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Latest Valuentum Commentary

May 12, 2022
PayPal and Visa Remain Attractive Long-Term Ideas
Image Source: Visa Inc – Second Quarter of Fiscal 2022 IR Earnings Presentation. The payment processing and payment solutions space is attractive. Companies operating in this industry have asset-light business models with relatively modest capital expenditure requirements to maintain a given level of revenues, making free cash flows easier to come by. Additionally, the industry’s growth outlook is incredibly bright and supported by secular tailwinds as the world continues to shift away from cash and towards other payment options (card, mobile apps, QR codes, online payment platforms). Our two favorite companies in this space are PayPal Holdings and Visa, and we include both as ideas in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio. Online spending levels remain robust even as the worst of the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic fades and households resume outdoor activities, while global travel activities are resuming in earnest as the economy opens back up. PayPal and Visa both recently updated investors on their financial standing and outlook, and overall, we liked what we saw.
Apr 10, 2022
Cash-Based Sources of Intrinsic Value for Meta Platforms and PayPal Remain Strong
Image Shown: Shares of Meta Platforms Inc (blue line) and PayPal Holdings Inc (orange line) have staged a nice comeback during the past month, as of the start of April 2022. Rising interest rates and the impact that has had on the market's discount rate implicitly used within the enterprise cash flow pricing process has pressured the value of equities with long free-cash-flow growth tails--stocks that are expected to grow at a meaningful premium over global economic growth over the coming decades. The rapid increase in the 10-year Treasury rate, no doubt, has had a profound impact on the equity values of long-duration cash-flow companies such as those held in the ultra-speculative ARK Innovation ETF, for example. However, established big cap tech firms and many fintech entities shouldn't necessarily be as impacted by rising interest rates as those of many currently money-losing speculative innovation names that won't generate meaningful levels of free cash flow for 5 to 10 years, maybe longer. For example, shares of companies such as Apple Inc. or Microsoft Corp. should only have but a muted impact from rising rates; these companies have huge net cash positions and are already generating strong free cash flow. It can even be argued that higher inflation/rates will afford Apple and Microsoft pricing power to raise product and software prices. While we might expect the ARK Innovation ETF to be down nearly 40% year-to-date and more than half during the past 52 weeks, we don't think it makes a lot of sense for some of the strongest, large cap growth names to be off ~12%, on average, year-to-date. We think the market, in many instances and especially within the area of technology, is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Shares of Meta Platforms Inc, formerly Facebook, and PayPal Holdings Inc are two such names that the market has been beating down too much, in our view. Though some weakness in Meta Platform's and PayPal's shares can be expected in the current market environment, year-to-date declines of 30%+ and 40%+, respectively, are a bit much. That said, during the past few months, we have reduced our fair value estimates for both Meta Platforms and PayPal for good reasons. For starters, Meta Platforms is investing heavily in the metaverse, a digital universe, and is scaling up its data center capacity to support its efforts on this front (which is driving its capital expenditure and operating cost expectations up sharply in the medium-term). Meta Platforms is not expected to make a meaningful amount or any money on these investments for some time. PayPal is facing headwinds from hefty customer acquisition costs to grow its active user base amid rising competitive threats. We also think that we may have been too aggressive within our valuation model when we built in too much earnings leverage during the next five years at PayPal. Said another way, the fintech company’s mid-cycle operating margin is not what we once though it was--as PayPal will find it difficult to meaningfully expand its margins in the current environment. However, putting it all together, these pressures and others have all been reflected in our current fair value estimates (and fair value estimate ranges) for Meta Platforms, which sits at $367 per share, and PayPal, which sits at $152 per share. Both companies are included as ideas in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio, and we are beginning to see signs of a rebound underway. For long-term investors, we think Meta Platforms is a no-brainer at current prices, though we may be a bit more cautious on PayPal, which is now more of a "show-me" story, given recent hiccups. All this having been said, let's dig in to why we still like Meta Platforms and PayPal.
Feb 3, 2022
PayPal’s Margin Pressure, Flattish Earnings Outlook Shocks Market; Fair Value Estimate Reduced
Image Shown: PayPal Holdings Inc grew at a robust pace in 2021 though its margin outlook is not as promising as once believed. Image Source: PayPal Holdings Inc – Fourth Quarter of 2021 earnings press release. PayPal is a solid enterprise supported by its pristine balance sheet, strong free cash flows, and promising revenue growth outlook. The proliferation of e-commerce provides PayPal will a powerful secular tailwind to capitalize on. However, PayPal’s operating leverage is not what it once appeared to be, and that weighs negatively on its margin expansion potential. As noted previously, we have fine-tuned our cash flow valuation model on the company, and now value shares at $160 on a point fair value estimate basis. We continue to include PayPal as an idea in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio for the time being (as we evaluate the next few quarters). PayPal's refreshed stock page and report will be available shortly.
Feb 2, 2022
Alphabet and PayPal Report Fourth-Quarter 2021 Results
Video: Valuentum's President Brian Michael Nelson, CFA, walks through the fourth-quarter 2021 results of Alphabet and PayPal.
