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Franklin Resources Inc. Message Board

  • cigarindian cigarindian Jan 17, 2009 5:50 PM Flag

    BEN mention in Barron's

    Barron's, Monday, January 19, 2009 edition:

    Archie, head of MacAllaster, Pitfield, McKay, should be classified as an endangered species. After all, the man says he's an optimist about stocks. Archie, who knows his way around financials like no one, and around bear markets, too, sees dirt-cheap bargains everywhere. He's especially keen on the prospects for Hartford Financial , Franklin Resources and Delta Airlines.

    [Archie] MacAllaster: I am an optimist about the stock market. There aren't many of us. It's going to be slow going, but bargains are out there. If you can find them, you may do well. I have a few, starting with Franklin Resources, another California money manager. The stock is 66, about 50% below its high for the past year, 133. The low was 45.50. The company pays a dividend of 84 cents a share, and yields 1.3%. It has about $4 billion of net cash, equal to $15 to $17 a share. Total book value is $30 a share; cash is half of that, or more. Franklin, which manages mutual funds, bought up Templeton and Mutual Shares, and seems ready to buy other assets, which are cheap right now. Over the years the company has bought in a lot of stock. They have indicated they won't be buying in so many shares in the future, which tells me they are going to use their money to buy assets.

    Templeton invests mostly in foreign equities. Mutual Shares invests in U.S. equities, and the original business was primarily tax-exempt investments in the U.S. In the fiscal year ended September, it earned $6.68 a share. Like other fund companies, it has had redemptions. It has $450 billion or $460 billion of assets under management, down $50 billion or $60 billion on the year. Therefore, earnings could be lower this year, at perhaps $4.75 to $5 a share.

    With people exiting mutual funds in droves, isn't this a bit like buying straw hats in winter?

    MacAllaster: My view is long-term. Franklin's success goes back a long way. This year the company will earn less than last year, and it may earn less next year, too. But it is going to end up a much bigger company because it will use its cash to buy assets. In two years it will be making more money than ever before. And remember, the stock was as high as 133 last year.

    That doesn't mean anything. Everything was higher last year. The important thing is where it's going.

    MacAllaster: It's going higher. My second stock is Supervalu . It closed Friday [Jan. 2] at 14.88. The 12-month range has been 35.91 to 8.59. The company runs both wholesale and retail grocery operations. They've got the third-largest grocery chain in the U.S., after Wal-Mart Stores [WMT] and Kroger [KR]. Supervalu pays a dividend of 69 cents and yields 4%-plus. Book value per share is $29, just about double the stock price. [The company wrote down goodwill and intangible assets when it reported earnings Jan. 7. Book value is now around $16 a share.] Sales are flat to down in retail and positive in wholesale. Earnings were $2.76 a share in fiscal 2008, ended February, and should be about $2.75 for fiscal '09. The stock sells for five times earnings. Debt is high due to the purchase of the Albertsons grocery chain in 2006, but the company has been paying down between $400 million and $500 million a year. [It announced Jan. 7 that it would pay down $600 million in fiscal 2010.] Sales are about $45 billion.

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