As we come to the end of 2015 Eureka Report is changing the way it covers international investing. As Alan Kohler explained in his recent video with James Kirby (click here or watch below), the publication will be continuing coverage of internationally focussed LICs, ETFs and managed funds, however we will no longer be covering individual overseas listed stocks or producing an international stocks portfolio.
In the piece below I set out my thoughts on every single stock I have written about – or indeed selected for the International model portfolio. The portfolios and the archival coverage – along with this feature – will remain on the Eureka site until the New Year, but keep in mind from today (December 2) we are ceasing coverage on the stocks below.
As always please refer to original buy recommendation pieces and earnings updates for more context.
Our most recent recommendation, Criteo, is a very strong buy in the high $US30s low $US40 area. It’s early days for programmatic advertising and Criteo is already a major player and profitable to boot.
Criteo is becoming the emerging leader in data-driven marketing and so far has the best position in the display advertising market. There are also future opportunities to expand into new verticals (such as auto, telecom, and finance) and geographic regions such as Japan and China.
Criteo trades at less than 20X 2017 EPS yet has a growth rate of 30 per cent plus.
After marking time for part of the year, FB shares are outperforming on the basis of a number of solid earnings reports. The trends for its video business, the amazing user numbers, and the monetisation of Instagram and WhatsApp will underpin the shares for quarters to come. I also expect multiple platform improvements going forward.
Lots more upside for Facebook.
Walt Disney ($US115.39)
Disney shares have rallied back to new highs recently and over the next 12 months will be driven by the success of its movie franchises and merchandise (Star Wars) sales not yet in the price. Headwinds may include investor concern over cable cutters in the ESPN business which will pressure the stock from time to time.
Still a core global media holding for long term quality oriented investors.
Arista Networks ($US74.30)
Arista Networks has been delivering and continues to gain ground versus the legacy providers of network architecture as per our investment thesis. Arista remains a strong buy for growth oriented investors.
As I mentioned in a recent comment on Arista’s quarter the company is seeing a lot of demand by the 800lb gorillas of the cloud – the so called “cloud titans” – Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. This will continue.
As Arista is also aggressively pushing into new markets (beyond the cloud titans), in part organically and in part via partnerships with VMware, HP, and Palo Alto Networks this could well underpin the next 12-18 months and move the stock well beyond $US90.00 (a recent high).
New Relic ($US36.40)
New Relic should remain one of the highest growth names in the applications management space and is one of my highest conviction ideas.
My most recent observation after its quarterly release says it all: “New Relic’s novel approach to application monitoring and its delivery via the cloud continue to gain traction in a large addressable market that is being inundated by new applications and programming languages. Legacy vendors can’t keep up. That’s why I like New Relic.”
The stock is volatile as so many high growth names are. Try and buy it below $US40.
Tata Motors ($US30.89)
What other global car company will benefit from good growth in a growing emerging market as the middle class grows exponentially and goes from two-wheelers to four and has a dominant luxury car franchise in the developed world? There aren’t any. Tata Motors stands alone here.
Tata’s China business is in transition and that has pressured the shares. However, I expect stability soon and its domestic “standalone” business is recovering nicely. JLR continues to extremely well in the US and Europe. That should continue.
Tata has already rallied some 36 per cent off its recent lows (late September) but at 7.5X 2016 EPS it’s still a compelling bargain.
Automated driver’s assistance (ADAS), AEB or autonomous emergency braking, and semi-autonomous vehicles are proliferating. The advent of widespread fully autonomous driving is coming sooner than we thought. Mobileye remains a market leader and a huge beneficiary of these trends. I expect further penetration of the OEM base going forward.
Mobileye stock has been volatile lately having attracted negative comments from short seller Citron in September, but has recovered nicely to the high $US40s on positive sentiment. Recent earnings reports have been good beating estimates and guiding upward. I would be an aggressive buyer at these levels.
Xilinx is the “last man standing” in PLDs (programmable logic devices) with Altera being acquired by Intel.
Going forward, Xilinx shares will be driven by the telecommunications end market (especially the Chinese carriers) and fortunately we are now finally seeing a decent recovery with Xilinx now experiencing higher orders amid increased spending from carriers following an inventory correction.
