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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Apr 3, 2020
Repub from July 2019 -- The Valuentum Economic Roundtable
We sat down with the Valuentum team to get their thoughts on the global economy and key issues that may threaten this near 10-year bull market.
Mar 31, 2020
Video: The Question Is If the Economy Can Be Held Together Without Vast Equity Dilution
President of Investment Research at Valuentum and award-winning author of "Value Trap: Theory of Universal Valuation" explains how the range of probable fair value outcomes of S&P 500 companies has increased as a result of COVID-19 and possible equity dilution on the downside to long-run inflationary pressures on stocks driven by runaway Fed and Treasury stimulus on the upside.
Mar 30, 2020
Bullets: Recapping the Crash, Where Are We Now?
Image: The S&P 500 has only retraced a small part of its decline since the top in February 2020. We established an S&P 500 target of ~2,550 in late February and more formally established a target range of 2,350-2,750 in the March edition of the Dividend Growth Newsletter, prior to the crash. As predicted, the S&P 500 crashed to the mid-point of our S&P 500 target range of 2,350-2,750, now trading at ~2,590 at this moment. We continue to emphasize that panic selling during this crisis may continue to 2,000 on the S&P, while we emphasize that the range of fair value outcomes for equities has increased, both to the upside and to the downside. Let's recap the crash in bullet-point fashion, and explain what investors can expect next.
Mar 28, 2020
Attack COVID-19 With Forward-Looking, Expected Data
President of Investment Research at Valuentum Brian Nelson shares his financial wisdom in detailing how the world must attack COVID-19 with forward-looking expected data (not backward-looking, empirical data) as the global economy faces what could become the worst business environment since the Great Depression, irrespective of government fiscal stimulus.
Mar 27, 2020
Lululemon’s Pristine Balance Sheet and Digital Sales Channels Provides Support During These Harrowing Times
Image Source: Lululemon Athletica Inc – Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2019 Earnings Infographic. On March 26, Lululemon Athletica reported fourth quarter and full-year earnings for fiscal 2019 (period ended February 2, 2020) that had some bright spots, though shares of LULU initially traded down on March 27. While the company beat on both the top- and bottom-lines, investors are growing increasingly worried about the performance of discretionary consumer goods companies in the face of the ongoing novel coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. In fiscal 2019, Lululemon’s GAAP revenues rose 21% year-over-year and its GAAP gross margin climbed by ~65 basis points, with its financial performance supported by rising direct-to-consumer sales (up 35% year-over-year) which tend to command higher gross margins. Adjusted comparable sales rose by 9% year-over-year in fiscal 2019 (keeping in mind there was an extra week of sales in fiscal 2018), a growth rate that rises to 10% on a constant-currency basis.
Mar 26, 2020
US Congress Is Getting Ready to Pass a Massive ~$2.2 Trillion Fiscal Stimulus Bill
Image Shown: US equities have started to recover some of their lost ground as the likelihood that the US Congress will pass a massive ~$2.2 trillion fiscal stimulus and emergency spending package, dubbed the CARES Act, has increased significantly over the past week as seen through the bounce in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust. President Trump has clearly indicated that he intends to sign such a bill into law as soon as possible, with the US House of Representatives expected to take up the legislation this upcoming Friday morning on March 27. On March 25, the US Senate worked late into the night to secure a bipartisan compromise on a massive ~$2.2 trillion fiscal stimulus and emergency spending bill to offset the negative impact of the ongoing novel coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. The bill passed 96-0 after several senators forced a vote on an amendment on that bill that would have changed the nature of the “beefed up” unemployment benefits (that amendment failed 48-48, and would have needed 60 votes to pass). As of this writing, there are over 65,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US according to Johns Hopkins University, and we sincerely hope everyone, their families, and their loved ones stay safe during this pandemic. A vote in the US House of Representatives is expected this upcoming Friday morning on March 27. The House is expected to convene at 9AM EST and the goal of each party’s leadership is to secure passage of the bill via a voice vote (please note that this differs from unanimous consent, which requires every member of the House to agree to such a legislative process in order to pass a bill without having the majority of lawmakers return to Washington DC, but this is easier/faster to achieve than a recorded roll call vote that would force every member of the House to return). Assuming the House swiftly passes the bill that was approved in the Senate, President Trump has clearly communicated he would sign the bill into law right away. Please note this bill is formally known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (‘CARES’) Act.
