Inflation Fears and Stock Market News

Despite increased fears about inflation, the S&P 500 hits a new all-time high. Chewy (NYSE:CHWY), RH (NYSE:RH), and Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL) all post better first-quarter results than Wall Street was expecting. Dave & Buster’s (NASDAQ:PLAY) pops, while Casey’s General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY) drops. Monday.com (NASDAQ:MNDY) makes its public debut, and Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) shows encouraging growth as it gets ready for a new CEO. In this episode of Motley Fool Money, Motley Fool analysts Jason Moser and Ron Gross analyze those stories and share why Masimo (NASDAQ:MASI) and Accenture (NYSE:ACN) are on their radar. 

Plus, best-selling author and Nobel Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman shares insights from his new book, Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment.

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 June 11, 2021.

Chris Hill: We’ve got the latest headlines from Wall Street. Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is our guest and, as always, we’ve got a couple of stocks on our radar. But we begin with the market in general, the S&P 500 hit a new all time high this week. This comes amid growing concerns about inflation, and yet, Ron Gross, to borrow from Taylor Swift, investors are shaking off those inflation fears. But should they?

Ron Gross: I think a little bit of concern is warranted. Prices are clearly higher from food to cars, to energy, real estate. Some of this is transitory as the economy reopens. But the question is, will all that stimulus money that was pumped into the economy plus the fed’s quantitative easing programs lead to more sustained inflation? Supply chain problems, labor shortage have added to the increase in prices we’re seeing now. Again, it’s cars and it’s even your burrito at Chipotle. It’s very widespread and I do think some higher prices are here for a while. Are we looking at a repeat of the 1970s? I don’t think so. I certainly don’t hope so. But Deutsche Bank, a bit of an outlier here, thinks perhaps so, inflation is more likely to persist in their opinion. It’s going to lead to a crisis in the years ahead. But again, they are the outlier. The conventional wisdom is that a lot of this is transitory. 

One other problem to keep an eye on, wages are not keeping up with inflation. We definitely should watch that, but I am glad to see the Fed’s recent announcement that it will begin to taper its quantitative easing program, it’s bond buying program in August or September. It’s important to start unwinding some of that stimulus. It’ll be interesting to watch if the fed eases up or changes their minds and their willingness to tolerate inflation that is higher than 2%, which was previously their line in the sand.

Hill: But have you seen anything so far that makes you think, you know what? Maybe I shouldn’t be buying stocks right now.

Gross: No, primarily because stocks are a pretty good place to be even in an inflationary environment. Certainly there are specific sectors that will benefit more than others, commodities, banks, industrials, energy. But just in general as prices are rising, stocks are a pretty OK place to be.

Hill: Let’s move on to some earnings. Chewy’s first quarter results were better than Wall Street was expecting, but the goodness was quickly overshadowed when the pets products retailer warned about supply chain issues and shares of Chewy down more than 5% on Friday, Jason?

Jason Moser: Well, speaking of inflation and supply chain issues. It’s not just semiconductors, Chris. Yeah, I think Chewy represents a very powerful combination here of not only growing the customer base, but growing wallets as well. You want to be aware of these types of opportunities and it seems that Chewy is really becoming. What I mean by this is, over the last two years, the company’s increased their active customer base by about 75%. That means a large part of their customer base is still very much in the beginning stages of that relationship. For context why that matters, Chewy customers historically spend over $ 400 with the business in their second year compared to approximately 700 in their fifth year and almost $ 900 in their ninth year. It’s something worth keeping in mind and given the nature of their market that they pursue in pets, there is some durability there I think, but when we look at the actual quarter itself, really strong results. They added 4.7 million net active customers up to 31.6%. Ended the quarter now with just under 20 million active customers. If you look at sales, net sales were up 32% from a year ago to $ 2.14 billion. Autoship continues to gain a little bit more of that share. Those sales were up 34.4%. Autoship now represents almost 70% of total sales for this business and customers continue to spend more as well. Hey, bonus, positive net income, Chris, not even adjusted, just a positive net income and they’re raising full year 2021 net sales guidance. That’s going to be about 25% top-line growth there for the year. A lot of things to really like. I wouldn’t read too much into the markets trepidation here. It seems like this business is really executing.

