A word of caution from Morgan Stanley’s equity strategists:
« The latest burst of Tech outperformance has not been accompanied by superior EPS trends. Just now Tech shows few signs of stopping (or even slowing); for example: i) post its largest 1m outperformance versus the S&P since 2012, the NASDAQ is now 2.7SD above its 12M relative average; ii) 80% of constituents of MSCI ACWI’s IT index outperformed the market over the last month, the highest breadth reading since 2003. Amid all this euphoria we’d encourage investors to keep a close eye on EPS trends as the latest burst of price outperformance has not been accompanied by EPS outperformance. »
It seems investors have started noticing.
P/E remains one of the most used metrics to value stocks. It is very easy to compute. But it’s not always easy to interpret. « Most investors fail to have a clear sense of what a particular multiple implies about a company’s future financial performance and don’t understand how multiples change over time », according to Michael Mauboussin and Dan Callahan in a report published in 2014 by Credit Suisse (this article is mainly based on their note which you can read here).
Short answer: Not Many.
Facts: Cash & cash equivalents at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) reached $116 billion at the end of 2017, compared with $86.4 billion at the start of the year. Per Morningstar’s Gregg Warren estimates, Buffett finds himself with « around $90 billion in dry powder that could be committed to investments, acquisitions, share repurchases and dividends. » Continuer la lecture de « What Options for Buffett Who Has $90 Billion To Invest? »
Ingenico hast lost its mojo. A 7% miss on market expectations on EBITDA for both 2018e and 2020e has been severely sanctioned by investors. Shares of the payment terminal manufacturer lost 16% of their value on Feb 22, leaving the market cap of the company at €4.8 billion. At first glance, the fall looks excessive. But it’s probably deserved.
Merrill issued its latest Fund Manager Survey last week, right after the sell-off in equity markets. The message to take out is: don’t buy on dips (well my view is that you always have to think long term, understand the fundamentals of any asset class and have a view on valuation, otherwise, don’t invest at all – but that’s not the point here, I think this survey is useful to gauge market sentiment).
Deutsche Bank’s strategist team published a report to figure out what’s currently priced in by financial markets after the bout of volatility. Rising real yields are a clear threat to the rebound in equity market. But having recently talked to fund managers in other asset classes, real yields are a threat to many asset classes where lots of money have flown other the last years (EM debt for instance).
Here’s DB’s take on European equities:
3 out of 10 companies had reported 4Q earnings at the end of last week. On average, 51% beat EPS expectations and 47% did better on sales expectations.
The macro (rising rates and inflation) and market (rising equity prices) backdrop has people compare the current situation with 1987… right before the equity market plummeted. Are we in the same situation and does it mean the worst has yet to happen. Maybe not.
Per SocGen’s real good quant team led by Andrew Lapthorne, « the use of the ‘Fear Index’ (VIX) as a predictor of future market performance has been rather mixed, with moves in VIX appearing more contemporaneous than forward looking. »
Well if VIX is not a great predictor of market returns what is ?
JPMorgan’s equity strategist team has published a report today trying to figure out if European stocks will finally break out the glassdoor of 400 points (for Stoxx Europe 600) that they have been hitting 3 times already (2000, 2007, 2015).
They argue that this time might be the time, IF a number of conditions are successfully met. Among them, earnings recovery, operating leverage, decent (!) valuations and direction of bond yields are important factors to consider. Big swing factor are FX.
Howard Marks published a new memo dated Jan 23 and there are some interesting remarks regarding the current environment. Continuer la lecture de « Howard Marks: Price And Value Are Still The Name Of The Game »
Kepler thinks Altice split between US and European assets is not a zero-sum game for investors. Continuer la lecture de « Kepler Skeptical on Altice Plan – Downgrades to Sell »
Rule of thumb: the more expensive a financial asset is, the lower its prospective return. That’s simple. But sentiment and markets can become and stay irrational longer than investors can stay solvant, they say. So if you cannot predict when the markets will turn, it’s probably better to check where the risks are and monitor them the best you can. And invest with a margin of safety. Always…
Alexandre Bompard, the young and alert new CEO of troubled French retailer Carrefour, will soon have a chance to show if he can thwart this priceless but nonetheless true observation from Warren Buffett:
« When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact. » Continuer la lecture de « Carrefour, Bompard and the Reputation of Management vs Business »
According to Investopedia a « melt-up » is a « A dramatic and unexpected improvement in the investment performance of an asset class driven partly by a stampede of investors who don’t want to miss out on its rise rather than by fundamental improvements in the economy. »
This is exactly what could happen to financial markets, according to veteran value investor Jeremy Grantham. Continuer la lecture de « Are We on The Verge of Final Melt-Up Before the Next Krach ? Jeremy Grantham Thinks So »
Unibail Rodamco (UL) announced a friendly takeover offer for Australia-based Westfield (WFD) in a deal that values the Australian mall operator at c$25 bn (on EV basis).
