Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

July 10 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day (1)

on impressions from Knoxville Tennessee
“America appears to be booming. My index (not sure how valid this is!) is the Dollywood splash centre crowd index. This year it was the busiest it has ever been and at over $50 per person it isnt cheap! Also there seems to be so many new restaurants shops, roads etc that have been built in the last 12 months. And as for Obama, people are all worried about medicaid and ask me about the national health, telling me how bad it is. It 's a very interesting place!”

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this illuminating account of your experience in the Deep South. Reservations about the effect on SMEs from the implementation of Affordable Care Act resulted in that portion of the law being delayed until next year but its remaining provisions are still due to go into effect in October. As it stands, spending on health insurance premiums is still likely to increase in the autumn. It remains to be seen what effect this has on consumer confidence.

The US restaurants sector is particularly relevant at present with Yum Brands reporting earnings after the market shuts this evening. Following an impressive rally between 2008 and 2011, disappointing earnings resulted in a sharp downward dynamic in November 2012 which extended the range to its current 16 months. The share rallied well yesterday to test the highs but a sustained move above $75 will be required to reaffirm medium-term demand dominance.

Yum Brands has not been around for long enough to qualify as a dividend aristocrat but it has a solid record of dividend growth nonetheless. McDonalds is an S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat. The share encountered resistance in the region of the psychological $100 from early 2012 and has also been mostly rangebound since. It briefly posted a new high in April and found support in the region of the 200-day MA, currently near $96, in late June. A sustained move below that level would be required to question medium-term scope for a successful upward break.

The domestically focused US restaurant sector has outperformed over the last year. Bob Evans Farms broke out of a lengthy range in December. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Brinker International and Texas Roadhouse broke out of lengthy ranges in February, March and April respectively. Cheescake Factory also broke out of its lengthy range in April. Cracker Barrel broke out to new all-time highs more than a year ago. Panera Bread, Papa Johns, Buffalo Wild Wings, Domino's Pizza and Jack In The Box have all been trending higher for a number of years. All of these shares are somewhat overextended relative to their respective 200-day MAs but breaks in their progression of higher reaction lows would be required to confirm mean reversion.

Chipotle Mexican Grill declined by $200 between April and October last year but has held a progression of higher reaction lows over the last nine months. Dunkin Brands Group has held a progression of higher reaction lows since August.

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