Markets

Macquarie's end of financial year strategy: Why weak momentum stocks are set for a rebound

Wed 26 Jun 24, 2:00pm (AEST)
marketsasx exchange
Source: Shutterstock

Stocks in article

bsl
MktCap:
-
wor
MktCap:
-
sgm
MktCap:
-
ccp
MktCap:
-
kar
MktCap:
-
anz
MktCap:
-
cba
MktCap:
-
wes
MktCap:
-
wbc
MktCap:
-
wtc
MktCap:
-
rmd
MktCap:
-
bsl
MktCap:
-
sq2
MktCap:
-
crn
MktCap:
-
iph
MktCap:
-
deg
MktCap:
-
aia
MktCap:
-
spk
MktCap:
-

Share article

Key Points

  • Macquarie suggests buying stocks with weak momentum and high volatility at financial year-end, as they tend to underperform in June but recover in July
  • "Masked decliners" like major banks have outperformed due to P/E expansion rather than earnings growth, potentially making them overvalued
  • Companies with high New Zealand exposure and those with significant second-half earnings skews face increased risks of downgrades due to economic pressures

Macquarie says the end of the financial year presents an opportunity to buy stocks with weak momentum and get out of stocks with poor earnings growth.

In his strategy 'Trading the Financial Year-End", Macquarie's Head of Global Quantitative Research John Conomos, outlines a two-step strategy that seeks to benefit from predictable seasonal effects around year-end.

June has the tendency to see stock with low momentum and high risk underperform as investors seek to minimalise capital gains tax liabilities, according to Conomos. While stocks with good momentum and low volatility tend to outperform as they may be kept for year-end window dressing.

Shifting to July, these trends have the tendency to reverse as "investors adopt a longer-term perspective and become more risk-tolerant."

2024-06-06 10 58 19-Window
Source: Macquarie

Weak Momentum Picks

Bluescope Steel (ASX: BSL) is highlighted as the only ASX 50 stock that has an Outperform rating but fell at least 5% in FY24. The stock is currently down 3.3% in the last twelve months as volatile economic conditions have led to weaker steel prices. "We still expect earnings recovery from this juncture - recovering steel prices (and spreads) should support this," Macquarie analysts said in a note dated 15 April.

From the Mid Cap 50, Worley (ASX: WOR) is an Outperform rated stock that fell 6.8% in the past twelve months, with above average volatility. The company has faced a number of setbacks including challenged project economics (e.g. hydrogen), upcoming UK and US elections creating uncertainty around future government funding and a flat backlog over the two months to 31 February 2024.

A few volatile ASX 100-200 that fell in FY24 and currently rated outperform include Sims (ASX: SGM), Credit Corp (ASX: CCP) and Karoon Energy (ASX: KAR)

Masked decliners

The report coined the term "masked decliners" for stocks that outperformed in FY24 but the gains were driven solely by price-to-earnings expansion. In other words, the price went up but earnings (or earnings expectations) did not.

This group includes:

"In relative terms, Banks are the second most expensive sector (after Tech) with PE 2.6 standard deviations above average," the report said.

Hidden growth

This refers to a handful of stocks where underperformance has masked an improvement in FY25 earnings expectations. The ASX 100 stocks rated Outperform for this criteria includes:

In terms of small caps, the Outperform-rated hidden growth stocks includes:

New Zealand exposure, H2 skew

"Companies with high NZ exposure have had a high number of negative earnings announcements since the start of May," the report said.

"Downgrades highlight the cost-of-living pressures as a cause of weaker consumer sentiment and spending. A weakening jobs market and concerns about house price have also weighed on the consumer."

The stocks with 60-100% of revenue exposure to New Zealand include:

A few stocks with moderate NZ revenue exposure that could potentially be negative impacted included Harvey Norman (36% of revenue from NZ), oOh Media (12.9%) and ARB Corp (10%).

Macquarie is also fairly concerned about companies with a high second half earnings skew, accompanied by consensus earnings downgrades. The top suspects were:

 

Written By

Kerry Sun

Content Strategist

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. He is an avid swing trader, focused on technical set ups and breakouts. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a big UFC fan, loves poker and training Muay Thai. Connect via LinkedIn or email.

Get the latest news and insights direct to your inbox

Subscribe free