Updated from 8:22 p.m. ET to add Goldman commentary on the rally in the bank stocks this year, additional analyst comment on Panera, Disney
NEW YORK (
) -- The action in stocks Monday was really more of a
as the question of what's next for Greece continues to linger.
Judging by the low volatility so far in 2012 and the modest decline to start this week, there's no deep fear of a default just yet. Crunch time is more than a month away, so the latest chatter has some roots in impatience and boredom. Brown Brothers Harriman noted earlier, though, that it's not only the private holders of Greek's debt that need to be placated.
"All signs point to an eventual PSI
private sector involvement deal, but what is now more uncertain is whether Greece's coalition government can agree on an additional 1.5% of GDP in savings as demanded by the Troika before it can receive the next tranche of aid from the IMF/EU," the firm said. "These funds are needed by mid-March, when a huge slug of debt matures (over EUR14 billion) and must be rolled over. Some coalition members have already signaled unwillingness to pass more austerity measures, and so it seems Greek disorderly default risks will remain elevated even if PSI agreement is reached."
Much of the fortuitous calm that stocks have enjoyed so far in 2012 is being credited to the success of the European Central Bank's long-term refinancing operation, which was unveiled in early December, and there's another operation on the docket for later this month, the prospect of which may be helping buoy stocks at the moment.
Gary Thayer, chief macro strategist at Wells Fargo, thinks market psychology is still in the early stages of recovery from the extreme volatility that took hold last summer, despite the 20%-plus run-up in the
since early October.
"We have been saying for the past few months that the European debt crisis was probably at about the same stage that the U.S. financial crisis was in late 2008 and early 2009," he said in commentary released Monday. "Back then, policymakers were taking significant steps to increase liquidity but investors were still skeptical and did not think that these policies would work. The European debt crisis appears to be following a similar path."
If that's the case and retail investors start to buy into the idea that Europe isn't going to fall apart overnight, they could start re-routing some of the money that's still flowing into bond funds at elevated levels (an $31.8 billion in January, the most since March 2010) into stocks (which saw estimated outflows of $1.6 billion last month) and give the major U.S. equity indices another push higher.
As for Tuesday,
before the opening bell. The Atlanta-based soft drink giant is due to report its fiscal fourth-quarter results, and Wall Street is expecting earnings of 77 cents a share on revenue of $10.99 billion. The stock is up 9% in the past year, but Monday's close at $68.03 is below the 52-week high of $71.77 on Sept. 8, meaning it's been a no-show (down 2.2% in January) for the recent rally.
With a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 16.6X, Coke shares look a bit pricey in comparison with
at 14.6X and
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
at 13.2X. Coke also loses out in a dividend comparison with a forward annual yield of 2.8% vs. 3.1% for Pepsico and 3.3% for Dr. Pepper.
The sell side is bullish ahead of the report though with 14 of the analysts covering the stock at strong buy (7) or buy (7), and the 12-month median price target at $74, implying potential upside of 8.8% from current levels.
Coke's a slow and steady-type stock at this point, chugging along with single-digit percentage growth in worldwide unit case volume. The Dow component has beaten the consensus earnings view in three of the last four quarters but the average upside surprise in less than 1%. Not a lot of fizz there.
In fact, when
ran a screen to find the
least volatile S&P 500 stocks of the past decade
, Coke came in at no. 6, behind only
Johnson & Johnson
Check out TheStreet's quote page for Coca-Cola for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.
Other companies reporting early Tuesday include
Church & Dwight
Martin Marietta Materials
is the other Dow component reporting on Tuesday. The media and theme park giant's fiscal first-quarter results are due after the close, and Wall Street is expecting a profit of 72 cents a share on revenue of $11.18 billion. Goldman Sachs previewed the quarter on Monday, and it thinks Orlando may not have been the happiest place on earth in December.
"December Orlando resort tax collections, which correlate well to Disney's US parks revenue, declined 1.4% year-over-year, the first decline in 22 months," the firm said, adding later that: "Parks growth likely decelerated in the quarter due to less price promotions."
Goldman, which has a neutral rating on the stock, is expecting a below-consensus profit of 70 cents a share but it actually raised its price target on the stock to $43 from $38 to reflect a belief the stock deserves a higher multiple.
