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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 14, 2020
Levi Strauss Skips Dividend Payment
Image Shown: An overview of Levi Strauss & Co.’s historical financials and operational footprint. As you can see, most of Levi Strauss’ sales are conducted through its wholesale segment. The company’s own e-commerce sales channel has historically represented just a small part of Levi Strauss’ total net revenues. Image Source: Levi Strauss & Co. – December 2019 Investor Presentation. On June 7, Levi Strauss & Co. reported second-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings (period ended May 24, 2020) that missed consensus estimates on both the top- and bottom-line. The apparel retailer noted it would reduce its “non-retail, non-manufacturing workforce” headcount by 700 employees to save an annualized $0.1 billion on corporate overhead as the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic has devasted its financial performance. Levi Strauss touted its recent successes in the e-commerce arena but investors still sold off the name in the following days as the firm opted to skip an upcoming dividend payment (and likely due to growing fears over how a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the US and elsewhere would impact the company’s future financial performance).
Jul 2, 2020
Macy’s Builds Liquidity and Cuts Costs to Stay Afloat
Image Shown: Our fair value estimate range for shares of Macy’s Inc is quite wide at $1-$9 per share, relatively speaking, as the retailer’s outlook remains troubled due to its large net debt load and the ongoing pandemic. In the event Macy’s can reopen its physical stores in the near-term while maintaining recent gains seen at its digital operations, its revenues might rebound convincingly. Should Macy’s be forced to close its physical stores again for a prolonged period of time to contain the ongoing pandemic, that would likely drain its recently enhanced liquidity position and put a tremendous amount of stress of its financials going forward. Thus Macy’s has a relatively wide range of fair value outcomes, and represents the type of firm we generally prefer to stay away from. On July 1, Macy’s reported first quarter fiscal 2020 earnings (period ended May 2, 2020) that missed consensus top-line estimates but beat consensus bottom-line estimates. The retailer’s GAAP net sales plummeted by 45% year-over-year last fiscal quarter due to various US state and local government mandates that forced non-essential businesses to close. Quarantine efforts to contain the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic in the US, rising unemployment rates, and a large net debt load represent three big hurdles Macy’s will need to find a way to deal with. Please note that most of the retailer’s physical stores are in the US and that Macy’s suspended its common dividend payouts earlier this calendar year. A large impairment charge combined with sharply lower revenues saw Macy’s post a large GAAP net loss of $3.6 billion in the fiscal first quarter.
Jul 1, 2020
July Dividend Growth Newsletter
"The COVID-19 pandemic has all but shown it's not the economy, or next quarter's earnings, or last year's book-to-market ratio or last year's P/E ratio that drives market prices and returns; it's enterprise valuation. Read about the duration of value composition in Value Trap." -- Brian Nelson, CFA
Jun 23, 2020
Kroger Fighting for Market Share in the Online US Grocery Business
Image Source: The Kroger Company – Fiscal 2019 Annual Report. On June 18, The Kroger released its first quarter fiscal 2020 earnings (period ended May 23, 2020) that beat both top- and bottom-line estimates. Comparable store sales (excluding fuel) grew by 19% year-over-year as consumers flocked to its various grocery stores and supermarkets (under brands such as Fred Meyer, Fry’s Marketplace, Pick ‘n Save, and others) to stock up on consumer staples products as the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) spread across North America. Kroger’s digital sales surged 92% year-over-year last fiscal quarter as curbside and home delivery options have become increasingly popular during the pandemic. Shares of KR yield ~2.0% and are trading in the upper bound of our fair value estimate range as of this writing.
Jun 21, 2020
Gap Buys Itself Some Time
Image Shown: An overview of Gap Inc’s net sales by brand. Image Source: Gap Inc – First Quarter Fiscal 2020 IR Earnings Presentation. On June 4, Gap reported first quarter fiscal 2020 earnings (period ended May 2, 2020) that missed both consensus top- and bottom-line estimates. Shares of GPS have gotten crushed due to the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic as consumers (particularly those in the US) have spent far less on discretionary goods (like apparel) over the past several months. Combined with the negative impact of physical store closures and the lack of a meaningful online presence, Gap shares sank as its outlook turned dire. Though Gap operates stores in over 40 countries, please note about ~80-82% of its GAAP net sales came from the US from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2019, highlighting its dependence on the US consumer.
