Monday, September 27, 2010

Buy Some Furniture, Give the Cat A Name

This is the chart for the performance of Tiffany's common stock over the last six months. As you can see, there was an early peak at $52, then a jagged decline to $36 by early July. It has since risen from that, to the neighborhood of $46, although there was another dramatic-looking dip at the end of August.

That dip may have come about largely because Trian Fund, the investment vehicle of Nelson Peltz, has been selling. Trian still owns a 5.43% stake, whichmakes it Tiffany's biggest stockholder.

Tiffany did better-than-expected in recent quarters. But even that hurts it in Shapira's estimation, because she thinks it did well on the basis of declining commodity prices, and its profit margins are not sustainable.

The relevant Goldman Sachs analyst has downgraded Tiffany from neutral to sell. That analyst is Adrianne Shapira by name. She says, "TIF trades at a 26% premium to an index of department stores, which is approaching one standard deviation above the 3-year average premium of 15%. We believe as [earnings estimate] beats moderate in the near term, peak valuations will be tough to sustain."

There is not especially good reason for me to be discussing Tiffany's right now, but it does give me a chance to quote the famous dialog from a certain classic Audrey Hepburn movie:

Holly: Poor old Cat. Poor slob. Poor slob without a name. The way I look at it, I don’t have the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other; we just took up by the river one day. I don’t even want to own anything until I can find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is, but I know what it’s like. It’s like Tiffany’s

Fred: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store?

Holly: That’s right. I’m crazy about Tiffany’s…Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could ever happen to you at Tiffany’s. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s then…then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.

Here's hoping that Tiffany's itself finds that place.

No comments: