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Bank of Russia to assess Bitcoin holdings volumes as $36B leave banks

The Bank of Russia remains skeptical on crypto despite the Russian president viewing it as a potential unit of account.
The central bank of Russia is trying to evaluate the amount of Bitcoin (BTC) held by local investors amid a massive

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The Bank of Russia remains skeptical on crypto despite the Russian president viewing it as a potential unit of account.

The central bank of Russia is trying to evaluate the amount of Bitcoin (BTC) held by local investors amid a massive amount of money not returning to banks following the pandemic-fueled withdrawals.

According to Elizaveta Danilova, head of the central bank’s financial stability department, the Bank of Russia is polling local cryptocurrency investors to estimate cryptocurrency investment volumes in Russia.

“We need to work both on data and raising public awareness about the risks of such investments, which are backed by nothing,” Danilova said in a Reuters interview published on the Bank of Russia’s official website on Thursday.

The official argued that the cryptocurrency market lacks transparency not only in Russia but also in other jurisdictions, pointing out higher risks of crypto derivatives products like Bitcoin futures or exchange-traded funds. “The challenge is that the market is cross-border. People are able to invest in crypto through foreign intermediaries. Some major foreign exchanges trade cryptocurrency derivatives that carry huge risks,” Danilova stated.

The Bank of Russia’s efforts to analyze local crypto investment volumes come amid Russians not willing to put their money into banks recently. According to Danilova, as much as 2.6 trillion rubles ($36 billion) have not been returned to banks after massive withdrawals in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some existing data proves that cryptocurrency investment has become extremely popular in Russia. According to a survey by Russia’s Association of Forex Dealers, as much as 77% of Russian investors prefer Bitcoin to traditional investment instruments such as gold and forex.

Related: Russia doesn’t plan to follow in China’s footsteps by banning crypto outright, says deputy finance minister

Amid the rising popularity of crypto, the Bank of Russia has urged the government to limit crypto investments by non-accredited investors, reportedly starting a legal initiative to slow down transactions to crypto exchanges to avoid “emotional” purchases of crypto.

Despite the Bank of Russia maintaining a skeptical stance on crypto, Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin work well for transferring funds worldwide and could become a “means of accumulation” one day.

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Spread & Containment

Canada’s Top Renewable & Clean Energy Stocks for December 2021

There’s no questioning the fact that as a population we’re moving towards cleaner, greener forms of energy. Fossil fuels will be a thing of the past, and the world will benefit immensely from it.How long will it take before Canadian renewable companies…

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There's no questioning the fact that as a population we're moving towards cleaner, greener forms of energy. Fossil fuels will be a thing of the past, and the world will benefit immensely from it.

How long will it take before Canadian renewable companies dominate the energy scene? It's difficult to say. But if I were to guess, not long at all. That's why you need to have a look at these Canadian stocks before it's too late.

The renewable energy vs fossil fuel debate is a heated one

The effects of fossil fuels on the climate and climate change in general is an extremely touchy subject, and arguments from both sides tend to pack a sizable punch in terms of support. Plus, much like Canadian gold stocks, fossil fuel companies rely heavily on a commodity and can be quite cyclical.

But all while this is happening, green energy companies here in Canada are quietly amassing large asset bases and production capacities. It's an investment gold mine.

Your best bet as an investor is to funnel out the noise and instead take a position in a strong TSX listed renewable energy stock.

Because it's a matter of when, not if these companies take over as the primary method of energy generation

And while people sit on the sidelines, squabbling over if swapping to renewables is worth it, you can be making boatloads of money off of it.

Don't believe me? These clean energy companies have crushed the returns of the TSX Index.

So if you're new to buying stocks here in Canada, you may want to know what exactly these Canadian renewable energy companies do. Lets go over it.

What exactly do Canadian renewable energy companies do?

Renewable energy is defined as such:

"energy from natural resources that can be naturally replenished within a human lifespan." - Natural Resources Canada

Renewable energy companies provide sources of power that are often considered cleaner and more sustainable including but not limited to:

  • Hydroelectric
  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Biomass
  • Hydrogen

Renewable energy provides nearly 20% of Canada's energy supply, with hydroelectricity accounting for over half of that.

A common misconception with Canadian green energy companies? 

Renewable companies aren't the new kids on the block, despite many thinking so.

In fact, they have been around for quite some time now, and as a result clean energy stocks provide stable and reliable cash flows, much like regulated utility giants Fortis, Canadian Utilities and Emera.

The end result?

Clean energy companies are able to provide strong dividends to go along with upside potential in an ever growing industry.

Let’s take a closer look at four renewable energy companies we think are the cream of the crop here in Canada for 2021.

As requested by many readers, we've also added a solar energy company to the list in this most recent update. Solar stocks in Canada have been around for a while, but have remained relatively unknown due to high costs, and investors are starting to gain interest

What are the best Canadian renewable energy stocks?

4. Canadian Solar Inc (NASDAQ:CSIQ)

One of the primary reasons we've never included a Canadian solar company on this list of renewable energy stocks is the fact that the best of the best trades down south on the NASDAQ.

