Top Piotroski-Graham Value Stocks For May 2019

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Includes: BVN, HCC, MTH, MU, NAIL, NXPI, QD, SOXL, TER, TPH, WOW
by: JD Henning
Summary

Micron Technology was picked previously for the January Piotroski-Graham portfolio and has gained +32.56% YTD.

Micron Technology has been a favorite stock over the years for the tremendous value it offers, it continues with one of the highest Piotroski F-Scores and Benjamin Graham enhancement.

The Piotroski model remains the top performing value model in financial research and as tracked by the American Association of Individual Investors with 22.4% annualized returns over 16 years.

3 other top stock selections are provided from the full monthly tracking portfolio as well as additional breakout value stocks and ETFs.

These selections continue as an ongoing test and active portfolios for members looking for value stocks using one of the best fundamental value models in the financial literature.

Piotroski Value Portfolio YTD Returns

The May 2019 selections comprise the 13th portfolio since 2017 formed to test the one-year buy/hold portfolios of the Joseph Piotroski Value algorithm that remains one of the best performing value-based selection models in financial research.

The benefits to financial statement analysis are concentrated in small and medium-sized firms, companies with low share turnover, and firms with no analyst following, yet this superior performance is not dependent on purchasing firms with low share prices. A positive relationship between the sign of the initial historical information and both future firm performance and subsequent quarterly earnings announcement reactions suggests that the market initially underreacts to the historical information. ~ Joseph Piotroski

Retests of the Piotroski model continue to outperform all other top value algorithm models as most recently shown in the financial literature according to Amor-Tapia, B. & Tascón, M.T. (2016). The selections offered here also continue to include the Benjamin Graham enhancements described in the methods section below.

The one-year buy/hold from May 2018 Piotroski-Graham portfolio has produced an annual return of -6.36% trailing the S&P 500 return over the same period. The gains from the January 2019 Piotroski-Graham portfolio have returned +19.45% showing strong value opportunities in the current market with stocks like Micron Technology doing well in this group.

Piotroski-Graham Portfolio Returns since August 2017

This chart depicts the returns of each of the 12 tested Piotroski portfolios. Columns in blue represent the seven completed annual returns. The black line represents returns since the formation of each portfolio. Average annual returns of all the completed one-year portfolios are +2.78% with 4/7 portfolios beating the S&P 500 in their respective one-year time periods. Of the 5 active portfolios that have not completed a full year period, all three portfolios since November are positive. The January Piotroski-Graham Portfolio is already up +19.45% on eight very strong value stocks for a one-year buy/hold portfolio.

The drawdown of this portfolio through some of the worst months on record in the past year remains relatively low and safe compared to many other portfolios and hedge funds returns in 2018. This is quite consistent with the findings that analyzed several of the top value algorithms in Amor-Tapia, B. & Tascón, M.T. (2016) and found Piotroski to be the top performer.

The strongest gains from the May 2018 portfolio came from primarily two stocks and both experienced some of their largest gains in the months immediately following selection last May:

Teradyne (TER) +42.32%

WideOpenWest (WOW) +29.29%

May Enhanced Piotroski - Graham Value Selections

These new selections for May have the highest Piotroski F-Scores of all the stocks screened across the US markets with a share price above $2 and average daily volume over 100k shares. In addition, the Benjamin Graham enhancements have been applied on the basis that these characteristics are well documented to deliver excess annual market returns. More information on the Graham Number formula can be found at the end of the article.

The following top Piotroski stocks also include only those stocks with more than a 20% positive difference in price from where the Graham number assesses current stock value. The four of eight stocks released here for consideration from this quantitative value model of high value/oversold stocks are listed as follows:

These selections are based entirely on the academic algorithms documented in the modeling section at the end of this article and my own preset modeling parameters of minimum trading volume and price. Value selections are intended for a one-year buy/hold methodology of undervalued fundamental characteristics.

1. Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH) - Industrial Goods/Residential Construction.

For MTH, the Graham % value difference places an estimated price target of $64.27/share on the stock.

2. Warrior Met Coal, Inc. (HCC) - Basic Materials/Industrial Metals & Minerals

For HCC, the Graham % value difference places an estimated price target of $38.4/share on the stock. Multiple quantitative models show strong value potential for this stock.

3. TRI Pointe Group, Inc. (TPH) - Industrial Goods/Residential Construction

For TPH, the Graham % value difference places an estimated price target of $15.88/share on the stock. This would clear the prior resistance toward a 52/week high. Multiple quantitative models show strong value potential for this stock.

4. Micron Technology (MU) - Technology/Semiconductor - Memory Chips

For MU, the Graham % value difference places an estimated price target of $50.88/share on the stock. This would clear the prior resistance toward price levels last seen in September 2018. Multiple quantitative models show strong value potential for this stock.

