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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Jul 27, 2022
Walmart’s Business Update Likely Means U.S. Is In Recession, But Near-Term Weakness Is Already Baked Into Stock Market
Image Shown: Shares of Walmart Inc dropped sharply during afterhours trading on July 25 as the retailer sharply cut its adjusted operating income and EPS guidance for the current fiscal year as inflationary pressures are taking a sizable toll on its bottom-line. On July 25, Walmart Inc issued a business update that saw the retailer sharply cut its adjusted operating income and EPS guidance for fiscal 2023 (period ended January 2023), while boosting its consolidated net sales guidance. The company also adjusted its guidance for the fiscal second quarter. Shares of WMT plummeted during afterhours trading on July 25 as investors began to price in concerns over the retailer’s deteriorating margins. We anticipated ongoing weakness in Walmart’s business. On July 4, we released an audio report, “Nelson: I Have Been Wrong About the Prospect of Near-Term Inflationary-Driven Earnings Tailwinds,” highlighting our growing concerns about consumer-tied entities in the consumer staples and consumer discretionary spaces. We continue to expect troubles at the big box retailers and across the apparel space, more generally. Here’s what Nelson had to say in early July that remains applicable today: "I simply was not expecting the magnitude of such operating-income drops across consumer-tied companies, and while I think long-term inflation will eventually help drive higher nominal earnings in the longer run when conditions reach “normalization” again, the lag will be much longer than I originally thought. The numbers out of Walmart, Target, and Nike, for example, speak not only to tremendous earnings weakness, but also to the prospect of economic recession in the U.S." A recession in the U.S. is no reason for panic, however. For starters, we believe most of the fundamental weakness across retail is baked into the stock market, but more generally, investors should not worry about recessionary trends. But why? Well, implicitly embedded within a fair value estimate of a company are expectations of a “normal” economic cycle, complete with peak and trough, with the fair value estimate driven largely by mid-cycle expectations that feed into later stages of the model. The prospects for an unexpected recession in economic activity in the near term shouldn’t cause much of a change in the fair value estimate of a company either, given not only that a recession is already implicitly embedded in the fair value estimate, as noted, but also that near-term expectations don’t account for nearly as large of a contribution to the fair value estimate as long-term normalized expectations within the valuation construct. Most of a company’s intrinsic value is driven by its performance beyond year 5 in our model, or on a mid-cycle, going-concern basis. A company’s fair value estimate range (margin of safety) also captures various scenarios regarding economic activity, including a bull and bear case. With that said, recessionary tendencies may cause pricing impacts in the market in the event that consumers/investors use the stock market as a source of income by selling stocks, causing pressure on share prices, but the discounted cash flow (DCF) model already bakes in economic cyclicality and inevitable recessions, if not directly, then implicitly by targeting long-term mid-cycle expectations and via the application of the fair value estimate range. That’s why it’s great to be a long-term investor, scooping shares up when others are forced to sell in the near term, while holding them over long periods, letting compounding work its magic.
Mar 18, 2022
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week March 18
Let's take a look at companies that raised/lowered their dividend this week.
Jun 25, 2021
Nike Beats Estimates Aided By Its Omni-Channel Selling Strength
Image Shown: Shares of Nike Inc popped higher after its latest earnings report. On June 24, Nike reported fourth quarter earnings for fiscal 2021 (period ended May 31, 2021) that beat both consensus top- and bottom-line estimates. Shares of NKE popped higher after the report. The top end of our fair value estimate range for Nike sits at $160 per share, meaningfully above where shares of NKE are trading at as of this writing--even after the latest bounce in its stock price.
Jun 24, 2021
Lululemon’s Growth Outlook Is Bright
Image Source: Lululemon Athletica Inc – First Quarter of Fiscal 2021 IR Earnings Infographic. Athleisure wear maker Lululemon Athletica recently reported first quarter earnings for fiscal 2021 (period ended May 2, 2021) that smashed past both consensus top- and bottom-line estimates. Its company-operated stores posted net revenue growth of 106% year-over-year as global economies began to recover from the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. The company’s direct-to-consumer (‘DTC’) net revenue grew 55% year-over-year (the e-commerce side of its business) last fiscal quarter, keeping in mind its DTC business more than doubled its net revenues in fiscal 2020. We were impressed with Lululemon’s latest results, and there could be room for shares of LULU to continue climbing higher. The top end of our fair value estimate range sits at $450 per share (well above where LULU is trading at as of this writing).
Jun 1, 2021
ICYMI -- Video: Exclusive 2020 -- Furthering the Financial Discipline
In this 40+ minute video jam-packed with must-watch content, Valuentum's President Brian Nelson talks about the Theory of Universal Valuation and how his work is furthering the financial discipline. Learn the pitfalls of factor investing and modern portfolio theory and how the efficient markets hypothesis holds little substance in the wake of COVID-19. He'll talk about what companies Valuentum likes and why, and which areas he's avoiding. This and more in Valuentum's 2020 Exclusive conference call.
Mar 22, 2021
Nike’s Digital Strategy Supports Its Future Revenue Growth and Margin Expansion Prospects
Image Shown: Since announcing the launch of its Consumer Direct Offense initiative in June 2017, Nike has done a stellar job building its omni-channel selling capabilities. The company’s digitally-oriented direct-to-consumer strategy offers it the opportunity to enhance both its long-term revenue growth outlook and operating margin expansion potential. On March 18, Nike reported mixed earnings though its near-term guidance indicates its financial performance will continue to rebound after taking a beating from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this writing, shares of NKE are trading in the upper bound of our fair value estimate range, indicating shares are roughly fairly valued at this time. The coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic has made it clear that companies with strong omni-channel selling capabilities are in a much better position than their physical-store dependent peers. Home delivery, curbside pickup, and order online/pickup in-store represent some of the main ways companies are meeting demand received through their digital platforms. E-commerce demand has boomed over the past several quarters and that trajectory has legs, in our view. Though e-commerce was already steadily becoming a larger part of the global economy over the past two decades (adoption rates vary across geographical regions), the pandemic has accelerated that trend. Nike recognized the need to develop omni-channel selling capabilities earlier than most, and part of that strategy involved building out an ecosystem of mobile apps and related websites. The apparel, footwear, equipment, and accessory company announced its ‘Consumer Direct Offense’ initiative back in June 2017 and the goal is to build up a sizable direct-to-consumer (‘DTC’) business with a large e-commerce component. The company has its fitness apps Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club along with the Nike app, which supports its e-commerce operations, and its Nike SNKRS app that focuses on footwear. Its digital strategy also involved Nike parting ways with Amazon a couple of years ago so Nike could better control its digital strategy. On March 18, Nike reported third quarter earnings for fiscal 2021 (period ended February 28, 2021) that saw its ‘NIKE Direct’ sales grow by 20% year-over-year, hitting $4.0 billion.
Mar 19, 2021
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week March 19
Let's take a look at companies that raised/lowered their dividend this week.
Feb 8, 2021
Stock Market Outlook for 2021
2020 was one from the history books and a year that will live on in infamy. That said, we are excited for the future as global health authorities are steadily putting an end to the public health crisis created by COVID-19, aided by the quick discovery of safe and viable vaccines. Tech, fintech, and payment processing firms were all big winners in 2020, and we expect that to continue being the case in 2021. Digital advertising, cloud-computing, and e-commerce activities are set to continue dominating their respective fields. Cybersecurity demand is moving higher and the constant threats posed by both governments (usually nations that are hostile to Western interests) and non-state actors highlights how crucial these services are. Retailers with omni-channel selling capabilities are well-positioned to ride the global economic recovery upwards. Green energy firms will continue to grow at a brisk pace in 2021, though the oil & gas industry appears ready for a comeback. The adoption of 5G wireless technologies and smartphones will create immense growth opportunities for smartphone makers, semiconductor players and telecommunications giants. Video streaming services have become ubiquitous over the past decade with room to continue growing as households “cut the cord” and instead opt for several video streaming packages. We’re not too big of fans of old industrial names given their capital-intensive nature relative to capital-light technology or fintech, but there are select names that have appeal. Cryptocurrencies have taken the market by storm as we turn the calendar into 2021, but the traditional banking system remains healthy enough to withstand another shock should it be on the horizon. Our fair value estimate of the S&P 500 remains $3,530-$3,920, but we may still be on a roller coaster ride for the year. Here’s to a great 2021!
Jan 21, 2021
ICYMI: Valuentum's Brian Nelson on the Latest Howard Marks' Memo: "Something of Value"
Valuentum's President of Investment Research Brian Michael Nelson, CFA, explains why there are not really value and growth stocks, why most of the research in quantitative finance is spurious and needs to be redefined on a forward-looking basis, and why enterprise valuation (not the efficient markets hypothesis) should be the organizing principle of finance. Nelson explains his views about valuation, what it means to be a value investor, and investing in the context of Oaktree Capital Howard Marks' latest memo, "Something of Value," January 11, 2021.
Jan 8, 2021
L Brands Continues to Bounce Back
Image Source: L Brands Inc – Third Quarter of Fiscal 2020 IR Earnings Presentation. L Brands is home to the Victoria’s Secret, PINK and Bath & Body Works retail brands (PINK is included within its Victoria’s Secret umbrella). The firm has ~2,700 company-operated stores in Canada, the Greater China region, and the US along with more than 700 franchised locations worldwide. Sometime in 2021, L Brands intends to separate Bath & Body Works from its other operations, a plan management reiterated during a virtual December 2020 investor presentation. Bath & Body Works has been growing at a brisk pace of late while Victoria’s Secret has been a drag on company-wide performance at L Brands. The company has a lot on its plate, as navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while pursuing a major corporate overhaul is no easy task, though the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines should help improve its outlook as the global economy slowly begins to recover from the public health crisis. Recent fiscal stimulus measures in the US and elsewhere further supports L Brands’ outlook, as well as that of other retailers. Dick's Sporting Goods and Home Depot remain our two favorite omni-channel retail ideas for dividend-growth oriented investors.
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The High Yield Dividend Newsletter, Best Ideas Newsletter, Dividend Growth Newsletter, Nelson Exclusive publication, and any reports, articles and content found on this website are for information purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The sources of the data used on this website are believed by Valuentum to be reliable, but the data’s accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Valuentum is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of its newsletters, reports, commentary, or publications and accepts no liability for how readers may choose to utilize the content. Valuentum is not a money manager, is not a registered investment advisor and does not offer brokerage or investment banking services. Valuentum, its employees, and affiliates may have long, short or derivative positions in the stock or stocks mentioned on this site.