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Portfolio Manager’s September Comment for August Results

Equity markets had a strong positive monthly performance in August. In the U.S. the performance was particularly strong among technology large cap stocks while in Canada the performance was vigorous among financials large cap stocks. It’s widely believed that the FED market intervention is no stranger to the strong performance of equities as of late.

In August, the S&P/TSX rose by 2.3%, the S&P 500 increased by 7.2% while the MSCI ACWI ex USA gained 4.7%. At August end and over a 12-month period, the S&P/TSX returned 3.8% behind the S&P 500 gain of 21.9% and the MSCI ACWI ex. USA increased by 8.8%.

NQICAT advanced by 1.9% in August and posted a 12-month return of 0.6%.

The best S&P/TSX sectors for the month were Financials up 6.7% followed by industrials up 4.2% and Consumer Discretionary up 1.9%. The worst performing sectors were Health Care down 7.5%, Consumer Staples down 4.7% and Utilities down 2.1%.

NQICAT’s best performers in August were National Bank up 14.5% and Great-West up 12.4% on the back of excellent quarterly results.

At the opposite, the weakest contributors were Alimentation Couche-Tard down 8.5% and Winpak down 6.6% mainly on profit taking and concerns about their respective outlooks.

Portfolio Manager’s August Comment for July Results

The S&P/TSX rose by 4.5% in July and the S&P500 increased by 5.6% while the MSCI ACWI ex USA gained 4.1%. At the end of the 12-month period ending July 31th, the S&P/TSX posted a positive return of 1.9%. Over the same 12-month period, the S&P500 surged 12% while the MSCI ACWI ex USA gained 0.7%.

The NQICAT recorded a net gain of 8% in July and a 12-month return of -2.3%.
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The best TSX sectors for the month of July were Materials up 13.1%, followed by Consumer Staples up 6.2%, and Information Technology up 6.1%. The worst performing sectors were Financials up 0.1%, Energy up 1% and Health Care up 1.1%.

 

The best monthly performers in the portfolio were Kirkland Lake Gold up 30.9% and Financial National up 22.8%. At the opposite, the weakest contributors were Toronto-Dominon, which was down 0.9% and Great-West down 0.5%.

 

3 stocks were sold and bought in the strategy in July. For this rebalancing, the model required an exposure reduction of to the Materials sector equivalent to 2 stocks. Stella-Jones (SJ) and CCL Industries Inc. Class B (CCL.B) were sold because of their relatively lower SP scores compared to Kirkland and Winpak.
The model also called for the selling of Gildan (GIL) due to a deterioration of its SP score.

 

The model required an increased exposure to Consumer Staples and Consumer Discretionary. The names that made it into those sectors were Empire Company (EMP.A) and Thomson Reuters Corp. (TRI). Richelieu Hardware Ltd (RCH) was bought as a replacement for Gildan.

Portfolio Manager’s July Comment For Q2 2020

In the second quarter, the S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index increased by 17%, the S&P500 total return grew by 20.5% while the MSCI ACWI ex-USA returned 16.3%.

Q2 returns were eye-popping and are pointing to a V-shaped recovery. Growth and technology have continued their outperformance compared to the rest of the market.

In Q2, NQICA returned 15.2% leading to a year-to-date return of -13.4% versus the S&P/TSX composite which increased by 17% in Q2 and declined -7.5% on a year-to-date basis.

In Canada, the best Q2 sectors were Info-Tech up 68.2%, Materials up 41.6% and consumer discretionary up 32%. The worst sectors were telecommunication services down 2.1%, Utilities up 2.7%, and Financials up 4.8%.

The NQICA’s worst performers in the second quarter were Evertz with a return of -14.3% as the company has been affected by the shutdown of professional sports, Fortis declined by 3.9% given the company’s profile was less attractive during the recovery and Winpak with a return of -3.3% caused by lower than expected sales and profits.

On the other hand, the best results in the second quarter were TFI International with a return of 56.2% as the acquisition of Gusgo Transport has been well received by the market, Canadian Tire jumped 40.1% as the retailer kept its stores open and was able to protect its profits and Parkland Corp. grew by 39.1% helped by rising oil prices.

Portfolio Manager’s June comment For May Results

The Canadian stock market continued to rally in May. The S&P/TSX Total Return Index rose by 3% during the month, while the S&P 500 and the MSCI ACWI ex. USA gained 4.7% and 3.3% respectively. At May end, the year-to-date S&P/TSX Total Return Index loss was 9.7% while the S&P500 shrunk by 5% and the MSCI ACWI ex. USA fell off 14.6%. Despite being in negative territory, all equity indexes are now into a V-shape recovery.

