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Burrito Inflation Accepted Only If Metuchen Gets Chipotle

An employee prepares a Chipotle Mexican Grill burrito. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
An employee prepares a Chipotle Mexican Grill burrito. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Here are facts about stocks and the economy that could only be known by an insomniac who stayed up way too late reading analyst notes while simultaneously watching a Metuchen Planning Board meeting on local-access cable.

•If you happen to be an inflation hawk (looking in your direction, Internet commenters), you could totally scare people onto your side by talking about chocolate. Hershey Co. is boosting prices by 8 percent due to higher costs for ingredients such as cocoa. Credit Suisse Group AG analysts don’t think they’ll quite pull it off and downgraded the shares to neutral.

•The guy seeking to build a giant retail/apartment/parking complex in Metuchen said the downtown economies of New Jersey aren’t vibrant enough to support too much new retail space. So he’s not planning on putting storefronts along the entire stretch of New Street, even though it’s a commercial street.

•It’s not just chocolate, sheeple! There is also burrito inflation. Wunderlich Securities thinks Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will pull off the higher prices because the hungry crowds haven’t thinned out yet, and have you had one of these new “Sofritas” yet? Apparently they’re awesome.

•Ooh, Chipotle! You know where a perfect spot for a new Chipotle would be? Right in that new development in Metuchen. Seriously builder guy, several residents said, you need to redo those plans to put a few more storefronts on New Street. Have some faith, builder guy. You’re aware Metuchen’s getting a Whole Foods Market, right? Whole Foods customers are all loaded and will be flocking to the Brainy Borough to gladly consume whatever consumables you want to sell in those stores.

Heartburn ’Milestone’

•This may or may not be related to Chipotle, but you know what is a giant business these days? Heartburn. Pfizer Inc. just paid AstraZeneca Plc a $200 million milestone for the over-the-counter launch of Nexium and according to Leerink Partners LLC it’ll add about 12 cents to earnings per share, helping them “handily beat” the average estimate when they report July 31.

•Nice building, bro, but you need some public bathrooms in the vicinity of that public piazza and that undersized retail area you’re planning, one astute resident noted. Like, what if Metuchen wants to throw a rock concert in that piazza? Where’s everyone supposed to go when nature calls? Also, need more storefronts on New Street. Preferably stores with bathrooms.

•It’s not just chocolate and burritos! There’s stock-market inflation too. S&P Dow Jones Indices increased its market-capitalization guidelines for three of its main indexes. The minimum market-cap for Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies was raised to $5.3 billion from $4.6 billion.

•C’mon, builder guy, haven’t you seen the hashtags? #jerseystrong, #strongerthanthestorm, #downtownmetuchen etc. You just need to think outside the box and get some creative retailers in there. Here’s an idea: a columnist-supply store! It would sell all your basic columnist staples: chocolate; burritos; old-school fedoras that say “PRESS;” whiskey flasks; snarky one-liners. Oh, and Nexium. Lots of Nexium.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael P. Regan in New York at mregan12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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