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Latest Valuentum Commentary
May 30, 2023
Paper: Value and Momentum Within Stocks, Too
Abstract: This paper strives to advance the field of finance in four ways: 1) it extends the theory of the “The Arithmetic of Active Management” to the investor level; 2) it addresses certain data problems of factor-based methods, namely with respect to value and book-to-market ratios, while introducing price-to-fair-value ratios in a factor-based approach; 3) it may lay the foundation for academic literature regarding the Valuentum, the value-timing, and ultra-momentum factors; and 4) it walks through the potential relative outperformance that may be harvested at the intersection of relevant, unique and compensated factors within individual stocks.
May 23, 2023
Call Me Unconcerned
Image: Large cap growth has dominated returns the past five years. The Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio continues to have significant exposure to this area. We’re taking it slow this time of year. With the area of large cap growth nearly doubling since the beginning of 2018, trouncing the return of the broader market, dividend growth strategies, the area of small cap value and general REIT indices, it’s just hard to find much wrong with staying pat. The proliferation of artificial intelligence will likely propel big cap tech and large cap growth to new highs, while small cap value may continue to be weighed down by the banks--and dividend-oriented strategies may face continued pressure from rising interest rates and tired real estate markets. Things were a bit murky during 2022, but thanks for keeping the faith.
May 22, 2023
Nice! -- NASDAQ-100 Follows Through on Breakout
Image: NASDAQ-100 breaks through August 2022 resistance.
May 14, 2023
Disney’s 5-Year Returns Have Been Pitiful
Image: Since the beginning of 2018, Disney’s shares have fallen, while the S&P 500 has surged. Though we liked the company more recently, we no longer include shares in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio. Disney has its hands full with its feud with Florida Governor DeSantis, a weakening linear television market, and intense rivalries in the streaming market. All of this won’t be solved overnight and might even worsen. From where we stand, investors simply don’t need the complexity of the Disney story at this time, and the company’s 5-year returns tell the story of a troubled company. With shares of Disney largely fairly valued, we won’t be adding the company back to the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio anytime soon.
May 4, 2023
Paramount Global Cuts Payout, Dividend Cushion Ratio Caught Another!
Image Source: Paramount Global. The Dividend Cushion ratio is not a perfect predictor of dividend health and the risks of a dividend cut, but it’s a pretty darn good one. On May 4, Paramount Global missed expectations for its first-quarter 2023 results on both the top and bottom line and cut its quarterly dividend to $0.05 per quarter (was $0.24). The company’s Dividend Cushion ratio, which considers its balance sheet as well as future expectations of free cash flow relative to future expected cash dividends paid, was -2.5 (negative 2.5). Any ratio below 1 indicates growing risk to the health of the dividend, while any materially negative (below 0) ratio indicates severe risk of a dividend cut in the longer run.
Apr 24, 2023
The Price-to-Earnings Ratio Demystified
Let's examine the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. The key takeaways are: 1) without using a discounted cash-flow model, the P/E ratio that should be applied to a company's future expected earnings stream can never be appropriately calculated, and by extension, 2) when investors assign an arbitrary price-to-earnings multiple to a company’s earnings (based on historical trends or industry peers or the market multiple), they are essentially making estimates for all of the drivers behind a discounted cash-flow model in one fell swoop (and sometimes hastily). As earnings for next year are often within sight and can be estimated with some confidence (though this certainly varies among firms), calculating the price-to-earnings ratio via a discounted cash-flow process, in our opinion, is of far greater importance than worrying about whether a firm will beat or miss earnings in its next fiscal year. Because the P/E ratio is a discounted cash-flow model that considers the long-term qualitative dynamics of a particular entity, cash-flow analysis remains the first and most important pillar of our Valuentum Buying Index. And finally, investors cannot ignore valuation analysis or the future. Valuation is an important driver behind stock prices, and it is based on future expectations that can only be estimated. This is just a fact of the markets.
Apr 20, 2023
AT&T Disappoints Again
Image: AT&T is back in the doghouse, as free cash flow generation came in worse than expected during its first-quarter 2023 results. Image Source: AT&T. AT&T’s forward estimated dividend yield of 5.6% is attractive at face value, but the economics of its business continue to leave a lot to be desired, in our view. Not only is the company saddled with a tremendous amount of net debt to the tune of a whopping $134.7 billion, resulting in an annualized net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 3.22x, but the company operates a capital-intensive model that eats into its operating cash flow.
Mar 14, 2023
Brain Teaser - Reflexive versus Reflective
Image: Amy Leonard. Valuation multiples tend to trigger the reflexive side of our brain, and we process the multiples through anchoring. On the other hand, enterprise valuation, or the process required to answer the questions (in this article) correctly, shows that our reflexive process can be quite incorrect at times. In fact, cognitive biases such as anchoring can completely trip us up into missing out on truly undervalued companies that may have high P/E ratios while baiting us into value traps with low P/E ratios.
Feb 11, 2023
Disney: Iger’s Back, Peltz Concedes, Thousands of Jobs Gone, Dividend Coming Back Soon
Image Source: Valuentum. Disney has a lot of work to do. The company’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment has recovered nicely from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but pricing increases may put the experience out of reach for many. Disney+ subscribers may have peaked given that the company will begin to cut costs to the bone in an effort to stop the billions in cash burn. Disney ended the year with $8.47 billion in cash and equivalents and a massive $48.4 billion debt load. Investors are happy that Bob Iger is back and with the company’s plans to re-instate a modest dividend later this year, but we think former CEO Bob Chapek may have gotten a bad shake. Chapek took over the week of the huge COVID-driven market crash in February 2020 and led the firm through a once-in-a-century pandemic, only to be shown the door before his investments could ever be given a chance of bearing fruit. There’s more to this story than we’ll ever know, and we doubt that Disney or Iger will have much to say about it.
Jan 27, 2023
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week of January 27
Let's take a look at firms raising/lowering their dividends this week.
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