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ZOES + FNGN: Adding Zoe's Kitchen and Financial Engines Back to Investing Ideas

Takeaway: We are adding Zoe's Kitchen and Financial Engines back to Investing Ideas.

Editor's Note: The note below was written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough.

*  *  *  *  *

Fundamental research views from our analysts Howard Penney (Restaurants/Consumer Staples) and Jonathan Casteleyn (Financials) didn’t change. I was trying to help risk manage what ended up being a 5% correction in the Russell 2000 (small cap) and High-Beta as a risk management Style Factor.


Going forward, we don’t plan on removing names from Investing Ideas unless the fundamental story (from our analysts' perspective) changes.


Thanks for bearing with us as we evolve the Investing Ideas product. We’re always trying to learn from our mistakes.



ZOES + FNGN: Adding Zoe's Kitchen and Financial Engines Back to Investing Ideas - z1

Monday Mashup

Monday Mashup - CHART 1





7/23/15 CPB | Analyst Day Notes

7/21/15 GIS | Green Giant Divestiture is the Worst Kept Secret



Friday, July 24

DF | Resumed neutral at JPMorgan, target is $18.

HAIN | Acquires the Mona Group, a European plant-based drink manufacturer (click here for article) or for our take click here

Wednesday, July 22

UNFI | Downgraded to neutral from outperform at Wedbush; removed from Best Ideas list, target cut to $60 from $74

UNFI | Downgraded to equal-weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley, target cut to $63 from $78


Tuesday, July 21

KHC | Initiated outperform at RBC with $88 target

GIS | Upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC; target increased to $65 from $58


Monday, July 20

GIS | Rumor, Bounduelle prepares bid for Green Giant (click here for article) or for our take click here

UNFI | Announces early termination of distribution contract with Albertsons (click here for article)



Food and organic stocks that we follow, in aggregate, underperformed the XLP last week. The XLP was down -0.8%, the top performer from our list was MJN posting an increase of 3.2%, although MJN is down -14.8% for the year.

Monday Mashup - CHART 2



From a quantitative perspective, the XLP remains bullish on a TRADE and TREND duration.

Monday Mashup - CHART 3


Food and Organic Companies

Monday Mashup - CHART 4

Monday Mashup - CHART 5


McCullough: Coo! Coo!

In this excerpt from The Macro Show earlier this morning, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough responds to a subscriber’s question on how markets will react if the Fed decides against raising rates in September.


Subscribe to The Macro Show today for access to this and all other episodes. 


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As we said in our recent MCD Black Book, 3Q15 will be a critical inflection point for the company.  It now looks like there is a major initiative underway that could be announced in late 2015 or early 2016 – ALL DAY BREAKFAST.  The trends MCD reported in 2Q15 now support the thesis that 3Q15 will be a key inflection point in the company’s turnaround.    


With clear visibility on an improved cost structure, fixing sales trends are a critical next step.  One way to get there is to serve some key breakfast items all day.  I would go so far as to say that if McDonald’s has figured a way to serve ALL DAY BREAKFAST it will be a game changer for the company and it will have significant industry implications. 


From the research we have done and the conversations we have had with people close to McDonald’s suggest that All Day Breakfast could be that silver bullet McDonald’s is looking for!


Early in his tenure as CEO, this initiative by Steve Easterbrook could define his legacy at MCD.  Does Mr. Easterbrook want to be the CEO who just couldn't make ALL DAY BREAKFAST happen, or will he be the CEO who made ALL DAY BREAKFAST work for the first time in McDonald's history. 


Currently, ADB is in a small test in Southern California.  I understand that the costs for changes to the kitchen will range from $10,000 - $20,000 and involve adding an egg-cooker.  As always, the cost will vary by restaurant depending on what other equipment they already have on hand.  I believe that if the costs exceed $20,000, it will be very difficult to sell it to franchisees.


I also believe that if McDonald’s does add some breakfast items to the menu it should be a part of a broader reduction in other menu items.  The question remains do they have the discipline to do it?  A complex menu is a complex menu whether it's beef, chicken, or breakfast egg products.  There is the possibility, that adding breakfast to the all-day menu might make ordering more confusing for the customer.


We went out and conducted a survey to gauge consumer interest in ADB and the outcome was pretty positive. When we asked 2,000 people whether they would go to MCD more often if they could get breakfast for lunch, 33.3% of people said yes. We weren’t expecting to see a number over 50%, we consider 33.3% to be a significant number. Not surprisingly, lower income people said yes more often as well, further confirming the need for MCD to deliver value to customers.



Retail Callouts (7/27): GPS, TGT, AMZN, BBY

Takeaway: GPS trying to improve turns, but can it? TGT cash from store liquidations coming in slow. AMZN drive-thru. iWatch at BBY, already?

