Canadian Tire has offered our investors so much more than hammers and nails. The stock’s up over 930% since we first recommended it in The Successful Investor in April 1995.

A strong long-term growth plan that includes store, online business and private-label brand upgrades should help renew its momentum and provide a basis for further long-term gains.

The current 4.9% dividend yield is just as impressive as the share price gains when you consider just how inexpensive the shares are right now.

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They trade at just 12.9 times its 2024 forecast earnings.

CANADIAN TIRE CORP. (Toronto symbol CTC.A; www.canadiantire.ca) operates 502 Canadian Tire stores. They sell automotive parts and services, and household and sporting goods; franchisees run most of the locations. The company’s other operations also enrich its outlook. They include 161 stores operating under the PartSource (auto parts) and Party City (party supplies) banners.

Canadian Tire has several other major retail chains: Mark’s sells casual and work clothing through 380 stores; and the Sport Chek Group sells sporting goods and athletic wear through 369 outlets, including Sport Chek and Sports Experts.

Notably, the company’s Mark’s chain now plans to open four new stores under the Mark’s WorkPro banner in Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and St. Catharines, Ontario. These new stores will focus on industrial customers, such as construction workers. Specialized stores like these will help Canadian Tire cope as consumers spend less on non-essential items due to rising interest rates and inflation.

Canadian Tire also provides a variety of banking services, including savings accounts, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), insurance and credit cards.

In October 2014, the company sold 20% of its Canadian Tire Financial Services business to Bank of Nova Scotia (see below) for $476.8 million.

Canadian Tire has now re-acquired that 20% stake for $895 million. Meanwhile, the transaction will add to Canadian Tire’s 2024 earnings. As well, gaining full control over the financial services division will make it easier to integrate its Triangle customer loyalty program with its credit card business. That should encourage repeat visits and more spending per visit. (The Triangle plan currently has over 11 million active members, which includes 2.3 million credit card holders.)

Canadian Tire also announced that it is conducting a strategic review of the financial services division. That could lead to the sale of shares in this business, or even a spinoff. It expects to complete the review in 2024.

With the March 2024 payment, the company raised your quarterly dividend by 1.4%. Shareholders now receive $1.75 a share instead of $1.725. The new annual rate of $7.00 yields a high 4.9%. With this increase, the company has now raised that payment each year for the past 14 years. Including this latest increase, the company has now raised the dividend by an average of 11.0% annually over the last 5 years.

What’s more, Canadian Tire now plans to buy back $200.0 million of its class A shares in 2024. That’s on top of the $470.0 million it spent on buybacks under the previous plan.

Value Stocks: Revenue and earnings are enhanced by Canadian Tire’s e-commerce gains

Canadian Tire’s revenue rose 3.4%, from $14.06 billion in 2018 to $14.53 billion in 2019. In 2020, revenue growth slowed as the pandemic took hold, rising just 2.3% to $14.87 billion. Revenue then jumped 9.6% to $16.29 billion in 2021 as the economy re-opened. In 2022, revenue then climbed a further 9.3%, to $17.81 billion. In 2023, revenue then fell 6.5%, to $16.66 billion, mostly due to lower consumer confidence hurting demand.

The company’s earnings rose 6.1%, from $870.4 million, or $11.95 a share, in 2018 to $923.3 million, or $13.04 a share, in 2019. In 2020, earnings fell 2.0% to $904.9 million, or $13.00 a share. The company incurred added costs as the pandemic shut stores. Earnings then jumped 42.6% to $1.29 billion, or $18.91 a share, in 2021 as the economy re-opened. In 2022, despite the higher revenue, earnings fell 3.1%, to $1.25 billion, or $18.75 a share. That was due in part to the company making strategic investments relating to its BetterConnected strategy. As well, it incurred higher supply-chain and other costs. In 2023, earnings fell 42.8%, to $716.1 million, or $10.37 a share. Profits fell along with sales, as well as higher costs.

Canadian Tire reported better-than-expected sales and earnings for the first quarter of 2024, despite weaker sales of winter-related goods such as snow shovels and boots.

The company’s revenue in the quarter ended March 30, 2024, fell 4.9%, to $3.52 billion from $3.71 billion a year earlier. That topped the consensus forecast of $3.51 billion.

Overall same-store sales declined 1.6%. At the main Canadian Tire chain, same-store sales also fell 0.6% as lower demand for household goods offset better sales of automotive and gardening products.

Same-store sales also declined 6.5% at Sport Chek on lower sales of skiwear, snowboards and other athletic clothing and footwear. Lower demand for winter clothing also cut same-store sales at Mark’s by 1.2%.

E-commerce sales totalled $1.1 billion in the past 12 months. That’s equal to 7% of the company’s total retail sales over that same period.

If you factor out unusual items, Canadian Tire’s earnings in the quarter rose 33.3%, to $76.8 million from $49.8 million a year earlier. Due to fewer shares outstanding, per-share earnings improved at a faster pace of 38.0%, to $1.38 from $1.00. That was also much better than the consensus estimate of $0.68.

Part of that earnings gain is due to the company’s plan to improve productivity, including cutting 3% of its workforce.

Canadian Tire’s long-term outlook remains bright. It continues to make progress on its new long-term growth plan, including upgrading its stores, online businesses and private-label brands. Since March 2022, it has refreshed or upgraded more than 15% of its Canadian Tire stores. So far, those improvements are driving higher customer traffic and sales at those upgraded stores.

