Heading into the last lap of 2019, it’s fair to say that it’s been quite a year for investors. Markets are up – way up. The Dow, S&P 500, and NASDAQ have posted gains for the year of 19%, 25%, and 29%, respectively, and the year’s not quite over yet.
However, Deutsche Bank is getting slightly nervous. The US markets have risen so far, and so fast, that the German banking firm’s chief global strategist, Binky Chadha, sees little or no room for further growth saying, “Valuations are high, higher than they’ve been 90% of the time over the past five years.” He adds that the economy is slowing down, in a “clear, unambiguous, and broad-based” fashion, and puts most of the blame for that on President Trump’s trade policies.
While there are clear indications of slowdowns outside of the US – in Canada for example, where it lost 70,000 jobs last month, or in France, where strikes have paralyzed Paris – the American economy is continuing to chug along. The November jobs report, released last week, allayed fears of a slowdown with excellent jobs numbers, and brought the 3-month rolling average of jobs created to more than 200,000. Wages were also up, and unemployment ticked down to a 50-year low.
Still, Chadha does make a good point. With US markets having climbed to record highs, there is some feeling that they now have nowhere to go – but down. It’s a worrisome sentiment, made more so by the fact that markets are frequently moved by sentiment.
But Deutsche Bank, as an institution, offers some balm for worried investors. We’ve used the TipRanks Stock Screener tool to pull up three Strong Buy stocks, for which Deutsche Bank analysts expect to see more than 25% upside potential over the next 12 months. They inhabit a variety of niches, and offer a potential safeguard for investors’ portfolios. Let’s delve deeper, and find out why.
Eldorado Resorts (ERI)
General prosperity is good for leisure companies, and Eldorado is no exception. The company operates resort hotels and casinos in 11 states, with a total of 23 properties. Look for that number to expand in the near future, as the company’s shareholders have approved in November a deal to take over Caesars. The merger will create the largest casino operator in the US.
Looking into the details, Eldorado will be paying a total of $17.3 billion to acquire Caesars. The deal includes an $8.5 billion new issue of common stock, needed to fund the equity portion of the transaction, and $8.8 billion worth of debt that Eldorado will take over from Caesars. Shareholders of both companies voted overwhelmingly in favor of the acquisition. Since the shareholder votes in mid-November, the deal is on track for completion in 1H20.
The takeover is one of the largest such moves in the history of the US gaming industry. Eldorado is paying more than quadruple its own market cap – approximately $4.12 billion – to close the deal. Early indications are favorable, as ERI is trading modestly higher since the approval. The deal was pushed hard by billionaire investing guru Carl Icahn, the largest individual shareholder in Caesars. A statement on Icahn’s website said, in reference to the Eldorado-Caesars deal, “This merger is the quintessential example of how an activist shareholder, working collaboratively with the board, can greatly enhance value for all stockholders.”
Writing on ERI as part of a general review of the casino gaming sector, Deutsche Bank’s Carlo Santarelli takes a bullish stance. He is optimistic that “the CZR portfolio is likely to bring … growth for the combined entity into the double digits,” and identified ERI as “our top pick within the [gaming] group for 2020.”
“Net-net, we believe ERI will benefit from sector leading same-store EBITDAR growth, driven by; 1) a healthy LV Strip backdrop, 2) sound regional consumer trends, 3) more limited competition, relative to 2019, 4) some Company specific dynamics within both the ERI and CZR portfolios that have been unheralded to date, and 5) material synergy generation. Given our pro forma modeling work and our available upon request ERI / CZR combined model, we believe these attributes are being valued at a material discount to peers, with shares offering a ~16% pro forma free cash flow yield on our 2021 estimates,” the analyst concluded.
