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Wall Street’s Best Digest 836

In this season of good cheer, we have a lot to be thankful for: 1) It looks like we can finally put this election to rest (thank goodness!); 2) the first coronavirus vaccine is being distributed across the country; and 3) hopefully, we’ll soon have another stimulus package.

Despite all the challenges, the markets have held up very well, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has surpassed the big 30,000 mark several times in the last few weeks.

Unemployment continues to decline, with the rate dropping to 6.7% in November. Consumers are shopping for the holidays, with online Thanksgiving sales up 21.5%, to $5.1 billion. I know my finger is sure hitting the ‘buy’ button a lot more this year!

Hopefully, 2021 will remove some of the uncertainties that the virus has wrought, and the economy can begin to speed up its recovery. And while the markets have done very well this year, there are still pockets that are undervalued, many of which are represented in our pages this month.

We begin with our Spotlight Stock, the largest water company in Brazil, which is expanding to deliver services outside its borders. In my Feature article, I further explore that growth—as well as the rising need—for potable water in Latin America.

Moving on to Growth, our contributors have a number of ideas here, including companies in the e-commerce, ride sharing/food delivery, infrastructure, industrial equipment, and rent-to-own industries. Our Growth & Income picks include an alcoholic beverage manufacturer as well as a gas/chemical company.

In Healthcare, you’ll find stocks from the testing medial technology, biopharma, and cannabis sectors. Technology has been the big winner of 2021, and here we offer ideas in the printing equipment, audio & video, software, and electronics industries.

Our Resources & Utilities section has a couple of gold and utility companies. In High Yield and Preferred Stocks, you’ll find a host of companies offering better-than-market yields, from the banking, energy, franchising, shipping, and natural gas sectors.

This month, we include two Real Estate Investment Trusts, as well as a company offering a nice Special Dividend opportunity. Make sure you check the dates, so that you don’t miss out on this chance for extra cash flow.

Lastly, our Funds & ETFs are well-diversified, with ideas in the midcap value, emerging small caps, low-priced stocks, materials, and energy industries.

I hope you and your families enjoy a wonderful and safe holiday. I’m sticking close to home this year, but hope to enjoy some traveling in 2021. As always, please don’t hesitate to email me with your feedback and questions. My address is

Market Views 836

Last week, the DOW held in and on Friday, after being off about 170 points at noon, it surprisingly firmed and moved up about 210 points to close at a plus 47 points, a bullish sign. But we are still somewhat cautious, and realize that this market can turn on a dime. So, even though we will be buying today, we will have our finger on the trigger to sell at a moment’s notice on any real weakness.
Joseph Cotton, Cotton’s Technically Speaking,, 727-289-4436, December 14, 2020

Tighten your Stops
The flip side to this bull-trending market is the significant increase in the probability that the market will soon be (if not already) overbought. And, while markets can remain overbought for an extended period of time, the risk of a major correction only continues to grow at the same time.
We balance this ‘correction risk’ with elevated (tightened) stops. The more overbought the market, the tighter our stops become. At the moment, the risk of a correction is higher, but not yet extreme. Our stops are getting tighter, but not yet at our tightest level.
Mike Turner, Turner Capital Investments,, 855-678-8200, December 14, 2020

Respect your “Sleeping Levels”
Gains like these are not sustainable over the long-haul, and so I want to remind you to not fall into the trap of becoming too complacent and/or taking on more risk than is prudent at this stage of the game. Yes, the trend is still up, but every day that goes by brings us one day closer to the end of the rally, and history suggests that big runs to the upside like the one we are currently enjoying are often followed by equally “spectacular” drops once the party finally comes to an end, and, I am once again moving more cash to the sidelines as part of respecting my own “sleeping levels” (this means that I am selling enough stock that I will not have trouble falling asleep at night because I am worrying about my investments).
Nate Pile, Nate’s Notes,, 707-433-7903, December 11, 2020

Spotlight Stock 836

While we take an inexpensive and steady supply of water as a birthright, in much of the world, this is anything but the case. In America, water prices are heavily subsidized but in Switzerland, water prices are about four times those in America—not because it costs that much more to produce clean water, but because it isn’t heavily subsidized.

Americans as a group are water wasters, using 80 to 100 gallons of water per day, on average. Water is a hot issue all over the world. The United Nations Environment Program has predicted that half the globe’s population could face severe water stress by 2030.

Take China, for example. Waters originating in Tibet supply around 30% of China’s fresh water, but it is a long way from China’s arid regions in the industrial northeast. In Jakarta, Indonesia, roughly 40% of this sprawling city of 11 million-plus people have access to running water.

Water is also a key issue for many companies. Take one holding in the Explorer portfolio, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM).

Taiwan is a water-scarce area, so Taiwan Semiconductor recaptures and reuses its water three times because semiconductor plants gulp down huge quantities of water, and, though Taiwan gets plenty of rain, it has little ability to store it.

This brings us to SABESP, the largest water company in Brazil. This is a great monopoly opportunity that is majority owned by the state of Sao Paulo. The company has a monopoly on providing water and sewage services to over 26 million people in 365 of the 645 municipalities in the State of Sao Paulo.

I like SABESP because the company still has plenty of room to grow in its monopoly territory of Sao Paulo, with 18 million not yet connected to its services. Sao Paulo has a population over 44 million and accounts for more than 30% of Brazil’s total economic output. In addition, the company is expanding to other regions in Brazil, and even in neighboring countries.

Second, the company has a stellar record over the past decade, with an annual earnings-per share growth rate of just over 19%.

The Brazil stock market is now back in favor as interest rates have fallen sharply, making fixed income (bonds) less attractive. As a result, capital and investors are shifting to its stock market and it is a matter of time before they start snatching up this monopoly opportunity.

In short, SBS is an undervalued, underappreciated and overlooked Brazilian stock. It is trading at about 12 times projected earnings—quite a bit off its 52-week high. SBS is an excellent water play in a country with a stock market in a strong uptrend. The company is a conservative value play on water. Let’s begin with a half position.


