Fave Five: What Works Best? (So Far)

This Week’s Fave Five is brought to you by Pittsburgh’s own Pat Donnelly. Pat stopped me in the hall at the National Association of Investors annual conference and said, “You know what — among many things — I wonder about? Which Fave Five selection mode has delivered the best performance?” That’s a really, really good question. Pat is the chair of the NAIC volunteer advisory board.

Fave Five (5/24/2019)

We started the Fave Five as something of a whim. It was sort of the answer to the question, “Is it possible to highlight 3-5 companies a month, let alone a week?” After a few years, the results are becoming compelling and provocative. If you’ve been around here for more than a little while … you know that we treasure skepticism and critical thinking about the challenges and potential of investing.

It’s time to refine our characterization of the “Fave Five.”

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable long term total return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. We basically screen on Manifest Ranking (equally-weighted PAR and Quality). This is the primary screening criteria every single week. The only variation is how “deep” we go into the percentile rankings. Sometimes we stop at 99.44% … other times sticking to the top 2% … or 5% … and when in a bottom fishing mode as low as top 50% or even “deeper.”

Selections

Keep in mind that a repeat appearance among the Fave Five for a given DOES NOT result in “accumulation.” Once a stock is “in”, it’s in until it’s “out.” So the accompanying image of results is measuring the performance of the tracking portfolio.

And speaking of “out”, we’ve been using this demonstration portfolio to deploy (1) Rule-of-5 “time outs” for companies that lag the market by more than 20 percentage points, (2) celebrate success as measured by a stock price soaring to the extent that the return forecast (PAR) approaches low single digits. These are fun. (3) We’ll be adding a quality degradation algorithm. Stay tuned.

Second Screens

So the real difference is the secondary screening criteria each week. The default setting is the highest 1-year total return forecast by analyst consensus. Hence the 112 selections. We’re elated to see a premise hold as the relative return for this most frequent criterion is beating the market.

But the most compelling results come from three secondary screening criteria: (1) High Growth, (2) Irish Spring and (3) Triple Play. High Growth is just what you think it is. It’s compliant with our search for excellent smaller and faster-growing companies. The elevator speech is GREAT companies growing in double digits — with top line growth of 10% or 12% or more.

Irish Spring resonates with real “risk” reduction as our resident Irishman, Hugh McManus, has guided us to find GREAT companies available near their 52-week lows.

And Triple Play is a powerful nod to the legacy of the modern investment club movement and George Nicholson’s nudge to seek companies with (1) depressed stock prices, that (2) have the potential for margin enhancement and (3) P/E ratio expansion.

“Most Oversold” is simply the qualifiers with the lowest Relative Strength Index (RSI) courtesy of StockCharts.com. Yes, Virginia, it’s a technical indicator. But it could prove to be something that heeds Ralph Acampora’s advice in Chicago last weekend to “Go ahead and do all the wonderful things you do to study companies but before you press the BUY button, do Ralphie a favor and check the price trends. Is your discovery gaining or falling in stock price?” There’s only two selections in this category so far. That will change. Soon.

We’re also optimistic about Owner ROC. (More to follow on this) Anecdotally, we think it will remain faithful to virtually all of the foundational concepts while raising the awareness and emphasis on debt capital. Stay tuned here, too.

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (May 24, 2019) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. MANIFEST Ranking: Equally weighted ranking of Return Forecast (PAR) and Quality. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com ACE P/FV: based on analyst consensus for fair value. Owner’s Return On Capital: Return (Profitability, long term estimate) vs. Total Capital (equity + debt). S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. The data is ranked (descending order) based on this criterion. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +2.4% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 11.8%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five

Fave Five (5/17/2019): Prohibition Edition

Fave Five (5/17/2019)

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable short term total return forecasts (1 year, according to Analyst Consensus Estimates, or ACE) combined with strong long-term return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. The median 1-year ACE total return forecast is 14.1%.

