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Latest Valuentum Commentary
May 10, 2021
Inflation! How to Think About Value Duration
Image Shown: Longer-duration free cash flow stocks are more impacted by changes in inflationary expectations and interest rates (up or down) than stable and/or stable and growing free cash flow generators. This example shows the impact of falling interest rates (10%-->5%) on stable versus longer-duration hypothetical future free cash flow streams, all else equal (the opposite would directionally be applicable in a rising interest rate environment). There's nothing 'all else equal' in the real world though. In the event of rising inflationary expectations, we would still expect speculative technology stocks to take the biggest hit. On the other hand, we would expect strong and growing free cash flow powerhouses that can price ahead of inflation such as big cap tech to handle the environment well. Though banks, energy, and the metals and mining sectors may lead the market for some time, we still like large cap growth and big cap tech for the long run. What many may be overlooking is that, for those with pricing power, higher inflationary expectations translate into higher product and service prices, too. Big cap tech (and their pricing power) is well-positioned to handle such an environment. We’re not overreacting in any respect, and we’re not going to chase commodity prices or commodity producers higher. Commodity prices are simply too difficult to predict in almost all cases, and banking entities are far too susceptible to boom-and-bust shocks for us to get comfortable with their long-term investment profiles. All in, we’re sticking with companies with strong net cash positions and future expected free cash flows (and solid dividend health, where applicable). Some of the strongest companies that have these characteristics can be found in large cap growth and big cap tech. Facebook remains our top idea for long-term capital appreciation potential. In the meantime, we’re comfortable watching the market chase a rotation into more speculative areas.
May 3, 2021
The Real Reasons Why Buffett Wants You in Index Funds
Image Shown: Since mid-June 2015, on a price-only basis, the S&P 500 (SPY) has nearly doubled, while shares of Kinder Morgan have nearly halved. In Morgan Housel’s book The Psychology of Money, chapter 16 leads in with “Beware taking financial cues from people playing a different game than you are.” The people on CNBC are playing a different game than you, and so is Warren Buffett. Buffett’s principles on stock selection are golden, but you must understand that he is near the top of the Forbes’ Billionaires List. He absolutely should be taking his own advice and indexing! With the threat of long-term inflation and price-agnostic trading, the average American, even with a few million in the bank, is not so lucky. Keep your game sharp.
Feb 14, 2021
Earnings from Our Two Favorite Midstream MLPs: EPD and MMP
Image Source: Enterprise Products Partners L.P. – Fourth Quarter of 2020 IR Earnings Presentation. The distribution yields on the units of both Enterprise Products and Magellan Midstream are quite lofty, and while we caution that these midstream MLP’s have hefty net debt positions, they may be best-in-class. Still, both entities need to retain constant access to capital markets to refinance their debt burdens, ideally at attractive rates. Declining capital expenditures and rising utilization rates, if realized, should go a long way in improving both firm’s abilities to generate free cash flows this year and beyond. In our view, we see Enterprise Products and Magellan Midstream being able to maintain their hefty payout obligations going forward. We continue to like exposure to both Enterprise Products and Magellan Midstream in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio.
Jan 11, 2021
Energy Sector In Shambles, Looks to Recover But Headwinds Persist
Image Source: ConocoPhillips – November 2019 Analyst and Investor Meeting IR Presentation. Though raw energy resource pricing is on the rebound, the outlook for the oil and gas industry remains stressed. Global demand for oil and related refined petroleum products remains subdued due to headwinds generated by the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. The OPEC+ oil cartel has responded by pledging to keep a significant amount of oil output off the market for an extended time. However, raw energy resource prices need to go much higher and be sustained at elevated levels before the space could become attractive from a longer-term perspective. In our view, the US upstream industry (specifically those in the shale patch) need WTI to move and stay north of $60 per barrel to be in a position to generate meaningful free cash flow while also investing enough to maintain their production bases. We think the dividends at the oil majors may be at risk, even Exxon’s, and we include two high-risk midstream stocks in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio to capture a relatively benign risk-reward scenario when it comes to their respective yields. We maintain a cautious view on the MLP business model, more generally, however. For now, we are keeping a close eye on the energy sector considering things are slowly moving in the right direction. However, given the collapse in raw energy resources pricing witnessed during the first half of 2020, the industry still has a long way to go before it is out of the woods, so to speak.