These strong value selections may also reflect the opportunity in the related sector ETFs for Homebuilders and Semiconductors. Direxion Daily Homebuilders & Supplies Bull 3X Shares (NAIL) is up 93.24% YTD with high investor interest and Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares (SOXL) is up 125.70% YTD as shown below:

Introduction to Piotroski F-Score Methodology

This article continues the series of testing the best value investment research over a one-year time horizon for well documented and substantial value investing returns. This study is testing the Piotroski F-score model to see how many of the different value portfolios formed each month can outperform the market over a year long period.

These Piotroski value selections are designed as a more stable, long-term investment approach to identify highly oversold stocks, in contrast to the Weekly Breakout Forecast based on highly volatile, short-term momentum stocks. The value selection formulas have been well documented in the financial literature over the past 17 years to consistently outperform benchmark indexes.

  • The Piotroski stock selections above build on the findings from the Amor-Tapia & Tascon (2016) research that evaluates top selection models in more detail in the initial August report that found the Piotroski model to be one of the best models tested for value investment selections.
  • The American Association of Individual Investors also documents their own multi-year test results of the Piotroski F-score as one of the best performing models with 16-year annualized total returns of 19.3% from among dozens of selection models that they monitor.
  • The Enhanced Piotroski portfolios selected here are greatly outperforming the AAII Piotroski portfolio for all monthly test portfolios and also substantially outperformed the AAII Piotroski 2018 returns of -36.1%

All the prior value selections from previous portfolios are also applied to proprietary momentum algorithms on a daily basis to enhance the timing of locating the best value stocks to buy now for members of my service. In view of the short-term weekly momentum breakout timing, three of the top prior Piotroski-Graham stock selections are currently:

NXP Semiconductors (NXPI)

Compania de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A. (BVN)

Qudian, Inc. (QD)

Background on Value Scoring Systems

Calculating scores and assigning values to stocks based on fundamental data remains one of the most popular methods for value stock investing. Most of us are familiar with such scoring systems as the Value Line Rank (started in 1965), the CANSLIM composite ranking system (started in 1988), the Zacks Rank (started in 1982, first made public in 1992), and many other popular systems that have given us good results over the years. To this day, it is not uncommon to find substantial overlap among the best stocks identified by different value ranking methodologies. Most medium- to long-term investors are well served by taking these models into consideration.

Less well known are the academic composite value models based on fundamentals that continue to be rigorously tested in peer-reviewed financial literature. Some of these published models have their measurement scoring integrated into publicly available stock screens from various stock analysis websites. One of the best academic models retested recently by Amor-Tapia and Tascon (2016) is the Piotroski score model created by Joseph Piotroski in 2000:

The Piotroski (2000) FSCORE: The Score consists of aggregating nine individual binary signals derived from accounting variables related to profitability. The most favorable value score is 9 and the least favorable is zero.

(Amor-Tapia &Tascon, 2016)

The Graham Number: Benjamin Graham, often called "the Father of Value Investing", first leveraged key financial ratios to identify undervalued companies with strong growth potential. The Graham Number value score results from a formula developed by Benjamin Graham that is based on his assessment that good value stocks should have a P/E ratio below 15 and a P/B ratio below 1.5:

This Graham Number value equals the square root of 22.5 x EPS x P/B. Because it leaves out many other important characteristics it is better applied as an enhancement to the highly successful Piotroski F-Score value selection model.

Conclusion

The Piotroski F-Score model has been well documented in the financial literature and by practitioners to generate significant abnormal returns on an annual basis. This value model remains one of the top selection models among dozens also tracked by the American Association of Individual Investors.

First, value stocks tend to be neglected. As a group, these companies are thinly followed by the analyst community and are plagued by low levels of investor interest. Given this lack of coverage, analyst forecasts and stock recommendations are unavailable for these firms. Second, these firms have limited access to most "informal" information dissemination channels and their voluntary disclosures may not be viewed as credible given their poor recent performance. Therefore, financial statements represent the most reliable and most accessible source of information about these firms. Third, high BM firms tend to be "financially distressed"; as a result, the valuation of these firms focuses on accounting fundamentals such as leverage, liquidity, profitability trends, and cash flow adequacy. These fundamental characteristics are most readily obtained from historical financial statements. ~ Joseph Piotroski

For the second year in a row, this Enhanced Piotroski model has outperformed the AAII Piotroski selection model and is even outperforming the S&P 500 over one-year and YTD 2019. The enhanced model selections also eliminate financial outliers and low-priced stocks that may jeopardize the best performance results possible. This is the monthly selection report for subscribers.

As always, I trust this will be a profitable contribution to your investment objectives!

JD Henning, PhD, MBA, CFE, CAMS

References

Amor-Tapia, B. & Tascón, M.T. (2016). Separating winners from losers: Composite indicators based on fundamentals in the European context *. Finance a Uver,66(1), 70-94.

Piotroski, J. D. (2000). Value investing: The use of historical financial statement information to separate winners from losers. Journal of Accounting Research, 38, 1-41.

Graham, B. (1949). The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.