Goodness gracious, the world appears to be running amuck these days!
I mean the latest ISIS-targeted Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) turned out to be a real mother-EXPLETIVE DELETED when deployed in Afghanistan — collapsing a metaphorical long-used highway for smuggling munitions, and Jihadist insurgents, to and from the most radical-Islamic region of Pakistan (once the hideout of the now deceased alt-left 9/11 hero, Osama Bin Laden).
Better yet, 36 Jihadists killed and no civilian casualties (except for innocent victims –– some mountain goats — if you accept the enraged criticism of Nancy Pelosi, Naomi Klein and their fellow partisan anti-Trump travelers).
Of course, it’s interesting that America possessed such a potent non-nuclear weapon all eight years of the Obama administration, but the Ditherer-In-Chief never chose to deploy it against America’s many enemies during his failure-prone “reign”.
In fact, history will likely judge that this inexperienced (former) community-organizer’s only competency was in issuing unconstitutional executive orders.
Contrast that lack of will and “kumbaya” foreign-policy perspective with America’s new President, The Donald, who has turned out to be a complete 180-degree polar opposite of Barack Obama.
From the perspective of most Americans (except those residing on the ‘Left Coasts”) President Trump is a bold, decisive defender of America’s national security and a stalwart enemy and avenger of America’s foes.
Unfortunately, though, there is one policy sphere in which the Trumpians have failed miserably so far — legislating a comprehensive new health-care alternative to “Obamacare”.
And as a response, North American stock markets have been receding faster than James Carville’s hairline.
Throw in the impact of “black swan” events (such as terrorist attacks in Berlin, Istanbul and Stockholm, and instability in the Korean peninsula — thanks to the fat little kid who runs North Korea) and you have the makings of an imploding equities market — ravaging IRA’s, individual equity accounts, and university endowment plans alike.
So what to do now?
WHAT TO DO TODAY, TO PREPARE FOR TOMORROW’S NEW CONTINGENCIES?
So what to do tomorrow? Well, believe it or not, my advice would be to be courageous and follow the clarion cry of John Templeton: “The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy (stocks)!”
And particularly consider purchasing shares in cash-rich, debt-free companies which have been able to maintain growing businesses despite all the recent global economic headwinds.
Just make sure to buy on price dips in your selected stocks, and collect dividends (and do NOT sell) until North American markets finally stabilize, indicating that the worst is over.
HOW ABOUT SOME SPECIFIC EQUITY RECOMMENDATIONS ALREADY?
Some specific equity recommendations from yours truly?
Well, why not … paraphrasing the words of Bill Clinton when introduced to a gaggle of White House interns (past & future)?
So here we go:
BUY CLOUDERA INC. ($PPS) … currently no dividend
Cloudera Inc. makes software that allows businesses to collect, store and make sense of vast amounts of data in real time. Last week, it filed to offer shares to the public on the New York Stock Exchange.
The timing is right. Enterprises are on the edge of the Internet of Things (IofT) data deluge. They need firms like Cloudera to manage data and help drive insights.
IoT will connect an estimated 50 billion things to the Internet in a decade, says Amr Awadallah– Cloudera co-founder and chief technology officer. Sensors in smart cars, oil rigs, electric turbines and everything in between will push a tenfold increase in the data created over just the next four years.
Built on open-source Apache Hadoop code, Cloudera’s platform is capable of collecting and storing data across many sources, in varied formats. And with roots in Yahoo! and Google research labs, it runs lean and seamlessly on very low-cost hardware.
To say the least, a winning formula.
Navistar (NAV) runs its OnCommand diagnostics platform atop Cloudera Enterprise. Using weather, traffic, real-time vehicle performance, historical warranty and other data, Navistar can predict maintenance issues before they occur. Vehicle downtime has been reduced by 40%, and the company is now able to remotely monitor 250,000 trucks.
Collecting and analyzing so many data points — across such a large install-base — was simply “not possible” in the past, noted Terry Kline, Navistar chief information officer recently.
Additionally, Opower, a subsidiary of Oracle Corp., uses Cloudera Big Data analytics to power its consumer-facing dashboard. The Virginia-based company works with utilities companies to help educate consumers about reducing their power consumption to save money. The software has resulted in $500 million in savings and three fewer terawatts of energy use — enough power to light up Salt Lake City and St. Louis for an entire year.
Cloudera raked in $261 million in licensing revenue during fiscal 2017, versus $166 million in 2016. And gross profit swelled from $91 million to $174 million.
However, be warned that there still are potential “challenges”.
Founded in 2008, Cloudera was among the very first startups valued at more than $1 billion by the venture capital community. Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, Fidelity Investments, T.Rowe Price and Intel all ponied up early funding in anticipation of a triumphant IPO (Initial Public Offering). Unfortunately, the company had problems with its business model. And the IPO payday never came.
When you add in research and development, sales and marketing and general administrative expenses, Cloudera is still losing money. “Business Insider” reports that red ink reached $187 million in fiscal year 2017. That’s down slightly from $203 million in 2016.
Nevertheless, future prospects look much rosier.
Cloudera’s Awadallah believes the coming avalanche of data will create the opportunity.
Cloudera’s ready to deploy products across healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, financial services and government.
He recently told Dataquest that the sole purpose of Cloudera is to help customers maximize what Big Data can do for them. If he can deliver, Big Data should also bring positive news to Cloudera shareholders and the price of Cloudera stock.
B&G FOODS HOLDINGS ($BGS) … currently yielding 4.1% (annual dividend)
— a $3 billion food-maker that sells a variety of shelf-stable and frozen-food brands, such as Cream of Wheat and Green Giant.
DESCRIPTION OF COMPANY FROM LATEST SHAREHOLDER REPORT:
B&G FOODS and its subsidiaries manufacture, sell and distribute a diversified portfolio of high-quality, shelf-stable foods across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
B&G Foods’ products include hot cereals, fruit spreads, canned meats and beans, spices, seasonings, marinades, hot sauces, wine vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, salad dressings, Mexican-style sauces, taco shells and kits, salsas, pickles, peppers and other specialty food products. B&G Foods competes in the retail grocery, food service, specialty, private label, club and mass merchandiser channels of distribution.
Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, B&G Foods’ products are marketed under many recognized brands, including Ac’cent, B&G, B&M, Brer Rabbit, Cream of Rice, Cream of Wheat, Emeril’s, Grandma’s Molasses, Joan of Arc, Las Palmas, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, Ortega, Polaner, Red Devil, Regina, Sa-són, Trappey’s, Underwood, Vermont Maid and Wright’s.
U.S. ANALYSTS RECOMMENDATIONS:
4 BUYS, 1 STRONG BUY
PENDULUM SWING IN INTEREST RATES IN 2017, AND SUGGESTED STOCK PURCHASES, TO KEEP PACE:
The trend of declining yields has been in place for 35 or so years, and the only way something like that can happen, is if almost every financial entity is on board.
Central banks around the world have been lowering interest rates, and (in many cases) bringing them down to zero. Meanwhile, many portfolios are loaded up with interest rate-sensitive stocks, or bonds, that pay next to nothing.
Their lure? They are allegedly low risk.
It all makes perfect sense if you believe the narrative that it’s going to be this way forever. But for Andrea and Patrick Horan, portfolio managers at Toronto-based Agilith Capital, anytime investors hear the word “forever,” they should run from that strategy and take the opposite approach.
“It’s about trying to figure out where the pendulum is, where it is about to go, and how far it can absolutely swing,” Patrick said. “The nuance of this move higher in interest rates is the most profound thing we’ve seen since 2008 in terms of what likely will be a shift in mentality.”
Andrea and Patrick co-manage the Agilith North American Diversified Fund, a long-short fund that has many of the same holdings as the Agilith Long Only Fund.
They were admittedly a bit early to the rising interest rate theme, as yields remained compressed for much of 2016 as a result of factors such as the surprise Brexit vote. But it’s certainly been working in the past couple of months.
One thing that’s occurred with the decline in rates, is a very sharp reduction in “capex” (non-essential) spending.
“It’s been deliberate by corporations because if there isn’t any growth out there, they see no reason to spend,” Patrick said.
Instead, companies opted to do the safe thing and buy back shares, increase their dividends, and conserve cash.
However, the Horans believe the market is starting to price in more growth and inflation, and a lot of the capex sitting on the sidelines will return.
They also noted that when yields are very low, it’s almost impossible for a company to understand what it’s future liabilities are in terms of pension costs, for example.
At the same time, properties, plants and equipment are almost deemed worthless in terms of asset value, because they can be replaced at a lower price.
“If you have no pricing power or deflation, then you don’t want to invest,” Andrea noted recently. “All you are working on is saving costs.”
Yet in a rising rate environment, pensions can be measured much more easily, and hard assets become barriers to entry for competitors.
Based on this perspective, here are two suggested buys:
(1) GENERAL MOTORS INC. ($GM) has consistently outperformed, and defied analysts’ expectations that its stock price would decline.
Management has indicated its intent on returning capital to shareholders, and is shifting its product mix to higher-margin offerings (for example the completely redesigned new Cadillac sedans and SUV’s, now so popular in China and oil-rich Mideast nations).
(2) MARTRINEA INTERNATIONAL INC. ($MRE/TSX) boasts an impressive low E/A, despite continued double-digit growth and growing cash flow.
Most important, it’s price has recently dropped because of concerns about the future of NAFTA, thanks to Donald Trump’s ascendancy to America’s presidency.
A FEW FACTOIDS TO SUPPORT BUYING STOCK IN MARTRINEA INTERNATIONAL:
Martinrea is one of the few producers of aluminum casting, both in North America and Europe, wanted by car makers seeking to meet fuel standards by replacing steel with lightweight aluminum.
This, in turn, is particularly important for company profitability, since the North American car market is experiencing an impressive uptick in sales and can afford the switch from steel to more expensive aluminum.
Concurrently, the company is also successfully reducing its costs and consequently increasing profit margins.
And that’s my purported investment advice for tomorrow (remember that I am not a professional analyst, but a successful amateur investor — due to exceptional luck or hopefully superior brain power) .
And that’s it for tomorrow’s (Monday’s) investment advice (originally written on Easter Sunday morning).
So time to buy some last-minute Easter chocolate bunnies for my grandchildren.
And nuff said for now, I would think.