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VFC: Exhausted Revisions

V.F. Corporation (VFC) put up a decent quarter, beating on the EPS line but missing top-line due to weakness in Europe and a slowdown in The North Face brand. While the company’s SIGMA looks good, EPS revisions are exhausted and trending negatively for the company. If you're unfamiliar with VFC, they own a portfolio of popular brands including Timberland, The North Face, Nautica and Seven For All Mankind.



VFC: Exhausted Revisions - 10 22 2012 9 44 39 AM



After a five-year streak of upwards revisions of an average of 5-6% for FY12 on the print, VFC guided roughly in-line for the second quarter in a row. EPS have been the main factor where bears have gotten this stock wrong.  With increased spending to support growth, and continued challenges in key businesses, it’s tough to bank on real EPS upside aside from better FX rates. That’s not exactly a multiple enhancer.


We like VFC, but would begin to lighten our load here and use discretion when getting involved with the name. 

Healthcare: Analyzing The Data

Looking at our custom HRM Indices, you can see the relative performance for the S&P 500 versus Medicare Exposure and Domestic Revenue. It appears that consensus moves lower for 2012 and 2013 were too aggressive and explain the bounce off the June lows as you can see in the chart.


A few other important themes worth noting here include:

  • Results are coming in weaker across companies particularly those with exposure to Europe.
  • Regarding our Physician Utilization theme, and a 2H12 recovery, the theme appears delayed but intact, the important point to keep in mind is that Q3 reports reflect softness we saw across our datasets through the summer.
  • Medicare outperformance remains, but has been the biggest relative loser over the last few weeks, coinciding with Romney’s election odds rising.
  • Healthcare has been a relative outperformer into broader market declines, but the current set up is neutral.
  • Beat-Miss:  2Q12 was the ugliest quarter in aggregate for reported topline growth vs. consensus since 1Q09 for both Healthcare and SPX constituent companies. The beat-miss ratio for 3Q12 is currently running ~40%/60% for the broader market.  Given the significant & expedited drawdown in estimates post 2Q12, missing or barely beating conservative & already deflated estimates is not a particularly bullish growth signal.

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Healthcare: Analyzing The Data  - XLV

Strength In Specialty Athletics

October-to-date sales are acclerating in the specialty athletics department. Strength in sales and strong results means we are taking up our numbers for Foot Locker (FL) and Finish Line (FINL).


Concerns over slowing growth in the athletic specialty channel as reflected by weekly footwear figures has been overstated in recent weeks. The latest read on monthly sales by channel confirm that the Athletic Specialty channel significantly outperformed our expectations.


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PEYTO: Bullish On E&P

Peyto Exploration & Development (PEY.TO) remains one of our top North American E&P ideas. Hedgeye Energy Analyst Kevin Kaiser reiterated his bullish stance on the stock this morning, noting that the company has many positives going for it, including: 


-Growing NatGas production and reserves at the lows of the commodity price cycle


-The company has some of the most efficient capital spending among North American E&P and will employ its largest ever budgets for 2012 and 2013 to take advantage of this opportunity


-Deep inventory of drilling locations is underestimated/underappreciated


2013 looks to be a good year for Peyto with its large, capital efficient budget leading to explosive production and cash flow per share growth. We have been bullish since May 2012 and continue to remain bullish into the back half of 2012 and beyond.


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VFC: Revisions Looking Exhausted

Takeaway: We’ve liked the name, but earnings revisions are starting to look tired. We’d start to lighten up here.

The negative reaction to an otherwise decent quarter for VFC shows how punitive the market is when quality of earnings is even mildly suspect in a group that is overextended like retail. Yes, VFC beat on the EPS line by $0.03, but it missed the top-line due largely to weakness in Europe a slowdown in The North Face, and continued weakness in US Jeanswear (due to JCP). The company’s SIGMA looks good, but notable is that EPS revisions are trending negatively for VFC.  

After a 5-year streak of upwards revisions of an average of 5-6% for FY2 on the print, VFC guided roughly in-line for the second quarter in a row. EPS have been the main factor where bears have gotten this stock wrong.  With increased spending to support growth, and continued challenges in key businesses, it’s tough to bank on real EPS upside aside from better FX rates. That’s not exactly a multiple enhancer.

The punchline is that we’re a little surprised to see this event take down the stock by 5%, but have a tough time justifying that a name like VFC – even with its track record – should trade at a 15x multiple when the earnings trajectory is getting increasingly cloudy. We’ve liked the name, but would start to lighten up here.


VFC: Revisions Looking Exhausted - VFC EPS revis





CAT: Back-end Loader Digs Through Backlog

Takeaway: New Order activity only ~2/3s of sales, suggesting $CAT does need a massive order recovery to hit 2013 sale guidance. Bear thesis intact.



CAT: Back-end Loader Digs Through Backlog



CAT provided back-end loaded 2013 sales guidance and reported a significant draw down in backlogs.  New orders in 3Q were very weak, running over 30% below sales.  CAT dealers are adjusting inventories down for a reason, and it is not a bullish end-market order rebound outlook.  We think that the bubble in resources investment will take a long time to be fully priced into CAT’s share price.  Importantly, CAT’s orders and backlogs have collapsed without an obvious global recession.

  • $5.1 billion Backlog Draw: If an investor’s long thesis is that CAT can ride its large backlog through a downturn, that thesis is now being tested.  Backlogs fell $5.1 billion in 3Q 2012, so CAT chewed through 18% of the backlog in just one quarter
  • Orders Far Below Sales: The new order rate was only about 2/3 of sales.  Without the draw on backlog, CAT was at an $11.3 billion order run rate vs. a reported $16.4 billion 3Q topline.   To us, that seems a very wide gap in a single quarter to blame on dealer inventory reductions.
  • CAT IS Expecting A Recovery, In Our ViewOrders must rebound for CAT to come anywhere near its 2013 sales guidance, in our view. The company noted that dealer orders are below deliveries, but deliveries are the product of end-market demand some time ago.  Deliveries lag, orders lead.  Dealer orders and inventories respond to end-market orders, not end-market deliveries.  Put another way, orders would need to rise nearly 50% for the company to hit its new sales guidance!
  • Capacity and Inventories High:  CAT’s own inventories continue to look bloated to us and the company will likely have to curtail production capacity, which it has started to discuss in this release, if orders do not rebound sharply.  That would likely lower margins from their current, multi-decade peak.
  • Long Cycle:  Trying to guess when to re-enter CAT is like trying to figure out when to buy CSCO in the early part of the last decade, in our view.  The mining and resources capital investment bubble appear quite large and may take years to run off.  We see CAT’s fair value in the $40-$70 range and we would wait until we were at the bottom of or below that range to enter the shares.  Cyclically adjusted valuation is key, in our view.
  • Bear Thesis Intact:  We continue to expect CAT to struggle with collapsing resource capital spending, excess inventories and excess capacity.  At the margin, we are a bit surprised at the weakness in CAT’s order activity.  We expect order deferrals to change to cancellations as contract delay options expire.  The company is letting us down easy, but it may feel like death by 1000 cuts.

Please see our September 14th CAT Black Book for additional details on our CAT thesis.


Jay Van Sciver, CFA

Managing Director

120 Wooster St.

New York, NY 10012



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