The Weekly Consensus

The Weekly Consensus

Maeghan Thompson

Story of the Week

Weekly jobless claims jump to 231,000, the highest since August

Initial filings for unemployment benefits have hit their highest level since late August 2023, a potential sign that an otherwise robust labor market is changing.  Jobless claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 231,000 for the week ending on May 4, up 22,000 from the previous period and higher than the Dow Jones estimate for 214,000, the Labor Department reported. It was the highest claims number since Aug. 26, 2023.  The increase in claims follows a string of mostly strong hiring reports, though hiring in April was light compared with expectations. Also, job openings have been declining amid expectations that the labor market is likely to slow through the year.

Apparel & Footwear

Tapestry Q3 Earnings Hit by Challenging Consumer, Capri Deal Costs

Tapestry Inc. is already paying up for its deal to buy Capri Holdings — even though the transaction hasn’t closed and is being contested by the Federal Trade Commission. Tapestry’s third-quarter net income slipped 25.3 percent to $139.4 million, or 60 cents a share, from $186.7 million, or 78 cents, a year earlier. That decline was driven by financing and other costs associated with the company’s $8.5 billion deal to buy Capri, which owns Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo. The quarter included $51 million in primarily professional fees and financing charges related to the deal.

Allbirds Stock Jumps as New CEO Touts Transformation Plan Progress

Allbirds said it progressed on its transformation plan during its first quarter under the leadership of its new chief executive officer, Joe Vernachio. For the first quarter, the San Francisco-based footwear company reported results in line with or better than its prior guidance. Q1 revenues dropped 27.6 percent to $39.3 million, in line with its guidance, and net loss was $20.9 million, or 18 cents per basic and diluted share, which beat its guidance range. The earnings results beat expectations of analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance, who were looking for a loss of 21 cents per share, though revenues fell short of the $39.61 million projected.

Simon Property Group Sells Stake in Authentic Brands Group

Simon Property Group reported it sold its remaining 10 percent stake in brand management firm Authentic Brands Group (Authentic) for $1.2 billion. Over the past two quarters, the largest U.S. mall owner raised $1.45 billion from selling what was once a 12 percent stake in Authentic. In February, the REIT indicated it had reduced its stake in Authentic from just under 12 percent to under 10 percent for about $250 million in cash. “We generated substantial value from the ABG investment and a 7-times multiple on our net invested capital during our short ownership period,” David Simon, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Simon Property Group, said on a quarterly analyst call on May 6.

Simon Property Group would put up no capital to buy Express

A proposed deal to sell apparel company Express Inc. to a consortium that includes brand management firm WHP Global and mall REITs Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties would not require Simon Property Group to put up any capital, CEO David Simon told analysts last week. A spokesperson for Brookfield declined to comment on whether it would be privy to similar terms. “On Express, we were approached by the IP owner. I think it’s not overly complicated in the sense that they saw what we had done historically, both with [Authentic Brands Group] and Sparc, and offered us to participate with no capital, but also add our expertise and our knowledge,” David Simon said. “And because we have always valued Express as a retailer and as a client, we jumped at the opportunity.”



Athletic & Sporting Goods

Life Time fitness leans into pickleball with Lululemon partnership, new courts and more

Life Time fitness is all in on pickleball.  That commitment to America’s fastest-growing sport was clear in New York City, where one of the world’s top-ranked male pickleball players, Ben Johns, and former tennis great Andre Agassi were practicing their dinks and drops at Life Time’s brand-new courts.  It is all part of the upscale fitness company’s strategy to grow its brand by investing in pickleball.  To continue that goal, Life Time announced it is teaming up with Lululemon, naming the company as an official apparel partner of Life Time pickleball and tennis. The relationship includes selling Lululemon apparel online at Life Time clubs, in addition to collaborating on key pickleball events.

Private equity firms circle Peloton for potential buyout

A number of private equity firms have been considering a buyout of Peloton as the connected fitness company looks to refinance its debt and get back to growth after 13 straight quarters of losses, CNBC has learned.  In recent months, the pandemic darling has had talks with at least one firm as it considers going private, people familiar with the matter said. The firm’s current level of interest in acquiring Peloton is unclear. A number of other private equity firms have been circling Peloton as an acquisition target, but it’s unclear if they have held formal discussions.  Firms have zeroed in on how to cut Peloton’s operating expenses to make a buyout more attractive. Last week, Peloton announced a broad restructuring plan that’s expected to reduce its annual run-rate expenses by more than $200 million by the end of fiscal 2025.  Peloton has become a takeover target after seeing its market capitalization plummet from a high of $49.3 billion in January 2021 to about $1.3 billion currently.

