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IGT: LOW QUALITY, LOW GUIDANCE, HIGH FCF

The only bright spot in this low quality quarter was free cash flow generation. Lower FQ4 guidance was blamed on software revenue recognition. Wish we had known about that FQ2 Canadian shipment.

 

 

While IGT’s $0.21 EPS number technically is in-line with consensus, with the exception of tight cost controls, there was little to get excited about in the release.  North American (NA) unit shipments, NA ASPs, and install base were all disappointing.  FQ2 ship share now appears overstated given a big Canadian shipment which wasn’t previously disclosed, and share appeared to remain low in FQ3. 

 

Guidance of $0.16 to $0.19 was not good, below consensus estimates of $0.22.  The only bright spots were free cash flow, non-box sales in NA, margins, and lower SG&A.  The S in SG&A has a commission component so it shouldn’t be a surprise that SG&A was low with top-line miss. 

 

The biggest miss vs. our expectations was on North American box sales which came in $28MM below our estimate, largely driven by lower replacement shipments.  June is usually a seasonally better replacement shipment quarter than March and Konami tends to grab a smaller piece of the pie.  So what went wrong?  Possible explanations:

  • We know that Konami shipped fewer units in the June quarter – about 1,250 less than the March quarter so that’s not it.
  • IGT claims that lower sequential shipments into Canada negatively affected their shipments to North America (they shipped 1,100 units into Canada in the March Q), although conversations with WMS and BYI suggested that there was nothing unusual about the Canadian shipments in March.
  • March industry-wide replacements were simply better than June – We didn’t get the sense that this was the case from speaking to operators throughout the quarter.
  • The introduction of the Dynamix package in the March quarter may have pulled forward some of IGT’s demand.  In the March quarter, IGT sold 4,017 units under the Dynamix package, while selling less than 2,300 units under this promotion in the June quarter.
  • IGT lost even more share – if we back out the 1,100 Canadian units from the March quarter, IGT’s market share would’ve been 22%, instead of 27%.  Had we known about the Canadian shipment in March, we would’ve assumed lower IGT ship share going forward.

 

Better North American non-box sales helped offset some of product sale weakness and, we suspect, was the major driver of better margins, since it’s not unusual for this mishmash bucket to have margins of 70%.  As followers of BYI know, systems revenue is almost impossible to model given the revenue recognition issues, and IGT gives no quarterly disclosure of the contents of the non-box sale bucket.

 

Gaming operations revenues came in light of our estimate as did gross margins – although excluding the jackpot funding expense, margins would have been 60.6% - which were only a touch lower than our estimated margins.  The “splendid yield of $51.68” in the quarter, finally showed some stability and even growth – which is encouraging since for at least 5 straight years, yields have declined.  However, given the new exciting games like Sex in the City and Amazing Race, we suspect that most analysts were expecting some stabilization and perhaps even some growth here.  The backlog for mega-jackpots increased by about 200 units sequentially, while the backlog for the “hot” top 4 games decreased by almost 1,000 units sequentially.

 

While earnings were disappointing, the huge improvement in free cash flow generation by IGT is impressive.  Much of this improvement is due to more efficient capex spend through the reduction and streamlining of platforms, better working capital management, and cost cutting.


UA: Contextualizing Sources for Growth

Following UA’s 2Q call, we see two key incremental opportunities for top-line growth – outlet stores & distribution within existing partners. Below is our analysis sizing each:

 

One of the two incremental growth opportunities pertains to direct-to-consumer. Sales in this segment are tracking up 60%+ with growth of 17-19 stores on a base of 35 in 2010. Plans call for similar unit growth in 2011. In an effort to size the potential contribution to the top-line consider the following. Taking into account location at premium outlets where productivity is typically $600/sq. ft and an average store size of 5,000 sq. ft. with year-1 productivity at ~75%, we estimate the addition of ~18 stores in each of the next 2-years alone could add $40-$50mm, or 4%-5% annually.

 

Additionally, growth within existing partners such as Foot Locker also represents meaningful upside over the intermediate-to-long term. For example at Foot Locker, UA can grow through 1) increased door distribution and 2) increased product penetration (i.e. apparel and footwear):

 

1)  We know that UA is in 700-800 of approximately 2,400 addressable FL stores (excluding ~750 international locations and ~465 Lady Foot Locker concepts – these represent an additional opportunity a few years out). If we assume that each store sells 1 pair of UA shoes/day with a net retail ASP of $70 and retailer margin of 55% (essentially $45 at wholesale), that equates to ~$13mm in footwear revs for UA at FL currently, which we view as conservative. Therefore, the expansion into 1,600 incremental stores represents a ~$26mm opportunity.

