The experts’ stock ideas: Q1 review

Alex Cowie

With the March quarter nearly over, we’ve been checking in on the stock picks from our 2017 Outlook survey. First came our readers’ stock ideas (link below). Now we look at the stocks picked by our panel of five experts.

The panel comprised Matthew Kidman of Centennial Asset Management, Chris Stott of Wilson Asset Management, Ben Clark of TMS Capital, Richard Coppleson of Bell Potter, and Steve Johnson of Forager Funds. With nine months to go, it’s too early to be drawing any grand conclusions, but the mean performance across the stocks is +0.9% so far, putting them ahead of the readers’ picks, which are up +0.7%.

Small-cap mining services company, Imdex (IMD), tipped by Christ Stott at Wilson, has had a strong first quarter, up over 16%. The half-year results were good, with a 24% lift in EBITDA on 10% revenue growth for the half, as recently outlined on Livewire by Andrew Smith at Perennial Value in 'Further signs of life in mining services'.

Altium (ALU), a US-based tech company has slipped slightly. Back in January, Ben Rundle from NAOS Asset Management and Chris Stott from Wilson Asset Management were guarded on the stock (Hold, Sell respectively) in Buy Hold Sell: Small caps under pressure. Since then half-year results were fair, but not fair enough for what has been an easily disappointed market. Rudi Filapek-Vandyck summarized broker commentary around the stock in his Reporting Season monitor: “Altium's result beat Credit Suisse and the broker has upgraded to Buy. The result slightly missed Deutsche (Buy) but the broker notes FY revenue growth guidance was strongly reiterated, implying strong second half growth. UBS (Hold) is yet to update. In line on a net basis for now.”

Nasdaq-listed Alphabet (GOOG), nominated by Steve Johnson, has performed well, gaining 7.3% YTD. A recent wire, ‘Modern day disruptors – Risk or opportunity’, from Ned Bell at Bell Asset Management examined the risks and opportunities presented by stocks like Google.

Event Hospitality (EVT) has been up and down. The stock fell 13% on results that Citi and Ords described as ‘terrible’. This week however, the stock surged on no news to bring it nearly square for the year-to-date.

For Centrepoint, I reached out to Matthew Kidman to ask for his current view. He told me: "Centrepoint Alliance (CAF) is the largest independent financial planning group in Australia. With approximately $25 billion of funds under advice, the company has many years of growth ahead offering the best self-managed account product in the market. With a market capitalisation of about $100 million, cash of approximately $30 million and a dividend yield of more than 7 per cent, the stock looks attractive."

The race has only just begun, and there’s time yet for any number of surprises yet. We will check in again at the end of the June quarter to see how our contributors’ calls are faring.

Click here for the original 2017 Outlook video

Click here for the Readers’ picks Q1 review


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