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Kirkland Lake Gold, Carrols Restaurant and Boeing highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 20, 2020 – Zacks Equity Research Shares of Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd (KL - Free Report) as the Bull of the Day, Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. (TAST - Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Boeing (BA - Free Report) .

Here is a synopsis of all three stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd is doing the impossible during the coronavirus crisis. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) just doubled its dividend. 

Kirkland Lake Gold is a Canadian gold producer with operations in Canada and Australia. It has three prominent mines: Macassa Mine and Detour Lake Mine in Northern Ontario and the Fosterville Mine in Victoria, Australia. 

It produced 974,615 ounces in 2019 with the 2020 target production of 1,470,000 to 1,540,000 ounces. 

Big Share Buyback Announced

On Mar 18, while the US stock markets were melting down in a panic sell-off, Kirkland announced it had bought 10.1 million shares of its 20 million share buyback plan for $350 million. 

"When you consider our high-quality assets and industry-leading operating and financial performance, as well as the outlook for a very strong 2020, our current share price represents an excellent buying opportunity," said Tony Makuch, President and CEO of Kirkland.

Shares have fallen 38% year-to-date.

They are cheap on a P/E basis with a forward P/E of just 5.9. 

Doubled the Dividend

At the same time, the company also announced it was raising its dividend by 100% to $0.125 from $0.06 a quarter. 

That gives the dividend a current yield of 1.7%. 

It was the 12th quarterly dividend since the policy was announced in March 2017. 

"Our decision to double the dividend at this time reflects both the strength of our balance sheet and the ability of our three cornerstone assets, Fosterville, Macassa and Detour Lake, to generate significant amounts of free cash flow, particularly in the current strong gold price environment," Makuch added.

Analysts Bullish on 2020

The company's not the only one who is bullish. 

Analysts expect sales to rise 80.5% in 2020 to $2.49 billion from $1.38 billion in 2019. 

2 analysts also raised 2020 earnings estimates in the last 2 months, which pushed up the Zacks Consensus to $4.05 from $3.34. 

That's a year-over-year gain of 47.8%, as the company only made $2.74 in 2019. 

With gold prices hot, and for those investors looking for a miner that has strong cash flow, Kirkland is one to keep on the short list.

Bear of the Day:

Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. had high hopes coming into 2020. But this Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) is going to take a hit from the impacts of coronavirus shutdowns. 

Carrols is one of largest restaurant franchisees in the United States, and currently operates 1,099 restaurants. It is the largest Burger King franchisee in the United States currently operating 1,034 Burger King restaurants and in 2019, it acquired 65 Popeye restaurants. It has operated Burger King restaurants since 1976. 

2020 Plans out the Window?

On Feb 25, Carrols reported its fourth quarter and full year results. 

For the full year, at Burger King restaurants the comparable restaurant sales rose 2.2% compared to a 3.8% increase in 2018.

That's a 2-year stacked increase of 6%. 

Popeyes only had an 8-month ownership period but comparables were up 11.9% compared to the same time period under the prior ownership.

In 2020, it was expecting to prioritize organic sales and margin growth and aggressively reduce its capital spending compared to 2019. 

It expected projected net capital expenditures in 2020 of $550 to $65 million, down from $98 million in 2019. 

Comparable sales for Burger King were expected to be up 2% to 3% in 2020. 

Shares Have Plunged 80% Year-to-Date

But then, in March, the coronavirus impacts hit the United States. Those included restaurant closures and cities in "shelter in place" mode which put a damper on consumer spending. 

Carrols shares have plunged 80% in 2020 and are down 86% in the last year.

It now has a market cap of just $72.5 million.

The company has not yet provided updated guidance, or withdrawn its February guidance.

Estimates for 2020 Cut

Analysts had already lowered 2020 estimates in the last 90 days. 

The Zacks Consensus Estimate had fallen to a loss of $0.18 from $0.11 during that time period. 

Look for further changes to the estimates in the coming weeks.

Are the Shares a Deal?

All the restaurant stocks have sold off. 