Disney shares are down 1.8% in the past year but the stock has been on a tear in the past four months. Based on Monday's close at $40.46, the shares have jumped 43% since scraping a 52-week low of $28.19 on Oct. 4, including a gain of nearly 7% in 2012.
Evercore Partners, which has an overweight rating on Disney with a $44 price target, also sees the company falling short in the fourth quarter with earnings of 69 cents a share, but its call on Monday involved fears that Disney's next big action flick could be a big bomb.
"We lowered our F1Q projection by $50 million, are concerned about the upcoming mega-budget
opening in March, and DIS has tough comps from the change in amortization of released film costs last year to 76% from 82%," the firm said.
Check out TheStreet's quote page for Walt Disney for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.
Also reporting after the closing bell will be
. The average estimate of analysts polled by
is for earnings of $1.42 a share in the December-ended period on revenue of $499 million.
Shares of the St. Louis-based bakery-cafe operator are up 10% so far in 2012, and nearly 60% in the past year, hitting a 52-week high of $158.78 in Monday's regular session. That means the pressure is on for the company to top Wall Street's consensus view for a ninth straight quarter. With a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 28.6X, the stock's valuation looks stretched compared to a
at 15.7X and
The sell side is split ahead of the report with 12 of the 24 analysts covering the shares at hold (11) or underperform (1), and the rest divided between strong buy (7) and buy (5). The median 12-month price target sits at $157.
Jefferies is one of the bulls with a buy rating and a $165 price target, and the firm is expecting the company to deliver earnings at the high end of its $1.39-$1.41 per share guidance. It thinks strong same-restaurant sales in the 6% range and a recent 1% price increase in September should be able to offset the impact of higher food costs.
"Based on what we have heard from others in the fast casual segment (private and public companies), SSS
same-store sales trends accelerated sequentially in 4Q," Jefferies said. "While smaller operators benefit from being nimble and flexible with menu pricing, we think PNRA has plenty of visible drivers to maintain its strong mid-single-digit SSS trends."
Oppenheimer is even more bullish than Jefferies, raising its 12-18 month price target on the stock to $175 to $150 on Monday and reiterating its top-pick thesis.
The firm said its higher price target "represents a reasonable 25X 2013 estimated EPS, below its 10-year average (26X) and a discount to growthy peers. Argument for multiple expansion supported by traffic/EPS upside and expanding return metrics for a unit-growth profile that could double its domestic footprint."
There could also be some money flowing back to shareholders, Oppenheimer says.
"PNRA's net cash ($181M) and growing FCF
free cash flow (~$200M) position it to install a dividend, buy back franchisees or repurchase stock in 2012. However, no cash usage is built into guidance/consensus. Deployment of $200M to repurchase stock or buy back franchisees (at 6X EBITDA
earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization could add $0.30+ to EPS."
Check out TheStreet's quote page for Panera Bread for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.
The rest of the p.m. roster includes
Buffalo Wild Wings
CB Richard Ellis
As for Monday's late news, the
was dominated by
, which not only blew away the average analysts' view for its fourth-quarter profit but gave a strong outlook and stepped up its competition with
by hooking up with
and purchasing DVD kiosk assets from
. The stock gained more than 15% in extended trading on volume of more than 2 million.
And finally, it flew a bit under the radar but Goldman Sachs showed some restraint on the bank stocks on Monday. The firm tapped the brakes, saying sentiment on the sector has probably improved more than actual earnings have.
"We attribute recent sector outperformance to portfolio reweighting following a challenging 2011 and the favorable string of macroeconomic data but the revenue and profit challenges for the banks could persist," Goldman said. "We remain selective with exposure to banks and would be buyers on weakness."
Goldman's top picks in the group are
, which it said "trade at significant discounts on 2012 P/E ex-reserves and PPE
pre-provision earnings multiples."
The banks did slump a bit on Monday with the
KBW Bank index
down 0.8%; but
Bank of America
was unfazed, tacking on 1.7% for the day. The stock is up more than 40% so far in 2012, making it the best performer in the Dow year-to-date, the exact opposite of how it finished 2011.
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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