The stock market is plunging, with the S&P 500 down by more than 18% from its all-time highs reached earlier this year. While this can certainly seem scary, Industry Focus: Financials host Jason Moser and Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP are here to help make sense of things.
In this episode, we talk about the market turbulence, why bank stocks have been especially hard-hit, two areas of real estate that could have some good long-term investment ideas, and more. Jason and Matt also dive into the recent news involving JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon's health scare and why the bank will be fine no matter who is at the helm -- although we certainly wish Mr. Dimon a quick and speedy recovery. Plus, we'll dive into another installment of "What's the Last Stock You Bought and Why," in which you'll hear why Matt has put some money into Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (NYSE:SKT) and Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE:RHP) in the midst of the market volatility.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on March 9, 2020.
Jason Moser: It's Monday, March 9th. I'm your host Jason Moser, and on today's Financials show, well, we've got a busy show for you today, folks. We've got the latest on the current state of the markets and what it all means. We're going to dig into some real estate today. We'll look at the recent news regarding JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon. We've got more of the last stocks you bought and why.
Joining me to try to piece this all together, a Certified Financial Planner Matt Frankel. Matt, how is everything going?
Matt Frankel: Eventful. [laughs]
Frankel: [laughs] That's a good way to put it, eventful. Well, hey, speaking of eventful, let's just start off with what is on the top of everyone's mind right now, and that is the current state of affairs in the market. Because we could see clearly last night that it was going to be a tough day. I mean, the futures were telling the story. And it was kind of hard to imagine that the circuit breaker wouldn't be triggered this morning just based on all of the pessimism and news flow that we saw coming out last night. You know there was time for that news to compound, that emotions to run wild and you know here we are today, the market down just over 1,500 points, the Dow down over just 1,500 points as of this taping right now.
And it's for a number of reasons. Matt, we've been talking about coronavirus here for the past month, it feels like. And those concerns are real, they're understandable. But now we've got another global concern in regard to oil and energy markets. In particular, there seems to be a dispute at the table between Russia and Saudi Arabia, two very important parties in the flow of oil around the world. And that gets us to where we are today.
I guess, what I want to ask you first, Matt, is just when you went to bed last night seeing that news, when you wake up this morning and you see what's going on in the market, where is your mind at right now? How are you dealing with what's going on?
Frankel: I mean, it's obviously stressful to watch, but it's interesting that this is 11 years to the day since the market bottomed after the financial crisis. March 9, 2009 were the lows, so kind of ironic in a way. But it's kind of a bloodbath all across the board, which is kind of rare recently. You know, usually one sector is doing OK. And even if, like, utilities or real estate are doing fine, even if the rest are getting crushed, things like that, but it's pretty much across the board right now.
And from a long-term perspective, this is the type of market you want to be in, but it's one thing to say you're OK with 20% crashes in the stock market. Now, we're actually in one, so it's really important to kind of keep your eye on the ball, not make any sudden rash moves and find great stocks you like and start building positions a little at a time. It could get worse from here, but this is -- in a lot of the stocks I'm watching -- is looking like a pretty attractive entry point.
Moser: Yeah, it does feel like some opportunities are coming from all of this. But your point, I think, is a really good one in that it's very -- we can sit there and tell you to take it easy, don't worry, things will get better. Saying that is easy; processing it and accepting it and putting into practice is another thing entirely. And sometimes, it really does take just going through episodes like these to be able to learn how to cope with what's going on and understand the nature of the market and understand the nature that things do bounce back. I mean, we don't know when that will happen, but clearly there is a long track record of history on our side that tells us that things will get better in time.
One thing I was thinking about when I was talking about this with Chris Hill earlier today on MarketFoolery, and it struck me, you know, for the longest time we've been dealing here with the concerns over the coronavirus and the economic impact that comes from that. There will be a real -- I mean, there already is -- there's real impact coming from that. This issue with energy prices is another real impact that is going to play out on economic growth.
And I started going back to that old saying that "bad things come in threes," right. Have you ever heard of that? So then it starts making me wonder, what's the next shoe to drop here? Because maybe there's something else, maybe there's something else going on or something else to happen.
