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

We have rebalanced the Nasdaq Inovestor Global Index based on our US and ADR Model Portfolios, which will be effective on June 21st after market close. Here are the details for the US Model Portfolio:

Ins:

  1. Employers HOLDINGS INC (EIG) – Market Trend. Increase in Financials sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. ABBVIE INC (ABBV) – Market Trend. Increase in Healthcare sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  3. EVERCORE INC (EVR) – Intra Sectorial transaction.
  4. CREDIT ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION (CACC) – Intra Sectorial transaction.
  5. PRICE T ROWE GROUPs (TROW) – Intra Sectorial transaction.
  6. TRANSDIGM GROUP INC (TDG) – Intra Sectorial transaction.
  7. GEOPARK LTD (GPRK) – Intra Sectorial transaction.

Outs:

  1. MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC (MU) – Market Trend. Decrease in IT sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. VECTOR GROUP LTD (VGR) – Market Trend. Decrease in Consumer Staples sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  3. VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION (VLO) – EPI. EPI fell below 1.
  4. CIGNA CORPORATION (CI) – SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.
  5. PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GROUP (PFG) – SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.
  6. ALLSTATE CORPORATE (ALL) – SP Score. No longer within SP score range and not in the top 20 of its sector.
  7. THE CHEMOURS COMPANY LLC (CC) – 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. BANCO SANTANDER MEXICO SA (BSMX) – Market Trend. Increase in Financials sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. JAZZ PHARMACEUTICALS PLC (JAZZ) – Market Trend. Increase in Healthcare sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore increasing our position in the portfolio.

Outs:

  1. TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING (TSM) – Market Trend. Decrease in IT sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.
  2. NIELSEN HOLDINGS PLC (NLSN) – Market Trend. Decrease in Consumer Discretionary sector as seen in the Top 100 index therefore decreasing our position in the portfolio.

Thirteen defensive U.S. health care and consumer staples stocks

In this week’s filter created for The Globe and Mail, we screened for Thirteen defensive U.S. health care and consumer staples stocks.

Looking back at May, it was the worst month so far in 2019 for the markets. The U.S.-China trade war spiralled deeper early in the month, with U.S. President Donald Trump raising tariffs on US$200-billion worth of Chinese products and China retaliating by setting tariffs on US$60-billion of American goods. Last week, the markets tumbled as the geopolitical mess worsened due to escalating trade tensions. In addition, last Thursday Mr. Trump threatened Mexico with a new wave of tariffs, which will begin on June 10. During this period of extended uncertainty, non-cyclical sectors hold up better due to their defensive characteristics. Today, we will screen U.S. health care and consumer staples stocks to identify some companies with solid operations and revenues that may be able to withstand this trade-war storm. We screened the U.S. stock universe by focusing on the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than US$10-billion;
  • A 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;
  • A 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;
  • A future-growth-value-to-market-value ratio (FGV/MV) of between 40 per cent and negative 70 per cent. We chose this range to eliminate stocks that trade at an exaggerated premium or discount as 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.
  • Free-cash-flow-to-capital ratio. This metric 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 and more than 5 per cent is excellent.

Portfolio Manager Commentary – May 2019

The S&P / TSX total return Index increased by 3.2% in April, adding to the strong 1st quarter returns leading to a YTD return of 16.9%. This gives the Canadian market a very strong start so far in 2019 which has actually slightly outperformed the MSCI ACWI (13.4%) and slightly lagged the S&P 500 (18.3%). Most sectors of the Canadian market were positive contributors in April, with Informational Technology being the strongest and Materials being the weakest.

The Canadian central bank & the FED comments have remained highly constructive for the equity markets. Furthermore, the overall earnings are weak but not as much as was feared by the market. This explains why the market is holding its YTD gains.

