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Christian Godin

Portfolio Manager’s February Comment for January Results

The S&P/TSX posted a negative return for the month of January. The outcome took place in an environment where volatility peaked as GameStop (GME) rose rapidly at the end of the month. The S&P/TSX fell mostly at the end of the month, investors were potentially chilled by the speculation.

Last month, The S&P/TSX declined 0.3% while the S&P500 was down 1% and the MSCI ACWI ex USA increased by 0.2%. On an annual basis, the S&P/TSX was up 3.5%, the S&P500 soared 17.2% while the MSCI ex USA rose 14.4%.

The best TSX sector for January was Health Care up 34.8% followed by Utilities up by 2.6% and Information Technology up 1.5%. The worst sectors for the month were Consumer Staples down 4.2%, Materials down 3.5% and Consumer Discretionary down 2.6%.

The NQICAT was up 0.2% in January. On an annual basis, the NQICAT was up 0.7% while the S&P/TSX was up 3.5%.

The NQICAT’s best performers were Transforce (TFII), Richelieu Hardware (RCH) and Telus (T). TFII was up 30.1% due to a favorable reaction from the acquisition of UPS operations. RCH increased by 13.4% due to an excellent quarterly report. T was up 5.9% in the anticipation of the Telus international spin out (TIXT).

The worst performers in the NQICAT were Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B) and Canadian National Railway (CNR). ATD.B dropped 10.1% based on the acquisition of Carrefour which was negatively perceived by investors. CNR fell 7.4% due to a weak outlook given by the management.

2 stocks were sold and bought in the strategy in January. We sold Great-West Lifeco (GWO) because the model recommended a shift from the financial sector to the material sector. It had one of the lowest scores of our financials. GWO has been replaced by CCL Industries (CCL.B) as the company had the highest SP score in the material sector.

We sold Fortis (FTS) because its score had decreased and other players with higher scores were available in the same sector. We replaced it with Hydro One (H) which had the highest score in the utilities sector.

 

Portfolio Manager’s January Comment For Q4 2020 Results

Global equities ended the year on a strong finish. The S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index increased by 9% in Q4 for a total annual return of 5.6%. During Q4, the S&P500 produced a 12.1% return for an annual total return of 18.4% while the MSCI ACWI ex US posted a 17.1% return leading to an annual return of 11.1%.

There was a number of drivers behind this strong finish. Firstly, most company’s results were inline or better than expected. Secondly, central banks have maintained a dovish tone. Finally, the arrival of highly potent anti-COVID vaccines.

In Canada, the best Q4 sectors were Health care up 29.9% and Consumer discretionary up 20.4%. The worst sectors were Consumer Staples down 6.0% and Materials down 4%.

For the year, Info-Tech and Utilities were the top performers up 80.3%% and 19.5% respectively while Energy and Health Care were the weakest down 30.8% and 23.6%

NQICA in Q4 returned 7.3% leading to an annual total return of 2% versus the S&P/TSX TR composite return of 9% in Q4 and 5.6% for the year.

The best performers in NQICA were First National up 8.9%, Equitable Group up 6.6% and Stella-Jones up 4.8% on the back of excellent Q3 results.
On the other hand, the worst performers in Q4 were Richelieu Hardware down 12.6% and Metro down 4.8% on profit taking.

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.

Portfolio Manager’s March comment For February Results

The Canadian stock market realized one of its worst performance in February. This negative outcome unfolded as growing concerns on the economic impact of the COVID-19 was being factored in investor expectations. Given the elevated level of equity markets, the COVID-19 was the perfect trigger for a market correction.

The S&P/TSX Total Return Index declined by 5.9% in February and the S&P 500 also declined by 8.2% while the MSCI ACWI ex. USA lost 7.9%. At February end, the 12-months S&P/TSX Total Return Index gain was 4.9% behind the S&P500 gain of 8.2% and higher than the MSCI ACWI ex. USA who was flat.

The best TSX sector for the month of February was Information Technology down 2.7%, followed by Utilities down 3.1%, and Real Estate down 3.8%. On the contrary, the worst performing sectors were Health Care (-16.7%), Material (-7.6%) and Energy (-7.5%).

The best performers in February were Brookfield Asset Management (-0.9%) Constellation Software (-1.7%) and TFI International (-2.3%). Brookfield Asset Management trades as a bond equivalent and performs relatively well when long term interest rate decrease and the market considers IT stocks like Constellation Software isolated from the COVID-19 economic impact. At the opposite, the weakest contributors were CCL Industries, which was down 20.6% on very disappointing results as organic growth missed by a wide margin, Kirkland Lake Gold was down 20.2% due to poor production gold grade in Fosterville and Equitable group was down 15.4% because of low guidance despite better than expected results.

 

Portfolio Manager’s February Comment for January Results

The Canadian stock market as defined by the S&P-TSX posted another positive return for the month of January. This positive outcome took place despite global worries resulting from the coronavirus potential impact on the economy.

Last month, the S&P/TSX TR realised a 1.7% return, while the S&P500 TR was essentially flat and the MSCI ACWI ex USA declined by 2.7%. On a one-year basis, the S&P/TSX TR was up 15%, the S&P500 TR posted a 21.7% return while the MSCI ex USA lagged with a 10.5% return.

The best TSX sector for January was Information Technology up 9.4% followed by Utilities up by 7.6%. The worst sector for the month was Health Care down 2.6%.

The NQICAT was up 1.5% in January and 16.6% on a one-year basis. The NQICAT’s best performer was Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP.UN) up 11.1% closely followed by Constellation Software (CSU). BIP.UN was up in sympathy with other Utility stocks rallying as long term interest rate were coming down.

The worst performer was Parex Resources (PXT) the only oil stock of the portfolio. Every energy producer’s stocks price of the S&P-TSX Index came down in January. Energy producers were negatively impacted by a weaker outlook for oil demand, again caused by the fears around the Coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

2 stocks were sold and bought in the strategy in January. Norbord (OSB) was sold because its economic performance indicator turned negative. OSB cost of capital was higher than its return on capital as a consequence of its most recent quarterly report. OSB was replaced by Kirkland Lake Gold (KL). KL had the highest SP score in the material sector. Ritchie Bros. Auctionneers (RBA) was the other stock sold. The industrial sector EVA weight had having declined in the aggregate total profit. We had to sell the lowest SP score stock of the industrial sector which happened to be RBA. The consumer discretionary sector weight increased and MTY food group (MTY) was the stock with the best SP score in its sector that was not already in the portfolio.

10 Canadian midcap stocks with good momentum

What are we looking for?

At least until Monday’s pullback, the S&P/TSX Composite Index has been on a great run, rising more than 3 per cent this year as of Friday’s close. Investor sentiment driven by expectations of a positive earnings season, a stable economic outlook and the China-U.S. Phase 1 trade deal have helped the market reach new record highs in 2020. Investor sentiment, driven by expectations of a positive earnings season, a stable economic outlook and the China-U.S. Phase 1 trade deal, have helped the market reach new record highs in 2020.
Today, we look for Canadian mid-cap stocks that had a good run in the short term, and where price gains are supported by fundamentals such as sales and profitability.
The screen
We screened the Canadian companies by focusing on the following criteria:
•Market capitalization greater than $500-million and lower than $3-billion;
•Price change over one month higher than 2 per cent – we are looking for companies with a positive momentum in the very short-term;
•Price change over three months higher than 6 per cent – we are looking for companies with a positive momentum in the short-term;
•A return on capital more than 7 per cent – we want to find profitable companies that have a good return on investment;
•Sales growth higher than 10 per cent over 12 months – we are looking for a growing company. (Sales growth of 10 per cent may seem like a lot, but smaller companies can grow more easily than big ones);
For informational purposes, we have also included recent stock price, dividend yield and one-year price return. Please note that some ratios may be reported at the end of the previous quarter.
What we found
We found 10 companies with these criteria, with the accompanying table ranked by 12-month sales growth. K92 Mining Inc. tops the table, realizing huge sales growth over the past year. The return on capital is also a lot higher than our threshold, sitting at 50.9 per cent. Note: Results can be quite volatile for mining companies and we need to be careful with the short track record of this company.
Aside from K92 Mining, Wall Financial Corp. and Heroux-Devtek Inc. have had big years, with 72.9 per cent and 51.1 per cent, respectively, in sales growth. Wall Street Financial has shown strong price momentum over the past three months while Heroux-Devtek has done quite respectably over the past month.
Investors are advised to do further research before investing in any of the companies listed in the accompanying table.

Ticker Name PRICE ($) EXPECTED DIV. YIELD (%) MARKET CAP. ($M) 3M PRICE RETURN (%) 1M PRICE RETURN (%) RETURN ON CAPITAL Sales Ch. 12M (%) 1Y PRICE RETURN (%)
KNT-X K92 Mining, Inc. 3.48                                                  –                            740.10                                  35.21                                  20.83                                  50.87                          192.20                                242.86
WFC-T Wall Financial Corporation 35.95                                            5.58                        1,220.62                                  37.51                                    7.06                                  11.86                            72.91                                  39.97
HRX-T Heroux-devtek Inc. 20.08                                                  –                            730.15                                  11.05                                    5.13                                  9.95                            51.07                                  47.72
PEO-X People Corporation 10.48                                                  –                            713.80                                  10.95                                    4.49                                  10.29                            23.17                                  37.68
GSY-T Goeasy Ltd. 73.39                                            1.69                        1,052.71                                  16.77                                    5.52                                  22.18                            22.23                                  94.44
REAL-T Real Matters, Inc. 12.75                                                  –                        1,083.06                                  11.59                                    3.49                                  7.34                            18.46                                273.33
ATZ-T Aritzia, Inc. 25.08                                                  –                        2,733.08                                  13.46                                  31.65                                  26.96                            15.47                                  16.16
ENGH-T Enghouse Systems Limited 52.25                                            0.85                        2,860.03                                  32.00                                    8.45                                  18.63                            12.54                                  45.10
HCG-T Home Capital Group Inc. 33.76                                                  –                        1,935.50                                  27.90                                    2.43                                  7.96                            11.59                                128.89
ET-T Evertz Technologies Limited 18.3                                            3.94                        1,405.47                                    7.40                                    2.46                                  17.89                            10.65                                  10.32