The City of Big Shoulders … and a Speak Easy, Or Two …

The National Association of Investors held their annual conference in Chicago this past weekend and I was honored/privileged/grateful to attend and to support the efforts of a gifted gypsy band of awesome volunteers. You know who you are. Thank you. Even better, the educational slate included our dear knights (and a damsel) as Kim Butcher, Ken Kavula and Cy Lynch provided several sessions and discussions. Hugh McManus would have joined us if his company hadn’t jobnapped him somewhere between Singapore and San Francisco and diverted him to Barcelona for the weekend.

  • You know you might be in Chicago when the banquet menu includes hot dogs smothered in onions, mustard, pickle spears with a side of deep dish pizza.
  • You know you might be in Chicago when the LIVE Round Table audience in true crowd rebellion decides that they can vote more than once for stock nominations. (And they’re right)
  • You know you might be in Chicago when all of the wait-until-next-year attire has morphed into World Series Champion paraphernalia.
  • You know you might be in Chicago when people are imitating the voices of Sean Connery and Kevin Costner in the hallways lined with pictures of beer being “distributed” from barrels on to the streets. (This sort of behavior is likely frowned upon by our resident Irishman Hugh AND his partner in crime, Pat Donnelly.)
  • You know you might be in Chicago when an audience of investors wants to talk about cannabis, prohibition and the companies that prospered when Elliott Ness stopped foaming up State Street back in the 1930s. When the audience assumes control of the discussion (which we encourage) and starts talking about specific investment characteristics of Anheuser-Busch, fields of opportunity, distribution infrastructure and doing stock studies on companies from 1933 … I’m pretty sure that, yes, you’re in Chicago.

Yes, you’re among friends who like to share ideas, devastate the mysteries of investing … and they’re BETTER when they do it together.

Three of this week’s Fave Five figured prominently in panel discussions and sessions. Cantel Medical (CMD) was selected by Ken Kavula during the opening session stock panel and Cy Lynch selected II-VI (IIVI) for the Round Table. Kim Butcher selected Air Lease (AL) for the Round Table and the audience seconded her motion while pondering just how many hands and appendages they could vote with for the various nominations. (Except for my pick, REGN, which received an insignificant number of appendages and at least one guffaw. I’m hurt but unswayed.)

Spirit Air Lines (SAVE) did not come up but probably should have. It was on my short list. (But it’s moot. You probably wouldn’t have voted for it anyway.)

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (May 17, 2019) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. MANIFEST Ranking: Equally weighted ranking of Return Forecast (PAR) and Quality. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com ACE P/FV: based on analyst consensus for fair value. Owner’s Return On Capital: Return (Profitability, long term estimate) vs. Total Capital (equity + debt). S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. The data is ranked (descending order) based on this criterion. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +2.4% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 11.8%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five

Fave Five (9/7/2018): Morningstar

Fave Five (9/7/2018)

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable short term total return forecasts (1 year, according to Analyst Consensus Estimates, or ACE) combined with strong long-term return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. The median 1-year ACE total return forecast is 10.0%.

This week we limit the field to companies with excellent quality (>80) with the lowest price-to-fair value ratios (P/FV) according to Morningstar.

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (September 7, 2018) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. The data is ranked (descending order) based on this criterion. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

McKesson (MCK) is on “wash sale probation” as it was sold on 8/31/2018 and is unavailable to the tracking portfolio until October.

Intel (INTC) is one of our favorite examples of stock prices that seem to move in “fits and starts.” The company is currently #26 among the most widely-followed stocks by Manifest Investing subscribers and has generally tracked the market (8% annualized total return) since charter membership in the MANIFEST 40 back on 9/30/2005. Intel (INTC) spent four years on the Round Table roster after selection by Hugh McManus and Mark Robertson back on 3/26/2013. The rate of return when sold on 12/19/2017 was 21.6% — beating the Wilshire 5000 by 9.5 percentage points.

