Uniforms

The grill is starting to spit. With inflation expectations breaking out, gone are confident murmurings that the price hikes being seen across the global supply chain are transitory. They are now getting worse. And likely to continue for a bit longer than previously expected. Gulp. That the Fed Chair himself is up for re-appointment only ushers in an extra spoon of OMG-what-happens-next, more so in the context of the politically savvy Senator Elizabeth Warren going after him. Any future candidate might then pause for a nip of single malt before hitting SEND on the ‘I’m-game’ email given the itchy task of having to pare some big-ticket bond buying into what looks like a wicket of variable bounce. With labour either gazing lovingly at 401(k) accounts and thinking ‘Florida’ or purring at the envelope of more government funded support, there is – according to analysts who watch such things – the looming threat of strike action, joining the two thousand odd Washington carpenters who have been on the picket line since early September. And they are not the only group eyeing up contract negotiating season with the Union on speed dial. Faces may yet go pale in the C-suite. Where, then, does that leave the stock picker? Narrow eyed and sizing up what are ever increasing dislocations into a rising VIX. With Covid cases continuing to fall, and Merck sharing data on a potential game-changing antiviral pill, the re-opening trade is as good a place to start. Recovery stocks offer just that: recovery. And one such stock that might offer more than most is Aramark; a food service, facilities and uniform services provider. This was no business to be in when workers stopped going into the office, sports stadiums were deserted and schools went online. And yet, there is a quiet turnaround afoot under new management in an industry where outsourcing remains a durable and ESG-minted trend. Should attendance levels approach a pre-Covid ‘normal’ into 2022, the shares are primed and coming off a very low base. In a market full of bloated multiples, not many can say that.