However, due to increasing demand we figure we'd start talking about Canadian Solar Inc (NASDAQ:CSIQ).

Solar stocks in general have surged as of late, but since its lows in March 2020 Canadian Solar has shot up over 81%.

The stock has dipped significantly from all time highs however as renewable energy companies have gone through a significant correction. But, there is still a bullish attitude.

We think investors, and analysts for that matter, are finally starting to see the potential in the once small cap Canadian (but U.S. traded) company.

Canadian Solar benefits from a fairly low cost of production and has a decent amount of projects planned for the future.

Initially, solar power faced a lot of criticism. Production costs were extremely high, and it wasn't looked at as a permanent solution to dirtier forms of power.

But the fact is, we wouldn't even need to capture one-hundredth of a percent of the energy hitting the earth in a year to be able to scrap every other form of energy generation. And as costs of production come down, it's becoming a more feasible clean energy generation method.

Canadian Solar has been a very frustrating stock for those buying it as a value investment.

But interestingly enough, even with a 81% run up, Canadian Solar is still fairly valued considering the future of solar energy.

Trading at only 0.38 times 2021 expected sales and 14.23 times 2021 expected earnings, valuations are not outrageous. The company has been fairly inconsistent with its growth, which is why the market isn't really willing to pay a high earnings multiple. But again, most of its inconsistencies have been as a result of what we've stated above.

Growth is expected to pick back up in 2022 and 2023, and 2023 expected revenue of $7B USD would mark a 100% increase from 2020 revenue of $3.47B. There is promise in the industry, and at current valuations the company is certainly worth a look.

Keep in mind however, this is the only renewable energy stock on this list that doesn't currently pay a dividend, and we would classify this stock as the highest risk of the bunch as well.

CSIQ 5 year performance vs the NASDAQ:

CSIQ Vs NASDAQ 5 Year

3. Northland Power (TSX:NPI)

Northland Power Logo

Northland Power (TSX:NPI) is a pure-play renewable energy company, and one that has been in business for a long period of time. The company was established in 1987, and operates nearly 2.8 GW of electricity, with potential future capacity in excess of 5 GW.

Northland has witnessed some incredible growth in terms of earnings over the last 3 years with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in excess of 30%. The company has also managed to more than double revenue since 2015.

The bulk of the company's renewable operations are located in Eastern Canada.

In fact, the farthest the company reaches out west are two facilities in Saskatchewan - its Spy Hill facility with 86 MW of production and its North Battleford facility, with 260 MW of production. Both of these facilities generate power by burning natural gas and full contracts are established until 2036 and 2033 respectively.

The company has a total of 27 assets, 2 of which we've already talked about. With 19 facilities in the province, Northland has a high percentage of its assets in Ontario. Quebec has 2 wind farms, while the Netherlands and Germany have one wind farm each, Netherlands being offshore.

The renewable company closed on its acquisition of EBSA back in September of 2019, a Colombian regulated utility company for around $1.05 billion. EBSA serves nearly half a million customers, and its revenue is highly regulated, thus highly reliable. It also provides Northland Power with strong revenue outside of North America.

In terms of performance, Northland Power, at least over the last year and a half, has not disappointed. Much like other Canadian renewable energy stocks, it was hit hard in the correction at the start of 2021. However, it held on better than most and didn't witness the volatility that many small/micro cap renewable companies did.

The company currently has a yield in the high 2% range and a payout ratio in terms of earnings of 104%. This payout ratio looks high, however the dividend is well covered by cash flow at 16.09%.

Northland Power's lack of dividend growth is one of the primary reasons it falls short on this list. Especially considering the company has ample room to grow it.

But, don't let that fool you, this is still a very strong renewable energy stock, one that has actually faced some recent weakness due to seasonal and temporary issues with its windfarms.

NPI.TO 5 year performance vs the TSX:

TSE:NPI vs TSX Index

2. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (TSX:BEP.UN)

Brookfield Renewable Partners

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (TSX:BEP.UN) is another pure-play renewable company and is one of the fastest growing by a landslide. The company is expected to grow earnings at a rate of nearly 40% over the next 5 years.

To add to this, the company is already the fastest growing pure-play renewable energy company in the country with a compound annual growth rate of 10.71%.

The company has over 20,000 MW of capacity and just shy of 6000 facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and South America.

The company's goal is to deliver shareholders annual returns in the 12-15% range. Thus far, it has more than accomplished its objective.

The company's portfolio consists of wind, solar, storage facilities and distributed generation and most importantly, hydroelectric, which makes up over 62% of its portfolio. An interesting note, this is down from the 75% that was noted last time we updated this article, a sign the company is diversifying its asset base.

Back in March of 2020, the company entered an agreement to buy Terraform Energy in an all stock deal. Why are we still mentioning this year later? Well, this purchase made Brookfield Renewable Partners the biggest pure-play renewable energy company in the world.

The company pays a generous dividend, north of 3%, and the dividend accounts for only 80%~ of funds from operations.

Management has stated they want its dividend to grow by 5-9% annually over the next 5 years. This would be an increase over its past results, so it will be interesting to see how the company performs.