Canadian Tire will probably earn $11.19 a share in 2024, and the stock trades at 12.9 times that estimate.

Recommendation in The Successful Investor: Canadian Tire Corp. is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Canadian Tire. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Successful Investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

Subscribe to The Successful Investor so you can access many more market-leading Buy recommendations for maximum returns.

This post was originally published in April 2023 and is regularly updated.

Fair Isaac is a stock that’s rocketed 81.2% for our subscribers over the last year.

Even better, it’s up a whopping 9,855.4% since we first recommended it in February 1999!

We think the shares still have room to move much higher as the firm continues to develop new software products for international markets. Get it now and continue to grow with this Power Buy!

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FAIR ISAAC CORP. (New York symbol FICO; www.fairisaac.com) is best known for its FICO Scores software. It lets lenders make better decisions about customer creditworthiness. Through your shares, you also benefit from the company’s programs to help credit-card issuers reduce fraud and analyze the spending patterns of cardholders.

We were early to identify that business model as a winning strategy—one with the potential to offer our subscribers strong and sustainable gains. We haven’t been disappointed: Since we first recommended Fair Isaac as a buy in February 1999, the stock is up a whopping 9,855.4%. In the last year alone it has gained 81.2% even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up just 18.8% in that time.

Fair Isaac’s revenue rose steadily over the six years from 2018 to 2023. Revenue increased 46.6%, from $1.03 billion in 2018 (fiscal years end September 30), to $1.51 billion in 2023.

Excluding one-time items, earnings climbed 157.3% as the company expanded into higher-profit-margin services. Earnings rose from $194.3 million, or $6.23 a share, in 2018, to $500.0 million, or $19.71 a share, in fiscal 2023.

For the quarter ended March 31, 2024, revenue rose 14.1%, to $433.8 million from $380.3 million a year earlier. Software revenues, which include the company’s analytics and digital decision-making technology, were up 8%.

Meanwhile, Scores revenue, which includes the company’s business-to-business (B2B) scoring solutions and its business-to-consumer (B2C) solutions, jumped 18%.

Excluding one-time items, Fair Isaac earned $154.5 million in the quarter. That was up 27.2% from $121.4 million. Per-share earnings jumped 28.5%, to $6.14 from $4.78, on fewer shares outstanding.

The company continues to see its shares as undervalued—and plans to keep buying back its stock. In the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, it bought back $1.1 billion in shares; in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2023, it repurchased $405.5 million in shares. In the first six months of fiscal 2024, it bought back a further $243.5 million.

Stock buybacks reduce the number of shares outstanding. That boosts earnings per share since profit is then divided among fewer shares. The higher per-share earnings make the stock more attractive to investors and that spurs the share price.

Growth Stocks: High R&D should boost domestic and international earnings for Fair Isaac

Fair Isaac spends a high 11% of its revenue on research and development. Note that the high research spending makes the company appear less profitable than it really is. That’s because R&D gets written off against earnings in the year in which it is spent. The current level of R&D investment helps the company stay ahead of changes in the industry and will pay off in faster sales and earnings growth.

In response to rising unemployment during the pandemic, Fair Isaac launched the FICO Resilience Index. This Index takes into account general economic conditions to measure a borrower’s ability to weather periods of economic disruption or volatility. When lenders use it along with existing FICO tools, they can better identify borrowers who have a lower FICO Score but are still well positioned to take on more debt.

Right now, just 28% of the company’s revenue is derived from business outside the U.S., and international growth represents a significant growth area.

Meanwhile, Fair Isaac’s applications business will continue to gain longer term from expanding demand for fraud and digital security software. What’s more, it has formed a strategic partnership with Equifax, the major U.S. credit reporting firm. This includes selling to banks the consumer data it gathers from clients.

In the short term, it’s possible that demand for the company’s credit scoring solutions will weaken as high interest rates slow home buying. Still, demand from automotive and personal-lending clients should hold up well. At the same time, those new credit-scoring products for international use look extremely promising.

Recommendation in Power Growth Investor: Fair Isaac Corp. is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Fair Isaac Corp. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Power Growth Investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

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This post was originally published in 2023 and is regularly updated.

On June 22, 2017, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (now Brookfield Corp.) spun off its specialty insurance business as Trisura Group.

Today this specialty insurer is a sterling example of why we love spinoffs and the power they have to outperform their competitors. We first recommended this firm on December 2017 at $27.00—just $6.75 when you adjust for a subsequent 4-1 share split.

This power growth stock is now up a whopping 561% for our subscribers.

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TRISURA GROUP LTD. (Toronto symbol TSU; www.trisura.com) took its current form on June 22, 2017, when Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (now Brookfield Corp.) spun off its specialty insurance business as Trisura. Investors received one Trisura share for every 170 Brookfield shares they held.

The company provides specialty insurance and services not available through traditional insurers.

Claims under these policies are less frequent, but can be much higher.

Trisura cuts that risk with reinsurance contracts. The company uses that coverage, purchased from another insurance provider, to insulate itself (at least in part) from the risk of a major claims event.

Trisura has three main subsidiaries: Trisura Canada sells property and casualty insurance products in Canada; Trisura U.S. focuses on the U.S. market; and Trisura International, based in the Barbados, sells reinsurance products.

The company’s revenue rose strongly between 2018 and 2023 on a mix of increased business for its existing operations as well as its acquisition of smaller specialty insurers and brokerages. Revenue jumped 104.6%, from $219.0 million in 2018 to $448.3 million in 2019. Revenue then increased 106.7% in 2020, to $926.4 million, before climbing a further 68.7% in 2021, to $1.6 billion. In 2022, revenue then shot up 28.9%, to $2.0 billion. In 2023, revenue climbed a further 38.4%, to $2.8 billion.