SuperStroke acquires Lamkin Grips as two of industry’s most powerful brands unite

Two of the biggest players in the golf club grip market will now be as close as an interlocking grip. Superstroke, the leader in putter grips for the better part of the last decade, announced that it has purchased Lamkin Grips, the venerable family-owned rubber grip manufacturer that started nearly 100 years ago when it essentially initiated the leather grip business.  The announcement elevates SuperStroke, a company known for its groundbreaking oversized synthetic putter grips first introduced in 2009 that led to an array of styles and designs. Originally a mammoth rubber and metal design that gained notoriety after its use by K.J. Choi, the SuperStroke grip platform switched to a polyurethane and EVA foam construction that today encompasses more than 50 varieties, led by its new Zenergy line. According to the company, which is headquartered near Detroit, SuperStroke grips have been used to win more than half a billion dollars in PGA Tour events.

Cosmetics & Pharmacy

ODDITY Tech Reports Record Results

Since going public last July, Oddity has shown substantial revenue growth in every quarter. Oddity Tech reported “record” first quarter net revenue of $212 million, up 28% year over year, according to a company press release. The parent of beauty brands SpoiledChild and Il Makiage reported record net income of $33 million, up 68% year over year. Operating income was about $39 million, a 58% increase over the same period in 2023. Based on the strength of its first quarter results, Oddity raised its guidance for the full fiscal year, with net revenue expected to between $626 million and $635 million, representing year-over-year growth of between 23% and 25%.  Co-founder and CEO Oran Holtzman said the company’s goal for its two current brands, Il Makiage and SpoiledChild, is to reach the $1 billion mark in sales.

Coty reports above-market sales growth led by beauty demands

For its third quarter fiscal year 2024 results, Coty reported net revenues grew 8% on a reported basis and 10% on a LFL basis, with reported and LFL results supported by growth in fragrances, color cosmetics, skin care and body care. Prestige net revenues increased 8% on a reported basis and 13% on a LFL basis. On a year-to-date basis, Prestige net revenues grew a strong 17% on both a reported and LFL basis. Net revenue growth in prestige remained strong in fragrances, cosmetics and skin care, but Q3 included a 4% negative impact from the divestiture of the Lacoste license and a 1% negative impact from FX. Consumer Beauty net revenues increased 6% on a reported and LFL basis. On a year-to-date basis, Consumer Beauty revenues increased 8% on a reported basis and 7% on a LFL basis.

Kenvue maps out hundreds of layoffs as service pact with J&J winds down

Even after consumer outfit Kenvue split from Johnson & Johnson one year ago, the company has been performing certain services for the pharma and medtech giant as part of a transition process. Now, as that arrangement comes to a close, Kenvue is plotting hundreds of layoffs. Kenvue’s board of directors on May 6 approved a plan to cut 4% of the company’s global workforce, the company said in a press release. The company employed about 23,000 employees at the end of last year, so the layoff initiative could affect some 920 workers. The cuts come as a “transition service agreement” (TSA) with J&J winds down, Kenvue said in its first-quarter earnings release.

Freaks of Nature Co-Founder Kelly Slater Launches First Products

Kelly Slater, surfing legend and ocean conservationist, launched a new skincare brand, Freaks of Nature, a Squared Circles company, for the outdoor athlete. Additional investors include Mike Meldman, co-founder of Casamigos Tequila and Founder of Discovery Land, and actor and filmmaker Jonah Hill. In an outdoor athlete consumer survey commissioned by Squared Circles, results found a growing generation of outdoor athletes searching to optimize their whole body health, with 78 percent explicitly seeking products that maximize the health of their skin barrier and 95 percent seeking a skincare brand formulated for their needs.


