Author: SHO

Deep Dive: 20 stocks that investors hate but Wall Street loves as the S&P 500 nears a record high

This has been an adventurous year for stocks, with almost a full rebound for the S&P 500 Index from the pandemic lows of late March. But the rally has not been as broad as you might think.

Below is a list of 20 stocks that are still down at least 20% for 2020, but also have majority “buy” or equivalent ratings among sell-side analysts.

The FAANG-led recovery

Ben Carlson said a lot with a tweet Wednesday morning:

This turnaround has been fueled by the tremendous increase in the money supply resulting from the timely action of the Federal Reserve and the federal government. Very low interest rates play their part. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes TMUBMUSD10Y, 0.546% is 0.55%, while the dividend yield for the entire S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.50% is 1.70%, according to FactSet.

The S&P 500 was up 3.5% (with dividends reinvested) for 2020 through Aug. 4.

But the S&P 500 is weighted by market capitalization and therefore dominated by the FAANG stocks, to which we add Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -0.38% :

Together, the FAANG group plus Microsoft make up 25% of the S&P 500. Their outperformance this year has had a great effect on the entire index’s return.

Loved by Wall Street

Among the S&P 500, 292 stocks that were down for 2020 (with dividends reinvested) through Aug. 4. That may be a big surprise and it underscores the influence of the big tech names listed above.

Among those 292 stocks, 149 were down at least 20%.

Here are the 20 stocks among the S&P 500 down at least 20% this year that have the highest percentage “buy” or equivalent ratings among sell-side analysts polled by FactSet. The table is sorted by the percentage of “buy” ratings. (Scroll to the right to see all the data.):

CompanyTickerIndustryTotal return – 2020 through Aug. 4Share ‘buy’ ratingsClosing price – Aug. 4Cons. price targetImplied 12-month upside potential
Phillips 66PSX, -0.04%Oil Refining/Marketing-43%95%$61.85$82.1133%
Pioneer Natural Resources Co.PXD, +3.80%Oil & Gas Production-33%92%$99.52$121.4622%
Diamondback Energy Inc.FANG, +2.77%Oil & Gas Production-55%91%$41.07$58.0041%
AES Corp.AES, -0.97%Electric Utilities-20%90%$15.47$17.7515%
ConocoPhillipsCOP, +2.12%Oil & Gas Production-41%89%$37.64$50.0833%
Valero Energy Corp.VLO, -0.60%Oil Refining/Marketing-41%86%$53.02$71.7935%
Concho Resources Inc.CXO, +4.50%Oil & Gas Production-41%86%$51.47$72.6641%
Citigroup Inc.C, +2.10%Financial Conglomerates-35%85%$50.14$69.3838%
Las Vegas Sands Corp.LVS, -0.66%Casinos/Gaming-35%84%$43.73$58.4734%
General Motors Co.GM, +0.75%Motor Vehicles-29%84%$25.80$38.4449%
Baker Hughes Co. Class ABKR, +3.67%Oilfield Services/Equipment-36%83%$16.19$20.5627%
Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.HIG, +3.75%Multi-Line Insurance-32%78%$40.57$51.5627%
Citizens Financial Group Inc.CFG, +1.63%Regional Banks-38%76%$24.21$29.2821%
TechnipFMC PLCFTI, +3.81%Oilfield Services/Equipment-61%75%$8.26$11.3437%
Marathon Petroleum Corp.MPC, -2.91%Oil Refining/Marketing-36%75%$37.69$47.7927%
Ross Stores Inc.ROST, +0.40%Apparel/Footwear Retail-24%74%$88.38$104.8319%
Capital One Financial Corp.COF, +1.04%Major Banks-38%74%$63.24$80.0827%
Synchrony FinancialSYF, +1.96%Finance/Rental/Leasing-35%74%$22.65$28.3625%
Raytheon Technologies Corp.RTX, +2.40%Aerospace & Defense-34%74%$57.51$77.5635%
Wynn Resorts Ltd.WYNN, -1.07%Casinos/Gaming-47%72%$72.75$97.5634%
 Source: FactSet

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Where Should I Retire?: I want to retire in Texas and near freshwater on $4,000 a month — where should I go?

Dear MarketWatch,

I want to retire to Texas. I will be moving from Maine within the next five years and would like a location that has freshwater and some national or state parks. I estimate my monthly retirement income in the range of $3,750 to $4,200. I will be buying a house and selling the one in Maine. Some of the equity will be used for college.

I would like a good hospital and airport within a one-hour drive. Live entertainment would be a plus!

What have you got for me?

Much appreciated!

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

Join the line of people heading to the Lone Star State — about 1,500 every day in 2018. There are many reasons for the state’s popularity, and you know your reasons best. Just a word of caution: Maine to Texas is quite a temperature switch, so consider investigating your possibilities during the summer. Texas is hot, hot, hot that time of year, and you don’t want to discover you hate the weather after you’ve paid for a move.

