News & Our Thinking

Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – October 22, 2018

22 October 2018

S&P 500 Finishes Flat After Recent Declines

Following the previous week’s 4.1% drop and three straight weeks of declines, the S&P 500® Index last week broke the trend, posting a flat week. The index showed volatility, but managed to post its second-best day of the year last Tuesday with a 2.2% return. This rally was led by technology and health care stocks.

In larger economic news, U.S. initial jobless claims of 210,000 were close to the consensus estimate of 211,000 and lower than the previous week’s 214,000. Crude oil prices closed the week at $69.12 per barrel, decreasing 3.1% for the week. Meanwhile, earnings season is underway, with over 150 S&P 500 companies reporting this week. Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and others will report.

The S&P 500 was relatively flat for the week. Its top-performing sectors included Consumer Staples (4.3%) and Real Estate (3.2%), while bottom-performing sectors were Energy (-1.9%) and Consumer Discretionary (-2.0%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was up, ending at 3.2%.

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

Bristol-Myers: Health Care Leader 

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) manufactures and distributes biopharmaceutical products worldwide. The company was founded in 1887 and is headquartered in New York.

Bristol-Myers’ stock has lagged its peers as the excitement surrounding its lead cancer therapy has dimmed on competitive concerns. Investor worry has led to a stock that is much more attractively valued but continues to possess one of the most exciting cancer programs in the health care industry. Bristol-Myers also has a strong core business with stable cash flows, along with upside potential in its pipeline. Because of these changes, Bristol-Myers fits well with Argent’s Change-BasedSM investment approach.

 Top 5 Equity Holdings

Large Cap Growth

Alphabet Inc. (Google) 7.8%
Post Holdings, Inc. 5.4%
Baxter International 4.9%
MasterCard, Inc. 4.5%
First Data Corp. 4.3%

Small Cap Core

Fortinet, Inc. 3.1%
Merit Medical Systems 2.8%
Wintrust Financial Corp. 2.8%
Health Ins. Innovations 2.7%
Premier, Inc. 2.6%

Dividend Select

JPMorgan Chase & Co. 5.7%
ConocoPhillips 4.6%
Pfizer, Inc. 4.5%
Occidental Petroleum 4.1%
Target Corporation 4.0%

Mid Cap 

NetApp, Inc. 3.2%
NVIDIA Corporation 3.2%
Cintas Corporation 3.1%
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.