Nine Overlooked Equities for 2014

It seems to be the season for financial writers to offer their ideas of potential investments opportunities that could be considered during an investor’s annual review of current portfolio performance.  Below is my offering.

I maintain a research list of about 130 companies (mainly dividend payers) that evaluates various fundaments of each.  These include:

  • changes in 2014 (soon to be 2015) earnings estimates,
  • 5-yr estimated eps growth rates,
  • 2014 PEG ratio,
  • current dividend yield,
  • broker timeliness consensus,
  • price target consensus (while most targets are offered for forward 12 months periods,  I look at these as potentially 24 month goals),
  • S&P Quality Equity Ranking for 10-yr consistency in earnings and dividend growth. 

 In addition, I calculate anticipated annual 2-yr total returns for each.  From the top thirty companies, the following are some equities worthy of further research.

Och-Ziff (OZM): Target price of $17, distribution yield of 9.8%, anticipated 2-yr return of 12.3% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 0.55. I prefer to buy money managers than to buy the products they sell.  While OZM has had a great run in 2013, it is still underfollowed and under owned.  The corporate structure creates tax-advantaged distributions and the current yield is above average.  The largest distribution payment is in February and is based on the income from annual incentive fees.  World markets need to grow by 6% and OZM needs to continue to gain market share in its assets under management for this stock to continue to perform well.  Investors also need to appreciate hedge fund managers use their shares as a part of employee compensation.   

Macquarie Infrastructure (MIC): Price target of $68, dividend yield of 6.6%, anticipated 2-yr return 20.8% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 1.63.  Another high dividend yield stock, MIC offers an interesting diversification into private jet airport services at 62 airports, 12 port bulk liquid storage terminals for  petroleum products and other liquids, gas distribution in Hawaii and central heating/cooling.  The airports and bulk storage generate about 80% of profits.  The firm is structured as an LLC,  much like OZM, and management has targeted an 80% to 90% payout. The Australian investment bank Macquarie Group (MQBKY) is the manager.  While the firm has been paying down debt and now stands at a debt to equity ratio of 0.95, the heavy debt load almost sunk the company in 2009.  While MIC is an interesting prospect, I personally have a hard time adding more shares as I bought some at $20, $1.59 and $2.69 back before and during the crash of both MIC and the overall market in 2009.  If I did not already own it, MIC would be on my list of buys.  

Halliburton (HAL): Target price $65, dividend yield 1.2%, anticipated 2-yr return 15.5% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 0.57.  The oil services business will continue to flourish both in the US and abroad.  HAL offers a bit better value than its peers offer and is a good portfolio diversifier of positions in large cap integrated oil companies.    HAL lives off the capital expenditure budgets of oil companies.  As long as cap ex stays strong, and is driven by higher oil prices, HAL should continue to prosper.

Dorchester Minerals (DMLP): Price target $32, distribution yield 7.4%, anticipated 2-yr return 22.1% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 1.91.  Over the past few years, DMLP has added oil production royalties to its core natural gas royalty business.   About 50% of income is now generated from oil royalties.  DMLP is structured as an MLP and, by design, offers no UBIT exposure.  As natural gas pricing rebounds, DMLP’s unhedged positions will benefit, as will its unit holders.  DMLP has assets in most of the nameplate energy plays in the US, and only about 30% of its land has been developed.  Compared to many oil/gas trusts, DMLP’s reserve decline has been minimal over the years, with much of the upward revisions coming from organic growth. 

Glencore Xstrata plc (GLCNF.PK):  Price target $8, dividend yield 3.0%, anticipated 2-yr return 33% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 1.07.  GLCNF is the world’s largest commodity trader and owns industrial mineral mining assets of coal, copper, zinc and iron ore. As the global economy continues to improve, the demand for industrial commodities will follow suit.   Glencore Xstrata has strategically expanded into the agricultural commodities through the purchase of the grain handling assets of Canadian and Australian-based Vittera this year.   An position in GLCNF offers diverse exposure to various commodities.  However, the dividend in paid in Swiss Franc and the international withholding tax is 35%.  The tax is recouped when filing personal taxes as “foreign taxes paid”.  The unsponsored ADR trades lightly with an average daily volume of 35,000 shares. 

