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Strategy Letter – Valuation 50

April 7, 2020 AppliedFinance

It is important to remember that markets attempt to see through temporarily good or bad times to estimate future cash flows and set current valuations. The global health and economic crisis resulting from COVID19 has created one of the greatest periods of uncertainty for market participants to see through, therefore, the fastest plunge of the US stock market ever recorded took place last month. Entering the 2nd week of April, we believe the market participants have likely concluded this is indeed a “temporary” situation, and have now started shifting focus to the recovery of the US economy and other developed regions, which will likely happen in the 2nd half of 2020 and 2021 […more]

UPDATE: Market Valuation Analysis – 03/23/2020 Data

March 24, 2020 AppliedFinance

The uncertainty of the timeline for a “return to normalcy” has created liquidity concerns across practically all economic sectors. Companies of all sizes and levels of financial strength are drawing on open lines of credit to weather worst case scenario contagion estimates.  Commercial landlords will likely see missed rent payments with little demand to lease shuttered storefronts, while rising unemployment may lead to a spike in residential mortgage and rental delinquencies; this has clearly impacted the recent performance of financial stocks, REITs and mortgage insurers.

To continue to help our clients navigate the economic impacts of the pandemic, we have updated market performance data from the previous write-up to include last week’s historic sell-off […more]

Emotional Unease Creates Generational Wealth Opportunity

March 19, 2020 AppliedFinance

Only in 2008 have valuations been as attractive as now. Today, the market is essentially pricing in 0% sales growth over the next five years, not as harsh as the -15% priced in during the 2008 lows, but very harsh compared to the expected 20% to 30% growth these firms have typically delivered over a five year period. Unlike 2008 there will not be liquidity issues driving economic decisions and panicking investors. This is a confidence crisis similar to 9/11. As medical policy catches and surpasses the virus, confidence will return and economic activity will march forward. Already, in China, restaurants have reopened to crowds, and society is returning to business as usual. […more]

COVID-19 Pandemic and AFCM Strategies Update

March 18, 2020 AppliedFinance

The past four weeks have been surreal. The S&P500 lost nearly 30% of its value with extreme volatility day in and day out, and the busiest cities in the US and most of Europe are in lockdown. What happened in China is happening to a lot of us, and we didn’t expect that. No country can fully prepare for events like this, unless they have experienced something similar before. Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong, and South Korea have done a commendable job responding to Covid-19, possibly because they had the painful experience dealing with SARS (2003) and learned from it. The US […more]

Valuation vs. cheapness Investing

November 12, 2019 AppliedFinance

Despite decades of academics and practitioners promoting the ”value factor”1, it generates marginal to no long-term alpha. We believe four reasons have contributed to slow the discovery process from the current accepted “value” regime (low price to something) towards a more robust and realistic true value regime (worth measured independent of market price and focused on the value of future cash flows).
1. No theory.  There is no clear link between commonly used “value” variables and true value.  Yet academics and practitioners have developed no viably accepted competing perspective to explain future returns […more]

The Gross Profitability Trap

July 8, 2019 AppliedFinance

“But this time, it’s different!” More foolish words are rarely spoken in the financial industry, but they always seem to find their way back into the stock market lexicon. A firm’s intrinsic value should always be a function of discounted future cash flows that incorporate a comprehensive understanding of profitability, growth, competition, and risk. Occasionally, alternative approaches can find favor in enough market participants’ stock selection to distort the foundational understanding of firm value. […more]