This morning's RNS is good news, though strictly not news, more putting numbers to what was already known; but I don't think the market had factored it in.
Simplistically it means next year's EPS will be around 6% higher. Currently this is forecast to be 309 - giving a forward PE of 16; this would mean an EPS of 327, giving a forward PE of 15. That should give us a small tick up today.
I suspect that it might have something to do with the news:
British American Tobacco has declared a second interim dividend of 43.6 pence per ordinary share for the year ending 31 Dec.
The second interim dividend will be payable on 8 Feb to shareholders registered on either the UK main register or the South Africa branch register on 29 Dec.
"The @GB:UKX:FTSE index recovered lost ground over July, moving back up to its mid-June levels, but fell again recently as the US-North Korean stand-off intensified and investors fled to safe havens such as gold and the yen.No one yet believes a ..."
Back to where is was in February.
This is one of my long term hold shares. Good and bad news comes and goes. I don't believe recent news is all that bad.
Holding for income rather than Capital Gain.
I think we will all be OK, if you are a buy and hold punter.
"The fall in commodity & oil prices,now partially reversed caused a major short term fall in profits & asset write downs against profits.In addition we have continued historic provisions against UK bank profits for PPI etc plus other "one offs" like BP Gulf provisions. If we include these factors the PE of these companies will be very high... "
Yes, TX2, a good summary of why the historic P/E looks so anomalously (and misleadingly) high. But your attempt at the true underlying P/E - as below - is still way too high IMHO.
"If we look at FTSE100 with normalised earnings for the mining,oil & banking sectors its PE is probably in the low to mid twenties.Quite high to be frank but not quite as high as it first seems."
See the link below to an article on this very issue - from late December last year, but still perfectly valid I would say:
The key concluding paragraph (as below) is the crucial point here...
"The index also looks more attractive on a projected p/e basis, which is calculated using forecast earnings for the next 12 months. This value stands at 14, according to JP Morgan Asset Management."
Given the market is up (by some 4%) since then, and on the (reasonable?) assumption that not much has changed on forecast earnings overall, this would imply a prospective UK market P/E around 15x, perhaps (if anything) a bit lower. Which squares with my impression from other sources, as previously outlined.
The rating of the FTSE100 is heavily influenced by the performance of international mining,oil & UK bank shares as these constitute a major proportion.
The fall in commodity & oil prices,now partially reversed caused a major short term fall in profits & asset write downs against profits.In addition we have continued historic provisions against UK bank profits for PPI etc plus other "one offs" like BP Gulf provisions.If we include these factors the PE of these companies will be very high as their profits are much reduced however going forward their profits are now much higher and in the main their actual PE much lower.
If we look at FTSE100 with normalised earnings for the mining,oil & banking sectors its PE is probably in the low to mid twenties.Quite high to be frank but not quite as high as it first seems.
"...Stokes is turning into a genuine test batsman rather than the 6 or out man. And Bairstow only let 2 balls go straight through his legs. (Why can't England pick a proper wicketkeeper?)"
HB - on the latter, my impression is cricket in general - and top coaches in particular - are very much data-driven these days. Duncan Fletcher was the first, for England... but they now abound, at both international level and below.
And as I understand it, they have run the numbers and concluded that the incremental benefit of having, say, a Jack Russell or a Bob Taylor - taking the odd marginal catch that others wouldn't, saving a few more byes here and there - is NOT worth what you would be giving up in likely runs from a genuine test-class batsman/wicketkeeper (in that order). Even if the aesthetic equation for the purists would go the other way ...
It also seems clear that it is (much?) easier to turn a good batsman into an "adequate" test-class keeper than vice versa... Bairstow is a markedly better keeper now than he was when first doing the job - though still no Jack Russell of course - and Alec Stewart was turned (whether by himself or others, or a bit of both) into a pretty decent keeper over a period, from more or less a standing start.
Like you, it doesn't always sit particularly easily with me - but I am sure they have "done the math" and if wasn't so, they would go the other way! And of course, over time, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy... if you need to be a good batsman to keep wicket at the top levels, the game will simply not produce top-quality keepers, if that is all they can do. They'll be weeded out and disappear a long way down the line...
