As the festive season ushers in, thoughts gravitate toward the traditions of exchanging gifts, feasting with family, and warming up by the fireside, all while the holiday shopping spree kick-starts with much vivacity.
The holiday period invariably translates to a considerable economic surge for retailers and related sectors, starting with "Black Friday" – a day marked in retail history for transfiguring from the “red” of losses into the “black” of profits. This year's consumer expenditure reached an unprecedented high, with $9.8 billion splurged on Black Friday deals and an outstanding $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday.
A record-breaking 200.4 million consumers shopped during the five-day holiday weekend, extending from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, outpacing last year's peak of 196.7 million. As per the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average spend was $321.41 on holiday-related purchases throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. Toys, electronics, and gift cards emerged as the most coveted items.
An unprecedented festive surge is projected this December as retailers anticipate record-breaking consumer expenditure. This period, often correlated with the 'Santa Rally,' generates a stock market surge during the concluding week of December, extending into the New Year. LPL Financial found that since 1950, a Santa Claus rally has occurred around 79% of the time.
These staggering statistics oppose the predictions of some economic analysts who warn of an imminent recession within the U.S. and expect the current equity rally to stumble as the year concludes.
The holiday period shopping traditionally elevates sales for retailers and associated businesses, resulting in potential stock price increases. The year-end rally boosts investors’ portfolios, whereas professional traders often regard it as crucial when calculating their end-of-year bonuses. There is no doubt that the Santa Claus rally this year would be broadly embraced, given the volatilities witnessed.
Investment focus is increasingly geared toward stocks providing substantial opportunities in the immediate future. Some stocks could be more profitable than others if secured before their price rise. Hence, many investors opt for Christmas stocks to capitalize on the bustling holiday shopping season.
Amazon has established itself as a global behemoth, wielding substantial market dominance fostered by its vast network. As we approach the holiday season, there is strong anticipation that the retail stock will experience a considerable rise.
This prediction comes from AMZN’s record-breaking sales in November, with one billion items sold over 11 days of extended promotional deals. This impressive feat was achieved despite the "biggest ever global strike" orchestrated by Make Amazon Pay, an activist campaign that advocated for improved pay and better working conditions for laborers.
According to AMZN, customers purchased more than 500 million products via independent sellers during the holiday shopping festivities and an exponential growth in Prime membership signups throughout this period was witnessed.
The company has disclosed that shoppers saved nearly 70% more on their purchases than the previous year, with promises of "millions more deals" being made available until December 24.
The company attributes much of its success to a large, loyal customer base, who trust the brand and greatly value its services. AMZN's variety of client benefits during the festive season – expeditious delivery, discounts, enticing deals, streamlined return and refund policies, and rewards, enhance repeat purchases and encourage referrals.
With recent inflationary pressures easing, consumer sentiments are showing signs of improvement, bolstering the potential for increased spending. Combining these factors, December could be a highly profitable month for AMZN.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ending December, its revenue is expected to grow 11.2% year-over-year to $165.85 billion, while EPS is expected to increase significantly year-over-year to $0.76.
Wall Street analysts expect the stock to reach $177 in the next 12 months, indicating a potential upside of about 20%. The price target ranges from a low of $145 to a high of $210.
V, a leading fintech corporation, is commanding in the global credit and debit card markets. Acting as an essential intermediary between purchasers and vendors, V conducted over 192 billion transactions in 2022 across 160 nations.
The company's significant role has generated substantial profits for V and its shareholders. For the fourth fiscal quarter of 2023, the firm reported revenues of $8.61 billion, a 10.6% year-over-year increase. Its income amounted to $4.68 billion, with earnings per share at $2.27.
V’s unique business model allows consumers desiring to postpone their holiday expenses with minimum risk and maximum benefit. V profits whenever individuals make higher charges on their cards, with both transaction value and quantity contributing to the income. As V does not offer direct loans to consumers, the impact of defaulting is substantially lower.
Expressing high hopes for the company's future, V's CEO Ryan McInerney stated, "There is tremendous opportunity ahead, and I am as optimistic as ever about Visa’s role in the future of payments.”
However, America faces a mounting credit card debt crisis. As of September 2023, the total card balance reached a record high of $1.08 trillion. Strikingly, the average credit card interest rate touched 27%, representing the highest figure in nearly three decades.
As we enter the holiday season, consumer spending on credit cards is expected to rise. Deloitte reports that the average holiday shopper anticipates expending $1,652 this year, the most considerable amount seen in the past three years. Much of this spending will be charged to cards. In an October survey of 1,036 consumers by CardRates.com, 38% indicated that they anticipated carrying holiday credit card debt into the new year.
Although increased consumer debt translates into more risks for V, the potential spending slowdown also threatens the company as it has fewer tools for growth. Despite the company's valuation not being as high as in the past, this could represent an excellent opportunity for those aiming to take advantage of the inevitable credit card spending surge over the festive season.
Analysts expect V’s revenue and EPS for the quarter ending December 2023 to increase 7.7% and 7.3% year-over-year to $8.54 billion and $2.34, respectively. Moreover, Wall Street analysts expect the stock to reach $277.47 in the next 12 months, indicating a potential upside of 8.9%. The price target ranges from a low of $243 to a high of $295.
WMT has evolved into a powerful force within the omnichannel market. Strategic acquisitions of companies like Bonobos, Moosejaw, and Parcel and collaborative partnerships with industry heavyweights like Shopify and Goldman Sachs bolstered this transformation. Further expansion efforts, including implementing delivery systems Walmart + and Express Delivery, and investing in Flipkart – a renowned e-commerce platform – are a testament to this ongoing evolution.
The innovative strategies have consolidated WMT's position within the turbulent retail market, enabling it to remain resilient and competitive in an ever-changing industry landscape. WMT ensures its sustainability and competitiveness in this evolving ecosystem by continually adapting and initiating changes.
The retail giant experienced increased customer footfall and elevated spending throughout the third quarter, alongside improvements in operating margin and cash flow. These constructive developments in WMT’s performance indicate ample liquidity to invest in growth and reinforce its dominating market presence.
As WMT approaches the holiday season with substantial customer traffic, it stands poised to generate profitable returns. For the quarter ending January 2024, its revenue is expected to increase 3.9% year-over-year to $169.09 billion, while EPS is anticipated to reach $1.64. Further enhancing its appeal, the company currently offers a dividend yield of 1.49%, making its stock a more attractive option to potential investors.
Wall Street analysts expect the stock to reach $180.79 in the next 12 months, indicating a potential upside of about 18%. The price target ranges from a low of $163 to a high of $210.
Esteemed as an online destination for unique handcrafted and vintage goods, ETSY is the perfect marketplace for customers searching for original gift ideas, especially during the active winter holiday season. The extensive assortment of products on ETSY – encompassing everything from jewelry and apparel to toys and home décor – caters to its impressive 97.3 million active users through 8.8 million dynamic sellers.
Operating under a distinctive business model that leverages network effects and switching costs generates intrigue. However, sustained growth is crucial in maintaining investor enthusiasm. Despite firmly standing by its unique market position within a vast potential landscape, ETSY's obstacles in augmenting gross merchandise sales (GMS) post-pandemic suggest a potential limitation in product demand.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ending December, its revenue and EPS are expected to increase 1.8% and 17.1% year-over-year to $821.75 million and $1.34, respectively.
With a focus on unique gifts and crafts, ETSY is well-positioned to experience significant stock elevation during the seasonal gifting period, complimented by the ongoing market recuperation and declining inflation trends.