Interesting Chart

Source: RF Research

Don’t underestimate Grexit risks warns Veronique Riches-Flores, from RF Research.

If Greece were to exit Eurozone, which would be unprecedented and is not anticipated by current European treaties (as far as I know), the consequences would be dire for financial markets.

Even more so since financial markets are globally overvalued, as illustrated in the above chart…

The Bruce Greenwald Method

h/t Value Investing World and thank you to Michael Mauboussin for initially sharing this…

A thorough review of Greenwald’s course on value investing with lots of very valuable content. For those who haven’t read his classic book Value Investing From Graham to Buffet and Beyond.

The PDF is here to download.

BIS Annual Report Is Out With A Warning Message

Some valuable piece of information and insight on global financial markets, with a somewhat alarming message: « Don’t let the unthinkable become the new normal« .

« The global expansion remains unbalanced, debt levels and financial risks are still too high, productivity growth is too low, and the room for manoeuvre in macroeconomic policy has continued to narrow », warns the BIS, with a global message: current governance and ruling of financial markets around the world is a big mess and there is little progress in aknowledging and fixing that…

Full report is here.

It’s sad/funny that this kind of analysis comes at a time when the IMF is sending ultimatums to Greece which replies with democratic call to its people, something IMF’s leaders are probably not accustomed to.

Guy Spier’s Education of a Value Investor – A Review

Reknowned investor Guy Spier (Aquamarine Capital) published his autobiobraphy late 2014, a book entitled The Education of a Value Investor (Palgrave MacMillan). As Spier explains himself, the book recounts his journey from Wall Street where he started as a junior investment banker to becoming a Buffett’s groupie (like many value investors, including myself) and a famous value investor, with an outstanding track record (here it is as of end 2012). Lire la suite

A Correction in the Making ? From Goldman Sachs

Derivatives specialists at Goldman have put up an interesting piece of research. Unfortunatelly, it only covers the US equity market.

From GS:

Over the past 9 months, the cost of SPX 55% OTM 5 year equity puts has more than doubled while the cost of 10 year puts is up 50%+. Long-dated options markets appear increasingly concerned about the potential for a decline in the S&P 500. Equity valuation and CDS spreads have been highly correlated with put prices over the past several years, but long-dated put prices have diverged. We see reason for concern as put prices were up a similar amount in 2007 ahead of the financial crisis, diverging from credit and equity at that time as well.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Source: Goldman Sachs

3 questions on ECB – Barclays

Barclays’ equity research theme has published a note about the 3 questions investors may ask about ECB QE and its impact on market.

Source: Barclays

Source: Barclays


Here’s the summary:

Lire la suite

Last Merrill’s Fund Manager Survey is out… and it’s not very optimistic

In a summary: cash levels remain high. Deflation in Eurozone is seen as the major risk (along geopolitical tensions). Investors are somewhat still optimistic about global growth, but less so than previous month and their expectations regarding EPS going forward have come up a tide grim.

The most contrarian call is Energy and Materials, but as long as oil prices do not recover, that probably to risky a call.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

UBS on QE and its impact on corporate bond market

From Suki Mann, FI strategist at UBS (bold statements from us):

« Corporate bond market capitulation: Is it coming?

We believe that if the ECB announces any kind of corporate bond buying this week, investors could well embark on a fairly aggressive grabfest ahead of the actual commencement of the programme.

Already bereft of supply, decent yield, spreads unchanged into the macro-headwinds; and, plenty of pent-up demand for paper as cash keeps rolling-in to the asset class, we think that the actual announcement could see a lurch tighter in spreads. That is, QE is not in the current price. Some think it is, we don’t.

How much can spreads tighten? The answer ultimately depends on the modalities of the program (size, duration, mix). »

Lire la suite

Morgan Stanley on « QE and beyond »

From Srikanth Sankaran & Shrina B. Poojara at Morgan Stanley fixed income research team:

« We maintain a constructive bias on credit heading into Thursday’s ECB meeting. Despite the outperformance of European credit in recent months, we do not think that QE upside is fully priced in. A 20-25bp compression in IG spreads is likely, should the ECB deliver.    