Trisura’s earnings before one-time items also jumped over the six years—from $8.6 million, or $0.32 a share (adjusted for Trisura’s 4-for-1 share split in July 2021), in 2018 to $110.2 million, or $2.34 a share, in 2023.

In the quarter ended March 31, 2024, the company’s revenue jumped 16.5%, to $744.3 million from $639.1 million a year earlier. That gain was due to higher premiums written in both Canada and the U.S.

Earnings (excluding one-time items) rose by 16.0%, to $33.2 million, up from $28.6 million. Due to more shares outstanding, earnings per share improved 11.5%, to $0.68 from $0.61.

The combined ratio for Trisura’s Canadian business rose to 81.8% in the latest quarter from 80.7% a year earlier. (The ratio represents claims that the company paid out divided by the premiums it took in. The lower, the better).

Growth Stocks: Modest valuation and visibility suggest even higher share prices for Trisura Group

Notably, the company has no controlling shareholder, so its improving market share and relatively small market cap could make it a highly attractive takeover target for a larger financial-services firm. That’s not reason enough to buy, but it adds to the stock’s appeal.

The stock is now just 6.9% below the peak of $47.90 it hit in December 2022, and it’s up an impressive 721% since the 2017 spinoff. Our subscribers who bought the stock when we first recommended it in December 2017 at $27.00 (or $6.75 when you adjust for a subsequent 4-1 share split) have enjoyed a 561% gain! We think they can expect much more growth in the coming years.

Trisura’s outlook remains bright, and the stock trades at a low 16.7 times the 2024 forecast of $2.67 a share.

And yet the stock gets little coverage. That illustrates the importance of the third part of our multi-prong approach to investing—to downplay stocks in the media/broker limelight. (The other two parts are to (1) invest in well-established companies; and (2) spread your money across most if not all of the five main economic sectors.)

We feel Trisura’s strong prospects could push the stock even higher and also encourage the company to start paying dividends. Its relatively small size could also turn it into an attractive takeover target for a larger industry player.

Recommendation in Spinoffs & Takeovers: Trisura Group Ltd. is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Trisura Group. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Spinoffs & Takeovers newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

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This post was originally published in 2023 and is regularly updated.

Canadian Pacific’s merger with Kansas City Southern Railway is now complete, the company will now be called Canadian Pacific Kansas City. The merger has boosted its already strong share price.

This deal is a game-changer for future earnings and share price growth. The firm is an essential part of North America’s transportation sector. Its sound revenue and earnings before, during and after pandemic lockdowns makes it a top buy.

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The railway has returned 5,655.3% to our subscribers since we first recommended it as a buy in January 1995. Key investments have helped lift the stock 88.9% in the last five years, alone, and we expect those gains to continue.

CANADIAN PACIFIC KANSAS CITY LTD. (Toronto symbol CPKC) is one of our top buys.

The company has now completed its acquisition of U.S.-based railway Kansas City Southern (KCS) and formally changed its name from CP Railway.

CP had originally completed the KCS acquisition in December 2021. It deposited the KCS shares into an independent voting trust, which operated that business while the regulator studied the purchase.

The company paid $31 billion U.S. in cash and shares for KCS. CP investors own 72% of the merged company, with KCS shareholders holding the remaining 28%.

CP began merging the two businesses on April 14, 2023. The new company’s shares trade on both the Toronto and New York exchanges.

CPKC ships freight over a 32,190-kilometre rail network. That line runs mainly between Montreal and Vancouver, with links to hubs in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. With the addition of KSC, the new company also connects with important hubs and ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in Mexico.

Investors can expect cost savings from the merger to add $1 billion U.S. to the company’s annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by the end of the third year. In 2022, CP’s EBITDA (excluding KCS) was $5.23 billion (Canadian).

Note that while CP mostly owns the land under its tracks in Canada and the U.S., it operates its lines in Mexico under a government concession that expires in 2047. As a result, it’s vulnerable to changes in Mexico’s transportation policies.

The government of Mexico now wants to expand the availability of passenger rail service within that country, mainly by giving passenger trains priority over cargo on certain rail lines.

However, CP does not expect this demand will have a negative impact on its concession. It has also agreed to work with the government on a plan to let passenger trains run on a 200-kilometre corridor running northwest from Mexico City. What’s more, the company has a long history of sharing its lines in Canada and the U.S. with passenger traffic. Those factors should minimize any disruptions to its operations.

Blue Chip Stocks: CPKC’s earnings grow along with a focus on efficiency

CP’s revenue rose 18.9%, from $6.55 billion in 2017 to $7.79 billion in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hurt shipments of coal, crude oil, metals and automotive products. As a result, revenue fell 1.1% to $7.71 billion in 2020. Revenue then improved 3.7% to $8.00 billion in 2021 as the economy re-opened. In 2022, revenue climbed a further 10.2%, to $8.81 billion. Revenue then jumped 42.4% in 2023 to $12.56 billion, largely due to the acquisition of KCS.

The company’s strong focus on efficiency helped its earnings before unusual items jump 110.8%, from $1.67 billion in 2017 to $3.52 billion in 2022. Due to more shares outstanding, earnings per share during those six years rose at a slower rate of 65.4%, from $2.28 to $3.78. (Note—all per share amounts are adjusted for a 5-for-1 stock split in April 2021.) In 2023, earnings rose 11.7%, to $3.93 billion, or $4.22 a share.

As a result of the KCS merger, the new company’s revenue in the three months ended March 31, 2024, rose 55.3%, to $3.52 billion from $2.27 billion a year earlier. However, that missed the $3.54 billion consensus forecast.

On a comparable basis, revenue in the quarter improved 1.9%. That increase was mainly due to higher shipments of potash, metals, U.S. grain and automotive goods.

If you exclude costs related to the KCS purchase and other unusual items, earnings in the quarter rose 3.3%, to $0.93 a share (or a total of $866 million) from $0.90 a share (or $840 million). The latest earnings also fell short of the $0.94 consensus estimate.

The company’s operating ratio in the quarter worsened to 64.0% from 63.5% a year earlier. (Operating ratio is calculated by dividing regular operating costs by revenue. The lower that ratio is, the better.) That’s mainly due to higher employee wages and costs associated with using other railways’ freight cars and equipment.

CPKC’s earnings for 2024 are now forecast at $4.34 a share. The stock trades at a reasonable 26.1 times that estimate. The company also expects its earnings per share will rise by at least 10% annually between 2024 and 2028 as it realizes more benefits from the merger. The $0.76 dividend yields 0.7%.

Meanwhile, the union representing the company’s locomotive engineers, conductors and yard workers could go on strike on May 22, 2024. However, federal governments have intervened in previous rail strikes to prevent significant disruptions and shortages of key goods.

Recommendation in The Successful Investor: CPKC is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of CPKC Rail. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Successful Investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

Subscribe to The Successful Investor so you can access many more market-leading Buy recommendations for maximum returns.

This article was originally published in 2023 and is regularly updated.

Royal Bank of Canada is celebrated as a conservative, blue-chip stock offering a dependable dividend yield.

But there’s more. It has also returned our investors a massive 1,841.5% gain since we first recommended it in April 1995. That gain dramatically outpaced the 433.9% rise for the S&P/TSX Composite index.

Why buy now? Current uncertainty caused by rising interest rates and still-high inflation has prompted Canada’s big banks to increase their loan-loss provisions.

 

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Those provisions remain well below their 2020 pandemic peaks. Still, the impact on earnings impacts valuations and that only increases the current buying opportunity.

The stock trades at modest 12.4 times forecast earnings. That’s cheap for such a solid business.

ROYAL BANK OF CANADA (Toronto symbol RY; www.rbc.com)

has now completed its $13.5-billion purchase of the Canadian operations of U.K.-based HSBC Holdings plc (New York symbol HSBC).

HSBC operates 130 branches that mainly cater to businesses in industries that trade and bank internationally. It also provides banking and wealth management services to about 780,000 retail clients. In all, it had total assets of $134 billion.

Royal plans to convert most of those HSBC branches to its own banner. HSBC clients will also receive new accounts and credit cards.

In all, the bank now expects it will cost $1.5 billion to integrate the new operations. However, it expects to realize annual cost savings of $740 million by the end of the second year.

Due to the small size of the Canadian banking market, Royal prefers to expand internationally. For example, in 2015 it acquired Los Angeles-based City National Bank for $5.5 billion U.S. in cash and shares. City National lends to wealthy individuals as well as businesses in the entertainment, technology and health-care industries.

That acquisition is a big reason why overall revenue rose 20.5% for Royal, from $40.67 billion in 2017 to $48.99 billion in 2022 (fiscal years end October 31). In fiscal 2023, revenue then rose a further 14.6%, to $56.13 billion.

Overall earnings gained 12.5%, from $11.43 billion in 2017 to $12.86 billion in 2019; due to fewer shares outstanding, earnings per share rose at a faster rate of 15.7%, from $7.56 to $8.75.

Royal set aside $4.35 billion to cover potential loan defaults in fiscal 2020 due to the uncertainty over COVID-19; that was up 133.4% from $1.86 billion in 2019. As a result of the spike, earnings in 2020 fell 11.1% to $11.44 billion, while earnings per share declined 10.6% to $7.82.

However, Royal was reversing those provisions as the economy re-opened. As a result, earnings in 2021 jumped 40.3%, to $16.04 billion; per-share earnings rose 41.4% to $11.06. In fiscal 2022, earnings then dropped 1.5%, to $15.81 billion, or $11.06 a share (on fewer shares outstanding). The reduced profit reflected lower results in Capital Markets and Insurance, partially offset by higher earnings in Personal & Commercial Banking, Wealth Management, and Investor & Treasury Services. The current year also reflects lower releases of provisions on performing loans than a year ago. In fiscal 2023, earnings then dropped a further 6.0%, to $14.87 billion, or $10.50 a share. That decline was mostly due to a higher provision for credit losses.

Value Stocks: Earnings beat the consensus estimate despite higher loan-loss provisions for Royal Bank of Canada

Due to concerns over rising interest rates and inflation, Canada’s largest bank by market cap continues to set aside more funds to cover potential loan losses.

In its fiscal 2024 first quarter, ended January 31, 2024, loan-loss provisions jumped 52.8%, to $813 million from $532 million a year earlier.

That’s mainly why Royal’s earnings before unusual items in the quarter fell 5.0%, to $4.01 billion from $4.22 billion. Due to more shares outstanding, earnings per share declined at a faster rate of 6.3%, to $2.85 from $3.04. Even so, that beat the consensus estimate of $2.80.

