Aussie dollar soars as GDP data sees Retail Food Group shares go nuts

The Australian dollar has continued its climb higher over the last few weeks and is now close to buying US73 cents after yesterday’s stronger-than-expected GDP data boosted confidence over the health of the local economy.

The GDP data is a historical measure and showed growth of 0.6 per cent for the quarter ending December and 3 per cent for the full year in what looks a strong result considering the economy is supposed to be still unwinding from the mining bust.

Not so it seems, although one factor that would have helped lift economic performance over the last year is the falling Australian dollar and its effects on the services sector, while the tumbling oil price will have been a boon for consumer confidence and spending power.

Bank investors will also have welcomed the news with shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) climbing quickly as the big banks are de facto beneficiaries of stronger-than-expected economic growth.

Another business going nuts thanks to the strong GDP data is Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG).

As a large franchisor of some belt-widening food & beverage brands like Crust Pizza, Donut King, Gloria Jean’s coffee and Michel’s Patisserie it’s a prime beneficiary of any sign that discretionary consumer spending is on a positive growth trajectory.

RFG is also increasingly focused on coffee, both roasting and retailing, which means its shares are marked up or down depending on how the market views the outlook for consumer discretionary spending.

Even the falling petrol price could assist the group in giving consumers more spending power for takeaway coffees and pizza.

RFG shares are up around 10% since the GDP data release and the business is forecasting 20% profit growth in the year ahead, with its ebullient chairman describing the outlook as “buoyant”.

The group also offers a tasty dividend likely to be more than 5% over the full year and if consumer spending is on a genuine uptick then it could post some positive full year results and further share price gains.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares of Retail Food Group Limited.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Retail Food Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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