Sunday, March 31, 2019

There were four AIM student equity pitches on Friday, 3/29/19 and one of them was delivered live via Skype from Madrid, Spain

Four AIM Program Student Equity Pitches Were Presented on Friday, March 29th (from the AIM Room and Madrid, Spain)!

AIM Class of 2020 Student Equity Presentations were held on Friday, March 29th. The pitches were live on the  Marquette AIM YouTube Channel.

Manuela Chaves, Sean Halverson, and Clarissa Vazquez

Dan Ptacek presented live via Skype from Madrid, Spain

The eighth set of spring AIM student equity presentations for the Class of 2020 were delivered on Friday, March 29th, 2019. Dan Ptacek presented via Skype to the students in the AIM Room at 10:00 am – he was in Madrid, Spain during the pitch.

Student Company Ticker Fund/Sector
Daniel Ptacek Ceragon Networks Ltd. CRNT  International Telecom
Manuela Chaves  Nexstar Media Group, Inc. NXST Consumer Discretionary
Sean Halverson On Assignment Incorporated ASGN Industrials
Clarissa Vazquez  Sinopharm Group SHTDY International Healthcare

The other three AIM students presented pitched at 3:00pm CST in the AIM Room which was carried live on the  Marquette AIM YouTube channel


Follow the link below to access the student equity write-ups.  You can also find every write-up since AIM's inception in 2005 here.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Q1 2019 Results in Outstanding Returns for the Two @MarquetteAIM Equity Funds

The @MarquetteAIM Funds had an excellent first quarter of 2019; besting their respective benchmarks by more than 420 basis points.

The AIM International Equity Fund generated a total return of 14.86% compared to the benchmark(MSCI All-Country World Index ex-US) of 10.67% --- a return of 421 bps above the index.

The AIM Small Cap Equity Fund also produced excellent results for the quarter with a return of 18.88% versus the benchmark (Russell 2000 Index) of 14.58% --- a return of 430 bps above the benchmark.

Click on the table to see the Q1 2019 and 1 year returns of the top holdings in each fund.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The 8th Set of Spring AIM Program Student Equity Pitches on Friday, March 29th - Join Us in Person or On-Line!

AIM Class of 2020 Student Equity Presentations 
Friday, March 29th - Watch it Live on Marquette AIM YouTube Channel

The eighth set of spring AIM student equity presentations for the Class of 2020 will be on Friday, March 29th, 2019, at 3:00pm CST in the AIM Room.  Marquette AIM YouTube channel
Follow the link below to access the student equity write-ups.  You can also find every write-up since AIM's inception in 2005 here.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can always view them LIVE via YouTube HERE.

    A Current AIM International Equity Holding: Cosan Limited Class A (CZZ, $11.99): “Not So Renewable” By: Andy O’Neill, AIM Student at Marquette University

    Cosan Limited Class A (CZZ, $11.99): “Not So Renewable - Probably Not a Part of the Fund in the Future - Too Much Uncertainty in Brazil”
    By: Andy O’Neill, AIM Student at Marquette University

    Disclosure: The AIM Equity Fund currently holds this position. This article was written by myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it and I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Cosan Limited Class A (NYSE:CZZ) works in producing, distributing, and transporting renewable energy sources. It operates out of Brazil and does a large majority of their work in that country.

    • Cosan’s growth has been tremendously fast over the last six months, but have become very volatile.  
    • Price of sugar bouncing back has helped Cosan enjoy this large rise in price.

    • Argentinian economic distress has impacted their ability to utilize sugar and oil refineries.

    • Biogas availability dropped 16% in 2018 due to reduced crushing.

    Key points: 

    Cosan Limited is enjoying a 52-week high currently. The stock is flourishing, as they have been up almost double since they bottomed out 6 months ago. They have grown 38% YTD, which has helped them recover from a previous six month downturn and grow 11% over the last twelve months. Their net income has gone up by 55% from 2017 to 2018, and they have been experiencing considerable top line growth as well.

