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Should Chipotle Mexican Grill Double Down On Home Delivery?
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) is struggling to grow revenues as cautious customers are staying away from its restaurants due to fears of food virus, after a major E. coli outbreak and several subsequent isolated incidents. The company is working on several initiatives to increase restaurant traffic but is going slow on restaurant expansion, since it wants to focus on improving the operations of its existing restaurants. One way of increasing revenues from existing restaurants could be to expand its home delivery initiative. Chipotle currently offers home delivery from select restaurants through its partnership with Tapingo and Postmates.  However, expansion of this initiative can increase revenues for Chipotle. Home delivery is a huge opportunity in the restaurant industry as millennials prefer convenient options. Competitors such as McDonald’s have identified that home delivery orders are usually group orders leading to higher average check size (nearly double the size of the order in a restaurant). An increased focus on home delivery can potentially increase Chipotle’s average revenue per restaurant, thus impacting its valuation positively. You can click here to view our interactive model to analyze the impact of a higher average revenue per restaurant on Chipotle’s valuation. While home delivery can expand Chipotle’s customer network and lead to higher average check size, it comes with additional costs, which Chipotle might not be able to sustain at this stage and can impact the company’s profitability. . Chipotle is a small company with around 2,000 restaurants and does not have the scale of McDonald’s. Further the company is spending heavily on initiatives to regain its lost reputation after a series of food related issues. However, an increased focus on home delivery can help Chipotle grow revenues in the long term. View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis): Global Large Cap | U.S. Mid & Small Cap | European Large & Mid Cap
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What To Expect From UAL's Q4 Earnings
United Continental  (NYSE:UAL) posted a better than expected quarter last time around. However, investors were not happy with how things went on the previous call. The company witnessed its value plummet by more than 12% post the earnings call, when upper management spooked investors into a selling frenzy after failing to answer Wall Street analysts’ questions. Analysts called into question the company’s growth initiatives that have, so far, failed to work as hoped for. That said, things have definitely improved for the airline this time around. Apart from growing investor confidence, adverse effects from the hurricane also seem to be finally dissipating. This is evident from the company’s impressive price performance in the quarter. The stock is up by almost 28% since. In all likeliness, it appears as though United’s top line will be driven by higher passenger revenues caused by a heavy increase in holiday travel this time around. In fact, the airline reported exceptional performance through the Thanksgiving weekend, breaking various records. Additionally, the company recently issued a rather improved outlook in comparison to the last earnings call. PRASM, a key measure of unit revenue, is expected to come in flat year over year. According to the earlier guidance, this metric was expected to come in the range of negative 2% to flat. Further, pre-tax margin (adjusted) is anticipated to lie between 6-7%. Previous guidance figures had pegged the range to be around 3-5%.                          However, as expected, the company’s bottom line growth will be hurt on increased costs. Fuel price is expected to come in significantly higher at $1.91. Furthermore, CASM ex-fuel is estimated to increase by about 1.5-2% in Q4.                            The charts above were created using the Trefis Dashboard . View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis): Global Large Cap  |  U.S. Mid & Small Cap  |  European Large & Mid Cap More Trefis Research
Should Starbucks Consider A Franchisee Model To Drive Growth?
Most restaurant companies either already have or are adopting a 100% franchised model to aid growth. McDonald’s has improved its profitability significantly by moving towards a 95% franchised model, since company owned restaurants need higher capital expenditure and costs in terms of labor and other operating expenses are high. Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), on the other hand, has a nearly 50:50 ratio of company owned and franchised restaurants and the company is likely to maintain this ratio in the future. Starbucks’ management believes that company owned restaurants are essential for quality control and hence it is likely to continue with this model. We believe Starbucks does not need a franchisee model to drive growth since the company has expanded company owned restaurants in the past without compromising on margins. Its company owned restaurants are profitable and efficiently run. You can click here to access our interactive model which includes the charts below and analyze how company owned restaurants are likely to contribute to Starbucks’ growth in the future.   In 2017, 54% of Starbucks’ EBITDA was contributed by company owned stores, while franchisee (licensed stores) contributed 30% toward the company’s EBITDA. The company had nearly the same number (approximately 13,000) of company owned and franchised stores in 2017. While the company is expanding aggressively (especially in China) and using the franchised model to expand in several locations, its company owned stores are profitable and essential for “a certain level of control” which the management wants to retain. You can click here to access our interactive model which includes the charts above and analyze how company owned restaurants are likely to contribute to Starbucks’ growth in the future. Starbucks is growing aggressively, however its company owned restaurants are profitable and essential for the company to maintain its quality and brand value. Growth is likely to come in the current  50:50 ratio of company owned and franchised restaurants and this strategy should work positively for Starbucks’ valuation.   View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis):
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How Can Altria's Valuation Change With A New Effective Tax Rate?