Looking down the top (50) stocks that met this week’s criterion, we were struck by the number of Ken Kavula nominations for the Round Table in the field. Perhaps Morningstar gives extra credit for “up, straight and parallel,” too? A recent example is the laser purveyor, Coherent (COHR). The company was featured (by Ken) during the July 2018 Round Table.

Stericycle (SRCL) has been in the Fave Five tracking portfolio since 12/8/2017 and has stumbled to a relative return of -16.7%. Yes, Virginia, SRCL is on the Rule-of-5 hot seat but they may still stick the landing and commence recovery.

NutriSystem (NTRI) is #4 on our Best Small Companies list for 2018 and was added to the Fave Five tracking portfolio on 3/22/2018. NTRI has delivered a healthy return, 32.1% since then. Bring out your best small companies ideas as we build and share the Best Small Companies (2019 edition) around Halloween. Yes, we’re searching haystacks and counting down …

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +3.5% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 18.9%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five

Fave Five (6/8/2018): Deep Discounts

Fave Five (6/8/2018)

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable short term total return forecasts (1 year, according to Analyst Consensus Estimates, or ACE) combined with strong long-term return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. The median 1-year ACE total return forecast is 12.0%.

Three weeks ago we went “bottom fishing.” This week, we’ll do the same thing but stop before hitting bottom. In this case, as we stacked up the companies with the highest 52-week total return expectations (ACE) and required a minimum MANIFEST Rank of 80, audits on a number of the leaders crushed them. Stocks that we’ve previously featured tanked and the 5-7 highest ranked stocks failed to make the list on further scrutiny.

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (June 8, 2018) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. The data is ranked (descending order) based on this criterion. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +2.8% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 18.2%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five

Fave Five (5/25/2018): Bottom Fishing

Fave Five (5/18/2018)

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable short term total return forecasts (1 year, according to Analyst Consensus Estimates, or ACE) combined with strong long-term return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. The median 1-year ACE total return forecast is 12.6%.

This week we swing for the fences. The only restriction we placed on the long term perspective was to require that the stock be in the sweet spot (or above) with a minimum quality ranking of 60. So we’re looking at good or excellent companies with — in some cases — exorbitant long term forecast that also have out-sized total return forecasts for the next year or so.

Amira Nature Foods (ANFI) is a repeat participant. ANFI was added to the tracking portfolio back in June 2017 and was “expelled” for dropping more than 20% versus the market in fairly short order. The price at the time was $4.21, so today’s current price of $2.30 is 45% lower than that exit point. This is a potential example of the Rule-of-5 sell discipline that Ken Kavula and Mark Robertson discussed and presented at the NAIC national convention.

Universal Display (OLED) is an active holding in the tracking portfolio and increasingly, a community favorite. Added back in October 2016 at $49.69, the price reached $209 before retracing back to $99.28. (We did think about selling near that $209 peak based on projected return > median market forecast in the Round Table also, but we blinked.) At the current price, this holding has still outpaced the Wilshire 5000 by 40.1% (annualized.) We’ve heard unsubstantiated reports of newborn children and grandchildren being named “Universal Display.”

Suburban Propane (SPH), Health Insurance Innovations (HIIQ) and Grupo Aeroport Pacifico (PAC) are new additions.

Suburban Propane is a Master Limited Partnership and should be viewed as a more suitable individual portfolio component. See: Investing in MLPs (Source: bivio.com, Laurie Frederiksen) MLPs are generally challenging for club/partnership portfolios.

Health insurance is a mess. Perhaps it’s a field of opportunity. HIIQ could be worth a study to see if they’re making gains and solving the Rubik’s cube.