Renewable companies faced a significant correction in 2021, which will be evident in the performance chart below. In our eyes, all this did was make Brookfield Renewables more attractive.

In our last update of this piece, we had stated that valuation was one of the main reasons it was number 3 on this list. Well, we've bumped it up to number 2 now due to its recent correction.

The company also set up a Canadian corporation, BEPC, to be the "equivalent" to the partnership BEP.UN. This is primarily a tax consideration, one that you'll need to figure out on your own which one is best for you.

Brookfield Renewables 5 year performance vs the TSX:

TSE:BEP.UN Vs TSX Index

1. Algonquin Power (TSX:AQN)

Algonquin

Algonquin Power & Utilities (TSX:AQN) is a diversified generation, transmission and distribution utility company. The company provides rate regulated natural gas, water, and electricity generation, transmission, and distribution utility services to over 1 million customers in the United States and Canada.

The company is engaged in the generation of clean energy through its portfolio of long term contracted wind, solar and hydroelectric generating facilities representing more than 1,600 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity.

There are a few things we really like about the company, but there's one thing that stands out with Algonquin, and that is its growth rates.

Algonquin is one of the fastest growing utility companies on the TSX Index. In fact, the company grew earnings by 33% in 2020, and prior to a very unfortunate one-off event in Texas that ended up costing the company $55 million, analysts expected strong growth in 2021 as well.

They've changed their tune now, and overall it will be a flat or even shrinking year for Algonquin. But, it's important to understand that this is very temporary, and we'd expect the company to get back to growth in 2022. In fact, the company expects to inject $9.4B USD into capital projects through 2025, adding more than 1.6 GW of capacity.

2021 aside, you're not going to find many utility companies on the index that provide this kind of growth, especially one that offers a rock solid dividend to go along with it.

Algonquin, at the time of writing, yields north of 4%. In terms of earnings this works out to be a payout ratio of around 40%.

With a dividend growth streak of 10 years, the company has proven to be capable of consistently raising its dividend. In fact, Algonquin is one of the few Canadian Dividend Aristocrats that raised the dividend during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Algonquin is a top 5 holding in one of Canada's biggest utility ETFs, and pays its dividend in US dollars, providing an even more attractive proposition to Canadian investors.

AQN.TO 5 year performance vs the TSX

TSE:AQN vs TSX Index


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Economics

10 of the Best Canadian Stocks to Buy in December & Hold Forever

If you’re looking for some of the best Canadian stocks to buy in 2021, you’ve definitely come to the right article. And, the fact that you’re looking for the top Canadian stocks shows you believe there is value right here at home. Canadian stocks and…

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If you're looking for some of the best Canadian stocks to buy in 2021, you've definitely come to the right article.

And, the fact that you're looking for the top Canadian stocks shows you believe there is value right here at home.

Canadian stocks and the Toronto Stock Exchange in general have had a poor reputation in terms of returns. Many investors looking to learn how to buy stocks in Canada skip the Canadian markets and head down south for more growth.

But, there's money to be made when it comes to Canadian stocks and the Canadian stock market, especially in the environment we're heading into, that being a re-opening of the economy and rising interest rates.

We know how to identify the best stocks in Canada

In fact, I've achieved annualized returns of over 22.76% over the last five years since I swapped my strategy to specifically target Canadian growth stocks.

Proof? Here's a snapshot of my returns pulled directly from Qtrade. Which by the way, is in my opinion the best brokerage platform in the country (you can read my Qtrade review here.)

But don't fret, the 10 top Canadian stocks listed below aren't slouches, and they have some potential to post outsized returns.

So what are the best stocks to buy in Canada and hold forever?

10. Agnico Eagle Mines (TSE:AEM)

Agnico Eagle Mines

It's been a long time since a Canadian stock in the material sector has been featured so prominently on this list of top stocks.

With the possibility of inflation coming and interest rates increasing, Canadian investors would be crazy to leave their portfolios without any exposure to gold.

As we can see in recent times, gold is making a comeback, and the rising price of gold miner shares is providing some stability to Canadian's portfolios.

There are a few things I look for in particular when I'm looking at a long term gold play. The first one is mining jurisdictions.

Are there opportunities to make more with smaller, more speculative mining companies? Absolutely.

In fact, we relayed both Leagold Mining and Semafo to Premium members back in 2019, and both companies were scooped up via acquisitions, resulting in some nice returns.

However, for a long term play we want gold companies that mine in safe jurisdictions, where there is relatively little risk of political or regulatory interference.

Agnico Eagle Mines (TSE:AEM) fits that bill. The company primarily operates in Canada, Finland, and Mexico and owns 50% of the Canadian Malartic mine.

In 2020, the company produced 1.74 million ounces of gold, which at the current gold price of $1800/oz~ would equal $3.12 billion USD in revenue.

Agnico has issued guidance that gold production will increase by 300,000 ounces in 2021.

The company is the second largest gold producer in the country with a market cap of $17.6 billion, behind only Barrick Gold.

The company used to be a single mine producer, but has expanded at a rapid rate since the financial crisis of 2008, adding more than 5 mines to its portfolio.

Additionally, through further developments the company plans for a 25% increase in production by 2022.