Interestingly, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has analysts covering both companies. Following the transaction, the team covering UL has maintained its Buy rating while the one covering Westfield has moved to « Not Rated », arguing that « WFD is no longer trading on the basis of fundamentals. » Continuer la lecture de « Unibail Rodamco-Westfield: 2 Views from the same Broker »
Hammerson announced a recommended offer for Intu Properties, the exact same day Exane BNP Paribas’s Michael Burt says « Hammerson is the most obvious acquirer for Intu » in a report date Dec 6 (at 6:18am), yet adding M&A is not an option. Continuer la lecture de « Exane Issues Undeperform Note on Intu Properties But Says Hammerson Could Buy It… The Day the Deal is Announced »
Here are 3 slides from the latest « Where to Invest Now » published by Goldman Sachs’s David J Kostin and team. There sum up his views on US equity market going into 2018 and the most interesting one is the following, because it helps understand what an « exuberant » market would look like, if history was to repeat itself.
Supportive macro backdrop so far makes the case for investing in risky assets, but valuation-wise, harvesting decent returns on a risk-adjusted basis is harder. At least, that’s BofAML’s strategists views.
Despite tight or reasonable valuation, equities still make sense for JPMorgan.
Goldman recommends investors to « remain pro-risk » going into 2018, meaning overweight equities, be neutral on credit and underweight bonds. Continuer la lecture de « Remain Pro-Risk – Goldman Sachs »
Altran Technologies has decided to be bold, both in strategic and financial terms. The engineering services company has agreed to pay $2 bn for Aricent (a US-based rival owned by private equity firms KKR, Sequoia Capital and a former unit of Flextronics), valuing the company twice as much in terms on EV/Sales ratio based on LTM numbers. Continuer la lecture de « Altran: American Dream »
(Most of the data points/comments are extracted from a Primer published in Oct 2016 by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Comments and financial data at the end are my own).
After a number of underperforming years, European oil & gas companies have been staging their comeback: they have cut into capex and opex to generate more cash flow or reduce debt and be able to maintain their payout/dividend payment.
The market has bearly started to notice, but oil & gas companies are leaner and in better shape to leave in a world where oil price would stand around 40-60$/barrel. Continuer la lecture de « Oil & Gas: A Primer (Sort of) »
In its « Risk Reversal » Europe 2018 outlook report, Exane BNP Paribas recommends to keep a value bias and prefer Oil & Gas, Travel & Leisure, Healthcare, Telecoms, Banks and Insurance sectors. Continuer la lecture de « In 2018, Stay Away from Cyclicals – Exane »
Societe Generale‘s CEO Frederic Oudea did not impress the markets with his 2020 strategic plan. Shares only gained 0.3% on Nov 28. Continuer la lecture de « Societe Generale: Market Not Impressed By Strategic Plan »
« Global earnings look set to deliver double digit growth this year, at 12%, the best since 2010. The strength was broad based, with all the key regions contributing, and largely driven by Cyclicals and commodities. As base effects are turning less favorable, the question is whether earnings will remain a support for equities into 2018. »
This is the opening statement and a rather bullish intro to a report published today by JPMorgan’s strategists Mislav Matejka, Emmanuel Cau, Prabhav Bhadani and Aditi Balachandar. Continuer la lecture de « JPMorgan Expects Double Digit Earnings Growth in 2018 Globally »
MSCI Europe has 6% left to rise next year, according to Morgan Stanley’s equity strategists for Europe. That forecast is based on a 9% EPS growth, thanks to better GDP numbers and oil price forecasts, according to a report date Nov 26.