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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Sep 18, 2023
The Role of Luck in Investing and How To Think About It
Image: EpicTop10.com. For every Amazon that made it, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, from the dot-com era that didn't. Very few remember Pets.com or etoys.com, both of which went belly up during the dot-com meltdown. For every Tesla, there is a DeLorean Motor Co. We might have completely forgotten about DeLorean were it not for the blockbuster movie, Back To The Future, that immortalized its futuristic sports car. For every streaming enterprise like Netflix, there is a Napster that failed. Most of us probably don't even remember the original Napster, which encountered legal troubles before closing shop shortly after the dot-com bust. For every Alphabet, there's an AltaVista or Netscape. For every Apple, there is a Palm or Blackberry. Who remembers how popular the Palm Pilot and Blackberry were? How about the Motorola Razr? For every Facebook and Instagram, there is a Myspace or Friendster. As investors, we underestimate the role of luck in a company's long-term success. In February 2000, a month before the dot-com market crash, a fledgling Amazon raised $672 million in convertible notes to European investors. If the company hadn't done so, there'd likely be no Amazon today, and one of the wealthiest men in the world, Jeff Bezos, might have just been a mere footnote in stock market history. Amazon would have been insolvent in 2001-2002 just like many of its other dot-com peers.
Sep 16, 2023
4 Very Good Reasons Why We Don’t Like Dividends of Banking Stocks
Image: Bank Run in Michigan, USA, February 1933. Source: Public Domain. It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fragility of a banking firm’s business model. Let’s examine the reasons why we don’t like banking firms’ dividends. Reason #1: A Bank Run Is Always Possible. Reason #2: Others Have Tried to Invest in Bank Dividends and Have Failed. Reason #3: Cash Flow Is Not Meaningful at Banks. Reason #4: There Are Plenty of Other Options. Let's dig in.
Aug 6, 2023
Berkshire’s Stake in Apple Has Been a Boon for Shareholders
Image: Apple has been a blessing for Berkshire Hathaway. Image Source: Berkshire Hathaway’s second-quarter 2023 10-Q. Berkshire Hathaway fits the bill of the types of companies we’re looking for in this market environment. The company holds a nice cash position on the books, to the tune of ~$147.4 billion, while notes payable and other borrowings stood at ~$125.3 billion--good for a solid net cash position. Operating cash flow advanced to ~$21.1 billion through the first six months of the year (up from ~$15.4 billion from the same period last year), while purchases of property, plant, and equipment came in at ~$8.4 billion (up from ~$6.8 billion), good enough for free cash flow generation of ~$12.7 billion year-to-date in 2023 (up from ~$8.5 billion). Berkshire’s strong net cash position and impressive free cash flow generating profile are big reasons why we continue to like shares in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio.
Jun 26, 2023
CFA Institute Blog: "Hide-'Til-Maturity" Accounting
CFA Institute Blog: "The Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse recalls the tussle over the accounting for financial instruments after the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009, particularly the debate about whether some financial instruments should be carried at amortized cost (held-to-maturity, HTM) rather than at fair value (available-for-sale, AFS), or what is referred to as the “mixed measurement model.”" -- Sandy Peters, CPA, CFA
Jun 5, 2023
ALERT: Going to “Fully Invested” in the Best Ideas Newsletter Portfolio
Image: Since the publishing of the first edition of the book Value Trap, the stylistic area of large cap growth (SCHG) has meaningfully outperformed both the equal-weight S&P 500 (SPY) and small cap value (IWN).With the debt-ceiling debate behind the markets, the regional banking crisis largely in the rear-view mirror, and the Fed winning the fight against inflation, a continuation of the strength in the markets as witnessed from the October 2022 lows can probably be expected. We're going to "fully invested" in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio today and expect to do the same in the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio and High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio soon.