Hill: Huge first quarter results from RH, the home furnishings retailer, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, had profits and revenue higher than expected. They raised guidance for the full fiscal year and shares of RH up more than 10% as we run. You’ve really got to tip your hat to what they are doing.

Gross: A firing on all cylinders report, if I ever seen one, Chris. Let’s not forget they are anniversarying some pretty weak pandemic numbers. But still this is pretty exciting and we’ve talked about the performance of the stock before over the last five years up more than 2,500% as they really transform their business and this quarter is no exception. The net revenue is up 78%, adjusted gross margin up 550 basis points, operating margins up 1,200 basis points as 1.2% and now standing at 22.6% operating margins for specialty furniture retailers is pretty darn impressive. Adjusted net income of 375%. The CEO pointed out several unique things about their business model that’s been allowing them to put up these results and then I buy into them, I think they make sense. It’s not a very seasonal inventory business. They have similar inventory throughout the year. Limited fashion risk, their modeling, their designs don’t change yearly or quarterly. It’s more on a multiyear basis. They’ve got a very impressive membership model that they moved to several years ago. Some, including me, were a little skeptical about it. It’s worked out really nicely and there is now a luxury brand right up there with some of the higher brands that you would recognize. That’s really accruing to the bottom line. They increase their guidance, as you say, revenue growth in fiscal ’21 expected to be 25%-30% versus a prior outlook of 15%-20%. They’re growing. They see accelerating growth in fiscal ’22 and beyond. They’re launching the new digital portal. They’re expanding internationally. They think they can be at $ 20 billion to $ 25 billion global brand in their current form and that’s up from where we are now at the $ 3 billion business. So perhaps some really strong growth runways ahead.

Hill: Marvell Technology is not in the superhero business. They are in the semiconductor business and business appears to be good these days. Shares up more than 5% this week after first quarter profits came in higher than expected. Jason, the stock is close to an all time high. How good is it going at Marvell these days?

Moser: Well, this is a really attractive way for folks to invest in the 5G opportunity. If you hold onto these shares long enough, Chris, you may feel like a superhero. With that said, you could be forgiven if this company was off of your radar over the last five or so years because the top-line really hasn’t gone anywhere as we have seen so much saturation in the mobile market. But R&D as a percentage of revenues average about 35% annually since 2016 for these guys. It’s because they’ve been investing in just this very 5G opportunity and it’s starting to pay off. The management is now targeting 10%-15% top-line growth over the next several years thanks to key growth drivers and 5G Cloud automotive. You look at the numbers, net revenue for the quarter $ 832 million was up 20% from a year ago. Gross margins look strong at 64.3% and if you look at that revenue growth of 20% it was 17% organically if you exclude the recent Infi acquisition that they just closed on. I think that’s going to be a good one that will expand their capabilities here. But the business itself is really divided into two primary segments and networking, which grew 21% from a year ago. Storage revenue, which grew 17% from a year ago. Infi really gives them more exposure on that storage and data center side. 

Management did note a pause in China’s 5G investments. There is some exposure there, but that exposure is decreasing. This is a company that’s diversifying its revenue stream geographically speaking and customer wise as well just to put some numbers around that. They traditionally have relied on Western Digital, Toshiba, and Seagate as primary customers. That was about 45% of total revenue just a couple of years ago. Now, those numbers are down considerably below 30%. All in all, I think this is a company that’s made a lot of investments, really excited to see what they’ve got in store for the next decade.

Hill: Coming up, we’ve got retail restaurants and a hot IPO. If you’re an investor, you’re right where you should be. You’re listening to Motley Fool Money

Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. Chris Hill here with Jason Moser and Ron Gross. Wall Street was expecting Dave and Buster’s to report a loss in the first quarter but the restaurant and entertainment chain surprised the analysts with an actual profit Ron, [laughs] shares of Dave and Buster’s up 7% this week.

