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Number Cruncher

Seeking solid transportation stocks in the wake of virus disruptions

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

The Wuhan coronavirus has dominated news headlines for the past few weeks. Worldwide, there have been more than 40,000 cases of 2019-nCoV confirmed and more than 900 deaths reported, mostly in China. In the markets, the outbreak has affected multiple sectors, with many disruptions to manufacturing and trade. Notably, many stock prices in the transportation sector are down, especially ones operating in Asia.

Today, we look for companies in the transportation sector that have been affected during the virus outbreak, but which might still have solid fundamentals.

THE SCREEN

We screened the North American companies by focusing on the following criteria:

  • The transportation subsector of the industrials sector;
  • As the coronavirus developments have been dominant in the news for the past 20 days or so, we filtered stocks that are down at least 5 per cent during the same period;
  • A minimum market cap of US$1 billion, as we are targeting large-cap companies only;
  • A positive change in earnings for each share over the past 12 months;
  • A positive 12-month change in sales – a positive figure shows that there is growth and progress in the company’s operations;
  • A positive 12-month change in the economic value-added (EVA) metric – a positive figure shows that the company’s profits are increasing at a faster and greater pace than its 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. For informational purposes, we have also included recent stock price, dividend yield and one-year return. Please note that some ratios shown may be as of the end of the previous quarter.

WHAT WE FOUND

We found 14 companies that were potentially affected by the coronavirus news but appear to have strong fundamentals. Here are three of note.

Air Canada: With a market cap of $12.1 billion, the stock price is down 10.7 per cent in the past 20 days. However, sales are up more than 7 per cent over the past 12 months, with a 525-per-centchange in the EVA metric. The company will be announcing their fourth quarter and full year 2019 financial results on Feb. 18.

Singapore Airlines Ltd.: The company is owned by Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd., the government of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The stock is down around 7 per cent in the past 20 days. However, Singapore remains a strong global financial hub and the government established strong measures to contain the virus. The stock has sound fundamentals and a good dividend yield of 3.3 per cent, it has low risk, with a beta of 0.44, and is currently trading below book value, with a price-to-book-value ratio of 0.7.

United Airlines Holdings Inc.: United Airlines has the second- biggest market cap on our list, at more than US$20 billion. The stock is down 9 per cent in the past 20 days. The company’s fourth-quarter results, released on Jan. 21, narrowly exceeded Wall Street’s estimates. Although the company doesn’t distribute dividends, it had an average earnings-a-share growth of 30.6 per cent over the past five years. Investors are advised to do further research before investing in any of the companies listed in the accompanying table.

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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, Wall Financial Corp, and Heroux-Devtek Inc being the top three of the group.

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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.

 

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Eleven Canadian companies with profit growth

Amid earnings season, investors are eager to see how companies on their watch list and in their portfolios have performed during the latest quarter. Today, we will search for Canadian dividend-paying companies with growing returns on capital invested and rising profits.

For the Globe and Mail this week, we look for Eleven Canadian companies with profit growth.

We screened the Canadian stock universe by focusing on the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than $500-million;
  • Three-month and 12-month growth in net operating profit (NOP). This is a measure of operating efficiency that excludes operating costs, focusing on the company’s core operations;
  • Three-month and 12-month growth in the return on capital (ROC). This is a profitability ratio that measures the returns expected for both debt and equity investors;
  • A current economic performance index (EPI) equal to or greater than one – this ratio is the return on capital to the cost of capital. It gives shareholders an idea of how much return the company is generating on each dollar spent. An EPI of one would indicate that return of capital is just enough to cover the costs of capital.
  • Dividend yield greater than 2 per cent;
  • 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.
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Ten utilities with the power to generate dividend growth

A review of the recently ended third quarter shows that the best performing sectors, in both Canadian and U.S. markets, were those that are particularly interest-rate sensitive, such as utilities (up 9 per cent and 6 per cent in the quarter, respectively) and real estate (up 7.4 per cent and 4.9 per cent). Today we focus on utilities. The sector has benefited from the recent decline in long-term interest rates and the market appetite for yielding assets, and it operates largely under the umbrella of long-term contracts. Hence, in our screen we look for defensive utility companies that have an attractive history of dividend growth.

For the Globe and Mail this week, we look for utility companies with the power to generate dividend growth.

We screened the North American utility stock universe by focusing on the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than $5-billion;
  • A low beta – a stock with a beta less than one is considered less volatile than the market and ultimately giving companies a defensive edge;
  • Three-month growth in net operating profit after tax (NOPAT). 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;
  • A current economic performance index (EPI) equal to or greater than one – this ratio is the return on capital to cost of capital. It gives shareholders an idea of how much return the company is generating on each dollar spent; an EPI of one would indicate that return of capital are just sufficient to cover the costs of capital.
  • Dividend yield greater than 2 per cent and dividend growth over one-, two- and four-year periods;
  • A positive 12-month change in the economic value-added (EVA) metric – a positive figure shows us that the company’s profit is 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 NOPAT minus capital expenses.

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Revisiting Canadian energy stocks in wake of Aramco attack

West Texas Intermediate, the North American crude oil benchmark, fluctuated between US$57 and US$62 last week after the attack on Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest exporter of petroleum. The Saudi incident in and of itself will not revive the fortunes of Canada’s energy sector, but it did cause some stock prices of companies in the sector to surge, however briefly.