Agnico has also just achieved Canadian Dividend Aristocrat status, with a 5 year dividend growth streak after its most recent increase in the fall.

Over the past 5 years, Agnico has grown its dividend at a pace of 34.34% annually, and its most recent increase more than doubled this rate as it pumped its dividend up by 75%.

Its yield is small at 1.93%, but with significant cash flow generation in the company's future, I expect its dividend growth rates to increase.

Agnico Eagle Mines 5 year performance vs TSX

Agnico Eagle Mines TSE:AEM 5 year results

9. Pollard Banknote (TSE:PBL)

Pollard

The lottery is a great business, but unfortunately the government benefits the most.

Pollard Banknote (TSE:PBL) provides investors one way to participate in the lottery business, while also getting a piece of the growing “iLottery” space.

Pollard Banknote is the number 2 producer of instant lottery tickets in the world. This is the core of Pollard’s business, and it’s a very good business.

The business has high barriers to entry as there are regulations about importing lottery tickets, so Pollard is likely to hold on to its competitive position.

Pollard has grown its instant lottery ticket revenues at a 9% compound annual growth rate since 2012.

The most exciting part about Pollard is its 50% ownership in NeoPollard Interactive.

This is a 50-50 joint venture with NeoGames that is focused solely on the iLottery space, giving states the ability to operate lotteries on the internet.

This is a very new industry, but it is growing rapidly and NeoPollard Interactive is the most successful operator in the industry.

Just 8 states offer instant lotteries on the internet, and NeoPollard operates three of them. And the iLotteries in NeoPollard states have much better higher penetration, indicating that NeoPollard is better than its competitors.

We think it’s inevitable at this point that eventually every jurisdiction that runs lotteries now will add iLottery and given NeoPollard’s success so far, I expect NeoPollard is going to win a lot of business as states and countries legalize it.

The growth in Pollard’s base instant lottery ticket printing business, and its new iLottery business, will ensure the company keeps up its excellent growth.

Over the last 5 years, Pollard has grown revenue 13.7% annually, and it has grown its bottom line even faster, with earnings per share growth of 28.8% per year.

Growth was slower in 2020 because of COVID-19 lockdowns, but analysts expect growth to accelerate again in 2021. Analysts are estimating that Pollard’s revenue will grow 13.3% and earnings per share to grow 7.3%.

But that should just be the beginning. If iLottery takes off like we think it will, Pollard is going to grow into a much larger company.

Even though iLottery is just starting, Pollard Banknote has already proven to be a fantastic investment for shareholders. A $10,000 investment in Polalrd when it went public in 2005 would be worth over $91,400 today.

Over the last year the stock price is up 261% as investors are catching on to the potential of its iLottery business.

Pollard pays a modest dividend, with the yield currently 0.29%. But Pollard does look like it will be growing its dividend.

The company raised its dividend by 33% in 2019, and as earnings grow and the iLottery business matures, I expect the dividend will grow a lot as well.

Bottom line is there is an opportunity to invest in Pollard at the start of a revolutionary growth story, all while Pollard’s core business continues to produce profits.

Pollard Banknote 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:PBL Returns vs TSX

8. TFI International (TSE:TFII)

TFI International

TFI International (TSE:TFII) is a stock we covered extensively at Stocktrades Premium, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the company has more than tripled off those lows.

TFI International is a trucking and logistics company. The company operates in four segments: Package and Courier, Less-Than-Truckload, Truckload, and Logistics. Along with 31,000 employees, it has over 500 terminals across North America.

The company has operations in the United States and Canada, and following its recent acquisition of UPS’s Less-Than-Truckload freight business, the bulk of its revenue, almost 75%, will come from the US.

So why were we extremely bullish on TFI during the pandemic over at Stocktrades Premium, and why are we still bullish on them despite the huge price increase in 2020 and 2021?

While mass panic selling was occurring, TFI International's stock was not immune to the sell off. The stock quickly plummeted in March, hitting the $24 range. Fast-forward a year and the stock is currently trading 365% above those levels.

With the strong financial position the company was in, it went on the hunt for struggling companies, and ended up purchasing Gusgo Transport, Fleetway Transport, CCC Transportation, APPS Transport, Keith Hall & Sons, assets of CT Transportation, the dry bulk assets of Grammer Logistics, and assets of MCT Transportation, DLS Worldwide, and the aforementioned UPS Freight business.

Yes, it’s a lot, CEO Alain Bedard was very busy putting capital to work. TFI took advantage of the situation and bought assets at discounted rates, highlighting the ability of its management.

Although the company has struggled to increase its top line over the last 5 years (5.6% annual revenue growth) its become much more efficient and as a result its bottom line has improved. Earnings over the last 5 years have increased at a 21.5% clip annually.

The UPS Freight acquisition is transformational for the company. As mentioned, TFI International will now be more weighted towards business in the US, as opposed to the past when most revenue came from in Canada.

When TFI International purchased UPS Freight, it was roughly breakeven, with margins around 1%. Management has guided they think they will improve margins to 10%, which will provide a lot of earnings growth to go along with the revenue growth. Analysts estimate earnings per share will grow 21.8% in 2021 and 25.2% in 2022.

