Nike Earnings Wednesday, Worst Christmas in Years?


“Christmas bells are ringing – somewhere else. Not here.” If that sounds familiar to you, hopefully it’s because you recognize lyrics from the musical, “Rent.” Unfortunately, for too many retailers those words ring true for another reason, entirely.

According to the National Retail Federation, 2008 will probably be among the worst Christmas seasons this decade. And for reasons that probably come as no surprise.

“Consumers have been in a squeeze for many months now," says National Retail Federation Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. "We continue to see employment declining, the unemployment rate jumping and… the price of basic things like food and energy going up."

That translates into less “cha-ching,” the kind of bells retailers most prefer. Fortunately, Santa has at least a little magic left up his big red sleeve. Sales are still expected to increase by 2.2 percent this year to $470.4 billion. That’s a relatively small increase, but something is better than nothing.

On Wednesday investors will be keeping a close eye on Nike’s earnings; specifically they’ll want to know about Nike’s outlook for holiday spending.

I expect Nike will be fine, says Jeff Macke. They’re best of breed. But lesser players such as Under Armour are probably dead meat.

I wonder why Nike announced a buy-back two days before their earnings, says Guy Adami. I think Beijing might not have been as big as they hoped. However, the stock is probably a buy on any dip.

I think of Nike as a consumer staple, adds Pete Najarian. That’s how it moves and I think you can buy it at $57.

If you're looking for another name, I also think you can be long Wal-Mart, adds Jeff Macke. But that's about it.

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Trader disclosure: On Sept 23, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (MSFT), (WMT); Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE): Najarian Owns (AAPL) And (AAPL) Collar:Najarian Owns (BBBY) Put Spread:Najarian Owns (MS), Is Long (MS) Puts, Is Short (MS) Calls:Najarian Owns (WB) Put Spread:Najarian Owns (XLF) Call Spread: Finerman Owns (GS); Finerman's Firm Owns (JNJ), (MSFT), (SUN), (TSO), (VLO); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (WM); Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR), (IJR), (SPY), (IWM), (MDY), (COF), (BBT); GE Is The Parent Company Of CNBC with wires