Given that service providers underspent thus far in 2015, Xilinx could benefit from higher spending over the next six months. This is excellent news; it looks like the stock is finally “turning the corner” after two quarters of lacklustre results and subdued carrier spend.
Would recommend continued accumulation of the stock here. XLNX is a well-run technology company with an impressive product portfolio and a technological edge as device gate lengths shrink from 28nm (nanometres) through 20nm to 16nm and beyond.
As expected, Pfizer and Dublin-based Allergan officially plan to merge thus creating the world’s largest pharmaceutical company. PFE and AGN have agreed to combine, with AGN shareholders receiving 11.3 shares for each PFE share. The transaction is expected to provide PFE with an adjusted tax rate of 17-18 per cent in the first year post close of the transaction. The impact to PFE’s EPS in 2017 is expected to be neutral, but will accelerate thereafter and will reach the high-teens by 2020. Independent of the transaction, PFE is expected to execute a $5 billion accelerated share repurchase program in 1H16.
While there may be some negative news flow regarding the transaction due the “inversion” incentive, all the reasons for owning Pfizer – its drug pipeline, stable consumer based businesses, and the possibility (now) for the company to split its high growth and stable businesses – are intact.
I would be an aggressive buyer here.
Gilead Sciences ($US105.85)
Gilead remains my favourite biotech stock even though some analysts are concerned that Gilead’s HCV franchise may be peaking in terms of growth. I think they are wrong.
Gilead has $US25bn in cash on the balance sheet so the company may well consider making acquisitions not unlike the purchase of Pharmasset in 2011 for $US11bn that brought them their wildly successful HCV business.
Even if the company doesn’t make an acquisition in the near term, pent up growth in major Hep C markets such as Europe and Japan should continue to drive growth in the medium term as will a number of NDAs (new drug applications which are mainly better HCV variations and combinations) in the pipeline.
That said Gilead trades on an extremely low multiple of 9.5X 2016 EPS and that multiple is a fraction of its underlying growth rate. Large cap biotech is on 15.4X and US pharma is at 18.4X. I’m still an enthusiastic buyer at these levels. Gilead is a bargain.
SLB is clearly the largest and best oil service company however investors will only make money if the price of oil advances and stays above $US60.00 and the sentiment towards energy and the oil service industry improves.
I believe this will happen eventually.
Please refer to the last few quarter’s earnings releases to understand just how good of a company this is.
Bayer AG (€124.83)
Bayer is well on its way to being a pure play life science company with an exciting and undervalued pharmaceutical portfolio and a growing agricultural sciences business.
In spite of its size, Bayer is also turning into a growth company; Q3 EBITDA/EPS growth was 28 per cent.
As 2015 will see the company begin its final transition into a pure play Life Sciences business, with >55 per cent of 2020e sales coming from non-Pharma businesses, I believe it’s a great way to diversify one’s portfolio away from the “usual” (mostly US/UK-based) suspects.
Amazon has more than doubled since I recommended it in late 2014. I think that it’s unlikely to repeat this feat anytime soon but I still think it will outperform the broad markets and peers.
AWS (Amazon Web Services) will continue to surprise in terms of growth and scale. The retail businesses will remain dominant in North America and other markets and Amazon “Prime” subscribers are growing at a high rate. One analyst has predicted that over 50 per cent of US households will eventually become Prime subscribers.
Prime costs $US99 a year and gives customers free, two-day shipping on millions of items, as well as access to of thousands of free TV shows, movies, music, and books and unlimited cloud storage for photos. Currently it has over 20 million subscribers.
The stock has had a huge run so I would try and accumulate shares on down days if possible. If you already own it, hang on there’s more ahead.
Alphabet (AKA Google) (GOOG: $US767.04)
Google’s shares have handily outpaced the S&P 500 this year and since I recommended it. While some market gurus have pointed out that the “fab four” – AMZN, GOOGL, FB, and NFLX – have been the only game in town for investors in 2015, there’s more outperformance to come in my opinion.
Mobile Search will continue as a key driver of revenue growth as will the ongoing monetisation of YouTube. A more disciplined capital allocation policy combined with better transparency will continue to reward shareholders.
As for the Google X businesses, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of sizable and disruptive standalone enterprises eventually emerge that will also enrich shareholders.
I would still be buying the shares here. The trends in place are unlikely to fade in the medium term.
Intuitive Surgical ($US522.25)
Intuitive Surgical is a rare bird: a “one of a kind” company that has revolutionary, life altering products and almost no direct competitors.
System placements continue to increase with the next generation Xi system representing the vast majority of shipments. Worldwide annual procedures are growing at a robust 28 per cent Y/Y.
I expect ISRG will continue to launch newer and possibly more affordable products for robotic surgery over the next decade. I also expect more and widely varied types of operations to be undertaken.
This is a company with probably the longest “tail” of product revenues I have ever seen. Would still be a buyer at current levels.
Proofpoint is still my favourite cybersecurity play and continues to execute well (see recent earnings reports) unlike FireEye, our other cybersecurity recommendation.
The investment case is clear.
Proofpoint is in a mature security market, but is meaningfully taking share within it due to its technology and add-on capabilities. I view the company as extremely well placed in a large market as the threats impacting email have become more significant. Having such a low share within its core market, there is potential market share expansion which can continue to move numbers meaningfully.
Proofpoint continues to win market share from legacy vendors such as Symantec, Cisco and McAfee in its core email security market. The strong avenues for upsell (TAP, DLP, Archive, etc) allow it to offer more products to existing and new customers, usually at higher price points.
The stock will be volatile but there is upside from current levels to $US80.00.
Buy it here.
Dow Chemical ($US53.42)
We have been chronicling the transformation of Dow’s product portfolio as the company sheds low margin commodity businesses and undertakes a hard-nosed capital allocation analysis of what projects will pay off and which ones won’t.
Recent earnings reports have shown that while this process is still underway Dow is becoming a more focused and more profitable concern in spite of a spluttering global economy.
Dow is a great choice for conservative investors who want to play both a company transformation and (hopefully) an improving global economy.
Harley Davidson ($US48.92)
HOG has certainly been one of the more frustrating recommendations in the Eureka international stock universe.
The past three earnings announcements have been disappointing as sales, earnings and guidance have disappointed. There is potential for a company and market led turnaround however. Harley has done it many times before.
There are three things that are keeping me in the stock:
Harley’s valuation is compelling trading at 11.6 X 2016 EPS. That’s a huge discount to the market and its peers (Polaris etc) for such an iconic brand. Historically (since 1987) HOG has traded at an average forward multiple of 16.4 X.
In 2016, HOG will increase its investment in customer-facing marketing by approximately 65 per cent Y/Y and in new product development by 35 per cent. Combined, these changes represent roughly $US70m in additional investment to spruik demand in 2016.
New products should do well: the Street line and the lower cost entry level “48”s and Iron 883s.
While “brands” can be difficult to value, as a keen motorcyclist and one who has owned over 20 different bikes including a Harley there is clearly “no substitute” for a Harley Davidson. Look alike Japanese cruisers while cheaper don’t have the cachet. It’s the Ferrari of motorcycles: not in performance terms (they drive like tractors) but in the singularity of its product. There’s only one.
For holders of Harley stock I recommend patience and for those with a one to three year horizon, I’d be a buyer here.
Lam Research ($US79.59)
Since I recommended Lam in October 2015 at $US65.00 the stock has had a nice 20 per cent pop but plenty of upside remains with a target price of $US97.00.
As I said in the initial recommendation, the company has outsized top-line growth, a very broad product portfolio (via acquisitions of Novellus and KLA Tencor) and I expect deposition/etch markets to outpace WFE in C15/16. In addition, LRCX's P/E multiple should expand on improving non-memory mix and close the valuation gap with its peer group.
Undervalued and executing well.
FireEye shares have been hammered (down 60 per cent from recent highs) on the back of a poor 3Q earnings report and are now trading close to 52 week lows. That’s not unusual in high growth high expectation names.
We recommended FEYE in August 2014 at $US30.00 as one of the best ways to play the cybersecurity theme. The stock rallied over 80 per cent by mid-2015 to $US55.00.