Gross: Yeah. Back to pre-pandemic levels up 50% year to date, which just brings them back to pre-pandemic. This report was not a great report but it was one that was moving in the right direction, that’s not bad. They began the fiscal first-quarter with 76% of their 141 stores opened. Almost all of their restaurants, the stores are open now. Most stores were opened during the quarter under reduced hours and capacity limitations. This is nothing new to the COVID story obviously. Revenue was up 66% but again, obviously anniversarying pandemic level revenue. They’ve provided us with comparisons to 2019 which a lot of retailers, a lot of restaurants have been doing, I appreciate that. If we compare it, the Q1 of 2019 revenue was actually down 27%. Again, much more of a true picture there than a 66% increase. 

Overall, comparable store sales declined 35% when you compare it to the first quarter of 2019, so it’s just very important to get a good picture of what’s going on there. But as you said, net income totaled $ 20 million. That’s compared to about $ 40 million in 2019. Again down but still profitable ended the quarter with only $ 20 million in cash, not a great balance sheet there but they do have $ 340 million of liquidity available to them. I’d like to see the balance sheet a little bit stronger there. Their guidance was pretty good. Business recovery momentum has continued through the first five weeks of the second quarter. Again, on the right track, moving in the right direction.

Hill: Monday.com, the work management software company, made its public debut on Thursday. The stock was priced at $ 155 and finished the day up a little bit more than 20%. Jason, I feel like monday.com and their investment bankers really hit the sweet spot for IPOs. It was up a decent amount but not so much that they left a lot of money on the table.

Moser: That’s what you like to see. I agree, totally. I can see the potential in a business like this for sure. It’s not one where I feel it all compelled to get it on the ground floor though I think it’s worthwhile for investors just to be patient and learn about this one. The business itself they say they democratize the power of software so that organizations can easily build software applications and work management tools that fit their needs. They call this work OS. I would assume it’s just a work operating system. It’s a building block. It’s no code and low code building blocks to help companies build essentially bespoke software for what they need. The value proposition seems to be that the workplaces tend to shape themselves based on pre-packaged software that they are given and monday.com is ultimately trying to let the workplace shape the software based on what it needs. That’s great. I think that makes sense to a degree but there’s a lot of software out there today. To me, one of the bigger challenges in any company is having the hands of the few inside the company building solutions for the many. Because people work differently and that seems like it’s only going to become more of the case now. But the company is doing something right, they’ve closed 130,000 customers, very proud of their culture as matter, they say that’s why they win. I would hope they can maintain that culture, the risk that you run there as companies get bigger, culture changes. But all-in-all, interesting business and nice to see the day had such an uneventful introduction to the public markets.

Hill: A bold branding choice. When you think about Monday, as a brand, Monday doesn’t always invoke wonderful feelings.

Moser: I was going to lead with that Chris, but decided to try to be a little bit more optimistic. But yeah, I see monday.com, I start thinking about Garfield and I might just go to a dark place.

Gross: I don’t like Mondays.

Hill: Solid end to the fiscal year for Casey’s General Stores, fourth quarter profits and revenue came in higher-than-expected, despite that shares of Casey’s down 5% this week. I don’t know, Ron, this seems like one of those businesses that really stands to benefit from more Americans getting on the road this summer

Gross: 100%, yeah, this was a solid report but as you imagine investors weren’t impressed, perhaps looking for stronger guidance. But these numbers look pretty good to me, so total sales up 31% inside the store revenue up almost 15% inside same-store sales up almost 13% as guest counts steadily improve as the pandemic subsides, obviously inside margins improved by 100 basis points. Then when we get into fuel, the picture changes a little bit. Fuel gallons sold were up 10% but fuel gross profit was down 11%. That’s primarily due to really very high fuel margins achieved last year as a result of all the supply and demand shocks that were going on in the earlier stages of COVID. Net income is down 33% during a difficult time obviously, but the numbers look pretty good to me. They closed on $ 580 million acquisition of Buc-ee’s convenience stores, not a chain that I’m familiar with.

Hill: Big in Texas.

Gross: Big in Texas, exactly right. They’re also closing on the acquisition of 49 Circle K stores in Oklahoma. They’ve got both organic growth as well as acquisition growth on the table here, which will bode well for the coming quarters and end years.

Hill: Interesting to see that expansion because in different parts of the country, people are in some cases very loyal to their brand. In the Mid-Atlantic region, it’s Wawa, and in the Midwest it’s Casey’s.

Gross: Yeah. I love a good Wawa, I’ve never been to Casey. Their new stores, as you said, are also Illinois and Nebraska is big for their new acquisition. They’re adding about 94 stores. There are 79 dealer locations. But you know people are loyal, some folks love sheets, some people love as you said, Wawa. I love a good slurpee myself. 

Hill: Shares of Stitch Fix up 15% this week after the company’s third quarter loss was smaller-than-expected. Revenue was also higher-than-expected. I don’t know, Jason, this seems like one of those quarters that if you’re a shareholder, it wet your appetite but they’re moving in the right direction. They still need to do more.

Moser: I feel like you really just encapsulated this dilemma that I have with this business. It was a strong quarter hats off to them. It’s very hard for me to see them being able to repeat this performance reliably and consistently. I mean, fashion it’s just too fickle even for a “data company” like this one. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Again, it was a strong quarter. You look at net revenue $ 535 million was up 44%. Now it was a bit of a coiled spring. It’s certainly understandable but it’s not something investors should get used to. They’re guiding for 22%-24% revenue growth here in their company’s fourth-quarter. Active clients, 4.1 million now, that was up 20% from a year ago and net revenue per active client, however, down slightly $ 481, it’s down 3% from a year ago. To me this is a business trying to figure out it’s optionality. They’ve introduced things like a fixed preview where you can actually get an idea of what you are getting before you get it. The big question for me, it’s really going to be on the direct buy from them. Now, clients can engage with direct buy that’s something that takes this business model in a fundamentally different direction. Not to say that that’s a bad thing, but it’s something that they’re going to have to work yet. It’s going to be something that will be a little bit challenging. Just fashions just too fickle for me to really be able to get too convicted about this business.

Hill: Real quick new CEO takes over August first for Katrina Lake. How long would you give a new CEO? At least a year, right?

Moser: I would absolutely give her a year. Maybe it does feel like they have a plan they’re executing. It is just going to be a matter of whether these new features and investments actually bear fruit.

Hill: I don’t know about you, but the first time I had heard of Daniel Kahneman, it was in Michael Lewis’s best-selling book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. That book explored the partnership between Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists who created the field of behavioral economics. In 2002, Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for the work that’s done with Tversky. He’s written several books, including the best-seller, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman latest book is Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment. It explores why we make bad judgments and how to make better ones. Recently, Motley Fool Senior Analyst Maria Gallagher caught up with Daniel Kahneman to talk about the wisdom of crowds, the wisdom of the markets, and how noise applies to investing.

Maria Gallagher: When we’re talking about investing, there is an incredible amount of information that we get about companies on a minute-by-minute basis. If you think about the wisdom of crowds affects, like you say in the book, it averaging the independent judgments of different people tend to improve accuracy, so you would think that the information investors get separately and then the average of those, generally the stock price, would be about that correct price, but also like you speak about in the book, there are wise crowds, and then there are crowds that follow tyrants, crowds that believe in magic. So, as we’re thinking about investing and being a part of these crowds, how can you tell if a crowd is a wise crowd? How can you figure it out with all of this information that we’re getting?

Daniel Kahneman: Well, in general, very few people would want to. It’s how to think that the market is not wise. The market probably has a lot of wisdom in it. It’s extremely difficult to beat the market because of the feature that the market integrates judgments of the large number of people. People who think that they can beat the market, most of them are expensively wrong. There are a few, very few who are able to do this, mostly with mathematical tools, but individuals who have just the feeling that they can do it, had better take a shower.

