Morgans Best Ideas: November 2022
About the author:
- Author name:
- By Andrew Tang
- Job title:
- Analyst - Equity Strategy
- Date posted:
- 03 November 2022, 7:00 AM
- Sectors Covered:
- Equity Strategy and Quant
Our best ideas are those that we think offer the highest risk-adjusted returns over a 12-month timeframe supported by a higher-than-average level of confidence. They are our most preferred sector exposures.
New additions this month: Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and Westpac (ASX:WBC).
Removals: No removals this month.
For more sector coverage and ideas refer to our recently published Q4 Equity Sector Strategies and Outlook.
Large cap best ideas
Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA)
The second largest stock on the ASX by market capitalisation. We view CBA as the highest quality bank and a core portfolio holding for the long term, but the trade-off is it is the most expensive on key valuation metrics (including the lowest dividend yield). Amongst the major banks, CBA has the highest return on equity, lowest cost of equity (reflecting asset and funding mix), and strongest technology. It is currently benefitting from the sugar hit of both the rising rate environment and relatively benign credit environment.
Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC)
We view WBC as having the greatest potential for return on equity improvement amongst the major banks if its business transformation initiatives prove successful. The sources of this improvement include improved loan origination and processing capability, cost reductions (including from divestments and cost-out), rapid leverage to higher rates environment, and reduced regulatory credit risk intensity of non-home loan book. Yield including franking is attractive for income-oriented investors, while the ROE improvement should deliver share price growth.
WES possesses one of the highest quality retail portfolios in Australia with strong brands including Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks. The company is run by a highly regarded management team and the balance sheet is healthy. We believe WES’s businesses, which have a strong focus on value, remain well-placed for growth despite softening macro-economic conditions.
Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE)
TWE owns much loved iconic wine brands, the jewel in the crown being Penfolds. We rate its management team highly. The foundations are now in place for TWE to deliver strong earnings growth from the 2H22 over the next few years. Trading at a material discount to our valuation and other luxury brand owners, TWE is a key pick for us.
The resilience of STO's growth profile and diversified earnings base see it well placed to outperform against a backdrop of a broader sector recovery. While pre-FEED, we see Dorado as likely to provide attractive growth for STO, while its recent acquisition increasing its stake in Darwin LNG has increased our confidence in Barossa's development. PNG growth meanwhile remains a riskier proposition, with the government adamant it will keep a larger share of economic rents while operator Exxon has significantly deferred growth plans across its global portfolio.
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG)
We continue to like MQG’s exposure to long-term structural growth areas such as infrastructure and renewables. The company also stands to benefit from recent market volatility through its trading businesses, while it continues to gain market share in Australian mortgages.
QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE)
With strong rate increases still flowing through QBE's insurance book, and further cost-out benefits to come, we expect QBE's earnings profile to improve strongly over the next few years. The stock also has a robust balance sheet and remains relatively inexpensive overall trading on ~9.1x FY23F PE.
ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD)
While we expect the next few quarters to be volatile as COVID-related demand for ventilators continues to slow and core sleep apnoea volumes gradually lift, nothing changes our medium/longer term view that the company remains well-placed as it builds a unique, patient-centric, connected-care digital platform that addresses the main pinch points across the healthcare value chain.
TCL owns a pure play portfolio of toll road concession assets located in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and North America. This provides exposure to regional population and employment growth and urbanisation. Given very high EBITDA margins, earnings are driven by traffic growth (with recovery from COVID) and toll escalation (roughly 70% by at least CPI and approximately one-quarter at a fixed c.4.25% pa). We think TCL will continue to be attractive to investors given its market cap weighting (important for passive index tracking flows), the high quality of its assets, management team, balance sheet, and growth prospects.
After a major turnaround, TLS has emerged in good shape with strong earnings momentum and a strong balance sheet. In late CY22 shareholders vote on Telstra's legal restructure, which opens the door for value to be released. TLS currently trades on ~7x EV/EBITDA. However some of TLS’s high quality long life assets like InfraCo are worth substantially more, in our view. We don’t think this is in the price so see it as value generating for TLS shareholders. This, free option, combined with likely reputational damage to its closest peer, following a major cybersecurity incident, means TLS looks well placed for the year ahead.
Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) - New Addition
ALL is a global market leader in the rapidly-growing land-based gaming and mobile gaming industries. It has delivered revenue growth of 17% pa over the past five years and 80% of revenue in FY21 was recurring. We expect ALL to continue to take market share in all its product segments. Demand for its gaming machines and digital games is resilient to economic cycles, though has slowed in recent months, leading the share price down. ALL’s 1-year forward P/E has derated to less than 20x from a high of 30x last September. With $3.3bn of currently available liquidity, ALL has significant funding capacity for growth, even after the buyback. It has a stated ambition to build a meaningful presence in the rapidly-growing online real money gaming segment, which we believe may be achieved both through organic investment and inorganic acquisitions.
BHP Group (ASX:BHP)
We view BHP as relatively low risk given its superior diversification relative to its major global mining peers. The spread of BHP’s operations also supplies some defence against direct COVID-19 impact on earnings contributors. While there are more leveraged plays sensitive to a global recovery scenario, we see BHP as holding an attractive combination of upside sensitivity, balance sheet strength and resilient dividend profile.
S32 has transformed its portfolio by divesting South African thermal coal and acquiring an interest in Chile copper, substantially boosting group earnings quality, as well as S32's risk and ESG profile. Unlike its peers amongst ASX-listed large-cap miners, S32 is not exposed to iron ore. Instead offering a highly diversified portfolio of base metals and metallurgical coal (with most of these metals enjoying solid price strength). We see attractive long-term value potential in S32 from de-risking of its growth portfolio, the potential for further portfolio changes, and an earnings-linked dividend policy.
Of the classifieds players, we continue to see SEEK as the one with the most relative upside, a view that’s based on the sustained listings growth we’ve seen over the period. The tailwinds that have driven elevated job ads (~250k currently, +35% on pcp) and strong FY22 result appear to still remain in place, i.e. subdued migration, candidate scarcity and the drive for greater employee flexibility. With businesses looking to grow headcount in the coming months and job mobility at historically high levels according to the RBA, we see these favourable operating conditions driving increased reliance on SEEK’s products.
For our full list of Best Ideas, including our mid-cap and small-cap key stock picks, download our full research note (Morgans clients only):
Best Ideas November 2022
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Disclosure of interest: Morgans may from time to time hold an interest in any security referred to in this report and may, as principal or agent, sell such interests. Morgans may previously have acted as manager or co-manager of a public offering of any such securities. Morgans affiliates may provide or have provided banking services or corporate finance to the companies referred to in the report. The knowledge of affiliates concerning such services may not be reflected in this report. Morgans advises that it may earn brokerage, commissions, fees or other benefits and advantages, direct or indirect, in connection with the making of a recommendation or a dealing by a client in these securities. Some or all of Morgans Authorised Representatives may be remunerated wholly or partly by way of commission.