PAC is a Motley Fool favorite and was recommended in the October 2016 issue by David Gardner in their Stock Advisor newsletter. “Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico operates 12 airports in Mexico’s Pacific region, including popular destinations such as Guadalajara, Tijuana, and Puerto Vallarta. This is a great collection of assets just south of our border. Because airport facilities don’t change much from year to year, many costs are fixed. Its revenues, however, are expanding thanks to rising passenger volumes and more revenues from passenger services such as restaurants and car rental. And since each incremental traveler is mostly profit, profits have accelerated and has rewarded shareholders with an ever-growing dividend. Although friction in the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is a risk factor here, we expect long-term travel and trade trends to ultimately carry the day. As a result, near-term stock price volatility is giving opportunistic long-term investors a real buying opportunity.” — (Excerpt from a Stock Advisor Update, 2/9/2017)

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (May 18, 2018) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. The data is ranked (descending order) based on this criterion. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +2.6% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 16.6%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five

Fave Five (5/11/2018): Triple Play

Fave Five (5/11/2018)

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable short term total return forecasts (1 year, according to Analyst Consensus Estimates, or ACE) combined with strong long-term return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. The median 1-year ACE total return forecast is 14.8%.

This week we return to the triple play screening method for our five favorites. The triple play possibility occurs when you find a stock that is very depressed in price and also appears to be on the verge of substantially boosting its profit margins. The triple play effect is possible in that:

(1) The depressed price of the stock can return to normal levels;

(2) increased profit margins can produce increased EPS and a higher price;

(3) may also cause higher P/E ratios, or P/E expansion.

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (May 11, 2018) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. The data is ranked (descending order) based on this criterion. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +2.3% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 16.7%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five

Fave Five: Irish Spring (4/20/2018)

Irish Spring. We could use a bit of that in the upper Midwest. Wisconsin is in triage from all that snow last week. So we’ll turn to a variant of Hugh’s Irish Stew of excellent companies with attractive return forecasts that are trading near their 52-week lows.

Fave Five (4/20/2018)

Our Fave Five essentially represents a listing of stocks with favorable short term total return forecasts (1 year, according to Analyst Consensus Estimates, or ACE) combined with strong long-term return forecasts and good/excellent quality rankings. The average 1-year ACE total return forecast is 13.4%.

Homing In On The Range

One of our Round Table knights, Hugh McManus has a particularly strong track record over the last 7-8 years for our monthly webcast … so we’re obviously interested in better understanding his methods. Hugh McManus likes to shop for opportunities among stocks that are trading near their 52-week lows and for non-core case studies, he’ll sometimes demand that the stock prices be near multi-year lows. Part of the driver behind this is the recognition that there’s often a large difference between 52-week highs and 52-week lows, even for some of the bluer chip established stocks. Isolating opportunities to invest when stocks are in the lower part of those annual ranges would seem to provide a margin of safety and reduce some of the downside … and “all things created equal” why should we shop anywhere else. (Read that in an Irish brogue for full effect.)

Hugh has reminded us in the past that it’s not as simple as a percentage difference between the current price and the 52-week low. As shown here, it’s more of a range. The lower limit is indeed the 52-week low. But the higher limit of the range is a 1-year price target based on projected earnings and P/E ratio — using our assumptions for growth, profitability and long term valuation.

A stock trading near its 52-week low would have a “position-in-range” of 0%.

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Long & Short Term Perspectives. (April 20, 2018) Projected Annual Return (PAR): Long term return forecast based on fundamental analysis and five year time horizon. Quality Ranking: Percentile ranking of composite that includes financial strength, earnings stability and relative growth & profitability. 52-Week Position: Position on scale between 52-week low price and 52-week target price. The data is ranked (ascending order) based on this criterion. VL Low Total Return (VLLTR): Low total return forecast based on 3-5 year price targets via Value Line Investment Survey. Morningstar P/FV: Ratio of current price to fundamentally-based fair value via www.morningstar.com S&P P/FV: Current price-to-fair value ratio via Standard & Poor’s. 1-Year ACE Outlook: Total return forecast based on analyst consensus estimates for 1-year target price combined with current yield. 1-Year S&P Outlook: 1-year total return forecast based on S&P 1-year price target.

Fave Five Legacy (Tracking Portfolio)

The relative/excess return for the Fave Five tracking portfolio is +5.1% since inception.

The absolute annualized rate of return is 18.5%.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/fave-five