Monday, November 27, 2006

2006 Holiday Shopping

On Friday, November 10, for the second straight year, I led a group of Stillman School of Business students from Seton Hall University (SHU) to the Palisades Center in West Nyack, NY for an intensive one day research project in which we surveyed and observed shoppers. The following Monday through Thursday we followed up the mall research with a nationwide survey focusing on shopping tends and preferences. Last week, SHU and LakeView Asset Management, LLC released some of our findings in the following press release:



Seton Hall University Students Forecast Holiday Shopping Trends,

in the NY Metro Area and Across the Country

Flat screen TVs are still hot, but satellite radio and Direct TV are not, and holiday season sales could be flat to somewhat higher compared to last year! These are just a few of the fascinating, fact-based predictions Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business students have to offer, based upon their second annual grass-roots, on-the-ground survey conducted November 10 at Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York, as well as their national telephone poll conducted November 13-16 at Seton Hall’s Polling Center.

Under the guidance of Scott Rothbort, M.B.A., professor of finance at Seton Hall and president of LakeView Asset Management, LLC, Seton Hall students interviewed over 700 respondents in total, asking a wide range of questions covering personal income, shopping preferences and plans. What are the answers?

  • Personal income was once again the most important factor determining how much shoppers will spend this year.
  • Overall, shoppers expect to spend about the same or just slightly more in the 2006 holiday season compared to the 2005 holiday season.
  • Given that personal income and employment are higher in 2006 relative to 2005, we are predicting that total 2006 holiday sales will rise in line or slightly greater than increases in US Gross Domestic Product over the same period of time.
  • Consumers prefer to stay down to earth when asked about satellite entertainment. Respondents who did not have satellite television such as Direct TV (DTV) or Dish Network (DISH) or satellite radios such as Sirius (SIRI) or XM (XMSR) overwhelmingly did NOT intend to purchase such technology.
  • Flat screen televisions are more likely to be purchased by current non-owners than any other technology in our survey.
  • When asked about fast food, respondents almost as often named Wendy’s (WEN) and McDonald’s (MCD) as their favorite fast food restaurant handily outranking rival quick service company Burger King (BKC). When it comes to pizza, nothing satisfies as much as the local pizza parlor.
  • Google is definitely the dominant internet search engine.
  • In a subject that has emerged from local grass roots efforts, we asked mall shoppers at the Palisades Center in West Nyack NY if aluminum bats should be banned in favor of wood bats. It appears that there is no decisive opinion either yes, no or not sure. However, while those agreeing to the ban were fairly evenly split between men and women, those opposed to it were almost 2 to 1 male to female, while the undecided were 1.5 to 1 female to male. This could be an issue which gets solved over the kitchen table at homes across our metropolitan area.

In addition, today, I was interviewed on TV by Gregg Greenberg. We discussed our research and my thoughts on Black Friday.

At the time of this Blog entry, Scott Rothbort, his family and or clients of LakeView Asset Management, LLC were long shares of McDonald's (MCD).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Where's Mortimer and Randolph Duke?

On Monday November 6, 2006 I led a group of Stillman School of Business students on a visit to the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT). While at the exchange, the students participated in a simulated commodity futures trading session. That's me wearing my old Merrill Lynch (MER) bluish/green trading floor jacket given to me by my MER floor broker friends from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)

The event was part of the "NYBOT Ringside Goes Schoolside" program where universities in the tri-state area are invited to the exchange. The NYBOT was founded in 1870 and was known as the New York Cotton Exchange (NYCE). It provides the world's premiere futures and options markets for several internationally traded agricultural commodities including cocoa, coffee, cotton, frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ) and sugar.

Remember FCOJ from the Eddie Murphy / Dan Aykroyd movie Trading Places? That movie was filmed at the exchange's old site in the World Trade Center.

At the time of this Blog entry, Scott Rothbort, his family and or clients of LakeView Asset Management, LLC were long shares and/or call options of Merrill Lynch (MER).

Friday, November 03, 2006

How To Invest By Brown Bagging It To The Game

Last Sunday I went to Giants Stadium for the New York Giants / Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game, also dubbed the Barber Bowl. Accompanying me were my wife, our oldest son and some cousins. As usual we brought along some sandwiches and soda in the car and eat them on the way to the game. Having not been to Giants Stadium since last season it was not until we passed the concession stand did I once again get stadium sticker shock. So, on my trusty Palm (symbol: PALM) Treo 650 I snapped a picture of the concession stand (which is posted above). For what you can save by eating before the game by bringing your own food, drink and snack you can buy one share of Aramark Corporation (symbol: RMK), the company that runs the concessions. So the next time you go to a game, bag your own lunch and call your broker the next morning.