CNBC Stock Blog

How to Trade Today's Headlines: Equity Strategist


How should investors be trading amidst the slew of corporate news? Craig Peckham, equity trading strategist at Jefferies & Co. discussed his investment strategies.

Starbucks declared its first dividend on Wednesday, joining other food and beverage companies in making payouts to shareholders.

Pick & Play

“It’s a stock we like for a lot of reasons,” Peckham told CNBC.

“What we think really drives the story this year is one that’s driven not just by topline improvement over the course of 2010, but also a margin story which we still think has legs to it.”

Peckham said the coffee chain is the single best improvement story in terms of comparative store sales within the restaurant sector and the growth is expected to continue throughout the year.

Meanwhile, oil giant ConocoPhillips announced plans to halve its 20 percent equity stake in Russian oil major Lukoil, as part of a program to boost returns and reduce debt.

“If you look at the energy sector in particular, what we’d also expect to see here is not just increased buybacks and debt paydowns, but also some deployment of cash into some of the natural resources plays in North America,” Peckham said.

“We like some of the shale-focused plays—we like Whiting Petroleum , Newfield Exploration , which have good upside to net assets in this environment.”

In addition, General Mills forecast full-year earnings below Street expectations and may face more competition, as consumers grow more willing to dine out.

“You can’t think about General Mills and its cereal without thinking about the supermarket sector,” said Peckham.

“It’s a group that we think has attractive value, with two of the best names in the group—Kroger and Safeway —trading at 10 times earnings,” he said. “These are names that we think are going to work well as the food manufacturing story, as the food-at-home story, continues to play out.”

  • Watch Peckham's Previous Appearance on CNBC (Mar. 22, 2010)

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Peckham has investment banking clients who own shares of WLL.

Peckham’s firm owns shares of SBUX.