Carl Delfeld, Cabot Global Stocks Explorer,, 978-745-5532, December 10, 2020

Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo - SABESP (SBS):

52-Week Low/High: $5.54 - 15.405
Shares Outstanding: 683.51 million
Institutionally Owned: 11.4%
Market Capitalization: $6.097 billion
Dividend Yield: 2.70%

Why Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo – SABESP:

Rapidly expanding market

Favorable Brazilian stock market

Double-digit EPS growth


Feature Article 836

The Brazilian economy is the twelfth largest in the world by nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and eighth largest by purchasing power parity. Its 2020 nominal GDP was R$7.348 trillion or US$1.363 trillion. Brazil is also the largest economy in Latin America. The country is so large, that it shares its borders with every other country in South America except Chile and Ecuador.

And yet, as Carl Delfeld, editor of Cabot Global Stocks Explorer, and provider of our Spotlight Stock this month noted, most of the region suffers from a severe potable water shortage.

According to the World Water Council, there are some 77 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean who do not have a water connection in their homes—51 million in rural areas, but 26 million in cities. In Brazil alone, some 3 million people don’t have access to safe water and 24 million lack access to good sanitation.

The shortage is due to several factors: Rapid urbanization of the past 50 years, economic development, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and demographic and consumption changes, lack of economic resources and extreme poverty in many of the nations, as well as climate change. This shortage is increasing and exacerbating the risk to the peoples of these nations, as the lack of potable water and sanitation can lead to the rise of waterborne diseases that affect the poorest of the population.

As you can see from the following graph, our Spotlight Stock, Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo - SABESP (SBS)—as Carl says, is the largest water company in Brazil.

Largest Water Companies in Brazil
And the company is expanding beyond its borders. For its third quarter, water and sewage services in its 10 areas of operation were up 4%, year-over-year, to $997 million cubic meters. Yet, due to COVID-19, revenues and EBITDA have declined, but as we can now (hopefully) see the beginnings of the end of the pandemic, prospects for 2021 should improve.

After all, populations continue to grow, and that will boost the ongoing need for potable water in Latin America, as well as the rest of the world. And as the world economy recovers, so will profits.

Growth 836

MercadoLibre, Inc. (MELI) | Daily Alert November 19
MercadoLibre holds down the #14 spot in the relative strength rating. It has been in a strong uptrend rising 232% from its April 1, closing low at 447.34 to its all-time high on November 6 at 1,485.86. Since then it has come under some selling pressure, declining 13%. The pullback occurred as the promise of an effective Covid-19 vaccine caused the rotation from the market leaders, which have been heavily techs, to more cyclical issues. It is 12% off its 52-week high. The stock, however, remains comfortably above its up trending 50- and 200- day lines.

The company operates the largest online and payments ecosystem in Latin America with approximately 174.2 million users; it is the region’s most popular e-commerce site. The company integrates across several services including the MercadoLibre Marketplace, payments solution, advertising, and shipping.

Third-quarter earnings blew past estimates. Net revenue surged 85% year-over-year to $1.12 billion. Net income rose to $15 million or $0.28 per share versus a loss of $0.97 in the year ago quarter. The consensus estimates were for revenue of $972 million and earnings of $0.17. Unique active users jumped 92.2% to a total of 76.1 million, while gross merchandise volume (GMV) rose to $5.9 billion on an increase of 62.1% in U.S. dollars and 117.1% in local currency.
Dan Sullivan, The Chartist,, 900-942-4278, November 12, 2020, Inc. (OSTK) | Daily Alert November 30 sells all sorts of products through its flagship website, but its business also includes its Medici Ventures division, and its tZERO and cryptocurrency investments. In fact, this year not only has the e-commerce segment thrived due to COVID-19, but OSTK’s cryptocurrency involvement has made it a good way to get exposure to bitcoin without buying bitcoin or its related exchange-traded fund (ETF) Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) (OTCMKTS:GBTC).

Last month Overstock reported quarter-three earnings per share (EPS) that spiked 156% over the same quarter last year. Revenue also soared, up nearly 111% year over year.

Yet, when it comes to OSTK, the relative price strength is what we love, as the company’s remarkable rebound over the past 52 weeks of 775% (yes, you read that correctly) makes it one of the very best performers over the past year.

Interestingly, over the past three months, the shares are actually down some 45%. However, if we look at the shares since the November 10 lows, they have rebounded some 29%.

We suspect this latest breakout represents the next huge leg higher for OSTK, and as such we want to ride this fast-and-furious performer as it makes that climb back to new heights and beyond.

So, let’s buy, Inc., at market, with a protective stop loss at $53.95.

For those willing to take a bigger bet, we recommend you buy the OSTK January $70 call options (OSTK210115C00070000) at market. The call options last traded for $8.30 and expire on January 15, 2021.
Mark Skousen & Jim Woods, FMA Trader Alert,, Eagle Financial, 300 New Richard J. Moroney, CFA, Upside,, 800-233-5922, November 2, 2020

Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER) | Daily Alert December 3
Uber has lifted from a year-long post-IPO haze in recent weeks.

Of course, we don’t buy just because of a chart; that can only get you so far in the stock market. But Uber also has plenty of fundamental plusses that should keep big investors putting in buy orders in the months ahead, the biggest of which is that the company appears to be set for major growth no matter what the economy does. The firm’s traditional Rides segment, which revolutionized travel patterns in urban settings all over the world, gives the firm exposure to the economic re-opening/normalization theme, while Uber’s Delivery is riding a secular, long-term change in more people getting delivery instead of takeout.

The good news is that the arrow is pointed up for both businesses today. Rides, as you’d expect, saw sales fall off a cliff as the pandemic hit (gross bookings fell 72% quarter-over-quarter in Q2), but, interestingly, cash flow in that business remained in the black and the recovery is well underway, with bookings up 94% in Q3 vs. Q2 and strength continuing in October (bookings up 10% from September). While current COVID case counts are rising, the market seems to be looking six months ahead to an end (or at least a major lessening) of the pandemic as vaccines hit the mainstream.

That alone should bring about a big rebound in Uber’s results next year, but there’s just as much excitement about the firm’s Delivery business, which is the fastest-growing food delivery operation worldwide. Even as countries opened up somewhat, gross bookings here grew 23% sequentially (up 135% from the year before) and the EBITDA loss continued to shrink. There’s no sign of any slowdown, either, especially as Uber is moving into adjacent areas (such as grocery delivery, which is now up and running in 30 markets with a $1 billion run rate, and business delivery services).

Another positive came from the election, as California voted to allow Uber (and Lyft) not to classify drivers as employees, effectively given the firm a green light to operate as normal in the most populous state in the country.

Looking ahead, Wall Street sees the top line rising 40% in 2021 and, importantly, management continues to stand by its forecast that the overall company (Rides, Delivery and the corporation as a whole) will be EBITDA breakeven sometime next year as it focuses on profitability. Given recent trends, our guess is even these figures will prove very conservative as increased business falls to the bottom line.

Back to the stock, the election referendum helped the stock pop above resistance November 4, ratchet higher in the days that followed, and then the bullish Q3 report sparked a push as high as 50. It’s since chopped around just below that figure, and some near-term wobbles wouldn’t surprise us. But the top-notch growth profile, the long post-IPO base and the recent upside power all bode very well for the months to come.
Timothy Lutts, Cabot Stock of the Week,, 978-745-5532, November 23, 2020

AECOM (ACM) | Daily Alert December 7
AECOM is switching to a professional services business model, and has reduced G&A expense by $225 million by pulling out of risky, noncore markets. We have a favorable view of this shift and expect ACM to increase its focus on infrastructure projects going forward. We also expect growing demand for road and water projects to provide the company’s Design & Consulting Service unit with a stable source of revenue, even in a slowing economy.

Based on its financial strength, we think that ACM is well positioned to endure the coronavirus crisis. On January 31, 2020, the company completed the $2.4 billion sale of its Management Services business and used part of the proceeds to reduce debt. At the end of fiscal 3Q20, AECOM had $2.1 billion in total debt, down from $3.4 billion at the end of 4Q19. It also has an unused $1.4 billion credit line.

ACM ended the quarter with a backlog of nearly $41.2 billion, up 13% from the prior year. This is a solid showing at a time when other industrials are reporting declining backlogs. We are maintaining our FY21 estimate of $2.80 and setting an estimate of $3.10 per share for FY22.

Our long-term EPS growth rate forecast remains 10%, in line with management’s five-year target.

We think that ACM shares are undervalued at current prices above $50, toward the top of their 52-week range of $28-$52. To value the stock on a fundamental basis, we use peer and historical multiple comparisons. ACM shares are trading at 16.1-times our FY22 (when we see full recovery) EPS estimate versus a range of 11-21 for peers. On price/sales, they are trading at the midpoint of the five-year range. Our rating remains BUY but with a new target price of $57.
Jim Kelleher, CFA, Argus Weekly Staff Report,, 212-425-7500, November 27, 2020

*Generac Holdings Inc. (GNRC)
Generac Holdings has been in business for more than 60 years and is one of the largest manufacturers of a very boring, Old Economy, industrial piece of equipment: backup generators.

The brownouts in California and across the south has awoken homeowners to the necessity of backup power. But GNRC is taking backup home power generation to Tesla-type heights.

GNRC proves backup battery systems that can not only power a home during blackouts, but also include solar-powered energy storage systems capable of powering the power needs of an entire home.

GNRC makes generators that offer more power and higher storage capacity than its competition. The practical result is that a homeowner can sell excess power to his/her local utility. Basically, he can turn his power into an income generator (pardon the pun) and become an electricity provider instead of an electricity consumer.

GNRC has a whopping 80% market share of the home standby generator market. But only 5% of U.S. homes have backup power systems, so the sky is the limit for growth.

Think of GNRC this way: Tesla has revolutionized the auto industry, bringing it into the 21st century, but Generac’s solar plus storage solutions are light years ahead it.
Tony Sagami, Weiss Ultimate Portfolio, 1-877-934-7778,, December 4, 2020

*PROG Holdings, Inc. (PRG)
PROG Holdings just spun off its retail business, (Aaron’s), and I’m recommending buying the remaining company called PROG Holdings (business consists of Progressive Leasing and Vive).

Progressive is a leader in the “rent-to-own” market and has grown revenue and EBITDA at a 20%+ CAGR over the past 4 years. It has a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow.

Despite a rosy outlook, the stock trades at just 10.8x EBITDA. Looking out a few years, I think the stock could reach $132 (assumes 15x multiple on $588MM of EBITDA).

There is risk given that this company is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Nonetheless, the risk seemly fully reflected in Progressive’s current share price.
Richard Howe, CFA, The Stock Spin-off Investing Newsletter,, 617-750-7454, December 4, 2020

Growth & Income 836

Diageo plc (DEO) | Daily Alert December 2
Diageo is one of the largest beverage companies in the world, with a market capitalization near $100 billion. It is also one of the world’s oldest companies, tracing its history all the way back to the 1600s. Diageo is a true alcohol conglomerate, with a huge brand portfolio. Diageo owns 20 of the world’s top 100 spirits brands. A few of its core brands include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray, Guinness, Crown Royal, and Ketel One.

Diageo was not immune to the coronavirus pandemic, and its financial results weakened in the most recent fiscal year. Global organic net sales declined 8% for fiscal 2020. But on the positive side, Diageo notched organic growth in North America for the fiscal year. This is important, as North America is the company’s biggest market at 39% of total revenue.

While the recently-concluded fiscal year was widely viewed as a disappointment for the company, Diageo has a bright long-term future, which puts it on this list of reliable alcohol stocks. One big reason is its entrenched position in under-developed nations around the world. The emerging markets are more important for Diageo, which is a headwind in the short-term, but is likely to be a long-term tailwind.

Emerging markets are among the fastest-growing economies in the world. For example, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific represent nearly 40% of company revenue. When the global economy returns to normal, these markets should once again return to higher growth rates.

The 2020 dividend was increased by approximately 3.5% from the 2019 payout, making Diageo stock a mix of dividend yield and growth.
Ben Reynolds & Bob Ciura, Sure Dividend Newsletter,,, 800-531-0465, November 25, 2020

*Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD)
Air Products is a real gem of a stock and I should have bought it sooner; it’s A+ all around. The change in cars, EV, hydrogen, and the future of the world—runs through APD. It is a dominate force in its business and is already a global company, with foreign sales accounting for 62% of sales. APD sells oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen (could be big and APD is #1 here), and helium—“gases” to a wide variety of businesses, but most important—technology, energy, all kinds of industrial technology, and healthcare Industries.

As for buying APD right here—I would go slowly and nibble. Ideally, I would watch for a pullback here toward $250 down to $225; and in that area would be a good place to buy APD.
Bob Howard, Positive Patterns, P.O. Box 310, Turners, MO 65765, 417-887-4486, December 4, 2020

Healthcare 836

Fulgent Genetics, Inc. (FLGT) | Daily Alert November 23
COVID-19 is surging again throughout the country, creating an even larger opportunity for agile diagnostic businesses. We’re 45 weeks into the global pandemic and the United States still has a testing problem.

Enter Fulgent Genetics, Inc. (Rated “B-”). It’s a smaller company many investors don’t know about, and it has a solution.

The problem, apart from the raging infection rates globally, is that not all tests are created equally. Some are based on antigens. These so-called rapid tests look for viral proteins called antigens that are found on the surface of the virus. They also have the added benefit of being inexpensive, at about $5 per test.

The gold standard is polymerase chain reaction variant. PCR tests detect viral genetic material through a process called amplification. They are far more accurate but can cost between $50 to $100 each. They also must be sent away to labs for diagnostics, creating delays of up to a week.

The solution seems to be a high-quality, low-cost PCR test with fast turnaround times.

Fulgent Genetics makes such a test. The company also has the platform to deliver tests at scale, making this an almost unimaginably incredible opportunity.

During the third-quarter financial-results conference call, CEO Ming Hsieh said that with only a modest investment in infrastructure, Fulgent was able to grow test volume by 5,000% year-over-year. During the same time frame, gross margins improved by 19% sequentially. Quarterly profits doubled to $63.5 million.

In September, the company contracted with the New York public school system, the largest in the country. Fulgent will provide a self-administered, at home PCR test with results available within 24 hours. This follows another blockbuster deal in July for Los Angeles County for drive through PCR testing.

It’s rare for a company of Fulgent’s size to be in the running for such contracts, let alone win them. Investors should expect this scenario to play out time and again as COVID-19 cases continue to unfortunately expand. Fulgent is in the right place at the right time with the right product. That’s a winning combination.

Shares trade at only 8.5 times forward earnings and the market capitalization is still less than $1 billion. Given the sales leverage, the stock could trade to $75 within 12 months, or 76% above current levels.
Jon Markman, Pivotal Point,, 1-800-291-8545, November 6, 2020

1Life Healthcare, Inc. (ONEM) | Daily Alert November 25
1Life Healthcare is a buy for aggressive investors. The company (TSINetwork Rating: Extra Risk) is a membership-based provider of primary health care that uses its One Medical technology platform. It has attracted more than 511,000 members in nine U.S. markets through online services and 77 physical locations.

In the quarter ended September 30, 2020, revenue jumped by 46.0%, to $101.7 million from $69.6 million a year earlier. One Medical’s membership count is now 511,000, up 28.7% from 397,000 a year ago.

1Life Healthcare is a buy.
Patrick McKeough, Power Growth Investor,, 888-292-0296, December 2020

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IONS) | Daily Alert December 16
IONS and its partner AstraZeneca initiated a Phase IIb trial of ION449 (AZD8233), which was designed to reduce blood cholesterol levels in patients with dyslipidemia by targeting PCSK9, an important and proven regulator of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

IONS partner Pfizer also announced the initiation of the Phase III BALANCE study for AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx in adult patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS). FCS is a debilitating genetic disease characterized by severely high plasma levels of triglycerides and a risk of unpredictable and potentially fatal acute pancreatitis.

IONS and AstraZeneca are also partners on ION455, for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

While the majority of biotech investor focus is on COVID vaccines of late, IONS continues to build its R&D war chest of antisense compounds (>50), many of which may become the next Spinraza (2020 sales >$2 billion). In this environment, any of IONS’ large pharma partnerships (e.g., AZN, Roche, BIIB, PFE, etc.) may turn into an outright acquisition. With cash of $2.3 billion, IONS $7 billion market cap looks attractive to us (especially compared with ALNY’s $15 billion MC).

IONS is a BUY under 75 with a TARGET PRICE of 90
John McCamant, The Medical Technology Stock Letter,, December 3, 2020

*GW Pharmaceuticals plc (GWPH)
GW Pharmaceuticals plc, the world leader in the science, development, and commercialization of cannabinoid prescription medicines, announced on Dec. 1 that its results, including long-term data in the treatment of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and in multiple seizure subtypes for EPIDIOLEX®(cannabidiol) oral solution, will be presented at the virtual American Epilepsy Society (AES) Annual Meeting, taking place between Dec. 4 and Dec. 8.

EPIDIOLEX, a pharmaceutical formulation of cannabidiol (CBD), is the first prescription, plant-derived, cannabis-based medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in patients one year of age and older.
Schaeffer’s Investment Research,, 800-327-8833, December 4, 2020

*Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd. (ENLV)
Israeli immunotherapy research firm Enlivex Therapeutics (ENLV-Q) reported good phase II trials results for its Allocetra drug, which cuts the immune response to Covid-19 when the virus has already been inactivated. It also works against other sepsis reactions. Eight patients were treated, 6 in severe condition and 2 in critical. There were no side effects and 7 patients recovered completely and were discharged, and the 8th is in moderate/severe condition. The trial did not have a control group because it was held in a small hospital. I am buying ENLV.
Vivian Lewis, Global Investing,, 212-758-9480, December 6, 2020

Technology 836

Xerox Holdings Corporation (XRX) | Daily Alert December 11
Xerox is a leading producer of printers and copiers. The company also has a sizeable managed print services. In addition, Xerox sells a range of related supplies including paper and cartridges. Equipment sales represent about a quarter of total revenues, with the balance coming from post-sale revenues including a small contribution from its equipment leasing segment. About 35% of sales are produced outside of the Americas.

