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Quick Thoughts – KSS and WMT

Both KSS ($0.60 versus consensus of $0.63) and WMT ($1.10 versus consensus of $1.15) reported weak EPS results and lackluster comps.  WMT is a name that remains among our least preferred, while KSS is a name that we haven’t commented

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Quick Thoughts – With Mercury Acquisition and Partnership with MSFT, VNTV Provides Critical Payments Capability to Next-Generation Retailer POS Platforms

The announcement yesterday by VNTV (market cap ~$4bn) of the acquisition of Mercury Payment Systems for $1.65bn solidifies its leadership position in providing “last mile” access to the point-of-sale (POS). This had been potentially threatened by the development of the

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Barclays: The Real Investment Bank Stands Up

Barclay’s investment bank represented ~55% of group equity but, on Thursday, management disclosed the more capital-intensive segments accounted for half of this and generated a mere 10% of investment-bank profits. With these segments consigned to a liquidating “bad bank”, the

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Quick Thoughts – Barclays: Smaller but More Profitable, and Worth Comfortably More than TBV

The 42% revenue decline in FICC to GBP1.23mm in 2014Q1, reported yesterday, is a poor showing on both an absolute and relative-to-peers basis (even allowing for Barclays tilt to rates vs. better-performing credit, the currency headwind from stronger sterling, and

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Payments: A Primer on Card Payment Security and the Target Precedent

The retirement of CEO Greg Steinhafel, apparently related to the Target data breach last November, is shocking. While the proximate cause of the breach was weak security in the POS systems, the ultimate cause is Visa’s desire to preserve the

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Quick Thoughts – TSN, Rate of Change is What Matters

This morning, TSN reported Q2 ’14 EPS results of $0.60 per share, falling shy of consensus by $0.03 per share.  Revenue, a less important metric given the volatility of the company’s margin structure, was +7.2% year on year, beating consensus

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Quick Thoughts: MA – Beyond the Switch

MA is aggressively buying back stock with the payout ratio in 2014Q1 rising to 2x as the firm repurchased $1.7bn funded in part by an inaugural debt issue of $1.5bn (taking the debt-to-equity ratio to 22%). The repurchase of 21mm

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Quick Thoughts – ENR, a Roll-Up now Rolling…Down?

In conjunction with its earnings release this morning, ENR announced its intent to separate into two, separate publicly traded companies: Consumer products (batteries and lighting products) – battery category is in secular decline, excellent free cash flow profile, capital structure

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Quick Thoughts – ADM Q1 Results

ADM reported Q1 ’14 results that were well shy of consensus this morning ($0.55 per share, adjusted, versus expectations of $0.74 per share).  While a less impactful number, revenues missed consensus estimates as well. While we like ADM’s long-term positioning

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Quick Thoughts – Crop Progress (April 28th)

The USDA is set to release the weekly crop progress report later today, and we expect substantial improvement in the amount of corn that has been put in the ground versus last week’s total of 6%. As we mentioned last

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