Earnings from Royal’s retail banking division (51% of the total) fell 3.1%, mainly due to the higher loan-loss provisions. Earnings at the capital markets business (29%) also declined 7.0% on lower trading volumes. As well, the wealth management division (15%) reported 27.0% lower earnings due to a $159 million fine paid to U.S. banking regulators and higher employee compensation costs.

However, earnings at Royal’s insurance division (5%) jumped 228.4% on better returns from its investment portfolio.

Overall revenue in the quarter also improved 1.0%, to $13.49 billion from $13.34 billion. That topped the consensus forecast of $13.47 billion.

For all of fiscal 2024, Royal will probably earn $11.31 a share, and the stock trades at an attractive 12.4 times that forecast.

As well, the bank has also raised your quarterly dividend by 2.2%. With the February 2024 payment, investors began receiving $1.38 a share instead of $1.35. The new annual rate of $5.52 yields 3.9%.

Recommendation in The Successful Investor: Royal Bank of Canada is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Royal Bank of Canada. The bank is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Successful Investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

Subscribe to The Successful Investor so you can access many more market-leading Buy recommendations for maximum returns.

This post was originally published in April 2023 and is regularly updated.

Even before the phenomenal industry-wide gains of 2022, Imperial Oil was a long-term buy for our subscribers.

In fact, the stock has delivered a 1,601.6% gain for our investors since we first recommended it as a buy in April 1995.

We love this Canadian giant because it adds to its gains in periods of both high and low oil prices. At the same time, the stability of its integrated operations backs a solid 2.5% dividend yield.

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Meanwhile, cash flow at this top oil producer remains strong. This lets it return more of that cash to its shareholders.

The shares currently trade at just 8.0 times forecast cash flow.

IMPERIAL OIL LTD. (Toronto symbol IMO; www.imperialoil.ca) gets about 90% of its production from oil sands operations in Alberta. Other operations include three refineries (one in Alberta and two in Ontario) and a petrochemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario. It also supplies gasoline to over 2,000 Esso and Mobil gas stations in Canada. ExxonMobil (New York symbol XOM) owns 69.6% of the company’s shares.

The company recently announced that it will build a “renewable” diesel fuel complex at its Strathcona refinery near Edmonton.

Renewable diesel is a biofuel produced from wood, crops and vegetable oils. The new facility will produce 20,000 barrels a day of renewable diesel when it begins operating in 2025.

Imperial will spend $720 million on this project. Some of those costs are included in the company’s previously announced plan to spend $1.7 billion on capital upgrades and exploration in 2023.

Energy Stocks: Imperial Oil’s payout, revenue and cash flow all improve

With the April 2024 payment, Imperial raised your quarterly dividend by 20.0%, to $0.60 a share from $0.50. The new annual rate of $2.40 yields 2.5%.

With this latest increase, Imperial has now raised its dividend by an average of 25.9% annually over the past 5 years. Its TSI Dividend Sustainability Rating is Above Average.

Imperial Oil’s revenue climbed 39.6%, from $25.0 billion in 2016 to $35.0 billion in 2018. Revenue dropped 2.8% in 2019, to $34.0 billion. That was mainly because the Government of Alberta announced mandatory reductions in 2019 to oil and bitumen production in an attempt to narrow the price differential received for Alberta oil and bitumen compared to higher North American benchmark prices.

Revenue then fell 34.5% in 2020, to $22.3 billion. Energy prices fell along with a pandemic-induced slowdown in consumer and commercial activity. That included a steep decline in demand for gasoline, and an even sharper fall in jet-fuel prices. Revenue then rebounded by 68.3% in 2021, to $37.5 billion, as energy prices rose along with an improving global economy. Imperial’s revenue then took a big jump in 2022, climbing 58.7% to $59.7 billion along with much stronger oil and gas prices. In 2023, revenue fell 14.6%, to $51.0 billion. That decline was mostly due to lower oil and gas prices.

The company’s cash flow also rose between 2016 and 2018. Specifically, it climbed 177.9%, from $1.7 billion, or $1.96 a share, in 2016 to $4.6 billion, or $5.72 a share, 2018. Cash flow fell 23.9% in 2019 to $3.5 billion, or $4.61 a share. In 2020, cash flow dropped 75.0% to $880.0 million, or $1.20 a share. In 2021, cash flow rose sharply to $4.5 billion, or $6.32 a share. Cash flow then jumped another 100.1% in 2022 to $9.0 billion, or $14.06 a share. In 2023, cash flow then fell along with revenue, by 28.5%, to $6.4 billion, or $11.20 a share.

In the quarter ended March 31, 2024, Imperial produced an average 421,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. That’s up 1.9% from 413,000 a year earlier. Revenue rose 1.3%, to $12.28 billion from $12.12 billion. Cash flow fell 2.1%, to $1.52 billion from $1.55 billion. On fewer shares outstanding, cash flow per share rose 6.8%, to $2.84 from $2.66.

Cash flow also dropped, down 26.6% to $1.80 billion from $2.45 billion. Due to fewer shares outstanding, cash flow per share declined at a slower rate of 20.2%, to $3.25 from $4.07.

Imperial’s long-term debt of $4.0 billion is a low 7.8% of its market cap. It also holds cash of $864 million.

Imperial now plans to spend $1.70 billion on capital upgrades and exploration in 2024, down from $1.78 billion in 2023. The company also expects to produce between 420,000 and 442,000 barrels a day in 2024. The midpoint of that range—431,000—is about 4% higher than its production of 413,000 barrels a day for all of 2023.