Santarelli optimism on ERI is evidenced by his $66 price target, implying an upside of 25% to the stock, and his Buy rating. (To watch Santarelli’s track record, click here)
Eldorado Resorts maintains a Strong Buy consensus rating, based on 4 Buy ratings and 1 hold given in the last few months. The stock has been gaining steadily since early September, and is up an impressive 45% so far this year. Shares are selling for $52.75, and the average price target of $59.75 suggests that there is still 13% upside potential to the stock. (See Eldorado stock analysis on TipRanks)
Marvell Technology (MRVL)
Moving to the semiconductor industry, we find Marvell. This is not one of the giants of the chip sector, but still brings in $2.9 billion annually, with a net income of $179 million in fiscal 2019. The Silicon Valley company has offices and design centers in 14 countries around the world.
Marvell has benefited this year from a partnership with Samsung on 5G deployment. The collaboration gives Marvell access to the resources of the largest player in the semiconductor sector (or perhaps the second largest – Samsung and Intel have been trading the #1 and #2 slots for the last 18 months). In addition, Marvell will be able to tap into Samsung’s network among South Korea’s early adopters of 5G. For the long term, the partnership is focused on embedded and baseband processors for 5G base stations.
In Q3, reported last week, the company’s top line revenues just missed the forecasts, coming in at $662 million against the estimate of $664 million. EPS was decent, however, with the 17-cent per-share income matching expectations.
In recent months, Marvell has spent over $1 billion acquiring two smaller chip makers, Avera Semi and Aquantia. The spending was noticeable in the Q3 report, as the company’s cash on hand dropped by over $130 million while debt increased by nearly $400 million. The spending is hardly wasteful, however, as both acquisitions will help the company expand technology in the runup to 5G.
5-star Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Seymore is bullish on Marvell’s prospects heading into 2020. He writes, “We continue to view the most-important metrics to be Marvell’s progress on its 5G ramp and a cyclical return to normalcy in the Storage business, with both dynamics trending positively. Within 5G MRVL is executing on an aggressive initial production ramp at Samsung…”
5G will be making more and more news in coming months, and Seymore sees MRVL well positioned to make gains. He puts a Buy rating and a $30 price target on the stock, suggesting an upside of 27%. (To watch Seymore’s track record, click here)
Overall, Marvell’s Strong Buy consensus rating is based on 10 Buys and 2 Holds. The holds are left over from the dip in the chip industry at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 – the stock has risen steadily this year. The average price target of $29.50 indicates room for a 25% upside from the current share price of $23.52. (See Marvell stock analysis on TipRanks)
MGIC Investment (MTG)
A generally strong economy and rising wages should be good for loan companies, and MGIC helps to prove that proposition. MGIC stands for ‘Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation,’ and as the name suggests, the company is in the home loan business. Specifically, it is a provider of private mortgage insurance. It’s an important niche, as the service is required for any mortgage in which the borrower cannot cover the full principle from existing assets.
The third quarter earnings report bore this out. MTG reported EPS of 48 cents, flat year-over-year but 12% better than the forecast, while the revenues of $$318.4 million were up 96% yearly. Within the revenue data, premium income was up by 7% and investment income was up 17%. In a key metric, new insurance written, MTG saw an increase of 31.7% year-over-year, to over $19 billion.
Strong performance was not the only positive. Delinquency rates were down, in line with overall strength in the US economy. As employment and wages rise, so does housing demand – but more importantly, so does borrowers’ ability to afford home loans. Taken together, all of this has pushed MTG shares to robust 35% year-to-date gains.
4-star analyst Phil Stefano reviewed MTG for Deutsche Bank and wrote, “We increase our 4Q19 expectation… persistency pressure is likely to be sustained in the quarter given the pullback in interest rates. An improved outlook on new notices of default and stronger-than-expected IIF growth should help to drive some incremental strength in the sector with today’s trading. Our long-term expectations for the sector remain and we forecast MGIC will deliver low-to-mid-teens operating returns and book value growth…”
Stefano’s $18.50 price target implies room for 30% share appreciation in the next year, to go along with his Buy rating. (To watch Stefano’s track record, click here)
MTG has a unanimous consensus rating, a Strong Buy based on 3 positive reviews in the last couple of months. The stock is selling for $14.13, a low price for an upwardly bound stock with a solid business base, and the $18.17 average price target suggests a 28% upside potential. (See Marvell stock analysis on TipRanks)