The shortfalls in sales and guidance in FireEye’s recent earnings release were material unfortunately and Y/Y revenue and billings growth has gone from 40 per cent to 25 per cent or less.
That and the fact that the stock has not acquired any buying interest at these levels makes me want to step aside for now and wait for another quarter or two to see if FireEye can recover some of the lost growth momentum. I would NOT be buying on weakness. I’m moving FireEye to a hold. Buy Proofpoint our other cybersecurity play instead.
Like Intuitive Surgical, Illumina is a “one of a kind” company. We recommended Illumina in Sept. 2015 as a pure play in the exciting field of “next generation genomics”.
Since then the shares have been volatile falling almost 30 per cent to $US140.00 on a worse than expected 3Q result and then recovering half of that and rallying very quickly back to $US180.00.
As I said in the initiation piece: “Catalysts and drivers for Illumina over the next 12-18 months include:
1. The establishment of new clinical standards toward NGS (next generation sequencing) billing and coding which will increase usage significantly in the largest addressable market of all for Illumina-Oncology. This market is growing at 35 per cent year on year for Illumina. (2Q 2015)
2. Continued expansion of the NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) market. Non-invasive prenatal testing will be one of the primary drivers of growth for the company, with usage in the average-risk setting ramping into 2016 as insurers adopt more accommodative policies as per Anthem’s (a major health insurer) recent decision to deem NIPT medically necessary for most pregnancies. NIPT revenues grew 50 per cent year on year in the most recent quarter.
3. Growing interest in broad population testing. Illumina is well placed with its NextBio clinical and research platforms that allow for the gathering and interpretation of large scale genomic population data.”
Nothing has changed. I would still be a buyer here. This is a unique opportunity in the genomics space.
Splunk is a great story and is quickly gaining market acceptance across many software industries (Security, ITOM, Business Analytics), with current customers expanding their licenses and on-boarding new customers at a rapid pace. For example, customers are using Splunk mainly as a security solution, with the platform able to analyse, correlate, and issue real-time reports across the IT environment irrespective of source.
With a complex IT environment, this allows customers to optimize on their current investments and IT structure. The competition has been lagging, especially in SIEM (Security), which we expect to continue. Historically, Splunk has focused on the US market but it is in its early stages of expanding internationally.
Splunk’s shares have been under accumulation from the low 50s recently. Would be a buyer here.
AMBA been under pressure from negative GoPro newsflow but as we have pointed out AMBA is also a play on the proliferation of IP security cams, dash cams, UAVs, and cop cams. I would be a strong buyer here at current prices.
AMBA is a volatile stock and has traded over the last 12 months in a range from $US129 to a correction induced $US44 but recently has rallied strongly from the low 50s to the mid-60s.
Now we recommended Ambarella on September 29, 2014 at $US41.00 and just to remind subscribers, I wrote that “Ambarella is a leading developer of low-power, high-definition (HD) video compression and image processing semiconductors. The company’s products are used in a variety of HD cameras including security IP-cameras, sports cameras (GoPro), wearable cameras, automotive video camera recorders and mobile phones. Ambarella compression chips are also used in broadcasting TV programs worldwide.”
AMBA’s long-term prospects are bright. Great products and has technological leadership. UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) take up for both commercial and consumer use is a bonus. AMBA could easily surpass recent highs.
One of our few more cyclical plays, railroad operator CSX should benefit from an ongoing US economic recovery in 2016 and also a lot of internal “self help” initiatives.
Really, CSX is in the early stages of EPS growth acceleration, driven in part by core pricing, which should persist through 2015, as well as service recovery and management's focus on controlling costs, all of which make it likely that operating ratio improvement is likely to progress faster than expected.
With the highest operating ratio in the industry, CSX provides the best potential for margin and EPS improvement longer term. Coal remains a headwind, but prospects for M&A, while not our base case, provide a floor to valuation.
A great buy right here for more conservative investors not unlike DOW.
Fanuc is my favourite Japanese industrial. The company is one of the benchmarks for Japanese manufacturing, with the top global share of CNCs and servo motors sold to machine tool builders. It is also a leading supplier of industrial robots. Over the past few years earnings volatility has increased due to swings in demand for its robodrill machining centres, which are used in the manufacture of smartphones with metal casings.
