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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Feb 27, 2020
Has the Stock Market Crash Begun?
Image: CDC. Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-section through the viral genome, seen as black dots.According to the latest Situation Report from the CDC, dated February 25, there are now more new cases reported from countries outside of China than from China. Globally, there are currently 80,000+ confirmed cases in nearly 40 countries, with China, South Korea, Italy and Iran the major hotspots. Up until now, investors have been anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop (i.e. community spread in the United States), with the CDC even saying, “It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country (United States) will have severe illness.” Well, that “when” is now. The CDC just confirmed February 26, 2020, a possible instance of community spread of COVID-19 in the US.
Feb 25, 2020
Berkshire Reports 2019 Earnings
Berkshire Hathaway reported fourth quarter and full-year results on Saturday February 22, and we appreciate the firm’s performance across most of its business lines, keeping in mind that losses at its insurance-underwriting business during the fourth quarter weakened its company-wide performance. That being said, the insurance business can be volatile at times, which is why we appreciate Berkshire’s large railroad, utility, consumer goods, and other business segments. On the topic of Berkshire’s insurance-related exposure to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic (which has since spread from China to the rest of the world, shutting down economies in South Korea, Italy, and elsewhere), insurance firms fundamentally altered the structure of their policies after the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (‘SARS’) outbreak to exclude epidemic coverage from most policies (save for insurance policies that explicitly cover those situations) according to the WSJ. Shares of Berkshire Class B stock are included in our Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio with a top-weighting, and over the past few months shares of BRK.B has begun converging towards our fair value estimate of $229 per share. Berkshire Class B shares could move towards the top end of our fair value range estimate of $275 per share, particularly if the company figures out where to invest its enormous cash pile.
Feb 24, 2020
ALERT: Adding Market Crash 'Protection,' Removing MSFT, BKNG
Image source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We're adding out-of-the-money put options to both the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio and Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio. We're removing Microsoft from the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio, and we're removing Booking Holdings from the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio. We reiterate that, had the Dow Jones Industrial Average already swooned a couple thousand points on news of the COVID-19 outbreak, we might have considered some undervalued stocks with strong momentum potential "buying opportunities." However, to this point in time, the markets have largely ignored COVID-19, with major US indices still sitting near all-time highs. We could be in for a wild ride in the coming weeks and months, and an outright market crash is not out of question. For those looking for short-idea considerations, please consider the Exclusive publication here. We remain fully-invested in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio given its yield and income focus.
Feb 22, 2020
Is a Stock Market Crash Coming? -- Coronavirus Update and P/E Ratios
Image Source: World Health Organization, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Situation Report -- 32. We don’t think this is the environment to put new capital to work, and we remain highly cautious of what COVID-19 means for global economic growth not just in the first quarter of 2020 but for the rest of this year (maybe longer). Right now, the US markets are not really factoring in anything related to COVID-19, and perhaps may be adjusting to China’s stimulus in artificially propping up the markets as if the outbreak is somehow a “positive thing.” With the S&P 500 trading at 19.0 forward earnings estimates--estimates that are likely too high given the evidence we are seeing with respect to a slowdown due to COVID-19--and corporate debt levels more elevated than ever before (note, a high net debt level should depress the P/E in enterprise valuation--US corporate debt has advanced 50% over the past decade, to $10 trillion), it is our contention that the current market reflects a “situation-equivalent” forward P/E (i.e. rightsizing for new net debt relative to the dot-com peak and adjusting for lower forward earnings expectations compared with current forecasts) perhaps greater than 24.4, which was recorded at the peak of the dot-com bubble. Though interest rates are lower than they were at the time of the dot-com crash, suggesting a modest reasonable bump to normalized forward P/E ratios of ~15 times to reflect “fair valuations,” we could seriously be in for fundamental-driven crash soon, as both the earnings multiple and earnings estimates contract aggressively. Hypothetically, a contraction to a 16x forward multiple on earnings estimates just 10% lower than currently forecast implies an S&P 500 of 2,566, or a swoon of about 20%-30% from current levels--and that would just get us down to 16x still-respectable forward numbers. How quantitative-driven price-agnostic trading may impact this scenario is not known either, and all of this could be setting up for a wild ride in the coming weeks and months. Fasten your seatbelts. We’ll have a few newsletter portfolio alerts coming Monday.
Feb 7, 2020
Update on Wuhan 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: 31,000+ Infections, 630+ Deaths
Image Source: 2019-nCoV, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of infections and deaths related to the Wuhan 2019 Novel Coronavirus has surged since our last update, but we maintain our view that investors should keep a level head. We continue to wait to add protection to the newsletter portfolios as the market absorbs a massive liquidity injection from the PBOC.
Jan 31, 2020
Coronavirus May Trigger Long-Anticipated Global Recession
Image: Wuhan New Coronavirus. This was the catalyst that nobody was expecting, a novel coronavirus that nobody had in their economic models. We think global economic activity is slowing as we speak, and the spread of the virus may only accelerate in mainland China and elsewhere. Investors should keep a level head and perhaps think about adding protection to their portfolios before it becomes too expensive.
Jan 29, 2020
Starbucks Reports Earnings, Coronavirus to Hurt China Sales
Image Shown: How Starbucks Corporation views its competitive strengths. Image Source: Starbucks – December 2019 IR Presentation. Starbucks is trading at the upper end of our fair value range estimate, and given the headwinds facing the company in China (in terms of the competitive pressures from Luckin and the ongoing coronavirus overbreak) we see shares as fully valued as of this writing with room for meaningful downside. Its large net debt load is another concern. Shares of SBUX are priced for perfection, but exogenous headwinds could end up derailing its near-term growth trajectory.
Jan 22, 2020
Economic Commentary: Bank Earnings, US-China Phase One No Big Deal and More
Bloomberg recently reported that U.S. banks’ record-breaking earnings have likely peaked for this cycle. We’ll get the team’s thoughts on this, and we’ll also cover views on the corporate credit cycle, China GDP, and the US election cycle. We don’t think the US-China Phase One deal amounts to much, other than removing the uncertainty that it, itself, created.
Dec 27, 2019
Nike Is Generously Valued
Image Shown: Shares of Nike Inc have been on an upward tear in 2019; however, we think the market has now gotten ahead of itself. While Nike runs a great business, the firm is unlikely to realize the kind of growth rates required to justify its lofty valuation as of this writing. Should the company underperform for even one quarter, that could lead to a sharp correction in the share price of NKE. Nike is performing well in multiple categories, and the news that the US and China reached a “Phase One” partial trade truce further improves the company’s outlook. That said, Nike’s current market price is based on growth assumptions that are very unlikely to be realized, in our view. Should the company stumble for even one quarter, that could see a sharp correction in the share price of NKE.
Dec 16, 2019
ICYMI: Interview with Valuentum’s Callum Turcan
Callum Turcan helps head up Valuentum’s research product and is co-editor of the company’s newsletters. We sat down with Callum to get his thoughts on new developments in the market and economy. Let’s kick things off with his thoughts on Brexit.
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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.