Stan Wong is director of wealth management and portfolio manager at Stan Wong Private Wealth Management, ScotiaMcLeod. His focus is on North American large caps and ETFs.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ TSX)
Canadian Natural Resources, through solid property and corporate acquisitions has become a dominant producer in Western Canada. CNQ also has active international operations in the North Sea and West Africa. The company is exceptionally managed with a low cost of production and an enormous stream of future expected cash flow. The recent slide in energy prices (and CNQ stock) appears to be overdone. CNQ presents a compelling long-term opportunity. The stock currently yields a 2-per-cent dividend which is expected to grow nicely over the next several years.
Mondelez International (MDLZ NASDAQ)
Mondelez International is one of the world's largest snack companies with global net revenues of over $35-billion (U.S.). With about 40 per cent (and climbing) of MDLZ's sales coming from high-growth developing markets, the stock represents a solid large-cap growth story for years to come. Indeed, rising incomes in developing markets along with improved distribution channels will help fuel growth for MDLZ. Relative to its peer group, Mondelez provides excellent value trading at a forward-earnings multiple of 19x and a long-term expected earnings growth rate of approximately 15 per cent; this gives the stock a PEG ratio valuation of about 1.3x. The recent stock price weakness provides a buying opportunity.
Micron Technology (MU NASDAQ)
Micron Technology is a global manufacturer and marketer of semiconductor memory products, including DRAM and NAND flash memory. Micron is a supplier to companies such as Apple, Intel, Samsung, Amazon and Lenovo. Earnings trends and estimates for Micron have been steadily rising as the landscape for the memory market firms up, especially in the mobile sector. MU currently trades at a discount to its peer group with a 9x forward-earnings multiple (compared to a 17x multiple for the group). Micron has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 14-15 per cent which gives the stock a very attractive PEG ratio valuation of about 0.6x.
Past Picks: September 5, 2013
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT NYSE)
Then: $72.67; Now: $76.10 +4.72%; Total return: +7.35%
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM NYSE)
Then: $52.11; Now: $59.76 +14.68%; Total return: +17.81%
SPDR Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (FEZ NYSEARCA)
Then: $35.72; Now: $41.01 +14.81%; Total return: +18.31%
Total return average: +14.49%
Equity markets have continued their winning ways this year but a more uneven path is likely ahead. In the near-term, geopolitical tensions and negative seasonal tendencies could certainly cause stock markets to be vulnerable to a brief pullback. However, a strengthening U.S. economy along with still-accommodative central bank policies around the world suggests that equities will grind higher (amid more volatility) over the intermediate term. North American stock market valuations are currently slightly extended but continued earnings growth should lift equities higher. In our portfolio allocations, we are holding modestly above-average cash levels to take advantage of any upcoming opportunities. We continue to favour high quality, large-cap growth companies trading at very reasonable valuations.