Jun 16, 2020
Reiterating Our Bullish Long-Term View on Stocks
Image: The NASDAQ 100 Index remains resilient, bouncing off support, after breaking out to new highs recently. Some of our best ideas are included in the NASDAQ 100, and our favorite concentrations include exposure to big cap tech and large cap growth. We continue to be bullish on equities for the long run. In addition to unlimited quantitative easing and "whatever it takes, squared" Fed policy, today, June 16, the Trump administration announced that it is weighing a $1 trillion stimulus bill to help support the economy. While uncertainties remain regarding specifics of the bill (it might include state assistance, extension of unemployment benefits, etc.), the move is consistent with the outsize spending we expect to further bolster the bull case, "ICYMI -- Stay Optimistic. Stay Bullish. I Am." We continue to emphasize that, in light of unlimited QE and runaway fiscal stimulus, the longer-duration components of intrinsic values are expanding considerably, and as a result, fair values, themselves, are actually rising during this recession and pandemic [a good estimate of the value of the S&P 500 today may be between 3,530-3,920, as outlined in the following: "Scribbles and More Newsletter Portfolio Changes.]."
Jun 15, 2020
ICYMI: Survey Coming Later Today, More Market Volatility Expected
Image: The market's levels of volatility so far in 2020 have been among the greatest in history. Expectations for increased volatility in the marketplace as a result of the proliferation of price-agnostic trading (indexing and quantitative trading) is a key theme of Valuentum's text, Value Trap: Theory of Universal Valuation. We continue to emphasize the importance of due diligence, enterprise valuation, behavioral thinking, the information contained in prices, and stock selection across equity portfolios. Page 256. This week is setting up to be yet another volatile week of trading, but nothing too surprising. We've talked extensively about outsize levels of volatility in the book Value Trap, and many of our predictions regarding the magnitude of volatility have come to fruition, as described in this note here. But as we've also noted in Value Trap, we don't think increased volatility is a transient development. The Fed and Treasury have only further emboldened price-agnostic trading (indexing/quant) with recent bailout actions, and volatility and momentum funds, which exacerbate the swings, will only grow as a percentage of trading volumes. The magnitude of market volatility during the COVID-19 crisis has certainly been immense. During March for example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had 8 consecutive days with a 4% move in either direction (this is the first time in history this happened--not even during the tumultuous times of the Crash of 1929 or Black Monday of 1987 or the Great Financial Crisis did this happen). Intra-day volatility has also been considerable, and it has become commonplace for equity futures to swing wildly before market open. Now, more than ever, investors need a steady hand at the wheel.
Jun 12, 2020
*ALERT* Scribbles and More Newsletter Portfolio Changes
Image: Why are stock prices increasing while the near-term economy and near-term earnings outlook isn't as bright as before...How unlimited quantitative easing, runaway government spending, increased inflation expectations impact equity values...Why this year's earnings expectations or next year's earnings expectations don't matter much...Why Valuentum thinks equity values are rising today, even as the near-term outlook remains unclear. Scribbles on page 76 of Value Trap. "I know it sounds crazy to say so during a global pandemic and during a recession, but the right multiple and the right earnings to use to value this market is an 18-20x multiple on $196 earnings, putting a fair value range on the S&P 500 today of 3,530-3,920. The S&P 500 is trading at about 3,000 today." -- Brian Nelson, CFA
Jun 11, 2020
Data from Visa Indicates the Economic Outlook is Improving
Image Shown: Visa Inc reports that US processed transactions volumes across its payment processing network improved materially on a year-over-year basis in May, relatively speaking, versus the downturn seen in the second half of March and the first half of April. Image Source: Visa Inc – 8-K SEC Filing. One of our favorite secular growth industry tailwinds is happening the payment processing, payment solutions, and financial technology space. The world is shifting toward a “cashless” society and that has accelerated due to the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic, in part due to the rise of e-commerce and in part due to the preference of many consumers to use contactless payment options when in physical stores. Visa has been a top-weighted holding in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio for some time, and shares of V are up 5% year-to-date while the S&P 500 is down 1% year-to-date as of this writing. The top end of our fair value estimate range for Visa sits at $214 per share indicating there is plenty of room for shares of V to climb higher; please note we like to let our winners run. Additionally, shares of V yield a modest ~0.6% as of this writing, offering incremental upside to its capital appreciation potential.
Jun 11, 2020
Valuentum Research Update
"Hope you all are doing great! I must say I couldn't be more pleased with the research we've been putting out, and thank you very much for your continued interest. In this piece, I wanted to get some of our latest work to you. First, please note that we've done a great job holding the line on many of our fair value estimates (ranges) on our website. Many stocks have been bouncing back, and we're glad we didn't rush through any updates. Updating fair value estimates (ranges) too frequently doesn't make much sense to us. We're after the right answer, not any answer." -- Brian Nelson, CFA


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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.