Chips, energy and an Amazon rival: Stock picks from a fund manager with three decades of experience

Markets are again on the backfoot ahead of Thursday’s open. Credit Suisse shares have shot higher on plans to borrow billions, a day after collapsing and upending already fragile markets.

The European Central Bank raised its key interest rate by 50 basis points as some had expected. That’s as stress returns for some U.S> lenders.

Onto our call of the day, which comes from the manager of the Plumb Balanced Fund
PLIBX,
-1.08%
,
Tom Plumb, who has three stock ideas to share. But first, some timely advice from the manager’s three decades of experience.

“The market is really going to be volatile here, but if you look at 1981 to 1982, it was a significant amount of pressure on the stock market, but the fourth quarter of 1982…the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.21%

was up 40%,” Plumb told MarketWatch in a recent interview.

“I think people still have to look at what their comfort with risk is…for the first time in 15 years, they have a reasonable expectation that a balanced portfolio will modify the volatility because they’re earning 4% to 7% on their higher quality fixed income investments,” he said.

“You just have to make sure the companies you own aren’t overleveraged, they’re not dependent on capital and that they’re not standing, as we say, on the railroad tracks for different trends that are really going to be developing,” said Plumb.

That brings us to his first pick, microcontroller maker Microchip Technology
MCHP,
-0.17%
,
which he has owned at different periods over 20 years and sits in a sector he likes — chips.

The first microcontroller was put on a car to regulate the fuel injection system in 1987 and the average car now has about 400 of those, controlling everything from temperature, to safety, he notes. Microchip trades at about 14 times forward earnings, and likes the fact they’re normally conservative on the guidance front.

And: Intel’s stock nabs an upgrade: ‘Things are moving enough in the right direction.’

“They focus on industrial aerospace, defense, auto and auto centers. They have almost no exposure to PCs and cellphone markets,” return free cash to shareholders, with regular dividends over the past 15 years. While not as sexy as AI, Microchip delivers on the basis of a “good, solid company,” he said.

Read: Chip stocks fall as delivery times shrink, Samsung plans to build world’s largest chip complex

His next pick is down to the Ukraine war’s causation of a rethink of energy independence, capacity and companies that can produce commodities such as liquid natural gas. With that Philips 66
PSX,
-0.22%

is “probably the best company in the mid market,” trading at about 7 times earnings, with a 4% dividend yield meaning investors are paid as they wait, he said.

“Earnings obviously are pretty volatile, but their main thing is capacity utilization rates on the refineries. Refineries are only a quarter of their revenues, but it’s 60% of their profits, and then they transport the LNG,” he said. LNG exports will be significant as countries try to diversify energy inputs, and “carbon-based energy is gonna still have a significant place in the world for a long time,” he adds.

His last pick is an old favorite for the manager — Latin America’s answer to Amazon.com
AMZN,
+1.21%

— MercadoLibre
MELIN,
-0.63%

MELI,
-0.58%
,
whose shares have been on the recovery road after coming off COVID-19 pandemic-era highs. The company is now “getting to scale and you’re seeing a tremendous increase in not only their revenues, but their profit margins are expanding,” he said.

“So it looks like you’re going to have 28% revenue growth maybe for the next four years at least, and get 50% plus growth in their reported earnings,” he said, noting increasing benefits of electronic transactions and digital advertising.

“So you’ve got three legs: you’ve got the financial, you’ve got the Amazon type, online retailer and the third is the advertising. All of these things are putting them in a spot that’s unique in Latin America, Mexico and South America,” said Plumb.

Last word from Plumb? Like many others, he’s worried that the Fed has moved too fast with rate hikes and that those delayed effects are playing out. He worries about risk to insurance companies and long-term lenders of commercial real estate, which he thinks will be “an area of significant potential risk over the next couple of years.”

The markets

Stock futures
ES00,
-0.54%

YM00,
-0.78%

NQ00,
-0.27%

extended losses after the ECB rate hike, while bond yields
TMUBMUSD10Y,
3.440%

TMUBMUSD02Y,
3.961%

have also turned lower, and the dollar
DXY,
-0.14%

lower. Asian stocks
HSI,
-1.72%

NIK,
-0.80%

fell, while European equities
SXXP,
+0.06%

turned mixed after the ECB hiked interest rates. German 2-year bund yields
TMBMKDE-02Y,
2.466%

are also rising after a big plunge. Oil prices
CL.1,
-1.39%

are weaker.