This growth in profits should allow TFI International to continue growing its dividend. The company has a 9 year dividend growth streak and has raised dividends at a 10.3% clip annually over the last 5 years after the most recent 11.5% increase in the fourth quarter.

It doesn't yield much, hovering around 1% or even sometimes sub 1%, but with the dividend making up only 24.5% of trailing earnings, it should have plenty of room to grow.

The company used to be #3 on this list, but we've reduced it due to a huge run up in price. However, it's still a great long term option for Canadians.

TFI International 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:TFII 5 Year Returns

7. Shopify (TSE:SHOP)

Shopify Logo

A list of top Canadian stocks wouldn't be complete without the top performing Canadian stock in recent memory, Shopify (TSE:SHOP).

Shopify was lower on this list, however due to a dip in price, it's now becoming fairly attractive again.

Shopify offers an e-commerce platform primarily to small and medium businesses globally. They operate in two primary segments, subscription solutions and merchant solutions.

Subscription solutions allow merchants to conduct business through Shopify's tools, while merchant solutions help businesses become more efficient via Shopify Payments, Shopify Shipping, and Shopify Capital.

Since the company's IPO in 2015, Shopify has returned over 4100% to investors. The company has been labeled "overvalued" by analysts and investors throughout its history, but despite this it simply fails to disappoint.

Over the last 5 years, Shopify has achieved revenue growth of 70.1% annually. This type of revenue growth from a company the size of Shopify is extremely rare.

Now, the company is seeing slowing growth as over the last 3 years revenue growth sits around 65.1% annually, but this is still a company that is growing at a rapid pace.

Make no mistake however, the company is expensive. You're paying a premium for continued growth even after the recent pullback.

Overall, the company is expensive, and could face significant volatility moving forward in terms of price, especially if the company were to post a large earnings miss. It will need to keep up with expected growth rates in order to maintain its share price, and this isn't an investment for the defensive investor.

If you don't have a quick trigger finger in terms of selling stocks, in my opinion there will be few investors who are disappointed 5-7 years down the road if they bought Shopify even at these levels.

The company is still growing rapidly and has a large cash balance to reinvest in its business.

The stock was one of the first recommendations over at Stocktrades Premium, and members who bought when we highlighted the stock are now sitting on returns in excess of 950%.

Shopify 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:SHOP 5 Year Returns

6. Goeasy Ltd (TSE:GSY)

Goeasy Ltd

Over the last half decade, there's been somewhat of an emergence in a particular niche industry in the financial sector, and that is alternative lenders. One of the best Canadian stocks in that niche? Goeasy Ltd (TSE:GSY).

Goeasy Ltd is a small-cap Canadian stock that provides non-prime leasing and lending services through its easyhome and easyfinancial divisions.

The company has issued $5 billion in loans since its inception.

It also continually works to increase Canadian borrower's credit scores, with 60% of customers increasing their credit scores less than 12 months after borrowing.

The company provides loans for a wide variety of products including furniture, electronics, and appliances. Goeasy has become an attractive alternative for Canadians due to strict lending restrictions placed on Canada's major financial institutions.

A lot of investors view Goeasy's business model as predatory. If something doesn't adhere to your principles, don't invest in it.

Much like tobacco or alcohol, some investors aren't willing to support companies with such products. But you can't deny that what Goeasy is doing is working, and it's working well.

Since 2001, Goeasy has grown revenue at a 12.8% compound annual growth rate. In fact, the company has never had a year since 2001 where revenue was flat or lower than the year before.

If we look towards recent years, from 2015 to 2020 the company doubled revenue, confirming the fact that alternative lenders are catching on in a big way.

Even more impressive is the company's earnings, as net income since 2001 has grown at a pace of 31% annually. To grow net income at a compound annual rate of more than 30% over 2 decades just highlights how strong this company has been.

That's exactly why a $10,000 investment in Goeasy Ltd in 2001 would be worth over $1 million today.

The company is also growing its dividend at one of the fastest rates in the country. The company has a 39.8% 5 year annual dividend growth rate and has raised dividends for 5 consecutive years, including the most recent increase of 47%!

Overall if you're looking for a growth play in the financial sector, I don't think there is a better option than Goeasy Ltd. 

Despite a global pandemic, the stock has still provided excellent returns to current investors, and has provided significant returns to Premium Members when we highlighted it in 2018.

We used to have the stock higher on this list, but its run up in price has caused us to drop it down a bit. But make no mistake about it, this is one of the best stocks on the TSX Index today.

Goeasy ltd 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:GSY Vs TSX Index

5. Telus (TSE:T)

Telus dividend

There is limited 5G plays here in Canada. We're often forced to head down south to the American markets if we want exposure to high-growth 5G opportunities.

While Telus (TSE:T) doesn't exactly boast world beating future potential, the stock is the best telecom stock to own in the country today in terms of both 5G exposure and overall growth.

Telus is part of the Big 3 telecom companies here in Canada, and is the stock you want to buy if you want exposure to a more pure-play telecom company.

Unlike Rogers Communications and BCE, Telus doesn't have a media division and instead has invested in business models that drive higher margins like telehealth and security.

