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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Jul 19, 2021
Bank Earnings Solid During Second Quarter 2021
Image Source: Bank of America Corporation – Second Quarter of 2021 IR Earnings Presentation. After reviewing the second quarter earnings reports of several major US banking institutions, the domestic economy continues to stage an impressive though uneven economic recovery. Net credit write-offs have been trending aggressively lower of late, a welcome sign. Banks are taking advantage of their improving financial outlook and have been aggressively rewarding shareholders via dividend increases and/or large share buyback programs.
Jun 1, 2021
ICYMI -- Video: Exclusive 2020 -- Furthering the Financial Discipline
In this 40+ minute video jam-packed with must-watch content, Valuentum's President Brian Nelson talks about the Theory of Universal Valuation and how his work is furthering the financial discipline. Learn the pitfalls of factor investing and modern portfolio theory and how the efficient markets hypothesis holds little substance in the wake of COVID-19. He'll talk about what companies Valuentum likes and why, and which areas he's avoiding. This and more in Valuentum's 2020 Exclusive conference call.
Apr 20, 2021
Banks Holding Up Well, Some Feel Pain from Archegos Capital Collapse
Image Shown: Bank of America Corporation has an optimistic view towards the ongoing US economic recovery. Image Source: Bank of America Corporation – First Quarter of 2021 IR Earnings Presentation. Earnings season is now underway! In this article, we cover the performance of two large US banks and the problems facing one major European bank in light of losses stemming from Archegos Capital Management blowing up. Large reserve releases last quarter--due to the US economy holding up better than expected during the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic--played an outsized role in bolstering the financial performance of key US banks after these institutions recorded large reserve builds in 2020. Net interest margins (‘NIM’) continue to face headwinds from the low interest rate environment, though noninterest related income (such as income generated from wealth management, investing banking, and other activities) at several banks has come in strong (aided by favorable capital market conditions).
Jan 28, 2021
Fourth Quarter Bank Earnings Roundup: MS, GS, BAC, C, WFC, JPM
Image Source: JP Morgan’s fourth-quarter earnings press release. Though we’re generally cautious on banking business models due to the arbitrary nature of cash-flow generation within the banking system and the difficulty in valuing such entities on the basis of a free-cash-flow-to-the firm framework, we like Morgan Stanley--and its return on tangible equity of 17.7% during the fourth quarter of 2020 speaks to solid economic-value creation. Goldman’s annualized return on total equity (ROTE) was an impressive 22.5% during its fourth quarter, helping drive the full-year measure to 11.1% for 2020. Bank of America had been an idea in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio in the past, but we removed the company June 11, 2020. We continue to view the banking system more as utility-like serving as an extension of the federal government, and as such, we generally don’t think they’ll be able to muster above-average returns in the longer-run. We still include diversified exposure to the financial sector in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio via the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), but only for diversification purposes. Citigroup remains among our least favorite banking entities. Wells Fargo used to be a well-run bank, but consumer perception has certainly changed with its “fake account scandal” that cost it $3 billion to settle criminal and civil charges. JP Morgan's return metrics were solid like Morgan Stanley’s and Goldman’s, with return on equity (ROE) coming in at 19% and return on total common equity (ROTCE) coming in at 24% in the quarter. The banking system remains on stable ground.
Dec 8, 2020
Visa Is a Great Company
Image Shown: Visa Inc’s operations are on the rebound, though meaningful headwinds remain. Image Source: Visa Inc – Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Earnings for Fiscal 2020 IR Presentation. We recently took a fresh look at our valuation of Visa, and we raised the company’s fair value estimate to $219 per share. The high end of Visa’s current fair value estimate range sits at $263 per share, indicating there is room for substantial capital appreciation upside under a more bullish/upside scenario (note that upside and and downside scenarios help inform each company's fair value estimate range). We continue to be big fans of Visa, and the firm is not only one of our top ideas in the financial-technology/payment-processing space that includes innovators in blockchain and cryptocurrency, but it is also one of our top ideas in our entire coverage universe.
