January 18, 2014 Comments

Bank of America is updated and rated Speculative (higher) Buy at $17.01. It’s not as well run as Wells Fargo but it should do well in 2014 as it continued to recover from the financial crisis.

On Friday the S&P 500 was down 0.4% and Toronto was up 0.4%.

A notable gainer was Visa Inc., up 4.7%. We had recently rated it as only a Weak Buy / Hold. It is a fantastic company with quasi monopoly characteristics. Still, it sometimes faces price regulation and it has become quite expensive trading at about 31 times earnings.

The Canadian dollar is down to a value of 91.2 US. cents.

Most of our stocks picks are down slightly in the first couple of weeks of 2014. However, Our higher rated U.S. stocks are mostly up (Wells Fargo up 2.2%, Bank of America up 9.2% and Toll Brothers down 2.8%). Combined with the sharp fall in the Canadian dollar (from 94.2 cents on December 31) Canadian investors have done well in these U.S. stocks. Overall our Stock Picks are up modestly this new year when priced in Canadian dollars.

Wells Fargo is updated and rated Strong Buy at $46.39. It’s been an exceptionally well run bank. Basically a wealth compounding machine (though it does have its risks in times of recession and credit crisis). I dug a little further into its economics on this update (search the report for the word economics to see that). Banks will do better if interest rise. The reason for that is that banks obtain a lot of deposit money at zero interest rates (most chequing accounts). As interest rates fell the profit spread on lending out that portion of their deposits got squeezed down. This bank was first added to this Web Site on February 22, 2009 at $10.91 and rated Highly Speculative Buy. This was at the height of the financial crisis just weeks before the market finally bottomed out on March 9, 2009. That would have been an ideal time to buy it and hold but did require courage. We first rated it in the Strong Buy range on February 15, 2010 at $26.88. The importance of buying at distressed prices when possible is illustrated by the fact that Wells Fargo is up 325% (up $35.48) since our initial rating but only 73% (up $19.51) since it was rated in the Strong Buy range in calmer times in 2010. The “penalty” for waiting to buy in calmer times does not look so dramatic in dollar per share terms but is dramatic in percentage terms.

I had been considering entering an order to trim my position in Wells Fargo especially if it rose a bit more. However , based on this update I will not do that. I’d be more inclined to add to the position given it remains one of the two highest rated stock Picks on this site. But I also have to consider that I want to keep a substantial allocation to cash in case better opportunities come along (other stocks, or lower prices in general)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *