Top Stock Picks
Manulife Financial Corporation, MFC-T, Owned personally and by clients
Manulife is a leading Canadian-based financial services group with operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Over the past five years, the company has made tremendous strides in de-risking the balance sheet and improving profitability through increasing wealth management operations as well as redirecting the mix of products sold. Recent quarter results disappointed as negative policyholder experience in the firm’s US Long Term Care(LTC) Business overshadowed positive developments elsewhere. Excluding the LTC hit, results from the US divisione were inline with expectations. Canada and Asia reported favourable trends in earnings. The market reacted negatively to these results. MFC has the strongest capital base of the insurers. Going forward, we expect the problems within LTC will be dealt with and at current levels, the shares represent good value and yield 4.2%
Suncor Energy, SU-T, Owned by clients
Suncor is Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas company. Suncor has a strong production base with quality long-term assets, a strong balance sheet, and an integrated business model smoothing to some extent the cash flow from the various business segments. The latest quarter exhibited mixed results, partially as a result of the wildfires in Northern Alberta that affected both production and operating expenses. We anticipate that production will increase both organically and perhaps through acquisition. Suncor has a strong balance sheet to support and expand operations. At current levels, the stock yields 3.2%.
HudBay Minerals, HBM-T, Owned personally and by clients
HudBay Minerals is one of Canada’s leading producers of zinc, copper and precious metals with operations in Canada, Peru and the US. While the share price has appreciated significantly in the past few months, positive developments are still on the horizon that will enhance the underlying value of the company. Delayed shipments impaired sales in the latest quarter that should be made up going forward. Liquidity has been improved as the large Constancia mine is now commissioned and additional credit facilities have been of this site is possible obtained. Mill throughput in Constancia was constrained by liner wear in the mill that has now been repaired. Further development in Peru is a possibility. Improvements in Manitoba at Lalor and Reed are also noted.
North American markets have continued their upward trajectory despite a growing list of negative geopolitical and business risks, particularly those stemming from the surprising vote in the UK to “Brexit“. At the same time, the global bond markets appear to be signalling an expected decline in economic activity. Governments out side of North America continue to attempt to stimulate economies through quantitative easing and proposed infrastructure spending. Over US$13 Trillion of sovereign debt is now at negative interest rates and the total continues to grow.
Politicians in North America and Europe are exploiting the public’s unrest through fear-mongering on the issues of globalization and free trade as was most evident in the Brexit vote and continues in the US presidential race. As the US election draws nearer, more noise from the political pundits will distract attention from the longer term fundamentals.
After a number of years of expansion fueled by debt, we could be entering a period of deleveraging that will stall global economic growth for a period and potentially cause markets to decline and volatility to increase. Investors should concentrate on the longer term issues and be prepared to take advantage of current circumstances to invest in well financed, well managed companies.
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The opinions expressed here are ours alone. They are provided for information purposes only and are not tailored to the needs of any particular individual or company, are not an endorsement, recommendation, or sponsorship of any entity or security, and do not constitute investment advice. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from a qualified investment advisor before making any investment decision.