May 30, 2023
Paper: Value and Momentum Within Stocks, Too
Abstract: This paper strives to advance the field of finance in four ways: 1) it extends the theory of the “The Arithmetic of Active Management” to the investor level; 2) it addresses certain data problems of factor-based methods, namely with respect to value and book-to-market ratios, while introducing price-to-fair-value ratios in a factor-based approach; 3) it may lay the foundation for academic literature regarding the Valuentum, the value-timing, and ultra-momentum factors; and 4) it walks through the potential relative outperformance that may be harvested at the intersection of relevant, unique and compensated factors within individual stocks.
May 8, 2023
Long Live Apple and Large Cap Growth!
Image: Since the release of the book Value Trap in December 2018, an ETF that tracks large cap growth (SCHG) has outperformed not only the S&P 500 (SPY), but also the areas of dividend growth (SDY) and small cap value (IWN) by sizable margins. In a world where monetary policy is tightening and regional banks are failing, we maintain our long-held view that big cap tech and large cap growth are the places to be. Since the release of the book Value Trap in December 2018, an ETF that tracks the area of large cap growth (SCHG) has not only outperformed the S&P 500 (SPY), but also the areas of dividend growth (SDY) and small cap value (IWN) by sizable margins. We love the net cash rich balance sheets and strong expected future free cash flow generators within the area of large cap growth, and Apple remains one of our very favorites that fits the mold. Apple is included in both the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio.
Apr 19, 2023
1Q 2023 Earnings Coming in Better Than Feared Thus Far
Image: We view valuation as a range of probable fair value outcomes. Our updated fair value estimate for Booking Holding stands north of $3,000, while shares are trading at less than $2,700. First-quarter 2023 earnings season has been coming in better than feared, in our view, and bank earnings have not spooked the market as many may have thought they would. But again, any banking crisis takes far more than just a month or two to work through the system, and in the event another shoe drops – whether in Europe or in U.S. commercial real estate or U.S. housing – things could get ugly for the banking sector. We continue to prefer equities over bonds, and as was shown once again during SVB Financial meltdown, the Fed was there once again to bail out the “market” and prevent contagion at any cost. With roughly 10% of the S&P 500 reporting first-quarter 2023 earnings so far, many companies have been beating consensus estimates.
Apr 11, 2023
Markets Don’t Look Bad
Image: The market-capitalization weighted S&P 500 continues to hold its January breakout, while support held in mid-March. The market-capitalization weighted S&P 500 is no longer in a downtrend, and while the regional banking crisis gave investors pause, we’d have to say the markets don’t look bad. From a technical standpoint, the SPY broke through its downtrend in January, while it held support in mid-March. If the S&P 500 can break through the early February near-term highs, technically, things are looking quite good for the beginnings of this nascent market leg-up. It’s been a long road to get to what looks like a “bottom,” but we might have witnessed it in October of last year.
Mar 22, 2023
Quick Take: Fed Raises 25 Basis Points; This Banking Crisis Is Far from Over
Image: FOMC Chairman Powell answers a reporter's question at the March 20, 2019 press conference. On March 22, 2023, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate 25 basis points, to the range of 4.75%-5%, a move that we think reflects a government agency that is now more or less a deer caught in headlights--given the nascent regional banking crisis in the United States. The bottom line is that the U.S. banking system does not have enough cash on hand to redeem all deposits (it never has), and with respect to U.S. banks, deposit insurance is only up to $250,000 per depositor, per FDIC-insured bank, per ownership category. The U.S. public has grown concerned, and that may spell continued panic (and deposit flight). The bank business model is inherently flawed, in our view, necessitating outsized risk and enormous amounts of leverage. From where we stand, the U.S. banking system will likely continue to be tested until it is resolved that any deposits held at any financial institution in the U.S. are completely safe by explicit government guarantee. Without this explicit guarantee, it may mean continued deposit flight from the regional banks to the large money center banks -- the Too-Big-to-Fail ("TBTF") banks -- or it could mean potentially higher deposit insurance levels that go far beyond the current $250,000 threshold, which itself was raised from $100,000 during the Great Financial Crisis in 2008 (and made permanent in 2010). One might hope that the markets can perhaps avert another all-out banking crisis if deposit insurance thresholds are raised once again, but this explicit move remains to be seen.
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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.