Dividend Paying Stocks in the Gold Sector

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
Gold is reaching price highs not seen since 2013, because of dovish central banks and the geopolitical volatility caused by the U.S.-China trade war and, most recently, the U.S.-Iran crisis. Gold is up 21 per cent over the past 12 months. Expect gold miners to report better results in their next quarterly reports. Today, we will be looking more closely at gold miners that pay a dividend. The yield is our proxy for stable operations and we use the change in net operating profit after tax, or NOPAT, to find growing companies.
For the Globe and Mail this week, we look at dividend stocks in the volatile gold sector.

THE SCREEN
We screened the Canadian- and U.S.-listed gold miners by focusing on the following criteria: Market capitalization greater than $1-billion; Dividend yield; 12-month and 24-month change in the company’s NOPAT – appositive figure would indicate that there is growth and progress in operating efficiencies. For informational purposes, we have also included recent stock price, cost of capital (a weighted cost combining equity and debt, expressed as a percentage of total capital) and one-year return. Please note that some ratios maybe reported at the end of the previous quarter.

WHAT WE FOUND
Only 11 gold miners with a market capitalization of more than $1-billion pay a dividend.

Centamin PLC pays the highest dividend by far, but its negative NOPAT change over both 12 and 24 months suggests future dividend growth may not be sustainable. Newmont Goldcorp Corp., Royal Gold Inc., Yamana Gold Inc. and Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. all show growing NOPAT over the past 12 and 24 months.

As the largest company on our list, suggesting more stable operations than smaller companies in this highly volatile sector, Newmont is well positioned to maintain and increase its dividend. Investors are advised to do further research before investing in any of the companies listed in the accompanying table.

Ticker Name PRICE ($) 1Y PRICE RETURN (%) MARKET CAP. ($BIL) EXPECTED DIV. YIELD (%) LAST QTR DIV. YIELD (%) COST OF CAPITAL (%) NOPAT CH. 24M (%) NOPAT CH. 12M (%)
CEE-T Centamin Plc 2.12 5.37 2.45 4.40 4.00 9.74 -5.61 -3.61
OR-T Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd 12.27 0.5 1.77 1.60 1.62 5.93 0.02 -0.30
NGT-T Newmont Goldcorp Corporation 55.15 28 45.22 1.31 1.48 5.65 1.46 2.07
ABX-T Barrick Gold Corporation 23.29 40.59 41.40 1.08 1.17 5.75 -1.93 0.55
AEM-T Agnico Eagle Mines Limited 77.44 44.66 18.51 1.15 0.91 5.95 -0.88 -0.19
RGLD-Q Royal Gold, Inc. 113.79 33.33 7.46 0.77 0.86 6.20 0.68 1.69
YRI-T Yamana Gold Inc. 4.86 45.4 4.62 1.03 0.79 10.85 0.62 2.26
AGI-T Alamos Gold Inc. 7.5 41.98 2.93 0.70 0.69 9.97 -2.12 -0.86
SVM-T Silvercorp Metals Inc. 7.18 135.59 1.24 0.44 0.65 14.75 -0.32 0.34
BVN-N Compania De Minas Buenaventu 13.97 -14.42 3.54 0.60 0.55 6.57 -7.61 -8.19
KL-T Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. 58.33 60.15 12.26 0.42 0.31 8.12 4.31 2.86

