87.65 +0.30 (0.34%)
After hours: 7:59PM EDT
|Bid||87.50 x 1100|
|Ask||87.65 x 800|
|Day's range||83.36 - 86.19|
|52-week range||35.53 - 86.64|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.56|
|PE ratio (TTM)||11.43|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.40 (1.69%)|
|Ex-dividend date||29 Apr 2021|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- When the pandemic hit the Brookdale Chambrel senior living community in Williamsburg, Virginia, Nancy Crowell knew hopping in the car and heading to the local Harris Teeter supermarket was now out of the question. The virus was spreading fast, and Brookdale’s residents were being encouraged to stay put. Staff set up computers in the main common room and began teaching residents how to open online accounts to order groceries.Crowell’s first attempt to order from Kroger Co.’s Harris Teeter chain failed, so the 85-year-old retiree switched to another local grocer’s website only to discover an annoyance familiar to legions of online grocery shoppers: substitutions of her favorite brands and products. “Once, I ordered a few ounces of bouillon and got a great big quart bottle,” she said. “It’s still in my closet.”Crowell tried Harris Teeter again and succeeded, ordering seven times between May and August. But when the holidays rolled around last year, Crowell was once again walking the aisles. “There’s just something about picking up your own stalk of celery,” she said. The Covid-19 outbreak super-charged online grocery shopping, prompting industry watchers to declare that the habits of millions had forever changed. In fact, it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, Walmart Inc., Kroger and other chains picked up millions of new online customers—generating additional revenue and persuading even skeptical executives to expand their digital operations. But holding onto these shoppers is hardly a foregone conclusion—especially older ones like Crowell, who are already reverting to pre-pandemic behavior. That’s bad news for web grocery specialists like Instacart Inc., which processes orders and deliveries for thousands of supermarkets and has helped almost 300,000 senior customers figure out how to use its service. It’s also not great for brick-and-mortar food retailers because shoppers spend considerably more when they buy groceries online than when they have to lug everything home themselves. And there are more seniors online than you’d think: More than three in 10 people age 60 or older shopped for groceries online in April, according to consultants Brick Meets Click and Mercatus, and the number of seniors using Instacart last year rose faster than any other age group.Almost half of Baby Boomers surveyed by Morgan Stanley said they’ll continue to grocery shop online at the same rate they did during the outbreak. Those seniors who stay online will do so because e-commerce has “become ritualized as a part of everyday life,” says Columbia Business School lecturer Robert Morais. It’s what anthropologists like Morais call an “adaptive strategy,” not unlike when humans went from foraging for food to agriculture and then onto large-scale manufacturing.But the number of seniors using web grocery regularly declined by 25% in April compared with the previous year, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus found, the biggest drop of any age group by far. That suggests many seniors are still hunter-gatherers at heart, Morais says, and often prefer to use their senses to choose the food that’s most appealing, like Crowell’s celery. Jody Holtzman, an expert on the so-called longevity economy and the former head of market innovation at the AARP, says seniors will probably split their shopping going forward, using the web periodically to stock up on staples like canned goods and cereal and reserving in-store trips for produce, fish and meat.There’s also the social aspect of shopping and interacting with staff and neighbors, something that’s particularly appealing for older Americans who were unable to see friends and family during lockdowns. Vivian Paquette, 85, another resident of the Brookdale community who started online shopping last year but has since given it up, says she enjoys chatting with the cashiers at the local Harris Teeter.“I feel I have a connection to the store,” she says. “This might be the only person I talk to today!”Grocers are responding to the defections by offering more enticements to stay online. Kroger doled out half a trillion personalized product recommendations to its digital customers last year. Albertsons, which operates 2,277 supermarkets under banners like Safeway and Vons, is doing online cooking demonstrations. Instacart created a “Senior Support Service” last fall to help older customers get accustomed to ordering online and says it’s growing by about 1,000 users a day this year. Other chains will waive delivery fees if shoppers come back online or offer discounts. “As the necessity imposed by the pandemic lessens,” Holtzman says, “retailers will have to start to play the price game.”Still, all those sweeteners won’t convince Paquette to hop online again. What would? “I don’t know,” she says. “Maybe a free lobster dinner?” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Lex Greensill told lawmakers that investors in loans packaged by his firm were aware of the risks and denied being a “fraudster” in his first public appearance since Greensill Capital collapsed into insolvency in March.The former Morgan Stanley banker, who founded the eponymous firm in 2011, faced questions from the U.K.’s Treasury Select Committee, which is examining what lessons should be learned from the demise of the lender. Greensill told lawmakers that the vast majority of loans it made were backed by real assets, even those tied to sales that hadn’t yet occurred.“Every asset that we ever sold was correctly described and that information was prepared and made available to our investors, to our auditors and to our regulators,” 44-year-old Greensill told the committee on Tuesday.Greensill said that it specialized in working capital finance, a humdrum form of lending where banks buy invoices from companies at a discount. The company also offered a more exotic form of financing it termed “future receivables,” loans that were extended on the basis of the prospect of future invoices, and then insured. Such lending has a far higher risk profile than the funds that bought Greensill products.The collapse of Greensill has drawn intense scrutiny from Germany to Australia as its swift unraveling left investors facing several billion dollars in potential losses. The firm, with the backing of SoftBank Group Corp. and General Atlantic LLC, went from a small startup to a tech unicorn with an estimated $7 billion valuation at one point.It collapsed in March after a key insurance partner didn’t renew coverage on loans Greensill made to key customers, including British steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance and West Virginia miner Bluestone Resources. Greensill emphasized the role of the trade credit insurer, Tokio Marine Holdings Inc, in the firm’s collapse while apologizing for exposing his company to concentration risks.