 

2)  The more meaningful opportunity is increasing UA’s market share within FL’s mix. If we take into account the fact that Nike represents 60%+ of FL’s portfolio and no other brand accounts for more than 10%, let’s assume that UA represents only 1%, or ~$50mm of sales at retail. Again, this equates to ~$32mm to UA at wholesale (same retail/wholesale markup assumptions as above). With basketball shoes and gen-2 running shoes imminent, we fully expect UA to become more meaningful to FL’s portfolio. The table below captures just how significant an opportunity this is for UA.  As a reminder, UA is currently a $1Bn business.

 

It’s clear that we should no longer expect major product launches from the company following its $5mm Super Bowl footwear launch in 2008. There are clearly new products on the near-term horizon in both footwear (basketball and running) and apparel (cotton-based and new fits) that will play a key role in driving double digit top-line growth. Coupled with the aforementioned distribution opportunities, we expect 20% top-line growth over the next 2-years, at least, and remain comfortably above guidance and the Street at $1.19 in 2010 and $1.75 in 2011.

 

UA: Contextualizing Sources for Growth - UA at FL 7 10

 

 


IGT F3Q2010 CONF CALL NOTES

IGT F3Q2010 CONF CALL NOTES

 

 

"Our third quarter results reflect meaningful progress at IGT . Despite challenges in the broader marketplace, we continue to manage our business to increasing levels of efficiencies.  Our efforts have resulted in the generation of significant cash flow for reinvestment into the business in areas that create innovative and customer centric products and services."

- CEO Patti Hart. 

 

CONF CALL NOTES

  • Gaming operations:
    • 58-61% guidance for 4Q2010 margins
    • $51.68 blended daily yield
    • $10-$15 on lower yielding units and international units to over $100 on mega jackpot units
    • 83% of install base's yields are based on variable fees
  • Reduced material costs and increase of non-machine products contributed to better gross margins for product sales
  • Product sales in NA:
    • Replacements: 3,200
    • Sequential decline was due to lower shipments to Canada partly offset by higher shipments to Washington
    • Non-machine revenue was up due to higher system revenue and the Dynamix package
    • ASP decline was due to the Dynamix package - since the conversion revenue is recognized in non-box revenue
    • 55% of shipments were MLD's
  • International product sales:
    • Benefiting from FX, MBS and higher Mexico sales
    • Higher gross margins due to higher mix of non-box sales and lower material costs
  • 50-52% margin guidance for product sales next quarter
  • Lower SG&A was due to lower professional fees, expect $85-90MM run rate in the 4Q. Bad debt was flat to the prior year quarter
  • R&D in the low $50MM range for 4Q
  • Total D&A was $59MM, decline was due to lower D&A on the domestic Mega Jackpots - expect it to remain flat in 4Q2010
  • The interest expense included a $4MM financing charge
  • Convert added $7MM of non-cash interest in the Q, non-cash interest of $30MM or $0.06 is estimated for FY2010
  • Tax rate excluding discrete items was 39%.  Expect 37-39% tax rate going forward
  • Had $1.2BN of R/C capacity, $270MM O/S balance
  • For debt covenants, their bank leverage ratio was 2.5x at June 30, 2010
  • Their converts and warrants weren't dilutive to their share count this quarter
  • Generated $192MM of FCF YTD
  • $61MM of capex this quarter  and is expected to trend at $60-65MM in the 4th Q
  • Generation of FCF remains their highest priority
  • Focusing more of their engineering efforts on application developments in their SB effort - have 14 properties with SB products
  • Strategic product initiatives
    • Gaming yields increased 1% sequentially
    • Stand alone jackpot yields up 2% sequentially
    • Sex in the City: 1,300 units installed
    • Amazing Race, Top Dollar and Super Nova Blast now have 790, 391, and 362 units deployed, respectively
    • Top 4 games (mentioned above) backlog: 1,202 games
    • 3337 game backlog for mega jackpot
    • Dynamix package - Sold 6,300 units
    • Cosmopolitan agreement: will sell them the majority of their for sales games, SB system
    • They are in various conversions on 10 SB system opportunity customers internationally
  • Ohio Lottery commission is seeking a court judgment affirming the commission's authority to install slots at racetracks
  • Illinois: implementation of the VLT program is proceeding with the awarding of the central monitoring system contract and the adoption of administrative rules. Licensing process has started.  Chicago (could be 15k machines) is still waiting to pass the necessary city council resolution to opt into the program.  Expect first shipments in early 2011.
  • MA:  Should know by July 31
  • Canada:  VLT replacement process moving slowly.  Expect the majority of the games to come online in 2012.  Of the 34,000 games in Canada, estimate 20-25k could be replaced over the next 2-3 years.
  • Italy: expect first approval for their installations in September with their first shipments in early 2011 (March)
  • Brazil:  think that the proposal can resurface next year
  • Greece:  Expect that within 1 month a proposal for VLT legislation will be submitted and final legislation by the end of this year.  Potential operational date in late 2011.  Potential for 50k VLTs & upfront license fee of Euro 10k
  • Guidance: Cautiously optimistic about customer spending levels.  Few factors might impact their 4Q results (replacement demand, interest rates, and revenue recognition accounting) range: $0.82-$0.85 guidance for 2010

