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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Jun 10, 2022
Taiwan Semi Firing on All Cylinders
Image Source: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – First Quarter of 2022 IR Earnings Presentation. We are huge fans of Taiwan Semi which offers investors a combination of capital appreciation and income growth upside. Shares of TSM yield ~2.1% as of this writing. Taiwan Semi is included as an idea in our ESG Newsletter portfoliio. The firm is incredibly shareholder friendly with good governance practices, focuses on sustainable manufacturing practices where feasible (placing a great emphasis on effective resource management, limiting pollution, and utilizing green energy), and has a management team that comes from diverse backgrounds (keeping in mind Taiwan Semi is headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan).
Apr 28, 2022
Shares of Best Idea Meta Platforms Leap Higher After Stellar Earnings Report!
Image Shown: Shares of best idea Meta Platforms Inc surged higher by ~18% in afterhours trading on April 27 after its first quarter 2022 earnings report indicated that investor fears over its core business were overblown as its daily active user base posted solid growth in March 2022. The company behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Meta Platforms reported first quarter 2022 earnings on April 27 that missed consensus top-line estimates but smashed past consensus bottom-line estimates. Shares of FB surged higher in the wake of its latest earnings report as the company’s family daily active people (‘DAP’) stood at 2.87 billion in March 2022, up 6% year-over-year, while its Facebook daily active users (‘DAU’) stood at 1.96 billion in March 2022, up 4% year-over-year. Rising competition from relative newcomers like TikTok in the social media space is not chipping away at Meta Platforms’ core business as investors had expected. The launch of Facebook Reels, which is similar to TikTok, has proven to be quite popular. We include Meta Platforms as a top-weighted idea in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and continue to be enormous fans of Meta Platforms. Shares of FB have tanked in recent months, though we have stuck with our thesis through thick and thin. Meta Platforms may finally regain its upward momentum in the wake of its stellar first quarter earnings update. The selloff seen in shares of FB and US equity markets more broadly over the past several months is way overdone and driven more so by panic selling than anything else, in our view. Our fair value estimate, under what we deem reasonable valuation assumptions, stands at $367 per share of FB, which is well above where Meta Platforms’ stock is trading at as of this writing.
Apr 28, 2022
Best Idea Alphabet Continues To Grow at a Robust Pace
Image Shown: Best idea Alphabet Inc continued to grow its revenues by a nice double-digit clip last quarter. Image Source: Alphabet Inc – First Quarter of 2022 Earnings Press Release. On April 26, Alphabet reported first quarter 2022 earnings that missed top-line estimates but beat bottom-line estimates. The company remains a free cash flow powerhouse with a fortress-like balance sheet and an incredibly promising growth outlook. Its core digital advertising business, its high-growth Google Cloud unit, and its longer term bets such as the self-driving company Waymo underpin our expectations that Alphabet will continue to grow its revenues at a nice premium to global GDP growth over the decades to come. We include shares of Alphabet Class A in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and remain big fans of the name.
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
The Facebook (Meta Platforms) Thesis Just Got Even More Complicated
Image: Facebook’s free cash flow generation remains robust. Image Source: Meta Earnings Presentation Q4 2021. The company formerly known as Facebook, Meta Platforms is facing a long list of headwinds from moderating revenue growth, tightening margins, slowing free cash flow expansion due to rising capital spending, and tail risks of the regulatory and antitrust variety. We expect a downward revision to our fair value estimate of Meta upon the next update to factor in these dynamics, but we still believe shares are undervalued.
Jan 22, 2022
Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater
Image: Erica Nicol. Junk tech should continue to collapse, but the stylistic area of large cap growth and big cap tech should remain resilient. Moderately elevated levels of inflation coupled with interest rates hovering at all-time lows isn’t a terrible combination. In fact, it’s not bad at all. The markets are digesting the huge gains of the past few years so far in 2022, and the excesses in ARKK funds, crypto, SPACs, and meme stocks are being rid from the system. Our best ideas are “outperforming” the very benchmarks that are outperforming everyone else. The BIN portfolio is down 6.4% and the DGN portfolio is down 3.2% year to date. The SPY is down 7.8%, while the average investor may be doing much worse. Our timing to exit some very speculative ideas in the Exclusive publication has been impeccable. Beware of “best-fitted” backtest data regarding sequence of return risks. Research is to help you navigate the future, not the past. We remain bullish on stocks for the long haul and grow more and more excited as our simulated newsletter portfolios continue to hold up very well. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Stick with the largest, strongest growth names. We still like large cap growth and big cap tech, though we are tactical overweight in the largest energy stocks (e.g. XOM, CVX, XLE). The latest short idea in the Exclusive publication has collapsed aggressively since highlight January 9, and we remain encouraged by the resilience of ideas in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio and ESG Newsletter portfolio. Our options idea generation remains ongoing.
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 26, 2021
VIDEO/TRANSCRIPT: 2021 Valuentum Exclusive Call: Inflation Is Good
Valuentum's President Brian Michael Nelson, CFA, explains why investors should not fear inflation, why government agencies such as the Fed and Treasury are prioritizing something other than price discovery, why the 10-year Treasury rate is a must-watch metric, and why Valuentum prefers the moaty constituents in large cap growth due to their net cash rich balance sheets, tremendous free cash flow generating potential, and secular growth tailwinds.
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.
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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.