Air Transport Services Group
On June 22 Air Transport (NSDQ: ATSG) bought 3.8 million shares from its largest shareholder for $13.07 per share, a 3% discount to the closing price. The shareholder, Red Mountain Capital, now owns 11.5% of Air Transport’s shares, down from 17.5% previously. Thanks to its strong balance sheet, Air Transport could afford to buy back the stock.
Also, Amazon’s recent Prime Day was a resounding success, a sign of more business for Air Transport. Prime Day featured thousands of products at massive discounts just for Prime members. Although Amazon didn’t quantify the size of its membership jump, the online retailer noted a 60% increase in the number of orders received. Exploding demand for expedited delivery of its goods compelled Amazon to lease Air Transport’s planes.
It’s been a busy month for Brunswick (NYSE: BC). In late June, management introduced guidance for 2018 and expects earnings per share to range from $4.55 to $4.95 and revenue from $5.2 billion to $5.5 billion. These estimates reflect earnings growth of 19% in 2018, higher than the 15% the company expected in 2018, an indication that management is positive about the current boating market as well as the prospects for its fitness business.
In addition, credit rating agency Moody’s upgraded Brunswick’s debt due to the improvements in its profitability and the diversification provided by its fitness acquisitions.
On July 5, Brunswick purchased Thunder Jet, a designer and builder of heavy-gauge aluminum boats. Management noted that the more rapid replacement rate and higher price points and margins carried by Thunder Jet boats will improve Brunswick’s profitability.
Brunswick reports earnings July 28.
Charles River Labs
On June 27 Charles River Labs (NYSE: CRL) acquired Blue Stream Laboratories. No terms were disclosed, so the revenue and earnings from this company are not likely to materially alter Charles River’s near term profits. However, Blue Stream Laboratories is a great strategic fit. The deal broadens Charles River’s capabilities in the biosimilar market. Biosimilars are a complex new set of drugs developed by industry heavyweights like Amgen. These drugs are difficult to develop, test and produce but have potential for difficult-to-treat diseases.
Charles River will report second-quarter earnings Aug. 3.
Despite a prominent financial journalist at Barron’s noting that Criteo (NSDQ: CRTO) could attract takeover bids, the stock slipped 5% this month (but is still up 14% since our March recommendation). The sluggishness could be due to investor fears over the U.K.’s decision to exit the EU. Criteo receives 40% of its revenue from Europe. That percentage is shrinking as the company’s U.S. business is growing 60%, much faster than other regions. We are eager to hear management’s comments about any change in European business when it reports earnings in early August, but we expect the secular strength of targeted advertising to nullify any Brexit-related issues.
This company continues to motor higher as investors jump on the RV bandwagon. The stock is up 12% this month and up 16% since our June 1 purchase. Drew (NYSE: DW) could enjoy a new customer through an acquisition that one of its largest customers made. That customer, Thor Industries, bought privately held Jayco, which is considered one of the top 10 RV manufacturers in the United States. The acquisition will enhance Thor’s position in the market. Jayco makes travel trailers, folding camping trailers, higher-end diesel class A motor homes and larger class C motor homes. Thor will likely shift some of Jayco’s orders over to Drew.
Although Drew has not set a final date for earnings, we expect them in early August.
Once again we took to defending our favorite solar stock when it was raided by short selling service The Streetsweeper. It offers several short ideas a week, often with incomplete or shaky information.
The Streetsweeper argued that competitor Enphase was cutting prices and would hurt SolarEdge (NSDQ: SEDG). Enphase has been cutting prices dramatically for over a year and almost put itself out of business doing so. One of the reasons we like SolarEdge is that it improved its technology so that it could offer lower prices to customers while earning a higher profit.
We are eager to hear management’s view of the solar market when the company reports in mid-August.
Investors are beginning to gain confidence in consumer stocks. Apparel retailer Gap reported its first positive comp sales number since March 2015, good news for mall-based retailers that have suffered from weak customer traffic. Strong employment numbers continue to encourage consumer demand.
In addition, an analyst at brokerage firm R.W. Baird noted that the search traffic for Vera bags improved in June, a positive indicator of future sales.
Vera (NSDQ: VRA) won’t report second-quarter earnings until September 1, but we will keep subscribers up to date on other developments as they arise.