But assuming you’re good with 100-degree days, you can certainly find places that offer what you are looking for, all with different personalities. As always, some places that sound great on paper may not look as appealing in real life. I can’t stress enough the importance of treating your exploration time as if you were living there, not just visiting on vacation.

Taxes can be a big focus for retirees, and Texas appeals to many because it doesn’t have a state income tax. (Maine, by the way, won’t tax your Social Security check.) While the overall tax burden is low, sales tax and property taxes are on the higher side.

You say you want to use some of the money from selling your Maine house for college. Depending on the school you pick, you may qualify for reduced or even free tuition as a senior citizen, freeing up some of your budget.

Speaking of budget, be honest about what you’ll be spending more on, not just how you’ll be cutting some costs by leaving Maine. The last thing any of us want in retirement is to be unnecessarily squeezed.

Read:There is more to picking a place to retire than low taxes — avoid these 5 expensive mistakes

Also:Health care will cost this much in retirement — but probably even more

Ready to look? Here are three options that give you a lake nearby:

New Braunfels’ Gruene Hall is the oldest dance hall in Texas.

Jim Flynn/Courtesy New Braunfels CVB
Texas Hill Country

This is the area between Austin and San Antonio and includes plenty of state parks. If the sale of your home in Maine means you’ve got the money to afford a lake house, why not consider Canyon Lake in what’s dubbed the Hill Country Coast? More than 20% of the 21,000 residents there are 65 and older. The drawback is you’ll have a longer drive to college classes, airports and hospitals.

If it’s city living you want, look at New Braunfels, 30 minutes away on the Comal and Guadaloupe rivers, home to 90,000 people and with easy interstate access to both Austin and San Antonio. (The name is a hint that the town was founded by German immigrants.)

Live entertainment? Among other choices, you’d have Gruene Hall, Texas’s oldest dance hall and a spot for live music every day. And in how many other places can you still find a drive-in movie theater?

You can take your college classes at Texas State University in San Marcos, 20 minutes from New Braunfels. Texas State has 38,000 students and will let you earn up to six credits per semester for free if you are at least 65 years old. (You can audit classes at no cost too, without a limit on credit hours.)

Other options are the University of Texas at San Antonio, less than an hour from either New Braunfels or Canyon Lake, and the University of Texas at Austin, less than an hour from New Braunfels. These two big schools also offerauditing options.

While New Braunfels has a hospital, you could also go to San Antonio or Austin for care.

To get a sense of the housing your money can buy, here’s what’s on the market now in Canyon Lake and New Braunfels, using listings from Realtor.com (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.).

Conroe

This fast-growing city of nearly 90,000 is 40 miles north of Houston and abuts Lake Conroe, a 33-square-mile lake, and is close to Sam Houston National Forest. With Lone Star College nearby, you can claim that same fee waiver for six credit hours per semester. Texas A&M University is 65 miles away in College Station.

Locals say Conroe still has a small-town feel, but its status as the seat of Montgomery County means it also has a bustling, historic downtown. You’ll find antique stores and craft brewers there too. And while you can live in a neighborhood, you could also opt to find a home with more land.

Here’s what’s on the market now.

For entertainment, you don’t need to go all the way to Houston. If the historic Crighton Theatre doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can head to The Woodlands, a planned community in the southern end of the county with an amphitheater that draws big names. While this community of 100,000-plus has an upscale reputation (and upscale shopping in its downtown), there are some homes at lower price points. It’s also more densely populated than Conroe, if that’s more your style.

You play an instrument? Check out the local symphony orchestra, a mix of professionals and amateurs. If you like to golf, you’ll have plenty of choices. The Chamber of Commerce counts more than 20 public and private courses in the county. But Conroe isn’t a retiree haven, although it does attract plenty of snowbirds. About 13% of the city and county population is 65 and older, less than the U.S. average.

Obviously there are plenty of amenities in Houston, including an international airport and big-name hospitals. And if Conroe or The Woodlands isn’t for you, you’re likely to find something in the wider Houston metro area.

A mural outside Andy’s Bar, one of dozens of murals painted on buildings in Denton, Texas.

Victoria DeCuir/ Courtesy Denton Public Library
Denton

You have plenty of options in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well. But look at rapidly growing Denton. The appeal of this city and its 140,000 residents includes the University of North Texas (39,000 students) and Texas Woman’s University (coed and another 13,000 students), both with the ability to take classes for free at age 65, as well as a lively downtown and music scene (the free Denton Arts and Jazz Festival attracts hundreds of thousands every year). And yes, living here offers access to top-quality hospitals.

Some like to make comparisons to Austin of a few decades back, with one DFW resident saying downtown Denton has a “hippie dippy college town vibe.” Outside of downtown, however, the feeling is much more suburban.

