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Number Cruncher

Screens that break down the numbers from our investment reporters

Entry archive:

Where the smart money is investing

PETER ASHTON

Peter Ashton is vice-president of retail and self-directed investing at Recognia Inc.

What are we looking for?

Stocks loved by insiders and institutional investors.

With stocks at or near their all-time highs, finding stocks poised for future price and earnings growth becomes a difficult task.

Who would be better poised to judge the future growth prospects of a company than corporate insiders, such as officers and directors? They have the most detailed understanding of the company’s business and its growth prospects. Similarly, institutional investors with large research teams are deemed to have a better than average understanding of a company’s growth trajectory.

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A portfolio of 20 smaller caps with earnings momentum

CRAIG McGEE

Craig McGee is a senior consultant at Morningstar Canada.

What are we looking for?

Canadian small- and mid-cap stocks with strong earnings and price momentum.

Specifically, I scanned the CPMS Canadian database for the 20 stocks with the best combination of the following metrics:

– Return on equity (ROE), trailing four quarters;

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How Canada's major REITs stack up

MICHAEL BOWMAN

Mr. Bowman is a portfolio manager at Hamilton-based Wickham Investment Counsel Inc., an adviser to high-net-worth clients.

What are we looking for?

Value in Canada’s REIT sector.

A recent study by Fidelity showed that adding real estate investment trusts to a traditional stock and bond portfolio increased the Sharpe ratio, a metric which indicates whether a portfolio’s return is due to smart investment decisions or simply the result of excess risk.

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How to profit from climbing U.S. wages

SCOTT BARLOW

The U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to a level where, at long last, significant wage growth is the most likely scenario in the months ahead. The accompanying chart shows that employment and wages have reached an inflection point that has historically indicated sharply stronger pricing power for labour.

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Charting the upside potential of 13 IT stocks

MONICA RIZK and RON MEISELS

What are we looking at?

U.S. information technology stocks with long-term upside potential.

The screen

We limited our pool to the S&P 100 Index.

To find the most promising, we looked at each stock’s 40-week moving average (40wMA). This is the average closing price for the stock over a period of 40 weeks.

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Staples, utilities, health care: A top-20 stock portfolio

CRAIG MCGEE

Craig McGee is a senior consultant at Morningstar Canada.

What are we looking for?

Core holdings that have a tendency to ride out any type of market while providing reasonable returns.

Over the past 20 years, consumer staples, health care and utilities shares have generated the least volatile returns so I’ll constrain my selections to those sectors. Specifically, I searched the CPMS U.S. equity database for the top 20 staples, health care or utilities stocks that had the best combination of the following criteria:

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Three retail stocks that stand out from the pack

MICHAEL BOWMAN

Mr. Bowman is a portfolio manager at Hamilton-based Wickham Investment Counsel Inc., an adviser to high-net-worth clients.

What are we looking for?

Marketing company Wishpond reported that 66 million Americans spent an average of $135.27 (U.S.) each on purchases last year during the holiday shopping frenzy known as Black Friday. Online spending increased 18.5 per cent over 2012, and 25 per cent of those buys came from a smartphone.

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11 materials stocks with positive economic momentum

MICHAEL CLOHERTY

Michael Cloherty is senior account manager for StockPointer at Inovestor Inc.

What are we looking for?

Materials stocks with positive economic momentum.

The screen

We searched the Canadian materials sector in StockPointer with a minimum market capitalization of $500-million and looked at the following metrics:

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Shopping for U.S. retail stocks

PETER ASHTON

Peter Ashton is vice-president of retail and self-directed investing at Recognia Inc.

What are we looking for?

Well-valued stocks in the U.S. retail sector.

With approximately seven weeks until Christmas, U.S. retailers are entering their busiest and most profitable part of the year. Though the September U.S. Retail Sales Report was lacklustre, many analysts expect that low gasoline prices will provide a cushion to consumers’ wallets – potentially helping the broader retail sector.

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Eight high-quality, undervalued Canadian energy stock picks

CRAIG McGEE

Craig McGee is a senior consultant at Morningstar Canada.

What are we looking for?

It’s been a roller-coaster ride for energy stock investors this year – the S&P/TSX composite energy index was up as much as 22 per cent for 2014 at the end of June, but has fallen almost 27 per cent since then.

The enterprise multiple, which compares total enterprise value (EV) to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the latest four quarters, may give us an idea about the sector’s valuation.

