Domino’s Costs Are Rising, But You Shouldn’t Worry

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It isn’t an everyday occurrence that a company reports strong revenue and profit gains and experiences a sharp decrease in the stock price, falling 7% for the day. Yet that’s exactly what happened after Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) released its fiscal third-quarter 2020 results, which covered the period that ended on Sept. 6.

This seemingly incongruous situation may leave you scratching your head. So it’s a good time to look deeper into the report to see if there is anything that’s concerning.

Demand remains strong

With strong roots in delivering pizzas that go back to its founding 60 years ago, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Domino’s has done well during the pandemic. Excluding foreign exchange translations, its third-quarter total sales grew by nearly 15%. Broken out geographically, U.S. same-store sales (comps) rose by 17.5% and were more than 6% higher internationally.

It is not merely the pandemic that is boosting sales, however. Domestic comps have increased for 38 straight quarters, and international operations have increased for 107 consecutive quarters.

Domino’s provides inexpensive offerings, which go beyond pizza to include items such as chicken, sandwiches, pasta, and desserts. It also constantly tinkers and updates its menu. For instance, it launched a chicken taco pizza and cheeseburger pizza during the summer. As the results show, its prices and products are resonating with customers.

Some investors were disappointed that the sales weren’t as robust as those of Papa John’s International (NASDAQ:PZZA). But it’s hard to make a judgment about one quarter, and besides, Domino’s showed excellent sales growth over an extended period.

Higher costs

Investors also didn’t like the elevated expenses during the quarter, caused primarily by higher wages and sick pay for Domino’s store employees due to the pandemic.

This doesn’t concern me, though. For starters, despite increased expenses, Domino’s earnings per share


Metro Denver counties with rising COVID-19 cases hope public education, targeted orders will stave off new stay-at-home mandates

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New COVID-19 cases have increased in much of the Denver metro area, and county health departments are trying to persuade their residents they need to keep their distance to avoid new stay-at-home orders.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s new dial framework places each county in one of five color-coded levels, with increasing restrictions on business capacity and event sizes.

Each county’s level is based on the rate of new cases compared to population, the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive and how hospitalizations are trending.

As of Friday, 15 counties, or almost one-quarter of the state’s counties, had rates of new cases that could push them to issue additional restrictions if nothing changes. They get at least two weeks to bring the numbers down before more restrictions are on the table, though.

Unlike this spring, when businesses across the state were ordered to shut down, counties are trying to avoid closing large numbers of facilities through awareness campaigns, or targeting orders at populations where the virus is spreading more freely.

John Douglas, executive director of the Tri-County Health Department, said it appears private gatherings are causing a significant portion of the spread in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. It’s difficult to be sure, though, because not everyone is cooperating when contact tracers call, he said.

Counties could take action if they get multiple complaints about a household hosting unsafe numbers of people, but most of their efforts are focused on convincing people to wear their masks and keep their distance from others until a vaccine is approved, Douglas said. People are tired of social distancing, but sticking with it increases the odds of avoiding a winter surge and new stay-at-home orders, he said.

“The higher we are through the month of October and early November, the


AG Grewal: Anti-bias education will help us fight a rising tide of hate | Opinion

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By Gurbir Grewal and Rachel Wainer Apter

At last week’s presidential debate, when it seemed that the nation had exhausted its capacity for shock, President Trump hit another height in racist rhetoric, refusing to condemn white supremacy while urging far-right extremists to “stand back and stand by.” As the top officials responsible for enforcing the civil rights laws of New Jersey — one of the most populous and diverse states in the country — we have seen firsthand how the president’s push to normalize bias has led to a rising tide of hate and violence in our state.

Since 2015, the number of bias incidents being reported to law enforcement in New Jersey has skyrocketed. There were 367 reported incidents in 2015, compared to 994 in 2019 — a 170% increase. And this isn’t a problem limited to older generations — fully 46% of bias offenders were younger than 18 years old, a loud alarm that New Jersey’s diversity is not translating to tolerance in its schools.

Every one of these bias incidents is an affront to our values. Each represents a target on the back of a fellow American or resident based only on what they look like, where they come from, how they worship, or who they love. All too often, a bias incident not only traumatizes an individual but also terrorizes entire communities, as when two attackers fueled by hate planned a shootout at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, ultimately killing several of our fellow New Jerseyans, including a police officer.

The Trump administration has shown that it is disinterested in fighting discrimination, so in New Jersey, we decided it was time to step up and take aggressive action ourselves. Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy created a task force to address the dramatic increase in


Rising nitrous oxide emissions could put Paris Agreement goals out of reach

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Oct. 7 (UPI) — Around the world, nitrous oxide emissions are rising, imperiling the effort to meet the climate goals set by the Paris Agreement.

According to a new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the growing use of nitrogen fertilizers by industrial agriculture has led to a dramatic increase in N2O emissions.

For the study, researchers analyzed major N2O sources and sinks all over the world. The effort was aided by scientists from 48 research institutions in 14 countries.

“This study presents the most comprehensive and detailed picture to date, of N2O emissions and their impact on climate,” lead study author Parvadha Suntharalingam, climate scientist at the University of East Anglia in Britain, said in a news release.

The data showed modern atmospheric nitrous oxide levels are 20 percent higher than preindustrial levels, increasing to 331 parts per billion in 2018 from 270 parts per billion in 1750. The majority of the increase, scientists determined, occurred during the last half-century — and is the result of human activities.

“The dominant driver of the increase in atmospheric nitrous oxide comes from agriculture, and the growing demand for food and feed for animals will further increase global nitrous oxide emissions,” said study co-author Hanqin Tian.

“There is a conflict between the way we are feeding people and stabilizing the climate,” said Tian, director of the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research at Auburn University.

The findings underscore the message from the United Nations that the effort to curb climate change demands significant land-use changes, researchers say.

Like carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but its warming effect is 300 times more potent than CO2. Once emitted, scientists estimate N2O remains in the atmosphere for more than a century.

The new analysis showed agricultural practices


2020’s rising stars of Wall Street share their best career advice

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Jay Lipman and Doug of Ethic: Find aspirational characters and pay if forward.

Jay Lipman and Doug Scott, Ethic


Ethic president Jay Lipman said his best career advice boils down to one crucial act: find mentors who will inspire you. That may not be someone you have worked with directly, but someone who strikes you as an “aspirational character.”

“People that you believe have led the path that you would like to live, and then try to understand how they achieve that — that may be a mentorship or relationship that you have with that individual, where you can ask them and get that relationship,” or they could be through books and admiring great leaders from afar and learning about their lives, he said.

Doug Scott, the chief executive of Ethic, said he’s tried to instill a culture of “paying it forward” at the company, where employees have a sense of helping others as they take on big challenges within the investing community.

“I think that’s something that we did in the early innings of Ethic, and tried to continue that spirit throughout, because I think it does create that bond as well — beyond the sort of traditional business interactions with folks,” he said.

Lipman and Scott formed Ethic, a New York-based asset-management technology startup that builds values-based investment products for firms and financial advisers, in 2015.

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