Denton also stands out among neighboring cities that were just farms a few decades back and are now planned communities, given that it has some older housing stock. You still find Texas horse country and small towns to the north and west. However, empty land is rapidly filling up, and it’s only a matter of time until the DFW megapolis fills the I-35 corridor up to the Oklahoma state line.

As for fresh water, you’d be close to Ray Roberts Lake State Park and a nearly 46-square-mile lake.

A walking and biking trail, the 19-mile A-train Rail Trail connects Denton to similarly sized Lake Lewisville. The trail in part parallels the A-train that connects to Dallas County’s rail network, getting you to downtown Dallas and beyond. If you’re driving, it’s about 30 miles to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and 36 miles to Dallas Love Field.

To get a sense of the housing market, here’s what’s on the market now.

Now read:I’m 52, won’t live past 80 and have $1.6 million. ‘I am tired of both the rat race and workplace politics.’ Should I retire?

Outside the Box: How to be an effective leader during a crisis

These are unprecedented times as the global pandemic continues to expand. Businesses are implementing contingency plans to protect their team members and clients, and still do their best to keep their companies running. Business leaders are working hard to continue to do business as usual when business is “not” usual.

As a leader you may still be working with your people in person because you are in an essential industry or you may, like many, be working remotely from your home. As founder and CEO of a facility services company, our team members are on the front line of defense against COVID-19 and working tirelessly to keep facilities disinfected and safe to help prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time all of our offices across the Northwest have been shut down and we have been forced to work and communicate remotely. I am grateful for the technology that allows us to interact virtually and for all of the companies that are supporting each other to keep moving forward.

In turbulent times we need courageous leaders.

Being an entrepreneur for over 25 years, I have been though my share of business ups and downs and leading my company and teams through them. Each one has posed different challenges however one thing is always the same. Uncertainty always creates fear, and fear leads quickly to panic. In one challenging time, we had one of our largest customers go bankrupt. As it was a large source of business it quickly stopped work, and the regular cash flow we enjoyed dried up quickly. It was a scary time to be a business owner. Admittedly, I found myself in a state of panic — it was difficult to look to the future when I was wondering how to make next week’s payroll. This is a dangerous mind-set, especially for those in leadership roles.

Immense challenges will happen from time to time that threaten to paralyze you. When this happens, the leader’s role is to be courageous. Showing strength and courageous leadership in a time of uncertainty will be the best support you can provide to your team members, your family, and your business community.

A courageous leader is a shelter in the storm.

You need to have the courage to make bold decisions, often despite your fears, to be the eye in the storm for your teams and businesses. Being a strong leader doesn’t mean you won’t be afraid, in fact, fear is a normal emotion that comes with growth and change. The difference is a strong leader will step up and into the challenges that come their way and equip their team members to do the same.

Your vital role as a leader

As a business leader, you are in a unique role that can set the tone for your company. Your attitude, emotion expression to others, and how you choose to lead will decide the atmosphere at your company during these pressing times.

Here are three steps you can take right now to lead your company forward:

1. Show you care. As a leader one of the most important things you can do is to show care and empathy during difficult times. Your team members may be scared for their health today and worried about their jobs. They may have friends or family members that have been furloughed or laid off, and be concerned their job is next. Showing kindness and understanding will give your team members a feeling of relief and help take their mind off fears that may inhibiting their work performance.

2. Communicate more. In times of uncertainty it is critical to communicate more often. Let your team know where the business stands and communicate expectations. When you keep your team members in the loop of happenings in the business it will show them how valued they are. Consider a daily huddle with your leadership team to keep everyone informed and up-to-date. Create a way for team members throughout your company to connect remotely to address ideas and concerns.

3. Lead from the front. There are times in business where it is appropriate to lead from the side or behind. When facing economic crisis, it is time to step up and lead from the front. Lead with courage. Be transparent and open. Be willing to address the tough questions, and work with your team to adapt and shift to meet the changing needs. When you show up with confidence and courage, this type of strong leadership can move a good team to a great one.

In your business or your life right now, where do you need to roll up your sleeves and dive into the muck? You have an opportunity somewhere to be courageous. Leadership like this will be contagious. Not only will you see significant progress in your organization when you show courage, others will be inspired to do the same.

The number of Americans skipping mortgage payments is falling — except among these borrowers

For nearly two months now, the share of mortgage borrowers who has received approval to skip their monthly loan payments has fallen precipitously.

But a new trend has begun to develop, which indicates that some homeowners are facing more financial pressure as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The percentage of Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance increased one basis point to 10.28%, according to the most recent data released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

It was the second straight week in which the share of Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance increased by this month — prior to that the percentage had decreased for multiple weeks.

