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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]

Reclaiming Value & Restoring its Place in Active Management

January 15, 2020 Applied Finance

The insights delivered by this study are truly fascinating.  On one hand, the evidence that price multiples are incomplete in forming a definition of value is obvious, and this should align with intuition.  If broader market participants heed this advice, this study will have been a noble effort to improve the flow of accounting information and analyst forecasts into market prices.  On the other hand, there has never been obvious justification for measures of cheapness to define value in the first place.  Many investors simply use these factors out of convenience or tradition, while many others invest in products built upon them with little understanding of the classification error they introduce.  […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]

Economic Margin – Removing Market Noise

July 1, 2000 Applied Finance

A corporate performance metric should provide insights into what a firm is worth. Most money managers utilize common earnings-based measures of corporate performance and value, which are suspect and easy to manipulate. Applied Finance developed the Economic Margin (EM) framework to remove the noise inherent in accounting data.

Traditional accounting-based valuation methods provide an incomplete view of a company’s value by not accounting for the investment needed to generate the earnings, cost of capital, inflation or cash flow. […more]