What CEOs Are Saying About the Economy

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What CEOs Are Saying About the Economy

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Is a recession coming? Stock markets have been particularly volatile lately. This is mostly due to economic uncertainty coming from emerging markets in general and China in particular. Many analysts are concerned about the possibility of a global recession in the coming months. Let’s listen to what top executives from Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN), Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) have to say about the health of the global economy.

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Vail Resorts: The U.S. consumer remains strong “We are not seeing any softening in consumer interest. I think we had a fairly strong summer season as well.” Rob Katz - CEO - Vail Resorts

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Vail Resorts is seeing solid demand “The U.S. economy remains robust, particularly for domestic upper income vacation travelers who produce over 85% of our destination visitation. We have seen strong demand for the upcoming season with the successful season pass sales to-date and from lodging bookings, which have been strong across our resorts.” “These factors combined create an environment where we expect to drive visitation, pricing, and yield growth across our business.” Michael Barkin - CFO - Vail Resorts

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Paychex is seeing healthy hiring trends “Particularly among small businesses under 50 employees, we’re seeing continued better employment growth than pre-recession levels of 2004 and so -- and it’s down a little bit from last year, but it’s consistently above that level.” Martin Mucci - President and CEO - Paychex .

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Paychex thinks small business formation is improving “So we’re feeling like a steady improvement in small business formation and employment hiring and I would say the sales folks certainly felt that way.” Martin Mucci - President and CEO - Paychex

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PepsiCo is facing volatility in international markets “Now turning to our international market. In our developing and emerging markets, although we continue to face volatile and challenging macros in a number of these markets, we’re managing what we can control to stay competitive in this marketplace, and we continue to see good growth in a number of these markets.” Indra Nooyi - Chairman and CEO - PepsiCo

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Main questions for investors Volatility is here to stay “Whenever there is volatility in the marketplace, the consumer behavior does reflect some of this volatility. The good news is that we’re not luxury items or high ticket items; we are basic food and beverage items. So, we see a slowdown but not significant. Having said that, I think the most important thing is we have a portfolio that we can play between developed, and developing, and emerging markets, and somehow we balance the portfolio to deliver the results, but the macro volatility is here to stay.” Indra Nooyi - Chairman and CEO - PepsiCO

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Main questions for investors Yum! Brands is facing heavy headwinds in China “Extraordinary volatility in financial markets, the surprise currency devaluation, and overall softer economic conditions are weighing more heavily on the higher ticket casual dining sector in China.” Pat Grismer - CFO - Yum! Brands

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Main questions for investors But China is still growing “Let me start by being really clear. We all and I personally take full accountability for our results in China. And while there is clearly a macro softening going on including headwinds from unexpected foreign exchange pressures...the simple facts are that the economy there is still growing and there is every reason and no excuses to why we should not perform better.” Greg Creed - Chief Executive Officer - Yum! Brands

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Key takeaways Vail Resorts is seeing continued strength in consumer demand and Paychex is benefiting from vigorous hiring in the U.S. PepsiCo is warning about increasing macroeconomic volatility in international markets. According to Yum! Brands, the situation in China looks quite unstable, but the country is still growing. International headwinds are an important risk to watch, but there is hardly enough evidence at this stage to say that a global recession is coming in the short term.

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