    CZZ’s stock price is dependent upon sugar prices. As one of its sources for renewable energy uses mainly sugar, they could likely explain their downturn over the second and third quarters of 2018 to the prices of sugar going down heavily. From March to September, prices of sugar dropped from $0.13 to $0.10 per pound, making a 23% decrease. While that is not the only reason that they have dropped, it was a large contributor. In September, the price of sugar skyrocketed back up to $0.14 per pound, helping CZZ increase heavily. Currently, the price of sugar is at $0.125 per pound, which is slightly lower, but still much higher than it was earlier.

    Unfortunately for Cosan, they have had to deal with economic distress in Argentina, as the country has had their currency depreciate, which was not helpful for Cosan. This has led them to not be able to utilize their refineries for sugar and oil production in Argentina, with utilization averaging 75% between them. Their normal level of utilization is projected to be around 85% if and when the Argentinian economic distress is resolved.

    Cosan undergoes crop crushing, which is a process used to make ethanol and other biogases. Their crushing numbers were down 2% this year, likely due to bad weather. However, this decrease caused a 16% decrease in products sold. This is a large issue for Cosan, since they rely heavily on their crop crushing to generate revenue through biogases, and if weather does not cooperate or they aren’t able to produce for other reasons, their revenue will be impacted greatly.

    What has the stock done lately?

    Over the last three months, Cosan stock has increased rapidly, approximately 45%. They have had two straight quarters of good earnings reports, as well as huge earnings growth over the past year. Their 2018 net income grew 55%, largely due to large decreases in interest expense and unusual expenses. This will likely not be the case again, as their sales and EBIT are only growing at 8% and 4% respectively.

    Past Year Performance:

    CZZ has increased 6.79% in value over the past year, but the stock is on the up and up since September, as they have increased 86% since then. Their book value is much lower than their market value, as their book value per share is $6.97, or only 58% of market value. This is likely due to the meteoric rise in market value over the past 6 months, but still something to be careful of throughout the rest of the holding period.

    Source: FactSet

    My Takeaway:

    While the stock is rising at a very fast pace, and has been for the last six months, I don’t believe that it is still a buy. I believe that they may be very close to the end of their investment horizon. While they have reported large bottom line growth, it does not come with large top line growth, and they have been underutilizing their refineries, with no clear plans for improving that utilization. I believe that the stock is getting a little overvalued with their recent surge, and a downturn may be coming in the future.

    Source: FactSet

    A Current AIM International Equity Holding: Wheaton Precious Metals, Inc. (WPM, $24.90): “Precious Metals Stream Higher Amid Strong Earnings” By: Nicholas Goehring, AIM Student at Marquette University

     Wheaton Precious Metals, Inc.  (WPM, $24.90): “Precious Metals Stream Higher Amid Strong Earnings - Does this Stock Have a Golden Touch?”
    By: Nicholas Goehring, AIM Student at Marquette University

    Disclosure: The AIM Equity Fund currently holds this position. This article was written by myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it and I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. All numbers are presented in USD.


    Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE: WPM) is the world's largest royalty streaming company of precious metals with streams from 20 mines in 10 countries across the Americas and Europe.

    • 2018 Revenues fell 12%, but EPS of $0.96 (7x higher than 2017) beat our estimate of $0.65.

    • After further diversifying their streaming portfolio into palladium and cobalt in 2018, management emphasizes their focus on precious metals over the rest of raw materials.

    • Favorable commodity price movement and higher 2019 production levels contribute a strong streaming outlook for the year to come.

    • WPM to shatters its 52-week high, and it continues to climb higher after announcing earnings last Thursday.

    Key points:

    The streaming outlook remains strong throughout 2019. Silver production was down in 2018 from the end of the San Dimas stream but was in excess of management’s guidance. In 2019, this decrease will be partially offset by growing production in the Penasquito mine. Forecasts for silver this next year should remain around 24.5 million ounces but should be compensated with higher commodity prices. Silver is currently up to $15.62/oz.

    Gold production increased to 373,000 oz in 2018 and is expected to be slightly lower in 2019 at 365,000 oz, primarily due to lower grades and slowdowns in production during the expansions at the Salobo mines, but partially offset by increased production at the San Dimas mine. Gold prices have moved favorably in the first quarter of 2019 to $1318/oz.

    Palladium exceeded expectations in 2018 contributing nearly 15,000 oz, 10,000 oz more than expected. This production is expected to increase to 22,000 oz as it will be the first full year of production form the Stillwater stream that was added to the portfolio back in July of 2018. Palladium prices have also moved significantly higher in the first quarter of 2019 to $1579/oz.

