Trapeze Asset Management letter for the second quarter ended September 30, 2016; titled, “Wall Of Worry.”
There are a lot of economic negatives to worry about these days. Slow growth, annual GDP rising at only 2.1% on average since the ’08 recession. Stagnation. Low inflation. Burgeoning government debt relative to GDP. One third of global government bonds at negative yields (and a few corporate bonds now too). Corporate earnings per share declining for 6 consecutive quarters, even after historically high share buybacks. High share prices from relatively high earnings multiples—the S&P 500 at 17x forward earnings. Falling worker productivity for the third consecutive quarter. Flat retail sales, likely as a result of an over indebted consumer. High inventories relative to sales. The U.S. government putting the kibosh on several potential deals. Corporate insider buying at only one third of their selling—a poor ratio. General uncertainty, much stemming from an election year with two controversial candidates espousing controversial policies.
John Buckingham: Busting the Myths & Seven “Valuable” Themes for 2021 [ValueWalk Webinar slides and video]
John Buckingham's presentation titled, 'Busting the Myths & Seven "Valuable" Themes for 2021'. The webinar for ValueWalk Premium members took place on 2/23/2021, and was followed by a Q&A. Stay tuned for our next webinar, Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more John Buckingham Principal, Portfolio Manager, Kovitz Editor of The Prudent Speculator newsletter Read More
Trapeze Asset Management
Though the anticipated dire consequences of Brexit may not materialize when implemented, other issues, including a potential bailout of Deutsche Bank, whose shares just fell to a record low, have negative implications for Germany and the Eurozone. China, the world’s second largest economy, continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace. And growth worldwide is sluggish with growth for 2016 expected to be 2.9%, the slowest since ’09.
Trapeze Asset Management – Stocks the Lesser Worry
Stocks may be the only game in town. Well, certainly the best game. The yield of 1.7% on U.S. 10-year treasuries is less attractive than the 2.1% dividend on the S&P 500 and an earnings yield of 6%, making stocks preferable, especially for taxable accounts which can enjoy a lower capital gains tax rate on equity sales compared to the tax on bond income. Moreover, the risk of bond yields rising and creating short-term losses on fixed income securities is likely greater than the potential loss on equities in the near term, even if a rate-hike driven correction were to hit the stock market.
Household net worth has improved almost 30% since the ’08 recession, and, in the current low rate environment consumers are taking advantage of their spending power in the housing sector. U.S. new home sales were up 12.4% in July, the highest since October ’07. Sales of previously owned homes were down 3.2% in July after 4 months of gains, with supply falling and prices higher. Foreclosures were at an all-time low. With the current low interest rates, household debt payments as a percentage of disposable income are at a 35-year low. U.S. auto sales should also continue to rise over the next year.
U.S. consumer confidence in September was at its highest level in 9 years so spending should pick up. Central banks want inflation, which should boost prices of goods in general. Look for energy and materials earnings to improve from rising commodity prices. Although energy earnings declined 25%, about 70% of U.S. companies beat earnings expectations last quarter.
U.S. Q2 GDP rose 1.4%. New orders for durable goods rebounded in July but were little changed in August. The unemployment rate is a low 4.8% with rising average hourly earnings of 0.3% in July.
Avoiding the stock market during a recession is typically a good idea. We still aren’t seeing the normal signs of a pending recession—oil prices are clearly not spiking, unemployment isn’t rising, bank losses are contained, and most importantly, the yield curve is not only not inverted, it’s actually steepening. Our own Economic Composite (TEC™), designed to alert us to recessions in various regions around the world, is not forecasting a peak in the business cycle. Even though equities are trading at fair value in our work, bear markets rarely occur without a recession. Our TRIM™ stock market indicators, which warned earlier in the year, are back on buy in most regions. So, while the stock market can suffer a correction at any time, we believe a decline in the near term will likely be modest and that growth and equity prices should continue higher, although perhaps at a tepid pace. Meanwhile, this doesn’t feel like a market top—where typically everyone’s optimistic, fully invested and buzzing about stocks.
The Fed says it is getting close to raising rates, likely in December, as the economy is reaching its growth and inflation goals. Better news for stocks than for bonds. Though rates are not likely to rise dramatically as further economic stimulus is still required. Look for continued monetary easing. The market is generally at all-time highs, clearly climbing a “wall of worry.” If not the only, then the best, game in town.
