Fundamental data is updated weekly, as of the prior weekend. Please download the Full Report and Dividend Report for any changes.
Latest Valuentum Commentary
Apr 15, 2022
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week April 15
Let's take a look at companies that raised/lowered their dividend this week.
Feb 14, 2022
Credit Suisse Is a Case Study in Poor Governance and Why ESG Investing Matters
Image Shown: Shares of Credit Suisse Group AG have performed poorly in recent years as a revolving door of leaders combined with several major scandals have led to billions in losses and prompted Swiss regulators to launch investigations into the bank. The company has a plan in place to turn things around, though it will take years for these efforts to be fully reflected in its financial performance. Credit Suisse recently issued lackluster guidance for 2022 that weakened investor confidence in its turnaround story. We think Credit Suisse is a good case study in poor corporate governance.A revolving door of leadership does not speak favorably towards Credit Suisse’s outlook, though the company is working hard to put its past behind it. The Swiss bank has been unable to steady the ship so far after several serious scandals cost the firm billions and prompted Swiss regulators to take a closer look at Credit Suisse. When it comes to effective governance, Credit Suisse has been lacking and that has cost investors dearly. We hope Credit Suisse can right the ship under its new management team and is able to achieve its longer term goals (such as boosting its RoTE north of 10.0% by 2024 while improving its cost structure). However, we see no reason in taking the chance and view CS more as a study on why good corporate governance matters. Our two favorite banks are Bank of America Corporation and JPMorgan Chase & Co, both of which have solid leadership teams. Berkshire Hathaway Inc, specifically Class B shares (ticker: BRK.B) and the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF are both included as ideas in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio. As opposed to one individual bank, we like the diversified exposure to the U.S. banking and financial services space the XLF ETF provides. Additionally, we are huge fans of Berkshire Hathaway and recently increased the company’s fair value estimate.
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.
Apr 16, 2021
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week April 16
Let's take a look at companies that raised/lowered their dividend this week.
May 7, 2020
BNP Paribas’ Shares Could Have Upside Potential
Image Source: BNP Paribas 1Q2010 Earnings Presentation. BNP Paribas’ shares are trading at a fraction of tangible book. If the bank can contain its cost of risk through this cycle and produce double-digit returns on tangible equity on the other side of this crisis, shareholders would do quite well in such a scenario. That said, we point out that Europe is overtraded when it comes to banking, which pressures earnings power at even the stronger banks like BNP Paribas. We’re paying close attention to the key banking players in Europe to assess the likelihood of a global financial contagion that may accompany the global pandemic that has become COVID-19.
May 4, 2020
Lloyds Banking Group Navigates Competitive Markets
Image Source: Lloyds. The UK banking market is highly competitive with too many players, and we think this is the cause for the low returns on capital across the cycle. We’re paying close attention to the key banking players in Europe, including Lloyds Banking Group, to assess the likelihood of a global financial contagion that may accompany the global pandemic that has become COVID-19.
Apr 30, 2020
Deutsche Bank Suffering From Lack of Earnings Power
Image Source: Deutsche Bank 1Q2020 Earnings Presentation. On April 29, Deutsche Bank reported another measly quarter in a long string of them. While Deutsche Bank is well-capitalized with a Common Equity Tier I ratio of 12.8% and its Investment Banking segment grew earnings nicely this quarter during rapid client trading and bond origination activity as the markets melted down in March, it suffers from a lack of earnings power at this stage. We blame this on the bank itself, but also on the overcapacity in European banking in general, which pressures margins across the entire industry.
Apr 29, 2020
Santander Remains Well-Capitalized
Image Source: Santander S.A. 1Q2020 Earnings Presentation. Europe is overbanked with too much capacity, which means little or no earnings power for many of the players involved, including Santander Europe. We’re paying close attention to the key banking players in Europe to assess the likelihood of a global financial contagion that may accompany the global pandemic that has become COVID-19.
Mar 18, 2020
Banking Entities: The Technicals Tell the Story
Image: The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF has experienced a tremendous amount of pain in recent weeks. What is clear is that temporarily shutting down large parts of U.S. economy is absolutely unprecedented, and there will be substantial knock-on effects and difficulties in getting things restarted. This is most especially true if the coronavirus re-emerges following the periods of social distancing around the world, or when the weather turns colder again in the fall, and humanity could be facing a different strand of the coronavirus. Don’t forget that all bank institutions use a lot of financial leverage by their very nature, and the Fed and Treasury can never truly stop a run-on-the-bank dynamic (i.e. that which happened to WaMu in 2008). We think BOK Financial is in particular trouble given its energy loan exposure. Others to avoid include Cullen/Frost Bankers, Cadence Bancorp, and CIT Group. The credit card entities, Capital One and Synchrony Financial may be worth avoiding. We’d stay far away from the regional banks given their exposure to small business pain amid COVID-19. We don’t think the fiscal stimulus on the table does much to help small businesses. Deutsche Bank may be the first of the big European banks to topple, and this weakness could eventually spread to the U.S. banks given counterparty risk. Most foreign banks, including Santander, Credit Suisse, UBS, ING, and BBVA remain exposed to crisis scenarios. We’re also witnessing some very troubling developments with banking preferred shares, with the bank-preferred-heavy ETF, Global X SuperIncome Preferred ETF dropping ~15% during the trading session March 18. The preferreds of HSBC and Ally Financial are top weightings in that ETF. Banking technicals are raising some major red flags across the board, and given actions by the Fed and Treasury, this crisis has all the makings of being worse than the Great Financial Crisis. In any financial crisis perhaps excepting a depression, there can come a time to invest new money in bank stocks. Though it seems likely we have not yet reached the bottom in the markets yet, the highest-ground bank franchises in the US are JPMorgan and Bank of America, in our view. While sharp declines in their equity values may be expected (no one truly knows how deep the coming flood will be), they’re likely to make it to the other side with most of their equity capital firmly intact. With all that said, however, one doesn’t have to hold banking equities. It may be time to phone Mr. Buffett before things really start to unfold.
Mar 11, 2020
Worst in Energy Not Over, Stay Away from Leveraged Enterprises, Seeds of Financial Crisis Sown?
Image Shown: The energy and banking markets continue to be experiencing pain. Since we removed the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) and Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) from the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio, the XLE has fallen more than 50% and the XLF has fallen 13%, while the SPY has held up roughly 2%. We continue to believe staying away from energy and financials/banks will be a source of significant alpha.These are challenging times. The oil price swoon has complicated an already-dire situation with COVID-19. We’re seeing cracks in the credit markets, and the European banking system is far from healthy. The US banks may face knock-on impacts from energy loan defaults and hold significant counter-party risk from their European brethren, which have breached post-Lehman lows. We’re doubtful any fiscal stimulus will stave off this crisis, and it may just set up the markets for the next leg down, if Congress ends up in a stalemate. We will continue to keep our members informed on the state of global energy markets as more information becomes available, but we think avoiding energy and banks/financials will continue to be a source of alpha. We removed the XLE and XLF from the newsletter portfolios in August of last year. We’re reiterating our 2,350-2,750 target range on the S&P 500.
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.