Gallagher: So then, when you think about this too, so you have that the market has this large crowd, and then don’t you have those subsections of crowds if you see things like the rise of Reddit or of means stocks? Within these subsections of people, do you think that there is the general wise crowd, and then within it depending on who you’re talking to, you maybe talking to people who are wise or not wise?

Kahneman: Well, certainly there are what we see, and that’s in large part due to social media. You can get a crowd that decides on a different valuation of the stock as happened recently, and whether to doubt whether they are wise or unwise, that is difficult, that accounts really pass judgment on it. In general, you would say that the larger the market, the closer it is likely to be statistically, to be more or less wise, more or less efficient, and deciding that you can beat it, is a risk that you’re taking.

Gallagher: Interesting. Through all of your research on noise, is there an industry you found to be either the noisiest or the least noisy?

Kahneman: Actually, when we looked at it from the little information we have, and this is really the study of noise in some way, we always knew that there is noise because methods of judgment by definition, we expect some disagreement. What we didn’t know is how much noise there is. So the motivation for the book was that wherever there is judgment, there is noise and much more of it than you think, because it’s a surprising amount of noise that justifies an effort in that direction. Now, this is fairly recent. It’s recent for us certainly, that wherever we look in terms of profession, we found way more noise than we had expected, and sadly way more noise than people in that field had expected. We find it an underwriting, you find it in the evaluation of business propositions by venture capitalists, you find it in loan approval, you find it in patent approval, and you find it in medicine, and I’ve already mentioned symptoms seen. So wherever we looked, we found a lot of it, and even in fingerprint reading. Now fingerprint reading is much less noisy than underwriting. But even there, there is some noise, people disagree more than almost anyone would think. Anything that involves judgments, you can be virtually certain will involve noise.

Gallagher: Wow. So now the natural question is, what should we do to reduce noise? In the book it talks a lot about noise hygiene, so can you explain a little bit about how that works?

Kahneman: Well, one obvious way of reducing noise is taking judgment out of the equation, by imposing rules or algorithms. But we know, and when that happens, because algorithms are noise-free, when you present the same problem to an algorithm on two occasions, you’ll get the same answer, which isn’t true when you ask two underwriters. One way of dealing with noise is to play algorithms, but of course, for the firm, for the next few decades, we can be certain that human judgment is still going to be the most important source of important decisions. There we have a suggestion that we call decision hygiene, and it’s the deliberately off putting term because the same hygiene has no glamour to it. It’s like washing your hands. Like washing your hands, you don’t know what germ you’re killing, and if we’re successful, you’ll never know, and so those will address procedures that you’ve got to trust and adopt and follow, and there is a list of them. 

Now, the simplest of them is to take more than one judgment. Because when you average judgments, you can be mechanically certain if the judgments are independent of each other, that averaging reduces noise. So that’s one piece of advice. The other piece of advice is independence. Keep, if you’re averaging judges, make them independent. If you look at different aspects of the problem, make the judgments or the different aspects independent of each other. Another idea that’s related to this is breakup problems to the extent you can into fact-based narrower assessments, and that’s the key, delay intuition. ion is the global view that people have that gives them confidence that they’ve got it and that their decision is right. You don’t want to do without intuition, but intuition tends to jump to conclusions, and so so you are better off by delaying intuition, looking at the various facets of the problem, and when you have the whole profile of the problem, then and only then, let your intuition free in integrating the information. Those are some of the examples of decision hygiene, there are more.

Gallagher: How does one delay intuition? Because I would imagine if I’m interviewing a candidate and I’m breaking it down, I’m asking the same questions, I’m putting into the sheet, these are going to be, I’m going to rank them in some numerical way. If my gut tells me like […], I don’t really like them, and I keep filling out the form, how do I delay that gut feeling?

