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November 2020

Portfolio Manager’s November Comment for October Results

In October, the S&P/TSX declined by 3.1% the S&P500 decreased by 2.7% and the MSCI ACWI ex USA lost 2.1%. For the 12-month period ending October 30th, the S&P/TSX posted a negative return of 2.3%. Over the same period, the S&P500 surged 9.7% while the MSCI declined 2.2%.

The NQICAT recorded a net loss of 1.3% in October and a 12-month negative return of 3.1%.

The best TSX sectors for the month of October were Health Care up 7.3%, Consumer Dicretionary down 0.3%, and Utilities down 1.3%. The worst performing sectors were Information Technology down 8.7%, Consumer Staples down 7.5% and Energy down 4.7%.

The best monthly performers in the portfolio were First National up 16.1% and Equitable Group up 13.3%. At the opposite, the weakest contributors were Open Text Corporation, which was down 13.0% and Alimentation Couche-Tard down 11.5%.

2 stocks were sold and bought in the strategy in October. For this rebalancing, the model required an higher exposure to the Materials and Telecommunications sector.

The economic profile of two holdings (Magna international Inc and Sun Life Financial) have felt under the minimum threshold in the course of the quarter and needed to be sold.

The 2 purchases were Quebecor Inc. (QBR.B) and Stella-Jones (SJ). Both stocks had the highest EVA score in their respective sectors.

Seven Growth Stocks That Are Reasonably Priced

What are we looking for?

Growth stocks outperformed value by a huge margin over the past 10 years. And while higher valuations are often seen as problematic for growth companies, let’s put that into perspective. Today, we look for U.S. and Canadian large caps with a growth-at-a-reasonable-price (GARP) tilt.

The screen

We screened U.S. and Canadian companies focusing on the following criteria:

· Market capitalization higher than $25-billion;
· Economic performance index (EPI) higher than 2.5 – this is the ratio of return on capital to cost of capital. We look for businesses with a sizable risk-adjusted return on capital;
· StockPointer (SP) Performance Score of more than 75. The score, which can range between zero and 100, mainly considers risk-adjusted return on capital and free cash flow per share;
· PEG ratio below three – this is our growth-at-a-reasonable-price (GARP) factor, which considers valuation and growth. It uses the price-to-earnings ratio divided by the five-year earnings growth mean (while mean is similar to average, this method puts more weight on extreme values)
· 12-month sales growth higher than 4 per cent – we are looking for a company showing sales momentum in the past year;
· 24-month growth in net operating profit (NOP) of more than 10 per cent. We want a company showing strong improvement of its operations in the past two-year period;
· Most recent return on capital lower than 50 per cent – we exclude companies with an unsustainable ROC (a really high ROC is often temporary, owing to a short-term boost from unusual items);

For informational purposes, we have also included recent price-to-earnings ratio, five-year earnings growth mean, dividend yield, one-year price return and recent stock price. Please note that some ratios may be as of end of previous quarter.

More about Inovestor

Inovestor for Advisors is a fundamental-analysis research platform specializing in the economic value-added (EVA) approach. With Inovestor, advisers can quickly identify attractive investment opportunities, outsource their stock picking by using model portfolios, and easily communicate investment decisions with clients through client-friendly reports. In addition, Inovestor allows users to create personalized filters, build custom portfolios and carry out in-depth analysis on more than 13,000 companies (Canadian and U.S. stocks, and American depositary receipts).

What we found

TICKER Company RECENT PRICE ($) MKT CAP ($MIL.) NOP CH. 24M (%) SP PERF. SCORE RTN ON CAPITAL (%) EPI SALES CH. 12M (%) PEG Ratio P/E Ratio 5Y EPS Growth Mean (%) 1Y PRICE RTN. (%) DIV. YIELD (%)
HD-N Home Depot, Inc. 266.71 287100 18.8 91.0 38.6 3.8 8.5 1.5 24.4 16.2 12.4 2.3
INTU-Q Intuit Inc. 314.68 82390 50.8 90.5 27.2 2.6 13.2 1.1 45.5 40.0 22.7 0.8
CLX-N Clorox Company 207.25 26120 14.1 86.0 23.3 3.8 8.2 2.6 28.2 10.9 41.0 2.1
FAST-Q Fastenal Company 43.23 24820 14.4 86.0 26.9 2.7 5.3 2.8 29.6 10.5 16.4 2.3
CSU-T Constellation Software Inc. 1398.59 29640 37.4 82.5 30.3 3.8 15.3 2.8 65.4 23.3 7.0 0.4
ORLY-Q O’reilly Automotive, Inc. 436.6 31990 24.5 77.7 29.2 3.4 9.4 1.0 19.5 19.9 -0.1 0.0
TROW-Q T. Rowe Price Group 126.66 28680 23.7 77.2 28.1 2.6 6.5 1.2 14.2 12.2 8.3 2.8
CPRT-Q Copart, Inc. 110.36 26040 51.8 77.0 27.5 2.7 8.0 1.3 37.6 28.0 33.1 0.0

The top three on our list using this approach, ranked by SP performance score, are Home Depot Inc.Intuit Inc. and Clorox Co.

Home improvement retailer Home Depot is an excellent example of how long-term growth can generate massive returns for investors. It has the highest return on capital and performance score of our list. The PEG ratio is in the middle of the pack and this company is also of premium quality based on its long-term historical growth. This more than justifies the higher PEG ratio than some others on our list.

Software developer Intuit Inc. has a P/E of 45.5, but the valuation is one of the cheapest if we consider the PEG ratio. This case illustrates that a P/E ratio can mean nothing if it is not compared with historical growth statistics. Intuit premium valuation is supported by its superior SP Performance Score, its 12-month sales growth and its 24-month NOP growth.

Clorox Co., a maker of disinfectant products and other household items that have been in high demand during the pandemic, has had a massive tailwind in the past three quarters. (Its fiscal first-quarter earnings, reported Monday, topped Wall Street’s forecasts, with sales up 27.2 per cent compared with the year-ago period.) In the short term, we can expect health measures to contribute to sales even if a vaccine makes it to the market. Its high EPI can be attributed to its strong retail brands and market dominance. More than 80 per cent of the company’s sales are generated from brands that hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their respective categories. While the return on capital is lower than other candidates, that is a small price to pay for its incredible stability.

Investors are advised to do further research before investing in any of the companies shown here.

For more details about these growth stocks, please subscribe the Inovestor for Advisors platform for free here.

Christian Godin is a portfolio manager at Inovestor Asset Management.