Q&A

  • Sustainability of cost cuts?
    • Most should be sustainable
  • NA non-box sales were very high and driven by:
    • Dynamix free conversions got allocated at fair value to non-box sales vs. ASP on game sales
    • Higher systems sales
  • How does the backlog influence the total install base?
    • 2 for 1? No, that would be aggressive.  Their goal is to replace lower yielding games with new fresh product. Goal is to maintain floor share.
  • What are their customers waiting for to order replacements?
    • A lot of their customers are waiting to see what their competition does
    • Improvement in the general environment
  • Guidance implies a $0.16-$0.19 cent quarter for 4Q? Why so low?
    • Cosmo - unclear when they can recognize that revenue given that they are supplying the system
    • Aria: revenue recognition is dependent on when they deliver some software
    • Interest rate risk for Jackpot expense
    • Harder to predict revenue recognition for non box business and that has been a driver for them
  • How are sales trending now that the Dynamix package has expired?
    • General sense that they have is that there were just less replacements in June vs. March which benefited from a large Canadian order
    • No real comment there on the post Dynamix trends
  • Early 2011 reference for Italy - meant March 2011 Q
  • 50% of the new units shipped came from 3 properties

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LVS YOUTUBE

In preparation for the LVS Q2 earnings release on July 28th, we’ve put together the pertinent forward looking commentary from LVS’s Q1 earnings release/call and subsequent conferences.

 

 

POST EARNINGS CONFERENCE COMMENTARY

 

General Comments:

  • “Sheldon made a comment about a $3 billion target of EBITDA for next year. But if you’re looking at dividing those numbers, for all practical purposes, they divide about 1.3 billion for Macau, 1.25 billion for Singapore, and about 450 for Las Vegas and Bethlehem…. That 1.3 billion in Macau allows for a couple of months of opening of Phase 1 of 5 and 6 for Shangri-La and Sheraton, and we’ve had those conversations this morning and talked about those numbers. It’s a goal for us. It’s not a forecast. It’s not a guidance number.”
  • “If you look at 2006 when we opened the Sands Hotel in Macau, we had 45% of our EBITDA from the U.S., 55% in Asia, and now in 2009, you see 25/75 and the future of LVS, as we sit today, 17% in the U.S. and 83% in Asia, and if Singapore does what we expect it to do, it will probably be 15 and 85.”
  • “If we do anything in Japan or Vietnam or Korea or India, whatever the areas that have potential for integrated reserve, whether we do one or more, his expectation is that Sands China would be a joint venture partner in that. And we would use some of their cash in terms of that joint venture.”
  • “There is always a possibility of paying a dividend out of Macau if we want to pay a dividend. We’re 71% shareholder, which would benefit the other 29% shareholders as well. And there are some tax-efficient ways of doing that.”
  • “And if, eventually, which we think in ‘12, the malls might sell, then we’d have more cash. So, we could be debt-free there or pay down a lot of the debt – we’ve now got about 4.3 of debt. So, there’s plenty of debt that could be paid down in that environment.”

Las Vegas and PA:

  •  “In the MICE environment in Las Vegas, we’re moving forward; booking trends are healthy…. Pricing remains below historic levels on the group side, and pricing is recovering on the transient or weekend leisure side and we’ve experienced that in the last few months and continue to experience that as we book forward.”
  • “Our head count in Las Vegas in 2007 was 8,000 FTEs. We now operate today at about 6,500; it’s actually a little lower than that. So, the operating leverage for the future, and the operating leverage that we’re already seeing this year, compared to last or the year before, is pretty significant.”
  •  “Our running rate now is about $4 million a month of EBITDA.”

Macau:

  • [From shareholder meeting] “Sands China … could generate between $1.0 and $1.2 billion in adjusted EBITDA in the year ended December 31, 2010.”
  • “We also took a long time to open our 19 Paiza mansions, which are now open and doing well, and our EBITDA, which are very small numbers, obviously, compared to the rest of the facilities, went from$ 4 to $19 million—a pretty good size improvement in the first quarter. That improvement also continues as we speak in the second quarter of this year.”
  • [Four Seasons Apartments timing- comment made in June 2010] “We’ve cleared all the legal hurdles for that signature. And he’s [CEO] new; he’s 6 months in the job and probably making a decision, hopefully, sometime in the next 3 or 4 months. We’re all ready to sell those apartments, and you should know that whatever we get for those apartments, 75% of the dollars will pay down debt in the Macau facility.”
  • [Four Seasons Apartments] “And 50 out of the 60 wanted to buy at a rate of between 1700 to 1900 U.S. per square foot. I know that’s tough for a lot of people to believe, but that’s the way it is.”
  • [Sites 5 & 6] “We will open Phase I on or about the last, the third quarter of 2011, and we will open the rest of Phase I and Phase II by the end of the year 2011 or in January of 2012…. We’ve started construction. There’s been a lot in the papers about whether or not we’ll have enough labor, foreign labor. But since we’re not employing the laborers directly, except perhaps for the Macanese, the laborers are being brought in by the contractors and subcontractors. So they’re responsible for getting the labor. And based upon our  recent discussions within the last week, we think we’ll have enough labor to finish it.”
  • “Based upon our experience there, I see that the one thing that has affected the visitation, particularly at the high end, was the financial downfall in Shanghai. So as the Shanghai market takes another depressing-type fall, like we had from 2008 to 2009, or at the end of the six months straddling ‘08 and ‘09, then I think it’ll see some effect or some diminution. But it wasn’t a 50% diminution in profit. It was 8%, 10%, 12%. 17%, I think that was the highest number. It’s not as though everything is going to hell in a hand-basket. It’s just that it might have some effect. It will have some effect, the drop in the market, because a lot of people, no matter who they are, are betting on the market. And so the Asians got in the market, particularly the Chinese. But I don’t think, being there now for eight or nine years in that part of the world, the average gambler is affected by the macroeconomics of China.”

Singapore:

  • “Singapore in my opinion -- it’s only my opinion; I don’t have to file an 8-K. I think, based upon the earnings and the multiple that will get us there will be worth between 15 and $20 billion alone, maybe more.”
  • “On June 23, the SkyPark, we have a facility you see on top of the building, will open, and the observation deck will open. There’s also a restaurant and nightclub and a concierge lounge on that deck. They will not open until the fall. The museum and the theaters will open in the fall, and the rest of the shopping center, which has 40 stores opened out of 320 that are leased, the rest of those stores, 40 more, will open by June 23 and the rest will open through the remainder of the year. The Crystal Pavilion will be down in the front and if you’re looking at it right about in the center will be a Louis Vuitton store. It will open probably in next winter, February or March. I want to emphasize to all of you that every one of these areas that open is high-margin profitability for Marina Bay Sands.”
  • [Singapore] “We don’t really think there’s going to be a commission war there. We raised our commission levels. We’re still below the Genting level of commission… We don’t seem to have any indication that they’re going to go up from here at all.”
  • [VIP/Mass Mix] “But in terms of net bottom line, I’d say it looks like 65/35, 60/40, something like that.”
  • “We are at about 7,500 today. We’ll probably go to 8,400 as we open the rest of the resort, and there’ll be more that are not exactly on a payroll. There’ll be about 15,000 employees there with everything that’s going on, but only about 8,400 would be ours.” 
  • “The major expense structures of Singapore are the transportation costs, logistic costs and security costs. Those costs are going to be what we’re running today—we don’t expect to go up. So, when you eventually see the first quarter on a monthly basis, you’ll see a pretty solid running rate. I don’t expect much reduction from that; you’ll be able to see the running rate. In spite of that in the first month of operation, we had a pretty decent EBITDA margin, based on everything together. On our expectations for EBITDA margins in Singapore on maturity, we’d be disappointed if we’re not over 40%.”
  • “I would suspect that during the ramp-up period, we will have probably 70 to 80% of the income in the casino and the rest in non-gaming activities”
  • “I will tell you that my original estimates of the gross profit margin from the casino, departmental margin are accurate and that we can make 58, 60% gross profit margin after taxes, after all the departmental expenses, contribution to EBITDA—before the unattributed expenses like building operations and things like that. The EBITDA number percentage will be the highest percentage that any casino has ever experienced, at least in our universe.”
  • [Sheldon on commissions] “So they’re afraid that I’ll leapfrog over them, which I will. So if they don’t want to come – I told one of the representatives, I said, if you raise your price, I’ll raise you. If you raise me again, I’ll leap over you. If you raise me again, I’ll go further over you. We’re heading for mutually assured destruction unless we agree upon a rate that the government will embed in the law. Neither you nor I can break that. And they just don’t want to do it. Now that they’ve gotten a couple of months under their belt, I think they’ve already waved the white flag and they’re ready to sit down with us because, as I’ve said, I’m not very aggressive—I just get it from my kid. But I will – you know I hate losing more than I love winning. So I will get – I mean I’ll just go right to the top. I’ll just give away the whole 2.85 until we win over all the business and then we’ll back it off if we have to.”
  • [Commissions] Q: “Is it fair to say that Singapore market level right now is higher than Macau?”
    • A: “Yeah.”

 

Q1 CONFERENCE CALL

 

Las Vegas:

  • “Looking forward, we expect to realize more group rooms in 2010 than we realized in 2009. If the pace of group business bookings continues to improve, 2011 should be stronger than ‘10.”
  • [On rates] “I think we’ve been averaging on weekends between $240 and $260….For 2011 group rates, we’re trying to stay above 200 bucks. In some groups, we are getting higher than that. I can’t tell you that we are there yet. We have some business with lag that goes back six to eight months.”

Macau:

  • “Our expectation and our lenders know that we will open with enough tables in five and six to justify the numbers that we projected in the loan documents (400 tables and 2200 slots). That will involve moving some tables from some of our facilities, as well as the additions of some electronic games…. I believe the number is approximately 170 tables that we’re going to move that either are not being used right now or that are  the marginal games that are being used at lower rates. We’re adding 100 electronic table games, which offer some very good potential. We’re going to try different electronic table games. We’re also assured by the government that we will have the 270 extra games that we originally put in our plans in 2013.”

Singapore:

  •  “We do give away from 0.75% to 1.0% to the players direct, so far at the high end.”
  • [On slot win per slot per day] “I’ll give you a range, from $400 to $900 per unit per day. I think we’ll have a somewhat higher average when we bring in those electronic table roulette games.”
  • [On customer mix] “33% to 40%, maybe at the most, are Singaporeans.”
  •  “We are at 70 out of 139 VIP tables, 442 out of 559 mass tables, and 1450 out of 1,642 slots.”

BWLD – DID NOT FALL INTO A DEEP HOLE

After the 30 bp falloff in two-year average same-store sales trends in the first quarter and the reported -4.7% comp in April, I was not expecting too much this quarter and neither was the street.  BWLD, however, surprised to the upside with earnings coming in at $0.50 per share versus the street’s $0.42 per share estimate and company-owned same-store sales growth was down 0.1% relative to the -2.5% street estimate.  Despite the better-than-expected numbers, company-owned same-store sales slowed nearly 200 bps on a two-year average basis from the prior quarter.  Management reported that comps are running positive in July, up 2.2%.  For reference, the company is lapping a +1.2% number from the same period last year, which implies a slight uptick in two-year trends since the end of the quarter.

 

Going into the quarter, I said that BWLD could potentially move into the “deep hole” (negative same-store sales and declining restaurant level margin) quadrant of the sigma chart shown below if same-store sales trends did not materially improve throughout the remainder of the quarter.  Comps, did in fact, improve after decelerating about 420 bps on 2-year average basis in April from 1Q10.  Restaurant level margin also came in better than I expected, up 120 bps to 18.1%, with food costs as a percentage of sales declining nearly 200 bps, more than I was modeling (lower YOY chicken wing prices for the first time in six quarters).  As a result, BWLD moved from the “trouble brewing” (positive same-store sales and declining restaurant level margin) quadrant to the “life line” (negative same-store sales and growing restaurant level margin) quadrant.  And, given that same-stores sales were just barely negative, the company was operating quite close to “nirvana” (positive same-store sales and growing restaurant level margin).