Sovereign QE is now our economists’ base case: Our economists’ base case now is €500 billion of government bond purchases and €100 billion of private sector asset purchases. In terms of timing, the complexity of designing a sovereign QE programme makes January 22 an ambitious start day. Announcement in January and execution in March is more realistic, they think. »

Lire la suite

JPMorgan: there is a better risk-reward in Eurozone equities

Here’s the summary of their views:

Lire la suite

Morgan Stanley has mixed views on EBC’s QE

Although the bank predicts the European equity market might gain c. 8% over next 6 months from QE’s announcement, its economist are still scratching their heads regarding the ability to implement and the benefits of this kind of measures. Lire la suite

Oil: the Search of a New Equilibrium Continues – Goldman Sachs

In short, Goldman sees oil market equilibrium back around 2016, since the main adjustment course will come from capital. Warns of « high yield defaults potentially beginning if prices were maintained at $40/bbl ». Sees US supply growth slowing to 400k b/d yoy in 4Q15.

BUT, as GS puts it: « To keep all capital sidelined and curtail investment in shale until the market has rebalanced, we believe prices need to stay lower for longer. » That’s a warning.

Now sees marginal cost  at $65/bbl for WTI and $80/bbl for Brent. Lire la suite

Overall, falling oil prices are good news for European earnings

Say Morgan Stanley’s European equity strategists:

« We believe the fall in the oil price is set to translate into a significant boost for European corporate earnings. Energy accounts for around 10% of European earnings – and historical precedent suggest a 50% drop in the oil price should lead to a 25% fall in energy EPS. Earnings for chemicals, utilities and mining, which together account for a further 10% of European earnings, should also experience a net negative impact from lower oil prices. However, the remaining 80% of European corporate earnings should see a net boost of around 13% on our estimates, as lower material costs lead to higher gross margins. In aggregate, we estimate that even on conservative assumptions a 50% drop in the oil price should translate into a net boost of around 7% to European market-level EPS. »

Lire la suite

15 Trades for 2015 from Merrill Lynch

From Michael Hartnett and Brian Leung at Bank of America Merrill Lynch:

« BofAML’s base case for 2015 is bullish US$, bullish volatility, bearish spreads, bullish real estate, bullish stocks, bearish rates and more opportunistic in commodities & EM. We forecast higher global growth, lower liquidity, no deflation, lower expected returns: global stocks 4-8%, US dollar 3-5%, US house prices 3%, corporate bonds 2-4%, 30-year Treasury -5%, and 1-3% for commodities. 2015 has begun bearishly with lower oil, yields and, today, a buy signal for risk assets from our contrarian Bull & Bear Index.

Our bottom lines: Our conviction in US recovery is high. We expect, by late-spring, lower oil, lower currencies and lower rates to start boosting European and Asian
growth economies.

We believe risk assets will ultimately generate positive returns this year, but investors may need to have patience and tolerate large market swings.
Short-term we expect risk assets to rally into the ECB QE event on Jan 22nd but volatility could quickly reappear in February if the ECB package marks “peak QE expectations”, the US earnings season is impacted by the US dollar and “credit events” related to the oil collapse become more visible. We would be more aggressive buyers of risk later in Q1. »

Lire la suite

Europe equities are cheap, but for one (or two) reason(s)

Source: Goldman Sachs

Source: Goldman Sachs

This might look simplistic, but when you look for cheap equities around the world, Europe is not alone. Asia Pacific and even Japanese equities look interesting. Of course, currencies make equity investing a little bit more tricky when you look globally.

The problem with European equities is twofold: first, the debt crisis is far from over (public deficits and debts are astronomically high, economic and earnings growth are subpar and deflation is here); second, all hopes rely on the decision of the ECB to start buying government debt, which from a cautious investor standpoint is worrysome, all the most in a region where economic and political governance is inefficient.

New Tactical Navigator Tool from Nomura Says: « De-Risk »

Nomura recently issued a new tool called « Tactical Navigator » to help investor decide how much risk they should put in/redraw from their allocation. Currently, the message is: go hide yourself. Incidently, recent moves in financial markets says the same thing. YTD (only 10 days) performance for various asset classes show: MSCI World down 0.9%, 10Y Treasuries yield -24bp to 1.95% (!), gold up 2.7% to 1,216$/ounce and € down 2.1% against US$. Lire la suite

A fully deserved award ! Congrats Annie Clark (aka St.Vincent)

Source: NME

« St Vincent‘s self-titled album has been named NME’s Album Of The Year 2014″ said NME News on Nov. 26.

