Eq: Value (24)
The retail sector had a terrible 2017, the “retailpocalypse”, only to recover and have a strong bounce back in the first half of last year. Now things are looking bleak once again. Top retailers like Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters have already fallen 25%+ in the last year. Each business has its own issues, but the general trend in the sector has been bearishness. Some may think with valuations very low it is a good time to buy in. Think again. Retailers are having to invest heavily to update their models and offerings in the face of digital disruption to the industry. Further, tariffs from the trade war will wound the sector.
FINSUM: The bruising period retail has been going through is not over and it does not seem like a wise time to invest.
Investors looking at the automotive sector need to think carefully about their allocation. In particular, it might be smarter to put money into automakers themselves, like GM and Ford, rather than parts suppliers. This runs counter to the typical investment strategy of buying into suppliers in major industries rather than producers themselves. Parts maker in autos have outperformed makers over the last several years, but there is a big catalyst for a reversal: auto makers are no longer looking to slash prices to increase volume. Instead, they are shifting to a higher priced margin-oriented model, which favors the makers’ stocks versus suppliers’.
FINSUM: We think the concept of a higher margin business favoring makers is logical.. However, we aren’t sure the customer is actually going to buy into this model, in which case neither makers nor suppliers would do well.
One the most brutalized stocks on Wall Street is going through a renaissance. The agricultural stock Mosaic has been beat up lately. The fertilizer specialist has been hammered because of weakness in crop prices and corresponding falls in fertilizer. Shares are down 18% this year. The company just released earnings where it cut profit forecasts and then something amazing happened—it surged 7%. Analysts and the market suddenly decided the stock was too cheap. One JP Morgan analyst summarized, saying “Mosaic has been a poor equity performer over a one, three, five, and 10 year period … And we think the shares are now priced to create a favorable risk-reward balance”.
FINSUM: This is a classic blood-in-the-streets type purchase, but the stock is so cheap compared to almost every valuation metric that there does seem to be asymmetric risk to the upside.
Kohl’s did something we think is really brilliant. The company announced yesterday that it has entered an agreement with Amazon to accept all the online retailer’s returns. Kohls’ shares soared on the news. The program is an expansion of a pilot it started in 100 stores, but will now offer the service in all 1,150 stores. Kohl’s will also be selling Amazon merchandise.
FINSUM: We know from in-depth retailing experience that returns are a huge driver of foot traffic and extra sales. This is a very smart way to bring new customers into the store. Kohl’s revenue will rise materially from doing this. Brilliant strategy and very synergistic for both sides.
The Wall Street Journal has published an interesting article giving advice to investors on how to assess, and when to dump, losing mutual funds. The article makes the point that investors should not automatically clear out their losing funds, just like they shouldn’t always buy winning ones. Funds have their own reasons for poor performance and those reasons can have a big impact on whether they should stay in a portfolio. Here are four questions to ask in assessing funds, “Does the fund have a good process in place?”, “Is the manager sticking to his or her own guns?”, “Is there a new manager, and do I trust him or her?”, “Is this negative performance coming in a segment of the market in which it is tough to beat index funds?”.
FINSUM: Good funds can have significant down periods, so it is important to have a methodology for deciding if and when to dump them.
We bet that when you read that headline you thought we were using garbage in a metaphoric sense. We weren’t. We are actually taking about waste management stocks, which the market has been ignoring lately. The two biggest US waste haulers, Waste Management and Republic Services, are down almost 4% this month, way behind the market. Analysts have been souring on the stocks too. However, that is odd considering they have been performing well. Perhaps most interestingly, they have a strong long-term catalyst, which is the growth in the recycling business.
FINSUM: We cannot profess to have any expertise in waste hauling, but there are definitely some interesting mixed signals coming through here. Our instinct is there might be a good contrarian bet here.
It has been a long time since value stocks had a chance to shine. A LONG time. Growth stocks have handily outperformed their growth cousins, so much so that even some diehard value investors have talked about giving up on the practice. Value stocks took a pounding in March following the Fed’s dovish turn and spreads versus the market’s most expensive stocks are at their widest in 70 years. This means it may be a good time to buy, says Bernstein’s equity research team. If you look away from financial value stocks, the sector did not actually get wounded much last month. The reason why it may be time to buy is two-part: the first is that value stocks tend to outperform when the economy is slowing, but not in outright recession. The second is that high value stock spreads are seen all across the economy, and not just in challenged sectors, which means they are less likely indicative of real challenges and are more likely just a market symptom.