The best TSX sectors for the month of May were Information Technology up 14.6% and Consumer discretionary up 8.1%. At the opposite, the worst performing sectors were Real Estate down 0.4% and Utilities unchanged on the month.

Our best performers in May were Canadian Tire up 20.4%, Parkland Corp up 17.6% and Constellation Software up 16.9%.

On the other hand, the weakest contributors were Kirkland Lake Gold down 7.8%, First National down 4.5% and Equitable group down 3.7%.

Portfolio Manager’s May Comment for April Results

The S&P/TSX increased by 10.8% in April and the S&P500 increased by 12.8% while the MSCI ACWI ex USA gained 7.6%. At the end of the 12-month period ending April 30th, the S&P/TSX was posting a negative return of 7.9%. Over the same 12-month period, the S&P500 gained 0.9% while the MSCI ACWI ex USA posted a decline of 11%. For the U.S and Canadian markets April results were the best monthly returns of the past decades. Over the past 12 months, the strong performance behind the U.S equity market can be explained by its 5 largest technology names (Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google).
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The best TSX sectors for the month of April were Materials up 33%, followed by Information Technology up 29.3%, and Consumer Discretionary up 20.1%. The worst performing sectors were Telecommunication Services (-0.3%), Financials (0.9%) and Utilities (3.7%).

The best monthly performers in the portfolio were Kirkland Lake Gold (39.1%) and Parkland Fuel Corp (33.1%). At the opposite, the weakest contributors were Great-West Life Co, which was down 5.7% and Royal Bank of Canada down 1.8%.

4 stocks were sold and bought in the strategy, in April. For this rebalancing, the model required an exposure reduction to 2 sectors namely Consumer Discretionary and Energy. MTY Group (MTY) was sold for several reasons including its negative exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parex Ressources (PXT) was sold as weak oil prices put severe pressure on its margins.

The model called for the selling of Brookfield Asset Management (BAM.A) and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP.UN) due to a deterioration of their respective performance scores.

The model also required an increased exposure to Materials and Financials. The names that made it into those sectors were Winpak (WPK) and First National (FN). The other 2 names purchased in this rebalancing were Fortis (FTS) as a replacement for Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP.UN) and Sun Life Financial as a replacement for Brookfield Asset Management (BAM.A).

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Portfolio Manager’s April Comment For Q1 2020

The performance of Global equities has been severely impacted by the COVID-19. The S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index declined by 20.9% in Q1 more than offsetting last years’ gains for an annualized negative total return of -14.2%. For Q1, the S&P500 total return was -19.6% also erasing last returns for an annualized total return of -7% while the MSCI ACWI ex US posted a -23.3% return leading to a negative -15.1% annualized total return.

The obvious of this year’s first quarter is the COVID-19 and its impacts on the economic activity. In this period of turbulence, the COVID-19 often decides who is the winner or the loser.

NQICA in Q1 returned -24.9% leading to a 1-year return of -16.3% versus the S&P/TSX composite which returned -20.9% in Q1 and -14.2% on a 1-year basis.

In Canada, the best Q1 sectors were Info-Tech down 3.8%, Utilities down 6.2% and Telecommunication Services down 9.2%. The worst sectors were Energy down 38.2%, Healthcare down 37.3%, and Consumer Discretionary down 33.3%.

The worst performers in the NQICA in Q1 were MTY with a return of -61.2%, as a majority of its franchises needed to close because of the COVID-19, Gildan with a return of -53.3% given its discretionary profile and closing some of its manufacturing facilities and Parkland Fuel Corp. with a return of -50.7% given the lower traffic at its gaz station. On the other hand, Metro delivered a 6.6% return, as its groceries and drug stores benefits from increased volume, Constellation Software realized a 1.5% return as it was not directly impacted from the COVID-19 while Canadian National was down only 5.8% despite the hostage of its network by pressure groups earlier this year and the upcoming economic slowdown.

Canadian Model Portfolio update: COVID-19

With the current COVID-19 spreading all over the global. Here is a quick portfolio update:

  • On February 20, S&P/TSX TR achieved new highs closing at $17,944. Since then the benchmark is down -20.29%. Whereas Inovestor Canadian model portfolio is down -17.44%
  • YTD the S&P/TSX is down -15.90% and Inovestor Canadian model portfolio is down -14.26%
  • The best performing stocks in our Canadian model portfolio since 20 February: Dollarama Inc -0.6%, Metro Inc -0.7% and Telus Corpotation -9.1%
  • The worst performing stocks in our Canadian model portfolio since 20 February: Parex Resources Inc -34.7%, Equitable Group Inc. -30.7% and Parkland Fuel Corp -28.6%
  • We remain focus on the long term and avoid current market noises. We believe our portfolio companies are fundamentally sound and should performed well on the long term

Opportunities might arise during bear markets

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

From February 20, to March 5, 2020, the S&P 500 was down more than -15%, officially landing in the market correction territory. As the COVID-19 continues to spread in new territories, global supply chains are being disrupted, and companies are readjusting their forecasts. Mainland China is the most impacted with 111,363 confirmed cases and a death rate of 3.7% (as of 09/03/2020). Although we are facing a lot of uncertainty in the global economy and the financial markets, this might be a good opportunity for investors to buy stocks at a discounted price.

