Perceived value always sets the price for stocks. And anyone who’s invested a while knows that can shift on a dime, as leaders and laggards trade places. Quality doesn’t change so quickly. That’s the health and growth of companies’ underlying businesses.
We start this month’s Portfolio strategy discussion with the three cornerstones of our investment strategy: 1) Sell stocks of companies that are weakening as businesses, 2) Build a pile of cash by unloading weakening companies and also taking partial profits on favorites that have run to unsustainable valuations, 3) Build a watch list of high quality companies to buy when they hit designated entry points.
Conservative Holdings up 2.6 percent, Aggressive Holdings ahead by 12.8 percent, Top 10 DRIPS a -12 percent loss. Those are the CUI Portfolio returns for 2020. By comparison, the Dow Jones Utility Average gained 1.5 percent, also including dividends paid. And the popular Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSE: XLU) was up 0.07 percent.
We still have a few weeks left in 2020. But whatever happens, this will go down as one of the most eventful years in stock market history. There’s certainly plenty to recap already. The rapid swing from historic profit-taking opportunity in mid-February to equally compelling Dream Buy barely a month later is certainly without precedent in my career.
Economics not politics drive investment returns. Don’t get me wrong. Our Portfolio stocks came out very well in the recent election as businesses, future regulatory relations being the key concern.
The renewable energy focus of our electricity stocks is tailor-made for a new White House that will if anything try to speed up America’s ongoing energy transition. And the offshore wind stocks highlighted in the feature article are likely to be the next sector picks to pop, following example of contract generators like Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (TSX: BEP-U, NYSE: BEP).
Surging prices for anything to do with renewable energy, lagging valuations for virtually everything else: That’s the current state of affairs for the Utility Report Card coverage as companies gear up to release results for now finished Q3.
Over the last 12 months, an investment in the Russell 1000 Growth Index has outperformed an identical stake in the Russell 1000 Value Index by more than 40 percentage points. That’s not just unprecedented outperformance. It’s unsustainable: Sooner or later, either value stocks will catch up with a strong rally, or growth will fall back.
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Warning: Falling Dividends.
Roger's current take and vital statistics on more than 200 essential-services stocks.