2 Sectors Headed in Opposite Directions

From a contrarian perspective, Wendys Co (NASDAQ:WEN) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) are enticing -- Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX), not so much

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jul 8, 2015 at 3:20 PM

The stock market has been volatile in recent weeks, with overseas worries taking their toll. Amid this risk-laden environment, however, certain sectors have managed to outperform -- while others have been continued to sink. Today, we'll take a look at one outperforming sector -- restaurants, with a special focus on Wendys Co (NASDAQ:WEN) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) -- and precious metals, where the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) has been getting destroyed.

Restaurant stocks have been on fire. Of the 20 names we follow, the average year-over-year return is 26.3%. Nevertheless, fewer than half of analysts consider these stocks a "buy" or better. Also, short interest generally makes up more than one-tenth of each equity's total float -- suggesting ample sideline cash is available to sustain upward momentum on an unwind situation.

Like rival Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), WEN is lower this afternoon on the broad-market sell-off. While the shares are down 0.9% at $10.51, they remain more than 16% higher year-to-date. Nevertheless, sentiment is overwhelmingly negative toward the burger joint, with 90% of analysts sporting "hold" or worse opinions, and almost 10% of the stock's float sold short. In other words, a capitulation among these skeptics could result in tailwinds for Wendys Co (NASDAQ:WEN).

In a similar vein, SBUX has been a beast, rallying more than 30% year-to-date to trade at $53.45, and perched just below its all-time peak of $54.75 from late June. Future price-target hikes could be in the cards, as Starbucks Corporation's (NASDAQ:SBUX) average 12-month price target of $55.72 stands at a slim 4.2% premium to current levels.

On the opposite side, commodities have been taking it on the chin -- including tonight's earnings focus, Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA). More specifically, precious metals have been weak. Of the 20 names we follow in this sector, just one is above its 80-day moving average, and the typical year-over-year loss is 34%.

Mirroring this is GDX, which at $16.93 has surrendered almost 38% since this time last year. In recent weeks, the shares have also encountered pressure from their 10- and 20-day moving averages. Should Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) continue to struggle, a capitulation among option bulls could result in headwinds. Currently, the ETF sports a 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.14 -- higher than 78% of comparable readings from the previous year.

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