Discounters & Department Stores

Kohl’s announces locations of 200 Babies R Us shop-in-shops

Kohl’s on Wednesday revealed the locations of 200 stores that will receive Babies R Us shop-in-shops. They’re slated to start opening in August and continue through the fall in time for the end-of-year holiday shopping season. Kohl’s said the Babies R Us shops will offer “a curated assortment” of baby gear, furniture and accessories. The retailer’s existing in-store baby and kids’ apparel offerings will be placed next to the new in-store shops to create “a comprehensive baby shopping experience,” Kohl’s said. The company will also offer an expanded Babies R Us assortment online. During Kohl’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tom Kingsbury said baby, home, gifting and impulse purchases are underrepresented categories with a sales opportunity of over $2 billion over the next several years.

Kohl’s to deliver same day through Instacart

Harnessing its brick-and-mortar locations, Kohl’s is now offering same-day delivery via the Instacart app, according to a Thursday press release. Using Instacart, customers can place orders for same-day or scheduled delivery from 1,172 Kohl’s locations nationwide. The retailer is offering product categories such as beauty, skin care, pet supplies, accessories and home essentials for delivery, according to the announcement. Shoppers will be able to earn Kohl’s Rewards with their Instacart purchases.



Emerging Consumer Companies

Dandi Secures $1.3M Funding to Enhance Fertility Care Experience

Dandi, a platform aimed at improving the fertility care journey, has secured $1.3 million in funding from notable investors like Tiferes Ventures and Winklevoss Capital. The funding will support Dandi’s mission to enhance care for individuals facing fertility challenges through comprehensive support tools and virtual care led by registered nurses. Dandi’s signature product, the IVF Care Kit, is designed to simplify at-home IVF injections, reduce emotional distress, and offer greater comfort with five tools developed alongside fertility specialists. Through personalized support and expert-led virtual care, Dandi aims to alleviate the confusion, pain, and emotional toll associated with the fertility journey, providing patients with empowering and uplifting resources.

Azazie, the Leading DTC Bridal Brand, Launches Azazie Studio

Azazie, a top direct-to-consumer bridal retailer, has introduced Azazie Studio, an innovative showroom in Beverly Hills designed to enhance the bridal and formalwear shopping experience. This exclusive space allows media, influencers, and celebrities to explore a curated selection of bridal and evening wear in a luxurious and intimate setting. With personalized styling sessions, fittings, and exclusive bridal workshops, Azazie Studio aims to redefine wedding shopping by providing a tailored and empowering experience for brides and their parties. The showroom, split between bridal collections and Azazie Atelier, offers customization options and a wide range of styles, empowering every bride to find her perfect dress. Charles Zhong, Azazie’s CEO, emphasized that Azazie Studio strives to amplify brand awareness while empowering women to feel confident and beautiful on their special day.



Food & Beverage

L2 Capital adds barbecue products company to portfolio

L2 Capital Partners has acquired Kosmos Q LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed. With the acquisition, Scott Jensen has been named chief executive officer. Kosmos, founded in 2009 by world champion pitmaster Darian “Kosmo” Khosravi, makes barbecue rubs, sauces, brines, injections, glazes and accessories. “L2 Capital is a terrific partner for Kosmos Q due to their in-house operational and e-commerce expertise, and I am thrilled to welcome Scott to the team,” Khosravi said. “I am confident that I have found the right partners who reflect our company’s values and commitment to providing the highest quality products and services to our customers.”

Rubicon enters gluten-free with Lucky Spoon Bakery acquisition

US-based Rubicon Bakers has entered the gluten-free market with the acquisition of local peer Lucky Spoon Bakery. Lucky Spoon manufactures gluten-free products such as cakes, cupcakes and cookies. The company sells into the grocery channel in the US through chains including Kroger, Albertsons and Whole Foods Market. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Rubicon said it wanted to meet “the growing needs of consumers with special dietary requirements and specific dietary preferences”. “We are excited to enter the gluten-free category and build on our expertise in meeting specific dietary needs with delicious, fresh baked goods,” Rubicon CEO Sebastian Siethoff said.

