There have not been a lot places to hide so far in 2022 with the S&P 500, Russell 2000, and Russell Microcap Indexes down 8.3%, 11.3% and 11.1%, respectively. However, agriculture names have been a bright spot.
Florida-based orange company Alico, Inc. (ALCO) is now trading at a six-year high. While up just 6.8% year-to-date, ALCO has risen 35% over the past year, and yields 5.1%. Meanwhile, Argentine farming name Cresud (CRESY) , which I've discussed numerous times here, is up more than 70% year-to-date, continues to flirt with the $8 level, and is trading at a 2½ year high.
In retail land, there's now more information about Cato Corp's (CATO) fourth-quarter and full-year activities, and more specifically, share buybacks. The off-the-beaten path fashion retailer, which garners no analyst coverage, has been a serial share repurchaser over the years. This past year, CATO bought back 1.421 million shares for $22.033 million, or $15.50/share.
Considering share additions via restricted stock units, the company reduced share count by just over one million shares, or about 4.4% of shares outstanding. In the fourth quarter alone, CATO bought back 508K shares at an average price of $16.68.
CATO's buybacks have continued between the company's January 29 year-end, and March 23 release of the 10-K; during that timeframe CATO bought back an additional 156K shares at an average price of $16.05. In late February, the company increased the share purchase authorization by one million shares, which puts the total current authorization (through March 23) at about 1.3 million.
Finally, Krispy Kreme (DNUT) is out with what might prove to be a brilliant marketing move. The company, which I've discussed here before, will be selling a dozen original glazed donuts for the national average price of a gallon of gas through May 4.
On another note, I finally broke down and purchased a box of the company's prepackaged mini-crullers, which I've been seeing in a lot of stores. They were much better than I'd expected, at least the blueberry variety that I went for.
DNUT, which remains on my watch list, is down 29% year-to-date, and is not far from a 52-week low. DNUT is currently trading at about 24x 2023 consensus estimates. I am looking for a "throw the baby out with the bathwater" type trading day to opportunistically take a position.