In this podcast, Motley Fool senior analysts Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger and host Dylan Lewis discuss:
- Why they're watching margins and inventory levels this earnings season.
- How interest rate spread pushed JP Morgan to a stellar quarter.
- How short-sellers are creating big year-to-date returns for beaten-up companies.
- Two stocks on their radar: Franklin Electric and Disney.
Motley Fool host Deidre Woollard speaks with Steve Wyett, the Chief Investment Strategist at Bok Financial, about how shifting interest rates have affected consumers and asset allocation, and the divide between the big banks and everyone else.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
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Dylan Lewis: Earnings season kicks off once again. Motley Fool Money starts now.
Dylan Lewis: It's the Motley Fool Money Radio Show. I'm Dylan Lewis, joining me in studio Motley Fool Senior Analysts Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger. Fellows, great to have you both here.
Jason Moser: Hello.
Matt Argersinger: Hello.
Dylan Lewis: We've got to look at why some tech stocks are flying the divide and banking, and of course, stocks on our radar, but we are kicking things off looking at earnings season. We had big banks report this week officially kicking off earning season. But before we get into some of the higher-level results for these businesses, let's talk a little bit about expectations for this earnings season. It's been a little bit of a tumultuous period and a little bit of a difficult period for businesses as they are planning things out and try and forecast for the year. Jason, as you're seeing results coming from companies, what are you paying attention to this quarter?
Jason Moser: I think one thing to watch is margins. All the way from the top to the bottom, gross down to net. We've seen a lot of companies going into this year focusing a lot on maximizing efficiencies. Facebook or Meta rather this was the year of efficiency. A lot of companies really focusing on battening down the hatches. They're cutting workforces, investing in technology automation, things like that. I think watching margins, we've seen a big focus on these cutting costs and those are helping. We're seeing that play out on this financial. Now, we're starting to see for a lot of these businesses that input costs are starting to come down as well. Inflation starting to moderate, that's not an opinion. That seems to be a fact that now whether that sticks we'll see, but it does feel like those input costs are starting to come down. There is a potential I think for companies who really benefit from this because you've figured prices will stay where they are.
Typically companies don't raise prices and then lower than once conditions get better, but if input costs start coming down even just incrementally they can have a profound impact on a number of businesses. Now, admittedly, a lot of them are probably consumer-facing staple-type businesses, but just a couple of examples. When we saw with McCormick recently in their most recent call, they talked about driving significant gross margin improvement. Now, part of that was due to things like the comprehensive continuous improvement program and the global operating effectiveness program. I love these roll of the tongue. It tells the tale back to defocusing on cost side of things, but now even they are starting to see that they were a little bit more thoughtful about pricing during those high inflationary times.
But now that those input costs are coming down, they're seeing that play out on their margins positively. Just this week, Pepsi, another good example, from their call, they talked about the gross margin improvement. They saw on a quarter, that's 132 basis points on the gross side, 45 basis points on the net side. That was driven by productivity again maximizing those efficiencies, so to speak. But they also noted that pricing was up exactly in line with commodity inflation. What that means is, as long as they keep on bumping those prices up as inflation goes up, they're not seeing is trying to take advantage of the consumer, so to speak. They're just keeping up with inflation, but those input costs start coming down. They're going to be able to maintain those prices. I feel like we should start to see that play out positively on the margin pictures for lot of these companies in the back half of the year.
Dylan Lewis: Matt, what about you? What are you looking at as companies reported?
Matt Argersinger: Mine is very similar to what JMo said in that I'm focused on inventories. A lot of the companies I like to look at are small and mid-sized companies, industrial materials, consumer discretionary. A big worry for these companies has been a real hefty buildup in inventories over the last few quarters, especially finished good inventories. If you go back to 2020/2021, we had these pretty big supply chain challenges. Inventories were stretched, demand was still pretty high. Companies did their best to bulk up their inventories. In anticipation of demand, staying strong, head off any potential new supply disruptions. What that did is it just really bulked up their inventories. If you look at companies that I follow, like the Toro Company, outdoor construction landscape escaping equipment, they're finished goods inventory was up almost 40%. Year over year last quarter, Columbia Sportswear up 34%. Watsco, a distribution company, up to 16%, Oxford Industries, the Tommy Bahama Company that I love, at about 45%. In a lot of cases, the inventory growth has far outpaced sales. That's usually a red flag. Now, larger companies have done a much better job.