For more market updates plus actionable trade ideas for stocks, options and crypto, subscribe to MarketDiem by Investor’s Business Daily.

The buzz

“Inflation is projected to remain too high for too long.” That was the ECB statemetn following a 50 basis point rate hike to 3%, a move that some had been on the fence over, given fresh banking stress. President Christine Lagarde will speak soon.

U.S. data showed weekly jobless claims dropping 29,000 to 1.68 million, while import prices declined 0.1%, housing starts rebounded by a 9.8% jump and building permits surged 13.8%. The Philly Fed manufacturing gauge remained deep in contraction territory in March, hitting a negative 23.2, versus expectations of 15.5

Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen is expected to tell the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that the U.S. banking system is “sound.”

That’s as First Republic shares
FRC,
-29.97%

have dropped 35% to a fresh record low amid reports the battered lender is considering a sale. The lender was cut to junk by Fitch and S&P on Wednesday. Elsewhere, PacWest Bancorp
PACW,
-18.29%

is down 14%.

Meanwhile, “everything is fine,” with Credit Suisse, said the head of top shareholder Saudi National Bank on Thursday, a day after he effectively blew up markets by saying the Middle Eastern bank wouldn’t boost its stake. Credit Suisse shares
CS,
+3.51%

CSGN,
+15.73%

are surging on a pledge to borrow money from the Swiss National Bank and repay debt.

Adobe shares
ADBE,
+2.99%

are up 5% after topping Wall Street expectations for the quarter and hiking its outlook.

Shares of Snap
SNAP,
+6.77%

are up 6%, following a report that the Biden administration has told its Chinese owners to sell their TikTok stakes or face U.S. ban.

Shares of DSW parent Designer Brands
DBI,
+14.13%

are headed for a 2-year low after a surprise profit, but disappointing revenue.

Goldman Sachs is lifting its odds of a U.S. recession in the next 12 months by 10 percentage points to 35%, over worries about the economic effects of small bank stress.

Best of the web

Chinese companies are still trying to get their money out of SVB.

A rare Patek Philippe watch owned by the last emperor of China’s Qing dynasty could break auction records.

An issue with your tissue? ‘Forever chemicals’ are in toilet paper, too.

The tickers

These were the top-searched tickers on MarketWatch as of 6 a.m.

Ticker

Security name

TSLA,
+0.89%
Tesla

CS,
+3.51%
Credit Suisse

FRC,
-29.97%
First Republic Bank

BBBY,
+8.25%
Bed Bath & Beyond

CSGN,
+15.73%
Credit Suisse

AMC,
-2.45%
AMC Entertainment

GME,
-1.38%
GameStop

AAPL,
+0.08%
Apple

NIO,
+0.91%
NIO

APE,
-8.10%
AMC Entertainment Holdings preferred shares

Random reads

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#Chips #energy #Amazon #rival #Stock #picks #fund #manager #decades #experience

‘My stepmother has been less than ethical’: I suspect my stepmom removed me as beneficiary from my late father’s life-insurance policy. What can I do?

My dad passed away in March 2019. My stepmom told me I had an inheritance from my dad.  She ceased communication with me after my dad passed away. I reached out to the Department of Financial Services website for lost life-insurance policies, and received a letter saying my dad was a participant, but had named someone other than me as a beneficiary.

My stepmother has been less than ethical at times. She previously stole money from her sister’s bank account while working for the financial institution that she now runs. Her sister did not press charges, so the matter was dropped by my dad, with whom she was having an affair. Is it possible that she changed the beneficiary, and could have forged anything on behalf of my dad?

My family also suspects she tried to cash another life-insurance policy for which I was a 51% beneficiary. She sent me a check after my dad passed saying it was a “gift,” and called me nearly two years later saying a policy had just been “found” with me as 51% beneficiary. I suspect she was the 49% beneficiary. To make matters worse, that policy was through her place of business.

Suspicious Daughter

Dear Suspicious,

Anything is possible. It sounds like you are dealing with an unknown quantity, and she should not be trusted with other people’s money. Your stepmother does not, from your account, appear to be on the up-and-up, given that she reportedly stole money from her sister’s bank account. It may be that she could not bring herself to cash a policy with you receiving 49% — hence the delay —  but given the division outlined in the policy it seems unlikely that she could have kept the entire policy for herself. An executor has a responsibility to deal with an estate in a timely manner.