Nov 19, 2020
Normalizing our Fair Value Estimates for the Money Center Banks
Image Source: Mike Cohen. During the past few weeks, positive news surrounding the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines means that, while times will still be tough for banks as bad loans pile up, losses and defaults perhaps won’t be as bad as we had originally predicted at the onset of the outbreak of COVID-19. The unemployment rate has steadily crept lower from the 14.7% rate it hit in April 2020 (it stands at 6.9% as of October), and businesses have been battling hard through the worst of times with help from the Paycheck Protection Program, among other stimulus efforts. There have still been many business failures, however. Several banks’ net interest margins have faced pressure, too, but 30-year rates have managed to ease a bit higher from the sub-1% mark on March 9, 2020, to 1.62% at the time of this writing (November 18). The widely-watched 10-year/3-month Treasury yield spread has also advanced to 79 basis points, representing a meaningful improvement from most of February and early March when the 10-year/3-month Treasury yield spread was negative. The probability of an adverse tail-event is also substantially reduced (if not, eliminated), given the laser-focus of the Fed/Treasury to do whatever it takes to get to the other side the COVID-19 crisis. With all of this in mind, we expect to raise our fair value estimates for the money center banks upon their next update, effective November 21. That said, we’re not changing our general views on the banking and financials sector. Banks are being used more and more these days as extensions of government fiscal intervention/policy via myriad stimulus programs (which makes them more like “utilities”), while regulatory oversight has put a limit on just how much capital they can return to shareholders. This adds a degree of unnecessary complexity for dividend growth and income investors. Returns on equity remain relatively unattractive for many banks when compared to some of the strongest Economic Castles on the market that put up ROICs north of 100%, for example, some even higher. Systemic risk remains present, too, with most lending books opaque and intertwined within a global financial system that remains far from healthy due to COVID-19.
Oct 13, 2020
JPMorgan, Citigroup Third Quarters Not Terrible, But Still No Reason to Own Financials
Image: Banks and financials were among the most aggressively beaten down groups during the COVID-19 crash, and the sector failed to participate meaningfully in the bounce back. The leveraged and arbitrary nature of banking business models makes them much less attractive than entities with strong net cash positions on the balance sheet and solid expected future free cash flows. Source: Kastner, David, Charles Schwab. “Schwab Sector Views: Changes Are Coming.” 18 June 2020. https://www.schwab.com/resource-center/insights/content/sector-views. Better-than-feared third-quarter reports are not going to change our minds on the banking and financials sector. The group has been among the worst performing sectors amid the COVID-19 market crash and failed to bounce back meaningfully since the March bottom. Banks are being used as extensions of government fiscal intervention via myriad stimulus programs, while oversight puts a limit on just how much capital they can return to shareholders. Returns on equity remain subpar for many, and systemic risk remains present with most books opaque and intertwined within the global financial system. Cash flows for the group are largely arbitrary, and most remain leveraged by the very nature of their business models. We see no reason to own most banks and financials and point to fintech via PayPal and credit card processor Visa as our favorite ideas for indirect exposure to the global financial system.
Oct 7, 2020
Apple’s Growing Financial Tech Business
Image Shown: Shares of Apple Inc, a holding in both our Best Ideas Newsletter and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolios, have surged higher year-to-date. We see room for additional capital appreciation upside. We continue to be huge fans of Apple, and shares of the tech giant are included as a holding in both our Best Ideas Newsletter and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolios. Our fair value estimate for Apple sits at $140 per share, comfortably above where shares of AAPL are trading at as of this writing indicating there is room for meaningful capital appreciation upside. Additionally, shares of AAPL yield a modest ~0.7% as of this writing, and we view its forward-looking dividend growth trajectory quite favorably, though please note Apple also allocates a significant amount of capital every fiscal year towards share repurchases.
Sep 3, 2020
Update: Frequently Asked Questions About Valuentum Securities, Inc.
Valuentum (val∙u∙n∙tum) [val-yoo-en-tuh-m] Securities Inc. is an independent investment research publisher, offering premium equity reports and dividend reports, as well as commentary across all sectors/companies, a Best Ideas Newsletter (spanning market caps, asset classes), a Dividend Growth Newsletter, modeling tools/products, and more. Independence and integrity remain our core, and we strive to be a champion of the investor. Valuentum is based in the Chicagoland area. Valuentum is not a money manager, broker, or financial advisor. Valuentum is a publisher of financial information. We address a number of questions from both subscribers and visitors to our site.
Sep 1, 2020
Valuentum Website Overview
Overview of the key features of www.valuentum.com (03:55). Valuentum (val∙u∙n∙tum) [val-yoo-en-tuh-m] Securities Inc. is an independent investment research publisher, offering premium equity reports, dividend reports, and ETF reports, as well as commentary across all sectors/companies, a Best Ideas Newsletter (spanning market caps, asset classes), a Dividend Growth Newsletter, modeling tools/products, and more. Independence and integrity remain our core, and we strive to be a champion of the investor. Valuentum is based in the Chicagoland area. Valuentum is not a money manager, broker, or financial advisor. Valuentum is a publisher of financial information.
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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.