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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Apr 20, 2021
Banks Holding Up Well, Some Feel Pain from Archegos Capital Collapse
Image Shown: Bank of America Corporation has an optimistic view towards the ongoing US economic recovery. Image Source: Bank of America Corporation – First Quarter of 2021 IR Earnings Presentation. Earnings season is now underway! In this article, we cover the performance of two large US banks and the problems facing one major European bank in light of losses stemming from Archegos Capital Management blowing up. Large reserve releases last quarter--due to the US economy holding up better than expected during the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic--played an outsized role in bolstering the financial performance of key US banks after these institutions recorded large reserve builds in 2020. Net interest margins (‘NIM’) continue to face headwinds from the low interest rate environment, though noninterest related income (such as income generated from wealth management, investing banking, and other activities) at several banks has come in strong (aided by favorable capital market conditions).
Jan 28, 2021
Fourth Quarter Bank Earnings Roundup: MS, GS, BAC, C, WFC, JPM
Image Source: JP Morgan’s fourth-quarter earnings press release. Though we’re generally cautious on banking business models due to the arbitrary nature of cash-flow generation within the banking system and the difficulty in valuing such entities on the basis of a free-cash-flow-to-the firm framework, we like Morgan Stanley--and its return on tangible equity of 17.7% during the fourth quarter of 2020 speaks to solid economic-value creation. Goldman’s annualized return on total equity (ROTE) was an impressive 22.5% during its fourth quarter, helping drive the full-year measure to 11.1% for 2020. Bank of America had been an idea in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio in the past, but we removed the company June 11, 2020. We continue to view the banking system more as utility-like serving as an extension of the federal government, and as such, we generally don’t think they’ll be able to muster above-average returns in the longer-run. We still include diversified exposure to the financial sector in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio via the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), but only for diversification purposes. Citigroup remains among our least favorite banking entities. Wells Fargo used to be a well-run bank, but consumer perception has certainly changed with its “fake account scandal” that cost it $3 billion to settle criminal and civil charges. JP Morgan's return metrics were solid like Morgan Stanley’s and Goldman’s, with return on equity (ROE) coming in at 19% and return on total common equity (ROTCE) coming in at 24% in the quarter. The banking system remains on stable ground.
Oct 13, 2020
JPMorgan, Citigroup Third Quarters Not Terrible, But Still No Reason to Own Financials
Image: Banks and financials were among the most aggressively beaten down groups during the COVID-19 crash, and the sector failed to participate meaningfully in the bounce back. The leveraged and arbitrary nature of banking business models makes them much less attractive than entities with strong net cash positions on the balance sheet and solid expected future free cash flows. Source: Kastner, David, Charles Schwab. “Schwab Sector Views: Changes Are Coming.” 18 June 2020. https://www.schwab.com/resource-center/insights/content/sector-views. Better-than-feared third-quarter reports are not going to change our minds on the banking and financials sector. The group has been among the worst performing sectors amid the COVID-19 market crash and failed to bounce back meaningfully since the March bottom. Banks are being used as extensions of government fiscal intervention via myriad stimulus programs, while oversight puts a limit on just how much capital they can return to shareholders. Returns on equity remain subpar for many, and systemic risk remains present with most books opaque and intertwined within the global financial system. Cash flows for the group are largely arbitrary, and most remain leveraged by the very nature of their business models. We see no reason to own most banks and financials and point to fintech via PayPal and credit card processor Visa as our favorite ideas for indirect exposure to the global financial system.
Oct 2, 2020
ICYMI: How Big Is Your "Too Hard" Bucket?
Image Source: Christian Schnettelker. In investing, it's okay to admit that there are some things that investors can't know. It's not a poor reflection of one's analytical ability or a possible shortcoming of one's experience, but rather quite the contrary: Understanding and accepting that some things are "unknowable" is a sign of the quality of one's judgment. Quite simply, certain critical components of the equity evaluation process are more "unknowable" than others. The intelligent investor recognizes the variance (fair value estimate ranges) and the magnitude of the "unknowable" between companies and generally tries to identify entities that have the least "unknowable" characteristics as possible or situations where the "unknowable" might actually be weighted in their favor (an asymmetric fair value distribution).
