Housing Market

  • 13 Dec
    Is LOW cheap enough yet?

    Is LOW cheap enough yet?

    Over the course of this last quarter of the calendar year, one of the areas of the market that has come under the most pressure is the Consumer Discretionary sector. From April until September, this sector was one of the market leaders, as a generally healthy economy drove retail stocks across a range of industries like Kohl’s (KSS), Target Stores (TGT), Home Depot (HD), and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) to all-time high levels; but as anxiety about global tariffs combined with questions about whether the economy was finally starting to reach a peak, this sector dropped well into correction territory and is down a little over 12% since the beginning of September.

    Home improvement stocks like HD and LOW seem to be an interesting economic barometer, especially as it relates to consumer-level impact. A healthy economy generally means increasing home ownership, both for new homes as well as existing, older homes. That is usually a good thing for this industry, since homeowners naturally have to spend money to maintain their homes. Another element that plays a role, of course is interest rates.  Low rates not only motivate higher borrowing for mortgages, but also spur increased home improvement sales as consumers spend and borrow money to upgrade and improve existing homes.

    The fact rates have been increasing isn’t a positive for this industry, and in fact is one of the things that I believe have played a role in pushing HD and LOW into bear market territory over the last three months; but recent economic data seems to be giving the market reason to believe that the Fed may slow the pace of interest rate increases. On a historical basis, rates remain relative modest, which means a slower pace, or even a pause in rates could give this industry a boost in 2019. LOW is an interesting company, in the midst of a corporate transformation, with a new management team that is mapping out a new strategy that includes selling non-core businesses, lowering costs and improved store execution. They are down more than 20% over the quarter, which means that the stock is underperforming versus the broader sector and is in bear market territory. There are some interesting fundamental qualities that I think make LOW worth watching; but I’m not sure the long-term outlook for the stock is quite as positive as I would like to see.



    Fundamental and Value Profile

    Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (Lowe’s) is a home improvement company. The Company operates approximately 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores. The Company offers a range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling and decorating. The Company offers home improvement products in categories, including Lumber and Building Materials; Tools and Hardware; Appliances; Fashion Fixtures; Rough Plumbing and Electrical; Lawn and Garden; Seasonal and Outdoor Living; Paint; Flooring; Millwork, and Kitchens. The Company also supports the communities that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. The Company serves its customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. LOW’s current market cap is $75.3 billion.

    • Earnings and Sales Growth: Over the last twelve months, earnings declined about -1%, while sales grew almost 4%. The last quarter didn’t improve the earnings picture, since earnings declined almost -50%, while sales dropped close to -17%. The company operates with a very narrow margin profile that seems to be getting even narrower; Net Income versus Revenues over both the past year was 5.18%, but decline in the most recent quarter at about 3.6%.
    • Free Cash Flow: LOW’s free cash flow is one of most impressive aspects of their fundamental profile, at $5.3 billion. That translates to a Free Cash Flow Yield of 7.2%. Another positive is the fact Free Cash Flow has increased significantly since the beginning of the year, when it was about $4 billion.
    • Debt to Equity: LOW has a debt/equity ratio of 2.68 and makes them one of the most highly leveraged companies in their industry. While their balance sheet indicates operating profits are sufficient to service their debt, liquidity is a question mark; cash is a little over $1.8 billion while long-term debt is almost $14.5 billion.
    • Dividend: LOW pays an annual dividend of $1.92 per share, which translates to a yield of about 2.1%.
    • Price/Book Ratio: there are a lot of ways to measure how much a stock should be worth; but one of the simplest methods that I like uses the stock’s Book Value, which for LOW is only $6.72, and which translates to a Price/Book ratio of 13.76 at the stock’s current price. Their historical average Price/Book ratio is 10.36, which means that even with the stock down 20% since September, it remains almost 25% overvalued right now. The fact is that based on Price/Book ratio, the stock can’t really be considered a good value until it drops to about $55. The last time the stock was in that price range was October of 2014.



    Technical Profile

    Here’s a look at the stock’s latest technical chart.

     

    • Current Price Action/Trends and Pivots: LOW isn’t far from the 52-week lows it established earlier this year in the $81 to $83 price range. The momentum of the stock’s downward trend right now means that the stock would have to break above resistance at $95 to mark any kind of consolidation range right now, with a break above $100 a good technical reference for an actual bullish trend reversal. If the stock breaks below its current pivot support around $86, look for strong consolidation in the $81 to $83 range. A drop below that level would mean the downward trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future, with the next most likely support level around $75. 
    • Near-term Keys: A push above $95 could set up an interesting bullish swing trade using call options, with a near-term target price at around $100. If the stock breaks its current support, you might consider shorting the stock or buying put options with an eye on the stock’s 52-week low around $81 as an exit point for that trade. The fact is that the stock’s value proposition right now just isn’t interesting enough to justify any kind of long-term position on this company. They are interesting potential turnaround story, it is true; but I would prefer to wait to see new management’s strategy paying off in the form of improving general fundamental strength, lower debt levels, and improving Book Value.


  • 22 Nov
    Homebuilders are down big this year – does that mean opportunity with stocks like OC?

    Homebuilders are down big this year – does that mean opportunity with stocks like OC?

    Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday is a good opportunity, while the market takes a break from its wild day to day swings of the past six weeks or so, to sit back and think about where there might be some interesting opportunities to be had in the weeks, months, and possibly even years ahead. Despite the angst and worry that has dominated market headlines, centered primarily around continuing trade tension and interest rate fears, the fact remains that the economy for the most part continues to be quite healthy. Despite the general healthy state of the economy, one of the biggest underperforming sectors in the market throughout the year has been homebuilders, including building products companies. More →

  • 23 Aug
    Is OC’s discount worth the fundamental risk?

    Is OC’s discount worth the fundamental risk?

    Watch America’s #1 Trader Officially Become $1,050 RICHER in 15 SECONDS!

    And then $940 RICHER in 11 seconds… $1,260 RICHER in 8 seconds… and $988 RICHER in 7 seconds! You’ve never seen anything like this. And you may NEVER see it again! His secret to becoming a multimillionaire is so easy that anybody can do it!

    Read More

    One of the classic hallmarks of the economy’s health and strength is the housing market. Stocks of retail companies like Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW) often serve as proxies of to guide the market’s perception of the housing market, but it also isn’t uncommon to see experts and analysts referring to homebuilders like D.R. Horton (DHI) and Toll Brothers (TOL) in the same way. More →

    By Thomas Moore Housing Market Investiv Daily
  • 28 May
    This Stock Is A Canary In A Coal Mine For The Economy & You Should Be Paying Attention

    This Stock Is A Canary In A Coal Mine For The Economy & You Should Be Paying Attention

    History tells us that when the FED starts to raise interest rates, sooner or later the economy will be hit.

    Today, we’ll discuss what’s going on with rates and the economy, and where we are in the current economic cycle in order to determine portfolio risk exposures.



    The Relationship Between Interest Rates & The Economy

    If we take a look at the chart below representing the effective federal funds rate, we can see that usually but not always, a tightening period is followed by a recession depicted by the grey columns. More →

  • 15 May
    Are We In Another Real Estate Bubble?

    Are We In Another Real Estate Bubble?

    • The data resembles 2007, but there are other factors to think about.

    Introduction

    Recently, I was listening to an interview with Robert Shiller where he was explaining how they predicted the 2000s housing bubble. This got me thinking so I went to dig deeper and found the following chart.




    More →

  • 28 Mar
    Why You Need To Be Thinking About Inflation Hedges Right Now

    Why You Need To Be Thinking About Inflation Hedges Right Now

    We have to ask ourselves what’s going on in the world today, and the answer is pretty simple. Central banks have pushed so much liquidity into the system that everything looks great since technology plus huge investments thanks to low borrowing costs has kept prices down.



    More →

  • 23 Oct
    This Is How You Get Returns Over 1,000%

    This Is How You Get Returns Over 1,000%

    • There are many examples of simple investments that returned more than 1,000%, some even 10,000%, over the last few decades.
    • In order to take advantage of such investments, you have to look at the extremes of what could happen in the next few years that aren’t included in the current economic models that use statistical averages.
    • Statistical averages are what you have to look for to protect you from negative surprises and open your portfolio to extremely positive surprises.



    Introduction

    A friend of mine just sold his home in Central London for 2.4 million pounds which is an average price in London. However, what’s interesting is that he bought the property in 1996 for just 160,000 pounds. In just 20 years, the value of his London property increased 15 times.

    Another example I have is from a recent WSJ article where a Park Avenue penthouse is selling for about $18 million. The funny thing is that the property was empty for 27 years as it was owned by the Former Republic of Yugoslavia which also allows us to know what the purchase price was in 1975. The purchase price was $100,000. In 40 years, the value of this property in New York increased 180 times. More →

  • 26 Jul
    The Economic News is Very Good, But Keep An Eye On the FED and GDP This Week

    The Economic News is Very Good, But Keep An Eye On the FED and GDP This Week

    • Housing is showing inflationary signs but still offers an opportunity to profit from the rising trend as a downturn is unlikely and not expected in the short term.
    • Amidst all the positive news, manufacturing turned negative. Yet despite this, stock valuations keep going up, increasing the risk.
    • In the week ahead: the FED’s decision and GDP data. It looks like stable weather in the near future.

    Introduction

    The last sequence of economic data was very positive. In this article we are going to discuss the important data coming out this week and analyze the information released last week. Then we’ll combine it with the current situation on the market and, as always, analyze the risks and rewards. More →

  • 18 May
    A Positive Note From Housing

    A Positive Note From Housing

    • Housing starts, positive homebuilders and a pickup in Chinese building all create a good feeling about the economy and markets.
    • Average house prices have increased but median prices show that the current situation is not even close to a bubble.
    • Rent prices are rising and therefore more buying is expected as people switch to buying instead of renting.

    Introduction

    Recent news about housing is positive. On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders reported the housing market index at 58 where a reading above 50 means that home builders have a positive feeling about the single-family housing market. Two days earlier, on Saturday, the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics reported that property investments in the first four months of 2016 rose 7.2% and construction starts gained 21.4%. And on Tuesday new housing starts came in at 1.17 million or 6.6% higher than in March. All of this is very positive news but the most important thing for investors is how this affects the economy and markets. As housing ignited the great recession, it is important to constantly be aware of what is going on in the housing market. More →