Although I could not attend her last gig in Rouen, I saw the band during Rock en Seine festival this summer and it was one great moment! Thanks again!

And yes people, it’s possible to play kick ass rock music in skirt…



Big Picture: earnings consensus figures in the world

Thanks to Deutsche Bank, this single page sums up the consensus view on equity markets around the world: what are the expectations for 2014 -> 2016, what were the revision rates by region/market/sector.

Lire la suite

Remember how the market was… like a month ago ?

That’s the « world » (European equity market as represented by the Stoxx Europe 600 index actually) on Oct 15, 2014 and on Nov 21, 2014…

Source: Factset

Source: Factset

On Nov 21st (yesterday):

Source: Factset

Source: Factset

As a reminder, volatility on Euro Stoxx 50 (much narrower index) was 28.76 on October 15 (it peaked for the year at 31.52 on the 16th of October). Now it’s 18.91.

In summary, the European stock market has gained 10.8% in a little bit more than a month, while volatility has declined by 34%.

Good reminder of Buffett’s favorite quote from Ben’s Graham: « Be fearful when everyone else is greedy; be greedy when everyone else is fearful ». Works all the time !

US investors’ sharp switch out of Europe gathers pace – Goldman Sachs

From report dated Nov 20, 2014:

« The latest US Treasury TIC data shows record outflows from European equities in September at USD27.4bn. The recent data have been volatile but generally very weak, with 3-month average net outflows of USD13bn per month. That pace of outflow by US investors is larger in absolute terms than that seen in the financial crisis period in late 2008 and into 2009. »

While some investors expected this would calm down, apparently that’s not really the case…  Lire la suite

A more favorable backdrop for risk assets – Barclays

On the back of slightly better global growth in 2015 and most importantly accommodative monetary policies, risk assets should prevail next year, says Barclays in its freshly published outlook. Attached is the summary per asset class, and some key introductory remarks to this 168 page document distributed to investors and clients. Enjoy!

Lire la suite

Is Europe the Next Japan ? (from Goldman)

Well, this question is far from new. Actually it was raised soon after the first tention in EZ sovereign bond market in 2010. As already mentioned on this blog, the theme of a balance sheet recession is rooted deep down the EZ economy. Unfortunatelly, the public and governments don’t seem to properly grasp the issu. But some people do, especially in Japan…  Lire la suite

US corporate selling up, to buy their own shares ! – SocGen

Another very interesting piece of research from SocGen’s quant analyst team, lead by Andrew Lapthorne… Based on Q3 earnings reports from US cos, their conclusions are somewhat surprising, and certainly part of the « things that make you go hmmm…. ». Here are some comments from SG’s quant team:

« Firstly we had expected the debt burden to limit the ability of US corporates to continue buying their own equity, but following a slowdown in Q2, there was actually a big pick up in buybacks during Q3. What we also found interesting is how much US corporate are selling down other investments; net investment and acquisitions are falling 13% YoY and are now down a third from the peak at end 2012. So on the one hand companies are selling their investments, yet many are then simply reinvesting the proceeds back into the equity market via their own share. »


Source: SG Cross Asset Research

Source: SG Cross Asset Research

So far, European sales and earnings surprises are on the upside… Credit Suisse

« So far European sales and earnings surprises are on the upside. Utilities and tech have reported the most significant positive surprises so far, while basic materials and industrials have recorded the most significant disappointments. » (source: Credit Suisse).

Source: Credit Suisse

Source: Credit Suisse

Source: Credit Suisse

Source: Credit Suisse

Deflation in Europe: Unlikely but what if? – Credit Suisse

From Andrew Garthwaite and team at Credit Suisse (bold statements from the strategist):

« We put a 10-20% chance on Japanese-style deflation in Europe: We believe deflation is not falling CPI, but falling wages and falling property prices.  Lire la suite

What are the equity markets worth right now ?

From Bank of America Merrill Lynch (report date Nov 7)…

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Here’s a focus on European equity market (through the Stoxx Europe 600 universe):

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch


Alstom: résultats et marges décevants – SG

Société Générale juge « décevants » l’évolution des ventes et des marges d’Alstom. Dans l’ensemble, les résultats du groupe d’ingénierie sont ressortis en-deçà des attentes du consensus, avec une contraction des ventes de 1% au 4è trimestre, une hausse du résultat d’exploitation moins forte que prévu. Les principales « mauvaises » surprises sont venus de l’activité Thermal Power, dont l’amélioration des marges est très inférieures aux estimations de SG.

