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Latest Valuentum Commentary

Jul 8, 2020
Realty Income Updates Investors
Image Source: Realty Income Corporation – July 2020 Institutional Investor Presentation. The real estate investment trust Realty Income recently provided investors with some key financial and operational updates. Realty Income primarily invests in single-tenant commercial properties in the US, Puerto Rico, and the UK, and we include shares of O as a holding with a modest weighting in the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio. Most of Realty Income’s tenants have continued to pay rent during the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic, though tenants in select categories have been unwilling or unable to pay during these challenging times. In particular, Realty Income’s movie theater tenants did not pay rent in June or the second quarter of 2020, according to the REIT. Realty Income’s ongoing access to debt markets combined with its ample borrowing capacity under its revolving credit facility has enabled the company to keep making good on its monthly dividends during the pandemic. Shares of O yield ~4.7% on a forward-looking basis as of this writing (at an annualized payout just south of $2.80 per share) after the firm pushed through its 107th monthly dividend increase in June 2020.
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.
Jun 26, 2020
Darden Restaurants Adapts to Survive
Image Source: Darden Restaurants Inc – Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2020 IR Earnings Presentation. On June 25, the owner of the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen restaurant chain brands Darden Restaurants reported fourth quarter fiscal 2020 earnings (period ended May 31, 2020) that matched consensus top-lines estimates and beat consensus bottom-line estimates. Please note the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 included an extra week versus the same period the previous fiscal year. Darden Restaurants saw its GAAP revenues drop by 43% year-over-year which led to the firm generating a large GAAP net loss of $0.5 billion last fiscal quarter as the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) took its toll on the company’s operations.
Jun 26, 2020
Update on Dell Technologies and VMware
Image Source: VMware Inc – First Quarter Fiscal 2021 IR Earnings Presentation. Dell Technologies and VMware Inc are back in the news as the WSJ recently reported the former is considering spinning off its enormous equity stake in the latter. Back in September 2016, Dell completed its ~$67 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of EMC which gave Dell a controlling equity stake in VMware (and a mountain of net debt in the process). As of January 31, 2020, Dell owned approximately 80.9% of VMware’s outstanding equity. Dell can spin off its equity stake in VMware tax-free after a five-year waiting period, though Dell would need to wait until September 2021 before that could occur (given when the EMC deal closed).
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
Why We Like Apple and Microsoft in the Newsletter Portfolios
Image Shown: Shares of Apple Inc (blue line) and Microsoft Corporation (red line) are up significantly year-to-date as of the market close on June 19, and we see room for both shares of AAPL and MSFT to continue marching higher after recently revising our fair value estimates for both companies. On June 12, we added back shares of Apple and Microsoft Corp to both the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio. We added Apple and Microsoft back to the newsletter portfolios using the cash position generated by removing the Vanguard Real Estate ETF and the SPDR S&P Aerospace and Defense ETF from the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Cracker Barrel and Bank of America Corp from the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio on June 11. The Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio (link here) and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio (link here), as of June 15, 2020, can be viewed on our website. There are a lot of reasons to like Apple and Microsoft, especially during these turbulent times. Both firms have massive net cash positions, better positioning the tech giants to ride out the storm created by the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. Both companies are free cash flow cows and their growth trajectories are underpinned by secular growth tailwinds (particularly on the cloud computing and digitally-provided services side of things), further bolstering their cash flow profiles.
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 17, 2020
Turbulent Fiscal Fourth Quarter Aside, Oracle Paints a Promising Outlook for Fiscal 2021
Image Source: Oracle Corporation – Oracle Database Update September 2019 Presentation. On June 16, Oracle Corp reported fourth quarter fiscal 2020 earnings (period ended May 31, 2020) that beat consensus bottom-line estimates and missed consensus top-line estimates, though there is some noise given the turbulence created by the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. Additionally, Oracle declared a $0.24 per share quarterly dividend that is slated to get paid out in July, which was flat on a sequential basis. Shares of ORCL yield ~1.8% as of this writing, and we continue to like the idea as a holding in the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio. While shares of ORCL sold off on June 17, management painted a more optimistic outlook for the firm’s fiscal 2021 performance than initial trading action suggests.
Jun 16, 2020
Exxon Mobil Puts on a Brave Face
Image Source: Exxon Mobil Corporation – November 2019 Guyana IR Presentation. Near-term oil prices and most importantly, the oil price futures curve, have improved materially since just a couple of months ago when it looked like the sky was falling. For the first time ever, WTI turned negative in April 2020 for physical deliveries due May 2020 of light sweet oil to Cushing, Oklahoma, as storage options were limited (and arguably, many speculators had jumped into the market not fully aware of the risks they were taking on). Exxon Mobil Corp has seen its share price recover considerably since the drop, though we caution that management’s commitment to the dividend will prove a hard task if things do not improve materially in the short-term. As of this writing, near-term futures for WTI and its international counterpart Brent are trading near $40 per barrel. In the face of COVID-19, low raw energy resource prices (Exxon Mobil’s upstream operations form its largest single business segment), and subdued demand for refined petroleum and petrochemical products (from gasoline to plastics) have significantly weakened Exxon Mobil’s cash flow profile. The ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic has shaken energy markets to their core in ways we have not seen ever before. Shares of XOM yield ~7.4% as of this writing. We give Exxon Mobil a Dividend Cushion ratio at 0.2, though its Dividend Safety rating is “GOOD” given the company’s ability to tap capital markets, especially debt markets as the oil giant carries high quality “A-rated” investment grade credit ratings. There is a limit to how much debt Exxon Mobil can take on to cover its dividend obligations, however, which we will cover in greater detail in this article.
Jun 12, 2020
Fastenal Shares Shifting Higher
Image Source: Fastenal Company  – First Quarter 2020 Earnings IR Presentation. Fastenal is an interesting company and we like the firm’s business model and high quality cash flow profile. The firm’s acquisition of the Apex assets should put Fastenal in a better position to meet the needs of its industrial and construction customer base. Though its near-term operational and financial performance will likely be volatile due to the ongoing pandemic, recent operational improvements and its growing safety supplies business lends some support, as does its strong financials. Fastenal appears well-positioned to ride out the storm with its financials, operations, and dividend intact.

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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.