FINSUM: We understand this analysis, but have to disagree. We just don’t think the old precedents for value stocks hold much water at the point. Our view is that as growth slows, investors will buy the stocks with the most growth, not the cheapest ones.
In our ongoing coverage of the best funds and products we met at the Inside ETFs conference (and in our regular course of business), we today want to highlight Exponential Funds’ American Customer Satisfaction ETF (ACSI). We met with the founding team of the issuer and the fund last month and were impressed with both their concept and implementation. The fund itself takes a different tack in choosing quality companies with good outlooks—instead of focusing solely on financial performance as most other funds do, it looks to extensive customer satisfaction surveys, and chooses the companies which are scoring most highly with consumers. It uses the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which was founded in 1994 at the University of Michigan, as the basis for its models. Customer satisfaction is a widely recognized metric and is ultimately a statement of economic value, so companies that score highly in the area are serving their customers well and are likely to thrive. The fund has an expense ratio of 0.66%.
FINSUM: We really like the angle this fund has developed as it takes a totally different view than mainstream ways of judging company outlooks. We see this as a long-term play that could have significant rewards.
One of the best ways to pick stocks is to look at insider purchases. When those in-the-know on a company are buying stock with their own money, it is a probably a good time to pay attention. Well, one well-known but dormant stock (in terms of insider purchases) just saw a significant move—Goodyear. One of the rubber company’s board members just spent about $650,000 to buy 35,000 shares of the company. There has not been an insider purchase that large at Goodyear since at least 2004.
FINSUM: We obviously don’t know the catalyst for this buy, but the chatter about how tire companies will benefit in the long-term from self-driving cars (i.e. more miles driven because it is cheaper to keep the cars moving than park them) seems like a strong fundamental.
We thought our readers might like to see some high conviction stock buys from top ranking sell-side analysts. All of the following seven picks are rated a “strong buy” by top ranked analysts and have price targets 20% or more above the current price. The picks come from a wide variety of sectors and include: Turtle Beach (HEAR), Alibaba (BABA), Cigna Corp (CI), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Amarin Corp (AMRN), and Teladoc Health (TDOC).
FINSUM: These are diverse picks both in terms of geography and sector. Amarin and Alibaba are the most interesting for us. The former because of buyout rumors by Pfizer, and the latter because of its strong growth characteristics.
Value stocks have been in a slump for a decade, with growth consistently outperforming. That acknowledged, there is still something to be said for buying beaten up stocks, which seem to have less downside than highly valued growth names. But how to do it? Try an old stock picker’s favorite: buy the ten stocks with the highest dividend yields in the Dow, a strategy which has historically performed well and is called the “Dogs of the Dow”. These stocks tend to have great dividend yields, and generally outperform the index as a whole. The bottom ten right now are: Verizon, IBM, Pfizer, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Merck, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, and JP Morgan.
FINSUM: This sounds like a solid bet, though because of the group, you are buying them with no real catalyst.
It has been a long time since value stocks have performed well. For about a decade, growth stocks have handily outperformed growth. However, the stage may be set for a long awaited rebound in value shares. One thing that may help is that shares fell so much to end the year, which has put many even strong companies in significantly discounted positions. The sign that may show it is time for value to shine is that the valuation gap between the market’s most expensive and cheapest stocks has reached its highest since 2008. This is a good indicator that value stocks are likely to rise.
FINSUM: Many analysts have been calling for a resurgence of value stocks for years and it has not happened. That skepticism aside, we do feel more positive about the possibility this time around.
Stocks got wounded very badly in the last quarter of the year, with many stocks entering deep bear markets. Many analysts think stocks are in for a good year, so many feel it is a good time to buy. So what are the best rebound picks for 2019? Sector-wise, it might be best to look at IT, energy, communication services, and utilities. In terms of individual names, consider Noble Energy, Conagra Brands, Alexion Pharma, American Airlines, Electronic Arts, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Tiffany & Co., and Citigroup.
FINSUM: Quite a diverse list! But then again, that is what happens when the S&P 500 falls 20%--there are a lot of wounded stocks to choose from.
The big market rout has left no shortage of stocks trading at large discounts to their previous valuations. The important question is which ones are actually a good value given the eruption in markets. With that in mind, here are four well-known names to take a look at. They are General Motors, CVS Health, Macy’s, and American Airlines. GM and AA are trading at near 5x earnings, the latter despite a thriving business. AT&T is interesting too, as shares have fallen 20% in the last year, and the dividend has swelled to 6.7%.
FINSUM: This seems like a good chance to pick up some healthy stocks that have been heavily dented by a selloff, but are poised to recover. We particularly like American Airlines and AT&T.