market Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH), up 2.50%; ICICI Bank Ltd. (IBN), rising 2.22%; and the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity (DXJ)

PREMIUM SERVICES FOR INVESTORS

Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker,
financial journalist, and money manager. As well as a book author and regular contributor to
numerous investment websites, Jim is the editor of:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Hilary Kramer

Hilary Kramer is an investment analyst and portfolio manager with 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Since 2010, Hilary's financial publications have provided stock analysis and investment advice to her subscribers:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Jon Johnson

Jon Johnson's philosophy in investing and trading is to take what the market gives you regardless if that is to the upside or downside. For the past 21 years, Jon has helped thousands of clients gain success in the financial markets through his newsletters and education services:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

DividendInvestor.com

Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, DividendInvestor.com is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.

LEARN MORE HERE