« Although the cash flow dynamics have started to improve, the reduced guidance is disappointing », conclut SG.

Alstom abaisse ses prévisions pour 2013-14

Alstom a indiqué viser une marge opérationnelle stable en 2013-2014 du fait d’un environnement économique difficile, ce malgré l’annonce de résultats en hausse et d’une bonne résistance des marges. Le résultat net a progressé de 10% à 802M€ et la marge opérationnelle du groupe s’est améliorée de 7,1% à 7,2%, grâce aux efforts de contrôle des coûts. Le groupe d’ingénierie a également indiqué que le free cash flow était redevenu positif à 408M€ au cours de l’exercice clos fin mars. Un dividende de 0,84€/action est proposé.

Lien vers le communiqué de presse.

Vallourec: net rebond des marges, Exane redevient acheteur

Exane BNP Paribas a relevé sa recommandation sur Vallourec de « neutre » à « surperformance », avec un objectif de cours de 47€, après une publication de résultats trimestriels très supérieurs aux attentes. Lire la suite

Bureau Veritas: une valorisation qui ne supporte pas les déceptions

Société Générale a abaissé son avis sur Bureau Veritas de « achat » à « conserver », avec un objectif de cours revu de 110 à 100€, en raison de prévisions de résultats dégradées d’environ 2% pour 2013. Lire la suite

Bureau Veritas: un sales warning mal venu

L’avertissement de Bureau Veritas sur l’objectif de croissance annuelle (revu de +6-8% à légèrement en-dessous de 6-8%) devrait être mal perçu par le marché, estime Exane, sans toutefois remettre en question l’histoire de croissance sur le moyen terme. Lire la suite

Mersen sans résistance, Exane abaisse son avis

Exane BNP Paribas dégrade son avis sur Mersen de surpeformance à neutre, après une publication de chiffre d’affaires trimestriel décevante. Le courtier estime que les objectifs financiers pour 2013, maintenus par le fabricant de produits en graphite, seront très difficiles à tenir. Lire la suite

Oddo juge Gameloft plus attrayant qu’Ubisoft

Gameloft offre des perspectives de croissance et de revalorisation boursière plus intéressantes qu’Ubisoft, estime Oddo Securities dans une étude publiée aujourd’hui (je renvoie au commentaire publié hier sur Ubisoft, dans lequel je défens une position un peu plus positive que celle d’Oddo). Lire la suite

Total: baisse de 7% du résultat net ajusté du 1er trimestre

Total annonce un recul de 7% de son bénéfice net ajusté du 1er trimestre à 2,86 milliards d’euros (-58% sur une base publiée), en raison d’une baisse de la production d’hydrocarbures et du cours du pétrole, entraînant une chute du résultat opérationnel dans l’amont. Le chiffre d’affaires a diminué de 6% à 48,13 milliards d’euros et le résultat opérationnel ajusté de 15% à 5,78 milliards d’euros.

La production d’hydrocarbures a reculé de 2% à 2,323 millions de barils par jour. Sur le période, le cours moyen du baril de Brent a cédé 5% à 112,6$ et le prix moyen de vente de liquides a baissé de 7% à 106,7$.

Lien vers le communiqué de presse.

Alcatel-Lucent: perte de 353M€ au 1er trimestre

Alcatel-Lucent a enregistré une perte nette de 353M€ au 1er trimestre (0,16€/action) et a indiqué que la génération de trésorerie disponible (‘free cash flow ») est un « challenge ». L’équipementier de télécommunications a vu ses ventes progresser de 0,6% à 3,23 milliards d’euros, mais a constaté une perte d’exploitation ajustée de 179M€.

La baisse des marges (taux de marge brute à 29,4% contre 30,2% un an plus tôt) s’explique par des volumes en repli, explique le groupe. Toutes les divisions ont été déficitaires sur le trimestre, notamment l’activité Réseaux et plates-formes (-107M€ contre -152M€ au 1er trimestre 2012).

Lien vers le communiqué de presse.