Meati bucks trend and gets $100M funding boost

Meati Foods closed a $100 million C-1 funding round led by Grosvenor Food & AgTech, according to a press release sent to Food Dive. The money will be used to help the mycelium-based meat maker “meet the growing demand for its products.” The board and lead investors have decided to not disclose the C-1 valuation, CEO Phil Graves said in a statement to Food Dive. In addition to the funding boost, Meati announced the expansion of its products into 2,000 Kroger Family Stores, including Kroger, Ralphs, and Mariano’s, among others. Following the company’s funding round, Meati co-Founder and chief innovation officer Tyler Huggins will transition to an advisory role to support the company’s continued growth. Huggins was replaced as CEO in February.

TruFood Manufacturing, Bar Bakers to Merge, Expanding Production, Geographic Footprint

TruFood Manufacturing, a U.S. nutrition bar, chocolate and baked granola contract manufacturer, has merged with Bar Bakers LLC, a nutritional snacks manufacturer, according to a release. The new combined company will have a significant footprint across product categories and geographies, according to the announcement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TruFood CEO Michael Buick will manage the combined company, while Bar Bakers founder and CEO Harold Rothman will join the board of directors for the new company. Gary Jacobs, president of Bar Bakers, will become COO of the new company.



Grocery & Restaurants

BRIX Holdings to acquire 75-unit Clean Juice

BRIX Holdings LLC, the franchising portfolio group with such brands as Friendly’s, Red Mango and Orange Leaf, has agreed to acquire the 75-unit Clean Juice brand, the company said Friday. Addison, Texas-based BRIX said the acquisition is scheduled to close within the next several weeks. “Our BRIX portfolio of brands all share a common thread,” said Sherif Mityas, BRIX CEO, in a statement. “Each has a unique and differentiated position in their sector with loyal guests and fans. “Clean Juice fits right into that mold with a strong foundation of beloved and certified organic offerings that effectively extend our spectrum of ‘better-for-you’ options,” he said. The acquisition will add more than 75 existing Clean Juice locations, the company said, taking BRIX Holdings’ national footprint to more than 300 locations across eight brands.

Craveworthy Brands acquires Taim and Hot Chicken Takeover parent company

Fast-casual platform company Craveworthy Brands has acquired Taim Mediterranean Kitchen and Hot Chicken Takeover parent company Untamed Brands, Craveworthy Brands CEO Gregg Majewski told Nation’s Restaurant News exclusively. Fiscal terms of the deal were not disclosed. This is the second acquisition Craveworthy Brands has announced in the past week, following the purchase of Sigri Indian BBQ, a concept founded in New Jersey in 2015 by Jagat Parikh with guidance from chef Aarthi Sampath. With the latest acquisition, Craveworthy Brands adds 20 restaurant locations to its portfolio (including 13 Taim locations and seven Hot Chicken Takeover locations). Taim will be “seamlessly integrated” with Soom Soom—a similar Mediterranean concept that was already owned by Craveworthy Brands. Hot Chicken Takeover, meanwhile, will create a “fresh hot chicken concept” with Craveworthy brand Budlong. With this new synergy in mind, both Taim and Hot Chicken Takeover will “feature new branding, refreshed restaurant designs and further emphasize the guest dining experience in the coming future.” Both brands will also receive customized franchise programs under the Craveworthy umbrella and will focus on long-term growth initiatives.

Home & Road

Spectrum Brands Turns to Profit in Q2, Extends Black & Decker License

Spectrum Brands posted second-quarter results topping Wall Street sales and earnings estimates while announcing an extension of its Black & Decker licensing deal for kitchen and garment care electrics. Net income from continuing operations was $49.9 million, or $1.65 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $75 million, or $1.83 per diluted share, in the year-previous quarter. Adjusted for one-time events, diluted earnings per share were $1.62 versus a diluted loss per share of 14 cents in the year-before period, the company stated. A Yahoo Finance-published analyst consensus estimate was for adjusted diluted earnings per share of 62 cents and revenue of $707.52 million. Net sales were $718.5 million versus $729.2 million in the year-prior quarter. Net sales slipped because of lower sales in home appliances, volume declines in aquatics in North America, and the impact of SKU rationalizations, offset by stronger controls sales.