This should allow Telus to not only grow its dividend, which is the best dividend in the telecom sector, but should also allow it to drive top and bottom line growth.

The last 5 years have not been favorable to Canadian telecoms in terms of growth. In fact, Telus has only grown revenue by 3.7% annually over the last 5 years and earnings have remained relatively flat.

However, the environment has completely changed for these companies. Telecom infrastructure is difficult to construct and extremely costly.

On one hand, this is a huge benefit to a company like Telus. Unless they're willing to share towers, it creates a barrier to entry that is almost impenetrable. 

On the other hand however, it makes development of new infrastructure extremely expensive, and telecom companies often carry a large amount of debt to do so.

When interest rates are high, we can expect these companies to struggle. However, now that we are in a low interest rate environment, this bodes well.

Even if rates were to increase, they'd likely still be well below levels we've witnessed in quite some time.

Analysts are predicting double digit revenue growth for the company in 2021, which can be compared to shrinking revenue growth expected from both Rogers Communications (-3.4%) and BCE Inc (-0.8%).

Telus 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:T Vs TSX Returns

4. Parkland Fuels (TSE:PKI)

parkland fuel dividend

Parkland Fuels (TSE:PKI) is one of Canada's largest and one of North America's fastest independent marketers of fuel and petroleum products. Parkland serves motorists, businesses, consumers, as well as wholesalers across Canada and the United States.

The company’s growth is primarily driven through acquisitions, evident by its purchase of Chevron Canada’s downstream fuel business making them the sole distributor for Chevron branded fuels.

Another positive from the company's acquisition heavy strategy is the fact that a variety of brands allows it to distribute its products to a wide range of markets across North America.

Parkland has had some impressive growth rates over the last 5 years, averaging revenue growth of 20.9% annually. Over that same timeframe, the company has also grown earnings at clip of 20.3%.

Considering the company pays a healthy dividend, I think it would be a mistake for Canadians not to capitalize on the stock still being down from pre-COVID levels. This is a company that could benefit significantly from the inevitable reopening.

The company is a Canadian Dividend Aristocrat having raised dividends for 7 straight years and pays its dividend on a monthly basis, making it even more attractive to Canadian investors wanting a steady income stream.

Analysts expect marginally shrinking revenue in 2021, coming in at -2.7%. This is a far cry from the company's historical averages of 20% annual growth, but we're ok with this.

As long as the company can maintain its dividend and continue to be in a strong position to grow moving forward, we'll be patient and let it recover from this unprecedented pandemic.

Parkland Fuel 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:PKI Vs TSX 5 Year Returns

3. Brookfield Renewable Partners (TSE:BEP-UN)

Brookfield Renewable Partners

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (TSE:BEP.UN) is a pure-play renewable energy company here in Canada, and has been one of the fastest growing companies in the sector by a longshot over the last half decade.

Brookfield Renewables has over 21,000 MW of capacity and nearly 5300 facilities across four continents.

Over the long run, Brookfield looks to give shareholders annual returns of 12-15%. 

This is a lofty goal, but one that the company has easily achieved over the last half decade.

In fact, over the last 5 years, Brookfield Renewables share price is up roughly 200%. And this is including its huge correction as of late as renewables have taken a hit.

Its acquisition of Terraform Energy back in March of 2020 made it the largest pure-play renewable energy company in the world, and if you're looking for a company to give you exposure to the renewable sector, Brookfield is in our opinion, best in class.

The shift away from fossil fuels and into renewable forms of energy generation is a shift that is still very much in its infancy, but is one we feel is inevitable.

We're not saying oil is going to disappear overnight. We're not that extreme. In fact, we still feel that there will be many uses for oil extending well into the future. Energy generation may just not be one of them.

In terms of dividend, the company currently yields 3.58% and the dividend is well covered by funds from operations. Brookfield has stated it plans to grow the dividend anywhere from 5-9% annually over the next 5 years, which is actually an uptick in dividend growth compared to its previous 5 years.

Make no mistake about it though, Brookfield, due to its size and popularity, is one of the most expensive renewable energy plays in the country right now.

If you're looking to take a position, it's important you understand that there is likely to be significant swings in the company's share price. The pullback since the start of the year is probably a great time to buy this renewable energy leader.

Brookfield Renewable 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:BEP.UN.TO

2. Nuvei (TSE:NVEI)

Nuvei Logo

Nuvei (TSE:NVEI) continues to move up on this list of top Canadian stocks to buy, and is one of Canada’s newest IPOs.

The company went public in August of 2020 and its share price has performed quite well.

As of writing, Nuvei’s share price is up by ~128% in just over a year of trading. Not a bad return for those who got in early.

Is the jump in price justified? When compared to the valuations that peers commanded, we felt that the company’s IPO pricing did not do the company justice.

As we discussed with Premium members, there was a price disconnect which offered an attractive risk to reward opportunity. Prior to listing, Nuvei was the largest privately held fin-tech company in the country. The company provides payment-processing technology for merchants.

Their suite of products serves both online and in-store transactions and counts Stripe, Paypal, Fiserv, Lightspeed POS, Global Payments, Shift4 Payments and WorldPay among its competitors.