With the US government’s new tax law coming into effect, many companies will see a significant impact from changes in their effective tax rates. As per the new tax bill, the corporate tax rate will be lowered to 21% from 35%, while the overall tax structure is also expected to be simplified. This factor will improve the valuation of companies, with some companies benefiting more than others. One such company is  Altria (NYSE:MO), as the company operates entirely in the United States, and is hence, subject to the exorbitantly high corporate tax rates in the country. We have a  $73 price estimate for Altria, which is slightly higher than the current market price. Altria Forced To Pay High Tax Rates Currently Since splitting with Philip Morris, Altria operates only in the United States. This factor does have some positives: the increased global regulations and the rising strength of the dollar, which have together hit tobacco companies with international operations, have had no impact on Altria’s performance. However, on the other hand, it also means that since all of its revenues are earned in the US, they are taxed at US rates. The company’s effective tax rate has hovered around 35% for the past few years, implying that more than one-third of its profits are going towards its tax payments. While the statutory rates in the US are quite high, that is typically not the rate most companies end up paying. Deductions and credits can help to reduce the tax liability, and as a result, such companies end up doling out taxes at a lower rate than the statutory rate. As a result, the average tax rate paid by corporates in the US is actually 18.6%, which is, in fact, lower than the rate the Trump government is imposing. According to CSIMarket, on a trailing 12 months basis, the effective tax rate is 20.62% . Hence, the tax rate paid by Altria is in fact much higher than that paid on average by other companies in the United States. During 2016, the company’s earnings before income taxes were $21.9 billion, and it had to pay taxes of $7.6 billion on it, implying a tax rate of 34.8%. If the tax rate was instead 21%, its tax liability would have been close to $4.6 billion, and its earnings after taxes would rise to $17.3 billion, instead of $14.3 billion. This would mean its earnings would rise by over 21%, and consequently its earnings per share. Looking ahead, we can with certainty say that a fall in the corporate tax rate would have an enormously positive impact on Altria, and, as a result, should give a boost to its stock price. Altria Set To Benefit Immensely We have created an interactive model that details how changes in effective tax rates can impact the valuation of Altria. You can modify the assumptions to see how the tax rate/valuation dynamics change. As per our model, the effective tax rate for 2016 is higher than the reported figures, on account of the merger between SABMiller and AB InBev, which has been adjusted for in the reported figures. While it is not certain that the company’s reported effective tax rate will fall to 21%, if it does, it can improve the valuation and our price per share by 22%, to $171 billion and $88, respectively. See Our Complete Analysis For Altria Have more questions? Have a look at the links below: Why It Makes Sense For Altria To Bet On The E-Cigarette Market California Tax Hike Drives Altria’s Sales Fall Delay In FDA’s Proposed Regulations To Help Altria Key Reasons Why We Are Bullish On Altria Notes:  
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Halliburton's 4Q'17 Earnings To Be Driven By Its North American Operations
Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), the world’s third largest oilfield services company, is set to release its financial performance for the December quarter and full year 2017 on 22nd January 2018. Backed by the growing rig count and strong drilling demand, the market expects the Houston-based company to report a remarkable jump in its top-line as well as bottom-line, both for the quarter as well as for the full year. Given the company’s higher exposure to the North American markets compared to its closest competitor, Schlumberger, it is likely to witness a higher improvement in its fourth quarter results. See Our Complete Analysis For Halliburton Here Key Highlights Of 4Q’17 The North American oil and gas rig count experienced