On Stokes... I think he has quietly been a "genuine test" batsman for a while, it just gets overshadowed by the periodic more explosive stuff. And if occasionally he errs in his attacking mindset, he is hardly alone in this, either in the England team or across world cricket - such is the way the game has gone, for better or worse (and opinion is divided here!)
I think the bigger issues for Stokes is whether this quality will survive the 20/20 workload which the "market" will undoubtedly force upon him... and whether his appetite from test cricket at all will likewise be sustained. God knows, within a year or two he will hardly need the central-contract money...
"And a very worthwhile use of your time IMHO, Hardboy... a trip to the Oval that is"
It certainly was - despite cloudy skies most of the day and some light drizzle there was no play lost & they played through till 7. That must make the channel 5 editors' job tricky!. A good day - Stokes is turning into a genuine test batsman rather than the 6 or out man. And Bairstow only let 2 balls go straight through his legs. (Why can't England pick a proper wicketkeeper?) Sadly Broad was in his "let's be economical" mood so the batsmen hardly had to play a shot at him.
And I followed it with a trip to the National Film Theatre to watch Wag The Dog - a very much forgotten film about fake news during a US Presidential Election Campaign. As if that ever happens!
"I was at the Oval on Friday... so I bought an IC - which I don't do that often... I was amazed the PE for the main UK index was so high, but assumed something as basic as this the IC would get right. Even if it is not what we expect it to be, presumably all index PEs would be calculated in the same way..."
And a very worthwhile use of your time IMHO, Hardboy... a trip to the Oval that is, NOT buying the IC rag, which has long "earned" a reputation for dodgy information, and this one, as they say, takes the biscuit. Surely someone there with some editorial clout would know this is not a representative figure of any use, either absolute or relative to other markets??
Yes, if the true, underlying P/E was over 30x, UK equities would be insanely expensive vs history and a massive SELL... but it isn't, and they aren't! It is quite hard to come up with reliable figures, without forking out for a Bloomberg subscription (never a necessary expense IMHO)... many of the usual third-party financial websites will churn out their own figures, but again, these are notoriously unreliable due to the random, inexpert way their data is compiled, riddled as it is with obvious mistakes - even the more reputable ones.
That said... a quick perusal this morning throws up a recurring figure around 16.5x for the UK market, which I assume is also an "actual" (ie. historic, most recent reported) figure... this could still be a tad high IMO, but much nearer the real picture. And of course, stocks tend to move most around the "forward" (ie. current year prospective) data, and on this basis, I believe the UK P/E is (broadly) around 15x, though I don't have a 'real time' source for this.
FWIW the only source I actually rely on is my own "database" (ie, spreadsheet), with my Watch List of (now) around 120 stocks, and bottom-up data compiled by the only source I trust (ie. me). This is not quite a true "market proxy" of course, but over the years it HAS tended to produce aggregate valuation data fairly adjacent to the overall market... this currently shows an average P/E of 14x (current FY forward), divi yield of 4.1%, EV/EBITDA 10x, FCF yield of a tad under 5%. If it helps at all, I would back this profile against the vast majority of all external sources - and particularly the IC - any day of the year!
"People are saying US Equities are very high, but the DJ is around 60% of the FTSE. That surprised me."
Yes, it'd surprise me too, if it were true... but it ain't! The IC data for the US still looks a tad high, but at least much closer to the real picture. (Not that the DJ is a useful index anyway, with only 30 stocks and being a price-weighted (rather than cap-weighted) index... when it comes to the US market, the S&P 500 is really where it's at.) Bottom line is, the US is trading at a notable premium to the UK, some 20% or so (broadly), rather than the IC's 60% discount (disgraceful!), and is certainly in "expensive" (though not, as yet, "bubble") territory...
