Question of the Week

Questions of the Week

Co-founder of the Switzer Report
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Question 1: Regarding Woolworths (WOW) and its buyback, the shares look overvalued.  While I like the strength of the company, what would be an action to take post the buyback? Re-invest in WOW or look for more value priced shares? To stay in the food market, what are your thoughts on splitting the investment with Coles (COL) and waiting for better value with WOW?

Answer: I think you’re heading in the right direction. Woolworths has become very expensive. It’s now trading on a multiple of 25.6 times forecast FY19 earnings and 24 times forecast FY20 earnings. On the other hand, Coles is trading on a multiple of 19.7 times forecast FY19 earnings and 19.5 times forecast FY20 earnings. It should trade at a discount to Woolworths but what’s the right level? The whole consumer staples sector has become super expensive. I think it’s a function of not having any alternatives. Investors don’t want to buy banks. They think the resource majors are fully priced, the interest rate defensives have had a big run, the IT stocks are through the roof and the industrials are suffering profit downgrades. I just can’t get excited by either stock. My strategy? Accept the buyback and then sit it out. Coles is value in the $11’s and getting expensive near $13. Have a look at Woolworths again under $30.

Question 2: Recently I have taken profit on Goodman (GMG) and GPT, stocks that I’ve held for many years. To gain diversification in my portfolio, I’m looking at Sonic Healthcare (SHL) to get health exposure. They’re very diversified around the world and in their business operations and appear to have ridden a fast path to this position. What are your thoughts about this company, please?

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