News & Our Thinking

Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – March 19, 2018

19 March 2018

Stocks Give Back Ground

Equities gave back ground last week as the S&P 500® Index fell 1.20%. News from Washington may have soured the markets after President Trump released Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trade war fears rose again with reports that the president may be considering imposing tariffs on products made in China. On Monday, Trump issued an order to block Broadcom Limited’s takeover of rival chipmaker QUALCOMM Inc. over national security concerns, as Broadcom Limited is incorporated in Singapore.

Positive economic data added credence to the potential for an interest rate hike this week from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. U.S. economic news showed a large jump in the Empire State Manufacturing Survey and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index reported its highest level since January 2004.

The S&P 500® Index was down 1.2% for the week. The top-performing sectors in the S&P 500 Index included Utilities (2.6%) and Telecommunications (-0.7%), while bottom-performing sectors included Financials (-2.4%) and Basic Materials (-3.2%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was even during the week, ending at 2.9%.

We continue to seek those companies that reflect our Change-Based InvestingSM approach.

Positive Changes

Biogen Inc. (BIIB) discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers therapies for the treatment of neurological and autoimmune diseases worldwide. Biogen Inc. was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.

BIIB’s new CEO announced a more focused strategy aimed at accelerating the company’s growth prospects through internal research as well as business development efforts. This comes on the heels of a new product launch that is driving better-than-expected results for the company. While early signs are promising, the company’s attractive valuation offers a compelling opportunity ahead of key Alzheimer’s trials that offer the potential to truly transform the company if successful. These changes within BIIB make it a good fit for Argent’s Change-Based InvestingSM approach.

 Top 10 Equity Holdings

Large Cap Growth

Alphabet Inc. (Google, Inc.) 7.6%
Red Hat Inc. 5.2%
Marvell Technology Group 4.7%
Baxter International Inc. 4.5%
JP Morgan Chase & Co. 4.2%
Masco Corporation 4.0%
Fortive Corporation 3.9%
Mastercard Inc. 3.9%
Cognizant Technology 3.7%
Lincoln National 3.4%

Small Cap Core

Wintrust Financial 3.1%
Fortinet Inc. 2.7%
Mastec Inc. 2.4%
Pacific Premier Bancorp 2.4%
First Internet Bancorp 2.4%

Dividend Select

JP Morgan Chase & Co. 5.8%
Marvell Technology Group 4.1%
Principal Financial Group 3.8%
Las Vegas Sands Corp. 3.8%
Pfizer Inc. 3.5%

This newsletter presents selected recommendations from portfolio managers of Argent Capital Management LLC, a registered investment advisor. Opinions reflect the portfolio manager’s judgment on the date above and are subject to change. A list of stocks recommended by Argent is available upon request. You should not assume that these recommendations are or will be profitable. In the course of it’s business, Argent’s client accounts may be buying and selling these stocks.