A jagged week continues. At least where BMR stocks are concerned, it's not the fundamentals. It's just the mood. But while the mood can swing, the fundamentals set the tone for the next three months.
While the market carved out a win yesterday on reports that "China wants to make a deal very badly," we don't expect the road to that deal to be instantaneous or smooth. Every investor has already seen how precarious these trade negotiations are and how fast the discussion can deteriorate when it stalls. As far as we're concerned, a deal happens when it happens, and we don't expect it soon.
In the meantime, we will spend our energy making sure our stocks have what it takes to roll with the market's shifting moods and emerge on the other side. That was in the background of our July 18 suggestion that it was time to lock in a little profit and shift to yield-bearing havens. We had no way of knowing for sure that the market was only 1% away from hitting a short-term ceiling, but when sentiment started getting out of touch with the actual earnings companies were reporting, it was a pretty good sign that things were about to get bumpy.
Since then, the S&P 500 and our universe are down 3%. Our REITs, on the other hand, are down only 1% while the High Yield portfolio is actually up more than 1% while our Healthcare stocks have climbed over 2%. Investors looking for more income than what Treasury bonds now provide are chasing dividends. Even yesterday, the REITs outperformed as people crowd into the sector looking for havens.
If the last few weeks have you on edge, it's not too late to review your portfolio and rebalance your allocations to dividend-paying stocks. However, if you're willing to give the trade war time to play out, there's nothing to do but wait for resolution. It might take months or even another year, but in the meantime, companies with strong cash flow will outperform everything else. When the market is on an upswing, they rise the most. When it dips, they can fall just as hard, but they usually recover fastest.
And that's why we're still committed to the BMR stocks that reported yesterday (and throughout the season), no matter how the market reacted. Moods come and go, shifting on rumors and intangibles. The numbers are destiny.
CyberArk Software (CYBR: $116, down 13% this week) is a great example. This morning's earnings report did everything it needed to do. Revenue hit $100 million, up 29% from last year and a full $3 million better than our target. That's the sweet spot of scale, with earnings per share jumping 64% to $0.59 when we would have been happy with $0.47. Management is more optimistic about the future than we expected, confirming that our projections for the current quarter are a little low.
So why did the stock sink 9% yesterday? China isn't a concern. The company is based in Israel so it doesn't pay tariffs either way. Most of its customers are in North America anyway. We suspect CyberArk simply hit the headlines on a day when investors were nervous, and after a 72% YTD rally this looked like a good place to take some profit off the table and hide. We strongly disagree. The fundamentals haven't bent. People who bought in at $148 two weeks ago had a good reason and since cash flow has improved since then, the argument gets better. When the mood turns, this can easily be a $150 stock.
Likewise, TPI Composites (TPIC: $25, flat) beat expectations last night. Revenue came in at $330 million despite the lingering impact of a strike at the company's Mexican factory early this year. That's 40% above last year and $2 million more than we anticipated. While we had accepted the prospect of seeing up to a $0.25 per-share loss, management shocked us with a $0.05 gain. That's astounding. The outlook for 2020 sales came up a full $100 million as well . . . as the CEO vows, revenue will approach $2 billion a year over the next 12 months. Last quarter (1Q19) was an aberration - a customer went bankrupt, a strike in Mexico. The company took the medicine and pre-reported a few weeks early. We wanted $0.06 and got a $0.35 loss. However, it's now time to embrace the future.
That's exactly what investors are doing with Roku (ROKU: $101, flat early this week but soaring to $113 overnight). Sometimes the numbers are just too good to ignore or for China to get in the way. We only needed $224 million in revenue and expected a $0.21 per-share loss. We got a full $250 million and a loss of only $0.08. That's a big quarter. Sales are up nearly 60%, led by a stunning 85% uptick in Advertising revenue. The business model works. Nobody can ignore it. We suspect Roku will hit our $125 Target soon. Watch this space.