!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
THE FREE BULL MARKET REPORT for December 30, 2019

THE FREE BULL MARKET REPORT for December 30, 2019

The Weekly Summary

 

As the year winds up, the only question left for 2019 to answer is how far back you need to go to get a stronger year. The market this year is close to what we saw in 1998, and we would settle for matching that ultra-bullish dot-com boom. Beyond that, it only takes a few extra percentage points of victory lap before we need to pull out 1975 and even 1958 to find a comparable rally on the books.

 

Of course BMR stocks are up 41% so far this year, so we're rolling in outperformance either way. A full four of our recommendations doubled, tripled or quadrupled in 2019 and a wide range of others (including mighty Apple itself) are in the 80-95% zone. Only six BMR stocks went down. We're confident that they'll come back strong in 2020.

 

But then 2020 is the real question Wall Street needs to answer. In our view, the new year will start a lot like the last one, with stocks moving strong to the upside. All we need is a little relief on trade or some sunshine in the coming 4Q19 earnings season to carry the bulls into the summer, at which point the political landscape will undoubtedly get too hot for many investors to handle. That's all right. As long as we stick to our game plan, the election shouldn't hurt us one way or the other . . . and in any event, it's nearly a year down the road, so there isn't a lot of sense in worrying about the results at this stage.

 

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Gary Jefferson is back with a powerful look at what 2020 is likely to bring us, while The Big Picture focuses on the way markets can swing from dread to exuberance. The rally we're enjoying now isn't any more "irrational" than normal. As such, The High Yield Investor discusses some avenues if you're looking to lock in a little added income before the old year ends. We suggest taking a fresh look at Office Properties Income Trust and Omega Healthcare Investors.

 

The rest of our paid subscription newsletter is devoted to a few of our biggest winners of 2019 like Anaplan and Alphabet, along with some BMR stocks that fell hard in recent months but are already rebounding fast: Okta, Alteryx and Twitter.

 

Remember, the last day you can buy or sell stocks this year is Tuesday. Wednesday will be a market holiday and then we start fresh in 2020 on Thursday. As usual, our News Flashes will be a little light this week . . . if there's nothing to say, we won't bore you with filler. Instead, we'll be working behind the scenes to get you ahead of the new year.

 

Key Market Indicators

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BMR Companies and Commentary

 

The Big Picture: Animal Spirits In Control

 

Part of what won Yale economist Robert Shiller the Nobel Prize was his 2005 warning that the housing market was getting unsustainably overheated. Since then, people have come to him to tell the bulls they’ve gone too far. That’s why his recent admission that this record-breaking year on Wall Street is built on irrational factors is so illuminating. Shiller now sees “animal spirits” as the main factor driving what could easily become the best year since the 1950s.

 

He knows this isn’t logical. And he doesn’t mind. After all, the market isn’t always rational, but when something gets it moving away from the fundamentals, there’s no point in fighting the flow. You’ve simply got to know your own nature. If you aren’t confident enough to run with the bulls, stay on the sidelines and keep cashing 2% Treasury bond coupons. But there’s a lot of money to be made even in a frothy market. Once you let the bulls loose, they’ll run until they’re completely exhausted. Needless to say, we're excited. Even Bob Shiller seems relatively sanguine about how far this rally can continue in 2020 and beyond.

 

He’s far from alone. Sprawling trillion-dollar asset management complexes are sharing their 2020 outlooks now and they’re convinced bullish conditions will prevail for the foreseeable future. All we need is a mood strong enough to cut through the shocks. Wall Street isn’t climbing a wall of worry any more. We’re riding a wave of exuberance.

 

It really amounts to market physics. A stock in motion will remain in motion until an obstacle forces a course correction. At this point, there’s nothing big enough looming on the horizon to break the bulls’ stride. We’ve already lived through a year of trade war and earnings deterioration. That’s the status quo now, part of the background noise.

 

More importantly, it’s already built into the trailing year-over-year comparisons. We don’t need a big external stimulus like tax cuts or even the Fed to get the 2020 numbers going in the right direction. All we need is a little organic growth. That’s been building up behind the scenes as the Fed keeps interest rates low.

 

Builder confidence is at its highest level since 1999. New home sales are tracking at 2007 levels once again and there’s no ceiling in sight. This is just getting started. And even Bob Shiller, the housing bubble guy himself, has stopped fighting the mood. A year ago, he warned that the housing market reminded him of 2006, right before the crash. Conditions now look hotter than ever.

 

Shiller says it’s contagious. The impeachment hasn’t stopped it. The trade war hasn’t stopped it. Under normal circumstances, the bulls would have run out of breath by now. But while these aren’t normal circumstances, history shows that they aren’t absolutely unprecedented either. On Shiller’s scale, stocks are “quite high” now at a 30X inflation-adjusted earnings multiple.

 

Back in 1999, his metrics stretched a full 50% beyond where they are now. History didn’t end. This time around, they can go at least as far before they snap. After all, as Shiller says, we have a motivational speaker in the White House now, someone who loves to talk the market up when everyone else tries to talk it down. That's huge.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Anaplan (PLAN: $53, down 1% last week )

 

While Anaplan was down a bit over the past week, it has doubled in the past year and BMR subscribers have captured a healthy 42% of that gain after we added it to the Aggressive portfolio back in March. The company still has significant upside since growth prospects for its decision making software remain bright.

 

At the forefront of “Connected Planning,” a category that it has created and is a part of the cloud computing category, the technology allows companies to make faster, and, it believes better decisions. Anaplan’s technology, which it calls Hyperblock, connects data through various company’s departments rather than centralizing decision making within the finance department. Currently aimed at large enterprises, there is still plenty of room for growth. At the start of 2019, the company had 1,100 customers and only 250 were part of the Global 2000.

 

Recent results demonstrate the company’s growth prospects. In the fiscal third quarter (ended October 31), Anaplan’s rapid top-line growth continues, with revenue increasing 44%, from $62 million to $89 million. Although the company has a history of expanding losses, management has slowed down the rate of expense growth. For the most recent period, Anaplan’s operating loss narrowed to $32 million compared to third-quarter 2018’s $50 million operating loss. Management boosted its fiscal 2020 guidance, including raising their revenue expectation to a 44% top-line increase ($347 million) versus their prior 42% expectation, up from $240 million in 2019.

