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Stock Opinions by David Driscoll


It's all about interest rates. When the Bank of Canada recently cut rates, bond prices started to rise in Canada. Since November, when the US Fed announced it will stop raising interest rates, Wall Street cheered, expecting six rates, which have not happened. Mega tech stocks continue to rule because the hedge funds have piled into the AI trade. When Powell last month said that inflation is still a concern, the hedge funds started migrating out of megatech and the market has done sideways. Earnings are at the end of this month; this is the worst quarter of the year, so expect things to stay sideways. The US dollar is artificially high, because foreign investors must buy US bonds in USD, and the US has the highest interest rates in the G7. The strong USD is hurting emerging markets. He's holding both stocks and bonds. 70% Canada's stocks amount to financials and resources, so you need to look abroad to diversify. The mismatch in interest rates between Canada and the US means a weaker Canadian dollar. China is not attractive given its aging population and economic problems.

UBS Group AG

Buying Credit Suisse turned them into one of the largest wealth management businesses in the world with $4 trillion in assets. They keep creating new business units and products to their high new worth clients (i.e. mortgages, alternative investments). If things pan out--as earnings have been accretive since the takeover--2026's target is $315 at 8x PE. So, that's decent value. Caveat: the last 10-20 years have no dividend growth.


Is Japan's leading financial, but the Japanese Yen has fallen against the strong USD, so it comes down to currency now. The weak Yen helps Japanese companies like MUFG, but the company is in the penalty box for sharing financial client data between their commercial and investment banking arms. They benefit from the semis boom, though. The dividend is good and the company has been performing well. Start with a half position and if the shares decline, dollar-cost average.


The market for weight-loss drugs is projected to be above $50 billion, but take this with a grain of salt. Every 5 years NVO develops a new drug, since they invest well in R&D, like drugs for type 2 diabetes and weight-loss. Expects further growth and would add shares at these levels.

biotechnology / pharmaceutical
Dassault Systemes

A large company whose growth has slowed to a decent 8-9% revenue. Also, all French stocks are selling off because of the election. Definitely buy on the current dip. They can convert their net profits 100% into free cash flow, which is rare.

Diageo PLC

Sales are slipping and their dividend isn't growing despite being a mature company. LVMH offers far better dividend growth, for example.

food processing
Danaher Corp.

They did well during Covid, but fell off a cliff after the pandemic and as interest rates climbed. But they bought GE's healthcare business 5 years ago and paid that off in 3 years because of their strong cash flows. Eventually, DHR will come back and is starting to. A good entry point now.

Exponent Inc

Likes it alot. They supply expert testimony in environmental lawsuits, and improve environmental processes. Their business is sound with assets higher than liabilities. A perfect Warren Buffet stock, because they're asset-lite. A long-term buy for capital appreciation and the dividend continues to grow over 10% annually. Caveat: small caps are more volatile than large caps.

3M Co.

All their lawsuits have put this in the penalty box as the business struggles and the dividend was cut in half.

mngmnt / diversified
(A Top Pick Dec 19/23, Down 5%)

He bought it for the dividend, which grows 10% annually. All the telcos are down because they've had to borrow to upgrade to 5G, and rates have been high. Especially if rates decline, a lot of their debt will fall in the next 2 years and this oligopoly will enjoy profitablility.

Atrion Corp
(A Top Pick Dec 19/23, Up 30%)

Recently, they announced they were being bought out at $460, which angers him between the stock is worth $600-800. He suspects the aging owners just wanted to retire and get out of the business, so they sold.

(A Top Pick Dec 19/23, Down 10%)

Most revenues come from Indonesia, so the conversion from rupees to US dollars limits profits. 25% of revenues are in China, mostly commercial real estate. Other revenues are also in southeast Asia, also hurt by the strong USD. The dividend is safe and growing at 6.5%.

BCE Inc.

The worst Canadian telco. Revenue growth has slowed to 1.5%. So has dividend growth, though the free cash flow can sustain the near-9% dividend. There are layoffs now and coming.

telephone utilities

The TSX darling. They buy software companies regularly and merged them vertically. Their only challenge is that as the company grows, so must their acquisitions--and they must continue to be accretive. Loves this. Will keep buying shares.

computer software / processing
Toronto Dominion

In 2002, shares fell from $44 to $20 because they were stuck with $2 billion in writedowns from the Enron lending (and implosion). He bought more at $20, and the following year, shares hit $45. So, the money-laundering charges TD faces in his opinion are political grandstanding. Only 2 TD employees in different states allegedly opened accounts for money launderers, not systemic. In Europe, 10-15 years European banks were scrutinized for allegedly helping Russian oligarchs. TD pays a 5.5% dividend and shares will be stuck until there's a resolution/settlement of some sort. Wait and see. He isn't buying this now.

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