Xerox has suffered from a secular shift away from printing and copying as well as from this year’s pandemic-driven work-from-home trend. Weak demand led to its revenues declining 19%, and adjusted operating profits declining 50%, in the third quarter. Revenues from mid-range enterprise equipment, which produces 70% of total equipment sales and is a key driver of post-sale revenues, fell 15% in the quarter.

In addition to the weak demand outlook for equipment and services, investors worry about intense price competition. Printers, services and supplies are mostly commoditized in the lower and mid-tier size ranges, where substitution is common. Investors have pushed Xerox shares down 40% this year, even after the vaccine-driven bounce.

Investors underestimate the value of Xerox shares. What makes the shares valuable is not their growth prospects (there are none) but rather the company’s generous free cash flow and cash-heavy balance sheet. We conservatively estimate that Xerox’ revenues will recover to about 75% of their former level, then resume their 3-5% decline path.

Overall, this re-purchase, at much lower prices, and trading at a low 5.4x EV/EBITDA, holds considerable turnaround promise.

We recommend the purchase of Xerox shares with a 33 price target.
Bruce Kaser, Cabot Turnaround Letter,, 978-¬745-¬5532, November 25, 2020

Avid Technology, Inc. (AVID)| Daily Alert December 14
A sound investment, Avid Technology sells audio and video solutions used by media and entertainment companies to create and distribute content. A large recurring revenue stream (71% of trailing 12-month sales) and gains in cloud-based software subscriptions have boosted profitability and free cash flow. In addition, new products, improved pricing, and enhanced digital marketing contributed to accelerating profit growth.

Powered by strong organic growth, Avid is expected to deliver per-share profit growth of 26% this year and 51% in 2021. Yet shares trade at 12 times projected 2021 profits, below the median of 20 for technology stocks in the S&P 1500 Index. The stock has rallied 38% so far this year, outpacing the 4% return of the S&P 600 Index.

Despite hovering near its all-time high, Avid seems capable of climbing 20% in the year ahead. Avid is rated Buy.
Richard J. Moroney, CFA, Upside,, 800-233-5922, December 7, 2020

Smartsheet Inc. (SMAR) | Daily Alert December 15
Smartsheet posted solid FQ3 results; revenue topped expectations, billings growth snapped back to +35, new customer metrics saw a rebound with larger cohorts, and enterprise customer growth was a particular bright spot.

This is a huge category that’s likely to create several significant firms. The stock is comparatively inexpensive at 13x EV/R on C2022E, management does a nice job of keeping expectations measured, and we should see a reacceleration in revenue growth as comps ease next year.

In terms of fundamentals, Smartsheet operates with a super-efficient, land and expand GTM (growth-to-market) model and the firm is pretty regular when it comes to value-add innovation. Recent introductions of process automation (Bridge), no code app creation (WorkApps), and hints of a user interface refresh come to mind. Finally, this is a space that’s likely to see consolidation, with Adobe/Workfront potentially being the first of several tie-ups, and we think SMAR could be an attractive target for buyers seeking a larger asset.

Smartsheet today has a presence in 75 of the Fortune 500 and 90 of the Fortune 100, which is great, but taking those from departmental to enterprise adoption is a slow process. We suppose therein lies excitement in the opportunity.

We think the positives outweigh the negatives here, and at these valuation levels, we find the risk/reward favorable. We continue to think growth investors should continue to have at least some exposure to SMAR. BUY.
David Hynes Jr., Luke Morison, CFA, and Daniel Reagan, Canaccord Genuity Research,, December 8, 2020

*Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP)
Check Point Software Technologies is a pure-play cybersecurity vendor. The company offers solutions for network, endpoint, cloud and mobile security in addition to security management. Check Point sells to enterprises, businesses, and consumers and protects over 100,000 organizations and millions of users in 88 countries.

Over 73 patents and a quarter century later, Check Point’s groundbreaking technology remains the gold standard for network security.

Check Point Software generated solid growth during the past five years with revenue and EPS compounding at 5% and 10% annual rates, respectively. Check Point’s highly profitable operations consistently deliver net profit margins exceeding 40% and returns on shareholders’ equity hovering around 20%. The security subscription portion of the business is very profitable, with 33% of total revenue now coming from security subscriptions.

Management is expecting high profitability to continue with fourth quarter revenue expected in the range of $525 million to $575 million and earnings estimated in the range of $2.00 to $2.18 per share.

Check Point Software Technologies checks all of our boxes for a HIquality, long-term investment given the firm’s innovative leadership, highly profitable growth, secure balance sheet and strong cash flows, while providing essential services for global businesses. Buy.
Ingrid R. Hendershot, Hendershot Investments,, 703-361-6130, December 2020

*Fabrinet (FN)
Fabrinet reported record revenue of $436.6 million for the first quarter of 2021. This is a 9.4% increase over the $399.3 million for Q1 2020. Net income jumped from $26 million for the 2020 Q1 to $33.1 million for Q1 2021.

Fabrinet included guidance for the next quarter with revenue estimates in the range of $420 million to $440 million. EPS, on a GAAP basis, was estimated to be in the range of $0.84 to $0.91 assuming 37.7 million shares outstanding.

Fabrinet is a buy up to $72.
Doug Gerlach,, 1-877-33-ICLUB, December 2020

Resources & Utilities 836

Barrick Gold Corporation (GOLD) | Daily Alert November 24
Barrick Gold, the world’s second largest gold producer, has been transformed since it merged with Randgold, and the latter’s Dr. Mark Bristow took over as CEO. Today, it is not only one of the largest gold miners, but one of the best and one of the most undervalued.

Bristow is a dynamo. In his less than two years at the helm, Bristow has dramatically cut the company’s debt; has cut costs including slashing the bloated Toronto corporate headquarters; has visited every one of the company’s operations around the world; has reacquired Acadia Mining and solved political problems in Tanzania (and is working on Papua New Guinea); and has achieved the decades-old goal of combining Barrick’s and Newmont’s Nevada operations, cutting duplicative overhead.

The result is a company focused on “profitable ounces” instead of growth, with a strong balance sheet. Barrick always had world-class assets, but now is making them work for the benefit of shareholders. The company has gold and copper assets in 13 countries primarily in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa. It has several development projects in the same jurisdictions, with 71 million ounces of gold reserves.

The stock has responded to Mark Bristow’s leadership moving from lows in the $10 range in late 2018. This year it has performed well in response to higher gold prices, up from $16 in the March sell-off to the current price, but down from over $29 earlier this month to its lowest level since mid-June. It is trading at a price-to-cash flow multiple under 10 times, and free cash flow multiple of 17 times. It is trading just over two times book. These multiples are lower than most other major gold miners.

Now, you have an opportunity to buy one of the best gold companies at a good price. We rank this as mid-risk in our investment pyramid.
Adrian Day, Adrian Day’s Global Analyst,, 410-224-8885, November 17, 2020

*Fortis Inc. (FTS, FTS.TO)
Fortis is an electricity and natural gas distribution utility based in St. John’s. It has total assets of about $56 billion and generated revenue of $8.8 billion in 2019. The company serves utility customers in five Canadian provinces, nine U.S. states, and three Caribbean countries.

Despite the pandemic, Fortis reported a year-over-year increase in third-quarter profits to $292 million compared to $278 million last year.

Like other utilities, Fortis has regulatory mechanisms that help stabilize cash flow and earnings. Approximately 82% of revenues are either protected by these mechanisms or are derived from residential sales, which the company says have increased as a result of work-from-home practices.

The company recently announced a 5.8% increase in its quarterly payout and is tied with Alberta-based Canadian Utilities for the longest record of consecutive annual dividend increases, at 47 years. The company is targeting yearly increases in the 6% range through 2025. Buy.
Gordon Pape, Internet Wealth Builder,, 1-888-287-8229

High Yield & Preferred Stocks 836

Regions Financial Corporation (RF) | Daily Alert November 20
Among the biggest beneficiaries of the rise in long-term interest rates over the past two months have been banks, in particular smaller regional banks. The KBW Regional Bank Index (KRE) is up 33% since September 23. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has risen from 0.50% to as high as 0.98% since August 6, closing Friday at 0.89%.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions Financial is one of the largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services in the U.S, with 1,427 banking offices, and approximately 2,000 ATMs across the South, Midwest, and Texas. Regions trades at substantial discounts to four out of the five historical valuations we consider when evaluating stocks.

There is an ex-dividend date on December 3 for a payout of $0.155 per share.
John Dobosz, Forbes Dividend Investor,, 212-367-3388, November 13, 2020

Pembina Pipeline Corporation (PBA, PPL.TO) | Daily Alert December 4
Pembina owns and operates an integrated system of pipelines that transport various products derived from natural gas and hydrocarbon liquids produced primarily in western Canada. The company also owns and operates gas gathering and processing facilities and an oil and natural gas liquids infrastructure and logistics business.

Pembina’s revenue and profits have taken a hit this year, but unlike many companies in the energy sector, it has not cut its dividend. On the contrary, the company has repeatedly stressed its commitment to maintain the monthly payout at a lofty $0.21 a share ($2.52 a year).

Third-quarter results showed revenue of just under $1.6 billion, down from $1.7 billion in the same period of 2019. Earnings were $318 million ($0.51 per share, fully diluted), down from $370 million ($0.66 per share) the year before. Adjusted EBITDA was $796 million, up 8% from $736 million on the third quarter of 2019. New acquisitions acquired from Kinder Morgan were important contributors to the improvement.

The company expects adjusted EBITDA for the year to be within the original guidance range set in the fourth quarter of 2019, albeit near the lower end of that range. Based on the current outlook for the remainder of the year, the company has narrowed its guidance range and expects to generate adjusted EBITDA of $3.25-$3.30 billion in 2020.

The high yield suggests that investors are still skeptical that the company will be able to sustain the dividend through 2021 if the economic environment does not improve. But Pembina’s repeated strong insistence that the dividend is secure means events would have to take a disastrous turn for it to reverse course now.

The stock is a Buy for investors who can deal with risk.
Gordon Pape, Income Investor,, 1-888-287-8229, November 26, 2020

*Franchise Group, Inc. (FRGAP)
We’re adding Franchise Group 7.50% Series A Cumulative. Originally Liberty Tax Services, FRG began operating as the Franchise Group in November 2019 with the goal of accumulating a growing list of franchisable businesses with strong growth prospects. Although not credit-rated, the shares are cumulative meaning that Franchise Group remains on the hook for any missed dividends.

The yield to its 9/18/25 call date is 7.0%. Dividends are subject to the 15%/20% maximum tax rates and are eligible for the dividends received deductions for corporate holders.
Harry Domash, Dividend Detective,, 866-632-1593, December 5, 2020

*Global Ship Lease, Inc. (GSL-PB)
The shipping sector is another heavy issuer of preferred shares. Global Ship Lease owns and operates a fleet of container ships. The company’s business improved dramatically for the 2020 third quarter. The recommended preferred stock is Global Ship Lease Inc. ADRs 8.75% Series B (GSL.PB). Dividends are cumulative, and the shares are currently callable at par.
Tim Plaehn, The Dividend Hunter,, December 2020

The Williams Companies, Inc. (WMB)
Williams Companies is one of the largest natural gas-focused midstream companies in the United States.

Of the 24 analysts who follow the company, 79% rate it as a “Buy” or “Strong Buy.” We like the fundamentals and management.