If you look at Amazon, Home Depot, Target, Walmart, Nike, these companies have a lot more channels. They're geographically diversified. Their inventories are actually flat or down. I think if you're an investor like I'm in smaller to mid-sized companies, that's where you want to look at because what Jamie was worried about as margins, if inventories remain high in Q2, they're going to have discounting, consumer demand might slow, lower profit margins, lower earnings, and it's a big worry.
Dylan Lewis: Managing inventory is really hard. I don't think it gets enough credit.
Matt Argersinger: Not at all.
Jason Moser: It does seem simple in concept, but to make sure you have what your customers want when they want it all the time is just really hard.
Matt Argersinger: We saw that when supply chains break down and that's why you've seen this big move until you have more redundancy in that space where it's not just about just-in-time manufacturing or just-in-time inventory anymore. It's just in case inventory that a lot of companies are focused on.
Dylan Lewis: Well, we got an early look this week at maybe what to expect for this earnings season. JPMorgan got the party started. The bank posted earnings of 14.5 billion up 67% from a year ago, revenue up to 41 billion, good for 34% growth. I was a little surprised to see these strong results, Jason, and we also saw some cautiously optimistic commentary from the bank's leader Jamie Diamond.
Jason Moser: I was very happily surprised as well. We saw all three banks beat on the top and the bottom line. There's got to be a triple crown or like a triple Lindy for this. I don't know. We loved Jamie Diamond, maybe this is the triple Jamie, I don't know, but either way, it was good news particularly when you look back just the last quarter, the trend really last quarter banks, we're taking a bit of a conservative approach. I think recession talk was a bit more front and center. That seems to be taken a little bit of a bag position this quarter on JPMorgan's call alone, the word recession was only mentioned four times. It wasn't something that was integral to the information that's being given us like they're just preparing in case. But they do feel like conditions general speaking, are still pretty acceptable. As far as the numbers go for JPMorgan, net interest income of $21.9 billion, that was up 44% from a year ago or up 38 if you exclude First Republic's.
Any which way you cut it, that was a very encouraging number and really it played out the way we were hoping it would. We've been talking for a while now is the interest rate starts to come up that should play out in favor for these banks. They can realize a little bit more on that spread, that net interest income would come up. It's proving to come up which is obviously working out for these banks. The Reserves. I think the provision for credit losses are still something that they're worried about. We saw with JPMorgan that provision for these credit losses grew 27% from the previous quarter. They think if you exclude First Republic, it was a little bit of a better picture because they do have to consider what they brought in with that acquisition but all things considered. Jamie Diamond continues to see the US economy is resilient, but I think he also acknowledged the fact that the consumer is becoming strapped and we talked last week about the fact that, that excess savings that we've all accumulated over the last three years or that many accumulated is now gone. Clearly, they're going to be some more costs coming down the line here from consumers of student loans pick back up. They are preparing for a rainy day. It feels like maybe they're a little bit more optimistic than they were a quarter ago.
Matt Argersinger: One of our colleagues on the investing team; Yasser El-Shimy, he said this morning after going through JPMorgan's results. I guess the hurricane never came out which I loved because roughly a year ago, Jamie Dimon was saying, hey, watch out, there's a hurricane coming. He was partly right though; Jamie Dimon, in the sense that it wasn't a hurricane, but it was a tornado. They touchdown, hit the regional banks and I think souped up a ton of deposits and assets and deposit it right into JPMorgan's balance sheet and other mega bank. I was not surprised that how strong those results have been so far for the big banks like JPMorgan and Wells Fargo because they really benefited from what happened in the spring.
Look at those net interest margins. We're still in a situation where consumers of those banks are still getting basis points on their savings or their checking accounts yet JPMorgan and others are lending at much higher interest rates now. It's a perfect situation for them. I would worry about what happens over the next few months. As comps get a little harder, interest rate levels stay high. You're still going to see a lot of rotation out of a lot of these assets that sit on the books of the banks.
Dylan Lewis: One of the things I want to ask you is I think we've been in an environment Matt, where people have had to look back and say, businesses, we're operating in an environment that did not last, and we've had to adjust our expectations accordingly, a lot of that in the high growth sectors and tech sectors. Should we have that same line of thinking here as we're looking at results from these banks?