Nov 4, 2020
Our Thoughts on Magellan Midstream’s Latest Earnings
Image Shown: Keeping the many headwinds facing the energy infrastructure space in mind, Magellan Midstream Partners LP remains one of our favorite midstream master limited partnerships. Image Source: Magellan Midstream Partners LP – October 2020 IR Presentation. On October 30, Magellan Midstream Partners reported third quarter 2020 earnings that beat both top- and bottom-line consensus estimates. The midstream master limited partnership (‘MLP’) space has faced enormous headwinds due to the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic, though the firm was still able to generate sizable free cash flows during the first nine months of 2020. Magellan Midstream is a modestly-weighted holding in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio, and as of this writing, units of MMP yield ~11.1%. Though that yield is quite high, given that the firm’s free cash flows should grow significantly going forward, we are optimistic the firm will be able to continue making good on its payout obligations for the time being.
Nov 2, 2020
ICYMI -- Dividend Growth Strategies Struggle
Image: A large cap growth ETF (orange) has significantly outperformed an ETF tied to a dividend growth strategy, the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY), which mirrors the total return performance of the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index. To no surprise to many members, several dividend growth strategies have faced tremendous pressure during 2020. The Journal recently wrote a piece on the topic, but from our perspective, the problem with many dividend growth strategies is that they tend to be balance-sheet agnostic and pay little attention to traditional free cash flow expectations, focusing only on the yield itself, sometimes dismissing future fundamentals in favor of historical growth trends and the inferior EPS-based dividend payout ratio. In many dividend-targeted ETFs, for example, it may not matter to the index creator whether a firm has $10 billion in net debt or $10 billion in net cash; as long as management has a track record of raising the dividend in the past, it is included. To us, however, there is a world of difference between a company that has a huge net cash position and a huge net debt position. The more excess cash on the balance sheet a dividend payer has, for example, the more secure its payout. In some cases, entities held in high-yielding ETFs don't even cover their dividends or distributions with traditional free cash flow generation, despite having ominous net debt loads. A look at the high-yielding ALPS Alerian MLP ETF, for example, shows a number of entities that are buried under a mountain of debt and are generating meager free cash flow relative to expected distributions. The lofty yield on that ETF should therefore be viewed with a very cautious eye. If the yield weren't at risk for a big cut, the market would bid up the stock, and down the yield would go. In no way should you believe that you can sleep well at night holding stocks yielding north of 10% when the current 10-year Treasury is well below 1%. The market is just not that inefficient. A dividend growth strategy can never be a passive one either. Only through constant attention to the balance sheet (net cash) and future free cash flow expectations can investors truly sleep well at night. At Valuentum, we do the balance sheet and cash flow work and summarize it succinctly in a key ratio called the Dividend Cushion ratio.
Oct 27, 2020
Energy Transfer’s Dividend Cut Not Enough, Needs to Slash It More
We expect another distribution cut from Energy Transfer in the not-too-distant future. Its traditional free cash flow generation is still too meager to cover its now-reduced distribution level, and the energy markets are simply not cooperating. The energy sector has been among the worst-performing equity sectors for some time now, and investor appetite for new equity and debt issuance is waning as return expectations are ratcheted down in a troubled energy resource environment. We expect more pain to come for Energy Transfer’s stock. Our fair value estimate stands at $4 per share.
Oct 2, 2020
ICYMI: How Big Is Your "Too Hard" Bucket?
Image Source: Christian Schnettelker. In investing, it's okay to admit that there are some things that investors can't know. It's not a poor reflection of one's analytical ability or a possible shortcoming of one's experience, but rather quite the contrary: Understanding and accepting that some things are "unknowable" is a sign of the quality of one's judgment. Quite simply, certain critical components of the equity evaluation process are more "unknowable" than others. The intelligent investor recognizes the variance (fair value estimate ranges) and the magnitude of the "unknowable" between companies and generally tries to identify entities that have the least "unknowable" characteristics as possible or situations where the "unknowable" might actually be weighted in their favor (an asymmetric fair value distribution).
Sep 17, 2020
Maybe Jim Cramer Was Overmatched
Image Source: EpicTop10.com. Have you ever wondered why so many trust the TV for financial advice or stock tips? You guessed it: It comes back to "brain science" or the concept of familiarity. When we see a celebrity or our favorite stock guru on the television, it arouses our emotions and connects us with the idea, making the experience more memorable. The brain tends to treat our favorite newscaster or celebrity as a trusted, familiar friend, and therefore we translate those feelings into expertise and a "valid" endorsement.
Sep 10, 2020
High Yield Dividend Income Investing in a Time of Need
Image: EpicTop10.com. The skills to successfully invest for long-term capital gains or long-term dividend growth are much different than those required for generating high yield dividend income. Income investing is a much different proposition. However, the skills do center on a similar equity evaluation process, but one that requires an acknowledgement and heightened awareness of considerably greater downside risks. Income investing, or high yield dividend income investing, should at times be considered among the riskiest forms of investing, as many high dividend-yielding securities tend to trade closer to the characteristics of junk-rated bonds than they do most net cash rich and free cash flow generating powerhouses that we like so much 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.