Fundamental data is updated weekly, as of the prior weekend. Please download the Full Report and Dividend Report for any changes.
Latest Valuentum Commentary
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.
May 24, 2021
Thinking Slow: 3 Research Blind Spots That Changed the Investment World
Image Source: EpicTop10.com. We have to be on high alert about how our minds work. PBS is premiering a four-part series examining about how easily our minds are being hacked, and why it is so important to "think slow." Tune in. When it comes to the active versus passive debate, does the analysis suffer from parameter risk? With respect to empirical, evidence-based analysis, does the analysis have the entire construct wrong? When it comes to short-cut multiples, are we falling into the behavioral trap of thinking on autopilot?
Apr 8, 2021
The Best Years Are Ahead
The wind is at our backs. The Federal Reserve, Treasury, and regulatory bodies of the U.S. may have no choice but to keep U.S. markets moving higher. The likelihood of the S&P 500 reaching 2,000 ever again seems remote, and I would not be surprised to see 5,000 on the S&P 500 before we see 2,500-3,000, if the latter may be in the cards. The S&P 500 is trading at ~4,100 at the time of this writing. The high end of our fair value range on the S&P 500 remains just shy of 4,000, but I foresee a massive shift in long-term capital out of traditional bonds into equities this decade (and markets to remain overpriced for some time). Bond yields are paltry and will likely stay that way for some time, requiring advisors to rethink their asset mixes. The stock market looks to be the place to be long term, as it has always been. With all the tools at the disposal of government officials, economic collapse (as in the Great Depression) may no longer be even a minor probability in the decades to come--unlike in the past with the capitalistic mindset that governed the Federal Reserve before the “Lehman collapse."
Feb 8, 2021
Stock Market Outlook for 2021
2020 was one from the history books and a year that will live on in infamy. That said, we are excited for the future as global health authorities are steadily putting an end to the public health crisis created by COVID-19, aided by the quick discovery of safe and viable vaccines. Tech, fintech, and payment processing firms were all big winners in 2020, and we expect that to continue being the case in 2021. Digital advertising, cloud-computing, and e-commerce activities are set to continue dominating their respective fields. Cybersecurity demand is moving higher and the constant threats posed by both governments (usually nations that are hostile to Western interests) and non-state actors highlights how crucial these services are. Retailers with omni-channel selling capabilities are well-positioned to ride the global economic recovery upwards. Green energy firms will continue to grow at a brisk pace in 2021, though the oil & gas industry appears ready for a comeback. The adoption of 5G wireless technologies and smartphones will create immense growth opportunities for smartphone makers, semiconductor players and telecommunications giants. Video streaming services have become ubiquitous over the past decade with room to continue growing as households “cut the cord” and instead opt for several video streaming packages. We’re not too big of fans of old industrial names given their capital-intensive nature relative to capital-light technology or fintech, but there are select names that have appeal. Cryptocurrencies have taken the market by storm as we turn the calendar into 2021, but the traditional banking system remains healthy enough to withstand another shock should it be on the horizon. Our fair value estimate of the S&P 500 remains $3,530-$3,920, but we may still be on a roller coaster ride for the year. Here’s to a great 2021!
Jan 27, 2021
ALERT: Raising Cash in the Newsletter Portfolios
Our research has been absolutely fantastic for a long time, but 2020 may have been our best year yet. With the S&P 500 trading within our fair value estimate range of 3,530-3,920 (and the markets rolling over while showing signs of abnormal behavior), we're raising the cash position in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio to 10%-20%. For more conservative investors, the high end of this range may even be larger, especially considering the vast "gains" from the March 2020 bottom and the increased systemic risks arising from price-agnostic trading (read Value Trap). The individual holdings will be reduced in proportion to arrive at the new targeted cash weighting in the respective simulated newsletter portfolios. The High Yield Dividend Newsletter and Dividend Growth Newsletter are scheduled for release February 1. We'll have more to say soon.
Dec 31, 2020
2020 Won’t Soon Be Forgotten
2020 won’t soon be forgotten. The tumultuous year brought with it the greatest shock to the U.S. economy in modern history, ushering in the largest-ever decline in U.S. real annualized gross domestic product of 31.4% in the second quarter of the year (surpassing the prior record of a 28.6% collapse in the second quarter of 1921). Strict lockdowns to help contain the outbreak of COVID-19 created the biggest global health emergency in a century, driving a self-inflicted economic collapse worse than the Great Recession, the Great Depression, and any other recession before it (the Depression of 1873-1879, the Panic of 1893, etc.). Millions were put out of work. During the month of April alone, the economy lost a record 20.8 million jobs, with some estimating that the “real” unemployment rate during the depths of the COVID-19 crisis reached nearly 23%. The official 14.7% unemployment rate in April would obliterate prior post-World War II era records, and while it fell short of the peak Great Depression unemployment rate estimated at 24.9%, the pain of many families and households was no less severe as they battled both a financial and health crisis that materialized in a matter of weeks, with little lead time to prepare for what was to come. Pantry stuffing and panic buying of consumer goods became a sign of the times, and a great debate about the efficacy of wearing masks raged across mediums.
Dec 18, 2020
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week December 18
Let's take a look at companies that raised/lowered their dividend this week.
Dec 1, 2020
Walking Through the Calculation of the Dividend Cushion Ratio
Image shown: An image found on page 2 of Valuentum's Dividend Report on Kimberly-Clark. The 'Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction,' shown in the image, reveals the numerator and denominator of the Dividend Cushion ratio. At the core, the larger the numerator (or the healthier a company's balance sheet and future free cash flow generation) relative to the denominator (or a company's future expected cash dividend obligations), the more durable the dividend. In the context of the Dividend Cushion ratio, KimberlyClark's numerator is larger than its denominator suggesting strong dividend coverage in the future. The 'Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction' image puts sources of free cash flow in the context of financial obligations next to expected cash dividend payments over the next 5 years on a side-by-side comparison. Because the Dividend Cushion ratio and many of its components are forward-looking, our dividend evaluation may change upon subsequent updates as future forecasts are altered to reflect new information.We believe the Dividend Cushion ratio is one of the most helpful tools an income or dividend growth investor can use in conjunction with qualitative dividend analysis. The ratio is one-of-a-kind in that it is both free-cash-flow based, considers balance sheet health, and is forward looking. Since its development in 2012, we estimate its efficacy at ~90% in helping to forewarn readers of impending dividend cuts. For companies where Valuentum reports are available, the Dividend Cushion ratio can be found in a stock's Dividend Report or in the table on the company's stock landing page. We use Kimberly-Clark as an example of how we calculate the Dividend Cushion ratio and how useful it is for investors of all types.
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.
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.
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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.