On a trailing twelve-month basis, Nuvei generated US$339M in revenue and US$43B in gross transaction value (GTV). Nuvei grew revenue by 64% in fiscal 2019 and over 50% in 2020.

Since going public, the company has attracted plenty of attention. There are 13 analysts covering the company – 11 rate it a “buy” or “outperform” and 2 rate it a “hold”.

Although the company is not yet profitable, the expectation is for the company to turn a profit next year. They also expect 29% revenue growth in 2021.

It is important to note, that newly listed companies carry additional risk. They have less public history for investors to look at to asses the business model.

Can it meet lofty estimates?

New listings are particularly vulnerable to performance as compared to expectations. Given this, IPOs such as Nuvei are most appropriate for investors with a higher risk profile.

Performance of Nuvei Vs TSX since its IPO

TSE:NVEI Vs TSX Returns

1. Royal Bank of Canada (TSE:RY)

Royal Bank dividend

Considering this list is primarily made for growth stocks, it did feel somewhat weird including The Royal Bank of Canada (TSE:RY).

However, this Canadian bank stock is simply too good right now to not be included on a list of the best stocks to buy in Canada.

Royal Bank is a global enterprise with operations in Canada, the United States, and as we'll see the importance of later, 40 other countries.

It is a well diversified bank, with personal, commercial, wealth management, insurance, corporate, and capital market services.

The company is Canada's most valuable brand, and has been for the last half decade. RBC currently sits at Canada's second largest company in terms of market capitalization, falling just behind another stock on this list, Shopify.

On average over the last 5 years the company has grown revenue and earnings by mid single digits. Not bad for the largest company in the country.

With a dividend yield in the 3.5% range and an 8 year dividend growth streak, it's one of the best dividend payers in the country.

The Canadian banking industry is one of the strongest investment sectors in the world, highlighted by the fact that no Big 5 financial institution cut their dividend during the 2008 financial crisis, and no Big 5 institution has done so yet during the COVID-19 era.

Regulatory agencies asked the banks to preserve liquidity and not raise the dividend in 2020 as a preventative measure to both clients and shareholders. However, It’s expected the banks will be allowed to raise their dividends again this year.

One question many are asking was why did Royal Bank fare better than most during the pandemic? Well, this is primarily due to the fact it has the most global exposure out of any of the other banks.

This allowed it to be exposed to a multitude of economies at different stages of recovery. Compare this to a bank like Toronto Dominion, who almost has all of its revenue exclusively in Canada and the United States.

Moving forward, in my opinion the Royal Bank is simply a must have in the majority of Canadian's investment portfolios.

Royal Bank 5 year performance vs TSX

TSE:RY 5 Year Returns vs TSX

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Spread & Containment

Silver Trends 2021: Demand Grows as Supply Shrinks

Click here to read the previous silver trends article.Fueled by 2020’s demand surge, 2021 saw silver hold above US$20 per ounce for the first time since 2014.But while investment positivity kept the white metal from sinking below US$21, broader market…

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Click here to read the previous silver trends article.

Fueled by 2020’s demand surge, 2021 saw silver hold above US$20 per ounce for the first time since 2014.

But while investment positivity kept the white metal from sinking below US$21, broader market uncertainty and concern over industrial demand kept silver rangebound below US$28 for the year.

The value of silver held up for the first six months of 2021, with the white metal rallying to a 10 month high of US$27.92 on June 21. In the months since, the silver price has consolidated, trending lower month after month until reaching a year-to-date low of US$21.52 at the end of September.


Values edged higher throughout October and November, taking gold's sister metal to US$22.82 to end November.

Silver trends 2021: Investment demand a prime Q1 driver


2021 began with silver holding in the US$26 range, before trading activity spurred by an online social media outlet pushed the metal to an eight year high in mid-February.


silver's 10 year price performance

As web-savvy investors squeezed GameStop (NYSE:GME) short sellers, members of the Reddit forum WallStreetBets set their sights on silver. WallStreetBets members have since distanced themselves from the metal, but the "silver squeeze" quickly spread across platforms like Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), pulling in more participants.

The silver price soared to an eight year high of US$28.55 on February 1 before slipping to US$26.10 four days later.

“It’s really showing us that the power of social media is immense,” Gareth Soloway, chief market strategist at InTheMoneyStocks.com, told the Investing News Network (INN) at the time.

“When you have 3 or 4 million people, even if they’re just putting US$1,000 or US$2,000 in a stock, it can make it a meteoric rise in these stocks.”

As a result, silver exchange-traded product (ETP) demand soared to an all-time high during the first quarter, when holdings topped 1.2 billion ounces, marking a six year high in segment demand.

By the end of the three month period, silver had settled into the US$24.90 range.

Silver trends 2021: Duality aids in growth


While the Reddit excitement may have waned early in the year, growth in silver investment demand continued to be a trend over the ensuing months.

Silver’s relation to gold and ties to the base metals sector helped it rally to a year-to-date high in Q2.