It’s not unheard of for people to question an amendment that was made to a trust, insurance policy or last will and testament. Priscilla Presley, the ex-wife of Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll” who died in 1977, filed legal documents in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, disputing the validity of an amendment to a living trust overseeing the estate of her late daughter Lisa Marie Presley, who died earlier this month. The 2016 amendment removed Priscilla Presley and a former business manager as trustees, the Associated Press reported.

Among the issues cited in the legal filing: Priscilla Presley was allegedly not notified of the change as required, an absence of a witness or notarization, Priscilla Presley’s name was misspelled in a document that was allegedly signed by her late daughter, and Lisa Marie Presley’s own signature was described as atypical, the news agency also reported. Aside from questions swirling over the authenticity of an amendment, changes to wills, trusts and — in your case — insurance policies must always meet certain legal standards.

It’s not unheard of for people to question an amendment that was made to a trust, insurance policy or last will and testament.

“Last-minute changes in beneficiaries can be a red flag for life-insurance companies,” according to LifeInsuranceAttorney.com. “Usually, the person insured by a life-insurance policy can change their beneficiaries whenever they want, so long as the change complies with any specific requirements in the life-insurance policy. However, when the insured person is elderly, severely ill or lacking mental capacity, and the change in beneficiary happens shortly before the insured person passes away, they may have been unduly influenced by others.”

“For example, a caretaker or estranged family member may convince or influence the vulnerable insured person to add them as a beneficiary on the insured person’s life-insurance policy or to remove other beneficiaries,” the firm says. What’s more, “Life-insurance companies may also deny claims if the beneficiary made a change in the beneficiary that did not comply with the requirements of the insured person’s life-insurance policy. Some policies may require that the insured person have a certain amount of witnesses present,” it adds.

Depending on the amount of money involved, you may wish to hire an attorney to see if you have a case and/or to put your mind at rest. The statute of limitations — that is, the amount of time you have to challenge the validity of a life-insurance policy — may vary, depending on the circumstances, the state where you live and/or whether new information has come to light. “The statute of limitations, in most cases, lasts for three years. But not always,” according to the Center for Life Insurance Disputes, an insurance agency in Washington, D.C.

She stopped talking to you after your father passed away: It could be that she was shoring up what was left of his estate, and figuring out what she could take for herself. Or it may be that you did not get along, and a breakdown of communication was inevitable. Or both. Were there any changes made to your father’s policy that would raise a red flag? That much is unclear. Your stepmother may have learned her lesson when she was not prosecuted by her sister for alleged financial malfeasance.

And, then again, maybe not.

Yocan email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at [email protected], and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets he cannot reply to questions individually.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

My mother excluded me from her will — before she died, my sibling cashed out her annuity policy, on which I was a beneficiary. Should I sue my family?

‘I’m clean and sober’: My late father left me 25% of his estate, and my wealthy brother 75%. My brother died 10 months later. Should I ask his son for his share?

‘It’s still painful’: My wife of just one year left me, took all her belongings and won’t answer her phone. How do I protect my finances?



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#stepmother #ethical #suspect #stepmom #removed #beneficiary #late #fathers #lifeinsurance #policy

‘I am angry’: I’m an unmarried stay-at-home mother in a 20-year relationship, but my boyfriend won’t put my name on the deed of our house. Am I unreasonable?

I have been in my relationship for almost 20 years. For personal reasons, we are not married but we have a 10-year-old child.

When our child was born, we decided that I would be a stay-at-home parent because my low-paying job didn’t cover the costs of child care, and at the time, we were stretched. I have been an at-home caregiver and homemaker for a decade.

About two years ago, we finally saved enough to buy our first home. It’s a condo, but it’s ours. Since it was my first house purchase, I didn’t fully understand the process, so by the time my partner closed on the condo, I realized I was not on the deed.

When I asked why I was left out, my partner made some noises about loan applications, the cost, etc. My credit score is higher than his, so if I were part of the loan process for the mortgage, wouldn’t it have been beneficial to us?

In the two years since we’ve bought and moved into our place, we’ve had several tense “discussions” about adding me to the deed. For me, even though I’m not an earner, I am still a working member of this household, so having my name on the deed is about equality in the relationship and family.