Of course, the fact that the UK is "cheaper" than the US (or less expensive, depending on your POV) won't save it if an overheated US market leads a correction... it will doubtless take everywhere else down with it. But it does provide a useful guide to where you should be focusing when the dust settles in the aftermath... all IMHO, of course, as always!
"According to the IC FTSE 100 PE is 31.6: But I will pick you up on this point. I have seen others quote a 30+ PE multiple for the market, but it's effectively nonsense "
I was at the Oval on Friday, and always make sure I have something to read in case of long rain delays, so I bought an IC - which I don't do that often - They have a summary page of all the major indexes. I was amazed the PE for the main UK index was so high, but assumed something as basic as this the IC would get right. Even if it is not what we expect it to be, presumably all index PEs would be calculated in the same way, and the FTSE100 was high be comparison. Only the AIM (which I think is pretty meaningless - I only look at AIM companies on an individual basis) & NASDAQ were higher.
For info these are some of the key PE figures.
FTSE100 - 31.6
FTSE250 - 22.8
Eurofirst 300 - 23.8
CAC - 19.06
Dax - 19.79
DJ - 18.72
SAP - 21.58
NASDAQ - 34.24
Hang Seng - 14.48
Nikkei - 19.1
Brazil - 17.7
Australia - 20.43
Russia - 7.0
India - 23.25
China - 17.45
People are saying US Equities are very high, but the DJ is around 60% of the FTSE. That surprised me.
Totally agree with your strategy attitude. But for me the tobacco sector is one of a closely watching brief. There could be a great opportunity coming up.
Interestingly I started my post graduate career within the BAT family. I was working in the Paper Industry (when there was one in the UK) at a subsidiary; and I recall one of the first real business management lessons I learnt was when someone pointed out how great the tobacco industry was, because it was so heavily taxed. I would have thought a product being heavily taxed would be bad. Not a bit of it. What it means is the end price the punter pays is mainly affected by tax levels, and you can vary your own selling price considerably without affecting the end price significantly.
Well Neil Woodford has sold because of valuation. Of course he doesn't always get it right, but if you're income is bigger from share dealing, then show me your money. Sentiment has changed and millions have been sold off. If you have held for years it would be greedy to hold and first timers foolish to buy.
"This is a minor blip compared with some previous hurdles the Tobacco Industry has had to clear... I thought it was the end then - much like it was for asbestos industry; but the tobacco firms have gone from strength to strength."
Indeed, Hardboy - people have been trying to call "game over" for the tobacco industry for decades now... one day they may even be right, but not today, I think.
It is a common failing for domestic investors to focus excessively on the narrower Western, developed world perspective for genuinely globally diversified businesses... yes, smoking is in secular decline in the US (some 4% of the world's population) and the UK (less than 1%). For most of the rest of the planet, smoking rates are higher and either still growing or at least relatively flat... as indeed are the rates of population growth.
Not to shrug it off entirely, the US is actually a higher proportion of revenues and, in particular, profits for both BAT and IMB than it used to be, thanks to recent business combinations and acquisitions... but equally, it's hard to see much change to the current economic trajectory of their US operations for years to come. Meanwhile, they run this business for (very good) cash flow, with all growth investment and marketing effort devoted to the still-developing, but mostly already large, markets elsewhere.
"... According to the IC FTSE 100 PE is 31.6 & yield 3.77%... given those facts they appear significantly undervalued. (Though I'd be more inclined to think they are fairly valued & the FTSE100 is heading for a correction.) "
But I will pick you up on this point. I have seen others quote a 30+ PE multiple for the market, but it's effectively nonsense IMHO... not sure exactly what the issue is, most likely it's an historic multiple heavily distorted by one-offs and otherwise exceptionals, write-downs, etc, particularly for stocks disproportionally "heavy" in the index. My impression is the current effective, underlying P/E for the UK market is some 15-16x (I will try to source a precise figure)... sure, toward the upper end - but crucially, not above - the historic sustainable range.
And your 3.77% dividend yield - which looks right to me, typically unaffected by such distortions as above - is actually towards the "cheaper" end of the long term range! And expected to grow steadily, even on muted earnings growth, given the general relative health of corporate cash flows and balance sheets.
