A review of the Autonomies
Comment of the Day

July 11 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

A review of the Autonomies

Eoin Treacy's view The last few months have been characterised by a deep pullback for the majority of Asian stock markets, relatively steady action by Wall Street, significant Dollar strength, weakness in sovereign bond markets, a revival in oil markets but an otherwise moribund environment for the commodity complex.

At this stage the Dollar is somewhat overbought and some further consolidation of gains is likely. Treasury prices are oversold in the short-term and potential for an additional relief rally has increased. Asian stock markets in particular have at least paused in their declines and potential for an unwind of short-term oversold conditions relative to the 200-day MAs has increased.

Against this background, a significant number of the companies we regard as Autonomies have reverted back to their means where demand appears to be returning to dominance. I thought it might be instructive to conduct a comprehensive review of this group of companies since they continue to represent our best bet for a stable of shares which are likely to outperform over the next decade. We define Autonomies as large internationally diversified companies that dominate their respective niches and had in many respects outgrown their domestic markets. They often had solid records of dividend increases and have balance sheets strong enough to sustain them. They tend to benefit from superior corporate governance and have some of the most recognisable global brands.

The list of companies that can be considered Autonomies is constantly evolving not least as our knowledge of individual companies expands and as globalisation remains a powerful theme. I created this table for all 134 companies in our list to date and highlighted in yellow those which are also dividend aristocrats. I also highlighted in green those which are former dividend aristocrats. In an effort to complete this review in a single day I have not had time to add individual charts for each company but they are of course available in the Chart Library and can be added to your Favourites as your wish.

I reviewed the restaurants sector in yesterday's Comment of the Day but to recap, both McDonald's and Yum Brands have been mostly rangebound for a year and will need to hold breakouts to new highs to reconfirm medium-term demand dominance. Starbucks is currently testing the $70 area and while somewhat overbought in the short-term, a sustained move below the 200-day MA, currently near $60, would be required to question medium-term upside potential.

In the alcoholic beverages sector Diageo, Anheuser-Busch, Heineken and SAB Miller pulled back to test the region of their 200-day MAs where they have found support. Diageo has posted the more impressive rebound to date. Remy Cointreau has had a deeper reaction and has paused in the region of the October lows near €80. It will need to hold above that level if the medium-term upside is to be given the benefit of the doubt. Pernod Ricard has also experienced a deeper reaction.

In the soft drinks sector Coca Cola has found at least short-term support in the region of $40 which represents the region of the 200-day MA and the upper side of the underlying trading range. Pepsi is outperforming somewhat.

In the processed foods and ingredients sector Nestle, Unilever, Mondelez International, Danone, Ingredion, International Flavors & Fragrance and McCormick have all found at least short-term support in the region of their 200-day MAs. ADM and Kerry Group have had some of the more impressive rebounds to date.

In the vitamins and supplements sector DSM has held a progression of higher reaction lows since 2011 and continues to extend its uptrend. Herbalife continues to consolidative above the 200-day MA. Mead Johnson Nutritionals had to cut its prices by up to 15% in China and this has cut margins. It found support this week in the region of $70 but a sustained move back above $80 will be required to confirm a return to demand dominance beyond the short term.

In the household goods and cosmetics sector, Procter & Gamble continues to consolidate its earlier breakout and is bouncing from the region of the 200-day MA. Kimberly Clark, Colgate Palmolive, Uni-Charm, Estee Lauder and L'Oreal have all found support in the region of their MAs. Hengan International continues to range with a mild upward bias. Reckitt Benckiser fell less than the sector and has rebounded to test the psychological 5000p level. NuSkin Enterprises surged to new highs yesterday on positive earnings expectations.

In the luxury goods sector, Christian Dior, Prada, Compagnie Financiere Richemont, Tiffany and Swatch have all found support in the region of their 200-day MAs. LVMH continues to range with a mild upward bias.

In the toys and entertainment sector, Disney, 21 st Century Fox Entertainment and Mattel continue to trend consistently higher; holding progressions of higher reaction lows. Hasbro and Activision Blizzard found support in the region of their 200-day MAs.