And one of the things I think about is just the fact that while we're at 50-year low-unemployment rate, which is great, you know, the glass half-empty guy in me can't help but think, "You know what, well, that just means that it can only get worse, Matt. That means unemployment is going up at some point."
Frankel: Well, I could make a good case that the third thing is interest rates right now. Interest rates, if you're watching, I mean, being that this is the Financials show, I watch the treasury yields pretty closely.
Moser: Nerd! [laughs]
Frankel: [laughs] The 10-year hit, I think, it was below 0.4% on the 10-year.
Moser: Which is insane!
Frankel: Yeah. A couple of months ago it was about 2%. So this is one-fifth [20%] of what it was yielding a few months ago -- by far a record low. And it's crushing banks. Banks make money in a bunch of different ways. [laughs] It's not a long-enough show, I could explain how a bank makes its money.
Moser: But most of their money they make from lending out. Banks make the gist of their money just by lending it out and making money on those loans.
Frankel: Right. They pay depositors one interest rate; they charge another one when you borrow money, and the difference is their profit. Well, you can't really lower deposit interest rates past zero. I mean, in theory you could, but then who would put their money in your bank? So there's only so much room to kind of lower your cost of capital, whereas lending rates can go down indefinitely, which they kind of are right now. So that's why you're seeing banks just kind of get hammered.
I mentioned there's some opportunities to watch, and just to name some of our favorite ones, Wells Fargo is finally looking really appealing. It's trading at a 70% discount to its book value. I'll ask Jason a little trivia question right here. When do you think the last time Wells Fargo was trading below its book value?
Moser: I'd have to believe that was at some point back during the financial crisis or shortly thereafter. I feel like that would be the logical guess, but then I feel like you're getting ready to tell me I'm wrong.
Frankel: No, it dipped below book value briefly during the financial crisis, and that was the only time in the past, I think, 20 years. Even after the fake accounts were revealed, it was at 1.2 times book value.
Moser: Well, I was just going to bring that up, like, that is pretty telling, because even when you have a spate of bad news, like we've seen recently with Wells Fargo, that are clearly cultural issues and with signs at least there could be some ongoing problems within the company, that the market would still give it that kind of credit versus what we went through in the financial crisis. I mean, let's dig into this bank's issue for a few minutes, because we like to look at situations like this -- you know, we like to look at episodes in stock market history like this and try to think, "Okay, well, there are areas of the market where you probably don't want to be right now and that you probably don't want to try to maybe take a flier thinking things will get better. And there are areas that are depressed for obvious reasons, but represent really excellent longer-term opportunities."
And so, you look at energy, for example. I mean, that seems like trying to catch a falling knife right now. I mean, I don't know that I'd be interested in investing really in energy companies even in the best of times, but right now it's anybody's guess as to exactly how this is going to play out.
I don't know that I would actually say the same thing about banks. We talked about this on the show here for the last year-and-a-half. With this low-interest-rate environment, banks are just really having a difficult time making money, but that's OK, they're just biding their time. The healthy banks are figuring out ways to keep their heads above water and manage it. It looks like, interest-rate wise, it probably will get worse for them before it gets better.
We've got a Fed meeting coming up on the 18th, and I think everybody is pricing in another big rate cut here. Regardless of whether you think that's going to help the cause or not, it's going to hurt the cause in the near term for banks, but I don't know that necessarily makes me want to run for the hills away from banks. I'm starting to think [that] banks are looking too cheap to pass up.
Frankel: Like you mentioned, this is a very real problem. The banks are going to take a profit hit in the short term. And just to put a number on what you said about the Fed, the market is right now pricing in about a two-thirds chance of three rate cuts at 75 basis-point rate cut, and about one-third probability that they're just going to cut rates to zero immediately in the March meeting, so ... and for the first time ever, I think, as far as I know, the market is pricing in, a little later down the year, a real chance of negative interest rates from the Fed. So yeah, that's kind of pretty crazy.