So tempted to say.... correction, what correction?! Would be foolhardy for me to say we won't get one (I mean in the near term... we'll definitely get one eventually!), but I WILL say that if we do, it will NOT be because the valuation parameters have become impossibly stretched - as they were in, say, 1929, or in 1999!
And I will also say that, if we do get a correction, I know what I'll be doing... buying it, and probably in some size! And I suggest you should too...
"Sorry I think it is the beginning of the end for Tobacco shares;it will be a gradual decline but legislation like that proposed in USA will spread.........BATS & other tobacco shares are grossly overvalued."
This is a minor blip compared with some previous hurdles the Tobacco Industry has had to clear. It maybe 15-20 years ago there were court cases with individuals suing Tobacco firms for giving them cancer. I thought it was the end then - much like it was for asbestos industry; but the tobacco firms have gone from strength to strength. Developed countries have tried taxing tobacco firms out of existence, tried to kill the industry by banning advertising and putting huge warning signs on packets; but while volumes may decrease in these markets, profits continue to grow; and meanwhile emerging markets remain strong, and the growth of e cigarette industry is taking off.
As for them being grossly overvalued. According to the IC FTSE 100 PE is 31.6 & yield 3.77%. Bill has kindly posted PE & yield figures for the Tobacco giants, and given those facts they appear significantly undervalued. (Though I'd be more inclined to think they are fairly valued & the FTSE100 is heading for a correction.)
I've not got either BATS or IMPS, but when the slide stops I think there will be a good buying opportunity.
"Sorry I think it is the beginning of the end for Tobacco shares;it will be a gradual decline but legislation like that proposed in USA will spread.........BATS & other tobacco shares are grossly overvalued."
When the Kazakhstani regulator gets similarly involved, it'll be time to worry....
Sorry I think it is the beginning of the end for Tobacco shares;it will be a gradual decline but legislation like that proposed in USA will spread.........BATS & other tobacco shares are grossly overvalued.
"The US is about a sixth of BATS revenue (I believe this excludes the impact of acquiring the remains of Reynolds that it did not already own). It is a declining market and has been for years... The US regulator may do something to reduce nicotine content. I may be missing something, it wouldn't be the first time, but I don't see the big deal..."
Charlus - in response, see below, which I paraphrase from what I have just posted on the IMB board.
In short - the US is a bigger deal from BATS than you suggest... but otherwise, I generally concur...
"Clear evidence of market irrationality today IMHO, both in absolute and relative terms. We already knew the US market was one of heavy, invasive regulation and steady secular decline in volumes and (to a lesser extent) revenues... not sure what has changed? On "proposals" - for consultation - which will take years to effect, and which are unlikely to stop committed smokers from smoking (beyond, at least, the prevailing consistent pattern of both existing smokers quitting, and those switching to "next-gen" alternatives).
And IMB down 6% but BATS less than 5%... really? Given BATS makes a tad more than 40% of operating profit in America currently (when you fully consolidate Reynolds, which they now indeed have) - around double the proportion for IMB??
The numbers as I write... prospective divi yield up to 5.5% (very well covered as it is by earnings and FCF)... forward P/E down to around 11.5x... FCF yield (most recent FY) up above 8%! These are screaming Strong Buy to me - again, in both absolute terms and relative (still) to BATS. And they probably will too, to any prospective trade predator...
It is a febrile, nervy market indeed, as if we needed further proof of this, so I can at least understand the hasty reaction... even if I think it wrong-headed. And as always, I have Uncle Warren's wise words ringing in my ear... the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent! But still, for anyone thinking medium term and beyond, it's a compelling opportunity IMHO."
And for completeness, the valuation figures for BATS down here: prospective divi yield 3.8%, forward P/E 16.8x... FCF yield 3.9% (most recent historic).
I suppose, if IMB is a Strong Buy for me than there must be some sort of case for BATS here... but still much weaker for me.
