News & Our Thinking

Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – September 17, 2018

17 September 2018

Stocks Rebound as Tariff Fears Subside

Equities regained their footing and posted solid gains last week on renewed trade-deal optimism. This was despite President Trump’s continuing rhetoric on an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, while also rebuffing the leaders of several companies who spoke out against even more potential tariffs on China.

In economic news, U.S. core inflation dropped unexpectedly in August as healthcare costs and apparel prices fell, leaving room for the Federal Reserve to continue to raise rates slowly. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates later this month.

The S&P 500® Index was up 1.2% for the week. Its top-performing sectors included Telecommunications (2.9%) and Energy (2.0%), while bottom-performing sectors included Real Estate (0.2%) and Financials (-0.4%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was up slightly, ending at a little less than 3.0%.

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

Google Parent: A Compelling Choice 

Alphabet Inc. Class A (GOOGL) has achieved worldwide name recognition with its famed Google search engine. Beyond this well-known service, the technology company also provides targeted advertising solutions, collaboration tools and a host of additional online utilities. The company is based in Mountain View, California, and was founded in 1998.

We believe the current trend of allocating additional dollars to internet search ads will continue, and Alphabet is well-positioned to benefit. With its sophisticated search engine, Alphabet matches buyers with providers. Providers recognize the attractiveness of this service and are willing to pay for it. In addition, Alphabet’s incubated services, such as self-driving cars, could provide additional value to shareholders for the long term. The combination of Alphabet’s current operations and potential products make it a compelling addition to Argent’s Change-BasedSM investment approach.

 Top 5 Equity Holdings

Large Cap Growth

Alphabet Inc. (Google) 7.5%
Post Holdings Inc. 5.2%
Baxter International 5.0%
Mastercard Inc. 4.4%
First Data Corporation 4.4%

Small Cap Core

Fortinet Inc. 3.8%
Wintrust Financial Corp. 2.8%
Health Ins. Innovations 2.7%
Merit Medical Systems 2.6%
PetIQ Inc. 2.6%

Dividend Select

JP Morgan Chase & Co. 5.7%
ConocoPhillips 4.4%
Occidental Petroleum 4.2%
Pfizer Inc. 4.1%
Target Corporation 4.1%

Mid Cap 

NVIDIA Corporation 3.5%
Cintas Corporation 3.4%
NetApp Inc. 3.2%
CDW Corporation 3.1%
Amedisys 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.