At the end of the day though, robotics and factory automation to continue to be a growth area and Fanuc is a major player. The penetration of industrial robotics remains low in both the developed and developing world and the prospects of more “personal” robots with AI (artificial intelligence) remains a huge long-term theme.
Another good non US diversifying asset for patient global investors. Buy it in the low 21000 Yen area where it is now.
Ezion is a wonderful little company (liftboats for the Asia Pacific energy industry) but is in the “penalty box” for a number of reasons. Sentiment towards any company in the oil service industry remains negative. The company is small (900mn SGD), trades in Singapore and is not well followed.
That said it trades on less than a PE of less than 4X, is well managed but the shares continue to struggle close to 52 week lows of 0.55 SGD.
For investors that believe the oil price will improve in 2016 to the $US60-70 area then Ezion is a buy here – otherwise avoid it.
The same strategy applies to Whiting: higher oil prices and improved sentiment towards energy names (couldn’t get any worse – maybe that’s bullish!) would propel Whiting higher.
In spite of its great assets, capital discipline, and strong management, the company is a buy only if you are bullish on the oil price going forward.
LVMH is the world’s largest luxury goods company and a good diversifying asset in any overseas portfolio. Based in Paris and trading in euro it is a well-balanced group that is less cyclical than commonly perceived.
The cyclical activities (Champagne, Watches, DFS and to a lesser extent Cognac) account for ~30 per cent of group EBIT, while Vuitton remains one of the most powerful brands in the industry (~50 per cent of group profits).
While possibly entering a slower but more qualitative phase of growth I believe Vuitton's changing product offering, strong innovation/creativity, unique distribution and pricing model, unrivalled communication and highly efficient supply chain remain key competitive advantages still leading to some of the highest operating margins and ROCE in the industry.
With 2014 net debt/EBITDA of ~0.6x and fixed charge cover of ~4x, LVMH is not excessively geared and could pursue further selective acquisitions to protect its strong market positions in leather goods and reinforce its presence in watches, jewellery and skincare. Alternatively, it could return cash to shareholders in the form of greater dividend payout, rather than share buybacks.
For quality oriented, long-term investors LVMH is a “no brainer” here.
Infosys was on a bit of a roll trading up to a 52 week high of $US19.46 in early October. However a mixed quarterly earnings report has caused the shares to correct back to the $US16.00 area.
Infosys cut its FY16 (ends in March) revenue guidance, in spite of an FQ2 beat and the company has flagged a difficult trading environment in some its main verticals such as financial services due to seasonal IT spending habits.
Now Infosys is looking to offset top-line pressures by scoring more deals in the $1.5bn-$2bn range (compares with a current average size of $500 million - $550m) but it may be that the cloud titans Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft are disrupting the IT service space more than anyone anticipated. Adoption of public cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure seems to be a headwind for IT services firms in general.
The other thing that bothers me is that recently read-throughs from large other IT service companies — Accenture/Wipro guidance and IBM signings – point towards slowing growth in the near term. This is exacerbated by the seasonal weakness as we head into 2H – Indian IT companies like Infosys and Wipro have already indicated the likelihood of greater than normal layoffs this year. That’s not an investible business environment in my opinion.
For these reasons I think we should sit on the sidelines for now. I don’t recommend purchase at these levels. Infosys is a quality company but is obviously not immune to the disruptive influence of the cloud which even at this point the implications for traditional IT service are not completely understood.
Surprisingly Cerner has had two ordinary earnings reports and that has pressured the shares somewhat. That said Cerner remains a strong buy based on recent bookings metrics and guidance, Health IT remains a favoured area given the size and low penetration of the market for leading edge systems.
In Cerner’s most recent earnings release bookings exceeded the high end of guidance by 10 per cent and were up 44 per cent Y/Y to a new record of $US1.59bn.
Management sees the growing backlog as improving visibility into 2016 with over 75 per cent of revenues next year expected to come from backlog.
As well, bookings momentum is strong across several metrics including a record 45 new contracts over $5mn in 3Q against a prior record of 38. New clients also represented 39 per cent of bookings in the quarter, well above 2014’s 28 per cent, indicating that Cerner continues to improve its competitive positioning and is capitalising on a growing replacement market.