Matt Argersinger: I think we should because as long as these interest rates stay high like I said, the comps are going to get harder, there's more avenues for that money to flow where it needs to flow and away from the banks and plus as Jamie said, the credit issue is going to rise. It might rise slowly, but there's a lot of real estate. There is commercial real estate on the books. There's troubled loans. Those take time to work off, but I think we're going to see some elevated charge-offs certainly in the near future.
Dylan Lewis: I think something else to keep an eye on because these are really just the first of many banks to report or in the next couple of weeks. If you look at Wells Fargo again, net interest income up 29% from a year ago. A couple of weeks back, Matt Frankel and I had a conversation on the show regarding the competition for deposits with smaller banks. That's going to be something to keep an eye on as the regional banks, the community banks, how the interest rate policy is working for them because banking size matters. I think we've seen that. It just does and they can do a lot more with that scale. The competition for deposits on the smaller side, that means they're going to have to offer their consumers that are depositors a little bit more. I would expect with the regionals and the communities we're going to see not quite as rosy picture, I think in regard to that net interest income as we're seeing with the big makes, I think it'll still probably be good, but I do think it's going to be a little bit more of a competitive scenario for those smaller banks. Just something to keep in mind.
Coming up on the show, the story behind a stock up 400% in the past couple of months. Stay right here. This is Motley Fool Money.
Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. I'm Dylan Lewis here in studio with Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger. Big Tech has gotten most of the headlines this year, so far driving a large portion of the S&P 500 returns. But if you look at some of the beaten-up companies year-to-date, you might be a bit surprised. Shares of Carvana up 700% year-to-date, Redfin up 300% year-to-date, Coinbase, 200% year-to-date. The list goes on for Shopify, Opendoor, and Airbnb also strong starts to the year. Matt, what's going on here?
Matt Argersinger: Well, I think something that might be happening here is a lot of short-covering, Dylan. This is data from YCharts. If you look at it, you mentioned Carvana. Coming into the year, 50 million shares sold short of Carvana, that was 45% of the outstanding shares sold short, massive. Shopify, 50 million shares sold short, Redfin, you mentioned, 20 million shares sold short, Digital Realty Trust, a company I follow, this is the datacenter read that Jim Chanos hates. Eighteen million shares sold short, that's up a lot recently, Airbnb, 25 million shares sold short, Opendoor, more than 100 million shares sold short as of recently, and then Coinbase, 40 million shares sold short, look at the price lately that you mentioned. These stocks have surged over the past few months, and I think the ultimate question to ask, if you're an investor in any of these is, has the fundamental picture actually improved for these companies? Or are these really just short-term technical balances?
The news wasn't as bad as feared, so the stocks rallied a little bit and enforce a lot of short sellers to cover the shares. When they cover, of course, they're buying the stock, they have to, and that's caused a lot of these surges. If it's the latter, I think you have to be a little worried about the sustainability of these gains.
Dylan Lewis: Yeah, one of the things I wanted to talk about with this is, you mentioned the fundamental look and that's so important to the way that we look at businesses. There are some names on here that are heavily followed in the full universe and are part of our premium world. How do you factor something like this into the thesis for a business that you're following or maybe own in your portfolio?
Matt Argersinger: It's not something I tend to look a lot except I think if you are a believer in the fundamentals of these companies, and I think a lot of these companies have great fundamentals, and I think among us investors at the Fool is we have a lot of confidence in the long-term picture here, but so the short interest can be a little bit of a catalyst. I've never looked it and gotten worried if I believe in a company if I've confidence, I've never generally worried if the short interest tends to build up in it. But you can at least look at it and say, well gosh, if I'm right, and a lot of people are bidding against it, and then there is a short-term catalyst potentially, where if the news turns out to be right and we know in the long run when a stock market it's a weighing machine. If the earnings turn out to be good, that's probably going to rally and it's going to be rally pretty sharply.
Dylan Lewis: Jason, looking at these results, I think it's hard to know for sure, but I would guess that some of these short-sellers have had a little bit of a rough time. When they look at their portfolios, it's tough to be in a position where you're short of something that has gone up quite a bit in short period of time. I look at this and I say, did we learn nothing from the GameStop Saga of 2021? I'm surprised that we are still seeing people pile into heavily shorted names when there's this awareness that at some point there may be a short squeeze.
