Cramer's Mad Money - How Low Can Chipotle Go? (10/22/12)

by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Monday October 22.

CFO Jack Hartung, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG). Other stock mentioned: Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM)

How much lower can Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) go? Friday saw the second disappointing quarter in a row for CMG, and the stock lost 15%. The stock is down 200 points from its all-time high, and like all momentum stocks that halt, it has been severely punished. Same store sales for CMG were once in the double digits, but they dropped to 8% last quarter and have recently fallen to 4.8%. In addition to serious deceleration in same store sales, there is talk that CMG might be losing market share to Yum's (YUM) Taco Bell.

CFO Jack Hartung denies that the customers are going to Taco Bell rather than CMG, because CMG offers a unique dining experience. Customers can see workers marinating beef and chicken, making guacamole from real avocados and cutting cilantro. Hartung says that while there has been a slowing down, people are still going to Chipotle; they might cut back on what they order, perhaps skipping the soda, or might have fewer business lunches there. The company is still expanding its store count and is bringing the Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen to Los Angeles. Hartung says that every new restaurant can generate returns of up to 60%. He added that the same store sales, while they were once quite elevated, are at a level that is still higher or comparable to similar quality restaurants. The company is planning significant buybacks to reward shareholders.

Cramer acknowledged that, while there has been a "reset" for CMG, the stock represents significant value.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), VF Corp (NYSE:VFC), Mellanox (NASDAQ:MLNX), Alpha Natural (ANR), Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Philip Morris (NYSE:PM)

Expectations are moving stocks every bit as much as fundamentals. Cramer discussed examples of how extremely high or low expectations on The Street are affecting the movement of stocks:

Caterpillar (CAT) has long had the reputation for giving far too rosy a picture, but now that management is not making such bullish statements, given weakness in China and Europe, the stock has rallied 3 points. Along with more moderate expectations is lower inventory, meaning that the company should perform better in 2013, if economic conditions improve. Cramer said his charitable trust has bought some CAT, now that expectations are lower.

Lam Research Corporation (LRCX) has been one of the worst performers for the quarter and the year. The stock was down 10% prior to the quarter, but since expectations for the stock were so low, the stock saw a 10% gain.

Google (GOOG) has had the reputation of beating and raising estimates, but mobile is providing new challenges for the company. Google fell $3 because expectations for the stock were too high.

Chipotle Mexican Grill had a "halo" around it for so long, since many on The Street believed that, with its concept emphasizing health and quality, it was immune to a slow economy. Now that the halo has been ripped off CMG after a couple of disappointing quarters, CMG might see some upside.

VF Corp (VFC) performed well and beat earnings estimates. However, when the company reported that sales were not as strong in Europe as management had forecast previously, the stock shed 7 points.

Mellanox (MLNX) has been a "hot stock," and was dropped like a hot potato; it was sitting at $104 going into earnings and fell to $75.

The lesson to be gleaned from these examples is to beware of stocks that are surrounded by excessive optimism, and there might be hope for the underdogs no one is rooting for.

Cramer took some calls:

Alpha Natural (ANR) needs a Romney victory, since President Obama is very anti-coal.

Alliant TechSystems (ATK) is a bullet maker that should do well whoever is in the White House; as long as there is an army, there will be a need for bullets, and the company already has a major contract with the government.

Philip Morris (PM) could come down lower. It is worth waiting for $85, and there is no reason to hurry into the stock.

CEO Interview: Scott Wine, Polaris (NYSE:PII)

Can the economy be so bad if consumers can afford to pay $13,000 for a high-tech sled or a snow mobile? Polaris CEO Scott Wine says the high-end consumer is holding up even in an uncertain economy. Polaris reported a 13 cent earnings beat with revenues that rose 20%. All of the company's product divisions rose in the double digits, with a 21% increase is snow mobile sales and 78% more motorcycles sold. While 70% of Polaris is domestic, the company is seeing double digit sales in Latin America and Asia. The stock has risen 32% since Cramer got behind it in January, but since the stock is currently down $2, it might be a good time for investors to buy it. When asked about things that could negatively impact sales in the future, Scott Wine identified the fiscal cliff, change in taxes, and increase in regulation as potential obstacles. When asked what consumers are looking for in Polaris' vehicles, Wine replied that innovation is the key; the company has 22 new vehicles developed this year.

Cramer says the two takeaways from the interview are that "First, Polaris is building a better mouse trap. Second, people can afford that mousetrap."

CEO Interview: David Wenner, B&G Foods (NYSE:BGS)

B&G Foods (BGS) has been successful at buying and breathing new life into tired brands. Its products take up substantial space in the shopping aisle: Cream of Wheat, Ortega, Vermont Maple Syrup, B&G pickles, and most recently, Mrs. Dash and Old London. Management is talking about acquiring new brands, and the stock has risen 5% since Cramer got behind it in July. CEO David Wenner is hopeful about the prospects of its Old London acquisition, after the closing of a non-performing factory and the strength of the deli snack business. When asked if food inflation is affecting BGS, Wenner responded that commodity inflation tends to affect protein-oriented food companies. BGS's only protein-heavy product is deviled ham, but given low pork prices, BGS is benefiting.

Cramer would buy BGS on its current decline.


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