Today we will be looking at US fundamentally-sound stocks that are trading at a discount, giving the recent market correction.

THE SCREENER

  • market cap: $1B – we are only looking for large cap companies
  • Current SP Score: A minimum score of 50. The SP Score is a scoring system model, based on a 12-factor algorithm, which focuses on quality and value. The weights for quality and value are 75% and 25%, respectively.
  • Price 20-day Change (%): Stocks that are down at least –15% in the past 20 days. A 15% drop is considered a market correction
  • Increase in NOPAT over 24 months: at least 5% increase in NOPAT over the last 24 months. We are looking for companies that can increase the profitably of the business
  • Positive EVA: We are looking for companies with positive EVA only. Economic Value Added (EVA) is a measure of true economic profit created by a company. The higher Economic Value Added, the more value a company generates for its shareholders.
  • Increase in Sales over the last 24 months: At least a 7% increase in sales over the last 2 years. We are looking for company that can scale and grow the business
  • Dividend yield: At least a yield of 3%. This is an indicator that the company can distribute their profits with the shareholders

 

 

WHAT WE FOUND

We found 10 companies that were potentially affected by the market correction but appear to have strong fundamentals.

TICKER Company RECENT PRICE ($) MKT CAP ($MIL.) CURRENT SP SCORE NOPAT ($) NOPAT CHG. 24M (%) EVA ($) SALES CHG. 24M (%) DIV. YIELD (%) 20D PRICE RETURN(%) 1YR PRICE RTN.(%)
CSCO Cisco Systems, Inc. 39.68 168282.88 57 12558.94 5.70 2178.16 7.19 3.05 -18.80 -22.87
VNO Vornado Realty Trust 52.35 9998.10 56 3717.36 12.19 2109.23 156.51 3.97 -20.95 -20.40
CMA Comerica Incorporated 44.81 6367.30 70 1207.15 6.88 196.67 15.81 3.74 -26.94 -39.57
SNV Synovus Financial Corp. 25.58 3764.29 71 607.47 9.44 241.97 67.08 3.06 -30.05 -26.86
SHLX Shell Midstream Partners Lp 15.1 3522.67 56 602.33 8.54 453.59 7.00 8.36 -24.31 -4.31
MCY Mercury General Corporation 44.31 2452.91 55 320.09 7.14 214.03 13.53 5.16 -17.49 -18.24
EVR Evercore Inc Class A 61.67 2415.98 73 360.46 6.86 221.71 17.08 3.00 -23.93 -27.67
PAGP Plains Gp Holdings Lp Class 12.2 2222.09 63 2304.97 6.24 803.80 26.32 7.28 -24.03 -40.62
GEF-B Greif Class B 37.07 2197.23 53 483.68 6.44 291.95 29.21 3.71 -24.47 -11.99
CADE Cadence Bancorporation Class 12.06 1538.83 56 217.18 7.29 4.67 99.04 3.86 -25.88 -29.36

 

Cisco Systems is one of the global players in the Network and Cloud industry. They have been increasing their revenue year-over-year as well as their operating margins. One of the strategies put in place to boost revenues is to offer new products targeted to small businesses This could be a game changer, as we see the rise of small businesses in North America. Although the company beat Q2 earning, the stock dropped due to fears of COVIS-19, as 40% of their sales is outside the US. Given its potential, the stock price has been trading at the same price level as February 2018 – this might be a good buying opportunity.

Vornado Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust formed in Maryland, with its primary office in New York City. The company invests in office buildings and street retail in Manhattan. They have been constantly distribution a stable dividend yield of around 3.9%. The company has been increasing the net profit margin, ROE and ROA over the last 3 years. They are the largest owner of LEED-certified property in the US, with more than 27 million square feet of LEED-certified properties. With a solid balance sheet and a strong market presence in the US, Vornado might be trading at a discount given a rent drop of -21% last 20 days

 

For more details about Vornado Realty Trust and Cisco Systems, performance, readers can subscribe to the Investor for Advisor platform for free: https://www.inovestor.com/en-CA/store/

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.