Jason Moser: Well, you think about shorting and Matt he's talking about a catalyst and the way I look at investing, I'm always looking for either a short-term catalyst to a short-term event or a long-term trend. Usually, I'm looking for a long-term trend just because it's a longer-term in nature thesis. But Airbnb stood out as one. I saw that short interest, now Airbnb is a company I recommended recently one of my services, I love the business, and fundamentally, just really like it, I think it's got a lot of potential. Seeing that there was a heavy short interest, I'm like yeah, there's a short-term catalyst to go along with that long-term trend, so it can be beneficial in that regard. But, yeah, it does feel like with shorting, when it starts looking obvious, if it's obvious to you, you better assume that it's obvious to everybody. The thing about shorting is it becomes more expensive as it becomes more obvious.
The demand for shorting becomes more expensive. The demand for shorting make shorting stocks more expensive, the costs that come with it. When you're looking at something on paper and you think that's an obvious candidate, remember if it's obvious to you, it's probably obvious to more people. There are a number of different ways to short, you can straight up short a stock, but there's also option strategies you can take into account and that can minimize those costs while still giving you the opportunity to play in that sandbox. Generally speaking, I'm not a short guy, I just don't do it, it's not where my mind is at. I feel like they're smarter people out there doing that line of work, and I'm going to let them just handle it. But yeah, just remember if it's obvious to you then it probably is obvious too many.
Matt Argersinger: I've definitely shorted stocks in the past and bought bearish options and play the downside, but not like you said. With these types of companies where they're either growing or they've gotten multiple options on how they can proceed, it's a real dangerous game to play. I think their times are short, but going into this year with already so many shares sold short if you piled in, you're feeling pretty bad right now.
Jason Moser: But just make sure it's fundamentally a business that you're OK with. If you're short of something, be prepared, if it doesn't work out, will I still be happy owning this business? Because chances are that is going to happen, I mean not every time, but if you are a serial shorter, that's going to happen at some point or another. For me, it really still all boils down to the end of the day. Making sure these are businesses that you fundamentally are happy owning. Now, if that's your philosophy, that's your thesis is just shorting stocks, I mean that's fine, that can be a short-term way to make some money. There are plenty of lists that you can generate all throughout the year of the heaviest shorted names, and you can just go ahead and short all up and maybe there's a basket concept there just waiting to be born, Dylan, I don't know. But it's worth noting if we were shorting, the best you can do is 100%.
Ultimately, the most you're going to make is 100% gain, because ultimately the stock has to go to zero. I think one of the arguments is against it, at least if you can take that longer view, if you're investing for a lifetime is, you find those fundamentally good businesses that you can hang onto for long periods of time and your returns, I'm not going to say are limitless, but they just absolutely can continue to compound far beyond that 100%.
Matt Argersinger: Well, how many shares do you think has been shorted of Amazon over the last 20-plus years? Going back to even the .com era.
Jason Moser: Unlike evaluation thesis.
Matt Argersinger: What?
Jason Moser: Yeah, any thesis, but yeah, evaluation is one of those in the toolkit of the short-seller that's used often, I think he's very poorly. Because it's the wrong reason to short a company like an Amazon. Or even some of the companies we mentioned when they are growing at exceptional rates, and if you're wrong by just a little bit, the market can punish you in the short term. What's that famous saying? I think it's, you can be wrong.
Dylan Lewis: I think it's the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.
Matt Argersinger: Thank you, Dylan. That's exactly, I was going to butcher that.
Jason Moser: You want to remember?
Matt Argersinger: No, it's absolutely the best one to remember for this yet.
Dylan Lewis: Bring it back around to some of these companies, Matt, we've talked about how this may be a little bit of a short-term tailwind for them. If you're seeing these results, this is probably setting some unrealistic expectations for people that have bought these stocks recently. What do you have to have in mind just a final word here if you're following these businesses.
Matt Argersinger: I would just really understand, has the fundamental picture improved? If you didn't say yes to that definitively, love the gains are good, and that's probably what you're going to get.
