Bud Light: A Case of Wishful Thinking

Last week’s Super Bowl delivered on all its promises. Football fans got a great ending to an exciting game. Music lovers saw a star-studded halftime show. Most of the commercials were funny.

But one product advertisement caught my attention for another reason. It was the Bud Lite commercial featuring a genie that could grant any wish.

I recommended Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), to my PF Pro readers last year. At that time, the company was reeling from a consumer boycott due to a controversial ad featuring a transgender social media influencer.

Last April, BUD was trading above $65. The company’s flagship product, Bud Lite, was by far the biggest selling bear in America.

That all changed after the boycott a month later. Sales of Bud Lite cratered while BUD fell below $55. Nobody knew which way the stock would go next.

That’s when my PF Pro stock screener told me that it was time to buy the stock. Wall Street’s overreaction to a temporary crisis provided a profit opportunity too good to pass up.

Last June, I recommended buying BUD while it was trading around $55. I also suggested buying a call option at the $55 strike price that expires in January 2025. A call option increases in value when the price of the underlying security goes up.

A few days ago, BUD was priced closer to $65. If you bought the stock when I recommended it, you’d be sitting on an 18% gain.

Over the same span the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) has performed about the same. In that respect, this trade has fared no better (or worse) than the overall stock market.

Unexpected Endorsement

However, my call option trade on BUD still has eleven months to go until it expires. And now, its intrinsic value of $10 exceeds my premium (purchase price) of $9.

That equates to a gain of 11%. So far, the equity trade is doing better than the options trade. That’s because we first must recoup the premium for buying that option.

But from here on out, any further appreciation in BUD will benefit the call option more than it will the stock. For example, let’s say BUD rises to $75 by the time the call option expires in January.

In that case, the gain on the stock would be 36%. Not bad, but the profit from the call option trade would be 122%.

Of course, there is no assurance that BUD will continue to appreciate. Now that it has recovered the loss from the consumer boycott, the company must prove that it can increase sales of its most popular product.

That effort gained an unexpected ally last week. On February 6, former president Donald Trump said, “Anheuser-Busch is a Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance?

That’s important since Bud Lite drinkers tend to skew conservative. But it’s also a bit peculiar since Trump is a teetotaler.

At the urging of a friend (and campaign donor), Trump is now endorsing Bud Light. It isn’t clear how the company feels about that, but it should be good news for its shareholders.

Labor Pains

If the Bud Light genie really could grant any wish, an endorsement from the ideological leader of the folks participating in the boycott would be a good place to start.

So would a strong report for the company’s fiscal 2023 full year results. Those numbers will be released on February 29, along with guidance for the current quarter.

However, that news may be eclipsed by another event. That same day, the company’s contract with its 5,000 unionized workers expires. If they can’t make a deal, then a strike is likely.

The company said it is willing to negotiate to avoid a strike. The Teamsters union insists on higher wages for its members, or they will walk off the job.

The Teamsters union is on a roll. Last year, it successfully negotiated much higher wages for United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) employees and for most American autoworkers.

Ultimately, higher wages get passed on to consumers. In that regard, the outcome of those negotiations should not affect the company’s long-term profitability.

But in the near term, a work stoppage can be enormously disruptive. Eight months after agreeing to terms with the Teamsters, UPS is worth less now than it was then.

That’s why I would ask the Bud Light genie to grant me this one wish: Avoid a strike so the company can capitalize on an unexpected endorsement that could propel its share price to new heights. I think we can all drink to that!

Editor’s Note: My colleague Jim Pearce has created a tool that lets him pinpoint lightning quick profit opportunities. It’s also a tool that won’t be available to anyone else. Not even existing Personal Finance subscribers.

As this proprietary tool finds new money-making trades, Jim will only share them inside his advisory, Personal Finance PRO. Click here for details.

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