“It is deeply regrettable that we were let down by our leading insurer, whose actions assured Greensill’s collapse,” he said. “I bear complete responsibility for the collapse of Greensill Capital.”Greensill also:said that Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance was not Greensill’s biggest customer by assetsrevealed Gupta at one point held shares in Greensill but sold them at the same price he’d bought them for as he became a bigger customer of the lendersaid Greensill Capital owes council tax on its London officesacknowledged his company had an over-reliance on insurance generally and had purchased too much from one particular insurerblamed Covid, risk concentration and BaFin’s actions for Tokio Marine’s decision to withdraw its coveragesaid former U.K. prime minister David Cameron wasn’t a director of Greensill, but regularly attended board meetingsflagged last year Greensill funded $143 billion of receivables, less than 20% of those were future receivablessuggested the ultimate form of security the lender had was bricks-and-mortarRead more: David Cameron Told Sunak Excluding Greensill Would Be ‘Nuts’ At the end of 2020, Greensill was working with German regulator BaFin on a plan to reduce the concentration of risk to a single client at its Bremen-based banking unit. Eventually, that made Greensill realize that the business was at risk, and led to the appointment of restructuring advisers at the end of December, he told the committee.Tough TalkGreensill faced often hostile questions from many of the panel members, especially those from the opposition Labour Party. Rushanara Ali accused him of running what amounted to a “Ponzi scheme” that smacked of “fraudulent behavior.” Siobhain McDonagh asked him outright: “Are you a fraudster?” and Angela Eagle said: “it looks increasingly like you were securitizing invoices that didn’t really exist.” Greensill denied the allegations.Earlier on Tuesday, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority told the committee it’s investigating Greensill.The FCA’s Chief Executive Officer Nikhil Rathi wrote in a letter that the regulator is “cooperating with counterparts in other U.K. enforcement and regulatory agencies” and working with German, Australian and Swiss authorities looking into Greensill entities.The agency has oversight of some Greensill entities both under its anti-money laundering rules and through a separate regulated firm Mirabella Advisers LLP, which acted as a representative for Greensill, but not directly on its supply chain financing, according to the letter. A representative for Greensill declined to comment. Officials at Mirabella didn’t respond to calls and emails seeking comment.Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, former prime minister and Greensill’s lobbyist David Cameron and the Bank of England also sent letters to lawmakers ahead of the hearing.Read more: BOE Says It Didn’t See Greensill’s Failure as a Systemic RiskCameron’s TextsSunak wrote his team followed “normal” procedures at all stages as Cameron lobbied the Treasury to allow Greensill to access the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Finance Facility last year. Sunak and Cameron released details of more than 150 calls, emails, text and Whatsapp messages and meetings relating to Greensill.Greensill’s initial request was rejected because of factors including the ineligibility of financial institutions, a plan to submit non-investment grade assets, and use of some foreign currencies, Sunak said in the letter.After Greensill was barred from accessing the program, Cameron texted Sunak to say the refusal was “nuts,” according to the documents. At the time, he also contacted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior aide and sent texts to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to lobby for Greensill.The government then investigated an alternative workaround that would have allowed eligible companies to access funds for supply chains via a special purpose vehicle managed by Greensill. It was abandoned because industry experts found it ineffective, Sunak said.The former prime minister wrote that he first became aware of Greensill’s problems in December 2020 following a call he received from the founder. Cameron will appear on the Treasury Select Committee on Thursday.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Short selling, a strategy that was all but left for dead in the wake of the meme-stock mania, is working pretty well at the moment.Hedge funds in particular seem to have timed recent tech stock declines almost perfectly, pushing up bearish bets just before the market rolled over. A basket of the 50 most-shorted stocks slipped in 10 of the past 11 sessions, the best run for bears since December 2018, data compiled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bloomberg show.The reward comes right after professional speculators recharged, boosting short sales on single stocks from a decade low reached in February. Their short book as a percentage of total equity exposure crept up over the last two months, rising roughly 2 percentage points to 26%, according to prime broker data compiled by Morgan Stanley.Short interest is still far from a peak of about 35% that Morgan Stanley’s fund clients accumulated in 2018 and 2020. Still, it’s a victory for short sellers who had been driven almost into extinction as the S&P 500 rallied as much as 90% from the pandemic trough in March 2020, with all but two members climbing. Hedge fund managers bold enough to revive bearish wagers are now reaping gains after being stung by Reddit-driven short squeezes on GameStop Corp. and other meme stocks earlier this year.Morgan Stanley did not specify what kind of stocks hedge funds are targeting, though a look at exchange-traded fund and futures trading shows growing distaste for technology, where stock losses are piling up as inflation concern puts pressure on their stretched valuations. Unprofitable tech firms are particularly vulnerable, having fallen 36% from their February peak as a group.“The timing is coming from the fact that the pull-back in long-term rates that took place in April has come to an end,” said Matt Maley, chief strategist at Miller Tabak + Co. Short interest “is growing now, but it’s not back to extreme levels, so the hedge funds are less worried about getting squeezed. In fact, if the sector continues to fall, they’ll actually add to their shorts.”Both the biggest ETF tracking the Nasdaq 100 and Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF experienced a spike in short sales in recent weeks. Large speculators in the futures market, mostly hedge funds, were net short Nasdaq 100 mini contracts for an 11th straight week, a stretch of bearishness seen only one other time since the global financial crisis, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.The strategy is paying off, at least for now. The Nasdaq 100 has dropped more than 5% from its April high. The reward is more pronounced among single stocks. Two-thirds of the stocks in Goldman’s most-shorted basket are down this quarter, led by electric-vehicle maker Workhorse Group Inc., which fell 44%, and solar company Sunpower Corp. with a drop of 38%. GameStop, which burned short sellers in January, has worked in bears’ favor as well, losing a quarter of its value.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.