Stock has rallied nicely off recent lows but can still be bought here.
Lenovo (HKD 8.43)
I’m still a buyer of Lenovo. The shares have rallied some 30 per cent since recent lows but there’s more to come.
My positive view is based on: 1) continued server and smartphone scale growth thanks to better product portfolios; 2) improving operational efficiency led by restructuring.
2QFY16 (Sep quarter) marked the bottom for Lenovo, in my view.
Lenovo is still in restructuring mode but there have been a few more interesting data points. For example, its potential in overseas smartphone markets is still overlooked and misunderstood. In the past 10 quarters, Lenovo Moto have gained share aggressively overseas, partially helped by Lenovo’s existing PC channels (open retail channel).
According to IDC, Lenovo Moto smartphones have an ASP of $US76 in China (mainly Lenovo-branded), vs much higher overseas ASP of $US188 (C3Q15).
Separately, in Q2, Moto/Lenovo collectively enjoyed significant share gains in Russia ( 13.8pts), E. Europe ( 6.6pts), and India ( 2.6pts).
In fact based on current trends Q3 &Q4 smartphone revenues could grow 20 per cent – 25 per cent Q/Q. That’s NOT in the price.
I recommended Celldex Therapeutics on October 13, 2014 at $US12.55 on the basis of some very promising pipeline drugs that were still in early stages of development for the treatment of brain cancer using an innovative immune-oncology approach. On very little news flow, the shares traded up to $US32.00 then corrected back to $US10.00 on negative sentiment towards biotechs.
Just recently however, it was announced that new data from a mid-stage trial show that Celldex Therapeutics Inc's experimental brain cancer vaccine, combined with standard therapy, continues to improve chances of survival for patients with recurrent cancer.
The updated results sent shares of Celldex up $1.74, or 12 per cent, to $16.23 on the Nasdaq. The stock is still moving higher on strong buying volumes.
The therapy, designed to enlist the body's immune system to fight glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), showed that 25 percent of patients given Celldex's Rintega along with Roche Holding AG's Avastin were alive after two years, compared with no survivors in the group of patients given only Avastin.
Rintega (originally called Rindopepimut), which was granted breakthrough therapy designation by the US Food and Drug Administration last year, targets a specific genetic mutation that occurs in about 30 percent of GBM tumors.
Currently, the median survival for such patients with recurrent GBM is about nine months.
The latest trial results showed that 32 per cent of patients treated with Rintega, also known as rindopepimut, and Avastin, or bevacizumab, were alive after 18 months, compared with 13 per cent of those given only Avastin.
Celldex said it expects to report early next year interim results from a study of Rintega in patients with newly diagnosed GBM.
It has taken awhile but these results are extremely positive for Celldex, so I remain a buyer here. It’s volatile so pick your entry points wisely. Price target remains at $US36.00.
Techtronic (HKD 31.00)
Still one of the best ways to play the recovery in US housing (along with US-listed Home Depot). Since we recommended it in Sept. 2014 the stock is up over 35 per cent but there is still upside of some 15-20 per cent. I’d still be a buyer.
A reminder on what they do since we haven’t published that much on Hong Kong based Techtronic.
Techtronic is one of the global leaders in the design, manufacture and sale of power tools and homecare appliances. Its main businesses are power tools, outdoor power equipment, and floor-care appliances. It has well-established and fast-growing brands, including Ryobi, AEG and Milwaukee in power tools; Ryobi and Homelite in outdoor power equipment; and Regina, Royal, Dirt Devil, Vax and Hoover in floor-care appliances. The group has also licensed the Ridgid brand from Emerson.
Techtronic produces on an OEM basis and for private labels. It is headquartered in HK and maintains manufacturing and research facilities in Asia, Europe and North America, as well as customer servicing networks in North America, Europe and Australasia. It employs more than 21,600 people.
Techtronic derives a large portion of its revenue from N. America. Home Depot is the group's largest customer, and accounted for 37 per cent of group sales in 2014.
This stock remains a hold.
This stock remains a hold.
Sierra Wireless ($US17.12)
This stock remains a hold.