"but I don't see the big deal and quite why the tobacco shares have been whacked quite so hard."
charlus, It's a lot to do with sentiment. Your arguments are probably sound and it's happened before, but then you might argue that the price when high was also largely based on belief and sentiment to a degree.
Games -- IG Group up 4.03%, BATS down 4.43% -- Phew!!!! - escaped!
The US is about a sixth of BATS revenue (I believe this excludes the impact of acquiring the remains of Reynolds that it did not already own). It is a declining market and has been for years.
The US regulator may do something to reduce nicotine content.
I may be missing something, it wouldn't be the first time, but I don't see the big deal and quite why the tobacco shares have been whacked quite so hard.
"In the income-starved era since the financial crisis, tobacco stocks have doubled their share of total FTSE 100 dividend payments. In 2007, tobacco firms accounted for 3.5pc of the total income distributed to the shareholders of Britains biggest companies. The figure peaked at 6.6pc in 2010 and today is 6pc. At the same time, the total dividends paid out by FTSE 100 companies have risen from £50bn in 2007 to £74bn last year, according to data from broker AJ Bell.
This shows how tobacco firms have first grown and then maintained their revenues and distributions, and their soaring share prices across the period are a testament to investors gratitude. Even if you do not directly own shares in Britains two biggest tobacco firms British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands you are quite likely to have exposure via pensions, Isas or other funds. Currently, 47 out of the 84 funds in the UK Equity Income sector (encompassing the most popular funds) own either or both BAT and Imperial Brands as a top 10 holding.
Darius McDermott, of broker Chelsea Financial Services, said: This is for good reason. The big threat of litigation has mostly passed, and cigarette companies are still managing to grow profits, have cut costs and have no hefty advertising budgets. As a result, cash flow is passed back to investors through dividends and share buy-backs. That type of stable income is hard to come by.
Over seven years, BAT and Imperial Brands have returned through share price appreciation and dividends combined 210pc and 152pc, respectively, compared with 80pc for the FTSE 100.
A concentration on any one sector poses risks, but tobacco, mired in controversy and facing a number of challenges, is a special case. The most recent blow came on Friday, when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took aim at the industry, announcing a plan that aims to lower nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.
Tobacco firms may be profitable but, in the developed world at least, smoking rates are declining sharply. In 2000, one in four Britons over 16 smoked. Now, that is down to 16pc. In the US, the adult smoking rate declined in an almost identical pattern. So tobacco companies hopes are on new markets. Last year, 54pc of BATs revenues came from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Over time, smoking rates typically drop as societies develop. For instance, in India, the worlds second biggest cigarette consumer, adult male cigarette use declined from 36pc in 2000 to 20pc in 2015, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data. Adult female use fell from 7.3pc to 1.9pc. Worldwide, the adult female rate declined from 11pc in 2000 to 6pc in 2015 for men, the fall was from 44pc to 35pc. But those global declining smoking rates do not mean that total sales are falling.
Population growth, especially in countries with young populations, could support continued growth in cigarette sales, the industry hopes. Even so, most commentators believe in peak tobacco the point at which total consumption starts to decline. In China, the worlds largest consumer of cigarettes with 300 million smokers, it was reported by the WHO last year that total sales had fallen for the first time in decades.
Another area of potential revenue growth is in e-cigarettes, where traditional tobacco companies are heavily investing in the hope of replacing traditional revenues. E-cigarette use is growing. In Britain, use rose by 24pc between 2015 and 2016, according to Office for National Statistics figures. A study published in the British Medical Journal last week found evidence linking e-cigarette use to people successfully stopping smoking. This effectively reaches a new market of quitters.
As e-cigarettes are comparatively cheap, there are hopes of higher sales volumes. There are also much lower barriers to entry in the e-cigarette market, however, meaning tobacco firms wont enjoy
"The US is considering capping the amount of nicotine allowed in cigarettes at a level that is not addictive, in a move that could strike a serious blow to the business model of big tobacco.
Shares in tobacco stocks tumbled on Friday after the unexpected announcement by the Food and Drug Administration, which has had the authority to regulate cigarettes in the US since 2009. Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts, said Scott Gottlieb, who was appointed FDA commissioner this year by President Donald Trump.