We continue to buy shares that pass our due diligence process when we can find them at a wide enough discount from our estimate of their fair market value (FMV), and assuming our earnings outlooks are favourable. Our objective to add more large cap positions to our All Cap portfolios continues, as we find compelling ideas and as our smaller cap positions rise toward our FMVs and are eliminated.
While the prices of gold and oil have somewhat plateaued over the last few months, we believe that the supply/demand fundamentals remain in place to bring higher commodity prices over the next year or more. Furthermore, both are still below their normal premium over the cost of industry production. Normally, these commodities trade at 30-40% premiums to the industries’ average all-in costs. Typically prices below industry costs in the past have only been seen during periods of great economic dislocation. This period has been unusual.
While we have reduced exposure here, as some of our holdings rose close to our FMV estimates, our All Cap portfolios continue to hold resource companies that are substantially below our FMVs and we still anticipate further recovery in these commodity prices in the months ahead which should also help grow the companies’ valuations.
The following descriptions of the significant holdings in our managed accounts are intended only to explain the reasons that we have made, and continue to hold, these investments in the accounts we manage for you and are not intended as advice or recommendations with respect to purchasing, selling or holding the securities described.
Our All Cap Portfolios – Key Holdings
Our All Cap portfolios combine selections from our large cap strategy (Global Insight) with our best small and medium cap ideas. We generally prefer large cap companies for their superior liquidity and lower volatility. Importantly, they tend to recover back to their fair values much faster than smaller stocks, so they can be traded more frequently for enhanced returns. However, our small cap positions are cheaper, trading far below our fair value estimates; therefore, our All Cap portfolios still hold a position in small caps.
Most of our small cap company holdings still trade well below our estimate of their respective FMVs. Although these smaller, less liquid holdings are potentially more volatile, the risk of permanent impairment appears minimal while upside potential remains high. We elaborate on these key holdings below.
Specialty Foods Group, a shareholding in a private company held in our taxable accounts, has been preparing to liquidate its assets through a wind-down. The company has placed $55 million (of its more than $60 million cash) in trust, earmarked to be distributed to stakeholders. Its remaining business line had a record year in ’15. The approval of the wind-down plan, including the distribution of cash held in trust and the sale of the remaining business and distribution of its proceeds, requires Board approval (which we expect shortly) allowing the complicated corporate organization structure to be unwound. We continue to expect a partial return of capital from the existing cash in the next few months with further distributions thereafter, though the timing and amounts of these payouts still remain uncertain. Our carrying value has further potential upside, mostly dependent on the sale value of the remaining business.
Orca Exploration has considerably more value than is suggested by its share price. Its estimated reserve value of over $11 per share, and the combined value of its TANESCO receivable and Orca’s cash, net of payables and debt, is about 4 times the share price. But the company has lacked a growth profile. Though, Orca is positioned to resume its growth trajectory again, now that the situation in the country has improved, the company has successfully worked-over 3 major wells and drilled one new one and added to its infrastructure. Production capabilities are now in excess of 185 mmcf/d. The country’s new pipeline needs to be filled and Orca provides nearly all of the natural gas to the country. It’s unlikely that hydroelectricity will be a competing source of power since the country endures droughts and agricultural requirements for water are high. New power plants coming online, powered by natural gas, will materially boost demand in the region too. Orca’s production should rise over the next year.
As a lender to Orca, the IFC (an arm of the World Bank) now has a vested interest in seeing the in-country situation improve even further. TANESCO, the national power utility and Orca’s primary customer, should continue to meet its current obligations to Orca although the receivable arrears are substantial. The World Bank has been providing aid to the government which should help too. Finally, we believe the new government will work much faster to bring Orca’s needed gas to market. We have waited for all of these pieces to all fall into place. The wide gap between the share price and the company’s underlying value should finally begin to narrow spurred either by a resumption of growth or a monetization of its assets.
Kirkland Lake Gold, now an intermediate producer since its acquisition of St Andrew Goldfields ran up closer to our FMV estimate. While still a top position in our All Cap accounts, we have reduced the position significantly. And, we recently wrote covered calls (for our options authorized accounts) against our position to collect premium between now and January. After the company recently announced another acquisition, Newmarket Gold, and with the recent gold bullion and industry correction, the Kirkland share price has sold off. As a result, this decline may allow us to once again add to this position at now lower prices. At the current Canadian dollar gold price, we expect the company to deliver significant free cash flow. Kirkland is once again sufficiently undervalued in our view and has upside potential from a rise in the gold price along with a potential for an improvement in grades and exploration success. The merged company will be a 500,000 ounce producer and should stand out relative to its peers because it will operate in excellent jurisdictions (Canada and Australia), has a clean balance sheet, enormous land packages, high grades and, now again, a low valuation.