So it's going to be a tough environment. We thought it was tough for banks to make money when the Federal Funds rate was at 2%. [laughs] Now, when it's going to be zero again or maybe even worse, it's going to be a tough environment for banks to make money. But one, as I mentioned, this isn't the only way banks make money. Most of them have investment banking divisions, they get trading revenue, things like that. Most of them have wealth management divisions, which I'm sure their phones are ringing off the hook from their clients wanting to know what's going on right now.
But you know, banks have other ways of making money, they're in no danger of -- the big banks, anyway, are in no danger of being insolvent. They have to pass those stress tests every year that prepare them for a scenario that's a whole lot worse than what we're seeing right now to make sure that they'd be OK.
And remember, also, that most banks are buying back stock, kind of, hand over fist right now. And these lower share prices actually kind of help in that regard.
Moser: So let me ask you this: Do you feel like -- I mean, we talked a lot about consolidation in the banking industry and how we felt like. I think that was one of your predictions, one of your trends for 2020, I think, was more consolidation in the space. But do times like these, it seems like to me this may be [the] start [of] some of those conversations in boardrooms a little bit sooner rather than later -- perhaps some smaller banks looking at ways to partner up, perhaps some consolidation. We might see some more deals here in the near future as some of these smaller banks try to figure out ways to bolster their balance sheets and their market share in order to cope with what clearly is going to be a little bit of a difficult time to come.
Frankel: Yeah. And I mean, not to claim victory, but we've already seen Morgan Stanley buy E*Trade this year.
Moser: That's OK, claim the victory while you can, baby. [laughs]
Frankel: [laughs] And we're only two months in it, and that's a pretty major deal, I'd say. But banks typically only get acquired by other banks. Companies that are not banks usually don't want to be banks for regulatory reasons. This is why, for example, Berkshire Hathaway hasn't acquired any banks in their entirety -- they prefer to invest in the stocks.
But the other side of that is that another bank would have to be able to acquire them at an attractive price and come up with the capital to do it, whether it's stock or cash or whatever. But no, I still think we're going to see a little more consolidation this year. I don't know if any of the big banks are going to get together, but you could definitely see some of the mid-size players get taken out by their big brothers in there.
Moser: Well, speaking of interest rates, let's talk a little bit about real estate, because the two go hand in hand. Clearly, with the interest rate environment today, it's a tremendous time to be a homeowner, to be a borrower. I was telling Chris earlier, I couldn't believe it, but at a 4.375% 30-year fixed rate that we have on our home that we got three years ago, I'm actually speaking to our lender now about refinancing that to a new loan because rates are just -- I mean, they're falling through the floor.
But when we look at real estate markets, in particular, retail and hotels, they're getting hit hard for myriad reasons, of course. But this is exactly what you guys are studying day in and day out over in Millionacres. What are some of the things that you all are talking about right now in regard to real estate -- in particular, those markets in retail and hotels?
Frankel: Well, generally, real estate, as a whole, holds up better than the overall market in down times. And we are seeing that. Right now, the real estate sector, as a whole, is down about 13% from its highs. The S&P is down about 18%. So on a whole, we're seeing what we expect.
But there's big, big discrepancies within the space. Just, kind of, like we're seeing in the overall stock market, any type of business that depends on people's willingness to go somewhere, whether that's traveling, going to the store, whatever, is getting crushed. This is why the airlines and cruise lines are getting destroyed right now. So hotels or just hospitality REITs, in general, especially those focused on group business, are really getting destroyed right now because you're seeing cancellations across the board.
I know, kind of, close to home, The Fool had to cancel an event recently. I think most of the people at HQ are working from home right now. And Jason is in the building because he's not afraid of coronavirus.
Moser: Not at all. Coronavirus better be working on a vaccination to get to me, Matt.
Frankel: [laughs] But out of an abundance of caution, people are canceling large events, which, to be honest -- probably the best way to contain this disease and prevent it from really getting out on a large scale is to prevent people from being in large-scale atmospheres.
Moser: Yeah, that was the Millionacres event you were talking about in California that you all just canceled, right?
Frankel: Right. I've actually, still in my life, I've never been to California, and that was going to be my first time.
Moser: [laughs] Austin is back there shaking his head behind the glass. I mean, he had tickets for opening day. Man, this didn't work out for you buddy, I'm sorry.
