Get Me Through December … & Beyond

This Week at MANIFEST (12/28/2018)

“Patience is genius in disguise.” — Various, including Hugh McManus

“A 10% decline in the market is fairly common—it happens about once a year. Investors who realize this are less likely to sell in a panic, and more likely to remain invested, benefiting from the wealth building power of stocks.” — Christopher Davis

“You make most of your money in a bear market, you just don’t realize it at the time.” — Shelby Cullom Davis

“A market downturn doesn’t bother us. It is an opportunity to increase our ownership of great companies with great management at good prices.” — Warren Buffett

““Is value investing dead? I don’t know. I don’t care. I don’t know when we will know. What I do know is that Warren Buffett says that growth investing and value investing are actually joined at the hip. (Tom O’Hara said this, too.) Valuation Investing is the blend of growth and value investing.” — Joel Greenblatt

Get Me Through December?

Eddy Elfenbein shared the unpleasantness update in this week’s Market Review at crossingwallstreet.com:

The numbers are remarkable. On Thursday, the S&P 500 closed at its lowest level in 15 months. In the last 12 trading sessions, the S&P 500 has lost 11.6%. The details are even uglier. Within the index, 423 stocks are now trading below their 200-day moving average. On Thursday, new lows beat new highs 175-0.

20 Years With The Value Line Arithmetic Average ($VLE). Some context. We’ve seen similar moments like this before. But there’s no denying that the December “candlestick” is in a league of its own … rare company. We’re approaching long-term “Oversold” conditions as suggested by the relative strength index (RSI) nearing 30 and relative long-term lows. We’re reminded that the trailing 52-week returns have dipped sub-zero a few times in the last few years — so this should not be regarded as something new or unusual.

Manifest Investing Median Return Forecast (MIPAR). It’s clear that the median (basically average) return forecast for the 2300-2400 companies in our coverage universe have SUDDENLY shifted to new levels due to the price drop. This could also happen from a breach of fundamentals — but that is NOT the case, here … at least not yet. Return forecasts are now at levels we haven’t seen since 2008-2009.

Source: https://www.morningstar.com/tools/market-fair-value-graph.html

Beyond December — A Hope For Fewer Potholes …

My take on all of this carnage? It’s different this time.

Yes, I said the words.

Bear markets and corrections are pretty unique despite all of our attempts to slap historical price chart overlays and compare factors, etc. The simple truth is that (1) the sample size will never be statistically sufficient for any material conclusions to be reached. [Yet the Rhinos will continue to try. Smile and nod at them.] (2) Markets are not rational.

Current conditions definitely qualify for a sedative or something stronger.

Look no further than the accompanying weekly chart of the Value Line Low Total Return Forecast to see how sudden the current price correction has been. We’ve not seen a change with this velocity or ferocity since 2008. You remember, right? With Christmas carols humming in the background, recall the names Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch and things like credit default swaps and neighbor’s houses in foreclosure.

Yes, there’s a mountain of uncertainty and an abyss of incivility inside the Beltway and a President who’s certainly disruptive. But the core problem with the status is virtually unchanged — ALL of the political posers persist in patching or ignoring potholes (healthcare, immigration, infrastructure, federal capital structure, failed nation building, sloped international trade playing fields, the ostriches and lobbyists related to real capital markets reform, etc.). The hypocrisy is gut wrenchingly prevalent.

I think the stock market is legitimately tired of the perpetual motion of Congressional Kick The Can Down The Road — and corporations are suddenly much more guarded about faith in consistency and less optimistic that the moving targets have abated. As the foot comes off the accelerator and taps the brakes (again) we might return to the recessionary conditions of 2015-2016. Much of the globe is already headed there.

Unattended potholes become sinkholes.

Like snowflakes, it’s different this time. It’s always different. Trying to allocate assets or imagine outcomes based on historical models (even when powered by artificial intelligence) is a neural niblick.

So we turn to a constant. A constant that survived and thrived through the 1970s, 1987, 1994, Y2K and the gasping throes of 2008-2009. That constant is to eschew the chaos. Focus on what matters. Simply put, INVEST BETTER.