Dylan Lewis: Jason Moser, Matt Argersinger, fellows, we're going to see you a little bit later in the show. But up next, we've got a deeper dive on interest rates and the banking sector. Stay tuned, this's Motley Fool Money.
Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. I'm Dylan Lewis. We're still waiting through the collapse of Silicon Valley and other banks. But the response to their failures is already reshaping the banking industry. To understand how Motley Fool Money's Deidre Woollard spoke with Steve Wyett, the chief investment officer at BOK Financial. The two dug into how shifting interest rates have affected consumers and asset allocation, and the divide between the big banks and everybody else.
Deidre Woollard: You can get pretty decent rates now for CDs for a high-yield savings accounts. How do you see consumers thinking about that? Has there been a move to saving more because you can actually finally get a decent rate?
Steve Wyett: Yeah. Look, I started my career in the bond business in January of 1982. Interest rates were very high at that period of time, and for savers, that was a fabulous period to be a fixed-income investor. The last 15 years, candidly, the bond market has offered nothing. It's been returnless risk for the better part of 15 years. You're absolutely correct that for the first time in a long time, we're seeing interest rate policy benefit savers at the expense of borrowers. We've been benefiting borrowers at the expense of savers for a very long time. There's a couple of bigger trends going on here. This is another reason that we're a little bit cautious on the equity markets, it's just that as rates move higher, you can generate a reasonable level of return in the bond market for a lot less risk than the equity market for the first time in a while. I think that, look, just the math of how we're valuing equities on a go-forward basis is changing some.
But for individuals that live on interest income, this has been actually a pretty good spur to their personal income where they were earning basically nothing and really being forced. That was the hard part as a portfolio manager or dealing with clients is that those clients that really wanted to build an investment portfolio where they were getting cash flow and hesitant to sell, didn't want to have to necessarily sell something to distribute corpus. We were forced to find alternative bond proxies, and while the unwind of that last year was pretty painful, Deidre, first time what we saw bonds down double digits, and in fact, long-term treasuries were down more than equities last year. That was a painful unwind. But as we sit here today, now we're looking at fixed income that can play a little bit closer to the historical part and a portfolio.
We can actually reduce risk a little bit, because we've got higher cash flows. Look, we still think the Fed's going to be raising rates, but they're a lot closer to the end than the start of that process. This is a period of time where we are trying to find those types of high-quality bonds. Adding a little bit of duration to the portfolio. A number of our ultra-high-net-worth clients finding real value in tax exempt bond to where we are now looking at tax equivalent yields that approximate long-term equity type returns. Just as a from a portfolio construction process, this interest rate environment is a lot more normal for us than what we've been going through, as the Fed was pushing rates to zero and pursuing quantitative easing and really distorting, if you will, the fixed income markets. That's the other part of this just as we look at the markets. It's been very hard to get any what we would say real price signals out of the capital markets, when you had the Fed in there being a massive buyer of treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, pushing interest rates to zero. It just made the valuation process and really the capital allocation process so much more difficult. You got to get back to using some muscles we haven't used in a long time as we think about building portfolios now.
Deidre Woollard: Well, the first stock that we had in the beginning of the year was the banking crisis. Now it seems like the worst of that hopefully is over. The big banks, they just passed their stress tests. Do you feel like consumer faith in banking has been restored, especially with regard to regional banks?
Steve Wyett: I worked for a regional bank.
Deidre Woollard: You do indeed.
Steve Wyett: Look, this is a multifaceted question, and I'm not a spokesperson for BOK Financial front overall. But let's talk about the, just speaking of the banking industry overall. It is good that it does appear that the worst of the fears that were in place as we saw Silicon Valley Bank fail and real question marks occur. It was just a really interesting time because the thing that took down Silicon Valley Bank was completely different than what we would normally see, where banks get in trouble in their note case. They have credit problems. That isn't what this was. This was a failure of risk management 101. Interest rate risk and their bond portfolio. This wasn't some esoteric off balance sheet derivative thing that got them, it was their bond portfolio right there in front of them, and they failed to manage the risk of that. That's unusual. The vast majority of banks did a much better job of managing risks. Not every one of them. There have been other banks that have been in the news that look like they had some excess interest rate risk on their balance sheet, or maybe more than what they should have. Look, I can buy into the fact that the Fed had told us for what the better part of two-and-a-half years, we're not raising rates. We went into 2022 looking for two, maybe three rate increases. They end up raising rates by 5%. I get it. The outcome of the interest rate cycle was different than what we all thought it was going to be. That doesn't mitigate the failure of risk management on the part of Silicon Valley, and I think the vast majority of the banking businesses was we're managing risks much better than that. Having said that, as we've gone through that, we do think that there were a couple of things that make things difficult, and one of those, just a couple of weeks after Silicon Valley Bank failed, and our Oklahoma senator, James Lankford, was interviewing Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, in the Senate on Senate Banking Committee testimony.