ProShares Short S&P 500 is about a 7% weighting in most 100% Growth mandate accounts. This is a long position in an ETF which mirrors the inverse performance of the S&P 500 (i.e., if the market declines the value of this position increases) on a daily basis. With the market near record highs, in line with its FMV and at a ceiling in our TRAC™ work, it remains a simple way of hedging a correction in the U.S. market.
Dynacor Gold Mines’ share price had lifted closer to our FMV, assuming we ascribe no value to the company’s exploration properties. Therefore, we reduced our position size which had grown substantially. That said, we continue to keep Dynacor as a top position because the new mill, now fully completed, should lift earnings significantly. A recovering gold price combined with the new, more efficient mill, which is much more accessible to suppliers, should drive profitability. Results from the company’s own exploration properties at Tumipampa have been excellent and supportive of Dynacor having a viable mine or creating value from joint venturing or outright sale of these properties. An NI 43-101 report delineating an initial resource is expected soon. We anticipate serious interest from others in the area in Dynacor’s potential mine(s).
Manitok’s share price has performed poorly. This is at odds with the performance of the company’s business where production is at recent highs, IRRs on new wells should be even higher than already outstanding economics, even at prevailing commodity prices, and debt levels have been materially reduced. The ability to now drill Monobore wells, rather than conventional multi-frac horizontal wells, is expected to lower drilling costs substantially while the drilling results have remained in line or ahead of the type curve. And, because commodity prices have been so low and debt reduction a priority, the company was unable to embark on a renewed drilling program until now. With over 300 drilling locations, Manitok has the potential for years of growth. The company just announced an acquisition too, at an attractive valuation, which will make the company a 7,000 boepd producer.
The company estimates its proved reserve value at $110 million (net of all debt) or $0.45 per fully diluted share, about 3x the share price. The proved and probable reserves are estimated at over $200 million or $0.86 per share, over 6x the share price. For all of these reasons we continue hold Manitok in our All Cap portfolios (and we may invest in additional securities of Manitok, including its recently announced debt issue, for Income portfolios, for which Trapeze Capital Corp. is included in the investment banking syndicate).
Our top holdings in our All Cap portfolios also include large caps Harman International, NCR, Magna International and Berkshire Hathaway, which are discussed below in our Global Insight portfolio review.
Our All Cap Portfolios – Portfolio Changes
In the last few months we have bought and still hold several new large cap positions including Disney, Robert Half International, Harman International, Eastman Chemical, Fiat Chrysler and CVS Health—summarized in our Global Insight portfolio review below. We bought, then sold, Foot Locker and Alphabet and sold Goldcorp and NetApp as each lifted closer to our FMV estimates and sold Alliance Data Systems and McKesson as each triggered sell signals falling below their respective TRAC™ floors. We also sold some Kirkland Lake Gold and Dynacor Gold Mines to reduce the position sizes where accounts were overweight and believed it was likely that the stocks would correct. And we added two new mid-cap positions KBR and GameStop summarized below.
KBR is a U.S. based engineering and defense company which has provided construction and engineering services for some of the largest and most complex energy projects in the world since it constructed the very first offshore oil platform in 1947. The recent collapse in energy prices has shelved many large scale projects. In response, KBR has been expanding its government services and defense business. In May KBR acquired Wyle, a provider of custom solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and other federal agencies. This acquisition was followed by the purchase of Honeywell Technology Solutions. These two acquisitions transform KBR’s Government Services division into a global $2.5 billion business. We believe investors are ignoring the radical transformation underway at KBR. By ’18, Government Services should comprise nearly 65% of earnings, a complete reversal of its ’15 earnings composition. Given where other Government services companies trade, it implies a $19 valuation for KBR based on our earnings estimates.