Frankel: [laughs] There have been a lot of cancellations. The South by Southwest conference was canceled. That shocked me.
Moser: Yeah. And the interesting thing there, it canceled with no reports of any outbreak or reports of infection there on the ground in Austin. That really was a preventative measure. But I think, that generally speaking, it was probably the right decision. It seems like it was pretty well received by the people working there.
Frankel: Yeah, I agree. And if you remember the Shoptalk conference in Vegas that I covered for us last year, it's been moved to September. So yeah, these big group events are just -- a lot of hotels don't get the bulk of their business from people traveling on vacation, it's business travel. And you're seeing all that really, kind of, get killed.
And retail. If you want to avoid crowds, are you going to go to a busy shopping mall? Probably not. So you're seeing -- Simon Property is the biggest mall REIT and it's one of my favorites, and it's trading for an obscenely low valuation right now. So a lot of good bargains in those sectors. And just be sure to look for the companies that have the financial ability to make it through the tough times, because not all mall operators do this.
This couldn't have come at a worse time for retail stocks. They're already getting crushed by the e-commerce transition and this is, it's like if you broke your leg and on the way to the hospital somebody punched you in the face is, kind of, what's happening in the retail space right now.
Moser: [laughs] Man, that paints a picture, right. That's salt on the wound right there. Yeah, to your point -- any market where they rely on generating traffic, physical traffic, that's just going to be a really tough one. I think restaurants are another great example there. It's just going to be very difficult -- you can't make up for that traffic. And you can only entice people so much to come out. Oftentimes they just say, "Listen, it's not worth it to me, I don't want to deal with it."
So let's talk a little more specifically about a company in the real estate space that you like here, one you wrote about recently on Fool.com here, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. This is a stock that you're actually feeling pretty good about in this real estate space, the retail real estate space. What qualities does Tanger have that you like?
Frankel: Well Tanger, first of all. [laughs]
Moser: Oh, Tanger, I'm sorry, excuse me. [laughs]
Frankel: [laughs] Sorry. But it's one of the riskier plays that I like, in the sense that it's a form of retail that should be just fine over time. Jason, you've been to the Carolina Coast many times. You've seen all the outlet malls here. There's definitely an experiential component to that. You can't replicate that online, in other words. My mother makes trips to Myrtle Beach all the time just to go to the outlets.
So it's an e-commerce-resistant type of real estate, but it's getting crushed by retail because the companies that operate outlets also tend to have full-price businesses that are getting crushed, too. And you know, some of them are going bankrupt, they're leaving some vacancies, things like that.
Tanger is the biggest pure-play outlet REIT, meaning that they're only focused on outlet space. It's a pretty young industry -- the outlet industry has really only blown up in the past decade or two. A lot of room for growth. I think the stock pays something like a 13% dividend at the current price. They've raised it every year since their 1993 IPO. It's well covered. But there are a lot of unanswered questions, especially now with the virus scare. If you're worried about a virus, you're less likely to go to the outlets, even if you really want to bargain.
So it's an interesting play on retail that a lot of people think of as a very e-commerce-prone type, just because of the companies who lease space in outlets, but that form of retail is doing pretty well, people go to the outlets.
Moser: It's hard to pass up a good deal. And you made a point there. I didn't realize that Tanger had been -- so 1993, and they've raised their dividend annually every year since that IPO in '93. That puts them closer than not to becoming a Dividend Aristocrat, which we know is 25 consecutive years of dividend growth. That puts Tanger right up there close to that. Do you think, maybe, that's a priority of theirs? Do you feel like maybe even in a tough time like this, even with a yield like that today that management is thinking, "You know what, guys, even if it's just a $0.01 we got to grow this thing every year, just to make sure we get that Dividend Aristocrat status." Is that something they value, do you think?
Frankel: Oh, sure. They absolutely do not want to cut that unless they have to. I mean, you know, push comes to shove -- they're going to make the more responsible decision if they have to cut it, but they leave a lot of wiggle room in their earnings to cover the dividend. Like I said, it's well covered. I think it's in the high-yield Dividend Aristocrats index right now, which I think the threshold for that is 20 years, so it's been in there for some time now.