For the Globe and Mail this week, we look for Canadian companies involved in oil and gas production, extraction and distribution, with a focus on quality and sustainability, amid global geopolitical tensions.

We screen the domestic energy sector for companies by using the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than $2-billion;
  • A positive change in the 12-month net operating profit after tax (NOPAT) – 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;
  • A future-growth-value-to-market-value ratio (FGV/MV) between minus 50 per cent and 50 per cent, to exclude companies with exaggerated discounts or premiums. FGV/MV 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;
  • Economic performance index (EPI) greater than 0.5 and growth in the 12-month EPI, which is the ratio of return on capital to cost of capital, representing the wealth-creating ability of the company. For EPI, anything above one is favourable – the higher the figure the better.

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Ten mining stocks to watch in Canada’s materials sector

When markets are unstable and volatility is on the rise, investors tend to investigate alternative defensive products in order to protect their wealth. The materials sector can be seen as defensive insofar as gold (its production being a key part of this sector) is negatively correlated to the market. Last month, because of the strong rally of gold and silver, materials was one of the best performing sectors in Canada. The sector rose 5.7 per cent in August compared with the S&P/TSX Composite Index, which gained 0.2 per cent. Year to date, the sector has advanced 22.9 per cent compared with 14.8 per cent for the S&P/TSX.

For the Globe and Mail this week, we took a deeper dive into this sector and analyzed some companies that have benefited from this trend.

We screened the Canadian materials sector by focusing on the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization greater than $1-billion;
  • A positive 12-month sales change – a positive figure shows us that there is growth and progress in the company’s operations;
  • A positive 12-month change in the economic value-added (EVA) metric – a positive figure shows us that the company’s profit is 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 future-growth-value-to-market-value ratio (FGV/MV). 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;
  • A low beta – a stock with a beta less than one is considered less volatile than the market.

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Eight wealth-creating stocks in the U.S. real estate sector

In the midst of trade tensions and geopolitical disputes, it is the cyclical sectors – communications services and energy are prime examples – that tend to suffer most. As investors, sector allocation is crucial to the wealth our portfolio creates and thus we are curious about the sectors that hold up the best during a market shakeout. Interestingly, the best performing S&P 500 sector in the current quarter as of Aug. 23, at 5.6 per cent, is a cyclical one – real estate – followed by information technology. For the Globe and Mail this week, we focused on the U.S. real estate sector, which is largely unaffected by tariff disputes and indeed benefiting from the current conditions of low unemployment and interest rates.

This strategy uses the Inovestor for Advisors platform to screen the S&P 500 real estate sector using the following criteria:

  • A market capitalization of US$10-billion or more;
  • A positive free-cash-flow-to-capital ratio. This ratio gives a sense of how well the company uses the invested capital to generate free cash flows, which could be used to do such things as stimulate growth, distribute or increase dividends, or reduce debt;
  • A positive 12-month change in the economic value-added (EVA) metric – a positive figure shows us that the company’s profit is 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;
  • Economic performance index (EPI) greater than or equal to one. This is a key criterion as it represents the ratio of return on capital to cost of capital. An EPI greater than one indicates that the company is generating wealth for shareholders – for every dollar invested into the company, more than one dollar is generated in returns;

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Eighteen low volatility S&P 500 stocks capable of withstanding market shocks

The unresolved and further complication of the Sino-U.S. trade dispute hit the markets once again last week, which I believe will cause higher volatility in the markets in the short run. On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed that, for now, no business will be made with Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, and that he is not ready to finalize a trade deal with China. This follows China’s decision to stop purchasing American agricultural products. Therefore, for the Globe and Mail this week, we screened the U.S. market to identify companies with low volatility and sustainable operations that can withstand further potential market turmoil.

This strategy screens the S&P 500 using the following criteria:

  • A market capitalization of US$10-billion or more;
  • A beta of one or less. A stock with a beta less than one is considered less volatile than the market;
  • A five-year average return on capital (ROC) greater than or equal to 10 per cent, reported as of last quarter’s end, and a positive change in the 12-month return on capital figure;
  • A minimum free-cash-flow-to-capital ratio of 5 per cent. This ratio gives a sense of how well the company uses the invested capital to generate free cash flows, which could be used to do such things as stimulate growth, distribute or increase dividends, or reduce debt;
  • A positive 12-month change in the economic value-added (EVA) metric – a positive figure shows us that the company’s profit is 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 cost of capital less than 10 per cent, reported as of last quarter’s end.

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Seeking wealth creators among U.S. consumer discretionary stocks

In this week’s filter created for The Globe and Mail, we screened for wealth creators in the US consumer discretionary sector. We are looking for improving performance and comparing it to the premium or discount the market has attributed to those companies. We screened the S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary stock universe by focusing on the following criteria:

  • Market capitalization above US$10-billion;
  • A current economic performance index (EPI) equal to or greater than one – this ratio is the return on capital to cost of capital. It gives shareholders an idea of how much return the company is generating on each dollar spent;
  • A positive 12-month EPI change – this measures the growth in return on capital versus cost of capital over the past 12 months;
  • A future-growth-value-to-market-value ratio (FGV/MV) between 50 per cent and minus 50 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.

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