a dip in the months of October and November. However, with the extension of the OPEC production cuts, the WTI crude oil prices rose sharply in December and averaged at around $55 per barrel during the quarter, almost 15% higher than the previous quarter. For the full year 2017, the oil prices averaged at almost $51 per barrel, 17% more than for 2016. As a result, the region’s rig count recovered to 1,135 units at the end of the December quarter. Contrary to this, the Latin American and the Middle East markets showed signs of improvement during the quarter. The international rig count rose to 954 units during the same quarter, as opposed to 929 units in the same quarter of last year. For the full year 2017, the global rig count rose to 2,089 units, compared to 1,772 units at the end of last year. Given the surge in the global rig count during the year, we expect to see a sharp rise in Halliburton’s revenues for the quarter as well as full year. However, on the pricing front, the company is expected to have witnessed continued pressure in the fourth quarter due to the onset of the holiday season and lower efficiency levels due to winter months mainly in the Rockies and Northern US. Also, the oilfield contractor does not expect to see a stark improvement in the year-end product and software sales in the international markets, as most of its customers are budget constrained. Thus, we foresee the company’s revenue to be lower compared to the previous quarter. On the profitability front, the company’s efforts to increase its pricing, improve its equipment utilization, and structurally reduce its operating costs are likely to enhance its margins. Lastly, Halliburton announced a fourth quarter dividend of 18 cents to its shareholders. This reiterates the company’s willingness to share its improving cash flows and profitability with its investors. View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis): Global Large Cap  |  U.S. Mid & Small Cap  |  European Large & Mid Cap More Trefis Research
How Sensitive Is Juniper's Stock To Changes In Its Router Market Share?
Networking giant Juniper (NYSE:JNPR) is one of the largest router players in the industry, with a 15% share in the global router market. However, its share is dwarfed by main rival Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) which has a share of over 50%. It is interesting to note that despite the fact that Cisco still commands a massive share in the market, its share has gone down from 62% at the beginning of the decade to just over 50% currently. Comparatively, second-largest player Juniper has improved its share over the same timeframe. Needless to say, Juniper’s ability to maintain or grow its share in the market is important for its valuation. We have created an interactive model that details how a change in its router market share can impact the company’s value. You can modify assumptions such as projected revenues to see how the market share or estimated valuation changes. The image below shows one of the key steps in identifying Juniper’s stock sensitivity to change in its market share. We detail how change in share impacts revenue, which then impacts EPS and subsequently the valuation (assuming the P/E multiple doesn’t change). We find that a  1% increase in Juniper’s market share would imply a nearly 2.4% upside to its near-term valuation, which we estimate using projected EPS and a forward P/E multiple. Our sensitivity analysis assumes that the increase in market share would not impact Juniper’s forward P/E multiple, which currently stands at just over 12 based on Trefis estimates (P/E based on Non-GAAP EPS). However, if you disagree with that assumption, you can make changes to all input variables on the interactive dashboards platform to gauge the impact of all changes on our price estimate and EPS. See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology
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Rio Tinto's 2017 Production Review: Iron Ore Output Is Expected to Remain Steady in the Upcoming Year
We have a $47 price estimate for Rio Tinto, which is below the market price. Have more questions about Rio Tinto? See the links below. How Rio’s Access to High Grade Iron Ore Would Remain Advantageous to the Company in Q4 Why Rio’s Interest in SQM Makes Sense Notes:
How Much Could Intel's Stock Move In 2018?
