News & Our Thinking

Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – August 13, 2018

13 August 2018

S&P Gain Tempered by International Issues

Although the S&P 500® Index began last week with a gain of 65 basis points, it ended down by -0.2%. Through Tuesday, Consumer Discretionary, Energy, Information Technology and Financials sectors led the initial climb. However, equities leveled off on news of more Chinese import tariffs from the Trump administration, and by Friday the S&P 500 had dipped as equity markets around the globe declined in light of Turkey’s financial crisis.

Meanwhile, in larger U.S. economic news, initial jobless claims of 213,000 were lower than the consensus estimate of 220,000 and the previous week’s 218,000. Crude oil prices closed the week at $67.63 per barrel, declining 1.26%.

Telecommunications company CenturyLink was the week’s best-performing stock in the S&P 500 Index, returning 13.54% after announcing stronger than expected second quarter earnings and increasing the company’s profit outlook for 2018. Among the companies reporting this week are Walmart, Home Depot, Cisco Systems, NVIDIA Corp., Applied Materials and many others.

The S&P 500 Index was down -0.2% for the week. Its top-performing sectors included Consumer Discretionary (0.8%) and Telecommunications (0.7%), while bottom-performing sectors included Real Estate (-1.8%) and Consumer Staples (-1.9%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was down slightly, ending at a little less than 2.9%.

We continue to seek companies that reflect our Change-BasedSM investment approach.

SunTrust Continues Its Upward Trajectory

SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) provides a variety of financial services for consumers, businesses, corporations and institutions in the United States, with a focus on the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country. The company was founded in 1891 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

SunTrust has recovered nicely since the financial crisis. The company is seeing regional growth and is positioned well to benefit from a change toward higher interest rates. SunTrust also has a strong management team that continues to focus on improving operational efficiency to lower costs and drive growth. In addition, a strong balance sheet allows SunTrust to return a significant amount of capital to shareholders via dividend increases and share buy backs. Because of these positive developments, we believe SunTrust is a good fit for Argent’s Change-BasedSM investment process.

 Top 5 Equity Holdings

Large Cap Growth

Alphabet Inc. (Google) 8.0%
Post Holdings Inc. 4.8%
Baxter International 4.6%
Mastercard Inc. 4.1%
Marvell Technology Group 4.1%

Small Cap Core

Fortinet Inc. 3.3%
Wintrust Financial 2.9%
Health Insurance Innovations 2.5%
G-III Apparel Group Ltd. 2.4%
Merit Medical Systems 2.3%

Dividend Select

JP Morgan Chase & Co. 5.8%
ConocoPhillips 4.3%
Occidental Petroleum 4.2%
Pfizer Inc. 3.9%
Target Corporation 3.8%

Mid Cap 

Cintas Corporation 3.4%
NVIDIA Corporation 3.3%
NetApp Inc. 3.2%
CDW Corporation 3.0%
Amedysis Inc. 3.0%

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.