When our child was born, we decided that I would be a stay-at-home parent because my low-paying job didn’t cover the costs of child care.

Through my labor as a homemaker, which includes meal preparation, cleaning, laundry and home maintenance — not to mention 24/7 childcare — I feel my role as a “stakeholder” in this family should include legally owning my home. Am I wrong?

Through the various discussions we’ve had, it seems my partner is unwilling to add me to the deed. First, he got angry whenever I tried to discuss it, and tried to make it sound as if I was being completely unreasonable. But now he says it’s because it’ll cost several thousand dollars, and that in the end, it “really shouldn’t matter.”

But it does matter. To me, not being on the deed is a direct correlation to how I am devalued for my time and labor. I feel like I am considered “less than” simply because I am a woman, an at-home parent, and a homemaker. I am angry about my situation.

Adding to the complication, we JUST purchased an upstairs neighbor’s condo with the intention of renting it out. After all the fuss about being excluded, my partner made sure my name is on the deed for this second unit. But because of this, my partner says having my name on the original home is “unnecessary.”

I want to continue to fight for my name to be added — to fully own BOTH properties. But my partner is still making me sound completely unreasonable, to spend thousands of dollars just for a “piece of paper.” I know we can afford the costs, and I feel the cost is worth it so I can be on equal footing in this family. And legally, it is not just a piece of paper to me.

Am I really being unreasonable? Will the costs really outweigh the benefits? What can I do?

We live in New Jersey.

Thank you.

Not on the Deed

Dear Not on the Deed,

Common-law marriage is not recognized in New Jersey, so it’s up to unmarried couples to manage their joint assets the old-fashioned way. The father of your child has certainly done his best to do that, and has tipped the scales in his favor.

You are either a committed couple in a long-term relationship with a view to sharing your lives, or you’re not. Not putting you on the mortgage — assuming he did so given your good credit — or the deed of your home is sharp practice. At this point, you would likely need to finance to put you on the mortgage, and may need to inform the lender to do the latter.

Put bluntly, you’re not being unreasonable. There is a huge amount of physical, mental and emotional labor involved in being a stay-at-home parent and homemaker, and an equal amount of time devoted to raising your son and taking care of your home while your partner attends to his 9-to-5 job.

Being in a long-term unmarried relationship can affect everything from taxes to real estate. “Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples when it comes to estate planning,” according to the New Jersey-based Bronzino Law Firm.

“They aren’t eligible to inherit a portion of their partner’s estate, for example; and they don’t receive tax breaks on property that they plan to leave their long-term partner after their death, the way that married couples do,” the law firm writes.

There is a huge amount of physical, mental and emotional labor involved in being a stay-at-home parent and homemaker, and an equal amount of time devoted to raising your son.

Your partner would have to file a grant or warranty deed with the county clerk. This could come with ramifications for insurance and should be done in consultation with a lawyer. It should, in theory, only cost a few hundred dollars.

I say “in theory” as that does not account for the closing costs and, of course, if there is a significantly higher interest rate now than when the loan was first signed.

“Deeds are characterized by ‘guarantees’ the grantor makes about their interest in the property, and ‘promises” of future action the grantor will take if their representations are challenged,” according to the law firm of Earl White.

“Covenants are the defining feature of each type of deed,” he writes. “Sellers often guarantee a property is sold free and clear of mortgages and liens, and that the seller has authority to make the sale.”

Some broader context: A few years ago, Oxfam released a study that estimated women contributed $10.8 trillion to the world’s economy every year in unpaid labor. That’s three times the size of the world’s technology industry.

The cost of you pursuing this does not outweigh the benefits. Your time is valuable. Your contribution to your partnership is valuable. Your sense of worth is valuable. And your role as a homemaker and a mother is also valuable.

Yocan email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at [email protected], and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets he cannot reply to questions individually.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

• ‘I’ve felt like an outsider my whole life’: My father died without a will, leaving behind my stepmother and her 4 children. Do I have any rights to his estate?
• ‘He was infatuated with her’: My brother had a drinking problem and took his own life. He left $6 million to his former girlfriend who used to buy him alcohol
• She had a will, but it was null and void’: My friend and her sister are fighting over their mother’s life-insurance policy and bank account. Who should win out?



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#angry #unmarried #stayathome #mother #20year #relationship #boyfriend #wont #put #deed #house #unreasonable