Fundamental data is updated weekly, as of the prior weekend. Please download the Full Report and Dividend Report for any changes.
Latest Valuentum Commentary
Jul 27, 2022
Walmart’s Business Update Likely Means U.S. Is In Recession, But Near-Term Weakness Is Already Baked Into Stock Market
Image Shown: Shares of Walmart Inc dropped sharply during afterhours trading on July 25 as the retailer sharply cut its adjusted operating income and EPS guidance for the current fiscal year as inflationary pressures are taking a sizable toll on its bottom-line. On July 25, Walmart Inc issued a business update that saw the retailer sharply cut its adjusted operating income and EPS guidance for fiscal 2023 (period ended January 2023), while boosting its consolidated net sales guidance. The company also adjusted its guidance for the fiscal second quarter. Shares of WMT plummeted during afterhours trading on July 25 as investors began to price in concerns over the retailer’s deteriorating margins. We anticipated ongoing weakness in Walmart’s business. On July 4, we released an audio report, “Nelson: I Have Been Wrong About the Prospect of Near-Term Inflationary-Driven Earnings Tailwinds,” highlighting our growing concerns about consumer-tied entities in the consumer staples and consumer discretionary spaces. We continue to expect troubles at the big box retailers and across the apparel space, more generally. Here’s what Nelson had to say in early July that remains applicable today: "I simply was not expecting the magnitude of such operating-income drops across consumer-tied companies, and while I think long-term inflation will eventually help drive higher nominal earnings in the longer run when conditions reach “normalization” again, the lag will be much longer than I originally thought. The numbers out of Walmart, Target, and Nike, for example, speak not only to tremendous earnings weakness, but also to the prospect of economic recession in the U.S." A recession in the U.S. is no reason for panic, however. For starters, we believe most of the fundamental weakness across retail is baked into the stock market, but more generally, investors should not worry about recessionary trends. But why? Well, implicitly embedded within a fair value estimate of a company are expectations of a “normal” economic cycle, complete with peak and trough, with the fair value estimate driven largely by mid-cycle expectations that feed into later stages of the model. The prospects for an unexpected recession in economic activity in the near term shouldn’t cause much of a change in the fair value estimate of a company either, given not only that a recession is already implicitly embedded in the fair value estimate, as noted, but also that near-term expectations don’t account for nearly as large of a contribution to the fair value estimate as long-term normalized expectations within the valuation construct. Most of a company’s intrinsic value is driven by its performance beyond year 5 in our model, or on a mid-cycle, going-concern basis. A company’s fair value estimate range (margin of safety) also captures various scenarios regarding economic activity, including a bull and bear case. With that said, recessionary tendencies may cause pricing impacts in the market in the event that consumers/investors use the stock market as a source of income by selling stocks, causing pressure on share prices, but the discounted cash flow (DCF) model already bakes in economic cyclicality and inevitable recessions, if not directly, then implicitly by targeting long-term mid-cycle expectations and via the application of the fair value estimate range. That’s why it’s great to be a long-term investor, scooping shares up when others are forced to sell in the near term, while holding them over long periods, letting compounding work its magic.
Nov 12, 2021
Hard Work and the Trust That Binds
Image: Terry Johnson. It’s easy to forget how much we’ve been through the past two years. Often, we forget how helpful the warning that markets were going to crash was the weekend before they did on February 22, 2020, “Is a Stock Market Crash Coming? – Coronavirus Update and P/E Ratios,” how we thought dollar-cost-averaging made sense at the bottom in March 2020, and how we went “all-in” in April 29, 2020, “ALERT: Going to “Fully Invested” – The Fed and Treasury Have Your Back,” when we saw the writing was on the wall for this blow off top. If nothing else, these three moves alone during the past couple years have paid for a lifetime of subscriptions.
Jul 29, 2021
Microsoft’s Dividend Is Rock Solid But Why?
Image Shown: Valuentum’s Dividend Report on Microsoft. The Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction reveals the numerator and denominator of the Dividend Cushion ratio for Microsoft. 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 cash dividend obligations, the more durable the dividend. In the context of the Dividend Cushion ratio, Microsoft'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 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 estimate the efficacy of the Dividend Cushion ratio in warning against dividend cuts at about 90%. We measure this efficacy by looking at the Dividend Cushion ratios of companies that have cut their payouts in our coverage. If the company had a Dividend Cushion ratio below 1, we’d view the Dividend Cushion ratio as doing its job. Not all companies with high Dividend Cushion ratios are insulated from dividend cuts, and not all companies with low Dividend Cushion ratios will cut their dividend, but the Dividend Cushion ratio is yet another Valuentum-driven tool for your investor tool kit.
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.
Sep 3, 2020
3 Lessons in Portfolio Management Over 10 Years
Image Source: http://www.epictop10.com/. "When I left as director in the equity and credit department at Morningstar in 2011, I thought I knew a whole heck of a lot about investing. I felt like I was one in the top 5-10 in the world as it relates to the category of practical knowledge of enterprise valuation (maybe include Koller at McKinsey, Mauboussin at Counterpoint, and Damadoran at Stern on this list). After all, I oversaw the valuation infrastructure of a department that used the process extensively, and the firm was among just a few that used enterprise valuation systematically. Then, at Valuentum, our small team would go on to build/update 20,000+ more enterprise valuation models. There can always be someone else out there, of course, but I don't think anybody has worked within the DCF model as much as I have across so many different companies. That said, through the past near-10 years managing Valuentum's simulated newsletter portfolios, I've also learned a number of things to become an even better portfolio manager." -- Brian Nelson, CFA
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.
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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.