Dorel Inds. revenues improve, moving losses in the right direction

With revenue up 5.4% for the first quarter ended March 31, Dorel Inds. still reported a net loss in the period. Revenue was $351.1 million, up from $333.2 million a year ago. The net loss for the first quarter was $17.6 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, compared with $31.5 million, 97 cents per diluted share, last year. The company has now reported two straight years of losses and 11 consecutive quarterly declines. In the earnings release, Dorel President and CEO Martin Schwartz broke it down by segments. Looking at the Dorel Home segment, Schwartz said it made what he termed “substantial progress” in Q1, narrowing its adjusted operating loss.

SharkNinja Q1 Sales Surpassed $1 Billion with Strong Earnings

During the first quarter, SharkNinja pushed past a billion dollars in sales and beat Wall Street estimates. Net income was $109.6 million, or 78 cents per diluted share, versus $87.1 million, or 63 cents per diluted share, in the year-before quarter. Adjusted for one-time events, net income was $148.6 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, versus $119 million, or 86 cents per diluted share, in the year-previous period, according to the company. An analyst consensus estimate published by Yahoo Finance called for adjusted diluted earnings per share of 99 cents and revenues of $949.9 million. Net sales were $1.07 billion versus $855.3 million in the year-prior quarter. Operating income was $154.9 million versus $122.6 million in the year-earlier period, while adjusted operating income was $202.2 million versus $159.3 million.

Jewelry & Luxury

Watches of Switzerland Buys Roberto Coin’s U.S. Division

Watches of Switzerland Group (WoSG) has paid $130 million to acquire Roberto Coin Inc., which holds distribution rights for the Italian jewelry brand in the United States, Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean. The deal does not include Vicenza, Italy–based parent company Roberto Coin S.P.A. “This in no way affects manufacturing or Roberto’s business outside” the specified regions, David Hurley, WoSG deputy CEO and president, North America, tells JCK. Roberto Coin Inc. will operate as an independent, stand-alone company within the Watches of Switzerland Group, with the Coin family retaining a seat on its board of directors. Peter Webster is staying on as president, a position he’s held for 28 years, and will report to Hurley.

Richemont Acquires Italian Jewelry Brand Vhernier

Richemont has purchased 100% of Italian jewelry company Vhernier for an undisclosed sum. Vhernier is famed for its modern aesthetic, inspired by the curves of the human body and forms of modern sculpture. It has made waves by combining traditional precious metals and gems with unconventional materials such as titanium, bronze, and ebony. W magazine has said celebrity fans of the brand include Jane Fonda, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, and Kate Beckinsale. The Milan-based company also operates De Vecchi Milano 1935, an Italian silverware and home decor line. Richemont already owns jewelers Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellatti, as well as eight watch brands. Its Vhernier acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. Founded in 1984, Vhernier was acquired by the Traglio family in 2001. Chairman Carmen Traglio was nominated for a 2020 Gem Award for jewelry design.


Fossil Group Sees First-Quarter Revenues Slide After a Dismal 2023

Fossil Group Inc., the 40-year-old Texas-based company that started out making a fashion watch with retro looks and then expanded to jewelry, handbags and accessories, reported its first-quarter net sales for 2024 declined 22 percent compared to the same period last year, coming in at $255 million. The sales drop follows the recent announcement that the company’s longtime chief executive officer, Kosta N. Kartsotis, would step down after 20 years. He was replaced by Jeffrey N. Boyer, the chief operating office, who was named interim CEO. The company also announced earlier that it was getting out of the smartwatch business, after facing a U.S. patent infringement lawsuit last year.


Office & Leisure

Microsoft closes Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks and Alpha Dog Games

Microsoft is making many high-profile cuts at the ZeniMax branch of Xbox Game Studios. The company emailed employees to let them know that it is closing Redfall developer Arkane Austin, Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks, and Mighty Doom developer Alpha Dog Games. Wisconsin-area developer Roundhouse Studios (which has served as a support studio to other arms of ZeniMax) will also be absorbed into The Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios. Word of these closures comes from IGN, which reviewed an email sent by Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty to staff. Tango Gameworks has confirmed on Twitter that it is ceasing operations.

Roblox shares drop more than 20% as company cuts annual bookings forecast on muted player spending

Roblox cut its annual bookings forecast on May 9, in a sign that people were dialing back on spending within its video-gaming platform amid an uncertain economic outlook and elevated levels of inflation. Roblox shares fell more than 20% in trading that day. The lowered forecast marks the latest downbeat report from the gaming industry, which has laid off hundreds of employees and shut studios this year to cope with declining demand. Electronic Arts also gave a weak revenue forecast. Roblox now expects full-year bookings to be between $4 billion and $4.10 billion, down from its earlier forecast of $4.14 billion to $4.28 billion.