Forbearance plans allow mortgage borrowers to make reduced payments or skip monthly payments. Under the CARES Act, any borrower with a federally-backed mortgage was allowed to request forbearance from their loan servicer.

That included Ginnie Mae loans. Ginnie Mae functions similarly to Fannie Mae FNMA, +2.56% and Freddie Mac FMCC, +3.60%, and securitizes loans made through government programs including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans.

“The Ginnie Mae segment tends to have more lower-income families and communities of color than the conventional market,” said Ed Demarco, president of the Housing Policy Council, a trade organization. “And these groups have been disproportionately harmed financially by the pandemic and its related shutdowns.”

Government programs typically have less stringent requirements for prospective borrowers than Fannie and Freddie do, including lower credit scores and higher loan-to-value ratios. As a result, these loan programs are especially popular with first-time home buyers.

‘The Ginnie Mae segment tends to have more lower-income families and communities of color than the conventional market.’

— Ed Demarco, president of the Housing Policy Council

The rise of the forbearance rate in this segment therefore suggests that people who were first-time home buyers are more sensitive to the fluctuations in the economy right now.

“The job market has cooled somewhat over the past few weeks, with layoffs increasing and other indications that the economic rebound may be losing some steam because of the rising COVID-19 cases throughout the country,” Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, wrote in the report. “It is therefore not surprising to see this situation first impact the Ginnie Mae segment of the market.”

Additionally, the $600 expanded unemployment insurance benefits ended last week, and lawmakers have yet to approve a replacement. As a result, those who were laid off because of the pandemic will likely face even more financial pressure in the coming weeks.

How much of that pressure will be exerted on homeowners isn’t clear though. “The job loss so far has been disproportionately skewed to renters rather than homeowners — it’s hard to extrapolate how many homeowners have been helped by the expanded unemployment benefits,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listings and search portal.

Additionally, many homeowners requested forbearance but continued to make their monthly payments as usual. These people likely viewed forbearance as a safety net if they lost their jobs and the bottom fell out.

The number of Americans doing this, though, could soon drop because of the expiration of the expanded unemployment, said Karan Kaul, senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. That would be a negative development for the mortgage industry that wouldn’t be reflected as an uptick in the forbearance rate, since those Americans are already counted as being in forbearance.

‘If you’re a borrower and can’t make a payment at the end of forbearance, you have the option of just selling your home and buying a less expensive home or renting.’

— Karan Kaul, senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center

Whether continued weakness in the economy will result in many of these mortgage borrowers going into default or foreclosure once their forbearance period ends remains to be seen. The CARES Act stipulated that Americans could receive forbearance for up to one year.

As a result, the U.S. won’t likely see the number of people in default or foreclosure increase notably until at least the third or fourth quarter of next year, Kaul said. But there’s ample reason to believe that the coronavirus pandemic won’t lead to a repeat of the foreclosure crisis that triggered to the Great Recession.

Homeowners will have a wide array of options to modify their home loans if forbearance ends and they’re still in financial trouble — many of these options didn’t exist prior to the foreclosure crisis.

Plus, homeowners today have more equity built into their homes, unlike in 2008 when many people owed more than their home was worth due to falling property prices and the ability to take out piggyback loans.

“If you’re a borrower and can’t make a payment at the end of forbearance, you have the option of just selling your home and buying a less expensive home or renting,” Kaul said.

NewsWatch: Stocks push higher, fresh records in sight, as earnings and service-sector data surprise to the upside

MARKETWATCH FRONT PAGE

U.S. stocks rise Wednesday as corporate earnings results surprised to the upside and rosy service-sector data outweighed a disappointing jobs report from payroll provider ADP. See full story.

Trump suddenly supports mail-in voting — for the key swing state of Florida

After weeks of bashing mail-in voting and even suggesting the 2020 election should be delayed. President Donald Trump has changed his tune — at least when it comes to the critical swing state of Florida. Now he’s for it. See full story.

White House, Democrats agree to try to reach coronavirus-aid deal by week’s end

After more than a week of almost daily face-to-face meetings, Trump administration officials and congressional Democratic leaders have agreed to try to reach a deal by the week’s end. See full story.

Disney shakes up streaming approach after losing nearly $5 billion due to pandemic

Walt Disney Co. is doubling down on streaming after reporting a quarterly loss of nearly $5 billion Tuesday amid a pandemic that has all but paralyzed its theme parks, live productions and cruise line. See full story.

Kodak shareholders were not the only beneficiaries of the sudden stock surge — holders of convertible bonds also saw tidy gains

Eastman Kodak Co.’s share price rally after news of a $765 million government loan to help it make drug ingredients at its U.S. factories has offered shareholders and executives with stock options a tidy windfall. But they’re not alone. See full story.

MARKETWATCH PERSONAL FINANCE

COVID-19 gives us an opportunity to take care of our people See full story.