The company’s second quarter results (net income of $303 million or 25% per diluted share) demonstrated stability and predictability of business. WMB’s natural gas focused strategy is, as we see it, built for the long haul. The company is bullish on natural gas demand growth as it plays a critical role in the clean energy economy.
Sean Christian, The Personal Capitalist, 9524 East 81st Street, Suite B #1715, Tulsa, OK 74133, November 23, 2020

Special Dividend 836

The Buckle, Inc. (BKE)
Buckle, a casual apparel retailer, declared a $2-per-share special dividend and a $0.30-per-share regular quarterly dividend before the market open Dec. 8.

The dividends generated an immediate 7.3% yield based on our $31.50 reference-buy price. The share price has trended higher since the initial buy alert, but the price still offers an immediate yield above 7% as I write.

The dividends will be paid on Dec. 29. The ex-dividend date is Dec. 18. Investors have until the close of trading on Dec. 17 to buy Buckle shares and collect its special and regular quarterly dividends.

Buckle is one of a shrinking breed—a conventional clothing retailer that’s competing with Amazon (AMZN) and the other online retailers.

Unlike many of its competitors, Buckle offers a broad but shallow merchandise assortment (i.e., many styles but only a few sizes in each). This creates a sense of urgency that supports full-price sales. A constant inflow of new items (Buckle ships daily to most stores) also encourages customers to shop often.

Buckle reported third-quarter financial numbers that stunned the analysts who follow the company. Earnings per share (EPS) posted at $0.85 for the quarter, breezing past the consensus estimate by $0.30.

Revenue for the quarter rose 12% (to $251 million) compared with the year-ago quarter. Revenue beat the consensus estimate by $18.4 million.

Recommended Action:

Dividend-Income Investors: Buy Buckle shares. You have until the close of trading on Dec. 17 to buy Buckle shares to collect its $2-per-share special dividend and $0.30-per-share regular quarterly dividend and open a dividend-income trade.

Capital-Gains Investors: WAIT until Dec. 18, the ex-dividend date, and buy Buckle shares. The best entry price for a capital-gains trade frequently occurs on the ex-dividend date.
Ian Wyatt, Dividend Confidential,, December 10, 2020

REITs 836

Regency Centers Corporation (REG) | Daily Alert December 9
Real estate investment trust (REIT) Regency Centers is a national owner, operator and developer of neighborhood and community shopping centers. The company has been in the business more than 50 years and has a portfolio that is primarily anchored by productive grocers located in affluent and attractive more-populated metro areas.

Shares have struggled this year, as the pandemic hit retailers especially hard. REG reported receiving 86% of Q3 rent and has seen an uptick in new leases, while grocers, drugstores, banks, and home improvement tenants have been the strongest performers in areas where retailers were allowed to reopen. Management observed that there is a direct relationship between fully reopening shopping and rent collections, which while not surprising on its own, is indicative of the need for vaccines to be deployed quickly and widely (beyond the obvious health benefits).

We believe that brick-and-mortar retail will continue to be important after the pandemic passes, while those that have converted to more online shopping will see their packages shipped from local stores instead of massive distribution centers.
John Buckingham, The Prudent Speculator,, 877-817-4394, December 2, 2020

*Broadmark Realty Capital Inc. (BRMK)
Broadmark Realty Capital is technically a mortgage REIT, but the classification feels lacking given what the company actually does. Broadmark, which only started trading in its current form in 2019 after the Broadmark real estate lending companies merged with Trinity Merger Corp., is a “hard money” lender. It provides construction loans, heavy rehab/redevelopment loans, land development loans and more on everything from residential to commercial to industrial buildings, to builders—typically those that need a quick turnaround, allowing it to set fairly high rates.

Core earnings declined from 21 cents per share in Q1 to 18 cents in Q2, and that remained level in Q3. It even had to reduce its monthly dividend by 25% to 6 cents per share starting in April. But existing inventory is tight, homebuilders are supremely confident, and there’s still no shortage of homebuyers—all bullish for BRMK.

The only problem here is there’s not much dip to buy. Broadmark’s a resilient and differentiated mREIT with a nice 7% yield, but it has also flatlined while the rest of the mREIT industry has begun to catch up. There just might not be much additional upside opportunity from here, though BRMK will at least be relatively secure as long as the housing market remains aloft.
Brett Owens, Contrarian Outlook, BNK Invest Inc., 500 North Broadway, Suite 265, Jericho, NY 11753 USA, 516-620-4294, December 5, 2020

Second Opinion:

*Broadmark Realty Capital Inc. (BRMK)
BRMK is a Seattle-based mortgage REIT that provides short-term and first deed of trust loans secured by real estate to fund projects associated with both residential and commercial properties around the U.S. (i.e. it only operates domestically rather than internationally as well, but your guess is as good as mine as to whether that makes it more or less risky in the current economic environment!). BRMK is considered a buy under $11.

Nate Pile, The Little River Investment Guide,, 707-433-7903, December 4, 2020

*Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG)

52wk H. 151.49 52wk L. 42.25

Mkt Cap: $28.07B, EPS: 4.40, P/E: 19.44

Beta: 1.34, Div/Yld: 5.20(6.08%)

The Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs), owner of premier shopping centers of S&P 100 Cos. Revised its merger deal with Taubman to $2.8B a discount of 20% from original $3.6B. Reversal rocketed from the bottom leg of its established death cross with an upped-gap (65-75) to (75-81) to repeated upped-gap (81-86) to (85-91). Volatile.




Joseph Parnes, Shortex Market Letter,, 800-877-6555, December 4, 2020

Funds & ETFs 836

Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund ETF Shares (VOE) | Daily Alert December 1
Conventional wisdom says to buy funds posting strong returns in top performing categories. While investing in today’s winners can translate to strong returns, the strategy can get crowded when investors chase performance and pile in. Importantly, the crowd isn’t always right.

Sometimes it pays to do the opposite of what the crowd is doing. Betting on out-of-favor funds, dubbed contrarian investing, can also translate to strong returns. To be sure, the strategy often requires a strong stomach and patience. But contrarian investors may find that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Ultimately, a key to successful long-term fund investing is to consider different approaches.

Down 2.7% in 2020, Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund ETF Shares is an attractive rebound pick. A component of our recommended portfolios, the ETF favors consumer discretionary (18% of assets), financials (16%), and utilities (13%). It holds 207 stocks, with the 10 largest positions accounting for 12% of the fund.

