Investors Should Ask More of Their Management Teams
One of the great distortions caused by the joint fiscal and monetary policy of 2020 and 2021 is that equities and the lowest-rated non-investment grade credits are two of the all too rare places where investors may earn a return. Savers and Fixed Income investors be damned. Many companies are enjoying their stocks trading at all-time highs. Management teams are getting a pass on lackluster operating performance as a result of their stocks trading higher over 2020 and 2021. To this we say “What about opportunity cost?” Consider Roper Technologies (tkr: ROP). ROP shares trade at an all-time high, yet organic revenue declined in the most recent quarter on a Y-O-Y basis (we have been critical of Roper’s M&A strategy). ROP is not alone. Many companies are enjoying record valuations with less than stellar operating performance. Don’t fall for the excuse that a company is victim to its industry which may be suffering from COVID or some other such exogeneous factor. If that’s the case, reduce waste, ensure the core business is strong, and look for opportunities to strengthen the company with smart, strategic partnerships and acquisitions. My advice would be to focus on the former at the present moment until such time as valuations begin to pull back.