Restaurants and Food Processors
Comment of the Day

July 16 2012

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Restaurants and Food Processors

Eoin Treacy's view Grain prices continue to accelerate higher amid weather concerns in the key pollination period for corn in particular. At least in part as a result, feeder cattle prices have dropped abruptly, having broken below the 200-day MA for the first time since 2009 three weeks ago. Such volatility in basic commodity prices is having a mixed effect on restaurants and food processers. One trend is clear however. Companies with a truly global presence are outperforming by a considerable margin. This may possibly be explained by the fact they have a global supply chain as well as customer network so country specific concerns may be less of a factor. Restaurants with a solid growth trajectory are also trending rather consistently.

McDonalds now yields more than 3% and remains an S&P500 US dividend aristocrat. The share experienced its largest decline in more than three years between January and early June. While this is an inconsistency, the share rallied impressively last week and a sustained move below the June lows would be required to question potential for some additional upside. A move to new highs will be required to indicate a return to medium-term demand dominance.

Yum Brands (1.7%) does not have the same long record of dividend increases as McDonalds but has been increasing its pay-out on consecutive years for at least the last eight years. The share also experienced a deeper pullback since its peak in April and has returned to the region of the 200-day MA where it found at least short-term support. A sustained move below $60 would be required to question potential for additional upside.

Texas Roadhouse, Panera Bread, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and Chipotle Mexican Grill have also returned to test their respective 200-day MAs and sustained moves below them would be required to question medium-term demand dominance.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store continues to extend its uptrend and a break in the short-term progression of higher reaction lows would be required to signal mean reversion is underway.

Tyson Foods and Sanderson Farms have fallen aggressively as grain prices rose and clear upward dynamics will be required stem the decline. Smithfield Foods has returned to the lower side of its 18-month range and a clear upward dynamic is also needed here to check supply dominance.

ADM has been largely rangebound since early 2009 and is currently falling towards the lower boundary. It will need to find support in the region of $25 to confirm support at the 2011 lows. Bunge has also been mostly rangebound. It retested the lower boundary in early June and has held a progression of higher reaction lows since. A sustained move below $60 would now be required to question potential for some additional higher to lateral ranging.

Back to top