 

We will see what the company has to say on its earnings call, but despite the better-than-expected quarterly results, I continue to believe the company is growing too fast and that growth related costs will become more evident as same-store sales remain under pressure.  BWLD needs to slow growth and cut costs and that does not yet appear to be in the plans. 

 

Relative to the company’s earnings guidance, BWLD’s press release stated, “We have growing confidence that our 20% annual net earnings growth goal is achievable given the recent improvement in same-store sales and the moderation of wing costs."  This compares to last quarter when the company said 20% earnings growth may be achievable but an improvement in same-store sales and moderate wing costs were key to this goal.  So, there seems to be a real shift in management’s level of confidence.

 

BWLD – DID NOT FALL INTO A DEEP HOLE - bwld

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director


NO FREE LUNCH FOR CONSUMERS

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the market recently, but consumers are not feeling very positive.

 

Once again we are seeing a major plunge in Consumer Confidence, which came in at 50.4, below expectations of 51.0, and down 7.1% from a revised (upward) prior reading of 54.3 (previously 52.9).

It has been a relatively strong earnings season for the restaurant companies to date and with the huge reported calendar 2Q10 comps by SBUX, CMG and DPZ, it is difficult to get a feel for current trends.  The management teams of these companies seem confident that current momentum is sustainable; though many restaurant companies are pointing to the current economic environment as reason to be cautious. 

 

Specifically, CMG said, “Our comps held up well throughout the quarter and into July so far; though we do remain concerned about recent reports of softening consumer confidence and the outlook for the economy. While we feel good about the strong customer loyalty our managers and crew have built over the years, we saw over the past few years, that economic concerns will affect how often our customers will visit Chipotle.”

 

To that end, today, we are seeing a major plunge in Consumer Confidence, which came in at 50.4, below expectations of 51.0, and down 7.1% from a revised (upward) prior reading of 54.3 (previously 52.9).  The Present Situation Index decreased to 26.1 from 26.8 and the Expectations Index declined to 66.6 from 72.7 last month.

 

Consumer attitudes are also being expressed in current sales trends.  According to Johnson Redbook, U.S. same store sales fell 0.7% month-to-date for the week ending July 24 (compared to the previous month); the seventh consecutive weekly decline in sales.  And, casual dining trends, as measured by Malcolm Knapp, have been slowing on a two-year average basis since April.

 

Today’s confidence reading is more indicative of where we are heading than today’s Case/Shiller home price data. 

 

As expected, home prices rose predictably in May and will rise again in June before heading lower in 2H10.  As our Financials analyst Josh Steiner noted in his Housing Black Book, May prices reflect March contract activity which was strong due to the April tax credit expiration.   

 

Pick your poison as to why you think confidence is going down, but I’m now focused on the incompetence of the people in Washington.  Washington is the epicenter of everything consumer - unemployment benefits, policies that enable job growth and a federal reserve that won’t pay the aging population an interest rate on its savings accounts.  The issues in Washington are impacting the whole country and individual states are also beginning to make significant cutbacks.

 

Nothing is getting done. 

 

The precipitous drop in confidence in Washington among the electorate has been shaped largely by the harsh economic reality facing many consumers today.  The approval rating of the president among 18-34 year olds is but one example.  Among 18-34 year olds polled by Quinnipiac University in November 2008, 73% viewed Obama favorably.   Last week, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University revealed that only 46% of 18-34 year olds viewed Obama favorably (with 42% holding an unfavorable opinion). Additionally, 37% of the same demographic would vote for a generic Republican in a presidential election versus 34% for Obama.  No age group has a tougher time finding a job at the moment than teenagers and young adults in their twenties (a key demographic for QSR).  In turn this is putting incremental pressure on their parents…..  A vicious cycle for sure!

 

The earnings season has been strong and as expected the corporate story telling is alive and well.  We are setting up for what could be a very interesting 3Q10 preannouncement season.

 

NO FREE LUNCH FOR CONSUMERS - conf board cons conf

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 


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