We accept that markets are not rational. We refuse to be surprised when they convulse.

We take the words of Warren Buffett quite seriously when he longs for corrective opportunities “a few more times during his investing lifetime” and speaks unflinchingly of tracking excellent companies and waiting for them to be available at attractive prices.

I believe one of those moments may have arrived. We don’t often make “market calls” but we did write about back-up-the-truck moments back in November 2008 (a wee bit early) and March 2009 (squarely in the bullseye). This could be another Buffett Bonanza.

So … we think it’s prudent to do what we’ve done for DECADES. Discover excellent companies, BETTER COMPANIES. Buy those that are priced well. BETTER PRICES FOR BETTER RETURNS.

Hugh McManus likes patience and its genius-making potential. He also likes excellent companies trading near their 52-week or multi-year lows. We’re thinking Hugh must be beside his Irish self these days and hope to hear from him during next weekend’s Round Table. Ken Kavula is sure to be swimming in the pool of sudden small company opportunity. Cy Lynch is likely to admire the latest bear market which will become a future blip. Rest assured that we’ll be more focused on the long term perspective than any pusillanimous politicians and their potholes, meandering Rhinos or any of those annoying talking heads who focus on “how much your 401(k) LOST since breakfast today.”

We promise to remain focused on the discovery and sharing of the best ideas — the opportunities we’ve known for decades as BETTER COMPANIES at BETTER PRICES.

Merry Christmas to our favorite nation of focused and compassionate investors!

Best Small Companies (2019 Dashboard)

The status of the 2019 Best Small Companies can be tracked at: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/best-small-2019

MANIFEST 40 Updates

  • 1. Apple (AAPL)
  • 23. Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)
  • 26. Intel (INTC)

Round Table Stocks

  • Apple (AAPL)
  • IPG Photonics (IPGP)
  • MKS Instruments (MKSI)
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)
  • Universal Display (OLED)

Round Table Sessions (Video Archives)

Turnout Tuesday Educational Sessions

Results, Remarks & References

Companies of Interest: Value Line (12/28/2018)

The median Value Line low total return forecast for the companies in this week’s update batch is 12.3% vs. 10.8% for the Value Line 1700 ($VLE).

Materially Stronger: Vishay Intertechnology (VSH), Office Depot (ODP), Kemet (KEM)

Materially Weaker: TTM Technologies (TTMI), Diebold Nixdorf (DBD), Western Digital (WDC), Plantronics (PLT), STMicroelectronics (STM), Micron Technology (MU), Cirrus Logic (CRUS), Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC), Celestica (CLS), 3D Systems (DDD)

Discontinued: Spectra Energy Partners (SEP)

Market Barometers

The thing very few people tell you about “overvalued” markets is that, occasionally, the fundamentals arrive to justify them. — Joshua Brown

Value Line Low Total Return (VLLTR) Forecast. The long-term low total return forecast for the 1700 companies featured in the Value Line Investment Survey is 10.8%, increasing from 8.5% last week. For context, this indicator has ranged from low single digits (when stocks are generally overvalued) to approximately 20% when stocks are in the teeth of bear markets like 2008-2009.

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

Fave Five (5/20/2016)

This weekend we celebrate decades of successful stock selection with the community of investors from NAIC Better Investing as they gather near Washington D.C. for their annual convention.  The following short list of stocks is representative of the types of study nudges that will be happening all weekend — and we’ll bring you some highlights here.  For now, here’s our weekly study batch:

Fave Five (5/20/2016)

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 Fave Five This Week

  • Aaron’s (AAN)
  • Gentherm (THRM)
  • Mellanox Technologies (MLNX)
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)
  • Under Armor (UA)

Honorable Mention: Apple (AAPL) — “Warren Buffett” bought some.

Context: The median 1-year total return forecast (via ACE) for the Value Line 1700 is 9.5%. The median 5-year return forecast (MIPAR) is 6.7% (annualized).

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

The Long & Short. (May 20, 2016) 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. 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. 1-Yr GS: 1-year total return forecast based on most recent price target issued by Goldman Sachs.

