Friday, November 16, 2007

The 800-Calorie Cup of Coffee in the Room

  • Added more beta to the portfolio this morning.
  • So I'm reading around the web yesterday (blogs) and listening to some financial talk on the radio (via Gary Kaltbaum), and all I'm getting is "BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR."  And yes, I'm using caps because it does seem like they're all yelling at me.  But the good timers are bullish, the bad timers are bearish.  So... Well...  Er... Uh... 
  • Starbucks has shed nearly half its value the past year:

As we saw in yesterday's results, Starbucks has overexpanded and is scaling back store openings. The company cut numbers for the current quarter and all of 2008. They've seen profits eaten up by a rise in costs like milk, while the price rise passed along to customers helped them hit some numbers but also sent people fleeing the stores and is a measure that obviously can't be duplicated without further consequences.

Same-store sales came in at the low end, a rarity for Starbucks. Meanwhile, these two little outfits called McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts have been competing with coffee you don't have to buy on layaway, including fancy-pants concoctions.

  • Barry Ritholtz notes the inflation connection with SBUX (of course he does).  I would also imagine that this year's hike in minimum wages could be affecting some retailers as their forced to raise prices or eat it in their profit margin.  But note in the piece from TheStreet above, that competition is coming in with lower-priced coffee.  So, cash-strapped consumers are not giving up coffee, but realizing that there are more affordable options out there.  In addition, a common one-liner out there is "I need to give up these 800-calorie cups of coffee."  So there could be a competition and calories factor when it comes to SBUX.
  • I hear Kaltbaum (and others) say "Ignore the major indexes!" and that there's a "bear market in stocks."  But if one has a diversified portfolio by holding an index, rather than having a big holding in an SBUX (for example), then the portfolio isn't in a bear market.  Specific stock risk...
  • Adam Warner with some Barry Bonds inspired randoms today...
  • Dolphins welcome back Ricky Williams.  He'll be on the practice field next week, and could play on November 26th.  "I don't know if I had a daughter if I'd want her to date him," linebacker Channing Crowder said, "but as a football player, as a teammate, I love him."

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