It's has been a ho-hum start to the holiday shopping season. As a country we spent $57.4-billion between Thanksgiving and Sunday. Sounds impressive, right? But that's actually down 2.7% from last year, and comes despite this year's push by many retailers to open on Thanksgiving, ahead of Black Friday. Still, The National Retail Federation, which calculates the numbers, is sticking to its forecast for a 3.9% climb over last year for holiday sales. What are the implications as we kick-off cyber Monday? Hot Stock Minute host Lauren Lyster asks Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli in the video above.
Fire and Ice ruled at the box office this holiday weekend. As for the "fire" part, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" held the top spot for the second week in a row, racking up another $110-million. But get this: stock for Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) which produced the film was down about 4% last week. Turning now to the aforementioned "ice," Disney's (DIS) "Frozen" was a strong second, making $93-million in its debut. Disney stock hit an all-time high last Wednesday. It's up 38% this year.
A mixed diagnosis this morning for healthcare.gov. The Obama administration says it successfully met the November 30th deadline for a fixed website. But the New York Times reports that health insurers are unhappy. The problem: back-end systems are still not functioning. The site has supposedly seen more than 300-fixes since its launch two months ago. And The White House says the system works 90% of the time, up from 40% originally. At this point it should be able to handle 50,000 users at once.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Apple (AAPL) will open this morning at its highest point in 2013. Business has been brisk at Apple stores, especially on Black Friday when the company was giving out gift cards with the purchase of devices like iPads. There's also word that Apple products accounted for 22% of Target's sales on Black Friday. And the mini was said to be Wal-Mart's top-selling item. The question now: can Apple shares hit a new 52-week high? They're still down 5% in the last year.
It will also be interesting to watch Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT). Shoppers were quite literally fighting to get inside WalMarts around the country on Thanksgiving. Doorbuster deals on TVs had people pushing and shoving each other for merchandise. There was also a stabbing in Virginia over a WalMart parking spot. And in Vegas, a Target shopper was shot in the leg trying to recover a big screen TV which was stolen from him in the store parking lot. Those incidents notwithstanding, Wal-Mart says it expects this year's sales to exceed last year's. Wal-Mart is currently at its 52-week high, up 17% year-to-date. Target is up a more modest 9% after a drop on its last earnings report. Target reported traffic and sales on thanksgiving day were among the highest the retailer has seen.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) is just what your waistline needs after Thanksgiving, right? But the company will be reporting after the closing bell. Krispy Kreme is expected to show that it earned 15-cents a share, up from 12-cents a year ago on revenue that’s just shy of $115-million. The stock is up a whopping 160% so far this year. And it has been climbing steadily since its last report three months ago. Krispy Kreme has been getting a number of upgrades. One analyst pegs same-store sales rising more than 8%. That's largely on a new push into coffee products. The chain is also expanding into South America.
Shoe Carnival (SCVL) also reports after the closing bell. The retailer seems to have lost its footing with estimated earnings of 53-cents a share, down from 60-cents a year ago. Consensus is also for a drop in revenues. But you wouldn't know it looking at a one-year chart. The stock is up 31% and hit an all-time high on Friday.
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