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The Day Ahead: Some Quick Hits


As of this moment, the market has acted precisely as I carefully articulated Monday -- and, to be frank, I am bored of continuing to drive home these messages. So, instead of another sweeping overview, here are a few quick hits on individual issues.

Fun With Chipotle

As I mentioned Wednesday, I had a meeting with Chipotle (CMG) in order to see if it was appropriate to place a fat sell sign on this richly valued stock -- yet, sadly, no readers here contacted me with any questions. Unfortunately I can't disclose the rating prior to the dissemination of the report (probably either Friday or Monday), but I can share this one rather intriguing piece of information.

Initially, I was disappointed to hear Chipotle, unlike other quick-service restaurants, currently has no plans to seriously pursue the largely untapped breakfast category in the "near to medium-term." However, there is a very good explanation for this. While McDonald's (MCD) considers all-day breakfast options, for instance, and while Dunkin Donuts (DNKN) fancies up its egg sandwiches, Chipotle's employees must prepare for an 11 a.m. opening during normal breakfast hours as they cut, chop and cook mostly naturally sourced ingredients.

So, in order to pull off breakfast, Chipotle would have to completely overhaul its labor model, thus potentially disrupting its bread-and-butter business of burritos and salad bowls. Given that Chipotle is still a relatively new concept and brand in many locations, it's sensible to focus on the core business in order to drive brand loyalty instead of trying to be everything to everybody.

In any case, my next phone meeting will be with Best Buy (BBY) at 12 p.m. EDT. You might want to be in contact with me this go-around.

GNC: Still Healthy

On Friday, The Street's Debra Borchardt and I are taping a video on GNC (GNC) -- so, within the next couple of days, you are likely to read a positive mention on the company. I've been positive on this stock for a while now; here is the condensed version of my talking points on it.

One point I'll mention: This company is looking to strong earnings accretion by the fourth quarter, thanks to a nationwide rollout of the new GNC Gold Card member-pricing program. This revised program reduces prices for members, enticing them to spend more and with greater frequency (the outcome in test markets). The savings are so compelling, moreover, that non-members will probably pay the $10 for the card, thus making them more frequent visitors to the store.

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Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,740.58 +268.21 1.63%
S&P 500 1,981.67 +30.31 1.55%
NASDAQ 4,769.2390 +61.4640 1.31%

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