- Bon Ton Stores ($BONT) looks like it's close to filing for bankruptcy this week.
- David's Bridal earned itself an S&P Global Ratings downgrade.
- More shenanigans by Sears Holdings ($SHLD) as holiday sales were down 16% and Land's End heads for the exits.
- Supervalu's junk bonds and leverage loan took a hit this week.
- Tenet Healthcare ($THC) is laying off employees and divesting assets.
- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. ($TEVA) saw its credit rating cut to junk by Moody's Investors Service.
To be 100% clear, we have NO connection to the state of Oklahoma, whatsoever. None of us have even ever been there. But the state fascinates us because it was a clear-cut beneficiary of the fracking revolution and then a clear-cut victim - economically and, perhaps more controversially, environmentally - of the precipitous fall in oil prices that occurred a year+ ago. So, maybe this isn't "news" but Moody's Analytics says that Oklahoma - as well as Louisiana and North Dakota (notably, other oil-reliant states) - is among the least prepared states for a recession. Adding insult to injury, the state announced that it will be cutting outpatient mental health and substance abuse programs because of state budget cuts. Luckily there's no opioid addiction epidemic in the US these days.
Oil & Gas Execs Disagree with Trump Administration Plans
Offshore exploration and production is a relatively expensive process unjustified by $50 barrels of oil. That, though, didn't stop the Trump administration from considering changes to 11 marine sanctuaries that would allow for more drill-baby-drilling. All in the supposed name of jobs and "energy needs." Energy industry reps, however, are lukewarm on the prospect. Because it may damage marine habitats and coral reefs, you ask? Of course not. Because it wouldn't be economical? Bingo! Indeed, shale drillers - after shedding costs to the bone - will, according to Moody's, continue to struggle if oil remains in the $50 range. Elsewhere in gas world, coal and nat gas are likely to fight for marginal megawatt-hours like "cats in a sack." We love that. You're definitely gonna be hearing that phrase again in the future.
Per Moody's Investors Service, the universe of stressed/distressed corporate credit has been shrinking.
According to Moody's, loan quality is deteriorating...
Ok, enough positivity. Back to our regularly scheduled programming of doom and gloom. This week, Moody's kicked retail while it is down adding a variety of new names to its list of troubled retailers. You're going to want to look at THIS. Meanwhile, retailers are leveraging this carnage like bosses and pushing landlords for shorter leases.