YTD commodity prices, including energy and metals, have been stable which is crucial for the Canadian market. Finally, the current state of mind of the market is mainly shaped by US tariffs. In Canada more specifically, the real estate market remains steady despite worries about an over-extended cycle. The declining long-term interest rates in Canada are maintaining high valuations in the sector.

Our Nasdaq Inovestor Canadian Equity Index (NQICA) rose by 5% in April, leading to a YTD positive return of 17%, slightly outperforming the market. Looking at contribution factors to the NQICA returns, the largest proportion of the gains was thanks to Magna International (MG) that rose by 14.6%. Following a similar trend are Dollarama (DOL) and Equitable Group (EQB) which rose by 13.0% and 12.8% respectively as the market was anticipating attractive earnings. On the contrary, Metro Inc. (MRU) was down 1.4% over the month and Great-West Lifeco (GWO) down 1.98% during the last 2 weeks of April following its addition to the portfolio.

April 2019 Portfolio Manager Commentary

The S&P/TSX Total Return Index increased by 13.3% in the first quarter. This gives the Canadian market a very strong start in 2019 which has actually slightly outperformed the MSCI Global (10.4%) and is performing in line with the S&P 500 (13.7%).

The stock markets are currently on the rise due to positive economic expectations. Over the past couple of weeks, the depth and longevity of constructive global perspectives have increased in importance following the most recent economic comments and political statements made by major central banks including that of China, Europe, and the United States.

This staggering global economic bull cycle over a longer horizon has a principal effect on the anticipations of investors in the stock market and it has clearly overcome the contradictions related to the softening of the short-term growth. Even though economic growth and corporate profits growth are presently lower than they were a year ago, their persistence and resilience over the long run are the key factors affecting investors’ psychology.

Our Nasdaq Inovestor Canadian Equity Index (NQICA) rose by 0.6% in March, leading to a YTD positive return of 11.4%, slightly underperforming the market. Looking at contribution factors to the NQICA returns, the best performing stock up 11.16%, was Parkland Fuel Corporation (PKI). On the contrary, the worst performer was The North West Company (NWC), down 9.3% in March.

The most recent rebalancing required the sale of three titles, The North West Company, Parkland Fuel and CAE. They were replaced by Great-West Life Co, Norbord, and Open Text. North West Company saw its ROIC decrease because of an increase in assets without being offset by a corresponding increase in its NOPAT. The catalyst for the sale of Parkland Fuel was the rise in stock prices. The sale of CAE was due to the significant decline in economic value added (EVA) as determined by our quantitative model. Great-West Life Co experienced a substantial increase in NOPAT and that is why we decided to add it to the portfolio. Many cyclical commodity companies have had strong bullish profits for a while and our approach is to increase the sector weights in those cases. Norbord is a holding which entered the portfolio for this reason. Finally, the entry of Open Text is explained both by a high fundamental rating and by an attractive valuation.

Portfolio Manager Commentary – February 2019

Horizons Inovestor Canadian Equity ETF (INOC)

The S&P/TSX Total Return Index ended the month of January up 8.1% offsetting in one month most of last year decline of 8.9%, making it one of the best month in the last 20 years. This upturn has been driven by several catalysts including a softening in the tone of last minutes of the FED, relatively strong results from earnings releases of large North American corporations, and the end of the US government shutdown. Meanwhile, prices of most key commodities including crude oil and gold were stronger in the month. Our Nasdaq Inovestor Canadian Equity Index (NQICA) rose 8.1% for the same period, 60bps below the benchmark. Our sector allocation removed 110bps as our decision to underweight Energy and underweight Healthcare proved to be unfruitful in January. However, our stock selection contributed a positive 50bps as a several of our stocks outperformed.

INOC’s constituents were changed on January 18th

Ins:

  1. THE NORTH WEST COMPANY INC (NWC)
  2. PAREX RESOURCES INC (PXT)

 

Outs:

  1. NFI GROUP Inc. (NFI)
  2. WEST FRASER TIMBER CO. Ltd. (WFT)

Best,

The Inovestor Asset Management Team