Suncor (SU): Target price $45, dividend yield 2.2%, anticipated 2-yr return 18.3% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 1.65.  One of the premiere oil sands producers, SU has interests in offshore assets, marketing and refining as well as substantial natural gas reserves.  While there is still uncertainty as to the development of the Keystone pipeline to increase demand for oil sands, a western pipeline to the Pacific coast and the Chinese markets continues to move ahead.  Either way, through the US or to the Pacific, the necessary pipelines/transportation will be built to allow for expansion of oil sands production.  SU will be a direct recipient of higher demand. 

HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC): Target price $65, dividend yield 3.6%, anticipated 2-yr return 12.5% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 0.97.  HSBC is an international bank with strong exposure to the Asian markets.  As global interest rates increase, so will bank and insurance company profits.  The company operates a network of 6,600 offices in 81 countries in Europe, Asia, Hong Kong, the Middle East, North Africa, North American and Latin America.  HSBC offers exposure to both emerging markets and to developed countries.  Unlike its US counterparts, the bank has lower exposure to the potentially costly regulations of the US Congress and the Fed.  The firm is headquartered in England, the dividends are paid in British Pounds,  and there is no dividend withholding tax.  

GATX (GMT): Target price $59, dividend yield 2.4%, anticipated 2-yr return 9.5% annually, 2014 PEG ratio 0.95,  Formerly known as Great American Transportation, GMT offers financial exposure to the rail car and marine transport sectors.   With a history dating back 115 years, GMT operates one of the largest global fleets of railcars.  Specializing in tank railcar leasing and repair services has been the company’s niche since 1889.   Railcar count at the end of 3rd qtr. was 132,000 of which 109,000 was in North America and the balance in Europe.  Utilization rates were reported at 98.5% in North America and 96.3% in Europe.   GMT manages a fleet of 18 ships, mainly dry bulk commodity such as iron ore and coal.  As the US and global economies continue to expand, GMT is well positioned to expand its asset base and expertise. 

Investors seeking more European exposure may want to research investment firms Pargesa (PRGAF.PK, PARG.SW) or Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBLBF.PK, GBLB.BR).  The investment firm holds a concentrated position in oil company Total (25.8% of assets), cement maker Lafarge (23.0% of assets), industrial minerals processor Imerys (16.0 % of assets), natural gas and electric utility GDF Suez (12.9% of assets), sprits maker Pernod Ricard (14.2% of assets), and water company Suez Environmental (2.6% of assets).  Trading at a 25% to 28% discount the value of its publically traded holdings in some of Europe’s best-known international companies, Pargesa or Groupe Bruxelles Lambert offer an actively managed diversified portfolio approach to investing in Europe.   These two firms are controlled by the Albert Frere family of Brussels and Power Financial Corp of Canada.  GBL is one of the largest ten companies in Belgium and is a component of the Belgium Stock Index BEL20.  Pargesa is headquartered in Switzerland and reports in Swiss Franc while GBL is headquartered in Brussels and reports in Euros.  Both subject US investors to dividend withholding tax, with the Swiss taking a bit larger bite than Belgium does.  An alternative is Swedish-based investment firm Investors AB (IVSBF.PK, INVEB.ST) managed by the Wallenberg family.  More information on Investors AB and GBL can be found in this SA article.

Only HSBC and SU offer a margin of safety as calculated by the original Graham formula.   SU is rated “A” high by the S& Quality Equity ranking; HSBC, GMT, HAL are ranked “B+” average; the balance are NR not rated.   The list consists of two financials (OZM, HSBC), three energy (HAL, DMLP, SU), two industrial (MIC, GMT), one commodity (GLCNF) and one European investment firm (PRGAF, GBLBF, or INVSB).  If the global economy continues to expand, these firms should continue to excel. 

While readers may not appreciate these names or the respective investment profiles may not fit their goals, investors should continue to look past the usual equity candidates during portfolio rebalancing.   Beyond the normal, in-the-news large-cap firms lies a host of opportunities that are mostly overlooked by investors.   

Disclosure:I am long all the above except Investors AB.  All of the above except Pargesa, GBL, and Investors AB are followed by Guiding Mast Investments

I appreciate your time and interest in Guiding Mast Investments, George C. Fisher