And it's just a great dividend payer -- it's a well-run company. I think the founder still runs it -- Steven Tanger, which is where the name comes from, he's still in charge of the company. And it's a lot of room to grow. Outlets are not that big outside of a few East Coast coastal markets and big tourist destinations like Las Vegas, there's a bunch of outlets. But in a lot of markets, outlets really don't have a big share of the retail space. So this isn't like you're seeing consolidation in brick-and-mortar retail because of e-commerce. This isn't that; this is a market that still has room to grow.
And outlets are destinations, they're doing a really good job of making destinations out of them that people want to go to. It's a shopping experience you can't replicate online. So I think it's one worth watching.
Moser: And for our listeners, again, what's the ticker there for Tanger?
Frankel: It is SKT.
Moser: Alright. Good deal. Okay, Matt, we wanted to touch on a news item here that came out late last week. On Thursday, March 5th, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon went in for an emergency heart procedure after feeling chest pains. Now he's expected to make a full recovery. In the interim, Co-Presidents Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith will run the show as Mr. Dimon recuperates. So first and foremost, we wish Mr. Dimon well on his recovery.
But Matt, this also brings up a bigger question for not only a bank that we really like here on the show, but a leader that we like a lot, as well. It feels like this is a non-issue and that Mr. Dimon will be back at the helm in no time, but there's going to be a point in time where he's not. He's going to move on, do other things. I mean, there's going to be new leadership at the helm at some point or another. And I think that Jamie Dimon has done a lot in his life, but one of the things he's done, I think he's given us, as investors, the confidence that -- I mean, he's kind of the smartest guy in the room.
I mean, when you have someone in the banking industry testifying on Capitol Hill, you want it to be him. He is the guy that really goes in there and educates all of those others, asking the questions. And you know, something like this happens, you start thinking about a world where it's someone else sitting in that chair.
I wanted to see if you had any takeaways, No. 1, on his absence from the company and what that could mean. But No. 2, you know, if we're looking at this space and we're thinking, one day we got to rely on someone else. Who is that man or that woman in the room that's instilling the confidence that Jamie Dimon instills in us today?
Frankel: Oh, man, that's a tough one. So first of all, Jamie Dimon, his track record speaks for himself. He's the only big bank CEO who was the CEO before the financial crisis and still is today. All the other banks have had, in some cases, multiple turnovers since then.
Having said that, JPMorgan is such a well-run company right now, and not just because they have the rest of the management team, that I think they'll be fine long term no matter who's in charge. Jamie Dimon's got to put the right framework in place, which is kind of what a great leader does. I mean, think of Warren Buffett -- a great leader doesn't need to be there if they've done their job correctly. So I kind of think of it that way.
It's still the best-in-breed of the big bank stocks by a significant margin. And if I had to name another person in the industry who I would think could step up in terms of being the public face of the banking industry in the way Jamie Dimon has, I'd say it might be Brian Moynihan from Bank of America or even Buffett himself. If you don't remember, when he took a stake in Salomon and they made him part of the company, he was testifying and things like that. So he's been looked at as an authority on banking in the past, too, and I can't see that changing.
Moser: Yeah. I think those are all good calls there. And hopefully, it sounds like it's going to be a non-issue for now, but certainly a question always worth deliberating. Leadership matters and things happen that you just can't foresee. But again, our thoughts go out to Jamie Dimon and wish him well in his recovery.
Okay, Matt, we're going to jump into another segment here. This seems very apropos given the day, but the last stock you bought and why? We love getting feedback from our listeners on the show, and we also love when our listeners tell us about the stocks that they're buying. And we got a few emails here recently. We'll go ahead and open up.
We got an email from Rich. And Rich says:
The last stock I bought was NextEra Energy, ticker NEE, because it's the world's largest producer of wind and solar energy. In an age of energy consciousness, renewables will have a lot of impact. Additionally, with passive collection and an energy source that will last millions of years. I wish I would have invested here sooner.
Well, good luck with that one, Rich, sounds interesting.