The FDA move would be a significant new turn in the public health debate over cigarettes. Tobacco companies have endured decades of costly litigation in the US over claims that their products sickened or killed users.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the US, causing more than 480,000 deaths every single year, according to the FDA. The agency said it would begin soliciting public comment on the benefits and any potential dangers of limiting nicotine levels to non-addictive levels.
Shares of US-based Altria, the maker of the Marlboro and Parliament brands, fell as much as 18.8 per cent before paring back the losses to trade down 9.5 per cent at $66.94 at the close on Friday. British American Tobacco which recently paid $49.9bn to acquire Reynolds American, with brands like Camel, Newport and Pall Mall plunged nearly 14 per cent before bouncing back to close 6.8 per cent lower at £49.60 in London. UK-based Imperial Brands was down 3.8 per cent at £33.15. A spokesperson for BAT said the FDAs comments regarding nicotine did not come as a surprise. We are well prepared and look forward to participating in a thorough process to develop a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation.
Altria said it would be fully engaged throughout the regulatory process. Any proposed nicotine rule must be based on science and evidence, must not lead to unintended consequences and must be technically achievable, the company said in a statement. By contrast, shares of 22nd Century Group, a US-based biotech company developing low-nicotine products, rose 20.7 per cent on the news to $1.75. Philip Morris International, which sells products outside of the US, fell 7.5 per cent before quickly recouping those losses, ending the day up 0.3 per cent at $118.51. Tobacco has remained a multibillion-dollar business despite rising sales taxes, declining smoking rates and increasing regulatory scrutiny, thanks to customer loyalty cultivated in part by cigarettes addictive properties.
The multinational companies have also endeared themselves to investors by paying rich dividends, and have broadened their scope in recent years to include more non-traditional products such as electronic cigarettes. They have also pursued sales in emerging markets like China and Russia.
It will take time for analysts to weigh the implications of the FDAs proposal on the companies long-term valuations, as any concrete plan could take several years to come together if it does at all.
The agency has nevertheless sent a clear signal about regulators continued interest in stamping out tobacco disease and death, said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital. This is just the US regulator acting but we can easily see others, particularly in Europe, where regulatory pressures are already extremely high, following suit, Mr Wilson said in a note. Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, was more sanguine, saying the sharp moves could be an overreaction. It might not sound great, but it doesnt read like the industry is destined to go up in smoke, Mr van Dulken said. "
I don't see this changing much at all. The US (like the UK) is a mature, declining market for the big tobacco stocks - some 20% for IMB (used to be a lot less, sadly), and a bit more I think for BAT (haven't checked)... they spend very little on marketing, etc, there and it's a nice free cash generator, but all the growth - and focus - is in emerging markets.
So maybe this will see some acceleration of the existing, well-established trends in the US.. steady decline in smoking, increased uptake of alternative options (e-cigs, etc). But will most likely be gradual, incremental... the greatest emphasis is on stopping younger people from starting smoking, but again, that is nothing new.
Hard to quantify, but 4-7% off SPs seems excessive - the tobacco companies have, time and again, shown their capacity to adapt and evolve, and this is hardly a game-changer in this, one market. It comes down to whether you see (saw) them as good value in the first place... IMB definitely, for me, BATS much less so (as per recent posts).
"It's Woody I feel sorry for .... First AZN and now BATS! It's just not Woodentop's week, is it?... It must be so galling for the crop-haired thug that his beloved Big Fag tumbles as the price of oil looks to be making a recovery LOL."
Nor my week, to be fair... what's next? Some will make card illegal and I can watch my Card Factory crash and burn... or they'll find arsenic in the secret formula for Vimto...
Woody of course sold his BATS - though he still has his IMB, which is down pretty much the same, though I thought they had quite a bit less US exposure?
Another overreaction, I believe.... the US is not where it's at for the ciggy companies these days, but if the Chinese or the Khazaks quit smoking, then we can worry!
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