 

BMR Take: With its pristine balance sheet ($50 million in debt and $310 million in cash), this major disrupter still offers exciting growth prospects as large companies continue to adopt its technology, which includes machine learning and other artificial intelligence. Our Target is $75 and our Sell Price is $45 and we would expect the stock to reach new all-time highs above $60 in the first part of 2020.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Alphabet (GOOG: $1,352, flat)

 

The Search giant is up 30% for the year and is within 1% of an all-time record. Not bad for a company with a near-trillion-dollar market cap ($933 billion). The big news recently is that the founders have stepped back and turned over the running of the firm to Sundar Pichai. He’s been running the core Google business since 2015 but this latest promotion gives him a clear line of authority over the entire enterprise.

 

The search business is solid and obscenely profitable but is not growing terribly fast. Their cloud platform business however rose more than 80% last year, albeit still small at $4.4 billion in revenues. But give this two more years at this growth rate and you have a huge business generating big cash numbers. With revenue tracking near $160 billion in 2019, up from $137 billion in 2018 and $110 billion in 2017, there is nothing but more green ahead for the company.

 

They are also buying stock back like no tomorrow, with almost $6 billion being spent on shares in just the 3rd quarter.  With $120 billion in cash on the books, and generating over $2 billion a month, this type of buying could continue for months if not years into the future. After all, nobody talks about the M-word on the Street, but you have to admit, with 88% of the search market, this company is a monopoly.  Is there a risk of the governments of the world getting involved in Google’s business?  Yes, of course.

 

But we think this is highly unlikely and if we didn’t already own stock in the company, we would be happy to acquire shares of this fabulous firm as soon as the market opens for trading on Monday morning.  Trading at its all-time high, this concerns us not a bit. After all, why oh why do you think this company is trading at an all-time high?  Because it is a cash machine, now and in the future. Our Target is $1450 and our Sell Price is: We would not sell Google.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Twitter (TWTR: $32.50, up 1%)

 

What do you do when some of your favorites are down 20-50% from their highs? We go back to the basics.

 

We continue to love Twitter but the stock has been flat for months now, since October when it was trading in the low 40s. But many times the stock doesn’t tell the whole story.  Revenues are good, not spectacular, growing from $2.4 billion in 2017 to $3.0 billion in 2018. This year looks like they will hit the $3.5 billion level, with profits of $1.60 per share in 2018 and what looks like $2.40 in 2019.  Compared to a lot of other high-tech companies with virtually no earnings, it’s a nice breath of fresh air to see Twitter actually producing profits.

 

They still have a ton of cash at $5.8 billion, balancing $2.6 billion of debt. The exposure the company gets from our current president and from the world-changing events that it has been involved in (Arab Spring, Hong Kong) we expect good things from the company in the coming 5-10 years. We see the upside much greater than the downside risk. Our Target of $47 is Aggressive for this $25 billion company and our Sell Price of $25 will protect you on the downside.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

A Word From Gary Jefferson

Jefferson Financial Group
First Vice-President, Investments
UBS Financial Services, Inc.

 

After digesting dozens of 2020 forecasts from leading Wall Street firms and other outside resources, we want to give you our take on what WE see for the coming year.

 

First, we don't expect a bear market or a recession. The economy is doing great and it simply is not going to stop on a dime. The things that matter such as consumer confidence, consumer spending, wages, full employment, low interest rates and inflation are at some of the best levels we have seen in our lifetimes.

 

And the strong economy, of course, is what has and we believe is what will continue to energize the market in 2020. Just look at GDP. The final Q3 GDP estimate of 2.1% puts 2019's annual growth rate on pace to beat the average annual growth rate since this bull market began. Consumer Sentiment was up as well, rising to 99.3 from last month's 96.8.

 

Even though we key on earnings, if all one did was monitor the following four items, you could accurately forecast the strength of the economy with uncanny precision: GDP, employment, consumer sentiment and interest rates. All are really, really doing well.

 

Earnings are expected to slow down the first two quarters, but the positive impact from all of the prior rate cuts should hit bottom lines around the midpoint of next year. We anticipate positive growth in the first two quarters and up to 10% earnings growth across S&P 500 stocks for the full year. Thus, if there is going to be a sell-off or "correction," we expect it might be in January or February, triggered more by political consternation than lowered earnings estimates.

 

If we don't see a pullback early next year, we may have a period of volatility in the June area as politics heats up again with conventions and selections of final candidates. We expect these downswings, if they occur, will be headline-driven events and will therefore result in "buy-the-dip" opportunities for investors wanting to put extra cash to work.

 

What worked last year: Technology was the clear outperformer in 2019 while Energy was the largest underperformer. As we move in to 2020, we favor Communication Services and Consumer Discretionary stocks (including Amazon) and are not looking for much from either Technology or Energy. However, if Big Oil bounces back, it will come roaring back . . . in that scenario, we'll add to our coverage there.

 

Either way, as we view the entirety of the economy, tariffs, politics and the Fed, we believe all major sectors are capable of achieving low double-digit returns in 2020, while Consumer Staples, REITs, Utilities and Financials may still be capable of somewhat lower returns.

 

What we don't expect is smooth sailing throughout 2020. We expect plenty of volatility because of global trade tensions, Brexit and of course politics right here at home. We don't expect the Fed to raise or lower rates next year, but in case the economy needs a safety net, they will lower rates. Oil prices, of course, have always been a wild card, but we see plenty of supply to keep markets stable. We don't expect the president to be removed from office, but rather expect his pro-business policies (less government, fewer regulations and lower taxes) will continue to foster business growth and entrepreneurism.

 

As a comparison to what we expect, here is the case made by the Stock Trader's Almanac for 2020:

 

  • Worst Case: Correction but no bear in 2020. Flat to single digit loss for full year due to on-going unresolved trade deals, no improvement in earnings and growth weakens further. Trump is removed from office by the Senate, resigns or does not run and political uncertainty spikes.

 

  • Base Case: Average election year gains. Incumbent victory, trade and growth remain muddled, modest improvement in corporate earnings and Fed stays neutral to accommodative. 5-10% gains for DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ.

 

  • Best Case: Above average gains. Incumbent victory, trade resolved, growth improves, earnings improve and Fed stays neutral and accommodative. 7-12% for DJIA, 12-17% for S&P 500 and 17-25% for NASDAQ.

We lean toward the upside.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The High Yield Investor

 

As we look toward 2020, most investors have flipped from indulging their grimmest recession fears to a posture closer to our own bullish bias. That's ultimately a good thing. However, it also sets up volatility ahead when expectations get too far ahead of reality, even for a brief period of time. We are looking for good things from the coming year. We just know that the route is going to be far from smooth.

 

Our top High Yield priority for the coming year is simple: hold defensive positions and wait for money to flow out of these stocks before you expand your holdings. You should have locked in a reasonable quarter-to-quarter income stream to cushion the downswings, so chasing these stocks while yields are relatively low doesn't make a whole lot of strategic sense. The goal is to lock in the highest yields possible, which means waiting until these stocks are out of favor.

 

It will happen. For now, as long as the rest of the market is rallying, there isn't a whole lot of urgency in building up your defense. And if you're feeling nervous, we suggest capturing the biggest yields you can to offset the impact of negative real interest rates around the world. Remember, the Fed won't raise interest rates again before annual inflation reaches 2%, so locking in anything less for the long term means you're locking in at least a little purchasing power deterioration . . . you are guaranteed to lose money at the end of the road. Who wants that?

 

 

Most of our recommendations pay well above 5% and some carry much higher yields as the market pivots from defense to enthusiasm. We'd like to discuss two of our favorites here. The first is ............ AND THIS IS WHERE YOU WILL GET THE BEST VALUE FROM BEING A PAID SUBSCRIBER. GO HERE TO SUBSCRIBE. YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID:  www.BullMarket.com/subscribe

 

Good Investing,
Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

THE FREE BULL MARKET REPORT for December 23, 2019

THE FREE BULL MARKET REPORT for December 23, 2019

The Weekly Summary

 

December was chaotic last year, keeping investors glued to their screens as we watched a miserable season turn into one of the biggest rebounds in recent memory. This time around, conditions are unusually quiet as a late Thanksgiving turns into a compressed holiday season. Wall Street is already looking toward the Christmas and New Year breaks. So are we.

 

After all, Santa came early and often this year. The market as a whole has rebounded 28% YTD, handily recovering all ground lost in the 4Q18 rout and then continuing to push into record territory. The S&P 500 has now rallied a healthy 12% past last year's peak, with more than half of that surge coming in the last four months. Whether the motive is relief that we've skirted another year without a recession or more straightforward optimism, the mood is as good as it gets.

 

If anything, we're inclined to urge a little caution here. When a full 44% of investors are actively bullish and the so-called "greed index" flashing at extreme levels, this is as good a time as ever to take a little profit and rotate the returns back into stocks that haven't flown as far as the rest of your holdings or offer a comparable return for lower risk. The perfect time to buy was a year ago when everyone but us was terrified that the trade war and the Fed had triggered the end of the world. While today this is not an awful entry point, a selective approach can be your friend here . . . we would definitely not pour money into index funds right now.

 

After all, while the active BMR universe is up 42% so far this year, our stocks have tangible growth on their side. Earnings for the S&P 500, on the other hand, have spent the entire year in a stall, so there's no compelling mathematical reason for the index to keep moving up without straining historical multiples to the bubble point. Right now the market as a whole carries an 18X earnings multiple, well above the 15-16X that investors have normally been willing to pay.

 

In exchange for those inflated fundamentals, investors are getting negative growth. Those companies are actually tracking lower earnings than they did a year ago, and are likely to keep deteriorating at least into the 4Q19 reporting season. After that, we'll simply have to see if the combination of lower interest rates and a truce in the global trade war shakes a little growth free. If not, stocks will look increasingly vulnerable to any external shock to sentiment . . . the higher the multiples get, the more precipitous the fall from grace becomes.

 

However, there's a lot to be said for a sympathetic Federal Reserve and any relief from the trade war. The White House estimates that even Phase One in a deal with China coupled with a new NAFTA accord will boost GDP growth 0.5% in the coming year, which is enough to drive a so-so economic expansion into something approaching spectacular. It's definitely far from the recession zone that everyone was worried about a few months ago.

 

You need growth to decline in order to realistically talk about recession ahead. No decline means no recession. And no recession means people who retreated to the market sidelines are now having a hard time resisting the urge to get back in before they miss out completely.

 

Remember, while earnings haven't moved up in the past year, they haven't dropped a lot either. The trade war has delayed a lot of new corporate investment initiatives without driving executives to pull the plug on any established cost centers. We haven't seen mass layoffs. No sprawling Financial conglomerates or prominent hedge funds have imploded the last time the Treasury yield curve briefly inverted.

 

And that curve is healthier than a few months ago. Barring a lot of dread around the coming election, the rate environment once again reflects lower risk in the short term and higher uncertainty farther out into the future, exactly as it should. The Fed has done its work well. Investors have a reason to cheer.

 

So what can go wrong? While we are always quick to accentuate the positive, we also acknowledge that other investors make errors when the mood swings too far in either direction. Expectations can get stretched to unsustainable levels, setting up the next inevitable round of disappointment, second guessing and nervous selling. That's ultimately a good thing for those of us who have been watching and waiting for a chance to buy great stocks on the dip. Throughout our career (collectively well past a half century actively in the market) the long-term trend always points up and the dip is always worth buying.

 

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Gary Jefferson has the week off and with the holiday approaching, we decided to use his absence to try something new with an in-depth review of Todd's Stocks For Success. We hope that you come away from this issue with deeper understanding of why our founder likes Berkshire Hathaway so much. He would buy any of these stocks on weakness.

 

Finally, a scheduling note ahead of the Christmas holiday. The market will close early on Tuesday and stay shut until Thursday morning, so news will be light and our News Flashes will probably taper off a bit. We'll use the time to reflect on the year that's gone and cement our thinking on the year ahead. Ideally we'll also be able to update the site a little and perform other housekeeping as we get the portfolios in position for 2020.  We'll be in touch either way, but as always, we wish you a happy holiday and the best possible experience as an investor.

 

Key Market Indicators

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BMR Companies and Commentary

 

The Big Picture: Big Rally, Narrow Bench

 

 

While the last few months have been great for the S&P 500 and our stocks as well, the gains remain restricted to a narrow field of relatively safe bets. Investors simply aren't thinking outside the box right now. They're content to park their money in a few big stocks that don't require a lot of patience or even conviction. While we'd love a little of that capital to flow immediately to a few of our smaller and more neglected recommendations, we don't mind in the slightest.

 

For one thing, we already recommend many of the leaders. Just seven BMR stocks account for 40% of the S&P 500's gains for the past quarter, and Apple (AAPL: $279, up 2%) alone contributed almost half of that upside. If you weren't bullish on Apple in the last few months, you missed the boat. We were right to keep the giant in our sights, and it gave us everything we hoped to see. Apple has surged a full 77% this year, recovering $700 billion in market capitalization along the way.

 

Microsoft, Alphabet and to some extent Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson and Visa also contributed a significant amount to the market's gains in the last few months . . . not to mention the year as a whole. Big stocks got big because the enterprises driving them were some of the most dynamic companies around. This year, they got even bigger. All are hitting all-time highs. How far can they go before taking a break? We'll simply have to see, but as long as earnings keep outperforming everyone else around, the stocks have all the room they need.

 

Then there's Amazon (AMZN: $1,787, up 1%), which is as dynamic as ever but the stock hasn't gone anywhere in the last quarter. It's also down 12% from its peak, so there's no sense of straining any kind of historical limit. When investors come back, this can once again be a $2,000 stock and a trillion-dollar company. And in that scenario, the S&P 500 gets enough of a boost to break another record. No other stock has to do any work. Amazon can do it on its own.

 

We see that story play out again and again. A full 3 in 5 S&P 500 constituents are actively lagging the market and the lower you go on the market food chain, the rarer true leadership gets. A staggering 85% of the stocks on Wall Street have underperformed the S&P 500 this quarter. Most are doing okay. True losses are limited. They're simply getting left out.

 

But the market will never tolerate an imbalance for long. Sooner or later, one or more giants will hit a wall and the money that's flowing to them now will rotate into smaller stocks. When that happens, we'll have a reason to cheer. On average, our recommendations are still down 12% from their 52-week highs, let alone lifetime peak levels. We've come a long way back in the last few months without even clearing what are still formally correction conditions from late in the summer, when Technology took a huge step back. There's money to be made here.

 

Look at Roku (ROKU: $137, up 3%). It's up close to 350% YTD but is 22% off its peak. That's an opportunity. Even though a handful of giant companies are doing most of Wall Street's work, plenty of smaller names keep breaking records as well. Splunk (SPLK: $151, up 5% this week), for example, is once again within sight of an all-time high, set in early December, capping a year that's literally run rings around the market as a whole. This stock has gained 44% YTD but the ride has been wild. We've seen it plunge from above $140 to below $110 twice this year, so the moral here is to hold on tight through the retreats.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B: $226, flat last week but setting an all-time high)

 

This stock is a must-own. If you believe in America, then Berkshire is the place to put your money where your mouth is. The stock is worth $553 billion, making it one of the top 10 largest companies in the world.  Do you want to know what they do?  Well, here it is, straight from Yahoo Finance. Breathe it all in:

 

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., through its subsidiaries engages in insurance, freight rail transportation, and utility businesses. It provides property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, as well as life, accident, and health reinsurance; and operates railroad systems in North America. The company also generates, transmits, stores, and distributes electricity from natural gas, coal, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, and geothermal sources; operates natural gas distribution and storage facilities, interstate pipelines, and compressor and meter stations; and holds interest in coal mining assets. In addition, it offers real estate brokerage services; and leases transportation equipment and furniture. Further, the company manufactures boxed chocolates and other confectionery products; specialty chemicals, metal cutting tools, and components for aerospace and power generation applications; flooring, insulation, roofing and engineered, building and engineered components, paints and coatings, and bricks and masonry products, as well as offers homebuilding and manufactured housing finance; recreational vehicles, apparel products, jewelry, and custom picture framing products; and alkaline batteries. Additionally, it manufactures castings, forgings, fasteners/fastener systems, and aerostructures; titanium, steel, and nickel; and seamless pipes and fittings. The company distributes newspapers, televisions, and information; franchises and services quick service restaurants; distributes electronic components; and offers logistics services, grocery and foodservice distribution services, professional aviation training programs, and fractional aircraft ownership programs. In addition, it retails automobiles; furniture, bedding, and accessories; household appliances, electronics, and computers; jewelry, watches, crystal, china, stemware, flatware, gifts, and collectibles; kitchenware; and motorcycle accessories. 

Here are the company’s top five holdings:

 

Apple 

Comprising 24% of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, Apple represents Buffett's largest holding, with a whopping 250 million shares in the tech giant, as of November 2019. Currently worth approximately $65 billion, in 2018, Apple surpassed Wells Fargo to capture the #1 spot after Berkshire Hathaway purchased additional shares of the Steve Jobs-founded company in February of that year.

 

Bank of America

Warren Buffett's second-largest holding is in Bank of America, valued at $27 billion and comprising 13% of his portfolio. Buffett's interest in this company began in 2011 when he helped solidify the firm's finances, following the 2008 economic collapse. Investing in Bank of America, which is the nation's second-largest bank by assets, falls in line with Buffett's attraction to financial stocks, including Wells Fargo & Company and American Express (see below).

 

The Coca-Cola Company

Buffett once claimed to consume at least five cans of Coca-Cola per day, which may explain why the Coca-Cola stock is his third-largest holding. But one thing is for certain: Buffett appreciates the durability of the company’s core product, which has remained virtually unchanged over time, with the exception of the ill-fated "New Coke" formula rebranding, in the mid-1980s. This makes sense, given that Buffett started buying Coca-Cola shares in the late 1980s, following the stock market crash of 1987. Presently with 400,000,000 shares, valued at $22,000,,000,000, Coca-Cola accounts for 10% of the portfolio.

 

Wells Fargo

At 9% of his portfolio, Buffett currently holds shares valued at over $19 billion. Although this is Buffett's fourth-largest position, Wells Fargo previously occupied the top slot for many years. A series of scandals that began in 2016, including the creation of millions of dummy bank accounts, unauthorized modifications to mortgage plans, and the fraudulent sale of unnecessary car insurance, has hurt the bank's reputation.

 

American Express

This company is the third financial services company to make Buffett's top five list, occupying 8% of the portfolio. Valued at nearly $18 billion, Buffett acquired his initial stake in the credit card company in 1963, when it sorely needed capital to expand its operations. Buffett has since been a savior to the company, many times over, including during the 2008 financial crisis. With 12.5% average annual return over the past quarter-century, American Express has proven to be a valuable asset. 

 

We’d like to say THEY COVER IT ALL.  Again, if you believe in America and free enterprise, you might just want to buy one share of the A series – it’s only $340,000 per share!  (A good friend of ours used to call us up at the office back in our Morgan Stanley days in the 1990s and would leave a message: “I just called to place an order for 100 shares.” That’s when the stock sold for $35,000 a share, so 100 shares was worth $3.5 million. He thought this was hilarious!  Well, how about now? 100 shares is worth $34 million! HAHA.

 

What’s the point about all of this hilarity?  Get a piece of this company. 10 shares. 100 shares. 1000 shares. Whatever you can afford. You’ll never regret it. Our Target of $230 is about to be breached. We hereby raise it to $255. Our Sell Price remains the same:  We would not sell Berkshire Hathaway.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Good Investing,
Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: October 7, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: October 7, 2019

The Weekly Summary

 

We talked about "rotation" throughout September. Last week the circular forces of market sentiment gave us a big win, with our Aggressive portfolio surging 5% and our High Technology recommendations adding another 4% to that score. As a result, the BMR universe as a whole made some nice progress while the S&P 500 dropped 1%. Any week where you keep making money in the face of a broad market decline is a good one.

 

We have a track record of outperformance to maintain. Thanks to this week, our YTD is once again close to double what the S&P 500 has produced. BMR stocks are up 33% compared to 18% in the broad market. Looking toward the final quarter of a bumpy year, we're excited to see how much farther we can extend that lead over the next three months, no matter whether Wall Street pivots up or down.

 

All the twists in last week's market mood played out in our daily News Flashes. If you didn't get those, you're not a subscriber. Want a free trial? Let us know!

 

If the bulls are back in charge, our stocks have more room to run before straining historical limits. Despite the volatility of the last few weeks, the S&P 500 is only 2% from its record peak. The BMR universe, on the other hand, has already absorbed a full correction without losing their aplomb or endangering their YTD gains, so we don't need to break any records to keep this rally going.

 

Either way, we have a strong defense to go with our high-scoring recommendations. As the coming earnings season evolves, the end of 2019 could play out like what we saw last year or finally give investors a reward for their long-term perseverance. A year ago, Wall Street was on the verge of a serious correction. Having already stomached a lot of that downside this time around, we see no reason our outperformance can't continue no matter where the S&P 500 twists.

 

That twist may go down. While Friday revealed that the job market is pensive enough to justify at least one more interest rate cut, the trade war, stalled earnings, and indifferent economic data keep many investors on edge. The Fed now has a tight needle to thread. If rates go down because a strong economy isn't generating inflation, Wall Street will cheer. However, every hint of a recession ahead will feed the negativity that is already holding some of our favorite stocks back.

 

We'd rather live in a boom and swallow the occasional rate hike than watch the Fed struggle to keep the economy from stalling. But until corporate earnings demonstrate that the boom is back, investors will vacillate and stocks will spin. The good news is that the next quarterly earnings cycle starts on October 15 with the big Banks. Once the season gets underway, we'll know a lot more about how the year will end.

 

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know! Let's get to work. It's going to be an interesting week.

 

Key Market Indicators

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BMR Companies and Commentary

 

The Big Picture: The Dogs Of Fear Aren't Barking

 

After another week of yield-paying sectors smashing all-time records while the high-tech heart of Wall Street remains depressed, other investors are starting to hum the refrain we started singing last week. Money is flowing into Utilities, Real Estate and Consumer Staples at the fastest rate in years, stretching normal valuations and leaving more dynamic areas of the market gasping.

 

In our view this is less about a true flight to safety and more about investors around the world reaching for better income than what they can get in the Treasury market or in overseas bonds that pay negative interest. That’s an important distinction. No matter what you hear, we aren’t facing a lot of fear right now. We’re dealing with a species of greed.

 

Risk tolerances haven’t collapsed. Bond yields around the world have. And as money inches out of bonds in search of reasonable returns, yields in the stock market follow bond rates lower.

 

We’ve talked last week about the premium risk-averse investors are paying for relief from recession anxiety without having to accept the negative inflation-adjusted income they’d get from Treasury bonds.  If prices are climbing 1.7% a year and the Fed won’t raise rates before inflation hits 2%, buying middle-term government debt will leave you with less purchasing power when those bonds mature than what you have now.

 

That’s only an acceptable strategy if you’ve abandoned hope for anything in the global markets doing better than breaking even. We’re naturally on the side of doing better. So are like most realistic investors who recognize that the world is a long way from the point where locking the doors against absolute disaster is the only move that makes sense.

 

However, some moves only make sense because every other option has a worse outcome. That’s where we think Utilities and Consumer Staples stocks are now. They’re not objectively bad as places to park cash ahead of an economic storm. But when you see better alternatives as we do, these sectors look bloated and on their way to outright bubble territory.

 

Utilities, for example, usually command a slight premium because their dividends are about as reliable as it gets, and people will pay extra for that kind of clarity. However, that premium has expanded a lot in the last few months. Three months ago, these stocks were available for 19.1X earnings against an 18.4X multiple for the S&P 500 as a whole. As of last week, the S&P 500 valuation hasn’t changed while Utilities are at the point where they cost 20.9X earnings to buy in.

 

Admittedly, Utilities still pay a 1% higher dividend yield than the S&P 500, but when you’re weighing whether to lock in 2.8% or 1.8% (before factoring in inflation) nobody is reaping huge windfalls here. That’s why we tend to skip the sector in order to focus on Real Estate, where yields remain higher, especially on the specific stocks we recommend.

 

But the real arbiter of value in a defensive portfolio is the amount of extra income investors can squeeze out of the stocks they pick while their money is parked. With Treasury debt, the rate you lock in is the interest you’ll receive. The odds of a default are as close to zero as it gets. Everywhere else, you’re accepting a little risk that a company will run out of cash and cut its dividend or skip a payment.

 

The higher the spread, the greater the perceived risk. Treasury rates have reached 1.35% so the bottom of the risk/return curve is almost as low as it gets right now. Five-year bonds bottomed out at 1.26% at the end of 2008, when it really looked like Wall Street’s world was ending and overnight lending rates were effectively zero. Back then, Utilities paid 4.2% to reflect the elevated risk that these companies would fail to meet their shareholder obligations. The spread naturally rose to roughly 3 percentage points. A lot of people were scared.

 

What happened, of course, is that the sector didn’t even blink. It would take a disaster greater than 2008 to interrupt the income investors receive here. And because the spread between Utilities and Treasury yields has narrowed to 1.5 percentage points (half what it was in 2008), the bond market is signaling that default risk has receded a lot over the past decade.

 

Likewise, we can track the spread between “defensive” yields and what investors get from the S&P 500 as a whole. Normally we expect Utilities to pay 2.4% more than the broad market. The spread is now barely 1 percentage point wide now. There just isn’t a lot of room left there for more money to crowd into the sector before the risk curve breaks. Back in 2008, for example, the yield spread between Utilities and the S&P 500 narrowed to barely 1.2 percentage point. We’re close to that historical limit now.

 

We’re lingering on this math to give you a better sense of how the current rush to defense is distorted in any reasonable historical context. If the world right now feels like it did at the end of 2008, then locking in these abnormally low yields and compressed risk spreads makes sense as the best way to sidestep any significant economic threat. Otherwise, the math doesn’t add up. The usual statistical indicators that accompany real fear in the market simply aren’t there.

 

To borrow a line from the Sherlock Holmes stories, the dog isn’t barking. Maybe there’s no dog.

 

And in that scenario, money will soon flow back out of overcrowded yield stocks into what are now underrated areas of the market. Our High Technology and Aggressive portfolios are already rebounding and unlike a lot of defensive stocks, have a lot of room to continue their rally. We know how high these companies can go when Wall Street is in an optimistic mood and as fast as their fundamentals are expanding, the ceiling keeps rising.

 

After all, the thing about locking in a yield is that you’re also locking out a lot of upside. We’re willing to do it with Real Estate and Big Pharma because those companies are dynamic enough to generate additional cash from year to year. That cash then feeds into additional dividends or gives investors a reason to buy the stocks at ever-higher levels. In our view, they’re in the sweet spot between a strong defense and enough offense to stay open to ambient economic growth.

 

However, locking in less than 3% elsewhere in the market right now locks out a lot of upside. How high can Utilities go, for example, when earnings in the sector are inching up 2% a year? If the stocks rally much faster than that, already-stretched valuations get even more extreme until finally there just isn’t any justification to keep buying.

 

The market as a whole, meanwhile, tends to beat Utilities by at least 2 percentage points a year. Our stocks do even better. The slow years aren’t great but the fast years more than make up for them, while our own high yield recommendations provide a cushion to encourage patience through the rough spots in the economic cycle.

 

Knowing that a portion of our universe is paying 5% (the REIT portfolio) to 7% (the High Yield recommendations) gives us that cushion and that patience.

 

 

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 23, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 23, 2019

The Weekly Summary

Rotation worked against us early this month but now the inevitable market pendulum swings back in our favor. BMR stocks rebounded nearly 1% last week, led by a stunning 6% surge in the Aggressive portfolio. Evidently these companies weren't as "toxic" as some people on Wall Street wanted us to believe. Those who sold the dip are regretting their lack of conviction now. Those who bought, on the other hand, are already making money.

That's what it's all about. While a few of our highest-flying recommendations remain a magnet for opportunistic negativity from analysts looking to make a name for themselves, it's hard to get too worried when we've watched this game play out many times in the past. A stock that climbs 300% can afford to give up a lot of that ground in a very short period of time . . . and longer-term shareholders will barely even flinch.

With the BMR universe once again up 60% in the aggregate, we're not quite in flinch-free mode yet, but we acknowledge that volatility cuts both ways. Stocks that fly tend to fall fast. As long as they fly more than they fall, we simply keep our eyes on what ultimately matters: performance. That's part of what this week's Big Picture is about. Our recommendations aren't just up 60% in their time with us (compared to roughly a 12% time-adjusted return for the S&P 500). They're up 13% over the trailing 12 months . . . a period where the market as a whole stalled.

Right now our stocks are still in correction territory while the S&P 500 is back around record levels. When rotation finishes playing out and BMR stocks catch up to where the broad market is now, this is the kind of environment where alert subscribers can boost their lifetime scores quite a bit.

And then there's the Fed. As recent News Flashes discussed, we got that 0.25% rate cut after all. Jay Powell didn't have any surprises up his sleeve and said as much in the press conference. He's watching the same data points we are. When they stack up to a rate hike, we'll know. Otherwise, it looks like interest rates will decline as long as inflation remains below 2%. We like that a lot. It pulls money out of Treasury bonds into higher-yield investments like the ones on our portfolios. And it supports the economy, feeding growth and giving our more dynamic stocks plenty of room to move.

People can try to find a negative long-term spin there, but once again, it's hard to argue coherently that this is anything but good news in the short term. Meanwhile, the trade war seems to have calmed down for a few weeks. The Saudi oil production outage was a non-shock as far as the market was concerned. Earnings season is coming. Now is the time for investors to shake off months of dread and capture opportunities.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know! Let's get to work. It's going to be an interesting week.

Key Market Indicators

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: Plenty Of Headroom Here

We talked a lot over the summer about the way corporate fundamentals still support further upside for the market as a whole. That math has not changed, so it’s no surprise that the S&P 500 is once again on the edge of record territory. And ironically enough, BMR stocks have even further to go before their earnings stretch logic to the limit.

The S&P 500 hit yet another record on Thursday and remains within 2% striking distance of that peak. That’s the good news. While it’s encouraging to see the market is still moving in the right direction, the gains have gotten slim when you balance the downswings against the rallies. All in all, from last year’s peak to now, index fund investors have a mediocre 3.7% to show for all the headaches along the way.

It’s not hard to understand their frustration. Money parked in one-year Treasury bills a year ago would have earned 2.6% with minimal risk, so these investors have effectively traded all those months of nerve wracking volatility for an extra 1% return on their money. Was it worth it? Another year of this will really test their patience.

However, BMR stocks have collectively rallied about 14% over the same period, so even though we’ve definitely felt the same volatility the market as a whole has had to absorb, our patience has at least earned a more significant reward. That’s the way the market is supposed to work. The secret is that the BMR universe has a lot more fundamental fire on its side.

After all, the S&P 500 has a sound reason to be roughly where it was a year ago. Back then, we were projecting forward earnings of about $173 for the index, which would have reflected close to 11% growth. Through all the angst about the yield curve and the trade war, we’re now looking at nearly $177 in S&P 500 earnings for next year, which is a little more than 10% growth.

Run all the numbers and the stocks that commanded a 17X earnings multiple then still rate the same multiple now. Almost identical fundamentals combined with an almost identical outlook justify almost identical valuations today. The only thing that’s changed is interest rates, which support another 3-4% upside for the S&P 500 every time the Fed relaxes. If that means another two rate cuts over the coming year, maybe those index fund investors will be able to look at their statements next September and cheer 12% returns over the trailing two-year period.

Our stocks will leave them in the dust. Part of what makes us so confident is the fact that while earnings for the broad market have stalled over the past year, the BMR universe kept expanding. Last quarter alone we saw 45% earnings growth across our portfolios. In the coming 3Q19 reporting cycle we’re looking for at least 10% growth to continue. That’s enough to keep stocks climbing at a healthy rate even if investors aren’t willing to embrace higher multiples.

If anything, all it takes is a shift back to historical multiples to give our stocks what they need to run a victory lap in the coming year. While the S&P 500 is now 1% below its peak, very few BMR recommendations are that close to straining their known limits. The exceptions are on the defensive side. Several of our REITs are only one good day from climbing to fresh peaks, and our High Yield portfolio is likewise within range of its best levels of the year.

But most BMR stocks are still a long way from their peaks. We estimate that even if they only revert to their recent highs our subscribers can add an easy 15% to the current score. That gives us plenty of headroom. Factoring in the Fed’s trajectory raises the ceiling from there.

Of course high multiples can always get compressed if investors lose their appetite for dramatic growth stories. That’s the case with a few of BMR stocks that dropped fast over the summer. [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY]  supported an aggressive but justified 106X earnings multiple before its 2Q19 report. With revenue projections as strong as ever and the bottom line rising a little faster than expected, the company’s valuation has dropped to 76X earnings.

That’s extremely close to the 71X lower limit reached at the depths of last year’s correction. Unless the market has permanently abandoned the principle of paying more for faster growth, there’s no reason to suspect the stock will be stuck here long . . . especially with the Fed on the move. A year ago, interest rates were higher and the stock commanded a 125X multiple.

[SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] is a similar story. The people arguing so passionately that the stock is only worth $60 today think the stock is only worth 7X sales. We’ve seen that multiple swing from a 3X low back in December to as high as 18X a few weeks ago. The extreme might be too high to sustain, but it’s clearly within the realm of reason to see at least test that level again on the right turn of the market tide.

Meanwhile, every quarter beyond breakeven gives us a sense of how much the market will pay for every penny this company earns. The math naturally improves when you’re profitable. We suspect previous valuations are far from the ultimate limit here.

We could give you similar comparisons for our other high-growth recommendations, but relatively mature companies like [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] provide the most compelling demonstration of all. When this was a $120 stock early in the summer, the market was willing to pay 40X earnings for a taste. Here at a 33X multiple, it’s like the clock wound back to February. And people who bought this stock in February are up 10% since then.

Stock after stock, the lesson is clear. As long as the fundamentals are progressing in line with expectations, any significant selling is a buy signal. Sooner or later, the market mood will swing and reflate the multiples to at least what we've seen in the past. We aren't assuming anything more aggressive than that to fuel continued outperformance.

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 16, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 16, 2019

The Weekly Summary

Every so often, investors benefit from a simple gut check. When our stocks are going up, it's nice to verify that the gains are truly justified and there's room for more upside when the market winds blow in the right direction. And when our stocks go down, it's even more important to make sure that it's just the wind and not something fundamentally wrong with the underlying business or our calculations.

That's the kind of week it's been for us. While the S&P 500 kept climbing, the high-growth stocks that dominate our universe took a significant step back after months of outperformance. The Aggressive group dropped 9% and our High Technology portfolio fell 5%, overcoming mild strength elsewhere. Simultaneously, the recent flight to dividend stocks unwound as hints of inflation softened the Fed rate cut outlook, taking our REIT and Healthcare recommendations with it. Caught between the frying pan and the fire, the BMR universe as a whole took a step back to regroup.

We're still up 35% YTD compared to a 21% gain for the market as a whole. The High Technology group is still up a breathtaking 75% YTD. We aren't crying. With that level of outperformance, our stocks have plenty of cushion to absorb a few percentage points worth of reversal. Nonetheless, it's prompted a lot of rechecking throughout our portfolios. You're seeing the first results of that new round of analysis here. So far, we see no reason to change course.

But it's worth reflecting a bit on the change in the market weather. Almost exactly a year ago, warnings from Big Tech companies like Apple and Amazon triggered what eventually became a full-fledged 20% market slide. It took a full 12 months for the S&P 500 to recover its record-breaking nerve and get back to the age-old job of conquering new peaks.

Of course back then interest rates were moving up instead of down. Otherwise, the only thing that's really changed is that investors have now tolerated a full year of volatility, twisted Treasury yields, trade war and flat corporate earnings. The question now is how far their patience will stretch before they need proof of better times ahead.

From what we've seen, it can stretch a long way, especially with other asset classes yielding less than what ambient inflation steals from purchasing power in a typical year. Bonds, cash and gold are safe but don't offer the upside that stocks, despite their risk, offer in the long term. And as a result, we suspect we'll see money keep coming in from the sidelines to keep the stock rally alive, even if it's on a stop-and-start basis until positive catalysts emerge.

The Fed has become one of those catalysts. The next rate policy meeting ends on Wednesday and we're expecting at least a 0.25% cut. From there, we aren't ruling anything out. Odds are good Jay Powell and his fellow central bankers are in a similar position. They're watching the economy and the market. If it looks like the mood needs a little support, they're in a place where they can provide it.

We may need that support in the coming week if Saudi oil distribution remains shut down for long. Drone attacks on a key field have taken 5.7 million barrels a day out of the global supply chain, reducing the amount of petroleum available by 5% . . . roughly what Iran and Iraq pump together. Oil futures are soaring. We're pleased that we've remained bullish on [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] for moments like this. Whatever happens, that fund should be a ray of light until the market mood improves.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know! Let's get to work. It's going to be an interesting week.

Key Market Indicators

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: Short Sellers Take Cover

We discussed the market’s strategic gyrations in recent morning News Flashes but want to highlight a few of the most specific swings in sentiment around the stocks we recommend. After all, when money reverses direction for no clear reason, investors need to look deeper to determine whether the core proposition has shifted or just the market weather.

Only five BMR companies missed our earnings target last quarter. They’re up an average of 5% since releasing their numbers, so clearly there’s no direct correlation between fundamental disappointment and the direction stocks move in response. In fact, the BMR stocks that beat our forecasts actually dropped a little this season in line with the market as a whole.

Likewise, hitting the mark on revenue made no real difference in terms of the direction our stocks have moved this season. And in most cases, guidance for the coming quarterly confession cycle has held up better than usual. Strong stocks are getting stronger, but the highest flyers spent the last month under a cloud all the same.

Part of the pressure on these companies is pure macroeconomic dread. The recession narrative exploded last month as hedge fund algorithms interpreted the inverting yield curve as an automatic contraction signal, triggering liquidation of speculative positions as portfolio managers shifted into more secure postures. Suddenly growth fell from favor, taking many BMR stocks along with it.