We got an email from Joseph. Joseph says, "My latest stock purchase was Freshpet. Ticker FRPT. A Foolish recommendation to begin a position in the growing "be great to your pet" space."
Joseph, I can get behind that 100% as the father/owner of three dogs. I got to say, you want to be good to them. And pets, there's nothing like them.
We got an email from David Moskovitz. David says, "The last stock I bought was Virgin Galactic. Ticker SPCE. For a portfolio I started my 1 1/2-year-old son."
Hey, David, before we go on. Just nice work there... 1 1/2-year-old son, setting a portfolio up for him, that's great. You're a great father.
I don't remember which episode host this was, I think, Jason Moser was hosting, but another TMF follower wrote in to say that this was the last stock here or she bought and I loved the idea. I'm hoping little Gabby will be able to look at this, 20 years down the line and be excited that his old man bought him some ownership in the first publicly traded space travel company and to see how it's grown.
And David, I'd tell you, I love space, the whole idea. Certainly, Virgin Galactic is one of the few companies out there right now that we can invest in. It seems a little bit hyped up right now, given the company didn't really make any money, but there are a lot of different ways that they can go with it, and that's certainly one I'm going to keep my eye on, as well.
And then we got an email from Jay. Jay says:
I just opened a position in Appian for a few reasons. Ticker APPN. First, I've been following the stock since Tom first recommended it, and I'm impressed with the business and the CEO. They also recently expanded their business with the acquisition of a robotic process automation company. My employer has purchased a few RPA devices and it's easy to see the value proposition for businesses. And I believe there is a long runway for this side of the business.
Well, Jay, we hope that Appian works out for you, and definitely a very popular recommendation in our Foolish universe.
Before we wrap things up here, Matt, I think that you've got one or two stocks to report here for the last stock you bought and why, as well, right?
Frankel: I do. Last week I bought, I mentioned retail and the hospitality REITs as opportunities, and I bought one of each. I bought Tanger, which is the one I just mentioned, which I already owned, but I added to my position a little bit. And I bought a company called Ryman Hospitality Properties. If you're not familiar with that.
Moser: Is that Ryman, like in Tennessee?
Frankel: Yes, they own the Ryman Auditorium in Tennessee. They have the Grand Ole Opry. And most notably, the bulk of their revenue comes from the Gaylord hotel chain. They used to be called Gaylord Hospitality, I believe, before they were a REIT. The Gaylord in the National Harbor is one of their big ones. It's right near you.
Moser: Well, yeah, there had been a lot of classic widespread panic shows coming out of Ryman auditorium, so I'm very familiar with that one. I may have to take a look at that one, just for that connection alone there, Matt.
But I think that's going to wrap it up for us today. Folks, listen, it's bad today, it could very well get worse, but please stick with us and understand that things will get better. This is just part of the deal in investing -- you take the good with the bad. And while today, maybe, seems a little bit bad, you know, there's a little light at the end of the tunnel. Like Matt's been saying, it does sound like there are some opportunities opening up here, so keep your eyes on that, develop a watchlist.
And if you've got a portfolio of 15, 20, or 30 names in there, build a watchlist of companies you already own and find those positions that you want to add to. Because, Matt, like Peter Lynch said, usually the best stock to buy is one that you already own.
I'd tell you, the longer I've been investing, the more that rings true for me. I don't know about you?
Frankel: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. Most of what I buy is adding to positions I already have. Ryman was a new one, but I'd say the last, like, five or six stocks I bought were all additions.
Moser: Alright. Well, we'll leave it there. Matt, thanks so much for joining us this week and we will see you next week for sure, alright?
Moser: Okay, that's going to do it for us this week, folks. Remember you can always reach out to us on Twitter @MFIndustryFocus, drop us an email if you like,at IndustryFocus@fool.com. Let us know what's going on, tell us how you're handling this market volatility. Tell us the last stock you bought or just drop a line to say "Hi." We always love when people say "Hi."
As always, people on the program may have interests in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear.
Thanks to Austin Morgan for his constant, constant reassurance behind the glass. For Matt Frankel, I'm Jason Moser, thanks for listening and we'll see you next week.