Mar 25, 2020
Nike Reports Blowout Earnings in the Face of COVID-19
Image Shown: Shares of Nike reclaimed some of their lost ground on March 25 after the sports apparel company reported a blowout earnings report. On March 24, Nike Inc reported blowout earnings for its third quarter of fiscal 2020 (period ended February 29, 2020) with its revenues and non-GAAP EPS figures coming in well above consensus estimates. The sports apparel firm’s sales rose by 5% year-over-year on a GAAP basis, and 7% on a constant currency non-GAAP basis, due to strong growth at its Nike Direct offering (a digitally oriented direct to consumer distribution system) which helped drive 36% digital sales growth. Please note that Nike sold off its Hurley brand last fiscal quarter, which management noted shaved 100-200 basis points off Nike’s North American sales growth. This strength in the face of the ongoing novel coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic saw shares of NKE leap during the trading session on March 25.
Mar 9, 2020
Oil Prices Collapse, Reiterating 2,350-2,750 S&P 500 Target Range; Credit Crunch Looming?
From Value Trap: “The banking sector was not the only sector that faced considerable selling pressure during the Financial Crisis of the late 2000s, of course. Other companies that required funding to maintain their business operations faced severe liquidity risk, or a situation where refinancing, or rolling over debt, might be difficult to do on fair terms, making such financing prohibitive in some cases. Those that faced outsize debt maturities during the most severe months of the credit crunch faced a real threat of Chapter 11 restructuring had the lending environment completely seized. In thinking about share prices as a range of probable fair value outcomes, equity prices tend to face pressure as downside probabilities such as a liquidity event are baked into the market price and at a higher probability. Because debtholders are higher up on the capital structure than equity holders, shareholders can sometimes get nothing in the event of a bankruptcy filing. Entities that are extremely capital-market dependent, or those that require ongoing access to new capital to fund operations, often face the greatest risk of the worst equity price declines during deteriorating credit market conditions.” Value Trap: Theory of Universal Valuation, published 2018
Mar 5, 2020
2,350-2,750 on the S&P? Could the Coronavirus Catalyze a Financial Crisis?
Image: We think a rather modest sell-off in the market to the target range of 2,350-2,750 on the S&P 500 is rather reasonable in the wake of one of the biggest economic shocks since the Global Financial Crisis. The chart above shows how far markets have advanced since 2011, and an adjustment lower to the target range of 2,350-2,750 is rather modest in such a context and would only bring markets to late 2018 levels (note red box as the target range). The range reflects ~16x S&P 500 12-month forward earnings estimates, as of February 14, adjusted down 10% due to COVID-19. When companies like Visa talk about a couple percentage points taken off of growth rates, one knows that the decrease in spending is very real, and we’ve yet to see the brunt of the impact yet. We have written extensively about our valuation expectations and target on the S&P 500 in the past, so please don’t mistake this reference as the extent of our thinking. We do not think a sell-off on the S&P 500 to the range is 2350-2750 is too far-fetched, as it really only gets the broader markets back to late 2018 levels (a mere year ago or so), and reflects a reasonable 16x forward expected earnings, as of February 14, hair cut by 10% as a result of the impact of COVID-19. The Fed put may not matter much anymore in the wake of this “biological” crisis, and increased fiscal spending may not be enough to offset what could be sustained weakness across the global economy.
Mar 4, 2020
A ~0.1% Probability Since 1896
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons. "The market crash in the past two weeks has been truly historic: its probability of occurrence is ~0.1% since 1896; the velocity of the plunge and of the VIX surge is the fastest on record; and the 10-year [Treasury yield] is at all-time low. (Hao Hong, BOCOM International, a subsidiary of Bank of Communications, March 1)" -- Howard Marks' memo, Nobody Knows II
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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.