OUR

 GOAL IS                                                  SMOOTH  

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GAS PRICES DECLINING

U.S. gasoline prices reached a two-month peak of $2.361 last week and have been drifting lower to average $2.35 a gallon for regular fuel Monday morning. Crude oil prices remained relatively steady until last Thursday, when they reached a peak of over $50 a barrel before falling back to settle below $49 a barrel on Friday.U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 6.5 million barrels in the week ended August 4, according to federal data released last Wednesday. That helped boost prices to the $50 mark, but a build of 3.4 million barrels in gasoline supplies threw cold water on traders’ enthusiasm.

Tensions with Venezuela relaxed somewhat by Friday, and the Baker Hughes oil rig count increased by three last week, both contributors to Monday’s lower pump price. All these factors are expected to keep pump prices moving downward, even if only slightly, according to GasBuddy.Among the states, gasoline is cheapest in South Carolina ($2.065 a gallon), Oklahoma ($2.082), Mississippi ($2.093), Alabama ($2.094) and Arkansas ($2.100).

The five states where residents are paying the most for gasoline on Tuesday are Hawaii ($3.000), California ($2.969), Washington ($2.828), Alaska ($2.740) and Oregon ($2.681).States with the largest weekly increase in average prices compared with a week ago are Idaho (eight cents), Wyoming (four cents), Utah (four cents) and Michigan (three cents). Prices rose by two cents a gallon in five states: Arizona, Oregon, North Carolina, North Dakota and Iowa.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for September delivery traded down about 1.3% Monday morning at $48.19 a barrel.

When J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) shared its fiscal second-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Friday, the report was absolutely catastrophic. Shares plummeted to a low not seen since before 1980, at least in early trading indications.

The struggling retailer said that it had a net loss of $0.09 per share and $2.96 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for a net loss of $0.05 per share and $2.84 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, a net loss of $0.05 per share and revenue of $2.92 billion were reported.Comparable sales declined 1.3% for the most recent quarter, resulting in a positive two-year stack of 0.9%.In terms of guidance for the 2017 full year, EPS are expected to be between $0.40 and $0.65, and comparable sales are expected to be in the range of −1% to 1%. The consensus estimates are $0.49 in EPS and $12.2 billion in revenue for the year.
On the books, J.C. Penney cash and cash equivalents totaled $314 million at the end of the second quarter.

Marvin R. Ellison, Chairman and CEO, commented:
We are pleased to deliver a top line sales increase of 1.5 % and quarterly sequential improvement of 220 basis points in our comp sales performance in go forward stores. While broader retail remains challenged, we are encouraged by the improved performance in our total apparel business, including a significant acceleration in kids’ apparel. Nearly all categories delivered improved sales results during the quarter, with our growth initiatives in beauty, home refresh and omnichannel continuing to deliver positive sales growth.

Shares of J.C. Penney closed Thursday down nearly 9% at $4.71, with a consensus analyst price target of $ and a 52-week range of $4.17 to $11.30. Following the release, the stock was down about 23% at $3.63 in early trading indications Friday.

Despite a big push in Washington to legalize sports gambling in the US Congress is not about to give its blessing. Wagering on individual sporting events is illegal in most states other than Nevada Surveys show that about half of the country now supports legal betting. Proponents, who include more and more professional sports officials and athletes, no longer fear crippling damage to the integrity of sports. In fact, the thinking now is that underground gambling, with it criminal element, is far greater threat to professional and other games. 

AUGUST NEWSLETTER 3

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