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Drilling for value among Canadian oil stocks

MICHAEL BOWMAN

Mr. Bowman is a portfolio manager at Hamilton-based Wickham Investment Counsel Inc., an adviser to high-net-worth clients.

What are we looking for?

A barrel of crude has tumbled to its lowest level in more than two years. My colleague Rob Belanger and I thought we would take a look at some industry-specific comparisons of some of Canada’s largest oil companies.

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These 17 stocks have a double vote of confidence

TIM SHUFELT

What are we looking for?

Stocks that appeal to both Bay Street analysts and corporate insiders.

There is no one better positioned to assess the prospects of a company and, arguably, the potential of its stock than its own managers and directors. For that reason, strong insider buying is often considered a bullish signal.

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Pinpointing U.S. industrial stocks with upside potential

MONICA RIZK AND RON MEISELS

What are we looking at?

U.S. industrial stocks with long-term upside potential.

The screen

We limited our pool to the S&P 100 Index.

To find the most promising, we looked at each stock’s 40-week moving average (40wMA). This is the average closing price for the stock over a period of 40 weeks. Charting the moving average week by week gives us a sense of investors’ behaviour: Are they growing more (or less) enthusiastic about the company’s outlook and are they more (or less) likely to purchase the stock? Generally speaking, stocks that trade above their rising 40wMAs are the best candidates for investments; they are the ones that show a bullish pattern. We identified the status of each stocks average (rising, falling or flat) in the adjoining table.

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Two dozen U.S. stocks that have performed well in volatile markets

MICHAEL BOWMAN

Mr. Bowman is a portfolio manager at Hamilton-based Wickham Investment Counsel Inc., an adviser to high-net-worth clients.

What are we looking for?

Last week, we looked at Canadian-listed stocks that rose more in an advancing market than they fell in a declining market. Today, we scan for U.S. stocks that have shown the same trait.

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After recent selloff, here are 19 stocks the Street loves

TIM SHUFELT

What are we looking for?

The new darlings of Bay Street.

The first correction on the S&P/TSX composite index in almost three years produced a wave of reratings from sell-side analysts.

Formerly richly valued stocks became bargains, sells became buys, while others resilient to the selloff became expensive by comparison.

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Nine stocks that play strong defence

Michael Cloherty

Michael Cloherty is senior account manager for StockPointer at Inovestor Inc.

What are we looking for?

Consumer staples stocks. One of the top performing sectors since the beginning of the year, consumer staples are characteristically seen as less sensitive to volatile markets and more defensive for investors.

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Delving for gems among beaten-down large cap stocks

PETER ASHTON

Peter Ashton is vice-president of retail and self-directed investing at Recognia Inc.

What are we looking for?

U.S.-traded, large cap stocks set to rebound.

Over the past four weeks, the U.S. markets have been on a wild ride, first selling off almost 10 per cent, then rebounding sharply in the past week. The strength of the last week’s rebound has led many market watchers to declare the downturn over with a bottom now in place. Of particular interest is the fact that U.S. small caps – which have been hammered over the past three months – now appear to be rallying hard, leading to a belief that U.S. investors are embracing risk again – a bullish sign.

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Buffett-inspired Canadian portfolio uses 'Patient Investor' screen

John Heinzl

What are we looking for?

With the recent market pullback, let’s look for some bargain-priced stocks with long-term potential.

The screen

We’ll use Validea Canada’s “Patient Investor” screen, which emulates the stock-picking methods of Warren Buffett. The screen is based on the book Buffettology, written by the Oracle of Omaha’s former daughter-in-law, Mary Buffett.

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These stocks show more upside (and less downside) than broader market

MICHAEL BOWMAN

Mr. Bowman is a portfolio manager at Hamilton-based Wickham Investment Counsel Inc., an adviser to high-net-worth clients.

What are we looking for?

Stocks that rose more in an advancing market than they fell in a declining market.

The screen

My colleague Rob Belanger and I started with TSX-listed companies larger than $1-billion in market capitalization and we sorted them from the largest to the smallest.

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Beaten-up U.S. small caps with dividend staying power

Tim Shufelt

What are we looking for?

Smaller dividend payers weakened by the recent selloff.

While the re-emergence of market volatility was broadly felt in recent weeks, the effect was disproportionate for a couple types of stocks.

First, investors concentrated their fears on small-cap stocks, with the Russell 2000 small-cap index registering a 13-per-cent drop between early July and last Monday. That index has bounced back in the last few trading sessions, but is still almost 10-per-cent off its year-to-date high.

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