A look at [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] reveals what’s going on here. The growth outlook for this company has not changed and unless you assume that the global economy is going over a cliff, management is still on track to turn what we suspect will be 35% revenue growth next year into at least 65% earnings expansion. None of the dozen big Wall Street banks that track the stock have concluded that growth profile has flattened out one bit. If anything, they still tell their clients this stock is worth at least $140.

And yet that math no longer stretches the way it did a week ago when this was indeed a $145 stock. What’s changed is investors’ comfort with paying up to 190X earnings or 19X revenue for a company growing this fast. Again, cash flow shows no sign of deterioration but after the recent selloff this and similar stocks have cooled down dramatically from the “price” end of the price-per-earnings or price-per-sales calculations.

We see this as just another turn in the market weather. When the sentimental pendulum swings back, this company can command at least $145 again and investors who buy the dip will be happy. But in the meantime, BMR subscribers have done extremely well here, so even if this correction continues for weeks or even months, there’s little reason to complain. This was a $58 stock when we added it to our Buy List back in November. It’s still up nearly 90% this year alone.

For now, however, the short sellers will remain in control until they realize they’ve run out of rope. Short interest here has climbed to 11% of the stock, which means that sooner or later those investors need to commit $735 million to cover their positions and take their money. If they can’t do it gradually, they’ll need to do it fast, which raises the prospect of a squeeze if the stock starts moving up this week.

Quite a few of our recommendations are in a similar situation right now. We’d point to aggressive growth stories that have faced fierce headwinds after reporting perfectly reasonable 2Q19 numbers. It’s no coincidence that short sellers have committed to buy 9-11% of each stock, so there’s no reason for us to liquidate our positions here and make their victory any easier.

And then there’s [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY], where short interest has swelled to a huge and unsustainable 15% of the overall company. Institutional investors own 15% of the stock so even small positions like ours can make a difference in whether the shorts get what they need. If we hold on, we’ll see more sudden moves to the upside to balance the pain we’ve absorbed recently . . . and then the stocks will get back to work.

After all, these six stocks are still up an average of 30% YTD, beating the S&P 500 by 10 percentage points. We're the ones in a position of strength, and judging from the wild rebound [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] launched last week, the short sellers should be the ones who are nervous. If you've been looking for a chance to expand your holdings of any of these stocks, now is the time. Remember, if the fundamental picture changes, we'll tell you. And unless that picture changes, it's just the wind blowing against extremely constructive cash flow trends.

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 9, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 9, 2019

The Weekly Summary

The week after a market holiday is usually frenetic and this one was no exception, packing at least five days of volatility into an abbreviated calendar. Relief was the strongest note driving the S&P 500 and our stocks up close to 2%, with news that China has agreed to participate in trade negotiations in October cutting through the global clouds.

Closer to home, August job creation numbers were decent . . . a little lower than some hoped, but well within the range that usually reflects an ongoing economic expansion. We're a long way from recession territory even though corporate hiring plans remain on hold while the world waits for the trade war to resolve. In the meantime, any slippage in the job market will strengthen the Federal Reserve's argument to keep lowering interest rates in the absence of inflation.

We're less than 10 days from the next Fed meeting now. If we get the 0.25% cut most investors expect, it probably translates into roughly a 3.5% bump up for the S&P 500. Catch the market mood in the right place and that's going to take stocks back to record levels. It's hard to complain about that.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know!

Key Market Indicators

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: The Sector Map Spins

With earnings stalled across the S&P 500 as a whole for the past nine months, most of the market activity this year is best interpreted as Wall Street’s effort to pivot to match changing investment priorities. Popular growth sectors are currently out of favor as their expansion hits a wall. And with defensive themes already looking rich, there isn’t a lot of “value” around in the traditional sense.

However, a month from now the pendulum can easily swing again, pulling cash away from today’s hot spots and pushing it back into areas of the market that don’t look attractive at all. We’ve seen it play out again and again over the year so far and will undoubtedly see the cycle continue until clear leadership emerges.

Cut through the cycle and one thing is clear. Investors fleeing declining yields in the bond market are hunting replacements for lost income, parking money in dividend-paying stocks instead of rolling it into newly issued Treasury debt. They don’t want to take on a lot of additional risk in the process, so only the safest economic havens have benefited.

Over the last 12 months, the Utilities are up 15%, which is a staggering rally for a sector that rarely moves at all. We haven’t bothered with these stocks for two reasons. First, our more growth-oriented recommendations have done much better. Second, the Utilities don’t actually pay much. Dividends across the sector only added up to 4% a year ago and now that the stocks have rallied they don’t even pay 3% a year. That’s not worth locking in.

Similar logic carries to the Consumer Staples and Real Estate sectors, both of which have rallied 13% over the last 12 months. We love Real Estate because the yields tend to be much higher and a year ago the stocks were deeply depressed. Where are the REIT bears now? We don’t hear them.

Otherwise, it’s been a dull year for the market. Technology has gained ground because that’s where the long-term growth is. Consumer Discretionary stocks have also done well because that’s where Amazon is. And Communications is all about Social Media stocks recovering from a terrible 1H18. Healthcare, Materials, Industrials, Financials and especially Energy have all suffered.

Again, this isn’t about relative growth or value. Healthcare, for example, had a huge 2Q19, with the sector as a whole reporting 9% stronger earnings than what we saw the previous year. That’s usually a catalyst to push the stocks into a rally. This time around, the group went nowhere. The Financials told a similar story.

For the long term, the Financials are also extremely attractive on a pure earnings basis. The big Banks and Insurance carriers are still growing at a healthy 5% rate, but as long as the yield curve is unsettled few investors want to go near the stocks. The sector barely commands a 13X earnings multiple now, half what we see in most other areas of the market. Energy doesn’t look much stronger. They’ll recover, but until they do, we see little point in widening our sector-weight Special Opportunities exposure to either group, no matter how “cheap” they look today. (We’re not fond of that word.)

So what does this mean? If you tried to capture growth this year on a sector level, you’ve been disappointed. Our strategy of selecting the right stocks regardless of sector has paid off a lot better. BMR recommendations have climbed 20% over the past 12 months. And while we're heavy on Technology, that sector as a whole has been no prize. Going all over the market map has given us the freedom to outperform. We're looking forward to more, even if the market as a whole keeps grinding its gears.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know!

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.