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Latest Valuentum Commentary
May 4, 2020
Lloyds Banking Group Navigates Competitive Markets
Image Source: Lloyds. The UK banking market is highly competitive with too many players, and we think this is the cause for the low returns on capital across the cycle. We’re paying close attention to the key banking players in Europe, including Lloyds Banking Group, to assess the likelihood of a global financial contagion that may accompany the global pandemic that has become COVID-19.
Apr 30, 2020
Staying Focused on the Long Term
Image Source: The final lesson to learn from financial crises. Value Trap: Theory of Universal Valuation. Excerpt: "...it's difficult to be optimistic during these challenging times, but sometimes it's okay to take a step back and relax. Things are going to be alright. Many of you have read my book Value Trap: Theory of Universal Valuation. In it, I talk a lot about the lessons from the Great Financial Crisis. Above any other, however, what I've found is that the most difficult lesson to accept is that moral hazard will (once again) be rewarded. The Fed and Treasury may really have no choice but to continue to bail out "everyone," flood the markets with never-ending liquidity injections (if needed), and otherwise continue to prop up these markets at any and all costs. Granted, it was much easier to call the top in February and to identify dollar-cost-averaging opportunities near the bottom of this swoon than it is to call a near-term direction today, but over the longer run, I don't think I've ever had more conviction that the markets will, once again, make new highs thanks to Fed and Treasury actions and the resulting equity-focused inflationary repercussions." -- Brian Nelson, CFA
Apr 30, 2020
Deutsche Bank Suffering From Lack of Earnings Power
Image Source: Deutsche Bank 1Q2020 Earnings Presentation. On April 29, Deutsche Bank reported another measly quarter in a long string of them. While Deutsche Bank is well-capitalized with a Common Equity Tier I ratio of 12.8% and its Investment Banking segment grew earnings nicely this quarter during rapid client trading and bond origination activity as the markets melted down in March, it suffers from a lack of earnings power at this stage. We blame this on the bank itself, but also on the overcapacity in European banking in general, which pressures margins across the entire industry.
Apr 29, 2020
Santander Remains Well-Capitalized
Image Source: Santander S.A. 1Q2020 Earnings Presentation. Europe is overbanked with too much capacity, which means little or no earnings power for many of the players involved, including Santander Europe. We’re paying close attention to the key banking players in Europe to assess the likelihood of a global financial contagion that may accompany the global pandemic that has become COVID-19.
Mar 18, 2020
Banking Entities: The Technicals Tell the Story
Image: The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF has experienced a tremendous amount of pain in recent weeks. What is clear is that temporarily shutting down large parts of U.S. economy is absolutely unprecedented, and there will be substantial knock-on effects and difficulties in getting things restarted. This is most especially true if the coronavirus re-emerges following the periods of social distancing around the world, or when the weather turns colder again in the fall, and humanity could be facing a different strand of the coronavirus. Don’t forget that all bank institutions use a lot of financial leverage by their very nature, and the Fed and Treasury can never truly stop a run-on-the-bank dynamic (i.e. that which happened to WaMu in 2008). We think BOK Financial is in particular trouble given its energy loan exposure. Others to avoid include Cullen/Frost Bankers, Cadence Bancorp, and CIT Group. The credit card entities, Capital One and Synchrony Financial may be worth avoiding. We’d stay far away from the regional banks given their exposure to small business pain amid COVID-19. We don’t think the fiscal stimulus on the table does much to help small businesses. Deutsche Bank may be the first of the big European banks to topple, and this weakness could eventually spread to the U.S. banks given counterparty risk. Most foreign banks, including Santander, Credit Suisse, UBS, ING, and BBVA remain exposed to crisis scenarios. We’re also witnessing some very troubling developments with banking preferred shares, with the bank-preferred-heavy ETF, Global X SuperIncome Preferred ETF dropping ~15% during the trading session March 18. The preferreds of HSBC and Ally Financial are top weightings in that ETF. Banking technicals are raising some major red flags across the board, and given actions by the Fed and Treasury, this crisis has all the makings of being worse than the Great Financial Crisis. In any financial crisis perhaps excepting a depression, there can come a time to invest new money in bank stocks. Though it seems likely we have not yet reached the bottom in the markets yet, the highest-ground bank franchises in the US are JPMorgan and Bank of America, in our view. While sharp declines in their equity values may be expected (no one truly knows how deep the coming flood will be), they’re likely to make it to the other side with most of their equity capital firmly intact. With all that said, however, one doesn’t have to hold banking equities. It may be time to phone Mr. Buffett before things really start to unfold.
