News & Our Thinking

Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – March 30, 2020

31 March 2020

Coronavirus Relief Bill Passes

The S&P 500® Index returned 10.3% last week, its best performance since March 2009, leaving the index with a –21.0% year-to-date return. Equities rallied last week with all sectors posting positive returns on the expectation the coronavirus relief bill would be passed by the U.S. Congress. On Friday, President Trump signed the $2 trillion bill intended to mitigate the accelerating damage to the economy. The S&P 500 Index briefly traded below 2,200 last Monday, levels not seen since late 2016. The index declined 33.8% from the closing high a month ago on February 19, 2020 through this past Monday. Crude oil closed at $21.51 per barrel on Friday, declining 4.1% as demand continues to decline. The speed of economic decline was evident as consensus estimates of 1.7 million U.S. initial jobless claims were almost doubled by the actual claims of 3.28 million, eclipsing the previous week’s claims of 281K.

Commercial aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company was the best performing stock in the index, up 70.5%. The stock jumped on expectations the stimulus bill would help keep its airline customers in business that are struggling from the swift drop in air travel.

The S&P 500 Index was up 10.3% for the week. Its top-performing sectors were Utilities (17.7%) and Industrials (15.4%), while the bottom-performing sectors were Consumer Staples (6.5%) and Communication Services (5.5%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was down, ending at 0.7%.

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

Change Based Investment

Post Holdings, Inc. is a consumer packaged goods company that operates in the United States and internationally. The company was founded in 1897 and is based in St. Louis, Missouri. The company has many recognizable brands such as Grape-Nuts, Weetabix, Bob Evans Farms and Raisin Bran.

We think highly of Post’s management team and its ability to drive value creation for shareholders. The management team has successfully executed a number of acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures which have boosted returns to the company. We believe this creativity and focus on driving returns makes Post a core holding for Argent’s Change-BasedSM investment approach.


Top 5 Equity Holdings

Large Cap Growth

Alphabet Inc. (Google) 8.3%
Mastercard Incorporated 5.8%
Fiserv, Inc. 5.5%
Apple, Inc. 5.1%
Danaher Corporation 4.9%

Small Cap Core

Fortinet, Inc. 3.4%
UFP Technologies, Inc. 3.1%
Lumentum Holdings, Inc. 3.0%
Atkore International Group 2.6%
Gibraltar Industries, Inc. 2.6%

Dividend Select

Microsoft Corporation 5.8%
JPMorgan Chase & Co. 5.6%
Target Corporation 5.4%
General Mills, Inc. 4.3%
Life Storage, Inc. 4.1%

Mid Cap 

Amedisys, Inc. 5.3%
CDW Corporation 4.1%
NVIDIA Corporation 4.0%
Copart, Inc. 3.6%
Cintas Corporation 3.6%

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.