Monthly Archives

March 2019

Number Cruncher Extra – Fifteen U.S. stocks to play defensively amid the latest market volatility

One of the companies mentioned in this week’s Globe and Mail article where we focused on 2 non-cyclical US sectors, namely, Utilities and Telecommunications, will be covered in more details below.

Verizon’s Communications (VZ)

As we can see from the Scorecard, Verizon possesses a Positive Fundamental Outlook and an attractive SPscore of 63%, where the Performance score is in the green shaded area, whereas the Risk score is very close to the yellow shaded area- representing a medium risk for the company.

The 6% decline in score marked below the SPscore, is either due to a fall in performance or a rise in risk since last quarter.

We know that the Risk score is affected by 2 main metrics which are the Price over Intrinsic Value and the Future Growth Value.

On the scorecard, we can see from the FGV graph that while the stock is still trading at a discount, the discount has decreased over the recent quarters. Therefore, increasing the risk slightly.

As for the Performance, we look at the EVA graph, EVA seems to have suffered tremendously just by looking at the graph below. That is actually not the case if we take a deeper look at the numbers.

Due to the tax cuts that took place in 2017, the EVA was artificially inflated. Verizon and many companies benefitted when their profits were boosted due to the cut. That effect, however, was reversed back to normal in December 2018 when the real taxes were reported and thus creating the sharp fall in EVA seen on the previous graph.

This correction shows a negative change in NOPAT from 2017 to 2018 by more than $10 billion, ultimately leading to a deeper plunge in EVA. In this case, we should compare current EVA to that in Dec 2016 to get a more accurate view of whether this company’s performance improved or deteriorated. (It improved in the case of Verizon)

Fifteen U.S. stocks to play defensively amid the latest market volatility

In this week’s filter created for The Globe and Mail, we screened for U.S stocks that can act defensively amid the recent volatility.

Last Friday, the U.S. yield curve inverted, causing some panic in the stock market. On Monday, the curve stabilized but still remained inverted, prompting caution from investors. An inversion, resulting from uncertain economic growth, is often seen as a leading indicator of recession. In order to protect themselves, investors may choose to re-allocate some of their assets to non-cyclical sectors, which act defensively during market volatility. Today we look into two of them: utilities and telecommunications. We screened the U.S. universe by focusing on the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than US$10-billion;
  • Positive 12-month change in the economic value-added (EVA) metric – a positive figure shows us that the company’s profits are increasing at a faster and greater pace than the costs of capital. The EVA is the economic profit generated by the company and is calculated as the net operating profit after tax minus capital expenses;
  • Positive 12-month change in the economic performance index (EPI) and a current EPI greater than one – this ratio is the return on capital to cost of capital;
  • Future-growth-value-to-market-value ratio (FGV/MV) is between 40 per cent and minus 70 per cent. We chose this range to eliminate stocks that trade at an exaggerated premium or discount because that would increase the risk. This ratio represents the proportion of the market value of the company that is made up of future growth expectations rather than the actual profit generated. The higher the percentage, the higher the baked-in premium for expected growth and the higher the risk.

Read more in this article written by Noor Hussain, Analyst & Account Executive at Inovestor Inc.

Horizons ETFs announces March 2019 distributions for certain ETFs (INOC)

TORONTO – March 22, 2019 – Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. (“Horizons ETFs”) is
pleased to announce the distribution amounts per unit (the “Distributions”) for certain of its of exchange
traded funds (the “ETFs”) for the period ending March 31, 2019, as indicated in the table below.
The ex-dividend date for the Distributions is anticipated to be March 28, 2019, for all unitholders of record
on March 29, 2019. The Distributions for units of each ETF will be paid in cash or, if the unitholder has
enrolled in the respective ETF’s dividend reinvestment plan (“DRIP”), reinvested in additional units of
the applicable ETF, on or about April 10, 2019.
Horizons ETFs has made an additional announcement regarding the March distributions for its family of
covered call ETFs in a separate press release.

 

View the Press Release

StockPointer® US and ADR Equities Model Portfolio Transactions – March 2019

We have rebalanced the Nasdaq Inovestor Global Index based on our US and ADR Model Portfolios, which will be effective on March 22nd after market close. Here are the details for the US Model Portfolio:

Ins:

  1. THOR INDUSTRIES (THO) – Market Trend. Increase in Consumer Discretionary sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC (MU) – Market Trend. Increase in IT sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  3. THE CHEMOURS COMPANY LLC (CC) –  Intra Sectorial transaction.
  4. WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC (WBA) – Intra Sectorial transaction.
  5. SALLY BEAUTY HOLDINGS INC (SBH) –  Intra Sectorial transaction.
  6. BLOCK(H & R) INC (HRB) – Intra Sectorial transaction.

Outs:

  1. UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC (UNH) – Market Trend. Decrease in Financials sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. US BANCORP (USB) – Market Trend. Decrease in Financials sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  3. LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP (LMT) –  SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.
  4. SMUCKER(J.M.)CO (SJM) – SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.
  5. PENSKE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP INC (PAG) –  SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.
  6. AUTOZONE INC (AZO) –  SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.

 

Here are the details for the International Model Portfolio:

Ins:

  1. ARCOS DORADOS HOLDINGS INC (ARCO) – Market Trend. Increase in Consumer Discretionary sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. NXP SEMICONDUCTORS N V (NXPI) – Market Trend. Increase in IT sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  3. CIMPRESS N.V (CMPR) – Intra Sectorial transaction.

Outs:

  1. BANCO DE CHILE SPON ADS REP 200 ORD SHS (BCH) – Market Trend. Decrease in Financials sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. ASSURED GUARANTY LTD (AGO) – Market Trend. Decrease in Financials sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  3. TE CONNECTIVITY LTD (TEL) – EPI. EPI fell below 1.