Simon & Schuster Acquires Dutch Publisher Veen Bosch & Keuning

Simon & Schuster has acquired Veen Bosch & Keuning, the largest Dutch book publishing house. The acquisition includes all of VBK’s imprints in the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as its sister companies, the audiobook producer Thinium, and Bookchoice, a subscription-based platform for e-books and audiobooks. Financial terms of the cash acquisition, which is still subject to review, were not disclosed. The move marks the first major instance of a promised international expansion of S&S, which CEO Jonathan Karp alluded to last year following the acquisition of S&S by private equity firm KKR.

Technology & Internet

Shopify shares plunge 18% on weak guidance

Shopify shares tumbled 18% on Wednesday, shaving almost $20 billion off the company’s value, after the company gave revenue and profit guidance for the current quarter that spooked investors. The better-than-expected first-quarter results were overshadowed by Shopify’s outlook for the current quarter. The Canadian e-commerce company said it expects second-quarter revenue to grow at a high-teens percentage rate year over year, which is in line with consensus estimates for growth of 19.5%, but still represents a slowdown from recent quarters. Shopify has posted year-over-year revenue growth in the low-to-mid 20s for the past six quarters. On a conference call with analysts, Shopify executives said consumer spending in the U.S. remains strong, but “we have factored in headwinds related to [foreign exchange] from the strong U.S. dollar and some softness in European consumer spending in our Q2 outlook.” Gross margins for the second quarter are expected to decrease by about 50 basis points compared with the first quarter, as a result of the sale of Shopify’s logistics business to freight forwarder Flexport last May. Meanwhile, Shopify said it expects operating expenses to increase in the low- to mid-single digits quarter over quarter, while Wall Street had projected flat growth.

Apple iPad Pro and iPad Air 2024 with M4 chip announced

Apple on Tuesday announced new versions of its iPad Air and iPad Pro tablets. “This is the biggest day for iPad since its introduction,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a short video posted on the company’s website. The new iPad models are the first Apple has released since October 2022, marking the longest stretch between updates since the device launched in 2011. The fresh iPad models use a new Apple chip called the M4, an update from the M3 chips that currently power Apple’s laptops. Apple said that the M4 chip was an “outrageously powerful chip for AI,” noting, as an example, its ability to help power software that isolates subjects from their backgrounds in videos. “This stunning design and breakthrough display required we make the leap to the next generation of Apple silicon,” John Ternus, an Apple hardware executive, said.


Finance & Economy

Percentage of US mortgages considered ‘seriously underwater’ rises

A new report finds that the percentage of U.S. mortgages considered to be “seriously underwater” rose in the first quarter of 2024, while the proportion of “equity-rich” mortgages fell for the third consecutive quarter.   The report by property and real estate data firm ATTOM found that the portion of mortgaged homes that were seriously underwater rose slightly in the first quarter of 2024 from 2.6% to 2.7% of all residential mortgages. It defines “seriously underwater” as mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio of 125% or more, meaning property owners owe at least 25% more than the estimated market value of the property.  The percentage of residential mortgages that were considered “equity-rich” – meaning that owners had a loan-to-value ratio of 50% or lower, so the owner has at least 50% equity – in Q1 2024 slid to 45.8%, a decline from 46.1% in the prior quarter and 47.2% from Q1 2023. That means the national proportion of equity-rich mortgages hit the lowest level in two years.

Consumer sentiment tumbles as inflation fears surge, closely watched survey shows

Consumer sentiment slumped as inflation expectations rose, despite otherwise strong signals in the economy, according to a closely watched survey.  The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers sentiment index for May posted an initial reading of 67.4 for May, down from 77.2 in April and well off the Dow Jones consensus call for 76. The move represented a one-month decline of 12.7% but a year-over-year gain of 14.2%.  Along with the downbeat sentiment measure, the outlook for inflation across the one- and five-year horizons increased.  The one-year outlook jumped top 3.5%, up 0.3 percentage point from a month ago to the highest level since November 2023.