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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Apr 8, 2021
The Best Years Are Ahead
The wind is at our backs. The Federal Reserve, Treasury, and regulatory bodies of the U.S. may have no choice but to keep U.S. markets moving higher. The likelihood of the S&P 500 reaching 2,000 ever again seems remote, and I would not be surprised to see 5,000 on the S&P 500 before we see 2,500-3,000, if the latter may be in the cards. The S&P 500 is trading at ~4,100 at the time of this writing. The high end of our fair value range on the S&P 500 remains just shy of 4,000, but I foresee a massive shift in long-term capital out of traditional bonds into equities this decade (and markets to remain overpriced for some time). Bond yields are paltry and will likely stay that way for some time, requiring advisors to rethink their asset mixes. The stock market looks to be the place to be long term, as it has always been. With all the tools at the disposal of government officials, economic collapse (as in the Great Depression) may no longer be even a minor probability in the decades to come--unlike in the past with the capitalistic mindset that governed the Federal Reserve before the “Lehman collapse."
Apr 6, 2021
Our Equity Component Is Hard to Pass Up
The average monthly returns and standard deviation of returns for the simulated Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio relative to its declared benchmark, the S&P 500 (SPY), on an apples-to-apples basis, from inception, May 11, 2011, through December 15, 2017, with dividends collected but not reinvested for both the newsletter portfolio and the SPY. Returns are hypothetical. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. The hypothetical returns do not represent returns that any investor actually attained and do not include management or trading fees. Valuentum is a financial publisher.
Mar 19, 2021
In the News: Facebook Optimistic, Visa Resilient, Dollar General’s Outlook Not Bad and More
The equity markets, as measured by the S&P 500, are trading above/near the high end of our fair value estimate range, but we remain focused on the long run, and there are many individual ideas that present tremendous long-term capital appreciation potential. By far, Facebook is the most undervalued stock on the market, in our view, and recent news has painted its relationship with Apple in a more positive light. The Justice Department is investigating Visa for anti-competitive behavior, but we don’t think its dominant position and lucrative business model will be challenged. Successful vaccines for coronavirus (“COVID-19”) have breathed life into shares of airline equities, but we still don’t view them as long-term investments. Dollar General will see its yearly streak of consecutive same-store sales growth come to an end in fiscal 2021 (ends January 28, 2022), but we’re still positive on the name. Some of our best ideas continue to be in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio. For investors seeking higher-yielding ideas, please consider the High Yield Dividend Newsletter publication.
Feb 19, 2021
PayPal Expects to Double Its Annual Free Cash Flows By 2025
Image Shown: PayPal Holdings Inc views its total addressable market across the payment processing and solutions sitting at approximately $110 trillion, an enormous opportunity that the firm is well-positioned to capitalize on. Image Source: PayPal Holdings Inc – 2021 Investor Day Presentation. We continue to be huge fans of PayPal and include shares of PYPL as a top-weighted idea in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio. As of this writing, shares of PYPL have surged higher by ~140% over the past year as the company’s business model has proven to be incredibly resilient in the face of the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. PayPal’s ability to generate meaningful free cash flows in almost any environment is supported by its relatively low capital expenditure requirements to maintain a certain level of revenues. The company’s position in the e-commerce realm is stellar given its ability to offer both consumers and merchants a comprehensive slate of financial services, with PayPal being a ubiquitous payment option on the digital checkout page across retailers and other businesses worldwide. PayPal’s mobile app allows its users to pay via a Quick Response code (‘QR code’) in physical store locations that are equipped to do so, providing its users with an easy-to-use contactless payment option. On February 11, PayPal hosted its 2021 Investor Day event and provided promising financial and operational guidance through 2025. PayPal expects to roughly double its annual free cash flows by 2025 from 2020 levels. In our view, this update further reinforces our optimistic view towards PayPal. When we update our free cash flow model of PayPal for the new year, we expect to increase our estimate of the company’s fair value.