Kahneman: Well, the gut feeling is going to be much attenuated when you are collecting information. Another thing that happens is that when you conduct an interview in what is called the non-structured way, then what happens is you get your gut feeling and you spend the rest of the time confirming your gut feeling by asking questions that effectively lead the candidate to confirm your initial hunters. When you have a structured set of dimensions, the gut feeling is less pronounced and it doesn’t affect the intermediate judgments because they’re fact-based, and so you give yourself an opportunity to be surprised. You give yourself an opportunity to discover either good things or bad things that were not expected on the basis of your first impression. That is an advantage. Whenever you’re surprised when you collect information, you are very likely to have learned something. The way our mind works, we resist surprises. We tend to go with our intuition and confirm it, and that leads to the lowest end to bias by the way.

Hill: If you’re listening to us on the radio, we have a new station to welcome to the Motley Fool Money affiliate family, KRQX AM 600 in Youngstown, Ohio. Shout out. Welcome, that’s awesome. 

Our email address is radio@fool.com. From long time listener Gary Car in Tucson, Arizona, and he adds parenthetically, “Warm, dry, and cicada free.” [laughs] Gary writes, “Jason Moser’s slight bearishness about Twitter, a service he uses and appears to like, makes me wonder how much should an investor weigh personal enthusiasm, or even just constant usage for a product or service. I’m thinking Facebook, Google [Alphabet], Spotify, Apple, or on the flip side, if the other aspects add up, does it matter if you don’t, particularly like the service or product?” It’s a great question, Jason, because there are great investments to be had in businesses that for one reason or another rub people the wrong way. You can look at a business like Comcast, which for years was routinely at or near the top of the list of the worst customer service brands in America. Over the long haul, that’s been a stock that has rewarded shareholders.

Moser: Yeah, I agree. It is a great question. I feel like we could have an entire show just centered around this question because it is not one simple answer. I mean, it does depend. I think it’s very easy to fall into the trap of loving a product and then thinking, therefore, it’s a good investment. Even the other way around, hating something and thinking, “Oh, that must be a bad investment,” and just clearly isn’t always the case. I mean, Twitter for example. I mean, yeah, for a very long time I had a bullish outlook on it because it just seems so relevant to people continuing to use it and it just conveys so much information in real-time. The Twitter blue thing was the straw that broke Campbell’s back. Because I feel like all of those things that they are asking me to pay for, I feel like those are the things they should have been developing here over the last five, six, seven years that they just didn’t. Then it makes me question management and makes me question vision. Costco, I mean, I want to go to a Costco like I want to nod a hole in the head. But I fully recognize the fact that 100 million families here in the country love the experience apparently, and so being able to divorce yourself from your personal feelings and just recognizing the merits of the business. It’s not an easy thing to do, it’s an important skill to develop though.

Gross: Yeah. I take great pleasure in owning, over long periods of time, companies that I appreciate and Costco is one of them, actually. Disney would be another example. Then conversely, I don’t think I would enjoy being an owner of a company for five or ten years that I didn’t think was doing a good job, or didn’t make the world a better place, or didn’t make a product or service that I agreed with. The one thing to be careful about is those are all typically consumer product-related companies, and so you’ll miss out on some great investments in cloud or biotech or tech in general that you don’t come across in your average daily life. Just to exclude them because you don’t have any personal exposure to them on a daily basis would be a mistake. But as Peter Lynch would say, finding companies that you use that you’d love are a great place to begin an investing journey.

Hill: Well, and it’s an opportunity, particularly as you said, Ron, consumer-facing businesses, to do your own boots on the ground research to see what the stores are like? Are they crowded? What is the staff like? All that sort of thing. But it is important to make sure that you’re not alone, that you’re not on an island. Like you’re the person who loves this, there have got to be ways to checkout like, “Wait a minute, I’m the only one who loves this or do other people love it as well?”

Gross: Yeah, I loved my Kodak camera. Boy do I love that? [laughs] It seems I’m the only one.

Hill: Let’s get to the stocks on our radar, our man behind the glass Dan Boyd is going to hit you with a question. Jason Moser, you’re up first, what are you looking at this week?