Canadian ETFs: February’s launches

In this research report created this week for The Globe And Mail, we look at Canadian ETF’s: February’s launches

Middlefield Group is the latest asset manager to join the ETF industry.

Middlefield Group is a specialty investment manager that creates and manages specialized investment products for individual and institutional investors. The new ETF issuer converted two closed-end funds, together representing more than $150-million in assets, into ETFs. The Middlefield Healthcare & Life Sciences ETF (LS) focuses on securities of issuers operating in the health care, life sciences and related industries, while the Middlefield REIT INDEXPLUS ETF (IDR) provides low-cost exposure to the global real estate sector through a combination of indexing and active portfolio management.

Desjardins expanded its suite of responsible investment ETFs with the launch of the Desjardins RI Emerging Markets Multifactor Low CO2 ETF (DRFE) and the Desjardins RI Global Multifactor – Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF (DRFG).

DRFE seeks to replicate the performance of the Scientific Beta Desjardins Emerging RI Low Carbon Multifactor Index. The index is composed of securities selected based on a multifactor approach: size, valuation, volatility, momentum, profitability and investment. These securities are also selected to significantly reduce the weighted average carbon intensity and ensure that all constituent issuers meet predetermined environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. It charges a management fee of 0.65 per cent.

DRFG tracks the Scientific Beta Desjardins Global RI Fossil Fuel Reserves Free Multifactor Index. The index is composed of securities selected based on a multifactor approach. These securities are also selected to significantly reduce the carbon asset stranding-risk exposure and ensure that all constituent issuers meet predetermined ESG standards. The management fee on DRFG is 0.6 per cent of net asset value.

Following the steps of other major ETF providers, Bank of Montreal launched a suite of risk-based asset allocation ETFs. Each ETF charges a management fee of 0.18 per cent and invests in global equity and fixed income ETFs, according to their risk specifications. The BMO Conservative ETF (ZCON) targets a 60-per-cent fixed income and 40-per-cent equity exposure, the BMO Balanced ETF (ZBAL) targets a 40-per-cent fixed income and 60-per-cent equity exposure, and the BMO Growth ETF (ZGRO) targets a 20-per-cent fixed income and 80-per-cent equity exposure.

In addition to the one-ticket solution ETFs, BMO also introduced three U.S. equity ETFs: the BMO Covered Call US Banks ETF (ZWK), the BMO Equal Weight US Health Care Index ETF (ZHU) and the BMO Nasdaq 100 Equity Index ETF (ZNQ). The BMO Ultra Short-Term US Bond ETF (ZUS.U) was also added to BMO’s product lineup. It provides exposure to short-term U.S. fixed income asset classes, with a term to maturity of less than one year or reset dates within one year. The ETF is also offered in accumulating units under the ticker ZUS.V.

Read more in this article written by Kimberly Yip Woon Sun, ETF Analyst at Inovestor Inc.

U.S. stocks with unsustainable dividends

In this week’s filter created for The Globe and Mail, we screened for U.S. stocks with unsustainable dividends

Depending on an individual’s investment strategy, a large part of portfolio returns may significantly depend on dividends. Hence, it is valuable to be mindful of companies that may cut their dividends in the future due to unsustainable dividend yields. Those are companies we may want to avoid. We will do that by screening for companies that are struggling to cover their costs and whose profits have been declining over the past couple of years, but who are still raising their dividend yields. We screened the U.S. and American depositary receipt (ADR) companies for unsustainable dividends using the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than $1-billion;
  • Negative 12-month and 24-month change in the net operating profit after tax (NOPAT) metric – a measure of operating efficiency that excludes the cost and tax benefits of debt financing by simply focusing on the company’s core operations net of taxes;
  • Positive one-year dividend growth and a dividend yield greater than 3 per cent;
  • Economic Performance Index (EPI) less than one. This is the ratio of return on capital to cost of capital, representing the wealth-creating ability of the company. A ratio above one is key for sustainable investment opportunities;
  • Free-cash-flow-to-capital ratio. This ratio gives us an idea of how efficiently the company converts its invested capital to free cash flow, which is the amount left after all capital expenditures have been accounted for. It is an important measure because it gives us the company’s financial capacity to pay dividends, reduce debt and pursue growth opportunities. We are always looking for a positive ratio, but for this screener we will focus on a ratio below 5 per cent.

Read more in this article written by Noor Hussain, Analyst & Account Executive at Inovestor Inc.

Portfolio Manager Commentary – February 2019

The S&P/TSX Total Return Index increased by 3.1% in February, adding to the strong January returns (8.1%) and leading to a YTD return of 12.2%. This gives the Canadian market a very strong start so far in 2019 which has actually slightly outperformed the MSCI Global (11.2%) and the S&P 500 (11.8%). Most sectors of the Canadian market were positive contributors in February, with Information Technology being the strongest one at an 8.4% increase.

The Canadian central bank & the FED comments have remained highly constructive for the equity markets. Although some analysts were expecting a more hawkish tone for the future, central banks have not indicated such act. Furthermore, the overall earnings and guided earnings have been positive over this period.

In addition, commodity prices, including energy and metals, have been stable which is crucial for the Canadian market. Finally, Canadian banks’ results were in-line to slightly below expectations, except for BMO, that came higher than expected.

Our Nasdaq Inovestor Canadian Equity Index (NQICA) rose by 2.1% in February, leading to a YTD positive return of 10.7%, slightly underperforming the market.  Looking at contribution factors to the NQICA returns, the best performing stock up 14.6%, was Constellation Software (CSU), that outperformed earnings expectations. On the contrary, the worst performer was CCL industries (CCL.B) which was down 3% in February as a result of weaker than expected results.