From the Desk of Irwin Michael – July 24, 2015

Over the past several weeks, investors have seen significant share price volatility. This variability has been largely due to the Greek financial situation, the uncertain U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate intentions as well as a considerable price decline in commodities, but particularly in oil and gold. Nonetheless, while many investors have been deeply preoccupied with many macro-economic concerns a number of companies have surprised everyone, having produced excellent Q2/2015 revenue and earnings results. Examples include Amazon, Starbucks and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Two ABC Funds holdings which reported very positive quarterly results over the past ten days include Google and Cheesecake Factory. We offer the following comments:

Google, the dominant internet search engine, surprised the street on July 16th by reporting EPS of $6.99 versus expected EPS of $6.73. Company sales were in line at $14.35 billion. The market particularly liked how Google’s new CFO is taking a more aggressive approach to corporate spending and cost-cutting. Moreover, YouTube’s watch time grew 68% year-over-year and mobile viewing almost doubled. With Google’s stock price having appreciated about 10% after the news release, we believe that investors have become very positive on the stock. With the jump in the share price we have trimmed our Google holdings in both our ABC Fundamental-Value and ABC American-Value Fund.

Cheesecake Factory, one of our favourite restaurant companies, reported EPS of $0.69 versus expected EPS of $0.62 and reported sales in line at $529 million. Additionally, the company boosted its quarterly dividend from $0.165 to $0.20. This was the second strong quarter that the company has reported since we purchased our shares. While Cheesecake has been an outperformer for the ABC Funds since its initial purchase in March, it is no longer fundamentally cheap. Despite this view, the company’s strong market position and momentum should carry its share price higher. Nonetheless, we have trimmed our Cheesecake Factory positions held in our ABC North American Deep Value Fund and the ABC Fully Managed Fund.

Irwin A. Michael Signature

Irwin A. Michael, President
I.A. Michael Investment Counsel Ltd.

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