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Stan in the Globe & Mail

Market Outlook & Three Top Stock Picks

August 26, 2016

Equity valuations for North American markets remain elevated. The S&P 500 index currently trades at a multiple of 18.5x forward price-earnings while the S&P/TSX composite index trades at a 19.5x forward price-earnings ratio. The historical 10-year average forward price-earnings multiple for both North American indices is closer to about 14x. However, we are constructive and selective of North American equities. Low interest rate yields remain supportive of equity prices while global policy makers have been hinting at additional stimulus measures on the fiscal side. As well, the U.S. political outlook has become somewhat clearer given the recent polling numbers. From a technical perspective, equity markets have broken above key resistance levels and are now indicating a bullish bias. Nonetheless, from a seasonality viewpoint, we may experience some market volatility after Labour Day weekend as we enter a historically weaker part of year. Any upcoming volatility should provide investors with an opportunity to selectively “buy on dips.” In Stan Wong Managed Portfolios, we favour more cyclical sectors including financials, technology and industrials. We seek large-cap, high-quality North American companies with reasonable valuations, reliable earnings streams and dividend growth attributes. As we move into the late cycle phase of the economy and equity market, we continue to believe that the current market environment requires active portfolio management with tactical stock selection and defensive risk controls including stop loss strategies.

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