Sep 1, 2020
Valuentum Website Overview
Overview of the key features of www.valuentum.com (03:55). Valuentum (val∙u∙n∙tum) [val-yoo-en-tuh-m] Securities Inc. is an independent investment research publisher, offering premium equity reports, dividend reports, and ETF 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.
Aug 14, 2020
Our Thoughts on Chevron Buying Noble Energy
Image Shown: An overview of Chevron Corporation’s all-stock acquisition of Noble Energy Inc that was announced in July 2020. Image Source: Chevron Corporation – July 2020 Noble Energy Acquisition Presentation. On July 20, Chevron Corp announced it was acquiring Noble Energy through a $5.0 billion all-stock transaction, or $13.0 billion when factoring in net debt and the book value of non-controlling interests. Shareholders of Noble Energy will receive approximately 0.12 share of Chevron for each share of Noble Energy. At the time the deal was announced, shareholders of NBL were receiving a ~12% premium based on the ten-day average closing stock prices. Chevron intends to issue ~58 million shares to cover the deal, keeping in mind the firm had approximately 1.85 billion shares outstanding on a weighted-average diluted basis as of the second quarter of 2020. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year and is forecasted to generate $0.3 billion in annualized run-rate cost synergies one year after closing.
Aug 3, 2020
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. Note: The August edition of the Exclusive publication will be released Saturday, August 8.
Jul 22, 2020
Banks & Money Centers Industry Report
We’ll talk about how banks make money, and the three most important costs of running a bank. The Great Financial Crisis revealed the tremendous risks of banking equities, and we’ll walk through these in depth. We’ll discuss how to conceptualize where we are in the banking cycle, and how that helps inform our valuation process for banks, which is different than traditional operating entities. The stress tests have helped many of the big banks from pursuing hazardous endeavors during the past decade, and we’ll go into how to think about the yield curve in the context of banks. Investors should expect ongoing digitalization of banks and increased M&A as the competitive environment only intensifies. Three of our favorite banks are JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and US Bancorp, and we’ll be looking to consider adding any of these to the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio or Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio at the right price. Banks and Money Centers: AXP, BAC, BK, BBT, C, DFS, FITB, GS, HBC, JPM, KEY, MS, NTRS, PNC, RF, STI, TCB, USB, WFC.
Jul 16, 2020
Citigroup Navigating the Banking Downturn Fairly Well
Image Shown: Summary of Citigroup’s 2Q2020 Results. Image Source: Citigroup 2Q2020 Earnings Presentation. On July 14, Citigroup posted a difficult second-quarter set of results, though the firm did manage to beat analyst consensus estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Outsize revenue gains in investment banking and FICC (fixed income, currencies, and commodities) markets (trading) helped on one hand, while sizable provisions for upcoming credit losses dented the bottom line on the other hand. As shown in the upcoming graphic down below, revenues advanced 5% compared to last year, while net income fell 73%.
Jul 15, 2020
JPMorgan Reports Second Quarter, Notes Peculiar Times
Image Shown: Overview of JPMorgan’s 2Q2020 earnings. Image Source: JPMorgan 2Q2020 Earnings Presentation. There was a fair amount of discussion on JPMorgan’s conference call about how the company (and the rest of the banking industry) are taking large provisions now for charge offs that they expect to come in the future. The future and the timing and magnitude of the eventual write-offs are quite murky indeed, which helps explain the volatility of banking shares in general, and especially for those institutions that might fall over in an “adverse scenario.” JPMorgan is not one of those banks that is at risk. It stands on high ground in the industry thanks to its scale, diversification (a huge benefit this quarter), high quality management, and outsize earnings power as compared to many of its peers.
Latest Press Releases
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.