On Monday Nvidia (NVDA) hit an all-time high. For 2023 through November 17, Nvidia and the other 6 stocks in the Magnificent Seven–Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Meta (META), and Tesla (TSLA)–have gained more than 70%. The other 493 stocks in the Standard & Poor’ 500 are up 6% for that same period.
Investors see a ton of third-quarter earnings reports this coming week with news from Microsoft, Amazon, Meta Platforms, and Alphabet quite capable of moving the entire market. We’ll also get more consumer company (Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark for example) reports to show whether last week’s higher revenue but lower volume pattern continues. And Wall Street is expecting negative new from oil companies ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) when they both report on Friday.
a lot of individual stocks are cheap right now, I’d argue. 180 of the 500 stocks in the S&P 500 trade now at the same or lower price that they commanded a year ago. And for many individual stocks the performance is even worse. For example, Luminar Technologies (LAZR), a maker of LIDAR safety and navigation equipment for cars, is down 40% in the last three months. Albemarle, the world’s leading supplier of lithium, is off 27% in the last three months. Nidec (NJDCY), a Japanese maker of small electric motors and electric vehicle drive trains, is down 13% in the last three months. I’d argue that these and the rest of the 10 Contrarian bargain stocks that I’m going to recommend in this Special Report share a number of characteristics that have led to their losses over the last few months or longer.
I’m going to take advantage of today’s pop in Nvidia (NVDA) to sell the shares out of my very short-term Volatility Portfolio tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2. The shares closed up at the close today at $447.82, a gain of 2.95% on the day. I initiated the position in the Volatily Portfolio on Mach 25, 2023. It was up 66% as of the close today So why sell Nvidia here?
So what do you do with your portfolio for the rest of 2023? And what’s your best strategy to be prepared for 2024? In Part 1 of this Special Report I laid out the 10 developments that I thought would drive the financial markets for the rest of 223 and into 2024. Today, in Part 2, I’m going to give you the first 2 of 10 moves to take–with as much detail and as many specifics as possible–that you should be making now to position your portfolio for the uncertainties of the last quarter of 2023.
Notes You Need for September 25: MSFT market fuel, cost of car ownership, Goldman fine, Micky Dee franchise fees up, CSCO buys SPLK
I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I think that this current market is throwing up lots of hints that might contribute to an investing thesis but that don’t deserve a full post. So here I go with Notes You Need again.
This isn’t the quarter I expect from a stock trading at a record, all-time high. Today, after the close, Microsoft (MSFT) reported fiscal fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.69 a share. That exceeded Wall Street estimates of $2.55 a share.Revenue rose on 8% to $56.2 billion Wall Street analysts had expected $55.5 billion. For the fiscal 2023 year revenue grew by just 7%. That was the lowest annual growth since 2017.
Ho, hum, it’s a quiet week with nothing much going on. Oh, except for the meeting the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate setting Open Market Committee on Wednesday, July 26. Oh, and earnings from Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOG) on July 25, and Meta Platform (META aka Facebook) on July 26. Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN report on August 3.
Right now economists are projecting that the U.S. economy didn’t slip into a recession in the second quarter that ended on June 30. But those same forecasts are looking for a further slowdown in economic growth in the quarter.
On July 3 the GDPNow forecast from the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank put second quarter growth at an adjusted annual rate of 1.9%. That’s down from the model’s 2.2% forecast on Jone 30. And that rate of growth would be a further deceleration from the 2.0% growth rate (that was an upward revision from a first estimate of just a 1.3% growth rate) in the first quarter and the 2.6% growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. The very recent downward revision in the GDPNow forecast is a result of a drop in private domestic investment growth to 8.8% from 10.4%.So now recession–good news–but a further slowdown in the economy–expected with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. And a continued drop in company profits.
I think a well-constructed portfolio should resemble an onion. (Yes, to continue the analogy, it may make you cry in the short term, but the end result after cooking time is yummy.) At the center of that onion is a core built of stocks with extremely high, risk-adjusted potential rates of return. These stocks won’t deliver the kind of huge gains you can reap from investing in a risky bet–if everything turns out right for that company and its stock. But neither are they likely to crash and burn because something goes wrong at the company. These core portfolio stocks will drop if the market as a whole heads south, but they will drop less and recover faster. These aren’t buy-and-forget, or hold-forever stocks. They can soar to unreasonable valuations at times and an active investor should take profits at some point of overvaluation. (I did a YouTube video recently (you can find it on any of my sites) on when to sell a very overvalued Nvidia, for example.) And they can trade at big discounts to fair value (which is, of course, when the steely-eyed among us will buy) because management has made a mistake or between the industry in which they do business is slumping, or because the market for the company’s goods and services has taken an unexpected direction. At that point, you’ll need to consider selling or adding to your positions depending on your analysis of how long the damage might last and how bad it is. But the point of this core to your stock portfolio is that these are companies that will deliver index-beating results with relatively small risks. Which will enable you, the investor, to plan how to achieve your financial goals with relatively less worry and uncertainty. So, without further ado, here’s my list of 10 stocks for a core portfolio–with the very important “whys” for each pick.
Artificial intelligence really is a paradigm-breaking, transformative technology. Right now, investors are so enthusiastic about the sector, especially the obvious leader Nvidia (NVDA), that we’re looking at a potential bubble that will collapse with much gnashing of teeth and I-told-you-so “wisdom” casting doubt on the reality of the entire endeavor. I think a bubble is indeed possible. Nvidia did trade at a trailing twelve-month price-to-earnings ratio of 196 on May 31, after all. But I think you do want to own the sector now–because the breaking of the bubble, if it does break is, in my opinion, two quarters or more away. And you want to own the sector for the long run–say, 10 years or more–because it is such a game changer for so much of the economy. But what to own? I’ve put together a list of the 10 stocks that I think are the best way to participate in the AI gold rush.
Today’s topic is Is This the End of Momentum? One Last Momentum Blowout. This has been a great market for very specific stocks. We’re seeing a very narrow momentum market. A few stocks are overperforming the index and propping it up. An example is Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META), formerly known as Facebook. Meta is up 102% this year and it’s up about 14% in the last month. The S&P is up 9.5% year to date and just 1.5% in the last month. We’re seeing a large divergence between the index and a narrow group of a few rallying stocks, like Meta, Netflix, Microsoft, and Nvidia. These stocks are outperforming the index, but they’re up based on very recent history. Meta’s recent earnings jolted the stock upwards, but it’s still a company that is bleeding money to develop its virtual reality products, with billions of dollars ($13.7B in 2022) lost by its Reality Labs program. The company had staked its future on the Metaverse but has yet to create a viable product from the project. As the momentum of these few stocks starts to slow, Meta could take a big hit because of these fundamental factors. In my opinion, we’re near the top of this momentum market and it’s time to start taking profits from companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Nvidia.