3Q15 Style Ratings for ETFs & Mutual Funds

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At the beginning of the third quarter of 2015, only the Large Cap Value and Large Cap Blend styles earn an Attractive-or-better rating. Our style ratings are based on the aggregation of our fund ratings for every ETF and mutual fund in each style.

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Ignore the Hype: Splunk Remains Overvalued

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In early 2012, Splunk Inc. burst onto the scene with one of the biggest IPOs of the year. Since then, the stock price has ridden the hype and is up more than 320%. This price increase should raise serious concerns for astute investors.

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Get This Cash Cow at a Discount

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Strong business fundamentals and low valuations are key ingredients in the overall evaluation of investments. This week’s stock pick of the week brings high profitability and a compelling valuation to the table.

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Best Stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average

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Last week, we wrote about the riskiest stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. We thought we’d be remiss to not mention our favorite stocks in the index as well. Not all of the blue chips are created equal, and the following are what we consider to be the most attractive investment opportunities in the Dow at the moment.

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Ranked: Our Top 10 ETFs

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The following is a list of our top 10 ETFs that have over $100 million in assets under management (AUM), and that are not leveraged.

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A Turnaround Years in the Making

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This week’s hot stock has almost been written off by many market pundits. As commonly happens, media coverage tends to overreact to bad news, and those reactions can begin to drown out any positive news.

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The Best Large Cap Value Stocks in the Market

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The Large Cap Value style ranks second out of the 12 styles for the first quarter of 2015 and receives our Neutral rating. The Large Cap Value style as a whole outperformed the Russell 3000 in 2014

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What We’re Reading This Morning — October 8, 2014

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Can Satya Nadella reboot an empire?

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What We’re Reading This Morning — September 15, 2014

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Why have market dips been so shallow of late? (Plus a Barron’s feature)

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What We’re Reading This Morning — September 10, 2014

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What is Microsoft trying to buy for $2 billion?

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Danger Zone: Price to Earnings Ratios

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The vast majority of evidence suggests that P/E ratios are an unreliable way to measure the true value of stocks.

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Do Microsoft Bulls Have A Convincing Case?

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MSFT currently earns our Neutral rating, but if new CEO Satya Nadella can halt the company’s declining return on invested capital (ROIC), the stock’s valuation is cheap enough to make it intriguing.

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10 Wonderful Companies That Are Bad Stocks

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Sometimes, a great company can actually be a risky stock when it gets significantly overvalued.

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Apple’s Declining Advantage is Undeniable

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Apple cannot have pricing power and market share at the same time. No one can for an extended period of time. The problem with AAPL is that it is priced for the company to achieve market share penetration and growth at high prices. The reality is that the quality of Apple products versus competitors is declining. Prices will have to come down just to maintain market share.

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Danger Zone: salesforce.com (CRM)

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There are too many competitors out there for CRM to grow revenue and expand margins simultaneously to the extent that the market valuation already implies. Too much downside risk is in this stock.

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Danger Zone 11/19/13: Netflix (NFLX)

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Netflix (NFLX) is in the Danger Zone this week. The DVD subscription and streaming video service has changed the way people watch movies and TV shows. However, its current valuation is out of touch with reasonable expectations for future cash flows and profitability.

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Danger Zone 9/30/13: Zynga (ZNGA)

The stock has been beat up since its much-hyped IPO in 2011, but even after losing 61% of its value the stock is still too expensive. ZNGA is competing in an immature market where the barriers to entry are almost nonexistent and brand loyalty is a foreign concept.

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Apple Stays Rotten

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The “value” in Apple is an illusion. Astute investors need to look at Apple through the lens of what is a reasonable ROIC in the future.

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Excess Cash – Invested Capital Adjustment

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Most companies hold some cash—or cash equivalents in the form of investments—above this required amount. Companies hold excess cash in order to cushion against economic downturns, prepare for acquisitions, or any number of other reasons. Sometimes, past profits pile up on balance sheets and are a form of excess cash. Excess cash is not needed for the operations of a company. It is removed from our calculation of invested capital.

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Asset Write-Downs – Invested Capital Adjustment

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For debt investors, which GAAP was primarily designed for, write-downs are analytically helpful. They provide a more accurate assessment of the liquidation value of a company’s assets. For equity investors, on the other hand, write-downs are not helpful because they distort the return on invested capital (ROIC) of a company.

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