Fri, 1 Aug 2014
This week we raised our fair value for Twitter, maintained our fair value for Yum Brands in the wake of bad news, and sized up T-Mobile's newest suitor.
Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to The Friday Five: Morningstar's take on five stories in the market this week.
Joining me with The Friday Five is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.
Jeremy, thanks for being here.
Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason.
Stipp: Up first this week: Twitter earnings. They surprised on the upside. The stock popped; our fair value estimate came up a little bit. There is still a lot of potential in this stock, but also a lot of risk.
Glaser: I think that's exactly right. Coming into the quarter, the real question mark around Twitter was, were they going to be able to continue to grow users? Would users continue to come to the platform or will they find it too complicated, too niche, to really get a lot of value out of it?
With the 24% increase in monthly active users, I think Twitter answered that, yes, they still are growing and that the fears over decelerating growth were overblown. They also were able to increase the amount of money they're making on each of those users, which is another good sign for the future of the company.
But that doesn't mean there aren't any risks. Certainly, they aren't anywhere close to the kind of monetization that Facebook is getting right now or that Google gets from its users, and given that Twitter has less user data, less ways to target, it might never be able to really close that gap.
Rick Summer, our Twitter analyst, did raise the firm's fair value estimate to $39. He certainly sees a bull case where the stock could be worth much more than that, but given some of the risks, he think that a more prudent, balanced approach is the way to go. Investors might want to look elsewhere in the social networking space if they are looking for that exposure.
Stipp: Not having such a great week was Yum Brands. Their stock took a hit after management said that problems with a food supplier in China are going to affect sales. So, is this something that a value investor would want to take a look at?
Glaser: There aren't a lot of values in the marketplace right now, and to find a company with an economic moat that's trading at a discount, you might have to find something that has some bad news around it, and Yum certainly has that with this poultry supplier in China, which also served McDonald's, selling expired chicken into their restaurants.
They saw a big decline in sales as this news came to light, and it's going to take some time to turn that around. They're going to have to make investments in advertising, convincing consumers that their supply chain is safe, and make investments to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again. This is not the first time they've had concerns about their supply chain in China.
But R.J Hottovy, our Yum analyst, thinks that they're going to be able to do that, and that they have enough brand equity to ride out the storm, and they'll be able to continue to see growth at some point in the medium to long term. Investors who are willing to wait that out and are willing to take on that risk might see Yum as being at an attractive entry point right now.
Stipp: The long saga of T-Mobile suitors continued this week with yet one more suitor.
Glaser: Iliad, which is a French company, threw it's hat into the ring, saying that they were interested in purchasing T-Mobile. Sprint, backed by Japanese company SoftBank, has been looking at purchasing it for some time. The wildcard here really is, what are the regulators going to do? How do the regulators think about wireless consolidations?
Regulators had stepped in before and said that AT&T and T-Mobile couldn't combine--that would create too much concentration--and it's not clear that a Sprint/T-Mobile merger would pass regulatory muster, either.
So, it seems like this French deal, given that they don't have any assets in the U.S. right now, might be smiled on by the regulators a little bit more, given particularly that Illiad has a reputation in France for being a low-cost provider and really trying to aggressively price the services. But if they can come up with a bid that T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom are going to find amenable, we just don't know that yet. We're still a long way away from really knowing what's going to happen to T-Mobile in the end.
Stipp: The second-quarter GDP report came out this week. It was better than expected, and the first quarter wasn't as bad as it looked initially. But getting better-than-expected news still adds up to pretty slow growth for the U.S. economy.
Glaser: That's really what we have: slow growth. We had 4% growth in the second quarter, larger than the 3% many were expecting. The first quarter looks like it wasn't that bad, only a little bit more than a 2% contraction after they made the annual adjustments.
But overall, you are looking at about 2% growth, which is where we've been for a while, maybe a little bit slowed down from the back half of 2013. The economy really just keeps chugging along, and we're seeing that across any number of indicators.
When you see growth like this, it probably is strong enough that the Fed will feel comfortable to end their quantitative-easing program, which they seem on track to do by October, and really start talking about rates rising in 2015. I don't think anything we saw this week from the GDP or the Fed minutes themselves really has changed that timeline.
Stipp: Argentina technically defaulted this week, but you wouldn't know it by looking at their bonds.
Glaser: This has been a long running saga with Argentina trying to not pay some of their holdout creditors, who are looking to get the full value of their bonds compared to the other creditors who accepted a bond swap some time ago.
The U.S. courts--and these are governed by U.S. law--have basically said that Argentina can't pay just some of the bondholders; they have to pay all of them at once. And as of this week, they have missed a payment to all of the holders, even though they have the money set aside to pay those bondholders that have agreed to the swap.
I think right now the market isn't overreacting, or reacting much at all, because there is some thought that some solution will be worked out. Potentially banks would go out and buy the debt from some of the holdouts and then accept the swap, finding a way to make that happen, coming to some deal with those holdouts that they will find acceptable. So, Argentina still potentially has some wiggle room to try to find some way out of it before you really worry about any systemic issues.
The market is obviously aware of these issues. I don't think it has potentially a lot of knock-on effects on global markets, but with these things you never really know. I think it's certainly valuable to keep an eye on the story.
Stipp: Jeremy, The Friday Five continues to be a triple A asset for investors. Thanks for joining me.
Glaser: Thanks, Jason.
Stipp: For Morningstar, I'm Jason Stipp. Thanks for watching.