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Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – September 23, 2019

23 September 2019

A Volatile Week for Oil

The S&P 500® Index declined half a percent last week. The attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities caused the market to open the week lower and drove oil prices up over 14% on Monday. Crude Oil was volatile as prices fell after Monday’s spike, finishing the week up to 5.9% closing at $58.09 per barrel. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met Wednesday and cut short-term interest rates by another quarter of a percentage point. Stocks initially dropped on the announcement but recovered with financials and utilities finishing strong. Stocks fell Friday on increased trade tensions.

Biopharmaceutical Company, Incyte Corporation was the best performing stock in the index. The company, which develops small molecule drugs that treat cancer, returned 6.3% last week, climbing 4.0% on Friday as health care stocks were strong. Oil companies, ConocoPhillips, Apache Corporation and Cimarex Energy Co., were the big winners last week following the spike in oil as the companies returned 6.1%, 6.0% and 5.8% respectively. The worst performing stock in the S&P 500 last week was FedEx Corporation declining 14.5%. The stock fell Thursday after FedEx announced earnings that were below Wall Street estimates.

The S&P 500® Index was down 0.5% for the week. Its top-performing sectors were Utilities (2.2%) and Real Estate (2.1%), while bottom-performing sectors were Industrials (-1.5%) and Consumer Discretionary (-2.2%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was down, ending at 1.7%.

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

Change Based Investment

Robert Half International Inc. provides staffing and risk consulting services in North America and around the world. The company places part- and full-time workers in a variety of fields, including financial services, information technology and marketing. It is based in Menlo Park, California, and was founded in 1948.

Robert Half’s stock has been pressured over concerns of a slowdown in Europe. In the United States, as a professional staffing firm, Robert Half stands to benefit from tight labor markets and rising wages. Because of this, we believe Robert Half could experience stronger sales growth and increasing profits in the future. We also believe the market does not realize the company’s cash flow potential, which could enable Robert Half to invest in internal growth opportunities, raise its dividend and accelerate its stock buyback program. These changing dynamics make Robert Half a good addition to Argent’s Large Cap Strategy.


Top 5 Equity Holdings

Large Cap Growth

Alphabet Inc. (Google) 7.7%
Mastercard, Inc. 5.3%
Post Holdings, Inc. 5.3%
Fiserv, Inc. 5.1%
Marvell Technology Group 4.7%

Small Cap Core

Fortinet, Inc. 2.9%
Atkore International Group 2.7%
World Fuel Services 2.7%
Callaway Golf Company 2.5%
OneMain Holdings, Inc. 2.5%

Dividend Select

JPMorgan Chase & Co. 5.8%
Target Corporation 4.8%
Microsoft Corporation 4.3%
Marvell Technology Group 4.2%
Comcast Corporation 4.0%

Mid Cap 

CDW Corporation 4.1%
Cintas Corporation 3.9%
NVR, Inc. 3.4%
Bright Horizons Family 3.4%
Amedisys, Inc. 3.3%

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.