We had been avoiding GameStop until recently because we have been concerned about technological and business model changes in the video game industry where the direct download model, where customers download games directly to their video game console or PC, is seeing rapid adoption. Naturally this will reduce GameStop’s traffic and has serious ramifications for the future of its business. However, several catalysts have emerged that have caused us to see GameStop in a new light. First is clear evidence that the video game console cycle is shortening, down from 6-8 years between iterations to now less than 5 years. In the next twelve months new Xbox and PlayStation models will be released, only 3 years after their latest iterations launched as a result of rapid advances in television technology and virtual reality. Secondly, GameStop’s diversification efforts are becoming clearer. After its August purchase of over 500 AT&T authorized retail stores, GameStop is now the largest AT&T retail store operator. GameStop now has over 1,550 “technology-based” stores that include AT&T stores, Simply Mac, and Cricket Wireless. Additionally, the company’s ThinkGeek stores are well positioned in the $11 billion collectibles market. At 7x earnings we believe the market is overlooking these developments. Our FMV estimate is $44 and GameStop’s dividend yield is a healthy 5.5%.
Global Insight (Large Cap) Portfolios – Key Holdings
Global Insight represents our large cap model where portfolios are managed Long/Short or Long only. A complete description of the Global Insight Model is available on our website. Our target for our large cap positions is more than a 20% return per year over a 2-year period, though many may rise toward our FMV estimates sooner should the market react to their undervaluations sooner. Or some may be eliminated sooner if they decline and breach TRAC™ floors.
At about 79 cents-on-the-dollar versus our FMV estimates, our Global Insight holdings appear to be much cheaper, in aggregate, than the overall market. ProShares Short S&P 500, given our negative near-term outlook, is about an 8% weighting in most 100% Global Insight accounts. This is a long position in an ETF which mirrors the inverse performance of the S&P 500 on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s a simple way of hedging against declines in the U.S. market, in case a correction transpires.
Shares of financial technology company NCR have risen smartly this year, up over 18%, closer to our fair value estimate of $35. Q2 results came in ahead of expectations driven by software services. Management noted that the improved execution seen in the first half of the year is evidence that NCR’s transformation is gaining momentum. NCR is positioning itself for a digital future where mobile enablement and physical-to-digital business processes are central. Its legacy ATM business posted flattish results during the quarter. NCR recently became the first financial technology company to install 100,000 ATM machines in India, highlighting that there are growth opportunities in its legacy business.
We are likely to part with Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia shortly. While being impressed with the results posted this year in the face of numerous macro headwinds, both stocks have appreciated on their better-than-expected results and now trade close to their 5-year average price-to-book and price-to-earnings ratios. While results have been good this year, we find it hard to justify materially higher valuations given that the operating environment still presents many challenges. Our attention has turned to U.S. financials where several well run institutions trade at large discounts to book values.
Berkshire Hathaway’s share price continues to essentially move sideways, up with book value growth along a TRAC™ floor, while our FMV estimate—over $175 per Class B share—keeps rising. The market appears to be concerned with the effects of historically low interest rates and a softer insurance market on the company’s financial businesses, as well as the lackluster performance of its mega-cap long-term holdings. The company’s diversified mix of first-class businesses, which are run via their own top-notch management teams, bodes well for solid future FMV growth. Berkshire’s substantial and growing cash hoard also adds to downside protection, not to mention the ability to continue to add to growth via acquisitions or per share growth from buy backs—the company trades just above where Buffett has stated it would buy back shares. Meanwhile, book value per share growth at about 11% per year in the last 4 years is remarkable for such a large enterprise.
Shares of full and discount wealth management services provider Charles Schwab, bought during the Brexit selloff, have performed well as markets continue to rebound off of their June lows. The company is focused on expanding physical branches and its ETF-based Intelligent Portfolios products. Its 27x P/E ratio may appear expensive but the company has managed to grow its bottom line at a 22% annualized clip over the last 5 years. We expect FY ’17 EPS of approximately $1.45 which represents an increase of 50% over FY ’15. Our FMV estimate is currently $34 but could be revised upwards should U.S. interest rates start to move higher.
Harman International, a new position for us, is the premier supplier of automotive infotainment systems. Q4 results came in strong with net sales up 12% and EBITDA growth of 20%. Harman’s total backlog stands at $24.1 billion. The year ended with next generation model wins and new automakers added to the company’s customer list. Harman’s products continue to be well received—its infotainment system was the highest rated in Consumer Reports’ recent infotainment guide.