Mar 11, 2020
Worst in Energy Not Over, Stay Away from Leveraged Enterprises, Seeds of Financial Crisis Sown?
Image Shown: The energy and banking markets continue to be experiencing pain. Since we removed the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) and Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) from the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio, the XLE has fallen more than 50% and the XLF has fallen 13%, while the SPY has held up roughly 2%. We continue to believe staying away from energy and financials/banks will be a source of significant alpha.These are challenging times. The oil price swoon has complicated an already-dire situation with COVID-19. We’re seeing cracks in the credit markets, and the European banking system is far from healthy. The US banks may face knock-on impacts from energy loan defaults and hold significant counter-party risk from their European brethren, which have breached post-Lehman lows. We’re doubtful any fiscal stimulus will stave off this crisis, and it may just set up the markets for the next leg down, if Congress ends up in a stalemate. We will continue to keep our members informed on the state of global energy markets as more information becomes available, but we think avoiding energy and banks/financials will continue to be a source of alpha. We removed the XLE and XLF from the newsletter portfolios in August of last year. We’re reiterating our 2,350-2,750 target range on the S&P 500.
Nov 25, 2019
Our Report on the Banks & Money Centers Industry
Image Source: Insomnia Cured Here. Our report on the Banks & Money Centers industry can be found in this article. Fair values estimates and Valuentum Buying Index ratings for AXP, BAC, BK, BBT, C, DFS, FITB, GS, HSBC, JPM, KEY, MS, NTRS, PNC, RF, STI, TCF, USB, and WFC are included.
Jul 11, 2019
Valuentum Exclusive Yearly Round Up
"I want finance to learn from the past, the quantitative mistakes of yesteryear that brought the world economy to its knees. The misaligned incentives that created a massive bubble and subsequent housing market crash. The problems of leverage in yet another quant hedge fund Long Term Capital Management that caused panic in the late 1990s. Wall Street is not learning from history, and many are going wildly down the path of destruction. Don’t confuse indexing with a bull market. Pay attention to what you own. Stay diversified, and most of all, do your own due diligence." -- President of Investment Research, Brian Nelson, CFA
Jul 1, 2019
New Highs! The December Call Has Been Well-Rewarded
"The less the prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we must conduct our own." - Warren Buffett (2018)
Apr 1, 2019
Big Bank Roundup, Bank of America Catches Our Eye
In this article, let’s catch up with how far the big 6 banks in the US have come since the height of the financial crisis exactly a decade hence. We will highlight the improvements in the banking system, some of the key risks, and a few high level thoughts about the individual franchises leading the US banking system. We like Bank of America the most, and we include diversified banking exposure in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio.
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The High Yield Dividend Newsletter, Best Ideas Newsletter, Dividend Growth Newsletter, Nelson Exclusive publication, and any reports, articles and content found on this website are for information purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The sources of the data used on this website are believed by Valuentum to be reliable, but the data’s accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Valuentum is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of its newsletters, reports, commentary, or publications and accepts no liability for how readers may choose to utilize the content. Valuentum is not a money manager, is not a registered investment advisor and does not offer brokerage or investment banking services. Valuentum, its employees, and affiliates may have long, short or derivative positions in the stock or stocks mentioned on this site.