“After touching a four-month low of US$23.78 at the end of March, silver began to recover, reaching a three-month high of US$28.90 by mid-May, as support emerged from a weaker dollar and from the slide in yields over much of this period,” the annual "Precious Metals Investment Focus" report from Metals Focus reads.

The global economic recovery aided the white metal’s price growth during the quarter as well, with industrial demand continuing to recover following 2020’s disruptions.

“Silver was also boosted by the ongoing robust rally in base metal prices as the global economy came back to life. As sentiment turned positive for silver, COMEX positioning and ETP holdings also improved with the net managed money long jumping by 75 percent in April,” the precious metals report states.

By mid-June, silver had reached US$27.92, up 12 percent from the beginning of April. The mid-year uptick was largely facilitated by the US Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone as it stated that interest rates would likely rise twice before 2023. A week later, values fell below US$26.50 and continued to decline.

At the end of the Q2, the silver price had registered its only quarterly gain for the year, adding 2.17 percent from April's US$24.92 level to reach US$25.46.


silver's H1 price performance

Silver trends 2021: Rising demand leads to supply deficit


Following a summer of uncertainty and silver market doldrums, the white metal sank to a year-to-date low of US$21.52 at the end of September, a 15.93 percent decline from January. However, the September consolidation served as a launching point for the metal's Q4 performance, with prices trending higher throughout October.

Widespread inflation, rising demand and the Fed's announcement that pandemic aid would be ending were all tailwinds for the silver price. By mid-November, the silver ETP space had added 87 million ounces for the year, growing total holdings to 1.15 billion ounces.

Despite global supply disruptions and a chip shortage, industrial demand also increased. The green energy sector, where silver is used in photovoltaics and other segments, contributed significantly to demand. Metals Focus anticipates that industrial demand will have climbed 8 percent by the year’s end to 524 million ounces.

Physical demand is also on course to register a six year high, with bar and coin purchases climbing 32 percent year-over-year to 263 million ounces (Moz). Much of that increase has come from more buying in the US and India.

“Building on solid gains last year, US coin and bar demand is expected to surpass 100 Moz for the first time since 2015,” the Silver Institute's November "Interim Silver Market Review" states. “Growth began with the social media buying frenzy before spreading to more traditional silver investors.”

The report adds, “Indian demand reflects improved sentiment towards the silver price and a recovering economy. Overall, physical investment in India is forecast to surge almost three-fold this year, having collapsed in 2020.”

The upward trend across all demand segments throughout 2021 has prompted Metals Focus and the Silver Institute to forecast that total demand will reach 1.29 billion ounces for the first time since 2015.

On the flip side, the supply segment has steadily contracted since February, even though mined silver production rose 6 percent year-on-year to 829 Moz.

“This recovery is largely the result of most mines being able to operate at full production rates throughout the year following enforced stoppages in 2020 due to the pandemic,” reads the Silver Institute's review.

The largest increases in output in terms of country will come out of Peru, Mexico and Bolivia, where 2020 production was heavily hampered due to the pandemic.

“Meanwhile, strong silver and by-product metal prices this year have improved profitability in the silver mining sector despite rising input costs,” the report notes.

“Average margins in the industry are currently at their highest since 2012 and only 5 percent of global primary silver mines were operating with costs above the silver price in the first half of the year.”

Significantly increased demand paired with modest growth in production will result in a 7 Moz physical deficit in 2021, the first deficit in six years.

Silver is the only precious metal projected to be in deficit this year. However, even with its tightening market and positive demand fundamentals, the white metal has underperformed compared to gold and base metals.

Silver trends 2021: Metal undervalued as year ends


Although silver outperformed gold in 2020, the gold-to-silver ratio has remained above 73 since August and moved as high as 80.19 at the end of September.

During a December 7 precious metals presentation, Neil Meader, the London-based director of gold and silver for Metals Focus, explained why silver prices have lagged gold.

“I think in many ways, it's because it's lacking the defensive underpinning that gold has. It's quite common to see gold as a safe haven, and silver's slightly more speculative,” he said. “So, we might need a rally where silver's higher beta really kicks in to see a substantial shift in that gold-to-silver ratio.”

The silver price rose to a 45 day high at the end of November, touching US$22.87. In the weeks since, the metal has faced headwinds from the spreading Omicron variant, which has weighed on the commodities space.

The end-of-year slump is likely to be short-lived, as bargain hunting could lead to an increase in demand for the already stretched market.


Watch Marcus discuss how market manipulation prevented silver’s 2021 growth.

Aside from those factors, some industry participants have pointed to market manipulation as the reason silver hasn't managed to break higher in 2021.

Chris Marcus, founder of Arcadia Economics, has vehemently spoken out against silver manipulation, which he believes is keeping the white metal suppressed. Nevertheless, he sees an end in sight and said he would be “stunned” to see the white metal continue still lingering in the US$25 range at the end of 2022.

“If you see silver above US$30 for a couple of days — say you see silver above US$30 on a Thursday and it goes up to US$31 or US$32 on Friday, and on Monday it's still in the US$30s. I would imagine at that point it may as well be US$50," he told INN in a conversation toward the end of 2021.

"Once (silver) goes through that break point, you'll know it when you see it, and I don't think it's going to take that much longer for that to occur.”

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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