Weekend Warriors

The relative return for the Weekend Warrior tracking portfolio is +6.1% since inception. 56.5% of selections have outperformed the Wilshire 5000 since original selection.

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

Fave Five (5/13/2016)

Fave Five (5/13/2016)

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 Fave Five This Week

  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Gentherm (THRM)
  • Mellanox Technologies (MLNX)
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)
  • Under Armor (UA)

Context: The median 1-year total return forecast (via ACE) for the Value Line 1700 is 9.5%. The median 5-year return forecast (MIPAR) is 6.7% (annualized).

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

The Long & Short.(May 13, 2016)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. 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.comS&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. 1-Yr GS: 1-year total return forecast based on most recent price target issued by Goldman Sachs.

Weekend Warriors

The relative return for the Weekend Warrior tracking portfolio is +0.8% since inception. 54.3% of selections have outperformed the Wilshire 5000 since original selection.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/weekend-warriors

Hain Celestial (HAIN) was “sold” from the tracking portfolio.

HAIN had been added on 12/28/2015 at $41.23.

The sale on 5/12/2016 at $48.06 represents a total return of 16.6% and a relative return of +16.3%.

Fave Five (4/29/2016)

Fave Five (4/29/2016)

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 Fave Five This Week

  • Air Methods (AIRM)
  • Aaron’s (AAN)
  • Alphabet/Google (GOOG)
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)

Context: The median 1-year total return forecast (via ACE) for the Value Line 1700 is 9.3%. The median 5-year return forecast (MIPAR) is 6.4% (annualized).

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

The Long & Short. (April 29, 2016) 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. 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. *1-Yr GS: 1-year total return forecast based on most recent price target issued by Goldman Sachs.

Weekend Warriors

The relative return for the Weekend Warrior tracking portfolio is +15.2% since inception. 59.5% of selections have outperformed the Wilshire 5000 since original selection.

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/weekend-warriors

Fave Five (2/26/2016)

Fave Five (2/26/2016)

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 Fave Five This Week

  • Aaron’s (AAN)
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Inteliquent (IQNT)
  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ)
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)

Context: The median 1-year total return forecast (via ACE) for the Value Line 1700 is 25.9%. The median 5-year return forecast (MIPAR) is 8,5% (annualized).

The Long and Short of This Week’s Fave Five

Weekend Warriors

The relative return for the Weekend Warrior tracking portfolio is +3.2% since inception. 63.2% of selections have outperformed the Wilshire 5000 since original selection.

Here are some links to fairly recent monthly stock features, Round Table discussions and/or analysis updates for companies in the tracking portfolio:

  • Aaron’s (AAN)
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Biogen (YouTube video: BIIB discussion starts at 21:45 of the session)
  • Forward Air (FWRD)
  • Stericycle (SRCL) Feb-2014 Round Table nomination by Nick Stratigos (starts at 18:33 of session)

Tracking Dashboard: https://www.manifestinvesting.com/dashboards/public/weekend-warriors

16 Stocks On The Launch Pad?

Screening Results (February 2016)

In Search of “First Stage” Potential

by Mark Robertson

As we’ve watched the Broad Assets investment club win three of the last four years in the Groundhog group competition, we’ve searched for a common theme … a genesis of their statistically significant success.

Escape Velocity?

Our May 2014 cover story captured the essence pretty well. We’re looking for companies that are not only well-positioned for the long term with the insurance component of high quality, but companies poised to deliver large year-over-year increases in earnings. If we believe that stock prices follow earnings — and we do — it seems natural to seek these launch pad situations.

This month’s screening results are an attempt to do just that. The list that follows is a collection of excellent quality companies. But they also have relatively large expectations for 2016 earnings vs. 2015. The average forecast increase is 12.4%. All of these top that threshold. We include the relative strength index (RSI) for a glance at oversold potential. (RSI near 30) We’ll check back in a year to see if the EPS step changes take shape and if prices follow. If they do, it won’t hurt my Groundhog 2016 entry a bit.