Feb 13, 2021
The Skill Paradox Is a Myth in Investing
Image: The game of baseball has changed during the past 100 years. While many point to a declining standard deviation and coefficient of variation in batting averages for evidence of a paradox of skill in baseball, it's more likely the game has changed. Players are hitting more homeruns, sacrificing batting average as a result. Source: Baseball Almanac. Michael Mauboussin, while highlighting in his own words in The Success Equation how stock portfolios have conformed over time due to a reduction of active share brought about by myriad influences in how active managers are "playing the game," completely misses using this explanation as the correct conclusion for the observation of declining standard deviations of excess returns. There is no paradox of skill in investing. Investors are conforming to the same playbook due to conflicting incentives (perhaps even driving active management skill levels collectively lower), and this is resulting in what we're seeing today. Unlike his work in evaluating baseball and basketball, Mauboussin seems to completely miss that active mutual funds and ETFs are also only 15% of the market. In the case of investing, analyzing the standard deviation of returns of 15% of the stock market, as in active funds and ETFs, tells us little about luck or skill. Warning about the use of small sample sizes early in the book, the combination of this errant conclusion has only padded the indexing propaganda making The Success Equation an absolute tragedy of a text, and I must say it hurts me a lot to say it (I know how much work goes into writing a book, and I generally enjoy Mauboussin's work).
Feb 9, 2021
Free Cash Flow Machine Visa Remains One of Our Best Ideas
Image Shown: Visa’s ability to generate sizable free cash flows continues to impress. We are big fans of the payment processing giant. Image Source: Visa Inc – First Quarter of Fiscal 2021 IR Earnings Presentation. We're huge fans of Visa's business model. The credit card network’s free cash flow generating abilities are impressive, aided by its low capital-expenditure requirements. We view Visa’s long-term outlook quite favorably and include the company in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio as a top-weighted idea. The top end of our fair value estimate sits at $263 per share of Visa, materially above where V is trading as of this writing.
Feb 8, 2021
Stock Market Outlook for 2021
2020 was one from the history books and a year that will live on in infamy. That said, we are excited for the future as global health authorities are steadily putting an end to the public health crisis created by COVID-19, aided by the quick discovery of safe and viable vaccines. Tech, fintech, and payment processing firms were all big winners in 2020, and we expect that to continue being the case in 2021. Digital advertising, cloud-computing, and e-commerce activities are set to continue dominating their respective fields. Cybersecurity demand is moving higher and the constant threats posed by both governments (usually nations that are hostile to Western interests) and non-state actors highlights how crucial these services are. Retailers with omni-channel selling capabilities are well-positioned to ride the global economic recovery upwards. Green energy firms will continue to grow at a brisk pace in 2021, though the oil & gas industry appears ready for a comeback. The adoption of 5G wireless technologies and smartphones will create immense growth opportunities for smartphone makers, semiconductor players and telecommunications giants. Video streaming services have become ubiquitous over the past decade with room to continue growing as households “cut the cord” and instead opt for several video streaming packages. We’re not too big of fans of old industrial names given their capital-intensive nature relative to capital-light technology or fintech, but there are select names that have appeal. Cryptocurrencies have taken the market by storm as we turn the calendar into 2021, but the traditional banking system remains healthy enough to withstand another shock should it be on the horizon. Our fair value estimate of the S&P 500 remains $3,530-$3,920, but we may still be on a roller coaster ride for the year. Here’s to a great 2021!
Feb 4, 2021
Earnings Roundup: Chipotle, PayPal, Qualcomm
Image Shown: PayPal Holdings Inc, a top-weighted idea in our Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio, continued to grow at a brisk pace during the final quarter of 2020. Image Source: PayPal Holdings Inc – Fourth Quarter of 2020 IR Earnings Presentation. Several of the newsletter portfolio ideas recently reported earnings, and we are quite pleased with the performance that our favorite ideas have put up so far this earnings season. Though the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic created significant headwinds for the three companies we cover in this article (Chipotle, PayPal, and Qualcomm), each firm remained incredibly free cash flow positive, highlighting the resilience of their business models. Looking ahead, the outlook for these companies is bright and getting brighter.
Jan 29, 2021
Repub from March 5, 2018: The Tragedy of Quantitative Finance
-- Okay – it’s not 2038, but just imagine if this could happen…
Jan 27, 2021
ALERT: Raising Cash in the Newsletter Portfolios
Our research has been absolutely fantastic for a long time, but 2020 may have been our best year yet. With the S&P 500 trading within our fair value estimate range of 3,530-3,920 (and the markets rolling over while showing signs of abnormal behavior), we're raising the cash position in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio to 10%-20%. For more conservative investors, the high end of this range may even be larger, especially considering the vast "gains" from the March 2020 bottom and the increased systemic risks arising from price-agnostic trading (read Value Trap). The individual holdings will be reduced in proportion to arrive at the new targeted cash weighting in the respective simulated newsletter portfolios. The High Yield Dividend Newsletter and Dividend Growth Newsletter are scheduled for release February 1. We'll have more to say soon.
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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.