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Seven U.S. investment-services firms poised to benefit from rotation away from tech

What are we looking for?

U.S. investment services firms poised to benefit from investor rotation away from the technology sector.

Over the past two weeks, the U.S. market has soared as most sectors have made new highs on the back of higher corporate earnings and U.S. tax reform progress. The technology sector has been noticeably left behind, now down 2.2 per cent in the past two weeks. It had been the market leader, leading many pundits to speculate that a rotation from expensive technology stocks to other less costly sectors is now under way. Over the two weeks, the financial sector has led the market higher – up 5.4 per cent in the past 10 trading sessions. Of all financial sector industries, investment services has the strongest price performance, up 5 per cent in the past month.

The screen

We will be using Recognia Strategy Builder to search for U.S. investment services stocks with reasonable valuations, earnings momentum and strong stock price performance.

We begin by setting a minimum market capitalization threshold of $5-billion (U.S.) to focus on larger, more established companies in the U.S. market. In order to select stocks that are exhibiting reasonable valuations, we will filter based on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 40 or less. We also wish to focus on companies with growing earnings. Our screen will pick stocks with earnings growth rates of 5 per cent or more, comparing the most recent quarter to the same quarter one year ago.

Finally, in order to select stocks with strong recent price performance, we will look for stocks with prices that are trading higher by at least 3 per cent over the past four weeks.

More about Recognia

Recognia is a global leader in automated quantitative analysis and engagement solutions for retail online brokers and institutions. Recognia's product suite provides actionable trading ideas based on technical and fundamental research covering stocks, ETFs, indexes, forex, options and commodities.

What did we find?

Topping our list is financial planning firm Ameriprise Financial. Despite being up almost 50 per cent year-to-date, Ameriprise still has a very reasonable forward P/E ratio of 14.7. The company also reported extremely good third-quarter earnings in late October that exceeded analyst expectations by a wide margin. The quarterly earnings were up 149.2 per cent from the same quarter a year ago, driven mainly by strong growth in its wealth management business.

Morgan Stanley is the largest company on our list with a market cap of $94-billion. The stock has done very well in 2017, up 23 per cent year to date.

The best one-month price performance on our list belongs to online broker Charles Schwab with a four-week gain of 14.1 per cent. Like other financial institutions, Schwab is poised to benefit from a rising U.S. interest rate environment. Schwab also has a great track record of growing earnings. Its most recent announcement saw earnings grow 20 per cent from the same quarter last year.

The investment ideas presented here are for information only. They do not constitute advice or a recommendation by Recognia Inc. in respect to the investment in financial instruments. Investors should conduct further research before investing.

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

Select U.S. investment-services stocks

RankCompanySymbolMarket Cap. ($ Bil. U.S.)Fwd. P/EEPS Growth Rate (Last Qtr./Prior Yr.)Price Perform. 4-Wk.Dividend Yield
1Ameriprise Financial Inc.AMP-N$24.314.7149.2%3.0%2.0%
2Morgan StanleyMS-N$94.014.814.8%5.4%1.9%
3Nasdaq Inc.NDAQ-Q$13.118.831.2%7.7%1.9%
4Raymond James Financial Inc.RJF-N$12.817.510.1%4.2%1.0%
5Charles Schwab Corp.SCHW-N$68.131.520.0%14.1%0.6%
6Intercontinental Exchange Inc.ICE-N$41.524.18.1%7.2%1.1%
7TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.AMTD-Q$29.630.511.4%6.4%1.6%

Source: Recognia

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