Full episode: Market Call Tonight for Friday, October 12, 2018
David Driscoll, president and CEO of Liberty International Investment Management Inc.
Focus: Global equities
Given the market volatility of the past few weeks, it’s important for investors not to lose their heads. Here are some guidelines for getting through crucial market moments:
- We’re just entering earnings season. This should reveal if companies’ earnings are slowing because of tariffs and higher input prices. No need to do anything until we see the impact of earnings on stock prices.
- U.S. midterm elections are coming up. If the Democrats win the House and/or the Senate, the market could sell off violently as Washington would return to partisan politics and create a deadlock on any future legislation being passed. Again, no need to do anything until then.
- From a technical standpoint, the markets still aren’t oversold yet so we don’t really see any screaming opportunities.
- In our estimation, the market top on the S&P 500 Index would be 3,700, which would be similar in valuation to the 1929 and 2000 peaks. Conversely, we’d only be interested in adding to our positions with any significance if the S&P 500 fell to 2,200 (20 per cent lower than today) where valuations make more sense. Remember, Wall Street pushes “adjusted earnings,” which are artificial as they don’t include interest on debt, taxes and depreciation.
- Holding cash makes more sense than ever. The maximum needed is 20 per cent. There’s no need to go over that amount because you’ll then have to find the market bottom (which nobody has ever been able to do).
- Avoid correlation risk in your portfolios. Owning similar stocks would have sent your portfolio down further than most, especially if you’re heavily tech-weighted.
- Avoid concentration risk. We hold 30 stocks in our portfolios with an average weight of 3 per cent. If one of them becomes a 6 per cent holding, we automatically sell half. This rebalancing helps protect the downside.
- You haven’t lost any money unless you sell.
- Time and compounding is how you make money. Two-thirds of all stock market performance in history has come from rising dividends and the re-investment of those dividends. If you want to retire wealthy, you have to let the dividends grow.
- If you wish to buy stocks in this market, we suggest you buy only half positions to start and sit back and watch what happens next.
In the end, there’s no reason to try to be a hero in these heady markets. Instead, discipline will carry the day.
A.O. SMITH (AOS.N)
Last purchase was Sep. 17 at $59.40.
The company makes residential and commercial water heaters and boilers and water and air purification equipment in North America, India and China. The stock has been hurt by three issues: The China-U.S. trade dispute, higher steel prices and a slowdown in the U.S. housing sector. Earnings growth has slowed in China, but the company now trades at 15 times earnings and it just raised its dividend 22 per cent, slightly lower than last year’s 29 per cent boost.
CHUBB LTD (CB.N)
Last purchase was Sep. 17 at $138.36.
Chubb is a global property and casualty insurer. Fallout from natural disasters have hurt them in the short-term, but most of the catastrophe insurance is covered by their purchase of insurance against those policies. In the meantime, they have the best combined ratio in the business at 92 per cent (claims divided by policies), their credit rating is A (High) and they have pricing power – after catastrophes occur, insurance prices rise.
STERIS PLC (STE.N)
Last purchase was Sep. 17 at $113.29.
Steris supplies surgical equipment, hand sanitizers, sterilization systems, sterile processing solutions, laboratory medical equipment and equipment decontamination systems. Here’s a company in the medical device industry that just plugs along with annual 10 per cent dividend increases and a compound annual return in the past five years of 19 per cent (dividends included).
PAST PICKS: AUG. 21, 2017
COLOPLAST A/S (COLOB CPH)
- Then: DKK 509.50
- Now: DKK 612.60
- Return: 20%
- Total return: 24%
STRYKER CORP (SYK.N)
- Then: $145.13
- Now: $171.04
- Return: 18%
- Total return: 20%
OPEN TEXT (OTEX.TO)
- Then: $40.29
- Now: $45.34
- Return: 13%
- Total return: 15%
Total return average: 20%