Carrols sales were expected to be $1.66 billion this year, up 13.8% from 2019. Obviously, that will be impacted but it's unclear by how much. 

Investors interested in the restaurant stocks should watch earnings estimates and look for those with pristine balance sheets.

Additional content:

"Stay Safe" Refers to You Financial Health, As Well

It’s become the most common sign off for communications these days “Stay safe.”

It generally means that the recipient should take care of their physical health and safety.

What about staying safe, financially?

Spoiler Alert: This is not another article about buying the dips.

Instead, it's about two of the oldest fundamental principles in the investing playbook.

Long-term thinking and diversification.

It’s virtually certain that the crisis we’re dealing with is going to have significant economic ramifications. Shutting down such a large number of businesses for months will cause layoffs and bankruptcies. You’ve already seen the effects on the equity markets with the major indices down more than 30% over the past month and many individual stocks down much more.

Some industries are in serious trouble. Energy/oil has been hit by the double-whammy of the virus and a global geopolitical price war. Airlines, hotels, and restaurants have seen revenues drop off precipitiously and will almost certainly need government intervention to survive in their current forms. That aid could include the dilution or elimination of the equity of current shareholders. (Remember the “old” GM in 2008-09?)

Even worse, large scale debt defaults could cause a contagion effect that leaves otherwise healthy financial institutions on the ropes.

When this is over, the landscape will be changed, but there will still be a landscape.

Businesses that provide goods and services with value to customers will still exist. They might have a different name or owner, but someone will continue to provide those goods and services.

In an admittedly oversimplified example, picture a restaurant that is forced out of business. It’s terrible outcome for the owner, the people who work there, and possibly a lending institution that financed the operation. But there will still be a restaurant there when this crisis ends. A physical building, equipment, furniture, fixtures, etc...

Now imagine that the general public is still hungry and possibly more eager than ever to go out for a meal. Some former employees who had previously been working for something close to subsistence wages (and therefore had little hopes of owning their own businesses) are able to purchase those assets for pennies on the dollar and open the place back up.

Viola! Like a phoenix from the ashes, there’s a thriving restaurant there once again. A bad outcome for the old owner and previous investors or lenders, but a great outcome for the new owners.

It wasn’t (at least entirely) a destruction of wealth, but rather a redistribution.

As a society, we have to make sure nobody starves or dies of a curable disease in the meantime, but right now it looks like the US Government is ready to use every tool in its considerable arsenal to ensure that.

(Also, I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m being insensitive to the plight of restaurant owners, it’s just a simple example. It could be a factory, an appliance service business or a million other businesses.)

Now instead of that restaurant, imagine Boeing. It’s virtually a one company monopoly – with apologies to Aerbus. People are not going to stop manufacturing airplanes. The equipment, technology,  intellectual property and employee experience are not going away. Someone will be making and selling aircraft at a profit sometime soon.

“Redistribution” sounds scary, especially if you hold significant assets and are worried about losing them. Nobody is in favor of redistribution if they’re the one being redistributed away from…

Which brings me to my original thesis. The best way to “stay safe” financially – by which I mean a combination of asset protection and future profit potential – is to be diversified and keep a long-term perspective.

Diversification

If you have all of your eggs in one basket in terms of your investments, it’s possible that you could lose everything. If you have your investing capital spread around wisely among the strongest companies in the industries that have the least actual exposure to the current crisis, you won’t. You just simply won’t.

Thinking Long-Term

You’ll also have to be patient. This will not happen overnight. As much as I’d love to “call a bottom” because I’m personally very bullish, it could be months or even years before we’re operating at full strength again.

But “months or years” is a blink of an eye for a true long-term investor.

So if you believe – as I do – that humans are a tough lot and that we have a natural propensity to solve problems, hang tight.

If you’re not diversified, now is the time to take care of that. So many companies have seen their prices fall that you can sell part of a position in which you are overconcentrated and buy something great just as cheaply.

Keep a long-term perspective.

And stay safe – physically and financially.

-Dave

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