The question that our senator raised was about the safety of depositors and whether or not the Treasury was going to guarantee all of the depositors. Basically, Chair Yellen, as you know, came out and said, look, if you're a systemically important financial institution, a SIFI institution, all depositors are safe, but everybody else we're going to take it on a case-by-case basis. Deidre, let's just be honest, that's not tenable over a long period of time. Our banking system has changed so dramatically from where it was 2030, 40 years ago when the ability to do business with one of the larger banks in the country. Just as an example, I'm going to say JPM, the largest bank out there. Depending on where you live, you might not even be able to do business with JPM because they weren't in your region or weren't in your market or whatever. Technology has completely changed that. Any company, any person can do business with any bank at anytime very easily.
It just flattened this out. If you're going to have a banking system where depositors are treated differently in the SIFI banks versus the regional banks, we are always going to have this tension, because depositors have the potential of being treated differently. I'm not sure that's what we want to do to depositors. I don't know that we want to have depositors have to have maybe the same sense of doing due diligence with the bank that they're doing business with as opposed to investors, if you're going to be a stockholder or a debt holder of a financial institution.. The other part of this, Deidre, of course, is 250,000 covers a lot of people, a lot of individuals. But particularly as you get the companies, you don't have to be a very big company at all for you to have an operating account in excess of $250,000. I think there are some things that we're still going to need to work out. I can tell you that in our first quarter earnings release, BOK Financial first quarter, we had a bit of a discussion around the FDIC assessment that we're expecting from the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. It's not an immaterial amount. Deidre, I was stunned at what the number was. Of course, it'd be more for the bigger institutions.
This is going to be something as we think about how FDIC insurance works going forward. We don't want to put people in a position where they feel like they have to move money out of the regional banks. I would just tell you this, just look at the difference between what the bigger banks are paying on money versus the smaller regional banks. The bigger banks are still paying one or two basis points on checking accounts, because they just have deposits coming out and people feel like that's where they have to be doing business return of capital as opposed to return on capital. But if you look at the majority of the banking system, one of the things that's been a headwind for the performance of those stocks where our deposit beta was pretty low 12 months ago. We're having to pay a lot higher rates for deposits, and when I say we I'm speaking broadly, I'm not speaking about just BOK Financial.
But the banking industry is paying a higher amount for deposits, and ultimately, that's a bit of a margin problem for profitability. It's a multifaceted issue, Deidre. When we just think about the banking system and how our banking system is set up, and maybe this was one of the scarier parts as we talked internally about what happened to Silicon Valley. Our banking system is not set up for any financial institution that have 50% of their clients come and say I want my money. We're not set up that way, that's not how. If there's that risk, and you put this another way, and this is where [laughs] I would just tell you, the regulatory authorities are not going to waste this opportunity to have additional regulation come at the financial institutions. We've heard talk of additional capital requirements weighted more toward the big banks, but BOK Financial is a top 30 financial institution.
We're going to get a part of this as well as everybody else. If you start requiring more capital, higher liquidity measures, all of that means is that you're going to have less of an ability any lower. If you lower the risk on your balance sheet, that generally means less profitability, just like in an investment portfolio, when we talk to our clients. If we're going to take less risk and our investment portfolio, we need to dial down our return expectations. I think that's the environment that the financial system is going to be operating within as we move forward, as we try [MUSIC] to fine-tune that balance between return and the amount of risks that we have, and the upcoming choices.
Dylan Lewis: Coming up after the break, Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger return with a couple of stocks on their radar. Stay right here. You're listening to Motley Fool Money. As always, people on the program may have interests in the stocks they talk about, and the Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. I'm Dylan Lewis, joined again by Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger. We've got stocks on our radar this week, but first two stories are in food. If you're craving Domino's, you've got a new way to get it. The pizza chain is partnering with Uber Eats and Postmate apps in four pilot markets with the hope of rolling ordering in those apps across the country by the end of the year. Matt, another innovation for Domino's?