In the retail sector, Amazon broke out to new all-time highs this week while Wal-Mart, Dairy Farm International found support in the region of their 200-day MAs. Casino Guichard and Tesco experienced deeper declines but have at least paused over the last couple of weeks.

In the shoe and clothing sector, Nike and Adidas Solomon both rallied from the region of their MAs while Inditex has firmed in the region of the MA. Shenzhou International has pulled back sharply to test the region of the MA while H&M remains confined to a two-year range.

In the pharmaceuticals sector, Bayer, Biogen, Pfizer, Novartis, Amgen, Sanofi, Merck and Eli Lilly have all returned to test the region of their 200-day MA where they have firmed. Novo Nordisk is bouncing from the lower side of its range and the region of the 200-day MA. Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myer Squibb have so far had shallower reactions while Allergan pulled back sharply from the April peak and found at least short-term support this week. It will need to push back above the psychological $100 area to suggest a return to demand dominance.

In the tobacco sector both Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco continue to hold progressions of higher reaction lows and found support in the region of their MAs over the last couple of weeks.

In the technology sector ARM Holdings, MediaTek, Taiwan Semiconductor, Intel and Salesforce.com have all pulled back to test the region of their respective 200-day MAs. Google, Lam Research, Microchip Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Sony, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Tata Consultancy remain relative strength leaders and have posted comparatively shallow reactions. Apple and Lenovo appear to be building bases. Qualcomm, IBM, Samsung Electronics, Oracle, SAP experienced deeper reactions and will need to post more impressive rallies to repair investor confidence.

In the publicity and lobbying sector, WPP, Publicis and Omnicom continue to hold progressions of higher reaction lows.

In the banking sector HSBC, Standard Chartered and Barclays all found support at the lower side of medium-term ranges in the last couple of weeks, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Citigroup are rebounding having closed the majority of their overextensions relative to the 200-day MA. BBVA retains a downward bias.

In the insurance sector AIG Group, Prudential, Chubb, AIA Group and AXA continue to trend higher in a reasonably consistent manner.

In the credit card and credit checking sector, Visa and Mastercard continue to extend their already impressive uptrends while Experian found support in the region of the 200-day MA three weeks ago.

In the automotive sector, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Greatwall Motors are rebounding having reverted towards the respective trend means. BMW remains mostly rangebound while Volkswagen found support above the April lows two weeks ago. Following a difficult couple of years Kia Motors is now holding a progression of higher reaction lows.

In the aeronautics sector, Boeing continues to extend the breakout from its two-year range but is becoming increasingly overextended as it approaches its all-time highs. EADS continues to hold a progression of higher reaction lows.

In the industrial sector, Danaher, Tyco International, GE, Rolls Royce, Honeywell, 3M, United Technologies, Ecolab, Illinois Tool Works and Berkshire Hathaway have had relatively shallow reactions and an increasing number are breaking out to new all-time highs. Emerson Electric, Intertek Group, ABB and Fanuc all found support in the region of their MAs, while Siemens continues to underperform and remains mostly rangebound.

In the packaging sector, Rexam has firmed above 450p but will need to sustain a move above 500p to reconfirm demand dominance. Brambles and Amcor continue to benefit from the weakness of the Australian Dollar as they trend higher.

In the industrial gases sector, Linde, Praxair and Air Liquide all found support in the region of their MAs.

In the chemicals sector, PPG Industries, BASF and Dow Chemical found support near their trend means. DuPont is consolidating in the region of the upper side of a two-year range. Akzo Nobel has posted a progression of lower rally highs since March which it will need to break it to reassert medium-term demand dominance.

In the seeds and fertiliser sectors, Monsanto has found support in the region of its 200-day MA, while Potash Corp has firmed at the lower side of its medium-term range.

In the mining sector, both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are currently trading at the lower side of their medium-term ranges.

In the oil and oil service sectors, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Schlumberger are all rallying from areas of previous support.

On even a brief perusal of the above companies, mean reversion is the most common quality. However, it is also notable how few companies have broken their respective uptrends. The relative strength of the industrial, aeronautics and pharmaceutical sectors is particularly notable not least since these sectors represent the cutting edge of technological innovation which is likely to help drive productivity growth in future.

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