Portfolio Manager’s January comment For Q4 2019

Global equities ended the year with a bang! The S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index increased by 3.2% in Q4 adding to this years’ gains for a total return of 22.9% in 2019. During Q4, the S&P500 produced an 8.5% return for an annual total return of 28.9% while the MSCI ACWI ex US posted a 9.0% return leading to a 22.1% YTD total return.
There was a number of drivers behind this strong finish. Firstly, most company’s results were inline or better than expected, secondly central banks have maintained a dovish tone, and finally the year ended with a phase one agreement between the US and China.
In Canada, the best Q4 sectors were Info-Tech up 10.7% and Materials up 7.4%, the worst sector was Healthcare down 6.0%. For the year, Info-Tech and Utilities were the top performers up 63.5% and 31.6%, respectively, while Healthcare was the weakest on, down 11.4%.
NQICA in Q4 returned 2.5% leading to an annual total return of 24.1% versus the S&P/TSX TR composite which returned 3.2% in Q4 and 22.9% YTD.
The worst performers in the NQICA in Q4 were Gildan Activewear (GIL) with a return of -18.1%, due to lower than expected results, and Metro (MRU) with a -7.8% return. On the other hand, the best performers were Parex up 19.0%, due to excellent results and new field discoveries, and National Bank up 10.4% on the back of an excellent Q4.

Retailers that are no Christmas Gifts

What we are looking for?

With Black Friday still fresh in our minds we decided to look at North American retailers that may look tempting based on yield but that face deteriorating economics. More precisely we selected dividend-paying stocks and we screened them based profitability trends and other fundamental quality criteria.

 

The screen

We screened for consumer discretionary stocks based in North America, specifically, those stocks listed in the subsectors of retailing or consumer durables and apparel. We then added the following criteria:

  • A market capitalization greater than US$1-billion;
  • Stocks must pay a dividend;
  • Return on capital (ROC) of less than 10 per cent in the past 12 months;
  • Declining ROC over the past 24 months;
  • Negative stock price change over the last 12 months;
  • Declining economic value-added (EVA) per share over the past 12 months.
  • Declining sales in the last 12 months.

 

What we found

There are four retailer stocks that meet our criteria in the North American markets. All are U.S.-based brick and mortar retailers: Children’s Place Inc., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Gap Inc. and Macy’s Inc. The Children’s Place operates as a children’s specialty apparel retailer with its network of speciality stores. Bed Bath & Beyond operates retail stores that sells domestics merchandise, including bed linens, bath items, kitchen textiles; and home furnishings products. The Gap operates outlets under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and other brands. Macys operates department stores under the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s names as well as a network specialty stores. The reality is that these four retailers are under pressure as online retailers continue gaining market shares.

Topping our list, ranked by dividend yield, is Macy’s. The stock is currently yielding 9.9 per cent. While providing an eye-popping payout, Macy’s is facing profitability challenges as measured by ROC and EVA measures. It is also experiencing declining sales. It will be hard for its board to keep paying this dividend to shareholders unless management succeed in turning around the economics of the business. Given how badly a stock price can react when shareholders are faced with a dividend cut, it’s better to avoid such stocks even if, at first sight, the yield looks attractive.

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

Ticker Name Price MarketCap Div Yield R/C R/C Ch. 24M Price Var. 12M EVA Ch. 12M Sales Ch. 12M
BBBY Bed Bath & Beyond $         14.58 $1.9B 4.60% -0.64% -11.22% -0.29% -831.39% -5.88%
PLCE Children’s Place $         72.26 $1.1B 3.10% 8.67% -3.59% -45.17% -26.25% -3.04%
GPS Gap, Inc $         16.61 $6.3B 5.84% 9.53% -1.26% -40.44% -101.16% -2.41%
M Macy’s Inc $         15.32 $4.8B 9.86% 6.16% -0.42% -55.79% -441.94% -1.02%

Christian Godin is a portfolio manager at Inovestor Asset Management.

Portfolio Manager’s December comment For November Results

The Canadian stock market realised another month of positive returns in November. This positive outcome unfolded as reported quarterly results were coming in line with investors expectations and in a context of diminishing international trade tensions.

The S&P/TSX Total Return Index rose by 3.6% in November and the S&P 500 also rose by 3.6% while the MSCI World produced a 0.9% positive return. At November end, the 12-months S&P/TSX Total Return Index gain was 15.7% nearly in line with the S&P500 gain of 16.1% and higher than the MSCI World 12-month increase of 11.8%.
The best TSX sector for the month of November was Information Technology up 8.6%, followed by Consumer Staples up 5.8%, and Consumer Discretionary up 5.5%. On the contrary, the worst performing sectors were Health Care (-2.8%), Real Estate (-1.0%) and Material down (0.1%).

Looking more specifically at INOC, the fund was up 5.4% and the best performers in November were Gildan Activewear (+16.4%) the t-shirt manufacturer, Parex Energy (10.1%) an oil producer with assets in Colombia, and Alimentation Couche-Tard. (+10.0%), the Canadian convenience store operator with a global footprint.
On the contrary, the weakest contributor to INOC was Norbord, which was down 4.1%, on after a strong showing in October. The negative contributors were Equitable down 4.1% and TD Bank down 1.8%. All the other constituents of INOC had a positive performance for the month of November.