GPS - Gap goes seamless with inventory management


We're intrigued anytime we see GPS make moves as it relates to inventory management. GPS is perceived to be so lean in its inventories, but one could argue that it's not. The chart below shows that it is on the higher end of Specialty Retailing peers, but nearly half the levels of the department stores.  As it relates to trend, the dept store group has largely been trending higher, while the Specialty group has had inventories trending lower. GPS, on the flipside, has been pegged right at 65 days. Did it find a bottom at the start of the Glenn Murphy days? Or does it have room to operate closer to the Specialty group? Our sense is that it has found a bottom. This company has not grown sales in a decade, and has found every way imaginable to grow margins and free up cash to repo stock. If initiatives like the one discussed in this article bear any fruit, we're talking a day, maybe two -- max.

Retail Callouts (7/27): GPS, TGT, AMZN, BBY - 7 27 chart2


TGT - Target’s struggle to sell stores exposes Canada’s weak retail leasing market


This may be simplifying a very complex set of transactions and minimizing current real estate market conditions, but the fact that TGT can't find buyers for over 50% of its stores speaks volumes for the quality of properties TGT acquired when it bought the Zellers leases back in 2011. That's under the bridge at this point.

When the company announced it's exit from Canada, management guided to $500 to $600mm in cash charges associated with the move. That doesn’t appear to be headed higher because of the weak demand for its real estate, but as Target Propco is the largest creditor with a $1.9bil claim -- it's possible that the cash expected to be recovered comes in a bit light.


AMZN - Amazon planning drive-through grocery stores


The concept of 'drive through grocery stores' might be a head scratcher for many. But keep in mind that the company already operates a grocery delivery service called Amazon Fresh, as well as a service called Amazon Locker, where consumers could pick up online orders in a centralized location (see below).  Though there have been rumors that Amazon would allow people to browse physical stores, the company is likely -- at least initially -- to offer this as a pure drive-thru/pick-up service. But like everything else AMZN does, this will evolve. When you're growing sales annually by $15bn -- the size of Whole Foods -- you pretty much have a free pass to try anything -- profitable or not.

Retail Callouts (7/27): GPS, TGT, AMZN, BBY - 7 27 chart1


BBY - Apple Watch to Be Sold at Best Buy


So soon? We'd have thunk that the launch into mass channels like Best Buy wouldn't come so soon after the April 24th launch of the watch. We view this as bullish for companies like FOSL, who the Smart Watch trend was perceived to have in its line of sight.





Weak Euro Masks Lingering Woes at LVMH, Kering



Kering Names Grita Loebsack CEO of Luxury Emerging Brands



WWW - Keds Launches ‘Ladies First’ Campaign With Taylor Swift



Kmart Settles Converse Trademark Case



JWN - Nordstrom-Madewell Partnership Advances



WMT - Walmart hatches an exceptional partnership



LOW - Lowe’s Canada to add 14 stores



CVS - CVS unveils new beauty lines



Morrisons buyers demanded one-off payments from suppliers



Takeaway: This week we're flagging First American (FAF - Score: 19) as a long. Our 3Q15 call to "hide out" in Housing favors the title insurers.

This morning we are publishing our updated Hedgeye Financials Sentiment Scoreboard in conjunction with the release of the latest short interest data last night. Our Scoreboard now evaluates over 300 companies across the Financials complex.


The Scoreboard combines buyside and sell-side sentiment measures. It standardizes those measures to an index of 0-100, where 100 is the best possible sentiment ranking and 0 is the worst. Our analysis shows that a contrarian strategy can be employed successfully by taking the other side of stocks with extreme readings in sentiment, either bullish or bearish. Once sentiment reaches these extreme levels, it becomes a very asymmetric setup wherein expectations become too high or too low.  


We’ve quantified the tipping points for high and low sentiment. Specifically, we've found that scores of 20 or lower have a positive, average expected return while scores of 90 or greater are more likely to underperform.


Specifically, our backtest of 10,400 observations over a 10-year period found that stocks with scores of 0-10 went on to produce an average absolute return of +23.9% over the following 12-month period. Scores of 10-20 produced an average absolute return of +11.9%. At the other end of the spectrum, stocks with sentiment scores of 90-100 produced average negative absolute returns of -10.3% over the following 12-months.


The first table below breaks the 300 companies into a few major categories and ranks all the components on a relative basis. The second table breaks the group into smaller subsectors and again gives them relative rankings within those subsectors. 








The following is an excerpt from our 90 page black book entitled “Betting Against the Herd: Generating Alpha From Sentiment Extremes Across Financials.”


Let us know if you would like to receive a copy of our black book, which explains this system and its applications.


BUYS / LONGS: Financials with extremely low sentiment readings of 20 and below on our index (0-100) show strong average outperformance in absolute and relative terms across 3, 6 and 12 month subsequent durations.  Stocks with sentiment ratings of 20 or lower rise an average of +15.1% over the next 12 months in absolute terms.   


SELLS / SHORTS: Financials with extremely high sentiment readings of 90 and above on our proprietary sentiment index (0-100) demonstrate a marked tendency to underperform in absolute and relative terms across 3, 6 and 12 month subsequent durations.  Stocks with sentiment ratings of 90 or greater fall in value an average of -10.3% over the next 12 months in absolute terms. 



FINANCIALS SENTIMENT SCOREBOARD - First American (FAF) - Absolute 12 mo



Joshua Steiner, CFA


Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT

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