    It is still uncertain on the timing of contribution from the Salobo III expansion, but in the latest earnings call CEO Randy Smallwood held to their original estimate of 2022. He detailed further into the structure of the contract with Vale and how it not only incentivizes the mining company to produce sooner, it also protects Wheaton with a lower disbursement if the project gets delayed into 2023 or 2024. Based on the timing of the completion of the expansion Wheaton could save up to 50% on the gold streaming contract. Once this project does start contributing, it is expected to add ~$200 million of incremental revenues per year. Also, Cobalt production from the Voisey’s Bay is still projected to contribute in mid to late 2021.

    Although Wheaton has further diversified from gold and silver by adding palladium and cobalt streams in the last year, management shielded questions from analysts about further diversification into oil, gas, and other natural resources. They reaffirmed their commitment to remaining a purely precious metals company. Management did indicate that they have some deals in the pipeline in the $100-$300 million range and are planning on finalizing at least one in the next 12 months, but this will likely be a metal currently in their portfolio.

    What has the stock done lately?

    Since we added WPM to the AIM International portfolio in early February, the stock has risen ~15%. Following the strong earnings release last week, the stock rose just over 5%, breaking through its 52-week high of $22.86 and settling near $24. This rapid movement makes the price target of $29.53 more attainable and might need to be adjusted higher later in the year.

    Past Year Performance:

    Wheaton had an incredible fourth quarter bringing year-end production to 373,000 oz of gold, 24 million oz of silver, and 14,600 oz of palladium, exceeding both management guidance and our estimates for the fiscal year. Although gold prices slumped lower to $1,264 per oz in Q4 and lower production than FY17, favorable prices and outstanding of silver and palladium more than compensated for the decline in gold revenues. Even though 2018 revenues were down 11.6% YoY to $794 million, the resolution of the long-standing CRA dispute, no asset impairments as compared to $229 million in 2017, lower depreciation, and interest expenses combined to bring the diluted EPS to $0.96, 7x higher than 2017 EPS.

    Source: FactSet

    My Takeaway:

    Even though production may be slowing in 2019, favorable commodity prices should help contribute to top line growth. We will be watching closely for the addition of new streams in 2019 for continued accelerated growth and earnings. I believe that management continues to provide conservative production estimates, and their rising stock price will make it easier for management to add superior low-cost streams to their portfolio in 2019. WPM is poised for a fantastic 2019, and the price target may need to be adjusted higher later in the year.

    Source: FactSet

    Saturday, March 23, 2019

    Challenging Period in the Equity Markets - AIM Equity Funds Struggle to Match the Benchmark's This Week

    @MarquetteAIM students in the Class of 2020 remain ahead of the benchmarks on a YTD basis; however, this was a challenging week.

    Here's a look at the two AIM Equity Funds performance and the worst performing stocks of the week ---- note that most of them were financial services firms.

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    @MarquetteAIM Students Pitched on Friday, March 22nd at Arcataur Capital Management in Milwaukee

    Four AIM Class of 2020 Students Delivered Their Equity Presentations 
    on Friday, March 22nd at Arcataur Capital Management

    To watch a replay go to the Marquette AIM YouTube Channel

    Nathan Zirpolo pitching Monro at Arcataur Capital Management 

    The team at Arcataur Capital Management 
    The seventh set of spring AIM student equity presentations for the Class of 2020 were presented on Friday, March 22, 2019, at 10:00am in the AIM Room and at Arcataur Capital Management.
    Follow the link below to access the student equity write-ups.  You can also find every write-up since AIM's inception in 2005 here.

    Derek GrossControl4 CorporationCTRLInformation Technology 
    Nathan ZirpoloMonro Inc.MNROConsumer Discretionary
    Alex PenkwitzGlobant SAGLOBInternational Information Technology
    Nicholas ArcoSolar Winds Corp.SWIInformation Technology

    If you are unable to attend in person, you can always view them LIVE or ARCHIED via YouTube HERE.

      The Annual "Ins and Outs of Wall Street" Event at Marquette University Will Be Held on Saturday, April 6th

      Time for the Ins and Outs of Wall Street!