Professional Solutions (enterprise, concerts) has been a weak spot but new leadership has been brought in to turn around the struggling segment. Our FMV estimate is $100.
Another automotive supplier, and also a new addition, is Magna International, which continues to win assembly contracts, the latest being the BMW 5 Series. Magna expects assembly sales to hit approximately $5.5 billion by 2018, up from $2 billion today. We expect EPS growth in excess of 16% between FY ’16 and FY ’17. With contract wins and strong guidance as well, it’s peculiar that the stock has been so weak. We believe the lackluster performance is a result of general auto industry concerns and the muddled macro picture. The market appears to be worried about North America hitting ‘peak auto’ resulting in declining total vehicle sales, a decline in the health of North American consumers from growing consumer credit concerns, weakening economic statistics from China, and Brexit and Italian/German banking concerns with their potential effects on the European outlook. Trading at less than 8x ’16 expected EPS, we believe these concerns are reflected in Magna’s current share price. Our FMV estimate is $65.
Shares of Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo have rebounded from their lows. Major energy and base metal prices appear to have found a base, too. This should augur well for Sumitomo’s copper, nickel, shale and other resource related businesses. Sumitomo’s resource businesses dominate the headlines but its Metal segment comprises just 14% of revenues. Sumitomo’s Media & Lifestyle, Transport Equipment, and Environment & Infrastructure segments comprise 43% of total revenues. Though we have lowered our estimated sum-of-the-parts value, there’s still reasonable upside to about ¥1,300.
Global Insight (Large Cap) Portfolios – Portfolio Changes
In the last few months we have bought and still hold several new positions including, Disney, Robert Half International, Priceline Group, Eastman Chemical, Fiat Chrysler and CVS Health. Other than Fiat, which had moved up after being very oversold, these new additions were all at TRAC™ floors and at least 20% below our FMV estimates. We bought then sold Foot Locker and Alphabet and sold SAP, Goldcorp, Ferrari, Hewlett-Packard Enterprises, Liberty Broadband, Pulte Homes and NetApp as each lifted closer to our FMV estimates and we sold Biogen, Hertz Global Holdings, ADS and McKesson as each triggered sell signals falling below their respective TRAC™ floors.
Walt Disney sold off because of continued ratings struggles at ESPN and the rapid adoption of different entertainment platforms at the expense of cable. At around 40% of operating income, ESPN is a critical asset. However, Disney’s substantial investments in global attractions and entertainment should more than offset the flat to slightly negative growth at ESPN. Disney is just beginning to rejuvenate and fully monetize its unrivaled intellectual property portfolio that includes Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and legacy properties. Meanwhile, the company is investigating and exploring different technologies to bring ESPN into the future. Its recent acquisition of one third of MLB Advanced Media is evidence of this. With more than 5% top line growth and a 15%+ return on equity, Disney shouldn’t trade at a P/E multiple less than the market. Our FMV estimate is $110.
Robert Half International, a provider of specialized staffing and risk consulting services, reported disappointing Q2 results. Year-over-year revenue growth slowed to 5.7% from Q1’s annual growth rate of 8.1%. Gross and operating margins were down from Q2 ’15. We still see Robert Half as a long-term 3-4% top-line grower with 5-8% bottom line growth. Its balance sheet remains pristine with no long-term debt and $238 million of cash to purchase the remaining 8.7 million shares left on its share repurchase plan. Our DCF-based FMV estimate is $49.
Shares of discount travel reservation company Priceline Group recently hit new all-time highs. With a P/E ratio of 28x, clients have inquired about what value investors like us see in a name like Priceline. Many believe that the opposite of value investing is so-called growth investing. This is not necessarily true; growth is merely a variable in securities analysis, and a critical part of the valuation equation. What we seek to avoid are expensive stocks where growth expectations are too high or unsustainable. We foresee Priceline growing its earnings in excess of 10% per year for the foreseeable future—even in the face of new travel options such as Airbnb and reduced travel due to terrorist-related fears. All that said, the share price is approaching our FMV estimate of $1,590.
Eastman Chemical’s Intermediaries unit continues to face a challenging environment. Selling prices for ethelyne, propylene and methanol have dropped due to oversupply. Pricing is typically correlated with oil but prices remain depressed despite the recent rally in crude prices. Further adding to the unit’s woes are Eastman’s propane hedges, purchased with the intention of managing input price risk, but are now preventing the company from taking advantage of weak energy prices. These issues have pressured Eastman’s stock price which now trades at just under 10x next 12 months EPS expectations. However, there are several potential positive catalysts ahead. Propane hedges are due to roll off fully in 2017; ethelyne pricing should stabilize this year; and cost reductions of $100 million have been identified which should meaningfully boost EPS. Meanwhile, Eastman’s Advanced Materials unit, contributing 25% of sales, is posting industry leading operating margins. Our FMV estimate is $84.
Shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have fallen over the past year along with every major auto manufacturer. As with Magna, we believe its shares more than reflect foreseeable headwinds. Our $10 FMV estimate makes it one of the most undervalued stocks in our large cap universe. Fiat is just beginning to realize synergies from Chrysler. For example, the next generation Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger are likely to share the rear-wheel Alfa Romeo Giulia platform. Other value creating initiatives are being openly pursued by CEO Sergio Marchionne. Major auto parts suppliers such as Magneti Marelli could be sold to raise cash and pay down debt. We don’t rule out an outright sale or merger with another major auto manufacturer.
During the quarter we purchased shares of CVS Health, operator of more than 9,600 pharmacies in North and South America. The U.S. election is putting pressure on many health care stocks. News headlines about soaring prices for the EpiPen and other drugs manufactured by giants such as Pfizer and Gilead have cast the entire industry in a negative light. This uncertainty has created a buying opportunity for longer term investors. The company’s forward P/E ratio is now at a 20% discount to the S&P 500, the biggest gap over the last five years, despite annual EPS growth expected to be close to 10% over the next four years. Our FMV estimate is $115. As election uncertainty subsides we expect CVS to narrow the gap between its current price and its FMV.
The 10-year U.S. government bond yield is 1.7%. The Canadian equivalent is just shy of 1%. While likely to rise from historically low levels, the slow growth environment, high U.S. dollar and disinflation are likely to restrain interest rates. After rising to about 10% earlier in the year, high-yield corporate bond yields have now fallen all the way back to 6.2%. Because we believe rates are likely to rise, and yields in general are low, we have been finding fewer attractive opportunities than usual for our income accounts. Accordingly, we have been holding a larger than usual portion of the accounts in cash while we await more favourable investment opportunities.
We continue to hold a number of undervalued income positions and collect outsized interest income on these positions due to the depressed prices. Our income holdings have an average current annual yield (income we receive as a percent of current market value of income securities held) of nearly 9%.
In the last few months we sold Sun Products bonds (just shy of $104), after the company was acquired by Henkel AG, and Brookfield Real Estate Services’ shares after the royalty company’s price ran up, in line with our fair value estimate.
Of note, regarding our top holdings in our income accounts: Specialty Foods, now an equity holding of a private company, is planning to return capital to us (see the reference under All Cap holdings above); JAKKS Pacific’s convertible bonds may benefit from the possibility of a buyout; Advantex Marketing debentures maturity was revised to December, from September, but it remains well secured by the company’s asset base; Ruby Tuesday’s bonds are well covered by underlying real estate; Enerdynamic Hybrid Technologies’ interest payments remain in arrears but the asset value is above the outstanding secured debt; Northwest International Healthcare Properties REIT’s units and bonds are underpinned by a stable income stream; Jackpot Digital’s convertible debentures are secured and the income stream is just beginning to ramp up; Gran Colombia convertible debentures benefited from the increase in gold bullion; and, Artis REIT where its diverse portfolio should allow the gap to FMV to narrow.
The Market for Stocks
We believe there is a risk of a correction in equity markets in light of the full valuation of U.S. equities. Currently, investors have turned more bullish with short interest at a 12-month low, the put/call ratio near a 2-year low and the Volatility Index also low, indicating most investors believe market risks are low. Many pundits are bearish, an opportunity for contrarians, but we think in the longer term markets are headed higher until the next recession. The market continues to be bifurcated, with prices of energy stocks and several other sectors relatively low, providing opportunities for a lift.
Clearly these are unusual economic times with interest rates so low and inflation and economic growth puny. But central banks are on our side, so global growth should accelerate, and money, always seeking to go where it’s treated best, should continue to go to stocks. And, as value investors we are individual stock pickers recognizing that we prefer the market for stocks rather than the stock market.
Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson October 6, 2016
See the full PDF below.