Starbucks Could Test March Low

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) rallied 3.7% on Wednesday after beating fiscal Q3 2020 consensus estimates but still lost $0.46 per-share on $4.22 billion in revenue, a staggering 38.1% decline compared to the same quarter in 2019. The company reported weakness all across the world, with revenue at the Global and Americas divisions dropping around 40%. Higher individual sales eased the bearish results but it wasn’t enough to lift earnings into the green.

Starbucks Vulnerable To Second Wave

The coffee giant now expects a fiscal year revenue decline of 10% to 15%, which forecasts a major sales uptick between now and year’s end. The positive guidance seems unrealistic, given the current path of the COVID-19 pandemic and likelihood of a second wave in the Northern Hemisphere this winter. Valuation could take a major hit in 2021 if sales continue to fall, sending the stock price to much lower levels.

Telsey Advisory Group analyst Bob Derrington recently lowered his target and discussed the long-term outlook, noting management was attempting to “restore and build confidence” by accelerating roll-outs of mobile order pay systems. He also outlined realignment initiatives for the new environment, indicating the retailer will “optimize its global store portfolio, including accelerated development of its smaller, more efficient pick-up stores and suburban drive-thru locations, and the closure of up to 400 urban cafes in the U.S. and 200 in Canada.”

Wall Street And Technical Outlook

Wall Street currently rates Starbucks as a ‘Moderate Buy’, based upon 10 ‘Buy’ and 14 ‘Hold’ recommendations. No analysts are recommending that shareholders sell their positions at this time. Price targets currently range from a low of $73 to a street-high $95 while the stock closed Friday’s U.S. session about $7 below the median $83 target. This placement suggests that higher sales will be needed to generate upside but that doesn’t seem likely in the third quarter.

Starbucks posted an all-time high near 100 in August 2019 and completed a double top breakdown in February 2020, establishing strong resistance in the low-80s. The stock sold off to a 19-month low in March and reversed at new resistance in June, easing into a holding pattern below that critical level. While a breakout will improve the technical outlook, the stock is trading perilously close to support at 71, with a breakdown raising odds for a decline into the March low.