Moser: Yeah, one I’ve talked about on the show before, one that I’ve recommended and I own, a company called Masimo, ticker is M-A-S-I. It’s a medical device company that has traditionally focused on non-invasive monitoring. Started with monitoring oxygen levels in the blood, but they have evolved into much more as technology has allowed. But the business itself has a lovely razor blade model. They get those units in the hospitals installed and then they can sell these consumables. Over the last 10 years, the razors, the installed base machines, they’ve shipped approximately 2.2 million of these razors. In that just as they tremendously installed a base that really ramps up those switching costs as time goes on and the adhesive sensors, those consumables, the blades that they’re very high margin and that’s something that they will continue to sell as long as they keep those machines installed. Something very similar to an intuitive surgical, if you will. But they’ve developed a terrific new platform with a safety net, multiple applications that capitalizes on the growth in remote healthcare telemedicine. Innovative Founder leader there with Joe Kiani, just a lot of things to really like about this business. I think it’s a little bit overlooked right now due to some tough year-over-year comps from the COVID pull-forward. But there is sequential growth here. That’s a very positive sign and one that I’m very encouraged by here, very excited about the future of this company.

Hill: Dan, question about Masimo?

Dan Boyd: Chris, more of a comment. Masimo, great medical stuff. Awesome, great. But let’s think about Massimo, the clothing line, real quick.

Moser: Yes. 

Boyd: I don’t even know if it exists anymore, but it was big in the ’90s. I just remember I knew this older kid in my neighborhood growing up, he was Ian, that was his name. He was always really cool. He had cool glasses and he always wore a Massimo T-shirt. That guy was just really cool.

Moser: Yeah. Well, hey, listen, they sold that stuff like hotcakes and target day and it was popular for a time. I’m not sure where it is right now, but like I’ve told you before, my sartorial sensibilities are not the greatest.

Gross: If you’re listening, Ian, please write to us.

Hill: Radio@fool.com is our email address. I don’t know. Moser, it seems like it could be a tuck-in acquisition that Masimo makes just to get all those brands under one roof.

Gross: Now we’re talking.

Moser: I like the way you’re thinking.

Hill: Ron Gross, what are you looking at this week?

Gross: I’m looking at Accenture, ACN, a name derived from the phrase accent on the future, Accenture. Provides consulting technology and outsourcing services in more than 120 countries. You may recall it began as the business and technology consulting division of accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Remember the days where they were big six accounting firms, I don’t know where they’ve gone. But this company has actually been incorporated in Dublin, Ireland since 2009, so some changes to the company over the years, but they produced steady growth, strong cash flow. They’ve got a reliable dividend all thanks to their long term relationships with clients. They have newer focus areas like cloud security, supply chain, and digital manufacturing. Those are all seeing really solid growth even as their traditional consulting business advances a bit more slowly, which is not really surprising. In addition to their organic growth they consistently make acquisitions to spur growth, enter new markets, that’s really good, but it also can be a risk. Keep an eye on their capital expenditures as it relates to acquisitions. They’ve raised their dividends for the last 15 years. We love to see the current yields of 1.3%.

Hill: Dan, question about Accenture?

Boyd: I was going to make fun of the name accent on the future, but I was thinking about it just now, and Accenture is probably the best they could have done. I mean, what do you get? Fuacc, accture? [laughs] There’s nothing there except for Accenture, so I got to say good on them.

Gross: I believe that was an employee who won a contest, who recommended that name. Glad you like it, Dan.

Hill: Two very different businesses, Dan. You’ve got one you want to add to your watch list?

Boyd: Chris, you know I love a good employee contest, I’m going to go with Accenture.

Moser: I hope that employee got some options or something for winning that contest.

Hill: No kidding, right? Hopefully they got more than just a gift certificate or something like that. All right, Jason Moser, Ron Gross, guys, thanks for being here.

Moser: Thanks, Chris.

Hill: That’s going to do it for this week’s edition of Motley Fool Money. The show is mixed by Dan Boyd. Our producer is Mac Greer. I’m Chris Hill. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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