Friday, February 11, 2011

Playing Chicken With Inflation, The Coming Short Opportunity in Buffalo Wild Wings and Yum Brands (BWLD; YUM; DRI; CAG; TSN; SFD)

As I was typing the headline I realized the opportunity might come earlier in the producers than in the restaurants. So I threw Tyson, ConAgra and Smithfield into the mix.
This is all about sticky prices squeezing margins on the initial upticks in inflation. Now I shall go in search of companies that still use (or switched back to) FIFO accounting, in hopes of getting the "Switch to LIFO" effect.
I feel so '70's.
From the Omaha World-Herald:

Warnings of higher food prices headed for American supermarkets and restaurants were swallowed easily across much of farm country Wednesday.

The big gulp came when the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that global demand had pushed U.S. corn supplies to their lowest point in 15 years.

The price of corn, which has doubled over the past six months, affects most food products in supermarkets. It's used to feed the cattle, hogs and chickens that fill the meat aisles.

It is the main ingredient in Cap'n Crunch and Doritos. Turned into syrup, it sweetens most soft drinks and many foods.

Corn also is part of the agricultural blend that fuels the economies of Nebraska, Iowa and other farming states. Iowa is the nation's top corn-producing state; Nebraska is third.
Shoppers could see higher grocery bills as early as three months from now, though most of the impact won't be felt for another six months, said Scott Irwin, an agricultural economics professor at the University of Illinois.

Chicken prices are among the first to rise because the bird's life span is so short that higher feed costs get factored in quickly, he said. Price hikes for hogs take about a year and cattle two years. Prices on packaged foods take six or seven months to rise....MORE
HT: ZeroHedge