Higher output and improving productivity will probably lift the company’s projected cash flow per share to $11.98 in 2024. The stock trades at just 8.0 times that estimate.

Recommendation in Dividend Advisor: Imperial Oil Ltd. is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Imperial Oil. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Dividend Advisor investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

Subscribe to Dividend Advisor so you can access many more market-leading Buy recommendations for maximum returns.

This post was originally published in April 2023 and is regularly updated.

When we made Alimentation Couche-Tard our Stock of the Year for Stock Pickers Digest (now Power Growth Investor) in 2012, it rose more than 60% that year.

Yet it wasn’t an isolated surge – since we first recommended it in 2008, the shares are up a whopping 2,843.2%!

This solid, 40-year-old niche retailer operates some 14,600 stores in Europe and North America. It not only adapted to the pandemic—it thrived. It’s done a brilliant job of making acquisitions pay off in Canada, the U.S., and Europe too.

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Its latest purchase adds another high-demand element to its business, one that lets the company cross-sell its services. This firm is well positioned to keep prospering in its markets. That means its share price has lots of room to move higher.

It’s also relatively cheap at 18.8 times forecast earnings.

ALIMENTATION COUCHE-TARD INC. (Symbol ATD on Toronto; www.couche-tard.com) operates 14,595 convenience stores across North America and Europe.

In early January 2024, Couche-Tard completed the acquisition of retail assets in Europe from French energy giant TotalEnergies SE for 3.1 billion euros ($4.5 million Cdn.).

The assets include TotalEnergies’ retail networks in Germany and the Netherlands, comprising more than 1,500 service stations.

TotalEnergies and Couche-Tard have also formed a joint venture to own and operate over 600 service stations in Belgium and Luxembourg. The joint venture is 60% owned by Couche-Tard and 40% owned by TotalEnergies.

TotalEnergies believes that the partnership will maximize the stations’ non-fuel sales. The service stations in the four countries will remain under the TotalEnergies banner as long as the fuel is supplied by the company, for at least five years.

For Couche-Tard, the deal lets it grow further in Europe by expanding in some of that continent’s strongest economies.

Growth Stocks: Additional revenue streams keep expanding Alimentation Couche-Tard’s potential

Driven by acquisitions, including the June 2017 purchase of CST Brands for $4.4 billion, Couche-Tard’s revenue jumped 73.3% from $34.14 billion in fiscal 2016 (fiscal years end April 30) to $59.18 billion for fiscal 2019 (all figures except share price in U.S. dollars). For fiscal 2020, revenue then fell 8.5% to $54.13 billion. The decline was mainly due to lower fuel demand as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. In fiscal 2021, revenue dropped a further 15.5%, to $45.76 billion as the pandemic continued to hurt fuel demand. Revenue then rebounded 37.3% in the fiscal year ended April 25, 2022, to $62.81 billion. In the fiscal year ended April 25, 2023, revenue rose a further 14.4%, to $71.86 billion.

As a result of the earlier revenue increases between 2016 and 2019, earnings climbed 60.2% from $1.19 billion, or $1.04 a share, to $1.90 billion, or $1.63. (All per-share figures adjusted for a 2-for-1 split in September 2019.) Earnings then rose 15.8% in fiscal 2020, to $2.20 billion, or $1.97 a share. That rise came despite the lower revenue; it reflects sharply higher profit margins on fuel due to falling crude oil prices. In fiscal 2021, earnings rose 22.6%, to $2.72 billion, or $2.45 a share. Earnings then increased just 2.2% in fiscal 2022 to $2.77 billion, or $2.60 a share. The company’s costs rose and its fuel profit margins were hurt by rising crude prices. In fiscal 2023, earnings climbed a further 13.8%, to $3.15 billion, or $3.12 a share.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2024—the three months ended February 4, 2024—Couche-Tard’s revenue fell by 2.2%, to $19.62 billion from $20.06 billion a year earlier (all figures except share price in U.S. dollars). The decline came mostly from lower overall fuel sales.

Excluding one-time items, earnings fell 15.7%, to $625.0 million from $741.0 million. Improved sales of higher-profit-margin convenience store offerings were offset by the lower fuel revenue. Per-share earnings fell 12.2%, to $0.65 from $$0.74, on fewer shares outstanding.

Couche-Tard continues to aggressively repurchase its shares. During the quarter ended February 4, 2024, it spent $175.9 million to buy back shares. In the last nine months, it spent $1.1 billion.

Meanwhile, investors are also benefiting from a 25.0% rise in their quarterly dividend, to $0.175 (Canadian) a share from $0.14. That increase started in December 2023. The shares now yield 0.9%.

The company continues to roll out its loyalty program. That encourages customers to visit more often and spend more per visit.

The program, Inner Circle, gives members discounts on fuel ($0.03 per gallon) and merchandise. It upgrades to a premium membership, which includes more exclusive deals as well as early notice of new products once the customer spends $500 at Circle K stores (and a gasoline discount of $0.05 per gallon).

Couche-Tard’s launched its loyalty program in June 2023—and now has close 5 million fully enrolled U.S. members.

Meanwhile, to boost its prospects, Couche-Tard keeps opening electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers. Its network now consists of more than 2,400 charging points, including those in Europe and including 50 charge points for heavy trucks in Sweden. The company reports that it’s seeing a significant increase in overall charging actions on its Circle K-branded chargers driven by network expansion, improved payment offers and station upgrades, making them easier for its EV customers. In North America, it remains committed to deploying 200 chargers at 200 sites, and its footprint in Canada now covers Quebec, Ontario, B.C. and Alberta and 11states in the U.S.