      The Marquette University's annual "Ins and Outs of Wall Street" event is approaching. On Saturday, April 6, several alumni from a variety of industries are expected to return to campus to help Marquette's undergraduate students learn about the finance industry and how to obtain internships and career offers.  

      Additional information about this event is listed below. 

      Please be certain to RSVP by clicking on this link: Ins & Outs RSVP Link 

      Dr. David Krause, AIM program director said, "The Ins and Outs of Wall Street event continues to grow each year. We again expect more than 100 students will attend the Ins and Outs event on Saturday, April 9th - mainly freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The alumni who return to campus are doing our students a huge favor and we are grateful for their contributions. The knowledge gained during the Ins and Outs of Wall Street is a large contributor to the success that our students have achieved in the recent years. I know this will be another outstanding event."   

      Marquette University AIM team won the local CFA Institute Research Challenge and now advances to the Americas Regional in April in NYC

      Marquette University: 
      Winner of Local 2019 CFA Institute Research Challenge in Madison

      Students advance to the next level of the world’s leading investment research competition

      CFA Society Madison announced today that Marquette University – Blue Team has won the local competition of the CFA Institute Research Challenge and now advances to the Americas Regional where it will compete against universities from the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

      The Marquette University - Blue Team consists of Andrea Blomquist, Tommy Borin, Gregory Glaab, Michael Healy, and Stephen Lane.

      The following universities competed with Marquette University at the CFA Society Madison Local Challenge:
      • Carthage College
      • Marquette University – Gold Team
      • UW-Eau Claire
      • UW-Milwaukee

      Michael Healy,  Stephen Lane, Andrea Blomquist, Gregory Glaab, and Tommy Borin

      Each university sent a team of four to five students to participate in the local challenge. 

      The local challenge was the first step of two for a local team to advance towards the global final in New York. The students from Marquette University will now travel to the regionals where they will match their wits, analytical skills and presentation abilities against student teams from the Americas. 

      This year, the Americas Regional competition will be held in New York on April 22-23.   The Global Final will be held on April 24th in New York as well.

      Image result for marquette logoDr. David Krause, who serves as the faculty advisor of the Marquette CFA teams stated, "I'm very proud of the students who are participating in the CFA Challenge. Like past teams, they worked hard and delivered a quality product. This experience and the friendships established will stay with them throughout their careers. I can't say enough good things about the CFA Challenge - it is one of the very best experiential programs in academia. Best of luck to all of the teams in the Americas Challenge and we're pleased to be representing the Madison CFA Society."  

      The students presented their analysis and buy/sell/hold recommendations on Duluth Trading Company.  Their presentation at the Madison Local Final was the culmination of months of research; interviews with company management, competitors, and clients; and presentation training.

      Image result for cfa logo research challenge 

      About the CFA Institute Research Challenge 

      The CFA Institute Research Challenge gathers students, investment industry professionals, publicly traded companies, and corporate sponsors together locally, regionally, and globally for an annual competition. In order to promote best practices in equity research and company analysis, students research, analyze, and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts. Local CFA member societies and other affiliated groups host local level competitions of the Research Challenge in conjunction with the participating universities. 

      The universities assemble teams of three to five business and finance students who work directly with a company in researching and preparing a company analysis. The team’s final presentations are locally evaluated by high-profile panels of heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world’s top firms. The local champions advance to regional competitions for the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and then to the Global Final, which will all take place in the same location this year. Additional information on the Research Challenge is available on the CFA Institute website,

      Image result for cfa society of madisonAbout CFA Society Madison

      CFA Society Madison promotes the highest ethical standards and professional excellence within the local investment community. CFA Society Madison is an association of local investment professionals, consisting of portfolio managers, security analysts, investment advisers, and other financial practitioners, that has served CFA® charterholders and CFA® Program candidates locally since 1995.

      The Mission of CFA Society Madison is to provide our members and the local investment community with educational and networking opportunities while promoting the highest ethical standards by using our resources, expertise, and affiliation with CFA Institute.

      About CFA Institute 
      Image result for cfa institute logo
      CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. 

      The end goal of the CFA is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has more than 150,000 members in 140 countries and territories.  For more information, visit (Bloomberg users can find CFA Institute at 497458Z.)