Matt Argersinger: Yeah, totally, and a win-win. I can't speak for the pizza necessarily, but what I love about this deal for Domino's is that you're essentially expanding the marketing and distribution for your pizza, but you're not really changing the operations or experience. You're going to still have a uniform Domino's delivering the pizza. The experience doesn't change, the operations doesn't change, it just boost Domino's visibility and accessibility. I can understand why the stock got a nice pop this week.
Jason Moser: Delivery associates.
Matt Argersinger: Delivery associates. That's what I was going for, sorry. Respect the title. Thanks, Jamo.
Dylan Lewis: It seems like Domino's is just happy with you're ordering a pizza no matter how you get it, that seems to be them.
Matt Argersinger: A hundred percent.
Dylan Lewis: Jason, we've also got some innovation over in avocados at Chipotle, it's testing out a guacamole-making robot, the Autocado, which can prepare avocados for guaking, hopefully reducing the amount of time to make guac. What do you make of this?
Jason Moser: Well, this is near and dear to my heart, Dylan, and for so many reasons. I love guacamole. I think Chipotle's guacamole is second to none. I think I've got three guacamole trees outside on my deck at my house. I'm an avocado guy.
Dylan Lewis: I like that they're guacamole trees and not avocado trees. Then no, I've already factored in the fact that they are going into guacamole.
Matt Argersinger: What do you mean by the way? It's avocado associates? [laughs]
Jason Moser: Got a key lime tree sitting right next to them. It's already done. Chipotle is just a wonderful restaurant for so many reasons. I love their innovation. I mean, chippy, the machine that makes the chips. This is just another opportunity for them to try to maximize efficiencies, as usual, we're talking about earlier in the show. It does matter. Chipotle's guacamole is in high demand, people pay for it. It's fascinating to see. This dates back a little bit, but I mean, according to the restaurant, customers order nearly 50 million pounds of guacamole per year from Chipotle. More than 450,000 avocados are used daily. Now, if you've ever peeled and pitted an avocado to make guacamole, it's some work.
Matt Argersinger: Yeah, it takes some time.
Jason Moser: If they're finding ways to help cut down that time and get a little bit more of a uniform nature there, and give those workers an opportunity to serve their customers better, well, I'm all for it.
Matt Argersinger: It's AI, it's avocado intelligence.
Jason Moser: Oh, wow.
Dylan Lewis: How did they miss that opportunity? See? To your point, Jason, I read that it takes roughly 50 minutes for Chipotle to currently make batches of guacamole. This is something that will hopefully bring that time down. Probably also a little bit of a response to what we're seeing in the labor market for them.
Jason Moser: I would imagine so, and I will just throw in there, I can make my guacamole much quicker.
Dylan Lewis: Shots fired.
Matt Argersinger: Oh, friend, it's not in the same quantity, and I'm sure that probably has something to do with it.
Dylan Lewis: Let's get over to stocks on our radar. Our man behind the glass, Dan Boyd, is going to hit you with a question. Matt, you're up first. What are you looking at this?
Matt Argersinger: I am looking at Franklin Electric, FELE is the ticker. It's a newly crowned, or I should say knighted, dividend knight. These are companies that have grown their dividend at a compound annual rate of at least 10% over the last 10 years, and beaten the market's total returns. I love these companies. There's a lot to like about Franklin Electric. It's a leading manufacturer of water and fuel pumping systems. It's actually the largest maker of submersible electric motors, which are really important I've learned for large-scale irrigation projects. You have a CEO has been with the company since 1988, great first quarter, record revenue, operating profits up 32%. Here's what I love the most. They raised their dividend 15% in February, that was the 31st consecutive annual increase, but their payout ratio, or the percentage of their earnings that go toward paying the dividend, just 21 right now. Lots of room to keep growing that dividend.
Dylan Lewis: I love it when you bring a stock that I've never heard of, Matt. That's awesome. Dan, I don't know if you're familiar with this one, curious. Do you have a question or a comment on this?