Intel’s  (NASDAQ:INTC) market price currently stands at around $44, which is over 20% higher than a year ago. This run up was driven by the company’s impressive quarterly results throughout the year. Despite competition from AMD and Nvidia, Intel grew its operating income by nearly 50%. That’s extremely impressive for a company as large as Intel, and much of this improvement came from a rebound in margins from the prior year, as the company benefited from price increases. With that said, it will be interesting to see how the company performs throughout 2018, and if the stock has scope for significant further growth. We have created an  interactive valuation calculator dashboard  using Trefis’ interactive technology where you can modify inputs such as EBITDA multiples and fundamentals determining Intel’s 2018 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology
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Johnson & Johnson Likely To Post Solid Q4 Led By Ramp Up In Oncology Drug Sales
Johnson & Johnson  (NYSE:JNJ) is set to report its Q4 2017 earnings on January 23, and we expect the company to post solid numbers, primarily led by continued growth in oncology drug sales, which saw growth of 25% in the previous quarter. It will also be interesting to see the trends in the company’s immunology drug Stelara, which saw a 38% jump in sales in the previous quarter, led by market share gains. We currently estimate full year Oncology drug sales to be over $7 billion, over 45% of which can be attributed to Imbruvica and Darzalex. These two drugs are likely to be key growth drivers for J&J in the coming years, with peak sales being touted to be around $4-5 billion for Imbruvica (J&J’s share) and $9 billion for Darzalex. The company should also benefit from its $30 billion acquisition of Swiss biotech Actelion in June last year. Actelion has provided J&J access to some high-margin medicines, since the company focuses on rare diseases which tend to have more price protection and fewer competitors. Beyond pharmaceuticals, the medical devices and consumer business will likely continue to drag along at a modest pace. The medical devices segment hasn’t seen a meaningful growth trigger, while the consumer business is facing strong competition from both big brands and private labels (Also see – A Look At Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Devices Segment ). While we remain optimistic about J&J’s overall performance, pricing issues and competitive pressure may keep growth in check in the fourth quarter. Looking forward, most of the major pharmaceutical companies, including J&J, should benefit from lower tax rates. The companies will see a significant impact from changes in their effective tax rates, and this could allow these companies to potentially increase R&D investments with the freed up cash, and more projects may become economically viable – as the expectation of greater future profits due to a lower tax rate could potentially encourage more risk-taking. You can look at our dashboard for pharma companies’ value sensitivity to changes in tax rates .  It will be interesting to see the company’s commentary on freed up cash. Our  price estimate  of $126 for Johnson & Johnson is around 10% below the current market price. See More at Trefis | View Interactive Institutional Research (Powered by Trefis) Get Trefis Technology
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Key Trends To Watch As Verizon Reports Q4 Results
Verizon  (NYSE:VZ) is scheduled to publish its Q4 2017 results on January 23, reporting on a quarter that likely saw the carrier continue its momentum in the postpaid wireless space. Below, we take a look at what to expect when Verizon reports its numbers. We have a  price estimate of $52 for Verizon’s stock, which is roughly in line with the current market price. Postpaid Business To Remain Strong Verizon’s postpaid wireless phone subscriber additions should remain strong, driven by its unlimited data plans.  Moreover, the carrier could also benefit from less aggressive device promotions from Sprint and T-Mobile over the holidays, as well as T-Mobile’s decision to incrementally increase pricing on some plans in early Q3 2017. That said, Verizon’s move to divide its unlimited offerings into three separate plans in late August, with caps on video resolution and stricter throttling policies that could partially impact its new activations (related:  Why Verizon Had To Rethink Its Unlimited Strategy ). During Q3 2017, the carrier added a total of 603k retail postpaid subscribers, marking a 36% improvement over the last year, with smartphone additions coming in at  486k, up from 242k in Q3 2016 . Retail Postpaid phone churn levels, which stood at just 0.75% in Q3 2017, likely remained low over the fourth quarter. Verizon’s prepaid operations may also continue to gain traction. The carrier has been tweaking its prepaid offerings to offer unlimited data and family accounts, posting net adds of about 139k in the last quarter. Updates On Emerging Businesses We will also be looking for updates on Verizon’s emerging businesses, such as media and the Internet of Things. The company’s Oath division – which is focused on digital media, digital advertising, online services, and software – saw revenues of about $2 billion during Q3 2017, and it’s possible that revenues will grow over the holiday quarter. Verizon has indicated that Oath has around 1 billion monthly unique users across its AOL and Yahoo platforms (related:  Where Will Verizon’s Oath Stand In The Digital Advertising Market? ). We will also be tracking the performance of the company’s Telematics business, which includes its Fleetmatics and Telogis operations. Telematics revenues stood at over $220 million during Q3’17. See our complete analysis for   Verizon  |  AT&T  | T-Mobile |  Sprint  


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