Over the past 10 years, the ETF has posted an impressive 10.6% annualized return, ranking it among the top 8% of its peer group. The fund has generated positive returns in seven of the last 10 years, including a 28% gain in 2019. Vanguard Midcap Value charges a modest 0.07% expense ratio, well below the category average of 1.09%.
Richard Moroney, CFA, Dow Theory Forecasts,, 800-233-5922, November 16, 2020

First Trust Enhanced Equity Income Fund (FFA) | Daily Alert December 10
First Trust Enhanced Equity Income Fund; Current Annualized Yield 6.96%; Discount to Net Asset Value -7.42%; Pay Cycle 3e; Expense Ratio 1.14%; Leverage Ratio 0.00%; CUSIP 337318109; Family Closed-End Fund

First Trust Enhanced Equity Income Fund’s investment objective is to deliver a high level of current income and gains, in addition to capital appreciation. The fund is non-leveraged and four-star rated by Morningstar.

FFA invests substantially all of its managed assets in a diversified portfolio of U.S. common stocks, as well as U.S. dollar- denominated equity securities of non-U.S. issuers that trade on U.S. exchanges. The fund also writes or sells covered call options against a portion of its managed assets for added income.

The fund’s portfolio mix is appropriate, given economic times. As of 10/31/20, the fund’s portfolio breakdown for its five largest sectors consisted of Information Technology (30.9%), Health Care (14.6%), Communication Services (11.0%), Consumer Discretionary (10.9%), and Financials (10.1%). The top five holdings at the end of the same period were Microsoft (8.2%), Apple (7.0%), Thermo Fisher Scientific (3.1%), and JPMorgan (3.1%).

Total return performance has been historically solid, although returns in 2020 have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on markets. FFA reported a YTD market price total return of +1.99% through 11/27/20. We believe this closed-end fund is suitable for low- to medium-risk portfolios over the intermediate term. Distributions are taxed on a variable basis, but largely at the lower tax rate, reflecting the large component of qualified dividends and long-term capital gains. Buy up to $19.00.
Martin Fridson, CFA, Income Securities Investor,, 800-472-2680, December 2020

iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap ETF (SCZ) | Daily Alert December 8
A way to play the pivot to dividend and value stocks is international investing. Foreign stocks as a group have underperformed U.S. stocks over the last five years. As a group, international stocks have higher yields and trade at lower price-earnings ratios than U.S. stocks.

Investors should not go “all in” on international stocks, as U.S. stocks still have ample appeal. But if you are devoid of international exposure, it might be a good time to get some. An easy way to gain broad international exposure is via exchange-traded funds, such as the iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap exchange-trade fund, which focuses on small-cap stocks in developed countries. This ETF does not offer direct-purchase plans and must be purchased via a broker.
Charles B. Carlson, CFA, DRIP Investor,, 800-233-5922, December 2020

*Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (FLPSX)
Joel Tillinghast is another legendary manager; he’s run this fund since its 1989 inception. He and his team target small- and mid-cap stocks (though it also holds plenty of large caps) with sustainable cash flows and low P/Es relative to its Russell 2000 benchmark (which it doesn’t closely resemble!).

For example, with roughly 40% of its assets outside the U.S., Low-Priced is best described as a global value fund. (At 12% of assets, Japan is its largest foreign stake.) Diversified in all ways imaginable, we like the fund primarily for its pursuit of all things inexpensive, with solid business chops and sound fundamentals. Oh, and income investors will appreciate its dividend yield.
Jack Bowers, John M. Boyd and John Bonnanzio, Fidelity Monitor & Insight,, 800-397-3094, December 2020

*Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLB)
There has been a strong resurgence in manufacturing over the past six months as demand for durable goods has reemerged in full force. The Materials sector is not overvalued and is a direct beneficiary of this recovery. Consequently, we are adding a 4% position in the Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF.
James Stack, InvesTech Research,, 800-955-8500, November 20, 2020

*Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE)
SPDR Energy is the top pick to trade this seasonality. A new position in XLE could be established near current levels up to a buy limit of $39.70. Employ a stop loss of $32.03. Take profits at the auto sell of $46.16. Chevron is the top holding in XLE at 23.37%. The remaining top five holdings of XLE are Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Schlumberger and Phillips 66.
Jeffrey A. Hirsch, Stock Trader’s Almanac,, 800-762-2974, Decembeer 3, 2020

Updates 836

SELL Channel Advisor Corporation (ECOM) | Daily Alert December 14
Updated from WSBI 829, May 21, 2020

ChannelAdvisor was downgraded to Sell because of its discouraging share-price action and profit trends. Consensus profit estimates have moved lower for 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Richard J. Moroney, CFA, Upside,, 800-233-5922, December 7, 2020

SELL Griffon Corporation (GFF) | Daily Alert December 14
Updated from WSBI 833, September 17, 2020

Griffon is being dropped from coverage. For fiscal 2021 ending September, management expects sales to only match the prior year. Higher operating expenses could weigh on cash flow and profit margins.
Richard J. Moroney, CFA, Upside,, 800-233-5922, December 7, 2020

*REDUCE your Stake in Cohu, Inc. (COHU)
Updated from WSBI 830, June 18, 2020

Cohu is up some 70% since Halloween, so we trimmed our stake. Generally speaking, we reduced our weight in the semiconductor test handling equipment maker to around 1.2% or so, or a “normal” position size, in our broadly diversified portfolios.

Cohu expects Q4 revenue between $195 million and $200 million, a 31% increase over Q3 and 39% increase over Q4 last year. The company also reduced its debt load by $21 million during the current quarter. We expect the sales momentum to continue as the availability of 5G grows. Analysts expect COHU to grow EPS from around $0.09 in 2019 to more than $2.50 in 2021. Our Target Price on the balance of our stake has been boosted to $42.
John Buckingham, The Prudent Speculator,, 877-817-4394, December 4, 2020

Investment Index 836

WSBI 836 Fund table

WSBI 836 ETF table