Last time I traded Macy's (NYSE: M ) was off the price action before and after the May 2018 earnings reports. I won on two trades. First I went long on a dip to $29 per share which was then support. Then another long bet off the earnings beat that management delivered soon thereafter.
Now Macy's stock is in trouble with is a completely different outlook. Today's I will argue against the rush to own the stock even after such a big fall.
Before you send me your hate mail, let me explain. My issue is with the the company prospects, not the shorter term stock action. Those who want to trade it for the short term need not be bothered by my comments.
Even though the retail sector had a strong holiday season, somehow Macy's failed to capitalize on a U.S. consumer who is fully employed and on a spending spree. The stock collapsed last week when the company downgraded its own forecast. Since then it has not yet found footing.
Usually candles of the size of that one from Jan. 10 are rarely a one day event. Those who tried to catch the falling machete lost some digits. So is now a better time to try and invest in Macy's stock? The short answer is No, there is no hurry yet.
But to elaborate, I'd say that there are better opportunities to risk my money elsewhere - even within the retail sector. I fail to see the catalyst that would turn Macy's into a must-own undervalued stock. Not after what management just told us.
Even if it bounced now, M stock will not rally on its own so. It will need the general markets to be also rallying for it to move. It does happen that out-of-favor stocks can rebound alone, but not when the company basically told us that for the short term things are tough. I'd rather be long markets than risk my money on Macy's. The $29 prior support zone is likely to become forward resistance for months to come.
Let me explain the reasons why I think that Macy's stock has a tough slog ahead of it before it becomes a viable long term risk.
Reasons to Beware Macy's Stock
Brick-and-mortar retailers like Macy's have never recovered from the decimation that Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) inflicted on them over the past decade. Last summer, experts in the media wrongly assumed that they had figured AMZN out. But I took issue to that then, and this downgrade is proof.
Macy's management may be growing their online sales but I argue that it's actually killing them faster. Why? They are not taking back sales that they lost to AMZN, they are merely migrating their own foot traffic online. So in essence they are contributing to making their stores even more obsolete than they currently are.
Moreover, bringing the sales online is one thing but doing it profitably is another. AMZN and Walmart (NYSE: WMT ) before it both built their empires on thin margins so they are experts at it. M is still a novice and hence is inefficient. Macy's still hasn't figured out how to compete profitably with AMZN online. They are stuck between a brick and a hard place.
So something has to change, because whatever they are doing is not yet working. Those take time; hence the non-urgency to invest in it for the long term.
Not all retail is the same. Yesterday morning we got more proof from Lululemon (NASDAQ: LULU ) that this is not a general retail problem, it's a disaster unfolding in the traditional physical centers like Macy's and JC Penny (NYSE: JCP ) to name two. LULU raised its outlook and the stock soared 5.73% on the headline. Macy's and JCP stocks fell -1.34% and -1.52% on the same day.
Technically and up until last week, M stock had been performing better than the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: XRT ). But now it's no longer a contest. Macy's stock is still sliding off last week news. LULU and stocks like Nike (NYSE: NKE ) which control their own product lines are by far the most attractive to investors these days. Those two are up 80% and 20% respectively in the past year.
I have nothing against Macy's the company. But I truly think that they have a big hole from which to dig out to compete in the new online trend at equal levels with AMZN, and they are doing it with a spoon. The stock could catch a bounce, but there is a good chance it falls closer to $22 per share - especially if the indices decide to retest the February lows. They need to change their strategy.
Meanwhile, the good news is that the long term charts show that price is approaching prior long-term pivot levels and those tend to lend support. So if I am already long Macy's it's probably too late to sell. But I am not in a hurry to buy it or add to a position here. Those who absolutely want to better do partial orders in case I am right about this.
Click here and enjoy a free video and more of my market thesis and get an ongoing free copy of my weekly newsletters. Nicolas Chahine is the managing director of SellSpreads.com . As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him as @racernic on Twitter and Stocktwits .
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