Displaying items by tag: valuations

Thursday, 09 May 2024 12:56

Will Energy Sector Strength Continue?

Energy has been one of the best-performing sectors YTD with a 10% gain. Energy prices have moved higher due to increased geopolitical uncertainty and strong economic data. Looking ahead, LPL remains bullish on energy and recommends overweighting the sector.

It notes that valuations are quite attractive, especially with producers focusing on cash flow in recent years. In the post-pandemic period, free cash flow yields have averaged 8%, while this figure averaged 4% in the preceding decade. And producers have been using this cash to buy back shares, raise dividends, and pay off debt. 

From a technical perspective, LPL notes the relative strength as the sector has been making new, all-time highs for much of this year. Additionally, there has been strong breadth, indicating broad-based buying pressure. 

Another looming catalyst is that there has been some rotation out of the ‘Magnificent 7’ stocks into cheaper parts of the market, such as energy, financials, and small-caps. Growth stocks have led the market higher for most of the past year, but with valuations extended, there is an increased risk of a pullback or correction.

Finally, investing in energy provides some protection against inflation continuing to linger above the Fed’s desired level and rates remaining elevated as a consequence. Energy also tends to rally when long-term bonds weaken, providing a hedge for portfolios.

Finsum: Energy has outperformed to start the year. LPL remains bullish on the sector due to its attractive valuation, positive correlation with inflation, and relative strength.

Published in Eq: Energy
Thursday, 21 March 2024 12:05

UBS Late to Wealth Management M&A

This time last year, UBS was embarking on its takeover of the distressed Credit Suisse. Understandably, this slowed its pursuit of other M&A targets. However, the bank is now ready to target larger wealth management firms.

UBS CEO Sergio P. Ermotti recently spoke at the Morgan Stanley European Financials conference. He sees the bank targeting US wealth managers for acquisitions in an effort to boost the profitability of this division. His goal is to narrow the gap between UBS and its rivals following a 72% decline in the unit’s Q4 earnings. 

However, many are skeptical about UBS’ strategy given the aggressive moves made by competitors in the last few years. According to Larry Roth, the managing partner at RLR Strategic Partner, “UBS could be late to the M&A party, which already has significant, well-run firms that are having success in this area.” Further, attractive targets are likely to have multiple bidders and rich valuations. 

Another concern is that there is no guarantee that these large acquisitions will work. A recent example is UBS’ attempted purchase of Wealthfront for $1.4 billion in January 2022 with the intention that it could help the bank recruit Wealthfront’s younger clients. The deal was scrapped by regulators and shareholders. 

Acquisitions are essential for UBS to fuel growth, given its challenges in retaining talent. UBS's advisors generate more than $1 million in average annual revenue and fees. This makes them an appealing target for RIAs or independent broker-dealers with more earnings potential. 

Finsum: UBS is betting on a more aggressive M&A strategy to bolster its US wealth management division. Yet, many believe that the bank’s efforts may not succeed given higher valuations for attractive targets and recruiting challenges.

Published in Wealth Management

2024 has been underwhelming so far for REITs, as evidenced by the iShares US Real Estate ETF’s YTD 4.5% decline, while the S&P 500 is up 9% YTD. Two major reasons for this underperformance are continued struggles for the office segment and less clarity about the outlook for monetary policy, following a series of stronger than expected labor market and inflation data.

However, the intermediate-term outlook for the sector remains favorable due to attractive yields and earnings growth despite a challenging, near-term environment. Further, most segments are in good shape. According to Steve Brown, the senior portfolio manager at American Century Investments, “The REIT industry is very diversified among different sectors like data centers, towers, and industrial, and office is only about 4 or 5 percent of the index. So while office has issues, many other property sectors have pricing power and can raise rents greater than inflation.” 

He also favors public REITs over private REITs, as public REITs are cheaper while offering more liquidity. He notes that many private REITs are still trading at or just above net asset value (NAV), while public REITs are trading at an average 20% discount to NAV. Overall, he sees a much more benign environment in 2024, especially once the Fed starts cutting rates.  

Finsum: REITs have had a rocky start to the year. However, the fundamentals for the sector continue to improve, while many of its challenges are already reflected in depressed valuations.

Published in Eq: Real Estate
Tuesday, 06 February 2024 05:44

Will Value Stocks Outperform in 2024

Value stocks have consistently underperformed growth stocks for many years. Yet, there are some signs that 2024 could herald a change in trend. Underperformance in value stocks was exacerbated in 2023 as many growth stocks, in the tech sector, saw huge gains due to excitement around artificial intelligence (AI). 


However, this could present a silver lining for value stocks as they are historically cheap, and mean-reversion could lead to solid gains. Further, growth stocks have become quite expensive, following the most recent rally, and there could be rotation into value especially if earnings don’t meet investors’ lofty expectations.


Value stocks are primarily comprised of healthcare, industrial, and financial stocks. A major impediment over the past year has been the struggles in the banking system due to high rates and an inverted yield curve. This means that lending is not as profitable, while banks are paying high rates on deposits but holding loans that were made when rates were much lower. But, there could be some relief coming as the Fed signals it will look to cut rates later this year. 


In addition to the path of monetary policy, the economy re-accelerating would be another positive catalyst for the sector. Many value stocks are economically sensitive and would see an increase in top and bottom-line numbers. However if investors are bearish on the economy but want exposure to value, they can stick with utilities and consumer staples which would outperform in a lower growth circumstance. 

Finsum: Value stocks underperformed in 2023. Here’s why 2024 is shaping up to be better, and under what circumstances, value will outperform growth. 


Published in Eq: Value
Tuesday, 06 February 2024 05:40

3 Important Trends in the Energy Sector

The last couple of years have been a wild ride for energy markets including developments like oil prices briefly going negative during the pandemic, Saudi Arabia releasing supply to discipline OPEC members, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, etc. While some volatility and uncertainty is assured given geopolitics, investors in the sector will be rewarded for having a long-term mindset and focus on fundamentals.


This includes being aware of the trends shaping the industry. In terms of oil, it’s clear that supply and demand is trumping geopolitical risk. This is evident as oil prices remain under $80 per barrel despite a large increase in MidEast tensions and the war between Russia and Ukraine continuing. More relevant to price is that production remains plentiful, especially from the US, while demand has been less strong than expected due to weakness from China and Europe. 


Another trend is that M&A should continue in the sector following a slew of deals at the end of last year. Large producers are eager to lock down high-quality properties. Valuations also remain attractive, while companies in the sector have large amounts of cash on the balance sheet following years of capital discipline. 


Finally, investments in renewables will continue despite recent struggles. The IEA is forecasting that 460 gigawatts of renewable energy production will be added. In the US, the EIA sees wind and solar production surpassing coal for the first time. 

Finsum: Oil prices have remained under $80 per barrel despite a slew of geopolitical risks due to robust supply and weaker than expected demand. 


Published in Eq: Energy
Page 1 of 9

Contact Us



Subscribe to our daily newsletter

We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…