Durable Goods Orders Tumble in April

We wake up this morning to a Friday pre-market seemingly taking a breather from its negative sentiment most of this trading week and last, with a little bit of everything to feed the kitty: a softened tone on U.S.-China trade tensions, new Durable Goods orders and news from the U.K. that British Prime Minister Theresa May is stepping down from her post.

Giving the equivalent of two-weeks’ notice, May has decided to end her tenure June 7 as Prime Minister during perhaps the diciest period in the country’s history since World War II. In the aftermath of the surprise Brexit decision three years ago, May emerged as a moderate reformer with a plan for Great Britain to leave the European Union with a soft landing.

Since then, the derision for her leadership — from both the right (Nigel Farage, et. al.) and the left (Jeremy Corbyn, et. al.) — has left her with few decisions for a forward path. She appears to have taken the most inevitable. Conservative Party leaders who may become her successor include right-wing firebrand Boris Johnson, Brexit architect Dominic Raab, and the more moderate Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid.

Durable Goods orders for April were down from the previous month, but somewhat in-line with expectations: -2.1% on the headline, -2.5% ex-Defense and -0.5% ex-Transportation. Much of these losses stem from the fortunes of one company — Boeing BA — which saw a worldwide grounding of its formerly popular 737 MAX airplane, which filled no orders in the moth. Durable Goods orders are often volatile month over month, but global news items like these always put another thumb on the scale.

Non-Defense, ex-Aircraft orders — a proxy for general business investment — tripled the amount expected: -0.9% versus -0.3% expected. This may be illustrating the strong business investment we saw in Q1 2019 GDP figures are rolling off. It would be tempting to include the ongoing trade war as another reason for a drop in durable goods, but back in April, most of the rhetoric pivoted on an imminent deal arriving soon. We don’t know yet what current developments will mean for goods order from this month.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)-rated Foot Locker FL disappointed investors this morning, as fiscal Q1 earnings of $1.53 per share missed the Zacks consensus of $1.61. Revenues of $2.08 billion for the quarter was 1.37% shy of estimates. Comps in the quarter rose less than expected, and shares fell 9% on the news.

On the other hand, Hibbett Sports HIBB looks to have taken share in the sports specialty retail space, posting $1.61 per share this morning, well ahead of the $1.29 analysts were expecting. This 25% positive surprise follows a 50% positive surprise a quarter ago for the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company. Revenues of $343.3 million surpassed estimates by 5%, on higher-than-expected comps year over year.

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