The firm also added to its chain of car washes with the acquisition of True Blue Car Wash LLC, which has 65 locations in high-traffic areas of Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and Texas. Couche-Tard completed the purchase in February 2023, and the purchase price was about $300 million.

True Blue’s car washes were a good fit with Couche-Tard’s own network of more than 2,500 car-wash locations, and True Blue had a strong pipeline of future new sites planned and under development. The chain saw strong growth in recent years and washed more than 10 million cars in 2022.

Couche-Tard says that more than 85% of True Blue’s car wash locations were within three miles of one of its own Circle K locations. That means the acquisition provided a strong geographic overlap to support traffic between True Blue sites and Circle K convenience stores.

Growth by acquisition adds risk, especially with a string of deals as big as these. However, the company has a long track record of successfully integrating those businesses.

The company has announced a new five-year growth plan. It now aims to increase its annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) from $5.8 billion U.S. in fiscal 2023 (fiscal years end April 30) to $10 billion U.S. in fiscal 2028.

A big part of that growth will come from acquisitions, including its recently completed deal to buy most of the European retail assets of French energy giant Total Energies SE (see above).

Cost cutting will also help Couche-Tard reach its 2028 EBITDA target as its copes with rising employee wages and other costs.

For all of fiscal 2024, Couche-Tard will probably earn $2.98 U.S. a share, and the stock trades at a moderate 18.8 times that forecast. The $0.56 (Canadian) dividend yields 0.9%.

Recommendation in Power Growth Investor: Alimentation Couche-Tard is a buy.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Alimentation Couche-Tard. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Power Growth Investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

Subscribe to Power Growth Investor so you can access many more market-leading Buy recommendations for maximum returns.

This post was originally published in April 2023 and is regularly updated.

Understand the factors that affect investment decisions so you maximize your portfolio returns

It’s generally a waste of time to obsess about a short-term downward movement in the economy, stock market or both. These downward movements can occur for a wide variety of reasons, at any time—even outside the kind of significant downturn caused by COVID-19 or, more recently, higher inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Still, for every “real” short-term downturn, you can spot a dozen fake-outs—situations where the market or economy looked like it was going into a tailspin but pulled out of the drop and began rising at the last minute.

On the other hand, it does pay to obsess about factors that affect investment decisions like portfolio diversification, investment quality, and the extent to which your portfolio suits your personal goals and temperament.

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1. Portfolio diversification is a key factor affecting investment decisions:

Your portfolio strategy should begin by observing a fundamental piece of advice that we underline frequently: Spread your money out across most if not all of the five main economic sectors (Finance, Utilities, Manufacturing, Resources, and the Consumer sector). The proportions should depend on your objectives and the risk you can accept. The Finance and Utilities sectors generally involve below-average risk. Manufacturing and Resources tend to be riskier, and the Consumer sector is in the middle.

As well, balance aggressive and conservative investments in your portfolio, in line with your investment objectives, and the market outlook. Above all, avoid the urge to become more aggressive as prices rise and more conservative as prices fall.

Discover more about properly diversifying your portfolio.

2. Investment quality affects investing decisions:

The best blue-chip stocks offer strong investment quality. When the market suffers a significant downturn like that prompted by the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, these stocks generally keep paying their dividends, and they are among the first to recover when conditions improve.

In keeping with the Successful Investor philosophy, we feel stocks that have been paying dividends for five years or more are some of the safest investments you can have. Dividends are a sign of quality and a company’s financial health. Canadian banks and utilities are among the income-paying stocks that we consider to be safer investments.

Learn more about developing a long-term strategy focused on stocks with high investment quality.

3. Personal needs and temperament affect investment decisions:

If there is one piece of personal wealth management advice you should immediately implement, it’s to have a disciplined plan for saving during your working years. This, above all things, can set you up for optimal investment gains. We talk more about this in 9 Secrets of Successful Wealth Management, which is free for you to download.

Many of our wealth management clients live off their investments. From time to time, they need to sell some of their holdings to supplement their dividend income. But rather than trying to predict price changes or spot highs and lows, we ensure that decisions affecting the client’s portfolio are tailored to his or her circumstances and temperament.

Discover more about your personal needs for wealth management.

4. Factors that affect investment decisions: Hidden assets

Hidden assets are also worth a closer look. As long-time readers know, we’ve had a great deal of success over the years in investments that come with hidden assets. These are assets that are worth substantially more than the value they carry on the company’s balance sheet, if they appear there at all. Buying stocks with hidden assets is a little like getting something for nothing, at least for patient investors.

Companies with hidden assets can gain like any stock when the market rises. But they also tend to hold on to their value in a market setback. In addition, they tend to bounce back nicely when conditions improve.

Learn more about hidden assets now.

5. Factors that affect investment decisions: Worry

Of course, investors worry, especially about the kind of economic upheaval the markets are grappling with now; it’s not in human nature to avoid worrying altogether. As humans, we are bred to overreact, to dwell on or even brood over any hint of risk.

There are always investment-related worries to occupy our minds. Sometimes for investors, this means worrying about high-risk investments that they’ve made.

You get a much better return on time spent if you devote less of it to worrying about (and in fact avoiding) high-risk investments, and more of it on developing an investment strategy. Create a strategy that is built upon analyzing the quality and diversification of your investments (and cutting risk), and the structure and balance of your portfolio.

