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The Megastars for 2024

These 20 stocks from the Globe 250 provide the best blend of value and momentum. Those marked with an asterisk are returning members from last year’s team.

Algoma Steel (ASTL) is based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and produces hot and cold rolled steel products. The company’s shares shot up 56 per cent over the past year and trade at nine times forward 12-month earnings estimates. Algoma pays its dividend in U.S. dollars, and offers a relatively modest yield of 2.2 per cent.

Athabasca Oil (ATH) owns thermal and light oil assets in Alberta and makes its home in Calgary. The company’s stock surged 96 per cent over the past year, yet its shares trade at a modest four times trailing earnings and eight times forward 12-month earnings estimates.

Canadian Western Bank (CWB) specializes in serving Canadian businesses and business owners. The bank is headquartered in Edmonton and most of its loans are concentrated in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Its stock trades near 0.8 times book value and it pays a dividend yield of 4.4 per cent, which is well covered by an 11.4 per cent earnings yield.

*Celestica (CLS) offers a range of electronics product manufacturing and related supply-chain services through operations in North America, Europe and Asia. The Toronto-based company’s shares jumped 158 per cent over the past year, but they trade at a relatively modest 11 times forward 12-month earnings estimates.

CES Energy Solutions (CEU) makes its home in Calgary and it provides consumable chemicals to the oil patch. The company happens to be the smallest member of the team this year, with a market capitalization near $840-million. It trades at six times trailing earnings, pays a dividend yield of 2.9 per cent and cut its share count by 5.8 per cent over the past four quarters.

E-L Financial (ELF) is an investment and insurance holding company that controls Empire Life Insurance and owns a 37 per cent interest in shipping company Algoma Central (ALC). E-L Financial is based in Toronto and recently completed a substantial issuer bid to buy back about 2.55 per cent of its shares. It also has a pleasing habit of issuing large special dividends every few years. While the company’s stock is thinly traded, it gets five stars for momentum and value.

EQB (EQB) is headquartered in Toronto and owns Equitable Bank. The company had a good year, with its shares climbing 51 per cent to trade near 1.2 times book value. While the bank offers a relatively modest dividend yield of 1.9 per cent, it increased its quarterly dividend by 21 per cent over the past year.

*Fairfax Financial (FFH) is a property and casualty insurance-focused conglomerate based in Toronto run by chief executive officer Prem Watsa in a manner similar to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A). Fairfax’s shares shot up 52 per cent over the past year on strong book value growth. Nonetheless, the stock still trades near book value and at just six times forward 12-month earnings estimates. Fairfax Financial gets five stars for momentum and value this year.

*Imperial Oil (IMO) is a large integrated oil and gas company based in Calgary that pays a 2.7 per cent yield. The company cut its share count by about 7.3 per cent over the past four quarters and completed a substantial issuer bid in December to repurchase another 3.4 per cent. Imperial is a subsidiary of U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil (XOM), which owns about 69.6 per cent of the company’s stock.

Kinross Gold (K) is a gold miner headquartered in Toronto that has operations in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Chile and Mauritania. The company’s shares are up 44 per cent over the last year and it pays a dividend yield of 2.0 per cent in U.S. dollars.

*Manulife Financial (MFC) provides life insurance and wealth management to individuals and institutions primarily in Asia, Canada and the U.S. The company is based in Toronto and trades near 1.3 times book value while paying a hefty 5.1 per cent dividend yield.

Martinrea International (MRE) is an auto parts maker that makes its home in Vaughan, Ont., and it recently reported a new quarterly sales record, with total sales near $1.4-billion. Its stock trades at a modest six times trailing earnings, five times forward 12-month earnings estimates and 0.7 times book value.

Onex (ONEX) is a private equity company based in Toronto that trades near 0.7 times book value. Income investors might note its tiny dividend yield of 0.4 per cent, but the company made up for it by cutting its share count by 6.3 per cent over the past four quarters. In addition, Onex gets five stars for momentum and value this year.

Parex Resources (PXT) is a large independent oil and gas exploration and production company headquartered in Calgary that conducts operations in Colombia. Parex pays a dividend yield of 6 per cent and trades near three times trailing earnings and five times forward 12-month earnings estimates.

Power (POW) is a large financial conglomerate based in Montreal that focuses on financial services in North America, Europe and Asia. It owns a 68 per cent stake in Great-West Lifeco (GWO) and 62 per cent of IGM Financial (IGM), which also appear in the Globe 250. Power trades near 0.8 times its adjusted net asset value, which includes the quarter-end market value of its publicly traded subsidiaries.

Russel Metals (RUS) is a North American metals distribution and processing company that hails from Mississauga. The company gets five stars for momentum and value this year, and it raised its quarterly dividend per share by 5.3 per cent over the past year to pay a yield of 3.6 per cent.

Sagicor Financial (SFC) is a life and health insurance company with its headquarters in Barbados that operates in the U.S. and the Caribbean. It offers a 5 per cent dividend yield (paid in U.S. dollars) and trades near seven times expected 12-month earnings. Sagicor’s thinly-traded stock is near its 52-week high, which pushed its market capitalization up to $873-million to make it the second-smallest company on the team this year.

Secure Energy Services (SES) is in the waste management and energy infrastructure business and makes its home in Calgary. The company’s shares are up 55 per cent over the past six months and currently offer a 4.4 per cent dividend yield.

*Stelco (STLC) is a steel company based in Hamilton that chalked up huge profits in 2021 and 2022. The gusher of cash helped it slash its share count by 13 per cent over the past four quarters. Stelco trades near seven times forward 12-month earnings estimates and pays a dividend yield of 3.4 per cent – not including a recently issued $3 per share special dividend.

*Stella-Jones (SJ) makes pressure-treated wood products and most of its sales are generated by its utility pole, railway tie and residential lumber businesses. The company is based in Saint-Laurent, Qué., and raised its quarterly dividend per share by 15 per cent over the past year. It pays a modest dividend yield of 1.2 per cent.

Main Article: The Globe 250
Spreadsheet: The Top 250 Value and Momentum Star Rankings [.xls]

First published in the Globe and Mail, December 29, 2023.

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