Jan 28, 2022
Visa Remains One of Our Favorite Ideas
Image Shown: Visa Inc, one of our favorite companies, has been growing robustly of late. Image Source: Visa Inc – First Quarter of Fiscal 2022 IR Earnings Presentation. On January 27, Visa reported first quarter earnings for fiscal 2022 (period ended December 31, 2021) that beat both consensus top- and bottom-line estimates. Shares of V shot higher after its results were made public. We include Visa as a “top-weighted” idea in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and remain huge fans of the company. Our fair value estimate sits at $255 per share of V, well above where Visa is trading at as of this writing, indicating the payment processing giant has ample room to run higher from current levels. Shares of V yield a modest ~0.7% as of this writing.
Jan 17, 2022
The ARKK CRASHED But Large Cap Growth/Tech Is Still Cheap!
“The crash in speculative tech, namely the ARKK, is ongoing and expected to continue. On the other hand, blue chip technology, namely the area of large cap growth, is overflowing with moaty, net cash rich, free cash flow generating, secular growth powerhouses and continues to look attractive. On a weighted average basis, for example, the Schwab U.S. Large Cap Growth ETF (SCHG) has considerable room to run higher based on the high end of our fair value estimate range of its largest holdings. We think large cap growth will continue to deliver in the years ahead, and we like exposure to this area. ” – Brian Nelson, CFA
Jan 13, 2022
Governance: The G in ESG Investing
Image: The Valuentum Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Scoring System shows how “Governance” considerations are analyzed. No discussion of ESG investing would be complete without addressing the role of corporate governance (“stewardship”) in equity investing. As with the other aspects of ESG investing, corporate governance covers a lot of ground. It can include pretty much anything related to how a company is run, including leadership, executive compensation, audits and accounting, and shareholder rights. These areas are just the tip of the iceberg, however. A company with good corporate governance is one that is run well with the proper incentives and with all stakeholders in mind, from employees to suppliers to customers to shareholders and beyond. Good corporate governance practices decrease the risk to investors as it cuts through conflicts of interest, misuse of resources, and a general lack of concern for all stakeholders. A company that fails at implementing good corporate governance is at increased risk of litigation or scandal, which could wreck the share price. With the turn of the century, the dot com bust probably exposed most prominently the need for good corporate governance practices. Fraud was rampant. Whether it was the former CEO of Tyco International receiving millions in unauthorized bonuses, the actions of those at the top of Enron that created one of the biggest frauds in corporate history, the scandal at accounting and auditing firm Arthur Andersen, the demise of MCI/Worldcom, or the questionable practices that led to the Global Analyst Research Settlement, Wall Street had lost its way. In fact, a big reason why our firm Valuentum was founded is based on ensuring that investors get a fair shake and that someone is keeping a watchful eye not only on companies, but also on the sell-side stock analyst research that may still be full of conflicts of interest. As a result of the Global Analyst Research Settlement, all the big investment banks from Goldman Sachs to J.P. Morgan to Morgan Stanley to UBS Group and beyond had to pay stiff fines for producing conflicted, if not fraudulent research. In this note, we talk about the considerations that go into the G in ESG investing.
Dec 23, 2021
Some Questions Answered: The Fair Value Estimate Range and ROIC
Image: A snapshot of Facebook's valuation model. Let's cover a few subtle nuances of the fair value estimate range and the calculation behind return on invested capital as it is translated from our valuation infrastructure into the stock reports.
Nov 22, 2021
ICYMI: The PayPal Wave Recedes, We Still Like Shares
Image Source: PayPal. We knew something wasn’t quite lining up at digital-payments provider PayPal when the rumor mill started to turn with reports it was interested in scooping up Pinterest for a pretty penny. PayPal has since put to rest rumors about buying Pinterest, but it left investors with a sour outlook when it issued third-quarter results November 8. Though the market wasn’t happy with the forecast for the fourth quarter of 2021 and into 2022, the company continues to grow revenue at a robust pace, and we expect several key initiatives to drive sustainable top-line expansion for many years to come. Our fair value estimate stands north of $270 per share.
Nov 15, 2021
Hut 8 Mining Is an Interesting Play on Cryptocurrencies
Image Source: Hut 8 Mining Corporation – November 2021 IR Presentation. Executive Summary: We are intrigued by Hut 8 Mining’s business model. By growing its bitcoin balance over time and covering its operating expenses by lending out its bitcoin hoard, generating so-called fiat yield, Hut 8 Mining is effectively a bet that a combination of growth in the price of bitcoin and growth in its bitcoin hoard will provide a major boost to its net asset value (‘NAV’) over time. Should the price of bitcoin tank, however, that would weigh negatively on its business, though things would likely not be as bad as it first appears given that Hut 8 Mining is set up to make money in almost every bitcoin pricing environment. As long as there is investor demand out there to borrow its bitcoins, and that broad interest in cryptocurrencies holds up well going forward, Hut 8 Mining should be able to continue growing its revenue as it grows the amount of bitcoin it can lend out on average per quarter. Obviously, of course, the firm would do better if the price of bitcoin stays the same (currently at roughly USD$64,700 for one bitcoin as of this writing) or increases. From our perspective, Hut 8 Mining is better positioned to capitalize on the cryptocurrency craze, in our view, than many of the other firms out there that are mining and continuously selling off their bitcoin holdings or actively buying bitcoin on the open market seeking to flip those alternative digital assets for a profit down the road (the “greater fool theory” in action). We are keeping an eye on Hut 8 Mining, though in this particular case, we must caution that the intrinsic value of alternative digital currencies like bitcoin is zero. The value is entirely in the eyes of the beholder.


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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.