Learn more about controlling worry with your investments.

For additional guidance, subscribe to Canadian Wealth Advisor. In Canadian Wealth Advisor, we always focus on protecting your “safe money”—the part of your portfolio you’re counting on for the future—without sacrificing the potential for strong returns.

A lot goes into making investment decisions. What factor has played the biggest role in forming your past decisions?

This article was first published in 2017 and is regularly updated.

Amerigo Resources is a shining exception to almost all other penny stocks thanks to its stellar and lasting returns.

The firm has returned a stellar 612.0% gain to investors over the last 4 years. Compare that to the benchmark S&P Global Natural Resource index, up a mere 73.2% over the same time. (The S&P itself gained 85.0% over the last four years.)

Even more unheard of is the copper producer’s high and sustainable 6.7% dividend yield. We ex-pect this well-resourced junior miner to add significantly to investor gains as the global economy rebounds from inflationary pressures and sluggish growth.

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AMERIGO RESOURCES LTD. (Symbol ARG on Toronto) processes copper and molybdenum from the waste rock of the El Teniente mine in Chile. That site is the world’s largest copper operation. Amerigo also has other deals to process material at the nearby Colihues and Cauquenes tailings ponds.

Amerigo has continued to buy back a lot of its shares. Share buybacks reduce the number of shares outstanding. That boosts earnings per share since profit is divided among fewer shares. The improved per-share ratio makes the stock more attractive to investors.

This further spurs the share price.

The company completed its 2022 share-repurchase plan well ahead of schedule.

Under that plan, Amerigo was authorized by the Toronto exchange to purchase up to 10.75 million common shares (representing 6.14% of the common shares outstanding) over a period of 12 months starting December 2, 2021, and ending no later than December 1, 2022.

Amerigo bought back all 10.75 million shares at an average cost of $1.62.

Meantime, Amerigo returned $14.6 million to shareholders in 2023 in dividend payments, as well as $2.6 million through the purchase of 2.3 million common shares. Amerigo’s shares yield a high 6.7%.

Penny Stocks: Long-term copper demand is a major driver going forward for Amerigo Resources

Amerigo currently gets 94% of its revenue from processing copper. The remaining 6% comes from its output of molybdenum, which is used in steelmaking.

Amerigo recently reported slightly lower copper production in the latest quarter. The company’s copper production fell 1.5%. Specifically, output for the three months ended December 31, 2023, dropped to 16.37 million pounds (at a production cost of $2.06 per pound) from 16.61 million pounds (at a cost of $2.10) a year earlier. Copper production recovered in latest quarter after the end of severe rains in central Chile, which temporarily affected operations in two separate events. Amerigo fully resolved these disruptions and resumed normal operations and production levels on September 21, 2023.

After dropping to as low as $2.17 U.S. per pound in mid-March 2020, copper rose steadily to a record price of $5.02 on March 6, 2022. Fears of supply chain disruptions and historically low stockpiles amid rising copper demand drove prices higher.

However, copper prices have since pulled back to $4.44. That’s mostly on concerns that rising interest rates will continue to slow global economies. As well, investors worry about the pace of China’s economic recovery.

Longer term, the outlook for copper looks positive. From a supply standpoint, due to a lack of new mines, long-term copper shortages could result. And as economies recover, it will push up demand—and that includes demand from segments such as electric vehicles (EVs) and green-energy related operations.

Copper market fundamentals suggest continued strength going forward. The copper supply/demand imbalance also presents an investment opportunity for those interested in copper-mining stocks.

All these factors bode well for the company and its share price going forward.

Recommendation in Power Growth Investor: Amerigo Resources Ltd. is a buy for aggressive investors.

We hope you benefited from this analysis of Amerigo Resources Ltd. The company is just one of the top-performing stock picks of our Power Growth Investor newsletter.

Of course, not all our picks over the years have produced these kind of spectacular gains. Some, in fact, have led to losses. But all portfolios need superstar stocks like this to offset those inevitable losses.

Subscribe to Power Growth Investor so you can access many more market-leading Buy recommendations for maximum returns.

This post was originally published in April 2023 and is regularly updated.

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This Policy is the sole authorized statement of TSI Network's practices with respect to the collection of personal information through TSI Network's websites and the subsequent use and disclosure of such information. Any summaries of this Policy generated by third party software or otherwise (for example, in connection with the "Platform for Privacy Preferences" or "P3P") shall have no legal effect, are in no way binding upon TSI Network, shall not be relied upon in substitute for this Policy, and neither supersede nor modify this Policy.

TSI Network may revise this Policy from time to time.

Legal Notices and Disclaimers

The contents of this web site and our publications are based upon sources of information believed to be reliable, but no warranty or representation, expressed or implied, is given as to their accuracy or completeness. Any opinion reflects the Successful Investor’s judgment at the date of publication and neither the Successful Investor, nor any of its affiliated companies, nor any of their officers, directors or employees, accepts any responsibility in respect of the information or recommendations contained in the publications or on this web site. Moreover, the information or recommendations are subject to change without notice.

Information presented on this web site or contained in our publications is not an offer, nor a solicitation, to buy or sell any securities referred to on the web site or in the publications. The material is general information intended for recipients who understand the risks associated with an investment in any securities referred to in the publications or on this web site. The Successful Investor has made no determination regarding whether an investment, course of action, or associated risks are suitable for the recipient.

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