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Value Deals in Restaurant Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- We've officially hit the dog days of summer. We can't seem to get more than a two- or three-day reprieve from the heat, and Mr. Market has continued his erratic behavior.

I expected a roller-coaster ride in the markets this summer, but admittedly that call did not take the intelligence of a brain surgeon. In the six weeks since my piece on that very subject ran on TheStreet.com, we've certainly seen volatility.

In fact, during the 34 trading days since my piece ran there have been 10 days that the Standard & Poor's 500 has moved up or down at least 1%. Interestingly, six of the 10 days have had positive closes, and during that stretch the S&P was up 4.1%. It looked for a while as though Tuesday would be the eleventh day, but the S&P "recovered" to finish down 0.9% on the day.

While I don't spend a lot of time worrying about the gyrations of the broad markets, I do find the volatility fascinating.

What's more fascinating, however, are some of the earnings numbers that are coming out this week. I've focused a lot of energy on restaurant names the past few years because I've found value in some of those names.

Overall, the sector has done very well, which has been the historic norm as we've exited recessions. While I do have many concerns about the current state of the economy, I look to restaurant results for clues as to how consumers are actually feeling.

On Tuesday Domino's Pizza (DPZ)DPZDPZDPZ announced decent second-quarter results. While revenue slipped 2.3% to $376.1 million, missing the $387 million consensus estimate, earnings per share came in at 47 cents, 1 cent ahead of estimates. Shares had slipped following disappointing first-quarter results, and until then the stock had been on fire since late 2009.

That's when Domino's rolled out one of the greatest restaurant advertising campaigns in history; announcing changes to its pizza recipe following the admission that its product quality had fallen short of customer expectations. This was a brilliant way to re-engage customers, and others such as Wendy's (WEN)WENWENWEN should have taken a page from Domino's book.

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