Dan Boyd: Two things. One, Matt, I'm mad at you about your avocado intelligence comment. [laughs] I just want to remind our listeners that this is just absolutely unacceptable content. Two, are you Ron Gross? This is 100% a Ron Gross value stock right here.
Matt Argersinger: I know you've accused me of this before, and I'll just say I learn from the best, Dan, I learn from the best.
Jason Moser: Accused? I mean, it really sounded like a compliment. I think your mind is firing on all cylinders.
Matt Argersinger: You can't give Ron Gross that much credit guys. [laughs]
Dan Boyd: I don't know. Hopefully, Ron is not listening.
Dylan Lewis: It does sound an awful lot like Ron Gross stock, but that's a good thing. I mean, you guys focused on a lot of the same stuff. Totally makes sense. Jason, what is on your radar for this week?
Jason Moser: Well, we talked a little bit about this last week. Continuing into this week, there's a little bit more certainty in regard to Walt Disney, ticker DIS. Obviously, a lot going on with this business. The big rumor last week was that Bob Iger might be looking to extend his contract with the company, and that has in fact been confirmed. Iger has now extended its contract to 2026, which is two years beyond the 2024 date where he was supposed to exit. Hey, the ride of a lifetime was so good that he had to get back in line and ride it again before he gets the fast pass. [laughs]
Dylan Lewis: You think he regrets that title?
Jason Moser: Maybe, I think he's definitely second-guessing it, I know I would. But yeah, listen, we have a Disney stock that's had a brutal 12 months, a brutal year-to-date. We can make fun of Iger reupping here, it's an easy joke to make. Honestly, I think [laughs] he really is the best choice for this business right now where it is. Disney, I don't want to call it in chaos, but it is a business undergoing a major transition, and they just haven't figured it out yet. It all really boils down to entertainment, streaming, all of these legacy operations that they have, things like ABC. I was interested to see they're even talking about spinning out FX, which they just bought recently. Honestly, I feel like FX was always a really good differentiator for them, like their own little version of HBO.
I don't know, I don't really care if they own it or not, I just want to get my FX and do things like Minds and Sons of Anarchy and stuff like that. But yeah, they obviously have a ton of work to do on the TV side. ESPN is another big question. Don't know exactly how that's going to shake out, but they are looking for external partnerships, maybe to expand the distribution and engagement there. Speaking of dividends, Matty, I think an easy win for Disney right now, reinstate your dividend. Come on, the thing has been suspended for three years plus. Give shareholders at least a reason to want to be patient. They have more than enough financial levers they can pull to do this. I know they say that they expected by year's end. Do it now.
Dylan Lewis: Dan, a lot in there. A question about Disney?
Dan Boyd: We've got a writers' strike, an actor striking, and an egomaniac in the CEO position. I don't know if Disney's time is right now boys.
Dylan Lewis: Is that all to say that you're putting Matt's selection on your radar?
Dylan Lewis: Yeah, we're going Franklin.
Matt Argersinger: All right.
Dylan Lewis: Jason Moser, Matt Argersinger, thanks for being here. That is going to do it for this week's Motley Fool Money radio show. The show is mixed by Dan Boyd. I'm Dylan Lewis. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time.
JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. SVB Financial provides credit and banking services to The Motley Fool. Wells Fargo is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Deidre Woollard has positions in Amazon.com, JPMorgan Chase, Meta Platforms, Nike, Opendoor Technologies, Redfin, Walmart, and Walt Disney. Dylan Lewis has positions in Shopify. Jason Moser has positions in Amazon.com, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Home Depot, McCormick, Nike, Shopify, and Walt Disney. Matthew Argersinger has positions in Airbnb, Amazon.com, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Digital Realty Trust, Home Depot, Nike, Opendoor Technologies, Oxford Industries, Redfin, Shopify, Uber Technologies, and Walt Disney and has the following options: short July 2023 $120 puts on Target and short July 2023 $135 calls on Target. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Airbnb, Amazon.com, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Coinbase Global, Digital Realty Trust, Domino's Pizza, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Meta Platforms, Nike, Opendoor Technologies, Redfin, Shopify, Target, Uber Technologies, Walmart, Walt Disney, and Watsco. The Motley Fool recommends McCormick, Oxford Industries, and SVB Financial and recommends the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2025 $47.50 calls on Nike, short August 2023 $14 calls on Redfin, and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.